Friday, June 21, 2019

Philadelphia Episcopalians explore what happens when church is separated from Sunday

From RNS-

St. Stephen’s, an Episcopal church in Center City Philadelphia, isn’t open on Easter. There are no sermons on Sundays. It doesn’t have any members. And yet this castlelike Gothic Revival building on 10th Street is still a functioning, active church — just not in the ways you might expect.

Rather than opening on Sundays, the church operates on a four-day schedule, with midday services Monday through Thursday. And rather than focusing on growing the congregation, St. Stephen’s is fully invested in being present for the community, practicing a true open-door policy that makes it a place of support for anyone in need.

The church — an architectural landmark designed by William Strickland in 1823 — has long flourished in the active downtown neighborhood near Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. But the church hit a slump in the 1980s — not long after the Rev. Alfred W. Price, a particularly charismatic pastor, ended his nearly 30-year career in the pulpit. By 2016, fewer than a dozen worshippers might be found in the pews on a Sunday morning, and the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania made the difficult decision to shutter St Stephen’s.

More here-

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Episcopal Bishop Says Whites ‘Need’ Reparations For Their ‘Soul,’ Tucker Wants To Start With $51 Million In Church Coffers

From Baltimore-

Fox News host Tucker Carlson challenged Episcopal Bishop of Maryland Eugene Taylor Sutton on the issue of slavery reparations during Wednesday night’s edition of “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
Sutton appeared before the House Judiciary subcommittee earlier Wednesday and suggested that white people “need” reparations for their souls and to “be able to look” black people “in the eye.”

“I’m actually talking to my white brothers and sisters,” he said. “You need more than we do. You need this for your soul. You need this to be able to look black persons in the eye and say ‘I acknowledge the mistake and I want to be part of the solution to repair that damage.'”

“What does that do to your soul, to know that some of the benefit that you get from your white skin and background is not accrued to everybody?” he asked later during the hearing.

More here- 

and here-

and here-

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Why Pope Francis may open the door to married priests

From The Economist-

NOT FOR the first time, Pope Francis—or, to be more precise, his aides in the Vatican—have raised eyebrows. On June 17th, in a document that sets the agenda for a meeting in October to discuss the problems of the Amazon basin, they declared that the Catholic church should consider ordaining married men. The problems of Amazon communities range from the destruction of the natural environment to the persecution of its indigenous peoples. For the Catholic church, however, there is another pressing issue—it does not have anywhere near enough priests to minister to the existing Catholic population, let alone proselytise or fend off a growing challenge from Evangelical Christianity. Some Catholic figures talk of confronting a “Eucharist famine”.

The document asks the bishops who will attend the gathering, or synod, to discuss making priests of “elders, preferably indigenous, respected and accepted by their community, even if they have a constituted and stable family”. It also moots the idea of women taking part in what it calls “official ministry,” but quite what that could mean is unclear. The bishops would not be able to authorise the change, but they could recommend it to Francis who does have the power to enact it.

More here- 

and here-

Former Anglican dean of Newcastle Graeme Lawrence's sexual assault trial aborted, judge-alone trial begins

From Australia-

Mr Lawrence has pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual intercourse without consent and one of indecent assault in relation to an alleged assault on a 15-year-old boy in 1991. The prosecution case is that Mr Lawrence - then the second-most senior Anglican in the Newcastle diocese - had sexual intercourse with the 15-year-old in his house, known as the Deanery, next door to Christ Church Cathedral, on a night sometime between April 1 and December 31, 1991.

More here- 

also here-

First woman elected as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego

From San Diego (video)-

In February, delegates from the 43 congregations that comprise the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego elected the Rev. Canon Susan Brown Snook on the first ballot.

Bishop Susan said her vision for the Diocese of San Diego includes a focus on diversity, advocacy, service, evangelism, youth and young adults. In the first months of her episcopacy, she intends to listen to the people of the diocese in order to formulate a plan for how Episcopal churches can follow Jesus and serve their communities. She most recently served as the canon for church growth and development in the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma where she earned a reputation as a church growth expert.

More here-

Liberty University cuts staff from divinity school as seminary enrollment drops

From Christian Post-

For example, Episcopal Divinity School of Cambridge, Massachusetts, announced in 2017 that they were merging with Union Theological Seminary after reporting a net loss of about $7.9 million in assets since 2015.

The Rev. Kelly Brown Douglas, the first dean of "EDS at Union," said in a statement released in May 2017 that she was "excited for the challenge" and that "this isn't the typical bad news of a small seminary closing."

"This is the news that this place believed enough in its mission that it went out and found a way to carry that mission forward in a viable fashion, and found a way for the mission to grow," Douglas said at the time.

"EDS is going to continue. The EDS community has found the platform to do that, and they have found a partner in Union that shares their mission. I feel privileged to be a part of this next chapter in EDS' life."

More here-

‘High Church’ Chronicles: Will Anglican Blessing of Medical Marijuana Open the Door to a Royal Strain?

From UK

Two historic Episcopal churches in Atlanta, which combined control more than 8 acres of prime Midtown land, are mulling the redevelopment of their land as its property value soars.

Read more at:
Now that the UK has the distinction of being the largest global exporter of cannabis for medicinal and scientific purposes, the Church of England appears to be blessing this bounty. As reported by The Times, “The Church Commissioners for England, who handle £8.2 billion of church assets, ban investment in companies that profit from recreational drugs but said for the first time that they would consider investing in companies that work with medicinal marijuana now that it is legal in the UK.” 
With the news that the Church of England has changed its investment policy in regard to medical cannabis, the International Cannabis Business Conference (ICBC) speculates on its blog whether “the Queen, if not the Royal Family in general, [can] become one of the best ‘cannabis brands’ in the world,” as well as what implication this could have for the Church of England given the Queen (or King) of England is the titular head of the church.

More here-
Leaders of All Saints Episcopal Church off West Peachtree Street and Saint Luke's Episcopal Church off Peachtree Street are evaluating potential redevelopments of sections of their church land into mixed-use projects with private developers. After acquiring the rest of its block, a string of aging retail spaces across from The Varsity sandwiched between West Peachtree and Spring streets in Midtown, in 2015, All Saints convened a committee of prominent parishioners to study what to do next, including the possibility of building housing or a mix of uses. “Developers are calling us more. But developers are looking for land that is able to be built in high density,” Emory University Candler School of Theology professor Lang Lowrey said. Lowrey is also an ordained Episcopal priest, a member of the All Saints committee and regularly consults with other Episcopal churches across the country on real estate issues.

Read more at:
Two historic Episcopal churches in Atlanta, which combined control more than 8 acres of prime Midtown land, are mulling the redevelopment of their land as its property value soars.

Read more at:
Two historic Episcopal churches in Atlanta, which combined control more than 8 acres of prime Midtown land, are mulling the redevelopment of their land as its property value soars.

Read more at:
Two historic Episcopal churches in Atlanta, which combined control more than 8 acres of prime Midtown land, are mulling the redevelopment of their land as its property value soars.

Read more at:

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Female players to represent Anglican Church in big game against Vatican

From England-

The Archbishop of Canterbury's cricket team will be welcoming its first female players to join them in a match against the Vatican this summer.

 Thea Smith and Becky Heath-Taylor will be the first women to play for the Archbishop of Canterbury XI, in a match to encourage stronger relationships between church denominations.

 Ms Heath Taylor is currently in training for priesthood at Trinity College, Bristol and Ms Smith is due to be ordained the day before she heads to Rome for the match.

Ms Smith told Premier it was exciting to help represent positive change within the church.
She said: "The face of women’s sport is changing and the church has caught wind of that.

"And the face of our ecumenical church relationships are changing and improving.

More here-

Top UK Jewish Group Praises Anglican Church in Wales for Adopting International Antisemitism Definition

From Wales-

A leading UK Jewish group on Monday praised the Anglican Church in Wales for adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism.

The Bishops of the Church in Wales said in a statement following the adoption of the definition, “We regard antisemitism as abhorrent and recognize that the Christian Church has need of repentance for the ways in which it has contributed in the past to anti-Jewish sentiment.”

Pointing out the definition’s inclusion of antisemitism directed against Israel, the bishops said, “We note that the IHRA definition itself does not preclude criticism of the State of Israel, and that legitimately holding the Israeli government to account is not antisemitic.”

“In making the decision we recognise the excellent relationships between faith communities in Wales,” the statement concluded.

More here-

Another congregation leaves Scottish Episcopal Church

From Premier-

A church in Glasgow has decided to leave the Scottish Episcopal Church following concerns that it has become too liberal.  

Members of St Silas Church took a vote after a process of consultation and prayer.

86 per cent were in favour of leaving the denomination.

The Scottish Episcopal Church recently changed the law to allow same sex marriages to take place in its buildings.

In a statement, St Silas said: "Recent decisions of the Scottish Episcopal Church have made clear to us that the denomination does not regard the Bible as the authoritative word of God. 

"With deep sadness, we have therefore decided that for reasons of integrity we can no longer continue as part of the Scottish Episcopal Church."

In response The Most Rev Mark Strange, Interim Bishop of Glasgow & Galloway said: "Following meetings and conversations with the people of St Silas they have now decided to separate from the Scottish Episcopal Church to fulfil their mission as they understand it to be.

More here-

Bishop Sutton to offer testimony on Capitol Hill Wednesday during hearing for H.R. 40

From Maryland-

On Wednesday morning June 19 (Juneteenth), Bishop Eugene Taylor Sutton will testify in the House Judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties during a hearing on bill H.R. 40, which calls for a commission to be set up to “To address the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity of slavery in the United States and the 13 American colonies between 1619 and 1865 and to establish a commission to study and consider a national apology and proposal for reparations for the institution of slavery, its subsequent de jure and de facto racial and economic discrimination against African-Americans, and the impact of these forces on living African-Americans, to make recommendations to the Congress on appropriate remedies, and for other purposes.” (see full text of bill here) The bill has 57 co-sponsors and falls under the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitution and Civil Justice.

More here-