Saturday, April 13, 2019

Same-sex spouse ban at Lambeth conference was a 'lose-lose' decision, says Justin Welby

From Premier-

The Archbishop of Canterbury has said the decision to not allow same-sex bishops to bring their partners to the Lambeth Conference in 2020 was made to exclude as few people as possible. 

The Lambeth Conference is a meeting of global anglican bishops, held every ten years, to discuss the future of the denomination worldwide. 

Personal invitations are being sent to 'every eligible bishop and spouse' according to the website, a sentence which previously added 'excluding same sex spouses'. 

Despite the edit, the fact remains that bishops in civil parnterships will not have the company of their partners.

More here-

Buttigieg’s Religion Agenda – OpEd

From Eurasia Review-

South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg has chosen Palm Sunday to announce his presidential bid. It is no accident: It accurately reflects his religion agenda.

“A devoted Episcopalian who fluidly quotes Scripture and married his husband, Chasten, in a church service last year, Mr. Buttigieg is making the argument that marriage is a moral issue.” That’s the way the New York Times described him on April 11.

It is not clear what a devoted Episcopalian looks like. Although the official position of the Episcopal church today has abandoned two thousand years of biblical teaching on the subject of marriage—it accepts marriage between two men and two women—there are many Episcopalians in the United States, including bishops, who consider themselves devout precisely because they have not rejected what the Bible says.

Why is the Times crediting Buttigieg for “making the argument that marriage is a moral issue”? No argument needs to be made—it is axiomatic. The paper makes it sound as if it only became a moral issue recently.

More here-

Seven Reasons to Be an Episcopalian

From What God Wants For Your Life-

My wife, The Reverend Natalie Van Kirk, is Rector of Saint Barnabas, Glen Ellyn, Illinois. We have been preaching a series of sermons based upon what we have called, “Questions Our Youth Are Asking.” It has been a good service and their questions have been thought provoking.  One of the most recent questions was, “What does it mean to be an Episcopalian?”

That’s been a popular question for a long time, but I’m not always sure that even we Episcopalians know how to answer it.  I have heard people say that the thing they love about being an Episcopalian is that you don’t need to believe anything in particular.  (I must confess I find that explanation really frustrating and it isn’t remotely true.)  I have heard other people say it’s because we love a procession.  (I have met people like that.  I served in one diocese where a lot of people loved a procession, but they were really Baptists in almost every other way.)  And then, of course, there is the famous list that Robin Williams, the comedian once offered.  If you haven’t seen that list, you can Google it.

Here are my reasons:

More here-

Champaign church clears medical debt for Coles County families

From Illinois-

Emmanuel Memorial Episcopal Church in Champaign has purchased $4 million in past due local medical debt with one purpose: to forgive it.

Last week, 3,617 financially strapped households in counties throughout Central and Southern Illinois received letters informing them that their medical debts have been paid off by the church. Among the beneficiaries were 27 individuals in Coles County, who received forgiveness of over $34,000 in medical bills.
The Rev. Beth Maynard, Emmanuel’s Rector, announced the debt forgiveness initiative at Sunday services on March 31, when the Rt. Rev. Daniel Martins, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Springfield, which covers the area affected, was visiting the church for Confirmation.
Emmanuel raised funds for property repairs and upgrades during their building’s centennial year in 2017-18, but the church committed that after essential work was done, all remaining money would go to serve those outside its own walls.

More here-

Friday, April 12, 2019

At retreat for South Sudan leaders, pope literally begs for peace

From Catholic Philly-

The retreat was the idea of Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury, spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion, who attended the final part of the gathering. He and Pope Francis have been supporting the peace efforts of the South Sudan Council of Churches and, the pope said again April 11, they hope to visit South Sudan together when there is peace.

Pope Francis told the politicians and members of the Council of Churches that “peace” was the first word Jesus said to his disciples after the resurrection.

“Peace is the first gift that the Lord brought us, and the first commitment that leaders of nations must pursue,” he told them. “Peace is the fundamental condition for ensuring the rights of each individual and the integral development of an entire people.”

More here-

Diocese of Northern California notified of successful canonical consent process

From The Episcopal Church-

The Episcopal Diocese of Northern California has received notification from Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael B. Curry and registrar of General Convention, the Rev. Canon Michael Barlowe, that Bishop-Elect Megan Traquair has received the required majority of consents in the canonical consent process detailed in Canon III.11.3.

In giving consent to her ordination and consecration, Standing Committees and bishops with jurisdiction attest to knowing of “no impediment on account of which” Bishop-Elect Traquair ought not to be ordained as bishop, and that her election was conducted in accordance with the Canons.

More here-

How Prince Harry and Meghan’s baby may make history in Britain’s royal family

From ABC-

The diversity Meghan brings to the royal family was also noted at her wedding to Harry, which included a gospel choir and a sermon by Rev. Michael Curry, the first black leader of the Episcopal Church in the U.S. and the first American to preach at a British royal wedding. 

“The love between those two people, between that loyal couple, was so powerful, not only did we all show up, but it brought all these different worlds together,” Curry told ABC News’ Good Morning America last May. “It brought different nationalities, different ethnicities, different religious traditions, people of all stripes and types, people of different political persuasions.”

He continued, “Their love was a sign of God’s love and what that love can do in our lives. It brought together our African heritage, our British heritage, our American heritage.” 

More here-

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, will visit China from April 24 to 26

From Malaysia-

Justin Welby, head of the Anglican Church and Archbishop of Canterbury, will visit China from April24 to 26, reports the official website of the archbishopric. Welby and his wife will be guests of the Three-Self Movement, the umbrella body for all the official Protestant communities in China, and the State Administration for Religious Affairs.

The short program includes visits to Beijing and Shanghai, followed by a visit to Hong Kong for a meeting with the Anglican Advisory Council.

The main reason for the trip to China is the meeting between the Archbishop of Canterbury and the new official Protestant leaders elected at the 10th National Conference of Chinese Christians in November 2018.

Speaking before his trip, Welby said: "The Anglican Communion and the Chinese church have strong links and I am looking forward to strengthening these even further with the new church leadership. Together, and in learning from each other, we can humbly explore the various ways in which we, as Christian leaders, can best equip our communities to address the many challenges facing our world today".

More here-

Uganda bans alcohol sales around martyrs shrine

From Uganda-

Authorities in Uganda have banned the sale of alcohol within 200 meters (220 yards) of the Uganda Martyrs Catholic Shrine outside Kampala.

John Mukasa, a local government leader in Namugongo, where the Catholic shrine is located, said the decision was made after the discovery that many people who celebrate the feast of the Uganda Martyrs each June 3 ended up spending much of their time in bars and at the pork kiosks surrounding the shrine.

The ban is year-round; bars more than 200 meters away can continue to serve alcohol.

“Martyrs Day is meant to be a day for believers to pray in honor of Ugandan martyrs,” Mukasa said. “But some people have been coming here to drink alcohol and eat pork without even going where the Mass is conducted. That has made us, together with the Catholic Church, ban sales of alcohol in the area surrounding the shrine.”

He said that sex workers have also been taking advantages of the bars to pick up men, especially in the night before the feast.

More here-

Rumors of death of Anglican/Catholic ties a decade ago greatly exaggerated

From Crux-

Anyone looking at the Vatican’s official news bulletin on Tuesday would have seen two items: A declaration detailing a retreat being hosted this week by Pope Francis and Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury for South Sudan’s political leadership, and an updated set of norms for “personal ordinariates”, meaning structures for former Anglicans to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church.

At first glance, the only thing the two developments may seem to have in common with one another is the word “Anglican.” In reality, there’s a deeper bond between the two storylines.
Let’s begin with the ordinariates. The story there really begins in 2009, when Pope Benedict XVI issued the document Anglicanorum coetibus creating the possibility of personal ordinariates for communities of former Anglicans wishing to retain their liturgical and spiritual heritage while being accepted into Catholicism.

More here-

How the math works

From Denim Spirit-

I helped bury a friend and colleague last week in Detroit, an amazingly joyous sendoff for a man who lived a big and long life.
He was a retired Episcopal priest. As a young man he rushed to join the brave throng crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge a second time in Selma, Alabama in 1965. It was just three weeks after Bloody Sunday, that cruel riot of police brutality that mercilessly attacked unarmed demonstrators.
Later, he was fired from a wealthy suburban congregation for his civil rights witness, which included him and his wife bundling up their small children to be part of the massive Poor People’s March in 1968. I should mention, because it is relevant, he was neither poor nor African-American.

More here-

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Is the Church of Latter Day Saints about to become Nigeria’s first gay friendly church?

From Nigeria-

If there is anything the body of Christ in Nigeria is well known for, it is their vehement rejection of persons on the LGBT spectrum. This manifests in many ways, from spectacular ‘deliverance’ sessions where LGBT persons are publicly humiliated or even physically assaulted to enthusiastic public support for government legislation that targets LGBT persons and denies them basic human rights. For many people, the church’s almost militant approach to any kind of difference has led to many Nigerians leaving the fold. But things might be changing.

The Anglican Church of England has long included queer people in its church activities and gatherings and even gone as far as inducting queer men and women into its clergy. There is, of course, the Unitarian church that accepts all people of all faiths and sexualities. Much of this progressiveness has not found its way into Nigeria but that might soon be changing.

More here-

Never Forget: Recalling the Death of Bonhoeffer

From The Deacons Bench-

The great preacher, writer, theologian and witness to the faith, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, was executed on April 9, 1945, just days before the Nazi camp where he was held, Flossenb├╝rg, was liberated. He was 39.

Here’s what happened: 

On 4 April 1945, the diaries of AdmiralWilhelm Canaris, head of the Abwehr, were discovered, and in a rage upon reading them, Hitler ordered that the Abwehr conspirators [those who had plotted for Hitler’s assassination] be destroyed. Bonhoeffer was led away just as he concluded his final Sunday service and asked an English prisoner, Payne Best, to remember him to Bishop George Bell of Chichester if he should ever reach his home: “This is the end—for me the beginning of life.”
Bonhoeffer was condemned to death on 8 April 1945 by SS judge Otto Thorbeck at a drumhead court-martial without witnesses, records of proceedings or a defense in Flossenb├╝rg concentration camp.  He was executed there by hanging at dawn on 9 April 1945, just two weeks before soldiers from the United States 90th and 97th Infantry Divisions liberated the camp,  three weeks before the Soviet capture of Berlin and a month before the surrender of Nazi Germany.

More here-

Church Pension Invests $40 Million in Clean Energy Projects

From Chief Investment Officer-

The Church Pension Fund (CPF), a financial services organization that serves the Episcopal Church, has invested $40 million in the New Energy Capital Infrastructure Credit Fund II, LP, which will invest across clean energy infrastructure assets in North America, including solar, wind, energy efficiency, storage, and water.

The fund is managed by New Energy Capital Partners, LLC (NEC), an alternative asset management firm that invests across the capital structures of small and mid-sized clean energy infrastructure projects and companies.

“This investment will support the development and operation of clean energy infrastructure assets throughout North America,” Roger Sayler, CIO of the Church Pension Fund, said in a release. “We look forward to building our relationship with NEC as we continue to explore future impact investments that meet our goal of generating attractive returns with positive social impact.”

More here-

Right-Wingers Spread Lie That Pete Buttigieg Isn’t a Real Christian

From The Daily Beast-

But an increasing number of right-wing figures, displeased that Buttigieg has taken to pointing out the plank in their eye, have begun undercutting Buttigieg’s religiosity by dismissing him as not “really” Christian—not because he’s gay, but because, like 11 American presidents, he’s an Episcopalian.

“He says he’s a traditional Episcopalian, whatever that means these days,” Fox News host Laura Ingraham said in a segment that dismissed Buttigieg as “but another creation of a media apparatus desperate to oust Trump.”

“If Buttigieg thinks evangelicals should be supporting him instead of Trump, he fundamentally does not understand the roots of Christianity,” conservative commentator and reformed #NeverTrump Republican Erick Erickson tweeted on Sunday. “But then he is an Episcopalian, so he might not actually understand Christianity more than superficially.”

More here- 

also here-

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

New Anglican Bishop takes place in history

From Australia-

A South Sudanese choir burst into impromptu song as newly installed Anglican Bishop of Canberra/Goulburn Dr Mark Short emerged from Saint Saviour's Cathedral on Saturday.
The choir, representing the South Sudanese Anglican Ministry, had travelled especially from Ginninderra, ACT for the historic occasion. Members of Wagga Wagga's Sudanese community also made a special trip, honouring their former Archdeacon.
In what was thought to be a first, an Aboriginal leader, Bush Church Aid Society indigenous ministry officer The Reverend Neville Naden preached at an Anglican Bishop's consecration.
The service, preceded by the sounding of Saint Saviour's bells across Goulburn, united all colours, creeds and abilities.

More here-

LGBT clergy, representing the new face of faith, speak out dangers of systemic spiritual abuse

From Philadelphia-

Are these radical new beliefs? Are these simply new political trends that aim to upend the teachings of Jesus? Not really, says Michael Ruk, an Episcopal priest.

“Jesus speaks very little about sexuality in the New Testament, but he does constantly include and expand the Kingdom of God to the outcast and embraces them,” said Ruk, who leads St. Philip's Episcopal Church in New Hope. “It’s not one text, but the entirety of Jesus' life and the ministry which informs this belief. [It’s really all about looking] at the collective understanding of transformative teachings of Jesus.”

Ruk, who is also openly gay, says a third of his congregation is LGBT and that the church takes part in the Pride Parade every year. He goes so far as to apologize on behalf of Christians for their history of sexism, homophobia and the damage it has done.

More here-

Faith-based groups organize to tackle homelessness in Durango

From Colorado-

A fledgling effort to shelter homeless residents in Durango has attracted strong interest from area churches.

A group of volunteers from St. Mark’s Episcopal Church is organizing the effort to determine how faith-based communities could shelter the homeless while they search for long-term housing, said Caroline Kinser with St. Mark’s Neighbors in Need Taskforce. 

A shelter or dispersed shelters could keep homeless residents out of the coldest weather and inside when fire danger is peaking, church representatives said last week at the group’s first meeting.

The group is not looking to duplicate the Durango Community Shelter operated by the Volunteers of America or housing offered by any other nonprofit.

More here-

Mark Edington ordained and consecrated as 26th bishop of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe

From ENS-

The Rt. Rev. Mark D. W. Edington became the 26th bishop in charge of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe on April 6 at the Cathedral Church of the Holy Trinity in Paris.

Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry led the ordination and consecration and investiture.
Six bishops acted as co-consecrators: retiring Bishop in Charge of the Convocation Pierre Whalon, Massachusetts Bishop Alan Gates, Massachusetts Bishop Gayle Harris, Western Massachusetts Bishop Doug Fisher, Connecticut Bishop Ian Douglas and the Archbishop of Utrecht of the Old Catholic Church of the Netherlands Joris Vercammen.

The Old Catholic Church of the Netherlands is in communion with the member churches of the Anglican Communion. The festival liturgy included 35 additional bishops, 70 priests and 315 lay worshipers.

The preacher was the Very Rev. Andrew B. McGowan, dean, president and McFadden Professor of Pastoral Theology and Anglican Studies at the Berkeley Divinity School at Yale.

More here-

Monday, April 8, 2019

‘God Friended Me’ Ends Season One With ‘Que Sera Sera’: The Creators Speak

From Kate O'Hare-

According to Pew, about four percent of Episcopalians in the U.S. are of African ancestry. God Friended Me‘s fictional Harlem Episcopal Church has two black priests and the only board members we’ve seen are also black.

But, the producers got lucky, because the 27th presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church, Bishop Michael Curry, is African-American. To the surprise (and apparent discomfort) of the British Anglicans in the crowd, he gave a barn-burner of a sermon at the wedding of England’s Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle.  So, that alone raised the profile of African-American Episcopalians.

For the producers, though, it was not the ethnic makeup, but what they perceived as the ethics, of the Episcopal Church that caused them to choose it (and some nice architecture didn’t hurt).

More here-

New Episcopal bishop will serve WNY and NW Pennsylvania

From NPR Buffalo-

Western New York's new Episcopal bishop was installed Sunday. Bishop Sean Rowe was welcomed to St. Paul's Cathedral. Rowe will continue as bishop of Northwestern Pennsylvania, sharing staff and doing some travel back and forth.

Rowe said e-mail will be very valuable because of the combined area of the two dioceses. Bishop William Franklin will be retiring soon and moving to New York City. That's why the new cleric is the "provisional" bishop.

At a reception, the new 44-year-old bishop could look around himself and see many Episcopals who are much older. The new bishop said he is going to head out into the marketplace of ideas and try to reverse the long-term decline in his church membership in this area.

More here-