Friday, January 17, 2020

Anglican Bishop’s Son Faces Deportation To El Salvador

From Huffington-

The son of El Salvador’s top Anglican leader is facing deportation from the U.S. back to his home country, where his father says gang members have threatened to murder him.
Bishop David Alvarado’s son, 34-year-old Josue Alvarado, is currently in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement at a detention center in Ohio, Reuters reports. The bishop told the Episcopal News Service that his son sought refuge in the U.S. in 2016 after being kidnapped and receiving death threats from gangs in El Salvador. 

“We are sad and worried because he can be deported and he is in great danger here in the country,” Alvarado told ENS on Friday.
Gang members forced the bishop’s son, who worked as a taxi driver, to drive them around and distribute weapons and drugs, his father told Reuters. When the younger Alvarado refused to continue, he received death threats, the bishop said. His son eventually filed a complaint with the police, Reuters reports.

More here-

Secular group blasts National Cathedral Bible blessing as 'vile, Christian supremacy’

From Christian Post-

A secular legal organization announced its outrage over the blessing of a Bible for the swearing-in of commanders of the newly created Space Force, calling it a “shocking and repulsive display of only the most vile, exclusivist, fundamentalist Christian supremacy.”

On Sunday, the Washington National Cathedral held a ceremony to bless a King James Bible that will be used to swear in all commanders of America’s newest military branch, the U.S. Space Command, if they so choose.

"Today @WNCathedral blessed the official Bible for the new @SpaceForceDoD, which will be used to swear in all commanders of America's newest military branch," the cathedral's official account tweeted Sunday.

The Rev. Carl Wright, the Episcopal Church's bishop suffragan for armed services and federal ministries, offered the blessing as Maj. Gen. Steven Schaick, Air Force chief of chaplains, held the Bible donated by the Museum of the Bible in Washington, according to The Washington Post.

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St. Andrew’s Church in New Kensington holds final service for its faithful

From Pittsburgh-

St. Andrew’s Church in New Kensington has sat empty for seven years. On Thursday, roughly 30 parishioners filled the pews one last time.

Together they prayed, received Communion, and listened as Episcopal Bishop Dorsey W.M. McConnell deconsecrated the 71-year-old building, which is in the process of being sold.
“This is a hard thing to do under any circumstances,” McConnell said.

The church, part of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, has been without an active congregation for several years.

It was last used by a congregation of the Anglican Church in North America, which moved out of the building in 2013. The original St. Andrew’s congregation was among the 42 parishes that left the Pittsburgh Episcopal Diocese in 2008 to join the Anglicans.

The diocese attempted to restart a parish at the church after the Anglican congregation left, but it was unsuccessful, the Rev. Canon Kimberly Karashin said. She said congregations that looked at the church told the diocese it was too big and would be too expensive to maintain.

More here-

Thursday, January 16, 2020

‘Grown-up’ Primates’ Meeting affirms Anglican links with Canterbury

From The Church Times-

AT THE Lambeth Conference this year, bishops will “draw a line under some of the inward-looking approach of the past”, the Archbishop of Canterbury predicted this week at the close of the Primates’ Meeting in Jordan. Primates praised the “mature” and “grown-up” discussions at this week’s meeting.

Primates from 33 of the 40 Provinces were present. Three — those of Nigeria, Rwanda, and Uganda — chose not to attend, while others were detained by illness or other difficulties. Just one woman was present: the new Canadian Primate, the Most Revd Linda Nicholls.

“We were acutely aware of the ongoing tensions within the Anglican Communion,” the Primates said in a communiqué issued on Wednesday afternoon. “However, we were also profoundly conscious of the Holy Spirit in our midst, drawing us to walk together.”

At a press conference on Wednesday, held before the communiqué was released, Archbishop Welby said that the formation of new Churches that claim an Anglican identity, including the latest, the Church of Confessing Anglicans in New Zealand (News, 25 October 2019), had not been discussed. There had been no desire to discuss “those negative aspects”, he said.

More here-

Sunnyside’s All Saints’ Episcopal Church to close in February

From Long Island-

After the congregation of Sunnyside’s All Saints’ Church dwindled to about 20 members, the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island announced that it will close the church as a parish congregation on Feb. 23.  

The ministries in Sunnyside and Long Island City have been running since 1928. The diocese said that it would examine how to continue to serving western Queens, but given the size of All Saints’ current congregation, which shrunk from 100 members in 1998, it can no longer afford to maintain the property or support staff salaries.

The diocese has no plans to sell the property, located at 43-12 46th St., and it will continue to use the church building for at least a year. 

“Our diocesan director of real estate, Haiko Cornelissen, will be handling rental and lease arrangements. The head of our Congregational Support Office, Canon Claire Woodley, will continue to provide consultation as she has regarding All Saints’ during the last 18 months. The priest-in-charge, the Rev. Gabe Lamazares, will be moving to North Carolina,” said Rev. Lawrence Provenzano, the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island.

More here-

‘An act of charity’: Virginia bishop defends parish hosting Episcopalian consecration

From Southern Virginia-

Bishop Barry Knestout of the Diocese of Richmond has issued a statement responding to concerns that a local parish church is to host an Episcopalian consecration of a female bishop.

The online petition, titled “Stop Ordination of Female Episcopalian ‘Bishop’ at Catholic Church” refers to the upcoming consecration of the Rev. Susan B. Haynes as the new bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia. It has attracted nearly 2,000 signatures. 

In a statement Wednesday, Bishop Knestout called the “offer of hospitality to a Christian neighbor in need” an “act of charity and well within the teachings of ecumenism and the norms provided by the Church for ecumenical activities.”

The event is scheduled to occur on Feb. 1, 2020 at St. Bede Catholic Church in Williamsburg, Virginia. Haynes was elected an Episcopalian bishop on Sept. 21.

More here-

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

How Katherine Sonderegger finds delight in a humble God

From Christian Century-

Friends and former students of theologian Katherine Sonderegger combine affectionate diminutives and terms of great forcefulness when describing her. Erika Takacs calls her former teacher at Virginia Theological Seminary “a perfectly darling little leprechaun.” Fleming Rutledge, a fellow Episcopal priest, says Sonde­regger is “almost like a nun in her total devotion to prayer and study,” with “the mind of a steel trap, but the manner of a somewhat shy, retiring, grandmotherly type.”

Former student Benson Shelton describes her as a “Yoda figure,” a professor who would turn up late to class because she’d stopped at a petting zoo or saw a perfect flowering bush. Yet Shelton also remembers how Sonderegger eviscerated a visiting theologian with whom she disagreed: “She might as well have cut his legs off and handed them to him.” Rutledge says she is not sure how to reconcile the darling saintliness and the daring, merciless mind: “She is a curious person.”

More here-

Episcopal Church in Alabama buys, forgives $8.1 million of medical debt

From Alabama (Episcopal Cafe)-

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Mountain Brook, in partnership with the Diocese of Alabama, recently bought and forgave $8.1 million in medical debt.
Over the Mountain Journal reports:

Over the holidays, roughly 6,500 Alabama households received a notice in the mail that their medical debts had been purchased and forgiven by the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama.
Those letters were the culmination of a fundraising campaign undertaken by Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church in Mountain Brook, which commemorated its 70th anniversary by eliminating $8.1 million in medical debts throughout the Birmingham metro area and its surrounding counties.
The Episcopal Diocese of Alabama quickly got on board, donating just more than $10,000 to kick off fundraising efforts. The church then raised $68,000 more, mostly from parishioners, though others in the community pitched in as well, Nations said. Because hospitals sell off unpaid bills at discounted rates, the church and RIP Medical Debt were able to buy $8.1 million in debt for just $78,000.

More here-

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Darien’s St. Paul’s settles lawsuit, to move forward in new location

From Connecticut-

St. Paul’s Church in Darien has settled its previous lawsuits between parishioners and church leadership and will relocate from its Mansfield Avenue home.

The vestry and wardens of the Parish of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, and the Directors of St. Paul’s-Darien Foundation, Inc., recently announced the end of all litigation with the Episcopal Church in Connecticut and The Episcopal Church. All parties have withdrawn their respective pending civil actions in both the Connecticut Appellate Court and the Superior Court. The parties’ settlement agreement and release of claims was reached after a vigorous and sometimes thorny mediation conducted between Nov. 6 and Dec. 10, 2019, by Judge Terence A. Zemetis, according to a jointly released press release.

St. Paul’s will now continue as an autonomous non-denominational Christian church and will soon complete its reorganization.

More here-

United Methodists talk more about potential split over same-sex marriage, gay clergy

From Pittsburgh-

As Methodists in Western Pennsylvania consider the future of their denomination, a group that has proposed an amicable split explained the proposal in more detail Monday.

Known as the “Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation,” the proposal allows for the formation of a new “traditionalist” Methodist denomination that would not sanction the performance of same-sex weddings or the ordination of openly gay clergy, and the continuation of a presumably smaller but more liberal United Methodist Church.

Questions having to do with human sexuality, LGBT persons and biblical authority have roiled the United Methodist Church for decades but, until now, have not led to formal divisions within the global Protestant denomination — the second-largest in the United States.

More here-

Space Force Bible Blessing At National Cathedral Sparks Outrage

From Capital Public Radio-

The blessing of what's being called "the official Bible for the new U.S. Space Force" at the Washington National Cathedral on Sunday is drawing an outpouring of criticism on social media and condemnation from a prominent religious freedom advocacy group. 

"The Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) condemns, in as full-throated a manner as is humanly possible, the shocking and repulsive display of only the most vile, exclusivist, fundamentalist Christian supremacy," MRFF founder and president Mikey Weinstein wrote in a statementdenouncing the Bible blessing. "The utilization of a Christian bible to 'swear in' commanders of the new Space Force or any other [Department of Defense] branch at ANY level is completely violative of the bedrock separation of church and state mandate of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution."

In a tweet on Sunday, the Washington National Cathedral posted a statement describing the Bible that was blessed during a morning service as a Space Force official Bible "which will be used to swear in all commanders of America's newest military branch."

More here-

Monday, January 13, 2020

Church App Helps Protect Against Human Trafficking

From Uganda-

A new mobile app has been launched by the Church of Uganda to help young people avoid falling into human trafficking when they seek work abroad.

The new app is called Just Good Work and was developed by clergyman Paul Davis.

Archbishop Stanley Ntagali says high levels of unemployment in Uganda had created desperate tendencies among some young people, tempting them to seek undefined job opportunities.
The Archbishop told Anglican News the app will give Ugandans critical information on working abroad in their own language.

Developer Paul Davis says the app was created primarily to act as a tool for information, pastoral care, prayer, teaching, and community empowerment.

More here-

Vancouver Island’s Anglican bishop retires this spring

From Canada-

An Anglican bishop known for his progressive attitude towards reconciliation and the LGBTQ community is retiring after six years of leadership.

Logan McMenamie has been the bishop of the Anglican Diocese of British Columbia – comprised of parishes across Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and the community of Kingcome – since 2014. Prior to that title, McMenamie was dean of Victoria’s Christ Church Cathedral.

Set to retire in April, the bishop is well known for his commitment to reconciliation and healing. In 2015, while standing at the site of the the demolished St. Michael’s Indian Residential School, McMenamie made a formal apology to survivors of the residential school system.

“Reconciliation is a journey,” McMenamie says. “The work we’ve done with de-colonizing ourselves, realizing we came as a colonial church, and what does it mean to de-colonize ourselves and how will that be different in the future?”

More here-

The Methodists, the mediator and the divorce plan

From Pittsburgh-

It was a divorce mediation unlike any other, with a small group of diverse leaders shuttling back and forth to Washington, D.C., from the far corners of the country and the world, trying as best they could to cushion the breakup of a dysfunctional family of 13 million.

What emerged on Jan. 3, after months of talks, was a plan to amicably divide the United Methodist Church into at least two main churches, each with a mandate to pursue a different vision of theology, biblical interpretation and the role of LGBTQ persons in marriage and ministry.

Sixteen people — including bishops from the United Methodists’ American and foreign conferences, as well as advocates from groups at the Methodist left, right and center — met at the offices of a Washington law firm three times over the latter part of 2019, and held video conference calls in between.

More here-