Saturday, March 30, 2019

Some Time Off

Three Rivers Episcopal is going on vacation this afternoon for a week.  There may or may not be posts depending on the internet.

Psychic connections are neither here nor there: on Susan Howatch and spiritual direction

From Eastern Catholic Person-

I first got the idea that I should receive spiritual direction around the time I was fifteen. I don’t think I really have ever publicly revealed this until last week, but I had read about it in Susan Howatch’s Church of England series, which had been recommended to my father in a conservative Baptist seminary’s Doctor of Ministry course on pastoral spirituality. Curious about what was advertised as a trashy exploration of the sex lives of Anglican clergy, I dove into the texts and got more than what I bargained for. I did not only get vividly described sex scenes, but also a Jungian understanding of the ‘big tent’ of Anglicanism among its ‘evangelical,’ ‘Anglo-Catholic,’ and ‘broad church’ camps.

I did not think when I was a high school sophomore that I’d actually become Anglican. I have indeed been rather ashamed till recently to reveal the truth of my first exposure to the Communion, which was, as I said a few days ago, through ‘Jung and jugs’ because it was literally through the Howatch books that I first got to know this world. Men in ‘Starbridge,’ as Howatch’s fictional parish is called, are oddly patterned only to enjoy sex with women with large breasts and remark on their disappointment with a kind of ‘iciness’ when they are small, a pattern that I do not know whether to attribute to Anglican male clergy, deep-rooted British fantasies more generally, or Howatch’s projection of what men like. I do know, and perhaps this has to do with my unexorcised Hong Kong imaginaries of how to be properly British, that Sean Connery had a ‘boob test’ for the women acting opposite him in the earliest of the Bond films. It’s probably why they all ended up looking the same after a while.

More here-

Responding to Tropical Cyclone Idai in southern Africa

From Relief Web-

Episcopal Relief & Development is supporting the Anglican partner organizations in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe in response to Cyclone Idai, a category four storm that brought massive flooding, rain and high winds to parts of southern Africa.

Episcopal Relief & Development is in contact with church partners in the affected areas as they assess the needs in their communities. In Mozambique, Episcopal Relief & Development is partnering with the Anglican dioceses of Lebombo and Niassa to provide an immediate and long-term response to those impacted. Episcopal Relief & Development is also supporting partners the Anglican Relief & Development Zimbabwe and the Anglican Council of Malawi in providing emergency relief such as food, water and blankets.

More here-
From La Croix-

Many Catholics are overwhelmed, shocked and appalled. They are traumatized by the sex abuse crisis that is tainting their Church. And so am I. But what can we do?

Above all, we must express our compassion and empathy for the victims, whose suffering is much greater than ours.

This crisis demands that we transform the Church, which is made up of us all. This transformation can only happen by returning to the Gospel, but it must also involve tangible changes in the ways in which we live in the Church and society.

Last August, Pope Francis wrote to all of God's people, appealing to them to take action against clericalism, which he perceives as the source of the abuse perpetrated by priests, bishops and religious superiors.

I hope to add my modest part to his appeal.

At least three reasons not to call me "Father"

More here-

Friday, March 29, 2019

Same sex marriage unacceptable in the Bible and Constitution

From Kenya-

Head of Anglican Church in Kenya Archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit has criticized same sex marriage terming it illegal and against the Holy Bible and Constitution of Kenya.

Archbishop Sapit said that the law is clear that no marriage of the same sex is accepted but the magistrates and civil societies have been favouring few individuals who have foreign masters’ interest to champion the gay nuptials.

The head of ACK said that gay and lesbian marriages are not accepted in Kenya according to constitution but financial influence by some civil society groups are out to entice young people into the practice.

He also blamed the new education policy, which introduces comprehensive sex education saying it was wrong to introduce the subject at lower level, which would deceive young people into bizarre behaviour that is not accepted by the societies.

Archbishop Sapit said introducing sex subject at primary school level would influence their habits and develop bad behaviour.

More here-

Draft agenda for the Anglican Consultative Council – ACC-17 – in Hong Kong published

From ACNS-

The seventeenth meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council – ACC-17 – begins in a month in Hong Kong. The ACC, one of four Instruments of the Anglican Communion, includes Archbishops, bishops, priests, and laity from the 40 autonomous churches of the Anglican Communion. The draft agenda for the meeting has just been published. ACC members will be asked to approve the agenda as their first item of business.

The gathering begins on Sunday 28 April with a Presidential Address by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby at the main ACC-17 venue, the Gold Coast Hotel. It is followed by an opening service at St John’s Cathedral in Hong Kong. Both events will be live streamed on the Anglican Communion’s YouTube channel.

The report by the Anglican Communion’s Secretary General, Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, on Monday 29 April will also be live streamed. Then ACC members will discuss the resolutions agreed at the last ACC meeting, in Lusaka, Zambia, in April 2016, and hear an update on the progress of these and earlier resolutions.

More here- 

and here-

In Christian Circles, the Debate Over Leggings and Female Butts Has Been Raging With Special Urgency

From Slate-

Among some fashion observers, leggings have been regarded for a while now as the “new jeans.” For years, American consumers have been buying less and less denim in favor of stretchy, sleek “athleisure.” In 2017, imports of stretchy knit pants exceeded blue jeans for the first time. Accommodating and comfy, the stretchy pants created for exercise are now the downtime uniform for the modern woman. Leggings won. 

So why haven’t we stopped fighting about them? This week, a new skirmish in the leggings war erupted in South Bend, Indiana, where a churchgoer named Maryann White wrote a letter to the editor of the Notre Dame student newspaper after sitting behind a group of young women wearing “very snug-fitting leggings” at a Catholic Mass. White, the mother of four sons, was moved to contemplate the impact of this “unforgiving garment” on the moral development of her sons. “I’ve heard women say that they like leggings because they’re ‘comfortable,’ ” she wrote. “So are pajamas. So is nakedness.” 

More here-

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Bishop Candidates for South Dakota

From South Dakota-

Biographies and videos of the Bishop candidates.

Tasmanian Anglican Church broadens redress scheme for sexual assault victims.

From Tasmania-

The church has announced it will broaden its redress including doubling the cap on payments to $150,000 and including a payment for counselling, assessed on the ongoing impact of the sexual abuse.
It will also offer a separate payment, capped at $2,500, for legal expenses.
The redress is expected to cost the church about $8 million.
Anglican Bishop of Tasmania, the Right Reverend Dr Richard Condie, said he did not expect a significant increase in funds would be needed to meet the church's redress obligations.

More here-

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

University hosting Lambeth Conference raises concern over gay spouse ban

From Premier- (additional links below)

The University of Kent has labelled the ban on same sex partners attending the global meeting of Anglican bishops as "contrary to its values".

The Lambeth Conference will take place at the Canterbury campus next year but now faces uncertainty, with university bosses now seeking meetings with the event organisers including Justin Welby.

While bishops attending are expected to bring their wives and husbands, earlier this year organisers confirmed those in same sex relationships wouldn't be permitted to bring their partners.

The decision by the Anglican Communion, which was made to appease conservatives within the Communion, has received criticism from MPs, some bishops and students at the University of Kent.

The US Episcopal Church said it was "concerned by the use of exclusion as a means of building communion".

The University's governing body met this week to discuss the ban after receiving a large number of concerns raised by staff, students, and members of the public, about hosting the conference.

More here- 

and here-

and here-

Entrepreneur transforms Anglican church in Chapleau into community hub

From Canada-

As church congregations continue to dwindle across northern Ontario, the question of what to do with old church buildings is a growing concern.

Some get bought and repurposed into residential homes, while others are recreated as music halls.

National Trust Canada, a national charity that works to save old buildings, estimates that 9,000 religious spaces in Canada will be shuttered, sold or demolished in the next decade. That's roughly one-third of all faith-owned buildings in the country.

But there is hope for one such church in Chapleau.

Entrepreneur Jason Rioux grew up in Chapleau and now lives in Toronto. He bought St. John's Anglican Church in Chapleau in 2016, and has helped to transform it into a community hub.

"I wanted to see something positive happen in town," Rioux told CBC Up North. "I'm 40 years old now and I have been away from my hometown for a long time. I've been working away from the town now for 20 years, but I still go home. My parents still live there, my grandmother is there."

More here-

Has Academic Theology Lost Its Way?

From Christianity Today-

Something is rotten in the state of academic theology.

That, at least, is the bold claim that Miroslav Volf and Matthew Croasmun advance in their compelling new book, For the Life of the World: Theology That Makes a Difference. Volf and Croasmun fear that academic theology has lost its way, in part by positioning itself in opposition or even hostility to the church and its ordinary believers. Rigorous research and scholarly writing may not lead inevitably toward an unhealthy detachment, but the reality of that detachment both from church life and the most fundamental questions of human existence is all too common. As a result, regular churchgoers have grown skeptical of academic theology, and non-Christians simply dismiss it as a relic of the past with no legitimate space in the public square. Theology, the authors argue, used to be about the “Big Questions,” but now it contents itself pursuing in-house debates about obscure historical figures and formulations, all while neglecting to make connections with contemporary audiences.

More here-

The Gorgeous London Church That’s Also A Coffee Shop

From London-

Saint Mary Aldermary is one of the oldest churches in the city dedicated to the Virgin Mary. It suffered quite badly in the Great Fire of London in 1668 and was rebuilt in the late 17th Century by Sir Christopher Wren — the architectural mastermind behind St Paul’s Cathedral and the Royal Naval College. Unlike Wren’s many other city churches, Saint Mary Aldermary was built in a distinctive Gothic style. 

Nowadays, the Guild Church is run by a new monastic community within the Church of England, and they’re all about promoting love, hospitality and inclusiveness. But it’s not just a place for quiet reflection within the big city — it also serves an excellent cup of joe at the gorgeous Host Café.

The Host Café’s coffee is provided by local roasters, Mission Coffee Works; the cakes and breads come from The Artisan Bakery; the pastries come from Little Bread Pedlar based in Bermondsey; and the teas are from Londoners, We Are Tea. There’s also organic soup and sourdough toast available if you’re after something hot.

More here-

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Churches partnering with conservation groups to connect better with nature

From Scotland-

Churches in Scotland are being encouraged to turn their grounds into wildlife habitats with the help of conservation groups.

The partnerships are being formed thanks to a new scheme launched last year by RSPB Scotland, Eco Congregation Scotland, the Church of Scotland, and the Scottish Episcopal Church.

Belhelvie Church in Aberdeenshire is one of the first churches to pilot the Faith Action for Nature project encouraging churches to engage with their natural surroundings.

Faith Action for Nature provides resources and advice to help churches establish links with local conservation groups.

As part of the project, members of the Belhelvie congregation have been working with the RSPB on how they can make their church grounds a home for birds and other wildlife. 

More here-

Laundry Love to open Westmoreland location in Irwin

From Pittsburgh-

Cleaning clothes can be a lonely chore at a coin laundry service.

It can also be an expense area families have a tough time fitting into their budget.

A Harrison City woman wants to lighten the load while sharing some love along the way.

“People that have clean clothes, they just feel better about themselves,” Karen Wolfe said.

Westmoreland County’s first Laundry Love location will open April 2 in Irwin at R.C.S. Laundromat on Main Street. Wolfe and other volunteers through The Church of the Advent in Jeannette will provide quarters, laundry soap and dryer sheets to anyone in need.

There are no requirements for those who receive the help, just that they show up. Laundry Love is a national initiative that connects neighborhood groups and coin laundry services with people who have little or no income. It’s pretty casual — there are no papers to fill out and volunteers get the first names and phone numbers of those participating as a way to communicate if needs change.

More here-

Monday, March 25, 2019

People afraid of confessing to priests

From Trinidad-

AN Anglican minister has lamented the lack of interest in confessions among the church's faithful.

Canon Ronald Branche said while confessions are a vital component of the Lenten experience, many people continue to shy away from it for fear of confessing their sins to a priest, whom they perceive as an ordinary man.

"Some people say, 'I eh confessing to no man,' but the priest is not there to judge you," Branche said on Sunday.

He was addressing the Anglican Church's Gathering of Pilgrims 2019 at Signal Hill Secondary School, Tobago.

The event, which had as one of its themes, True Worship: The Essence of Reconciliation: A Realignment of Self, brought together Anglicans from parishes throughout TT.

More here-

'It's a when, and not an if,' says Anglican parish priest ready to move forward with same-sex marriages

From Canada-

One Anglican parish in St. John's is ready to allow same-sex couples to get married under its roof — but is caught in the middle of a waiting game.

Same-sex marriage has been legal in Canada since 2005.

"Things seems to take a long time to happen in the church, and for an institution that's 2,000 years old, that kind of makes sense," said Father Jonathan Rowe, rector at St. Michael's and All Angels Anglican Church in St. John's. 

Rowe said the Anglican Church has been having conversations regarding human sexuality, same-sex unions and most recently, same-sex marriage.

On Sunday, Rowe's parish passed a motion during their annual meeting to request permission from the Bishop of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador to, "offer the sacrament of Holy Matrimony to all couples who are legally entitled to marry in Canada, as soon as such an option becomes possible in this diocese."

More here-

Robert Mueller goes to church next to White House while Trump is absent in Florida

From Washington D.C.-

Special counsel Robert Mueller attended church Sunday not far from the White House, leading to striking photos just after he submitted his report to the Justice Department.

Mueller and his wife Ann attended services at St. John's Episcopal Church, which is right across from Lafayette Park, located in front of the White House.

As they departed around noon, reporters snapped photos of pair, including some of Mueller with the White House in the background.

Mueller is a regular attendee of the church. His attendance this weekend came a week after President Trump attended services at the church with wife, Melania Trump.

More here-

The Search For the 11th Bishop of Vermont

From Vermont-

Candidates for the 11th Bishop of Vermont.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Okoh Urges Women To Lead By Example As Change Agents

From Nigeria-

Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, the Primate Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, on Saturday advised Nigerian women to lead by example to make their families proper change agents.

The cleric, represented by the Church Women Champlain, Venerable Ephraim Akanya, gave the advice while speaking at the 2019 Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Abuja Diocese, mothers’ sports fiesta.

Okoh said if the family was in its proper shape, both spiritual and moral, the tendency of having a good society is guaranteed.

The Anglican leader urged women to exercise themselves regularly to make them fit for their family at homes, even as he expressed concern over the crises rocking so many homes across the nation, which he said, were already taking their tolls on the society.

More here-

Students call on university to rethink hosting Lambeth Conference over gay spouse ban

From Premier-

Students at the University of Kent are criticising a decision to ban the same sex spouses of bishops attending the Lambeth Conference.

The Canterbury campus is hosting the once a decade meeting of senior clergy from across the Anglican Communion next year.

While bishops attending are expected to bring their wives and husbands, earlier this year organisers confirmed those in same sex relationships wouldn't be permitted to bring their partners.

The decision was made in light of criticism from some quarters of the Church that the Communion was moving away from traditional Biblical understanding over the issue of homosexuality.

University bosses claim they have to respect the wishes of their clients as long as they are legal.

More here-

Kenyan priest to lead New Zealand Anglican diocese

From New Zealand-

A Kenyan Anglican priest has been elected a bishop in New Zealand.
Steve Maina, 48, will oversee the diocese of Nelson and, upon consecration, the bishop-elect will succeed Richard Ellena.

Mr Maina hails from Kagio in Kirinyaga County and comes from a family of priests with his father and grandfather having been Anglican priests.

Speaking exclusively to Sunday Nation from New Zealand, bishop-elect Maina said he was proud of his parents for raising him in the church.

“I owe who I am to my parents who invested in me from an early age. I was raised in the village. I worked in the farm and supported my parents,” he recalled.

More here-