Saturday, April 20, 2019

Fellow Christian writers start Twitter prayer chain as Rachel Held Evans is hospitalized

From RNS-

Rachel Held Evans, a popular progressive Christian writer and speaker with an active social media presence, is no stranger to using hashtags.

On Friday (April 19), the hashtag #PrayForRHE appeared on Twitter, forming a prayer chain for Evans as news spread she has been hospitalized.

Within hours, the hashtag was trending in the United States, signaling that it was one of the most read and commented-on topics in the country.

Later in the evening, her husband Dan Evans posted an update on her website, letting readers know the writer is in a medically-induced coma and thanking them for their support and sympathy.

Sarah Bessey and Jeff Chu, both co-curators with Evans of the Evolving Faith Conference, had asked their Twitter followers to join them in an hour of prayer for Evans Friday afternoon.

More here-

Here's why Bishop-elect Phoebe Roaf's visit in Mason was a full-circle moment

From West Tennessee-

Sunday was the feast day honoring the legacies of Edward Thomas Demby and Henry Beard Delany, but someone else was in the spotlight on April 14.

Supply priest Father Peter Kuria sat in a chair on the epistle side of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Mason while bishop-elect Phoebe Roaf delivered her sermon.

Over Kuria’s right shoulder was an open doorway, a calendar illustrated by the Rev. Jay Sidebotham featuring a white priest and an all-white congregation hung in full view. The church’s promotional materials don’t always represent congregations like St. Paul’s.

More here-

Friday, April 19, 2019

Justin Welby: Men in #MeToo scandals need to express genuine repentance

From Christian Today-

Justin Welby has said the #MeToo movement must lead to genuine repentance from those revealed to have exploited and abused women.

Speaking to Elizabeth Oldfield, director of the Theos thinktank, in a new edition of The Sacred Podcast, the  Archbishop of Canterbury said: "Sin has consequences. Wrong has consequences. Injustice has consequences. And people must face those consequences.

"We don't have 'cheap grace' – there is a cost, there is a genuine need for repentance and a journey of repentance and redemption, both for groups and individuals.

"If you take #MeToo as an example, we cannot put the issues that have quite rightly been raised behind us until we have concepts and understandings of social behaviour, particularly between men and women, that mean it is utterly accepted that the kind of behaviour that has been exposed is simply wrong, and that there are consequences to indulging in that kind of behaviour. Cause and effect have to be discovered before you can find redemption."

More here-

Franklin Graham Weighs in on Pete Buttigieg’s Sexuality and Faith

From Christian Broadcast Network-

Graham, who adheres to a traditional reading of the Bible that argues the practice of homosexuality to be objectively sinful, warned in a post on Facebook that true followers of Jesus must have a faith in God’s word “that transforms our lives.”

Citing one example of scripture, Old Testament passage Leviticus 20:13: “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination,” Franklin added “That’s what God says and that settles it for me. I stand with the Word of God. I care enough about people to tell them the truth and to warn them about the judgment to come for all sin.”

Responding to a number of protestors who recently, in a rather unpleasant manner, implored Buttigieg to turn away from his homosexuality, the Mayor of South Bend simply responded that, “the condition of my soul is in the hands of God …”

That, Graham said, is absolutely the case—for all of us. “Mayor Buttigieg is absolutely right—His soul is in the hands of God, so is everyone’s,” Graham wrote, noting that, as Christians, we should be sure to follow the commands of the Bible and live in accordance with God’s will.

More here-

Episcopal priest walking across U.S. in '6 Million Steps for Kids' journey treks through Tennessee

From Tennessee-

The Rev. Peter Munson trekked through East Tennessee Thursday as part of his walk across the United States to raise money for children's nonprofit organizations. 

Rev. Munson, originally from Arvada, Colo. began his "6 Million Steps for Kids" journey last month in Charleston, S.C. and his destination is San Francisco, Calif. He reportedly quit his job to pursue this life-long dream of walking across country, in order to raise money for charitable nonprofits that help children. 

On Thursday, April 18, 2019, East Tennessee became part of his walk as he made his way along the Chapman Highway. He spoke with WATE 6 On Your Side about his "6 Million Steps for Kids" project. 

More here-

Presiding bishop of Episcopal Church to visit Lawrence April 26

From Massachusetts-

The Rt. Rev. Michael Curry, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, will visit Lawrence next Friday.

Curry, the leader of about 2.1 million Episcopalians in the United States, is expected to be at Esperanza Academy at 1:30 p.m.  He will spend time with the students and learn more about the  education that the academy offers to middle school girls from Lawrence.

Located at 198 Garden St., Esperanza Academy is led by Head of School Jadihel Taveras. The academy's classes are held in the parish house of Grace Episcopal Church, which is just around the corner at 35 Jackson St.

Curry was elected presiding bishop by the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in July 2015. Last May, his message about God's unconditional love went global and viral when he preached at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

More here-

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Archbishops Justin Welby and Vincent Nicholls submit recommendations to foreign office about persecuted Christians

From Premier-

The heads of the Catholic Church and Anglican Church in England have made a submission to the inquiry into Christian persecution worldwide. 

Bishop Philip Mounstephen is currently conducting a review into the experiences of Christians in dangerous situations, commissioned by the Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

Most Reverend Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and Cardinal Vincent Nicholls, the Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, said in a letter which accompanied their submission: "Christians form an important part of the social fabric in almost every country of the world. Yet in many places, our Christian sisters and brothers face persecution of an intensity and extent unprecedented in many centuries.

More here-

Passover and Easter — a divine double-feature

From the Boston Globe-

The Episcopal Church isn’t in the news very often. Even an annual spate of headlines — like the current one — seems excessive. Bishop Michael Curry stole the show at last year’s royal wedding with a charismatic sermon celebrating love. And this year, just in time for Holy Week, there’s been a flurry of attention thanks to a presidential hopeful, Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind. 

Mayor Pete, who left the Catholic church of his upbringing to marry his husband, is crafting a candidacy aimed at the Christian left, where there’s a wide-open lane. His status as a devout Episcopalian came up on the campaign trail when he wielded it to cut a contrast between his faith and the anti-LGBT policies of Vice President Mike Pence, another cradle Catholic, whose turn to evangelicalism shaped his politics. 

Co-opting Episcopalianism’s political pedigree is a sensible play. Inclusion has been central to the church’s “brand” since the 1970s, when it started ordaining women and declared that gay men and lesbians have “full and equal claim with all other persons upon the love, acceptance, and pastoral concern and care of the Church.” The ordination of LGBT clergy came next — followed, in 2003, by the controversial election of an openly gay bishop, Gene Robinson, in New Hampshire. Conservative parishes who protested in the months leading up to his consecration would later split from the Episcopal Church altogether. In the colonial Connecticut town where I grew up, some families left our church for Catholic or evangelical alternatives. 

More here-

Philadelphia's historic Christ Church tests its fire sprinkler system ahead of renovations

From Philadelphia-

Should a fire ever spark on the roof of the historic Christ Church in Philadelphia's Old City, it is prepared to mimic the Old Testament's account of Noah's Ark, when "all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened."

The building is equipped with an "open headed deluge" sprinkler system, which when triggered creates an artificial rainstorm on the outside of the building.

The wooden steeple, built in 1754, has about 30 sprinkler heads installed on its surface. In the event of a fire, a dedicated water pump in the basement ramps up, sending potentially thousands of gallons of water up 200 feet, shooting out each nozzle at about 100 psi.

"Deluge" is no understatement. Water rains down hard and fast.  Similar sprinkler systems are often used on industrial buildings.

"You see it a lot in chemical [buildings], like Ashland Chemical on Columbus Avenue," said Mike McGovern, of Oliver Fire Protection, which installed this system. "Things where they want full protection right away."

More here-

Lionel Richie reveals he once 'seriously' considered 'being an Episcopal priest'

From Fox-

Lionel Richie’s life could have turned out much differently had he stayed on his initial path.

The 69-year-old star told People that before music, he had plans to be a man of the cloth.

“I left my mom and dad’s house to go to Tuskegee University, and I met my Commodore friends there,” Richie said. “At the time I was seriously considering being an Episcopal priest.”

Richie didn’t say if he began studying or how far into the idea he got. However, he says things soon changed.

“[But] the first time I played with the Commodores, a group of girls screamed,” he recalled. “Up until that moment no one, no girl, had ever screamed at me. I didn’t play basketball, football, baseball. I played on the tennis team, and no girl ever screamed at the tennis court. It was right after those girls screamed, I remembered saying to myself, ‘I don’t think I’m gonna be priest material.’”

More here-

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Why Calculating Easter’s Date Is So Complicated

From Refinery 29 (Fascinating read)-

Unlike Christmas, which falls on the same date every year, Easter is what’s called a “moveable feast." That means that Easter falls on a different date from year to year, moving throughout the calendar. In 2019, Easter falls on April 21 — a full three weeks later than Easter in 2018, which fell on April 1. The way that Easter moves throughout the calendar has a surprising factor: the moon.
To understand way, we have to go back to the roots of Easter. The Bible doesn’t spell out the exact date that Easter occurs on, but it does say that Jesus was crucified during the Jewish holiday of Passover. According to the Catholic magazine America: The Jesuit Review, in the year 325, the Council of Nicaea decided to celebrate Easter “at the very time of Jesus’ Passion," the Christian term for the final days of Jesus' life before his death and resurrection. The Jewish calendar is calculated based on lunar months, so to link Easter with Passover, the Council of Nicaea decided that Easter would be observed “on the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the vernal equinox.” Basically, because the moon affects when Passover falls, the moon also affects when Easter falls.
But this year, the vernal equinox fell on March 20, which was also a full moon. So, according to that calculation, Easter should have been held on the first Sunday after March 20, which was March 24. However, that wasn't the case — and we have to go into some more Church history to understand why.
More here-

Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion Diocese of Mbamili, Anambra State, has read the riot act to priests and members of the laity who may involved in homosexuality, saying anyone caught in the act will be shown the way out of the diocese.

Read more at:

Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion Diocese of Mbamili, Anambra State, has read the riot act to priests and members of the laity who may involved in homosexuality, saying anyone caught in the act will be shown the way out of the diocese.

Read more at:
Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion Diocese of Mbamili, Anambra State, has read the riot act to priests and members of the laity who may involved in homosexuality, saying anyone caught in the act will be shown the way out of the diocese.

Read more at:

As Paris Reels From Notre Dame Fire, NYC Sees It's Own Iconic Cathedral Reopen

From NY1-

The fire at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris brought back painful memories for the Episcopal Diocese of New York.

It was in 2001 when a fire damaged the Diocese’s own iconic Cathedral, Saint John the Divine. The 127-year-old building, one of the largest churches in the world, is known for its long center aisle, massive columns and stained glass windows.

“Seeing the Notre Dame on fire I said, ‘You know, that could have been us, that could have been us again and how lucky we were,’” said Lorraine Simmons, a sub-deacon at St. John the Divine.

The fire at St. John the Divine has some parallels to the fire at Notre Dame. It started in the wooden trusses in the ceiling, destroyed the gift shop and damaged the cathedral’s center aisle and chapels.

“We literally thought we were going to lose the cathedral, you can see the flames and the firemen and everything that was going on,” said Harry Johnson, a member of the cathedral.

More here-

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Tom Wright Calls for Theologians and Biblical Exegetes to Work Together

From Kermit Zarley-

Bible scholar and former Anglican Bishop N. T. (Tom) Wright is Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at St. Mary’s College at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. That can’t be all bad since St. Andrews is the birthplace of golf. However, some crusty ole Dutchmen will argue with that one. Tom is generally recognized by his peers and religious publishers as being at the top of his craft for decades now.

Tom Wright is also a friend of mine. One time we were planning to play golf together, but it didn’t work out.

In this month’s issue of Christianity Today–the premier Christian magazine in the U.S.–Tom Wright calls for Christian theologians, Christian philosophers, and biblical exegetes to work together more closely. Indeed, I’m told that for a long time the academy has recognized somewhat of a disjunct between these disciplines. As Tom explains, “Christian theologians and [Christian] philosophers regularly claim that their thinking is grounded in Scripture. But they seldom pay the text the kind of close attention expected in contemporary biblical studies. . . . Theologians’ engagement with Scripture often lapses into proof-texting with little regard for the authors’ thought-worlds and original intentions.”

More here-

Renewed Call to Reveal Location of Remains of Genocide Victims

From Rwanda-

Twenty-five years after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi that claimed the lives of over a million people, Rwandans have been called upon to volunteer information on the location of remains of the victims who did not get decent burial.

The call was made yesterday as hundreds of mourners gathered at Ruhanga Genocide Memorial site to pay their respects to victims who were buried there.

The commemoration event was also an occasion to offer a decent burial to remains of 65 victims at the site.

Ruhanga Genocide Memorial is located at the former Ruhanga Episcopal Anglican Church (EAR Ruhanga) and has a mass grave inside the former church.

This is the only Anglican Church parish in the country which was converted into a Genocide memorial site.

In the wake of the Genocide, thousands of Tutsi flocked to the church as they desperately sought to hide from their tormentors.

More here-

Archbishop Justin Welby in backlash after he defends Lambeth 2020 gay spouse ban

From Premier-

The Archbishop of Canterbury "kowtowed to those who are promoting discrimination and prejudice" by barring gay bishops from bringing their spouses to a major Anglican conference, it has been claimed.

Most Rev Justin Welby came in for fresh criticism on Monday after he said the decision - aimed at avoiding by a boycott of the Lambeth Conference next year by traditionalists - was a "lose-lose situation".

Rev Andrew Foreshew-Cain, who last week launched the Campaign for Equal Marriage in the Church of England, wrote to The Times to express his concern.

He said: "It is sacrificing the vulnerable for the sake of the powerful. Indeed, in making that decision, he has kowtowed to those who are promoting discrimination and prejudice across the communion."

More here-

Bethesda Episcopal Church of Saratoga Springs creates nonprofit to help homeless

From New York-

The Spa City’s Bethesda Episcopal Church recently announced the formation of a new nonprofit to help the homeless.

Bethesda Episcopal Church of Saratoga Springs recently created Mercy House of Saratoga, Inc., a new, non-denominational, non-profit that will provide temporary residences for a wide range of needy people.

Mercy House will offer housing in a four-story, 30,000 square-foot building that will be constructed at 26-28 Washington Street, just off Broadway in Saratoga Springs. The building will also serve as the parish house for the church.

Construction for the $9 million building is expected to begin by the end of 2019.
“Mercy House was formed to further our religious mission to help people in need,” said Darren Miller, Bethesda's Senior Warden, in a press release. “When the Bethesda congregation began planning our new parish house, we saw the opportunity to do more for the Saratoga community. Mercy House will offer hope to people who are facing a tough stretch in their lives.

More here-

Monday, April 15, 2019

Newcastle Anglican priest Rob Bower launches a new political party for climate change in federal election Senate bid

From Austraila-

The Anglican leader has achieved notoriety using the sign outside his Central Coast Anglican church to criticise Australia's detention, climate and social policies.

Father Bower's signs outside the Newcastle diocese Gosford Anglican Church have championed marriage equality - "Dear Christians. Some ppl are gay. Get over it. Love God." - gun reform - "When will they love your kids more than their guns?" and the environment - "There is no planet B".

But it is his passionate advocacy on behalf of asylum seekers and against their detention that put him in direct opposition to current Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton.

More here-