L.A. diocese to resume ministry at La Crescenta

A California Superior Court ruling allows the diocese of Los Angeles to resume ministry at St. Luke's of-the-Mountains Episcopal Church in La Crescenta, California after a three year court fight.

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Retired Nigerian bishop, living in US, charged with soliciting a prostitute

According to news reports The Rt. Rev. Benjamin Omosebi, who served as Bishop of Kano, Church of the Province of Nigeria from 1990-1998 before moving to the U.S., was charged with solicitation Tuesday in an Ohio-based prostitution sting.

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From Roman Catholic to Protestant

Stephen Joseph Fichter writes in America Magazine asking how common it is for Roman Catholic clergy to do as Fr. Alberto Cutié did in leaving the Roman Catholic Church for ministry in another Christian tradition.

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Tomorrow is Gandhi's birthday

Amitabh Pal says, in advance of the observance of Mahatma Gandhi's 140th birthday on October 2nd, that the spirit of nonviolence lives on around the world, including in Muslim societies.

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TEC Executive Council takes up unfinished business

The Executive Council will take up the unfinished business of General Convention as unaddressed resolutions head for the next step.

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Indian bishops call for an end to caste system

Ekklesia discusses the challenges for Christian churches in India when facing the injustices caused by the caste system in their country. Even though the Indian constitution forbids discrimination based on caste, discrimination including violence and rape continues. Christian bishops have called for repentance as well as stricter enforcement of the law.

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OK law not okay with church leaders

Roman Catholic and Episcopal Bishops and leaders of the Presbyterian and Pentecostal Holiness churches told the Oklahoma House yesterday that legislation that would require the owners of church properties and trusts to state clearly on their deeds the exact terms ownership is a bad idea.They said it would violate long-held legal principles and lead the state into court entangling them in the minutiae of church polity and theology.

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Fort Worth case continued to January, '10

Breaking: A Texas judge has granted a continuance in the case of the Episcopal Diocese of Forth Worth against former Episcopal Bishop Iker and others who left the Episcopal Church but who still claim to be the Episcopal Diocese.

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Episcopal candidates for Louisiana announced

The Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana has announced a final list of six candidates who will stand for election as the 11th Episcopal Bishop of Louisiana on December 5, 2009, at Christ Church Cathedral, New Orleans.

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Why the Anglican Covenant is a bad idea

The Rev. Dr Bruce Kaye says there are four reasons why the Anglican Covenant is a bad idea.

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Churches seeking security

Churches used to be open all day and sometimes all night so that people could come in and pray. Then they began to lock them up so that no one would steal the silver or vandalize the premises. Now some congregations employ guards and security cameras to prevent attacks from happening during public worship.

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Resources for St. Francis Day

Our friend Andrew Linzey reminds us that there are excellent resources regarding the theological significance of animals and how we treat them.

And we remind you that Andrew's book, Why Animal Suffering Matters, is one of them.

No rush on Pitt/Northwest Pa. merger

Dana Massing in the Erie Times-News:

One Episcopal diocese once served western Pennsylvania.
Then, growth in church membership led to a division in the early 1900s into two dioceses: Erie and Pittsburgh.
Now, with numbers declining, some members of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh are interested in studying a reunion with its northern neighbor, known today as the Episcopal Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania.

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The Saturday collection 10/3

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. There seems to be a lot of good stuff going on in Michigan.

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Maine voters have opportunity to vote yes to marriage equality

The Right Rev. Stephen Lane, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Maine, draws attention to the No on 1 campaign and to the Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry in Maine. In November the voters of Maine will have a chance to vote on Referendum 1. Regarding Referendum 1, Ballotpedia says,

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Souls in Transition

Naomi Schaefer Riley in the Wall Street Journal:

College professors have been complaining about their students since the beginning of time, and not without reason. But in the past several years more that a few professors—to judge by my conversations with a wide range of them—have noticed an occasional bright light shining out from the dull, party-going, anti-intellectual masses who stare back at them from class to class.

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Guns, God and places of worship

JaNae Francis in the Ogden Standard-Examiner:

Two local church leaders have very different views about whether guns should be allowed in churches.

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What makes for an acceptable public apology?

Joe Wilson, Serena Williams, and Kanye West -- from the trifecta of politics, sports, and entertainment -- have all suffered lately for their public outbursts, then attempted to soothe over the ire they kicked up by apologizing for what they'd done. These expressions of regret ran the gamut from genuine to lukewarm.

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Library association names most 'challenged' children's titles

The American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom this week released its annual listing of children's book titles that parents sought to have banned from libraries in 2008.

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'Just World' bishops navigate health care, Congress

Bishop Mark Beckwith of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark blogs at For Gates of Hope. His latest post is on his effort alongside fellow bishops to "convey a moral imperative for justice." This group calls itself "Bishops Working for a Just World."

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Sunday Social Hour, night-time edition

With humblest apologies for an unstable internet connection that's causing this update to run about 12 hours late, welcome to the late edition of Sunday Social Hour with the week's activity from Café social networks.

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Jenkins explores truth & reconciliation commission

The Times-Picayune reports that Bishop Charles Jenkins flew to South Africa last week to talk with church leaders and others there about that country's experience with its Truth and Reconciliation Commission, its role in bringing some racial healing after the fall of apartheid, and asking whether New Orleans might benefits from a similar process.

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U. S. Supreme Court refuses to hear appeal of breakaway parish

The AP has the story:

The Supreme Court won't get involved in a dispute between breakaway Episcopalians and their former national church over who owns a California church and its property.

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Chicago to discern discernment process

The Diocese of Chicago will not receive new people into the ordination process in 2010 in order to evaluate and retool their discernment process so that it is in tune with the mission needs of the diocese.

The Rt. Rev. Jeffrey D. Lee, Bishop of Chicago, says that there are more than forty people in the process now, and they will proceed with their discernment and formation but that the Commission on Ministry will take no new applicants during this "sabbath time."

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Pittsburgh offers to release departed clergy

Breaking: The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh has announced that today priests who have left the Episcopal Church for a newly formed denomination can be released from their orders in the Episcopal Church for any denomination or church group of their choice. In seeking a pastoral response, the Standing Committee wants to give these clergy a chance to start their ministry a new in whatever body they wish without the lengthy process of deposition. They have until October 19, 2009 to respond.

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Karen Armstrong makes "A Case for God"

Karen Armstrong releases her latest book, The Case for God. In it, she argues that religion is a practical discipline that teaches us to discover new capacities of the mind and heart.

She says that the approach taken by both critics of religious belief and believers themselves often misses the heart of the belief. She says that across religions, what was being encouraged and cultivated through beliefs was a set of skills and a pattern of life. Myth, ritual and theology are tools not so much to reinforce what we know about God so much as an approach to what we don't know about human life, creation and God which at the same time gives existence meaning.

What went wrong? Ross Douthat says in yesterday's NYTimes Book Review, that according to Armstrong religion met the scientific method and "religious thinkers succumbed to a fatal case of science envy."

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If you've been adopted, it's not because they like you.

A politically conservative Christian group associated with Liberty University has decided to pray for their political opponents. Not so much for their welfare but that God will change their minds.

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One of the world's better known vegetable gardens

Religion and Ethics Newsweekly visits St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Bethesda, Md. The Washington Post

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Question of the day: The Fall

Let's say that you neither read the story of Adam and Eve as a report on a historical incident, nor believe in the inherent goodness of human nature. What is your concept of The Fall?

(A lifetime ban for anyone who says it is the season between summer and winter.)

Same-sex marriage coming soon to D. C.?

Tim Craig in The Washington Post:

Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill said it appears unlikely that Congress will block a bill to be introduced Tuesday that would allow same-sex marriages in the District.

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The White House's flu guide for churches

The White House's Office for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships and the Department of Health and Human Services has released a guide to help houses of worship prevent the spread of the H1N1 flu. It is available online and as a printable pdf.

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Breaking: Pro-TEC ruling in Pittsburgh case

Lionel Deimel has the story. (Updated: ENS does, too. And now, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.)

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Executive Council reorganizes itself

Updated with Mark Harris.

Mary Frances Schjonberg of Episcopal Life Online:

The Episcopal Church's Executive Council reorganized itself October 6 in an effort to refocus its work on the mission and ministry of the Episcopal Church.

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Mapping the religious divide in the healthcare debate

Ed Stoddard of Reuters:

The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life has released a useful backgrounder on the role of faith groups in the increasingly bitter and partisan U.S. healthcare debate. You can read it here.

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Don't ask. Don't tell. Doesn't work.

You know that society is moving toward the acceptance of gay relationships when Joint Force Quarterly , a prestigious journal published by the National Defense University Press for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff gives the top prize in its 2009 essay contest to a systematic dissection of the U. S. Military's policy of Don't Ask. Don't tell.

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Conservative Christian groups fight free speech rules

A national conservative Christian group is calling on several Texas colleges and universities to drop or change their free speech and expression rules because they fear they would punish students who voice conservative political or religious views.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports:

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Child mortality subtly related to son preference

Chris Blattman:

Let’s consider three ideas.

First, breastfeeding reduces infant sickness and death in poor and tropical places, largely because it insulates the child from water-borne illness.

Second, breastfeeding naturally reduces a mother’s fertility, and so mothers that want to have another child may stop breastfeeding early.

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Living full lives to the end

Two stories of living a life of service in the face of death:

A Good Life to the End, Forrest Church, Death and Dying -- AARP
Source: www.aarp.org
Can a minister follow his own advice about embracing life in the face of death?

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Supremes hear cross arguments

High Court Hears Religious Symbol Case
by NINA TOTENBERG
From NPR News

The U.S. Supreme Court took on a long-running legal fight Wednesday over an 8-foot cross in the Mojave Desert.

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An SC plea to stay together

We see a lot of letters-to-the-editor decrying the imperiled status of our parishes/dioceses/TEC, but this one struck us as being particularly and notably impassioned and well-reasoned:

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NetsforLife snags $1.34 million

NetsforLife receives $1.34 million USAID grant

From Episcopal Life online

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TEC Executive Council expresses concern with current draft of Anglican covenant

Executive Council expresses concern with covenant's disciplinary section
Response to communion outlines divergent views on current draft
By Mary Frances Schjonberg in Episcopal Life

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President Anderson preaches: Stand firm

Office of Public Affairs

President Anderson asks Executive Council: Do we want to be raised up as Church witnesses?

[October 8, 2009] Lifting the work of Vida Dutton Scudder, an 1800s Episcopalian union organizer, House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson asked in her sermon, Do we want to be raised up as Church witnesses after the example of Vida Dutton Scudder? Do we want to stand firm in the power of the Gospel?

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Around One Table

The results of a major new study were announced yesterday regarding the perceived identity of the people of the Episcopal Church. The Episcopal Identity Project study represent four years worth of data gathering about how Episcopalians understand their Church, what matters to them and how they relate that to the larger world.

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Parish property in Pittsburgh: a clarification

The Diocese of Pittsburgh has helpfully clarified what its victory over breakaway Bishop Robert Duncan means for the disposition of parish property.

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Synod to return to the question of a conscience clause

The Church of England has been asked to revisit the question of formal protection for those people within that Anglican Province who could not accept the ministry of woman ordained as bishops.

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CCAB rosters published

The rosters of the General Convention's Interim bodies have just been posted here. The CCAB's (Committees, Commissions, Agencies and Boards) are the groups that prepare resolutions for the next General Convention and steer the conversation in the three year triennium.

The President of the House of Deputies and the Presiding Bishop are ex-officio members of many of the bodies.

Bishop Selby rejects the Covenant idea

Bishop Peter Selby, the former bishop of Worcester in England has written of his deep concerns regarding the proposed Anglican Covenant. He is afraid that its adoption would signal what others have suggested is a primarily structural solution to theological questions.

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Bishop Steven Charleston resigns

The Diocese of California reports:

The Rt Rev Marc Handley Andrus, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of California, announced today that he has accepted the resignation of the Rt Rev Steven Charleston as assistant bishop.

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Catholic African bishops praise Obama

The Associated Press reports:

African bishops attending a Vatican meeting are speaking about the election of Barack Obama in divine terms — putting them very much at odds with many of their U.S. counterparts.

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Saturday collection 10/10/09

Here is our weekly look at just some of the good stuff going on in The Episcopal Church:

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Virginia Supreme Court will hear petition to appeal

Bishop Shannon Johnson announced yesterday that on October 21, a panel of the Virginia Supreme Court will hear a petition to appeal the lower court ruling based on the Civil War era law that allows congregations to decide whether or not they will leave a denomination should the denomination split.

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Same-sex marriage controversy sweeps through Maine

The Associated Press:

For an off-year election, in a state only rarely in the national political spotlight, an upcoming referendum on same-sex marriage has dramatic potential to make history and to roil emotions from coast to coast.

On Nov. 3, Maine voters will become the first in any state with the chance to repeal or uphold a law passed by their Legislature and signed by their governor, legalizing same-sex marriage. The outcome is considered too close to call, and the race is galvanizing activists on both sides of the issue across the country.

The ballot measure, Question One, results from Maine's provision for a ''people's veto'' -- any newly passed law can be subject to repeal by voters if enough valid signatures are obtained to trigger a referendum.

And there is this column letter to the editor, which argues that "true" Episcopalians oppose same-sex marriage.

WWJD...about capitalism? asks Michael Moore

Michael Moore Asks the Question: What Would Jesus Do...About Capitalism?

By: Paul Raushenbush writing in his BeliefNet blog

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Obama says he will end "Don't ask, don't tell,' but doesn't say when

The Associated Press:

President Barack Obama pledged to end the ban on homosexuals serving openly in the military in a speech Saturday, but acknowledged to a cheering crowd that the policy changes he promised on the campaign trail are not coming as quickly as they expected.

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As historic practice, the common cup subtly confronts racism

Lauren Winner, Assistant Professor of Christian Spirituality at Duke Divinity School and the author of Girl Meets God, wrote on H1N1 and the common cup for this week's Wall Street Journal. The effect, she contends, is broad, and based, perhaps, more on fear than on available logic.

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Sunday Social Hour

Pretty quiet on the social networks this week, aside from some of the posts about South Carolina and various other breakaway issues stirring the pot a bit. But we had some great things shared with us, in the meantime.

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How the lead counsel for the Diocese of Colorado saw the Grace & St. Stephen's case

An essay in a Colorado law firm's soon-to-be-published newsletter sheds new light on the Grace & St. Stephen's case in Colorado Springs from the perspective of the diocese's lead attorney.

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'We get to carry each other': U2 as theologians

Everyone covering popular culture seems to want a piece of the "gospel according to ___" business on any available topic where people are willing to use the name of God. And of course, anytime you cast a net that wide, you find varying levels of success.

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St. John's, a church down the street, does fine by the Obamas

President Obama and his family attended the service this morning at St. John's Church (Episcopal), a leisurely stroll across Lafayette Square.

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What's going on in the Diocese of South Carolina?

Adam Parker of the Charleston Post and Courier takes a whack at explaining the peculiar legislation that will be considered by the Diocese of South Carolina this weekend:

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Reframing Columbus Day

The Rev. Dr. Richard Tardiff, co-chair of the Episcopal Committee on Indian Relations in the Diocese of Maine, has a Columbus Day column in the Bangor Daily News,

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Taking financial revenge?

There is an interesting tidbit in this story by Mark Barna in the Colorado Springs Gazette. Martin Nussbaum, lead council for the Diocese of Colorado in its recent victory over a breakaway parish recently is scheduled to lead a workshop for churches on "property disputes, zoning laws, employee benefits, religious liberty rights and other issues."

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ERD-backed tsunami aid funds misused in India; two arrested so far

UPDATE: Statement by Episcopal Relief and Development

Update on the Church of South India

Today, Episcopal Relief & Development has learned about the arrests of two former Church of South India (CSI) employees in Chennai, India, regarding the alleged misuse of funds related to tsunami relief efforts. The arrests were part of an ongoing local police investigation initiated by CSI, a United Church and a member of the Anglican Communion.

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Environmental Network expresses hope on climate change

In preparation for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference Of Parties (COP) Meetings to be held in Copenhagen, Denmark in December, the Anglican Communion Environmental Network (ACEN) has issued a statement to Anglicans Worldwide, to COP Delegates, Faith Community Representatives, Observer Organizations, and Friends of Creation.

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Inclusive Church, WATCH respond as C of E backs off female bishops

From Inclusive Church:

Inclusive Church is deeply disturbed by the recent announcement of the Revision Committee. It has moved away from the expressed will of General Synod in July 2008 - that there should be legislation to consecrate women as bishops on the same terms as men with an additional code of practice containing arrangements for those who do not accept the authority of bishops who are women.

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Question of the day: Hold your nose and sign?

Might it be worth signing the Anglican Covenant despite its flaws? The group that will be reviewing the controversial fourth section of the covenant meets next month. Just for the sake of argument, imagine that a covenant with no enforcement mechanism emerges from this meeting. Should the Episcopal Church sign on?

Stated differently, could you live with some of the suspect ecclesiological assertions in the covenant if signing on meant that the Communion Partner Bishops and Rectors, the Duncanites, the Minnsians, the Jensenites, et al. could no longer claim that the Episcopal Church's membership in the Anglican Communion was in jeopardy?

Proof texting for the death penalty

Ekklesia reports on Amnesty International's highlighting of a Texas jury that used the Bible to justify the death penalty:

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Pastoral care for pastors key to healthy pastoring

The Alban Institute discusses how clergy can take care of their own needs for support and care in crises to better pastor in the midst of parishioners' needs.

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Bishop Andrus in and out of hospital

The Rt. Rev. Marc Andrus, who recently had prostate surgery, reports that he was in and out of the hospital again this weekend:

During a 15-hour stay in the emergency department at UCSF it was determined that a blood clot had broken away from veins in my lower left calf and made its way into my lungs – I had an extensive pulmonary embolism, with one large clot in the pulmonary artery, and smaller ones branching out through the lungs. I was eventually admitted to the hospital, after being put on blood thinners, and was discharged on Sunday evening.

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Restored organ comes with familiar family name attached

Members of the Pierce family - including actor David Hyde Pierce - dedicated a newly refurbished organ at Bethesda Episcopal Church in Saratoga Springs, New York, this past weekend, local newspapers reported.

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Fighting poverty with faith

About Fighting Poverty with Faith

As communities of faith, we are grounded in a shared tradition of justice and compassion, and we are called upon to hold ourselves and our communities accountable to the moral standard of this tradition.

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C of E dabbles in the market

Two items from the Wall Street Journal on the Church of England's play in the Manhattan apartment market, and its defense of hedge funds.

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Virginia Supreme Court takes appeal

The Supreme Court of Virginia will take the appeal of the Diocese of Virginia. A lower court had awarded property to CANA. The briefing will take three months once the appeal is certified, which is to happen promptly. Oral argument will likely occur in the first quarter of 2010 with a decision about two months after the argument.

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Too good not to share

In case of angst, click here:

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As court-mandated date for taking over the church approached grounds fell into disarray

A day after it gained control of St. Luke’s of the Mountains Church, the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles Tuesday in initiated a major property makeover.

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A Peter Selby review

Bishop Peter Selby's rejection of the Anglican Covenant has struck a very resonant chord. Thinking Anglicans has a roundup of reactions.

Can 7,000 bloggers have an effect on climate change?

Beginning in 2007, "Blog Action Day" encouraged bloggers to blog on one day (October 15th) about one global issue, in 2007 it was the Environment, last year, "Blog Action Day-'08" was focused on the End of Poverty, and this year the focus is Climate Change. Check out the "Blog Action Day" website, and then check out 7,000+ bloggers all blogging for an end to Climate Change.

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NIH Director will advise the Vatican

Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, to the Vatican's Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

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Not KJV? Burn it!

Ever wonder what unites Country Music, works by Mother Teresa, Rick Warren, and the Pope, as well as the NRSV Bible, Good News for Modern Man, the Message Bible and the NIV Bible...?

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Episcopal school receives gift of $31 million

A graduate of Chatham Hall gave a $31 million gift to the school, reported to be the largest gift ever to a girls' school. Chatham Hall is an Episcopal boarding school for girls in Chatham, Virginia in the Diocese of Southern Virginia.

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TEC numbers for 2008

The Episcopal Church has released the numbers for membership for 2008. Click HERE to view these "Fast Facts."

Dr. Jane Williams says women are beloved and chosen

While the Church of England debates the "place" of women in the church, which we reported HERE, and Lauren Stanley responded to in her Daily Episcopalian piece, "I am not a nobody", Dr. Jane Williams, known as "A theologian in her own right" and also as the spouse of the current Archbishop of Canterbury, spoke with women in Pennsylvania and encouraged them to tell their stories and to " 're-imagine' themselves within the body of the people of God."

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Micro insurance for developing countries

The Anglican Health Network (AHN) is using the network of Anglican churches, health programs and hospitals to create a micro-insurance program covering the health needs of people in developing countries. Oxfam America is experimenting with a crop insurance program for hundreds of farmers in Tigray Province in northern Ethiopia.

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Diocese of Sydney faces big losses

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the Diocese of Sydney has suffered a massive financial loss.

The Glebe Fund lost about $160 million in investments placed in growth funds and real estate holdings. The chief executive of the board, Steve McKerihan, ... conceded it was unusual to put 80 per cent of the ''growth assets'' with one fund manager and agreed that many rival wealth managers chose to divide funds between several managers to spread the risk.

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Episcopal Forum South Carolina

Episcopal Forum South Carolina prepares for the special Diocesan convention on October 24, working to keep the Diocese from separating from the Episcopal Church.

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Doing things differently

Today and tomorrow, the Diocese of Pittsburgh gathers in convention for the first time since the majority of those present at the last session voted to leave the Episcopal Church and form their own denomination.

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Silencing the religious left

The conventional wisdom of political consultants was that the way to reach Christian progressives was to mimic the language and tactics used by the Religious Right. When signs of moderation appeared in some religious constituencies, such as Catholics and evangelicals, the idea was for the left to tone down their rhetoric and agenda in order to create coalitions with these groups. These often contradictory approaches appears to have failed.


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Presiding Bishop accepts Ackerman’s renunciation

From Episcope:

Citing Title III, Canon 12, Section 7 of the Canons, Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has accepted the voluntary renunciation of Keith Ackerman in documents dated October 7.

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Prayerful running

Rev. Roger Joslin, an Episcopal priest at All Saints’ Church in Bentonville, Arkansas, talks about his journey toward prayerful running.

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Saturday Collection 10/17/09

Here is our weekly look at just some of the good stuff going on in The Episcopal Church:

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Colbert Reports the Nicene Creed

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Word - Symbol-Minded
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorMichael Moore

The Bishop of Salisbury on bishops by statute

David Stancliffe, Bishop of Salisbury, on the women bishops brouhaha in the Church of England:

My concerns are on several levels. First, these proposals appear to institutionalise mistrust in legislation: the opponents of women’s ordination do not trust the bishops to make proper provision. Is that really what we have come to?

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Host of With Heart and Voice dies at 88

Richard Gladwell, the syndicated church music host and Episcopalian, has died in Rochester, NY at 88 of cancer.

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A skeptic reviews The Shack

Lyn G. Brakeman is an Episcopal priest and the author of two books, "Spiritual Lemons" and "The God Between Us" and a blog, www.spirituallemons.blogspot.com. She writes:

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400 years after condemning him as a heretic, Vatican hosts an exhibit on Galileo

The BBC reported this week that the Vatican is set to host an exhibit on Galileo -- the I7th-century Italian astronomer once denounced by trial as a heretic.

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Sunday Social Hour

Twitter has been quiet this week, although we've seen plenty of retweets from our followers. One comment worth sharing: Daniel Stroud cracked up the #ecafe chat stream with his reply to "Not KJV? Burn it!": "Someone once told my father in all seriousness that the KJV was good enough for Jesus so it's good enough for him."

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Will women defect from the C of E?

With the question of the ministry of female bishops seeming to have lost some traction recently in the Church of England, can some defections to other provinces be in the offing?

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Pittsburgh's Bishop Price reflects on the road ahead

At the Diocese of Pittsburgh's pre-convention service of Evening Prayer on Friday evening, Provisional Bishop Kenneth L. Price offered counsel for a diocese struggling to rebound.

He preached, in part,

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Denounced as witches, African children suffer mightily

AP writer Katharine Houreld finds further evidence that children in Africa are being made to atone for the "sins" of their community, and that they are bearing it in their bodies, all the name of religion. They are being denounced as witches, often with torture as a consequence.

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Sydney taken to court over deacons presiding at communion

There's a new development in the continuing story of the Diocese of Sydney's decision to allow deacons to "celebrate" the Holy Eucharist as a way of avoiding having to ordain women to the priesthood. According to news reports in Australia a church court has been convened to hear a suit brought against Sydney by other Australian bishops.

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David Bailey elected Canon to the Ordinary for Navajoland

The Episcopal Church in Navajoland has been without a bishop since Bishop MacDonald accepted a call from his position as assisting bishop there to serve the indigenous people of the Anglican Church of Canada. Over the weekend the Rev. Canon David Bailey was named Canon to the Ordinary in this interim period.

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Is God punishing Sydney?

The Archdiocese of Sydney, one of the leading voices of conservative theology within the Anglican Communion, has suffered a huge financial loss in the past year. Peter Jensen, the Archbishop of the Diocese, is now wondering aloud about whether or not this loss constitutes God's judgement upon them.

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Clergy taking leadership in immigration debate

An article in the Arizona Republic points out that more and more it is the voices of the clergy that are dominating the ethical discussions surrounding comprehensive immigration reform in the United States. And most of those voices are coming from mainline clergy.

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Who are the Episcopalians?

UPDATE: Video 2.0 see below.

One of the great features of the Internet is that it lowers the cost of mass distribution of media enough that some very interesting voices get heard who might otherwise not. King of Peace parish is one of a new breed of congregations taking good advantage of this capability.

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Vatican offers home to
traditional Anglicans

It may be a while before anybody can speak with any real knowledge about the impact of the development described in the AP story below, which contain a major error in its first paragraph.

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CofE and doctrine of "taint"

Fran Porter, freelance social and theological researcher, writer and teacher, explores the current debate on women as bishops and the doctrine of "taint," which is the refusal of some male priests (and some parishoners) who will not take communion from a female celebrant, but also the refusal of some clergy to take communion from their male diocesan bishop because he ordains women. From Ekklesia:

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Hospice in prison

From a series in the NYTimes, Compassion Behind Bars:

American prisons are home to a growing geriatric population, with one-third of all inmates expected to be over 50 by next year. As courts have handed down longer sentences and tightened parole, about 75 prisons have started hospice programs, half of them using inmate volunteers, according to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.

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Honors for Brian Grieves

An Episcopal Cafe´shout out to Brian Grieves:

The Rev. Canon Brian Grieves' 21 years of ministry at the Episcopal Church Center in New York have provided the underpinning of advocacy, peace and justice work throughout the Anglican Communion, according to recent tributes that have been pouring in from colleagues and friends.

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Uganda to enact prison or death laws for GBLT persons

Cynthia Black writing at Walking with Integrity reports on proposed new anti-gay laws in Uganda:

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Atlanta dean salutes Vatican plan for Anglicans

From the Very Rev. Sam Candler, dean of St. Philip's Cathedral in Atlanta writing at Good Faith and the Common Good

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Ex-flying bishop expects "generous provision" from ABC

Edwin Barnes, former Bishop of Richborough:

The latest move from the Roman Catholic Church to extend an American experiment comes not a moment too soon. ... The offer to extend the Apostolic Constitution to England and elsewhere is very welcome. In America a similar constitution allows Episcopalian priests, some married men with families, to become Catholic priests. They have been given a prayer book, the Book of Divine Worship, that takes a great deal from the Book of Common Prayer but makes it entirely Catholic. Clearly Rome now sees the need to extend this provision to England.

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They said it

A quote tasting from the firehose of reactions to Rome's announcement:

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Hypothesis of the day

The timing of the Rome's announcement of an Apostolic Constitution was driven by the General Synod's determination to allow women bishops in the Church of England without an accommodation for traditionalists that would diminish the power of women bishops. The purpose of the Apostolic Constitution is to give traditionalists leverage so that a cadre of the Church of England remains untainted for a future unification. Rome expects that in the equilibrium of this strategic game the Church of England will cave in to the traditionalists; it does not expect to more than a few C of E members to cross the Tiber. Power play, poaching, or pastoral response? It's power play, out of weakness perhaps, but power play.

Letter from Alberto Cutié on Vatican announcement

Alberto Cutié who has recently joined the Episcopal Church after a career as a Roman Catholic priest writes his response to the actions of the Vatican idea for Anglicans:

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Child labor and unintended consequences

Should I participate in boycotting countries that allow child labor? Economists Matthias Doepke and Fabrizio Zilibotti say think before jumping to the obvious answer:

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An answer to the "Why?" question

The Big Question:
Why is the Catholic church offering a home to congregations of Anglicans?
By Paul Vallely

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Diocese of Sydney:
how to turn 160M into 44M

Anglican Church board failed on risk plan

From FaithfulNews.com of Australia

Phil Shirriff, chairman of the Glebe Administration Board, issued an apology to the diocese's annual synod for investment decisions that saw $160 million wiped from the value of the Sydney diocese endowment fund.

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Separation of church and sports?

Sam Cook: Florida Gators' Tim Tebow's mission should be to win games, not souls
From the Fort Myers News-Press

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What's going on in the Diocese of Dallas?

While the world has been focused on the Vatican and what it is saying or not saying, the Diocese of Dallas seems to be preparing for becoming independent of The Episcopal Church:

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Diana Butler Bass: Tell me something I don't know

Church Historian (and Episcopalian) Diana Butler Bass is not so surprised about the recent announcements from the Vatican"

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The Cafe Newsteam blogs the Vatican announcement

Andrew Gerns, blogging at Andrew Plus has posted what he has written to his congregation about the recent news:

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What is a "former Anglican"?

Fr. John D. Alexander is a rector in the Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island who blogs at Videtur Quod where he offers a close reading of the Vatican's recent statements. In particular, Father Alexander wonders about the use of the term "former Anglican." If you're wondering what to make of all this Roman Catholic / Anglican news buzz, you might want to explore his questions.

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You've got mail

In the swirling mix of reactions to the statement from the Vatican, there have been all kinds of responses from all quarters. Of course, the Cafe has done its part to stir the pot as well, hopefully in helpful ways. In the midst of it all, humor, and especially satire, can be an extremely helpful palate cleanser. Satirist Gregory Beyer "Delivers the Email You Can't Miss" courtesy of NPR.com.

Enjoy!

You've Got Mail: Greetings From Vatican City! by Stephen Beyer at NPR.org

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President Anderson writes to the deputies of South Carolina

Bonnie Anderson, President of the Episcopal Church's House of Deputies, writes to all diocesan deputations before their conventions. Her letter to the deputies of South Carolina touches on some of the peculiar interpretations of the Episcopal Church's constitution and canons that inform some of the resolutions that the diocese will consider at a special convention on Saturday. To read the letter, click Read more.

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Vatican-Anglican relations: what just happened

The Rev. Dr. R. William Franklin, Academic Fellow of the Anglican Centre in Rome, Visiting Professor of Theology at the Pontifical Angelicum University in Rome and Associate Director of the American Academy in Rome explains it all :

We here in Rome have received many questions about the Vatican announcement on October 20 about the setting up of “Personal Ordinariates” for former Anglicans wishing to enter into full communion now with the Roman Catholic Church. Here are some answers to those questions posed by many.

Click Read more to see the Q and A. Hat tip, Bishop Pierre Whalon.

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Countdown to gay marriage in Swedish churches

The Church of Sweden will begin marrying same-sex couples in churches on All Saints Day.

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Tastes great. Fewer Trappists.

Trappist monks are no longer involved in the beer-making at their brewery in Westmalle. No worries. Just because there are fewer and older monks, this does not mean that Trappist beer will stop being Trappist.

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Senate passes Shepard-Byrd hate crimes prevention act

The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which provides new federal penalties for attacks on gay men and lesbians, passed the Senate and heads to the White House where President Obama has promised to sign it into law.

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Still more reaction on the Vatican scheme

Archbishop Fred Hiltz of Canada, Bishop Leo Frade of Southeast Florida and Dr. Muriel Porter of Australia all respond to the Vatican's announcement of a new apostolic constitution for disaffected Anglicans.

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Moral in tooth and claw

Jessica Pierce and Marc Bekoff in The Chronicle of Higher Education:

Animals are "in." This might well be called the decade of the animal. Research on animal behavior has never been more vibrant and more revealing of the amazing cognitive, emotional, and moral capacities of a broad range of animals.

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Drama queens in South Carolina

The mainstream media is South Carolina have spilled a great deal of ink on a special convention to be held today in the Diocese of South Carolina. I am not sure why. As nearly as I can tell, the five resolutions being considered will have almost no effect on the life of the diocese or the Church.

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Twittering the CT election

The Diocese of Connecticut is electing a bishop today, and Karin Hamilton, the diocese's director of communications, is keeping up at steady twitter stream at twitter.com/EpiscopalCT

Saturday collection 10/24

Here is our weekly look at just some of the good stuff going on in The Episcopal Church:

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Breaking: Ian Douglas elected Bishop of Connecticut

http://twitter.com/EpiscopalCT:
Douglas has accepted. I am humbled, I am honored, and I accept. #epct
3 minutes ago from TweetDeck

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Oh, Mary Don't You Weep

A little something to help you pass Saturday evening with a smile on your face and a tap in your toes.

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Does faith foster social intelligence?

Brandon Keim in Wired:

Brain scans of people who believe in God have found further evidence that religion involves neurological regions vital for social intelligence.

In other words, whether or not God or Gods exist, religious belief may have been quite useful in shaping the human mind’s evolution.

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The Church of the past and the Church of the future

The voice of reaction from the secretive special convention held today by the Diocese of South Carolina, courtesy of ENS:

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RSVP - Regrets Only

Friday's guest-post to the Integrity USA blog was from Paul Bresnahan, a Salem, Mass., priest who blogs at Heaven and Earth.

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Dishonesty amongst closeted conservative Anglican catholics

Colin Coward finds his tolerance running low for hypocrisy in the Church of England:

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Sunday Social Hour

This week in social networking land, we have a book on Hispanic Ministry, Bono pointing out why he thinks Obama deserved the Nobel, and angry reactions to Uganda's announcement of tough laws criminalizing homosexuality.

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One congregation frozen out of the life of the diocese

One congregation in the confines of the Diocese of South Carolina did not have vote or voice at the diocese's special convention. St. Mark’s celebrated its fifth anniversary in November 2008.

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A shotgun marriage with unintended consequences

On this Reformation Day, with an odd overture to Anglicans by the Vatican still hanging in the air from the week past, we note a column from scholar Diarmaid MacCullough in today's Observer:

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Bishop Adams of Western KS to leave his post

We have received an email reporting the end of the episcopate of The Rt. Rev. James Adams, bishop of the Diocese of Western Kansas.

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Reaction to Vatican overture continues

From NPR"s Sunday All Things Considered:

The Vatican made waves last week with a controversial overture to disaffected Anglicans upset over the ordination of gays and women. Under the new plan, entire Anglican congregations could switch their allegiance to Rome, while still keeping their own traditions. ... Host Guy Raz sorts out the decision and its impact with a range of Christian thinkers: Episcopal Church spokesman Jim Naughton; Archbishop Robert Duncan, of the breakaway conservative Anglican Church in North America; Jesuit priest Thomas Reese of Georgetown University; and former nun Karen Armstrong.

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Global South rejects Vatican offer

The Global South primates of the Anglican Church, posted a pastoral letter to their respective provinces in reaction to the recent Vatican overture. In short; they reject it believing that the proposed Covenant is a better avenue to pursue.

The post, called "A Pastoral Exhortation to the Faithful in the Anglican Communion" says, in part:

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St. George's Bahgdad damaged in weekend bombings

There were a series of coordinated attacks in Baghdad over the weekend. One of the bombs was exploded very near to St. Georges Anglican Church where Canon Andrew White serves as vicar. White has posted a report detailing the damage and finding a few blessings in the events.

From the front page of his ministry organizations website:

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The PB on the proper use of salt

The Presiding Bishop was in Topeka over the weekend, preaching at Grace Cathedral on Sunday. Her sermon was based on Jesus' words in the Sermon on the Mount: "You are the salt of the Earth". She called on her hearers to use salty language when necessary to call attention to injustice. Toward the end of the sermon she pointed out the danger that salty language such as Fred Phelps (a Topeka resident) can pose as well.

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How Hitchens sees Christians now

Christopher Hitchens, one of the chief critics of any faith in God, has now become enough of a celebrity that he is regularly appearing in Christian churches debating about the existence of God. As such he's starting to revise his opinions about Christians as a body. He's not a convert at all. He just thinks that one has to recognize that there's a broader spectrum to Christian belief than he had previously thought. Oh, and he doesn't like Calvinists. Or "mealy-mouthed" liberal Christians.

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Chilean new head of Lutheran World Federation

Ecumenical News International (ENI) reports on the election of the new General Secretary of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF):

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The whole people of God

Savi Hensman, writes in Ekklesia on the role of the laity in the church and concern that current trends are to send them back to flower arranging. In the 1960's, across denominations, there was a strong push by churches to include the laity in decision making. Hensman notes lately:

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Giving stays steady or increases in 2/3 of churches

The impact of the recession on churches in a variety of denominations is reported in a new study from the Alban Institute.

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A tainted olive branch

James Carroll comments on the Vatican offer to Anglicans:

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Bishop of Wyoming to attend signing of Hate Crimes Prevention Act

The Rt. Rev. Bruce Caldwell, Bishop of Wyoming, long time supporter of federal hate crimes legislation will be present when President Barack Obama signs the Matthew Shepard/James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law.

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First woman priest to be ordained in Fort Worth

Received from the Diocese of Forth Worth:

It is with great rejoicing that we make the following announcement.

Thirty-three years after the Episcopal Church approved the ordination of women to the priesthood and episcopate, the first woman will be ordained a priest in the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth.

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Episcopal Diocese of Georgia granted property claim

This just in:

In the case of Diocese of Georgia v. Christ Church Savannah the Superior Court of Chatham County, Georgia today granted the Motion for Summary Judgment of The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Georgia on our property claims against a breakaway parish and awarded the diocese possession of the parish property.

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Uganda's anti-homosexuality bill

A bill to increase penalties for homosexual behavior is being considered in Uganda.

Savitri Hensman writing in The Guardian:

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Colbert on pope's offer: "I'm sure there's no strings attached"

Colbert on the Vatican offer:

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When, and how, should congregations close or merge?

Looking over video of questions and answers from the October walkabouts in the Diocese of Minnesota (the election is Oct. 31st), we note finalists' responses to the sticky question, "How would you approach the difficult task of closing and merging congregations on life support?"

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A rap for All Saints Day

In anticipation of All Saints Day, we present The All Saints Rap, written by the youth group at the Episcopal Church of Our Saviour, in Mill Valley, California, where Café contributor the Rev. Richard Helmer is rector. (You may need to give it a moment to download.)

The vocal is by Willie Van Doren, Our Saviour's youth minister. Music by Dow Brain.

A woman of Fort Worth, but not a woman in Fort Worth

Barbi Click explains that she had to leave Jack Iker's diocese to follow her vocation:

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PRA: Rick Warren exports bigotry to Africa

From Public Research Associates:

In March 2008, U.S. evangelical leader Rick Warren told Ugandans that homosexuality is not a natural way of life and thus not a human right. One year later, U.S. conservative evangelical and Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively (a resident of Massachusetts) addressed the Family Life Network and Ugandan members of Parliament in March 2009, saying legalizing homosexuality is akin to legalizing "the molestation of children or having sex with animals."

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Ray Suarez talks $ on Wall Street

Back in July, PBS's Newshour correspondent Ray Suarez offered a sermon at the Episcopal Church's General Convention and recently he was the guest preacher at Trinity Wall Street's stewardship campaign, urging the congregation to practice "sacrificial giving."

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Baptist theologian defends the common cup

Russell Moore, Dean of Theology, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary:

I'm not offended by people disagreeing me on this. I'm just stunned by the reason they most often give for dismissing this ancient Christian practice: germs.

The common cup is, well, gross to many Christians because they don't like the idea of drinking after strangers. That's just the point. You're not drinking after strangers. You're drinking after your own flesh-and blood, your family. And the offense is precisely the issue.

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Obama signs Hate Crimes Law

President Obama keeps promise to sign an expanded Hate Crimes Law.

PROMISES, PROMISES: Obama Keeps Word on Hate Crime
From the Associated Press and the New York Times

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Church 3.0 ? - Empowering the whole Body of Christ

The Diocese of Minnesota is about to elect their next bishop, alongside the usual "horse race" story about who is leading whom, there are some interesting discussions of the way that Minnesota and other dioceses are doing church these days.

Father Jake (AKA Terry Martin) has some interesting observations about ministry after spending time in Nevada and while en route to Northern Michigan. He has an interesting discussion of what has become known as Total Ministry, also sometimes referred to as Mutual Ministry.

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Depression and suicide among clergy

Greg Warner of Religion News Service writes about the emotional toll that many clergy experience including depression and sometimes suicide.

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Jesus is coming. Do you have a pet-sitter?

Trendwatchers beware: A UK-based group of atheists calling itself Post Rapture Pet Care will look after your domesticated animals once the eschaton is in full force.

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Not ready for prime time?

It appears that the news of the new Apostolic Constitution is not ready for prime time. Richard Owen reports in the Times of London that the publication of an Apostolic Constitution outlining a process for welcoming Anglicans into the Roman Catholic Church is delayed because of controversy in the Vatican over the specifics, in particular priestly celibacy.

Those who saw this announcement as the sign of a liberalizing trend in Rome will apparently be disappointed.

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2009 International Religious Freedom report issued

This week the State Department submitted to Congress its 2009 Report on International Religious Freedom as required by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998.

As in previous years, the report outlines religious abuse, persecution and governmental restrictions on religious expression around the world. It picks out areas of particular concern to the United States, as well as areas that government sees as "improvement" from previous years. What is new is a summary of examples of cooperation between faiths that the State Department holds up as both examples for others to follow and as tangible signs of progress in bringing peace around the world. The report highlights both international examples of interfaith cooperation and initiatives within a given country.

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The door swings both ways

The Rt. Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton, the first African-American leader of a diocese whose founding bishop owned slaves, sees the Vatican plan to welcome disaffected Anglicans as part of a larger arc of progress and he describes how he strives to work with his Roman Catholic counterparts with collegiality and respect because the door swings both ways.

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God twitters creation

Eileen Taub imagines divine twittering back when it all began.

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Diocese of Northern Michigan moves forward

From the Diocese of Northern Michigan:

Escanaba, Mi., October 31, 2009—The Diocese of Northern Michigan, comprised of 27 congregations in the Upper Peninsula, began its 114th annual convention last night at St. Stephen’s Church in Escanaba. At the convention, the diocese welcomed guests from across the Episcopal Church and today will determine its search process for a new bishop.

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Harvard's humanist chaplain interviewed

Tom Ashbrook interviews Christian Smith and Greg Epstein. Smith is professor of sociology and director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Society at the University of Notre Dame and was co-principal investigator in the National Study of Youth and Religion, a longitudinal study started in 2001. Humanist Chaplain at Harvard University. His new book is Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe>.

Listen here at Tom Ashbrook's On Point on NPR.

PSA: Most of US gains an hour tonight

In most of the United States you'll want turn back your clock one hour before turning in tonight. You don't want to be one of those who shows up an hour early for church.

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Saturday Collection 10/31/09

Here is our weekly look at just some of the good stuff going on in The Episcopal Church:

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Minnesota first ballot, Prior, Budde lead

Continue to follow the results at http://www.episcopalmn.org/

First ballot: Prior-43 clergy, 72 lay; Budde-67 c, 39 L; Sparks-28 C, 49 L; Turner-35C, 37 L; Perry-32 C, 39 L. No cell allowed in room. (via http://twitter.com/LelandaLee)

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We have a bishop-elect in MN

On the fifth ballot the Rev. Brian Prior received the majority of votes by orders to win the election for the 9th bishop of Minnesota. The diocese's bishop search site has profiles of each of the candidates.

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Not everyone must grieve a loss for long

Christine Kenneally in doubleX:

The idea that grief is work that we must do began with Freud. He believed that if you didn't labor at it, you would never recover the psychic energy you had invested in a person who was no longer there. Over time, psychologists developed ways to describe the various stages of this “work.” Elizabeth Kübler-Ross’ stages are the most familiar: Stage 1, denial—“This cannot be!” Stage 2, anger, followed by bargaining, then depression, then acceptance. The stages have great intuitive appeal, but, according to Bonanno, both Freud and Kübler-Ross were wrong.

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The search for the God particle: does God deter it?

Twp prominent physicists have proposed a theory of time in which the future intervenes and stops the discovery of the God particle:

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