Saturday, May 4, 2019

Rachel Held Evans, Christian writer of honesty and humor, dies at age 37

From RNS-

Rachel Held Evans, a popular progressive Christian writer and speaker, died Saturday morning (May 4) at age 37 after a brief illness.

Evans had been in a medically induced coma for several weeks and never returned to an alert state.

Writer and collaborator Sarah Bessey tweeted that Evans was surrounded by close friends and family at the end, and the Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber shared that friends were at Evans’ bedside Friday night, offering “our touch and tears and song. I anointed her with oil.”

Her husband, Dan, informed followers and supporters of his wife’s death on her website.
“This entire experience is surreal. I keep hoping it’s a nightmare from which I’ll awake. I feel like I’m telling someone else’s story,” her husband Dan Evans wrote in an update on Evan’s blog.

More here-

Nuclear sub service at Westminster Abbey draws peace protest

From England-

Royalty, politicians and military chiefs gathered at London's Westminster Abbey on Friday to mark half a century of Britain's seaborne nuclear arms program — though organizers insisted they were not thanking God for atomic weapons.

Prince William, Defense Secretary Penny Mordaunt and naval officers and sailors attended the service in honor of Britain's nuclear-armed submarines and their crews. At least one U.K. sub carrying nuclear missiles has been on undersea patrol at all times since April 1969, a 50-year mission titled Operation Relentless.

The abbey said the service was not a celebration, but a recognition of the Royal Navy's commitment to "effective peacekeeping."

More here-

GAFCON confirms they will boycott Lambeth conference of bishops

From Premier-

A conservative evangelical wing of the Anglican communion, GAFCON, has confirmed that their representatives will not attend the global meeting of Anglican bishops in a year's time. 

Anglicans on both sides of the debate about sexuality within the church are unhappy with plans for the Lambeth Conference in 2020, with some, including the Bishop of Liverpool, Rt Rev Paul Bayes, saying their partners will not come, in protest at same-sex bishops not being allowed to bring their partners. 

Current Church of England doctrine states that clergy cannot conduct a same-sex wedding and the rules on whether clergy can marry a same-sex partner varies in different countries, with the Episcopal Church in the US allowing same-sex marriage since 2015, but in England only civil partnerships are allowed, on the assumption that they remain celibate, and marriage is not. 

More here-

Members of Charleston church that was the scene of 2015 mass shooting visit Tree of Life

From Pittsburgh-

The four Coakley sisters stood together in front of the Tree of Life synagogue Friday afternoon, listening as the rabbi recounted small details about the 11 congregants whose lives ended there Oct. 27. 

They traveled to Pittsburgh with a group from Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., to share with those here their own experience. 

Their sister, Myra Thompson, was among the nine people killed at the church known as Mother Emanuel on June 17, 2015, as she led her first Bible study.

Ms. Thompson, 59, had just received her license to preach that day.

More here-

Anglican Consultative Council Digest: May 2 and 3

From ENS-

During the Anglican Consultative Council’s 17th meeting here, a number of things happen. In addition to Episcopal News Service’s other coverage, here are some additional highlights from May 2 and 3.

For the first time, this ACC meeting includes eight youth members from five regions across the Anglican Communion. The communion’s standing committee agreed to a request from ACC-16 to allow such membership.

On May 2, youth members Isaac Beach of New Zealand and Basetsana Makena of South Africa conducted a panel discussion with Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, Southern Africa Archbishop Thabo Makgoba and Canadian Diocese of Edmonton Bishop Jane Alexander, posing questions the two said they distilled from conversations with their other youth colleagues.

Makena led off the session asking if the three were satisfied with the fact that the youth members plus three other young people who serve as province-specific members make up 14 percent of the council.

More here-

Friday, May 3, 2019

World's first Māori woman bishop elected

From New Zealand-

The Archbishops of the Anglican Church in New Zealand have elected the world's first Māori woman Bishop.
Archdeacon Waitohiariki Quayle has been appointed Bishop of Te Ūpoko o Te Ika.
She was ordained deacon in 2013 and priest in 2014 by Bishop Muru Walters at the Church of Te Hepara Pai in Masterton.
Archbishop Don Tamihere admitted the Church waited far too long to elect a Māori woman as Bishop.
"Archdeacon Wai's election is a very significant moment for our Church, and I believe for Māoridom as a whole," he said.
"She becomes not only the first Māori woman to be elected bishop, but the first Aotearoa New Zealand-born woman to be chosen to serve as bishop in any Tikanga.

More here-

Matthew Broderick’s pastor sister is leaving her N.J. church for one in Beverly Hills

From New Jersey-

A church founded nearly 200 years ago in Morristown is saying goodbye to its popular pastor after a decade on the job.

Rev. Janet Broderick is moving more than 2,700 miles to Beverly Hills, California, where in June she will become the rector of All Saints Episcopal Church.

Broderick, whose brother is actor Matthew Broderick, recently broke the news to congregants at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Morristown.

Morristown Mayor Tim Doughterty said Broderick will be missed.

“She stayed committed to the community. I think she saw the long-term vision of Morristown and was an active part of it, from the arts to helping families out that needed assistance. She was all around just a great asset to the town,” Dougherty said.

Broderick did not immediately respond to a request for comment. She grew up in New York City and, prior to Morristown, was the rector for eight years at Grace Church Van Vorst in Jersey City.

More here-

First female, African-American Bishop to lead West TN Episcopal Diocese

From West Tennessee-

The stained-glass ceiling has shattered, as Reverend Phoebe Roaf is poised to step into the shoes of retiring Bishop Don Johnson.

"The fact that in a couple of days I am about to be the fourth bishop of The Episcopal Diocese of West Tennessee, that is surreal," Roaf smiled.

The composed, but joyful Pine Bluff native, who insists you call her by her first name, is no stranger to the road less traveled. She sat down exclusively with WMC Action News 5’s Kontji Anthony just days before she becomes the first female and first African-American bishop to be ordained, consecrated and seated by the Episcopal Diocese of West Tennessee Saturday.

More here-

Episcopal Church mourns leader from Franklin Lakes who fought for women's rights

From Newark-

The Episcopal Church is mourning the loss of Marge Christie, a relentless activist for the rights of women and other excluded groups in the church.

Christie, who resided in Franklin Lakes, died on April 14 at age 90 of natural causes, said her family.

The mother of four never worked in a formal career: Her life's passion was the church, and her mission was inclusivity, a crusade that gave her national recognition.

Over six decades, she served the Episcopal Church in numerous capacities, including as lay deputy at 12 national General Conventions, where church policy is decided. She was part of the first group of women to be seated in the House of Deputies — one of two legislative houses in a General Convention — and was the first woman to sit on the national church's Executive Council, a body that administers policies adopted by a General Convention.

She was also founder of The Diocese of Newark's LGBTQ ministry and its Dismantling Racism Commission.

More here-

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Anglican Consultative Council Digest: May 1

From ENS-

During the Anglican Consultative Council’s 17th meeting here, a number of things happen. In addition to Episcopal News Service’s other coverage, here are some additional highlights.

Learning about the Church of England’s Living in Love and Faith effort

On May 1, the ACC suspended its work, and members had the option of attending a 90-minute “consultation” on Living in Love and Faith, the Church of England’s new effort to think theologically about diverse opinions on human identity and sexuality. Its subtitle is “Christian Teaching & Learning about Human Identity, Sexuality & Marriage.” Slightly less than half the council attended.

Eeva John, who called herself the “enabling officer” of the project, said it is “large, ambitious and complex.” The work was begun in 2017 after the Church of England’s General Synod rejected a report on human sexuality from the House of Bishops.

More here-

Former Canberra Anglican minister pleads guilty to sending indecent material to teenage girl

From Australia-

A former Anglican minister has pleaded guilty to sending indecent material to a teenage girl in the ACT Magistrates Court today, saying he hopes his plea will limit any further harm to the victim.

Brian Champness, 41, was arrested in January after a police investigation across New South Wales and the ACT.

It was alleged at the time of his arrest that Champness had used an app to groom a 14-year-old girl.

He was subsequently charged with using a carriage service to groom a person under 16 years, and pleaded not guilty.

Today the charge was downgraded to using a carriage service to send indecent material to a person under 16 years, and he pleaded guilty.

More here-

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Milestone reached in Christ Church Cathedral rebuild as design advisers appointed

From New Zealand-

The Christ Church Cathedral rebuild has reached a "significant milestone" with the appointment of new engineers and architects.

Christ Church Cathedral Reinstatement Limited (CCRL) announced on Wednesday that Holmes Consulting Limited Partnership would be the structural engineering experts and Warren and Mahoney Architects would be the architectural consultants involved in rebuilding the Anglican cathedral in central Christchurch.

Both companies have several New Zealand offices and some overseas.

It was hoped design work on stabilisation would be finished by the end of the year.

More here- 

Church’s dilemma: to receive or reject politicians’ money?

From Kenya-

A story is told of how one Sunday the then Bishop of the Church of the Province of Kenya (now Anglican Church of Kenya) Maseno South Diocese, John Henry Okullu, held the annual thanksgiving service at the St Stephen’s Cathedral in Kisumu Town and invited all the provincial and district government heads.
Being a mere thanksgiving, the civil servants saw no harm in going to the church that to many in the eyes of the government was the bastion of the then non-existent opposition. 
All was well until the late Bishop Okullu, in his characteristic no holds barred style, tore into the one party state saying it was not good for Kenya. .
The senior civil servants soon made a beeline for the exit, lest their presence be seen as indirectly supporting Okullu’s views.

More here-

Amid rising attacks on places of worship, how religious leaders are responding

From PBS-

The deadly California synagogue shooting is the latest in a series of attacks that raise profound questions about keeping sacred spaces safe. Judy Woodruff talks to the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati's Shakila Ahmad, Rabbi Devorah Marcus from Temple Emanu-El of San Diego, Ted Elmore of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention and Bishop Eugene Sutton of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland.

More here-

Former bishop who killed cyclist in 2014 will be released from jail

From Baltimore-

A former Episcopal bishop who killed a cyclist in 2014 will be released from jail in May.

According to officials, Heather Cook will be released from jail and placed on probation until October 2022, meeting regularly with an agent and being supervised. 

That means Cook will have served 3 1/2 years of her seven-year sentence after she was convicted of killing bicyclist Thomas Palermo on Dec. 27, 2014. 

At the time, Cook was the second ranking official in the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland. 

Cook pleaded guilty in September 2015 to auto manslaughter, driving while intoxicated, driving while texting and leaving the scene of an accident. She kept going and then returned to the scene more than a half hour later.

More here- 

and here-

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Church of England officials 'turned blind eye' to child abuse claims

From Premier-

Clergy and staff from a Church of England Diocese were referred to police in 2015 after church leaders had allegedly "turned a blind eye" to claims of child abuse, an investigation has revealed.

Lincolnshire Police and Lincoln Diocese investigated 25 people over alleged abuse, from a list of 53 names which were passed to officers, with three cases leading to convictions.

The BBC's Panorama said some of the names could have been referred years earlier as part of the Church of England's national Past Cases Review, which examined tens of thousands of church records in 2008 and 2009 to discover whether abuse cases had slipped through the net.

Not all of the names on the list related to child abuse allegations.

Detective Superintendent Rick Hatton, who leads the ongoing investigation, named Operation Redstone, told a Panorama programme being broadcast on Monday: "We whittled it down to about 25 names whereby we either knew that they'd committed offences or there was some issue around risk to members of the public from them.

More here- 

and here-

Anglicans must unite in service of peace, says Archbishop of Canterbury

From La Croix-

The congregation at St John's Cathedral, Hong Kong, for the official opening of ACC-17. (Photo courtesy Anglican Communion News Service

The Anglican Communion must not put its internal differences, disputes and issues above the pressing concerns of afflicted peoples and nations around the world, said the Archbishop of Canterbury.

"We cannot condemn whole nations to the absence of help, neglect of support, solitary suffering, through indulging in the luxury of disunity," Justin Welby told the Anglican Consultative Council on the opening day of ACC-17 in Hong Kong, according to

"We exist for others, in the service of peace," he said in his presidential address, adding that all provinces in the Communion must continue to strike a balance between being both autonomous and interdependent.

More here- 

also here-

Split possible after Methodists uphold marriage stance

From Baptist Press-

A ruling by the United Methodist Church's highest court has upheld the denomination's support of traditional marriage and its opposition to LGBT ordination. The ruling, some evangelical commentators say, could portend a split in the UMC.

"The United Methodist Church is not going to be able to hold together" as its liberal and conservative elements espouse conflicting views of human sexuality among other matters, R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said today (April 29) in his podcast "The Briefing." "It is not going to be a united Methodist Church. The polarities within the denomination are simply too great."

In an April 26 ruling, the UMC's Judicial Council upheld 10 of 17 petitions in the Traditional Plan narrowly adopted by delegates to the UMC General Conference in February. The Traditional Plan affirmed the UMC's longstanding declarations that "the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching" and that "self-avowed practicing homosexuals" cannot be ordained to the ministry or married in the UMC.

More here-

Monday, April 29, 2019

ACC-17: GAFCON are not behaving as Anglicans, says Idowu-Fearon

From The Church Times-

THE crisis in the Anglican Communion is being caused largely by autocratic Primates and bishops in the Global South who do not behave as Anglicans, the Communion’s secretary-general, the Rt Revd Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, suggested on Monday.

In a robust address to the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC), meeting in Hong Kong, Dr Idowu-Fearon asked directly: “How should we respond to GAFCON?” — the Global Anglican Fellowship of conservative Provinces that has been acting increasingly independently in recent years, after a split over sexuality. “How do we handle this to prevent a schism in our Communion?”

He spoke of “deliberate ignorance”: “When you see a Primate, when you see a bishop, who knows that this is what it means to be an Anglican Church . . . and he pretends that he doesn’t, that’s very frustrating.”

There was a more general lack of understanding, too, since Anglicanism was not even taught in many theological colleges and seminaries around the world, he said. “Where it is taught, it is not Anglicanism: it is self-made Anglicanism. . .

More here-

Bishop Michael Curry brings a touch of royalty to Brockton church

From Massachusetts-

The presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church, best known for his passionate sermon at the royal wedding of Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle last year, brought his message about the unifying power of love to Brockton on Sunday.

The Most Rev. Michael Curry drew fanfare at the Grace Chapel Episcopal/Anglican Church and The First Evangelical Lutheran Church. He delivered a sermon that touched upon the need for peace through the love of God, especially in light of religious hatred and bigotry that has resulted in shootings at places of worship, including at a San Diego-area synagogue on Saturday at the end of Passover, on the heels of the mass slaughter of Christians at churches in Sri Lanka last weekend and the massacre of Muslims at the mosque in New Zealand in March. Curry remarked on how Jesus twice told his disciples, “Peace be with you,” after appearing to them following the resurrection, and how that should be taken as a reminder to society.

“When the Bible repeats itself, it’s like when your momma repeats herself. It’s worth paying attention to,” said Curry, preaching his sermon at the 900 Main St. church in the Campello section of the city, where he was joined by several other bishops. “I don’t think that’s an accident. I think God’s trying to tell us something. ... What that love of Jesus did for them in the first century can still be done for us in the 21st century.”

More here-

ACC-17 opens with calls for Christian witness and intentional discipleship for a better, peaceful world

From ENS-

The Anglican Consultative Council’s 17th meeting officially opened April 28 with a combination of speeches and traditional Anglican liturgy spiced at the end with Chinese custom.

Near the end of the Eucharist which took place at St. John’s Cathedral in the heart of the financial district here, Archbishop of Hong Kong and ACC Chair Paul Kwong told the congregation that Hong Kong means “Fragrant Harbor,” a name it took because of the spice trade in its early days.

“I believe that a disciple gives off the ‘Fragrance of Christ’ in daily life,” he said. “My prayer is that ACC-17 can help our Anglican Communion to become a giver of the ‘Fragrance of Christ’ to the world.”

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby thanked God “that you have gathered your church from north and south, east and west,” and vigorously struck a ceremonial gong three times and declared ACC-17 open in the name of the Trinity. A video clip of the gong ceremony is below.

More here-

Sunday, April 28, 2019

The story of the fifth Bishop of Calcutta

From India-

Sometime ago it was reported that the coffin of Daniel Wilson was found in a vault under the main altar of Calcutta’s St. Paul’s Cathedral. Wilson was the fifth Bishop of Calcutta and founder of St. Paul’s, which came up in 1847.

“This is not some out-of-the-box discovery. We were all aware that the coffin was kept there,” says an official from St. Paul’s Cathedral who does not want to be identified. He continues, “In fact, there is a small opening on the outer wall of the cathedral for ventilation. It was kept covered so that no stray dogs could go in. We could see the ornamentation on the coffin. The remains of the bishop were never missing. It was just that we had never gone down into the vault.”

It seems Wilson himself had made provision for the vault under the altar. “There is a reference to his musings in the book, The Final Report of St. Paul’s Cathedral, Calcutta, written by Archdeacon Pratt, who was a close associate,” says senior researcher Mary Ann Dasgupta.

St. Paul’s is said to be the first Anglican cathedral of the Victorian age. In his book, Splendours of the Raj: British Architecture in India, 1160-1947, Phillip Davies writes: “The building was constructed in a peculiar brick especially prepared for the purpose, which combined lightness with compressional strength; the dressings were of Chunar stone, and the whole edifice was covered inside and out with polished chunam.” Up the stairs of the cathedral and next to the main door is a marble bust. Would that be of Wilson? No, it belongs to Reginald Heber, who was Bishop of Calcutta in 1827.

More here-

Battle for the soul of Kenya’s tainted church

From Kenya-

Anglican Archbishop Jackson ole Sapit boasts vast experience in spiritual warfare from his many years as a church minister.
But he would still be advised to choose his battles carefully when it comes to the earthly fight against corruption in Kenya.

In a direct confrontation with either Satan or the corrupt Kenyan political elite, the good archbishop probably has more of a fighting chance against the former.


For some Kenyan political leaders enjoy the status of demi-gods among their followers.
And although they publicly profess belief in Christian values, they live them more in their breach than observance.

It can’t have escaped Rev Sapit that his suggestion last week that churches should reject fundraising donations from corrupt politicians was greeted with more jeers and cheers.

More here-

Welby: British law prevents ACC from debating his decision to exclude same-sex spouses from Lambeth

From ENS-

The members of the Anglican Consultative Council, meeting here April 28-May 5, cannot formally discuss Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby’s decision to exclude the same-sex spouses of bishops invited to the 2020 Lambeth Conference.

Welby  told a news conference on April 27, in response to a question from Episcopal News Service, that the ACC is the only one of the Anglican Communion’s Instruments of Communion that is governed by British law. It is incorporated as “an English company with a charitable aim.” Via the ACC constitution, the trustees “very clearly specify what it can and cannot do,” he said.
“Doctrine is not one of the issues that it does,” Welby said of the council.

The ACC’s “object,” according to its constitution, is to “advance the Christian religion and in particular to promote the unity and purposes of the Churches of the Anglican Communion, in mission, evangelism, ecumenical relations, communication, administration and finance.” The constitution lists 30 specific powers of the ACC after making the general statement that “the council has the power to do anything which is calculated to further its Object(s) or is conducive or incidental to doing so.”

More here-

Episcopal bishop brings message of love from royal wedding to Boston

From Boston-

The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry has a message about living a life guided by love and generosity, a life of giving more than you take and thinking of others before yourself.

He’s aware that some may tune him out.

“Christians go to church, they expect to hear something about love,” Curry said in an interview Saturday morning. “You can almost go on autopilot and turn it off — until you stop and think about, what are we really talking about?”

What Curry is talking about — what animates and propels the cleric who rose to international fame last year with his passionate sermon at the wedding of American actress Meghan Markle to Britain’s Prince Harry — is the idea of a love rooted in selflessness and genuine concern for others, not just lip service.

More here-