Saturday, February 8, 2020

St. John's Episcopal Church begins allowing same-sex marriages

From Florida-

Gay couples attending St. John's Episcopal Church can now marry within the church after the local congregation's vestry released its decision recently allowing the change.

For the past year, a consultation group of nine long-time parishioners at St. John's met to discuss the change through a process of "prayerful discernment," explained rector Dave Killeen, who has been at St. John's for the past decade.

The consultation group then advised the vestry, which ultimately made the decision to allow same-sex marriages at the congregation.

"We want to do our very best to care for God's people at St. John's," Killeen told the Democrat. "All couples will be treated equally... We want to make sure everyone feels comfortable and has a place here at St. John's — that they know they are loved and valued."

At its 2015 general convention, the Episcopal Church approved same-sex marriage ceremonies in the church. It also redefined its canonical language for marriage to gender-neutral terms.

More here-

Episcopal Diocese of Michigan prepares to consecrate first woman, lesbian bishop

From Michigan-

The Episcopal Diocese of Michigan will get a new leader this weekend, and it will be a historic event on two fronts.

The Reverend Bonnie Perry will be consecrated as bishop at a ceremony in Dearborn on Saturday. She will become the first woman and first openly-LGBTQ person to lead the diocese, which covers 77 Episcopal congregations in southeast Michigan.

Perry has been an ordained Episcopal priest and deacon since 1990. She comes to Michigan from Chicago, where she has led the All Saints’ congregation for 27 years. She was elected bishop of the Michigan diocese in June 2019.

“This was the diocese that I wanted to come to,” Perry said on Friday at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Detroit, where she will be based. “There is a justice, social justice legacy here that I wanted to build on. I loved the interplay between suburbs and urban, and wealth and despair. All of that seemed completely compelling to me.”

More here- 

and here-

Friday, February 7, 2020

Stolen baby Jesus statue makes his valiant return to St. Paul's by-the-Sea

From Oregon-

It was a year ago in December that a mysterious person was caught on security footage stealing the baby Jesus figure from St. Paul’s by-the-Sea Episcopal Church’s annual Nativity installation.

But this past Sunday, Father Matthew D’Amario said before the service began, “I declare this baby Jesus statue restored to the use for which it has been dedicated and consecrated.”

The church, located on Third Street and Baltimore Avenue, puts up the manger scene around Christmas in tandem with the Ocean City light show. But goodwill apparently was in short supply in December 2018, as the infant went missing.

“We have plastic in front of the scene to protect the blow-up plastic figures in the manger,” D’Amario said. “We realized in late December, after Christmas, that the baby Jesus in the manger was gone.”

More here-

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Gunmen attack Anambra church, bishop alleges threat to life

From Nigeria-

Gunmen, on Tuesday, attacked the Cathedral Church of St Michael’s, Umuikwu Anam, in the Anambra West Local Government Area of Anambra State.

The Anglican Bishop of the Mbamili Diocese, Rt. Rev. Henry Okeke, disclosed this to journalists on Wednesday.

He also alleged threat to his life and those of other clerics in the diocese.

“There were shootings on Tuesday by the hoodlums, who stormed the church to pull down the ongoing cathedral building of the Diocese of Mbamili,” Okeke stated.

The bishop said he had sent a Save-our-Soul message to the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, on the development.

More here-

Sandy Springs worshipping community closes but church remains open

From Atlanta-

A Sandy Springs church has ceased services for its worshipping community, but the church itself has not closed yet.

Highpoint Episcopal Community Church hosted its last service Jan. 12, and though its membership had been on the rise, the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta decided to stop services there because the worship community was no longer financially viable.

Rev. Lang Lowery, the church’s canon, said Episcopal churches are categorized as a mission, parish or worshipping community, with the last designation meaning the congregation had relinquished self-governance to the diocese because of its finances.

More here-

Trinity Episcopal Church Gains National Recognition

From St. Louis-

Trinity Episcopal Church is receiving national recognition for its contributions to LGBTQ history in St. Louis. 

The Central West End church became the first and only site in Missouri and the Episcopal Church to be named on the National Register of Historic Places for its role in the LGBTQ community.

The church became an early supporter of gay rights and LGBTQ parishoners in 1960s and people living with AIDS in the 1980s. Trinity was ahead of the game, said the Rev. Jon Stratton, the rector at the church.

“We were inclusive far before the national church was,” Stratton said. “We have been a place of welcome for the LGBTQ community for well over 50 years. Which again was not a typical thing in churches and wasn’t really even typical within the Episcopal Church going that far back.”

More here-

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Should the United Methodist Church Split over Same-Sex Marriage?

From Anxious Bench-

I am not a Methodist—well, not anymore. I grew up in the United Methodist Church (UMC), but have been a member of various other denominations since my college years. So the current debates within the United Methodist Church are not my fight. But they do interest me, both because of my religious history and because I am a religious historian.

Most mainline American Protestant denominations have liberalized their stance on same-sex relationships in recent years. The Presbyterian Church, USA (PCUSA), the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the American Baptist Churches, USA (ABCUSA), and the Episcopal Church, USA (ECUSA), among others, now preside over same-sex marriages and ordain ministers in same-sex relationships. The United Methodist Church, by contrast, retained its traditional stance barring both of those practices longer than other mainline denominations.

More here-

Anglican bishop’s son denied asylum, deported back to El Salvador

From Christian Post-

The son of an Anglican bishop in El Salvador who fled his native country for the U.S. following death threats from a gang was recently deported, according to his father.

Josue Alvarado Guerra, the 34-year-old son of Bishop David Alvarado of the Diocese of El Salvador, was deported back home after being detained in Ohio by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement last November. He had been in the U.S. since October 2016 and worked as an undocumented day laborer. 

Bishop Alvarado sent a letter to Ohio Bishop Mark Hollingsworth Jr. confirming that his son was back home, according to Episcopal News Service.

“We thank the God of life for allowing us to have Josue back in our house and share with him the difficult experiences he lived in detention,” wrote Alvarado, according to ENS.

More here-

Diocese of Chicago and Episcopal Church reach settlement with ACNA Diocese of Quincy

From ENS-

The Episcopal Diocese of Chicago and The Episcopal Church have reached a settlement with the Diocese of Quincy in the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) and 15 parishes and missions in that diocese over real property, other assets and church records that were part of the former Episcopal Diocese of Quincy and The Episcopal Church in 2008.

The settlement, the terms of which are confidential, includes property at issue in a suit filed in 2013 in a circuit court in Peoria.

“I give thanks for your perseverance and courage through the past eleven years, and I am grateful that this settlement will benefit God’s mission in the Peoria Deanery for many years to come,” Bishop Jeffrey D. Lee of Chicago wrote in a letter to the people of the deanery. “Participating in your ministry has been one of the great joys of my time as bishop of Chicago, and I continue to rejoice at your commitment to our beloved Episcopal Church and the communities and people you serve,” added Lee, who will retire in August.

More here-

Monday, February 3, 2020

Church of England apologizes for saying only married straight people should have sex

From Christian Post-

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Archbishop of York
John Sentamu have apologized for a decree issued by the Church of England which said that only heterosexual married couples should have sex and that sex in gay or straight civil partnerships “falls short of God’s purpose for human beings.”

“We as Archbishops, alongside the bishops of the Church of England, apologize and take responsibility for releasing a statement last week which we acknowledge has jeopardised trust,” the archbishops said in a statement, according to Belfast Telegraph. “We are very sorry and recognize the division and hurt this has caused.”

The House of Bishops of the Church of England last week issued a pastoral guidance, which said, “For Christians, marriage — that is, the lifelong union between a man and a woman, contracted with the making of vows — remains the proper context for sexual activity.”

More here-

Interfaith Partnership For Refugee Resettlement: Finding New Homes, Building Safer Lives

From Connecticut-

While IPRR was born by members of Trinity Episcopal Church and Newtown Congregational Church, it has since gained representatives from Al Hedaya Islamic Center, Baha’i Community, Congregation Adath Israel, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, among other local houses of worship.

The project is open, however, Mr Chamiec-Case told The Newtown Bee in August 2016, to “anyone who wants to participate. While we have been organized by faith communities, we are not restrictive.”

The first family settled by IPRR, a family of six, arrived in November 2017 from Tanzania. The second family — a mother and her two sons, who had spent 22 years in a Rwandan refugee camp — arrived in mid-2018.

IPRR arranged for housing for each family, and helped furnish each apartment. Volunteers also drove family members to school, or work, or appointments, until at least one member obtained a driver’s license.

More here-