Saturday, January 12, 2019

Episcopal Church to victims of clergy abuse: Come forward

From Olympia-

The Episcopal Church, lifting a statute of limitations on reporting sexual abuse by clerics, has created a three-year window when any allegation of misconduct at any time can be brought forward to church authorities.

"In short, you do not have to wonder if the allegation comes from long ago," the Rt. Rev. Greg Rickel, Episcopal Bishop of Olympia, has written in a pastoral letter to be read in parishes and missions across Western Washington.

The General Convention of the church, meeting in Austin, Texas, last summer, passed a resolution amending church canons (laws) and suspending the statute of limitations on reporting misconduct. It created a three-year period, starting Jan. 1, 2019 and lasting through Dec. 31, 2021.

More here-

U.S. Episcopal Church issues restriction against Albany Bishop

More From Albany- (additional links at the bottom)

The U.S. Episcopal Church, responding to the Albany bishop’s continued ban on gay marriage despite national approval, has issued a “Partial Restriction on Ministry” prohibiting him from penalizing anyone for participating in same-sex rites while his conduct is further examined by the church.

In a statement issued Friday morning, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry announced that Bishop William Love “is forbidden from participating in any manner in the Church’s disciplinary process in the Diocese of Albany in any matter regarding any member of the clergy that involves the issue of same-sex marriage.”

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Friday, January 11, 2019

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry partially restricts Bishop William Love’s authority for refusing to obey General Convention

From ENS-

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry has temporarily restricted part of Diocese of Albany Bishop William Love’s ministry because of Love’s refusal to allow same-sex marriages after General Convention mandated liturgical marriage equality in the church’s U.S. dioceses.
Love is “forbidden from participating in any matter regarding any member of the clergy that involves the issue of same-sex marriage,” Curry said in a document released Jan. 11. The restriction applies both to the Episcopal Church’s formal Title IV disciplinary process and to any action “that has or may have the effect of penalizing in any way any member of the clergy or laity or worshipping congregation of his diocese for their participation in the arrangements for or participation in a same-sex marriage in his diocese or elsewhere.”
The restriction appears to enable clergy in the upstate New York diocese to solemnize the marriages of gay and lesbian couples, something Love steadfastly refused to allow.
More here-

When Great Writers Wrestle with Faith

 From Christianity Today-

The metaphors we use in given situations show us more about our assumptions than we often realize. In politics, we speak of the “arena,” our “opponents,” or even “battle lines.” Our language betrays a hostile environment filled with warring parties. When we discuss education, we may refer to “values,” “costs,” or “benefits,” revealing economics as our lens for assessing learning.

The title of Richard Harries’s book, Haunted by Christ: Modern Writers and the Struggle for Faith, revolves around two contrasting metaphors for writers and religion. On the one hand, Christ is scary, unpursued, and ephemeral, haunting writers like a ghost. In the subtitle, though, the writers are active agents wrestling with an unknown entity, like Jacob with the angel, for the prize of faith. Harries explores both types of artists in his book, those who flee religion and those who chase it. He focuses primarily on those who lived in the 20th century, starting with 19th-century novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky and ending with modern writer Marilynne Robinson.

More here-

Anglicans mull replacement for conversion of Jews prayer

From Canada-

The Anglican Church of Canada, one of the largest Protestant denominations, is considering replacing a prayer for the conversion of the Jews with a new one calling for “reconciliation” with the Jewish people.

Right Rev. Bruce Myers, Bishop of the Quebec diocese, has proposed that the last vestige of anti-Semitism in the traditional Anglican prayerbook be removed. He was tasked by the church’s leadership to draft a motion to that effect, leading up to the triennial General Synod, the church’s highest governing body, which meets in July in Vancouver.

Inexplicably, the Prayer for the Conversion of the Jews remains in the 1962 edition of the Book of Common Prayer (BCP), more than 25 years after another, more harshly worded prayer that was recited on Good Friday was expunged.

The prayer now in question, which is found on page 41 of the BCP, is apparently not often recited nowadays, largely because the 1985 Book of Alternative Services is often used instead. In addition, unlike the Good Friday prayer, which had roots in 16th-century England and was part of an annual service, the Prayer for the Conversion of the Jews is among about 50 prayers that are used discretionally, Rev. Myers explained.

More here-

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Justin Welby: No-deal Brexit would be 'moral failure'

From Premier-

The Archbishop of Canterbury has suggested a second referendum may be required on the Brexit debate.

Speaking in the House of Lords, Justin Welby also said it would a moral failure should the UK leave the European Union without a deal.

The Anglican leader was taking part in a debate in the upper chamber as MPs continued talks in the Commons next door ahead of a vote on the Prime Minister's plan next Tuesday.

Welby said: "There has to be an agreement in which all accept the need to deliver the will of the people, which was expressed in the referendum. While also recognising that when it was expressed in such a close result there is a duty to build in compromise, an inevitability, albeit unwelcome to some.

"If not there will by default be a no-deal Brexit. That outcome would be not only be a political and practical failure but a moral one, equally as serious as ignoring the result of the referendum entirely.

More here-

Church leader finds internet never forgets

From Eternity News-

The internet forgets little, not even a Easter talk. An old message by Australian Anglican leader John Shepherd, who has just been appointed as Interim Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome – a sort of “embassy” for Anglicans to the Vatican – brings back uncomfortable memories.

Shepherd was formerly the Dean (senior minister) of Perth’s St George’s Cathedral. Back in Easter 2008, he released a video on the resurrection – Jesus’ rising from the dead. In this message, Shepherd appears to deny the physical resurrection of Christ.

“The resurrection of Jesus ought not to be seen in physical terms, but as a new spiritual reality,” Shepherd says on a video released by the Perth cathedral. “It is important for Christians to be set free from the idea that the resurrection was an extraordinary physical event which restored to life Jesus’ original earthly body.”

More here-

Smartphone users warned to be careful of the Antichrist

From The BBC-

People's dependence on smartphones and modern technology could bring about the coming of the Antichrist, the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church has warned.

Russian social media users largely responded with humour and scepticism, while some accused the Church of "serving the regime".

Speaking to Russian state TV, Patriarch Kirill said smartphone users should be careful when using the "worldwide web of gadgets" because it represented "an opportunity to gain global control over mankind".

"The Antichrist is the person who will be at the head of the worldwide web, controlling all of humankind," he said.

More here-

Episcopal group says bishop's same-sex wedding policy is five weeks overdue

From Tennessee-

Episcopalians advocating for marriage equality say the bishop for the Tennessee diocese is five weeks late on issuing guidelines for same-sex church weddings.

They mailed letters this week to Tennessee Bishop John Bauerschmidt and the Episcopal Church's presiding bishop, the Most Rev. Michael Curry, taking issue with the delay and calling on Bauerschmidt to act.

"We are gravely concerned that the decision of the General Convention allowing for same-sex marriage rites to be made available to all members of the church has yet to be implemented in the Diocese of Tennessee," the Jan. 7 letter addressed to Bauerschmidt states. 

More than 100 people signed the letters. They are connected to All Sacraments for All People, a grassroots organization pushing for marriage inclusion within the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee, said Connally Davies Penley, who is on the group's steering committee and signed the letters. 

More here-

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Conservative Evangelicals Attempt to Disentangle Their Faith from Trumpism

From The New Yorker-

On a recent afternoon at Liberty University, in Lynchburg, Virginia, Karen Swallow Prior was leading a discussion of Rudyard Kipling’s “The White Man’s Burden” for the seventeen students enrolled in her English course on Victorian literature. Prior, who is fifty-three and was wearing a high-necked floral-print dress, looked as if she might have stepped out of “Great Expectations,” except for her startling magenta lipstick, and her hair, which is dyed bright orange at the crown and a paler blond around her face, resembling an upside-down flame. On the whiteboard behind her in the windowless classroom, she’d written, “Colonialism, Imperialism, Darwinism, Orientalism, Eurocentrism / Anglocentrism.”

She read aloud, “Take up the White Man’s burden— / Send forth the best ye breed— / Go bind your sons to exile / To serve your captives’ need,” then noted, “Kipling was encouraging the United States to use Christianity as a tool of empire.” The aggressive spread of the faith was an ideal of the Victorian age, she went on, but that doesn’t mean that the Bible supports imperialism. During the nineteenth century, Christianity was used as a justification for secular political projects, and this collapse continues today. “So much of what we think is Biblical Christianity is really Victorian,” she said. For example, contemporary Christians often claimed that traditional notions of proper gender roles—such as that a woman’s place was in the home—came from scripture, when, in fact, they were largely products of nineteenth-century European thought. “It’s super important to learn to distinguish between Victorianism and Biblical Christianity,” she said. It was the last day of classes before the Christmas break, and, outside, among the red-brick buildings, carols played from speakers on lampposts hung with wreaths. Students might have been forgiven for paying scant attention to the Victoriana, but Prior’s earnest-looking students, most of them women, were so engrossed in her lecture that, when the class ended, they lingered around her, reluctant to leave.

More here-

The former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams has called for the Article 50 process to be revoked to allow the UK to come to a “reasoned sensible conclusion” on Brexit. Dr Williams said he feared the country was approaching a “very dangerous cliff edge” and needed more time to resolve the issues raised by the Brexit debate. The European Court of Justice ruled in early December that Britain could unilaterally revoke Article 50 and remain inside the EU on existing terms.

Read more at:

he former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams has called for the Article 50 process to be revoked to allow the UK to come to a “reasoned sensible conclusion” on Brexit. Dr Williams said he feared the country was approaching a “very dangerous cliff edge” and needed more time to resolve the issues raised by the Brexit debate. The European Court of Justice ruled in early December that Britain could unilaterally revoke Article 50 and remain inside the EU on existing terms.

Read more at:
he former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams has called for the Article 50 process to be revoked to allow the UK to come to a “reasoned sensible conclusion” on Brexit. Dr Williams said he feared the country was approaching a “very dangerous cliff edge” and needed more time to resolve the issues raised by the Brexit debate. The European Court of Justice ruled in early December that Britain could unilaterally revoke Article 50 and remain inside the EU on existing terms.

Read more at:

Anglican Centre appoints Interim Director

From The Tablet-

The Anglican Centre in Rome has appointed an Interim Director following the resignation of its Director, Bernard Ntahoturi, over allegations of sexual misconduct.

The Very Revd Dr John Shepherd will take on the role as the Interim Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome and the Archbishop of Canterbury's Representative to the Holy See, The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Governors of the Anglican Centre in Rome announced on 8 January.

Dr Shepherd served as Dean of St George's Cathedral, Perth, Western Australia from 1990 to 2014.
He was ordained at St Paul's Cathedral, Melbourne in 1966 having completed his BA at the University of Melbourne. He also has a Master of Sacred Music degree from Union Seminary in New York and a PhD from St.Catharine's College, Cambridge.

More here-

Oxford diocese in meltdown as clergy reject bishops' view on sexuality

From Christian Today-

The Church of England's Oxford diocese is facing an uncertain future after a large group of its serving clergy publicly rejected their bishops' views on sexuality.

A letter to the bishops signed by a wide grouping of more than 100 church ministers says that 'the situation [in the diocese] is serious. If not addressed, we would all struggle to support the leadership of our bishops in this matter and a number of our churches may want to seek alternative means of receiving episcopal ministry, in recognition that your position is seriously differentiated from theirs. This would be a tragedy.'

The warning comes in response to the Oxford bishops' offer of 'interim LGBT guidance and support' in their diocese last October, in a move seen by many as pre-empting the outcome of the official Church of England 'Living in Love and Faith' discussions on sexuality, which will not conclude until 2020.

The letter to the bishops was sent before Christmas, and in turn the bishops have responded to the signatories with a statement of their own. Christian Today understands both letters are to be circulated to all clergy in the Oxford diocesan email news today, Wednesday. They are now also in the public domain on the website of the Oxford Diocesan Evangelical Fellowship.

More here-

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Church of England's new 'gender transition service'

From England-

The Church of England issued pastoral guidance last month instituting a new "gender transition service," a move conservative Anglicans decried as contrary to the Bible.

The guidance, published Dec. 11 and approved by the House of Bishops, the upper house of the tricameral Church of England General Synod, laid out a model for a "celebratory" service to mark the church's official recognition of a person as a sex different from that of his or her birth.

The statement, which asserted "unconditional affirmation of trans people," recommended the rite of publicly affirming one's baptism as a way for people who identify as the opposite sex to "rededicate their life and identity to God." It also instructed ministers to lay hands on and pray for the individual using his or her chosen name. The document warned that some transgender individuals will not want their former name or gender mentioned and defended the practice of taking on a new name as a historic Biblical tradition.

More here-

The Church and the Gay

From Namibia-

Namibian Christendom is for the first time confronted by a topic that, until now, as far as the Namibian church establishment is concerned, has always been a straightforward matter: the Namibian Constitution does not guarantee marriage for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons. 

Previously the men and women of the cloth in Namibia were not worried about such a then ‘trivial topic’. It was an issue relegated to South African churches where LGBT marriages are allowed, but the local church must now figure out whether or not to conduct such marriages for their members.

It took a threat of a legal battle by members of the Dutch Reformed Church to wake up the Namibian Synod of the Dutch Reformed Church, and a motion submission by the Anglican Diocese of Saldanha Bay in South Africa to wake up the Anglican Diocese of Namibia. 

Now the Council of Churches in Namibia says it is planning to have an awareness workshop on LGBT issues in the near future. 

More here-

Anglican Church to drill Lagos governorship aspirants in debate Jan 14

From Nigeria-

The Lagos West Anglican Diocese has set Tuesday, January 14 as a day of public debate for governorship candidates in Lagos state.

Bishop of the Diocese, The Rt Reverend Dr. James Odedeji, made this known today while unveiling plans by the Diocese to organize the debate.

Speaking on the planned debate, Odedeji said the task of rebuilding Nigeria was an aggregate duty which ought not to be left in the hands of government officials alone.

“While we continue to pray for peace, progress and development of Nigeria generally, and this state in particular, we also have a duty to watch and serve as light to others,” the archbishop stated.

According to him, the special divinely-ordained and directed debate for the governorship candidates of political parties participating in the 2nd March, 2019 election in the state fixed for 14th of January, 2019, is part of the Diocese contribution to good governance in the state, and the country in general.

More here-

A Christmas Message from Bishop Love

From Albany-

These are the very questions that I recently found myself struggling with as I tried to discern God’s will in knowing how best to respond, as the Bishop of Albany, to General Convention Resolution B012. After much thought, prayer and wrestling not so much with God, but with myself, I issued the Pastoral Letter which I believe the Lord called me to share. It has spread throughout the world touching the hearts and minds of people in ways that I never would have imagined. For many it was seen as an inspiration and encouragement, upholding the faith; for others, unfortunately, it was seen as a personal attack – something I never intended or wanted. K
As I write to you now, I don’t know what the future holds. There is a strong possibility that I may be facing Title IV disciplinary proceedings for my unwillingness to abide by General Convention Resolution B012. As I stated in the Pastoral Letter, it was “not out of mean-spiritedness, hatred, bigotry, judgmentalism, or homophobia” that I have taken the actions that I have, “but rather out of love – love for God and His Word; love for The Episcopal Church and wider Anglican Communion; love for each of you my Brothers and Sisters in Christ, especially love for those who are struggling with same-sex attractions.” Whatever the outcome, I trust and believe that God will use it for His purposes and the benefit of His Church and people.

More here-

Vandals strike Ocean View church again

From Hawaii-

An Ocean View church was tagged with graffiti last week and again during the weekend, said congregation members on Monday. St. Jude’s Episcopal Church, located on Paradise Circle, is regularly plagued by theft and criminal property damage. Congregation member Richard Burt said the building is vandalized monthly.

During the past two weekends, the outside of the church’s sidewalks and sign were tagged with blue spray paint. Burt said graffiti was again found on the concrete ground of the front of the church this Saturday.

“It’s a continuous nuisance,” Burt said. “We try to serve the community, and this is the thanks we get from a couple of people.”

Hawaii Police Department Maj. Robert Wagner confirmed St. Jude’s has a history of vandalism, theft and break-ins. He noted the church’s willingness to help others, such as by offering hot showers and meals, might be attracting “some undesirables” to the area.

More here-

Monday, January 7, 2019

Mutamiri new Anglican bishop

From Central Africa-

Dr Farai Mutamiri was yesterday consecrated as the new bishop of the Anglican Church's Diocese of Harare, Church of the Province of Central Africa at the City Sports Centre.

The consecration was later followed by his enthronement at the Cathedral of St Mary and All Saints in the afternoon. He replaces Bishop Chad Gandiya, who retired at the end of last year.

Bishop Mutamiri's consecration was presided over by Archbishop of the Church of the Province of Central Africa Albert Chama. Bishop Mutamiri was elected on November 27 last year.

Archbishop Chama in his sermon urged Bishop Mutamiri to put the interest of the clergy ahead of his own.

"The church belongs to God and your role is to shepherd his flock and not to personalise the church," he said.

More here-

Anglican Bishop assures congregation of God’s favour

From Ghana-

The Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Tamale, the Right Reverend Dr Jacob Kofi Ayeebo, on Sunday reassured members of his congregation to rekindle their relationship in Christ to win his favour as the new year begins.
He said “It is legitimate as humans to worry about life’s problems. However, as Christians, we have our hopes in Christ and so we need not worry about our health, business, marriage and other things that will deter us from our relationship with Christ”.

The Bishop gave the assurance when he preached the sermon at the Saint Cyprian Anglican Parish in Bolgatanga.

According to the Bishop “We must learn to place our trust in the Lord and commit our problems to him. He is always ready to receive our problems and solve them”.

More here-

Finding home by another way, St. Andrew's congregants say goodbye to church

From Wisconsin-

The congregation of St. Andrew’s celebrated its last service Sunday in the building at 6609 26th Ave., which has been its home for the last six decades.

But the building isn’t the church. The church is its people who will be “going home another way,” said Bishop Steven Miller of the Episcopal Diocese of Milwaukee, quoting James Taylor’s ballad about the Magi.

Miller presided over the service and closing ceremony on Sunday, also the day of Epiphany, when the Magi, or three wise men, came bearing gifts as they visited the baby Jesus.

“We are those who have made a decision to follow Jesus as savior and Lord in the fellowship of this church, and I want to submit to you that at this time and this place in 2019 that is a culture, counter-cultural proclamation,” Miller told the 60 people who attended the final service Sunday afternoon, about a third of whom are members of St. Andrew’s. “Because following Jesus is very different than the ways of power and the ways of the world.”

More here-

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Anglican priest apologises for 'deeply offensive' comments in which he likened offshore processing of asylum-seekers to the Holocaust

From The Daily Mail-

An Anglican priest apologised after he compared the offshore processing of asylum-seekers to the Holocaust.

At the end of December Father Rod Bower erected a sign outside of Gosford Anglican Church which read 'Manus is how the Holocaust started'. 

With it, Father Rod wrote a lengthy post on Facebook where he explained that a photo of men behind a wire fence on Manus island 'evoked for him a remembrance of photos he'd seen of the Holocaust'. 

More here-