Military chaplains may perform same-sex weddings in states where gay marriage is legal.
Military chaplains may perform same-sex weddings in states where gay marriage is legal.
The World Council of Churches (WCC) announced last week the launch of the first online digital library covering theology and ecumenism. The goal is to help close the information gap between North and South.
The hardest problems in biblical translation aren't about the English, they're about the Greek or the Hebrew, according to one Episcopalian involved in production of the new Common English Bible.
A group of Nigerian legislators are moving in roughly the same direction as a similar group in Uganda; enacting national legislation to criminalize same-sex marriage, and impose stiff penalties on anyone who "witnesses, abets and aids the solemnization of a same gender marriage contract."
In National Catholic Reporter, Tom Gallagher profiles some parishes that are moving to adapt their own practices of "making." The benefice model encourages churches to produce goods for sale - not merely because it helps even out the budget during times of economic distress, but also because it's close to the heart of what drives churches.
Okay, pulpit-ascenders and sermon-attenders: Read the following and tell me if it's anything like your experience:
UPDATED: The resolution was not submitted to the Committee on Resolutions by the deadline laid out in the convention's Rules of Order, and will therefore have to be submitted from the floor. The resolution will only be considered by convention if the convention agrees to consider it by a two-thirds affirmative vote.
The following is among resolutions submitted to the Resolutions Committee in the Episcopal Diocese of California for consideration at its convention later this month.
From an illustration the article "(Almost) Everyone's Doing It" by Tyler Charles, in the September/October issue of RELEVANT Magazine (p. 66):
SEX AND SINGLE CHRISTIANS
A Look at Relationship Status Among Unmarried Young Adults (Age 18-29)
An opinion item at The Reporter of Vacaville, California, notes the role of international peace building initiative Search for Common Ground in the background effort to send clerics, including The Rt. Rev. John Bryson Chane of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, to assist in the long effort of securing freedom for hikers Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer from imprisonment in Iran.
Accepting Bishop Stacy Sauls’ proposal for a special committee that would review the governing structures of the Episcopal Church and present its work to a special meeting of the General Convention would not, in and of itself, diminish the authority of clergy and lay people in the governance of the church. Yet Bishop Saul’s supporting presentation, and the context in which he made it, have raised concerns about whether the way in which power in our church is balanced among all orders of ministry might well be disturbed, and whether decision-making power and fiduciary responsibility might be concentrated in far fewer hands.
A student at Episcopal Divinity School is quote in this story about Occupy Boston, an offshoot of the Occupy Wall Street sit in the financial district of New York City.
When I started seminary and began envisioning myself as a clergyperson, I started looking at the style of women pastors, particularly women head pastors. And I noticed that virtually without exception, they had “The Haircut.” The Don’t-Think-of-Me-as-a-Woman-Think-of-Me-as-a-Pastor haircut.
The Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has issued a pastoral letter on Palestinian-Israeli Peace:
UPDATED: 11:00 a.m. EDT
Religious leaders have begun commenting on the nature of the protests occurring in NYC and around the U.S. Tom Beaudoin, Harvey Cox and Cornell West add their thoughts:
The Rt. Rev. Henry Parsley, Bishop of Alabama, reflects on the latest court rulings on Alabama's "mean-spirited" anti-immigration laws:
Jim Pappas, reflects at Jonathan Hagger's blog, Of Course I Could Be Wrong, on anger, what it has to teach us and when it becomes destructive:
The Washington Post reports that repairs to the earthquake damaged National Cathedral will run to $15 million.
The Miami Herald reports on churches and synagogues traveling to the world to offer their hands and their skills to help others. One featured congregation is St. Philip's, Coral Gables:
Never before had the homecoming queen also kicked the winning field goal at Pinckney Community High School:
Updated Bishop Mark Lawrence of South Carolina has been charged with "abandonment of the Doctrine. Discinline and Worship of The Episcopal Church."
The Diocese of Virginia authorizes same-sex blessings at 7 churches:
Charlottesville Church Recognizes Same Sex Unions
From NBC29 (Charlottesville, VA)
Bishop Dorsey Henderson is the President of the Title IV Disciplinary Board of the Episcopal Church. He has written a short memo clarifying the complaint against and the investigation of Bishop Mark Lawrence of South Carolina.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams will pay a pastoral visit to the Church of the Province of Central Africa beginning today:
You may have heard the buzz that we are entering a "post-denominational" time in the church. Religious writers such as Phyllis Tickle and Diana Butler Bass have pointed out some of the ways that changes in the religious landscape have perhaps led us to a point where some of the long-standing divisions between denominations are fading away. This observation goes along with the ways that it seems that divisions within denominations have become heightened. So, where does this leave us? Are we moving to a more congregationally-oriented style of governance and ecclesiology? What might be the use of denominations in the 21st century?
Trinity Wall Street Rector, The Rev. Dr. James Cooper, issued a statement on the "Occupy Wall Street" protest.
Sharon Ely Pearson writes on bulidingfaith:
As a church we have accepted the need to follow guidelines in how we conduct ourselves and our interactions with those we are called to ministry with – what has become known as “safe church practices.” Social media (aka: Facebook Twitter, YouTube and texting) also needs to be considered when determining boundaries and safe practices in ministry.
Those of us at Episcopal Cafe were among the many to react to the news that Steve Jobs died last night. We included the heartfelt statement found on Apple.com's website.
Anglican Journal reports on the high-tech photos of the Dead Sea Scrolls now available online:
"The Nobel Peace Prize for 2011 was awarded on Friday to three campaigning women from Africa and the Arab world in acknowledgment of their nonviolent role in promoting peace, democracy and gender equality. The winners were Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf — Africa’s first elected female president — her compatriot, peace activist Leymah Gbowee and Tawakul Karman of Yemen, a pro-democracy campaigner" according to the New York Times.
Marisa Egerstrom, an Episcopalian, Ph.D. candidate studying American religious history at Harvard University, a member of the Boston-based group Protest Chaplains, and has been involved in the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York and Boston writes at CNN that the Occupy Wall Street "feels like church."
The Guardian reports on Rachel Held Evans' experiment in living biblically:
Pat McCaughan writing in The Episcopal News of the Diocese of Los Angeles reports on an interfaith rally on the 10th anniversary of the U.S. war in Afghanistan:
Yesterday an important Evangelical leader in Texas, Robert Jeffress, introduced Rick Perry (his governor) as a "genuine follower of Jesus Christ" and then went outside to meet with reporters to state that Perry's opponent Mitt Romney is "not a Christian". This represents the first real attack on Romney's faith background of this election year, and the pastor made the charges at an event organized by the Family Research Council, the American Family Association and other evangelical Christian groups.
The Internet give us extraordinary tools to communicate a message to a large group of people. In recent months this ability has started to cause the fall of governments and given new life to populist movements. But there's a downside. The anonymity of the Internet can allow people to take the every day squabbles of life and magnify their effects so that the community is seriously and quickly threaded.
If a church property is a place of peace, some want us to wonder what it takes to maintain that sense of peace: is the "peace that passes understanding" something that can be imposed with weapons?
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams preached today at a packed sports stadium in Harare, Zimbabwe. More than 15,000 Anglicans were in attendance.
The text of his sermon follows.
Anywhere people gather in numbers, take counsel with each other, and make statements, there's bound to be a need for a chaplain of some kind? Yes? Well, then, the Occupy Wall Street phenomenon (Twitter = #ows) needs chaplains, too.
Protest Chaplains describes itself:
Seeing as how Texas is the fourth leading state in commercial pumpkin production, it only makes sense that Episcopalians there would seek to create a revenue stream from them.
So. Who's selling pumpkins this year?
Washington Post columnist and "On Faith" Editor in Chief Sally Quinn visits with CNN Belief Blog about her experiences of walking the labyrinth:
Dr. Mouneer Anis, Anglican Bishop of Egypt, has issued a call for prayer after the riots in Egypt according to Eternity Magazine.
Wondering where our Editor-in-Chief is this morning?
From the Chicago Consultation web site:
CHICAGO CONSULTATION PARTNERS WITH UJAMAA CENTRE
Lambeth Palace has released this statement following the Archbishops of Canterbury, Central Africa and Southern African, and the President of the All Africa Conference of Churches the Archbishop of Tanzania meeting with Robert Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe:
Portugal legalized same-sex marriages last year, joining a small but growing group of countries around the world. According to an op-ed piece in the New York Times, it's not a coincidence that some of the countries have made this decision. It's because of their history.
The Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, the Most Rev. Dr. Thabo Makgoba, says the dispute within the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe was “a result not of schism but of thuggery.”
The upcoming domestic and global mission conference of the Episcopal Church called Everyone Everywhere 2011 will feature free video feeds and live webcasting during the event, which takes place from October 13-16
David Briggs, writing in the Huffington Post, says that clergy are retiring later and working longer for the same reason as the rest of the workforce--they can't afford it.
The Barna Group, an evangelical Christian research group, looks at why young people are leaving church.
USA Today published the Religion News Service report:
If you are an active Christian in an evangelical church, a graduate of a major American evangelical college, and gay, where would go to tell other students and graduates of your school that it is possible to be both gay and Christian?
Does your church have a photo minister? It might be time to get one (or more)!
The Benefits of a Photo Minister
From Frank Logue, Canon to the Ordinary of the Diocese of Georgia
Rowan Williams urges acceptance of people with HIV while visiting Africa:
With the explosion of resources of all sorts online, it would be of no surprise to anyone that there is a lot to find there (here) about the Bible. Dr. Stephen Cook of Virginia Theological Seminary pointed us to this list of great Bible resources online. Check them out, and suggest your own!
The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg of Neptune, New Jersey, a writer and editor for Episcopal News Service will be among those awarded honorary doctorates by Church Divinity School of the Pacific:
Do we open up conversations with folks at church, or do we close them down? Seth Godin offers this reflection on conversations in businesses which is perhaps also instructive for those of us in the church as well:
The Zimbabwean reports that thugs blocked Archbishop Williams and his delegation from entering the diocese premises. The side entrance to the cathedral was locked as well.
There are two narratives at work in the matter of the complaints lodged by unnamed communicants of the Diocese of South Carolina against Bishop Mark Lawrence. One narrative comes from Bishop Lawrence and his supporters. The other narrative comes from Bishop Dorsey Henderson, retired Bishop of Upper South Carolina. One is dramatic, the other is measured. One is ambiguous, the other is clear.
Reading the Bible can make you more liberal. So says a survey reported by Christianity Today.
More accurately, frequent Bible readers will, over time, tend to care more about the welfare of people, issues of social and economic justice.
Zimbabwe's deposed Bishop Nolbert Kunonga is still defiant even after Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams visited his country and handed President Robert Mugabe a dossier filled with accounts of human rights abuses perpetrated by Kunonga with government help.
The National Cathedral has begun to remove parts of the building damaged by an earthquake last August including stones weighing up to 2 tons each.
Donations to mainline Protestant churches as a percentage of income is at its lowest level in at least 41 years, according to an RNS report published in the Huffington Post.
There was a time when people turned to the Bible--Pharoah or Judas Iscariot-- or more locally specific figures--like King George III or Abraham Lincoln--in their search for a universally understood symbol of evil.
Brian Palmer at Slate wonders how people shorthanded their discussion of evil before there was a Hitler:
Rich Lesser says on Big Think that “There is a knowledge revolution [going] on.” The question is what will we do with what we know? How do make meaning out of the knowledge at hand? How do we cultivate the insight that will drive our use of the incredible volume of information available to us?
A retired vicar from Wales has spend a lifetime connecting faith and art.
Wales onLine tells his story:
UPDATE: Church Attorney recuses self.
Contrary to allegations from some, Josephine Hicks was never a member of the Disciplinary Board according to Doug LeBlanc in a report in The Living Church.
A photo of a poster in the window at Nordstrom. Thanks Nordstrom for hopefully starting a new trend. What do you think about "decking the halls" before Halloween?
It was with great sadness I just received the following message from The Rev. Gordon L. Brewer, Executive Coordinator of Episcopal Appalachian Ministries that Sandy Elledge, long time staff member of EAM and former Director, has died.
Received from Episcopal News Service
Liturgy and Music will call for church to reflect on marriage
More and more congregations are ministering to animals as well as their humans.
In a culture obsessed with dogs, dog whisperers and domestic pets of all kinds, religious groups are paying attention, too.
Thinking Anglicans yesterday reported:
Seven diocesan synods debated the women bishops legislation today. We will update this article as results become available.
A majority of diocesan synods have now voted in favour of the main motion, and the draft legislation can now return to General Synod.
At the "art of theory" blog, Jason Brennan says it's not enough just to vote; that in fact, voting in the absence of knowledge or without an ethical fundamentum is a deeply moral problem that can do far more harm than good. Moreover, "How other people vote is my business. After all, they make it my business."
It was 47 years ago today that the House of Bishops voted 79-56, and without debate, to drop the word "Protestant" from the name of the official title of the denomination of what's popularly referred to as The Episcopal Church.
The Rev. Paul-Gordon Chandler, Rector of St. John's Church-Maadi, Cairo, Egypt and interfaith advocate writes about last week's events in Cairo with its sectarian strife and resulting deaths. Received via email.
It's stewardship season in many churches these days. Dan Hotchkiss writes a helpful essay in The Alban Weekly about striving to find your fundraising voice:
The Catholic Church in Ireland now has a "priest app." Read on:
Senior reporters for Religion Dispatches offer their thoughts and experiences on the "Occupy: movement. Anthea Butler, Elizabeth Drescher, Peter Laarman, Sarah Posner, and Nathan Schneider join the roundtable discussion:
Following is the text of Bishop Stacy Sauls' sermon from yesterday at the Everyone Everywhere 2011 conference in Estes Park, Colorado. Sauls is Chief Operating Officer of The Episcopal Church.
Trinity Church on Wall Street in Manhattan is right in the center of the disturbances taking place in lower Manhattan. The Rector has posted a statement on the parish website offering hospitality to the protestors and its hope that it can be a place of reconciliation.
Lionel Deimel reports:
And now, this 17th day of October, 2011 the Petition for Allowance of Appeal is hereby DENIED.
Good news out of Washington DC today:
"The Rev. Becca Stevens, author, Episcopal priest and social entrepreneur, has been named by the White House's Office of Public Engagement as one of 15 "Champions of Change" for her pioneering work with Magdalene/Thistle Farms, a residential community and social enterprise she founded to serve women who have survived prostitution, addiction and abuse.
News being made today as Methodist clergy and others push back against the long standing ban on same-sex marriages in the Methodist Church:
From the Episcopal Diocese of Texas:
Tuesday evening the Rt. Rev. Andy Doyle, Bishop of Texas, gathered with religious leaders from several different faiths for the Interfaith Prayer Service and Call to Action for Immigration Reform hosted by the Institute of Interfaith Dialog.
The Rev. Steve Pankey writes at his blog, "Draughting Theology," about being both "the 99%" and "the 1%." What about you? Where do you fall?
The roots of the "Occupy Movement" may be in the philosophy of anarchy:
Intellectual Roots of Wall St. Protest Lie in Academe
Movement's principles arise from scholarship on anarchy
From The Chronicle of Higher Education
UPDATED 10/20/11: see below
This morning The Anglican Communion Office noted the welcome that protestors have received by St. Paul's Cathedral in London and the Canon Chancellor Giles Fraser, but now word has come that St. Paul's is asking the protestors to leave the cathedral grounds. The cost in lack of visitors and disruption seems to be taking its toll.
Do you feel that Advent gets lost in the Christmas hype that now begins in late September? Why don't we go to the medieval roots of Advent when some folks in Europe practiced Advent for 7 weeks!?
Lindsay Hardin Freeman writes about figurative "skeletons in the sacristy" in the Episcopal Church Foundation Vital Practices blog:
Riffing on the odd durability of the "That's what she said" phenomenon, Lisa Colón DeLay writes that some contemporary worship music treads a thin, hazy line between the love of God and the, er, love of God.
Mississippi bishop Duncan Gray III has written that he cannot support the controversial pro-life proposition that will appear on next November's ballot in that state.
Bishop Andrew Waldo of the Diocese of Upper South Carolina writes an op-ed in The State about the situation in his neighboring diocese of South Carolina.
Scott Benhase, Bishop of Georgia, suggests that congregations cannot succeed until they learn how to risk failure and learn from it.
New Update 12:15 pm EDT: St. Paul's Cathedral has decided to close until further notice because the Occupy London protesters massed around St. Paul's have created massive logisitcal and safety issues for the cathedral.
Is the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom an advocate for global religious freedom or an expensive government patronage machine?
UPDATE: reaction from The Guardian to the closure of the Cathedral:
Procter Center, the camp and conference center of the Diocese of Southern Ohio, is starting a reforestation program.
Beth Wheatley Dyson reflects on stability as people who are always "in-between".
After asking the "Occupy London" protestors to leave the grounds of St. Paul's Cathedral yesterday, the Dean and Chapter are now in discussions regarding the protestors who are refusing the request.
Amid the regular budgeting process, the opening of Executive Council's meeting in Salt Lake City included reactions to the proposal by Bishop Stacy Sauls that the Episcopal Church call for a Special Convention to deal with questions of its structure.
The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth posted a statement on this Thursday's ruling regarding the ongoing property dispute with the breakaway parties headed by Bishop Jack Iker. The judge in the case has required the breakaway group to post bond and imposed injunctions to protect all the Episcopal diocesan property presently under the control of the breakaway group.
Given statements at many levels of the Episcopal Church calling for comprehensive immigration reform, and the recent actions of Episcopal bishops across the South, it looks like there may be a chance for some new allies coming from the Evangelicals in America.
It's not our intention to cover every diocesan treatment of the proposed Anglican Covenant between now and the next General Convention, except possibly when a new or different angle is exposed in the logic around it, pro or con.
So it is that this resolution, passed yesterday, has a slightly different feel about it. In particular, the last three or so paragraphs are succinct phrasings of what we sometimes hear others struggling to say.
In the Church Times, The Rev. George Pitcher, former Secretary for Public Affairs to the Archbishop of Canterbury, offers some practical advice for how religious institutions can reframe media reports about their activities and conflicts by how they deal with reporters.
Thanks to someone's sense of humor and the viral nature of social networking, adherents and aficianados of the Myers-Briggs indicator inventory now have a way to pray. It turns your "type dynamics" into an intercession of mercy upon oneself ... or the rest of the world.
In London, The Guardian's Peter Walker and Riazat Butt report St. Paul's Cathedral may be seeking an injunction against the Occupy London Stock Exchange encampment that would legally force demonstrators to remove themselves from Cathedral property.
A conversation about "mission" currently underway in our church brings to mind this old George Carlin routine.
Today I hope to roll out some of the first videos, columns and sermons from participants in the recently concluded consultation in Durban, South Africa among African Anglicans, Episcopalians and some interfaith friends on issues of justice and human sexuality. First up is a video that Bishop Jeff Lee of Chicago sent home to the people of his diocese.
The Rev. Bonnie Perry, co-founder of the Chicago Consultation, preached this sermon about the recently concluded consultation on justice and human sexuality to her congregation at All Saints Church in Chicago yesterday.
Bishop Mark Beckwith of Newark attended the recent consultation in Durban, South Africa on issues of justice and sexuality. It inspired a reflection recently published on his blog that included this passage:
The Executive Council of The Episcopal Church met in Salt Lake City, UT over the weekend. From Episcopal News Service:
Executive Council submits General Convention resolution saying church is 'unable to adopt Anglican Covenant'
Huffington Post reports on a poster campaign from a ten member Ohio University student group Students Teaching Against Racism
The Vatican is calling for global oversight of world economy and overhaul of financial systems according to Laurie Goodstein, in The New York Times:
Sean O'Neil reflects on the rising of a Protestant saint Religion Dispatches:
Eight years of litigation involving the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh is over:
Property litigation involving Episcopal Diocese is over
By Ann Rodgers in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The leadership of St. Paul's Cathedral, London, seems to be heading down the march of folly with their decision to ask the protesters to cease their protest so that the Cathedral can reopen:
Poet and peacemaker John Philip Newell reflects on Gandhi's concept of soul-force as he considers the way ahead after Gaddafi's death.
11/11/11: Our Instinct for Unity
John Philip Newell in The Huffington Post
St. Paul's Cathedral, London, to reopen despite protest:
Does your church have one?
If the church is in decline, what should we do?
How Dying Churches Can Turn Things Around
By Barrett Owen in EthicsDaily
What might be the future of seminary education? Patheos blog is offering an online symposium which attempts to answer this question:
The website of St. Paul's Cathedral has posted the news that The Reverend Canon Dr Giles Fraser, Chancellor, has resigned from his post.
House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson, in her opening and closing remarks at the recently concluded Executive Council of the Episcopal Church meeting, emphasized "...the essential role of laypeople and clergy in church governance and the Five Marks of Mission as a guidepost and measuring stick for our work in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion."
Zack Ford, on Think Progressive, writes hopeful news for the country of Tunisia concerning human rights.
This resolution was adopted with no opposition at the Diocesan Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Oregon on Oct. 16, 2011.
TENS (The Episcopal Network for Stewardship) has released a new website providing resources for people working in parish stewardship and looking to create broader involvement within their community.
According to a statement posted on the Cathedral's website, the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's have decided to pursue legal action this morning to remove the #Occupy London protestors camped out on the close.
The people of Christchurch in New Zealand are still suffering from an ongoing series of earthquakes that began with the devastating earthquake in February. The historic Anglican Cathedral in that city was heavily damaged in the quakes and has since been closed and condemned.
Diana Butler Bass writes that its time for the Protestant churches to remember their heritage. Especially so as many will be celebrating Reformation Day on Nov. 1 (in commemoration of Martin Luther's posting of the 95 Theses on the door of Wittenburg Castle Church).
The news from and about the Occupy London protests at St. Paul's Cathedral keep coming. Today, a question about where the Archbishop of Canterbury is in all this, a satiric rendition of what went on behind the scenes, and more comment about how St. Paul's (and along with them, the Church of England) have made their response a public relations disaster. And there may be more resignations.
Back in the States, the mainline religious community and even elements of American evangelicalism has rallied around the Occupy movement, even as the movement sees itself as mainly a secular phenomenon.
The Church Times reports that directors of News Corp met with representatives of the Church of England to talk about "serious ethical concerns" arising out of the recent phone-hacking scandal.
There is an explosion in religiously-oriented apps. The Book Bench blog at the New Yorker says that scripture and religious apps are downloaded more often than Angry Birds.
The parliament of Uganda has our attention again. Bloomberg BusinessWeek reported last week:
A story has been making the rounds in the last few days that purports to demonstrate that Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori knew that the Bede Parry, a former Roman Catholic monk, had sexually abused minors and was likely to do so again when she received him as a priest into the Episcopal Church while she was serving as the Bishop of Nevada.
With updates at bottom of file.
The slow motion train wreck that is St. Paul's Cathedral's handling of its encounter with OccupyLondon has claimed another victim. The cathedral announced today that its dean, the Rt. Rev. Graeme Knowles plans to resign today.
Gary Hall, rector of Christ Church, Cranbrook in the Diocese of Michigan, has written a learned and entertaining disquistion on horror movies, what they tell us about our culture, and the questions they pose for the church.
Writing for the Alban Institute, Susan Beaumont discusses the advantages and limitations of large parishes. The advantages are:
Active membership in The Episcopal Church has dipped below 2 million, after a three percent decline in 2010. The numbers are here.