Does preaching matter?

"GooglingGod" blog pointed us to the "PrayTell Blog" that mentions that the importance of preaching is a debatable question. What about you?

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The boldness of religious women

Sister Joan Chittister reminds us that nuns and other "religious women" are among the boldest and unmanageable of Christian revolutionaries:

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Going to church EVERY Sunday?

Regular Daily Episcopalian essayist, Ellen Painter Dollar, has written an article at Her.meneutics blog exploring the question of occasionally skipping church:

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Homosexuality an "abomination"?

Jay Michaelson has a nice piece today in Religion Dispatches in which he outlines the use, and misuse, of the term "abomination" in some translations of the Bible:

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Serving the needy in WI

Increasing need has made food pantries even more essential, reports the Wisconsin Rapids Tribune:

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A history of denial

Laurie Goodstein and David Halbfinger report on the history of denial and distraction that characterized the official response of the Curia to the instances of child sexual abuse by Roman Catholic Clergy around the world.

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New Standing Committee members

The Anglican Communion Office has announced two new members of the Standing Committee, and gives us a glimpse of how the Anglican Communion might operate should the Covenant pass.

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More on Thurgood Marshall's "nomination"

Two statements about the life and legacy of Justice Thurgood Marshall. One by the Bishop of Washington and another by his son.

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Minding the gap

The Archbishop's amendment to the Draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure, will preserve the distance between female bishops and those who object to them by creating parallel jurisdictions that were explicitly voted down by General Synod in 2008 and dropped by the revision committee last year.

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VTS recognized by Metro DC PFLAG

On April 10, at its 13th Annual Honors Gala, the Metro DC chapter of PFLAG (Parents, Family, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) awarded Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS) with its Faith in Action Award for its twenty-year commitment to the inclusion of homosexual students, faculty, and staff. The award is given to those members of a particular faith or place of worship that have shown commitment and affirmation to the LGBT community as well as to their parishioners.

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Saturday Collection: July 3, 2010

Many US churches are reflecting on the the relationship of church and state and celebrating freedom of worship on this weekend where Independence Day falls on Sunday. Liturgies of reflection on freedom and how far it extends or has not extended to citizens and non-citizens alike to a rodeo actually held in a church! Also check our Daily Episcopalian essay here. What will you and/or your church be doing?

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Southern African Archbishop on Palestine/Israel conflict

The Anglican Archbishop of Southern Africa, the Most Reverend Thabo Makgoba, addressed the conflict in the Middle East at a United Nations meeting this week:

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Jeffrey John shortlisted for bishop of Southwark?

Updated

According to The Sunday Telegraph Jeffrey John has been nominated for bishop of Southwark. Details from Jonathan Wynne-Jones, Religious Affairs Correspondent:

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Keeping their spirits crushed, one duck at a time

One of my pastoral theology professors used to say that one definition of ministry is "to be nibbled to death by ducks." Of course, that goes back to Eric Sevareid (if not before), and he was speaking about network executives, but that doesn't make it any less true.

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Touching the 3rd rail of church and state

If you are reading this today you are well aware that the 4th of July fell on a Sunday this year. Are you thinking your congregation makes too much of the Fourth?

Take our church and state quiz.

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Silenced by your archbishop? Find another way to say it

Last week's Gay Pride parade in New York City featured the usual marching of parishioners of St. Francis Xavier Roman Catholic Church, CNN reports, but this year's parade forced congregants to think outside the box after Archbishop Timothy Dolan asked that the church not carry its name on a banner.

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BBC's 'Rev' bows

BBC Two has recently introduced "Rev," a comedy about a modern Anglican inner-city church. U.S. viewers can't see full episodes yet, but here are some previews.

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Sung Compline on a Sunday Night

Many living in Austin, Texas, are aware of the Sunday-night tradition of going to hear the Compline Choir at St. David's Episcopal Church. (It soothed this young seminarian's nerves more than once on the evening before a major paper was due.) It turns out Susan Richter has been recording these events for the past four years and offering them on her web site, where they are broken into their respective service portions.

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Not entirely baseless speculation about the Jeffrey John situation

Updated again, at bottom, with Andrew Brown column.

I don’t know whether the Very Rev. Jeffrey John, dean of St. Albans, is about to be elected Bishop of Southwark by the Crown Nominations Commission. And I don’t know how Jonathan Wynne-Jones of the Sunday Telegraph learned that John had made the shortlist for this position, or that neither Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, nor John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, had objected. Further, I don’t know why the archbishops held their tongues. In fact, I know very little with reportorial certainty about what will transpire when the committee meets today and tomorrow.

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Female bishops: no more delays, please

Emma John of the Observer visited with four women who might one day be bishops in the Church of England to find out what they made of the row over this issue:

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Scam? Integrity Uganda youth worker murdered? Perhaps not.

We are now having second thoughts about this story based on confirmation that Bishop Christopher Senyonjo did not make the statements attributed to him. This calls the veracity of the entire story into question. More soon. 7/6/10 6:10 pm

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Rowan turns rough

Paul Handley, editor of the Church Times has a column on the Comment is Free section of the Guardian's website describing the advent of the "new" Rowan Williams:

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Houston clergy unite to support immigration reform

The New York Times features the Rev. John W. Bowie, an unlikely champion of immigration reform in its story about a hopeful event in the heart of Texas:

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Troubled times for Malawi's Anglicans

Petroc Trelawny of the BBC reports:

The choice of the new Bishop has split the Anglican Church in Malawi.

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Religious investors urge action on oil spills

Ekklesia reports that religious investors have joined a coalition urging action on oil spills, not just the one in the Gulf but the ongoing disasters in the Niger Delta and elsewhere.

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Church Times questions wisdom of bishops' decision on Covenant

Last week the Church of England House of Bishops issued a "Summary of Decisions" in which in was revealed it wants quick and easy approval of the Anglican Covenant by the General Synod. (See our story, English bishops want quick action on Anglican Covenant.) Friday's Church Times lead editorial had this to say of the HoB proposal:

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The global Standing Committee and musical chairs

Recent changes within the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion have many bewildered and begging clarification:

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Ugandan gay murder story may be false.

Updated.

Details are emerging that a story we published yesterday via the Changing Attitude blog in England may have been a scam. The story concerned the alleged murder of a youth worker for Integrity Uganda. We published it, in part, due to a quote in the story from Bishop Christopher Senyonjo, whom we know well enough to know that he wouldn't make up a murder. However, we didn't figure on the possibility that someone made up Bishop Christopher's quote. We now have confirmation that the quote was made up, and that the bishop is looking into the incident.

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Women's rights and empowerment: a profoundly religious journey

Katherine Marshall of the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, & World Affairs and the World Faiths Development Dialogue writes of the spiritual nature of female religious and women's groups to boldly secure peace and work for women's rights.

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The Gospel is straightforward when you reason about it

Our presiding bishop preached in Brisbane, Australia on July 4th. While she was at it our Katharine showed her oceanographer's teeth, too. Here's some of what she had to say:

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The Guardian endorses Jeffrey John for bishop of Southwark

An editorial in The Guardian endorses Jeffrey John for bishop of Southwark. It's pithy enough we hope they don't mind that we post it in full:

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Following the CoE debate on women bishops

Later this week the Church of England General Synod will begin debate women bishops. Teacher, and General Synod member, Justin Brett gives an extensive lesson on how the debate is structured, and where the major turning points are. It's too good to excerpt. If you want to understand the debate as it unfolds, read Brett's lesson now.

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What are young adults not looking for from religion?

Consider two claims that David Briggs makes in his post Young adults open to religious participation:

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Jeffrey John won't be next bishop of Southwark?

Having built up the story that Jeffrey John was likely to be the next bishop of Southwark, Jonathan Wynne-Jones of The Telegraph is now saying he won't be:

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CoE traditionalist full of fudge, wants the buildings

Ed Tomlinson, a priest in the Church of England who is considering Rome's offer writes about the upcoming debate on women bishops:

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Disheartening paragraphs

The Montreal Gazette on progress in Haiti:

The larger international organizations are used to the criticism that they aren't doing enough, fast enough. But Oxfam, like others, says it's difficult to move forward until the government puts people in charge of the reconstruction plan drawn up at a donor's conference in New York in March.

More:

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Gratitude for diversity

Writing in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Op-Ed page, Patricia Templeton gives thanks for the ways that the Episcopal Church celebrates diversity:

Thank heaven for church that celebrates diversity
By Patricia Templeton writing in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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Reactions to Jeffrey John nomination

As we noted in our post yesterday, it looks like the Rev. Jeffrey John will not be the next bishop of Southwark. There are a variety of reactions to this news:

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Playground as sanctuary

Behind a church opens a sanctuary
From the Boston Globe

The sun beat down on Uphams Corner yesterday; by midmorning it was more than 90 degrees. But a few blocks away, in cool shade beneath tall trees, children frolicked on a brand-new playground. St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, which sits in the heart of a neighborhood often torn by shootings and stabbings, offered its backyard yesterday as a safe space for children to play.

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Essay Contest: How to choose a bishop?

The Anglican Minimalist offers an Essay Contest for how Anglican/Episcopal dioceses might best select bishops to lead them. This is both hilarious and spot on:

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Are Presbyterians looking at a sexual-ethics sea change?

Will the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), currently sitting in its 219th General Assembly in the Twin Cities area, be the next major denomination to make major adjustments in regard to a self-understanding of who may marry and be ordained?

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The future of female clergy in the C of E?

What is the future of female clergy in the Church of England? The General Synod meeting this weekend may give some signs about an answer to the question:

Female bishops decision in the balance
Concessions to traditionalists at General Synod could drive out female clergy, campaigners warn

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Georgia appeals court rules for Episcopal Church in Savannah case

The Savannah Morning News reports:

The state’s Court of Appeals issued a ruling Thursday in favor of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia and the national church in its two-and-a-half year property dispute with a breakaway congregation.

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DOMA ruled unconstitutional

Judge Joseph L. Tauro of United States District Court in Boston says the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. He says that the Federal government cannot cause the state of Massachusetts discriminate it's own citizens by denying gay couples who have married in that state from receiving the same federal benefits that it grants to other married couples.

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Absurd and incredible

This week the Church of England has done something very publicly that no other official institution in England could legally do: it rejected a highly qualified person for a crown appointed office solely on the basis of his sexuality. As General Synod begins, The Guardian asks how long the Church of England can spend so much energy debating "the supposed inferiority of women, gay men and lesbians" without become hopelessly disconnected from the best values of the culture it is supposed to shepherd.

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Presbyterians approve gay ordinations but not marriage

In a late night session, the Presbyterian Church USA voted to allow partnered gay and lesbians to be ordained but refused to allow same-sex blessings in their denomination.

The AP reports:

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Rowan destroys his own credibility

This weeks question over at the Guardian's Comment is Free: Belief is "Which way will Synod jump?" We posted earlier responses here and here, next up is our own Jim Naughton:

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Sudan and the referendum

The Rev. Canon Petero Sabune, the Episcopal Church's Africa partnership officer, talks about the need for prayer, study and action ahead of the January 2011 referendum in Sudan, when southerners will decide whether to secede from the north or remain a unified country.

Episcopal News Service posted this video:

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e-xorcism

A so-called evangelist tries to cast a demon out of a friend on Facebook.

The blog "Jesus Needs New PR" shows how Joseph Huffman tries to exorcise the demon from Marrissa Johnson who apparently disagreed with Huffman about something.

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Organists flock to Washington

The American Guild of Organists is holding their biennial meeting in Washington, DC this week. If you want to hear the music, you have to go to where the organs are, and that means a lot of churches are having a lot of recitals this week.

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How to get people in the church door

How does one go about inviting people into the church building to begin creating a relationship with them? Find something they might be interested in talking about and offer conversation.

A congregation in the Diocese of Delaware is doing just that. Check out this press release that was carried in their local news paper:

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Conflict swirls around the Archbishop of Canterbury at Synod

Between the controversy over plans to ordain women as bishops in the Church of England, the coming decisions on the Anglican Covenant and the decision to not appoint Dean Jeffrey John as bishop of Southwark, it's been a hard month for the Archbishop of Canterbury. Now there are reports that members of his House of Bishops are ready to oppose his leadership.

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Archbishops' amendment fails

The amendment put forward by the ABC and ABY to soften the provision for women bishops so as to appeal to opponents of women bishops has been debated and failed to pass in the clergy order.

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Episcopal budget process: 'Irresponsible ... unpastoral ... scandalous'

At the most recent General Convention in Anaheim, as the Episcopal Church passed resolutions that affirmed that policy of allowing all persons full access to the ordination process, including that of bishops, the almost unnoticed story was the conflict surrounding the creation of the triennial budget. Recently Province III of the Episcopal Church meeting passed a resolution highly critical of the way the budget was put together. Executive Council has responded to the resolution by promising to have a conversation about these concerns based on an ongoing review of Church Center policies.

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Saturday Collection 07/10/10

This week the Saturday Collection of the ministries of Episcopal churches features neighborhood gardening initiatives, continued ministry in Haiti, the transition of a church building into a thriving soup kitchen and the opening of a new immigrant center.

First up this story from Newton Kansas about a new community gardening initiative based at St. Matthew's Episcopal Church:

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Tattoos, motorcycle and a "rock star" priest

How do we reach the younger adults who aren't really sure if they'd be welcome in the Episcopal Church? How about lifting a young priest who doesn't exactly look like the typical Parson Weems sort?

The Diocese of Hawaii is installing a new priest,Paul K. Klitzke, from Alaska who was called to a new parish plant to reach out to the 20-somethings who aren't typically found in congregations:

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Who is Alberto Morales?

Responding to an older post from Preludium's Mark Harris on the subject of ACNA's Alberto Morales of Quincy, Puerto Rico's bishop, David Alvarez, sketches Morales in ... well, not the best of lights.

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Nerva Cot Aguilera, suffragan bishop of Cuba, dead at 71

Word comes through Facebook that Cuban Bishop Suffragan Nerva Cot Aguilera has died, with funeral scheduled to take place tomorrow.

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Sunday Social Hour

Over at Unapologetically Episcopalian, they've posited a "weekend wondering" question that they'd like readers to weigh in on. "How have you introduced someone to the Episcopal Church? How has that introduction made a difference - to that person, to the Church, to you?" You can answer them here.

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Northwestern Pennsylvania's Bp. Rowe seeks healing in Bp. Davis abuse case

Shocking news out of Erie: the Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania explains today in a press release that Donald Davis, the late bishop of that diocese, sexually abused girls in the 1970s and 1980s.

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Fifty years on, influence of 'Mockingbird' remains strong

Today is the 50th anniversary of the first publication of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird -- a novel that spoke in fine moral tones about racism with utter clarity, and that has never been out of print.

NPR notes:

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Interest groups react to vote on archbishops' female-bishops scheme

Following yesterday's defeat at the CoE's Synod of the archbishops' scheme to provide for softened episcopal oversight by women (the story from yesterday is here, and it's engendering quite a discussion), a number of associated groups are throwing forth commentary on what's being termed an impasse.

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To really engage that atheist, demonstrate ap(p)titude

Under the predictably headlined "You Say God Is Dead? There’s an App for That," we find the following notion and are kicking ourselves for not getting into the app-making game.

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Women bishops measure passes intact

The BBC's summary begins:

The Church of England's ruling synod has decided that women bishops should be created. The synod has given minimal concessions to traditionalist Anglicans who opposed the move.

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Why worship must change to be effective

N. Graham Standish writing for the Alban Institute:

For most of my life I have really disliked worship. My wife tells me that if I weren't a pastor, I would never go to worship. Fifteen years ago she was right about that, although I have managed to change over time. I am a constant tinkerer when it comes to designing worship, always working with our staff and members to figure out how to tweak our worship in a way that will touch people and open them to what I think is paramount in a worship service: encountering and experiencing God in a way that transforms us, even if just a little bit.

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Vatican: ordaining women as great a sin as raping children

As the Church of England was deciding whether to send legislation permitting women to its dioceses for their approval, the Roman Catholic Curia was also considering the issue of women's ordination. David Gibson at Politics Daily tells us what they came up with:

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Anglican District of Virginia files motion of appeal

There's something that Canon Kenneth Kearon, Secretary General of the Anglican Communion Counsel, ought to know. The Anglican District of Virginia now is emphasizing it is not only a branch of The Church of Nigeria but includes congregations with cross-provincial-boundary affiliations to Uganda. No news in and of itself to most of us. So what's up with the declaration? It's about property.

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Bonnie Anderson to visit Diocese of Springfield

The Concerned Laity of the Springfield Diocese (CLSD) are proud to be hosting an important talk by Bonnie Anderson, President of the House of Deputies of The Episcopal Church at 7:30 p. m. on Friday, July 23 at the Decatur Conference Center and Hotel in Decatur, Illinois

Her presentation, “The Ministry of All the Baptized” is designed to strengthen the ministry of lay people and clergy throughout southern and central Illinois.

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Gulf oil spill ethics

Religion and Ethics NewsWeekly interviews ethicist Paul Wolpe on the moral aspects of oil spill.

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As the dust settles on CoE Synod...

Thinking Anglicans has a roundup of the latest news and commentary on the vote for women to serve as bishops in the Church of England. The process still has years to conclude whether or not women will ever be bishops in the CoE.

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Archbishop Orombi on Uganda bombings

Archbishop Orombi has written to his nation following the July 11th bombings in Uganda. Anglican Communion News Service carries his letter which begins:

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Fewer attacks on aid agencies in Afghanistan

IRIN reports:

Humanitarian agencies are seeing promising signs of regaining space and acceptance from Taliban insurgents while attacks against NGO workers have reduced significantly over the past six months.

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+Sean Rowe receives more reports of sexual abuse

An update from the Rt. Rev. Sean Rowe, bishop of NW Pennsylvania (via email):

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Adoption agency funds cut off by RCC, turns to Episcopal Church

The Huffington Post reports on the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles and Bishop Jon Bruno helping an adoption agency when the Roman Catholic Church withdrew funding when the agency allowed same sex couples to adopt:

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Men wearing frocks, bishops wearing bras

Ruth Wishart wonders how, given the problems of the world, a church council can spend two days with its panties in a twist over opening its highest posts to women:

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Are women dangerous?

Spiegel reports on the results of Norway's mandate that private corporate boards have a quota of at least 40 percent women. The law went into effect in 2004 and has is subject of a study by Aagoth Storvik and Mari Teigen of the Institute for Social Research in Oslo:

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ADV motion for rehearing has no merit

After digesting the opinion of the Supreme Court of Virginia, the congregations of the Anglican District who are in dispute with the Diocese of Virginia over church property have changed their tune. The Supreme Court concluded there is no division in the Anglican Communion, and that therefore any branch under the statute must be a branch of The Episcopal Church.

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GTS press release:
"Financial Crisis Eased"

Financial Crisis Eased

For Immediate Release
14 July 2010

General Seminary Reaches Agreement with M&T Bank
$5.3 Million Short Term Loan Eases Immediate Financial Concerns

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Teenagers’ faith practices changing

Barna Group reports, "Teenagers are consistently among the most religiously active Americans, with nearly six out of every 10 teens engaged in some type of group spiritual activity in a typical week." At the same time Barna finds plenty of change in the kinds of activity. While you it's worth keeping in mind studies can be agenda driven, the results are worth reflection:

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The dilemma of euthanasia

Michael Attas, physician, medical humanities professor, and Episcopal priest, writing in the Waco Tribune discusses the ethics of euthanasia and issues surrounding end of life decisions. He concludes:

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It takes an opposable mind to live the gospel

The phrase "living in the tension" has its purposes, and has been given an undeserved bad name. It's not relativism.

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Primate of Nigeria speaks on homosexuality and border crossing

The Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria (Anglican Communion) spoke to the gentlemen of press today. In his address he opened, "This is our maiden Press Conference since our assumption to the primacy of the Church. The subject of our address today is on the state of the Church and the Nigerian Nation. This comes as we prepare to mark the 50th anniversary of our dear country."

On the subject of the Anglican Communion he stated,

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Fort Worth Episcopal statement on Hood County case

Update on Hood County Case

On Wednesday July 14 the Hon. Ralph Walton in the 355th District Court of Hood County heard several procedural motions in the Hood County case involving St. Andrew's Episcopal Church of Fort Worth as a beneficiary of a trust created in 2002 by famed artist Cynthia Brants, now deceased.

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Being a post-modern clergy spouse

In Oprah Magazine, writer (and clergy spouse), Andrew Corsello reflects on the changes that came when he and his family moved from Virginia to California and when his wife, the Rev. Dana Corsello, became the first female rector of St. Luke's Episcopal Church in San Francisco:

She's a Big Cheese. (He's a Little Annoyed.)
In Oprah Magazine

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British public would support women bishops

While the powers that be in England may not be asking what the public thinks of women bishops, "British Religion in Numbers" has asked some interesting questions about public attitudes of the Anglican Church and the Anglican Episcopate:

Gender and the Anglican Episcopate
From "British Religion in Numbers" blog (UK)

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Radical homemaking & stewardship of creation

Barbi Click reflects in an Op-Ed at Episcopal Life Online about the challenges and joys of being a steward of creation in homemaking:

Stewards of Creation
Posted at Episcopal Life Online

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Carpenters help feeding ministry

Carpenters assist church in New Jersey build church feeding ministry:

NEW JERSEY: Carpenters lend skills to help keep church feeding ministry alive
From Episcopal News Service

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South African churches work to prevent xenophobic attacks

South African churches are taking measures to assist victims of xenophobic attacks, and also lobby the government to intercede:

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Upper SC Cathedral dean suspended

Dean of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina suspended by the new bishop:

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Stories of mission

Trinity Wall Street has posted videos created by their Television and New Media Department depicting mission around the world undertaken by Anglicans. The videos remind us that the beating heart of Anglicanism is mission.

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Telling the truth and being set free

Gay men and women in public life still have to hide their sexuality, former BP executive John Browne writes in the Guardian, and when the accumulated lies and concealed relationships come to light in the form of a scandal, it can be at one a public disaster and a personal blessing.

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Order of the Holy Cross to sell California property

The Episcopal News Service reports that the Order of the Holy Cross will sell the Santa Barbara property where the Mount Calvary Retreat House and Monastery was located and which was destroyed in a 2008 brush fire.

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Chaplains will not abandon their posts over DADT

Will military chaplains abandon their posts if "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is repealed?

In a USA Today op-ed, Daniel Blomberg, a lawyer for the Alliance Defense Fund, says that repealing DADT will violate the religious freedom of military chaplains, causing some faith groups to withdraw their endorsement of military chaplains and cause others to leave this ministry.

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Episcopal young people trace North Carolina's racial history

Forty-five young people from the three Episcopal dioceses of North Carolina are taking a Freedom Ride, a 500-mile pilgrimage to learn about North Carolina's racial history.

WRAL.com reports:

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The MDG's: Now is still the time

Peter Wallace, writing at the Huffington Post, reminds us, through the words of national and international voices of advocacy, that we must not turn aside from our commitment the Millennium Development Goals. Though the economic crises of the past few years have caused many of us to lose our immediate focus on the goals, the immediacy of the needs of the developing world have only increased because of the same crises.

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Seminary receives major grant to support General Convention work

The Arcus Foundation has granted external funding to help support the work of Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music over the next three years as it responds to the charge assigned it by General Convention and resolution C056. That resolution, passed last year in Anaheim, directed the Episcopal Church to begin gathering liturgical resources used in blessing same-gender relationships.

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New details being released in Upper South Carolina Cathedral conflict

We covered the news Thursday that Dean Phillip Linder was suspended from his ministry as Dean of the Cathedral in Columbia. The conflict is being covered this morning by one of the state's major newspapers.

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Torey makes the Newsteam proud

Torey.jpgApparently one of the members of the Episcopal Cafe Newsteam has a special talent that the rest of the team didn't know about. When it comes to mastering the arcane details of the Simpson's TV series, Torey is the best of the best in Sioux City.

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Faith and Nature curriculum

Summer is the time of year when Christian Education leaders and clergy start planning workshops, classes and curriculum for the coming Church year. If you're looking for a resource that will guide discussions about greening our lives and living more gently on the earth from within a life of faith, you might want to check out this new curriculum published this summer by Church Publishing:

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YMCA drops last three letters. But Y?

At the National Press Club on July 12, the YMCA announced its new official name: "The Y."

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Promising evangelical leaders taught media literacy, theatrical skills

A hand-picked group of 13 potential "Christian thought leaders" (see anyone you know?) sponsored by Veritas Riff (itself sponsored by Harvard-derived Veritas Forum) were recently put through an interesting proving-ground. They were given lessons in improvisation, theater, and media relations, one of the event participants, David Skeel, writes in The Wall Street Journal.

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Fifty who tweet - fifty to follow

Courtesy Online Christian Colleges, here's a list of 50 important religiously oriented Twitterers.

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Can church structure keep pace with reality?

Elizabeth Kaeton of Telling Secrets has been thinking about the likely future roles to be played by laity and clergy.

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From Olympia to Israel,
and blogging it

Youth from the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia are touring Israel along with their bishop, Greg Rickel - and everyone's blogging about it.

Rickel's travelogue for July 15 notes a moment spent at the Wailing Wall:

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Battling big lies in the Diocese of San Joaquin

From the real Diocese of San Joaquin, Canon Mark Hall writes of the struggle of faithful Episcopalians:

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Evangelism and the under-30 crowd

Sheryl A. Kujawa-Holbrook's essay for the Alban Institute features the work of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts:

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ACC Articles of Incorporation are now online

A tip of the hat to George Conger for alerting the world that the Anglican Consultative Council's articles of incorporation are now online. Anyone willing to plow through the document and pull out the highlights would be doing the world a great favor. We think.

Greensboro Episcopal Church fights hunger one meal at a time

WFMY in Greensboro, NC, visited Holy Trinity Episcopal Church while the parish was "packaging 20,000 meals to send overseas.

"The church raised $5,000 for the event and involved the entire congregation.

'We thought this was the perfect summer program for families to do together and we're really proud to have people of all ages participating in this event,' said Event Coordinator Ken Keeton.

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A web site on faith and finance from St. Paul's, London

The Saint Paul's Institute at Saint Paul's Cathedral in London has launched an intriguing new web site that "seeks to foster an informed Christian response to the most urgent ethical and spiritual issues of our times: financial integrity, economic theory, and the meaning of the common good."

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San Diego authorizes same sex blessings

LINKS UPDATED

St. Paul's Cathedral in the San Diego, CA reports on their participation in San Diego's Pride weekend with news that Bishop James Mathes has authorized clergy to perform blessing of unions for same sex couples.

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Ancient Hebrew cosmos

Designer Michael Paukner has created a depiction of what ancient Hebrews believed the cosmos looked like, based on what is recorded in the Old Testament:

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Send Bibles to Glenn Beck

Serene Jones, President of Union Theological Seminary in New York City, writes in The Huffington Post that she is sending Bibles to Glenn Beck, with the social justice passages marked for him.

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Depressing news for women this week

Mary Ann Sieghart, comments in The Independent on a depressing week for women:

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Lambeth Resolutions Quiz: how do you score?

Anglicans Online has been looking into resolutions from previous Lambeth Conferences and found enough to make a quiz for your summer entertainment:

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Corrective rape in South Africa

Jeremy Schaap of ESPN's E:60 speaks with South African women soccer players who say they were beaten and raped because they are lesbians.

Warning - difficult subject matter to watch if you have experienced rape.

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Online canon law journal launched

Virginia Theological Seminary announces publication of the first issue of the Journal of Episcopal Church Canon Law an online peer-reviewed journal.

Some teasers from the first issue.

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Assorted links

1. The New Statesman interviews Rowan Williams about the role of religion in society.

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Primate says Nigerian intervention in US prevented Anglican split

Updated

The new Archbishop of Nigeria, Nicholas Okoh is in Herndon, Virginia for CANA's annual council.

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Majority of Californians say they'd vote for same-sex marriage

Updated

This just in from the LA Times:

If a vote similar to Proposition 8 upholding a ban on same-sex marriage were held tomorrow, a majority of Californians say they would cast ballots in favor of allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry, according to a survey released Wednesday.

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Religious Right: losing their children?

CNN Belief Blog reports on the religious right's loss of their children from their ranks:

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Moral negotiations occur in head

It's called moral licensing:

We drink Diet Coke -- with Quarter Pounders and fries at McDonald's. We go to the gym -- and ride the elevator to the second floor. We install tankless water heaters -- then take longer showers. We drive SUVs to see Al Gore's speeches on global warming.

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What good can come from Twitter?

Could social media, such as Twitter, help to transform the church? Writing in Episcopal Life Online, Tom Ehrich says yes!

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Lutherans urged to ordain more women

The Lutheran World Federation was challenged by its outgoing general secretary, the Rev. Ishmael Noko, to live up to its inclusive vision by ordaining women across the globe. Meeting in Germany, the LWF will also hear from the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams today, July 22nd:

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IMF cancels Haiti's debts; offers loan

The International Monetary Fund has canceled Haiti's $268 million debts and offers a $60 million loan to the earthquake-devastated nation:

IMF cancels Haiti's $268m debts and agrees $60m loan

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Rowan lectures Lutherans

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, offered the keynote address today to the Lutheran World Federation and his lecture topic was "Our Daily Bread," arguing that, " We may focus so closely on the rights of human persons that we lose sight of their beauty and dignity, the beauty and dignity that help to feed us. " A thoughtful theologian offering words of beauty and hope; how will these words be understood and lived out?

Below is an excerpt.

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The immigrant experience in worship

Hymn writer Carolyn Winfrey Gillette writes a new hymn on the immigrant experience:

Engaging the immigrant experience in worship;
Pastor produces a hymn to biblical refugees

From the National Council of Churches website

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Tea Party Movement = Unbiblical?

The Washington Post's On Faith section asks, "Is the Tea Party unbiblical?":

Is the Tea Party unbiblical?
From "On Faith" at The Washington Post

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Tutu to retire from public life

Archbishop Desmond Tutu announced today that he will retire from public life later this year.

We wish him blessings and peace and hearty gratitude for all he has done and for his wonderful presence on the side of justice, peace, and reconciliation for many decades!

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Another fight over "the plain reading of scripture"

When Church and society fought over the institution of slavery, one the main battlegrounds was how to read the Bible on the subject. A plain reading of scripture seemed to support slavery but an application of Christian ethics derived from the Bible spoke against slavery. We see the same dynamic today as mainline Churches debate human sexuality.

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Bus ads for women's ordination

Religious (and non-religious) groups in Great Britain love to use ads on big red buses to make their point. The Guardian tells us that the UK group Catholic Women's Ordination (CWO) will be running ads on buses when the Pope comes to town.

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A house church near you

A study by the Barna Group estimates that 6 million to 12 million Americans attend house churches with some regularity and the Pew Forum found last year that 9 percent of American Protestants only attended home services. The AP reports on the phenomenon.

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A third way on the Covenant?

John Backman, an n associate of the Order of the Holy Cross and member of the vestry of St. Paul's Church in Albany, New York, asks if there isn't a third way to approach the Anglican Covenant. This "third way" is grounded in listening and trust.

Episcopal Life Online has his essay here:

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Don't give me the facts,
I'm reactionary

Giving people the facts can backfire if they hold strong beliefs contradicted by those facts.

The last five decades of political science have definitively established that most modern-day Americans lack even a basic understanding of how their country works. In 1996, Princeton University’s Larry M. Bartels argued, “the political ignorance of the American voter is one of the best documented data in political science.”

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Vacation Bible School season

Page Onorato, writing in The Dispatch from North Carolina, remembers Vacation Bible School. What are your memories? Do you have VBS at your church?

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In a welcome move, ACO Standing Committee reports on its activities

Sensing perhaps that it has a significant public relations problem, the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion has begun to offer reports on its activities. This constitutes a welcome step in the direction of transparency, even if the need for the existence of this body remains opaque.

The headlines:

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A #mitregate update

Thinking Anglicans reports on the latest news on the "issue of vesture" AKA #mitregate:

At the recent General Synod in York, two Questions were asked about this. The full text of the Q and A is given below the fold. The questions were for written reply only, and in any event the block of questions in which they came was not reached before the end of the session, so there were no supplementary answers.

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Hate is hate no matter the cause

The Bilerico Project discusses the problem with confronting hate with more hate and how there is a better way.

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Saturday Collection 07/24/10

Good news of Episcopal Churches making their communities a better place for all people.

Camp for kids who parents are in prison

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Hauerwas on "America's god"

Theologian Stanley Hauerwas reflects upon "America's god" at ABC Religion and Ethics:

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Death notice: Rev. John Worrell, publisher of Nevertheless

It falls to this Sunday blogger to note the death yesterday of The Rev. John Worrell, whose name might be recognized by the past few generations of Texas Episcopalians, and most certainly will be recognized by their members of the clergy.

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Sunday Social Hour

Greetings from the Cafe's social media sites! It's been quiet on FB lately, but that's probably the result of ongoing technical glitches that are beyond our control. Everything seems to be caught up today, but we do try to check the page each day to see how it's going.

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Ethical conflation on the way to making sexual scapegoats

At recent lectures given at United Theological College, Cambridge University divinity professor Sarah Coakley gave her listeners some food for thought about our tendency to accidentally commingle ideas in the search for scapegoats, especially in the RC and Anglican traditions.

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What brings us (back) to church?

Like many, Norris Chumley fell away from church for a while before returning as an adult. Now he sees the things he saw as a child, but in a different light. Here are three of ten things on his list.

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Has the 'Sleeping Giant' awakened to a world of religion?

NPR's Lisa LIm notes that many Chinese are looking for an alternative to "rampant materialism," and that a religious rush seems to be bubbling up.

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Man Church = Church Fail?

Ben Myers, at the highly recommended Faith and Theology Blog, pointed us to the "Man Church" blog which led him to quote both Karl Barth and Paul's letter to Galatians as he made the claim that "Man Church = Church Fail':

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PB preaches in London

The Presiding Bishop preached yesterday at St. Paul's Cathedral in London, England and challenged her hearers to speak out with a prophetic voice against the injustice in the world:

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WY Bishop consecration coloring book

The Episcopal Diocese of Wyoming will have a new bishop on July 31st when the Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori will consecrate John Sheridan Smylie bishop. The diocese has found a unique way to entertain the young (or older) during the consecration with this wonderfully helpful "Consecration Coloring Book."

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Pastors and church musicians: friends, foes, or...

The Alban Institute's Weekly Roundtable blog takes on the vital question of the relationship between pastor and church musician:

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Separation of TEC from Anglican Communion rejected

The Anglican Communion News Service reports on Day 2 of the meeting of the Standing Committee. One member proposed the Episcopal Church be separated from the Communion but this proposal was overwhelmingly rejected:

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How's the coffee at your church?

An opinion piece at Christian Today asks why we put up with less than the best when it comes to church, asking the question, "Why is church coffee so often bad?"

How's the coffee at your church?

Are we able to pursue excellence in all that we do at church?

Why is church coffee so often bad?

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Lutherans welcome their gay and lesbian pastors

Laurie Goodstein, in The New York TImes reports on the warm welcome for Lutheran gay and lesbian pastors.

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Contributing to violence by our silence?

Drummond Pike, writing in the San Francisco Chronicle asks:

When do people know they are contributing to intolerance that may lead to violence? When is silence complicity? When is it time to stand up to those voices and say, "Enough"?

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Webcast: Conversation with PB set for Wednesday

The Corvallis, Oregon, Gazette Times, reports on the interactive webcast with the Presiding Bishop set for Wednesday July 28 at 3 P.M. EDT:

Featured topics will include the Anglican Communion, the environment, domestic poverty, immigration and Haiti.

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Going to the dogs?

The dog days of summer have produced a flap over a priest who in a moment of outreach gave a communion wafer to a dog. Toronto Star reports that the incident has been resolved and the priest has apologized for her enthusiasm:

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Anglican Communion Standing Committee celebrates

Episcopal Life Online reports on the Anglican Communion Standing Committee which concluded its meeting today with a celebration of greater transparency and focus on common mission:

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Preservation of all male priesthood implies we are in control, not God

Canon Ginnie Kennerley has some thoughts about the desire to preserve the purely male priesthood:

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Province of Ghana ordains first female priest

Ghana News Agency:

The Anglican Diocese of Kumasi has ordained its first woman priest of the Church, the Rev Mrs Priscilla Lovia Owusu-Asiedu.

The Anglican Diocese of Kumasi is located in Ghana and is a diocese of the Province of West Africa.

Related news from the Anglican Diocese of Accra (Ghana):

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Resolved: Continue supporting the ACC Standing Committee financially

Update - The standing committee revisited the question of moratoria and, the separation proposal in particular, today [Wednesday]. See the next post above. [3:30PM 7/28/2010]

News that the Anglican Consultative Council Standing Committee voted on whether to separate The Episcopal Church from the Anglican Communion created a stir in the comments here at The Lead, and elsewhere in the Anglican blogosphere.

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ACC Standing Committee further discusses breach of moratoria

In the fourth and final day of its meeting the Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council revisited the subject of breach of moratoria, among other subjects.

From the ACNS report for Day 4:

Further discussion on moratoria breach

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Foundry UMC considers marriage equality policy

In September a policy of marriage equality will be put to a congregational vote at Foundry United Methodist Church. While President Clinton was in the White House the Clintons attended the church.

Foundry is engaged in a Summer of Great Discernment:

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Textual analysis: human dignity and human rights

You may recall the tempest caused by the words of the Archbishop of Canterbury in his July 22nd address to the Lutheran World Federation:

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PB offers webcast

The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori, offered a webcast yesterday in New York City:

Presiding bishop featured in wide-ranging live webcast
From Episcopal News Service

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Celebrating the Philadelphia 11

Today is the anniversary of the ordination of the Philadelphia Eleven on July 29, 1974.

We send out a Hip-Hip Hooray to them and to the Church!

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Pope unfriends Mary Magdalene

Just in time for Philadelphia 11 Day (see previous post), Pope Benedict has issued a children's book, Friends of Jesus, featuring 14 of Jesus' closest friends. Evidently our Lord's top 14 did not include women:

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Diocese of Maryland issues guidelines for same-gender unions

The Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, the Rt. Rev. Eugene Sutton, has issued Guidelines Regarding the Blessing of Same-Gender Unions:

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"Breaking": TEC still in the AC

This just in, the minutes from the December 2009 meeting of the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion were posted today, and, though these are minutes from a meeting seven months ago, it is indeed new information about the vote to keep the Episcopal Church in the Anglican Communion. So what seemed like such a shock to many of us last week was actually a conversation begun long before.

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Running on empty

Gay Marriage opponents appear to be running out of people willing to show up and support their cause:

Gay Marriage Opponents Running on Empty
From Religion Dispatches

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Cathedral of Second Life nuances a proposed constitution

The Anglican Cathedral of Second Life is getting its sea legs.

With a virtual cathedral (brick-and-mortar is still important even when it's only computerized), a regular set of services, and a ministry team, the Anglican presence in Second Life is very real.

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On Faith: Should religions intermarry?

The Washington Post's "On Faith," has posed the question, "Should religions intermarry?" and the posted responses are good food for thought.

What's your take?

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Hundreds gather in Arizona to keep vigil against new law

Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Phoenix AZ was the site a large inter-faith prayer service yesterday morning organized by religious leaders in the city opposed to the new law that would ramp up the pressure on undocumented people living in the state of Arizona.

Bishops of the Roman Catholic, Methodist and Episcopal Churches were all part of the service, as well as Evangelical, Pentecostal, Lutheran, UCC and Unitarian ministers. Two Muslim leaders and two rabbis took part as well.

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Cultivating xenophiles

Ethan Zuckerman is an Episcopalian and co-founder of Global Voices (http://globalvoicesonline.org), which shares news and opinion from citizen media from over 150 nations representing all walks of and stations in life. They translate content from over 30 languages, and publishing editions in 20 languages, mostly by means of a network of skilled and passionate volunteer editors and translators from around the world.

Australian politics: Archbishops critical of atheist PM

Australia holds a national election and so far the campaign has focused on the perceived flaws of the current Prime Minister, Julia Gillard. She's an unmarried, childless, co-habitator with -- as some see them -- pendulous earlobes, and all that counts against the PM say her opponents.

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Details of this month's All African Bishop's conference published

We reported on the second all African Bishop's Conference back in January. Now the details of the conference have been published by a Ugandan newspaper. From the report the conference will be held third week of August at a resort in Entebbe Uganda.

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Alberto Cutie speaks to Episcopalians in Oklahoma

The Rev. Alberto Cutie was in the diocese of Oklahoma this month, at the invitation of the bishop, speaking at one of the primarily Hispanic congregations. He preached, led some discussion groups, and at a dinner on July 22nd, spoke candidly about the process that led him to be received into the Episcopal Church:

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Did you participate in our recent poll?

You can still participate in our unscientific poll on whether The Episcopal Church should continue to contribute financially to the Anglican Communion.

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Bingo wedding canceled by parish priest

A couple in England who won a contest to have their wedding sponsored by a Bingo company in exchange for product placement on the happy couple, has been denied the use of their parish church. The deal with the Bingo company included displaying the company's bright orange and blue logo on the bride's wedding dress.

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Consecration of the 9th bishop of Wyoming

The ordination of John Smylie as the next bishop of Wyoming is going to be streamed online beginning at 1 PM MDT today.

This announcement was sent out to the people of the diocese very early this morning by email:

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Saturday Collection 7/31/2010

This week's Saturday collection is focused on kids and ministry to children both in the United States and internationally. We're in the middle of summer and that means most diocesan and parish summer camps are in full swing. Two of the diocesan camps have gotten special attention from the media this week.

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Messy God, messy science

Mark Vernon, a former Anglican priest and now popular author and scholar of philosophy in Britain reports on a recent conference held at the Physics Department Oxford hard by the storied halls of Keble College. (Keble is still one of main centers of Anglo-catholic learning in the Church of England.) The conference "celebrated and focused" on the work of John Polkinghorne, former Cambridge professor of Physics and now Anglican priest, and his work connecting the thinking of science and the thinking of theology.

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