Saturday, April 27, 2019

Bishop meets students, hears gas disaster stories

From Massachusetts-

The Most Rev. Michael Curry, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, brought a message of hope and love of God and neighbor to Lawrence.

He began his visit at Esperanza Academy, which holds classes in the parish hall of the adjacent Grace Episcopal Church. The middle-schoolers gave him a welcome fit for a rock star.

After meeting with the students and answering numerous questions, he headed next door to Grace Episcopal Church, where he listened to local residents' experiences of the Sept. 13 gas disaster. Many of those who spoke called for environmental justice and Curry clearly supported their pleas.

The Rev. Joel Almono, rector of the church, said the fires and explosions of the disaster destroyed 140 homes. Thousands of residents were displaced, he noted.

Yet the crisis brought the faith community together and clergy members of many denominations helped to bring pressure on Columbia Gas to fix the failed energy system, he pointed out.

More here-

Anglican Communion members head to Hong Kong for consultative council meeting

From ENS-

The members of the Anglican Consultative Council are arriving here for the start of an eight-day meeting that will examine the communion’s mission and ministry, and during which some of its internal differences might surface.

The three Episcopal Church members of the ACC say they hope the April 28-May 5 meeting will bind the communion closer together in its mission across the world.

Rosalie Ballentine from the Diocese of the Virgin Islands told Episcopal News Service that she hopes the meeting will focus on the “continuing effort to build relationships, to build the communion, and to deal with those things that are important to the people of the world.”

Those issues include relief and development work, women, families, domestic violence, human trafficking, poverty and hunger, climate change, and indigenous people, according to the draft agenda. Members will also consider more church-related topics such as faith and order work, liturgical consultations, ecumenical and interreligious relationships, theological education and prayer initiatives.

More here-

Friday, April 26, 2019

Anglican Consultative Council: ‘Give us more say in running Anglican Communion’

From The Church Times-

MEMBERS of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) who are travelling to Hong Kong for its 17th meeting, which begins on Sunday, believe that they should have more say in the running of the Anglican Communion.

A Church Times questionnaire to a selection of ACC members elicited a mixed response. For example, on the question how well known the ACC was in their province, answers ranged from “Not very well known” (the majority) to “Well known”.

There was greatest agreement in answer to the question: “Should the ACC have more say in the running of the Communion?” Almost all those who responded agreed. Two respondents, Dr Heather Payne (Church in Wales) and the Very Revd Hosam Naoum (Jerusalem and the Middle East), spoke of achieving a good balance with the Primates and the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Two dissenting voices came from Africa. Canon Anthony Eiwuley (Kenya) said: “I believe that most of the decisions taken at its meeting are enough. The policies are made for the ACC to administer.” And Peter Gachuhi (Kenya) said that the ACC’s “visibility and mandate needs to be understood first before one can cede any rights or powers to it”.

More here-

Al Roker shares son Nick's journey growing up with special needs

From Today-

Nick has become particularly involved with St. James Episcopal Church in Manhattan, where he is the principal cross bearer as part of the worship team.

Al also watched as St. James became another important place for Nick to carve out an identity.

"On Sundays when I was feeling really down about Nick — wondering where our son would find his place in this world — I found it a comfort to note that some of the acolytes also had special needs,'' he wrote. "One performed his duties in a wheelchair; another had Down syndrome. Nick watched and wanted to join them. And the folks who oversaw the acolytes were happy to have him."

More here-

Thursday, April 25, 2019

'Censors of religious speech' – will prayer become a mockery?

From WND-

 Throughout the years, the United States Senate has honored the historic separation of Church and State, but not the separation of God and State. … The first Senate, meeting in New York City on APRIL 25, 1789, elected the Right Reverend Samuel Provost, the Episcopal Bishop of New York, as its first Chaplain. … During the past two hundred and seven years, all sessions of the Senate have been opened with prayer, strongly affirming the Senate’s faith in God as Sovereign Lord of our Nation.”

This was a continuation of the practice of the Continental Congress during the Revolution, as Ben Franklin remarked in 1787: “In the beginning of the Contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayer in this room for Divine protection.”

On April 9, 1789, only nine days after the first Constitutional Congress convened with a quorum, the House of Representatives and the Senate approved having chaplains open every session with prayer, paying them a salary of $500 each.

On April 15, 1789, a Committee of Congress, composed of Richard Henry Lee, Oliver Ellsworth, Caleb Strong, William Maclay, and Richard Bassett recommended: “That two chaplains, of different denominations, be appointed … the Senate to appoint one, and … the House of Representatives … shall … appoint the other … Chaplains shall commence their services in the Houses that appoint them.”

Read more at 

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Church urged to vet funders as part of graft fight

 From Kenya-

The church has been challenged to rethink its strategy while mobilising for resources to ensure illegally acquired resources don’t get their way to the pulpit.
The Head of Anglican Church in Kenya, Jackson ole Sapit says to fight corruption, the church must desist from hyping those giving the money and instead encourage people including politicians to do it silently.

He said the matter has so far attracted “mixed reactions as some church leaders say they can’t identify clean and dirty money. Let us learn as a church to worship God with our resources quietly. Let us not hide behind this thing called harambees and guest of honours.”

There have been concerns that some politicians have been spending millions of questionable cash in places of worship while using it to woo supporters.

He was speaking during a multi-sectoral initiative against corruption press briefing Tuesday where he challenged Kenyans to support the renewed war on graft.

“The pulpit should only be for the worship leaders,” he said.

More here-

Pastor plants ‘seeds of hope’ for radio listeners

From Western New York-

Through “Seeds of Hope,” a segment aired on WECK Radio, the Rev. Robert Harvey is able to deliver a message that is both thought-provoking and uplifting for listeners.

Rev. Harvey, who has been with Calvary Episcopal Church in Williamsville since September 2017, started the “Seeds of Hope” segment in March with WECK Radio.

“I wanted to put a message of hopefulness and inspiration out on the airways mostly in a time when we seem to have so much terrible news happening all around us,” he said.

WECK 1230AM, 102.9FM and 100.5FM are local Buffalo radio stations owned and operated by longtime Buffalo broadcaster and marketing executive Buddy Shula. The radio station plays music from the 1950s, 60s and 70s.

The “Seeds of Hope” segment runs seven days a week on the radio station, with new segments airing each Monday through Saturday.

More here-

Over $67,000 raised for Rachel Held Evans; Christian writer still in medically-induced coma

From Christian Post-

Over $67,000 has been raised in just under 24 hours to support progressive Christian writer Rachel Held Evans, who’s been in a medically induced coma since last week due to complications with an infection.

Evans, a 37-year-old blogger and bestselling author, announced on April 14 that she was in the hospital to treat infection and the flu. However, she began later in the week experiencing symptoms that caused her to have constant seizures and was admitted to an intensive care unit.  

On Monday, feminist writer and friend Sarah Bessey and other colleagues launched a GoFundMe crowdfunding page to help support the Evans family, noting that the medical costs for Evans’ stay are “mounting.”

According to the page organizers, a “long road ahead” is anticipated at this time.

“We want to help with those [medical costs] as well as all the accumulating expenses that even decent medical insurance won't cover,” the GoFundMe page reads. “So many of us would love to do something tangible, like cook a meal or assist with child care, pay for gas to the hospital or clean their house. This is a way for us to gather around the Evanses, making that happen together from many locations around the world.”

More here- 

and here-

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Grave robber arrested after trying to make SOUP from 100-year-old skeleton

From Newfoundland-

Archdeacon Sam Rose, executive officer of the Anglican Diocese of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador, said that he had been advised that the remains had been taken from a mausoleum-style tomb, with a heavy concrete slab on top of the grave that would need to have been have been removed during the theft.

He says the parish has been shocked by the violation of a sacred resting place.

"Certainly it was something that you could not dream of or imagine," Archdeacon Rose said in an interview.

"When someone buries their loved one in a graveyard, there's the assumption this will be their final resting place as we say in the liturgy, so when this happens in such a shocking violation of that sacred act, it was (shocking) for me, personally."

More here-

25 years on - first women priested in Lichfield Diocese

From Lichfield-

This week marks the 25th anniversary of the first women being ordained as priests in Lichfield Cathedral.

The change in canon law in 1994, enabled women who at that time were only permitted to be deacons (clergy who cannot preside a Communion, or giving blessings and absolution) to be ordained as priests. Soon after, 51 female deacons were ordained as priests in Lichfield Cathedral in two services - on 23 and 24 April.

To mark these two dates, we have brought together two groups, to hear their experiences and discuss how their ministry has impacted the whole Church of England: today, a video from St Matthew's Wolverhampton with Revd Gayle Greenway, the current curate, talking to Chaplain to the Queen, Preb Rose Hudson-Wilkin, who was curate there between 1991 and 1995 and priested on 23 April 1994:

More here-

Monday, April 22, 2019

Post-colonial guilt stops UK helping Christians who are being persecuted around the world, bishop says

From The Daily Mail-

A feeling of 'post-colonial guilt' and the idea that following Jesus is 'an expression of white western privilege' has hampered the UK in helping persecuted Christians, a bishop says.

The Right Rev Philip Mounstephen, the Bishop of Truro, said Britain had 'something of a blind spot to the persecution of Christians', adding there was a 'real reluctance to see a religious component' in some parts of the world suffering with violence. 

In an interview with The Times, before the Easter Sunday Sri Lanka bombings, the bishop, 59, said: 'There is a lot of post-colonial guilt around a residual sense that the Christian faith is an expression of white western privilege. 

'Whereas actually the Christian faith is overwhelmingly a phenomenon of the . . . global poor and people who, by their very socio-economic status, are vulnerable.'

More here-

We’ll take money from politicians, ACK Bishop says

From Kenya-

An Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) bishop has slammed leaders who have been castigating churches for accepting donations from politicians said to be proceeds of corruption during fundraisers, saying that they will continue receiving the money until the courts declare such leaders corrupt.

Bishop Timothy Gichere of the ACK Mt Kenya Central diocese said no one should label or condemn others as corrupt as one is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

He added that the church cannot distinguish between “clean” money and money gotten from corruption scandals.


The bishop urged those condemning the church to stop it and allow the investigating agencies to do their work without undue political interference.

“When leaders come to church and contribute money with clean hearts, we can’t decline because we are not in a position to know if the money is gotten from corruption and we are not there to rebuke and label people as corrupt because that is the obligation of the courts.

More here-

Unique chance for Sri Lanka to find forgiveness and reconciliation

From Eternity-

A Sri Lankan born Anglican minister has urged Christians in Sri Lanka to uphold the mercy and forgiveness of the gospel in response to the horrendous Easter bomb attacks on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka which claimed the lives of almost 300 people, including two Australians.

Prashanth Colombage, assistant minister at St James Anglican Church in Croydon, in Sydney’s inner west, says the challenge for the Christian community in Sri Lanka is to “heed the gospel and respond with mercy.”

He was responding to comments by Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, Archbishop of Colombo, to find the attackers behind the blasts and “punish them mercilessly.”

“It was an unguarded comment and I completely understand it – he’s walked into his churches and found people dead on the floor so I wouldn’t want to judge him too harshly; but I think that’s the challenge and that’s the unique opportunity that the gospel offers Sri Lanka because one of the real struggles they have as a country is they have no culture of reconciliation or forgiveness,” Colombage told Eternity.

More here-

United Methodists could split over LGBT debate, as have other denominations

From Columbus-

The Episcopal Church, an American branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion, consecrated its first openly gay bishop in 2003. It passed a resolution in 2009 that “God’s call is open to all,” eradicating discriminatory barriers to the election of bishops. And in 2015, the church decided as a denomination to perform same-sex marriages.

Individuals, churches and entire dioceses left and formed new American denominations. They joined the worldwide Anglican church, which doesn’t support same-sex marriage or ordination of openly gay preachers.

“The Methodist Church is not going through something new ... The Methodist Church is going through what the Episcopal Church went through 15 years ago,” said the Rev. Paul Williams, rector at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Pickerington. “They’re following a path many have gone through, and they’ll be OK.”

More here-

Olean pastors try to modernize Easter Sunday message

From Western New York-

Pastors also acknowledged that doing so is all the more important in an era of declining church attendance and Americans who are less religious than they used to be.

The percentage of American adults who identify as Christians dropped nearly 8 percent from 2007 to 2014 — from 78 percent to 71 percent, according to surveys by Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan think tank. In that same time, according to the surveys, the percentage of American adults who are not religiously affiliated increased from 16 percent to 23 percent.

Such trends are often attributed to millennials. A 2018 Pew Research Center poll found that while 60 percent of adults 40 and over say religion is important to them, only 43 percent of people under 40 say the same.

“Hopefully the preaching could serve to activate people who’ve gotten away from the church and to attract people who haven’t been in the church,” said the Rev. Anthony Salim, pastor of St. Joseph Maronite Church. “Invite people back, and interest and attract people to be part of the community of the church.”

More here-

Sunday, April 21, 2019