Saturday, January 4, 2020

The Story of Rev. Reginald Grant Barrow

From Barbados-

As we commence the celebration of We Gathering 2020 – a year to rediscover who we Barbadians really are as a people, to recommit to our core values and to meaningfully deepen the connection between our island nation and its Diaspora – it behoves us to reflect on some of the significant contributions made by heroic “Diaspora Bajans” to the countries that they migrated to and how those contributions ultimately redounded to the benefit of their Barbadian homeland.

And since We Gathering 2020 is commencing in the parish of St Lucy in the month of the centenary of the birth of the Rt Excellent Errol Walton Barrow – a native of the parish of St Lucy – what better historical personality could there be to start with than the father of Errol Walton Barrow – Bishop Reginald Grant Barrow!

More here-

Trinity Wall Street Rector Abruptly Resigns

From The Living Church-

The rector of the richest Episcopal Church in the world abruptly resigned January 3, saying he and his wife want to “enjoy some sabbath rest to open our hearts to God’s call for the next chapter of our ministry together.”

The Rev. Dr. William Lupfer, rector of Trinity Wall Street Episcopal Church for the past five years, announced his departure in a letter to the Trinity staff, which was obtained by TLC.

The church’s vicar, the Rev. Phillip A. Jackson, will become priest-in-charge on Monday, January 6, while a search begins for the 19th rector of Trinity. The vestry announced that appointment in a separate letter, saying the move was made “with the full support of the Vestry” by the Rt. Rev. Andrew Dietsche, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New York.

More here-

United Methodist Church Announces Plan to Split Over Same-Sex Marriage

From The New York Times-

A group of leaders of the United Methodist Church, the second-largest Protestant denomination in the United States, announced on Friday a plan that would formally split the church, citing “fundamental differences” over same-sex marriage after years of division.

The plan would sunder a denomination with 13 million members globally — roughly half of them in the United States — and create at least one new “traditionalist Methodist” denomination that would continue to ban same-sex marriage as well as the ordination of gay and lesbian clergy. 

It seems likely that the majority of the denomination’s churches in the United States would remain in the existing United Methodist Church, which would become a more liberal-leaning institution as conservative congregations worldwide depart. 

More here-

Force For Change Rose Hudson-Wilkin On Becoming Britain’s First Black Female Bishop

From British Vogue-

On 23 April 1994, approximately a month after it became possible for women to do so, I was ordained as a priest in Lichfield Cathedral. I remember it clearly. It was a bittersweet day. We left the ceremony through the great west doors, and I can still see the image of the other women in attendance, those who had given a lifetime of ministry, but, because of their age, had now missed their own opportunity to join the priesthood. That day, I felt the same emotions that surround giving birth: you’ve gone to the hospital, made it through labour, and there you are in a room with a beautiful baby, overjoyed, and yet very aware that in the next room or cubicle there may be a woman who has lost hers.

Faith is who we are. It’s not a coat or a hat – something that we put on and take off depending on the weather. I was 14 years old and living in Montego Bay, Jamaica, when I first had a sense that I was being called to ministry. For me, the vocation was about leadership, pastorally caring for people and guiding in the liturgy. It was quite strange, given that no women were allowed to occupy such roles then, to feel called to something that didn’t exist.

More here-

Friday, January 3, 2020

The changing face of church

From Canada-

On October 2, 2019, the congregants and friends of St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church in Fruitvale, B.C., took a last look at the building that had served them well over the years. They fell in line behind Lynne McNaughton, bishop of the diocese of Kootenay; dressed in her cope and mitre, crosier in hand, McNaughton led the procession out of the church, and into a motorhome that was waiting outside.

“It was the symbolism that we were on the move, and had a home worshipping,” says the Rev. Elizabeth Lewis, St. John’s deacon. “There’s a lovely picture of her sitting in the driver’s seat,” she adds.

The October service was a deconsecration of the building that had housed the church until July of this year, after the United Church of Canada congregation that co-owned the building decided to close their church and wanted to sell the property, Lewis says. Without full ownership of the building, St. John’s had to sell.

More here-

Reparations and Religion: 50 years after ‘Black Manifesto’

From The Black Wall St. Times-

In recent months, Virginia Theological Seminary, Princeton Theological Seminary and Georgetown University have all announced plans to fund initiatives that would benefit the descendants of slaves, while Episcopal dioceses in New York and Long Island made million- and half-million-dollar commitments as reparations committees continued their work.

In May, the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland voted to study reparations and urge congregations to “examine how their endowed wealth is tied to the institution of slavery.

”Maryland’s African American bishop, Eugene Taylor Sutton, said tears came to his eyes when the measure passed at the diocese’s general convention with no dissenting votes, and he realized that the assembled delegates, representing a membership that is 90% white, “got it.”

More here-

Wood ministry provides warmth to families in need

From Virginia-

About three years ago, Warrenton Baptist Church joined with St. James’ Episcopal Church in an effort to better meet the needs of the community, Ward said. 

Volunteers now hold work sessions at the wood lot every Saturday, with Warrenton Baptist Church hosting on the first and third Saturdays and St. James’ hosting on the second and fourth Saturdays. 

On the workdays, volunteers saw, split and stack the wood. Trees sawn into 18-inch sections are delivered to the lot by professional arborists and others who support the wood ministry.

More here-

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

2020 is here .... finally!

From Rochester-

2020. Wow.
There were so many strategic plans named 2020. Colleges, school boards, hospitals, businesses, even the village of Oswego, not to mention the Association for Strategic Planning, all have or had 2020 plans. I hope they went better than the one devised by The Episcopal Church just before the turn of the millennium.
To the credit of those Episcopal big thinkers, they reached for the stars: to double churchwide attendance by 2020. In fact, over the past 20 years the church shrank by 25%. In New York state, over the past four years alone, the Episcopal Church closed 3% of its congregations while overall average attendance is down 16% (Denominational research). Whoever’s job it is to go back and evaluate that 2020 strategic plan will have a lot of data to work with but very little affirmation when completed.

More here-

Monday, December 30, 2019

Two Churches in Bluefield celebrate 100 years of friendship

From West Virginia-

On Christmas Day in 1919, the Christ Episcopal Church burnt down leaving congregation members without a place to worship. 

People of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Bluefield, WV, invited Christ Church members to share in their services for the following year and a half.

Bishop Reverend Robert F. Humphrey, of the Virginia Synod ELC, said he was grateful that he was able to be present for the anniversary. 

“It really is a remarkable celebration,” Rev. Humphrey said. “One absolutely worth noting and being present for.”

A whole century later, the two congregations shared yet another service, celebrating their long lasting friendship. 

Bishop Mike Klusmeyer of the Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia and Reverend Chad Slater said watching people come together on Dec. 29, 2019, was powerful. 

More here- 

and here-

Christianity Today's Editorial May Be Watershed Moment for 2020

From Sojourners-

Yesterday, the website for Christianity Today, the flagship publication for mainstream evangelicalism founded by Billy Graham, crashed from the influx of traffic when CT published an editorial arguing that President Trump should be removed from office. The editorial said that whether that happens via the impeachment process going on in the House and Senate, or the voters in November 2020 is a fair question on which reasonable people can disagree, but that the personal and public immorality of President Trump, as revealed in the House of Representatives’ impeachment investigation, is so egregious that he must be removed as a matter of faith.

The editorial was penned by Mark Galli, who is retiring as CT’s editor-in-chief on Jan. 3. Galli himself doesn’t think his editorial will move the needle for the average evangelical Trump supporter. It’s fair to say that, unfortunately, Fox News is much more influential than Christianity Today to the views of most white evangelical Trump supporters. That said, Christianity Today does reach more than 2.5 million people each month, and the importance of this editorial is that we may look back on it as a watershed moment for the 2020 election, when the first significant cracks in the wall of Trump’s political support from white evangelicals really became visible. Over time those cracks may now grow, and it’s important to also remember that it would only take a relatively small number of white evangelicals switching who they plan to vote for or deciding not to vote at all to shift the balance in key states away from President Trump.

More here-