Pray for Egypt

ENS reports on Egypt from mission partner, and author of Pilgrims of Christ on the Muslim Road and Songs in Waiting: celebration of middle eastern canticles the Rev. Paul-Gordon Chandler:

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Weavers of community needed for our times

Today is the feast of St. Brigit celebrated for her wisdom and peacemaking. Mary Condren, writing in The Irish Times proposes that she is a saint needed in our time to inspire community activism and the re-weaving of communities:

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Proposed Anglican Covenant: ill-defined, vague and unfair

The Rev. Canon Alan T. Perry, Priest in the Anglican Church of Canada, Canon of Christ Church Cathedral, Montreal, and recognized expert in canon law critiques Section 1.2 of the proposed Anglican Covenant and concludes that it is ill defined and worse than making the Anglican Communion subscribe to a Confession ala the Westminster or Augsburg Confessions:

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Meanwhile in Tunisia...

While attention is on Egypt, another country is also facing monumental change in government. Tunisia's revolution was in the news but has been eclipsed by the Egyptian protests. Some of the interesting differences between the 2 revolutions are pointed out by Ekklesia and NPR. Ekklesia discusses the role of non-violence and NPR, the role of women:

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Homicide victims and unclaimed dead honored by Episcopal churches

Episcopal churches in Louisville and Detroit step in to meet needs for liturgies of mourning and remembrance.

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Happy Groundhog Day & Candlemas

Did you know the Christian roots of Groundhog Day and its connection to Candlemas?

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Barbara Bush is for Marriage Equality

Barbara Bush, daughter of President George W. Bush, is in favor of marriage equality.

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Anis writes from Egypt

Updated. The Most Rev. Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis, Bishop of the Episcopal / Anglican Diocese of Egypt on the current situation in Egypt.

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A prayer breakfast for David Kato

Bishop Gene Robinson joins Auburn Theological Seminary in calling for ‘A Prayer for David Kato' on February 3rd, the first day of the National Prayer Breakfast, to honor the Ugandan gay rights activist who was killed last week:

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Democracy and a role for religion in Egypt?

Writing in The Washington Post's "OnFaith" blog, Dr. Reza Aslan reflects on democracy and religion in Egypt:

Do Egyptians want both democracy and a role for religion in their government?

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Bishops write pastoral letters after murder of David Kato

The Bishops of the Dioceses of Rio Grande, Vermont, and New York wrote pastoral letters after the murder of David Kato:

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Thank God for the new atheism

THANK GOD FOR THE NEW ATHEISM
By Alister McGrath in ABC Religion and Ethics website

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Another police explanation for Kato murder

Police in Uganda have a new explanation for David Kato's murder; previously they had assured us the motive was robbery gone wrong.

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ACNA loses appeal

Pittsburgh Post Gazette:

The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court has upheld an Allegheny Common Pleas decision awarding centrally held property of the Episcopal diocese that split in 2008 to the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh rather than to the rival Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh.

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Anis on yesterday's clashes in Egypt

Thanks to USPG for the following (link). Can you see a glimmer of a suggestion that the bishop places the blame for violence at the foot of Mubarak and his supporters?

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Assorted links

1. WaPo's On Faith blog has a new daily anchor. It's Julia Duin, formerly of religion writer for the Washington Times.

2. A Casper, Wyoming church serves as an emergency shelter (ENS also). Thank you to churches across the country who are doing the same.

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Obama tells faith journey at breakfast

My Christian faith then has been a sustaining force for me over these last few years. All the more so, when Michelle and I hear our faith questioned from time to time, we are reminded that ultimately what matters is not what other people say about us but whether we're being true to our conscience and true to our God. “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.” - President Obama

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Vatican to host AIDS prevention, care conference

AP:

Pope Benedict XVI made headlines late last year when he said in a book interview that someone, such as a male prostitute, who uses a condom to prevent HIV transmission might be showing a first sign of a more moral sexuality because he is looking out for the welfare of another person.

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ARCIC III members named

Members of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission will hold the first meeting of the third round of dialogue in May.

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More news from Egypt

The Church Times reports on the situation in Egypt, saying that Muslim youths have been guarding Anglican property and the Principal of the Alexandria School of Theology writes about his experience during the unrest.

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Spiking their own guns

Updated. This week's leader at The Church Times said that by not showing up, the conservative primates assured that the Primates Meeting will never become the kind of definitive, authoritative council that they dream of.

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Two thumbs down for new Roman missal

America Magazine reports that attendees at conferences of the North American Academy of Liturgy and the Catholic Academy of Liturgy in San Francisco were frustrated with the way the new missal is being introduced and are displeased with the quality of the translation. In Ireland, the Association of Catholic Priests calls the missal coming online next November is sexist, archaic, elitist and obscure, and want their Bishops to send it back to Rome.

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Breaking: White House appoints Jefferts Schori to Faith Council

Revised CNN says the White House announced the appointments to its faith advisory council today. The group includes a dozen religious leaders representing a wide variety of religious traditions. The panel includes The Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church.

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Songs of the spirit

The Washington Post tells the story of a group of young people from the Bokamoso Youth Centre, Winterveldt, South Africa, who are in the Washington, DC area on a cultural exchange.

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Super Bowl weekend bishop bets

America's great liturgical gridiron weekend is upon us, and as is customary, community leaders from Wisconsin and Western Pennsylvania are placing friendly wagers on this year's game. Bishop Jacobus of Fond du Lac and Bishop Price of Pittsburgh have stepped up this year on behalf of the Episcopal Church:

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A priest rediscovers faith

There's a moving story of an Episcopal priest's crisis of faith that started when a medical crisis nearly destroyed his family. The Orange County Register tells the story of The Rev. Brad Karelius, rector of Church of the Messiah, Santa Ana California and how he was able to reconnect with God during a visit to one of the most empty and barren places in United States.

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Saturday Collection 2/5/2011

Alternative liturgies are featured in this week's Saturday Collection, with one congregation doing a modern adaption of Evensong for Superbowl weekend, a PA parish doing a U2'charist to raise funds for the Sudan, and an Interfaith worship service in Rochester NY. There's an account of a particularly industrious way to raise money for a parish Food Bank and of a different twist to Youth ministry.

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Brewing up church community

Back in the day Episcopal Church congregations used to organize themselves into Foyers groups (small dinner groups) to find ways to get to know each other, and maybe to invite someone new into the congregation. These days congregations are looking for new ways to connect. In Hamilton-Wenham Mass. two priests are leveraging their interest in home brewing into a way to build community:

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Young Jesuit leaders point to emerging principles

In America Magazine, Paul G. Crowley notes some of the characteristics of students of theology in Catholic settings:

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Pride (the good kind)

If you haven't yet heard of Zach Wahls, let me tell you about him.

In 2009, Iowa's Supreme Court recognized that preventing access to marriage for all persons was a fundamental denial of an inherent right. The Court effectively acknowledged that Iowans such as the two long-partnered women who had raised Zach Wahls and his biological sister had a valid partnership. The Court opened up the possibility of equal marriage by recognizing that at stake was a question not of political expediency, but in fact of civil rights.

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A tearful, if temporary, goodbye to Cairo

The Rev. Canon Paul-Gordon Chandler, rector of St. John's Church-Maadi in Cairo, Egypt, writes that his family has had to evacuate for the time-being lest the danger grow too close.

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Uganda's highest-ranking police officer advocates for cooler heads

A statement by a Ugandan official relating to the murder of gay activist David Kato cautions against anti-gay violence, including sentiments whipped up by clergy.

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East Carolina asks Executive Council to say no to the Covenant

The Diocese of East Carolina has spoken its mind about the proposed Anglican Covenant. Here is some of what it had to say:

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The Primates rediscover the purpose of The Primates Meeting

The Primate of Scotland, the Most Rev. David Chillingworth, has written a very sensible reflection on what took place at the Primates Meeting last week, that concludes as follows:

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Anglican Communion: The shape of things to come

Paul Bagshaw has written an essay on the state of the Anglican Communion after the most recent Primates Meeting, and his thoughts are similar to mine. The threat of the primates dictating terms beyond the borders of their own provinces ebbs as the threat of a Communion run by the Archbishop of Canterbury and a London-based bureaucracy flows.

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Catholic theologians advocate major changes

The Catholic Herald in the UK reports:

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The Belief Instinct

Slate offers an excerpt from The Belief Instinctby Jesse Bering. If I am following him, he argues that intuiting what is on the minds of others is beneficial in an evolutionary sense, and that in our efforts to make sense of our lives, and our surroundings, we attempt to intuit the mind of the entity that created them.

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Nigerian writers and academics against homophobia

A press release by Writers and Academics Against Homophobia has been posted on Nigerians Talk.

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September 11, Islam and your congregation

Alban Institute explores questions of a post 9/11 Christian faith and how congregations interact or not with their Muslim neighbors:

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Be careful what you wish for

The Salt Lake Tribune reports on Utah's HB109, "Religious Liberty Recognition and Protection Act" and how it may have unintended consequences:

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Ripe for change?

What are the factors that make a country ripe for the sort of change we see in Egypt and Tunisia? Charles Blow in the New York Times looks at some data. He writes:

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80 years old and still fighting

Newsweek's Christopher Dickey chats with the octogenarian author and activist, Nawal El-Saadawi, Egyptian novelist, essayist and physician, whose feminist works have widened the boundaries of the Arab novel. Nawal El Saadawi's central theme is the oppression of women and womens' desire for self-expression.

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Atlanta Bishop Neil Alexander to step aside in 2012

Bishop Neil Alexander of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta announces that he will step aside in 2012 after 11 years as diocesan bishop:

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Leveraging Facebook for Churches

From "Church Marketing Sucks," how Churches might leverage Facebook for greater effect:

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Southern Sudan celebrates vote for independence

Southern Sudan celebrates its vote for independence and looks forward to the birth of a new nation:

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General Seminary to sell property to raise funds

The Wall Street Journal reports on the sale of property by The General Theological Seminary:

Seminary Sees Virtue in Land Sale
In the Wall Street Journal

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Students act creatively for the MDGs

Two college juniors are taking action for the Millennium Development Goals:

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Romania cracks down on witches

The Washington Post reports that Romanian officials are targeting witches:

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Larry Summers defends childhood

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, they brought out the heavy artillery to take on Amy Chua, the self-described “tiger mother” -- Larry Summers, self-described "hard ass." (No pun intended.)

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Why believe Scientology?

In the current edition of The New Yorker Lawrence Wright reports on the Church of Scientology. Tuesday, Terry Gross interviewed Wright on Fresh Air. Wright described the thorough fact checking the magazine did which leaves little doubt that Dianetics is based on a lie.

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Bible talks about sex, a lot

Jennifer Wright Knust is an Assistant Professor of Religion at Boston University and an ordained American Baptist pastor. Her new book, Unprotected Texts: The Bible's Surprising Contradictions About Sex and Desire, has received play this week in the Washington Post, Newsweek, and CNN.

The links:

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Grave expressions in Britain

We in the US have become accustomed to the roadside displays maintained by family and friends of highway accidents. And we're are that in our cemeteries not everyone agrees on what is a tasteful grave.

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Assorted links, Episcopal edition

The links today relate to The Episcopal Church or the Anglican Communion.

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Human Rights Watch documents Jos violence

Human Rights Watch issued a statement on January 27th, documenting on-going violence in Jos, Nigeria. It contains details of back and forth reprisals since the widely-reported Christmas Eve attacks targeting Christians.

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You can be American and serve on ARCIC says ACO

Like us, The Church of England News wondered about the recent appointment of an American to ARCIC, Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission. In the summer of 2010, several Americans had been "asked" to drop out of Anglican ecumenical committees following the ABC's Pentecost letter.

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Moravians and Episcopalians celebrate full communion

Last night the inaugural service celebrating full communion between the Episcopal Church and the Northern and Southern Provinces of the Moravian Church in North America was held at at Central Moravian Church in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori joined the Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Miller and the Rev. David Guthrie, the presidents of the two Moravian Provincial Elders' Conferences celebrated.

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"God created you."

Religion Dispatches profiles Bishop Christopher Senyonjo.

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Prayers for the Egyptian people

News comes to us that Hosni Mubarak has resigned as President of Egypt. We lift prayers of thanks to God for all the brave and persistent Egyptians who made this moment possible. We pray that the transition will be peaceful and that their aspirations for a truly representative and dynamic democracy will be fulfilled.

"Go for it."

On February 11, 1989, the Rt. Rev. Barbara Clementine Harris was the first woman to be ordained bishop in the Anglican Communion in Boston, Massachusetts.

Our own Ann Fontaine remembers:

It was an amazing time. Sitting in the balcony looking directly down on the scene - she took her mitre, looked at if for a moment and the PBs open mike let us hear "Go for it" -- she put it on and the place went nuts.

BBC Radio host threatened with arrest in Uganda

BBC Radio host Scott Mills was threatened with arrest while interviewing Ugandan MP David Bahati because Mills confessed that he is gay.

Box Turtle Bulletin has the story:

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Derek Rawcliffe, openly gay CofE bishop, dies at 89

The Washington Post reports that Derek Rawcliffe, the first Church of England bishop to be open about his homosexuality, died on February 1 at 89.

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Fr. Gracely dies at 101

Fr. Carl Gracely, the oldest active priest in the Episcopal Church, died in his sleep last Tuesday.

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Bexley Hall and Seabury enter into partnership

Trustees of Bexley Hall in Columbus, OH and Seabury Western Theological Seminary in Evanston, IL, ratified a joint operating agreement to begin immediately and extend through June 30, 2012. During that time, a joint trustee committee will draft proposals for a permanent partnership between the two Episcopal seminaries.

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Bishop consents and another election today

Late this week the Presiding Bishop's office announce that two recent elections to the episcopate had received the necessary consents from the Standing Committees of dioceses and other bishops. Martin Scott Field was elected in West Missouri and William Franklin in Western New York.

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Bishop Walker school robbed in D.C.

Bishop John T. Walker School was founded in 2005 to honor the life and ministry of Bishop Walker, a former bishop of the Diocese of Washington, a champion for justice and one of the first African-American diocesans. The school was created to serve the needs of boys in the most underserved parts of the city. It is supported by people across the region and by the parishes of the diocese.

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George Young III elected in East Tennessee

The Rev. George Young III has been elected on the 8th ballot as the next bishop of the Diocese of East Tennessee pending consents from the bishops and Standing Committees of the Dioceses of The Episcopal Church.

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The angels do sing in the darkness

Is it possible to feel God's presence in the midst of horror and torture? There are numerous histories of the martyrs that claim so. There are more modern reports that make the same claim. Shoshana Garfield, who has spent 20 years of clinical work helping people recover from experiences of torture and abuse writes in the Guardian about what she has learned from her clients.

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'The sun will come out tomorrow'

February 14th is not only Valentine's Day in celebration of romantic love: it's also National Standing on the Side of Love Day, when the radical notion of accepting people for who they are gets the play it deserves.

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Confession-guidance app flap ignores social nature of new media

By now, the phrase "There's an app for that" likely just makes your head hurt, but that doesn't make it any less true.

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English gay couples could have ceremonies in churches; Sentamu signals 'guarded welcome'

Coming from a number of venues now, we're seeing stories like this one from The Telegraph's political editor, Patrick Hennessy, reporting that civil partnerships could be recognized in English churches:

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Sunday Social Hour

This week on Social Hour, we thought we'd explore a little on Facebook and share a page we stumbled upon rather by accident, shared on our wall, and watched it grow by exponents over the next few days--when we posted it, I had just signed up as its 33rd fan. The Episcopal Foodie Network now has 621 fans and links to discussions about things like King's Cake, Valentine's Day treats, and favorite recipes. Specifically relevant to social hour, we have this question:

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Economist on Kato's humanity

The Economist's obituary of Sexual Minorities Uganda activist David Kato makes the hard point that although Kato used the self-applied label "same" to describe himself as gay, it was sadly that part of his humanity - that he was made of the same stuff that we're all made of - that was easy to overlook until it was too late.

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Better never than late

The Anglican Communion Office has at last responded to a letter that the Rev. Lesley Fellows of the No Anglican Covenant Coalition sent to the Archbishop of Canterbury more than two months ago--if you can call a perfunctory reiteration of evasive boilerplate a response.

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The Anglican Covenant is not as dead as it looks

I am wondering if the proposed Anglican Covenant is as dead as many Episcopalians think it is. It seems to me that Rowan Williams is making slow but significant progress toward assembling a notional center that he can then play off against the left (constituted by us, the Brazilians, the Scots and maybe the Welsh) and the right (constituted by Nigeria, Uganda and the Southern Cone.)

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Competitive theism

Drawing on interviews with Lady Gaga, Snoop Dog, Christina Aguilera and others, Neil Strauss of the Wall Street Journal reaches at tantalizing conclusion:

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A new chapter in the Catholic child-rape scandal

America, the Jesuit weekly, carried this report on its blog In All Things last week:

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Stained glass ceiling still in place for women

The Committee on the Status of Women has issued a news release noting their concerns about the Called to Serve Survey Report and plan to develop a "Search Toolkit" for women clergy and search committees:

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Nigerian primate and ABC to meet

A brief notice from Nigeria's Vanguard:

The Primate of the Anglican Church of Nigeria, The Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, will on Wednesday, begin a three-day pastoral visit to the United Kingdom. Rev. Canon Ben Enwuchola, Chaplain in charge of the Nigerian Chaplaincy in London disclosed in an interview with the Europe correspondents.

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Pittsburgh resolves property issues

The Diocese of Pittsburgh announces settlements between the Diocese and congregations who have separated from the Episcopal Church. A variety of agreements have been used to settle issues about property.

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Christian leaders in Egypt played it safe say priests

The UK Catholic Herald had story Monday under the headline, Coptic priests fear Egyptian youth will turn away from Church:

Maryknoll Fr Douglas May, who worked in Egypt for 18 years of Mubarak’s nearly 30-year rule, said he thought “the Christian leaders in Egypt played it safe”.

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The primates meeting is an instrument of what?

The Archbishop of Canterbury calls primates meetings, and at the most recent several primates stayed away because they've not been able to use past meetings to make their will stick. What is the purpose of the primates meeting anyway?, asks the Guardian's Savitri Hensman:

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Episcopal Church Center eNews reports "symbiosis"

The third issue of the Episcopal Church Center News has been sent to subscribers and is available online. Editor Sarah Johnson summarizes the work of the ECC as "symbiosis"

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Christian Educators: equipping the saints for mission

The National Association for Episcopal Christian Education Directors reports on the recent gathering in Charlotte NC. Sunday school teachers, Christian education directors and specialists, seminary professors, publishers, Episcopal Church Center leadership, publishers and bishops came to the 14th annual "Tapestry" conference this year.

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Episcopal Church of Sudan to remain one

Sudanese bishops say that the Episcopal Church of Sudan will remain one united church regardless of political boundaries:

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CA Supreme court on same-sex marriage

Key issue in battle over same-sex marriage to be considered today by California Supreme Court

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Boomers go to seminary

Boomers take one last shot at lifelong dream according to CNN Belief Blog titled: Holy Enrollers: Why Boomers Are Going to Divinity School

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Primates' Standing Committee members elected

The Anglican Communion Office (ACO) announced the Primates who were elected as members of the Primates' Standing Committee:

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Sewanee reduces tuition by 10%

The University of the South - Sewanee has announced that they will reduce their tuition by 10%. View the two videos below to hear more about their rationale and decision:

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Developing seminary education in China

A leader of the post-denominational Protestant churches in China met with Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and other Episcopal Church leaders to explore the possibility of future seminary education partnerships:

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Episcopal Church's Executive Council considers how the church must change

Executive Council members consider how church (and the governance of the Episcopal Church specifically) must change:

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Statements by Bishop Anis and Pope Shenouda

16 February 2011

Statement from the Episcopal/Anglican Diocese of Egypt
with North Africa and the Horn of Africa

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Messages prone to misreading

Late last week, a new iPhone app designed to help Catholics prepare for the confessional made its debut. The app tailors its questions to a person’s gender and vocation. So if you punch in both “female” and “priest,” you immediately receive the message “sex and vocation are incompatible.”

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Asylum seekers' hope rests in David Kato, in death as in life

From The Guardian:

A lot happened to me in Uganda before I came to seek refuge here. I was imprisoned for being gay. I was also gang-raped, badly burned and beaten in a police station.

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Cables reveal officials met with Bahati at Church of Uganda HQ

Jump straight to Box Turtle Bulletin for coverage that cannot be improved -- including links to The Guardian's today.

But here are some stomach turning excerpts from the cables via Wiki-Leaks:

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Duncan issues "godly directive" to his diocese

Bob Duncan, The Archbishop of the one province ACNA, bishop of the ACNA Diocese of Pittsburgh has issued a statement to his diocese concerning the settlement that the Somerset Anglican Fellowship negotiated with the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh without the input, fore-knowledge or approval of the Diocese.

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ACO issues Defense of Study Guide for Covenant

You too can own The Anglican Communion Covenant Study Guide and ancillaries.


Who needs our analysis when we have the Pluralist's fisking (more here)?

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Coptic youth leader sees bright future

As the country emerges from Hosni Mubarak's rule, civil society is being opened to change. Al Jazeera's Jamal Elshayyal reports from Alexandria on the historic union between Coptic Christians and Muslims in Egypt - and their aspirations for the years ahead.

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Assorted links on religion - behavioral edition

1. While fervent believers benefit from their involvement, those with weaker beliefs are actually less happy than those who do not ascribe to any religion. These results may help explain why an increasing number of people are abandoning their faith.

see more below:

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Japan and the Covenant

Does the Nippon Sei Ko Kai support the Anglican Covenant or not? The answer may be in the eye of the beholder.

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A story of healing and hope in Fort Worth

Members of the Diocese of Fort Worth told Executive Council about their mission, ministry, and shared stories of hope, healing, and reconciliation. They described the long journey ahead to rebuild their diocese.

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Pastoral direction in Pittsburgh

Bishop Kenneth L. Price, Jr. of the Diocese of Pittsburgh has issued a pastoral direction guiding discussions between parishes that wish to leave the Episcopal Church and the diocese. A letter was mailed to the rector, wardens, and vestry of each congregation on February 17th offering a way forward for resolving property issues, including an 8-point overview of what would be involved in those conversations.

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WCC to scrap "Central Committee"

The World Council of Churches has decided to scrap the title of their main legislative body. They have come to the conclusion that "The Central Committee" sounded too Soviet especially to churches that have survived persecution in former Communist countries, and is a title used in hard-left, anti-religious political parties around the world.

Reuters reports:

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More fun with numbers

A former Episcopalian tells fellow conservative Roman Catholics that they should take the Ordinariate seriously in North America. To prove his point, he plays with numbers and even made a Google map.

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Executive Council considers restructuring

The Executive Council of the Episcopal Church (the interim governing body between General Conventions) concluded its meeting in Fort Worth yesterday and reported that a key portion of their conversation focused on responding to calls to reconsider the structure and governance of the Episcopal Church.

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The evolution of religion

Faiths change over time. They bring different parts of their experience of God into sharper focus and allow previous certainties to fade. Whether you call that new truth, or rediscovered truth, either way it can argued that it's a form of evolutionary behavior.

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New Arizona Immigration enforcement puts health of community at risk

The new enforcement of laws in Arizona is having a number of unexpected consequences for the poor. It's become a critical issue for the indigents seeking medical care. Because a new bill before the Arizona legislature would require medical officials to report anyone they suspect of being here without documentation to State authorities, many people who need medical care are avoiding getting it.

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Anonymous targets Westboro Baptist

The loosely affiliated group known as "Anonymous", a group of Internet users that have been described as vigilantes, have announced their intention to target the Westboro Baptist Church websites and congregation members. Westboro is notorious online for their website "GodHatesFags.com", their actions picketing churches that support GLBT rights and, of late, funerals of American war dead.

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Zimbabwean priest's life latest toll in Harare strife

Zimbabwean Anglicans in Harare (Church of the Province of Central Africa) could find themselves in a place of fear and intimidation depending on which side of a church-politics war they happen to be standing.

Rev. Jesca Mandeya, an 89-year-old priest, was recently murdered.

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Theologically all gaga over 'Born This Way'

There've been plenty of anthems celebrating the self. Lady Gaga is only the latest in a string of persons and personas to propound the doctrine of the self: that self-expression, self-worth, and the love of oneself is the highest possible good. Gaga is clearly, indistinguishably, both person and persona, and her own brand, as well as the high chief of her own school of acolytes. In other words, she's free to propound whatever doctrine she likes. She's a small-scale Oprah with less restraint whose contributions to pop culture are far from final.

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Diocese of Virginia settles with Oatlands church

The Church of Our Savior, Oatlands, Virginia, has settled with the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia in its property dispute, a diocesan statement reports.

The diocese's statement follows, with our emphases in boldface.

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Sunday Social Hour

This week for Social Hour, a question based on Facebook's new relationship options--and a question that didn't occur to me to ask until this morning, so we don't have any responses to share.

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Hey, Fort Worth! We love ya!

Thanks be to God for the Diocese of Fort Worth. Here's to saddling your own horse!

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Of dubious appointments

Thanks to some good work by Mark Harris and his correspondents, it became clear over the weekend that the Rev. Julian Linnell, a member of the Evangelism and Church Growth Initiative (ECGI), is a priest in Bob Duncan's schismatic Anglican Church in North America.

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In break with tradition, Anglicans Online opposes Covenant

Anglicans Online made a little news in its weekly column today. To start at the end:

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A sermon from Capitol Square in Madison, Wisconsin

The Rev. Jonathan Grieser, who comments from time to time on the Cafe, finds himself in the middle of the pro-labor demonstrations occurring in Madison, Wisconsin. Here, from his blog, is the sermon he preached yesterday. It begins, as follows, but you should read it all.

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Saying prayers for civil unions

The Rev Canon Giles Fraser of St. Paul's Cathedral in London and Ruth Gledhill of The Times discuss impending legislation that would allow gays and lesbians to celebrate their civil partnerships with religious ceremonies in the United Kingdom.

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Strong quake hits Christchurch NZ

According to many reports tonight, an earthquake measuring 6.3 has struck near Christchurch New Zealand. There have been numerous aftershocks, some over magnitude 5. Some fatalities are reported and hospitals are being evacuated to prepare sufficient beds for the critically injured. There has been massive property damage, including significant damage to the Anglican Cathedral.

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Transforming views of gender change

The Star (UK) tells the story of the Church of England's first transgender priest:

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UPDATE: New Zealand

Updated: Bishop of Christchurch, the Rt Revd Victoria Matthews speaks to Radio New Zealand about the quake here.

The BBC carried an interview with the Very Rev. Peter Beck. From the Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS):

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New Archbishop for Central Africa

Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) reports:

A statement from Bishop William Mchombo, Acting Provincial Secretary of the Church of the Province of Central Africa.

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South Carolina: vetoes TEC "accession clause"

The Diocese of South Carolina completed its 220th Convention and reports:

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Blue peace sought in Middle East

While many countries in North African and the Middle East are facing political uprisings, hopefully the looming water crisis will bring countries together to solve the problems related to water shortages. Ekklesia reports on the need for a "blue peace" to solve Middle East water crisis:

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Title IV explained

Chancellors Duncan Bayne of Olympia, Joe Delafield of Maine, and Stephen Hutchinson of Utah have issued a statement on the Disciplinary canons revised in 2009 and that go into effect July 2011. According to Episcopal News Service:

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More on the Christchurch earthquake

We continue to pray for those affected by the massive earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand.

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Abp Okoh says CANA belongs to ACNA, not CoN

During his visit to London last week the Archbishop of the Church of Nigeria, Nicholas Okoh, met with the Archbishop of Canterbury. He also made a statement saying that CANA, the Convocation of Anglicans in North America is no longer under the jurisdiction of the Church of Nigeria. If true the Church of Nigeria would no longer be under the threat of sanctions defined by the ABC for boundary crossing into another province of the communion.

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Obama orders end to defense of Defense of Marriage Act

Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, says Obama to the Department of Justice


Obama declares Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional
The president orders the Department of Justice to stop defending Defense of Marriage Act in court

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Victims of the budget battles

Tom Ehrich reflects on the ways that our battles over the budget leave out the needs of the vulnerable.

Budget battles disregard the vulnerable
By TOM EHRICH in Religion News Service

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Analysis of Obama's DOMA decision

How should we understand Obama's decision on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)?


The Meaning of Obama’s DOMA Decision
Jim Burroway in BoxTurtleBulletin

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A church's essence?

What is the essence of your church? Is this how you are known in your community? Are you proclaiming the Gospel in word and deed and in your external branding?

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New Zealand earthquake: a round up

The Archbishop of Canterbury has written the Bishop of Christchurch:

Archbishop's prayers in aftermath of New Zealand earthquake
Wednesday 23 February 2011

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has written to the Bishop of Christchurch, the Rt Revd Victoria Matthews, offering his prayers in the aftermath of the earthquake in New Zealand.

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Bending towards justice

There were several advances yesterday on the same sex marriage front. Most reported of course was the change in the Obama administration's posture towards the Defense of Marriage Act. See Andrew Sullivan's analysis.

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Armstrong case isn't over

A former honcho of the Anglican Communion Institute is back in court in Colorado Springs today and tomorrow for sentencing. That's not all that confronts The Rev. Donald Armstrong (CANA):

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The case against the Covenant

The Modern Church has issued The Case Against the Covenant by Jonathan Clatworthy and other related resources. Although written with the Church of England debate process in mind, these resources are appropriate in any context as study guide of the Covenant.

Abp Makgoba calls for a stronger response on Libya by South Africa

Call for a Stronger Response on Libya by South African Government

This statement was issued on 24 February 2011

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Younger patients would get the best under kidney donation proposal

Under the present rationing system, kidneys go to those patients who have been in line longest. To get more years lived per transplant, kidneys would go to the youngest patients under the proposed rationing scheme.

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Update from New Zealand

There's more news of the recovery efforts in New Zealand following the series of earthquakes in Christchurch. Early reports that there may have been as many as 22 people killed in the collapse of the city's Anglican cathedral have sadly been confirmed.

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Minns gets reassurance from Okoh

A news report that Archbishop of Nigeria said CANA was no longer a missionary diocese of his province caused an exchange emails/phone calls between CANA and the Church of Nigeria.

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Religious and political leaders reflect on shifts in marriage law this week

Yesterday the Maryland Senate voted to allow same-sex marriages. The Governor of Hawaii signed legislation making it legal in Hawaii. And this week the Obama administration announced that it would change course and no longer defend the Defense of Marriage act passed under previous administrations.

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Religious leaders voice support for Wisconsin unions

Late last night the Wisconsin State Assembly voted to strip most state employed union members of their collective bargaining ability. The measure now moves to the Senate and if a quorum can be found to pass it, it is expected to be signed by the governor.

Yesterday religious leaders from across the state and around the country came out in support of the Union members and in opposition to the legislatures' actions; Rabbi's and Catholic bishops in that state in particular.

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Digital Sabbath

It's late Friday afternoon. Lent is a bit more than a week away. It's an excellent time to start thinking about Sabbath; what we might give up and how we might slow down. There's a call for "digital natives" (generally people who grew up with the computers and the Internet) to take a day off next Friday.

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Vatican moves towards rapprochement with Science?

There was news this week that the Vatican is planning a collaboration with the Italian Space Agency to do a web-based study to examine the origins of the Universe "through science, theology, philosophy and art".

This is happening at a time when Vatican observers are detecting an intentional movement toward a renewed conversation between faith and science.

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Bishop of Jerusalem loses permit to live in Israel

Arieh Cohen writing at Asianews.it reports:

Israel’s Interior Ministry has revoked the permit for the Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem, The Rt Revd Suheil Dawani, to live in Jerusalem, and has refused requests to reinstate it, in spite of protests by Anglican authorities in the West specifically the United States.

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Armstrong sentenced

ACNA priest Donald Armstrong was sentenced yesterday.

The Gazette in Colorado Springs reports:

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Religion news up 1% in 2010

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life counted up news stories in the US again in 2010 and found that that there were slightly more stories concerned religion in the secular media than in 2009. Religion stories were much fewer than politics, foreign affairs and the economy, but slightly more frequent than science and technology.

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The importance of conversation

Steve Farley, a member of the state legislature in Arizona and an Episcopalian, talks about the importance of conversation especially in a political environment where religion is used to divide people and stir up anger.

He writes:

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Recovery continues in New Zealand

David Crampton writes for the Religion News Service that work has moved from rescue to recovery in Christchurch, New Zealand and the surrounding communities after a 6.3-magnitude earthquake hit the region on February 22nd.

He writes:

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St. Joe and the latte liturgy

Never mind that coffee is a religion, or that it fuels most everything on a daily basis, or that maybe we should add St. Arbucks to Holy Women, Holy Men.

What if coffee was marketed like postmodern Protestantism markets itself? How uncomfortable would that be? Moreover, what would you have to do just to get a cup of the stuff (God, transcendence ... )? And, why would it be so expensive?

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Rowan Williams takes a stand on church's role in same-gender weddings

The Archbishop of Canterbury has responded to recent advances by the British government to incorporate church buildings and liturgies into the weddings of same-gender couples. The move throws into sharp relief a number of restless questions.

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Retiring but not shy: long goodbye begins for Colorado's Cooley

The Rev. Andrew Cooley, rector of St. Mark's, Durango, CO, recently announced an impending retirement date of May 1. In response, The Durango Herald offered something you don't see much of anymore - a comprehensive and humanely written retirement announcement.

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Sunday Social Hour

Facebook pages are newly aggravating, because they have applied their so-called relevance engine (the same thing that generates their "top news" feed on your personal FB page) to pages, so you can no longer visit our page for a chronological view of all blog posts, and what sits at the top of our page is largely determined by how many of you like and comment on a given post. So if you are a page admin for your parish or diocese and haven't "upgraded" yet, be prepared for that maddening change when it rolls out.

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Unease with the postmodern condition: Oscars edition

What do this year's Best Picture nominees have to say about homo sapiens? S. Brent Plate says (a) plenty and (b) it ain't simple.

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MA priest defrocked after sexual-abuse charges revealed

From boston.com:

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Why are church officials afraid of honest debate?

The No Anglican Covenant Coalition (NACC) has issued a challenge to church officials who support the proposed Anglican Covenant, especially leaders in the Church of England, accusing them of a pattern of bias and manipulation.

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A first: More Americans support same-sex marriage than oppose it

A sociologist at Southern Illinois University has examined data from the General Social Survey data and found that in 2010, for the first time, more Americans support same-sex marriage than oppose it.

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What exactly is Rowan Williams saying about the new civil partnership bill?

We are still trying to unravel the Sunday Telegraph article about Rowan Williams' seeming opposition to a proposed British law that would lift the ban on blessing same-sex civil partnerships in religious ceremonies.

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Rob Bell: Will billions and billions of people burn forever in hell?

I read Rob Bell's Wikipedia entry this morning, and therein lies a bit of a tale.

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Light meets bushel in the Diocese of Albany

The Rt. Rev. William Love of the Diocese of Albany is in a quandary. The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, who is extremely popular with the faithful, but not with Bishop Love and the leaders of his diocese, is coming to town. He can't tell her to stay home--the visit is canonically mandated--but he doesn't want her appearance to energize the moderate and progressive Episcopalians who constitute a far larger portion of his diocese than he would like to admit. What to do?

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In post-quake Christchurch, Sunday services in the open air

From Anglican Taonga:

Thousands gathered in Christchurch yesterday to worship and pay their respects to those killed in last Tuesday's earthquake.

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Rest in peace Peter Gomes

UPDATED: more stories below

Peter-Gomes-202x300.jpgPrayers ascending for Peter Gomes who died Monday night.

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