Ecumenism Roman Catholic style

In this Washington Post story, the Very Rev. Thomas Ferguson, Dean of Bexley Hall Seminary does a nice job of gently expressing concern and dampening some of the hype surrounding the "ordinariate" that the Roman Catholic Church has created to welcome disaffected Anglicans.

First the hype:

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Last year's top stories from The Lead

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori's role in accepting a former Catholic monk who had sexually abused children into the Episcopal Church was far and away the most closely followed news story on Episcopal Cafe in 2011.

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Year in Review: Telling Secrets

The Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Kaeton who blogs at Telling Secrets has an Episcopal Year in Review. Kaeton asked her readers to tell her what stories they thought stood out:

It's the eve of the new year of 2012. Already, 2012 is distinguished by an optimism that is probably mostly due to the fact that it's not 2011.

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Flinging the doors open wide

So if you were a rector, or the leader of an Episcopal congregation, this is the kind of story you'd want written about you and your church. It appeared in the Newark Star Ledger. Of course, you need to have a ministry that justifies the story.

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Faith-based predictions for 2012

CNN's Belief blog invited pundits and scholars to contribute to a list of 15 faith-based predictions for 2012. As a collection, they are pretty self-serving, but here are three that caught our eye:

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Looking ahead: The Episcopal Church in 2012

Here is a look at just some of what may lie ahead for the Episcopal Church in 2012. Feel free to add your thoughts.

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Padre Alberto on Preaching the Latino gospel in the US

The Rev. Alberto Cutié has written an article for CNN on preaching the Latino gospel. He writes:

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Trinity Church, Wilmington blesses Delware's first civil union

Delaware's first civil union was blessed at Trinity Episcopal Church in Wilmington. Some readers may recognize the Rev. Patricia Downing in the photograph accompanying this article.

In renewing the Episcopal Church, what exactly is up for grabs?

We thought this exchange in the comments on an earlier item that made reference to declining participation in Episcopal Churches was worth highlighting.

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Prayers for GOE takers

The General Ordination Examinations begin this week. What was your experience? Stories of terror or humor? What strategies do you suggest for getting through the week? For test takers and spouses/partners?

In light of the discussions about the future of the church what is your opinion of the Exams? Do you think the exams make any difference to the church? or are they one more form of "hazing" and "hoops"? for those seeking ordination?

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There are no barriers to God's love

Mark Pinsky discusses accessibility and churches at Alban Institute this week:

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12 things church communication directors want you to know

From Media Salt, a communications director notes 12 things he would like senior clergy and lay leaders to know for 2012:

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General Convention 2012: what are the issues?

The Rev. Stephen E. Moore also known as "The (Humble) Vicar of (All) Bellevue" and Clergy Deputy from the Diocese of Olympia (Western Washington state) asks:

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ABC says: don't give up on the young

Sky News reports that both the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Pope sent New Years Messages that encourage society to pay more attention to youth and not to give up hope on them:

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Texas bishop weighs in on Ordinariate

Seeing as how the Anglican Ordinariate has set up shop in his backyard (it will run out of Houston), The Rt. Rev. Andrew Doyle, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas, thought it wise to frame the event with some of his own understanding about what it is and how it might be regarded.

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Zimbabwean police break up clergy gathering; Makgoba calls for response

From the Episcopal News Service, word of a January 3rd prayer meeting in the Diocese of Harare broken up by state police under Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

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Enough with the holiday guilt already

Fr. Tim of Clergy Family Confidential, etc., says guilt is pointless after New Year's.

When you make a resolution you can’t keep, you’re left with one thing: guilt. This is the reason I don’t make New Year’s resolutions.

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National Cathedral appoints interim dean

The Rev. Dr. Francis H. Wade will serve as interim dean of Washington National Cathedral, Episcopal News Service reports.

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Shooing them out in Iowa

There hasn't been much in the way of snow over the past several weeks, and right now in northwest Iowa the ground is the same dull brown it's been for months - the same brown it turned all the way back in July, when it stopped raining here. This morning I looked outside and by some trick of the imagination, thought momentarily, I really need to get my seeds in the garden bed. That was the right half of my brain. Not yet, said the left hemisphere, a few more months. See that Christmas wreath? But hang in there.

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Shop with ties to KKK must yield to black church, judge rules

File under Sweet Justice. AP has the story.

After a lengthy legal battle between a black South Carolina church and members of the Ku Klux Klan, a judge has ruled that the church owns a building where KKK robes and T-shirts are sold.

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"All God's Children: Raising Children of Faith Through Adaptive Worship"

Be quiet. Sit still. Pay attention.

This is church for many children, but not at St. John's Episcopal Church in Montclair NJ.

T.D. Shoudy writes for The Montclair Times, found on Northjersey.com:

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Giles Fraser interviewed on BBC

Reverend Canon Dr Giles Fraser, who resigned in protest from his position as Chancellor of St Paul's over how the cathedral handled its relationship with the Occupy movement, was interviewed in depth on the BBC Newsnight. (Watch the video here)

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Rio Grande bishop writes pastoral letter about ordinariate

The Lead has been covering news on the Anglican Ordinariate, including The Rt. Rev. Andrew Doyle's excellent framing of how it might be regarded.

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More conversation from comments on The Lead

There have been some very thoughtful comments lately on The Lead as we think about the future of the church. In addition to sincerely thanking those who have taken the time to read and respond, we thought it might be informative to look closely at some of the comments.

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The bishop, the "shock jock", and the surprise of God's love

The Rt. Rev. Mark Hollingsworth Jr. Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Ohio, is a remarkable presence in his conversation with a Cleveland "shock jock" about the saying "God loves you. No exceptions."

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Seven questions every church should ask

The Rev. Dr. Gary Nicolosi, rector at St. James Westminster Anglican Church in London, Ontario, suggests seven questions that every church should ask itself.

From the Anglican Journal:

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PB interviewed on LCMS radio

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori is interviewed by Pastor Todd Wilkens on the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod radio program "Issues etc."

You can listen to her conversation here.

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Ohio bishops write to governor & legislature about fracking

The Episcopal Dioceses of Ohio and Southern Ohio sent a letter today to Ohio Governor John Kasich and state legislators regarding resolutions passed at both dioceses annual conventions addressing development of hydraulic fracturing in the State of Ohio.

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CofE sexuality advisory group: five men, no women.

The Church of England has appointed a committee of five* men to study issues of human sexuality and produce a report for the House of Bishops.

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Texas Supreme Court notes jurisdiction of Fort Worth case

From the Diocese of Fort Worth website:

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Not interested

Studies are appearing that reveal that there are significant numbers of people who are not only unaffiliated religiously but also don't really care. Call them the not-spiritual-not-religious.

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"Journey of the Magi"

For Epiphany, we bring you T.S. Eliot reading his poem:

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Cardinal apologizes for comparing gay pride parade to KKK

Cardinal Francis George of Chicago apologized for comparing the gay pride parade to the Ku Klux Klan. The Chicago Tribune reports:

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Do dogs go to heaven?

The Anniston Star explores the ongoing question of whether or not our animal companions go to heaven:

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Red Thread Promise

PBS Religion and Ethics tells the story of two congregations of New Orleans and Haiti connected by disaster:

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If I die app

Now you can have no worries about what happens on your Facebook account after you die:

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Will married priests change the Roman Catholic Church?

Will having more married Roman Catholic priests change the rules on celibacy in the Roman Catholic Church? The New York Times reports that there are currently 80 married priests in the US and more to come as the Ordinariate welcomes married men who are priests into the clergy ranks.

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Responsible finance, economic justice and churches

Ekklesia offers a discussion paper on responsible finance, economic justice and the role of the church. From the abstract of the paper:

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Elect a "moral" candidate? Or one who can win?

Bob Smietana of the Tennessean writes:

Noah was a mean drunk, Moses a murderer, King David an adulterer and then a murderer.

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Single and loving it

Being single throughout adulthood is more and more common and less stigmatized but many people--as well as workplaces and the church--don't get that it is possible to be single and never want to get married or have children.

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Catholic laity more supportive of gay rights than hierarchy

A report in the Stamford (CT) Advocate tells about a support group for LGBT Roman Catholics that encourages sexual abstinence and avoiding same unions or marriage. It is a kind of middle way between the stand taking by the Catholic group Dignity USA, which is for full inclusion, and mindless gay-bashing. The problem is that a new study shows that most Catholic laity are way ahead of their heirarchy in accepting LGBT persons in their midst.

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Uganda's Archbishop Orombi to retire one year early

From the Church of Uganda website come the news of the call for election of a new Archbishop by the Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi:

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Jobless clergy seek the right fit

Columbus Dispatch writer Meredith Heagney has filed a story about the impact of the current economic climate on pastors.

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Therapy almost never changes sexual orientation, proponent says

Denominations that are aggressively opposed to including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Christians in the life of the church frequently assert that LGBT people are simply failed heterosexuals who need to discover their true natures. But, as Warren Throckmorton reports, even those in the orientation changing business say that this almost never happens.

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Is our deployment system broken?

Here at the Cafe, we are trying to mix more conversation about the future of the Episcopal Church, and other profound issues, such as whether squirrels go to heaven, into our usual mix of faith-related news. Last week, a post from Scott Gunn at Seven Whole Days, caught our eye. He listed a number of things in the Episcopal Church that need fixing, prominent among them the way in which parishes select clergy.

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Must the PB be CEO?

In commenting on an earlier item at the Cafe, Lionel Deimel asked:

Why should our church be led by a bishop? I would feel very much better if our highest officer was a layperson. The Church does not exist for the benefit of clergy. Moreover, experience suggests that most mischief in the Church is initiated by bishops.

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Five lessons the church can learn from Facebook

Mark McNees has discerned five lessons that the church can learn from Facebook, and has rolled out the first four.

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Unsurprising, still depressing: Pope on same-gender marriage

Reuters is reporting that Pope Benedict XVI, said "that gay marriage was one of several threats to the traditional family that undermined 'the future of humanity itself.' '

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#GreatAwakening

Tripp Hudgins, who blogs and tweets as AngloBaptist, has written an article called @SeaburyNext and the #Great Awakening of seminary education about an event sponsored this weekend by Seabury Western Seminary and the Diocese of Chicago that featured presentations by Bishop Jeff Lee, Diana Butler Bass and Brian McLaren.

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A necessary covenant?

The Primate of the Anglican Church of South Africa has posted an open letter calling on provinces of the Anglican Communion to adopt the Anglican Covenant. The questions to be asked are why now, and who is the audience?

The Anglican Communion Office has a summary of the Archbishop's letter which can be read in it's entirety on their website:

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Where should the bread of heaven be made?

Most Episcopalians open their hands and receive the "body of Christ, the bread of heaven" on a weekly basis. But not many of us know much about the actual bread pressed into our palm. It turns out, the for congregations that purchase their wafers rather than make them, the majority of the wafers say something interesting about the Church as a business.

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SCLM asks for more feedback

The Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music (SCLM) has been tasked by General Convention with creating resources to be submitted to General Convention for approval for trial use for same-gender blessings in the church. They've been collecting resources, studying them and are now asking us for feedback on where they are in the work.

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Sewanee lowers tuition for seminarians

Sewanee, one of the historic seminaries of the Episcopal Church has announced that it is acting to bring its costs to students more in line with the costs of other Episcopal seminaries and will be dropping its tuition by nearly $4,000 (more than 20%).

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Worship brings no transformational change for many

There's a new study out from Barna. In the study it is reported that roughly a quarter of the people attending church on Sundays are experiencing profound life changing connections. A quarter are finding something is different. But almost half the people who go to church on a Sunday are feeling like nothing is different. For half the church going public, the experience of a transformational experience with God isn't happening on Sunday morning.

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Breaking: Diocese of Virginia wins reversal in CANA property case

UPDATED: The Falls Church responds:

“Although we are profoundly disappointed by today’s decision, we offer our gratitude to Judge Bellows for his review of this case. As we prayerfully consider our legal options, we above all remain steadfast in our effort to defend the historic Christian faith. Regardless of today’s ruling, we are confident that God is in control, and that He will continue to guide our path,” said Jim Oakes, spokesperson for the seven Anglican congregations.

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Marriage equality: listening for God rather than imposing

Fox News (!) gives space to Shari Johnson, the mother to a now-married lesbian daughter, to tell her tale. In the telling, she disputes the previously aired opinions of Mark Driscoll, a pastor who believes sex is fundamentally an act of selfishness - but still, a kind of selfishness which only one man and one woman may enjoy.

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Getting the story right - the pope on gay marriage

He may well be against marriage equality for LGBT persons, but Pope Benedict XVI wasn't as vitriolic as he was recently made to seem.

In a speech given Monday to the diplomatic corp at the Vatican, the pope said

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Does that make them Koptics?

Swedish lexicographers take note: We here in the U.S. often and carelessly use the phrase "practically a religion" and apply it to ideas that could never actually be a religion, but that for whatever reason are highly regarded by certain persons. Now, though, when referring to the practice of file-sharing, please remember to preface the term with "the religion of." Or, if you like, just Kopism for short.

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Bishop Robinson reflects on the New Hampshire vote

Andrew Harmon reports on his visit with New Hampshire's bishop, Gene Robinson, in which Robinson reflected on the this week's actions of Republican voters in that state.

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End human trafficking

Today is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day.

In the Episcopal Diocese of Iowa, Rev. Brian McVey, rector of St. Alban's, Davenport, quietly began a ministry of presence at a local truckstop after he heard that people were being exchanged there like livestock for the purposes of the sex trade.

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Supreme Court recognizes “ministerial exception” to job discrimination laws

UPDATE: see below

The New York Times reported on a decision by the Supreme Court, excerpted below:

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"The prayer book is the first thing that can and must be negotiated."

Once again, a provocative comment by one of our readers leads to its own post.

Josh Magda commented on Derek Olsen's Daily Episcopalian piece on what's "Non-negotiable."

Josh wrote:

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Haiti: 2 years later

Two years after the earthquake leveled much of Port-au-Prince and other parts of Haiti- many still live in tents - awaiting promised aid. The Episcopal Church, through the Episcopal Church Foundation is trying to rebuild the Cathedral as a center for renewal of life. Episcopal Relief and Development is supporting people to rebuild their lives.

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WWGD? (That's Galileo)

An excerpt from The Rev. Susan Russell's response to an email with the subject line "The Clear Truth Of Scripture", found in The Huffington Post:

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When the 'Impulse Buy' Is for Charity

An interesting analysis of "impulse giving" by Megan Garber in The Atlantic on Pew's Internet & American Life Project:

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Wives of newly minted Catholic priests be careful

Sara Ritchey of the University of Louisiana, Lafayette, looks at the medieval tradition and the current state of Roman Catholicism and advises the wives of former Anglican clergy who become Roman Catholic priests to be very, very careful. Because underneath the doctrine of mandatory priestly celibacy is an understanding of human nature that fundamentally hostile to women.

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Why should there be an Episcopal Church?

Another comment from a previous post piqued our interest: the writer asks why there should be an Episcopal Church, what defines us, and what would be missing if we were gone?

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Made for goodness

Desmond Tutu writes in the Huffington Post that God made everyone for goodness and he tells the story of three people who demonstrate it..

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Jesus > Religion

A video making the rounds talks about how Jesus came to abolish religion. He says that is possible to love Jesus but hate religion.

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After Haiti, painting with a passion

Sister Marjorie Raphael, SSM, was living in a convent on the grounds of the Holy Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in downtown Port-au-Prince, Haiti when the earthquake hit two years ago. She is now back at the Sisters of St. Margaret convent in Roxbury, Massachusetts and has returned to painting.

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Who makes what; clergy salaries compared

Many Episcopal congregations are in the midst of the final decisions from their annual budgets and getting ready for the Annual meeting. What to pay the clergy is always a major question, given the clergy salaries are usually the single largest line item in a congregation's budget. There's a wide variance in most dioceses between what clergy make and there are different ways of working out guidelines, if they exist at all. But what about clergy in other denominations? What do their average salaries look like?

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What is a just distribution?

Trinity, Wall Street is hosting a theological conversation on the question of wealth distribution. It's worth noting because of the significant criticism that they have received because of their unwillingness to open Duarte Park to the Occupy Wall Street Protestors.

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One diocese's story of protecting against abuse

The Diocese of Northwestern PA has recently had the difficult experience of having the sexual abuse caused by a former bishop come to light. The present bishop, Sean Rowe, has been working ever since to try to heal the wounds and to make sure that nothing like it will ever happen again.

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Lady Runcie, a life remembered

Lady Rosalind Runcie, the widow of Lord Robert Runcie the 102nd Archbishop of Canterbury died on Thursday. She was a remarkable woman who always struggled with her role as a clergy spouse and yet is said to have made an "important and vital contribution" to the life of the Church of England

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New York resolves

The Diocese of New York, meeting in convention, passed resolutions on marriage equality and on Occupy Wall Street.

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Did your church celebrate the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., today?

Did your church celebrate the life of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., today? If so, tell us how. (The post originally asked if you celebrated the feast of Dr. King. But his feast is April 4.)

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'Religion can be beautiful': A pastor responds to 'Jesus>Religion'

On Friday we posted a video - "Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus" - that had been making the electronic rounds lately. It created a good conversation when it landed here.

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First gathering of Episcopal "ethnic" ministries

Due to a long time desire for a consultation, missioners working with predominantly Latino/Hispanic, Native American, Asian and Black congregations were able to come together in Oklahoma City to study the Bible, and share experiences of mission, leadership and theological training in their settings. Lelanda Lee of Executive Council reports some findings at a Facebook group:

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Two C of E bishops worry that Covenant debate is rigged

The following letter, written by two retired bishops in the Church of England appeared in last week's issue of The Church Times, retirement being the moment at which bishops in the English church are given back the anatomical features necessary to speak. Calm down, I am talking about their tongues. Or perhaps their spleens. At any rate:

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Ugandan ambassador withdraws from MLK event over LGBT legislation

The Washington Blade is reporting news that it had a hand in making.

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The Confederate battle flag on display at Episcopal cemetery

My wife and I recently dropped in at a church that my grandfather served early in his career during the 1920s and 30s, one of three churches in his circuit. It is one of the oldest and most historic parishes in the Diocese of Virginia.

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Outward signs

One of the things I like about my parish is that while a few of the men come to the Eucharist dressed in jacket and tie, many people show up in jeans and sweaters. I am among the latter. It isn’t that I consider the Eucharist a casual affair, quite the opposite. But I need to step out of the costume I wear to establish my credentials as a person who should be taken seriously in the working world into clothes that allow me to present a humbler front to God.

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Misleading media coverage: the latest in the Jeffrey John saga

Articles appeared in several British newspapers over the weekend suggesting that Dean Jeffrey John of St. Alban's Cathedral was going to sue the Church of England for discrimination unless he is made a bishop. We don't think these stories were quite right.

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Christians to form ring of prayer around Occupy London camp

UPDATE: St. Paul's joins effort to oust protesters while others form ring of prayer. From Ekklesia:

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And one more story from Martin Luther King, Jr Day

From Morning Call:

A benefit brunch for the soup kitchen at Bethlehem's Trinity Episcopal Church honored Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but also dished up a delicious taste of black history Sunday, thanks to its added focus on Edna "Ma" Bragg.

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95 CoE churches want to hold Civil Partnership ceremonies

95 Church of England churches want to explore holding Civil Partnership ceremonies if it is allowed by General Synod, according to Inclusive Church:

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"Buy-cott"

Many are buying more Girl Scout cookies than usual (a buy-cott) to combat this campaign against the inclusive policies of the Girl Scouts. CNN tells what is happening.

The Girl Scout cookie can't seem to catch a break.

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Courage to date

Kerry Cronin, Boston College's "dating doctor" writes in Christian Century on the dating scene or lack of dating on college campuses these days. A sample:

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Why we need diversity

An old Candid Camera video, using the Asch experiment, shows the power of "group-think" but Brain Pickings reports that having just one colleague express a different opinion made others eager to share their opinions.

Having just one peer contravene the group made subjects eager to express their true thoughts. Surowiecki concludes:

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On gobbling up the leftovers at God's table

A video from 2006 has gone into recirculation. It shows Gordon Atkinson, who was then a Baptist minister in San Antonio and (is still) affiliated with the Real Live Preacher blog, trying out different kinds of communion wafers and being disgusted by each and every one of them. (Even after rating one kind of wafer as being better than the others, Atkinson dismisses it by saying, “Don’t get me wrong, it’s still bad.”)

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Salting old wounds in the Diocese of the Rio Grande

The announcement that Jeffrey Steenson, a former bishop of the Diocese of the Rio Grande, would spearhead the efforts of the Roman Catholic church's Anglican Ordinariate initiative was met with further feeling of betrayal and hurt by the people of the Rio Grande, the Albuquerque Journal reports. (Please note that the link lives on a site that requires a paid subscription.)

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London Occupiers should be evicted from St. Paul's, judge rules

From BBC, word that the City of London has successfully litigated in High Court to force eviction of Occupy London protesters from the grounds of St. Paul's Cathedral.

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Diocese of Georgia remembers MLK

From The Rev. Frank Logue, Canon for Congregational Development for the Diocese of Georgia, this text and video chronicling the commemoration of MLK Day in that diocese.

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Diocese of Maryland reaches settlement with Anglican Use parish

The Rt. Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton, bishop of Maryland, has announced settlement over real and personal property issues with an Anglican Use congregation, Mount Calvary in Baltimore.

He writes today:

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Part of why church growth is hard

Carol Howard Merritt is fast becoming one of the most sensible and perceptive bloggers/twitterers out there. Her post yesterday on the Duke Divinity Call & Response Blog clearly points to a problem with contemporary dynamics of how churches grow and who can be accounted among those responsible for growth.

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Evangelicals crown Santorum as their man; some hesitate, others split the vote

UPDATED: This article has been changed to correct a misreading of the David Neff article. Our thanks to those pointing out the error, and regrets for allowing it to slip by for the better part of a day.

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Martin E. Marty on Ministerial Exception

Martin E. Marty writes on his blog at The University of Chicago Divinity School on the recent supreme court decision. Here is an excerpt:

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Occupy London to be protected by a ring of prayer

Ekklesia reports that over 250 people have already pledged to join a circle of prayer around the Occupy camp near St Paul's Cathedral if it faces forced removal by bailiffs or police. A court in London ruled yesterday that the camp could be evicted on or after January 27th.

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Anglican Women gather in New York to consider Communion's advocacy efforts

The Anglican Communion website has announced that 20 Anglican women from around the world will engage with the United Nations' 56th Commission on the Status of Women, to be held next month.

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Sabotage in CoE nominations committee

Colin Coward of Changing Attitude speculates that the person who leaked the information about a possible nomination of Jeffrey John as Bishop of Southwark is a member of the Crown Nominations Committee. Someone who feels he can violate the oath of confidentiality to keep gay men from becoming bishops:

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Grace Catherdral's inaugural artist in residence program

Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, launches its inaugural Artist in Residence program with noted playwright and actor Anna Deavere Smith.

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Celebrating a winning loss

The Human Relations Commission of Holland, Michigan, awarded a local group called "Holland is Ready" for leading a failed campaign to outlaw discrimination in housing and employment. The commission recommended that city council adopt the ordinance after a year of studying the issue.

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Blessed are the mean

Christianity Today features this video today:

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The Church of England says nothing new about ACNA

Thinking Anglicans brings news of a report signed to the General Synod of the Church of England signed by Archbishops Rowan Williams and John Sentamu reflecting on the relationship, such as it is, of the church to the Anglican Church in North America.

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Documentary on Gene Robinson's ministry to premiere at Sundance

Bishop Gene Robinson's life and ministry is profiled in a new film set to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on Monday. The movie "Love Free or Die" is a documentary look at the strains in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion surrounding Bishop Robinson's election, consecration and ministry.

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Religious institutions allowed extra year to comply

Washington Post notes that the Obama Administration is extending the deadline for religious institutions to comply with the mandate to provide coverage for birth control.

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Suppressed "Osborne Report" released

Ever since 1991, the document Issues in Human Sexuality has been the framework for moral teaching about human sexuality in the Church of England. The background work that led to this "discussion" document has never been released until now.

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Church of England 'must accept actively gay clergy'

Diarmaid MacCulloch calls for an end to the imposition of mandatory celibacy on gay and lesbian clergy in the Church of England arguing from historical precedent that such requirements have never worked for the health of the Church.

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Losing their church; how the young navigate

David Kinnamen, the president of the Barna Group has a new book out that examines the ways that young people navigate the transition from High School to Young Adulthood in terms of their faith; and why so many decide to leave church. The book's title is "You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church and Rethinking Faith." He's interviewed more than 5,000 teens and twenty-somethings and finds that there's a relatively common thread in all of their experiences.

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Montana religious leaders work to save a man from execution

Montana clergy, including Episcopal Bishop The Rt. Rev. Franklin C. Brookhart, are working together to save the only Canadian in an American death-row from execution.

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Worship for all of God's children

Imagine you wanted to create a liturgy for children who simply couldn't manage the demands of a traditional liturgy, even a child friendly liturgy. And what would you do so that the worship wouldn't just accommodate their special needs but would communicate appropriately to them?

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Bishop Sutton strikes conciliatory note in essay on ordinariate

Bishop Eugene Sutton of Maryland has written an op-ed in the Baltimore Sun about the recent comings and goings between the Episcopal Church and the Roman Catholic Church.

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Bill Tully says goodbye to St. Bart's

The New York Times offers a retrospective on the tenure of the Rev. Bill Tully on the occasion of his retirement as rector of St. Bartholomew's Church in New York City.

The story begins:

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Megadeth bassist becomes a seminarian

David Ellefson, bassist for the band Megadeth, is entering seminary according to Reverb, Denver Post:

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A Katharine Jefferts Schori doll? Why didn't we think of that?

Word that Iran is cracking down on stores selling Barbie dolls has Leesha Faulkner thinking...

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A lesbian Episcopal priest visits her parents' native India

The Rev. Winnie Varghese, priest in charge at St. Mark's Church in the Bowery in New York City, was in India recently to attend "continuing indaba" conversations among members of the Church of North India, the Diocese of Derby in England, and the Diocese of New York when the Mid-Day paper in Mumbai caught up with her. Varghese is an ethnic Kerali, who was raised in Dallas.

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What can the Episcopal Church learn from Kodak's bankruptcy

In 1996, Kodak was the fourth most valuable brand in the world behind only Disney, Coca-Cola and McDonald's. Last week it filed for bankruptcy. At this blog Preaching Scarf, Jake Dell contemplates Kodak's fate and wonders if there are lessons in its downfall for the Episcopal Church.

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Numbers: Episcopalians who join the ordinariate, Catholics who become Episcopalians

In the last month, I have prepared three different Episcopal clients to speak to reporters about the advent of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, through which disaffected Anglicans can join the Roman Catholic Church while continuing to use an Anglican rite of worship. This story has appeared in major newspaper across the country, often accompanied by commentary about the Vatican’s bold move against the theologically liberal Episcopal Church.

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Breaking: In state of Washington, marriage equality bill on verge of passing

Reuters is reporting that marriage equality may be on the verge of becoming law in the state of Washington.

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Duncan, those with firmer grasp on reality, assess latest from CofE

Last week the Archbishops of Canterbury and York put their names to a document that will be presented to the General Synod of the Church of England that changes exactly nothing about the relationship between the schismatic Anglican Church in North America and the rest of the Anglican Communion.

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Clergy burnout: what causes it, how do you avoid it?

The Florida Times-Union published a lengthy story yesterday on clergy burnout and how to avoid it. The story quotes these troubling statistics: 80 percent of clergy say their job negatively affects their families and almost 60 percent say they would leave ministry if they had another vocation.

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"Love Free or Die" premieres at Sundance Film Festival

Macky Alston's documentary focusing on Bishop Gene Robinson opened last night at the Sundance Film Festival.

Macky wrote in expectation of the premiere in an article published yesterday in Filmmaker, remembering the beginning of the journey:

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The Church of England's "solution" in allowing women bishops

Andrew Brown of the Guardian appears stunned by the House of Bishops plan to mollify opponents of female bishops:

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Occupy articles invoking Civil Rights and Dr. King

Two recent articles suggesting linking between the Civil Rights movement and the Occupy Wall Street movement.

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Evangelical C of E bishop withdraws endorsement of controversial book

Rt. Rev. Wallace Benn, Suffragan Bishop of Lewes on the south coast of England, has apparently withdrawn his prior endorsement of a controversial book advocating marital rape, a tweet from former St. Paul's Chancellor Giles Fraser tells us.

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Is that an ad for my church on the side of that school bus?

It’s not within our usual ambit for the Café, but consider the following.

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'God wants more Jonahs': Bill Tully on spiritual community

After 18 years as Rector of St. Bart's in New York, and following on an announcement made last year, Bill Tully has retired. His final sermon there was a meditation on Jonah and its very real implications for the maintenance of spiritual community for today.

He concluded, in part:

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Opting out of the Denominational Health Plan?

At its 195th convention last November, the Diocese of Ohio approved language that both adjusted to the reality of living with the Denominational Health Plan and, in another resolution, R-8, asked the General Convention to remove the requirements from A177 that require diocesan participation.

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Nearing anniversary of activist's death, Mbeki speaks out

Tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of the day David Kato, a gay activist in Uganda, was beaten to death in his neighborhood with a hammer after his photo appeared in a local paper under the headline "Hang Them."

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NY Times makes a fix

I'd like to thank The New York Times for printing the following correction this morning, and for the thoughtful exchanges of emails that led up to it.

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Forward Movement promotes Lent Madness

From email:
Lent Madness 2012 Announced

The third annual “saintly smackdown” begins February 23rd

Lent Madness pits holy saints against one another in a battle to win the coveted Golden Halo. But it is more than that: Lent Madness is really an online devotional tool designed to help people learn about saints. The competition begins on Thursday, February 23.

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PA has a groundhog, TEC has a peacock

Cathedral of St. John the Divine, NYC
is wondering if Spring is in the air. A visitor today spotted Phil with tail feathers dazzling and gorgeously open, a sign which - if past years hold true - harkens warmer days ahead...

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Presiding Bishop and General Convention

The Presiding Bishop talks to the Bishops and Deputies about the Church Center Budget and Canons as a prelude to General Convention 2012. Looking forward to President of the House of Deputies Bonnie Anderson's view of our tasks ahead from the Deputies' perspective.

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Anti-Americanism and the Anglican Covenant

Jonathan Clatworthy of Modern Church discusses Canon Librarian at Norwich Cathedral Stephen Doll's paper "Anglican Covenant - Bishop's Council" which was circulated to all bishops in the Church of England. It intends to support voting for the Anglican Covenant and has the Archbishop of Canterbury's approval (including the anti-American rhetoric):

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Six questions for supporters of marriage equality

The Rev. Lisa Cressman, assistant priest at St. Mary's Episcopal Church, Basswood Grove, MN, answers were selected from all the responses by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Star-Tribune when the paper asked Six questions for supporters of marriage equality. How would you answer?

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ABC on Holocaust Memorial Day

From the Anglican Communion News Service, a video of the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams speaking about Holocaust Memorial Day. Williams asks who will speak for the stranger, the neighbour, and those in danger?

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For CofE Synod, it's decision time on women bishops

It's coming down to the wire. Next month's General Synod of the Church of England will spend much of its time on the question of women bishops. 42 out 44 dioceses have expressed a desire for women in the episcopate, so now comes the question of how to make it happen, and that question is hinging on the related issue of how to accommodate the minority who is against the idea. So much of the debate will focus on what is called the "Code of Practice."

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Birth registration as a basic human right

The International Anglican Family Network (IAFN) has launched a global campaign to register births. The network is calling on Anglican churches to partner with government and other agencies to ensure that babies born in 2012 and after are registered.

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Breaking: Executive Council receives dueling budget proposals

Updated with Episcopal News Service story.

Executive Council has received two different budget proposals from its Executive Committee.

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A new black theology that recovers ancient texts and forumlae

Jonathan Tran reviews three books that he says redefine both black theology and challenges many assumptions white theologians hold about the relationship between race and the theological enterprise.

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Faith, Myth and Star Wars

Liel Leibovitz writes in the Tablet why George Lucas' new film Red Tails is forcing him to look at the original Star Wars trilogy in a new light, reflecting on the difference between faith and myth.

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Three cheers for the conversation between science and faith!

Our own Nick Knisely, Dean of Trinity Cathedral in Pheonix, Arizona, thinks alot about science and faith and talks about the breathless news reports that physicists were ready to announce that they’d discovered, at long last, the Higgs Boson – the so-called “God Particle.” It turns out that the actual announcement was not nearly as exciting.

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ABY Sentamu: Government cannot allow same-sex marriage

The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu says that if David Cameron's government tries to redefine civil-partnerships into same-sex marriage then Cameron will be acting like any of dictator around the world. Sentamu insists that the State has no role in defining marriage.

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NYC Cathedral builds new tower for revenue

The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in New York City is preparing to lease a part of its property to a developer. The plan is to build a second tower containing residential apartments that will in turn provide a steady revenue stream to the Cathedral. The first tower, finished in 2008, contains 295 apartments with a mix of subsidized and non-subsidized rental agreements.

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Executive Council pushes back on budget

Yesterday two competing budget proposals were presented to Executive Council. Today the members of Council are beginning to look closely at what was given to them, and reacting to what they're finding. They're not pleased.

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Former Episcopalians look for new path

In an overview of the turmoil in the Anglican Mission of America, Bob Smietana in The Tennessean Newspaper, lays out the issues confronting the members of the Anglican Mission in America (AMiA) as they try to regroup. The article begins by quoting a former Episcopal priest who left to join the AMiA and who describes the present situation as "It’s sinful, it’s ugly, it’s wrong […] And it doesn’t bring honor to the name of Christ.”

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LGBT students at major Christian schools

What is it like to be LGBT Christian attending a major Christian University? It's hard. There are lots of tears. And there's no one to talk to as people are trying to come to terms with their orientation. If you'd like a window into the experience check out the new file "Let Your Light Shine".

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Love Free or Die wins at Sundance

Sundance Film Festival announces awards:

Winner of the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Prize for Grace Under Pressure:

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Travesty of half-truths

Lionel Deimel takes a very close look at the American-in-England's pro-covenant essay that was circulated by the Archbishop of Canterbury to the bishops. An excerpt from a detailed commentary on the entire Doll essay:

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President of House of Deputies clears up confusion

Received via email from Dr. Bonnie Anderson, President of the House of Deputies:

January 29, 2012
Dear Deputies and First Alternates:

A confusing situation has arisen and I’d like to set the record straight:

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Executive Council roundup

As the church moves towards General Convention 2012, the Episcopal Church's Executive Council finished its second to last meeting with the adoption of a preliminary budget that asks each diocese for support of 19% rather than the 15% also proposed. The Executive Council message to the church indicates a hard working session as vision and programs were balanced with a shrinking base of money and members. It includes a possible funding of a special session of General Convention to re-structure governance.

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Save the twitter stream!

We learned this morning that a member of Executive Council has objected to Lelanda Lee's tweeting of the group's recent meeting, and that the issue of further tweeting has been referred the council's Government and Administration for Mission Committee for consideration at its April meeting.

Lelanda said there was no discussion of the complaint at the meeting, but that the complainant reported feeling "violated" by the tweeting.

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Data pointing toward reality

Lelanda Lee (Twitter: @LelandaLee) has kept careful track of the current Executive Council meeting, and I suspect many are carefully following her reportage. Using the hashtag #ExCounMtg, she's operating out of an ethic that the people of The Episcopal Church deserve optimal transparency from its administrative bodies.

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War on Christianity? Not so much

Ed Kilgore, who is now blogging for Washington Monthly, picks apart Newt Gingrich's evidence of a "War on Christianity:

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How one parish made up its mind about same-sex blessings

Even if you aren't in the habit of visiting our Video blog, you might nonetheless appreciate this presentation of how one parish went about deciding whether to bless same-sex relationships.

No one expects the you know what

Cullen Murphy, author of a recent book on the Inquisitions, Spanish and otherwise, answers 10 questions for the Huffington Post. Number 2 is arresting:

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Praying for New Orleans one block at a time

Praying for New Orleans, one block at a time by Bruce Nolan for Episcopal News Service:

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Virginia bishop on property settlements

The Rt. Rev. Shannon Johnston gave his annual address to the Council (called convention in many dioceses) of the Diocese of Virginia. He spoke on the subject of the strengths of being a “big” diocese.

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Diarmaid MacColluch opposes Anglican Covenant

News from the No Anglican Covenant Coalition:

COALITION ANNOUNCES PROFESSOR DIARMAID MacCULLOCH AS PATRON

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Bible translators accused of deleting "Father" and "Son"

Yahoo News "breathlessly" reports that "New Arabic and Turkish translations of the Bible from three reputable North American Christian organizations are brewing controversy because they no longer contain the words "Father" and "Son" in the Holy Trinity. In addition, the phrase "Son of God" has been removed.

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What's happening in feminist liberation theology?

A report from the Feminist Liberation Theologians’ Network:

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Data pointing toward reality Part 2

A good discussion of membership and attendance data in Data pointing toward reality upstream. Kirk Hadaway, who made the report to Executive Council, answers this question in the comments by Tobias Haller:

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