Saturday, June 20, 2020

‘COVID-19 has provided us opportunity to make fresh start’

From Nigeria-

Archbishop Henry Chukwudum Ndukuba, the 5th Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), told journalists, including NKECHI ONYEDIKA-UGOEZE, that Nigeria’s political class has fueled corruption, insecurity and crisis in the country.

How do you see you’re taking over the leadership of the Anglican Communion at a time the country and the world are witnessing a major health crisis? 

THE context in which we took over the leadership of the church was very challenging, being the time of the outbreak of COVID-19 and the lockdown, which was later relaxed.

Before then, we have had issues of banditry, insecurity, kidnapping and other security issues. Apart from that, there is also an economic dimension, but on every side, our nation, Nigeria, and the world are facing a very difficult time. 

More here-

South Carolina judge issues ruling contrary to state Supreme Court decision in church property case

From ENS-

South Carolina Circuit Court Judge Edgar Dickson, tasked in November 2017 by the South Carolina Supreme Court with a remittitur to enforce the final judgment of the Supreme Court, which ruled in August 2017 that the diocesan property and 29 parishes should be returned to the parties affiliated with The Episcopal Church, issued an order on June 19 that seems to be contrary to the Supreme Court’s decision.

In his order, he ruled that the properties instead belong to each congregation, using the application of the neutral principles of law. His order indicates that the historic Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina has no interest in the properties of the breakaway congregations that left the historic diocese and The Episcopal Church.

While the August 2017 final judgement of the South Carolina Supreme Court was based on a finding that these specific diocesan properties had acceded to the 1979 Dennis Canon, Dickson found no explicit accession existed. As noted in the order, the 1979 Dennis Canon states the following:

More here-

Friday, June 19, 2020

For less than the price of an average house in St Thomas, you can buy a house of God

From Canada-

For less than the price of an average house in St Thomas, you can buy an historic house of God.

Built in 1877, Trinity Anglican Church is one of the city's oldest congregations and on Thursday the 143-year-old house of God will go up for sale on the province's Multiple Listings Service. 

Faced with mounting bills and a declining membership, Trinity Anglican Church made a decision to sell 18 month ago, once it secured a merger with St. John's Anglican Church on Flora Street, to become the St Thomas Anglican Church. 

The merger and the forthcoming sale is part of a larger trend, as churches test their ability to hang on amid changing demographics, rising real estate prices and developers looking to pay top dollar for prime land.

Given the mutual benefits, it makes the prospect of selling too tempting an option to turn down for some churches. 

More here-

Financially Hit by COVID-19, Washington National Cathedral Lays Off Staff

From RNS-

The Washington National Cathedral announced a 15% reduction in full-time staff on Tuesday (June 16) due to the financial impact of coronavirus. Starting July 1, the cathedral — located in Washington, D.C. — will eliminate 13 full-time positions and 13 part-time ones and will furlough another 12 full-time positions.

The cathedral’s doors have been closed since March 12, preventing tourists and worshippers from visiting during what is usually the 113-year-old neo-Gothic landmark’s busiest time of year. In an email to Religion News Service, Chief Communications Officer Kevin Eckstrom said that while donor support has remained strong despite holding only online services, the cathedral has been unable to rent its buildings and grounds for events, which normally helps underwrite operations.

Supporters of the cathedral, an Episcopal parish as well as the seat of the church’s bishop of Washington, can still contribute to Sunday morning offerings virtually, and the cathedral has expanded the ways people can give, but these contributions haven’t been able to compensate for the lack of funding available during the cathedral’s closure.

More here-

Zoom tribunal for US Bishop of Albany

From The Church Times-

A BISHOP in the Episcopal Church in the United States faced a disciplinary panel over Zoom last Friday for his refusal to allow clergy in his diocese to officiate at same-sex marriages. The hearing had been due to take place on 21 April (News, 4 October 2019).

The ministry of the Bishop of Albany, the Rt Revd William Love, was restricted in January 2019 after he wrote an open letter to his flock challenging the authority and legality of a recent General Convention resolution (News, 18 January 2019). The resolution requires that all bishops permit churches in their dioceses to solemnise same-sex marriages where it is legal under civil law.

Parishioners at St Andrew’s, Albany, burned copies of the Bishop’s letter on the church steps in outrage.

The Episcopal Church argues that the letter amounts to breaking ordination vows to “conform to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of The Episcopal Church”.

More here-

Thursday, June 18, 2020

‘I Absolutely Have No Excuse to Give Up'

From Sojourners-

The Very Rev. Kelly Brown Douglas, Ph.D. is Dean of Episcopal Divinity School at Union Theological Seminary and Canon Theologian at Washington National Cathedral .“The Legacy of the White Lion,” an article by Douglas on reparations and the church, appears in the July issue of Sojourners magazine. Douglas spoke with editorial assistant, Hannah Conklin, about her vocational journey, the task of faith communities today, and the inspiration she finds in her family tree. 

The following interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity. 

Hannah Conklin, Sojourners: As a priest, educator, and theologian, you find yourself at the unique vocational intersection of ministry and scholarship. How did your journey begin? 

Kelly Brown Douglas: When I was about 7 years old, I remember riding with my parents through the inner city of my hometown of Dayton, Ohio. It was a cold, rainy evening. I looked out the window and noticed a little girl and boy crossing the street. They were about my age, and Black like me. I presumed them to be sister and brother. They were a bit disheveled and not properly dressed for the bad weather. And, from my young-girl perspective, they looked poor and hungry. Tears filled my eyes as I imagined for them a life of struggle. In the midst of those tears, I made a silent vow that one day I would come back and rescue those two children from the blight of Dayton’s inner city.

More here-

Episcopal Church holds hearing for bishop who refused to allow gay marriages in diocese

From Christian Post-

The Episcopal Church held a hearing in the case of a bishop who refused to allow for the blessing of same-sex marriages in his diocese.

Bishop William Love of the Episcopal Diocese of Albany was punished last year with a restriction on his ministerial duties after refusing to allow gay marriages in his diocese.

His case was brought before a Title IV Hearing Panel, which focuses on issues of ecclesiastical discipline whenever a clergyman is accused of misconduct.

Originally scheduled for April 21 before the shutdowns over coronavirus concerns, the hearing was held via Zoom teleconference on June 12 and posted on social media.

The teleconference hearing did not address the theological validity of Love’s views, but rather focused on whether the bishop’s actions violated Episcopal Church law.

More here-

West Virginia sees coronavirus outbreaks in churches

From West Virginia-

Less than a month after President Trump urged churches to reopen, West Virginia has reported a significant number of coronavirus outbreaks linked to houses of worship. According to the state’s public health office, a total of five churches have seen outbreaks.

Those churches are scattered across the rugged, mountainous state. The affected churches are in Jefferson County on the border with Maryland; Boone County, in the state’s southwestern coalfields, not far from the Kentucky border; Hampshire County, also near the Maryland border; and Marshall County, in a narrow swath of the state squeezed between Ohio and Pennsylvania known as the Northern Panhandle.

The state’s Department of Health and Human Resources announced the five-church outbreak in a Saturday press release about a house of worship in Greenbrier County, where it said “at least 17 cases have been identified.” It did not name the Greenbrier church, or the churches in the other four counties, to “protect the possibility of identifying individuals.”

More here-

Monday, June 15, 2020

'It was a significant miscalculation' | DC faith leaders frustrated over President Trump's June 1 photo op at St. John's Church

 From D.C.-

Two weeks after President Donald Trump posed for a photo op in front of St. John's Church, Episcopal Bishop Mariann Budde invited other interfaith leaders to hold a joint prayer vigil at the church Sunday. 

Bishop Budde felt the way the President went about the picture was a "crime."
“The crime was the dispersal of a peaceful crowd, with all of the symbolism of the American government and military," she said.

Previous WUSA9 reporting shows that law enforcement deployed flash bangs and gas, similar to -- if not -- tear gas, to clear out protesters before President Trump posed in front of the church.

More here-

Faith leaders working ‘slowly, carefully and deliberately’ to bring congregations back into houses of worship, though hybrid virtual and live services could continue

From Chicago-

Many houses of worship continue to hold virtual services and are proceeding with a gradual return to in-person services.  However, while churches and other houses of worship are now free to hold public, in-person gatherings, faith leaders appear to be easing into it – or even staying remote, for now.

St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, in Barrington, has continued to hold all services online, said the Rev. Jesse Perkins.  The Episcopal denomination’s bishop is permitting clergy to return to work in the building, so the church began Saturday to live-stream services from inside the church, rather than producing worship videos from their homes. 

Perkins said his church is looking forward to the implementation, likely later this summer, of Phase 4 of the state’s reopening plan where public gatherings of up to 50 people will be permitted.  

More here-

Sunday, June 14, 2020

'Weird Christianity' and why young people are embracing orthodoxy online and in church

From Australia-

Gregorian chants, renaissance choral music and incense wafting from a metallic censer. 

In an era when Kanye West runs gospel-inspired services, and megachurches, like Hillsong, release chart-topping hits, these ancient Christian traditions are, unexpectedly, having a moment. 

And they're not just resonating with older generations, either. 

Younger people are flocking to late-night Latin Mass — at least they were pre-COVID — and embracing Christian orthodoxy in online spaces. 

So says Tara Isabella Burton, America-based author of the forthcoming book Strange Rites and a member of the self-proclaimed "Weird Christian" movement.

"The term is often applied to young, online Christians who embrace the elements of their faith that might be considered weird by the modern world," Burton explains.

More here-

Secret Service admits using pepper spray to clear protesters for Trump photo op

From NY Daily News-

The Secret Service finally admitted Saturday that it used pepper spray to clear protesters from outside the White House so President Trump could hold a photo op.

After nearly two weeks of adamant denials, the federal agency conceded that it did use chemicals to move peaceful protesters.

The statement added that the pepper spray was used “in response to an assaultive (sic) individual” without offering any evidence to back up the account.

Heavily armed federal personal from federal agencies violently cleared peaceful racial justice protesters from the area around St. John’s Episcopal Church.

Live TV footage showed troops firing rubber bullets and tear gas as they charged into the crowd of several thousand demonstrators.

More here-

Missouri makes history with first black, openly-gay bishop ordination

From Missouri (with video)-

The Episcopal Diocese of Missouri has a new leader and it's a choice that's making history.

Reverend Deon K. Johnson was ordained Saturday as the 11th Episcopal Bishop of Missouri.

He is the first black, openly-gay bishop in the diocese's 179-year history.

“To find ourselves in this moment, the ancestor of a slave, to be called to be the Bishop of Missouri – God is good!” Johnson said during his ordination service. “To the people of Missouri, we have a whole new story to tell and a whole new boldness to tell it with. So I look forward to the adventure.”

More here-