Saturday, November 16, 2019

Christianity is declining at a rapid pace, but Americans still hold positive views about religion’s role in society

From The Washington Post-

Despite public concerns about religious groups and a loss of respect for clergy in general, a new poll from the Pew Research Center suggests many Americans still see religion generally having a positive role for Christianity.

Christianity has been rapidly declining in the United States while the number of Americans who are religiously unaffiliated is growing. Gallup polls have found a massive, three-decade fall in confidence in “organized religion” from as high as 66 percent in the mid-1980s to 36 percent in 2019. Pope Francis’s image has declined in multiple surveys in the wake of new revelations about sex abuse scandals.

But Pew’s survey, published Friday, finds that Americans hold more positive views of religion’s role overall and concerns about it declining. Fifty-five percent say churches and religious organizations do more good than harm in society (compared with 20 percent of people who think it does more harm than good). Similar majorities say religious organizations strengthen morality in society (53 percent), and 50 percent say they bring people together.

More here-

Friday, November 15, 2019

Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori speaks about women in leadership

From Ohio-

On Nov. 11, Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori of the United States Episcopal Church spoke in front of an audience of students and faculty. The event, which was the latest in the year-long Women at Kenyon celebration, took place in the Gund Gallery Community Foundation theater. Following an introduction by Priest-in-charge of Harcourt Parish and College Chaplain Rachel Kessler ’04, Jefferts Schori took the stage to deliver a speech about women, power, and the fight to be recognized.

Jefferts Schori had particular insight into the struggles women in positions of power face: when she was elected as Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in 2006, she was the first woman ever to serve as primate in the worldwide Episcopal communion. During her tenure, she shepherded the Episcopal church through a number of changes, one of which was the acceptance of LGBTQ+ members into the church. Prior to her time as bishop, Jefferts Schori taught subjects such as fishery, religious studies and philosophy at Oregon State University, where she holds a Ph.D. in oceanography. 

More here-

Diocese of Lexington elects Bishop Mark Van Koevering as bishop diocesan

From ENS-

On Nov. 1, at the Special Convention for the Diocese of Lexington held at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Winchester, Kentucky, the first order of business was the election of the eighth bishop of Lexington.

The Rt. Rev. Mark Van Koevering was duly elected and was greeted joyously by the convention. Van Koevering has been serving as the bishop provisional since being appointed by the diocesan convention in February 2018. As such, he continues as the ecclesiastical authority of the diocese, but now also is bishop diocesan-elect.

More here-

Redlands’ Trinity Episcopal Church to hold annual Native American worship service

From Los Angeles-

Trinity Episcopal Church in Redlands will hold its 11th annual Native American worship service, celebrating Native American Heritage Month, at 10:15 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 17.

The liturgy for the service is based on the Red Lake Mass set by Monte Mason, a nationally known composer and arranger of sacred music, according to a press release from the church.

Mason created this musical setting in 1996 based on tunes compiled by Frances Densmore, an early ethnomusicologist who noted and recorded music from various Northern American tribes. The service uses spoken text from the Creek, Dakota, Chippewa and Choctaw nations.

At the beginning of the service, Native American guests will gather in the church’s garden for prayers and smudging, led by Theresa Paine, Cherokee, and drummer Rudolph Medina, Apache, aka Singing Bird.

More here-

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Nigerians facing hard times, says Anglican Primate

From Nigeria-

Considering the rise in insecurity, killings by bandits and kidnapping for rituals and ransom, this is not the best of times for Nigeria.

Primate, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Rev. Nicholas Okoh, said this at the opening of the 2019 Divine Commonwealth Conference (DIVCCON) in Abuja.

Stressing that the ills would have been enough to ignite an internal war, he expressed hope of the country surviving the hard times and evil people.

Okoh, who expressed concern over the alleged rift between President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, urged Nigerians to pray against any challenge facing the present administration and the seed of discord at Aso Villa.

More here-

Pope, Anglican archbishop affirm desire to visit South Sudan together

From Crux-

Pope Francis and Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury, spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion, said they would travel together to South Sudan if the country’s leaders fulfill their promise to form a transitional government by late February.

The pope and Welby met at the Vatican Nov. 13 while the Anglican leader was in Rome to install a new director of the city’s Anglican Centre.

“During the friendly discussions, the condition of Christians in the world was mentioned, as well as certain situations of international crisis, particularly the sorrowful situation in South Sudan,” the Vatican press office said in a statement later.

More here-


From Northern California-

In Northern California, St Paul’s Episcopal Church in Walnut Creek would like to open its affordable housing complex in December or January.

It’s called St Paul’s Commons and will be a mixed-use development with community spaces operated by St Paul’s Episcopal Church. It’s also where the non-profit Trinity Center will have a physical space to serve people who are homeless.

The project will include 45 affordable apartments. The church leased its land to Berkeley-based developer Resources for Community Development, which used a property management company to perform background checks, call references and conduct interviews for apartment applications.

The development is taking over a single-family home where Trinity Center provided services to the homeless. Rev Krista Fregoso said they were already assisting people who were homeless and later thought, “What if we became a part of the solution, too?”

To Fregoso, “This is just one part of how we live out our faith. We hope to be a model for other faith communities who might see their property in a different way.”

More here-

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

'Dire' report projects near end of Anglican Church in Canada

From Canada-

By 2040, there may be no Anglican Church members left in Canada. 

That’s the finding a new report commissioned by the Anglican Church of Canada and delivered to leaders at the Council of General Synod meeting last week in Mississauga, Ont. 

The document by Rev. Neil Elliot, an Anglican priest in Trail, B.C., shows the church running out of members in 20 years at the current state of decline. 

"Projections from our data indicate that there will be no members, attenders or givers in the Anglican Church of Canada by approximately 2040," the report says. 

More here-

Episcopal Church inviting public to join in $1M match for disaster relief

From Oklahoma-

St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, 518 W. Randolph, is inviting the community to join with the church in making tax-deductible donations to a $1 million matching campaign for disaster relief and development.

"For over 75 years, Episcopal Relief & Development has been working together with supporters and partners for lasting change around the world," according to a press release. "Each year the organization facilitates healthier, more fulfilling lives for more than 3 million people struggling with hunger, poverty, disaster and disease."

Episcopal Relief & Development hosts an annual holiday match campaign, offering supporters and donors the opportunity to double the impact of their donations. For the second year in a row, private donors have pledged funds to double others' donations, dollar-for-dollar, up to $1 million.

More here-

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Anglican Church names new Bishop for Jerusalem

From Jerusalem-

Michael Augustine Owen Lewis, diocesan bishop of Cyprus and the Gulf has been named as the new president bishop of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East.

Archbishop Michael, as he will be known henceforth, succeeds the Most Reverend Suheil Dawani. 

Michael will take up his duties on Sunday 17 November 2019, according to a statement by provincial secretary, Georgia Katsantonis.

Lewis has held the position of diocesan bishop of Cyprus and the Gulf for the past twelve years.
Prior to that he was for eight years Bishop of Middleton in the Province of York in the United Kingdom.

More here-

Perhaps The Time Has Come

From The Living Church-

It is an idea which has been mooted on each side of the marriage debate aisle. It has in the main garnered no popular support. But the time has come once more within the Church to debate whether we should cease to perform any marriages—whether same-sex or traditional—which are also legal acts of the State. Should we cut the final Constantinian tether by which the priest serves simultaneously as civil agent? Should we “go European” such that the couple would be declared to be married when they go to get their license, and then receive a blessing, with vows and rings, in a nuptial liturgy in Church.

Let me clear up some immediate misunderstandings. Yes, your child can have the very same service (and reception), except for a few small liturgical emendations. And no, this does not really change much the divide between traditionalists and progressives on marriage.

More here-


From Boston-

Just over a year ago, the day after the deadly mass shooting at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue, more than a thousand locals gathered together on the Boston Common to mourn and pray.

As Rev Amy McCreath, dean of the historic St Paul Cathedral that overlooks America’s oldest park, watched people of various faiths unite once again to mourn another national tragedy, she was hit with an emotional realisation.

“I looked out over the crowds of people, and it was so clear that all of them really want a peaceful future,” she remembered. “We want to work together against violence, but we don’t even know each other. Unfortunately, the odds are good that something like that will happen again, and we need to be prepared to support one another and defend one another."

That’s part of the reason the Episcopal cathedral agreed to host a new interfaith art exhibit that explores the faith and life of Abraham, the shared spiritual forefather of the world’s three largest monotheistic religions - and launched an accompanying interfaith book study to spotlight Abraham’s wives, Sarah and Hagar.

More here-

Emmanuel Episcopal holds Underground Railroad program


The spire of Emmanuel Episcopal Church is a beloved landmark at the top of the hill that overlooks Cumberland downtown.

According to local oral history, Emmanuel was an important landmark for African Americans escaping slavery.

The tunnels under the church were a station on the Underground Railroad and provided refuge for those on their way to Pennsylvania.

Emmanuel held a celebration of the Underground Railroad in the local area as well as a commemoration of the anniversary of Emancipation Day on Nov. 1. Maryland was one of the earliest states to abolish slavery — a full year ahead of the 13th Amendment.

More here-

Monday, November 11, 2019

Maine’s Episcopal bishop praises St. Philip’s Church’s community work

From Maine-

“Serving others is a particular strength of St. Philip’s” Episcopal Church in Wiscasset, Bishop of Maine Thomas Brown told attendees at the Hodge Street church Sunday.

Brown told them their work for others is one of the ways they are living their lives without regret and worry. Too often people spend too much time thinking about life after death and not enough on living their lives right now, he said.

Missions based at St. Philip’s include Help Yourself Shelf (HYS) food pantry, Bargain Basement and – with First Congregational Church of Wiscasset as an equal sponsor – Feed Our Scholars and Feed Our Scholars/Set for Success, longtime member Gretchen Burleigh-Johnson said. First Congregational also heavily supports HYS, she said. And from 4 to 5 p.m. Nov. 14, a Souper Supper of broccoli cheese soup, breads, dessert and drink is planned. “All are welcome, no charge. There is a can for donations if people choose to support the events,” she said about the suppers held the second Thursday of the month, through March. St. Philip’s members and other volunteers put on the suppers at the church, 12 Hodge St., St. Philip’s senior warden Jon Young said.

More here-

Caswelll Cooke seeking to 'save a church in decline' with new book

From Connecticut-

Concerned about the survival of the Episcopal Church and alarmed by the downward trends in church attendance, a local man felt the need to sound the alarm and "save a church in decline."

Caswell Cooke Jr., who serves as junior warden on the vestry at Christ Episcopal Church in Westerly and is a seven-term member of the Westerly Town Council, just completed his first book, "The Death and Resurrection of the Episcopal Church (And other Mainline Protestant Denominations) — How to Save a Church in Decline."

Next Sunday, following the 10 a.m. service at Christ Church, Cooke, a lifelong Episcopalian, will talk about his book and sign copies for people interested in buying a copy and learning how to help save churches.

More here-

Sunday, November 10, 2019

‘Wake-up call’: CoGS hears statistics report on church membership decline

From Canada-

The Anglican Church of Canada’s first reliably-collected set of statistics since 2001 show the church running out of members in little more than two decades if the church continues to decline at its current rate, the Council of General Synod (CoGS) heard Friday, Nov. 9.

“We’ve got simple projections from our data that suggest that there will be no members, attenders or givers in the Anglican Church of Canada by approximately 2040,” the Rev. Neil Elliot, a priest for the diocese of Kootenay seconded in 2016 by the national church to collect a new set of statistics, told CoGS. Elliot, who reported on 2017 data collected from all of the church’s dioceses, also told the group about ongoing efforts to expand and diversify data collection.

More here-