New green initiative for General Convention

The Episcopal Church has been conducting environmentally responsible conventions for many years and today Bonnie Anderson, President of the House of Deputies and Gregory Straub, Secretary of the Convention, announced new initiatives to make the 76th General Convention to be held in Anaheim, California from July 8 – 17, 2009, the greenest convention ever.

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A bishop's case against Bishop-elect Thew Forrester

Bishop Tom Breidenthal of Southern Ohio, who cannot be dismissed as one of the usual suspects, has announced his decision to vote against the confirmation of the Rev. Kevin Thew Forrester as Bishop of the Diocese of Northern Michigan. He joins Bishop Greg Rickel of Olympia in the ranks of bishops who are not part of the conservative movement within the Church, but have voted against Thew Forrester's confirmation.

In a letter to his diocese, Breidenthal said he had "no problem" with Thew Forrester's involvement in Zen Buddhism, but expressed concerns over the nature of the search process in Northern Michigan, and the bishop-elect's Christology.

To read Bishop Breidenthals' letter, click Read more.

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Who says we haven't done the theology?

The Anglican Theological Review has made its Summer 2008 issue available online, thanks in part to a grant from the Chicago Consultation.

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Holmes Redding deposed

From The Seattle Times:

The Episcopal Church has defrocked Ann Holmes Redding, the Seattle Episcopal priest who announced in 2007 that she is both Christian and Muslim.

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April Fool's Day elsewhere

You've read our April Fool's Day offering, now have a look at others, including one from our friend, Pluralist.

Friday Night Lights remain lit


"Friday Night Lights" fans were handed the equivalent of a Super Bowl victory on Monday as NBC and DirecTV confirmed that the ensembler has been renewed for two seasons. The new pact covers the show's fourth and fifth seasons, which will consist of 13 segs apiece. It continues the innovative partnership between the Peacock and the satcaster that saved "FNL" from cancellation this season, the third for the Peabody-winning series revolving around a high school football team in a small Texas town. Series, shot in Austin, Texas, hails from Brian Grazer's Imagine TV, Peter Berg's Film 44 shingle and Universal Media Studios.

The Cafe's previous effusions about FNL.

Brueggemann presentation to the House of Bishops available

Walter Brueggeman was one of the invited speakers at last month's House of Bishop's meeting in Kanuga. His presentation starts by observing that the Old Testament intentionally juxtaposes a priestly account of the story of salvation and a prophetic one. Assuming that this was done for a reason, he then asks the Church in this moment what we can learn from this.

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Shades of gay

In his Human Nature column in Slate, William Saleton offers some thoughts about the British study which found that "one in six [surveyed] admitted to having helped at least one patient attempt to alter homosexual feelings."

The study's authors find this disturbing. Treatment to change homosexuality has proved ineffective and often unsafe, they argue. Therefore, therapists shouldn't try it.

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Is "religious centrist" a pejorative?

Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, former president of Chicago Theological Seminary writes:

I'll be clear. I'm in favor of reaching out and I am less interested in labels. To me as a person of faith, I believe we should be engaging the public square in order to effect change. In order to effect change, you have to engage in the broadest possible coalition-building. To use a sports metaphor, the point of a football game is not to perfect the huddle, it's to move the ball down the field.
Here's the reality check. Before you accuse someone of being a "centrist" and use that as code for lack of faith commitment, ask these questions: Does it matter at all where the center is? Does it matter at all where the center could and should be?
[I]sn't it a good idea to try to move the center back more toward, well, the center? How do you do that? You do that by building bridges, building trust and building a movement. Movements move. It's risky, it doesn't always work out, but it's how change happens.

Among people who self-identify as liberal or progressive, there should be room for diversity of opinion on how to best effect the change we need. And really, if we can't honor diversity, aren't we betraying that fundamental principle of historic liberalism?

Read it all in On Faith.

Bishop-elect Kevin Thew Forrester speaks for himself

The Rev Kevin Thew Forrester, Bishop-elect of the Diocese of Northern Michigan, has released this statement in reference to questions about his views on Christology. Cafe readers have been discussing those views here.

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Choose: fix economy or attend General Convention?

The year is 1907. The month is October. There is a run the banks. What does most influential financier of the day do? Spend 30 days at General Convention which was the celebrating 300 years of Anglicanism in the USA.

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The State of the Episcopal Church

As reported, last week the Blue Book for General Convention 2009 became available. Among the many public documents is one from the House of Deputies Committee on the State of the Church. It is a hard-hitting self examination of where we are and the challenges before us.

Some of the tough language:

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ELCA Sexuality and Ministry reports released

The Task Force for ELCA Studies on Sexuality has proposed a social statement on human sexuality called Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust, and the Report and Recommendation on Ministry Policies. It will come before the 2009 Churchwide Assembly to be held August 17-23, 2009, in Minneapolis. If it passes this summer, it will effectively give Lutherans a local option as to same sex blessings and the ordination partnered gay ordinands.

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Breaking: Iowa's highest court allows gay marriage

Two quick observations: It's unanimous and it's from the heartland.

UPDATE: Press release from heads of the Iowa state legislature below.

The AP reports:

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Standing Committee to search committee: adhere to B033

Episcopal News Service reports that the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Western New York has told a newly formed bishop search committee that they are to adhere to the terms of 2006 General Convention Resolution B033 while at the same time seeking to overturn the resolution at the 2009 Convention.

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Anglican Consultative Council to consider Covenant

Two related items today from ENS on the Anglican Covenant drafting committee and the next meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council.

On the coming meeting of the ACC

The Anglican Communion's most representative legislative body -- the Anglican Consultative Council -- will consider two documents at its upcoming meeting that "are key to discerning a way forward for the Anglican Communion in light of recent stresses caused by differences over matters of human sexuality," according to an April 3 news release from the Anglican Communion Office.

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Bishop in a box

Is it news that a bishop of the Church of England prays? For a whole hour? Maybe it's not news, but it may be art. The BBC reports:

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Sticks and stones

The Archbishop of Canterbury says that he is "delighted" that Archbishop Vincent Nichols is the new Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster. Well, he'd better be nice or else Nichols' press office might start calling him names.

The British religious press/blogs are telling of a confrontation that took place shortly after the April 3rd announcement of Nichols' appointment, where Peter Jennings told Jonathan Wynne Jones of the Telegraph that he was "a total s**t" for publishing leaked letters from other RC Bishops criticizing Nichols.

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A cyber service of remembrance

Friday evening, April 3, friends of Lee Davenport gathered online to celebrate his life in our midst. Most of us only knew him through his insightful and sometimes humorous comments on our blogs, on Facebook and other places in the 'net. We felt somewhat adrift with our grief as we could not go to where his service was being held in Emmanuel Church, Bristol, Virginia.

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Saturday collection 4/4/09

Here is our weekly collection plate, offering a few of the good things that Episcopalians and their congregations have done that made the news this past week. And other news fit to print.

Parish office prayers before Holy Week. Father Tim Schenck writes on his blog "Clergy Family Confidential" the following:

Ode to a Copier A Prayer for Holy Week

Holy Week, dear friends, will soon draw nigh;
From St. Mark’s-in-the-Bowery to Christ Church, Shanghai.
Parish secretaries and their rectors, too,
Thinking of the bulletins that will ensue,
Drop to their knees and begin to quake,
Praying their copiers will stay awake
Through Maundy Thursday and the rest;
Without behaving as if possessed.
Rectors wonder with uncertainty,
“Should I have purchased the extended warranty?”
Misfeeds, toner woes and a paper jam
Always seem to accompany the Paschal Lamb.
Why this happens is a great unknown,
A mystery worthy of the bishop’s throne.
So stoke the incense, say your prayers;
anything to stave off copier repairs.
As the dark shadows of Tenebrae now approach;
may your copier behave without reproach.
And as we begin the Good Friday fast,
May it wait ‘til Low Sunday to breathe its last.


An acre for anyone

Reese Rickards of St. Albans Episcopal Church in Salisbury, MD reports, "St.Albans is allowing anyone from the community to obtain a plot of their land and grow whatever they desire. But no matter what type food or flower that someone chooses to grow on God's Acre, 10% of it is required to be donated to the needy." Rickard said, "They have to agree to tithe what ever they raise, not to us but to... any agency that is helping the poor folks."

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Fire at Nashotah House

An overnight fire in Waukesha County leaves nothing but a pile of rubble behind at a historic building according to reports from 620WTMJ News.

Nobody was hurt, but the structure which was part of the Nashotah Episcopal Seminary was destroyed. The fire broke out around 12:30 a.m. Friday morning. The two-story house was engulfed in fire. Investigators said that nobody currently lives in this house, a historic building set in the heart of the Nashotah House Episcopal Seminary

Photos and descriptions of the fire from members of the community here and here.

Blessing the sun for Passover

Traditionalist Jews and tree-huggers alike are coming together for Birkat HaHammah, a Jewish holiday that falls only once every 28 years, marking the sun’s return to its original position at creation, according to Ethics Daily.

This year, the celebration takes place at sunrise April 8, followed by the start of Passover at sunset. The timing is a coincidence that won’t happen again until 2437; unlike major Jewish holidays, which run on a lunar cycle, the “blessing the sun” is based on the Julian calendar.

Still, the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life has encouraged Jews to take advantage of the convergence, offering suggestions for tying the obscure observance with the major annual holiday.

Young Episcopalians speak

Some of the young people at St. Peter's, Lewes, Delaware, tell why they are Episcopalians.

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Calling all artists

Episcopal Church and Visual Arts (ECVA) has issued a call for art to express Ubuntu, the theme of General Convention 2009:

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Fair trade Palm Sunday

Today, as Christian churches celebrate Palm Sunday, many are using fair trade palms:

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Bart Ehrman's "Jesus Interrupted"

Gary Kamiya offers an interesting discussion of Professor Bart Ehrman's latest book--Jesus Interrupted at Salon, which includes an interview with Ehrman. As Kamiya notes, the new book will not be well received in many corners:

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Gallup Poll on Catholics on social issues

A new Gallup poll finds no difference between the views of American Catholics and non-Catholics on issues such as abortion, stem cell research and homosexuality. And, while the most devout Catholics have views more in line with church doctrine than their less devout counterparts, they too have views that diverge from church doctrine:

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Judas: A biography

The New York Times yesterday included a very interesting review of Susan Gubar's Judas: A Biography:

In “Judas: A Biography,” Susan Gubar has amassed a long, grim and often nauseating catalog of the ways in which the Christian imagination has vented its wrath on the disciple who betrayed his master.

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The end of the Christian nation of America

Newsweek has an extended essay focusing on the implications of a recent Pew finding that fewer Americans than ever are reporting they are religious. While this comes as no surprise to clergy who are constantly meeting folks who are "spiritual but not religious", there are some very significant political ramifications.

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Breakaway church in Virginia needs help with legal bills

The wardens of the Falls Church, Nigerian, have written to parishioners who donated to a capital campaign several years ago, asking them for permission to divert those contributions to help pay legal bills incurred by parishes that have broken away from the Episcopal Church and placed themselves under the authority of Archbishop Peter Akinola.

Read the letter.

A Falls Church newspaper has some background about the capital campaign.

ACNA unlikely to be recognized by Anglicans

According to the American Anglican Council's C.O.O. and chaplain, it is unlikely that Anglican Church in North America, a group headed by Bishop Robert Duncan, will be recognized as a valid expression of the Anglican Communion by the Instruments of Communion.

Douglas LeBlanc reports in the Living Church:

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Further conversation about the bishop-elect of Northern Michigan's liturgies

Two weeks ago we published an essay by Louis Weil, a leading authority on liturgical practice in the Episcopal Church, which defended some of the apparently controversial liturgical practices of Kevin Thew Forrester, the bishop-elect of Northern Michigan.

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Grace and St. Stephen's in Colorado returns to building

As per the judge's order last month, the break-away congregation of Grace and St. Stephen's Church in Colorado Springs Colorado, headed by The Rev. Don Armstrong, has vacated the contested building. Now renamed as St. George's Anglican Church they are renting space in a school academy hall and planning for their future.

The continuing congregation of Grace and St. Stephen's returned on Palm Sunday to their building with an overflow congregation of over 600 people.

Read the full report here. Lots of pictures.

Quincy meets with the Presiding Bishop and reorganizes

The Presiding Bishop was in Peoria over Palm Sunday weekend met with a special synod convened in that diocese to reconstruct the leadership ranks that were emptied when a large portion of the diocesan membership voted to leave the Episcopal Church.

The deputies to the Synod unanimously elected a slate of candidates to fill the vacant position and voted to name a provisional bishop and approved a new diocesan budget.

Thinking Anglicans has an excellent collection of links to news reports and documents from the visit here. We'd been meaning to get around to posting this news, but Thinking Anglicans has done such a cracker-jack job that we see no reason to duplicate their efforts.

Parish embezzlement case surfaces in Staten Island

Sad news from the Diocese of New York is being reported today. A parish priest is accused of embezzling more than eighty thousand dollars for his own use. The priest in question is not responding to press inquiries.

UPDATED: The linked article now has a response from the accused's lawyer who is denying the charges.

Staten Island Live has the story's details:

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Anglican Church of Canada awarded $20,000 in legal costs

The Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC) has paid the Anglican diocese of Niagara $20,000, which it was awarded for legal costs by an Ontario Superior Court ruling according to the Anglican Journal.

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President's faith-based advisory council announced

The White House sent a press release April 6 announcing additional members of the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. The Advisory Council is part of the White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and is composed of religious and secular leaders and scholars from different backgrounds. We note that Henry Knox of the Human Rights Campaign is among those named.

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Breaking: Vermont overrides governor's veto

Vermont has become the fourth state to legalize gay marriage -- and the first to do so with a legislature's vote The Huffington Post reports:

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Death of church greatly exaggerated

Becky Garrison, writing in Religious Dispatches, notes:

The mainstream press has been eager to proclaim the demise of the Episcopal church in the wake of a conservative defection this Winter, but a brief tour of church history reveals that 100,000 Anglicans defecting from the 80 million member Communion is nothing more than a case of the spiritual sniffles.

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Rick Warren backtracks on being against marriage equality

Clearly stung by criticism of his position on California's Proposition 8, that took away marriage equality for gays and lesbians, Pastor Rick Warren on CNN's Larry King Live now says:

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March Gladness winners!!

Episcopal Cafe´editor, Jim Naughton, shoots and scores, placing 5th in the March Gladness bracketology. His son, Ben, placed 4th beating Jim by picking a better tie-breaker score than his dad. Brian Sellers-Peterson, Episcopal Relief and Development, won with a score of 156, choosing 47 of a possible 63 teams. Richard B and Max Walker came in 2nd and 3rd. Congratulations to all the winners. All the funds will be distributed to the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) project they support. March Gladness was the idea of Mike Kinman of Episcopalians for Global Reconciliation to have some fun and raise funds for MDG projects.

Click here for complete results.

Episcopal Cafe´ offered $100 bonus for the project of the player who registered with us before the playoffs. That players turns out to be Ben Naughton, who was playing for the Bokamoso Youth Program.

Diocese of Virginia makes its appeal to the state Supreme Court

The Diocese of Virginia has filed its appeal of the Circuit Court decision involving the diocese's property dispute with CANA (Nigerian). From the diocese's press release:

The Diocese is appealing on a number of grounds, including a challenge to the constitutionality of Virginia’s one-of-a-kind division statute (Va. Code § 57 9(A)) and the rulings of the Circuit Court in applying the law.

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Bishop Kimsey responds to Bishop Breidenthal

The Lead earlier this month published the letter from The Rt. Rev. Thomas E. Breidenthal (Southern Ohio) to his diocese regarding his decision not to consent to the consecration of Kevin Thew Forrester as Bishop of Northern Michigan. The Rt. Rev. Rustin R. Kimsey (Assisting Bishop for the Diocese of Alaska, The Fifth Bishop of Eastern Oregon, Retired, Assisting Bishop for the Episcopal Church in Navajoland, Retired) has written an open letter to Breidenthal. Kimsey writes,

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Latest draft covenant available

Updated at 4:55 p. m. with statement from Bonnie Anderson, President of the House of Deputies of the Episcopal Church. To read the statement, click Read more at the end of this entry.

The Covenant Design Group has issued its latest draft, the Ridley Cambridge Draft [RCD], along with responses it received to the St. Andrews Draft. It has also issued its commentary on the RCD.

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PB: "we are going to have to pay attention to our neighbors that don't look gray and white"

Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori visited Wilmington's Cathedral Church of St. John. Her visit included an open question and answer session.

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USA 1, Café 0

The Lead loses its regular Sunday news post-person, Charles Blanchard. Our loss is the administration's gain. Congratulations, Chuck.

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts

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Episcopal Church files brief in Virginia case

Updated 4/9 at 2:20 p. m. with amicae briefs from the Episcopal Dioceses of Southern and Southwestern Virginia, and a number of other denominations, including the Lutherans, Methodist, Presbyterians, the African Methodist Episcopal Church and the AME Zion.

The Episcopal Church has filed a brief with the Virginia Supreme Court, asking it to reverse a Fairfax County Court judge who ruled that the Church's property now belongs to congregations affiliated with the Anglican Church of Nigeria. The Diocese of Virginia has also filed an appeal.

The brief is online here, and friend of the court filings are expected soon. An account from Episcopal Life Online is also available.

A troubling interpretation

In a comment on the blog Titus 1:9, Ephraim Radner, a member of the Covenant Design Group, has suggested that the word "Church" was used in the Ridley Cambridge Draft of the Anglican Covenant rather than the word "province" to provide for the possibility that schismatic churches and individual dioceses could "request recognition and participation" in the covenant. He writes:

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Capturing the castle through the back door

The most recent draft of the proposed Anglican Covenant, which we wrote about yesterday, speaks at some length about the powers that will be exercised by the various Instruments of Unity or Instruments of Communion. Indeed, almost every recent document dealing with Anglican governance speaks of the instruments as though they are at least as old and as well-established, as say, the three branches of the United States government. Yet the attempt to invest these instruments with ecclesiastical authority is barely a decade old, has never been examined in any formal way by the member Churches of the Communion and has never even been approved by the so-called instruments themselves.

However, by speaking as though the system that they wish to create already exists, proponents of a more top-down form of governance may succeed in wearing down resistance to a system of ecclesiastic arrangements in which individual churches are gradually forced to cede power to the global Communion.

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A word on getting the Jim McGreevey story right

The mainstream media has an ongoing fascination with Jim McGreevey, the former governor of New Jersey who resigned his office after acknowledging that he had cheated on his wife with a man whom he had placed on the state's payroll, and then enrolled in an Episcopal seminary. It is, one must admit, a difficult story to ignore, but it is also proving to be a difficult story for the press to get right.

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Lord, not my shoes only, but my dry cleaning as well

From Ekklesia in the UK:

Maundy Thursday is a foot-washing day for Christians, emphasizing mutual service. But a bishop has given the tradition a new twist by shining boots at St Pancras station to raise funds for Zimbabwe.

The shoe shining stall was set out on the main concourse of the international train station, which acts as a gateway to Europe, between 8am - 10am and 3pm - 6pm today (9 April 2009), to coincide with rush-hour.

Anglicans off-line (temporarily)

All the major Anglican sites listed that are hosted in Brian Reid's garage in Palo Alto went dark for much of yesterday. These include Thinking Anglicans, Anglicans Online and the House of Bishops/House of Deputies listserve (aka "HOBD). Palo Alto was knocked offline because of some fiber cuts which has left much of the Bay Area is in the "dark".

We are grateful that the sites operated by the Society of Archbishop Justus appear to back up and running.

Read more here and here.

Easter message from Bishop of Jerusalem

Easter message from Bishop Suheil S. Dawani, Bishop of Jerusalem. The Episcopal Church has asked that our Good Friday Collections go to the Diocese of Jerusalem.

Alleluia! Christ is risen. The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!

Salaam and warm greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ from here in Jerusalem to all of our friends and partners, our brothers and sisters in Christ.

The great celebration of Easter will soon be upon us. The Easter acclamation noted above will soon be said or sung with enthusiasm among Christians all over the world. The world-wide body of Christ will join in offering our alleluias of thanksgiving, praise and celebration for our Lord's victory over sin and death. Christ is risen. Alleluia!

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Prayers for Oklahoma and Texas

Many in Oklahoma and Texas are watching and waiting this Good Friday as fires sweep through their communities. Worshippers gather in safe places wondering if their homes and churches will be standing on Easter. We join their prayers for safety in the midst of disaster.

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The Easter message of Bishop Paul V. Marshall to the Diocese of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

If you look carefully at this picture of Grace, Allentown, Pennsylvania set up as an emergency shelter, especially at higher resolutions too big to reproduce here, there is something optically striking about the picture. Either deliberately or accidentally, the photographer (or his camera!) chose the sanctuary lamp as the focal point of the picture. The body of the lamp is the most sharply in-focus area of the picture and the tiny flame has a special intensity.


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San Diego Episcopalians home for Easter

Episcopal Life Online reports "..after meeting in a local community center for two and a half years, members of St. John's Episcopal Church in Fallbrook in the Diocese of San Diego will celebrate Easter back in their church home."

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The Way of the Cross

We invite you to enter into meditation on the Way of the Cross. Episcopal Café Speaking to the Soul offers four versions of the Stations of the Cross at Multimedia Meditations.

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Archbishop of Canterbury: the meaning of Easter

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, reflects on Easter as a journey:

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Saturday collection 4/11/09

Here is our weekly collection plate, offering a few of the good things that Episcopalians and their congregations have done that made the news this past week. And other news fit to print.

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Holy Ground: flash mob worship

Flash mob guerilla worship is featured at The Times, UK in an article by Ruth Gledhill.

This is thought to be the first time 'flash mob' has been used to generate a 'random' act of Christian worship. It took place [April 4], Saturday, at Liverpool One Shopping Centre.

On the dream - re-imagining worship website, some of those involved have posted an explanation:

'We began scattered among the shoppers. At the signal, we all stopped and took off our shoes ... an ancient sign that this is "holy ground". God lives in shopping malls as well as churches! We then made out way to the park at the centre of the mall where we sat together to form a cross ... and prayed silently for a few minutes. We remembered Easter and the cross. We prayed for the current economic situation ... for those who have lost jobs ... and for God's blessing on our city ... we prayed for hope.'

See the video of the worship below. Is this something you would try?

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Archbishop’s Easter Message to the faithful of Sudan

Archbishop’s Easter Message to the faithful of Sudan April 2009 Theme: Jesus died and rose again to reconcile us to God ...

Let us pray for our country. Let us not shame the fallen heroes who sacrificed themselves on our behalf so that we might enjoy and peaceful, free nation. The only gift we can give back to them is peace, justice, equality and unity amongst our people.

However, at present the conflicts within our people are delaying the process of peace-building. Quarrelling over land and cattle is causing us to continue fighting in Sudan. This is a betrayal of this land and our heroes who fought for us to enjoy it. We are not safeguarding our country or re-paying our heroes, but are continuing to destroy our country.

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Blessings of Easter


The Rev. Peter Pearson

The Rev. Pearson has worked on many projects as a liturgical artist and consultant by designing worship spaces, furnishings, vesture, and seasonal decorations. In every aspect of his work, he seeks to combine sound liturgical practice with quality artistic design. He is a priest of the Diocese of Bethlehem, PA and presently serves as the pastor of a small parish in New Hope, PA.

Easter sermons: Presiding Bishop and Archbishop of Canterbury

The Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori preached at St. James Church in Florence, Italy on recognizing the risen Christ. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, at Canterbury Cathedral spoke of the truth of the resurrection in our lives.

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Easter Meditation

From Episcopal Cafe´ Speaking to the Soul, watch and listen, Easter Meditation.


Paintings by He Qi.

Obamas attend St. John's, Lafayette Square for Easter

It was a quiet day yesterday, religiously speaking, for the most part. But the one surprise out of the White House was that the Obama family decided to go Easter services at the Episcopal congregation "next door" to the White House.

However that doesn't mean the First Family have chosen a new church home:

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Stained Glass Artist prepares his final work for the National Cathedral

Rowan LeCompte, who has spent his working life creating the stained glass windows at the Cathedral, was interviewed over the weekend by NPR. LeCompte, now 84 is finishing what he expects will be his last window to be installed.

LeCompte reflects on what his experience at the Cathedral has meant to him:

"[His] career started decades ago. LeCompte had the rare experience of finding his life's passion at age 14, when he first saw the cathedral on a visit to Washington, D.C.

He refers to that fateful day as his 'second birthday.' It was 1939, and the Gothic church wasn't even complete. But the beauty of the stained glass windows gave the Baltimore native's young life new purpose.

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Christian message of hope was lost in new Archbishop's comments

Simon Barrow takes the new Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster to task for his Good Friday comments complaining about televised condom ads in Britain. And another bishop for calling for a ban on television watching to protest the lack of properly religious themes in the shows being aired.

Barrow rightly wonders at whether or not something more fundamental about the message of Christianity might have been shared instead.

As he points out:

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The rise of the Cowboy Church

Cowboy church isn't the punch line to a joke, it's an old tradition in the Southwest that is starting to grow on folks. Created as a way to reach out to people who might not otherwise be comfortable in Sunday worship, the movement is starting buck the trend of decreasing church attendance being seen by other styles of worship.

The Dallas Morning News reports:

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Twittering the Passion

Trinity Church, Wall Street tried an interesting experiment this past Good Friday; twittering the Passion narrative. Twitter, a rapidly growing social microblogging service allowed the story to be posted in small chunks throughout the traditional three hour observance.

Religion Dispatches has an excellent account of the reporter's own reactions to the service:

"It all got going around 12:10 p.m. on Friday, ten minutes late, after some technical troubles. The first post: ‘via @ServingGirl: is so tired. Caiaphas and the priests have been up all night questioning a man who claims to be the Messiah. And I wait on them.’ Yes, the text itself was under 140 chars, but with the ‘via @ServingGirl:’ part it went a bit over. By 1:27, a few such posts prompted ‘@jgderuvo’ to shout out, for all watching twspassionplay’s Twitter page to see, ‘Guys, stay within the 140 character limit… it’s truncating, ruining the effect!’ It’s basically the equivalent of someone standing up in the theater and shouting that the script wasn’t in perfect iambic pentameter.

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Bishop Scarfe on the Iowa ruling

A Pastoral Response to the Iowa State Supreme Court Ruling on Equal Marriage from Alan Scarfe, Bishop of The Episcopal Diocese of Iowa:

Good Friday 2009

The recent Iowa Supreme Court ruling has opened civil marriage for same-sex couples in the state of Iowa on the constitutional principle of equal protection under the law. This ruling clarifies for me what the issue is that is facing the Church. Like so many who support the rights of gay and lesbian people, I thought civil unions would provide adequate protection for their relationships. I began to see things differently as I heard the arguments presented in court several months ago.
The Supreme Court’s ruling broadens the legal definition of marriage beyond that which is currently stated in the Canons of the Church or the Prayer Book which contains our authorized services. Further, the Prayer Book requires compliance with both the laws of the State and the canons of the Church. But the Church’s definition of the sacrament of marriage and the state’s definition of the legal form of marriage now differ. In spite of the good intentions many may have, I am unable to permit Episcopal clergy to sign marriage licenses for same-sex couples. Couples wishing prayers and a blessing therefore must go first to the state to be married or a priest may ask a state official to provide for the vows and the signing of the license.

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Jesus condemned sacrificial theology

Giles Fraser:

Last time I was in Wiawso, four men were arrested in a local village, not far from the cathedral, for having taken part in the ritualised murder of a disabled man, a hunchback. He was staked out and dismembered. The men involved went on to sell his body parts for large sums of money to witchdoctors. Pregnant women and children have also been targeted, with Ghanaian newspapers reporting that a human head can be traded locally for a Kia truck.

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Sydney rectors are advised lay presidency is allowed

Church Times:

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Holy See rejects Caroline Kennedy


The Vatican has rejected at least three possible candidates proposed by Barack Obama to serve as US ambassador to the Holy See, say reliable sources in Rome.

None of the three candidates informally proposed by the Obama administration so far is acceptable to the Pope because of their support for abortion rights.

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We're not splitting, only slicing

While GAFCON/FOCA continues to insist it is not a separatist group, it's certainly seeking to promote it. They seek not the unity of the Anglican Communion, but unity with like-minded malcontents.

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Breaking: Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth files suit

For Immediate release
April 14, 2009


The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth files suit to recover property and assets of the Episcopal Church

On Tuesday, April 14, 2009, the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, the Corporation of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth and the Episcopal Church filed suit in 141st District Court of Tarrant County, Texas in part to recover property and assets of the Episcopal Church. The defendants are former members of the corporation’s board and the former bishop of the diocese, all of whom have left the Episcopal Church.

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Jane Williams: God's verdict

The theologian and wife of the Archbishop of Canterbury writes:

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'I am Episcopalian' microsite draws half a million visitors during Lent

A communications initiative, launched on Ash Wednesday, which provides a new way for Episcopalians to share their connection to and appreciation for the Episcopal Church, was heavily used during Lent reports ENS.

Can we look forward to a mixed society?

Two Episcopal churches in Del Ray beach lie within three blocks of each other, one white, one black. But they've barely encountered one another. But that's been changing.

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Having The Talk

Two articles on the sex talk, both from the New York Times (well, one is from a NYT blog, Freakonomics), caught our attention in the last two days.

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All that's certain is dog lovers and taxes

It's April 15th. Time for prominent politicians to make their tax returns public.

The AP reports:

President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle, millionaires from his best-selling books, made $2.7 million last year and paid just under one-third of their adjusted income in federal taxes.

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On the road to Canterbury with NPR

NPR's Rob Gifford is doing a series, The New Canterbury Tales, tracing the forty miles from London to Canterbury. Part 3 is titled "Importance Of Church Slips Rapidly Among British." Some excerpts:

Britain has become one of the most secular countries in Europe. The English church has always seemed to swing between the two extremes: from the piousness of Puritanism to the dissolute courts of the Restoration; from the high tide of Victorian evangelicalism to the deep and broad secularism of the 20th century and beyond.

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This is your brain on conflict

How deeply is the tone of conversation on Anglican blogs influenced by brain chemistry? Have a look at this essay by Jonah Lehrer and join me in bearing it in mind the next time you are tempted to write in anger:

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Dog bites man

The leaders of GAFCON have found it within their hearts to recognize the schismatic organization that pays their bills. As five of the seven Primates on the GAFCON leadership council already support breakaway congregations within the Episcopal Church, this has the effect of an organization declaring that it recognizes itself. It will be interesting to see whether the mainstream media considers this news, or understands that this is similar to Chevy announcing that it recognizes General Motors.

This recognition, however, cuts against the argument made by the English and Australian branches of GAFCON that theirs is not a schismatic movement, but merely a fellowship within the Anglican Communion. By what authority does a fellowship within the Communion recognizes a group waging a campaign against existing members of the same Communion?

Henry Orombi's song of himself

In his Roving Eye column for the Sunday Monitor of Kampala, Kevin O'Connor writes about an advertising supplement celebrating the fifth anniversary of the primacy of Archbishop Henry Orombi of Uganda. He estimates the cost of the supplement at $6,500:

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Gay marriage = religious freedom

Many of the arguments against gay marriage come from Christian organizations suggesting that the recognition of gay marriage somehow infringes upon their religious freedom. This video from the Web site Waking Up examines these claims and dismisses them.

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Grieves, Shea to leave Episcopal Church posts

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori announced two staff departures of people well-known throughout the church and beyond.

The Rev. Canon Brian J. Grieves, longtime peace and justice officer and current director of the Advocacy Center for the Episcopal Church, and Maureen Shea, director of the Office of Government Relations, will leave their posts after General Convention concludes July, the Presiding Bishop has announced. Shea will retire September 1 and Grieves will depart October 15.

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The argument from ducks

Somehow we missed this episode of the Colbert Report in which Stephen squares off with Biblical scholar Bart Ehrman, author of Jesus, Interrupted. I am divine and you are the branches, indeed.

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The physics of faith

From Religion News Service:

Christian thinkers have long employed insights from sociology, literature, and other fields to augment their ideas of how God works in the world. Yet despite the world-changing insights of science, very few theologians have drawn on physics, biology or geology in the same way. Renowned Anglican physicist-theologian John Polkinghorne wants to change all that.
Read Daniel Burke's conversation with physicist turned Anglican clergyman John Polkinghorne.

The betrayal of Archbishop Jesus by the writer Judas

Sometimes we receive a comment that is worthy of being made into an item. We received this one on an item about Archbishop Henry Orombi, who was recently feted with a four-page advertorial in an Ugandan newspaper. A newspaper columnist thought the money poorly spent. Here is a response from Mr. Richard Obura, provincial treasurer of the Church of Uganda:

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Breakaway Pittsburgh plays the shell game

The lawsuits between the real and breakaway Dioceses of Pittsburgh is heating up with four filings in three days. The filings reveal that the breakaway diocese is playing a legal shell game and stalling for time.

The marble in the shell game is the title "Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh" and Robert Duncan and his followers are hoping that by including this name in the breakaway groups title, they can get get around a 2005 court order that required them to give up all assets when they left the Episcopal Church.

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Church politics gone viral

Daniel Burke of the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life notes how church politics has gone viral, mirroring many of the trends and tecniques of secular politics, and he holds out the election of Kevin Thew Forrester as Bishop of Northern Michigan as the latest example.

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Awaiting a refugee

The Diocese of Montreal in the Anglican Church of Canada has sponsored more than 1,000 refugees in the last 25 years but one Algerian who is still in custody at Guantanamo has an offer from the diocese to sponsor him to come to Canada as a refugee.

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Losing faith in droves

A survey of Canadian youth reveals that the religious middle-ground of those who believe in God, but do not go to church or practice religion, is disappearing, leaving behind teens who are either very religious or those who don’t believe in God at all.

Reginald Bibby, the University of Lethbridge sociologist who heads up Project Teen, says “For years I have been saying that, for all the problems of organized religion in Canada, God has continued to do well in the polls. That’s no longer the case.”

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Breaking: Judge rules in favor of Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh

Judge Joseph James of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, has ruled in favor of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh on several points in its legal dispute with Robert Duncan and other former leaders over the control of diocesan assets.

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Vatican probes nuns


The Vatican has launched a doctrinal investigation into the leadership of Catholic sisters in the United States, reportedly because they have not sufficiently promoted the Vatican line on homosexuality, the all-male priesthood and other issues.

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Bishop Jenkins seeks funds for murdered child's funeral

The Rt. Rev. Charles Jenkins, bishop of Louisiana has issued a plea for donations to help with funeral expenses for 6-year-old Four Overstreet, one of the victims in last weekend's triple homicide in Terrytown according to

In a Thursday letter, Bishop Charles Jenkins said that young Four "is not just another name but was known to us through his participation in sports programs we helped get going.
Jenkins asked that ... that checks be made payable to Professional Funeral Home or taken to the funeral home at 1620 Elysian Fields, New Orleans.

Saturday collection 4/18/09

Here is our weekly collection plate, offering some of the good things that Episcopalians and their congregations have done that made the news this past week. And other news fit to print.

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Are you listening?

Church leaders from more than 40 denominations have encouraged their congregations to take the "You've Got The Time" challenge, a 40-day campaign of listening to the New Testament for 28 minutes a day according to the Christian Post.

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An alien legacy

Human Rights Watch has detailed how laws forbidding consensual homosexual conduct were introduced into countries that had been colonized by Europeans. The group says that more than 80 countries around the world still criminalize consensual homosexual conduct between adult men, and often between adult women.

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GAFCON thunders. The media yawn.

Paul Handley of the Church Times writes about being the only journalist at the news conference held last week by the GAFCON primates to announce the foregone conclusion that they were going to recognize the churches of the conservative Americans who pay their bills.

I think he may have been the only journalist at this meeting because the rest of the media recognizes that these folks have fired all of their guns and not very much has happened. But he makes an argument worth reading, though I have to disagree with his conclusion:

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Evangelism, identity and theology

Dean Ian Markham of Virginia Theological Seminary gave the initial presentation in the Diocese of Washington's evangelism series. He spoke on the book Why Liberals Churches are Growing, which he co-edited with Martyn Percy, among other things. The video is about 50 minutes long, and I have to admit that the sound isn't as good as we would like it to be.

If you have trouble viewing it, it is also available on the diocesan Web site in Windows and in QuickTime.

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Dean Slee challenges Nazir-Ali

From The Telegraph:

The Very Rev Colin Slee, the liberal Dean of Southwark has publicly attacked the Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, and said that he was one of three bishops whose position was now "open to some debate".

The Dean's broadside, delivered in the introduction to the annual report for Southwark Cathedral, will infuriate evangelical supporters of the Bishop, 59, and further widen the gulf between the traditional and liberal wings of the church.

Diocese of Bethlehem takes to the airwaves

The Diocese of Bethlehem is running some advertising on WNEP TV in northeastern Pennsylvania. Have a look.

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The Anglican right and the psychological fringe

Anglican Mainstream, one of the leading English organizations on the Anglican right, is bringing an American psychotherapist who is anything but mainstream to England this week. Joseph Nicolosi, is one of the founders of the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality, the flat earth society of the therapeutic world.

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Haller's "Reasonable and Holy" now available

Tobias Haller, a friend of this site and keen theological mind, has just published a book entitled "Reasonable and Holy: Engaging Same-Sexuality". The book argues that the Church's provision of pastoral care to members in committed, monogamous, life-long same gender relationships is in keeping with the ongoing development of the Church's traditional work.

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Bishop of Arizona calls for change at the border

This weekend brought the annual ecumenical border wall procession to the Arizona-Mexico border. The marchers met this year in Naco Arizona and processed to the wall which bars them from entering Naco Sonora. The Episcopal Diocese of Arizona was present for the walk and Bishop Smith was a featured speaker:

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Parishioners in Detroit lead ministry to pray for the unclaimed bodies of the dead

Each month in Detroit a number of people earthly remains a left unclaimed at the city morgue. It's probably not uncommon in most major cities - people die with no family left and who didn't make prior arrangements. But what's different in Detroit is the way a group of people, led by an Episcopal layman, is making sure that the deaths do not go unmentioned. Or without prayers.

The Detroit News reports:

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Reports from first day of Executive Council now posted

The Executive Council of the Episcopal Church is holding its final meeting of the Triennium this week in Maine. Most of the work they will do will be focused on preparing for this summer's General Convention. Episcopal Life reports on the first day's activities.

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Bishop Robinson calls for Episcopal Church to stop performing marriages

Bishop Gene Robinson, visiting a parish in Los Angeles, has suggested that a way forward for churches split on the question of same-gender marriages would be for the clergy to stop officiating at the marriage, and focus on the blessing instead.

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Tweeting the Bible

First the Passion and now the Bible: German Christians are starting what they hope will be a record-breaking effort to use the new Internet social-networking and micro-blogging service Twitter to try and "tweet" the Bible according to Ecumenical News International (ENI).

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Coming out from the shadows

The New York Times features the restoration of the slave galleries of St. Augustine's Church as a tribute to the history of those who worshipped from the shadows.

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+Lane of Maine to testify for marriage equality

Just received from the Diocese of Maine:

To the Ordained and Lay Leaders of the Diocese of Maine

After considerable reflection I have decided to add my voice to the testimony being offered at the legislative hearing to be held by the Judiciary Committee on April 22, 2009 concerning L.D. 1020, "An Act To End Discrimination in Civil Marriage and Affirm Religious Freedom." As my presence is required elsewhere that day, Canon Heidi Shott will read the testimony in my stead.

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Rick Warren at ACNA assembly

Pastor Rick Warren will be one of the speakers at the upcoming organizing Assembly of the Anglican Church in North America scheduled for June 22-25 in Bedford, Texas according to the Common Cause Partnership (CCP).

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International Anglican Women's Network representatives chosen

Episcopal Life Online reprorts that Sandra McPhee and Karen Chane have been chosen to represent the Episcopal Church on the International Anglican Women's Network (IAWN), an official network of the communion that reports the work of Anglican women, and the challenges they face, to the Anglican Consultative Council.

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Bono: It's 2009, do you know where your soul is?

Bono reflects on the meaning of Easter for our world. From the New York Times

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Breaking: ACI declaring dioceses independent?

From Mark Harris:

In the next few days a position paper signed by a number of bishops connected to the "Communion Partners" bishops group will be published, in all likelihood by the Anglican Communion Institute. It will challenge the notion that dioceses of TEC are part of TEC in any other way except by voluntary association, and that therefore they are free to independently subscribe to the Anglican Covenant and maintain pastoral visitation and oversight independent of any agreement with TEC or its leadership. At least that is the conclusion to be reached from a thread of emails send to Preludium today (April 21).

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Breaking II: More on ACI/Communion partners scheme

Updated at 10:10AM: Simon Sarmiento has a second post showing how those behind the scheme see it relation to Bishop Duncan's legal wrangle in Pittsburgh. After quoting from the email exchanges amongst the parties Sarmiento concludes: "So it is not entirely clear to me how far the CP members are distancing themselves from those who have left TEC for ACNA."

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The long shadow of slavery

The Executive Council's Committee on Racism reports, "Our most recent initiative, in response to Resolution A123, has been uplifting for us as we witness eight dioceses actively engaged in the process of discovering how they “were complicit in or profited from the institution of transatlantic slavery.”"

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Breaking III: Integrity publishes CP/ACI draft document

From Integrity's statement:

We have been given a look at ’the men behind the curtain’ manipulating a schism driven agenda while professing to work transparently for reconciliation”, said Integrity President Susan Russell. “To quote one long-time ally’s response to these documents, ‘This is stunning. It is remarkable to think about the plotting that is going on. In many ways I am just too naïve.’”

read more below

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ACI releases statement

The Communion Partner / Anglican Communion Institute statement covered here throughout the day has been now been released by ACI: Bishops’ Statement on the Polity of the Episcopal Church.

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Tobias Haller on the ACI statement

Tobias Haller:

The paper also makes the curious argument that because the dioceses (then states) that formed the original Episcopal Church were independent prior to entering into union with each other, they somehow maintain that independence. This neglects the significance of what union means. One might just as well say that because a couple were single before marriage that they retain their independence afterward. It can also be pointed out that the Constitution of the US also lacks reference to its own indissolubility -- and uses the same word, union, to capture that concept, a concept later proved on the battlefield and in the courts.

A bit of background on those emails

Susan Russell has some information on how these emails became public. A correspondent wrote:

For reasons I will never know (perhaps providential -- most likely it is that my initials are the similar as his and thus someone typed in an incorrect email) this morning I received in my email box communication from Bishop D. Bruce MacPherson and a group of his supporters about new documents that are in their final phase of planning that they plan to release soon.

Chicago Consultation "saddened and dismayed" by ACI statement

From The Chicago Consultation:


CHICAGO--April 23—The Chicago Consultation issued this statement from its co-convener Ruth Meyers in response to the recent statement of a group of bishops associated with the Anglican Communion Institute:

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A gesture of reconciliation and a sigh of relief

Last May, Wesley James Queen left death threats on the voice mails of the Rev. Simón Bautista, the Episcopal Diocese of Washington's Canon for Latino Ministries and other leaders of CASA de Maryland, an immigrants rights group. Yesterday, at a crowded news conference, Queen embraced the people whom he had threatened and apologized.

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Episcopal nuns lead the way in going green

The Episcopal Sisters of the Community of the Holy Spirit on the upper West Side of New York are transforming their convent into one of the most eco-friendly buildings in New York City.

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Peacemaker or lightning rod?

Dan Gilgoff of US News asks whether Rick Warren can be a peacemaker if he is a lightning rod:

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The Episcopal Church's polity challenged

Matthew Davies, writing at Episcopal Life Online reports on the Communion Partners statement:

A statement released April 22 and signed by Episcopal bishops and clergy challenges the polity of the Episcopal Church by suggesting that dioceses are autonomous entities and independent of General Convention, the church's main legislative body.

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The Episcopal Church: an invitation on film

Because the canon for communications in the Episcopal Diocese of Washington (that would be me) is a bear of very little brain, it only recently occurred to him to put the movie that the marvelous Hugh Drescher made for us five years ago on You Tube. You can see the entire extravaganza here, in seven bites of about 75 seconds a piece. But here is a taste.

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The Church Times covers the story of ACI emails

Pat Ashworth of the Church Times writes:

Fourteen conservative bishops in the United States have declared that the Episcopal Church consists of autono­­mous but interdependent dio­ceses, “not subject to any metro­political power or hierarchical control”.

The national Church has no power to speak for them, says a statement expected to be published later this week. The document lays the ground for individual dioceses to sign the Anglican Covenant.

It is written largely by a retired lawyer, Mark McCall, and is endorsed by conservative theologians from the three-member Anglican Commu­nion Institute (ACI). They include the Revd Dr Ephraim Radner, a member of the Covenant Design Group.

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Debunking myths

The Boston Globe reports that several prominent religious leaders from Massachusetts are lending their support to the campaign for the legalization of same-sex marriage in New York state. They told New Yorkers that gay marriage has not affected religious freedom in the Bay State.

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Kenya: new archbishop elected

Eliud Wabukala is the new Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Kenya.

The 58 year old Wabukala who has been serving as the Bungoma Bishop was elected by a simple majority in the fourth round, after the contesting clerics failed to secure the compulsory two thirds majority in the first three rounds.

Dr Wabukala is due to take over from Benjamin Nzimbi who formally retires in June after attaining the maximum age limit of 65.

Read more here.

Gledhill says "Sorry guys" to ACI

Ruth Gledhill says to the Anglican Communion Institute and the 15 bishops "Sorry bishops, but a diocese is not a church."

(See this, this, this and this, if you haven't already.)

She recalls how Archbishop Williams wrote an e-mail to Bishop Howe of Central Florida and that his e-mail is at the bottom of the some of the thinking in the ACI statement.

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World Malaria Day

World Malaria Day is tomorrow, April 25th. Episcopal Relief and Development describes the day, Nets for Life and how we can help. The Office of the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, also issued a statement.

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Spiritual practice can grow your brain

Spiritual practice and meditating on God can grow your brain, improve your memory and may slow aging according to a new book, How God Changes Your Brain.

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Saturday collection 4/25/09

Here is our weekly collection plate, offering some of the good things that Episcopalians and their congregations have done that made the news this past week. And other news fit to print.

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The peculiar argument of the Communion Partner bishops


Some of the bishops who signed the statement of diocesan independence we have been discussing this week argue that they did so primarily as a means of assuring they can sign on to the proposed Anglican Covenant and thereby secure their place in the Anglican Communion.

This argument seems lacking for four reasons:

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Bullying and suicide

On April 6, just before dinner, Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, a Massachusetts boy who had endured relentless homophobic taunts at school, wrapped an extension cord around his tiny neck and hanged himself. He was only 11 years old. His mother had to cut him down.

On April 16, just after school, Jaheem Herrera, a Georgia boy who had also endured relentless homophobic taunts at school, wrapped a fabric belt around his tiny neck and hanged himself as well. He too was only 11 years old. His 10-year-old sister found him.

Two beaming little boys, lost. To intolerance? Too tragic.
A July study conducted by researchers at Yale School of Medicine that was published in the International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health reviewed 37 other studies from 13 countries and found “signs of an apparent connection” between bullying and suicide. From a statement issued about the report:

“Almost all of the studies found connections between being bullied and suicidal thoughts among children. Five reported that bullying victims were two to nine times more likely to report suicidal thoughts than other children were.”

...the study also found that “the perpetrators who are the bullies also have an increased risk for suicidal behaviors.” Many bullies are victims too - wounded souls stumbling through life, knocking things over, crying out for help, trying to fill a void.

Read more here.

Charles Gibson reports below:

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Civilians and Combatants: is there a difference in war?

The New York Review of Books addresses the argument for assassination and preventative killing found in an article by Kasher and Yadlin.

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Better GBLT at work than in church

A new report on the state of the workplace for LGBT Americans shows that the Fortune 500 is way ahead of churches when it comes to equal rights. In some cases it’s easier to be gay at Chevron than in church on Sunday morning according to Religion Dispatches.

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A homeless love story

Marc Fisher's moving column in today's Washington Post tells the story of two homeless people who will be married on Saturday at Grace Episcopal Church in Georgetown. You owe it to yourself to read it all, but here are a few paragraphs:

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Loosing the blogs of war

Ruth Gledhill, writing in The Times, UK, comments on blogging when passions run high:

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Preaching from beyond the grave

Christianity Today reports that pastors' messages continue through TV, radio, and the Internet, even as some listeners probably don't even know they're gone.

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Presbyterians say "no" again to gay or lesbian clergy

On Saturday it was reported that enough presbyteries had voted in opposition to conclude that the Presbyterian Church has again decided to reject allowing a local presbytery to ordain a gay or lesbian person in a partnered relationship.

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Episcopal priest works to restore former addicts to wholeness of life

Becca Stevens is an Episcopal priest working with women who have left abusive relationships, or who are working to overcome their addictions. Her ministry was profiled in the Washington Times over the weekend.

From the article:

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Drift, not rupture, explains decline

The Washington Post has a story that should put an end to the canard that the decline of mainline Protestant denominations like the Episcopal Church is caused by theological liberalism:

Americans have given up their faith or changed religions because of a gradual spiritual drift than switched because of a disillusionment over their churches' policies, according to a new study released today which illustrates how personal spiritual attitudes are taking precedence over denominational traditions.

Swindler or leader?

The Gazette of Colorado Springs, CO features a story on Don Armstrong, former rector of Grace Episcopal Church:

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Flu pandemic guidelines from Episcopal Relief and Development

Episcopal Relief and Development has released information on the potential swine flu pandemic. A new initiative of ER-D is Domestic Disaster Response which offers support to churches and dioceses to prepare for events like a pandemic. The press release reports:

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Drift, not rupture explains decline, part 2

In Monday's Lead we reported on a new Pew Forum study on why people leave or switch churches. Boston Globe reporter, Michael Paulson, explores the difference of reasons for Roman Catholics and Protestants (including Anglicans/Episcopalians).

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Bennison appeals for new trial

Former bishop of Pennsylvania, Charles Bennison has asked for a new trial based on previously undisclosed "love letters" between his brother and the victim of his brother's sexual exploitation.

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Comprehensiveness for the sake of truth

The Rev. William Carroll and Mr. Christopher Evans offer a statement for unity in the Episcopal Church based on the tenets of the Lambeth Quadrilateral:

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Marriage equailty and church unity

TIME asks the question, "Will Gay Marriage Pit Church Against Church?":

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Reflections on the God Debate

Andrew O'Hehir, writing at Salon reviews Terry Eagleton's new book, Reason, Faith, and Revolution: Reflections on the God Debate in which Eagleton defends the theory and practice of religion against the claims of atheists like Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins:

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Blessings in hard times

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori writes in Episcopal Life Online on gratitude and looking for abundance in the midst of economic hard times.

Read it all below:

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8 faith Initiatives for global security

Ruth Gledhill, writing in The Times, UK features initiatives that make progress in healing tensions across faith divides.

The initiatives showcased at this month's Alliance of Civilizations Forum in Istanbul showed that progress is better than can sometimes seem the case. Religious leaders, NGOs, hoards of heads of state and other heavyweights gathered by the Bosphorous for the United Nations flagship intercultural and interfaith event.

Read more here and see the 8 initiatives below:

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What to do about the flu?

Updated at 4:25 p. m. with advisory from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops: the need for the introduction of widespread liturgical adaptations for the prevention of the transmission of influenza in the dioceses of the United States of America is not evident at this time.

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Going Nuclear: young evangelicals and politics

This week marks the public launch of the Two Futures Project, a new movement of Christians, led by younger Evangelicals, for the global abolition of nuclear weapons. The Washington Post On Faith Guest Voices reports on how younger evangelicals are redefining what issues matter to them and becoming involved in change.

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Communion Partner bishops challenge TEC polity

Episcopal Life Online continues its reporting on the Communion Partners bishops' statement challenging the polity of the Episcopal Church and stating that they would sign the Covenant regardless of the decisions of the Church.

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Married priests or eucharistic famine

The editors of America, a Jesuit magazine, argue that the Catholic Church must consider allowing priests to marry:

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Modernize or die?

Candace Chellew-Hodge at Religion Dispatches writes of Faith and Flux, a recent Pew Forum study on religious affiliation:

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Obama closes the religion gap

Mark Silk of Spiritual Politics writes of President Barack Obama's First 100 Days:

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Communion Partner bishops jump the shark

The Communion Partner bishops defended their most recent undertaking yesterday in a story released by Episcopal Life Online.

Their comments brought this video to mind.

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Krista Tippett visits Cleveland cathedral

Krista Tippett and the staff of Speaking of Faith visited Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Cleveland yesterday and tweeted all about it.

Thinking theologically about a pandemic

Bishop Linda Nicholls of the Church of Canada wrote this reflection on her Church's Pandemic Preparedness Plan. It seems timely:

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