Saturday, August 31, 2019

Church of England to start research into Messy Churches

From Premier-

The Church of England has announced that it has partnered with the Messy Church movement in hopes of deepening the faith of families and children that attend the non-traditional churches.

The Messy Church movement was set up by the Bible Reading Fellowship (BRF) 15 years ago, offering mainly families and children food, activities such as arts, crafts and sports and worship. The movement has spread across the world, with churches meeting on Saturdays and weekdays as well as Sundays.

A grant of £100,000 has been awarded to the Church of England’s Evangelism and Discipleship Team to study deepening the discipleship of Messy Church congregations.

Dave Male, director of the team told Premier what the outcome of the research could be.

“Deepening the discipleship is really helping people in their journey of faith and learning how that might be applicable for families who come to Messy Churches. Part of the research will be saying what the most effective ways of doing that is,” he said.

More here-

Religious leaders duty bound to resist extremism - Archbishop Welby

From Sri Lanka-

Religious leaders of every faith have a duty to resist extremism and to teach a dialogue of peace to their followers, Archbishop of Canterbury Most Rev.Rt.Hon Dr.Justin Welby said on Thursday.
“For Christians, peace building is not optional. It is not something you add to make yourself especially good Christians,” he said.

The spiritual head of the Anglican Church,on a visit in Sri Lanka, stated this addressing an inter faith meeting held at the Diocesan Office in Colombo yesterday. The meeting was held with the participation of religious leaders including Most Ven. Ittapane Dhammalankara Nayake Thera.

“In every faith tradition, there is a trace in extremist attitudes including in Christianity. The challenge of discussion between all faiths has become more difficult in the last three to four decades,” he said adding that first is the taking of responsibility and the second is honesty.

More here-

and here-

and here-

Episcopalians long invested in former death row inmate 'grateful for the life spared'

From Tennessee-

Episcopalians play a special role in Tennessee inmate Abu-Ali Abdur'Rahman's life behind bars

They are his visitors to death row, his courtroom supporters and his bishop. 

On Friday, the Episcopalians were among the slate of people who welcomed Criminal Court Judge Monte Watkins' decision to remove Abdur'Rahman from Tennessee's death row. 

"I’m very thankful to God for this good news about Abu," Tennessee Episcopal Bishop John Bauerschmidt said in an email. "The Episcopal Church has long spoken against the death penalty through resolutions of our General Convention." 

Instead of being put to death on April 16, Abdur'Rahman, 68, will spend the rest of his life in prison for the 1986 Nashville stabbings that killed Patrick Daniels and wounded Norma Jean Norman. At the time, Abdur'Rahman went by the name James L. Jones Jr.

More here-

South Sudanese gather in Lexington for peace conference

From Southwestern Virginia-

The South Sudanese Diaspora Network for Reconciliation and Peace was created last year at a conference led by the American Friends of the Episcopal Church of the Sudans. Leaders who had been exiled from South Sudan gathered to discuss what would be necessary to achieve lasting peace in the country and decided to create an organized group.
This weekend’s conference falls on the day the church celebrates the feast day of the Rev. Marc Nikkel, who worked as a missionary in South Sudan before he died in 2000.
In January, the Episcopal Diocese of Southwestern Virginia met for its convention. The minister of Grace Episcopal Church asked the founder of the American Friends group to speak at the church’s Marc Nikkel celebration. But he said he couldn’t because he was helping the Diaspora Network find a venue for its conference, Grace Episcopal Church Program Director Sharon Massie said.

More here-

Friday, August 30, 2019

Episcopalian congregation rejoices as asylum-seeker is freed

From The Church Times-

AN EPISCOPALIAN congregation in San Diego, in the United States, celebrated the release of an asylum-seeker, Constantin Bakala, last week, who had been separated from his wife and seven children on the Mexico-US border two years ago.

The family fled their home in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) for fear of persecution and violence. Mr Bakala had been affiliated with an opposition political party that promoted democratic reforms. After journeying through South and Central America, the family arrived in Tijuana, Mexico, in November 2017, where they sought asylum in the US.

Mr Bakala was detained pending the outcome of their case. His wife, Annie Bwetu Kapongo, and the children were released on condition that she wore an ankle monitor. The family settled in San Diego, where they became involved with St Luke’s, North Street.

The children, who are now aged six to 17, serve as acolytes and sing in the choir, the Episcopal News Service (ENS) reports. The congregation has been raising funds to cover the legal costs to support the family and fight their case.

More here-

‘Abortion Is a Blessing’: Minister Commits to Giving Pre-Paid Gas Cards to Women Seeking Abortions

From Christian Headlines-

Episcopal priest Reverend Katherine Ragsdale, with her organization National Abortion Federation, will hand out pre-paid gas cards for women seeking abortions, according to FaithWire.

“Since there are a limited number of providers and states continue to impose additional restrictions, many women have to travel long distances to reach the closest provider who can help them,” NAF said in a statement. “And this situation will only worsen as the political environment continues to become more hostile toward abortion rights.”

Ragsdale, who is the Interim President and CEO of NAF, believes the initiative will provide more support for women “so that they can make, and act on, the best decisions for themselves and their families.”

The pilot program will run for three months and start in states that have waiting periods or other abortion restrictions, LifeNews reports.

The response comes in light of several states furthering restrictive abortion limits. States such as Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana have nearly abolished terminations and several other states are poised to do the same.

More here-

Holy Comforter priest: Betterments is a 'Plan B'

From South Carolina-

A circuit court judge's ruling this week that a state church district of about 50 congregations would still have the right to compensation for improvements it made to parishes, even if it lost property ownership to a national church group, is a good "Plan B option," according to a local priest.

The Rev. Marcus Kaiser, rector of Church of the Holy Comforter, 213 N. Main St., spoke Thursday about various scenarios that could play out in a back-and-forth legal case between the state diocese that his parish is part of and the national Episcopal Church.

The Diocese of South Carolina split from the national church group in 2012 because of theological concerns and is now part of The Anglican Church in North America.

Since 2013, the Episcopal Church has said that 28 parishes' property from the breakaway group in the state belong to it, pointing to an imposed trust from 1979. Two parishes in Sumter County - Church of the Holy Comforter and The Church of the Holy Cross in Stateburg - are part of the diocese in the legal battle.

More here-,332734

Supporting Dioceses Preparing for Hurricane Dorian

From Relief Web-

Episcopal Relief & Development is supporting dioceses located in the path of Hurricane Dorian as they prepare to respond to the needs of impacted communities.

According to the National Hurricane Center on Thursday, August 29, Hurricane Dorian is expected to strengthen into a Category 4 storm as it moves north towards the Bahamas, Florida and the southeastern United States over Labor Day weekend. The storm passed through the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Wednesday with winds of 85 mph and heavy rainfall, causing damage to buildings and power lines in the US Virgin Islands.

Episcopal Relief & Development is supporting affected dioceses and dioceses in the projected path of the storm, in the Caribbean as well as on the US mainland, as they prepare response efforts.. The US Disaster team has begun daily coordination calls with the dioceses to provide assistance as they plan next steps and activate their disaster response plans. Many of these dioceses are still recovering from the effects of the devastating 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season and have been working to build resilience for future storms.

More here-

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Anglican Archbishops through the decades

From Uganda-

Bishop Samuel Stephen Kaziimba of Mityana diocese was on Wednesday announced the Archbishop-elect of the Church of Uganda edging out a number of contenders.

The decision to replace retiring Archbishop Stanley Ntagali with the 57-year-old as the church's 9th Archbishop was made by the House of Bishops who convened inside the Provincial Office of the Church of Uganda in Namirembe, Kampala.

Here, we take a look at the eight Archbishops who have been at the helm of the church over the decades dating as far back as the 1960s.

Leslie Brown (1961-1966)

Archbishop Leslie Brown, a British missionary, was the first Archbishop of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Boga-Zaire

Brown was born in New York City and grew up in Albany, New York.  After working for the McDonald's Corporation as a manager and field supervisor she served as a college administrator at Skidmore College.

More here-

Priest makes Steamboat a stop on his 6 Million Steps for Kids journey

From Colorado-

Near the summit of Rabbit Ears Pass, the Rev. Peter Munson looked energized as he made his way along the seeming endless expanse of pavement marking a path he has been called to follow.

“It wasn’t audible words certainly,” Munson said Tuesday from Steamboat Springs where he was slated to speak to the public at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church that night. “What I heard was to walk across the country and to speak and to write as I go.”

That calling, which came more than 10 years ago, is the reason the 62-year-old Episcopalian priest has worked hard to overcome many hurdles, it’s the reason he is making the 3,600-mile journey from Charleston, South Carolina, to San Francisco, and it’s the reason he is asking people to donate to his nonprofit, 6 Million Steps for Kids.

More here-

Judge: S.C. diocese has right to money for property upgrades

From South Carolina-

In a back-and-forth legal case, a state circuit court judge has ruled a state church district of about 50 congregations would still have the right to compensation for improvements it made to parishes through the years, even if it lost property ownership to a national church group.

Late Tuesday, Judge Edgar Dickson of South Carolina's First Judicial Circuit denied the motion of The Episcopal Church and The Episcopal Church of South Carolina to dismiss a Betterments Statute claim filed by a former breakaway group, the Diocese of South Carolina, according to a diocese news release.

And compensation for those improvements could be "substantial," according to a diocese official.
The diocese, or state church district, split from the national Episcopal Church in 2012 because of theological concerns and is now part of The Anglican Church in North America.

"The Betterments Statute makes this possible: If you improve it - thinking you owned it - and it turns out somebody else does, they have to in some fashion compensate you for those improvements," said Jim Lewis, Canon to the Bishop of the diocese on Wednesday.

More here-,332676

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Church of Uganda elects new Archbishop today

From Uganda-

The House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Uganda convenes this morning to elect and later in the afternoon announce the 9th Archbishop of the Church of Uganda.
The House of Bishops is the body that elects the Archbishop and it comprises of all active Diocesan and Assistant Bishops from the 37 dioceses. The Provincial Chancellor presides over the election.
The new Archbishop will be enthroned in March next year taking over from Stanley Ntagali.

Archbishop Ntagali was elected and enthroned as Archbishop on December 16 2012 at the age of 57. He turns 65 years old on March 1, 2020 and that is the mandatory age of retirement. 

Provincial Secretary, Rev. Canon Captain William Ongeng said yesterday in a press statement that the election of the new Archbishop will be announced today at the Provincial Office of the Church of Uganda, Namirembe. 

More here-

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

World Anglican Church head here Thursday

From Ceylon-

The Archbishop of Canterbury Most Revd. Justin Welby, the spiritual head of the Anglican Church, will arrive in Sri Lanka on Thursday (29) on a three-day visit as a mark of solidarity with Sri Lanka.

Addressing the media yesterday at the Bishop’s Office, the Presiding Bishop of the Church of Ceylon (Anglican) and Bishop of the Diocese of Colombo Rt. Revd. Dhiloraj Ranjith Canagasabey said that that during his visit to Sri Lanka, the Archbishop of Canterbury is expected to convey solidarity with Sri Lanka in the wake of the Easter Sunday bombings in April.

The Archbishop will be accompanied by his wife Caroline, the Archbishop’s Adviser on Anglican Communion Affairs Rt Revd Anthony Poggo and his Chief of Staff David Porter.
“The Archbishop of Canterbury is the spiritual head of the worldwide Anglican Communion which has about 85 million members spread over more than 105 countries.” he said.

More here-

Western Massachusetts Episcopal Bishop Douglas Fisher joins suit challenging President Trump’s border wall construction

 From Massachusetts-

The Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts is among the 75 religious organizations to file a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit challenging President Donald Trump’s use of emergency powers to secure funds to build an expanded wall along the U.S. southern border with Mexico.

In his appendix entry to the brief, Diocesan Bishop Douglas Fisher calls Trump’s action “a clear violation” of the right of Congress to approve how funds from the U.S. Treasury are to be spend.
"The President's use of government funds for building the southern border wall is a clear violation of the Congress' power of the purse,” Fisher’s statement reads.

“The situation at our southern border may quite rightly be seen as a crisis as the President's policy shifts have stranded asylum seekers in Mexico for an indeterminate time. The impact of his change to national policy has endangered the lives of people who seek safety here. What has been done to the children under orders from the President, is immoral and an affront to human dignity. I join this amicus brief on behalf of the Episcopalians in Western Massachusetts who have promised to uphold the dignity of every human being."

More here-

Emmanuel saved — closed in 2015, historical Episcopal church in Coloma to be restored

From California-

After nearly 165 years of existence and countless hours of work from local historical preservationists, the Emmanuel Church, the first Episcopal church in California, is being restored thanks to approximately $2.5 million in state funding.

Built in 1855, the church has experienced dry rot, a faltering roof and windows and crumbling foundation in recent years. All that’s going to change soon.

Barry Smith, chief ranger of California State Parks Gold Fields District, called it the “best day ever” at Marshall Gold Discovery State Historical Park . Nailing down funding improvements for the church is a huge breakthrough for the district, Smith said.

“When the news first broke, I kept it a secret because I wanted to tell everyone at once,” Smith said. “We’ve all worked so hard to get this done. You know how important it is to everyone when you tell them and you see tears coming down. That’s how powerful this is.”

More here-

Monday, August 26, 2019

Is it OK to pray for President Donald Trump’s defeat?

From Get Religion-
Prayers about elections during formal church services are usually non-partisan, though a parson may slip in a verbal wink to make sure that the Almighty – and the parishioners – know which candidate or party is preferable. Here are a couple pre-election prayers provided for communal worship:
From the Episcopal Church’s Book of Common Prayer: “Almighty God, to whom we must account for all our powers and privileges: Guide the people of the United States (or of this community) in the election of officials and representatives; that, by faithful administration and wise laws, the rights of all may be protected and our nation be enabled to fulfill your purposes; through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.”
From the U.S. Catholic bishops: “ … We pray for discernment so that we may choose leaders who hear your Word, live your love, and keep in the ways of your truth as they follow in the steps of Jesus and his Apostles and guide us to your kingdom of justice and peace.” The full text takes on a programmatic flavor with expressed concern for e.g.victims of poverty and for “children unborn,” but without designating candidates or parties.
More here-

Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life shul to hold High Holiday services at local church

From Pittsburgh-

Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life congregation will hold its High Holiday services in an Episcopal church located just down the street. 

The Calvary Episcopal Church reached out to the congregation just days after the October 27 attack that left 11 Jewish worshippers dead, offering its building for any of the congregation’s needs, the Episcopal News Service reported

The congregation, known formally as Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Congregation, has been holding Shabbat services in the social hall of Rodef Shalom Congregation, another Pittsburgh-area congregation, but it needs a location that can hold at least 800 people for services for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle reported. The church’s sanctuary can seat 1,000 people.  

More here-

Sudanese bishop visits Gilbertsville

From New York-

Justin Badi Arama, archbishop of South Sudan, preached the value of living a life of gratitude to God to an audience of Gilbertsville congregants and former Sudanese refugees who fled the violence in their home country as children and have since established lives and families in upstate New York.

The Sudanese nationals were the special guests of Christ Episcopal Church, one of three Gilbertsville congregations to host the annual community worship service Sunday in Centennial Park.

“A life well-lived is a life of gratitude and thanksgiving to God,” Arama said. “Although we live in a world that is full of misery — full of disability, full of disease, wars and terror attacks — the bible encourages all Christians to live a life of gratitude to God.”

Arama said the most important reason to be thankful to God is outlined in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he sent his one and only begotten son to the world.”

More here-