Diocese of Haiti to release recovery plan "very soon"

During a meeting with Episcopal Church Center staff in New York this week, the Rev. Kesner Ajax, Diocese of Haiti partnership coordinator reported on the progress of the recovery efforts in Haiti. Specifically he reported on where things were for the Episcopal Church and where they were expected to be going:

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Bishop Robinson writes Pope Benedict with advice

Bishop Gene Robinson has written an open letter to Pope Benedict the 16th offering some thoughts on the present sexual abuse scandal that has been rocking the Roman Catholic Church of late.

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Opinion: The Anglican Church of Canada can’t approve Covenant

The Rev. Dr. Canon Dean Mercer of Toronto and The Rev. Catherine Sider-Hamilton,a Ph.D candidate at Wycliffe College have called the Anglican Church of Canada to refuse to sign the Anglican Covenant because to do so would be to lie about where the Canadian Church stands.

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Saturday Collection May 1 2010

There's news this week of Episcopal Church groups reaching out to victims of domestic violence, hungry children, people in inadequate housing and people who want to know something more about the history of where they live. Read on for a snapshot of some of the local ministry of the Episcopal Church.

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Suffragan bishop of Maryland announces retirement

Bishop John Rabb announced yesterday to the Diocese of Maryland that come this Fall he will retire from the active ministry.

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Easter 5, Psalm 148, and YouTube

Today's psalm (RCL) is no. 148 -- a straightforward psalm of praise, which had ought to be red meat for composers.

From YouTube, here's a small sampling of how some have tackled this psalm.

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Sunday Social Hour

The persisting bug in the Facebook feed has been reported, as the validation error that bounced back to us makes no sense whatsoever and Twitter has no problems with it. Posts came through on Wednesday and Thursday, but since no one posted any comments or likes we suspect they are not coming through on your feed. For now, we're blaming the new "community page" thing they are rolling out and hope to hear back from Facebook this week; we're also investigating other means of getting posts out to you on FB since we know that's how many of you stay in touch with us.

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Unapologetically Episcopalian

Today's shoutout goes to Unapologetically Episcopalian on Facebook. Check out the wall at Unapologetically Episcopalian.

What is it? A place to note and discuss the good work of The Episcopal Church.

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UPDATED: Westminster left out of cunning scheme

UPDATED: See addendum at the bottom of this post as to substance of the meeting, and impending report on women bishops.

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Belgium considers banning the veil

Reuters reports:

The Belgian lower house of parliament on Thursday approved a bill to ban wearing the full Islamic face veil in public, a move that could make Belgium the first European country to make the practice a criminal offence.

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America's evangelical right still stirring trouble in Uganda

Josh Kron of The New York Times writes from Kampala of the further efforts of America's religious right to make life miserable--and dangerous--for people in other countries:

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Can prophets be civil?

Howard E. Friend, Jr, writes:

I remember a workshop participant at a church with a history of tension and discord, who even as she said these words laughed at herself, "I wish we could do everything with graciousness and goodwill like they did in the Bible."

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Your basic, everyday bestselling vampire novelist/senior warden

In a development that will no doubt displease Walter Russell Meade, who may still be venting his spleen over Episcopal Priest Barbie, The New York Times Magazine reveals that Charlaine Harris, author of the bestselling Sookie Stackhouse vampire novels, has served multiple terms as senior warden of her small Episcopal parish in rural Arkansas.

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Imagine a country in which gay bashing gets you no votes

Andrew Sullivan brings news that the Tory party in England is willing to consider "full marriage rights" for gays and lesbians.

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40 years ago: Kent State

Today marks the 40th Anniversary of the Kent State shootings. The Gather web site reports:

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Bennison case to be heard today

UPDATE: see below
The Court of Review for the Trial of a Bishop will meet today at 10 a.m. to hear the case of Charles Bennison, Jr., former bishop of Pennsylvania, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

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Tennessee flood toll rising

The Tennessean reports that St. George's Episcopal Church was damaged and some parishioners may have died in the flooding around Nashville:

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Richard Dawkins interviews the ABC

Richard Dawkins interviews the Most Rev. Rowan Williams, The Archbishop of Canterbury. Dawkins asks how Williams reconciles his scientific view of evolution with believing in miracles:

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When the Bible offends us

Theolog on When the Bible offends us:

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Haiti: music school brings hope

NPR features the Sainte Trinité Music School and the Haiti Philharmonic:

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Blue norms v. Red norms

It used to be true that shotgun marriages worked out just fine -- you could do well with no more than a high school education. No more. Jonathan Rauch explains the gist of Red Families v. Blue Families: Legal Polarization and the Creation of Culture (Oxford University Press) by Naomi Cahn and June Carbone:

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Phoenix to wear 'Los Suns' jerseys

The owner of the Phoenix Suns condemns Arizona's immigration law, and expresses solidarity with the Hispanic community.

The team will wear 'Los Suns' jersey in today's game 2 playoff with the Spurs. Robert Sarver decided - with unanimous support from his players - that the Suns would wear their "Los Suns" jerseys for Game 2 tonight on Cinco de Mayo, a Mexican holiday.

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Bennison appeal: media reports

Attorneys for the Episcopal Church and for Diocese of Pennsylvania Bishop Charles Bennison argued before an ecclesiastical appeals court ... May 4 about whether the bishop should have been tried and convicted on charges stemming from his response to his priest brother's sexual misconduct some 35 years ago.

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Family Research Council co-founder hires baghandler

Cofounder of the Family Research Council, and board member of the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality, George Alan Rekers recently returned from a European vacation in the company of a male escort he found at rentboy.com:

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It's the dogma, stupid

If something is too true to be true, it probably is:

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National day of prayer

It's the National Day of Prayer. Setting aside the debates about the day's constitutionality, et cetera, it's not a bad time to pray a few prayers from our beloved Book of Common Prayer.

What are your prayers today?

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ERD responds to flood victims in Tenn

ERD responds to those affected by the flooding in Nashville and other areas of Tennesee:

Episcopal Relief & Development Reaches out after Flooding in Tennessee
From E-R-D Online

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Bagshaw notes the variety of Global South reactions to the Covenant

Paul Bagshaw, at "Not the same stream" blog has parsed the diversity of reactions and opinions of Primates at the recent Global South Encounter vis a vis the Anglican Covenant:

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Anglican Church of NZ/Polynesia set to debate Covenant

The Anglican Church of Aotearea / New Zealand / Polynesia is set to debate the Covenant at their Synod:

Synod primed for covenant debate
From AnglicanTaonga.org

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Mass church offers service for dog owners

A Danvers, Massachusetts church has offered a service to help dog owners get closer to God while several news sources emphasize that this service is "for the dogs" rather than for dog owners. We often have dogs in church at St. Francis Day but this church has welcomed them all year round at one service.

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Episcopal school models stewardship of creation

Episcopal School in Los Angeles teaches community service and stewardship of creation through organic gardening:

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Church and economics, part one

It used to be that when times were hard, people turned to God, or at least went to seminary. Not this time. The Christian Century says that both mainline and evangelical Protestant seminaries have not seen the same bounce in enrollment that they saw in past economic downturns.

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More on the floods in Tennessee

The Tennessean recounts how churches are working to recover from the recent Cumberland River flooding.

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Testing the waters ... or signing up recruits?

The Church Times reports that the Bishop of Richborough, the Rt Rev. Keith Newton, one of the so-called Provincial Episcopal Visitors has been flying about recruiting clergy to sign on to the Ordinariate proposed by the Roman Catholic Church for Anglicans opposed to the ordination of women.

Newton says he is merely testing the waters.

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Four more years

It will be four more years before we see women ordained to the Episcopate in the Church of England, according to a report published today by Ruth Gledhill. The legislation that will be presented to the next General Synod will be released tomorrow.

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Twenty who shaped the Twentieth

The Anglican Examiner is posting a series describing twenty Episcopalians who shaped the world in the Twentieth century.

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Is Uganda's anti-gay legislation being gutted?

There is some reason to believe that that the Ugandan government has quietly moved to kill the notorious "anti-gay" legislation that we've covered here on the Lead through the past year.

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Full text of women bishops' legislation posted

Yesterday we linked to Ruth Gledhill's report on the imminent release of the draft legislation that will allow the Church of England to open their episcopate to their women priests. Today the full report has been posted.

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Church and economics, part two

One reason that seminaries might not see a bounce in enrollment during this recession is that there are many more ordained persons than there are available churches--depending on where you look.

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Saturday Collection 5/8/2010

We start this week's Saturday collection with a report of what appears to be a revival of Evensong in Southern California:

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Lord Jesus Christ hit by a car

We don't actually have a "news of the weird" category here at the Café, but if did, this story would qualify:

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Arizona Acolyte Olympics

We've discovered something amazing out here in Arizona working with the youth. If we invite the teen council to help design an event, almost every time we put something together they change it by adding additional worship services.

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Gulf coast congregations prepare for oil spill cleanup

The growing Deep Water Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico caused by what appears to have been a methane bubble explosion is expected to being to make landfall this weekend. Reports from people living on the coast is that the air is heavy with the smell of burning oil.

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A quick-and-dirty Sunday-morning megachurch deconstruction

From North Point Media, here's this morning's rundown for your local Starbucks - er, we mean the order of service at your nearest megachurch. Stay for the credits.

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Soul-talk: ground for philosophical problems, intriguing opportunities

Philosophy prof Stephen T. Asma writes in The Chronicle of Higher Education that when it comes to the subject of the soul, his students at Columbia College Chicago are loading him up with the most interesting fodder.

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He's good at sports, and also a good sport

"Sportsmanship." What does the term bring to mind for you? Little-league lessons about shaking the other guy's hand, of being gracious both in defeat and in victory? Or maybe a coach's lecture about how to comport yourself off the field in accordance with the image you project on the field?

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Forward this to your choir director

Here's Eric Whitacre's virtual choir singing his setting of a Latin translation of an Edward Esch poem.

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Papal protege rips top cardinal, says maybe gays ain't so bad

While reading this report from The Tablet keep in mind that the cardinal voicing these criticisms is close to Pope Benedict XVI and the principal author of the Roman Catholic Catechism:

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New Zealand uncertain about "punitive' section of Covenant

From AnglicanTaonga:

The first three sections of the proposed Anglican Covenant have been given the green light – in principle – by General Synod/Te Hinota Whanui.

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Should we be growing? (Do we have to ask?)

Alice Mann, author of Raising the Roof: the Pastoral to Program Size Transition has written a new essay for the Alban Institute:

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The foolishness of Franklin Graham

In her most recent column, Kathleen Parker of The Washington Post writes of the foolish Franklin Graham:

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The Vatican's not very diplomatic ambassador

Annie Groer of Politics Daily has a weird story about the snotty comments that the Vatican's chief diplomat in the United States has made to the sex abuse victim who has kept a longstanding vigil outside of the Vatican embassy. She writes:

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The MDGs at 10 years old

Alexander D. Baumgarten, director of government relations for the Episcopal Church, has written an essay for the web pages of Bonnie Anderson, President of the House of Deputies, which calls our attention back to the fact that the Millennium Development Goals will not be achieved primarily through acts of personal charity, but through vigorous advocacy.

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+Barbara Harris at All Saints Pasadena

The Rt. Rev. Barbara Harris preached and spoke at All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, CA on Sunday May 9. Bishop Harris is the first woman elected bishop in the Anglican Communion. Her consistent call for justice and inclusion rings out across the world every time she speaks. Take time to listen to her sermon here and the Rector's Forum here.

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Zimbabwe: stop harassing opponents of Mugabe

Ekklesia reports that Amnesty International has asked Zimbabwe to stop harassing opponents of Mugabe:

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Pope admits church is to blame for abuse by clergy

Pope Benedict XVI has admitted that the church is at fault for abuse by clergy and it is not an outside campaign, according to news from the Associated Press

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Conservative evangelicals organize for immigration reform

A growing number of conservative evangelicals are separating from the political right wing on the issue of immigration reform according to a report from CNN

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+Tutu speaking of faith

Public Radio's Speaking of Faith program features "South African Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu on "the God of surprises" — how his understanding of God and humanity has unfolded through the history he's lived":

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Rising from the rubble: Haiti's art treasures

Some good news of restoration of the murals from the rubble of the earth quake that leveled the Holy Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. From the NY Times:

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CoE staff cuts inevitable

A report prepared for the Church of England says dioceses need to cut spending, and recommends cuts in clergy and lay staffing. The recession is in part to blame.

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Tutu: "I do not disagree" with calls for Arizona boycott

In a TheCommunity.com essay on Arizona's new immigration law former Archbishop Desmond Tutu speaks about parallels in apartheid South Africa. He also says " I do not disagree with the calls to boycott the businesses in the State until [the law] is turned around."

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Playing into the consumer-driven religious marketplace

If a bird abandons the eggs she has been sitting on, she prevents them from hatching, and in the same way monks or nuns will grow cold and their faith will perish if they go around from one place to another

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Playing into the martial-arts religious marketplace

How some churches are pursuing male members:

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Assorted links

1. Askers and Guessers

This terminology comes from a brilliant web posting by Andrea Donderi that's achieved minor cult status online.

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Winston Halapua elected new Bishop of Polynesia

Becomes one of three Archbishops of the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia

We are grateful to Philip Culbertson for sending this report:

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MA Bishops support of transgender nondiscrimination bill

Many transgender people serve faithfully in the congregations and ministries of our diocese, as lay people, as deacons and as priests. They are dedicated and loving parents, children, siblings, friends and community leaders. Again and again, we hear how they have struggled against incredible odds and pressures to be true to their identity as beloved children of God, made in the image of God.

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And now, for the rest of the story

You may have heard that Lord Jesus Christ was run over in a crosswalk recently. He says the accident was part of God's plan.

RNS has tracked him down:

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Laura Bush supports gay marriage

Laura Bush joins a growing number of conservatives who are in support of gay marrage:

GOProud Praises Former First Lady Laura Bush for Support of Marriage Equality

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Pondering religious identity in wartime

The New York Times published a reflection on religious identity during wartime, by Capt. Henry Brewster. How does our religious identity affect our attitudes and responses to others? Captain Brewster offers up this reflection; well worth pondering:

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House of Bishops WILL meet in Arizona as scheduled

The Episcopal House of Bishops will meet in Arizona in September 15-21 for its regular fall meeting as planned:

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ABC challenges Lord Carey's confusion over immigration

In a challenge to the arguments being put forward by Lord Carey, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said that those worried that migration affecting ‘British identity’ demonstrate ‘confusion’.

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Economic sanctions for Middle East peace?

The National Executive Council of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship (EPF) has called for economic sanctions for Middle East Peace, but at least one member of the EPF, Bishop John Chane of Washington thinks sanctions would be "dangerously unhelpful." What is the best and most effective approach to take? Comments welcome, as always..

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The theological roots of Social Security

Diana Butler Bass reflects upon the Feast of the Ascension which also commemorates Francis Perkins, who was instrumental in the creation of Social Security. Did you ever ponder the spiritual and theological roots of Social Security? Read on...

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Are you a hipster Christian?...

...don't even know what that means? Well, take this quiz, and read the book, Hipster Christianity: When Church and Cool Collide:

Are you a hipster Christian?
From Hipster Christianity.com

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Wounded Bird on hiatus

June Butler, aka Grandmère Mimi, who keeps the blog "Wounded Bird" is taking a well-earned rest. After three years of nearly continuous blogging, theological reflection, and commentary, she has decided to go "cold turkey" and come back sometime in the future on a less frequent basis.

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UK Greenbelt Festival boycott backfires?

We don't have anything like it in the States, but in England the Greenbelt festival is a music and arts festival for Christians that takes place in the middle of August. Many Christian groups, musicians, and speakers are invited representing a broad spectrum of Christianity in the UK. Recently, some evangelicals have been unhappy with their choice of speakers and have begun to boycott the festival. Strangely, ticket sales go up.

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Stop making Nazi comparisons

As bad as the law is, to compare Arizona's tough new immigration law with Nazi Germany is "inappropriate and irresponsible."

That's what The Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles said this week when they expressed their opposition to the law. They also denounced language comparing the situation in Arizona to the Holocaust, saying there was no need to "demonize opponents, even when they are mistaken, to those whose actions led to history's most notorious crime."

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Bernanke's advice on life and happiness

Federal Reserve Board chairman, Ben Bernanke, recently gave the commencement address at the University of South Carolina. (Bernanke grew up in Dillon, SC, a part of his personal biography he likes to emphasize.) He spoke on the topic of the economics of happiness. Here's one portion of his address:

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Haiti: school gives more than an education

Many stories of suffering and hope come out of Haiti. Appointed missionary Lauren Stanley reports on these stories at her blog Go Into the World. Several this week tell about how getting schools up and running helps children to heal from the shock of the earthquake, injuries and death all around them. Also an update on Episcopal Relief and Development activities for long term re-development.

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Who is the head of The Episcopal Church?

A question being discussed this week on the Bishop and Deputies listserve (HOBD) is how to answer seekers and new members and perhaps long time members about the structure of the Episcopal Church(TEC) and "who's in charge?"

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Saturday Collection 5/15/2010

Good things Episcopal Churches are doing to make their communities and the world a better place:

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How to write a truly awful worship song

Following up on how to lead mega-church worship Stephen Altrogge, writing at Blazing Center, tells you how to write an awful worship song:

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Los Angeles has two new bishops - with protest

Just following the opening words - two people started yelling and screaming against the ordination. The Presiding Bishop remained calm and offered the opportunity to speak at the appropriate time.

UPDATED as streaming:
From the live video:

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Primary worship texts online: Canada

The Anglican Church of Canada has placed its primary worship texts on line for free downloading to assist those planning liturgies and to encourage more web based work on liturgies.

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Glasspool news continues to ripple

This morning's news sites, auto-aggregators, and bloggers are abuzz with thoughts upon and coverage of the consecrations yesterday in Los Angeles. Here's a small sampling.

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Sunday Social Hour

After several weeks of feed issues persisting in Facebook, we're starting to see it work again. Two things to note: Right now, there are only Lead posts piping in to Facebook, so be sure not to forget to check Daily Episcopalian, Speaking to the Soul and the other Cafe blogs hosted here. Also, the feed is not checking as regularly, so there have been gluts of post from time to time, making seem like a bad feast-famine cycle is in effect. As always, posts should appear here without any problem, and the feed seems to work in Twitter just fine.

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As 'LOST' winds down, redemption abounds

Lorne Manly recently got a peek inside the heads of the executive producers of television's LOST - a deeply mythological show concerned with the big questions of life.

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Proud papa defends wife's right to breastfeed in church

Here's one half of an interesting exchange concerning breastfeeding in church - not whether it is legal (laws pretty uniformly protect a woman's right to feed her child anywhere she is legally permitted to be), but whether it is morally acceptable to do so.

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What more than love?

Seth Walker profiles the former Rector and current Priest-In-Charge of St. Mary's, Eugene, Oregon, and in the process explores the difference that it makes to hold the line from a place of love, rather than to just pick a side and declare oneself to be in the winning camp.

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The pluperfect mindset

Tobias Haller has nobly saved the rest of us the trouble of explaining why the Anglican right's current attempt to seize control of the Communion is as empty-headed as its previous attempts:

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What if we are asked to dis-invite ourselves again?

If form holds, the Episcopal Church and perhaps the Anglican Church of Canada will receive an invitation from Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, suggesting that its representatives consider absenting themselves from some upcoming meeting or meetings of some Anglican or ecumenical bodies.

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Another English bishop talks sense on sexuality

Peter Owen of Thinking Anglicans brings us news of a recent speech by Bishop Michael Perham of Gloucester, another English bishop who seems to understand that neither God nor history are on Rowan Williams' side when he attempts to hold the Anglican Communion together at the expense of gay and lesbian Christians:

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Joblessness hits the pulpit: Is there severance?

There have been a number of articles recently on unemployment and long spells of unemployment amongst clergy. The latest appears in the Wall Street Journal

While the economy appears to be recovering from the worst downturn in generations, more clergy are facing unemployment as churches continue to struggle with drops in donations. In 2009, the government counted about 5,000 clergy looking for jobs, up from 3,000 in 2007 and 2,000 in 2005.

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Portugal legalizes same-sex marriage

BBC reports:

Portugal's President Anibal Cavaco Silva says he will sign a law legalising same-sex marriage passed by parliament earlier this year. The law had been fiercely opposed by conservatives in the Catholic country. The ratification will make Portugal the sixth country in Europe to allow same-sex marriage after Belgium, Spain, Norway, the Netherlands and Sweden.

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Northern Michigan gets ready to try again

From the diocese's press release:

The Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan has opened its search for a new bishop. Nominations will be accepted until June 15.

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Malawi gay couple face harsh prison terms

The story of the gay couple in Malawi who celebrated their commitment in a marriage ceremony last December face prison sentences of up to 14 years with hard labor according to the report in the Mail and Guardian, SA.

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CoE bishops statement on women in the episcopate

The Church of England House of Bishops has released a statement on Women in the Episcopate following their meeting May 17-18:

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Vatican files motions to dismiss U.S. lawsuits against it

The Vatican has filed a motion to dismiss the U.S. lawsuit against it. Religion Clause blog reports on the basis for the filing:

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Jesus Seminar takes on Paul

According to The Oregonian, the Jesus Seminar has moved its headquarters to Willamette University in Salem, OR and will publish a new translation of Paul's letters to the early church:

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It can be done: Attracting young adults to your church

Sarah Drummond tells this story in this week's email from the Alban Institute:

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What did Jesus do?

Continuing today's theme of Jesus the Christ and his interpreters, Adam Gopnik explores the various approaches to understanding Jesus in The New Yorker:

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Does immigration cost jobs?

FactCheck.org takes on the question of whether or not immigrants take U.S. jobs:

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AMiA: Status in ACNA "untenable and unsustainable"

[UPDATE: ACNA responds. See our post.]

AMiA, the US outpost of the Anglican Church in Rwanda and founding member of ACNA, says it will withdraw its citizenship from ACNA and become an independent Ministry Partner with ACNA.

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Books: Ian Buruma compares religion and politics in Europe & US

Lisa Webster of Religious Dispatches interviews Ian Buruma about his book, Taming the Gods: Religion and Democracy on Three Continents.

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Congregations as a source of emotional support

Penny Edgell reports on her research findings concerning congregations as a source of emotional support for individuals:

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Duncan explains AMiA's fellow traveler status

An email from ACNA HQ on the AMiA-ble separation with AMiA is in circulation. It reads in part:

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Assorted links

1. Human males aren't the only species that use the it's not safe out there deception strategy.

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A different model of church authority

The Rt Rev. Alan Wilson writes in The Guardian about Margo Kässmann, resigned German bishop and a different model of authority:

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A visit to Tract Society HQ

Non-Witness Joel Meares pays a visit to the Headquarters of Tract Society where The Watchtower is produced:

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A community garden, "where heaven and earth meet"

A Chicago-area church has created a community garden and farmstand on the church's five-acre site:

'Where heaven and earth meet'
From The Lake Country News-Sun

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Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves explains absence from LA consecrations

Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves of the Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Real explains in a letter to Integrity (and forwarded to the Bishops and Deputies listserv of General Convention) why she consented to, but did not attend, the recent consecrations of Bishop Mary Douglas Glasspool and Bishop Diane Jardine Bruce in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.

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Dalai Lama fosters dialogue between Buddhists & Muslims

The Dalai Lama is in Bloomington, Indiana to foster dialogue between Buddhists and Muslims, and to launch a new book on the subject, Common Ground Between Islam and Buddhism.

A blessing from the Dalai Lama
By Eboo Patel in the Washington Post/Newsweek's "On Faith"

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Bp. Whalon reports on the Kirchentag

Bishop Pierre Whalon, bishop of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe, recently spent time at the Kirchentag in Germany. Don't know what that is...read on:

From Bishop Whalon's blog, "BishopBlogging"

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Bosco Peters on why church announcements are so garish

Bosco Peters on why church announcements are so garish (Jesus himself asked, "Have you not read?")

Stripping worship back to the bare essentials.
Less IS more.
From Bosco Peters at Liturgy: Worship that works - spirituality that connects blog

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Consultation to meet to discuss Indigenous Leadership in TEC

Indigenous Episcopal Church leaders whose ministry includes native peoples will gather in May in Sewanee, Tennesee for the Oklahoma IV 2010 Consultation: "The Present and Future of Indigenous Leadership in the Episcopal Church."

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GTS financial plan announced

The Board of Trustees of the General Theological Seminary unanimously approved a plan to bridge the financial plan to continue day-to-day operations. The plan fills the gap between their current cash position and operation needs and the anticipated revenue that should come from the construction of a seven-story condominium projects as well as the Tutu Conference Center.

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Lady Gaga and the religion of style

Jeremy Biles on Religion Dispatches thinks that the conspiracy theorist are right, just not in the way they think. Lady Gaga uses religious symbols and occult imagery deliberately to say...nothing.

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Barenaked Ladies covered by The Bishops

The Church Times reports on a cover-up by a member of the House of Bishops.

She was naked. He was there

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Homeshuling

Amy Melzer keeps Homeshuling: A Jewish parenting blog Beliefnet and she talks about the joys and challenges of faith formation in the home.

She writes:

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Hermit does phone solicitation

One of a small number of hermits, or solitaries, in the Church of England may be forced out of her home, unless a last-minute appeal can raise enough money to keep her there.

The Church Times reports:

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Scientists synthesize life. Theologians and ethicists ponder.

Scientists announce creation of first reproducing synthetic life form. A team of biologists based in Maryland and California have modified a number of natural biological structures to create a new form of life that, in what may be a first, is able to reproduce:

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National Cathedral Canon Precentor announces departure

The National Cathedral announced on Friday that:

"The Rev. Canon Carol Wade, who oversees the design and execution of some of the nation's most high-profile religious services, will leave her position as canon precentor at Washington National Cathedral after a sabbatical that begins on July 1."

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Saturday Collection 5/22/2010

Much of the press coverage of the Episcopal Church this week focused on the ordination of the suffragan bishops in the Diocese of L.A. over the weekend. But there was still plenty of other good news to report about the local ministry of the Episcopal Church's parishes.

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Utah selects Hayashi as bishop-elect

The Rev. Canon Scott B. Hayashi has been elected Bishop of Utah on the second ballot. He has served as the Canon to the Ordinary in the Diocese of Chicago since 2005. More about the bishop-elect and the other nominees is at the Diocese of Utah Bishop Search page.

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Theological brew and pizza church

There's been a rising movement to take theological discussions out of the confines of church buildings and out into the larger world with the hope that more people will participate, and the theological discussions will be more grounded. Generally this takes the form of a bible study at a local coffee shop. (There are usually two or three going on at any one time at the coffee shop near our Cathedral here in Phoenix.)

But you do hear of the occasional pub being pressed into service too.

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In Springfield, a glimpse into the episcopal election cycle

The Diocese of Springfield has listed

the names of the priests (with ages at time of Nominating Synod, position title, church or institution and diocese of canonical residency) for the Nominating Synod, who have submitted the requested information on or before Thursday, May 13, 2010, the Feast of the Ascension, the date specified for such submissions.

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Sunday Social Hour

A huge sigh of relief from here at the Cafe as we see posts are showing up on Facebook again, though not as regularly as before. What may be more interesting is that some of the decreased traffic may be due to people not using Facebook as prolifically as before.

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'Lost' -- a religious text read in the public square

The ABC drama "Lost" ends tonight. If you're among its regular viewership, are you, like me, a little sad, a little overanxious ... primed, perhaps, for the weeks or months of theological speculation that it will invite in its trailing wake? Or, if you don't watch, are you just baffled by all the love lavished upon one television show by its millions of fans?

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'When I pour out my Spirit': a Pentecost meditation

The Rev. Eric H.F. Law graces us with a little Pentecost-Sunday-evening contemplation: If the Pentecost text is partially rooted in the prophet Joel's vision of a world in which the powerless dreams dreams and prophesy, then how can we listen to those voices and share in those dreams?

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Tweetecost Continued: Shorter definitions of Pentecost

With #Pentecost trending on Twitter, it seems appropriate to ask Christian writers to define this momentous event in the life of the church.

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Complicity is too mild a word

Yesterday, the Observer carried an editorial that could have been taken from the pages of The Café. Headlined: The church must not be complicit in gay persecution in Africa, it began:

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Local or global? Where should a bishop's allegiance lie?

Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves, who voted to approve the election of Mary Glasspool as suffragan bishop of Los Angeles, touched off some spirited conversation in the blogosphere last week by explaining why she chose not to participate in Bishop Glasspool’s consecration. What interests me is less the bishop’s decision, about which I think good people can disagree, than how she reached it.

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Theologically, a Lost cause

Am I the only one who though that Lost came nowhere near delivering on its theological and philosophical pretensions? Did the character John Locke behave according to the writings of John Locke? Or did the creators of the show just drop his name to cultivate a little intellectual cachet?

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Host archbishop offers prayers for the FIFA World Cup

From the Church of Southern Africa:

‘Let us all pray that God will bless the World Cup!’ said Archbishop Thabo Makgoba on Monday as he launched a special prayer for the tournament.

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Managing the Body of Christ

Leading a congregation is one of those things that's hard to prepare to do. Seminary only briefly touches on the sort of work that fills the day of most parish priests. Curacy positions are getting harder to find as congregations eliminate staff to balance budgets and that means fewer chances to serve an apprenticeship. So most clergy get thrown into the deep end of their first parish and struggle to stay afloat.

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US government argues that Vatican need not legally respond to child abuse charges

Apparently the U.S. government has filed a brief with the Supreme Court that partially supports the arguments of the Vatican that, as a foreign power, it should not have to respond to lawsuits in the United States that arise from accusations of abuse of children by Roman Catholic priests.

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Digital immigrants; how to move online

Most of the Café's readers are probably very comfortable online. You know the difference between a web-forum, a list-serv and a Facebook group. But many in the Episcopal Church's leadership don't. Given the economics and the need we have to be evangelists, being a luddite isn't really an option anymore.

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What are our bishops reading?

Because the House of Bishops has its own regular meeting, and its own College for Bishops, it's not surprising to learn that many bishops read the same books over a given year. And it's always interesting to find out what's on the reading list, because the ideas tend to surface in public again and again.

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Denominations choosing different strategies in Arizona

Every major Christian denomination in the State of Arizona has expressed deep concern regarding the new law enacted which makes it a state crime to be in the state without proper documentation. But while everyone agrees that the law is troubling because of fears of how it will be enforced, there are significant differences between denominations about how to proceed next.

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Bishop pilloried for
changing his mind

The Rt. Rev. Tom Butler (just retired Bishop of Southwark) had three minutes, on BBC's Thought of the Day for May 25, to say a word about the British Home Secretary who recently said about homosexuality, "I've changed my mind." Here's some of what Butler said:

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South African bishops say let them go

The Province of South Africa leads the way in the Anglican Communion, calling for the release of Stephen Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga.

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Assorted links

1. Who said it yesterday? "The South to South Encounter of non-Western churches in Singapore ... proved to be what every other Anglican gathering has been in the past decade: in addition to faithful witness and counsel, also a time for political maneuver, secretive changing of agendas at the last moment, North Americans coming in and grabbing the microphones and running meetings, disagreements over this and that strategy and doctrine."

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Attracting young people to church. Or not

You may have noticed that in industries in decline the workforce becomes increasingly older. It's attrition. New typically younger workers are not hired, while existing workers hang onto their jobs as their skills age out and become less relevant to industries that are growing and adopting new technologies requiring new skills.

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Recognizing the diversity of the unchurched outside the church walls

In Oregon this past weekend 170 church workers attended a workshop on church hospitality sponsored by Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon. Catholics, Protestants and Evangelicals gathered for the day at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral the Sentinel reports.

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Diocese of Pittsburgh receives wellness program

This past Friday and Saturday, The Episcopal Church, via CREDO, brought a wellness program to the Diocese of Pittsburgh. "Strength for the Journey" is designed for the four diocese of the church that have undergone splits. The diocesan newsletter reports:

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Marilynne Robinson on the "dogmatic mind"

Marilynne Robinson's new book "Absence of Mind" examines the "dogmatic mind,"...

The dogmatic mind
Marilynne Robinson writing in the Washington Posts's "On Faith" Column

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New ways to build a church in NM

From the Diocese of the Rio Grande, New Mexico parishioners are thinking "outside the box" for their church building plans:


RIO GRANDE: New Mexico parishioners seek creative solutions for building drive

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Records of religious dissenters published online

The records of the “Non Conformist Registers, ”British religious dissenters, has been posted online for the first time, including Blake, Defoe and Mill.

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The PB on interconnectedness & the oil spill

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori writes about our interconnectedness and its relation to the oil spill in the Gulf:

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New Province 1 Executive Director

Congratulations to Ms. Sarah Dylan Breuer, who has been appointed Executive Director for Province I. She brings a plethora of gifts and experiences to this position; check out her wonderful blog, SarahLaughed to read some of her writing:

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Resurrection for Haiti cathedral's murals?


Haiti cathedral's murals could be resurrected, experts say
Trinity Sunday celebration will mark diocese's second collection toward rebuilding
From Episcopal Life Online

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ABC responds to Glasspool consecration

Once again, timing reveals Rowan Williams is more interested in appeasement than justice. Labeling it "Archbishop of Canterbury's Pentecost letter to the Anglican Communion" [Word doc] does not mask that fact. The latest from Lambeth Palace. The bottom line, as predicted:

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ABC welcomes South African bishops letter

Without further comment or elaboration, the Archbishop of Canterbury yesterday "welcomed" the letter written by South Africa's bishops.

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What kind of Pentecost?

The Archbishop of Canterbury says that the churches within the Communion who ordain gay bishops, bless same-sex unions and cross provincial boundaries should excuse themselves from certain ecumenical and Communion activities but instead serve as "consultants."

Just who is he talking about? And what does this mean in life of the Church in real terms?

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Housing allowance for clergy challenged in court

A lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the long-standing federal and state tax exemptions for housing allowances provided by churches and religious institutions to members of the clergy has been allowed to proceed in federal court.

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Not "Miss Religion USA"

Rima Fakih who recently won the Miss USA pageant is from Michigan where there is a sizable Arab-American population. Still her win caught a lot of people by surprise, and was followed by the usual thoughtless and bigoted comments.

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Bishop Senyonjo in San Francisco

Religion Dispatches describes the visit retired Ugandan Bishop Christopher Senyonjo made to San Francisco and the story of his conversion into a support of equal rights for gay and lesbian persons. Bishop Christopher is halfway through his six week speaking tour.

Teach peace to stop murder

Parishes of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland in the city of Baltimore are partnering with people of other denominations and faith in a program that hopes to stop the rising count of murders in the city. Baptists, Muslims, Jews and others are planning on creating programs for children that will teach peace as a response to the violence they are learning on the streets.

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President of Malawi pardons gay couple

The President of Malawi has intervened, pardoned and ordered the immediate release of the gay couple that were recently sentenced to 14 years of hard labor for holding a marriage commitment service in December.

The BBC reports:

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Saturday Collection 5/29/2010

It's been a relatively slow week in the news, at least in terms of reporting of the day-to-day ministry of Episcopal congregations. Most of the attention has focused on the Pentecost letter from the Archbishop of Canterbury and his proposals to various group in the Anglican Communion. But reports of the everyday ministry of the Episcopal Church continue in spite of the primary attention being elsewhere, whether in the religious or the secular media.

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Scientists and their faith

It seems to come as surprise to many people that there are many professional scientists who regularly attend religious services. Perhaps it's no surprising to Episcopalians given our Presiding Bishop's original career. Within Anglicanism there's even an international Society of Ordained Scientists. But even with all that, the average person in the US apparently is convinced that there are fundamental conflicts between scientific and religious thinking.

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Olympia's Carl Knirk dies unexpectedly; ERD's Bp. Bainbridge dead at 70

Word came yesterday from the Diocese of Olympia:

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Nigerian primate wants his country out of UN

Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, the Primate of the Church of Nigeria, has called for his country to pull out of the United Nations because the organization opposes bias against gays and lesbians. Can we expect Rowan Williams to express displeasure as quickly as he condemned the election of a lesbian bishop in the Episcopal Church? No, because that deadline has already passed.

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Good theology 'does' as well as thinks

Perhaps it's no mere coincidence that on a week in which preachers were sweating over how to make sense of the Holy Spirit as the Third Person of the Trinity out of their pulpits - a task that seems to turn theology into an unhappy sausage-making exercise - The Guardian asked a few theologians how to define the substance of their work.

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Rick Warren will spit you out of his mouth

Apparently Rick Warren has been reading Revelation lately, as last Sunday he informed his followers he would spit them out for being lukewarm.

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Sunday Social Hour, late night edition

We held Social Hour this morning because of the news from Nigeria and watched as it spread like wildfire around Facebook. One commenter on our page drew this bit out: "Theologically, I believe people like Okoh are simply stuck in a Christianity which denies emerging Truth and denies the Holy Spirit. Their scapegoating is ignorance and prejudice, pure and simple, regardless of the issues that are driving it." An interesting point, given the focus we pay the spirit on Pentecost and Trinity Sundays.

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The self-trivializing Anglican Communion

Like the rest of the Episcopal Church, I woke up to the news on Friday that the Archbishop of Canterbury was going to ask two of our representatives to step down from formal ecumenical dialogues with the Orthodox Churches, and reduce our representative on the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order to observer status.

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Alberto Cutié is a priest again

The Miami Herald has the story (and bilingual video):

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Bringing peace to Newark's streets

Bishop Mark Beckwith of Newark collaborated with a rabbi and an imam on a column in today's Newark Star-Ledger. They represent the executive team of the Newark Interfaith Coalition for Hope and Peace, which, for three years has worked to reduce violence and bring peace to the streets of Newark:

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Honoring the dead: a son's proposal for peace

The Rev. Donald Heckman, director for external relations of Religions for Peace International wrote this Memorial Day essay for the Huffington Post:

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The fallen Bonobo

Presented with evidence that homosexuality occurs naturally among bonobos, this evangelical pastor responds that bonobos were also affected by the Fall.

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