Saturday, March 16, 2019

Episcopal House of Bishops March 2019: The Bishops’ Mind of the House Resolution on Lambeth and a statement from the Bishops’ Spouses Planning Group

From ENS-

The House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church met in retreat at Kanuga Conference Center, Hendersonville, North Carolina. At their March 15 business meeting, they adopted the following Mind of the House Resolution and received a statement from the Bishops’ Spouses Planning Group which follows the bishops’ statement.

Bishops gathered at the Spring 2019 meeting of the House of Bishops are aggrieved and distressed by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s decision to exclude same sex spouses of bishops from participating in the Lambeth Conference, 2020. We appreciate that all of our bishops diocesan, suffragan, and assistant have been invited, and are concerned by the use of exclusion as a means of building communion.
At this time, the majority of bishops invited plan to attend the conference. Through our presence we will participate fully in the program of the conference, as well as seek to further the conversation around the various cultural expressions of marriage. We intend to build relationships and missional partnerships that will be inclusive vehicles for building communion across the Anglican world in all its beautiful diversity. We will seek to reflect our varied understandings of marriage, as well as our profound commitment to the dignity of all human beings, including the human rights of LGBTQ+ persons.

More here-

Friday, March 15, 2019

Churches That Play Together Stay Together

From Christianity Today-

In its new Households of Faith report, Barna researchers claim that one of the many reasons “vibrant households” stand out from others is because they engage in “meaningful, fun, quality time with both their housemates and extended household members.” That includes playing games together (32%), sharing meals (63% eat breakfast as a family and 75% eat dinner as a family), and enjoying other leisure activities. “These are practicing Christians who know the meaning of play—and indeed, half call their home life ‘playful,’” according to the report.

In other words, the old adage still rings true: Families that play together stay together, and more than that, exhibit signs of strong spiritual health.

The same can be said of the church family.

From softball leagues to book clubs, jazz ensembles to craft nights, churches that play together seem to stay together and grow together, too, adapting more easily to upheaval and building up the camaraderie, compassion, and collective resilience that are essential to a robust church body.

More here-

The ACC: A spurned Instrument of Communion

From The Church Times-

NOT that long ago, meetings of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) meant something.
In 1971, at its first meeting, delegates to the Council narrowly passed a resolution that broadly approved of the ordination of women to the priesthood. That resolution gave important momentum to canonical change permitting precisely such ordinations in several Provinces, including Canada.

At a meeting in 1984, a committee of the ACC drafted the basis of what became known as the Five Marks of Mission: a definition of mission which many Anglicans have used in recent years to think about how Christians are to engage with the world. In 2005, in the midst of a fraught moment in the life of the Anglican Communion, the ACC was the body to which Americans and Canadians made genuine and searching presentations about how they understood the actions of their Churches in blessing same-sex unions and consecrating an openly partnered gay man, Gene Robinson, as bishop.

It makes sense that the ACC would be the locus for such work. It is one of four “Instruments of Communion” which help to bring order to the common life of Anglicans around the world. It is the only one of those Instruments — the others are the Primates’ Meeting, the Lambeth Conference, and the Archbishop of Canterbury himself — that includes Anglicans who are not bishops. In general, each Anglican Province sends a bishop, priest, and lay person to the ACC.

More here-

Archbishop of Canterbury brands the British Empire un-Christian and slams the era's 'abuse and exploitation'

From The Daily Mail-

The Archbishop of Canterbury yesterday condemned the British Empire and dismissed its legacy as ‘un-Christian’.

It was driven by a sense of superiority but was really based on ‘abuse and exploitation’, said the Most Reverend Justin Welby.

He accused Christians who served the empire of carrying out ‘many’ murderous atrocities and advised their modern successors ‘to take seriously the abuses of our history’.

His criticism amounts to a repudiation of much of the history of the Anglican Communion, of which he is the worldwide leader. 

The comments follow the Archbishop’s controversial expressions of regret in 2015 for British actions during World War Two.

More here-

Burglars take $15K worth of items from N. Idaho church

From Idaho-

Members of a church outside of Sandpoint are searching for answers after burglars stole an estimated $15,000 worth of items, including crosses, computers, and donated goods for the homeless.

Churchgoers at Holy Spirit Episcopal, in Dover, discovered the items missing last Sunday morning when they arrived for services. Church members said that a suspect was able to compromise a lock on the main entrance doors to Holy Spirit.

"How could someone violate a church in that manner? And especially a church in Sandpoint?" said Geoffrey Cant, a Holy Spirit member. "Churches should not be subject to that."

Sacramental items that were taken included a tabernacle, chalices, candelabras, and two crosses, among other items. The crosses had a combined value of approximately $5,000, according to estimates by church members. 

In a separate section of Holy Spirit, members said that the suspect went into the vicar's office and stole two desktop computers and a new vacuum. Outside the office, the church had been collecting clothes and other items for a local homeless charity, which were also stolen.

More here-

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Why is our prayer met with God’s silence?

From American Magazine-

The poem “In a Country Church” was penned by the Anglican priest and poet, R. S. Thomas. A man enters an empty church. It is a cold day in the start of winter. He is seeking God. The same act is repeated countless times each day in churches all over the world, ever since there have been churches.

Here is a question to bring to the poem. Does the one who comes to this empty church seeking God find his Lord?

To one kneeling down no word came,
Only the wind’s song, saddening the lips
Of the grave saints, rigid in glass;
Or the dry whisper of unseen wings,
Bats not angels, in the high roof.

More here-

Clergy support ministry rebrands to be more inclusive of women

From Christian Today-

With women now making up nearly a third of the clergy in the Church of England, a 364-year-old support ministry is rebranding to be more inclusive.

Sons & Friends of the Clergy has re-launched as the Clergy Support Trust at the Christian Resources Exhibition North taking place in Manchester today.

The organisation, which dates back to 1655, was formerly two separate organisations - the Corporation of the Sons of the Clergy and the Friends of the Clergy Corporation - which merged in 2012.

It is believed that the name goes back to the days when 'sons of clergy' gathered to raise funds for priests who had been left destitute during the rule of Oliver Cromwell.

The change was announced one day after the Church of England marked the 25th anniversary of women priests.

More here-

New Harvard Research Says U.S. Christianity Is Not Shrinking, But Growing Stronger

From The Federalist-

“Meanwhile, a widespread decline in churchgoing and religious affiliation had contributed to a growing anxiety among conservative believers.” Statements like this are uttered with such confidence and frequency that most Americans accept them as uncontested truisms. This one emerged just this month in an exceedingly silly article in The Atlantic on Vice President Mike Pence.

Religious faith in America is going the way of the Yellow Pages and travel maps, we keep hearing. It’s just a matter of time until Christianity’s total and happy extinction, chortle our cultural elites. Is this true? Is churchgoing and religious adherence really in “widespread decline” so much so that conservative believers should suffer “growing anxiety”?

Two words: Absolutely not.

More here-

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

'Kenyan Kiwi' named bishop-elect for Nelson Anglican Diocese

From New Zealand-

Nelson's new Anglican bishop-elect is a proud "Kenyan Kiwi" with a mission to reach out to younger generations.

Reverend Steve Maina-Mwangi was announced as Bishop-elect of the Nelson Diocese this week, replacing Richard Ellena who retired at the end of last year.

The Kenyan-born clergyman was one of three nominees put forward to the Electoral College last year, along with Michael Brantley of Wellington and Nelson's Canon D. Graham O'Brien.
Maina visited his new diocese on Wednesday, joined by his wife Watiri, to formally accept the position before Senior Bishop of NZ Dioceses Archbishop Philip Richardson.

More here-

The Church of England must break its toxic colonial legacy

From Thomas Reuters-

March 12 marks the 25th anniversary of the ordination of women priests within the Church of England. Yet while today marks one milestone, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people remain second-class citizens.

Next year the Anglican bishops from around the world will meet for the Lambeth Conference. Except that a tranche of them, mostly from sub-Saharan Africa, will boycott the event because of the toleration (as they see it) some churches show towards ungodly behaviour.

In their eyes, this is because the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada and the Episcopal Church of the United States (and one or two others) have welcomed and included LGBT+ people in the life and ministry of their churches and support equal marriage.

The Archbishop of Canterbury sits poised anxiously and uncomfortably on the fence between these two blocks.

More here-

House of Bishops opens spring meeting with exploration of the Way of Love

From ENS-

The Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops has begun a four-day deep dive into the Way of Love, which Presiding Bishop Michael Curry calls a rule of life for the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement.

Curry explained to the house that the idea for the Way of Love, an intentional commitment to follow Jesus and adopt a set of practices, including turn, learn, pray, worship, bless, go and rest, grew out of a meeting of a group of bishops, clergy and laypeople he called together to consider how to help Episcopalians keep Jesus at the center of their lives and at the center of the church.

The question, he said, is how to live in such a way that, “when folk look at Episcopalians, they no longer see those that we celebrated for their power and their glory, but they see those who celebrate the glory and the grandeur and the goodness of God. How do we make that happen?”

More here-

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

St. Stephen’s Welcomes All to YogaMass Service

From Connecticut-

St. Stephen's Episcopal Church will hold a service on Saturday, March 16 ― open to the public ― which integrates yoga with Episcopal Church worship. It will be led by the Rev. Gena Davis, an ordained Episcopal priest and founder of YogaMass.  The service will begin at 5 p.m. in the church’s North Hall at 351 Main St.       
People of all levels of yoga experience are welcome.  Attendees are asked to bring a mat and water bottle. and loose clothing or yoga clothes are recommended.  Chairs will be provided for those who prefer chair yoga.         

More here-

Married Catholic priest to be keynote speaker at Italian Catholic Federation dinner

From California-

The Rev. Gregory Elder, the first canonically ordained and married Catholic priest in the Diocese of San Bernardino, will be the keynote speaker when the Italian Catholic Federation, Branch 217, holds its gala dinner 5-8 p.m. Thursday, March 21.

Elder, who was raised as a Protestant in the Episcopal Church, studied Anglican theology at Oxford after receiving his bachelor’s degree. In 1983 he was ordained as a deacon and an Episcopal priest and served almost 20 years, having been assigned three congregations along with his professorships.

In 2003, he entered the Roman Catholic Church. He applied for a pastoral provision from Pope John Paul II, underwent scrutiny that included interviews, psychiatric examinations, reviews of academic transcripts and letters of reference, which the Most Rev. Gerald R. Barnes, bishop of the Diocese of San Bernardino, sent to the Vatican, requesting that the pope confer priesthood to a married priest, under the pastoral provision. The pastoral provision is a seldom-used rule under canon law established by Pope John Paul II, which allows Anglican (Episcopal) priests to become Catholic priests, despite marriage.

More here-

For Priest Turned Professor, 'Holy Envy' Is Key To Appreciating World Religions

From NPR-

From an early age, Barbara Brown Taylor knew that she wanted to live a spiritual life.

"It started early in my life," she says, "a hunger for the beyond, for the transcendent, for the light within the light, the glow within the grass, the sparkle within the water."

Taylor went on to become an ordained Episcopal priest, working as rector of a church. But she later left her job with the church and began teaching the world's religions at Piedmont College in Demorest, Ga.

As part of the course, Taylor invited members of different faiths into the classroom to share their beliefs. She also brought her students, who were mostly Christian, to mosques, synagogues and Buddhist and Hindu temples in an effort to help them better understand how various groups worship.

More here-

Monday, March 11, 2019

Michael Curry, church leaders call for national fast amid threat of ‘constitutional crisis’

From Christian Post-

Episcopal Church leader Michael Curry, Sojourners founder Jim Wallis and a group of left-leaning church leaders are calling for Christians nationwide to pray, fast, and apply Lenten spiritual practices to prepare for a "constitutional crisis."

Wallis, joined by Curry, a supporter of same-sex marriage, and about 20 other leaders — who wrote the “Reclaiming Jesus: A Confession of Faith in a Time of Crisis” declaration launched last year against racism, misogyny, xenophobia and the immorality of political leaders — issued the new call in time for Lent.

In early January, the informal circle of “Reclaiming Jesus” elders — many of whom are leaders of churches and denominations or are former heads of churches — gathered for a retreat in Washington, D.C., for a time of discernment.  

More here-

Local Episcopal priest finds spirituality both in church and while skating in a roller derby

From Kansas-

The rector of Lawrence’s Trinity Episcopal Church admits he has an addiction, but it isn’t one he’s giving up for Lent.

That’s because the Rev. Rob Baldwin’s obsession for the roller derby has opened his eyes to a different world and brought him new life, plus given him plenty of ideas for Sunday sermons.

Baldwin began skating with a roller derby league as a way to spend more time with his first wife. While it didn’t save the marriage, Baldwin was hooked on the sport.

Roller derby is as much of a contact sport as basketball or soccer, Baldwin said. It’s played by two teams of five members roller skating around a track, as skaters play offensively and defensively at the same time. 

“It’s not really a free-for-all brawl,” Baldwin said. “There is contact, but so much more of the sport is about control and blocking people. Making openings for your own people to get through.”

More here-