Thursday, September 19, 2019

Progressive seminary students offered a confession to plants. How do we think about sins against nature?

From The Washington Post-

When I was a child, I spoke to trees. I knew my secrets would be safe with these great green friendly things. And I thought the trees spoke back to me. I’d press my ear against their trunks to hear the reverberating, strangely musical sound of branches knocking against one another in the wind, a sound that seems to be traveling to my ear from the decades coded into each tree’s annual growth rings.

I’m comfortable talking to plants, but I’m not sure if I could do so through a microphone in front of a bunch of seminarians, as a student at Union Theological Seminary is doing in a photo tweeted out Tuesday by the seminary’s account:

Today in chapel, we confessed to plants. Together, we held our grief, joy, regret, hope, guilt and sorrow in prayer; offering them to the beings who sustain us but whose gift we too often fail to honor.

What do you confess to the plants in your life?

More here-

Presiding Bishop’s sermon at opening Eucharist of House of Bishops’ fall 2019 meeting

From ENS-

Good morning.

Welcome to all bishops and spouses, who are here gathered today and thank you to the Diocese of Minnesota for hosting us.

Allow me to interpret one text, actually two, which is not going to be as long as you think. To interpret the epistle and the gospel from the lens of the third text from the Hebrew scripture, from the Epistle from Colossians (3:14, 17)

Above all, “Above all, clothe yourselves in love.  And in everything you do, in word and in deed, do it in the name of the Lord Jesus.”

Above all, clothe yourselves in love, and in everything you do, do it in the name of the Lord Jesus.
And the gospel from John, chapter three.

God so loved the world, he gave His only begotten Son to the end that all that believed in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. God so loved the world that He gave Jesus.

More here-

Disciplinary hearing ahead for Albany Episcopal bishop

From Albany-

The Albany Episcopal Diocese bishop who vowed to continue prohibiting same-sex marriages in defiance of the church's orders will face a disciplinary hearing, the Episcopal Church announced Wednesday.

In November 2018, the Rev. William H. Love spurned Episcopal Church Resolution B012, which had been passed earlier in the year and ordered bishops not to impede same-sex weddings. In an eight-page letter, Love wrote that Episcopalians who embraced same-sex relationships had been deceived by Satan, and said the Episcopal Church and "Western society" had been "hijacked by the 'Gay Rights Agenda.'"

"Sexual relations between two men or two women was never part of God's plan and is a distortion of His design in creation and as such is to be avoided," Love wrote. "To engage in sexual intimacy outside of marriage between a man and women, is against God's will and therefore sinful and needs to be repented of, NOT encouraged or told it is ok."

More here- 

and here-

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Southwark Cathedral criticised for hosting scantily clad London Fashion Week show described as 'antithesis of Christian gospel'

From England-

Southwark Cathedral has been accused of promoting the “antithesis of the Christian gospel” by allowing its nave to be used as a catwalk to sell clothes. 

British designer Julien MacDonald brought his collection to the place of worship on Monday night as part of London Fashion Week, turning the aisle into a parade of scantily dressed models. 
It was described by the 48-year-old British designer as a “celebration of women” and attracted celebrity guests including the actor Ed Westwick and socialite Lady Victoria Hervey. 

However, a leading Anglican clergyman has questioned whether the cathedral should be “giving a platform” to an event which promotes “a narcissistic self-referential display for the very rich”.
High-profile catwalk shows are big money-spinners for fashion houses which build the reputation of designers and cement their links with wealthy and influential customers. 

More here-

St. John the Divine Cathedral Is in Recovery Mode

From New York-

All eyes are on Paris’s fire-ravaged Notre-Dame, which President Emmanuel Macron of France has pledged to restore in five years. But a great cathedral in New York is also recovering from a conflagration that occurred on Palm Sunday — one day before the medieval French Notre-Dame was overcome by flames.

The fire at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, a Gothic-style landmark in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of Manhattan, was far less catastrophic. It was confined to a windowless room in the crypt, and no one was injured. The cause has been declared unknown.

Still, oil paintings and an 18th-century icon were destroyed and other artworks damaged. And the plumes of smoke that rose up through heating vents in the floor into the cathedral’s vast interior left soot everywhere.

More here-

House of Bishop opens fall meeting with discussions of same-sex spouse exclusion from Lambeth 2020

From ENS-

The Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops gathered here on Sept. 17 to begin a four-day meeting where the question of the Lambeth Conference 2020 loomed from the outset, both as a point of punctuation in Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s opening sermon and as the scheduled topic of discussion for the first afternoon.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, in calling all bishops in the Anglican Communion to attend the Lambeth Conference next summer, chose to invite gay and lesbian bishops but not their spouses, a plan he saw as a way to balance the divisions in the communion but one that drew criticism, including from within The Episcopal Church. By the time Lambeth starts on July 22, The Episcopal Church will have at least three bishops with same-sex spouses.

More here-

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Archbishop Okoh: The church is in crisis

From Nigeria-

The Primate of all Nigerian Anglican Communion and Bishop of the Diocese of Abuja, the most Reverend Nicholas D. Okoh has given reasons there is so much crises in the Church today.

At a dedication of a new place of worship for the parishioners of All Saints Anglican Church Wuse Zone 5, Abuja, Okoh blamed the idea of relativism as the main cause of the crisis.

There was a time, he said, when there was a clear cut difference between what is acceptable and what is unacceptable, and what is Christian and what is unchristian.

According to him, today, people have reasoned things so much that anything has become acceptable and people, including those who profess to be Christians, now talk of relativism, whereby there is no absolute truth.

More here-

Being an activist and spiritual often go together

From Austin-

Not long before retiring from the Texas Civil Rights Project and beginning a trajectory toward ordained ministry, I was a panelist at a Concerned Philosophers for Peace conference at Austin Community College. The theme was setting standards for peace in public life.

There were four of us “activists,” as we were called; and we related our hard stories of the difficult struggle for peaceful change in society. During the Q&A session afterwards, a student participant asked us each to explain what kept us going in the face of so many nearly insurmountable hurdles.

I wasn’t sure how to answer. For me, the Gospel had always been my life-long motivation for human rights work; but I was in a secular setting, representing a nonprofit organization. Fortunately, the answers started at the other end of the table, which gave me time to consider my response.

More here-

Living with Dementia: Tracey Lind Tells Her Story From The Inside Out

From New Jersey-

Arden Courts, a memory care community, invited the The Very Reverend Tracey Lind to speak of her journey living with Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD) at St. Michael's Episcopal Church in Wayne.
Since Lind's FTD diagnosis, she set out on a pilgrimage with her wife Emily Ingalls, to travel the nation and world to tell their story and help destigmatize the "dementia" diagnosis. Visit her website and follow her blog. Lind was seen on 60 Minutes in May 2019 when they introduced millions of television viewers to Frontotemporal degeneration, the most common dementia for people under 60. [The segment was re-aired on Sunday, Sept. 15.]

"Out of pain comes joy," said Lind. She is facing this disease. "I am going to see what I can do with it. My curiosity is getting me through it. Otherwise I’m going to roll up in a ball." Lind is telling her story and sharing "the lessons I am learning and the gifts that I am receiving and the grace that I'm discovering." She is stimulating conversation with the groups she speaks to.

More here-

Monday, September 16, 2019

ACoM enthrones 7th Archbishop Dawea

From Melanesia-

THE Anglican Church of Melanesia (ACOM) enthrones Rt Reverend Leonard Dawea as the 7th Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Melanesia in a ceremony in Honiara on Sunday.

The Enthronement ceremony was officiated by the senior Bishop Rt Reverend Nathan Tome and all the diocesan bishops of ACOM at the Saint Barnabas Provincial Cathedral. 

Delivering his address at the ceremony the Most Reverend Archbishop Leonard Dawea thanked the Senior Bishop, the Rt Rev. Nathan Tome for his leadership over the Church for the last seven months of leadership interregnum. 

“It is indeed overwhelming to see for myself so many of you who have come to witness this occasion of another milestone in the life and mission of ACOM.

“I am so assured to see the great support you represent, so let me say this you all; because of your trust and confidence in me, I will do my very best to be your servant shepherd. 

“I wish to thank so many of you who sent messages of congratulations and best wishes and support of prayers to me and family on the occasion of my election.

More here-

Anglican Archbishop Prostrates As Apology For 1919 British Massacre In Amritsar

From The Organization for World Peace-

On the 100th anniversary of the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre, Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury embraced the bold act of prostrating at the site of the Amritsar massacre, as a deeply meaningful symbol of a personal request for forgiveness for the British colonial atrocity. Over 400 were slaughtered and more than 1000 injured on the bloody April day in the state of Punjab, 41 of the victims being infants.

Welby ensured espousing a tone centred on religious and personal forgiveness, choosing to stay clear of hinting at any sign of official government representation,  “I cannot speak for the British government … but I can speak in the name of Christ and say this is a place of both sin and redemption, because you have remembered what they have done and their names will live, their memory will live before God”. More emotively, Welby expressed the yearning of the deceased souls, “…crying from these stones warning us about power and about the misuse of power”.

More here-

The Episcopal Church in Haiti: Stretching towards a new future

From Episcopal Cafe-

The 2018 statistical reports for the Episcopal Church are out. There is considerable wringing of hands and some very enlightening commentary around. Among the most challenging is the commentary by Crusty OldDean, Tom Furgerson.  His conclusions present one sort of challenge for TEC, namely to get off the high horse of acting like a corporation. I hope the General Convention will listen to him. Unfortunately, the track record on critical rethinking by TEC is not good. The last round of efforts to deal with the structural problems of TEC fell decidedly flat.

Hidden in the weeds of the Statistical Reports are interesting bits of information regarding the resilience of at least one diocese in TEC. On the basis of the records received from the dioceses, it would appear that the Episcopal Church in Haiti, with 89,717 baptized members, is the largest diocese in TEC. And, looking at ASA (Average Sunday Attendance) figures, it ranks among the top 10 dioceses. It is among only 8 dioceses that have recorded an increase over the last 10 years, and this in spite of the terrible earthquake of 2010.  It has more members than Province 6 or 9. About one in 20 baptized members of TEC is Haitian.

More here-

Virginia Seminary President On Reparations Fund: 'Apology Is Insufficient'

From Virginia Public Radio-

We're going to turn now to the ongoing debate around reparations. In recent years, a number of universities have tried to confront how slavery shaped their institutions. Now Virginia Theological Seminary is doing the same. The seminary, which is just outside Washington, D.C., announced a plan to create a $1.7 million fund for the descendants of the slaves that helped build the school. We wanted to learn more about that plan and what it went into the decision, so we've called on Ian Markham. He's an Episcopal priest and the dean and president of Virginia Theological Seminary. Thank you for joining us.

IAN MARKHAM: I'm delighted to be here.

MCCAMMON: So what led to the creation of this reparations fund?

MARKHAM: So we're on the cusp of our 200th birthday. And as you do the work of thinking about that milestone, you find yourself reflecting on 200 years. And we're very conscious that the story is one full of both grace and sin. And we need to recognize that sin is part of that story. And a huge part of that story are enslaved persons who built many of the key buildings on the campus. And almost all the faculty for decades had enslaved persons working for them. So we felt it was important that you can't mark an anniversary of such significance without really thinking through how we're going to relate to that complex part of our history.

More here-

Saturday, September 14, 2019

‘Wai’ now Bishop Quayle

From New Zealand-

A moving powhiri on a dazzling spring day, a haka and the ordination of the first Maori Woman to the bishopric of the New Zealand Anglican Church happened at Rathkeale College on Thursday.

Waitohiariki Quayle will be known as Bishop Quayle of Upoko o Te Ika [lower North Island] and serve the Maori Anglican bishopric of the lower North Island.

Hundreds of people from around the North Island came to witness this historic event.
Bishop Quayle said she felt the “wairua [spirit]” present and felt, “very emotional as a servant of God”.

Quayle did need to dry her eyes during the ordination.

“It’s very personal,” she said, saying it was a significant day for New Zealand women.

More here-

The Jallianwala Bagh stain: Archbishop of Canterbury’s act of repentance speaks to his larger project of interfaith reconciliation

From India-

The dramatic image flashed across the world. The Archbishop of Canterbury, the head of the Protestant church in England and spiritual leader of the global community of 85 million Anglican Christians, lay prostrate in front of the memorial to the victims massacred a century ago by troops of the British Indian army in Amritsar. It was, as he intended, a visible symbol of repentance for an action that since 1919 has left a stain on Britain’s relations with India.

It was not a formal apology. The most revered Justin Welby said that he was a religious and not a political leader, and therefore could not speak for Britain or its government. But he condemned the shootings as a crime and a sin, and said he was “personally very sorry for this terrible atrocity”. He felt a “deep sense of shame” when visiting the Jallianwala Bagh park.

His prostration, in the searing heat, was compared by many to the gesture of repentance by Willy Brandt, the West German chancellor, who spontaneously fell to his knees in 1970 in front of the former Jewish ghetto in Warsaw when he offered an apology for the Nazi atrocities committed there during the Second World War.

More here-

Prince Charles plans to attend Cardinal Newman’s canonization

From England-

Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, plans to attend the October 13 canonization of Blessed John Henry Newman, the prince’s office announced Friday.

Charles will travel to Rome for the event and, following the ceremony, attend a reception at the Collegio Urbano, part of the Pontifical Urban University, and the institution where Newman studied to become a Catholic priest.

Queen Elizabeth, 93, no longer travels abroad, so the Prince of Wales is the highest royal available to be on hand for the ceremony in St. Peter’s Square.

Expected to become king upon his mother’s death or abdication, Charles also will become head of the Church of England. The soon-to-be St. John Henry Newman is one of the highest profile converts from the Church of England to the Catholic Church. He will become the first English non-martyr saint since the Reformation.

More here-

Springfield protest calls on Smith & Wesson to help prevent gun violence

From Western Massachusetts-

Numbering about 60, a coalition of youth groups and concerned citizens gathered at Memorial Field across Roosevelt Avenue from Smith & Wesson headquarters Friday afternoon to call on executives to work with them to address gun violence.

Joining the groups were two of the state’s Episcopal bishops and a co-founder of Bishops United Against Gun Violence.

Bishop Douglas Fisher of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts said he invited fellow bishops to join him to back up youth groups such as Campaign Nonviolence, the Pioneer Valley Project and B-Peace for Jorge as they demonstrated.

More here-

Bishop suspended child porn suspect Rev. Gregory Lisby from Worcester’s All Saints Episcopal Church in 2018 over ‘inappropriate relationship’

From Western Massachusetts-

The bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts on Friday sent a letter to all congregants lamenting the arrest of the Rev. Gregory Lisby on a child pornography charge last night, highlighting that Lisby has been banned from all contact with the church.

FBI agents raided Lisby’s Worcester home — an Episcopal rectory where he lives with his husband and the couple’s two daughters — on Sept. 11. Lisby was a newly minted kindergarten teacher in Holyoke when the government closed in. He resigned his position at the school in an email sent to a Holyoke schools official at 2:30 Thursday morning.

Lisby was arrested last night in Northborough, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney’s office in Boston. He will be arraigned in a federal court in that city this afternoon. Lisby has been charged with possession of child pornography after agents recovered more than 180 photos and 15 videos from his computer, according to court records. That charge carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.

More here- 

and here-

Friday, September 13, 2019

Church probes anonymous letters targeting bishops

From Uganda-

The Anglican Church is investigating anonymous letters threatening the outgoing and incoming bishops of West Lango Diocese. 

The leaflets were discovered dropped in Apac Municipality, Aduku Town Council, Oyam Town and Kole Town on September 2.

The letters questioned the integrity of outgoing bishop Alfred Acur Okodi and bishop-elect Julius Caeser Nina. The letters also rejected the incoming bishop.
The leaflets that were reportedly dropped in the compound of St Peter Church of Uganda and the diocesan headquarters of West Lango, warned Bishop Acur Okodi not to step foot in the church.
“Bishop Acur should not step foot in Aduku. Consecration of bishop, don’t try. No consecration of Rev Nina in West Lango,” the circulated leaflets read in part. 

More here-

FBI child porn raid at Worcester church rectory leads to Holyoke kindergarten teacher’s resignation

From Western Massachusetts-

A Morgan School kindergarten teacher under investigation for child pornography has resigned after the FBI raided the rectory of a Worcester Episcopal church where he lives.

Holyoke Public Schools Receiver Stephen Zrike Jr. told parents about the investigation involving Gregory Lisby in a letter sent on Thursday.

“We know that this is troubling news, and we understand that this will prompt many questions from the community,” Zrike wrote. “As this is an ongoing investigation, we do not have any additional information to share at this time.”

The rector of the church is Lisby’s husband, the Rev. Timothy Burger. Lisby is also an ordained minister and served as the rector of a different Episcopal church in Worcester from 2015 to 2018 but is no longer working as a minister, the search warrant application said.

Lisby’s Linkedin profile said he was the rector of All Saints Episcopal Church on Irving Street. 

More here-

In slavery, her family was owned by his. Now they attend a Baltimore church seeking to atone for its past.

From Baltimore-

The Rev. Natalie Conway’s tenure as the new deacon of Memorial Episcopal Church in Baltimore’s Bolton Hill was by all accounts going well last year when she received news that sparked a personal crisis and sent shock waves through the congregation.

One of Conway’s siblings, who was conducting genealogical research on their family, told her that some of their forebears had been slaves on a local plantation — and the people and the land were owned by none other than the extended family of Memorial’s founding pastor, 19th-century cleric Charles Ridgely Howard.

If that weren’t disorienting enough, a current parishioner at Memorial — a man Conway had known for years and respected — was a descendant of the slaveholding clan.

The cascade of revelations at first overwhelmed the lifelong Episcopalian and native of Baltimore.

More here-

Thursday, September 12, 2019

The suffering of migrant children and families in detention demands action

From San Francisco-

Like most people in this city and across the country, I have been reading with continuing, ever- increasing dismay the news of the government’s actions at the borders. Last week’s policy announcement allowing indefinite detention of migrant families and children is yet another tragic development. The distressing images of children huddled in cages; of pre-teen children, themselves frightened and afraid, caring for young infants; of heartbroken parents crying for their daughters and sons – these are lodged in my heart as in the hearts of so many.

As a priest, as for teachers, medical professionals, social workers, first responders and numerous other professionals, I am a mandated reporter of child abuse. The California Department of Education states: “All persons who are mandated reporters are required, by law, to report all known or suspected cases of child abuse or neglect.”

It is against the law for me and other mandated reporters to NOT report any case of child abuse that we suspect is happening. If this is true of what we suspect in family homes, how much more it must be true of the abuse we see happening on such a brutal scale at our borders!

More here-

'This isn't f---ing Disneyland!': Drunk man storms English cathedral over mini-golf course

From England-

An intoxicated Englishman was charged with common assault after he flew into a rage at the installation of a miniature golf course in U.K.'s Rochester Cathedral.

Michael Feeney, 67, delivered an impassioned rant last week against what he regarded as a flippant display in the 13th-century church where he occasionally goes to pray, according to the Independent. Rebuking visiting chaplain Margaret Moore, he yelled, "This isn't f---ing Disneyland! This is a f---ing cathedral! It's a f---ing disgrace!"

Upon sobering up, Feeney expressed remorse for his actions before the magistrate, saying, "I am extremely sorry, I am extremely ashamed about it. I am trying to be a nice person." His lawyer said "he just found that there was something wrong."

More here-

Religious, education leaders stand against racism at Buffalo Athletic Club, 1968

From Buffalo-

For the last 39 years, heading to the Buffalo Athletic Club meant you were heading to the gym. After the original BAC fell on hard times, the club’s majestic E.B. Green-designed home was renovated into a modern health club with exercise facilities for both men and women.

For decades before it was just a gym, it was a private men’s social club. Very private.

When Episcopal Bishop Harold Robinson was given an award by the Erie County Bar Association at a banquet held at the club, a group of Episcopal priests signed a letter protesting the prelate’s attendance, saying in part, “We are … concerned that any of our church's leaders can allow themselves to be honored at a reception in a club that segregates by membership and from an association that meets in facilities segregated by membership. This situation is deeply confusing when religious leaders are expected to provide the leadership and personal example in the most pressing of the country's domestic crises — the breakdown of communication and relations between black and white citizens.”

More here-

Episcopal Seminary in Virginia Starts Slavery Reparations Fund

From NPR (with audio)-

What kind of reparations could begin to make amends for slavery?

In Alexandria, a new $2 million effort is underway.

As the Virginia Theological Seminary reaches its milestone 200th anniversary, Dean Ian Markham says there’s a growing awareness on campus of that the story of the Episcopal seminary is a mix of grace and sin. 

“And part of that sin is the history of racism, which includes the use of enslaved persons on this campus and our participation in segregation and Jim Crow," Markham admits. "The purpose of the reparations fund is literally to repair some of that damage.”

More here-

also here-

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Anglican Diocese of Western Newfoundland votes to allow same-sex marriages

From Canada-

A step toward healing and moving forward within the Anglican Church took place in Corner Brook Sept. 3 when the Diocese of Western Newfoundland voted to allow same-sex marriage.

The motion to allow same sex-marriage by consenting clergy, and including protection for non-consenting clergy, was accepted by 93.4 per cent of the 79 delegates. 

Bishop John Organ said the result was both positive and affirming.

“It doesn’t matter what particular issue it is in any organization or community, not everybody is of the same mind. But this is a way that we can walk together in unity and respect our differences,” he said.
He said the synod delegates expressed courage and a genuine concern and pastoral concern for all people and the vote sends a positive message that all people are included. “That God’s love is for everyone, no matter the colour of their skin or their sexual orientation.”

Organ said the group of 30 clergy and 49 lay delegates met for five and half hours to discuss the issue and the conversation was a good one. 

More here-

Gay Anglican priests fight to get church blessing of their same-sex marriage

From Australia-

It's a unique love story. Two gay Anglican priests from opposite sides of the world who meet and fall in love.

Father John Davis and Father Rob Whalley met two decades ago in California.

Father Whalley said it was love at first sight.

"I looked at him and I thought, I could be with this guy for a long time, we actually see the world in much the same way," he told 7.30.

"I said to myself, 'There's no future in it at all. This is an absolutely global impossibility. You're from Australia. I'm from California.' And he looked at me at that moment and said, 'I love you'.
"And I said, 'Well, there is that'."

On Tuesday, exactly 20 years from the day they first locked eyes, they tied the knot in a small civil ceremony in Melbourne.

They had hoped to have their matrimonial union blessed this weekend at a small country church service, but now a major church legal challenge is standing in their way, with the matter referred to the church's Appellate Tribunal.

More here-

The Roberson Project seeks to reconcile with Sewanee’s slave-holding history

From Sewanee-

The Roberson Project on Slavery, Race, and Reconciliation, formerly known as the Sewanee Project on Slavery, Race, and Reconciliation, entered its third year on July 1. The name change honors Sewanee’s first tenured African-American professor, Houston Roberson, who passed away in December 2016. Dr. Roberson was also responsible for focusing on African-American studies to Sewanee’s curriculum when he joined the faculty in 1997.

“He was a very close friend, so when he died, it was a very personal as well as professional loss,” Dr. Woody Register (C’80), director of the Roberson Project and Professor of American history says.

The name change also seeks to memorialize Dr. Roberson’s legacy. “Now I get to say Dr. Roberson’s name all the time. Most memorials are stone or bronze things that don’t speak, and people come to ignore them,” Dr. Register says.

This project began with a group of other universities seeking to understand how slavery contributed to their institutions. 

More here-

Former Bishop's School student sues over alleged sex abuse

From San Diego-

Attorneys for a former student of the Bishop’s School in La Jolla announced Tuesday a child sexual abuse lawsuit against the elite private school and the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego. 

The man claims he was repeatedly molested by a female computer science teacher starting when he was 16 years old. 

10News has reached out to the San Diego Police Department and The Bishop's School about the allegations but neither have commented at this time. Calls to the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego were unanswered Tuesday afternoon.

The alleged abuse included sexual intercourse on campus, at [the defendant's] house, and other La Jolla and San Diego area locations, the lawsuit states. 

More here-

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Village outraged by diocese's plan to sell heritage-listed church to pay compensation to child sex abuse victims

From Australia-

Judgement day has come for the sins of the fathers.
Tough decisions are being made by religious hierarchies around the country on how they pay restitution to victims of pedophile priests - and for all those lawyers they've engaged.
The Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse went on for many years and uncovered a disturbingly high number of cases of abuse of vulnerable children by some members of the clergy.
Now it is time to pay - financially.
So we might be seeing a lot more of what's happening in Carcoar, a village in the central west of New South Wales.
Carcoar is a pretty little place. So much so, the entire village has a heritage order on it because of the number of intact 19th-century buildings that line its streets. 

More here-

Shadyside church to host Tree of Life's High Holy Day services

From Pittsburgh-

An unusual sound echoed Monday through the cavernous walls and gothic vaults of Calvary Episcopal Church in Shadyside — the sonorous reveille of a shofar, or ram’s horn, used to mark the start of the Jewish new year.

The new year hasn’t arrived quite yet, but several members of the Tree of Life / Or L’Simcha Congregation were preparing for it.

They were visiting Calvary to learn about the place where they will be commemorating Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, the High Holy Days of the Jewish religious calendar, for the first time since their synagogue was attacked by an anti-Semitic gunman Oct. 27.

The Tree of Life members have been conducting weekly worship at another synagogue, Rodef Shalom Congregation of Shadyside, since Oct. 27. On that date, an attacker killed 11 worshipers from three congregations who were observing the Sabbath at the Tree of Life building.

More here-

‘God is in the house’: Christ Church Cathedral remixing Mass with hip-hop

From Connecticut-

Christ Church Cathedral in Hartford has English-language Masses with no music, Masses with choral music and Spanish-language Masses with a live band. On Sept. 15, a fourth option is being added to the mix: hip-hop Masses.

In this Episcopalian congregation, "God is in the house. ... You down with us and we down with you cause you got the back of every and each.”

That passage, and all the other liturgical passages in the Mass, will be taken from “The Hip Hop Prayer Book: The Remix,” published in 2006 by Timothy Holder, an Episcopal faith leader in the Bronx.

The Very Rev. Miguelina Howell, the cathedral’s dean, will preside at the Mass, reading Holder’s liturgy. Her husband, Daniel Howell, and Hartford rapper and spoken-word performer Oktober Brown will do the musical portion of the service, accompanied by DJ Michelle Brown. The Rev. Rebekah Hatch of St. Alban’s in Simsbury will deliver the sermon, which will focus on inclusion.

More here-

Slaves helped build Virginia Theological Seminary. The school will spend $1.7 million in reparations.

From The Washington Post-

From their offices in a building erected by slaves, leaders of the Virginia Theological Seminary announced early this month they have created a $1.7 million fund for reparations, putting one of the oldest Episcopalian schools at the forefront of a movement among universities and other groups seeking to reconcile slavery’s enduring legacy in their organizations.

The endowment fund offers a model at a time when lawmakers and presidential candidates are studying how reparations may work nationally. At Virginia Theological Seminary — a school that did not admit black students until 1951 — the plan involves more than just writing a check.

The pot of money will be used to address “particular needs” of descendants of slaves who worked at the seminary, to create programs that “promote justice and inclusion” and to elevate the work and voices of African American alumni and clergy within the Episcopal Church, especially at historically black congregations.

More here-

Monday, September 9, 2019

Archbishop of Canterbury underlines guarantees in statute

From India-

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, on Sunday sought to encourage Indian political and religious leaders to maintain the provisions of the Indian Constitution that guarantee freedom of religion and belief to all citizens.

The global head of the Anglican Communion was responding to a specific question at a media conference. He added that the purpose of his visit was “prayer, pilgrimage and pastoral” and that he was not visiting India as a political leader.

“India has the incredible tradition of diversity of faiths within its history and in its ancient civilisation. Section (Article) 25 of the Indian Constitution provides for all freedom of religion and belief. So it is deeply in the law… it is deeply in the culture…. And as a religious leader, I would want to encourage all political and religious leaders to seek fairly the maintenance… of that Section 25,” the Archbishop said during an interaction with journalists at the Bishop House of the Calcutta Diocese of Church of North India (CNI).

More here-

Arrest & prosecute xenophobia cases: Anglican archbishop

From South Africa-

Anglican archbishop Thabo Makgoba said on Sunday he was “appalled and ashamed” at the violent attacks on foreigners in South Africa last week, as well as the ongoing attacks on truckers.

Preaching at church services in Cape Town, the archbishop urged President Cyril Ramaphosa to “demand that the responsible branches of government act firmly, and especially that those who attacked people and looted their homes and businesses will be arrested and prosecuted”.

“We [in the church] are deeply disturbed by the recent orchestrated attacks on citizens from outside our country – sadly called foreign nationals – for no one is foreign, all are  God's people and all are Africans. I am appalled and ashamed by the violence meted out against them, especially against truck drivers, and at the prejudice voiced against these vulnerable people who come from beyond our borders."

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In Wisconsin, An Enduring Sanctuary Was A Pioneer Dream

From Wisconsin-

The small wooden church is half-hidden, nestled on a hill in southeastern Wisconsin in the city of Delafield. St. John Chrysostom Episcopal Church was built in 1851, one of the historic "carpenter Gothic" churches surviving in the United States, and on the National Register of Historic Places. It's such a quiet place residents often forget it's there, though it was established by the pioneer founders of the city.

As a girl in Delafield, I wondered about its strange name, and the tombstones that went from the graveyard up to the door. I was lucky enough to meet Father Steven Peay, who fills in sometimes for the regular rector. St. John Chrysostom, Father Steven Peay explained to me, was the name of a 4th century bishop of Constantinople. He was the patron saint of preachers, and the Greek name "Chrysostom" was given to him because it means "honeyed mouth" or the "golden-mouthed one." Steven Peay is an emeritus dean of nearby Nashotah House Theological Seminary, which is an influential, "high church" Episcopal seminary. While there, he taught church history and homiletics — the art of preaching and writing sermons.

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Saturday, September 7, 2019

Hundreds of clergy facing hardship despite vast C of E wealth

From The Guardian-

Hundreds of clergy are in financial hardship, with some resorting to credit cards or even a high-interest payday lender, despite the Church of England sitting on a multibillion-pound investment fund.

Some vicars are tens of thousands of pounds in debt, with many struggling to survive – especially those supporting families – and relying on charity handouts to make ends meet, the Guardian has learned.

Clergy Support Trust – a centuries-old charity which supports destitute Anglican vicars, assistant or associate priests, curates-in-training and chaplains – gave £1.8m worth of grants to 459 clergy last year.

Analysis last year found that 217 individuals who had applied to the charity for help had personal unsecured debts of £5,000 or more, totalling nearly £3m. The figures, based on a combination of grant application data over a 20-month period, do not include mortgages or student loans. Of the 217, 41% had debts of between £5,000 and £10,000, 44% between £10,000 and £20,000, and 15% over £20,000. Four applicants had debts in excess of £50,000.

More here-

Canterbury archbishop to visit Kolkata this weekend

From India-

The 105th archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, who is the symbolic head of the Anglicans worldwide, will be in the city this weekend. 

His visit to the city is part of his countrywide tour as part of an invitation extended by the Church of North India. The CNI was formed in 1970 when a large number of churches, other than the Roman Catholic Church, merged. 

The Anglican Church, or the Church of England, was among those that merged. The 200-year-old diocese of Kolkata, of the CNI will be hosting the Archbishop here. This is the oldest diocese of the country. 

The archbishop will arrive late on Saturday night and will be hosted at a five star address in the city. He will spend the entire Sunday visiting different locations, mostly heritage addresses, associated with the British rule. The day-long programme will start with the archbishop attending a special church service at the St Paul’s Cathedral. He will give his message to the city in this prayer service. 

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Winchester’s Parish of the Epiphany receives social justice award

From Massachusetts-

Every month for the past two years, members of Winchester’s Parish of the Epiphany, along with other faith groups, have gathered at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center in Boston and Burlington to pray, sing, and hold signs of support for the detainees. From inside the building, the detainees pressed signs against the windows, saying “thank you” and “we love you,” acknowledging parishioners’ presence.

But the social justice work of the Parish of the Epiphany isn’t limited to immigration; neither is it new -- the Winchester church has been active in social justice work since the 1960s.

In June, the parish’s long commitment to social justice was recognized with an award from the Episcopal City Mission, a faith-based organization that works with local groups on social and economic justice projects. The award, called the M. Thomas Shaw Award for Social and Economic Justice, pays tribute to the legacy and justice work of Rev. Thomas Shaw, a former bishop of the Diocese of Massachusetts who died in 2014 of cancer. The previous recipients of the award are the Church of the Holy Spirit in Mattapan, Diocese of Massachusetts Creation Care, Boston Warm Day Centers, and Grace Episcopal Church in Medford.

More here-

Is this the cultural moment of the ‘hot priest’?

From The Guardian-

“Are we living in the cultural moment of the ‘hot priest’?” my editor asked.

I wanted an assignment, and for my sins she gave me one.

“There’s the one on Fleabag,” she said. “And the ‘hot priest summer’ guy on TikTok. Find one more and it makes a trend.”

I must have looked dubious.

“Six hundred to 800 words,” she said. “Fast.”

But when I thought about it, I began to notice hot priests everywhere.

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Friday, September 6, 2019

No decision on Justin Welby's attendance at GAFCON conference

From Premier-

The Church of England's representative in Parliament says no decision has been made about whether the Archbishop of Canterbury will attend the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) in Kigali, Rwanda next year.

The event is seen as a rival gathering to the Lambeth Conference which Justin Welby will host next year.

While all Anglican bishops have been invited to the Lambeth Conference on 27th July - 1st August 2020, some have suggested they won't attend in protest at what they perceive as a move towards a more liberal position on sexuality within the Anglican Communion.

In a statement announcing the GAFCON event, leaders said: "On the one hand, we have no interest in attempting to rival Lambeth 2020. On the other hand, we do not want our bishops to be deprived of faithful fellowship while we wait for order in the Communion to be restored.

More here-

Asking the Clergy: What is your favorite religious rite?

From Newsday-

Spiritual leaders are called upon to officiate at a variety of celebrations — baptisms, bat and bar mitzvahs, weddings — and, of course, services marking the upcoming religious holidays. This week’s clergy discuss the joy and satisfaction that come from leading especially meaningful rituals.

The Rev. Winfred B. Vergara

Priest in charge, Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, Hicksville

Of all the sacramental rites I perform as priest of the Episcopal Church, my favorite is baptism. Baptism is a sacrament because it has an outward symbol and an inward grace. The symbol is water and the grace is new life in Christ.

After pouring water on her forehead in the baptismal formula, I would often raise a child (a la “The Lion King”) to signify that she is born again. In adult baptism, I would sometimes do immersion in the river, sea or swimming pool. The symbolism is that the person dies from sin (is drowned) and rises again to a new life in the spirit.

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NWA New Sanctuary Network provides physical sanctuaries for immigrants

From Arkansas-

The Northwest Arkansas New Sanctuary Network will provide a physical sanctuary for immigrants in need. 

The group is made up of four congregations: Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Rolling Hills Baptist and St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Fayetteville and All Saints' Episcopal Church in Bentonville. 

Rector Evan Garner with St. Paul's Episcopal Church said northwest Arkansas is in critical need of a group like this. 

"We have a lot of people in our community who live in fear, either as individuals whose status as immigrants is uncertain, or for loved ones in their family. When there's a knock at the door, there's worry," Garner said. 

The churches will welcome immigrants into their congregations, creating miniature sanctuary cities, providing shelter and safety for those in need. 

More here-

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Anglican priest plans 55-hour sermon for charity

From London Ontario-

It seems like a good idea, but his wife is calling him mad.

Preach for 55 hours straight; how hard could it be? After all, Rev. Kevin George managed to bicycle 2,200 km for charity last year, although neither his body nor his wife want him to repeat that endeavour.

Still, George, the parish priest at St. Aidan’s Church in west London, is restless.

“I believe the church should engage in the community outside its doors,” he said. “I began thinking about what (else) I could do to attract attention.”

An idea struck George during a recent trip to his native Newfoundland. His father, a handyman, asked for some help with a task and while George did his best, he said manual labour isn’t his strong suit.
“My father said, ‘It’s a good job you can talk. If you couldn’t talk you wouldn’t eat.’”

More here-

Anglican archbishop asks Christians to re-examine faith

From Ireland-

The Archbishop of Canterbury has said all religions and their leaders must own up to extremist activities within their faith and examine which of their traditional teachings enable extremists to commit evil.

Archbishop Justin Welby, the figurehead of the worldwide Anglican Church, told interfaith leaders in Sri Lanka that accepting responsibility is key rather than disavowing an evildoer as not a good enough follower of a religion.

Arriving in Sri Lanka last Thursday and meeting with Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim leaders, he said discussion among faiths has become more difficult in the last 30 or 40 years and in every faith, including in Christianity, extremist attitudes have grown.

“And it is the duty of every religious tradition, for its leaders to resist extremism and to teach peaceful dialogue. So, the first challenge to all of us is take responsibility,” he said.

More here-

Diocese of Georgia announces five-person slate of candidates for bishop

From ENS-

The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia is pleased to announce a slate of candidates who will stand for election as the 11th bishop of Georgia at the 198th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia on Nov. 14-16.

The Bishop Search Committee, after careful and prayerful discernment, recommended these candidates to the Standing Committee, who have formally approved the slate. The candidates, in alphabetical order by last name, are:
  • The Rev. Rob Brown, rector, St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, Spartanburg, South Carolina.
  • The Rev. Lonnie Lacy, rector, St. Anne’s Episcopal Church, Tifton, Georgia.
  • The Rev. Canon Frank Logue, canon to the ordinary, Episcopal Diocese of Georgia, Savannah
  • The Ven. Jennifer McKenzie, Archdeacon of Wigan and West Lancashire, Diocese of Liverpool, Church of England
  • The Rev. Canon John Thompson-Quartey, canon for mission development and congregational vitality, Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta
More here-

Shannon MacVean-Brown Is the First Black Woman to Lead Vermont’s Episcopal Church

From Vermont-

By the time she entered an Episcopal seminary in 2004, Shannon MacVean-Brown thought she knew what sort of priest she wanted to be. In her 30s and pregnant, the seminarian had already run a design business, taught elementary school art and become a preacher at her unconventional childhood church in Detroit. She saw full priesthood as a way to take her creative approach to other congregations. 

MacVean-Brown did not initially see her race as particularly important to her ministry. That began to change when she entered Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill., where, as one of the few nonwhite students, she was confronted with a church that wasn't quite living up to its ideals.
During her orientation, one of the professors made disparaging comments about the church's African American hymnal, and several classmates registered their displeasure with a required antiracism training. 

More here-

Episcopal Church sees greater drop in membership in 2018

From Christian Post-

The Episcopal Church saw a greater decline in members and average worship attendance in 2018 than in 2017.

According to statistics recently made available by the Office of the General Convention, The Episcopal Church saw its active baptized members decline from approximately 1.712 million in 2017 to 1.676 million.

The 36,000-member drop is larger than the previous two years, when the denomination declined by about 32,500 members in 2017 and a little more than 34,000 members in 2016.

In 2018, the average Sunday worship attendance declined by about 23,500 people, making it the largest drop the church body has seen since at least 2014.

In previous years, 2017 saw an average worship attendance decline of around 13,700, 2016 saw a decline of 9,300, 2015 saw a decline of 20,600, and 2014 saw a near equal decline of 23,200.

More here-

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

The Rev. Alison Cheek, first female Episcopal priest to celebrate Eucharist, dies at 92

From ENS-

The Rev. Alison Cheek, one of the first female priests in The Episcopal Church and the first to publicly celebrate the Eucharist, died on Sept. 1 at her home in Brevard, North Carolina, according to friends. She was 92.

Cheek was one of the Philadelphia Eleven, the first women to be ordained to the priesthood in The Episcopal Church. She and 10 other women were ordained at the Church of the Advocate in Philadelphia on July 29, 1974, two years before the ordination of women was officially authorized by General Convention. The highly controversial ordinations were later affirmed as valid.

“I sort of risked everything to do it,” she recalled on the 40th anniversary of her ordination. “I would do it again.”

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Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Australian Anglican church set to bless first gay marriage

From Australia-

The first official same-sex blessing of a civilly-married couple will occur within two weeks in an Australian Anglican church, reports.

This follows the passing of a new regulation to allow holding a same-sex blessings by the Wangaratta Synod (regional council) of the Anglican Church of Australia on the weekend. The vote was 67 for, 18 against, with one abstention.

The first same-sex service is likely to occur in two weeks’ time in the Melbourne Anglican.

“The retired Diocesan Archdeacon, the Revd Dr John Davis, and his partner of 20 years, the Rev’d Robert Whalley, are planning a [non-church] marriage, to be blessed in a service in the small church at Milawa on 14 September.” Both men are in their seventies.

More here-