Saturday, May 18, 2019

Church leaders look to improve safety as soft target attacks continue

From Arkansas-

There is a push to secure places of worship following attacks in recent months. Religious leaders everywhere are looking to protect their worshippers. 

Religious communities in Poway, California, Charleston, South Carolina, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and many more have been targets of hate-filled attacks. Between prayers, a search for answers carries on to stop the violence. 

“We are tolerating this not only in our houses of worship but everywhere,” said Mariann Budee, the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington. 

Budee says because of this string of attacks, her worshippers are asking questions she never thought she’d have to answer. 

“It’s a constant request from the congregations that I oversee that we have workshops for them or that we partner with local law enforcement to have some kind of training,” said Budee. 

Training for the unthinkable. Reverend Randy Hollerith, Dean of the Washington National Cathedral, says the groups carrying out attacks are trying to sow divisions and hatred. 

“The most important thing we have to do is stand against hate. That we cannot succumb to the sort of hatred they’re trying to produce through their violence,” said Hollerith. 

More here-

Rev. Patrick Augustine leaving La Crosse Episcopal Church after 16 years for position in Africa

From Wisconsin-

It was a magazine article that kept the Rev. Patrick Augustine awake at night, that brought tears to his eyes, that shaped the course of his life.
Augustine was serving at a parish in Virginia in 1992 when he received a copy of “Yes” magazine from the Church Missionary Society in London, a photo of Bishop of Bor Nathaniel Garang on the cover.

Inside, Garang had detailed the plight of the Sudanese, who were suffering through decades of war, genocide and religious oppression under the reign of the National Islamic Front.
The Second Sudanese Civil War had begun nine years earlier, after the First Sudanese Civil War of 1955 to 1972, and by its conclusion 2.5 million lives would be lost and 4.5 million citizens would be displaced, among them Christians refusing to accept Sharia law.
“When I read that story, it really touched my heart,” Augustine said. “I was very much disturbed by what was going on.”

More here-

The Episcopal Church in Colorado Is Getting a New Bishop

From Colorado-

On May 18, the Reverend Kimberly (Kym) Lucas will become the first female bishop, as well as the first black bishop, in the Episcopal Church in Colorado since its establishment in 1887. While Episcopalians make up only 2 percent of the state’s religious demographics, Lucas’ election is a big deal for a denomination that proclaims progressive values—most notably, their open and affirming stance on LGBTQ people—yet is led by a standing committee (the authoritative board in the diocese) that is exclusively white. 

Lucas will be leading nearly 30,000 active members across 96 worshipping communities throughout the state. While the Episcopal Church in Colorado was unable to supply state-specific data about its demographic makeup, Pew Research Center reports that nationwide, the Episcopal community is about 90 percent white, 4 percent black, and 2 percent Latino.

More here- 

and here-

Friday, May 17, 2019

1889 Johnstown Flood commemorated Guided tours will be available at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church

From Western PA-

In the aftermath of the 1889 flood and despite considerable damage to the 1874 church building and rectory, the death of its rector, and over half of its communicants, St. Mark’s congregation continued meeting in the “Ark,” a temporary small wooden structure furnished by the American Red Cross. The response to the 1889 Johnstown Flood marked the first time the Red Cross was mobilized. The head of the organization, Clara Barton, decided to build “Red Cross Hotels” to house the homeless of Johnstown and surrounding areas. 

Bishop Cortlandt Whitehead of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh gave the St. Mark’s site to the American Red Cross for use in the Johnstown recovery efforts. The first “Red Cross Hotel” was built on the St. Mark’s site. 

Later, the site of St. Mark’s was returned to the Diocese and the present day church was built and consecrated on May 31, 1891, the second anniversary of the 1889 flood. 

More here-

Former bishop who killed Baltimore cyclist must use ignition interlock, undergo treatment for at least 5 years

From Baltimore-

Heather Cook, a former Episcopal bishop who was released from prison this week after serving 3½ years for killing a Baltimore bicyclist while driving drunk, must participate in Maryland’s ignition interlock program and undergo treatment and testing for alcohol and drug addiction for at least five years.

Cook, 62, learned of these and other conditions of her five-year probation at a meeting with parole and probation officials within hours of her release Tuesday, according to David Irwin, her attorney.

Baltimore Circuit Judge Timothy J. Doory imposed the conditions on Oct. 27, 2015, as part of a seven-year sentence he gave Cook for the crash that killed Thomas Palermo, a software engineer and married father of two young children, the previous December.

Cook’s parole and probation officer has the discretion to refine those and other terms of Cook’s probation, but not to add new ones, Irwin said Thursday.

More here-

UMC Bishops advance 'full communion' agreement with Episcopal Church

From Christian Post-

The United Methodist Church’s Council of Bishops approved sending a resolution to the 2020 General Conference to approve a “full communion” agreement with The Episcopal Church.

Bishop Gregory V. Palmer, co-chair of the United Methodist-Episcopal Dialogue Committee, told those gathered at a meeting last week where they approved the resolution by a unanimous voice vote, that it was important to explain what the full communion proposal “is and what it is not.”

“It’s not an organic merger, two denominations becoming one, but the reminder that we see in one another the signs of church — one holy catholic and apostolic church,” said Bishop Palmer, as reported by the United Methodist News Service.

As part of the agreement, the UMC and the Episcopal Church will officially acknowledge each other as partners in ministry, recognize each other’s baptism and communion and share clergy.

More here-

Thursday, May 16, 2019

‘Mad’ preacher made his mark in Haworth

From The U.K.-

Visitors flock in their thousands to the parsonage museum every year to learn more about the lives of the famous literary siblings. 

But some 70 years before their father Patrick became curate in the village, another colourful character held the post and was making his own impression on parishioners. 

William Grimshaw was a fiery man renowned for some strange behaviour, yet was also a hugely popular preacher who packed out churches. 

A glimpse into his fascinating life is provided in a new, illustrated book,
William Grimshaw: The Perpetual Curate of Haworth. 

More here-

Report: Ex-bishop Heather Cook to advocate for female inmates, addicts after release from prison

From Baltimore-

Former Episcopalian Pastor Heather Cook, who was released from prison Tuesday, said in a new interview that she plans to advocate for women in prison and for those recovering from addiction.
Cook — the first female bishop in the Diocese of Maryland — was convicted of vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence after she struck and killed cyclist Thomas Palermo in 2014.

She served a little over half her seven-year sentence and will be on supervised parole and probation for five years.

She served a little over half her seven-year sentence and will be on supervised parole and probation for five years.

More here-

Bishop Michael Curry Talks Faith, Love and Social Justice

From D.C.-

The first thing one notices about Bishop Michael B. Curry is his smile and laugh. That smile and easy laugh welcomed everyone to a conversation at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture about his new book, “The Power of Love: Sermons, Reflections, and Wisdom to Uplift and Inspire.”

The setting was a conversation with Michel Martin, host of NPR’s “All Things Considered.” The book contains the full sermon Curry preached at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (now the Duke and Duchess of Sussex). Two billion people watched that wedding. The sermon gave Curry global presence beyond the Episcopal Church in America. The book also has four of his favorite sermons on the themes of love and social justice.

Curry has a lot of titles with the Episcopal Church. He is the 27th presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church. Additionally, Curry holds the titles chief pastor, president and chief executive officer and chair of the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church.

More here-

Walk in Love border tour starts in San Antonio

From Texas-

The humanitarian crisis on the border has drawn Episcopal church leaders from across the country to San Antonio, where they’ve begun what they’re calling the Walk in Love border tour. 

The Rev. Ann Fraser, associate rector of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church downtown, said the tour is based on Ephesians 5:2, which reads, “Walk in love, as Christ loved us.” 

“Whether they’re asylum seekers, ranchers, Border Patrol agents, everybody is in a terrible struggle right now,” said Bishop Anne Hodges-Copple, who is with the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina but is originally from Texas. 

The bishop said they hope to find “the humanity in this humanitarian crisis.” 

More here-

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Anglican Bishop calls on authorities to take tough action against mob violence

From Sri Lanka-

Anglican Bishop of Colombo Rev. Dhiloraj Canagasabey yesterday called on authorities to take strong action to prevent mob violence, and warned that failure to do so will only expand rifts between the majority and minority communities in Sri Lanka.

Addressing the media, Canagasabey stated that the Government should act without fear while enforcing the law strictly and impartially, to safeguard the life and property of each individual of the country. He also urged the Police and armed forces to not be influenced by vested political agendas.

“I appeal to the Police and armed forces to act according to your conscience, and be true to yourself, and do not be led by the negative emotions of people intent on creating chaos,” he stated.

He said that while the victims of the Easter bomb blast were mostly Sinhala and Tamil, as well as foreign visitors to the country, all Sri Lankans irrespective of class, caste, religion, or race flocked to the blood bank to offer blood, or to help the victims in other ways. According to him, that is the true noble character that Sri Lankans possess. 

More here-

Ex-Episcopal bishop who killed bicyclist gets out of prison

From Baltimore-

A former Episcopal bishop who fatally struck a bicyclist while drunk and texting behind the wheel was released Tuesday from a Maryland prison after spending more than three years behind bars.
Heather Cook was the second-highest-ranking Episcopal leader in the state when the fatal crash occurred two days after Christmas 2014. Thomas Palermo, a software engineer and a married father of two, was fatally struck by Cook's vehicle as he rode his bicycle in Baltimore.

She served just over half of the seven-year sentence she originally received for Palermo's death, according to corrections spokesman Gerard Shields. She had earned good behavior credits and authorities have described her as a "model inmate" at the Maryland Correctional Institute for Women.

More here- 

and here-

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Child abuse inquiry criticises Prince Charles' 'misguided' intervention to shield Anglican bishop

From Common Space-

AN INDEPENDENT INQUIRY will scrutinise the internal procedures of the Church of England regarding allegations of abuse, following its criticism of Prince Charles for misusing his influence to shield his friend, the former Anglican bishop Peter Ball, from scrutiny after Ball confessed to sexually abusing a novice.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) concluded that Ball was “able to sexually abuse vulnerable teenagers and young men for decades”, and stated in its report that the Prince of Wales’ actions in support of the former bishop were “misguided”.

The inquiry’s report found that Ball “sought to use his relationship with the Prince of Wales” in his campaign to return to his position within the church.

While Prince Charles told the inquiry that he was not aware of the significance or impact of the caution that Ball had already been given, and was uncertain whether he even knew Ball had been cautioned at the time, the inquiry nevertheless decided that his actions and those of his staff “could have been interpreted as expressions of support for Peter Ball and, as a result of the Prince of Wales’ future role within the Church, had the potential to influence the actions of the Church of England”.

More here-

The doors that Rachel Held Evans wedged open

From Christian Century-

By writing and speaking about her own religious struggles in a way that was both irreverent and profound, Rachel Held Evans invited a host of doubters and rebels into a fresh conversation about Christian faith. This apostle to outsiders, who died on May 4 at age 37, was authentic, candid, smart, and funny—and refreshingly unintimidated by church hierarchies, particularly ones that exalted only men.

In her blog posts and books, Held Evans took on the shibboleths of the conservative evangelical faith of her childhood. For many people—especially women—who were struggling to find their way out of an evangelical milieu, Held Evans offered a safe haven. Many of them took to social media after her death to share their stories, tagging them #becauseofRHE.

Nadia Bolz-Weber, a Lutheran pastor and writer who founded the Why Christian? conference with Evans in 2015, told the New Yorker, “Rachel pried open the door and then put her foot in the threshold and kept it open for other people.”

More here-

Monday, May 13, 2019

Okowa wants God-fearing leaders to take charge of Nigeria

From Nigeria-

Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta says only God-fearing leaders that will serve the yearnings and aspirations of the people in every facet of national life will change the country for the better.
According to him, compromise, covetousness and corruption are prevalent in Nigeria due to inordinate desire for wealth and material possessions by Nigerians.

Okowa stated this while addressing the 1st session of the 15th Synod of the Asaba Diocese of the Anglican Communion held at St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Ubulu-Okiti, Aniocha South local government area of Delta State.

He noted that the people, who should be more committed to the affairs of God, have left their duty to God in search of wealth at all cost.

“The inordinate desire for wealth and material possessions inevitably results in compromise, covetousness and corruption.

“This is, perhaps, our greatest undoing as a nation today, as people want to make money at all costs and the result is what we are seeing all around us.

More here-

First ordained Native woman receives honorary doctorate after decades of public service

From Alaska-

When asked what it felt like to receive an Honorary Doctorate of Laws last week from the University of Alaska Fairbanks at age 79, the Rev. Anna Frank said the experience was incredible and emotional, quite similar to the journey of trials and triumphs that got her there. 

“It was so awesome and overwhelming and emotional,” Frank said. “Because it’s like your life just flashed in front of you, of how you got to that moment. It’s hard to describe, but just amazing.”

Frank was born in Old Minto in 1939 and was raised around five siblings. For the first years of her life, she traveled with her family from the village to her family’s spring camp to summer fish camp and then back to the village. 

More here-

An Episcopal Church in New York Is About to Host Two Virulently Anti-Israel Speakers

From The Algemeiner-

On Tuesday May 14, the Redeemer Episcopal Church in Astoria, Queens is scheduled to hold an event called “Palestinian Expulsion and Resistance: The Nakba, BDS, and the Great Return March.” The scheduled speakers include BDS leaders Raja Abdulhaq, the executive director of Majlis Ash-Shura Islamic Leadership Council of New York, and Nerdeen Kiswani, founder and chair of Within our Lifetime United for Palestine.

Given that the Episcopal Church voted against BDS at its General Convention last July, the Redeemer Church’s promotion of the BDS campaign raises serious questions. The Church’s opposition to BDS was clearly articulated by many at the Convention, including by retired bishop Ed Little from the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Indiana who said, “Divestment will not move us one inch forward in the peace process. It will not bring an end to the occupation. It will not lead us to the solution that we all yearn for, which is two states living side by side in peace within secure borders.”

Little continued, “All it [BDS] does is make us advocates for one side in the conflict and remove us from our role as peacemakers.” Indeed, as reported by William Murchison in The American Spectator, “at General Convention, they affirmed, formalistically, Israel’s right to exist within secure borders.”

More here-