John Paul II beatified in Rome

Pope John Paul II has been brought a step closer to sainthood, Guardian reports.

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San Joaquin grants blessing of same-gender unions

Bishop Chester Talton of the Diocese of San Joaquin wrote Friday in his weekly reflection that the time had come "to extend to [same-gender] couples the 'generous pastoral response' necessary to meet their needs as members of this Church."

Despite ban in EU, Mugabe in Vatican for beatification

He's cracked down on aid organizations and has had human rights violations, torture, and killing all pegged to him. The primates of the Anglican Communion singled out his "total disregard for life" and asked him to observe 2008 election results in his own country by stepping down from office.

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Moving on, but still on mission

The Society of St. Margaret, an Episcopal religious women's order with a longstanding presence in the Boston area, is involved in a fascinating process of relocation.

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Osama Bin Laden is dead. How should Christians receive this news?

Numerous news outlets are reporting that President Barack Obama will soon announce that Osama Bin Laden has been killed. How should Christians receive this news? It seems wrong to find pleasure, or even relief in the death of any human being. Yet ...

Let's think this through together. What are your thoughts?

In the aftermath of Bin Laden's death, reflections, judgments and prayers

The killing of Osama Bin Laden by U. S. forces has sparked an outpouring of reaction, and reaction to the reaction, which we will try to keep up with for you this morning here on Episcopal Cafe.

From a spokesman at the Vatican:

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On rejoicing, or not, when an enemy falls

Continuing our coverage of the religious world's reaction to the killing of Osama Bin Laden...

Sarah Posner of Religion Dispatches reports:

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The one and only Diocese of Quincy says no to the covenant

The Episcopal Diocese of Quincy
Anglican Covenant Responses

We, the deputies of the Episcopal Diocese of Quincy, each having read the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant thoroughly and prayerfully and various documents in favor and not in favor of adopting the covenant, report our unanimous response (with one lay deputy absent due to serious illness):

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3 Presbyterian moderators support end to LGBT discrimination

The 173 presbyteries of the Presbyterian Church of the United States are in the midst of voting on Resolution 10-A, passed by the church's 219th General Assembly which met last July.

The resolution replaces this language, currently contained in G-6-0106b of the church's Book of Order:

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A tipping point on marriage equality?

Adam Liptak of The New York Times writes:

It’s not every day that a leading law firm fires a client for holding a position so extreme that it may be said to be unworthy of a defense. And it is rarer yet — unheard of, really — when that client is the House of Representatives and the position in question is a federal law.

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"Tuscaloosa needs all the help it can get."

St. Matthias Episcopal Church is in the thick of relief efforts in tornado-stricken Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (And news of the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama's response is featured prominently on its homepage.)

From the Tuscaloosa News:

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Seminary: waste of time and money?

Is seminary a waste of time and money? Jerry Bowyer, writing in Forbes discusses the economics and reality of seminary and obtaining a position - as he sees it:

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Ninja Nuns?

The Daily Mail follows up on the final question of THE wedding - who were those women with the gray habits and black tennis shoes or as the British call them "trainers":

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Episcopalians blogging: Death of bin Laden

Bishops, clergy and lay leaders reflect on the death of Osama bin Laden:
The Rt. Rev. Stephen Lane, Maine:

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Newspapers suing bloggers

Box Turtle Bulletin notes a new money raising scheme by some newspaper chains - suing bloggers:

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$15 million campaign for bishops' health, wellness, education

The following Press Release was just received from The Office of Public Affairs. Was anyone else under the impression that this is the most pressing need in the church? While Deputies have to seek outside funding to get their work done? Is this the new way we fund programs? What other questions does this raise for you?

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Miroslav Volf reflects on the killing of Osama bin Laden

Miroslav Volf reflects on the fear and relief reactions of the killing of Osama bin Laden:

Fear and relief

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Episcopal Youth Event planned to be transformative

The triennial Episcopal Youth Event planned to be transformative:

Episcopal Youth Event is planned to be transformative experience of worship, community and mission
From Episcopal News Service

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Muslim groups respond to Osama bin Laden's death

Muslim groups respond to Osama bin Laden's death:

No Fireworks, Only Candles: Our Work as Americans and Muslims
From ReligionDispatches

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More responses to killing of Osama bin Laden

More thoughtful responses to the killing of Osama bin Laden:

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Bexley Hall names new dean: The Rev. Dr. Thomas Ferguson

The Rev. Dr. Thomas Ferguson has been selected as Bexley Hall Seminary's new dean:

Ecumenical Leader Chosen as Bexley Hall’s New Dean
The Rev. Dr. Thomas Ferguson will begin work in July
From Bexley Hall Seminary's website

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The case for communion before baptism

The Anglican Journal has a helpful article on "Open Communion," also known as "Communion Before Baptism."

The case for open communion
From The Anglican Journal

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Attendance at cathedrals in Church of England

Cathedral attendance statistics
From ThinkingAnglicans

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In a press conference the Archbishop of Canterbury took questions on Osama bin Laden:

Q: Do you believe that the killing of Osama Bin Laden is justice for the 9/11 attacks and indeed other attacks? And was the US morally justified in shooting him even though he was unarmed as the White House now admits?

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Flying bishops who swam restocked

10 Downing Street and Lambeth Palace have announced the appointment of new "episcopal visitors." The previous bishops of Ebbsfleet and Richborough resigned to join the Catholic Church. The positions created for members of the Church of England who refuse to accept the episcopal leadership of a woman.

Minister moms multitask

This article about about women who have children and have made the ordination vow has popped up in enough places it seems appropriate that our readers should give their take.

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The $15m question

ENS reports today on the capital campaign to raise $15 million to endow the College of Bishops amd the largely negative comments it has drawn since it was reported on Tuesday here at the Cafe, at The Episcopal Cafe Facebook page and elsewhere.

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California Supreme Court remands case, again

It's difficult to imagine it changes anything, given what the state Supreme Court has said in previous rulings on the case in favor of the Diocese of Los Angeles, but that court has remanded the St. James property to a lower court yet again.

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N. T. Wright on OBL

The former bishop of Durham, Tom Wright, has sent Times religious correspondent, Ruth Gledhill a statement on the killing of Osama bin Laden. [Update - Wright's essay has appeared as an op-ed at Church Times. [Update Update - and now the very same essay appears at The Guardian.]] An excerpt:

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Australia controversy over churches and discrimination

Updated. In Australia, a controversy is brewing over the fact churches that receive government funding for specific purposes can discriminate against GLBT folks, not just in ordination and clerical appointments but also in hiring and delivery of services

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Preaching when news & lectionary collide

When the big news story is the death of Osama Bin Laden and the first chance to preach on this is Mother's Day, what's a preacher to do? A rabbi, an imam and a minister talk about how to integrate the news of the day into the propers for the week.

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Climate Change is Moral Imperative for All

The Most Revd Dr Thabo C Makgoba, Archbishop of Cape Town and Primate of South Africa, has written a pastoral letter on climate change saying that it must be regarded as a moral imperative for all and hopes that others at World Economic Forum, now meeting in Africa, will listen.

ACNS reports:

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More on the new flying bishops

Riazat Butt reports in more detail about the ABC's appointment of two new flying bishops to replace the two who fled to Rome.

Groups working towards the ordination of female bishops were disappointed:

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Free riders in the sky

Many businesses and retailers have discovered that discount coupons that may get people into stores does not always translate into repeat business if no discount or freebie is involved. Churches don't offer coupons or giveaways, but have the same problem: people who use their services but do not support their ministries financially.

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Immigration update

Several stories in the news on immigration reform:
The New York Times reports that an immigration Judge in Newark blocked the deportation of the Venezuela husband of an American man following Atty General Eric Holder's intervention in the deportation of an Irish man.

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President at Ground Zero

Trinity Wall Street reflects on the President's visit to the site of the 9/11 tragedy:

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Teens seek meaning of Christianity

The Rev. Christine Whittaker, priest at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, Holliston reflects on teens and faith in the Holliston MA online news:

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Happy 80th Willie Mays

From the Church of Baseball:


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Showing our age

The New York Times reports on the aging trend that is often reflected in Episcopal churches around the US:

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Hope from hurting

Pat Gee, The Star Advertiser, Honolulu, Hawai'i, writes about how Episcopal priest, the Rev. Michael Lapsley journeyed from victim to victor in the years following apartheid:

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Ben the verger would like his life back, please

Although Ben the verger has suffered reprimand by Westminster Abbey for his cartwheeling down the red carpet after he thought the cameras had been switched off, there doesn't appear to be any long-term foul at hand, his relationship with the Abbey is on good footing, and now he just wants the whole thing to be done with.

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A love of detail - vestment edition

It's warming to read of the precision in Sandy Lowery's work. As a memorial to her brother Norm, who died in 2011 of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma after eight years, Lowery decided to create a set of vestments for St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Albany, New York.

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Is Sojourners afraid of the big bad backlash?

Intersections International has expended considerable resources creating Believe Out Loud, a campaign that's

... a collection of clergy and lay leaders, LGBT activists, and concerned individuals, working together to help the Protestant community become more welcoming to gays and lesbians.

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Backing up Archbishop of Canterbury, York vicar invites controversy anew

Father Tim Jones of the parish of St. Lawrence and St. Hilda in York (Church of England) is back in the press - this time for supporting Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams' recent remarks about the killing of Osama bin Laden.

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Mother's Day Magnificat

A performance of the Magnificat (by Bryan Kelly): from Evensong on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2009, at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. Sung by the Men and Boys of the Cathedral Choir, directed by Benjamin Bachmann, Canon Director of Music. Robert Gurney, organ.

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What should progressive Christians do about Jim Wallis?

Updated again: Sarah Posner at Religion Dispatches quotes from this post in her story about Sojourners' rejection of Believe Out Loud's ad.

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Religious denominations face a looming financial crisis

Lovett H. Weems, director of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership sounds the alarm:

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The Church Pension Fund & the College for Bishops: questions that need answers

The news last week that the College for Bishops was launching a $15 million capital campaign to assure its future was greeted by an unusually large number of negative comments here on the Café, as well as on our Facebook page. More of that negativity was directed at the bishops than seemed fair to me. I am returning to the issue not to suggest that the bishops are blameless, but to because I think it provides a useful opportunity to examine how decisions get made, money gets spent, and interests get met in our church.

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Presbyterians on the verge of approving LGBT ordination

Peter Smith of the Louisville Courier-Journal reports:

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The church as "movement" vs. the church as "institution"

Bonnie Anderson, President of the House of Deputies, gave the annual Kellogg Lecture last week at Episcopal Divinity School. The lecture is available in two (1 and 2) parts on her web pages.

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Georgia Surpreme Court hearings begin

Christ Church, Savannah, the "mother church" of Georgia, had a majority of its parishioners vote to leave the Episcopal Church in 2007. The ensuing court case has finally arrived in the state Supreme Court and oral arguments began yesterday. According to reports the courtroom pews were packed with people from both sides.

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Navy to allow same-sex weddings

According to the Navy Times, the new policy of allowing openly gay and lesbian to serve in the military has caused the Navy Chaplain Corp to issue a memo allowing for Naval Chaplains to perform same-sex marriages on navy bases. Naval facilities may be used for the reception.

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New Episcopal Church Advertising and Marketing Sr. Manager

The Episcopal Church has hired The Rev. Deacon Jake Dell as the new Advertising and Marketing Senior Manager.

According to the press release, Dell is "responsible for marketing the advertising opportunities on the Episcopal News Service site and upcoming mobile apps, as well as managing the affordable website program for dioceses and congregations, and uncovering new sources of ad revenue for other digital offerings."

Full text of the release follows

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Diocese of Mississippi responds to flooding

With the Mississippi river reaching a near record crest today, and with the expectation that the flooding will remain severe through the end of May, church groups and others are beginning to organize a short term and long term response. The Episcopal News Service reports on the efforts of the Diocese of Mississippi.

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PCUSA votes for inclusion

UPDATED: 5/11 AP reports:

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BREAKING: Uganda's anti-gay bill is now ON AGENDA

Updated, 12:04pm EST...

In contradiction to our earlier post, the editors of the Episcopal Cafe have now learned that it seems the Uganda anti-gay bill IS ON the agenda for the Parliament session today. Read more about this HERE.

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Navy halts move to allow same-sex unions

Under pressure from US House lawmakers, the Navy halts move to allow same-sex unions by Navy chaplains:

Navy halts move to allow gay unions by chaplains

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Jim Wallis speaks for whom?

After his Sojourners rejected an ad from a gay church group, progressive Christians are asking whether Jim Wallis of Sojourners be "THE" spokesperson for the Christian Left?

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Updated: Uganda's anti-gay bill on agenda for FRIDAY

Updated 12:38 EST


Uganda’s parliament on Wednesday was forced to drop plans to debate a controversial bill that once proposed the death penalty for some gays and lesbians, but officials indicated lawmakers would debate it on Friday.

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Needed: 3 cups of compassion

The Rev. Frank Logue reflects on the recent news about Greg Mortenson and proposes that we need, "Three Cups of Compassion," as we respond:

Three Cups of Compassion
By the Rev. Frank Logue, in Episcopal News Service

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Activist Pauli Murray's home to be restored in her honor

Activist priest's home will be restored in her honor
From the Raleigh (NC) News & Observer

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Gafcon wants group they snub to have greater power

Primates who did not attend the Dublin Primates meeting have issued a statement through Gafcon complaining about decisions made in their absence that underscored that the primates meeting is a meeting to build to collegiality, and is in not a tribunal that metes out penalties. It comes as no surprise that Gafcon does not agree.

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Archbishop of Armagh’s reflections on division

At its General Synod which is underway, the Church of Ireland will vote on a motion to approve the Anglican Covenant.

In his presidential address today to General Synod, The Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, the Most Revd Alan Harper, reflected on the divisions in the Church of Ireland:

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Inside the Bishops' theology group on same-sex relationships

A year ago the bishops of The Episcopal Church received a report from a group of eight theologians commissioned by the bishops to provide their perspectives on same-sex relationships. That report appeared in the Winter 2011 issue of Anglican Theological Review.

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Flying Archbishop building fellowship with Porvoo Communion

The Archbishop of Canterbury says we need an Anglican Covenant because the Anglican Communion confuses its potential ecumenical partners by tolerating innovations like gay bishops and sanctioning the sanctification of same-sex relationships. Meanwhile, the Church of England is a member through the Porvoo Agreement that formed a communion of mostly Northern European churches, including the Church of Sweden.

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Assorted links

1. After individual contributions, the second most important source of income for congregations.

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Ugandan bill retains death penalty

Update / 8:15 am, Friday: Bill stalled on parliamentary technicality

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Gene Robinson on the "Kill the Gays" bill

Bishop Gene Robinson says that "Ugandan lawmakers and government leaders need to know that the world is watching, and that passage of such a bill will have political, diplomatic, and financial repercussions."

He and Andre Banks write in the Huffington Post:

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Breaking: no vote on anti-gay bill

From Twitter:

wthrockmorton (@wthrockmorton)
5/13/11 10:16 AM It is official: Uganda's Parliament has adjourned with no action on AHB. Check link for updates #uganda #gay

South East Asia endorses Anglican Covenant

ACNS reports that the Province of South East Asia adopted the Anglican Covenant.

The Church of the Province of South East Asia has adopted the Anglican Communion Covenant saying that "In acceding to the Anglican Communion Covenant, we (Diocese or Province) are seeking with other Covenanting Provinces and Dioceses to express our communion with the Triune God and with one another, to guard the boundary-markers of the good deposit of the faith once for all delivered, and to be faithful witnesses of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the fellowship we have with God and one another, and in common mission and ministry to the world."

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Big media events and the churches that make them

When you have a big event, lots of cameras and a global audience, what do you say...and what does your choice say about you and your church?

Bishop Pierre Whalon writes about what the big media events say about the churches that create them.

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Baseball, classical music...and the church?

What David Lang writes in The Score, about American composers on creating “classical” music in the 21st century, might also apply to how we understand the church.

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T-minus 168 hours and counting...?

No doubt you have heard that a radio preacher named Harold Camping has predicted that the rapture will occur at 6 pm PDT on May 21, 2011. There are billboards, web-sites, and people handing out flyers. Many news outlets have picked this up.

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Ireland acts on Anglican Covenant

Yesterday the Church of Ireland voted to "subscribe" to the Anglican Covenant. Earlier this week, as already noted, the Province of South East Asia acceded to the Covenant. Both seem to be taking to the Covenant on their on terms.

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Religious art returns to the fore

Did you notice the trees at the royal wedding this month? Lots of people did. As Jonathan Jones puts it, "They opened our eyes to the grandeur of a medieval building that might otherwise have struck television viewers as just a dark, lofty old bulwark of church and state."

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The homeless man who is paying the banker's bills

A Chicago banker who lost her job nearly a year ago was facing living on the streets with her 10 year old son. A man who's been living on the street for seven years has been paying to keep her and her son in a hotel and off the streets. It's a story of surprising reversal and grace.

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Presiding Bishop on the future of "catholic beyond boundaries" churches

The Presiding Bishop is in Utrecht this week, preaching, delivering the annual Quasimodo lecture and representing the Episcopal Church. The Old Catholic Church, which was formed by elements of the Roman Catholic Church that could not accept the doctrine of Papal Infallibility, has its historic center in the Netherlands at Utrecht. They are one of the Episcopal Church's oldest full communion partners.

From the ENS report:

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Faith is integral to human nature

A new study coordinated in Oxford is showing strong evidence that to be human is to believe in there is more to this existence that we can directly perceive. Or, put another way, human's are hard-wired to believe in the divine.

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Responses roll in to Presbyterians' action on ordination standards

Now that The Presbyterian Church (USA) has relaxed its prohibition on ordaining sexually active gays and lesbians as officers through the passage of its Amendment 10-A by majority vote of its presbyteries, the reactions have begun to come in.

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The last word - for the moment - about Jim Wallis

Jamie L. Manson has a point worth making in the ongoing conversation over who gets to speak for you in the "progressive evangelical" debates of the past week.

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Know thy neighborhood

For the Idea Pile: Members of Church of the Ascension in Twin Falls, Idaho, will spend part of Tuesday walking different routes in a one-mile radius in an effort to learn more about the area around their church building.

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Teaching the test

Noticed in a sidebar illustration: Sarah Posner's full story at Religion Dispatches on curricular intent and academic freedom at the Liberty University School of Law's "Foundations of Law" course is well worth a read, but our specific attention was drawn by the content of one of the course's actual test questions from 2008 - one that, it turns out, wasn't merely hypothetical.

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Blessed are the peacemakers

The Rt. Rev. Steven Andrew Miller, bishop of the Diocese of Milwaukee, writes of violence and the concealed weapons debate:

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Bosco Peters on the pointlessness of the Covenant

Bosco Peters, talking good sense as usual, makes some excellent points about the pointlessness of the Anglican Covenant:

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NY bishop reminds NY Times that TEC supports civil marriage equality

Bishop Mark Sisk of New York has written a letter to The New York Times, in response to a story about the efforts to faith leaders to block marriage equality legislation in New York state:

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Amnesty urges Ugandan president to clean up human rights record

Amnesty International is urging Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to do something about the country's deteriorating human rights record.

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Church architecture today

America, the Jesuit magazine, has a brief slideshow featuring some outstanding contemporary worship spaces. Have a look, and then come back and tell us what you think of these churches and chapels.

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Same-sex blessing resources now online

The resources that the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music have gathered in fulfillment of Resolution C056, are now available online. It includes Diocesan resources, resources for liturgy and worship, and others.

The Vatican still isn't protecting Catholic children

The Associated Press has the most clear-eyed report on the Vatican's latest efforts to curb child abuse by Catholic clergy without actually forcing bishops to comply:

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Third Way for Congregations

Anthony Robinson of the Alban Institute believes "...there are perhaps ten important conversations that need to be deepened and sustained in their ongoing life."

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How to attract new members

Church growth from Mr. Catolick:

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Lady Gaga and the Gospel of Judas

The Rev. Dr. Patrick Cheng, theologian and professor at Episcopal Divinity School reviews Lady Gaga's latest song and video "Judas":

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Hawking: there is no heaven

Brad Hirschfield, writing in the Huffington Post reflects on the real sin of Stephen Hawking in denying heaven:

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Open Studio 2011: new ECVA show online

The Episcopal Church Visual Arts group has a new show online. Many talented artists of the Episcopal Church have contributed to the current Open Studio Exhibit:

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Yellow Pages ad: waste of money?

From Diana Butler Bass on Twitter this morning

IMG_1720_normal.jpg@dianabutlerbass: Churches w/phonebook ads are probably wasting their $$.

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Clergy Sexual Abuse Final Report due out today

The John Jay College Final Report, “The Causes and Context of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests in the United States, 1950-2010,” a five-year study commissioned by the nation’s Roman Catholic bishops is due out today. Its purpose was to provide a definitive answer to what caused the church’s sexual abuse crisis has concluded that neither the all-male celibate priesthood nor homosexuality were to blame.

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A Conflict? Religious liberty vs. same sex marriage

Marianne T. Duddy-Burke, the Executive Director of DignityUSA asks the question: "Is there really a conflict between religious liberty and same sex marriage?"

Religious Liberty vs. Same Sex Marriage: Is There Really A Conflict?

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Your church's signatures

This thought-provoking reflection by the Rev. Canon Frank Logue caught our attention, "What are your church's two signatures?"

Your Church's Two Signatures
In Frank Logue's "Loose Canon" blog

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Scottish priest is not elected as UK's first female bishop

The Rev Canon Dr Alison Peden is not elected in bid to become UK's first female bishop:

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ARCIC III notes the Anglican Communion is what it is

The third round of ARCIC, the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission, opened this week. America Magazine does a nice job of bringing anyone up to speed on what the commission has accomplished since 1970, it's current challenges and what ARCIC III is about.

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Catholic abuse report authors defend findings

Amy Goodstein has a roundup of criticism of the abuse report and the defense put up by its authors of the Woodstock theory.

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Taking the long view

T minus 2 days until liftoff AKA rapture. A little time left for a roundup of stories on taking the long view.

Rapture Fail. You can participate in this social media event. Details. Envy those on or near the international date line.

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Equally Blessed on the John Jay sexual abuse report

The pro-LGBT Catholic group Equally Blessed has read the John Jay report. It has both praise and concerns.

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A survey confirms majority support same-sex marriage

A PRRI poll on same-sex marriage is consistent with other recent polls: A majority of Americans now would allow same-sex marriage.

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The Cluttered Church

Out with the bad, in with the good.

Church Juice says churches need to take the advice that Steve Jobs gave to Nike's CEO:

Jobs told Parker that Nike made some of the best products in the world. Stuff people desire. But they also make a bunch of crap, too. So Jobs said, “Just get rid of the crappy stuff and focus on the good stuff.”

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Bishop says homosexuals threaten Belize's sovereignty

The Anglican bishop of Belize Bishop, Philip Wright, has joined with other religious leaders in an anti-gay statement.

LoveFM reports:

The release says UNIBAM is heavily influenced by foreign interests who seek to impose a world view that directly contradicts the supremacy of God as reflected in our laws by seeking to abolish the nation’s sodomy laws.

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Spiritual explorers and base camps

According to Gallup, church membership is down while (self-reported) religious observance is up. Why the disconnect? Episcopal Bishop Greg Rickel says that the 20th century model of the big-staff, big-program church is no longer normative nor sustainable in a world characterized by loose connections and informal networking. Congregations will need to think about membership in new ways. Rickel says we need to think of congregations as base camps for spiritual explorer.

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Speaking up for the poor

House of Deputies president Bonnie Anderson says that Episcopalians can be the voice of the poor and the dispossessed in the current federal budget battle.


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Engaging people of other faiths

The Anglican Communion Network for Inter Faith Concerns has released a study guide designed to help Christians understand the basis for dialogue and interaction with people of other religions.

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The progressive Christian coalition has changed

Jim Naughton writes in the Guardian about how the progressive religious agenda has moved since Jim Wallis began to speak up for a kind progressive evangelicalism that has also appealed to mainline Christians.

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Betty Mosley, activist and advocate, dies at 89

Betty Mosley, 89, a faithful Episcopalian, an advocate for women's rights, an activist for the ordination of women and wife of the late Bishop J. Brooke Mosley of Delaware, died on Monday, May 2.

Here is her obituary:

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A brief history of the end of the world

As this is posted, it is now Sunday morning in New Zealand. Harold Camping has been predicting that world should have started ending at 6 PM Saturday. This is the latest in a series of failed predictions of the end of the world. Andrew Brown, writing in the Guardian has a quick history of what happened when, and how the whole idea began to take its modern form.

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Indaba comes to Staten Island

The ongoing Indaba process, first widely encountered at the Lambeth Conference in 2008, has led to a meeting between Anglicans from around the world in a Staten Island parish hall.

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Managing parishioner migration

As the Spring starts to turn into Summer, parishes in the warmer climates are waving goodbye to their winter-time members. And northern congregations are waving hello. The strong seasonal differences between the sizes of congregations presents some challenges to people left behind.

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Forgiving more than we can expect

Story Corp, from National Public Radio, had a story this week about a woman who has demonstrated the principles of restorative justice in a way that few of us could even begin to imagine.

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Oops. Sorry about that. Can I keep the cash?


We're still here, right? Well, then, let the inevitable backlash/backpedaling begin.

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'The time has certainly come' - Bp. Hanley on marriage for all

Oregon's bishop, The Rt. Rev. Michael Hanley, on the right to marry the one you love:

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What do you want? (clergy-spouse edition)

Perusing one of your typical let's-get-an-article-in-the-paper notices concerning the ordination of Roxane Gwyn to the priesthood in Fuquay-Varina / Holly Springs, North Carolina (it sounds like it was a hoot by the way), I spied the following in the interview.

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Christchurch Cathedral remains unapologetically Anglican

Peter Beck, dean of New Zealand's Christchurch Cathedral, says that congregation will not stray from its historic roots as it considers rebuilding from earthquake destruction, and that it will continue to be a thoroughly Anglican parish.

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Pray for the people of Missouri

A massive tornado struck Joplin Missouri today. It appears that at least one hospital was hit directly. Early reports list multiple casualties in the region.

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It's Anglican Covenant Week here at Episcopal Cafe

As the Anglican Covenant picks up support from provinces across the globe, we thought it might be a good time for Episcopalians to think once again about the nature of the document we may be asked to put our church's name to at our General Convention in 2012.

We take as our text The Genius of Anglicanism, a study guide produced by the Chicago Consultation. Beginning today, and continuing through the Memorial Day Weekend, we will be featuring three of the eight essays from this booklet on our Daily Episcopalian blog for your examination and discussion.

Give them a read and get back to us.

Rapture wrap up

On Facebook yesterday, I wrote that I had heard enough jokes about the Rapture to last until the end of time. Padre Mickey Dresbach top me by noting that people were making such jokes like there was no tomorrow.

But now for a somewhat more serious take on the culture moment that transpired by not transpiring this past weekend.

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Diocese responds to catastrophic tornado in Joplin

From Bishop Martin S. Field of the Diocese of Western Missouri:

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What Harold Camping got right

Writing for the Huffington Post, Phil Cooke points out that Harold Camping did a much better job getting his message out there than most religious denominations, including ours, have done:

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New clergy and that first call

Writing for the Alban Weekly, Bruce G. Epperly says:

I often tell new pastors that ministry is a marathon, not a sprint.

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Gwich'in New Testament: even colors are verbs

The Fairbanks NewsMiner notes the completion of the translation of the New Testament into the Gwich'in language:

The gold-lettered title of the plain-covered book reads “Vit’eegwijyahchy’aa: Vagwandak Nizii,” Gwich’in for, “God: His Good News.”

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Did worship spark civilization?

National Geographic wonders if we need to change our thinking about the role of religion and civilization:

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The Rev. Dr. Caroline Hall elected president of Integrity

Integrity USA announces that the Rev. Dr. Caroline Hall has been elected president of Integrity, the Episcopal organization for full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members of the church:

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What did the Church of Scotland decide?

There was a lot of confusion in the news yesterday about what The Church of Scotland had decided about allowing gay and lesbian clergy in same-sex relationships to serve as ministers.

Thinking Anglicans has a round up of reports on the actions of The Church of Scotland (Presbyterians).

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Rest on Sunday or else!

Our colleague, Derek Olsen, who often writes for Daily Episcopalian, discusses the "letter from Jesus" found in Anglo-Saxon England that commands resting on Sunday and relates the punishments that will be visited upon the people who do not rest:

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Oprah: icon of spiritual but not religious

Elizabeth Tenety, writing at the Under God blog of the Washington Post proposes that Oprah is a spiritual leader, especially of those who claim to be spiritual but not religious:

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Architects chosen to design new VTS chapel

The trustees of Virginia Theological Seminary has chosen Robert A.M. Stern Architects to design the new chapel at VTS.

Architects chosen to redesign fire-destroyed Virginia Seminary chapel

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New Jersey responds to Anglican Covenant

The Diocese of New Jersey responds to the Anglican Covenant:

Response to the Anglican Covenant, prepared by the Deputation of the Diocese of New Jersey

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Prayer vigils ask to lift ban on Bishop Dawani

Episcopalians in the Dioceses of Washington and Los Angeles held prayer vigils in protest of Israeli treatment of Palestinians yesterday, including the treatment of the Bishop of Jerusaslem, Anglican Bishop Suheil Dawani, who has been a permit to reside in Jerusalem:

Prayer vigils send message to Netanyahu: 'Lift the ban on Bishop Dawani'

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Bishop Rickel on "A chance for a new creation"

Bishop Greg Rickel of the Diocese of Olympia offers thoughtful reflections on church in this interview posted at "":

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Slee memo details fierce dissension over preferment of gay clergy to bishoprics

A memo by the late Colin Slee reveals fighting at the highest levels of the Church of England over the question of whether gay clergy might become bishops, The Guardian's Andrew Brown reports.

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Abuse spotlight turns to Church of England

At the same time that a memo exposing the process of selection of bishops has turned the Church of England on its ear, two formal reports of the church's bishop's failings in dealing with child abuse by priests has been issued.

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Sudan descending into chaos

Just as Southern Sudan is on the cusp of becoming Africa's newest nation, fighting has erupted again with the military forces of the north throwing the lives of those living in Abyei into chaos.

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UPDATED: Reactions to ABC, ABY bullying

[Updated again, with more reactions (scroll to end)]

Update 1:11PM ET: The Colin Slee memo is available.

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Thursday links

Church of England Newspaper scores unintentional self-parody award: MP’s fear that Jerusalem will become a ‘gay’ hymn: The Church of England Newspaper, May 27, 2011 p 3.

more below

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About those redactions

If you have been reading the Colin Slee memo on archbishops behaving badly and wondered what was redacted from the original document, we can now say that what is missing is the cover letter by Slee's daughter (a good call, we think), and the second of two appendices. The reason for this redaction, we assume, is because it contains an email exchange between Slee and Chris Smith of Lambeth Palace, who has not given anyone permission to publish the exchange.

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The Slee memo: more reaction, more reporting.

Response to the Colin Slee story continue to flow in.

Kelvin Holdsworth, provost of St. Mary's Cathedral in Glasgow keeps the blog What's in Kelvin's Head. He writes:

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Slee memo, less redacted

We now have an only slightly redacted version of the Slee memo. What it omits is Slee's daughter cover letter, and the last portion of the second appendix, that last portion being an email to Slee from Chris Smith, Chief of Staff, Lambeth Palace (who has not given the Guardian permission to publish).

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ARCIC III ends first meeting

The Anglican - Roman Catholic International Commission has completed the first meeting of its new phase, known as ARCIC III. The group includes an Episcopal priest who teaches at Durham University and is a canon residentiary in the Church of England.


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Remarkable coincidence

It is illegal for women to drive in Saudi Arabia. Why? Tradition. Interpretation of holy writ. And the king says so.

Cameron Abadi, writing in Foreign Affairs, takes a look at the most ridiculous arguments against allowing Saudi women behind the wheel. They look strangely familiar.

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The slow-motion train wreck continues

The reactions to the Slee memorandum continues to roll in.

The Church Times sets out the criteria for excluding a gay man from the episcopate based on the advice of the legal council hired by the Church of England:

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Big gifts making a come back?

Maria Di Mento reports in the Chronicle of Philanthropy:

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Conservative Jewish seminary ordains first openly gay female rabbi

Debra Nussbaum Cohen reports on The Sisterhood blog at the Jewish Daily Forward:

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Friday night links

News from the religion desk:

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Why marry after all these years?

There's a growing trend in Great Britain (and in the States) of people not feeling the need to be married before they have children together.

So why do people then get married after the children arrive? According to Donna Dawson, a UK specialist, the reasons are complex.

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Church Mouse summarizes

An English blogger known online as the "Church Mouse", who appears to be very well connected within the Church of England, has posted a good, dispassionate summary of the story that broke early this week regarding the Slee memo. The memo by the late Colin Slee details the secret conflict that flared a year ago when Jeffrey John, the out celibate gay dean of St. Albans was being considered for the bishopric of Southwark.

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The chaplains of Joplin

As Joplin Missouri continues its rescue and recovery work, some of the busiest people in town have been the volunteer chaplains. The New York Times details what their ministry has been over the past week, focusing particularly on the chaplains work of sharing bad news with families desperate to find their loved ones.

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Reminder, it's been Covenant week at the Café

As was noted at the beginning of this week, there's been a series of three essays posted on Daily Episcopalian each of which invites the readers to take a close look at the Anglican Covenant the Episcopal Church is expected to respond to in the next few years.

If you missed them this week, here they are again in order. They'll make excellent holiday weekend reading:

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Underhill remembered

Evelyn Underhill, one of the best loved modern writers on spirituality, is being remembered on the 100th anniversary of the publication of her book "Mysticism". The Church Times has a wonderful profile of her work and the reach of her influence written by the new dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, Jane Shaw.

For instance, Shaw details the way Underhill started off as person more focused on the idea of individual spirituality that needed no community:

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Williams calls for super-injunctions on privacy

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams was quoted in British press yesterday speaking in support of the need for information to be restrained in the case of high-profile people attempting to keep their public personas intact.

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Letting the air out - slowly - at the Crystal Cathedral

The once-mighty Crystal Cathedral constructed in the pastorate of Robert Schuller as a landmark of twentieth-century American religious idealism will be sold as part of a plan for the Cathedral to get out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The LA Times:

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Could a non-Lenten meatless Friday be in your future?

Following a May plenary meeting, the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales are seeking to propagate the practice of abstaining from meat as "Friday penance," even outside of Lent.

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Oprahfied spirituality

In The New York Times, Mark Oppenheimer says that now that we live in a post-Oprah world (or, more accurately, a world in which Oprah has transitioned from daytime talk star to hands-on manager of her cable enterprise, OWN), we're free to begin the assessment of her contribution. Oppenheimer says that spiritually speaking, Oprah's contribution was at least partly Christian, partly New Age in origin.

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Accounting for clergy infidelity

A YouGov/Sunday Times survey of 2,700+ adults living in Great Britain reveals a compelling thought pattern.

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A good word about the institutional church

I have had some differences with Bishop Nick Baines of the Diocese of Bradford in the Church of England, and I think some too-easy culture criticism distracts from his central point in this item form his blog, nonetheless it is heartening to see someone making the case for church with a fully functioning institutional spine:

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For Heroic Service

O Judge of the nations, we remember before you with grateful hearts the men and women of our country who in the day of decision ventured much for the liberties we now enjoy. Grant that we may not rest until all the people of this land share the benefits of true freedom and gladly accept its disciplines. This we ask in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Book of Common Prayer

Mugabe ally escalates push to control Anglican Church

The troubling saga of the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe has come to the attention of The New York Times.

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How the Church of England chooses its bishops

The Guardian's question of the week is How should gay bishops be chosen? Lesley Fellows is first up. She writes:

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Some hard questions about the church's tax-exempt status

Writing for the Alban Institute, Dan Hotchkiss asks some hard questions about the tax breaks that churches receive from the government.

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Fisking the John Jay report

The Revealer has been running an illuminating series of articles on the John Jay College report on clerical sex abuse in the Roman Catholic Church.

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Nova Scotia/PEI Anglicans okay same sex blessings

CBC News reports on the approval of blessings in Anglican churches for same sex couples who marry. Though clergy cannot perform the marriage they can offer blessings for the marriage.

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Spain indicts Salvadoran military officials

Spain has indicted 20 Salvadoran military officials for the 1989 murders of 8 Jesuits and 2 women according to

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The oppressive myth of unity in the Anglican Communion

Gene Sisneros writing at st matthews-in-the-city in New Zealand reflects on the myth of unity and its oppressive nature in the Anglican Communion:

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Church Center new COO: +Stacy Sauls

In a surprise move to many, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has named Diocese of Lexington Bishop Stacy F. Sauls as chief operating officer for the Episcopal Church. Sauls was confirmed in a conference call with the Executive Council this morning. Episcopal News Service reports:

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Illinois civil union law takes effect Wednesday reports that Illinois' civil union law takes effect on Wednesday, June 1:

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