A health care meeting without acrimony

UPDATED
The Lexington Herald-Leader reports a town meeting on health care without acrimony.

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Challenging the edifice that produces beggars

The Rt. Rev. Charles Jenkins, bishop of the Diocese of Louisiana, writes about life after Katrina and the continuing needs in Episcopal Life Online on the fourth anniversary of the hurricane:

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Ethics of neuroscience

Neuroethics is an emerging field of debate over research into how the human brain works and the proper use of the discoveries. Faith World's Tom Heneghan, explores this new field with University of Pennsylvania cognitive neuroscience professor Martha Farah, head of Penn’s new Center for Neuroscience and Society.

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Top ten worst Bible passages

The Telegraph lists the top 10 worst Bible passages as announced at Greenbelt by Simon Jenkins, editor of Ship of Fools:

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What is Greenbelt anyway?

This past week we have been reporting on the UK Greenbelt Festival. For more on what it is and how it is the Rev. Sam Norton, Rector of West Mersea, Essex provides photos and commentary at his blog.

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Bi-vocational congregations: recipe for the future

Alban Institute explores the Bi-Vocational Congregation.

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Sudan: Archbishop makes appeal after deadly attacks

ENS:

Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan (ECS) has called on the Government of Southern Sudan and the international community "to act swiftly" to prevent further attacks such as those that left more than 40 dead and many more wounded in Twic East County, Jonglei State, on August 28.

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Seven diocesans meeting with Rowan Williams

Update. Martins confesses, in the comments to his post: "My knowledge is second-hand, but as nearly as I can recall, the bishops in attendance are Little, Lawrence, McPherson, Stanton, Lillibridge, Smith (N.D.), and Love."

* * * * * * * * * *

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Death rights case reaches Montana Supreme Court

NYT:

Kathryn L. Tucker, co-counsel for Mr. Baxter’s estate and the other plaintiffs, says this case is also about boundaries. At a time when the limits, if not failings, of medicine are part of the national debate about health care reform, Ms. Tucker said, what is the power of the individual to set his or her own course?

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Commission finds "emerging consensus in the Diocese of Virginia for the support of same gender unions"

The Windsor Dialogue Commission of the Diocese of Virginia has issued a report on the Listening Process in the diocese. The report summarizes the process, the commission's findings, and its recommendations. Cost to the diocese: $8,500.

About the process:

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CAPA chair: Offer HIV/AIDS leadership based on reality, not judgmentalism

The Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa is conducting an HIV/AIDS consultation in Nairobi, Kenya:

Archbishop Ian Ernest of the Anglican Province of the Indian Ocean and CAPA chairperson said that since the church is influential in Africa, it is crucial for its leaders to offer informed leadership based on reality, and not on moral judgment.

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Question for the day:

Let's begin the day with a bit of conversation:

If Rowan Williams the Archbishop of Canterbury decides that the Anglican Communion should become a two-track enterprise, with those churches that assent fully to whatever it is he wants them to assent to being allowed full use of the pool and weight room, while those churches that are historically Anglican, but unwilling to offer the necessary assents, being confined to the smoking lounge and the men's grill,

and if, the Episcopal Church is so confined

a) what difference will it make in practice?

b) do you care?

c) will anyone outside the Communion care?

and d) Does it feel to you sometimes as though we are writing rules for membership in a tennis club in a city that is on fire?

Pittsburgh nominates a bishop

Pittsburgh – A bishop from a neighboring diocese has been nominated to lead the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh for the next several years until a permanent bishop can be elected.

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Fostering anti-Islamic attitudes

Andrew Brown of the Guardian wonders what Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali will get up to now that he has retired as Bishop of Rochester in the Church of England, and asks whether a global campaign to spread anti-Islamic attitudes is part of the agenda of the Anglican right:

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Connecting digitally during the Eucharist

From The Houston Chronicle:

While some preachers may frown upon the use of cell phones and laptops in church on Sundays, one Katy-area pastor is encouraging people to keep their wireless devises on so they connect through the Internet and social networking sites during a new service.

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Fun with demographics

The Friends of Jake are featuring a couple of interesting charts about levels of education among members of various religious groups, and how education correlates to acceptance of gays and lesbians.

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Pray for the dead, and fight like hell for the living

As Labor Day approaches, Bishop Paul Marshall writes about one of the labor movement's patron saints:

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The meaning of Matthew

Kate Daily at Newsweek reviews Judy Shepard's memoir The Meaning of Matthew.

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Separating healthcare debate wheat from chaff

How does a Christian sort out the wheat from the chaff in the current health care reform debate? In all the talk and sound bites, where can one reflect theologically on the nature of care, health, mercy, justice, and equity? Is is possible to find a moral common ground from which real progress can be made? More to the point, where is the theological reflection on what health means in light of Christian theology?

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Gay marriage IS a defense of marriage act

Susan Russell, President of Integrity writes:

BREAKING NEWS FROM MASSACHUSETTS! Gay Marriage IS a "defense of marriage act!"

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Diocese of Fort Worth files for property

News from the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth
For Immediate Release
Sept 4, 2009
THE EPISCOPAL DIOCESE OF FORT WORTH

The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth files motion for a partial summary judgment in effort to recover property and assets of the Episcopal Church

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ACI says: we write the rules

The three unhappy priests who couldn't keep control of the domain name of their own Web site, who offered the Anglican Communion the writings of a veterinarian as an expert on human sexuality, and who mistakenly sent their emails to all and sundry are once again drawing on their deep reservoirs of competence to tell the rest of the Anglican Communion how it must run its affairs. And this time they are joined by that shrinking violet Bishop N. T. Wright of Durham:

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Saturday collection 9/5/09

Here is our weekly collection plate of 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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In Diocese of Dallas tougher rules instituted for stockbroker-priests

A second Episcopal priest in the Diocese of Dallas may be suspended:

Diocesan leaders are now weighing whether to also suspend the Rev. Raymond Jennison. He runs First Canterbury Securities, a northeast Dallas firm where Warnky worked, and is priest in charge of St. David's Episcopal Church in Garland.

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Hartford Courant welcomes fall in barriers to gay clergy

A Hartford Courant editorial referring to actions of the Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:

While church leaders and activist members may be ahead of tradition-minded local congregations in some cases, the trend seems obvious — and, to our way of thinking, welcome. Churches will only grow stronger when they do not discriminate in choosing clergy.

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Hymns, beer at Greenbelt

This year's Greenbelt Festival kicked up more attention than usual when Gene Robinson attended. But there were also a number of other attractions at the Christian music event, including hymn-singing and organic beer at the Jesus Arms tent.

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Bells, bells, bells

NY Times reports on the annual meeting of change ringers at Trinity Wall Street.

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From Adam to Joseph: R. Crumb's 'Genesis' imagines all 50 chapters

Over at bookforum.com, Jeet Heer has thoughtfully engaged The Book of Genesis Illustrated, due in mid-October, from illustrator/satirist/critic R. Crumb.

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Emerging into adolescence?

Author and Anglican Phyllis Tickle opines in a recent Emergent Village weblog and video that whatever shape Emergent Christianity is to take next, it should be somewhat clarified by the next year-and-a-half to two years, as the emergent/emergence/emerging "conversation" matures.

Similarly, members of traditional churches will face more clearly the question of who and what they are.

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Resistance in Albany

Timesunion.com of Albany reports that Albany Via Media, a group of moderate to liberal Episcopalians, wants to publicly ask the Rt. Rev. William Love, Bishop of Albany, if he is planning to take his diocese out of the Episcopal Church.

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The future of Anglican conservatism is radical

The Guardian asks the question "What is the future of Anglican Conservatism" and this week is publishing essays in response.

In the first essay, Savi Hensman reflects on the future of Anglican Conservatism, which she says is becoming more radical and more tolerant of violence, especially against Muslims. She says that the habit of attributing evil to an outside group is both easy and hard to break. It is not a great leap from vilifying gays to preaching hatred against Muslims.

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Coakley to give Paddock lectures

Dr. Deirdre Good, professor of New Testament at The General Theological Seminary, says on her blog that the Paddock Lectures at GTS this year are to be given by The Rev. Dr. Sarah Coakley from Sepember 23 and 24th. The lectures are titled: Beyond “Sexuality”: A New Christian Theology of Desire.

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Bishop of Southwark to retire

The Right Reverend Tom Butler, Bishop of Soutwark will retire in March when he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70.

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Our common life and each other's toil

On Labor Day, we remember those who work.

In the Book of Common Prayer, the following prayer from Compline is appropriate:

O God, your unfailing providence sustains the world we live in and the life we live: Watch over those, both night and day, who work while others sleep, and grant that we may never forget that our common life depends upon each other’s toil; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Episcopal Church does not have an official Labor Sunday, still what Cathleen Falsani writes on God's Politics about what we can do to honor workers is worth acting on every day:

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Still protesting after all these years

The New York Times profiles Father Carl Kabat, one of the Catholic clergy known as the "Plowshares Eight."

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Seven bishops report on their visit to Lambeth Palace

Thinking Anglicans reports that the seven Communion Partner bishops who met with the Archbishop of Canterbury last week have issued a statement. Thinking Anglicans notes:

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Emerging church talks about ecclesiology

F. LeRon Shults discusses the ecclesiology of emerging churches in his article in Theology Today. From the abstract of the essay:

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New issue of Episcorific available

A new issue of Episcorific: a 'zine for and by the young adults of the episcopal church, is available for downloading here. This issue focuses on the topic of "Going Green" and also reports on General Convention:

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Q and A with the Presiding Bishop

The York Daily Record interviewed the Presiding Bishop who will be visiting the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania this weekend. From a portion of the Q and A:

Q: The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, spiritual leader of the global Anglican Communion, wrote on his Web site just after the U.S. church voted to allow same-sex blessings and to gay bishops in late July.

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Wage theft robs us all

For Labor Day, Religion Dispatches asked if you Want to Love Your Neighbor? RD cites the shocking treatment of workers and violations of fair labor laws:

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Leaders lament lack of women in WCC staff leadership

Episcopal Life Online links a report from Ecumenical News International (ENI) on the lack of women in senior staff positions in the World Council of Churches:

Three women who serve as presidents of the World Council of Churches have expressed "considerable concern and great disappointment" about the lack of women in senior staff leadership positions in the world's biggest church grouping.

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Broker-priest resigns; clergy gagged

From the Watchdogblog at the Dallas Morning News:

Stockbroker/clergyman William Warnky has resigned from the Episcopal priesthood, church representatives say.

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South Carolina parish begins 40 Days of Discernment™

In the Diocese of South Carolina one of the larger Episcopal churches in the country appears to have grown impatient with the path chosen by diocesan leadership. St. Andrew's church of Mt. Pleasant has begun 40 Days of Discernment™, the same study materials that other churches have used that have left the Episcopal Church in recent years. St. Andrew's claims more than 2,400 members.

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Marketing aid to the poor

At their respective blogs, Robert W. Radtke, President of Episcopal Relief & Development, and William Easterly, NYU professor of economics, make some cogent observations about methods used to boost aid to the poor of the world:

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Does it matter how an energy company kills a bird?

Wind farms are touted as green power and receive government subsidies. But even Senator Ted Kennedy opposed them in his backyard (Nantucket Sound).

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Worried about growing income inequality?

Perhaps you shouldn't be:

If inequality has increased substantially since 1993, the increase is confined to income changes for those in the top 1 percent of the distribution.
The very richest are getting richer than the very rich. Worrying about income inequality should be sufficient.

More at Marginal Revolution.

Did Steve Jobs jump the queue?

ABC News reports on Steve Jobs' return to Apple after a liver transplant in June:

"As some of you know, about five months ago I had a liver transplant," Jobs said. "I now have the liver of a mid-20s person who died in a car crash and was generous enough to donate their organs, and I wouldn't be here without such generosity."

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Unintended alliances

In The Guardian (UK), Episcopal Cafe Senior Editor Jim Naughton writes a response to the Question of the Week, "What is the future for Anglican conservatives?"

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Obama preaches the moral "we" - Diana Butler Bass

The Constitution of the United States begins with "We the people," and the the Nicene Creed begins with "We believe." Seeing the world through eyes that recognize our interconnectedness is a deep one in political and religious life. Episcopalian Diana Butler Bass notes that President Obama urged the nation to see health care through the lens of the "moral we""

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Women targeted by faith leaders

Many Women Targeted by Faith Leaders, Survey Says
By Jacqueline L. Salmon writing in The Washington Post's "On Faith" blog

One in every 33 women who attend worship services regularly has been the target of sexual advances by a religious leader, a survey released Wednesday says.

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Anglican imaginations run wild

After yesterday's Daily Episcopalian essay by Frank M. Turner, the blog-landscape was buzzing with responses, applauds, critiques, hand-wringing, and much good thought, all in all.

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Bishops care about health care


Bishops Working for a Just World to lobby for health-care reform

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Angel in the airport

From NPR online

Chester Cook knows he can always find a lost soul at the re-ticketing counter in Terminal A at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. So he goes there each day, plants himself near the line and scans faces.

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Protecting oneself in worship, weapons or helmets?

Weapons

"On Faith" at the Washington Post/Newsweek blog notes that some worshipers are bringing weapons to worship in order to protect themselves.

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Remembering 9/11

Today is the 8th anniversery on the attacks of Sept. 11th. A number of congregations and community groups will be marking the passing around the country.

Prof. Deirdre Good writes of what will be happening in Manhattan:

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Anglicans in Japan celebrate anniversary

150 years of Anglicanism in Japan

from Episcopal News Service

"One hundred and fifty years later, the Anglican Church in Japan, known locally as the Nippon Sei Ko Kai (NSSK), will celebrate its sesquicentennial anniversary with a series of events planned for September 22-23.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will be among the many international guests expected to participate in the celebrations."

From Episcopal News Service

South African bishops chart course

The Synod of Bishops of the Anglican Church of South Africa has released a statement to the Anglican Communion regarding their intentions toward the proposed Anglican Covenant and their need to respond in an appropriate pastoral manner to those seeking the Church's blessing for same-sex unions.

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Bishop Smith nominated for election to Louisiana

June Butler (Grandmère Mimi) posted news that Bishop Michael Smith, the present bishop of North Dakota, and one of the seven bishops who recently traveled to Lambeth Palace to meet with the Archbishop of Canterbury, has been entered the discernment process for the upcoming election in the Diocese of Louisiana where Bishop Charles Jenkins is retiring.

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9/11 remembered online

There are a number of posts remembering the events of Sept. 11th appearing around the web today - and many of them are found on websites of the Episcopal Church blogscape.

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Question of the day

Growing up in the Roman Catholic Church, I learned that celibacy was both a charism (a particular spiritual gift) and an act of heroic self-sacrifice made by priests on behalf of God's Church. Growing older in the Episcopal Church, I increasingly hear people argue that God calls homosexuals--every single one of them--to lives of celibacy.

Are these positions compatible? Is lifelong celibacy for heterosexuals a rarely-issued invitation to acts of spiritual heroism, while lifelong celibacy for homosexuals the only alternative to damnation? If so, has anyone worked out a plausible theory on what God's intention may have been in ordering creation in this fashion?

Benhase elected bishop of Georgia

The Rev. Scott A. Benhase, rector of St. Alban's Church in Washington, D. C., has been elected Bishop of Georgia on the second ballot.

Scott is my rector. I am delighted for him. But I am going to miss him. Nonetheless: Congratulations, Scott. Way to go.

The Saturday Collection: 9/12

Here is our weekly collection plate of 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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Padre Oprah on Oprah

Alberto Cutie talks with Oprah about the experience that led him to the Episcopal Church.

Philip Pullman and "the Scoundrel Christ"

Alison Flood in The Guardian:

He enraged America's religious right with his portrayal of God as a senile old man in the His Dark Materials trilogy, and now Philip Pullman is set to court more Christian controversy – this time with a novel about "the Scoundrel Christ".

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Remembering 9/11: Time Colors the Artist's Response

Each year on September 11, McSweeney's publishes "Welcoming Remarks Made at a Literary Reading," a brief speech made by John Hodgman, the then toiling writer and literary type who eventually became known as "PC" in the Macintosh commercials, as well as a capable "Daily Show" reporter. The remarks were made just two weeks after the towers fell in Lower Manhattan's World Trade Center eight short and sharp years ago.

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New Sunday Feature: Our Social Media Roundup

Recently, we launched a new initiative on Twitter, using the popular hash-tag feature to start keeping an eye on tweets related to Café links (which are broadcast on @episcopalcafe) and to allow Café readers to talk amongst themselves about these links and related topics.

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Hartford study: new reports of slippage in conventional American religion

Hartford Seminary's Institute for Religion Research released a first-look report Wednesday of a 2008 survey, "Faith Communities Today" (the third such report in the ongoing FACT study series), and the numbers weren't great.

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Author finds silence a positive force for good

"Silence is God's first language," Thomas Keating wrote, quoting John of the Cross, and adding, "Everything else is a poor translation. In order to hear that language, we must learn to be still and rest in God."

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Georgia Bishop-Elect: the trick is to stay in the agitated middle

The Rev. Scott Benhase was elected on Saturday at the annual convention of the Diocese of Georgia to serve as its next Bishop. The election, with six candidates, took two ballots.

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Tutu recovering after suffering a slipped disc

From IOL news (South Africa)

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu is recuperating at home after recently suffering from a slipped disc, his office said on Thursday.

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Catholics engaging Luther

A German Roman Catholic bishop preached on the lessons his denomination should be trying to learn from Martin Luther. In his remarks he points out how Luther's 95 theses were meant to reform not divide the church.

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Church bans Pepsi products

A Florida "mega-church" has decided to remove all Pepsi vending machines from its campus and replace them with ones serving Coca-Cola. The change is due to Pepsi's perceived support for LGBT rights and legal recognition of same-sex marriage.

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Presiding Bishop: 'We are all essential'

The Presiding Bishop visited the Diocese of Central PA over the weekend. Judging from the press coverage it was quite the event.

The main gathering had to be held in a Lutheran congregation in Camp Hill because of the numbers of people who were expected to attend. The 500 or so who did show up filled the nave.

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Bonnie Anderson writes to House of Deptuties

Bonnie Anderson, President of the House of Deputies has sent a letter to members of that body detailing her plans going forward after the 2009 General Convention in Anaheim.

Speaking to the challenges the Episcopal Church is facing, she writes:

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Whither religion reporting?

Ten years ago or so major daily newspapers were in the process of beefing up their religion reporting. The role of the Moral Majority and the newly activist religious voices in everyday politics meant that what religious voices were saying was important to cover. That was then. Now, not so much.

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Back to church Sunday

Episcopal Life Online notes that September 27 is Back to Church Sunday in the UK. The Church of England and Episcopal/Anglican churches around the world are participating in the simple concept of inviting a friend to attend church with you in addition to nationwide advertisements:

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Number of female senior pastors increases

Barna Group, a research company that specializes in church trends, reports that the number of female senior pastors has doubled in the past 10 years:

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New poll released on religious activists

Public Religion Research reports on the religious profiles of conservative and progress religious activists.

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7 Deadly Sins mapped

Wired maps the seven deadly sins:

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Nicholas Okoh elected Primate of the Church of Nigeria

Archbishop Nicholas Okoh has been chosen as primate-elect of the Church of Nigeria to replace Archbishop Peter Akinola, the current primate who is due to retire in March 2010.

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The human price of gold in Tanzania

The African Monitor has issued a Press Release on the abuse and pollution by companies mining gold in Tanzania. Anglican Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane of South Africa received the report from the reporting team.

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Prayers to end hateful rhetoric

The Baltimore Sun faith blog reports:

A week after Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) shouted “You lie!” at President Barack Obama during Obama’s address to a joint session of Congress, faith leaders will gather in Washington on Tuesday to pray for an “end to hateful rhetoric that creates a toxic environment for immigrant families.”

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Bishop Frade of SE Florida authorizes same sex blessings

Doug LeBlanc writing in The Living Church reports:

... the Rt. Rev. Leo Frade, Bishop of Southeast Florida, has authorized his clergy to provide pastoral blessings—but not to preside over same-sex weddings—within about a month.

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Behold Okoh Anglican's new primate

As reported on The Lead yesterday, the Church of Nigeria (Anglican) has a new primate-elect who will replace Archbishop Akinola in March 2010.

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Bishop Andrus faces prostate cancer

The Rt. Rev. Marc Andrus (California) discloses on his weblog that he has prostate cancer:

The biopsy showed that cancer was present, “low grade.” My age (young for prostate cancer) and some features of the cancer, however, pushed strongly towards a surgical treatment.

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Canadian and African Anglican theologians correspond about sexuality

From Anglican Church of Canada News:

Dr. Kawuki (Isaac) Mukasa, General Synod's coordinator for dialogue, paired up dioceses during two trips to Africa, including visits to South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda from July 31 to Aug. 21. Mr. Mukasa, a native Ugandan, considers this work essential to improving communication within the Anglican Communion, which is divided over the place of gays and lesbians in the church.

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Rick Warren thanks Howard Ahmanson

Saddleback Church recently served up the Ahmanson Lectures on Faith & Science funded reports Pastor Rick, "thanks to the generosity of my dear friends Howard and Roberta Ahmanson."

In case you don't know, that would be this Howard Ahmanson.

ABC: "Economics is too important to be left to economists"

Perhaps I'm thin-skinned, but when the Archbishop of Canterbury says "economics is too important to be left to economists" my initial reaction is to take it as an attack on my profession. I hope, however, he shares my view that theology is too important to be left to theologians -- by which I mean to imply also that he shares my view that every profession should be open to criticism, growth, and insight from nonprofessionals. For the common good. (Tangentially, economics comes from Greek for "management of the household." It is about good stewardship of society's resources, not about how to line ones pockets.)

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Evangelical churches snowball in Brazil

The New York Times reports on the growth of evangelical churches in Brazil, and their particular appeal to the young:

Evangelical Christian churches are luring Brazilians away from Roman Catholicism, the dominant religion in Brazil. In 1950, 94 percent of Brazilians said they were Catholic, but that number fell steadily to 74 percent by 2000. Meanwhile, the percentage of those who described themselves as evangelicals grew by five times in that period, reaching 15 percent in 2000. A new government census is due out next year.

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It was 33 years ago today...

The Cafe baristas were reminded by "Caminante, no hay camino" blog that 33 years ago today the Episcopal Church's

"General Convention voted to change the canons to allow for women's ordination, thereby 'regularising' the ordinations in Philadelphia in 1974 and in Washington in 1975. Thirty-three years... the time that Christ in whom we believe walked on this earth. In these thirty-three years from 1976-2009 where have we landed?

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Diocese of Fort Worth's inconclusive hearing

A statement on today's hearing from Katie Sherod of the Diocese of Fort Worth

"The Hon. John Chupp, judge of the 141st District Court of Tarrant County, Texas today ruled that our attorney Jon Nelson and Chancellor Kathleen Wells are not authorized to represent Jack Iker or others associated with him. Our attorneys have never claimed to do so. The judge denied the motion by Bp. Iker’s attorneys to remove the diocese and the corporation from the lawsuit filed April 14, 2009.

While the judge did make some offhand remarks in court and asked many questions, he made no other rulings."

Read more at the Episcopal Diocese of Forth Worth

Watch the spin, but see it as it is.

Episcopal Church Center staff respond to budget cuts

Smaller triennial budget requires new ways of working
Church Center staff discerns how best to support mission, ministry

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The gift of a brush with mortality, Garrison Keillor

Nice 67 y.o. male has brush with mortality

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Fort Worth ruling released

The Fort Worth ruling from yesterday has now been posted for your viewing (and commenting).

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Preludium gets 1 million visits

Congratulations to Mark Harris upon the 1,000,000 visit to his Preludium blog today. Go visit Preludium and get him started on 2 million!

Learning to pray

The Right Way to Pray

from the New York Times

The Brooklyn Tabernacle, a 3,500-seat evangelical prayer palace in downtown Brooklyn, was built in 1918 as one of the largest and grandest vaudeville houses in North America. It is still a hot ticket. Its youngish, racially diverse congregation packs the pews each week to praise God and bask in the sounds of a Grammy-winning 250-voice gospel choir. But the tabernacle is more than just a popular church. It is also a destination for evangelicals from all around the United States and beyond, laymen and ministers alike, who come as acolytes to study prayer.

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Parishes ignoring archbishops of Canterbury & York

In the UK, the Chalice may be returning to the people

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Rules of dis-engagement

Framed as principles for "engagement" with the Episcopal Church, the leadership of the Diocese South Carolina have unveiled five proposed resolutions designed to disengage from the Episcopal Church but stopping short of actual withdrawal. They parallel what Bishop Lawrence said to the clergy of the diocese on August 13.

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Bishops lobby Congress on social justice

Episcopal News Service reports that a group of Episcopal Bishops fanned out across Capitol Hill on Wednesday to make the case for health care and immigration reform, and stricter environmental protection.

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Who's on first? I don't know. Southern Cone!

Now that the Honorable John P. Chupp of Tarrant County, Texas, has ruled that the attorneys for the Episcopal Church and the continuing diocese of Fort Worth cannot represent Bishop Iker and the people who left the diocese to join up with the Southern Cone, the battle for interpretation has begun.

As the Dallas Morning News Religion blog described this as "very preliminary ruling" and points to the differing interpretations.

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Ruling on Pawleys Island: TEC and DioSC lose

In the case of All Saints Parish Waccamaw v. The Protestant Episcopal Church, the Supreme Court of South Carolina ruled today against the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of South Carolina. The court said that All Saints Parish is free to separate from the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of South Carolina and join with the Church of Rwanda and the Anglican Mission in America.

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Faith leaders summit before next G20 meeting

Ekklesia says that leaders Christian, Muslim and Jewish groups will meet just before the next G20 Summit of world leaders scheduled to meet in Pittsburgh next week.

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No such thing as bad publicity

You can hear someone named Jim Naughton discuss the importance of using the opportunities that popular culture provides us to speak about our faith in this podcast from the Alban Institute. The peg is the publication of Dan Brown's new book about the Freemasons.

Saturday collection 9/19

Here is our weekly collection plate of 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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Health care: all means all

The Los Angeles Times:

Calling access to healthcare a moral and spiritual imperative, Los Angeles faith leaders held a religious service and launched a phone bank Friday to urge congressional leaders to include illegal immigrants in any healthcare reform plan.

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Man v. God

Karen Armstrong in the Wall Street Journal:

Richard Dawkins has been right all along, of course—at least in one important respect. Evolution has indeed dealt a blow to the idea of a benign creator, literally conceived. It tells us that there is no Intelligence controlling the cosmos, and that life itself is the result of a blind process of natural selection, in which innumerable species failed to survive.

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The worshipping community and the flu

NPR ran a piece about different faith communities are thinking ahead about the upcoming flu season, particularly about how to handle the H1N1 virus.

In Catholic (and Episcopal) churches common rituals such as passing the peace, crossing one's self with holy water from a baptismal font, and the common communion cup have raised a host of questions.

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Sunday's Café Social Hour

It's been a busy week on the Café Facebook page, which has become very good about showing our posts in people's streams. One person on Twitter asked if we could start cross-posting comments from Facebook, and while it's a noble thought, it's not really possible at this time.

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Irving Kristol and those pearly gates

When a public figure dies, media outlets will often go looking for that person's views about some of the old predictable categories: religion, God, death ... and what comes after death. If a reporter digs up something pithy, it'll often be included.

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'A better future?' Or just more bickering?

Savitri Hensman, a UK-based writer who works in the "voluntary sector in community care and equalities," has penned "A bettter future for the Anglican Communion?" Hosted by Ekklesia, it's a well-researched, Bible-flecked reflection piece representing the views of one member of the Church of England with respect to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the ABC's passionate engagement with matters pertaining to the The Episcopal Church.

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The name (Broderick) is familiar; the face is new

The Rev. Janet Broderick will be installed this Thursday as the next Rector of St. Peter's Episcopal Church, Morristown, New Jersey, Kevin Coughlin reports in the Morristown Green at nj.com.

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'No tradition in the history of the Church' claiming right of withdrawal

Some bloggers have been getting by the past few days on the validity of the Dennis canon and the true definition of disaffiliation. But the brouhaha this past week in Ft. Worth - for whatever else it brought us - did offer one nugget not to be missed.

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Putting the South Carolina decision into perspective

Late last week the Supreme Court of South Carolina issued a ruling in the ongoing legal battle between the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina and Bishop Chuck Murphy (of the Anglican Mission in America) and Vestry of All Saint's, Pawley's Island. The property dispute stems from the decision of then Rector Murphy and the Vestry to leave the Episcopal Church and become part of the AMiA (connected to the Anglican Province of Rwanda and now associate with the ACNA).

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Diocese of Pittsburgh studies joining with Northwestern PA

If Resolution 4 passes this November at the Diocese of Pittsburgh's annual Convention, the Diocese will reopen a study process that considers the advantages of combining the existing diocese with the Diocese of Northwestern PA.

The text of the resolution reads:

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BIshop plans descent

Bishop Mike Klusmeyer is planning for his next drop from the roadbed of the famous New River Gorge Bridge in West Virginia to the riverbank 700 feet below. In a nod to maintaining a living witness to the Gospel, the Bishop will be using a zip line to accomplish the trip.

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Groups cooperate to enlarge shelter facility

Tough times call for old fashioned solutions. When Grace Shelter in Northhampton New Hampshire, a program for women and their families working to overcome addiction, began to run out of space, the cost of new building seemingly made expansion impossible. But now, via a community "barn raising" the shelter should have all the space it will need.

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Episcopalians and Roman Catholics share in celebration of Mary

Over the weekend Roman Catholics and Episcopalians, led by former Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold joined in a shared Solemn Evensong dedicated to Mary, the Mother of God.

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President shoots hoops at St. Bartholomew's in NYC

Following an appearance on the Letterman Show, President Obama went to the gym at St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church to shoot some hoops:

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350 bells for the environment

On October 25, members of St. Paul's Memorial Church, Charlotteville, VA will ring their church bell 350 times as part of an international campaign called 350.org to urgently call our community to awareness and action in addressing the global climate change crisis.

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"Nones" growing

Andrew Sullivan comments on the report that the demographic of religious preference continues to see growth in the "none" category:

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Servant Leaders, Servant Structures?

Deacon Susanne Watson Epting, writing in the current issue of Diakoneo, the newsletter of the North American Association for the Diaconate (NAAD) explores Servant Leaders, Servant Structures. Epting reflects on General Convention and the budget and whether institutions and structures can model servant leadership.

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Hope and joy through baseball socks

From the church of baseball

Iraqi baseball team finally in uniform, thanks to U.S. donors

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Presiding Bishop joins call for a Middle East peace plan

The Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs reports that Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has joined a call for Middle East Peace Plan

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CANA says Episcopal Church a cause of growth in Islam

BBC:

The Anglican enclave planted in the United States by the Nigerian Church has accused the Episcopal Church of unintentionally encouraging conversions to Islam by moving away from a simple message and liturgy.

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Colorado property dispute costly; Armstrong arraignment hearing

Update: The criminal trial of the Rev. Donald Armstrong will begin Feb. 22, a Fourth Judicial District court judge ruled Wednesday during the rector’s arraignment on charges of financial misconduct.

Armstrong pleaded not guilty to the 20 felony counts of theft charges brought against him in May for allegedly funneling about $392,000 from Grace and St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church while he was the rector.

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Reports from the Values Voters Summit

David Weigel (bio) attended the Values Voters Summit this weekend and has written a series of reports for The Washington Independent:

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Discernment South Carolina style

As previously reported, the Diocese of South Carolina will hold a special convention on October 24th to consider several resolves for dis-engagement stopping short of leaving The Episcopal Church.

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How much do children remember?

How do children remember about a visit to a church or cathedral? Does the answer depend upon adults design the questions? Insights might be gained from this study based on a visit to a museum:

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Pope to visit UK in 2010

Pope Benedict's visit would only be the second by a head of the Catholic Church since Henry VIII declared himself head of the church in England more than 500 years ago, and the first as a head of state.

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South Florida Episcopal school charged with age discrimination

A federal civil rights agency says that St. Mark's Episcopal School may have violated the law when the headmaster fired four older female teachers and replaced them with younger women.

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Churches make prayer beads for troops

Beads link prayers
Women create strands of comfort for troops

From Tulsa World

Strewn across a large table are clear bags filled with beads in multiple shades of blue, purple, green and red. Every Thursday, a group of about six to eight women at St. Luke's Episcopal Church sits around the table and strings the beads together to make prayer beads to send to soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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H1N1 virus affects church customs

Churches are balancing hospitality and welcome with prudence when it comes to the sharing of germs due to ongoing concerns about the H1N1 Virus.


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Theologians Tweeting?

The Christian Century posed several questions to a panel of their contributing theologians and scholars, asking them if they participate in Social Media such as Twitter, or if they read blogs, and all the rest.

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Peace witness in Baltimore

MARYLAND: Cathedral is site for Peace Witness

By Sharon Tillman, September 22, 2009 Episcopal News Service

On the day designated by the United Nations as the International Day of Peace, the Cathedral of the Incarnation, Baltimore, hosted a Peace Witness, a reading of the names of the American service men and women killed in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2002.

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Religious leaders offering input to G-20

Religious leaders told their input is valued
By Ann Rodgers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Standing in the lobby of a Downtown hotel, a key adviser to the U.S. delegation to the G-20 Summit promised an array of religious leaders that he would carry their concern for the poor into the economic conclave.

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Canon Susan Russell

The Rev. Susan Russell will be named an honorary canon in the Diocese of Los Angeles this coming Sunday at an Evensong at St. John's Pro-Cathedral, Los Angeles.

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The Church as it might have been

Diarmaid MacCulloch has written "A history of Christianity: The First 3000 Years." William Whyte of the Church Times interviewed him about it, and talked about questions of unity and uniformity.

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Tutu and the Dalai Lama to be awarded prize

His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu will be awarded the Fetzer Institute's Prize for Love and Forgiveness this Sunday at the 2009 Peace Summit in Vancouver. Each will receive a $100,000 monetary prize to support their work and a handcrafted, inscribed journal. The Archbishop Emeritus' daughter, the Reverend Mpho Tutu, will accept the prize on his behalf.

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Charter for Compassion

Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Karen Armstrong ask "How can we respond creatively to the pain that we see everywhere in our world?" Their solution is to creatively bring together people of every religion to work for a compassionate response to the needs of people everywhere. This effort is called the "Charter for Compassion."

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American politics and extreme religion

This week, the Guardian asked the question "Have extremists retaken American Christianity?"

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Minns' advice to Lutherans: We left and so should you

As Lutherans who are upset about the ELCA's decision to welcome gay and lesbians into the full life of their church (with conditions) gather in Chicago, a video from CANA bishop Martyn Minn has been released to greet them. His message: "We know your pain. We left our church. You should leave yours."

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Memphis bishop: there is a subtle racism in the Catholic church

Two Catholic bishops are raising the question of whether opposition to President Obama from within their church is a sign of racism. Archbishop (emeritus) Quinn is white. Bishop Steib is black.

Back in March, the Most Rev. John R. Quinn, archbishop emeritus of San Francisco, wrote:

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Saturday collection 9/26

Here is our weekly collection plate of 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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35% of "nones" pray at least weekly

Steve Waldman:

Consider this: 39% attend church weekly yet 75% pray at least weekly, according to the Pew Religion Forum.

In fact, 58% of Americans, and 66% of American women pray daily.

And maybe most remarkably: 35% of those who don't identify with any religion
at all -- the "unaffiliated"-- pray weekly or daily.

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The Yizkor Requiem

THOMAS BEVERIDGE (Composer and Conductor): I realized that I could put together a piece that kind of stands on the bridge between the two religions, the Christian religion and the Jewish religion, and takes a look at, simultaneously, at the ritual for the dead.

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Kids everywhere draw similar moral lessons from life

Universal concerns, not cultural values, may shape kids’ developing notions of right and wrong, writes Bruce Bowers in Science News:

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A right way to pray?

Ask a dozen Episcopalians how to pray, and you're likely to get at least a dozen different answers back. For some, a more personalized view of prayer might be the evidence of good teaching taking hold, while for others such diversity might raise eyebrows: "Can't they agree on anything?"

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Sunday Social Hour

Interesting week on the socnets, as some folks call social networks. Relatively quiet, with plenty of Facebook thumbs-ups and Twitter retweets.

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'You just pick up and go on': An Episcopal congregation learns from arson

Recently in Shawnee County, Kansas, a judge for the third judicial district pronounced a sentence of two years' probation on Trevor Powell Jones, 20, who was connected to acts of arson in two local church buildings in 2006 (but sentenced based on other crimes, including desecrating a cemetery). One of those churches was St. David's Episcopal Church in Topeka.

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Citing health and burnout, a popular priest moves out of the shadow of Katrina

The Rev. Jerry Kramer, 41, has resigned the rectorship of the Free Church of the Annunciation in the Broadmoor neighborhood of New Orleans -- a low-lying area savagely wracked by Hurricane Katrina four years ago, Times-Picayune reported today. He cited health reasons both physical and emotional.

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Man who asked, Is God Dead?, dead at 78

The Los Angeles Times reports:

John T. Elson, whose 1966 cover story for Time magazine -- provocatively titled "Is God Dead?" -- produced record-breaking newsstand sales with its perceptive analysis of a debate that animated Sunday churchgoers as well as theologians, died Sept. 7 at his home in New York City. He was 78.

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Bishop Scarfe writes on disagreement and common purpose

The Right Rev. Alan Scarfe writing in the Des Moines Register,

Of course, we are not of one mind in this. Not all my own clergy or congregations agree with my position in celebrating this opportunity for same-gender couples.

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Covenant, shmovenant?

The Rt. Rev. Pierre Whalon, bishop in charge of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe writes on the charge that the Episcopal Church has or will reject the Covenant.

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Religious voices cooperating on Climate Change

In a somewhat surprising development, given the secular world's decision to use climate change as a political "sorting hat" of people into camps of good and bad party members, the religious community seems to have found broad based agreement and is now working in concert to lobby in Washington.

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Churches offering relief in flood ravaged places around world

Flooding is devastating communities in Sri Lanka and The Philippines, making life worse for people already suffering from war and poverty.

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Brides' March against domestic violence

The Eagle Tribune North Andover, Massachusetts, reports on a seventh annual Brides' March against domestic violence.

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Blessing of animals

September and October have become traditional months for blessing of animals services. The proximity to the Feast Day for St. Francis of Assisi, October 4, is often the impetus for holding these liturgies in the Fall. The Episcopal Church is providing bulletin inserts for Sunday, October 4 and some congregations have made the blessing an all day event.

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We're not as bad as others says Vatican spokesperson

The Guardian:

...Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican's permanent observer to the UN, defended its record by claiming that "available research" showed that only 1.5%-5% of Catholic clergy were involved in child sex abuse. He also quoted statistics from the Christian Scientist Monitor newspaper to show that most US churches being hit by child sex abuse allegations were Protestant and that sexual abuse within Jewish communities was common.

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Secret service investigates "kill Obama" poll on Facebook

The Huffington Post reports:

A poll was posted on Facebook asking users to vote "should Obama be killed?"
The responses include: "yes," "maybe," "if he cuts my health care," and "no."

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The Bible is too liberal

In the spirit of the American Library Association's Banned Books Week, celebrated annually the last week of September, The Lead has discovered a site that believes the Bible is too liberal.

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Bishop Shannon Johnston will lead from the center

The Richmond Magazine has an interview with the soon-be-bishop of Virginia, The Rt. Rev. Shannon Johnston.

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It's that time of year

It's that time of year. The time when dioceses issue updated clergy compensation guidelines in time for parishes writing their budgets for the coming year.

So why do clergy tend to be paid so much less than accountants? Is the answer that we value mammon over God? The economist Robert Whaples answers the question for his students:

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ERD funds labyrinth to foster healing at Va Tech

The Collegiate Times:

Hymns and organ music resonated in downtown Blacksburg Sunday evening as one church opened a space designed to foster healing and serenity for the Virginia Tech community more than two years after the April 16, 2007 shootings.

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Caption contest

Madpriest is running a caption contest for the picture found in yesterday's post on St. Francis day.

Here's the pic:

lamb.jpg

The one on the right is our very own Ann Fontaine.

Enter your caption here. It's easy, it's blogger.

Iker reconsiders

Jack Iker and his group have made many statements about the minor court opinion of September 16th. In that opinion it is abundantly clear that Judge John Chupp made a simple ruling: the lawyers representing Bishop Gulick's diocese do not represent Bishop Iker's group. Gulick's diocese not made that claim. Read the opinion for yourself.

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Romer walks the line between crazy and revolutionary

The economist Paul Romer walked away from a tenured position at Stanford to promote his idea of charter cities. He was recently interviewed by Freakonomics Blog:

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ABC says only Provinces can sign onto Covenant

The Living Church reports that Archbishop of Canterbury has said that the Anglican Covenant can only be signed at the Provincial level.

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