Saturday, December 7, 2019

Take dire statistics with a grain of salt

From Canada-

In biblical times, God sent plagues to get human attention. Today, God "sends statistics." 

That’s what former United Church of Canada moderator Gary Paterson told me five years ago when his denomination was grappling with challenging news about decline. 

That comment came back to me when I read the recent report that there may be no members left in the Anglican Church of Canada by 2040. 

The Anglicans aren’t alone in getting that stark message. Other denominations in Canada are in a similar situation, including the United Church of Canada. According to Rev. Neil Elliot, who authored the Anglican report, that denomination is also facing a "zero-member date" in 20 years. 

More here-

Louisiana church leaders: Expanding immigrant detention in Louisiana a tragedy

From Louisiana-

Because of our commitment to upholding the dignity of human life and our recognition that redemption and forgiveness are core principles of our Christian faith, we welcomed with great joy news earlier this year that the total number of persons imprisoned in Louisiana in 2018 was almost 19 percent lower than its peak in 2012. 

However, our relief and gratitude that our state has begun to reduce the number of Louisianans sent to prison soon turned to shock and disappointment when we learned that newly empty prison beds are now being used, through local agreements with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, to detain vast numbers of immigrants.

Montana Episcopal Church Ordaining First Female Bishop

From Montana-

The Episcopal Church of Montana is ordaining its first female Bishop to lead the state-wide diosciese. Bishop-elect Martha Stebbins assumes the role Saturday in a ceremony in Helena.

Reverend Martha Stebbins prayed with clergy in St. Peter’s Cathedral in Helena during the first of three days of events celebrating and ordaning her as bishop.

Stebbins' ordination Saturday marks the first time a woman will hold the position in the more than 150 year history of the Episcopal Church in Montana.

"I think it's, in some respects, almost happenstance in that Montana, I don’t think, had a cultural or political barrier to a woman becoming a bishop in a denomination that accepts women as leaders," Stebbins said.

More here-

Friday, December 6, 2019

Akinyemi, Obi, Agbakoba decry graft, offer path for economic development

From Nigeria-

One-time Minister of External Affairs, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, has called on government to publicly expose corrupt Nigerians as obtained in other climes. He also urged the church to sustain education of the people on the danger of identifying with perverse politicians, reminding them that the handouts they get for vote inducement were mortgaging their future.

Akinyemi spoke yesterday in Lagos during the centenary anniversary lecture organised by the Diocese of Lagos Anglican Communion at All Souls Anglican Church, Lekki with the theme, “The church and good governance in Nigeria”, where the former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, President of the National Industrial Court, Justice Osat Obaseki-Osaghae and Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption (PACAC), Prof. Itse Sagay, also spoke against graft.

More here-

A Christian and a Democrat: A Religious Biography of Franklin D. Roosevelt

From Presbyterian Outlook-

This book contributes to the growing literature of religion and the presidents of the United States. Franklin D. Roosevelt, a master politician, might not spring to mind when pondering the religious convictions of presidents, but this work makes a convincing argument that his political philosophy had roots in his religious background.

Roosevelt’s parents adhered to a liberal Episcopal form of Christianity that embraced the Social Gospel; that ideology was reinforced at Groton School, and headmaster Endicott Peabody remained influential in Roosevelt’s adult life. Roosevelt affirmed that God was involved in the world, ordering and guiding it for the betterment of the whole and for individuals.  There was a vision for a good society in that theology, which Roosevelt understood to promote such values as the common good, equity, justice, security (economic and otherwise) and the importance of each person. Roosevelt understood that government could play a role in that work of God, and the New Deal grew out of that conviction.

More here-

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Pittsburgh Episcopal bishop to retire

From Pittsburgh-

Bishop Dorsey McConnell of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh has announced plans to retire in April 2021 after nearly a decade as the diocese’s first permanent bishop since a major 2008 schism.

“I have not come to this decision lightly,” Bishop McConnell, 66, wrote to Pittsburgh’s Episcopal community on Wednesday. “I have prayed long and hard over it. ... But I know that by April of 2021, I will have done what God called me here to do. We have built a beautiful vision together, and you will need a leader who will have the energy and stamina to carry it forward over the next several years.”

Bishop McConnell was installed in 2012 as leader of the diocese, which reports having more than 8,600 members in 36 congregations.

His resignation sets in motion the process for electing his successor, which will involve a search process culminating in a vote by a special convention of the diocese in November 2020.

More here-

National Cathedral dedicates plaque honoring hate crime victim Matthew Shepard

From Washington D.C.-

The Washington National Cathedral has installed a plaque memorializing the life of Matthew Shepard, who was killed in an infamous 1998 attack that galvanized support around expanded federal hate crime laws. 

The plaque was installed Tuesday at the Episcopal cathedral after Shepard's remains were interred there last year in the columbarium near the Chapel of St. Joseph of Arimathea. 

“Matt, rest gently in this place. You are home safe now,” the plaque quotes from Bishop Gene Robinson’s 2018 homily. 

In a news release, Shepard’s mother said that the family put a lot of thought into deciding where his remains would be interred. She said her son felt welcome at an Episcopal church he attended in Wyoming. 

“We've given much thought to Matt's final resting place, and we found the Washington National Cathedral is an ideal choice, as Matt loved the Episcopal church and felt welcomed by his church in Wyoming,” Judy Shepard said. “For the past 20 years, we have shared Matt's story with the world. It's reassuring to know he now will rest in a sacred spot where folks can come to reflect on creating a safer, kinder world.” 

More here-

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Dorsey McConnell Bishop of Pittsburgh to retire

From Pittsburgh-

The Feast of Saint John of Damascus
December 4, 2019
My dear friends and colleagues in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, 

Today is the 36th anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood, and I am now well into my eighth year among you as your bishop. These facts seem hardly possible, especially that my time here has passed so quickly; that I am now 66 years old; that we have been through so much, accomplished so much, in what seems to me the twinkling of an eye. 

However, I know it is now time for me to plan for the future – yours and my own. With the consent of the Presiding Bishop, I am calling for the election of the ninth Bishop of Pittsburgh, who will be consecrated on April 24, 2021. I will remain the Ecclesiastical Authority, and will retain full jurisdiction, until the moment I hand the crozier to my successor on that day, which will also be the effective date of my retirement.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

The different fates of Christchurch's Catholic and Anglican cathedrals

From New Zealand-

There's more than one battle in this long saga and only one of the cathedrals will have a happy ending.

Both buildings were severely damaged by the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes and aftershocks, and both sit derelict.

The future of the Catholic Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament on Barbadoes St looked safe after the Bishop Barry Jones supported restoration.

Meanwhile, the iconic ChristChurch Anglican Cathedral in the city centre looked doomed after its Bishop Victoria Matthews opted to demolish and rebuild.

But several years after the disastrous events of 2011, their fates have switched.

The Gothic-designed ChristChurch cathedral will be rebuilt and its classical Catholic counterpart will be deconstructed and a new one built closer to the city centre.

More here-

Episcopal LGBT advocacy group head resigns amid allegations of mismanagement

From Christian Post-

The head of an organization dedicated to advancing LGBT advocacy within the Episcopal Church has resigned amid accusations of mismanagement and lack of transparency.

The Rev. Gwen Fry, who had been elected president of Integrity USA in June 2018 to serve a three-year term, announced last week in a letter dated Nov. 25 that she was resigning from her position due to various personal and health issues.

“A few months ago, I returned from medical leave. I moved across the country and reunited with my wife after a lengthy separation. We are in the middle of selling one house and purchasing another one,” she explained.

“Following my relocation, I have taken a more hands on role regarding my extended family that includes failing physical health, dementia and suicidal ideation causing hospitalization. As you can imagine, it has been a stressful time.”

More here-

Three bishop candidates – 2 women – make list for Episcopal Church

From Alabama-

Three candidates have been named in the search for a successor to Bishop John McKee “Kee” Sloan, head of the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama.

Sloan announced on Feb. 9 that he plans to retire next year.

He called for the election of a bishop coadjutor, who would assist him and then succeed him when he retires at the end of 2020.

On Sunday, the committee tasked with coming up with a slate of candidates announced three finalists, two of them women.

“At the start of that work over 30 people expressed interest in discerning whether or not they felt called to be in this process,” wrote the Rev. Candice B. Frazer, president of the standing committee. “That number diminished with each stage of the process as both potential candidates and the committee discerned the potential call until the final three were selected.”