The Rev. Geoffrey Hoare heard Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, defend the proposed Anglican Covenant last week in terms that directly contradict the archbishop's own convictions about maintaining relationships:
The Rev. Geoffrey Hoare heard Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, defend the proposed Anglican Covenant last week in terms that directly contradict the archbishop's own convictions about maintaining relationships:
The Rev. Tom Brackett, the Episcopal Church's Officer for Church Planting and Ministry Redevelopment, was scheduled to give the keynote address at the Diocese of Washington's annual convention Saturday, but due to a snow storm, he was able to speak only briefly. Yesterday, he wrote out the presentation he was planning to make from notes and a Powerpoint. It is well worth a read. To make complete sense of it, however, you will want to read the Parable of the Life-Saving Station by clicking Read more.
Dan Hotchkiss, writing for the Alban Institute considers the question of when congregations should acquire new technology:
I don't remember who introduced me to Mel Ahlborn at the 2006 General Convention. I was roaming through the exhibit hall and she was sitting at the booth sponsored by Episcopal Church in the Visual Arts, of which I believe she was then president. She had heard of Daily Episcopalian, the one-person blog I was then running, and we got to talking about my plans for something bigger and more far reaching--the thing that eventually became Episcopal Café.
We occasionally deconstruct news reports here at the Café, usually those that have appeared in major newspapers or on the wires. Charley Brooker does the same for television news reporting. Have a look at this meta masterpiece.
Reuters is reporting that Al Qaeda in North Africa is offering help to Nigerian Muslims in the face of Christian-Muslim clashes:
The Independent, UK is reporting on the number of therapists in the UK attempting so-called conversion therapy for homosexuality despite the evidence that the process is ineffective or even harmful:
From the Episcopal Church Haiti Response page:
Over two weeks since the 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit Haiti on January 12, the scope of the death and destruction is staggering. The most recent estimates indicate that roughly 200,000 deaths and 194,000 injuries have occurred. At least one million people have been left homeless and in need of temporary shelter.
Pope Benedict has been in the news lately telling the UK they have too much equality, in advance of his visit there later this year. He has also been speaking about his offer to disaffected Anglicans. He met yesterday in Rome with Catholic bishops from England and Wales.
Megachurch competes for prizes in Super Bowl ad contest according to USA Today:
Pastors have long competed with the NFL on Sundays, but this season a hipster megachurch is turning the tables with a 30-second ad that could muscle its way into that all holiest of sporting events: the Super Bowl.
Lisa Fox has the scoop:
Here's a “Must See TV” alert for all my Episcopalian friends. Mark your calendars for this Friday evening, 8:00 CENTRAL Time on The Learning Channel (TLC).As they say, check your local listings.
Watch What Not To Wear Friday night. For it features one of the younger priests in our diocese, Emily Bloemker, who is on the staff at St. Timothy’s.
A roundup of some of today's stories on the Equality Bill in UK, including the pope's intervention.
The Times picks a line of inquiry we posted on last week:
When the Church of England walked away from a £40 million investment [with Tishman Speyer] in a Manhattan apartment complex last week, it simply wrote off the entire amount, promising that “lessons would be learned”.
But many of the tenants of the 11,000 apartments are still dealing with the fall-out. Left in limbo as a new buyer is sought for the buildings, they have serious concerns about who will maintain the complex while they wait.
As reported earlier today on The Lead, the Labour government in the UK has decided to give in, and not pursue expansion the Equality Bill to apply to religious denominations. The provision would not have included clergy. The government's decision came on the heels of criticism of the provision by the pope.
Colin Powell, Episcopalian, chooses his battles carefully. Today he issued this statement on Don't Ask Don't Tell:
A year ago, churches in the DC Metro Area were all atwitter about where the First Family might be attending church. Since that time, President Obama has only attended church a handful of times in the DC area, but The Washington Post's Anne E. Kornblut claims that the president's spirituality runs deep, and has profound effects:
It is reported that this morning, at the National Prayer Breakfast, President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton used the opportunity to criticize the Uganda bill on homosexuality.
Simon Sarmiento, of Thinking Anglicans, rebuts factual inaccuracies about The Episcopal Church and The Anglican Church of Canada:
A wonderful essay by Tom Kam, in today's Washington Post's "On Faith" page, who points out that most American Catholics are not impressed by their bishop's efforts to deny basic human rights to gays and lesbians.
Despite protests from China, President Obama will meet with the Dalai Lama:
The Rev. Michael Pipkin recommended 10 must have apps for iPhone on Episcopal Life Online. He didn't know about the most important one: our friend David Walker has a new Cartoon Church app for the iPhone, so you can never be too far away from a church-related cartoon.
So how can it be that ten white American evangelical church people can think that they can fly into Haiti and attempt to take thirty-three children out of that country with nothing more than a note from a pastor?
This incident calls up terrible echoes sad history of Western missions when it was thought that taking children out of their native cultures and eradicating all memory of their homes was equated with proclaiming the Gospel.
The leaders of England's Conservative party, David Cameron, a man who would be Prime Minister and leader of the opposition party, says that he believes that the Church of England should drop its objections to equal rights for gays and lesbians.
The Diocese of Virginia has been asked by Episcopal Relief and Development to supply ten small pickup trucks to aid in the distribution of relief supplies. The Diocese did a similar thing after Hurricane Katrina. Katie Mears, co-coordinator of Haiti disaster relief for ERD, contacted the Diocese of Virginia to ask for a repeat performance of that truck campaign, this time for Haiti.
The big snowstorm hitting the east coast and mid-Atlantic states this weekend could mean that once more Churches will be closed because of the weather. In some places, this may be the third or fourth time this winter. The Diocese of Maryland posted these suggestions as to what to do when worship is canceled because of bad weather:
Last Christmas, Archdeacon Glyn Cardy put up a rather controversial sign outside of St. Matthew's Anglican church in Auckland New Zealand. The sign was meant to invite people to question their traditional understanding of the birth of Jesus from a virgin mother.
In some ways the nuances of the Church of England's General Synod is probably as hard for Episcopalians to catch as our General Convention is for the CoE types. But there are some issues coming up in the next General Synod that could have implications for the relationship between the Episcopal Church and the Church of England so it's worth trying to follow it all this year.
The most eye catching story of the week comes from the Wilmington North Carolina area congregation of Holy Cross. It's a new church plant. But there were some serious obstacles to overcome before it begin to worship in its own sacred space:
Louise Shipps' ministry as an iconographer is featured today in the Savannah Morning News:
A retired Episcopal priest was arrested on Friday as a result of an investigation by PA State Police into charges that he had unlawful sexual contact with a minor while the priest was still an active clergyman. Ralph Johnson was charged with more than 45 counts ranging from felony to misdemeanor charges.
Grace Episcopal Church has had a tough run since it began dealing with the consequences of a congregational split initiated by then rector Don Armstrong. The legal costs and the questions of who actually owned the property caused the congregation to have to defer some much needed repairs on the parish's historic property (which houses their offices). According to the local news, there's some good news for the congregation this weekend:
A welcome announcement: the so-called G7 (the meeting of financial ministers from France, Germany, Canada, Italy, Japan, U.S., and the UK) has announced that it will call off all of Haiti's bilateral debts to those countries.
UPDATE 3:30 P.M. Statement from the Church Center
The Episcopal Church
Office of Public Affairs
[February 5, 2010] The following information is from Linda Watt, Chief Operating Officer of the Episcopal Church:
Budget constraints have prompted The Episcopal Church to review all contracts and to implement cost-cutting measures where possible.
The sun is out here in the northern Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, where your social hour editor got not only 2 1/2 feet of snow, but a lovely head cold and a case of pink-eye to boot, so I wouldn't have made it to church even if today's services hadn't been canceled. But our Facebook fans gave us even more ideas for things to do to stay spiritually connected during weather/disaster-related closings in comments to our post on such from Friday:
By the Rev. Lauren Stanley, Missionary to Haiti, in her blog, "Go Into The World"
On Wednesday, I said a Requiem Mass for 14 of my parishioners at St. Jacques le Juste in Petion Ville, Haiti, who died in the earthquake on 12 January. I still don’t know who they are; I know only that 14 people, with whom I celebrated the Eucharist and life every week, are gone. I have been living with this painful unknowing for more than a week now, ever since I learned of their deaths. I have been living with the grief of not knowing the fate of more than 125 other friends.
This weekend's major weather maker was a snow storm that left Washington, D.C., bedraggled under 32 inches of the white stuff.
Among those stung by the storm was Joshua Temple Church in northeast Washington, whose congregants were not in the building when its roof collapsed under snow and a falling tree limb, Constance Rowe, the pastor's spouse, told The Washington Post.
Ruth Gledhill is reporting in The Times that the Church of England plans to move ahead with women as bishops with equal authority to male bishops:
I know that this will offend some Christians, but the notion that Scripture is perfectly clear is wishful thinking, as a recent white paper prepared by the All Saints’ clergy demonstrates. The writers of the four Gospels don’t agree on even so simple a thing as which people were present at Christ’s empty tomb.
And we're glad he is.
Scott Gunn reminds us all of just how peculiar an institution the Anglican Church in North America is, the odd things its leaders have said, and the chippy tactics they have used in their drive to punish the Episcopal Church for treating LGBT Christians as baptized members of the Body of Christ. And he suggests that the Church of England should watch its back.
Meanwhile, Simon Sarmiento reminds us of the long documentary trail that ACNA has left in its campaign against the Episcopal Church.
Mark Silk thinks the stars have aligned against the anti-gay Ugandan bill:
While stories of faith are second nature to local congregations, American popular culture has learned to exploit them in powerful ways.
The following was offered as the closing prayer this past weekend for the Diocese of Iowa's meeting of the Commission on Ministry. May it warm us all.
Episcopal News Service reports on the Presiding Bishop's pastoral visit to Haiti:
The Archbishop of Canterbury spoke to the Church of England General Synod today. He tried to set out a way to think about issues facing the church regarding appointment of women as bishops, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender clergy who are married or have civil unions, how much the state can determine the life of religions, and of end of life decisions.
Six persons, including one woman, have been nominated for Bishop Suffragan for Federal Ministries according to Episcopal Life Online:
UPDATED -see below
The Church of Uganda had ended its silence on the anti-homosexual legislation according to Christianity Today:
A round up of comments, blogs, tweets, and news reports on the Archbishop of Canterbury's speech to the General Synod of the Church of England:
On Friday in the Bel Air section of Port au Prince, an area of town that was poor before the earthquake, the Ste. Trinite´ Music School held a concert for the people. The Ste. Trinite Music School complex is destroyed, many of the instruments are gone, much of the music is missing. But that didn’t stop the music from being played. ~Lauren Stanley:
Yesterday The Lead posted on media reports of a confusing Church of Uganda press release on the Anti Homosexuality Bill. Below is the press release.
1. Anglo-Catholic Bishop of Fulham hoisted on own petard. Provincial autonomy is a marriage of convenience; intra-provincial autonomy for those opposed to the ordination of women is not. But which is a communion and which is a church, bishop?
More links below:
Facing the financial crisis the CFO of the Episcopal Church, N. Kurt Barnes, talks with Faith and Leadership about layoffs, reducing expenses and development.
UPDATED: see below
The Church of England General Synod has voted to recognize that members of ACNA wish to be remain in the Anglican family. The vote displaced the language of the original motion that would have "express[ed] the desire that the Church of England be in communion with the Anglican Church in North America”.
The Haitian government raised the number estimated to have died in the earthquake to 230,000. That does not include the number dying in a deadly new phase: diarrhea, infections and malnutrition.
February 10, 2010
Episcopal Diocese Seeks Return of Property
On Monday February 8, the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin commenced a new round of litigation to return a number parish Churches that are currently occupied by former members of The Episcopal Church who have sought to affiliate with a different denomination.
UPDATE: Episcopal Relief & Development has issued a 2/11/10 press release,
Although the storm has passed, reports indicate that some areas could be without power for up to a month while services are restored. With no heat, electricity or running water, these communities continue to face temperatures well below freezing. They are bracing for the possibility that this winter’s worst storms are yet to come. The most severe winter weather usually does not hit this area until March or April.
The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles reports on consents from Standing Committees of The Episcopal Church:
Among the Standing Committees of the 110 dioceses of the Episcopal Church, a total majority of 56 consents is needed to each of the two bishop suffragan elections for the Diocese of Los Angeles. As of Feb. 10, Standing Committee consents numbered 36 for the Rev. Canon Mary Douglas Glasspool, and 48 for the Rev. Canon Diane Jardine Bruce.
Below is the the letter regarding consent to the election by The Rt. Rev. Nathan Baxter:
LeaderResources has published a resource for Lent on Haiti entitled Searching for God in the Rubble of Haiti. The program explores where God is in this devastating tragedy:
[Updated with links to more analysis and response. 12:15pm]
Surely your Anglican news feeds will be buzzing today with all kinds of analysis and spin about what, exactly, the Church of England's Synod did yesterday, and the beauty of blog-land is that you can offer your own analysis and spin as well:
Participants in the US-Islamic World Forum in Doha, Qatar see this summit coming at a crucial time in relations between the United States and the Muslim world.
UPDATED: 6:30 PM
Bravo Church of England!
General Synod - pensions for surviving civil partners
Read the complete story at Thinking Anglicans
For the sake of the gospel and the building up of the Kingdom, the leader of the Methodist Church in England is willing to have the Methodist Church "go out of existence" and rejoin with the Church of England:
Episcopal Relief & Development issued a press release that they are responding to requests for emergency aid from the Dioceses of North and South Dakota:
After making a pastoral visit to the Episcopal Bishop of Haiti, the Presiding Bishop, offers reflections on her visit and Episcopal Life offers new multimedia resources on the devastation in Haiti.
The BBC reports that marriage rates in England and Wales are at their lowest level since records began. About 24% of weddings take place in churches.
Although there were uptick in the number of marriages in 2002 and 2004, the general trend is downward. For every 1,000 adult men, 21.8 married in 2008, compared with 22.4 in 2007. For women aged over 16 it was 19.6 per 1,000, down from 20.2 the year before.
The Rev. Lauren Stanley warns us of a scam artist using the name of Haitian Bishop Duracin to steal money from well-meaning donors.
The Salt Lake City Chamber of Commerce has honored Episcopal Bishop Carolyn Tanner Irish with a "Giant of Our City" award.
Archbishop Jabez Bryce, Bishop of the Diocese of Polynesia, has died. At 75 years old, he led the Diocese of Polynesia for almost 35 years and was, at time of his death, the longest-serving bishop in the Anglican Communion.
What is it about Texas and textbooks?
The Church of Uganda released a statement today stating categorically that the American churches that were formerly aligned with them are no longer part of their Church and are wholly a part of the new denomination called the Anglican Church in North America. At the same time, they show that they are willing to cut ACNA slack that they are not willing to extend to the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church in Canada.
Gathering around a table for a shared meal is at the heart of what it means to be a faithful person in community. There is a bright line that moves from the communal meal to the sharing of food with the sojourner to the seder to the eucharist. Sometimes the highly stylized and symbolic meal in a gothic church can obscure the fact that at the heart of the action is a meal.
St. Lydia's church in Manhattan is a gathering that grows out of the Episcopal and Lutheran traditions that meets around dinner.
The bishops of the Anglican Province of South Africa, meeting at the new conference suite in the Diocese of Swaziland took council with each other, discussed the difficult challenge of hermeneutics and questions of how to incorporate traditional African practices into Christianity and called for a renewed commitment to the poor and basic human rights.
Parishes and missions of the Episcopal Church have been busy this last week doing the sorts of things that are the bread and butter of congregational life. Here's a brief survey of some of them that were mentioned in the news:
The Interim President and Dean of Seabury Western Seminary, Robert Bottoms, is asking questions about how we need to change our formation model and the resources that support it as we move into a new century of the Episcopal Church's life in America.
There's a report in New Scientist this week that neurologists may have found the location in our brains that is related to feelings of "transcendence". Scientists have been looking for the "seat of religion" for years now, and the research just published may be the breakthrough they needed.
Not to get, err, overly cheeky, but we got lured into clicking on Simon Sarmiento's Saturday tweet and just had to share.
Forgive her; she knows not what she does.
Lindsay Lohan thinks she knows how to rock the Jesus look. She sports a modest crown and sprawled arms in a crucifixion pose on the cover of the latest issue of Purple Fashion Magazine.
The Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs has issued this warning about fraudulent emails asking for donations to Haiti:
Subject: Fraudulent emails circulating concerning Haiti relief
The Song of Solomon has a history of flustering preachers and youth pastors.
ACNA's partisans are attempting to portray the Church of England's decision not to recognize them as a smashing victory and proving primarily that they are cheap dates. Malcolm French nails it: "while the resolution nicely acknowledges that the founders of ACNA want to be part of the Anglican Communion, it is actually pretty explicit that they are not."
Received via e-mail from the Primate's office of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa:
Bishop Pierre Whalon has written a thoughtful essay for Anglicans Online arguing that while blessing gay and lesbian relationships and consecrating LGBT candidates to the episcopacy may be a good thing, the Episcopal Church has not yet explained why it is a good thing.
Giles Fraser wrote a column recently in which he reflected on meeting a bishop whom he had "just taken a pop at" in a previous column. He found that he liked the man. He writes:
John A. Berntsen writing for the Alban Institute:
There's a commonplace ministry experience I've found that many of us don't want to talk about. Every day we have to do things we're no good at. Our prospects for improvement are slim, yet we're rightly called on to do them. Say what you want about our spiritual gifts working harmoniously within the context of a suitably matched ministry. I know of very few such matches that are truly made in heaven. At best, the match is always approximate.
Fifty years ago, the lunch counter sit-ins began in Greensboro, N. C. Writing in the Virginian-Pilot, Denise Watson Batts describes how the movement quickly spead to Virginia, where 17-year-old Ed Rodman, now an Episcopal priest and professor at Episcopal Divinity School, found himself at the center of the storm:
Our post yesterday, Have we not "done the theology," or not owned what we've done?, created a fair amount of comment. The most recent of those comments is from Bishop Pierre Whalon whose thoughtful essay for Anglicans Online argues that while blessing gay and lesbian relationships and consecrating LGBT candidates to the episcopacy may be a good thing, the Episcopal Church has not yet explained why it is a good thing.
Religion Dispatches discusses the new scientific reports on allegedly "brain dead" patients a few of whom have an active life of the mind:
Andrew Brown has discovered some cloak and dagger deeds by the Anglo-Catholics seeking to leave the Church of England for Rome:
Brian Prior, formerly vice president of the House of Deputies, was ordained and consecrated as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota this past weekend. A time of celebration by all the people of the Diocese, it included the rituals, music and dance from many traditions in the church. Of note was each phrase of the Litany for Ordinations read by children and youth of the diocese. The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori presided, The Rt. Rev. Nedi Rivera preached, and Dr Bonnie Anderson, President of the House of Deputies, and The Very Rev. George Werner each preached at the two installations of the new bishop.
The Ugandan Daily Monitor reports that an anti-gay demonstration was halted by police and that the pro-gay community met in Kampala:
The phrase “ashes to ashes, dust to dust” from The Book of Common Prayer refers to our bodies after death. But it doesn’t specify how we get that way.
An Episcopal school in Richmond, Virginia will no longer call its two literary societies the Lees and the Jacksons.
A 95-year tradition at the heart of St. Christopher's School is changing because of its association with two Confederate generals from Virginia.
The addresses that Rowan Williams delivered at The Trinity Institute and at General Synod are old news by now, but there is commonality between the two that may have gone unnoticed. One commonality is the use and misuse of language.
Bishop Duracin and I talked about foregoing Lent this year, for Haiti has already experienced Good Friday. Their task is to practice resurrection, find hope, and dream together of a restored world. That is our own task as well. The nations of the world, under Haiti's direction, can help to rebuild a stronger and freer nation, where all people have hope of a more abundant life. - The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church.
Rob Tish has put together another must see video, this time explaining how many ways you can be dead under the anti-gay bill before the Ugandan parliament.
Via the Daily Scan from The Episcopal Church, the following is a sampling of the many articles about Lent and Ash Wednesday in our churches.
President Obama is set to meet with the Dalai Lama today:
The Washington National Cathedral will host a Christian-Muslim Summit between March 1-3:
In the consent process from diocesan standing committees for the next bishops suffragan in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, as of Feb 17th, with 56 consents needed, the Rev. Canon Diane Jardine Bruce has 56, and the Rev. Canon Mary Douglas Glasspool has 45 with the process continuing until early May.
Through the wonders of digital photography and the web, visitors may "revisit" images from Sainte Trinite, the Cathedral in Port au Prince, Haiti before the devastating earthquake that struck last month. Dr. Donivan Bessinger of Greenville, SC has posted these images, collected after many years of spending time in Haiti. Thank you Dr. Bessinger for sharing them!
In this Guest Commentary on the Religion News Service online blog, the Rev. Canon Albert Ogle offers powerful reflection on the treatment of gays and lesbians in Uganda.
"At the Movies" reviewer Roger Ebert reflects on God. No, not the George Burns "Oh God," or the Jim Carrey "Bruce Almighty," actually his belief in God:
How I believe in God
By Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times
The outgoing Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Nigeria, Peter Akinola, is not happy the Episcopal Church has chosen to defend its property in court. He made his remarks at a "valedictorian luncheon" in Washington D. C. last week.
Updated. Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent. The imposition of ashes is a powerful symbol of our "mortality and penitence" and a powerful reminded of our need for God. We have heard of several churches in Chicago and St. Louis who have found ways of bring the ancient rite to busy places where people live and work.
Former Anglicans who migrate to the Roman Catholic Church will have to learn how to build bridges with other Roman Catholics, lest they ghettoize themselves.
The Salt Lake Tribune writes about the ministry of chaplains at the winter Olympics.
Kristen Moulten writes:
He was not wearing sackcloth and ashes, but Tiger Woods met with a select, closed group of reporters and issued a statement of apology and regret about the behavior that was a nightly staple of the news for a while. Woods says that he is in intensive psychotherapy and that he is turning to religion to help him turn his life around.
Today has been "religion in the public square" day at The Episcopal Cafe. From stories of Ashes on the run, to chaplains at the Olympics and Tiger Woods public apology. Now comes this story from The Washington Post about a DC area Pentecostal pastor whose congregation meets in a grocery store.
Not much mentioned here in the United States, there's massive reaction to charges of sexual misconduct leveled against one of the premier voices of the West Bank Settlement movement, Rabbi Mordechai Elon. Known in Israel as "Rabbi Motti" and featured on a regular television show, Elon has denied all the charges of inappropriate touching and behavior.
St. Andrew's in Ann Arbor is featured this week as it celebrates its 180 history of ministry in that city, its large and growing children's minstry and its 27 year old tradition of providing a free breakfast in the city to anyone who's hungry.
Today is Bishop Jean Zaché Duracin's birthday. Bishop Duracin is the Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of Haiti.
Perhaps you might consider going to the Episcopal Relief and Development site and giving the bishop a birthday gift?
The National Council of Churches 2010 year book shows that only 5 of America's top 25 denominations reported growth last year. The other 20 reported differing degrees of decline.
Rowan Williams in is Jordan today and while worshiping at the traditional site of Our Lord's Baptism, the Archbishop expressed his grave concern at the "eroding" Christian presence in the Holy Land.
Music legend Elton John recently talked to Parade Magazine about a number of things. In what apparently constituted a sidebar conversation (is anything ever off-the-record anymore?), he said something about Jesus.
It's been quiet on Facebook this week. So quiet, in fact, that I wonder if the Cafe is still showing up in your feeds what with their new design. I'll investigate and get back to you next week with information to improve your ability to interact with the Cafe on Facebook.
The Hartford Courant has featured Episcopal clergy who share clerical duties in a part-time setting.
Ten days ago we let you know about a velvet brick being tossed into a soporific gathering of the Church of England's General Synod. David Gamble, president of the UK's Methodist Conference, told Synod members that
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams was in Jordan a few days ago to help lay the cornerstone of John the Baptist Church, The National reports.
The Episcopal Church's Executive Council heard here Feb. 21 that church membership and Sunday attendance continued to decline in 2008, but also heard a call for the church to promote knowledge of the characteristics of growing congregations.
From the ChurchRater Web site:
Every Sunday close to 350,000 churches open their doors to the public. How do you know what you’re walking into? What will the pastor be talking about? What kind of people attend?
ChurchRater lets you read what others say about the church and rate your own experience. ChurchRater lets you talk back after sitting through a sermon.
Mark Silk of Spiritual Politics says we may not know enough yet to make moral sense of the conflict between various Catholic social service agencies and the government of states in which same-sex marriage is legal:
At this moment in history, the world God loves is groaning under the weight of injustice and slowly being robbed of its capacity to sustain life. All around you, the people God loves are increasingly burdened by lifestyles they can't keep up for very much longer. You and your congregation are called to help turn that around.
Despite the recession Fairtrade products have shown sales growth according to Ekklesia
Dylan Breuer reflects on the recently completed Executive Council Meeting. She notes the leap of faith in the $10 million for rebuilding in Haiti and other actions.
Church Center employment:
Philip Pullman, author of often controversial science fiction/fantasy books on God and the church writes of three virtues: "Courage, modesty and intellectual curiosity that can cultivate delight in daily life, and protect our liberties."
Religion Dispatches interviews Sara Miles about her latest book, Jesus Freak: Feeding, Healing Raising the Dead:
In its second day (delayed due to weather) the Diocese of Virginia Annual Council passed several resolutions including one on blessings and marriage. After several whereas clauses and resolves comes these recommendations:
1. Back in TIME (1965), AKA The Annals of Original Meaning - "The Episcopalians, for example, are committed to help weaker Anglican churches abroad through a "mutual responsibility [and interdependence]" program that was proposed at the Toronto Anglican Congress in 1963." How soon we forget what the "I" in MRI really means.
more below --
The Episcopal Café appears in a ranking of "nearly 100 of the most influential blogs that contribute to an online discussion about religion in the public sphere and the academy." (The proprietor of Spiritual Politics, Mark Silk, wryly notes, "OK, you're asking, how many non-influential such blogs are there? Now now, the number, no doubt, is legion." )
The Traditional Anglican Church has been severely criticized by an Australian judge who says he is "astonished" the church allowed Wilfred Edwin Dennis to re-enter the priesthood and commit sexual child abuse "strikingly similar" to crimes for which he was convicted in the 1970s.
Having entered the season of Lent last week, many Christians are taking up the challenge and opportunity of a deepened prayer life to cultivate the awareness of God's presence in our lives. In one LA correctional facility, seminarian Karri Backer, is leading Ignatian Spirituality groups in the midst of a most distracting and challenging context.
Oprah, Lance Armstrong, the Archbishop of York, and now...the Dalai Lama has joined Twitter. Will the Archbishop of Canterbury follow suit? Time will tell.
The Guardian (UK) offers a fascinating obituary on theologian Edward Schillebeeckx:
Edward Schillebeeckx obituary
His influential but low-key theological dissent inflamed the Vatican
From the Guardian (UK) online
Luiz Coelho is offering this booklet as a Lenten resource for churches and individuals. The paintings were submitted to Edinburgh 2010's Multimedia Contest, and he's waiting to see if they are going to be awarded a prize there. He has uploaded the resource to the web, and it can be downloaded for free. Check it out!
The Standing Committee of the Diocese of Los Angeles reported Feb. 24 that within the last 50 days it has received 51 of the majority of 56 consents needed to the Dec. 5 election of the Rev. Canon Mary Glasspool as a bishop suffragan of the Diocese of Los Angeles.
William Temple, who was Archbishop of Canterbury in the middle of the 20th Century, is reported to have said, "Church is only society on earth that exists for the benefit of non-members." That said, many, if not most, churches could do more to reach out to, and serve, their communities. In the Alban Roundtable Blog, Wayne Floyd reflects on a recent "webinar" that took on "High Impact Community Ministry." Check it out:
The Alaskan Fur Rendezvous World Championship Sled Dog Race is looking for its next home-state champion. The powers that be might want to look to Episcopal sled dog mushers, as the last home-state champion, the great Roxy Wright, is a faithful Episcopalian and is Senior Warden at St. Matthews Episcopal Church in Fairbanks.
A year ago, the big question was "where would the Obamas go to church?" From a human interest angle, it was right up there with what kind of dog they'd get and where the girls would go to school. Everyone had ideas about what church community they would join. A year later, the Obamas have not joined a church and have taken a private approach to their faith expression and formation, one that does not routinely include a faith community.
After President Obama called for the end of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" during the State of the Union address last month, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins began a fundraising and petition drive to keep the rule in place. He is now shocked, shocked!, that his public opposition to the President's policy meant that his invitation to speak at an Air Force prayer luncheon was withdrawn by the military.
The debate over the proposed Ugandan "kill-the-gays" bill has increased homophobia in eastern Africa as well as increasing calls to end homophobic laws and practices in those nations.
A former speechwriter for George W. Bush is saying that torture, including waterboarding, is permitted by the teachings of the Catholic Church. Not so fast say theologians, journalists and Catholic bloggers.
Integrity USA's website has a very alarming report on the situation today in Uganda. The outside voices that have fanned the flames of homophobia in the country have created a volatile situation that might erupt in violence with the passage of the proposed anti-gay legislation.
From the report:
The daily and weekly work of the Episcopal Church done primarily in its parishes and missions continues apace this week. A priest is recognized for his work in founding a ministry that supports many in Atlanta. Congregations are featured online for their ongoing feeding ministries, for their work housing the homeless, and for the support of life changing programs that support teens on the other side of the world.
Over the past few years there's been some serious hand-wringing about the challenges that the youth of today will be facing as they move through adulthood. To some the challenges seem too great to be overcome. But not to young people.
This video took 2nd place in the AARP contest, U@50
This week saw a return to normal activity on Facebook, so whatever bug was happening last week seems to be resolved. Twitter, on the other hand, was on the quiet side other than for a couple dozen retweets, which we're grateful for. Which service do you prefer? Have you checked out Google Buzz yet? We're curious, so let us know.
Twenty-five third-graders at St. Matthew's Episcopal School in Houma, Louisiana (about an hour west of New Orleans), are going in on a salty business proposition.
Lawyers from opposing sides who brought Bush v. Gore to the Supreme Court are working together on Perry v. Schwarzenegger, a U.S. District Court case challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 8. (Prop 8, you'll recall, was a California-based definition-of-marriage [one man, one woman] initiative that won narrowly and is now back before the bench.)
The 8.8-magnitude earthquake that shook Chile over the weekend killed more than 700 persons and displaced a few million more. At this point - remembering that these numbers are expected to increase but we know not by how much - the news is relatively sparse, so far-reaching conclusions aren't easily deduced.