Saturday, June 29, 2019

‘I do’ – and they have: Couples renew vows, honor Harry and Bess

From Missouri-

Couples from across the United States renewed their marriage vows on the steps of the Truman Library in Independence in celebration of the wedding anniversary of Harry and Bess Truman. The weather was a sweltering compliment to the hot June day when the presidential couple was married 100 years ago at Trinity Episcopal Church, less than a mile away from where the library stands.

Marriages spanning as many as 72 years were renewed following a brief statement by Library Director Kurt Graham.

“We are here celebrating one of the great love affairs in presidential history,” he told the crowd. “They were only married for 53 years ... but it was a lifelong love affair.” That commitment was reflected in the couples gathered for the ceremony.

Pastor Nancy Kerr officiated the ceremony. While most marriage ceremonies feature a few words of advice to the couple, Kerr said no one present needed any.

“It’s pretty apparent there’s a lot of love here today on these steps,” she said.

More here-

Newly Consecrated Gay Bishop Declares God Is A Woman

From New Hampshire-

Rev. Thomas Brown, who is married to a fellow priest, was ordained as a bishop of the diocese of Maine in the Episcopal Church June 22. Immediately following his ordination, Brown referred to God as a “she” twice in the Nicene Creed.

“She is worshipped and glorified. She has spoken through the Prophets,” the just-ordained Bishop Brown said, referring to the Holy Spirit.

The Nicene Creed was written 1,638 years ago and only uses masculine pronouns to refer to God.
The microphones in the Cathedral of St. Luke projected the voice of the celebrant, Bishop Curry, for the duration of the creed, barring the line where Bishop Brown used female pronouns for God. It is unclear if the microphones were intentionally switched to project Bishop Brown’s female-gendering of God.

More here-

Friday, June 28, 2019

Gunmen abduct senior Anglican priest in Rivers

From Nigeria-

Reverend Canon Bernard Hanson, the Vicar of St Jude’s Anglican Church Odiemerenyi in Ahoada Diocese of the Anglican Communion and also the Clerical Synod Secretary of the diocese has been kidnapped.

He was traveling in the company of Rev.Canon Umegbewe Jerome who managed to escape in the confusion that ensued at the scene of the abduction.

The senior Anglican priest was abducted along Umuapu-Elele-Owerri-Port Harcourt road axis on Wednesday, June 26, 2019, at about 8 pm.

Confirming the kidnap, the Bishop of Ahoada Diocese, Rt. Rev. Clement Nathan Ekpeye described the abduction of the cleric as a sign of the end time

The bishop who was reacting to the incident disclosed that the senior priest was abducted Wednesday evening along the Umuapu area of Owerri-Port Harcourt road. 

More here-

Comedic Web Series ‘Ashes to Ashes’

From Santa Barbara-

The cast of Ashes to Ashes, a hilarious new web comedy available for viewing now at, will be familiar to the city’s theatergoers from dozens of productions by Lit Moon Theatre Company, the Theatre Group at Santa Barbara City College, the UCSB theater department, Genesis West, and more. Even if you’ve seen Mitchell Thomas, Jenna Scanlon, Annie Torsiglieri, Brian Harwell, Stanley Hoffman, Irwin Appel, and Tom Hinshaw onstage in everything from Shakespeare to Beckett, you most likely haven’t seen how well they adapt to the small screen, and in particular to the archetypal situation comedy. Now is your chance.

As written by Mitchell Thomas and Michael Bernard, these eight short episodes (they average about five minutes apiece) distill the eternal verities of the sitcom worldview to a highly concentrated essence. Thomas plays Father Ben, the doofus pastor of an Episcopal church in a town much like Santa Barbara. He encounters plenty of classic sitcom obstacles in his eight-episode story arc, some of them quite harsh. He gets no respect from his staff. Secretary Judy (Jenna Scanlon) clearly looks down on his slacker work ethic and lack of originality or responsibility, and his sexton Rob (Stan Hoffman) smokes pot on the job. Add to that the fact that his wife, Marcia (Ailish Dermody), tells him to his face that she’s sleeping with sleazy pinot honcho Sean the Winemaker (Brian Harwell). 

More here-

Responding to the Drought in Namibia

From Relief Web-

Episcopal Relief & Development is supporting the Anglican Diocese of Namibia in response to the ongoing drought devastating the country. The organization is in contact with the diocese’s development arm, the Namibia Anglican Community Development Organization (NACDO) as it prepares to respond to the needs of impacted communities.

Over the past four years, Namibia has been dealing with a drought affecting crops and drinking water for both people and livestock. Many people have no access to clean water and travel long distances to find water sources. According to the local government, the lack of rain has caused food shortages, leaving one in five Namibians without access to enough food. At least 60,000 domestic animals have died in the past six months.

Working with the diocese and its development agency, Episcopal Relief & Development is helping marginalized communities in the northern part of Namibia. Based on a community assessment, NACDO has identified 1,060 vulnerable families in the Ohangwena and Omusati regions. They will receive critical food supplies and other support. Two communities, Eembindi and Enghandja, will also receive a four to five km pipeline connecting them to a safe accessible water source. In addition, Episcopal Relief & Development and NACDO will provide support for community and home gardens, poultry farming training and the rehabilitation of wells and dams for water sources in six villages.

More here-

On Madison Avenue, an Episcopal priest blesses passersby

From RNS-

Russell Lupis stopped mid-jog when he saw the Rev. Adrian Dannhauser standing outside her Madison Avenue church with her “Ask Me For a Blessing” sign.
As she finished blessing someone else, Lupis stepped forward for a short conversation.
There was something on his mind — a tiff with his sister over their parents’ gravesite. 

Dannhauser listened intently. Then she locked hands with Lupis, closed her eyes and prayed. She ended by making the sign of the cross on his forehead.

Lupis is not a member of Dannhauser’s Church of the Incarnation, where she serves as associate rector. He’s not even an Episcopalian. But he welcomed the chance to receive a blessing.

“She’s worth waiting for,” said Lupis, who has received her blessings before. “People like that have an even closer connection than the norm.”

More here-

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Evangelical bishops call for humility and unity ahead of Lambeth 2020

From Christian Today-

Evangelical bishops have issued an appeal for humility and unity ahead of a major conference next year that has laid bare divisions between liberals and traditionalists in the Anglican Communion.

In a letter, published on the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas' website, the bishops write that it is an "acceptable time" to articulate their vision of Lambeth 2020, a gathering of bishops in the Anglican Communion taking place in Canterbury, Kent, next year.

The Lambeth Conference takes place around once every 10 years but some orthodox bishops have revealed plans to boycott the meeting because of differences over homosexuality.

The evangelical bishops in their letter plead with their fellow bishops to refrain from "harsh disagreement" and see each other "in the best light possible" in spite of their differences.

More here-

Episcopal church starts work on inclusive playground, invites public

From Texas-

A local Episcopal church is building one of the city’s first inclusive playgrounds, and the space is slated to be open to the public before the end of summer.
Holy Spirit Episcopal Church, 1624 Wooded Acres Drive, is renovating one of its playgrounds to be an all-inclusive playground for children between the ages of 2 and 6, designed to accommodate disabilities of any kind. The Rev. Jason Ingalls, the church’s rector, said the project is a reflection of Episcopalian beliefs and values.
“We think that we have a responsibility to God not only for the people who come here, but for the neighborhood around us,” Ingalls said.
Renderings depict an open space with a trail, a climbing mound and stationary percussion instruments for kids to play. The turf will be safe to fall onto, the ground will be flat and meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards, and all surfaces will be static-proof to protect hearing aids and other devices.

More here-

Seitz Named Canon of Episcopal Diocese

From West Virginia-

The Rev. Mark E. Seitz, rector of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Wheeling, has been named canon to the ordinary for the Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia.

A canon to the ordinary serves as an assistant to a diocesan bishop. 

“I am happy to welcome Father Mark aboard,” said the Rt. Rev. W. Michie Klusmeyer, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia. “He brings tremendous gifts to our diocese. We are blessed to have him accept this call to serve our church in this capacity.”

Seitz has served as rector of St. Matthew’s since 1995. He has served a total of 36 years in parish ministry.

“It has been anw honor to be in Wheeling,” Seitz said. “My dad served in the diocese as rector of several parishes; I grew up here in West Virginia and have served here at St. Matthew’s for 24 years. 

More here-

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

America seems to be on a death trip. We can’t fix it by demonizing one another.

From The Washington Post-

When Paula White, who’s often described as President Trump’s personal spiritual adviser, railed in her invocation at his reelection kickoff rally last week against “every demonic network who has aligned itself” against Trump, her words bothered me, personally and spiritually.

I’ve written critically about Trump, but I don’t consider myself a tool of the Devil, and I didn’t like it when a prominent religious leader seemed to be making that accusation about millions of Americans. We have enough problems in this country without the president’s pastor literally demonizing political opponents.

But it’s a good rule in journalism (and in politics and religion, too) to try to understand what motivates disturbing comments. And as it happens, I know a faithful supporter of Pastor Paula, as her followers call her, who could explain her theology. He’s the Rev. Paul F.M. Zahl, an Episcopal minister who was my closest friend in high school and with whom I still regularly correspond. He is a frequent attendee of Pastor Paula’s services.

More here-

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Keep your clergy well by encouraging creativity and crafting

From Austin-

“Jesus was a carpenter,” I point out.

“Yes, but God is a potter,” my wife, Madeline, counters.

We are discussing the limited room in our shed. She has a kiln she wants to keep there, and I have a new drill press I want to setup. Since we’re both Episcopal priests, these decisions tend to take on biblical proportions.

“God created humanity from clay, and that’s not just in Genesis, that’s in the Quran too. ‘Clay is the source of life on this planet. The first DNA was formed in the crystals of clay!’” Maddie plays the interfaith card and ends with a quote from Paulus Berensohn, the iconic ceramist and dancer she studied with at the Penland School of Craft.

“The way of carpentry is the way of the Buddha,” I retort.

“Who said that?” she calls my bluff.

“Nick Offerman,” I admit, “but I’m pretty sure he got it from his Zen Buddhist mentor.” For those unfamiliar, Nick Offerman is the actor who plays Ron Swanson on the sitcom “Parks and Recreation”. The kiln stayed in the shed, but because my wife recognized our overall wellness depends on each of us having a creative outlet, she helped me clear a space for the drill press in the garage.

More here-

Maine Episcopal Diocese Consecrates 1st Openly Gay Bishop

From Maine-

The Episcopal Diocese of Maine has consecrated an openly gay bishop for the first time.

The diocese says Rev. Thomas James Brown was ordained and consecrated its tenth bishop on Saturday in a ceremony that drew more than 900 people to St. Luke's Cathedral in Portland. Twenty-seven Episcopal bishops and more than 100 clergy from Maine participated in the service.

Gene Robinson, the retired Diocese of New Hampshire bishop and the first openly gay bishop, says Brown "stands on the shoulders of many other LGBTQ priests."

Brown is originally from Michigan and trained at parishes in California and his home state. He has also served in Vermont and Massachusetts. Brown says he is "especially grateful to be welcomed by loving and wise bishops in New England."

More here-

And here-

Monday, June 24, 2019

Praying for the dead now expensive! Namirembe Diocese to take 75% of condolences in funeral service

From Uganda-

Rev Canon Nelson Kaweesa, the Secretary of Namirembe diocese has said that 75% of the condolences will be retained by the church and the bereaved family will take 25%.

In a letter addressed to the different dignitaries in Namirembe Diocese, Rev Kaweesa said the decision was taken by the Diocesan Council.

He said collecting condolences will be conducted before the sermon to enable the ushers to count the money and divide it accordingly before the end of each service.

“75% of the condolence will be retained by the church to enable it pay for the items that were used in the service,” reads the letter in part.

He added that this arrangement includes funeral services held at home.

More here-

Peter Ball, former C of E bishop jailed for sexual abuse, dies at 87

From The Guardian-

Peter Ball, the disgraced former Anglican bishop who was sent to prison for sexually abusing vulnerable young men, has died at the age of 87.

Ball, who was a friend of the Prince of Wales and other influential members of the establishment, was jailed in 2015 – more than 20 years after allegations were made against him that were largely ignored or downplayed by the church.

Peter Hancock, the bishop of Bath and Wells and the Church of England’s lead safeguarding bishop, said: “We have been made aware of the death of Peter Ball and our prayers and thoughts are with everyone affected by this news.”

More here-

ICPC nabs six for impersonating Anglican Church Primate

From Nigeria-

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission said it had arrested six members of a cybercrime syndicate, who had been impersonating the Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Rev. Nicholas Okoh, and some bishops of the church on Facebook to defraud members of the public.

The anti-corruption agency spokesperson, Rashedat Okoduwa, said in a statement on Sunday that the suspects set up fake Facebook accounts and posted fictitious distress messages through them to solicit financial assistance from public figures, creating the impression that the clergy were sending the messages.

More here-

New Episcopalian bishop ordained at service in Portland

From Maine-

Hundreds of Maine Episcopalians celebrated the ordination and consecration of Bishop Thomas James Brown at the Cathedral of St. Luke in Portland on Saturday.

Brown, who was elected during a convention of clergy and laypeople in Bangor in February, is the first openly gay bishop in the church’s 200-year history in Maine and only the third for the church in the United States.

He replaces Bishop Stephen Lane, who is retiring after leading the church for 11 years. During the ceremony, Brown thanked Lane for his friendship and mentoring as they worked together during the transition from one bishop to the next.

“I promised him I would give him 30 days for retirement and then on July 22, I will be calling him every day,” Brown said to laughter and applause.

More here-