Saturday, November 30, 2019

Local church works to help erase millions in hospital debt

From Alabama-

A local church is working to help erase millions of dollars in medical debt for people across central Alabama.

Leaders at St. Luke’s Episcopal church said they wanted to celebrate the church’s 70th birthday by giving back, so for about 6 weeks they campaigned to raise money. That money is now set to be used to pay off outstanding bills at local hospitals.

“You don’t go into medical debt for a good thing,” said Cameron Nations, Associate Rector at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.

The bills that come after people are discharged from the hospital often hurt even more.

St Luke’s Episcopal Church is working with debt relief agency RIP Medical Debt to help lift the financial load.

“Ultimately the system needs to change and healthcare needs to be more affordable, so that people don’t get in these situations in the first place. This was one way we can help in the meantime,” said Nations.

More here-

As Americans become less religious, the role of chaplains may grow

From The Washington Post-

The Rev. Donna Mote regularly accompanies military personnel escorting the caskets of fallen service members through Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, where she serves as a chaplain at the busiest airport in the world.

Mote is the first person to greet the escorts once they step off the plane. She stands shoulder to shoulder with them while Delta Honor Guard members march with flags of the five military branches. She stays with them through their layover at the airport. She’s there for support. In many cases, the escorts are grieving because they knew the deceased.

When it’s time to go, Mote helps with check-in at the departure gate, walks down the boarding ramp, and once the remains have been confirmed, she heads up the airplane stairs with the escorts to bid them farewell.

More here-

Episcopal Diocese of Georgia urged to join bishop’s commitment to address ‘America’s original sin of racism’

From Georgia-

The head of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia is committing a share of the church’s endowment to addressing racism in society and urging diocesan congregations to do the same. 

Bishop Scott Anson Benhase has committed 3% of the diocese’s $2.5 million endowment fund to help form a Resource Team for Racial Reconciliation & Healing to work through a newly formed St. Anna Alexander Center for the same purpose.

He is urging “all congregations in this diocese with endowments to commit 3% of their endowment to this work, as well.”

The bishop, who will retire in May after 10 years in the post, made his plea as part of his final address to the elected lay and clergy leaders of the diocese at the 198th convention earlier this month.

More here-

Friday, November 29, 2019

Patrick Augustine, assistant bishop of the Diocese of Bor, appearing at Living Word Church during return to La Crosse

From Wisconsin-

After 16 years presiding over Christ Episcopal Church, Patrick Augustine left the comforts of La Crosse last June to accept the role of assistant bishop of the Diocese of Bor.
After a summer of service work in sweltering temperatures and mosquito-riddled quarters, Augustine is grateful for a brief reprieve in the Coulee Region, and the support of Living Word Christian Church, where he will be prayed over this weekend before his return to South Sudan.

After nearly three decades of assisting Sudanese refugees, including helping settle thousands of the Lost Boys of Sudan in America, Augustine was summoned last May to serve the Diocese of Bor, consecrated last June in South Sudan.
With the appointment, Augustine committed to four- to six-week visits, thrice yearly, to aid the country as it rebuilds after its 2011 independence from Sudan as well as build relationships between the impoverished country and the United States.

More here-

Anti-Gay Priest Who Set up Church to Oppose Homosexuality Removed Over Sexual Harassment

From News Week-

The founder of an Anglican church in Florida who expressed staunch anti-LGBT views has been removed from the priesthood over allegations he routinely harassed young men.

Father Eric Dudley, who set up the St. Peter's Anglican Cathedral in Tallahassee, is accused of overstepping boundaries, grooming and sexually harassing several men at his church, which he set up "based on anti-homosexuality" principles.

Dudley founded the church having left his previous position as rector of St. John's Episcopal Church in 2005 after it brought in a gay priest and he could no longer abide to the "deeply unrepentant heresies" there.

Dudley left his post as dean of St. Peter's Anglican Cathedral in August 2018 after several of his alleged victims came forward. He has now been fully removed as a priest from the Anglican Church following a report by the non-profit Godly Response to Abuse in a Christian Environment (GRACE).

More here- 

and here-

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Report: Antigay Priest Used Position to Sexually Abuse Other Men

From Florida-

An Anglican priest who founded his congregation on antigay dogma used his position to commit sexual abuse against numerous young men, according to a new report from an independent watchdog group. 

An investigation by a group called Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment, or GRACE, found that Rev. Eric Dudley of St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Tallahassee, Fla., frequently touched men in a sexual manner without their consent, the Tallahassee Democrat reports. Dudley was forced to resign from the church in August 2018.

Dudley was rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church, also in Tallahassee, from 1995 to 2005. He departed after announcing from the pulpit that he was leaving the Episcopal Church due to its “deeply unrepentant heresies” — specifically, the elevation of an openly gay man, Gene Robinson, to the position of bishop, a first for the denomination. He then founded St. Peter’s, which is part of the Anglican Church in North America, formed in opposition to the Episcopal Church’s acceptance of LGBTQ people. Dudley is married to a woman and the father of three.

More here- 

and here-

Integrity president resigns amid mounting criticism

From ENS-

The Rev. Gwen Fry resigned Nov. 25 as president of Integrity USA – the nonprofit organization dedicated to LGBTQ advocacy within The Episcopal Church – as the organization’s volunteer board faces members’ accusations of mismanagement and lack of transparency.

Fry, in a letter posted on Integrity’s new website, cited “a great deal of change in my personal life,” including severe medical issues in her family and a cross-country move. Fry was elected to a three-year term in June 2018, but late that year she went on medical leave, which Integrity didn’t announce until July 2019. She did not return to her work as president until September 2019.

“As you can imagine, it has been a stressful time,” Fry wrote. “None of this was happening, or even a remote possibility, when my name was put forward for nomination to be elected president of Integrity USA. After prayerfully discerning where I am in life, I have decided that it is important to focus on my family, which is why I’m resigning as president of Integrity USA.”

More here-

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

St. Peter's founder Eric Dudley engaged in sexual misconduct, investigation finds

From Florida-

Eric Dudley, the founder and former leader of St. Peter's Anglican Church in Tallahassee, subjected adult staff members to sexual misconduct and abused his authority as a priest, an outside investigation found.

Dudley resigned unexpectedly in 2018, prompting the church to begin an investigation into what led to his departure.

St. Peter's hired an independent organization, Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (GRACE), that helps churches investigate allegations of misconduct and abuse.

On Sunday, the Rev. Robert Duncan, bishop in residence, sent a letter to the congregation saying the GRACE investigation was complete and a report with detailed findings will be released Tuesday.
The letter confirmed allegations of misconduct against Dudley, which came to light not long after his resignation.

More here-

Church of England urges repentance for Christian anti-Semitism

From England-

Centuries of Christian anti-Semitism led to the Holocaust, the Church of England said in a new report that called for repentance.

“God’s Unfailing Word: Theological and Practical Perspectives on Christian-Jewish Relations,” which was released last week, also asked Christians to accept the importance of Zionism for most Jews.

The report, more than 140 pages, calls the Christian-Jewish relationship “a gift of God to the Church, to be received with care, respect and gratitude, so that we may learn more fully about God’s purposes for us and all the world.”

More here-

An Anglican church in Missouri has elected a gay, black, immigrant man in a same-sex marriage as its new bishop.

From Missouri-

Reverend Deon Johnson was overwhelming elected by voting delegates at Christ Church Cathedral in St Louis, with 113 votes out of 164, making him the new leader of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri and its more than 10,000 worshippers.

Johnson was described by the diocese in its announcement as a “veteran Episcopal priest with deep experience in social justice issues and ministry to gay and lesbian communities”.

He immigrated from Barbados to the United States at the age of 14, and now lives in Brighton, Michigan, with his husband and their two children.

The newly elected bishop appeared via video with his husband at Christ Church Cathedral, and seemed overwhelmed by the applause when the results were announced on Sunday, 24 November.

More here-

Monday, November 25, 2019

Senior Australian Anglican to exit top job

From Australia-

Anglican Primate of Australia, Melbourne Archbishop Philip Freier, announced on Monday that he will leave the role on March 31 next year and won't seek re-election.
He will remain as Archbishop of Melbourne, a role he's held since 2006.
Archbishop Freier, who has served a six-year term as head of the church in Australia, had been expected to continue his role as Anglican Primate.

More here-

Philadelphia 11 reunion recalls ministry of pioneering women priests

From National Catholic Register-

The women gathered on the eve of their ordinations on a farm outside Philadelphia, where they shared a meal. The next day, July 29, 1974, they entered the Church of the Advocate to become the first women ordained to the Episcopal priesthood in the United States. Initially referred to simply as the 11, they quickly became known as the Philadelphia 11.

On Nov. 1 of this year, five of the priests gathered again, this time at the horse farm of Carter Heyward, one of the 11. Those traveling came through a line of East Coast storms, one of them leaving her home where alarms, activated by violent winds, had sounded all night, but by the time they had arrived at Heyward's place deep in the Appalachian Mountains, the November sunset was clear and cool.

More here-

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Episcopalians pick new Missouri bishop

From Missouri-

The Episcopal Diocese of Missouri will have a new leader for its 10,000 worshippers next year, the first time since 2002 and only the 11th time in its 180-year history.

Rev. Deon Johnson had this reaction when reached by KMOX News on Saturday afternoon, just hours after the announcement, "This has been absolutely an amazing, and in some ways unexpected, but joy-filled weekend."

The current rector at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Brighton, Michigan, Bishop-Elect Johnson will replace the retiring Right Rev. George Wayne Smith next April.

He says he's looking forward to continuing work on social justice issues and ministry to gay and lesbian communities, "It's a bold statement that we are really going to love you no matter who you are, no matter who you love, and no matter where you came from or what you've done. God still loves you deeply. I think that is the heart of who we are as Episcopalians, as followers of Jesus, and as Christians moving into the 21st century."

More here-

Why it matters that Canadian Anglicans are having a near-death experience

From Get Religion-

Years ago, while I was still an Episcopalian, I tried to get a circle of clergy and journalists to collaborate on what I thought would be a classic work of religion-marketplace humor.

The basic idea: The creation of the definitive collection of jokes about Episcopalians and their unique approach to Christian life and culture. As one priest put it, the Episcopal Church is “NPR at prayer.”

The book never happened, but I learned lots of jokes that I didn’t know in all of the basic categories, from “how many Episcopalians does it take to change a light bulb” quips to jokes featuring “Episcopalians at the gates of heaven and/or hell.” But here was my favorite joke, as I heard it in 1993 (but with a few updates):
The year is 2030 … and two Anglo-Catholic priests in the back of National Cathedral are watching the Episcopal presiding bishop and her incense-bearing wife, an archdeacon, process down the aisle behind a statue of the Buddha, while the faithful sing a hymn to Mother Earth.
"You know," one traditionalist whispers, "ONE more thing and I'm out the door."

More here-