English Bishops on civil partnerships & same-sex relationships

The House of Bishops of the Church of England put out a news release concerning civil partnerships and same-sex relationships in the UK with two goals. By 2012, review the 2005 pastoral statement "in light of recent developments". By 2013 they plan to develop "proposals on how the continuing discussion within the Church of England about these matters might best be shaped in the light of the listening process." There will be no openly gay candidates for the episcopate in the CofE until at least these reports are completed.

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Church Times on report to Executive Council

The Church Times has written about the report of the Standing Committee on Constitution and Canons to Executive Council. The article (now behind a pay-wall) says that the "US expresses Covenant doubts" especially around the canonical changes passage of the Covenant would require.

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Episcopalian named dean of St. George's College, Jerusalem

The Rev. Dr. Graham Smith, Rector of St. David’s in Glenview, Illinois, has been called as the next Dean of St. George’s College in Jerusalem starting September 1, 2011.

From the news release via e-mail:

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New Zealand Church protests

The Wardens and Vestry of St Matthew-in-the-City, Auckland, New Zealand, has started a petition to end discrimination against gay and lesbian Christians seeking ordination in their Church, saying it is time to stop "white collar crime."

The Church, known for it's controversial billboards, has put this one up:

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Massing at the border

The Church Times is reporting that three English un-named priests ordained in Kenya by the chair of the GAFCON Primates council are ready to serve parishes in a Church of England diocese that has not invited nor authorized them to function. Five English bishops are also ready to defy local diocesan bishops that they disagree with by sending these three (and other?) clergy into places they are not authorized to go.

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An experiment in creedless religion turns 50

Daniel Burke of RNS describes the Unitarian-Universalist Church as a "creedless church" and wonders if this "virtually unprecedented experiment" of advancing a religion without doctrine can survive another 50 years.

He writes:

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Flying free: Kirstin Paisley

A few minutes before 8 p.m. (PDT) on July 1, Kirstin Paisley died. Her transparency to the Holy affected all her many friends. Andee Zetterbaum, her friend and care giver this past year sent a note on Facebook:

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Welcoming the Pope to Twitter

Earlier this week Pope Benedict used Twitter for the first time. On behalf of the rest of us who've been tweeting away for long while now; "Welcome!"

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Ruth's new blog

Ruth Gledhill, who staffs the religion desk at the The Times has long been a source of news about the Anglican Communion and the Church of England. Sadly much of her reporting is now locked up behind a paywall so that we can't link to it (and send her readers she deserves). But she's just started a personal blog.

She writes:

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Cathedral packs 'em in for the 4th

Grace Cathedral in Topeka had a traditional, sparsely attended Fourth of July service for years. And then their new Organist and Choirmaster arrived. A few changes, and now the service draws people from all over the state.

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The demonic in everyday life

Richard Beck starts by reflecting on an interaction with a Utility worker sent to shut off his electricity, continues by asking himself about why it is that he had trouble seeing the humanity of prison guards and then suggests that perhaps the pace and lack of human interaction of modern life is leading us to dehumanize one another.

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Cowboy churches round 'em up

On a July Fourth weekend, a slice of Christian Americana: the cowboy church is a new-old institution that seems to be roping its fair share of believers.

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Keeping the faith, quickly

What do you make of this idea reported in The Telegraph?

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Wartime chaplains working through 'compassion fatigue'

The New York Times profiles Maj. David Bowlus, a chaplain to Army Rangers.

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Lessons and hymns, Independence Day edition

Telling Secrets blogger Elizabeth Kaeton offers a service of Lessons & Hymns for Independence Day.

You can see the full readings and prayers on her page, but here are the readings on offer.

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Integrity's President, a UK native, reflects on July 4

The Rev. Caro Hall, president of Integrity, has a few thoughts on Independence Day:

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Happy Independence Day

Happy Independence Day, everyone. Expect light posting today. But if you are looking for some good reading, visit America's Sacred Ground, the Huffington Post's July 4 collection.

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Rip up the pews and encourage real participation

Theo Hobson has written before about how attending an Episcopal Church rekindled a faith nearly extinguished in the Church of England. Now he has more to say:

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The return of Saint James

The breakaway faction that thought it controlled the property of St. James, Penn Hills, in the Diocese of Pittsburgh has left the building. Now begins the hard work of rebuilding the parish. Lionel Diemel visited St. James on Sunday and liked what he saw.

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Residential school students speak out to heal

Survivors of Canadian Anglican residential school abuse of native children are speaking out to heal from all they suffered. The Anglican Journal writes:

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ABC has concerns about Kenyan clergy ordained for England

The Archbishop of Canterbury's office has released this statement on the proposed "Anglican Mission in England." The tone is calm but the concerns are evident.

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10/10 CoE dioceses want women as bishops

Inclusive Church reports:

The first ten Dioceses in the Church of England to vote on women bishops have all voted in favour – almost all by an overwhelming majority. They have all also turned down requests for extra provision for opponents, mostly by huge margins.

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Hoops and hope

The Virginia Pilot (Hampton Roads, VA) tells the story of former Old Dominion University basketball player and his work in Malawi through the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, Norfolk, VA:

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Too kind?

Dave Walker, cartoonist at The Cartoon Church and Church Times (CoE) asks, "Am I too kind to the church?"

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Have you checked "Michno"?

Michno's "A Priest's Handbook" continues to be a "go to" source for priests and churches:

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Will the NOM disclose donors?

Minnesota says the National Organization of Marriage must disclose donors...but will they? ... Nope

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Finding a liberal 20-30-something community of faith

Julia Stroud in The Daily writes:

At 1 a.m. on a Sunday you can often find me at a bar. The bar varies, so does the reason: a friend’s departure, a birthday celebration, a long week at the office to forget. The drink rarely varies, however, and I will clutch my gin and ice and sip it through the straw, laughing with friends and planning my exit. I have to be at church in eight hours. Slurp, laugh, check the time. My friends’ nights are open-ended but I have to be at church in — I check the time again — seven hours now.

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Bishop Edwards defends PB

The current bishop of Nevada, the Rt. Rev. Dan Edwards defends his predecessor in Nevada and current Presiding Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, against charges that she mishandled the case of a former priest, the Rev. Bede Parry, who is now accused of sexual abuse.

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Technology to aid the autistic has other uses

New Scientist reports on technology aimed at improving the emotional intelligence of the autistic. Much like corrective lenses for the near sighted or far sighted, these glasses signal to the wearer the emotions transmitted through facial expressions:

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Bishop of Nevada on history of how Parry was received as priest

The Rt. Rev. Dan Edwards has issued a statement on the history of how Bede Parry came to be a priest in the Diocese of Nevada during the tenure of his predecessor, the current Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori.
___________

Wednesday, 06 July 2011 14:49

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Stand up for families

From EPPN, the Episcopal Public Policy Network:

Stand up for Families

Family unity has been a central piece of our immigration system for more than 40 years.

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Church of Nigeria honors The Episcopal Church

The Church of Nigeria General Synod met in late June. The program included a Renewal of Ordination Vows (from TEC's Book of Occasional Services), and a Renewal of the Baptismal Covenant from The Episcopal Church 1979 Book of Common Prayer. It is especially heart warming for another province to join us in the embrace of the baptismal covenant as historic, orthodox and a pillar of our expression of belief.

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Episcopal Church provides Fact Sheet on Nevada story

From The Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs, reportedly available since yesterday although we first read about it here at ENS. There is no permalink given to the following, just the general http://episcopalchurch.org/perspectives/.

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UK Ordinariate given start up funds by Anglican charity

The bulk of the money Roman Catholic Church raised to start up the Ordinariate in the UK came from an charity created to promote Anglo-Catholic mission within the Church of England.

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Lloyd moves from National Cathedral to Copley Square

The Very Rev. Samuel T. Lloyd III is resigning after six-and-a-half years as dean of Washington National Cathedral to return to Trinity Church, Copley Square in Boston as priest-in-charge.

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Assorted links, Ethics edition

Teachers cheating, abortion used as sex selection, team performance improves linearly with the number of women, what morals are hard?, what do Cafe readers think about the receiving a man as priest if he has a sex abuse past?

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Process for same-sex blessings in Virginia

The Rt. Rev. Shannon Sherwood Johnston, Bishop of Virginia, has written to his diocese about the process for blessing same-sex unions. His article appears (both in English--page 12--and in Spanish--page 14) in the July, 2011 issue of the Virginia Episcopalian.

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Betty Ford died on Friday

Betty Ford, founder of the Betty Ford Center, former First Lady, and widow of Gerald Ford died yesterday in Palm Springs CA. She was 93.

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Known and unknown,
things done and left undone

Since the news came that the Rev. Bede Parry has resigned from All Saints Church in Las Vegas and from the Episcopal priesthood, we have had statements mainly from Bishop Daniel Edwards and the Diocese of Nevada (here, here) a description of the process used to receive Parry's orders, a news story from Episcopal News Service and timeline from the Office of Public Affairs. As the story has bubbled up a little on the main-stream media, and there is much discussion on the internet, it took over a week for the first substantive statements to come out.

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South Sudan became a nation today

As a result of an overwhelming vote in favor of the partition of Sudan into two countries, Sudan and South Sudan, at midnight last night, a new nation was born.

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'Father Albert' premieres Monday

A new talk show hosted by Father Alberto Cutié is about to premiere for a test run in some markets, perhaps trying to fill a void left by Oprah's departure from the airwaves. Here is the write up in the New York Daily News about "Father Albert":

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Theology and 'The Boy Who Lived'

Danielle Tumminio describes her course "Christian Theology and Harry Potter."

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News of the World was 'reprehensible,' 'unethical' - Church of England

As the final edition of News of the World hits stands and the paper prepares to shutter itself in the wake of a phone-hacking scandal, the Church of England discloses its interest in the media property via press release and has something to say about it:

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The Bible and marriage and the art of misreading

New Testament scholar Greg Carey says a lot of people who advocate for "traditional family values" rooted in the Bible may not have much of an idea of what's actually in the Bible on the subject of marriage.

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CPG does right thing, hopes no one notices

Mark Harris received a letter last week from the Church Pension Fund. (Updated: the letter is now online.) Mark writes:

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The time has come for transparency in the handling of abuse cases

On June 24, Bishop Paul Marshall of Bethlehem left a comment on at item on The Lead that concerned the case of the Rev. Bede Parry, an Episcopal priest in the Diocese of Nevada who had sexually abused young men in his charge while a Catholic monk.

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Do we have a right to die on our own terms?

Dudley Clendenin, the elegant stylist who was once a national correspondent for The New York Times writes of his impending death:

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We survived our tough times. We want you to survive yours.

Holy Apostles Church in New York City has made an excellent contribution to the It Gets Better series.

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Clergy in same sex relationships required to marry?

Mary Frances Schjonberg, Episcopal News Service, rounds up the news on the changes to the Church Pension Group benefit plans for married same sex couples as well as bishops' reactions to changes in marriage equality laws:

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Is the ABC romanticizing the church?

Savi Hensman, Ekklesia, wonders if the Archbishop of Canterbury is guilty of romanticizing the church in Africa and elsewhere while ignoring the human rights abuses in those places:

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Jake Dell talks about marketing your church

Episcopal Church Center Newsletter for July-September 2011 interviews Jake Dell, the new senior manager of digital marketing and advertising in the Episcopal Church's Office of Communication:

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Catch the buzz!

Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Journal reports:

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Alabama churches oppose draconian immigration laws

The Republic, Columbus, IN believes that Alabama churches opposing draconian immigration laws against undocumented workers is their chance at redemption from complicity by silence during the civil rights era:

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Fr. Cutié - why he matters

Have you heard of "Father Oprah," the former Roman Catholic priest, Alberto Cutié? Is he merely a fascination, or does he matter beyond the gossipy news stories? Miguel Angel Escobar discusses why Fr. Cutié does matter:

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Betty Ford remembered as more than just first lady

Betty Ford's funeral was covered by many media outlets:

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"Dream Sabbath" campaign launched

"Dream Sabbath" campaign launched by ecumenical leaders, including Diocese of Virginia's suffragan bishop, the Rt. Rev. David C Jones:

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Marketing to the heartland?

How might we bring church to the U.S. faithful using current knowledge of branding and marketing??

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Imagination a key to organizational change

From Alban Weekly, an article which challenges us to reimagine organizations:

Reimagining Organization
by Donald E. Zimmer in Alban Weekly

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Bowling together in Lagos

Although civic associations have declined in the United States, they're growing in the developing world and in not-so-democratic countries.

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Austrian Pastafarian wins right to wear strainer on his noodle

BBC:

After receiving his application the Austrian authorities had required him to obtain a doctor's certificate that he was "psychologically fit" to drive.

According to Mr Reinthaler, "the licence has been ready since October 2009 - it was not collected, that's all there is to it".

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Evidence of mass grave "devastating"

ENS:

Bishop Andudu Adam Elnail of the Episcopal Diocese of Kadugli has said it is "devastating and saddening" to learn that his people of the South Kordofan region, "friends, brothers and sisters, children, my flock, have been killed mercilessly and are lying now in mass graves in Kadugli."

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Sex abuse: Church of England, Catholic Church of Ireland

Not to say that The Episcopal Church is without fault, but cases of sex abuse and mismanagement by bishops are in the news again: the two cases receiving attention today are in the Church of England and in the Catholic Church of Ireland.

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Catching up with the Wild Goose Festival

We didn't really know enough about the recent Wild Goose Festival to attempt to make sense of it for you. But thanks to the Odyssey Networks we can let the festival speak for itself. Here is a brief description of the enterprise, followed by a video. What do you make of it?

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A bloggers' debate: Should Rowan Williams resign?

Our friends the Rev. Lesley Fellows of the No Anglican Covenant group and Adrian Worsfold, who blogs as The Pluralist are having a running, written debate about whether Rowan Williams should resign as Archbishop of Canterbury.

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Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose.

Over at The Awl, Sarah Blackwood has written a perceptive ode to Friday Night Lights, which veteran Cafe readers know is a favorite of ours. The show signs off tonight, after five under-appreciated seasons as the best show on network television.

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The problem with preaching

The Rev. Mary M. Brown of the Odyssey Networks summarizes the findings of a Lilly Foundation-funded study on preaching in an article for the Huffington Post:

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The social media imperative

Off the Agenda, a blog devoted to building church leaders presents an interview with Margaret Feinberg on why it is imperative for churches to develop strong presences in social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter. A key excerpt:

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Church schools as islands of inclusion

Most people in the West tend to think of a "church school" as a place where people, who object to the political correctness and secular morals of a public education, send their children to be educated in a way that supports their family values. And that's certainly the case for many private Christian academies here in the States. But in England the schools run by the Church of England are some of the only places where children can be educated in a climate that represents a true cross-section of their communities.

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Politics and the church

How much involvement should clergy have in politics? It depends what you mean by politics.

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Bishop Sloan elected bishop of Alabama on first ballot

The Rt. Rev. John McKee Sloan, the suffragan bishop of Alabama was elected the 11th diocesan bishop of that diocese on the first ballot in special convention today.

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Our post-denominational future?

It's pretty common to hear people opine that we are living into a post-denominational future. There are fewer differences between many main-line denominations than there are within them. So, rather than work at propping up structures who's usefulness has passed, why don't we just chuck the whole mess, save ourselves some money and move bravely into this future?

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Think faith - but very generally - said the ad man

On the AdWeek site there's a piece by Paul Jankowski exhorting the ranks of AdWeek's merchandisers, marketers, and advertisers to keep people's faith practices in mind when designing marketing materials for people in the "Heartland" of America. Not any one faith, he says, and not the faith (or lack therof) of the advertiser himself. Just ... well, faith, generally.

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The Bachmanns and the mythology of 'praying the gay away'

Todd Essig wonders whether presidential candidate Michele Bachmann and her husband Marcus - frontliners in the so-called culture wars - are in fact waging a fair battle against homosexuality with their gay-to-straight methodology.

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Canadian Lutherans approve human-sexuality statement

From the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada:

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Hard-wired to believe?

Research out of Oxford suggests humans are predisposed to believe in God (or gods) as well as the afterlife.

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ABC fires PR director

The Rev. George Pitcher's contract as the Media Director to Archbishop of Canterbury will end after only one year.

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In the audience with Father Albert

I went to New York to watch the taping of a talk show. You know, those clapping, cheering people in the studio audience. I was in one of those. But this was not just any talk show. This show is hosted by an Episcopal priest named Father Albert Cutié. Father Albert is airing on Fox-owned stations this summer.

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Organist Kent Tritle moves to St. John the Divine

Kent Tritle is moving from one church with a respected music program to another. He explains to Daniel Wakin of the New York Times why he is moving from St. Igatius of Loyola Roman Catholic Church on the Upper East Side to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.

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Bishops in NY differ on marriage equality

The New York Times summarizes the positions among the bishops in New York state since the passage of the marriage equality law.

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Lady Gaga: Kierkegaard in fishnet stockings

"Lady Gaga is a Kierkegaard in fishnet stockings, who can play piano and guitar," according to Rodney Clapp writing in The Christian Century.

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+Sauls appoints Sam McDonald Deputy COO and Director of Mission

The Rt. Rev. Stacey Sauls has written the to the staff at the Episcopal Church Center about changes to expect during his tenure as Chief Operating Officer. He will place emphasis on mission and has announced that Sam McDonald will be the new Deputy Chief Operating Officer and Director of Mission:

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Obama supports repeal of DOMA

The AP is reporting the President Obama has come out in support of repealing the Defense of Marriage Act. He favors the passage of "the Respect for Marriage Act" which would repeal DOMA.

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When lawyers run the church

Why is it we default to taking the advice of lawyers when a matter touches on the law?

The Diocese of Cloyne (Irish, Roman Catholic) provides an object lesson for what happens when we do.

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In Ghana, Rowan reaps

Just when you thought gay bashing in the Anglican Communion would take a holiday, in spite of the failure of the Archbishop of Canterbury to show by word and example that gays are deserving of the same rights as all human beings, it reappears. Destination? Ghana. Not surprisingly, Anglican bishops are involved.

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Simplicity at the heart

In the Alban Institute's weekly offering, Bruce G. Epperly , Katherine Gould Epperly, reflect on simplicity as being at the heart of the pastoral task because to pray constantly is at heart of the Christian journey.

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Faith based side of Harry Potter novels

The Seattle Times discusses the faith based side of the Harry Potter books and Ann Ditzler at ECFVP talks about Episcopal young adults:

The "Harry Potter" culture warriors surged into action one last time, adding their familiar notes of discord to the fanfares greeting the release of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2."

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Irish prime minister assails Vatican's elitism, disregard for children

From The Guardian:

Ireland's prime minister has launched an unprecedented attack on the Vatican, accusing it of downplaying the rape and torture of Irish children by clerical sex abusers.

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Diocese of Connecticut cuts staff by 27 percent

A news release from the Diocese of Connecticut:

Diocesan staff reduction announced
Cuts are response to new financial and organizational realities
July 20, 2011

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Lutheran social services network shows strains over gays

Lutheran social services networks participated in jointly by the Lutheran Church0Missouri Synod and the ELCA are threatened by differences between the two denominations over the equality of heterosexuals and gays and lesbians.

Rachel Zoll of AP reports:

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Social media and the Episcopal Church

The Episcopal Church's Office of Communications, in partnership with Monk Development, has produced a white paper on social media, that is available free, after registration. Entitled "Social Media and the Episcopal Church: A New Way to Tell a 2,000-Year-Old Story" it recommends six "best practices" for church's interested in cultivating a more effective online presence. Here is a quick summary of each point.

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Irish political class loses fear of the church

The Catholic Church's own misdeeds has vastly diminished its dominance of politics in Ireland. The result is that Ireland has become a modern secular state. This is clear from the verbal pounding the Irish Prime Minister delivered to the Holy See (see below). So says Henry McDonald in a Guardian op-ed:

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Louisiana Benedictines allowed to sell caskets

A Federal judge today overturned a Louisiana state law that required a funeral parlor license to sell "funeral merchandise".

WSJ:

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Diocese of Rochester declares for marriage equality

7/21/2011

Statement from The Rt. Rev. Prince G. Singh, Bishop of Rochester, and the Task Force on Marriage Equality

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No ethical dilemma for NewsCorp's Zondervan

Zondervan, owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, does not see any ethical dilemma for them in the wake of the revelations of the phone-hacking scandal according to the Church Times:

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Second lawsuit filed against Parry's former abbey

The Kansas City Star has the story:


A second lawsuit has been filed against a northwest Missouri abbey alleging cover-up of sexual abuse by a former monk who directed its boys’ choir in the 1980s.

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Arts Camp revitalizes congregation and community

The Oregonian showcases Grace Memorial Church (Portland, OR) summer arts camp:

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Small but steady push back on Vatican stance on women clergy

In spite of a clear policy that women's ordination is not to be considered, and those entertaining the idea face stiff sanctions, there are still regular acts of defiance by Roman Catholic clergy who support the idea.

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Mary Michael Simpson, women's ordination pioneer, remembered

The Rev Canon Mary Michael Simpson, OSH died Wednesday in Augusta GA. She was one of the first women ordained in the Episcopal Church and was the first woman to preach at Westminster Abbey.

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Prayers for Norway

The Lutheran Church in Great Britain has posted the Church of Norway prayer for yesterday's tragedy:

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Hackers hitting church online collection plates

According to news reports thieves have turned their attention to stealing from the online "poor box" and finding much greater rewards. The Roman Catholic Cathedral in Des Moines was one of the most recent victims.

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Even 'Carmageddon' respects religious boundary markers

Orthodox Jews in Los Angeles have need of eruvs - ritual enclosures allowing them to do things on the Sabbath not normally permitted under Torah.

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Norway's PM at Oslo Cathedral this morning

A translation of Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg's speech in Oslo Cathedral this morning:

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Congrats, Phyllis and Connie: gay marriage lands in New York

Gay couples have begun getting married in New York.

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Evangelicals and evangelism: putting an end to us-versus-them

Carl Medearis says some strains of evangelical thinking create potentially destructive divisions between people and cultures.

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Church of Nigeria attacks UN for "foisting vices as rights"

The Church of Nigeria has finally issued the communique of its so-called national consultation on human rights. The consultation was held at the end of June. At the time The Lead reported that Archbishop Okoh told the Panafrican News Agency that “Nigeria should not condescend themselves into being a party to such immoral act. If the United Nations make themselves an agent to promote gay marriages, then Nigeria should pull out from such organization.” The communique is signed by The Most. Revd. Nicholas D. Okoh. M.A. LLD, Fss, Mss, Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria.

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Vatican expresses "surprise, disappointment at excessive Irish reaction"

VATICAN CITY (AP) -- The Vatican made the rare move of recalling its ambassador to Ireland on Monday following accusations that the Holy See sabotaged efforts by Catholic bishops to report clerical sex abuse cases to police.

Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore had summoned papal ambassador Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza two weeks ago and demanded an official response from the Vatican. The Vatican has said it will issue one at the "opportune time" but has not done so yet.

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Polls shows support for marriage equality increasing

Box Turtle Bulletin reports:

Happiness is when reality exceeds your expectations. Apparently the National Organization “for” Marriage has officially lowered its expectations.

Over on their blog, NOM is happily touting a new poll in a post called, New Quinnipiac Poll: Majority Does NOT Support SSM:

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Presiding Bishop sees seeds of hope in the Congo

The Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, the Revs. Margaret Rose, associate director for mission, and Petero Sabune, Africa partnerships officer, have been visiting the Democratic Republic of Congo and the programs of the church that are helping women and children to recover from the trauma of rape used as a weapon of war.

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Faith and the culture that is NASCAR

Pastor Joe Nelms delivers prayer at Nascar Nationwide - Nashville, TN.

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Church grounds certified as wildlife habitat

According to The Hilton Democrat and Chronicle St. George's Episcopal Church in Hilton, NY has developed a wildlife sanctuary on its grounds.

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Is Anders Breivik a Christian Terrorist?

Mark Juergensmeyer, writing for Religion Dispatches, discusses Christian terrorism and wonders about all terrorism in the name of faith:

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NFL settlement helps church in Nashville

Business owners and even a church in Middle Tennessee are "breathing a sigh of relief Monday that the NFL lockout is over" according to The Tennessean (Nashville TN):

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The arrogance of moneyed religions

Garry Wills reviews Inside Scientology: The Story of America’s Most Secretive Religion, by Janet Reitman and Render Unto Rome: The Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church, by Jason Berry for the New York Times Sunday Book Review:

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Finding holy space in everyday stories

Alban Institute promotes ethnography as a way to build up congregations and their leaders:

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Debt, the economy and the church

Many in our churches are fearful when they hear the debt discussions and the seeming inability of Congress to move to a solution from their partisan politics. Those on fixed incomes, Social Security, military and government pensions fear that they will not receive any income for months. What are the consequences for our churches? How can we preach a message of "perfect love casts out fear"? This coming Sunday we hear the story of the feeding of the multitudes and Isaiah's vision of God's reign. Is our diet fear or abundance?

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Archbishop of Canterbury's message to the people of Norway

Reposted from Eurobishop

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has sent his prayers and sympathy to the people of Norway following the tragic events in Oslo and Utøya last Friday.

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What would Jesus cut?

An unusual coalition of Christian leaders met with the President about the debt-ceiling pleading with him not to balance the budget on the backs of the "least of these." The Circle of Protection as they call themselves do not agree on much else but have been lobbying and holding prayer vigils and fasts to try to influence those who will decide. The Washington Post writes:

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Marcus Borg: "Sometimes the words in the Bible are wrong."

Marcus Borg, interviewed online at the Progressive Christian Portal has something to say about how we read the Bible today. And he encourages clergy to be honest about their own stance when it comes to passages of the Bible with which they disagree.

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John Stott, R.I.P.

John Stott died in his retirement home at St. Barnabas College at 3.15pm on Wednesday 27th July. He was surrounded by Frances Whitehead, and a number of good friends. They were reading the Scriptures and listening to Handel's Messiah when he peacefully went to be with his Lord and Saviour according to All Souls, Langham Place where there is a tribute to him.

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Ringing The Bell of Hope for Norway

The "Bell of Hope" at New York City's historic St. Paul's Chapel (Episcopal) has tolled in remembrance of Norway's massacre victims. Norwegian Consul Aslaug Nygard (OW'-slahg NEE'-gohr) attended the ceremony Wednesday in Lower Manhattan.

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Diocese of Sydney's financial woes continue

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the Diocese of Sydney, led by Peter Jensen, Secretary of Gafcon, continues to reel from financial overreaching.

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Archbishop’s urgent appeal for the Horn of Africa

Archbishop’s urgent appeal for the Horn of Africa

Thursday 28th July 2011

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Assorted links

Recalled Papal Nuncio to Ireland transferred, Uganda fast-tracks anti-gay bill, Church Union against assisting Ordinariate, Apostle Philip's tomb?, God's job approval

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To tweet or not to tweet

When Boston Herald reporter Ian Rapoport went to the funeral of Myra Kraft on Friday, July 22nd, his tweets from Temple Emmanuel in Newton, Massachusetts, set off a controversy. Kraft was the wife of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. His actions led others to ask, was appropriate for the reporter to tweet from the Temple?

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Restore assistance for the crisis in the Horn of Africa

Via email from Episcopal Public Policy Network

EPPN Alert: Tell Congress to Protect Famine and Drought Assistance to Africa

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What's good for the Pope is good for the PB

As reported in The Telegraph,

Figures from the [National Catholic Safeguarding Commission for England and Wales] showed that cases involving 103 victims of alleged abuse were reported in 2010, compared with 52 victims’ cases in 2009. There were 18 people who alleged that they were abused during the course of 2010, the same number as during the previous year.

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Happy Anniversary: ordination of women in the Episcopal Church

The first women were ordained priests in the Episcopal Church on July 29, 1974, though General Convention had not yet passed a resolution. The "Philadelphia 11," Merrill Bittner, Alla Bozarth-Campbell, Alison Cheek, Emily Hewitt, Carter Heyward, Suzanne Hiatt, Marie Moorefield Fleisher, Jeannette Piccard, Betty Bone Schiess, Katrina Martha Swanson, and Nancy Hatch Wittig, were ordained by Bishops Daniel Corrigan, Robert L. DeWitt, Edward R. Welles, assisted by Antonio Ramos.

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Bishop Philip Duncan on Alabama's anti-immigration law

The State Legislature in Alabama passed HB56 and it was signed into law in early June. It goes into effect on Sept. 1. This anti-immigration legislation has been described at the Arizona law (SB 1070) "on steroids".

Bishop Philip Duncan of the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast issued this statement today:

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Malcolm Boyd on what's next

In an essay The Rev. Canon Malcolm Boyd, an Episcopal priest and an iconic figure within the civil rights community, reflects on how we managed to get to where we are today and what needs to come next.

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Religious leaders arrested in DC debt ceiling protest

An ecumenical group of faith leaders staged a protest in the Capital rotunda on Thursday as the House was working to craft a bill that would raise the nation's debt ceiling. The eleven people included a former member of congress. They said they were there to draw attention to the effect the proposed cuts included in the bill would have on the nation's poor.

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The moral arguments to raise taxes

The budget deadlock in Washington this weekend has as a part of its root cause a pledge by many Republicans in Congress to never vote in favor of legislation that would raise taxes. Part of their reasoning is the claim that lowering taxes will stimulate the economy and provide greater revenues. Part of their reasoning is that people have the right to their money and any attempt to redistribute wealth from the rich to the poor is un-American.

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Remembering John Stott

As the news of the death of John Stott became known around the world, papers and blogs have been posting tributes and remembrances of his life and ministry, and attempts to analyze what effect he has had on Evangelicalism and Anglicanism. Some of this is surprising for American Episcopalians who haven't been very familiar with his nuanced positions on things other than his objection to same-sex blessings in the church.

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Disparity on the way to the debt ceiling

Michael Gerson writes:

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Prayers for Kenneth Leech

Word comes that priest, writer, and advocate Kenneth Leech is ill:

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The language of faith: rich, complicated, historically layered

CNN's Belief Blog asks, Just what do Christians mean when they use certain terms? Answers, of course, vary from person to person and denomination to denomination, school of thought, or existing political commitments.

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Beating back those big church utility bills with smart choices

A mention of St. Columba's in Washington, D.C., is worth repeating from today's New York Times. Mireya Navarro reports on how interfaith initiatives and cooperatives like the energy-purchasing group on St. Columba's Environment Committee have helped churches save big money over time and put those dollars back into mission rather than simply use it to pay utility bills.

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The Bible is no bludgeon - Rev. Peter D'Angio

Rich Howells profiles The Rev. Peter D’Angio, the openly gay rector of St. Luke's in Scranton, Pennsylvania, on everything from gay marriage to what the Bible says about homosexuality.

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