Monday, December 30, 2019

Two Churches in Bluefield celebrate 100 years of friendship

From West Virginia-

On Christmas Day in 1919, the Christ Episcopal Church burnt down leaving congregation members without a place to worship. 

People of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Bluefield, WV, invited Christ Church members to share in their services for the following year and a half.

Bishop Reverend Robert F. Humphrey, of the Virginia Synod ELC, said he was grateful that he was able to be present for the anniversary. 

“It really is a remarkable celebration,” Rev. Humphrey said. “One absolutely worth noting and being present for.”

A whole century later, the two congregations shared yet another service, celebrating their long lasting friendship. 

Bishop Mike Klusmeyer of the Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia and Reverend Chad Slater said watching people come together on Dec. 29, 2019, was powerful. 

More here- 

and here-

Christianity Today's Editorial May Be Watershed Moment for 2020

From Sojourners-

Yesterday, the website for Christianity Today, the flagship publication for mainstream evangelicalism founded by Billy Graham, crashed from the influx of traffic when CT published an editorial arguing that President Trump should be removed from office. The editorial said that whether that happens via the impeachment process going on in the House and Senate, or the voters in November 2020 is a fair question on which reasonable people can disagree, but that the personal and public immorality of President Trump, as revealed in the House of Representatives’ impeachment investigation, is so egregious that he must be removed as a matter of faith.

The editorial was penned by Mark Galli, who is retiring as CT’s editor-in-chief on Jan. 3. Galli himself doesn’t think his editorial will move the needle for the average evangelical Trump supporter. It’s fair to say that, unfortunately, Fox News is much more influential than Christianity Today to the views of most white evangelical Trump supporters. That said, Christianity Today does reach more than 2.5 million people each month, and the importance of this editorial is that we may look back on it as a watershed moment for the 2020 election, when the first significant cracks in the wall of Trump’s political support from white evangelicals really became visible. Over time those cracks may now grow, and it’s important to also remember that it would only take a relatively small number of white evangelicals switching who they plan to vote for or deciding not to vote at all to shift the balance in key states away from President Trump.

More here-

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Christmas celebration: Your ‘fall and die’ approach not biblical – Anglican Bishop blasts Olukoya

From Nigeria-

The last is yet to be heard of the controversial comment credited to the General Overseer of Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries, MFM, Pastor Daniel Olukoya, following his description of Christmas celebration as unbiblical.

The latest to react to the comment was the Bishop of the Diocese of Owo Anglican Communion, Rt Revd Stephen Fagbemi, who stated that Olukoya lacked in-depth knowledge of the bible.

According to Bishop Fagbemi, he emphasized that most of the doctrines being observed at MFM and other pentecostal churches do not have biblical backing, adding that “How many things he is doing today are directly traceable to or instructed in the Bible? Is it the fall and die approach to prayer or which one?”
His words, “I had wanted to respond to Dr. Olukoya of MFM on his display of theological and ecclesiastical ignorance until I read Fr Oluoma’s rejoinder, which I believe to be sound all round. Mine could be seen as an addendum to his well-crafted analysis and response.

More here-

A silent worship revival at an Episcopal church for the deaf

From The AP-

The Lord’s Prayer ended with the bang of dozens of fists that landed on open palms after a circular motion and a thumbs up in a joint “Amen!” 

Not a voice could be heard inside the cavernous sanctuary of Holyrood Episcopal Church-Iglesia Santa Cruz in Manhattan. There was no need for words: From the altar, the deaf congregants led the hearing ones, who from the wooden pews repeated the silent movement of their hands. 

Music, sermons, prayers, even confessions make up much of the experience of a typical religious service. So, for the deaf, how does faith flourish in an environment that so revolves around sound?

More here-

Friday, December 27, 2019

Why did Trump ditch his church in Palm Beach on Christmas Eve for evangelical service?

From USA Today-

On Christmas Eve, six days after a prominent evangelical magazine published a blistering editorial calling for President Donald Trump to be removed from office, the president and first lady ditched services at the liberal church in Palm Beach where they were married and headed to a conservative Baptist-affiliated church in West Palm Beach.

Whether the president’s decision to change the venue and denomination of his long-standing Christmas Eve tradition was tied to the editorial is not known. A White House press officer referred questions to the Florida GOP press liaison, who referred questions back to the White House.

It was the second effort Trump has made to court evangelical voters since he arrived at Mar-a-Lago on Friday — the same day his re-election campaign announced that he would go to Miami on Jan. 3 to launch an “Evangelicals for Trump” coalition.

It is unlikely that the first-couple’s absence from Bethesda-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in Palm Beach and a surprise appearance at Family Church Downtown gained or lost the president votes among either congregation. Officials at both churches could not be reached for comment on the holiday.

More here-

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Pope and Anglican Archbishop Join in Urgent Appeal to South Sudan

From South Sudan-

An Christmas Day appeal for peace addressed to leaders in South Sudan has been issued by Pope Francis, the head of the Roman Catholic Church and Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury, leader of the Anglican Communion, joined by the Rev. John Chalmers, former moderator of the Church of Scotland.

"In this Christmas season and at the beginning of a new year, we wish to extend to you and to all the people of South Sudan our best wishes for your peace and prosperity, and to assure you of our spiritual closeness as you strive for a swift implementation of the Peace Agreements," the leaders said.

"We raise our prayers to Christ the Saviour for a renewed commitment to the path of reconciliation and fraternity, and we invoke abundant blessings upon each of you and upon the entire nation. May the Lord Jesus, Prince of Peace, enlighten you and guide your steps in the way of goodness and truth, and bring to fulfilment our desire to visit your beloved country."

More here- 

and here-

and here-

Epsicopalians and Christmas

From Earth and Altar-

Christmas is a time to have fun (note: Christmas is a time to have fun; I’ll be gravely disappointed if you’re having any fun before December 24th)! And luckily the folks over at Christianity Today have given us some suggestions for how to have that fun. Unfortunately, some of these suggestions just don’t quite work with the culture and lived realities of a lot of Episcopal Churches. But never fear! We’re here to tell you how, with just a little creativity, they can be modified to allow for a fun Christmastide, even for Episcopalians!
Get your friends together to string popcorn and cranberries while watching animated kids' classics like A Charlie Brown Christmas and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
For Episcopalians: Classic Christmas movies are fine I guess, but wouldn’t it be much more fun to get together and listen to recordings of NPR’s coverage of A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from King’s College, especially during the years when Rowan was still our Archbishop?
More here-

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

The Generation Gap Over Church at Christmas

From The Wall Street Journal-

Christmas is a religious holiday and a family one, too, and that’s where things can get complicated.
All six members of the Schultz family used to go to Christmas Eve church services. Now only two—Valerie, the mom, and her oldest daughter, Morgan—attend.

“Our tradition from when the girls were little has gone right out the window,” says Ms. Schultz, 62, who lives in Lancaster, Calif. Her three other adult daughters no longer go to church. Neither does her husband, Randy.

It’s the same for many other families. A recent Pew Research Center study found that about half of baby boomers attend religious services at least once a month, while more than 40% of millennials seldom or never attend. “Millennials attend religious services at far lower rates than older people,” says Gregory Smith, who heads Pew’s domestic religion research team. “The generation gap we see in the ways Americans approach religion is both statistically and substantially significant.”

More here-

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Episcopal Mission of Franklin enjoying a rebirth

From New Hampshire-

Standing in the sanctuary at the Episcopal Mission of Franklin, the Rev. Kate Harmon Siberine recounts how a few months ago the building had been closed -- doors locked, cold and empty.

But like the city it calls home, the church is enjoying a rebirth and has again become a place for people to gather, worship and foster a Christian community.
“This building has always been about feeding people -- body and spirit,” said Pastor Siberine.
Originally known as Saint Jude’s Episcopal Church, it experienced the same trajectory of decline as Franklin, following the closure of the paper and wool mills that were once the mainstay of the local economy.
A stained-glass window of Saint Jude, the patron saint of lost causes, has watched faithfully over the altar since the church was built in the nineteenth century, Harmon Siberine explained. And over her shoulder -- looking from the back window -- is the second saint of the local mission, Saint Tabitha.

More here-

Slaves felt kinship with the shepherds, the first to hear the news of Christ’s birth

From Dallas-

The Christmas spirituals of the enslaved people of the American South are among their greatest creations. The unknown poets powerfully identified with the refugees and castaways of the Christmas narratives. They recognized their own plight in the journey of the Holy Family; they understood what it was like to be hated, scorned and mocked. Like them, Mary, Joseph and Jesus were powerless, hunted and hounded by the absolute rulers of the land, forced to hide in tents and stables and caves.

And the slaves felt a deep kinship with the shepherds, the lowest of the low in society, the untouchables, consigned to society’s distant edges. Both spent much of their lives outside, under the stars, keenly aware of the great cosmic mandala of light that swept across the horizon against the endless black skies during the never-ending nights.

That’s why “Rise Up Shepherds and Follow” is still so evocative today.

More here-

Monday, December 23, 2019

New Zealand’s iconic cathedral will finally be rebuilt

From New Zealand-

Next year marks 9 years since an earthquake devastated the quaint cityscape of New Zealand’s Christchurch with its splendid cathedral.

Christchurch, the biggest city on New Zealand’s South Island, was already rebuilding from a previous earthquake when a magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck during the lunch hour on Feb. 22, 2011.
Not only was Christ Church Cathedral, seat of the Anglican bishop of Christchurch, partly ruined, but much of the downtown was destroyed or left uninhabitable. Even more tragic were the deaths of 185 people.

A temporary replacement designed by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban and constructed out of cardboard — yes, cardboard — was erected in the aftermath as a debate ensued over whether Sir George Gilbert Scott’s Victorian-era cathedral should be rebuilt. The debate turned heated with litigation and interventions from politicians and historic preservationists.

More here-

Albury Anglican priest suggests Church may need to divorce as he pushes for LGBTQI+ equality

From Australia-

A regional priest has questioned whether it Is time for the Anglican Church to split, as the debate on the Religious Freedom Bill leaves some of his parishioners feeling anxious over the Christmas period.

The picturesque Saint Matthew's Church, which lies in tranquil gardens in the heart of Albury, has become a battleground over the identity of the Anglican Church's future.

The push for the Church to become more progressive has become such a personal fight for local priest Father Peter MacLeod-Miller that he has now removed his clerical collar as he campaigns for equality of LGBTQI+ parishioners.

"It's such a bad brand," Father Macleod-Miller said.

"It's a bit like you walk down the street and people associate you with bad things.

More here-

Then Again: The well-known carol ‘We Three Kings’ was composed by a Vermonter

From Vermont-

The words are so familiar that it is hard to imagine a time before they were grouped together into that well-known phrase: “We three kings of Orient are.”

Even a century ago many people erroneously assumed the song of that name was an ancient work. Members of the Episcopal Church, who should have known better, often labeled the song as being of primeval origin, the name of its creator lost to history. 

In reality, the song is much newer than many in the hymnal. It is the work of John Henry Hopkins Jr. Huge swaths of the English-speaking world know his song, while the people of his church, and of his home state, have largely forgotten his name.

When a John Henry Hopkins is remembered in Vermont, it is invariable his father that people recall. That’s perhaps understandable. Hopkins Sr. had an outsized personality, innumerable gifts (ranging from music to writing to architecture), and a prestigious job – Episcopalian bishop of Vermont. But Hopkins Sr., a native of Ireland, also held some beliefs that have not aged well. The elder Hopkins was vehemently anti-Catholic — he wrote a screed in 1834 about Catholicism entitled “Primitive Creed.” He was also pro-slavery, citing scripture to argue that blacks were inferior to whites. 

More here-

and oddly enough here-

Nearly 200 evangelical leaders condemned Christianity Today editorial on Trump

From Fox-

Nearly 200 evangelical leaders condemned Christianity Today's editorial calling for the removal of President Trump, which “offensively questioned the spiritual integrity and Christian witness of tens-of-millions of believers who take seriously their civic and moral obligations," they wrote to the magazine's president.

Christianity Today, one of the nation's top Christian magazine publications called for the removal of Trump on Thursday, one day after the House of Representatives passed two articles of impeachment against him.

The letter to Timothy Dalrymple, the president of the magazine, also condemned the editorial for dismissing evangelicals who oppose its views as "far-right," the Christian Post reported.

More here-

Sunday, December 22, 2019

‘We all face adversity': Baltimore County homeless who have died are remembered on longest night of the year

From Baltimore-

Candles flickered in the dark outside the Baltimore County courthouse after the sun went down Saturday, the beginning of the longest night of the year.

“God, open our eyes to see, and our hearts to care,” the group assembled there prayed aloud.

They were there to remember the 42 people who died in the county this year while homeless. Earlier, the group had gathered at Trinity Episcopal Church on Allegheny Avenue for a service in their honor.

The remembrance was part of the National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day, held annually on the first day of winter in communities across the country.

More here-

Saturday, December 21, 2019

‘John Henry Newman’ Review: A Heart That Speaks to Hearts

From The Wall Street Journal-

John Henry Newman was and is an exceptional figure. This October he was declared a saint by the Catholic Church, the first English saint created in half a century. For much of Newman’s life, he struggled with unpopularity, misunderstanding and vilification from his various opponents. He was the most distinguished and the most original English theologian since the Middle Ages, but he was disliked and distrusted by many in the Catholic Church, as well as by the English Protestants and unbelievers whom he had horrified by his defection, in 1845, from the Church of England. Yet when he died, aged 89 in 1890, in an England still generally anti-Catholic, he had become, as Eamon Duffy says in this splendid book, an unlikely “national treasure” to whom Tennyson and Matthew Arnold —by no means Catholics—had written polite but puzzled tributes.

Newman wrote a great deal. He published half a dozen books, a number of essays that are central to the understanding of Catholic thought, three good hymns (including “Lead, Kindly Light”), a bad long poem (“The Dream of Gerontius,” later transformed by Edward Elgar’s music) and 32 volumes of letters and diaries. Anyone daunted by more weighty biographies, the best being Ian Ker’s (1988), should read Eamon Duffy’s short, fresh account. The Cambridge scholar of religion’s calm judgment expertly illuminates every aspect of Newman’s life, work and—until he was very old—unceasing mental and spiritual attention.

More here-

Federal judge grants majority of Diocese of South Carolina’s motion to enforce injunction

From ENS-

U.S. District Court Judge Richard M. Gergel issued an order and opinion on Dec. 18, granting in part the motion to enforce the injunction filed by The Diocese of South Carolina, also known as The Episcopal Church in South Carolina, on Nov. 11. In the order, the judge notes: “The Defendants [the disassociated diocese] here clearly violated the terms of the Court’s Order and Injunction.” Furthermore, Gergel’s order denied the motion to stay the injunction filed by the disassociated diocese.

In the petition on Nov. 11, the Diocese of South Carolina requested enforcement of the court’s order and opinion and permanent injunction issued on Sept. 19. The petition cited numerous examples that prove continued violations of the injunction by the disassociated diocese as it “hold(s) itself out to be the Historic Diocese in many respects.”

In yesterday’s ruling, Gergel ruled that “the Court finds that Defendants violated the Court’s Order and Injunction by continuing to use the terms ‘Founded in 1785,’ ‘14th Bishop,’ ‘XIV Bishop,’ and ‘229th Diocesan Convention.’” He further noted that the defendant’s use of these terms and phrases violate the order and injunction by “continuing to claim goodwill as a successor to the Historic Diocese when only TECSC [The Episcopal Church in South Carolina] has that right.” He, therefore, issued a permanent injunction prohibiting the disassociated diocese from using any and all of these terms.

More here-

The New Testament Doesn’t Say What Most People Think It Does About Heaven

N.T. Wright in Time-

One of the central stories of the Bible, many people believe, is that there is a heaven and an earth and that human souls have been exiled from heaven and are serving out time here on earth until they can return. Indeed, for most modern Christians, the idea of “going to heaven when you die” is not simply one belief among others, but the one that seems to give a point to it all.

But the people who believed in that kind of “heaven” when the New Testament was written were not the early Christians. They were the “Middle Platonists” — people like Plutarch (a younger contemporary of St Paul who was a philosopher, biographer, essayist and pagan priest in Delphi). To understand what the first followers of Jesus believed about what happens after death, we need to read the New Testament in its own world — the world of Jewish hope, of Roman imperialism and of Greek thought.

More here-

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Over 2,000 Children, Women Benefit Free Medical Care, Others in Abijo Community

From Nigeria-

According to the Head of women, Anglican church of Transformation Abijo, Barrister Nengi-Kiri Wakama aka Mama yard, noted that "we are having an increase in term of attendance, and since we started this is the outreach with the largest turn out.

"The whole church is involved, both parents, teenagers and youth department. In spite of the Bible says that we should preach the gospel but ww don't preach the gospel just by words, we have to also show what we represent, we meet the spiritual needs and physical needs of the people and that is what we are here to do on Earth, we represent the body of Christ".

Venerable Kiki Wakama, added that the legal clinic was created three years ago, because we found out there are lots of oppression in our system. After the first two years of the program we realized that some individuals need not just a counseling and physical needs, we realized that people were going through some emotional need that could be taking care of physically like the legal unit to take care of landlord and tenant issues and some family issues. So their legal issues are taken care of appropriately."

More here-

Facebook Twitter Flipboard Email Copy Real Estate How ‘Night Before Christmas’ creator also spawned NYC’s Chelsea

From New York-

To keep the city from riding roughshod over his farm, he took the central orchard and donated it the Episcopal Church to build the General Theological Seminary, established in 1817. But that still left much of Moore’s land ripe for development. As the 1820s progressed and New Yorkers began moving uptown, Moore began to have second thoughts about the evils of real estate. Instead of visions of sugar plums, he saw dollar signs.

Around this same time, Moore wrote “A Visit from Saint Nicholas.” He was probably inspired by the traditions (and stout figure) of a groundskeeper who worked on the Chelsea farm and was a descendant of an old Dutch family. The poem kept alive the Dutch tradition of Saint Nicholas as the bringer of presents. Moore even gave the reindeer Dutch names: Donder and Blixem (better known as Donner and Blitzen) mean thunder and lightning. It was published anonymously in the Troy Sentinel in December 1823. For years, historians have questioned whether Moore is the poem’s true author, though he did publish a version of it under his own name in 1837.

More here-

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Bishop Stephen Cottrell to become the next Archbishop of York

From England-

The Right Reverend Stephen Cottrell, Bishop of Chelmsford, has been nominated by Her Majesty the Queen as the new Archbishop of York in succession to the Most Reverend and Right Honourable Dr John Sentamu. 

Bishop Stephen said:
I am humbled and excited at the prospect of becoming the 98th Archbishop of York. 
“I will receive the baton from Archbishop Sentamu. These aren’t just big shoes to fill, but a big heart and a big vision. 
“However I am not daunted. Archbishop Sentamu and I have worked together in mission on many occasions and I hope to build on the work he has pioneered.

“Working alongside the Archbishop of Canterbury, I hope to help the church be more joyful and more effective in sharing the gospel and bringing hope and unity to our nation.

“Although I was born and grew up in Essex, I lived and served in Huddersfield for nine years. I know and love the north of England. Two of our children were born there.

More here-

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s Christmas message 2019

From ENS- (with video)

In the first chapter of John’s Gospel, sometimes referred to as the prologue to the Gospel, sometimes spoken of as the whole Gospel in miniature the Gospel writer says this. As he reflects on the coming of God into the world in the person of Jesus. As he reflects on Christmas. He says, the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it.

I don’t think it’s an accident that long ago, followers of Jesus began to commemorate his coming into the world when the world seemed to be at its darkest.

It’s probably not an accident that we observe Christmas soon after December 21, the winter solstice. The winter solstice being in the Northern Hemisphere the darkest time of the year.

More here-

Anglican Bishop and Queen’s Chaplain Converts to Catholicism

From Church Militant-

An internationally renowned Anglican bishop and former chaplain to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is leaving the Anglican Church to become a Catholic. 

Bishop Gavin Ashenden will be received into full communion by Shrewsbury's Bp. Mark Davies on the fourth Sunday of Advent at Shrewsbury Cathedral, England.

The outspoken prelate became a global media celebrity after he objected to the reading of the Koran at St. Mary's Episcopal Cathedral in Glasgow, Scotland.

The Koranic chapter on Mary, read from the lectern at the service of Holy Communion, on the Feast of the Epiphany 2017, explicitly denied the divinity of Jesus. 

Under pressure from Buckingham Palace, Dr. Ashenden resigned his royal chaplaincy in order to be free to challenge the rising tide of apostasy in the Church of England. 

More here-

Also here-

Monday, December 16, 2019

With dust gone, cathedral‘s tapestries take spotlight

From New York-

Think your home furnishings are a dust magnet? New York‘s Cathedral of St. John the Divine just spent 16 years cleaning and conserving its rare, supersize wall hangings.

Now the historic house of worship is inviting the public to enjoy the fruits of its labor — “The Barberini Tapestries, Scenes from the Life of Christ,” which once graced the Vatican and European palaces. They were designed by baroque master Giovanni Francesco Romanelli; created by weavers for Francesco Barberini, the nephew of Pope Urban VIII, from 1644 to 1656; and donated to the cathedral in 1891, a year before its cornerstone was laid.

Centuries ago, tapestries were appreciated not only for their beauty but also for being a warm buffer against chilly palace walls.

These days, they‘re kept well-groomed by experts at the Gothic cathedral‘s textile conservation laboratory — a labor-intensive process using dental probes, tweezers and a HEPA vacuum with microsuction attachments.

More here-

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Australia‘s Anglican Church ‘ashamed‘ about child abuse

From Australia-

The head of Australia‘s Anglican Church said he was ‘deeply ashamed‘ after a government report found nearly 1,100 people had filed child sexual assault claims against the church over a 35-year period.

The interim report, published on Friday by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, said 1,082 people lodged complaints between 1980 and 2015 that identified 569 Anglican clergy, teachers and volunteers as alleged abusers. There were an additional 133 alleged abuses reported by people whose roles within the church were unknown.

The report also found that most children were approximately 11 years old at the time of the first alleged incident of child abuse, and on average it took 29 years for each incident to be reported.

‘Deeply ashamed‘

Archbishop Philip Freier, the church‘s primate, said Anglicans have been “shocked and dismayed” at the findings of the report.

More here-

Friday, December 13, 2019

Francis becomes 1st pope to visit an Anglican church in Rome

From Rome-

Pope Francis on Sunday became the first Catholic pontiff to visit an Anglican parish in Rome, using the historic occasion to press for greater closeness after centuries of mistrust, prejudices and hostility between the two churches.

Francis and the Anglican bishop in Europe, Robert Innes, prayed side-by-side in the All Saints Church not far from the Spanish Steps.

Innes welcomed Francis by praising the Roman Catholic leader for his solidarity with refugees and migrants.

Anglicans split from Catholicism in 1534, after England‘s King Henry VIII was denied a marriage annulment.

Both churches are working to develop friendly bonds despite obstacles that include deep differences on such issues as ordaining women and allowing openly gay bishops.

More here-

Historic Falls Church Episcopal Celebrates 250 Years Sunday

From Virginia-

The congregation of the City of Falls Church’s iconic, living historical monument, the Falls Church Episcopal Church, will celebrate the church’s 250th anniversary at a series of special events at the church site in the center of the City this Sunday.

The original church was opened in 1734 and the existing historic church building, since renovated and still fully functional, now one of the oldest church buildings in the U.S., was opened on Dec. 20, 1769, prior to the outbreak of the American Revolution, under the leadership of George Washington and George Mason among others. Mason was elected a vestryman of the Falls Church in 1745 and Washington in 1762.

In a proclamation signed by current Falls Church Mayor David Tarter at this Monday’s City Council meeting, it is noted that the Declaration of Independence was read to the public from the steps of the church in 1776 and the church served as a recruiting location during the Revolutionary War.

More here-

Episcopal deacon finds home in Savannah homeless camp

From Georgia-

Kevin Veitinger’s pulpit is not in one of Savannah’s ornate Episcopal churches.

Instead, the newly ordained Episcopal deacon holds forth on Sundays in one of Savannah’s homeless camps off Louisville Road as part of his “street church” ministry.

It is part of his journey that has taken him from his United Methodist Church roots to finding a church home in the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia where he will become a priest in about six months.

“I’ve done work with people in poverty most of my career,” Veitinger, 43, said during a chat at the diocesan office on East 34th Street in Savannah. “Homelessness is not about lack of having a paycheck, it’s about a lack of relationships. It boils down to relationships.”

When Bishop Scott Anson Benhase and the Rev. Frank Logue presented him with the homeless ministry option last year, Yeitinger said it seemed like a perfect fit.

More here-

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Ordination ceremony will be a first for St. Paul’s Episcopal Parish

From Ohio-

The Reverend Rachel Harrison of St. Paul’s Episcopal Parish in Mount Vernon is like many young professionals. She graduated into the Recession and found her work life unfulfilling. She then went back to graduate school and lived for three years in Austin, Texas. Several months ago, she got a job offer in Mount Vernon, Ohio that was too good to pass up: On Friday, she’ll become the first female Episcopal priest ordained in Mount Vernon.

Harrison’s journey across the country and the Christian faith has brought her to Mount Vernon, where, in line with Philander Chase, she brings a modern pioneering spirit to her ministry. 
Chase did not found St. Paul’s. Even so, the church is intimately connected to Chase and the Episcopal movement that also created Kenyon. The church, originally known as Union Church, has been around since 1825. According to Historian and Keeper of Kenyoniana Thomas Stamp ’73, the first rector of the church was William Sparrow, who was also Kenyon’s first professor. 

More here-

Obituary: Rev. Canon Donald A. Nickerson, Jr., D.D.

From Maine-

On Dec. 9, 2019, the Reverend Canon Donald A. Nickerson, Jr., D.D., 80, died after a 33 year struggle with Parkinson’s Disease.  After his diagnosis at age 47, Don and his wife Susan Martin worked with many neurologists to successfully manage the illness and further his ministry in the Episcopal Church and to their beloved Camp O-AT-KA until his short time in hospice care at the end.

Don was born in Boston, Mass. on May 19, 1939 to Mildred and Dr. Donald Nickerson of Melrose, Mass.  After graduating from Melrose High School, Don attended Springfield College and Berkeley Divinity School (Yale) before starting his ministry in Newton Center, Mass. (1964–1966).  Don then served as parish priest for Christ Church in North Conway, N.H. (1966–1974) and St. Paul’s in Brunswick (1974–1986).  In recognition of his leadership in the church, Don was asked to move to New York City to become the Executive Officer of the General Convention of the Episcopal Church (1986–1998), one of the largest legislative gatherings in the country.  Don received an honorary Doctor of Divinity from Yale University for his life’s work.  In retirement, Don and Susan lived in Intervale, N.H., Castle Rock, Colo., and Brunswick, Maine.

More here-

N.H. Episcopal Church Wants To Make It Easier To Become a Priest

From New Hampshire-

The Episcopal Church of New Hampshire is launching a new training program that it hopes will make  becoming a priest easier for people in different stages of their lives.

Rather than the traditional three years of training at seminary school, the diocese in New Hampshire will begin offering a certificate program next year that requires students to attend in-person trainings nine weekends a year while completing coursework independently from their homes.

“This really makes it easier for people to answer that call, whether that call to ministry comes in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, we even have people doing this post-retirement,” says Tina Pickering, who works in ministry development for the Episcopal Church of New Hampshire.

More here-

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Pittsburgh Episcopal bishop to retire

From Pittsburgh-

Bishop Dorsey McConnell of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh has announced plans to retire in April 2021 after nearly a decade as the diocese’s first permanent bishop since a major 2008 schism.

“I have not come to this decision lightly,” Bishop McConnell, 66, wrote to Pittsburgh’s Episcopal community on Wednesday. “I have prayed long and hard over it. ... But I know that by April of 2021, I will have done what God called me here to do. We have built a beautiful vision together, and you will need a leader who will have the energy and stamina to carry it forward over the next several years.”

Bishop McConnell was installed in 2012 as leader of the diocese, which reports having more than 8,600 members in 36 congregations.

More here-

Confirmation of Confirmation

From The Living Church-

There is no shortage these days of crises and semi-crises with which Episcopalians and other varieties of Anglicans can amuse themselves. The sexuality wars seem to have ebbed — sadly, not through reconciliation, but through one side achieving commanding victory. Continuing shrinkage of attendance and membership periodically sounds fresh alarms. The legitimacy of offering Holy Communion to the unbaptized is sure to raise hackles well into the future. Conversation around liturgical revision is continuing to grow in intensity.

In the midst of all this ferment, the subject of the “sacramental rite” (per the 1979 BCP) of confirmation remains an enduring presence, though it rarely achieves top-tier status. Lots of Episcopalians, lay and ordained, seem to think they know what confirmation is, but our canons and liturgical forms are, at best, ambiguous, and there’s nothing approaching broad agreement about how to interpret them. If one were pressed to describe a practical consensus on the issue, it would probably be something along the lines of “Confirmation is the sacrament of becoming an Episcopalian.” I suspect nobody would actually ever teach such a thing formally, but as we actually go about our life together as a church, that’s what it appears we believe.

More here-

Mass. church ministry ‘Love in a backpack’ helping women released from prison

From Christian Post-

A ministry led by a Massachusetts congregation has been helping former female inmates begin a new chapter of their lives by providing them with backpacks full of supplies upon their release.
St. John's Episcopal Church of Ashfield has been overseeing a ministry known as “Love in a Backpack” for the past three years with the goal of ensuring that women recently released from prison receive basic necessities.

Each backpack has three bags of items: one bag is filled with personal care and toiletries, a second bag contains food and water, and a third bag includes a Bible and a personal note of encouragement.  
Mary Link, who helps to lead the ministry, told The Christian Post on Monday that the project has “deepened and grown over the years.”

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Church Unearthed in Ethiopia Rewrites the History of Christianity in Africa

From Smithsonian-

In the dusty highlands of northern Ethiopia, a team of archaeologists recently uncovered the oldest known Christian church in sub-Saharan Africa, a find that sheds new light on one of the Old World’s most enigmatic kingdoms—and its surprisingly early conversion to Christianity.

An international assemblage of scientists discovered the church 30 miles northeast of Aksum, the capital of the Aksumite kingdom, a trading empire that emerged in the first century A.D. and would go on to dominate much of eastern Africa and western Arabia. Through radiocarbon dating artifacts uncovered at the church, the researchers concluded that the structure was built in the fourth century A.D., about the same time when Roman Emperor Constantine I legalized Christianty in 313 CE and then converted on his deathbed in 337 CE. The team detailed their findings in a paper published today in Antiquity.

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Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Episcopalians meet bishop candidates: Election is Saturday at St. Paul's Cathedral

From Oklahoma-

Episcopalians around the state had an opportunity last weekend to meet and talk with the two men seeking to become the next Episcopal bishop of Oklahoma.

The Rev. Scott A. Gunn, executive director of Forward Movement in Cincinnati, Ohio, and the Rev. Poulson C. Reed, rector of All Saints’ Episcopal Church and Day School in Phoenix, Arizona, spoke at three gatherings called "walkabouts" held in Lawton, Tulsa and Oklahoma City. The Tulsa and Oklahoma City gatherings were also livestreamed.

The gatherings were designed to give Oklahoma Episcopalians opportunities to interact with the pair before the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma's election convention at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral in downtown Oklahoma City. A group of lay delegates and all Episcopal clergy in the diocese will vote to determine whether Gunn or Reed will become the diocese's next leader.

More here-

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Take dire statistics with a grain of salt

From Canada-

In biblical times, God sent plagues to get human attention. Today, God "sends statistics." 

That’s what former United Church of Canada moderator Gary Paterson told me five years ago when his denomination was grappling with challenging news about decline. 

That comment came back to me when I read the recent report that there may be no members left in the Anglican Church of Canada by 2040. 

The Anglicans aren’t alone in getting that stark message. Other denominations in Canada are in a similar situation, including the United Church of Canada. According to Rev. Neil Elliot, who authored the Anglican report, that denomination is also facing a "zero-member date" in 20 years. 

More here-

Louisiana church leaders: Expanding immigrant detention in Louisiana a tragedy

From Louisiana-

Because of our commitment to upholding the dignity of human life and our recognition that redemption and forgiveness are core principles of our Christian faith, we welcomed with great joy news earlier this year that the total number of persons imprisoned in Louisiana in 2018 was almost 19 percent lower than its peak in 2012. 

However, our relief and gratitude that our state has begun to reduce the number of Louisianans sent to prison soon turned to shock and disappointment when we learned that newly empty prison beds are now being used, through local agreements with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, to detain vast numbers of immigrants.

Montana Episcopal Church Ordaining First Female Bishop

From Montana-

The Episcopal Church of Montana is ordaining its first female Bishop to lead the state-wide diosciese. Bishop-elect Martha Stebbins assumes the role Saturday in a ceremony in Helena.

Reverend Martha Stebbins prayed with clergy in St. Peter’s Cathedral in Helena during the first of three days of events celebrating and ordaning her as bishop.

Stebbins' ordination Saturday marks the first time a woman will hold the position in the more than 150 year history of the Episcopal Church in Montana.

"I think it's, in some respects, almost happenstance in that Montana, I don’t think, had a cultural or political barrier to a woman becoming a bishop in a denomination that accepts women as leaders," Stebbins said.

More here-

Friday, December 6, 2019

Akinyemi, Obi, Agbakoba decry graft, offer path for economic development

From Nigeria-

One-time Minister of External Affairs, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, has called on government to publicly expose corrupt Nigerians as obtained in other climes. He also urged the church to sustain education of the people on the danger of identifying with perverse politicians, reminding them that the handouts they get for vote inducement were mortgaging their future.

Akinyemi spoke yesterday in Lagos during the centenary anniversary lecture organised by the Diocese of Lagos Anglican Communion at All Souls Anglican Church, Lekki with the theme, “The church and good governance in Nigeria”, where the former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, President of the National Industrial Court, Justice Osat Obaseki-Osaghae and Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption (PACAC), Prof. Itse Sagay, also spoke against graft.

More here-

A Christian and a Democrat: A Religious Biography of Franklin D. Roosevelt

From Presbyterian Outlook-

This book contributes to the growing literature of religion and the presidents of the United States. Franklin D. Roosevelt, a master politician, might not spring to mind when pondering the religious convictions of presidents, but this work makes a convincing argument that his political philosophy had roots in his religious background.

Roosevelt’s parents adhered to a liberal Episcopal form of Christianity that embraced the Social Gospel; that ideology was reinforced at Groton School, and headmaster Endicott Peabody remained influential in Roosevelt’s adult life. Roosevelt affirmed that God was involved in the world, ordering and guiding it for the betterment of the whole and for individuals.  There was a vision for a good society in that theology, which Roosevelt understood to promote such values as the common good, equity, justice, security (economic and otherwise) and the importance of each person. Roosevelt understood that government could play a role in that work of God, and the New Deal grew out of that conviction.

More here-

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Pittsburgh Episcopal bishop to retire

From Pittsburgh-

Bishop Dorsey McConnell of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh has announced plans to retire in April 2021 after nearly a decade as the diocese’s first permanent bishop since a major 2008 schism.

“I have not come to this decision lightly,” Bishop McConnell, 66, wrote to Pittsburgh’s Episcopal community on Wednesday. “I have prayed long and hard over it. ... But I know that by April of 2021, I will have done what God called me here to do. We have built a beautiful vision together, and you will need a leader who will have the energy and stamina to carry it forward over the next several years.”

Bishop McConnell was installed in 2012 as leader of the diocese, which reports having more than 8,600 members in 36 congregations.

His resignation sets in motion the process for electing his successor, which will involve a search process culminating in a vote by a special convention of the diocese in November 2020.

More here-

National Cathedral dedicates plaque honoring hate crime victim Matthew Shepard

From Washington D.C.-

The Washington National Cathedral has installed a plaque memorializing the life of Matthew Shepard, who was killed in an infamous 1998 attack that galvanized support around expanded federal hate crime laws. 

The plaque was installed Tuesday at the Episcopal cathedral after Shepard's remains were interred there last year in the columbarium near the Chapel of St. Joseph of Arimathea. 

“Matt, rest gently in this place. You are home safe now,” the plaque quotes from Bishop Gene Robinson’s 2018 homily. 

In a news release, Shepard’s mother said that the family put a lot of thought into deciding where his remains would be interred. She said her son felt welcome at an Episcopal church he attended in Wyoming. 

“We've given much thought to Matt's final resting place, and we found the Washington National Cathedral is an ideal choice, as Matt loved the Episcopal church and felt welcomed by his church in Wyoming,” Judy Shepard said. “For the past 20 years, we have shared Matt's story with the world. It's reassuring to know he now will rest in a sacred spot where folks can come to reflect on creating a safer, kinder world.” 

More here-

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Dorsey McConnell Bishop of Pittsburgh to retire

From Pittsburgh-

The Feast of Saint John of Damascus
December 4, 2019
My dear friends and colleagues in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, 

Today is the 36th anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood, and I am now well into my eighth year among you as your bishop. These facts seem hardly possible, especially that my time here has passed so quickly; that I am now 66 years old; that we have been through so much, accomplished so much, in what seems to me the twinkling of an eye. 

However, I know it is now time for me to plan for the future – yours and my own. With the consent of the Presiding Bishop, I am calling for the election of the ninth Bishop of Pittsburgh, who will be consecrated on April 24, 2021. I will remain the Ecclesiastical Authority, and will retain full jurisdiction, until the moment I hand the crozier to my successor on that day, which will also be the effective date of my retirement.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

The different fates of Christchurch's Catholic and Anglican cathedrals

From New Zealand-

There's more than one battle in this long saga and only one of the cathedrals will have a happy ending.

Both buildings were severely damaged by the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes and aftershocks, and both sit derelict.

The future of the Catholic Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament on Barbadoes St looked safe after the Bishop Barry Jones supported restoration.

Meanwhile, the iconic ChristChurch Anglican Cathedral in the city centre looked doomed after its Bishop Victoria Matthews opted to demolish and rebuild.

But several years after the disastrous events of 2011, their fates have switched.

The Gothic-designed ChristChurch cathedral will be rebuilt and its classical Catholic counterpart will be deconstructed and a new one built closer to the city centre.

More here-

Episcopal LGBT advocacy group head resigns amid allegations of mismanagement

From Christian Post-

The head of an organization dedicated to advancing LGBT advocacy within the Episcopal Church has resigned amid accusations of mismanagement and lack of transparency.

The Rev. Gwen Fry, who had been elected president of Integrity USA in June 2018 to serve a three-year term, announced last week in a letter dated Nov. 25 that she was resigning from her position due to various personal and health issues.

“A few months ago, I returned from medical leave. I moved across the country and reunited with my wife after a lengthy separation. We are in the middle of selling one house and purchasing another one,” she explained.

“Following my relocation, I have taken a more hands on role regarding my extended family that includes failing physical health, dementia and suicidal ideation causing hospitalization. As you can imagine, it has been a stressful time.”

More here-

Three bishop candidates – 2 women – make list for Episcopal Church

From Alabama-

Three candidates have been named in the search for a successor to Bishop John McKee “Kee” Sloan, head of the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama.

Sloan announced on Feb. 9 that he plans to retire next year.

He called for the election of a bishop coadjutor, who would assist him and then succeed him when he retires at the end of 2020.

On Sunday, the committee tasked with coming up with a slate of candidates announced three finalists, two of them women.

“At the start of that work over 30 people expressed interest in discerning whether or not they felt called to be in this process,” wrote the Rev. Candice B. Frazer, president of the standing committee. “That number diminished with each stage of the process as both potential candidates and the committee discerned the potential call until the final three were selected.”

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Local church works to help erase millions in hospital debt

From Alabama-

A local church is working to help erase millions of dollars in medical debt for people across central Alabama.

Leaders at St. Luke’s Episcopal church said they wanted to celebrate the church’s 70th birthday by giving back, so for about 6 weeks they campaigned to raise money. That money is now set to be used to pay off outstanding bills at local hospitals.

“You don’t go into medical debt for a good thing,” said Cameron Nations, Associate Rector at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.

The bills that come after people are discharged from the hospital often hurt even more.

St Luke’s Episcopal Church is working with debt relief agency RIP Medical Debt to help lift the financial load.

“Ultimately the system needs to change and healthcare needs to be more affordable, so that people don’t get in these situations in the first place. This was one way we can help in the meantime,” said Nations.

More here-