Updated: The Queen once said she had an "annus horribilis." So what would the ABC call the "noughties?" "La Década Perdida?"
Updated: The Queen once said she had an "annus horribilis." So what would the ABC call the "noughties?" "La Década Perdida?"
What stories from 2009 concerning The Episcopal Church and the wider Anglican Communion should readers look back on? We asked each of the newshounds at The Lead:
The Boston Globe reports on the kind of challenges that face more and more urban congregations. How to stay in the city and find creative ways to fund new ministries while still maintaining the connection to the neighborhood?
A former Episcopal priest The Rev. David Moyer, of Good Shepherd Church in Rosemont, PA, is suing his own attorney for malpractice. But the move is controversial among members of the parish and others in the realignment movement who believe that Moyer has betrayed his principles for money.
The latest annual survey by the American Historical Association says that younger historians are more likely than older ones to turn their sights on faith issues.
Simon Tisdall, foreign affairs writer for the Guardian has an end-of-the-year list of international leaders that "messed up the most last year." On his list are figures such as Ayatollah Ali Kamenei, Hugo Chavez and...Rowan Williams?
See it here. What do you think about the ABC being put on this list?
Writing for the Alban Institute, Sally Simmel asks one of the most important questions facing the Church:
Our friend Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times:
I think I have partly resigned myself to the fact that this Anglican Covenant thing is going to happen. Published in its final form last week, it reminds me of that awful statement of belief that Christian Unions force their speakers to sign before they are allowed to say a word to their students.
In both cases, it is not so much the content that I object to. I object to the Covenant’s very existence. I’d object to it even if I agreed with every word.
The text of this poem follows. We also have a multi-media presentation. Watch it with the sound on.
Nigerian and Ugandan bishops are making a habit of extolling their moral superiority over that of the decadent West. What they mean, in most instances, is that whatever other shortcoming their church and society might have, they are stridently opposed to recognizing the legitimacy of same-sex relationships. The latest cleric convinced of his own righteousness is the Rt. Rev. Dapo Asaju. Here is a little of what he had to say in a recent interview:
Social Hour this week has a few notes from stories we posted this week--and your favorite stories of the year.
Those strange bedfellows - Anglican leaders and their counterparts in the Kampala statehouse - are stirring up trouble in Uganda. Again.
Several movies - either in theaters or soon to be available on DVD - have lessons drawn from the life of the spirit, Robert W. Butler writes in The Washington Post.
The New York Times features original reporting by Jeffrey Gettlemen (together with some details that have been rehearsed both here and elsewhere) on the Ugandan kill-the-gays bill, paying special attention to the American ties that helped to stoke furor over homosexuals living there.
The Episcopal Church's Primate and President of the House of Deputies have been joined by the entire House of Bishops of the Anglican Church in Canada (and their Lutheran colleagues) in expressing their deep concern regarding the proposed Ugandan legislation which would increase the already harsh penalties for homosexuality in that country:
The folks from Westboro Baptist traveled to New Hampshire over the weekend to protest against the state's new same-sex marriage law. They protested at a high school, the city hall in Concord and the offices of the Episcopal Diocese.
Following the release of the final language for the Anglican Covenant, and some study of all relevant Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) documents, there have been a few questions raised about the specific language in a few resolutions in past few years. The language hinted that there was some sort of hidden structure to the ACC, specifically within the Constitution of the ACC.
It turns out that this language is a result of specific laws in the United Kingdom that govern organizations like the Standing Committee of the ACC and ACC itself. According to a statement by Kenneth Kearon, the origins of the language can be found all the way back in resolutions passed in 1999.
Episcopal Cafe´asked Secretary General Kearon to respond to the questions being circulated and the following is his response:
One of the most influential and creative writers of theology, Mary Daly will be missed for her strong challenging voice within and out of the Church. She was a person who could raise you up with joy and simultaneously provoke you. Daly always made people think more deeply about systems of power whether they agreed with her or not. She asked "Why indeed must 'God' be a noun? Why not a verb - the most active and dynamic of all."
The New York Times editorial calls for sanctions of Uganda if the anti-homosexuality law passes in its current form:
Episcopal Life Online reporter, Lynette Wilson, on Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori in LIberia:
The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori discusses the new communication strategies and how they relate to one of our primary ministries of evangelism in the current issue of Episcopal Life Online:
Sudan. Next Monday Daniel Deng, the archbishop of the Episcopal church of Sudan, and Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, will meet Gordon Brown to discuss the growing crisis in the Sudan.
A new building is not always the way to go. And in this case it comes with benefits not originally sought.
Two op-eds in today's The (Uganda) Independent call for reasoned thinking about homosexuality.
The University of the South announces the selection of John McCardell as its 16th president and vice chancellor. In all likelihood not coincidentally, McCardell is an expert on binge drinking by students.
In its Daily Number feature today, Pew Research is reminding us of a finding it reported in July 2009:
Support for suicide bombings and other acts of violence against civilians in defense of Islam has declined substantially since 2002 among most Muslim populations surveyed by the Pew Global Attitudes Project.
Our thoughts and prayers at the Cafe are with the families and communities of the Egyptian Coptic Christians who were killed yesterday after leaving Coptic Christmas Mass.
Since GOP Congress members (who are in the minority) can't force a vote in Congress to overturn the DC same-sex marriage question, they have filed an amicus brief in D.C. Superior Court calling for a public referendum on the issue.
Churches across the land have incorporated Feast of the Epiphany celebrations into their calendars to mark the time when the Magi (wise men) visited Jesus and also to mark the end of Christmas and the beginning of the season of Epiphany:
The Guardian (UK) offers an interesting theological reflection upon Bono and the band U2 and their Christian roots and even their Christian evangelism through their music and advocacy for social justice:
Some thoughtful and profound reflections are floating around the blogosphere upon the work and ministry of Bishop Charles Jenkins of Louisiana as he retires from being Diocesan Bishop of Louisiana.
The British Bishop of Litchfield is working to convince young people to consider the priesthood in the Church of England using video, web presence and other means...
Ruth Gledhill interviewed Bishop Gregory Cameron about the Anglican Covenant. He reiterates that the Covenant is for Anglican Consultative Council members only. In a separate story, we learn that some English evangelicals would love for the Church of England recognize ACNA separately from the Instruments of Unity.
Here is the typical scenario when religion meets journalism: There are traditional believers holding the line against liberal activism. The reality is rarely as simple as usual meme would have us believe.
Grandmère Mimi over at Wounded Bird blog shares a letter from Bishop Jenkins to his diocese as he retires.
Earlier this week, the Chicago Consultation sent the following email to its mailing list. It is reprinted here with permission:
Unsung heroes, are, by definition, not widely known. The Saturday Collection this week focuses on three formerly unsung, or little sung heroes, who are getting the attention they deserve.
In a report for the Archbishop of Canterbury by his pastoral visitors to the Anglican Church in a Canada take a the opportunity to issue an opinion about the Episcopal Church. As reported by the Anglican Journal,
The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth prevailed on December 29th in Hood County, as it did in earlier in 2009 in Tarrant County, on two more Rule 12 motions filed on behalf of groups controlled by Bishop Jack Iker and others who have left the Episcopal Church but claim to still control the continuing Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth.
So reports the Episcopal Diocese of Forth Worth in a January 4th release:
Busingye Kabumba who teaches International and Regional Human Rights Law at Makerere University, Uganda writes in the newspaper The Observer that the anti-gay law should be rejected for a variety of reasons. But if the law is passed David Bahati, who drafted the law, he should be the first one arrested just for drawing attention to homosexuality in their country.
Have you noticed on Facebook that our wall doesn't always contain the most up-to-date posts? Check the "notes" box to see if there is a more current update, and either click through the "see all" button on the Notes box to see entire posts and their Facebook comments. Don't forget to click the "read original post" button to comment directly on the story here and see other comments that way too.
Snow, ice, fog, and freezing rain are certainly all hallmarks of this time of year - just things we've learned to live with and drive on - but major sections of the U.S. have recently been shut down by bad weather. How do you exercise your faith when the weather keeps you at home?
The Hope Clinic in East Texas serves uninsured and under-insured 5000 patients in Shelby County, and is supported by the Episcopal churches in the Diocese of Texas.
The Ugandan government has not taken an official stand concerning the anti-homosexuality bill due to be considered soon in parliament. Or has it?
As seen below, NTV Uganda reports that investment minister Aston Kajura ("We shall talk to the private member who brought that bill to consider withdrawing it") and information minister Kabakumba Masiko ("When, eventually, cabinet sits and comes up with a position, the whole country will be informed") are factually at odds.
Later today in California oral arguments begin in the case challenging that state's ability to deny same-sex marriage to its citizens. Ted Olson, a conservative republican, is the lead attorney in favor of restoring their right. Why? He explains his reasons in Newsweek.
A taste of his long article:
The ELCA voted this summer to allow local Synods the option to roster clergy who are in committed same-sex relationships. The fact that this is now a possibility for some has caused some Lutheran congregations to separate from the ELCA. Bishop Hanson though says that the numbers leaving are not as great as they might seem.
Today is the world-wide observance of Human Trafficking day, an attempt to draw attention to the increasing problem of slavery, sexual trafficking and child labor. The Lutherans have some very helpful resources posted that are appropriate for congregational use.
From their site:
The Roman Catholic Church may have the Red Mass for the legal profession, but now the Anglicans can consider doing Plow Monday with a new information worker twist. A vicar in "The City" has taken an old custom of blessing the tools of farmers in a new direction by blessing the tools of the modern worker, their laptops and their phones.
Today is the opening day of arguments before the California Supreme Court regarding the legality of denying same-sex couples the ability to have their relationships recognized as marriages according to state law.
The Financial Times UK comments on the near insolvency of the CoE church pension fund. Notes the Archbishop of Canterbury and Archbishop of York criticism of the equity market when the Church of England itself has been playing the market with risky investments:
The Search Committee of the Diocese of Alaska posted the list of nominees for election as their next bishop:
The Evangelical Church in America (ELCA) reports on a recent letter from their Presiding Bishop to Secretary of State HIllary Clinton:
Dominique Browning blogging for the The Environmental Defense Fund writes about Faith and Climate Change:
Jeff Sharlet, author of The Family and sometime "Rachel Maddow Show" contributor, added a comment Saturday night to a Box Turtle Bulletin item concerning recent clarifications and obfuscations over the possibility of Sharlet's having misrepresented Family organizer Bob Hunter's knowledge of Ugandan Ethics and Integrity Minister James Nsaba Buturo.
Bloggers and theologians have taken on the popular movie, Avatar, as the topic du jour. From theologian Kwok Pui-lan, professor at Episcopal Divinity School to a wide variety of religion writers and bloggers - many are fascinated by the themes that seem to touch on religion, race, and environmentalism. Have you seen it - what do you think?
Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, has been struck with a devastating earthquake this evening. According to initial reports, the 7+ magnitude quake and aftershocks have toppled buildings including hospitals and hotels through out the country's capital region.
This post continues our coverage of the devastating earthquake in Haiti. See our previous coverage here which includes information on twitter feeds and Episcopal Church connections as well as other information.
We have received several emails and social media posts about information provided sources on the ground in Haiti. See our complete Haiti earthquake coverage here.
The Canadian House of Bishops has approved a resolution recommending that the final text of the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant be presented for consideration to the General Synod meeting in June.
It stopped short, however, of recommending the adoption of the Covenant, after some members expressed the view that it was up to General Synod to make that determination.
From EBaR, Episcopal Books and Resources:
Speaking to the Soul - Daily Readings for the Christian Year ISBN:9780819223654
Black, Vicki K.
The flourishing website known as the Episcopal Café (www.episcopalcafe.org) produced by the Diocese of Washington attracts several thousand visitors a day. Its popular column “Speaking to the Soul,” which contains a concise, well-developed spiritual reflection for every day of the year, draws from many different sources, including scripture, church history, saints’ biographies, books of prayers, liturgies, and ancient and contemporary theologians and spiritual writers.
In an extensive statement, Archbishop Peter Akinola reflects on the vision he set at the outset of his tenure, and the state of the church and the nation. Interestingly, he speaks little of the issues orthodoxy in the Anglican Communion that consumed his energies, and not at all of CANA. Akinola retires in March.
The statement is titled an interview but appears to be more of a transcribed monologue. Some excerpts:
On the Rachel Maddow show on MSNBC tonight, Raymond Joseph, the Haitian ambassador to the United States, responds to the strange and odious statements by Pat Robertson based in junk theology and a misreading of the facts of history.
Haitian ambassador shames Pat Robertson
When a tragedy such as the Haiti earthquake occurs, the outpouring of support for this already poor nation is nice to see. As we approach the season of Lent, it can be an extremely spiritually rewarding practice to give some time to reflect upon the way that many people in the United States and elsewhere consume more than we need. On NPR online, Michelle Singletary proposes a 21 day financial fast in order to purify our consumerist mentality. Pairing this practice with the practice of radical giving to the victims of the Haiti earthquake would be good news indeed.
At his blog, Metanoia, the Rev. Craig Uffman has a particularly helpful and challenging answer to the most difficult and haunting question of "Where was God in the earthquake?"
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams offers a message of support to the people of Haiti, and encourages people to give generously for aid work:
Embodying Christ's admonition to turn the other cheek, and love and forgive our enemies, the Pope met with the woman who attacked him at Mass on Christmas Eve:
Pope meets and forgives Christmas Eve Mass attack woman
From BBC News online
As we pray and work to help the victims of the devastating earthquake in Haiti many of us are also planning to remember and honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Many communities will embark on days of service and many people will attend events to remember and honor Dr. King, but also to be inspired to live and work in ways consistent with his call to action. Over at "Textweek.com" there are many resources for MLK, Jr. day.
Episcopal Relief and Development latest report on disaster response. Working through partners in Dominican Republic, ER-D has been able to the aid into Haiti although airports and ports in Haiti are overloaded or not functioning.
Lionel Diemel takes a stab at decoding the controversial Section 4 of the Anglican covenant, and even offers some quite interesting diagrams to try to answer the $64,000 question of, "What would really happen when serious disagreements arise among churches of the Anglican Communion?" Curious? Read on.
Is your church stuck? Would you like to see some movement, change, and growth? You're not alone. The Alban Institute article, "Getting to the Heart of the Matter," written by Susan Beaumont, emphasizes the role of telling, and hearing, stories as a methodology for getting beyond "stuck-ness."
The Episcopal Church has launched a web-page that brings together the church's response to the earthquake in Haiti in one location. It is episcopalchurch.org/haiti.php.
There is a radio button for giving to Episcopal Relief and Development and a Twitter feed of the latest developments. You can also follow a blog with the latest news of what is going on in Haiti, the status of particular individuals and ministries within Haiti, and resources about how people can help.
Updated. Here is a recipe for trouble: Go to another country and culture. Take a dreadful and defining historical event grounded in one context, reframe in terms of a battle you are having at home, so you can line them up on your side. Stir up us-versus-them rhetoric, tell people their children are at risk, and then walk away. When the results are volatile and dangerous, resulting in death and threats of death, be shocked but only after a respectful silence. Or just remain silent.
Updated. Fr. Frank Logue, Vicar of King of Peace Episcopal Church in Kingsland, Georgia, shares this video reflection in response to the question "Where is God in the earthquake?" Also, here are some prayers, a hymn and a litany for Haiti.
USA Today reports that churches lag well behind the rest of society when it comes handicapped accessibility and barrier-free design.
While the movement towards women bishops is stalled in England because the revision committee missed their deadline, The Scottish Episcopal Church moves towards the election of a new Bishop of Glasgow & Galloway for which one of the three finalists is a woman.
David Yanagizawa, an economics job market candidate from Stockholm University, uses Rwanda’s hilly topography to look at the effect of the Mille Collines “hate radio” on violence.
The UN's top human rights official has called on Uganda to drop a proposed anti-homosexuality law that would impose the death penalty on some gay and lesbian people.
From Indian Country Today, a weekly newspaper for the Native American Community:
The Episcopal church has led the way for other Christian denominations to renounce the Christian Doctrine of Discovery and urge the U.S. government to endorse the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The Very Rev Dr Gregor Duncan has been elected bishop of Glasgow & Galloway over two other candidates, including a woman, The Rev Canon Dr Alison Peden. Women have been eligible to become bishops in the Scottish Episcopal Church since 2003. However, Peden was the first to have been shortlisted.
The world's attention was rightly focused on Haiti this week, but the good work of the Episcopal Church went on quietly in this country as well.
Religion Dispatches posed 10 questions to Tom Krattenmaker, author of Onward Christian Athletes: Turning Ballparks into Pulpits and Players into Preachers:
The pope has defended his widely ignored initiative to bring disaffected Anglicans into the Catholic Church in a way that provides insight into his definition of ecumenism.
Since our thoughts in Haiti run more to people than to infrastructure, it's probably too early to say what's among the rubble and ruin of Port-au-Prince and what's left standing. (Though the lists of buildings gone does take your breath away.) Still, here's a photo turned up during web searching.
Facebook this week was dominated by chatter over the Haiti earthquake. Our Wednesday post featuring email updates from those in the loop got a lot of FB comments as people checked in with one another and asked after folks. We ask that you revisit that thread with any updates you may have,. It's also important, if you're reading us through Facebook or Twitter, to visit the original post when there's breaking news afoot, as we often update those posts but the updates don't get piped into Facebook.
Where, and how, is character formed? Some of what makes The Rev. Scott Benhase (bishop-elect in the Diocese of Georgia) tick was formed in a mission experience to Guatemala in 1977 sponsored by The Rev. Fred Lamar, a chaplain in the '70s at DePauw University who sponsored and nurtured a few thousands students on such trips over a generation.
The Presiding Bishop joined Bishop of Washington John Bryson Chane, Cathedral Dean Samuel T. Lloyd III, The Honorable Susan E. Rice, US Ambassador to the United Nations, His Excellency Raymond Alcide Joseph, Ambassador of Haiti, and others at "Strength through Unity -- L'Union fait la Force: A Service of Prayer for Haiti" at Washington National Cathedral. From Episcopal News Service:
Next month's General Synod of the Church of England will probably have another round of controversial voting when a motion to increase the benefits of same-sex couples to that of traditionally married clergy is considered. At present the Church of England bars clergy from living in active gay relationships but does recognize civil partnerships on the condition that the partners are not sexually active.
UPDATE: Warren Throckmorton reports that Bahati "will not be attending the National Prayer Breakfast according to sources with the Fellowship Foundation," and that "NPB officials and Congressional leaders were taking action to assure that Bahati did not come." [h/t's to Lionel Diemel and Box Turtle Bulletin]
The reports coming out of Haiti are still focusing on the rescue efforts and the first signs that the aid streaming in from around the world is starting to reach the victims.
Pope Benedict visited Rome's main synagogue over the weekend. The visit comes as tensions are growing between the Vatican and Jewish leaders over the Pope's decision to honor Pius XII by moving him closer to sainthood. Pius, Pope during World War II is frequently criticized for his lack of action and his silence in response to the Nazi's "Final Solution" to the Jewish People.
The Pope's visit was cordial though the host spoke directly to Benedict of the pain that his recent decision has caused.
Churchmouse shares a letter from Bishop Broadbent, a member of the committee charged with bringing legislation on Women in the Episcopate to the General Synod. The committee has had a lot of criticism for not producing anything for the February Synod:
The Diocese of the Rio Grande, New Mexico and parts of western Texas, has announced the nominees for its upcoming bishop election:
Episcopal Life Online features Ismail Taylor-Kamara who wants to help Haitian children following the earthquake and the response of his priest and the Presiding Bishop:
Rabbi Justus N. Baird, writing for The Alban Institute talks about why we need interfaith education:
According to Deacon Ormonde Plater only the Baptism of Christ mural remains at the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity
UPDATE: Daily Trust reports,
As reactions continue to trail a fresh crisis in parts of Jos, religious leaders have been advised to avoid preaching messages that could aggravate violence in their communities.
A New York Times op-ed:
The Senate leader’s choice of words was flawed, but positing that black candidates who look “less black” have a leg up is hardly more controversial than saying wealthy people have an advantage in elections. Dozens of research studies have shown that skin tone and other racial features play powerful roles in who gets ahead and who does not. These factors regularly determine who gets hired, who gets convicted and who gets elected.
As reported yesterday, the group tasked with writing legislation for admitting women into the episcopate in the Church of England will not meet the target of bringing legislation before the General Synod meeting in February. Those opposed to women in the episcopate do not want those women bishops to have the power to delegate alternative oversight. Proponents of women in the episcopate say that would create a second class of bishops.
Unmixed metaphors are, um, flying in this story from the BBC:
The Most Rev Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, and The Most Reverend and Rt Hon Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury will lead a special celebration at Westminster Cathedral this Saturday in honour of Mary Ward, who has officially reached the first stage towards sainthood, and the 400th Jubilee of the Congregation of Jesus (CJ) and the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (IBVM) which she founded.
Updated below with report from Episcopal Life Online.
Via email from The Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs
[Inserted material added by the Episcopal Café.]
The Episcopal Church: Facts about the Diocese of Haiti and the aftermath of the earthquake
The world continues to watch after a devastating 7.0 earthquake destroyed much of Haiti, with the death toll mounting each day. The Episcopal Church and Episcopal Relief & Development responded immediately. The following fact sheet will assist in your continued reporting of the Haiti earthquake.
via email - posted with permission
Dear Deputies and Bishops,
The Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music has begun the work directed by Resolution C056, “Liturgies for Blessings.”
Pundits are saying that the election of Scott Brown in Massachusetts means healthcare reform as envisioned is dead for now, not so much that he represents the 41st vote, but that his election in a liberal state signals a widespread voter concern with backroom deals and special favors. It's not the change they were looking for. Add to that the cost of that reform, government spending, and the appearance of a lack of focus on the economy. At least that's what I'm hearing that resonates as true.
The following is from Rob Radtke, President of Episcopal Relief & Development
It is important to remember that all disasters have a life cycle: “The Three Rs of Disasters.”
The Wall Street Journal has extensive coverage of the Episcopal Church in Haiti and the role it is playing under conditions that are beyond real comprehension:
Garrison Keillor, noted author and the host of the Prairie Home Companion, attended Grace Episcopal Cathedral in San Francisco and offered his reflections in Salon.com on the Baptismal Covenant, especially the call to renounced the evil powers of this world.
Social separation breeds contempt
There is no better place to learn the delicate ballet of social skill than in a big city
We here at the Episcopal Cafe reported yesterday that the work directed by General Convenation regolution C056 has begun. Ruth A. Meyers, the Chair of the the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music reported that work has begun the work directed by Resolution C056, “Liturgies for Blessings.”
Today, Bishop Gulick, of the Episcopal Diocese of Kentucky, has issued a statement which interprets the term "pastoral generosity."
The Rev. Mary Higgins and Bishop Gene Robinson write and editorial in the Concord (NH) Monitor, calling for an end of torture.
Bishop Kenneth L. Price, The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh’s new bishop, has written to dozens of congregations to address their concerns about the Episcopal Church.
Despite great challenges, relief efforts continue in Haiti, and the need for help of all kinds continues:
Relief Efforts Continue in Haiti After Earthquake
From Episcopal Relief and Development
The Church Times reports on the campaign by supporters of ACNA for back-door recognition of the breakaway group by the Church of England.
While the sponsor of the private members motions says that the motion has nothing to do with interfering with the internal life of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada, she and the motion's supporters disapprove of the idea that when ACNA clergy left their former churches they were treated as if they left for a new denomination. They are also surprised that Anglican churches might object to the new denomination appropriating their property.
New Vision Online is reporting that about 500 African Anglican bishops will meet next August to discuss issues of mission and the challenges to development on the continent.
Even before the Haiti earthquake, the Gallup organization found that 700 million people, or about 16% of the worlds adults, desires to migrate to another country permanently if they had the chance.
Episcopal Life Online reports that the Rev. Griselda Delgado Del Carpio as bishop coadjutor of the Episcopal Church of Cuba.
Ten days after the earthquake that struck Haiti, here is a roundup of news from Haiti or about the response.
Here is a Wall Street Journal video describing both life amid the ruins and the response of the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti.
News from Haiti and coverage of services honoring Martin Luther King, Jr., dominated religious news this week. Here are a trio of worthy stories that may have escaped notice:
Café news blogger, the Very Rev. Nicholas Knisely, dean of Trinity Cathedral in Phoenix, Ariz., is one of four nominees chosen by the search committee to stand for election as Bishop of Kentucky.
Via Amy Real Coultas' twitter feed, the four are: The Rev. David Boyd, the Very Rev. John Downey, the Very Rev. Nicholas Knisely, the Rev. Terry White.
In the days since the Haitian earthquake, the Daily Scan, which the Cafe´ receives courtesy of Neva Rae Fox, the Episcopal Church's program officer for public affairs, has been full of stories of the ways in which Episcopal Relief & Development, dioceses, congregations and individuals have been reaching out to the people of Haiti, where the death toll has now reached 111,000.
Voice of America gets us rolling:
Two-thirds of Americans say they have little or no knowledge of Islam. But a new survey finds that more than half of Americans have an unfavorable view of the faith, with nearly as many people expressing negative feelings toward its followers.
Today, all day, we'd like to give our readers an opportunity to read and discuss the Episcopal Church's activities on Capitol Hill. This agenda, shaped by our General Convention, is an attempt to do what we pledge to do in our Baptismal Covenant: to "seek and serve Christ in all persons" and to "strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being."
From the Office of Government Relations:
In our unofficial, and probably incomplete tally, Canon Mary Glasspool of Maryland has received support from 15 of the 20 dioceses that have voted on whether to consent to her election as suffragan bishop of the Diocese of Los Angeles. We aren't putting out calls, just receiving information on occasion from sources we trust, so if you can add to our list, please do.
Writing for the Alban Institute, Jeffrey D. Jones advances the counterintuitive notion that stress and conflict are good for congregations:
A new letter is available from Pere Kesner Ajax, Coordinator of the Partnership Program and Director of the Bishop Tharp Institute in Les Cayes:
From the BBC:
The government has suffered a House of Lords defeat over a move churches said would prevent them denying jobs to gay people and transsexuals.
Ministers insisted their move was only to clarify the Equality Bill and that the status quo would stay, but churches said it would create confusion.
Rob Tisinai rebuts the hideous comparison of homosexuality to pedophilia and sheds new light on the kind of bigoted thinking that truly puts children at risk.
In The Times, Lucy Broadbent writes that the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Los Angeles did for her what the Church of England never could:
To provide theological background about the process of consent to episcopal elections for Standing Committees, who are deciding whether or not to consent to the election of Canon Mary Glasspool as bishop suffragan of the Diocese of Los Angeles, The Chicago Consultation has prepared a collection of essays by theologians:
The Rt. Rev. Pierre Whalon, Bishop of the Convocation of Churches in Europe, reflects about the future of Haiti. Quoting a letter from Bishop Duracin of Haiti "Nous sommes aux abois, mais fermes dans la foi." (Être aux abois means literally to be run down like the fox in a foxhunt, mais fermes dans la foi means but firm in the faith). Whalon writes:
In the wake of relief efforts coming to the fore in Haiti, you have probably heard over the past week about the option to donate by sending a text message, or through social media channels. Such options are now available due to organizations like the Mobile Giving Foundation.
Andrew Brown comments on how 8 bishops of the Church of England voted to discriminate against gay employees and defeated the non-discrimination legislation
The Zimbabwean reports that Anglicans will protest with prayer next Sunday to press for access to their churches:
Anglicans from Harare will next Sunday hold prayers at Africa Unity Square in central Harare to press the police to allow the church access to its halls and buildings across the capital.
Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times writer, asks What Could You Live Without? after reading about a family who sold their house, bought a smaller one and gave the difference to charity:
Is it ethical to walk away from an underwater mortgage? The Church of England and its partners in a massive New York City real estate deal gone sour just did. By doing so the church cut its loss to $78 million or 1 percent of it portfolio.
Ray Saurez, PBS NewsHour reporter and Episcopalian, was in Cange yesterday and filed this report on its Episcopal hospital [transcript]:
After a decade of decline, teen pregnancy rates are up. CBS News/Washington Post:
The decision by CBS to accept advocacy ads for this year's Super Bowl seems to be the weak demand for advertising. By accepting a Focus on the Family ad, CBS has broken with its past policy not to accept such ads. The ad will feature Tim Tebow and his mother. It is said the ad will touch on faith and abortion.
As you know by now, Benedict XVI recently issued a call to blog.
"[Jesus] didn't sit around and wait for people to come to him," [the Rev. James] Martin observes. "He went out and met people by the Sea of Galilee who were fishing. He went to tax collectors' booths. He went into synagogues. He went all over the place. And so we need to, figuratively speaking, go out to the ends of the Earth — which includes the blogosphere."
The Washington Post is reporting:
President Obama will call for a repeal of the law that forbids openly gay and lesbian people from serving in the military during Wednesday night's State of the Union address, according to a prepared text of the speech released by the White House.
The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Presiding Bishop visit the United Nations and meet with the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon
Author, teacher, and activist Howard Zinn has died, may he rest in peace and rise in glory.
A class , led by an Episcopal deacon in Raleigh, North Carolina, seeks to find mind-body-spirit connections and cultivate a deepened spirituality:
Simon Sarmiento at Thinking Anglicans has a scoop on the ACNA resolution.
Just when you thought that the Anglican Communion and the Episcopal Church spent all our time arguing about sexuality and biblical interpretation, the Wall Street Journal (of all places!) reminds us that we also care about mission, and mission to care for the environment.
A great program in Sacramento at Trinity Cathedral which offers shelter, food and more to those who are homeless:
Mary Gordon, the novelist and critic, has written a new book on the Bible and Jesus, "Reading Jesus," and she was interviewed about it by Bill McGarvey at BustedHalo.com.
The Archbishop of Canterbury told this year's Trinity Institute that the global recession arose, in part, from a fundamental disconnect between economic activity and morality. His speech comes in the wake of the news that the Church of England will lose about $78 million invested in the largest real estate deal in American history as well as involvement in a controversial mining operation in India.
Breaking: The New York Times reported that a Kansas jury found Scott Roeder, who admitted to planning, stalking and murdering Dr. George Tiller during a church service, guilty of first degree murder. The jury took 37 minutes to convict.
Breaking news: Lionel Deimel reports on his blog that Judge Jospeh M. James has issues a ruling concerning the transfer of property back to the control of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh. The actual text of the ruling is sealed.
Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, along with British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, EU High Representative Catherine Ashton, has issued a joint statement condemning the violence between Muslims and Christians in Nigeria, particularly in the province of Jos.
Some senior Church of England bishops have criticized the European Union, calling it an undemocratic and secretive bureaucracy run by elites. Sort of like the Church of England.
A coalition of organizations is sponsoring The American Prayer Hour as an alternative to the National Prayer Breakfast which is connected to both the semi-secret religious and political group known as The Family and, through them, to the 'Kill-The-Gays' bill being proposed in Uganda.
Lionel Deimel has done a careful reading of Friday's court ruling in favor of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh. He's posted the major points of the ruling. In short the endowments, trusts and properties owned directly by the diocese are to be overseen by the Episcopal diocese and not the group being led by Bishop Robert Duncan.
The Anglican Church of Canada was forced to make significant staff cuts to the Primate's World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) following a shortfall in fundraising during the past year. The Executive Director of the PWRDF, Cheryl Curtis has resigned as of the end of February.
The Rt. Rev. John Bryson Chane announced today that he plans to retire as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington after the consecration of his successor in the fall of 2011.
Chane, 65, became the eighth Bishop of Washington in June 2002. He is known for his passionate support for the full inclusion of gay and lesbian Christians in the Church, his commitment to interfaith dialog, and his outreach to Africa and the Muslim world.
This week has seen a number of excellent local stories about the ministry of the Episcopal Church and its congregations across the country. Much of the coverage has talked about the way Episcopalians are responding to the needs of the people in Haiti, but even as most of the Church focuses on that, there is still much regular day to day ministry ongoing.
The Cafe has been reporting all week on the Trinity Institute program held yearly in New York which this year featured the Archbishop of Canterbury as one of the keynoters. The irony of having the Primate of All England speak in a city where the Church of England has lost significant capital on ill fated real estate speculation has not been lost on many.
The U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs reports that it has set aside space for the followers of "Earth-centered" religions such as Wicca and Druidism to have worship.
We're starting to see more activity on the Café's Facebook wall, partly because it's now possible to give a shout-out to the source when you share one of our links. But you can also post directly to the wall.
Upon retirement from office, priests and bishops can be given a wide range of things, from the English with their gifts of rank and title to the Americans with their cash envelopes and their penchant for naming parish halls after particularly effective (or at least well-loved) rectors.
In the past few days it's come to light that Lord Chamberlain Earl Peel, a chief officer in the Royal Household, met with Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols after Pope Benedict XVI's offer to bring traditionalist Anglicans into the Catholic fold was made public.