Saturday, February 22, 2020

Worcester priest and ex-kindergarten teacher pleads guilty to child porn possession

From Western Massachusetts-

Gregory Lisby, the former Worcester rector and Holyoke kindergarten teacher accused of possessing child pornography last September, pleaded guilty to the charge Friday in federal court, and has separately been “credibly” accused of abusing a teenager, his diocese alleged.

In a letter sent to congregants Friday, Rev. Douglas J. Fisher, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts, revealed that, since Lisby was charged with child pornography last September, the diocese has found “devastating credible evidence” that Lisby sexually abused a teenager “after he was ordained as a priest in 2007.”

A diocese spokeswoman provided the letter but said she could not comment further, citing concerns about the victim’s privacy. She declined to say whether police had been notified or were investigating.

The letter does not say which congregation the alleged victim attended. Lisby was suspended from his post as rector at All Saints Church in Worcester in 2018, according to a statement Fisher released last September, for an “inappropriate relationship with an adult that did not involve sexual contact.”

More here-

Prominent Fairfax church seeks to explain rector’s sudden departure

From Virginia-

There are competing explanations for why Tory Baucum abruptly resigned his position as the leader of the prominent Truro Anglican Church in November and has agreed not to set foot on the property since.

Baucum says that after years as an Anglican pastor, he made the decision to resign his clerical credentials and convert to Catholicism. Any tensions between him and the staff at the church in the Northern Virginia city of Fairfax, he says, were because of his “passion” for the theology of the late Catholic Pope John Paul II.

The staff say those tensions arose from causes that have little to do with Baucum’s theology. His behavior in the workplace, church leaders wrote in a summary of an investigative report, was “abusive,” “intimidating,” “coarse,” “vulgar” and “unpredictable.”

More here-

Episcopal Bishop Should Butt Out – OpEd

From Seattle-

We would not defend a Catholic bishop who publicly criticized a decision by a high-ranking cleric of another religion about matters that pertain only to the members of that religion. We respect house rules. It’s too bad that Greg Rickel, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia, Washington, does not.

Recently, two teachers at a Catholic high school in the Seattle area, a man and a woman, resigned, and it is believed they did so because it became known that they each got engaged to a person of the same sex. They voluntarily signed a contract pledging to uphold Catholic teachings, something they obviously violated. 

As we said earlier this week, this should be a “slam dunk” case, but, of course, a few dissidents protested.

Now an Episcopal bishop, Greg Rickel, has weighed in. After Seattle Archbishop Paul Etienne spoke in defense of what happened at the Catholic high school, Rickel sounded the alarms. He accused Catholic officials of “making oneself God,” something he said was “the greatest heresy.” He also accused them of “discriminating and ruining the livelihood of two people who simply want to love.” He added it is “no wonder we are in decline.”

More here-

Friday, February 21, 2020

Eleven Archbishops to attend Kazimba Mugalu’s enthronement

From Uganda-

The Organizing Committee for the enthronement of Dr. Steven Kazimba Mugalu as the 9th Archbishop of the Church of Uganda has deficit of Shillings 350 million, URN has learnt.

The Committee Chairperson Ruth Nankabirwa, says that they so far realised Shillings 782 million of the estimated budget of Shillings 1.16 billion.

Part of the money according to the Committee will be used to purchase a vehicle for the Archbishop valued at Shillings 400 million, the renovation of the Archbishop’s residence in Namirembe Shillings 280 million, purchase of chairs for Archbishop, Bishop and retired Bishops Shillings 18 million and the beautification of cathedral gardens Shillings 23 million among other expenditures.

Asked why the Church is purchasing a new vehicle for the Archbishop instead of inheriting the one currently used by the outgoing Archbishop Stanley Ntagali, Sadiiki Adams, the Communications Officer at the CoU Provincial Secretariat told URN that the Archbishop Ntagali has two official cars and all these are to be retained by the church whose Provincial Assembly Standing Committee will determine their future use.

He defended the purchase of the new car, saying the old ones cannot effectively be used by the new Archbishop to carry out his pastoral work throughout the Province and that would be left for emergency purposes.  eanwhile 11 Archbishops from different countries have confirmed attendance of Kazimba’s enthronement scheduled for March 1, 2020 at St Paul’s Cathedral, Namirembe.

More here-

Anglican reverend arraigned in court over faking kidnap

From Uganda-

An Anglican reverend who is accused of faking his own kidnap has been arraigned in court and charged.

Rev Isaac Mwesigwa appeared at Nakawa Chief Magistrate’s court on Friday and was charged with giving false information to a public officer.

He was arrested on Thursday by CID officers in Kampala after police obtained CCTV footage showing that he had exited his car without any attack from anyone, contrary to what he had told police earlier. 

Rev Mwesigwa was found in Soroti District on February 12, three days after he went missing. He told police that he had been kidnapped by armed men on his way to deliver his research work at Uganda Christian University (UCU), Mukono.

In court, Rev Mwesigwa denied the charges and asked to be released on bail.

More here-

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Episcopal Church will cease to have Sunday worship attendance in 30 years, seminary pres. warns

From Christian Post-

A seminary president has warned The Episcopal Church's leadership that with the current rate of decline, they will cease to have any Sunday worship attendance in 30 years.

Kristine Stache, interim president of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America-affiliated Wartburg Theological Seminary, gave a presentation Friday before the denomination's Executive Council.
Stache drew from the most recent parochial report data which found that, from 2008 to 2018, the denomination experienced a 24.9 percent decline in average Sunday attendance and a 17.5 percent decline in baptized members.

“It depicts a church that appears to be dying,” said Stache, as reported by Egan Millard of Episcopal News Service, labeling the statistics “very sobering.”

More here-

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Your chance to find a Newman pew

From The Tablet

An Anglican church in Oxford is urgently looking for takers for Victorian pews installed by St John Henry Newman. Due to a major refurbishment of the church he founded, St Mary and St Nicholas in Littlemore, sixteen oak pews face the scrap heap unless a new home is found quickly.

The pews are being replaced by modern stackable seating.

Local historian Dr Philip Salmon, who is closely involved with the refurbishment, is charged with finding them new owners.

He said: “I have been trying to find suitable homes, ideally in a proper religious setting where Newman’s legacy and vision is appreciated. This has been complicated though by the fact that one end of each pew is roughly carved, where it used to butt up against a wall. So a little carpentry is required on each, but it’s not difficult to fix.”

More here-

Archbishop Kaziimba faces uphill task to revamp Anglican church

From Uganda-

When the House of Bishops convened on August  28, 2019 to elect the ninth Archbishop of the Province of Church of the Uganda (COU), one indeed felt most happy that Bishop Kaziimba of Mityana diocese, had emerged best-suited for the role.

We trust that in Kazimba, the province has received a non-worldly chief shepherd equipped to offer the much-desired leadership, to inspire afresh the spirit of Anglicanism among its youth, especially to refocus the administration of both its affairs and programmes so as to inspire its holistic growth across the entire province, and not just some sections of it.

The archbishop-elect comes at a time when the COU lacks a sound political theology necessary to counter the intrigues of Uganda’s secular politics. In fact, his immediate predecessor has several times hushed critics who resolutely dared him to discharge his ‘political’ mandate.  

More here-

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Thousands flock to Mucwini to commemorate Luwum Day

From Uganda-

Thousands of Christians from across the country yesterday attended celebrations in memory of Church of Uganda’s first archbishop, the late Janani Luwum.
About 9:30am, bishops walked down from St Paul’s Church of Uganda in a procession to take their seats at the altar prepared on the ceremonial grounds in Mucwini Sub-county, Kitgum District.
The colourful function was animated by ululation and songs by Christians. A combination of members from St Janani Luwum Parish, Kitgum Town, Christ Church Gulu, and All Saints Church formed the choir.
February 16, is gazetted nationally to remember Luwum who was brutally murdered by Idi Amin’s regime in 1977.

More here-

Desmond Tutu’s long history of fighting for lesbian and gay rights

From The Conversation-

Archbishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu is mostly known to the world for his highly prominent role in the campaign against apartheid in South Africa. This role was internationally recognised by the awarding of the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize

Tutu continued his activism even after the country’s democratic transition in South Africa in the early 1990s. Among other things, he served as chair of the country’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission which sought to deal with the crimes and injustices under apartheid, and to bring about justice, healing and reconciliation in a wounded society. He retired as Archbishop of Cape Town in 1996.

In more recent years Tutu has become known for his strong advocacy on issues of sexuality, in particular the rights of lesbian and gay people. For instance, in 2013, he made global headlines with the clear and succinct statement, in typical Tutu fashion, that he:
"would rather go to hell than to a homophobic heaven."

More here-

The Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion, Diocese of Ogbaru, Anambra State, on Monday, described Nigeria as a country at a crossroads and in a reverse gear without a steering. Addressing newsmen at the Basilica of St. James Cathedral, Atani, Ogbaru Local Government, the Bishop, Diocese of Ogbaru, Rt. Rev. Prosper Amah, said what Nigeria needed now was divine and international intervention to save it from collapse.

Read more at:

The Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion, Diocese of Ogbaru, Anambra State, on Monday, described Nigeria as a country at a crossroads and in a reverse gear without a steering. Addressing newsmen at the Basilica of St. James Cathedral, Atani, Ogbaru Local Government, the Bishop, Diocese of Ogbaru, Rt. Rev. Prosper Amah, said what Nigeria needed now was divine and international intervention to save it from collapse.

Read more at:
The Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion, Diocese of Ogbaru, Anambra State, on Monday, described Nigeria as a country at a crossroads and in a reverse gear without a steering. Addressing newsmen at the Basilica of St. James Cathedral, Atani, Ogbaru Local Government, the Bishop, Diocese of Ogbaru, Rt. Rev. Prosper Amah, said what Nigeria needed now was divine and international intervention to save it from collapse.

Read more at:

Monday, February 17, 2020

South Sudan peace talks: Machar and Kiir in deadlock over states

From The BBC-

The two rivals are under increasing international pressure to meet a deadline of 22 February to implement a power-sharing deal.

The US last year warned that it would impose sanctions on anyone working against the peace process.

Pope Francis and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, spiritual leader of the Anglican Church, have said they will visit South Sudan once a national unity government is formed.

Mr Machar has long demanded that President Kiir reverse his decision to increase the number of states to 32, seeing it as a way to give positions to presidential loyalists and boost his power base.

On Saturday, the president agreed to return to a system of 10 states and sacked all 32 state governors, raising hopes of an end to the deadlock.

More here-

ACK Archbishop urges government not to relent in the fight against graft

From Kenya-

The  Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) Archbishop Jackson ole Sapit has hailed the progress made in the fight against corruption and urged the head of state and investigation agencies not to relent in the fight against graft.

Speaking at ACK St Paul church in Lodwar on Sunday, ole Sapit said the war on corruption had reached unprecedented levels and urged the institutions mandated to fight the scourge to keep up the war.

“If you see a governor being locked in and hounded out of office because of corruption it means the country is headed in the right direction,” he said.

The clergyman said there should be no sacred cows and anyone found guilty of corruption should carry their own cross.

He said the corrupt must not be made heroes and the nation must guard against introducing language that normalises theft.

More here-

13 Christian leaders criticize Trump policies they fear will increase poverty

From Christian Post-

Thirteen Christian leaders have signed onto a letter speaking out against President Donald Trump’s budget proposal and other administration policies that they say will add to the nation’s poverty and hunger issues. 

The Circle of Protection, a coalition comprised of leaders from various Christian organizations, published an open letter Tuesday calling out “administration actions that affect people in poverty.”

“As leaders from all the families of U.S. Christianity, representing church bodies and networks serving more than 100 million Americans, we are concerned about administration action to cut safety net programs that help low-income people,” the letter reads. “The gospel of God’s love for all people moves us to speak together on this issue.”

More here-

Jefferson City church celebrates first black priest, former member

From Missouri-

Grace Episcopal Church on Sunday commemorated the lives of two African Americans whose contributions shaped both the Episcopal Church in general and Grace Episcopal specifically.

Sunday's special service honored Absalom Jones, the first black ordained priest of the Episcopal Church, and Julia Cooper, a former member of Grace Episcopal Church.

Jones, who was disappointed with racism/discrimination at Methodist Church in 1787, founded the Free African Society — a mutual aid society for blacks — with Richard Allen. Jones went on the found the first black Episcopal congregation in 1794, and in 1802, he became the first priest to become ordained as a priest in the Episcopal Church.

More here-

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Mainline Protestant pastors driving support for same-sex marriage: LifeWay study

From Christian Post-

Last week, the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan consecrated its first openly lesbian bishop, the Rev. Bonnie A. Perry. Anna Stania, director of Communications for the diocese, told The Christian Post that Perry’s candidacy received no opposition because of her sexual orientation. “We have experienced an overwhelming outpouring of joy, grace and excitement since her election and consecration.”

The study also indicates that white pastors (27 percent) are more likely to see nothing wrong with same-sex marriage than African American pastors (15 percent) or pastors of other ethnicities (6 percent).

It further suggests that those with a doctorate (27 percent) or a master’s degree (32 percent) are more likely to support same-sex marriage than pastors with a bachelor’s degree (9 percent) or no college degree (6 percent).

The survey results also show that pastors of churches with fewer than 50 in attendance (33 percent) are more likely to support same-sex marriage than those at churches with 100 or more in attendance (19 percent).

More here-

Father Josh: A married Catholic priest in a celibate world

From Dallas-

The priest wakes up at 4 a.m. on the days he celebrates the early Mass, sipping coffee and enjoying the quiet while his young children sleep in rooms awash in stuffed animals and Sesame Street dolls and pictures of saints. Then he kisses his wife goodbye and drives through the empty suburban streets of north Dallas to the church he oversees.

In a Catholic world where debates over clerical celibacy have flared from Brazil to the Vatican, Joshua Whitfield is that rarest of things: A married Catholic priest.

The Roman Catholic church has demanded celibacy of its priests since the Middle Ages, calling it a “spiritual gift” that enables men to devote themselves fully to the church. But as a shortage of priests becomes a crisis in parts of the world, liberal wings in the church have been arguing that it’s time to reassess that stance. On Wednesday, Pope Francis sidestepped the latest debate on celibacy, releasing an eagerly awaited document that avoided any mention of recommendations by Latin American bishops to consider ordaining married men in the Amazon, where believers can go months without seeing a priest.

Even the most liberal of popes have refused to change the tradition.

It is “the mark of a heroic soul and the imperative call to unique and total love for Christ and His Church,” Pope Paul VI wrote in 1967.

More here-