Saturday, October 19, 2019

What does ‘Honest to God’ tell us about Britain’s “secular revolution”?

From Oxford University Press-

On 17 March 1963, John Robinson, the Anglican bishop of Woolwich, wrote an article for the Observer entitled “Our Image of God Must Go.” He was writing to advertise his new book, Honest to God, which made a deeply controversial argument: that modern Christians would eventually find it necessary to reject classical theism. God Himself, Robinson argued, was causing a radical revolution in human life, in which human nature was being altered, so that “modern men” [sic] were no longer “religious” but “secular”. In the face of this divine process of “secularization”, the Christian churches had no option but to abandon “religion”, and to embrace a radical new “religionless Christianity”, which would question almost all the tenets of conventional theology, and focus instead on building a glorious new secular social order. These ideas were part of the 1960s global explosion in radical Christianity, which deeply shaped the World Council of Churches, the World Student Christian Federation, and Vatican II.

In Britain, the reaction was intense and immediate: the Church Times wrote angry editorials, the Sunday Telegraph’s reviewer regretted that Robinson could not be defrocked, and the archbishop of Canterbury censured him on television. Nonetheless, Honest to God went on to sell over a million copies, not including its translations into seventeen languages. It was, in the undisputed judgement of its publisher, the fastest-selling new work of serious theology of all time.

More here-

Even conservative rectors shuddered: why Sydney Archbishop's words hurt

From Australia-

It’s been clear for some time now that Sydney Anglicans have a grave public image problem. It’s one the leaders usually blame on others – the media for “spin”, the public for not understanding nuance, those in the pews for not blindly accepting what they are told.

A perfect example of this was provided this week when Archbishop Reverend Dr Glenn Davies, made a startling, unprecedented call for those in the church who wish to change doctrine on same-sex marriage to leave the church.

It was in a section of his synod speech about bishops, and he has since explained he did not mean everyone who supported same-sex marriage should walk out of the church, just the “guardians of the faith”, but the damage was done.

Even conservative rectors sitting in the synod told me they shuddered when he said it, knowing they would need to answer to parishioners on the weekend, and accurately anticipating the headlines that might follow. Some likened it to the moment Davies announced $1 million had been donated to the failed “No” campaign, a secretive decision that perplexed many and angered more.

More here-

Melbourne Anglicans vote to express 'sorrow' over blessing of same-sex marriages

From Australia-

Melbourne’s Anglican church has formally voted to record its “sorrow” over a regional Victorian diocese’s decision to bless same-sex marriages.

The nod of approval given by the Wangaratta diocese in August has angered the Melbourne church’s governing body.

Melbourne minister Robert Miller on Friday night moved a motion expressing “sorrow” over the regional diocese’s move, labelling it “profoundly disappointing”, “saddening” and disrespectful to the national church.

But the Melbourne vote of condemnation wasn’t unanimous, with some members of the governing body, known as a synod, praising the Wangaratta diocese’s choice to “show love”.

More here-

Executive Council gathers in Montgomery, Alabama, as city underscores theme of racial reconciliation

From ENS-

The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council gathered here Oct. 18 for a four-day fall meeting with racial reconciliation as a central theme, amplified by this city known for its prominent place in the histories of both the Civil War and the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s.

The business sessions have been scheduled around a full-day pilgrimage on Oct. 19 that will include visits to the Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, as well as a meeting with Bryan Stevenson, the death row attorney whose Equal Justice Initiative founded the two institutions in 2018 to tell the story of racial injustice and violence in the United States, from slavery to mass incarceration.

“It is the history of America, and this is important for us to remember,” Presiding Bishop Michael Curry said in his opening remarks Oct. 18 in a meeting room at the Embassy Suites Montgomery Hotel and Conference Center. “It’s not just a Southern story, and it’s not just a regional story.”

More here-

Facing financial struggles and board resignations, Integrity apologizes for lack of transparency

From ENS-

Integrity, the nonprofit organization dedicated to LGBTQ advocacy within The Episcopal Church, is a shadow of its former self, beset by struggles with leadership, finances and communication – as well as questions about whether it is still relevant or necessary in 2019.

Many longtime members and former Integrity leaders have expressed frustration and concern at what they consider mismanagement and a lack of transparency, and with tension boiling over on social media within the past two weeks, board members say they are making a renewed effort to improve organization and communication.

“I have failed to be perfect … and I fear that the spiritual, mental, and physical health of Integrity has suffered because of it. For this, I am profoundly sorry for any part that I have contributed to with regard to the health of our organization,” the Rev. Gwen Fry, president of Integrity, wrote in a statement posted on Facebook and Integrity’s new website, which went live on Oct. 17.

More here-

Friday, October 18, 2019

Typical church now has just 27 people turning up to worship

From The Daily Mail-

A typical Anglican congregation numbered just 27 worshippers last year, figures revealed yesterday.

They showed that over a decade congregations fell by 15 per cent, church marriages by a third, and that fewer than one in ten babies were baptised.

According to estimates highlighted by the Church of England, a typical church staged just one white wedding in 2018.

But Church leaders said that Anglicanism is booming online and that CofE prayer apps were used more than five million times during last year, while its prayers and sermons are now receiving 3.6million clicks every month.

More here-

My words were for the bishops and I stand by them

From Australia-

Every year at about this time I am asked, "Why don't you update what you believe – it doesn't fit with modern Australia." The subject lately has been same-sex marriage, but it has been a kaleidoscope of issues over the years.

When representatives of our churches meet at our annual Synod, we do so publicly. Our churches are open to all people in the suburbs of Sydney, the Illawarra and the Blue Mountains, so our governing body is public as well. We do not hide our beliefs, nor are we ashamed of them. People know what we believe and are free to comment on what we do and what we believe.

When I spoke this year about bishops as "guardians of the faith", I was reflecting not only the doctrine of the Anglican Church, but also the ancient testimony of the early church right back to the time of the New Testament, when the apostle Paul charged his co-workers, Timothy and Titus, to "guard what was committed to your trust".

More here-

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Hide your Bible is the rule for tourists in Saudi

From Eternity News-

Neighbouring countries in the Middle East are taking very different approaches to religious freedom – with churches gaining legal status in Abu Dhabi, and open display of the Bible being banned in Saudi Arabia.

In Abu Dhabi, one of the United Arab Emirates, eighteen places of non-Muslim worship had received official legal status. This includes St Andrew’s Anglican Church which, like several of the others, is built on land donated by by Sheikh Zayed, the nation’s Founding Father.

“Today marks the coming of age between the church and the United Arab Emirates,” Canon Andrew Thompson, senior Anglican Chaplain of St Andrew’s  told The National, the local broadsheet newspaper.

“The sheikhs [sic] has been generous in giving churches land for the last decade but we have never really had a mechanism to deal with government departments.

More here-

Anglican churches reject Sydney archbishop’s stance on same-sex marriage

From The Guardian-

Anglican churches around Australia have pushed back against Sydney Archbishop Glenn Davies’ suggestion to same-sex marriage supporters that they “please leave” the church.

In an address to the 51st Synod of the Diocese of Sydney, Davies said those who supported same-sex marriage should abandon the church.

“I fear for the stability of the Anglican Church of Australia. These developments have the potential to fracture our fellowship and impair our communion. I have stated this on numerous occasions at the annual National Bishops’ Conference, but sadly to little effect,” he said.

“My own view is that if people wish to change the doctrine of our church, they should start a new church or join a church 0more aligned to their views – but do not ruin the Anglican Church by abandoning the plain teaching of Scripture. Please leave us.

More here- 

and here- 

and here-

Campaigners protest ICE activity in Bishop Henry Whipple Federal Building

From Oregon (but really Minnesota)

Bishop Henry Whipple, the first Episcopal bishop of Minnesota, is known in Faribault as the founder of the Cathedral of Our Merciful Savior and a proponent of Shattuck-St. Mary’s School.

On a larger scale, Whipple is known for persuading former President Abraham Lincoln to spare the lives of 303 Native Americans who would have been hung in the Dakota Uprising of 1862.

Today, some believe the deportations being carried out at a building bearing Whipple’s name leave an ugly stain on the bishop’s legacy.

While serving as U.S. senator between 1964 and 1976, Walter Mondale named a Fort Snelling federal government building in Whipple’s honor. The building today houses federal agencies like Veteran Affairs, but it also houses Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) headquarters and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for a five-state region.

More here-

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Archbishop accused of trying to 'split' Anglican church over same-sex marriage

From Australia-

Anglican Archbishop of Sydney Glenn Davies has been accused of trying to force a historic split in the church over same-sex marriage as he moves to deny funds to any diocese that wavers from marriage doctrine.

Dr Davies' speech this week calling for those who disagreed with the church's doctrine on marriage to "please leave us" sparked a wave of criticism within the Anglican communion, which is riven by division over this and other issues.

Andrew Sempell, rector of St James' Church in Sydney, said the archbishop was trying to provoke "a split, a schism" between progressive and conservative Anglicans.

"There's a degree of madness. The diocese of Sydney is promoting divorce within the church over this issue," he said.

More here-

and here-

Over 100 Christian leaders sign letter supporting impeachment inquiry

From Kentucky-

At a gathering of “Red Letter Christians” in Goldsboro, North Carolina, over 100 Christian leaders from across the country signed a letter supporting the impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

Under the #PrayForTruth hashtag, the statement calls on fellow Christians to support the inquiry as a search for the truth, and to pray for all the elected leaders involved in the inquiry.

The mission statement of Red Letter Christians says “Staying true to the foundation of combining Jesus and justice, Red Letter Christians mobilizes individuals into a movement of believers who live out Jesus’ counter-cultural teachings.” The organization was founded by Tony Campolo and Shane Claiborne.

The signers of the letter include some well-known figures in Christian and social justice circles:
  • Rev. Dr. William Barber, II, Repairers of the Breach
  • Rev. Jennifer Butler, Faith in Public Life
  • Rev. Dr. Tony Campolo, Eastern University
  • Rev. Guthrie Graves-Fitzsimmons, The Resistance Prays
  • Brian McLaren, Author
  • John Pavlovitz, Pastor and Author
  • The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, IX Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire
  • Rev. Jim Wallis, Sojourners
More here-

Episcopal bishop preaches to hundreds

From Northern Michigan-

Hundreds of Upper Peninsula residents of all ages and walks of life gathered in the Northern Center Ballroom Sunday for “Revival-The Way of Love UP North,” led by the Most Rev. Michael Curry, presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church.

Curry, who was installed as bishop in 2015, has authored four books and is known for his dynamic preaching style.

The event, held at Northern Michigan University, was organized by the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan in partnership with the Northern Great Lakes Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

It began with a welcome from Bradley Nadeau of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians and featured charismatic preaching, performances by the Queen City Dancers, the American Choral Directors Association Student Chapter Singers and a story from Hebrew scripture.

More here-

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

How an Anglican priest became a Catholic saint

From England-

From tending to the sick during a cholera outbreak in the 19th century Black Country to healing an expectant mother in modern-day Chicago, John Henry Newman has left an indelible impression on the Catholic Church.

And the one-time temporary assistant priest in the West Midlands this week became Britain’s newest saint. 

In front of tens of thousands of pilgrims at St Peter’s Square in the Vatican, the Pope Francis elevated the English theologian to sainthood. 

The Prince of Wales, who represented the UK at the ceremony, praised the legacy of the cardinal, saying in a speech after the ceremony, saying it was a cause for celebration Anglicans, Catholics and simple admirers of Newman. 

“He was a priest, a poet and a thinker ahead of his time,” said the Prince. “Above all, perhaps, he was a fearless defender of truth, whose impact on the world was as profound as it is enduring.

More here-

Robert Estill, Retired Bishop of North Carolina, Dies at 92

From The Living Church-

The Rt. Rev. Robert Estill, IX Bishop of North Carolina, passed away October 9 at the age of 92, the Diocese of North Carolina announced.

Bishop Estill, a native of Kentucky, earned several degrees at the University of Kentucky, Episcopal Divinity School and Sewanee, the University of the South. After a decade as a parish priest in Kentucky, he served as a rector in Washington D.C. and Dallas, and as a faculty member at Virginia Theological Seminary, before being elected bishop coadjutor of the Diocese of North Carolina in 1980.

He succeeded the Rt. Rev. Thomas Fraser as the IX Bishop of North Carolina on January 27, 1983, when he was consecrated by the Most Rev. John M. Allin. He retired in 1994.

More here- 

and here-

Monday, October 14, 2019

"Please leave us" Sydney's Anglican Archbishop tells people want to change doctrine

From Australia-

Glenn Davies, Anglican Archbishop of Sydney has a message for people who disagree with him – and his diocese about same sex blessings – they should leave the church rather than fight. “My own view is that if people wish to change the doctrine of our Church, they should start a new church or join a church more aligned to their views – but do not ruin the Anglican Church by abandoning the plain teaching of Scripture,” he told his Synod (church parliament) in his final address to them. “Please leave us. We have far too much work to do in evangelising Australia to be distracted by the constant pressure to change our doctrine in order to satisfy the lusts and pleasures of the world.”

Davies’ theme was ‘guarding the faith’ and he  commended two new bishops in his address – Mark Calder a minister from Noosa who will become the next bishop of Bathurst, who will be supported financially by Sydney diocese (region) as the country diocese is in a financial drought after spending on schools plunged it into debt. Davies described Calder as an able minister who has grown parishes in both Roseville in Sydney and the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.

More here-

Buttigieg pushes back on O'Rourke threat to strip religious institutions of tax-exempt status

From The Hill-

2020 presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg (D) on Sunday took aim at former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas) for saying that religious institutions should lose their tax-exempt status if they oppose same-sex marriage, arguing the policy would only "deepen the divisions we’re already experiencing."

"I agree that anti-discrimination law ought to be applied to all institutions. But the idea that you’re going to strip churches of their tax exempt status if they haven’t found their way towards blessing same-sex marriage, I’m not sure [O'Rourke] understood the implications of what he was saying," Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., said on CNN's "State of The Union" while discussing comments O'Rourke made during the network's LGBT town hall.

More here-

Kalamazoo church collects cremated remains that were left behind or forgotten

From Western Michigan-

One church in Kalamazoo made sure that people are not forgotten or left behind in death by collecting cremated remains that were never claimed.

"Every person deserves to be recognized. They lived. They loved. They worked. They deserve to be remembered," said Mother Mary Perrin, rector at the St. Martin of Tours Episcopal Church.

St. Martin of Tours Episcopal Church in Kalamazoo worked with local funeral homes and state medical examiner's office to collect the unclaimed remains.

The church then buries the cremains in a garden during a ceremony where they "claim the unclaimed."

"In God's name, not in the name of our church or our faith or anything, and in God's name we receive them, and respect them, and try to bury them with dignity, to give their life some kind of closure," Mother Mary Perrin said.

Some of the cremains date back to the 1800s.

Presbyterian, Episcopal representatives convene third round of dialogues

Presbyterian Outlook-

Representatives from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and The Episcopal Church met this week at the Transfiguration Spirituality Center in Glendale, Ohio, to discuss mandates affirmed by both churches last year to talk about such issues as what would be needed to lead both denominations toward full reconciliation of ordered ministry.

Other topics to be addressed over the next five years include discerning the meaning of membership in a shifting American religious context, analyzing ecclesiological identities and differences using historic and socioeconomic lenses, and working with the respective national offices of both churches to develop guidelines and resources for mutual ministries and missions, particularly in areas of collaboration for new worshiping communities and ecumenical congregations.

This week, those involved in dialogue met with the pastoral leadership of the Indian Hill Church, a 72-year old federated Presbyterian and Episcopal congregation which co-exists in one campus. The church has shared leadership, finances, governance, and worship — and decidedly two distinct ecclesial traditions living as one community. Representatives listened to clergy leaders The Rev. Nancy Hopkins-Greene (Episcopal) and The Rev. Stephen Caine (Presbyterian), and local judicatory officials The Rev. Canon Lynn Carter-Edmands and General Presbyter Lisa Allgood, as they shared both the joys and challenges of what was hailed as an “ecumenical experiment.”

More here-