Understanding the Denominational Health Plan and its implementation

The Rev. Susan Snook, Vicar of Church of the Nativity, Phoenix, Arizona, writes a detailed analysis of the current state of the Denominational Health Plan passed by General Convention in 2009 and the proposals coming before Convention this summer.

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The Underground Church

Malcolm Boyd looks back at his experience of the underground church that existed on the front lines of the civil rights movement and wonders if the underground church can still exist today.

The Huffington Post:

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Standing Committee meets in London

The Standing Committee—comprising elected members of the Anglican Consultative Council, the Primates’ Standing Committee and the Archbishop of Canterbury—is holding its three-day annual meeting in London, England. It started Wednesday and will end today.

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Morehouse School of Medicine establishes chair in sexuality and religion

The Morehouse School of Medicine is creating what is being called the first endowed chair on sexuality and religion at a U.S. medical school, named for the Rev. Marta Weeks, an Episcopal priest, and the Rt. Rev. David Richards, a retired Episcopal bishop.

NPR reports:

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Annotated 2013-2015 proposed budget posted

From the Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs:

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TV, children, and self-esteem

Since the beginnings of television, there have been concerns as to the its affect on children. Does TV lead children to violence? Sexual promiscuity? Brain rot?

The results remain mixed, according to research and an article by Cassie Murdoch for Jezebel. But a study shows that TV does indeed have an affect on self-esteem:

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Catholic nuns respond

The Leadership Council of Women Religious have responded to the Vatican crackdown:

Rome’s charges that the U.S. sisters spend too much time caring for the poor and not enough preaching about sex “was based on unsubstantiated accusations and the result of a flawed process that lacked transparency.”

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Cafe newsblogger makes good!

Scott Gunn is reporting on twitter that the Very Rev. Nick Knisely has been elected Bishop of Rhode Island on the first ballot.

Wright elected in Atlanta, Fisher in Western Massachusetts

UPDATE: 2 Fishers elected in one day. See below.
The Very Rev. Robert Wright has been elected Bishop of Atlanta, and the Rev. Dr. Doug Fisher has been elected Bishop of Western Massachusetts.

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Voices of Witness: transgender persons tell their stories

Integrity marks the beginning of Pride Month with the June 1st release of "Voices of Witness: Out of the Box"

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Archbishop of Canterbury: Queen's Diamond Jubilee

The Archbishop of Canterbury talks about The Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations and the significance of the 60 year reign 'in which nationally and internationally so much has shifted'. The Archbishop praises Her Majesty's profound commitment to understanding and working with the flow of the changes that have taken place in society in this time, saying 'To have [a monarch] who has been a symbol, a sign of stability through all that period is really a rather exceptional gift.'

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Did clash over crosses cost instructor her job?

From the New York Times:

Last fall, Sissy Bradford, an adjunct instructor who taught criminology at Texas A&M University-San Antonio, questioned why crosses were being placed near the public university’s entrance. Last month, she was informed that the university would not offer her any courses to teach in the fall semester. Ms. Bradford insists there is a connection, but university officials deny any link.

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Horror novelist Stephen King: Divinely inspired?

The Rev. Paul F.M. Zahl, a retired Episcopal priest, believes the work of Stephen King contains a measure of divine inspiration. From CNN's Belief Blog:

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How do we use Twitter to advance God's kingdom?

Twitter is apparently a powerful platform for preachers. The New York Times reported this weeked that the inspirational tweets of evangelical Christian leaders such as Joyce Meyer, Max Lucado and Andy Stanley "perform about 30 times as well as Twitter messages from pop culture powerhouses like Lady Gaga." Twitter senior executive Claire Díaz-Ortiz says "Twitter is just made for the Bible." The Times points out:

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Edification for Pentecost: The Book of Acts in 3 Minutes

Inspiration for the Pentecost season-- The Book of Acts in 3 Minutes! I especially like the part where "God rocks the house, literally."

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Marilynne Robinson: literature as evangelism

Mark O'Connell of The New Yorker appreciates Marilynne Robinson, as all right-thinking people should. Some particularly lovely passages:

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A brief commentary on the budget commentary

Late Friday afternoon the Episcopal Church’s Office of Public Affairs released a commentary on the church’s draft budget including a foreword by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, commentary by Bishop Stacy Sauls, the church’s chief operating officer, and a line-by-line explanation of the budget produced by Kurt Barnes, the church’s treasurer, in consultation with Bishop Sauls.

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Scrapping infant baptism?

Blogging at Lord, Open Thou Our Lips, the Rev. Chris Arnold says the pre-General Convention conversation about sacramental issues such as the nature of confirmation and the practice of offering Communion to people who have not yet been baptized has got him rethinking the question of infant baptism. He writes:

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Eternal life: bad idea?

Steve Cave thinks immortality is a bad idea. Ronald Bailey, reviewing Cave's new book Immortality for Reason magazine writes:

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Gay Jennings announces candidacy for PHOD

Gay Clark Jennings has announced her candidacy for President, House of Deputies on Facebook.

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General Convention deputation blogs

We're starting to hear that a number of diocesan deputations to General Convention this summer are setting up blogs to keep their dioceses informed of what's happening in the lead up, during and afterwards.

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What's up at Episcopal News Service?

Poke around in Episcopal precincts on Facebook and you quickly learn that folks have portions of the church’s budget that are of particular interest to them. One of the line items I always look at is Episcopal News Service. Although funded by the church, ENS makes an effort to report objectively on the church’s affairs. And if, in the end, we are all compromised in some way by our economic self-interest, ENS endeavors to treat all parties fairly, and remains a place where one can usually get all sides of whatever story is unfolding in the church.

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Breaking: 9th Circuit lets ruling against Prop 8 stand

From Reuters:

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals cleared the way on Tuesday for the Supreme Court to consider California's gay marriage ban, declining an appeal to revisit the case.

Supporters of the 2008 ban, Proposition 8, have lost two rounds in federal court but have made clear they will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court and hope for a favorable response from the conservative-leaning court.

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The return of the real Rowan?

Commentators on Facebook are talking about the surprising sermon that the Archbishop of Canterbury preached this morning. They're wondering if this is the return of the Rowan that they remember reading before his appointment as the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The Guardian highlights the fact that the Archbishop didn't restrict his remarks to the occasion. He took on some of the powerful people in the good seats upfront too.

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"Shared Governance: The Polity of The Episcopal Church"

With General Convention nearly upon us and a conflicted church be asked to make some fundamental decisions about its common life, taking some time to think about how we have traditionally managed our common life makes a lot of sense.

To that end a new resource is being made available for all deputies and diocesan bishops for their reading prior to meeting in Indianapolis. From a post on the House of Deputies website:

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The after-school agenda of the "Good News Club"

The Guardian's Katherine Stewart writes on the After-School program called the Good News Club in public schools:

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The Bible is fiction

A thoughtful blog post by Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman on the nature of the Bible:

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102 Episcopal bishops ask Obama to intervene in Gaza hospital crisis

From the Episcopal Church's Office of Public Affairs:

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Pressure still on Trinity Wall Street

The action group Faithful America is one of a number of groups calling to protest Trinity Wall Street. Their email petition reads:

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“Nuns on the Bus: nuns drive for faith, family and fairness”

Excerpted from Laurie Goodstein's article in The New York Times:

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Marks of Mission as Cosmo quiz?

The Episcopal Church has posted a quiz on Facebook to determine your "Mark of Mission." Intended to create a "buzz" about the Five Marks of Mission by using the popular internet quiz format often seen on Facebook and in blogs. Some think it is just good fun, some wonder what is the point? Who is the audience? What does it convey about the Episcopal Church? Does it say that we know how to have fun or are silly and self absorbed.

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A letter from an exhausted, exasperated young person

Hat top to the Rev. Steve Pankey who pointed us to this letter at the Scriptorium blog maintained by the Grunewald Guild. Having just returned from the Chicago Consultation's gathering of bishops and young adults, it really resonated with me.

These two passages will give you a flavor for the piece, which is worth reading in its entirety:

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Earth still moves towards "tipping point"

Richard Black on the BBC writes on humanity's unsustainable path:

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Philly's Church of the Savior seeks to raze historic buildings 'to save the cathedral'

The Philadelphia Historical Commission will meet Friday to decide whether to allow the Episcopal Cathedral of Philadelphia to destroy two historically recognized buildings it owns, and build a 25-story apartment, office, and retail complex in their place, in order to finance cathedral repairs and expand its ministry.

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Covenant resolutions: compared

Lionel Deimel analyzes the General Covnention resolutions on the proposed Anglican Covenant:

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Breaking: Scotland says NO to Covenant

UPDATED
The Scottish Episcopal Church has vote no on adopting the proposed Anglican Covenant.

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OWS and Trinity Wall Street face off

Wondering if both sides have chosen the wrong ditch to die in New York Magazine gives the background on the pending case of the Occupy Wall Street protestors and Trinity Episcopal Church, Wall Street:

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Electing a new President of the House of Deputies

President of the House of Deputies Bonnie Anderson updates information on elections in the House of Deputies - note change of date and times of schedule for election:

June 8, 2012

Dear Deputies and First Alternates,

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Getting churchy in a time of chaos

Gary Nelson writes about "Getting Churchy in a Time of Chaos" in the Huffington Post:

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Together in mission: Africa and Canada

Anglican Journal reports on third meeting of bishops from Africa and Canada. The bishops have steadily deepened trust and discovered areas of agreement:

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Video games in church?

Jesse Dymond, Anglican Church of Canada reports on

“What is wrong with the inspiring hymns with which we grew up? When I go to church, it is to worship God, not to be distracted.” It’s a question most of us in the church have heard, if not asked, in our continued struggle to contextualize the Gospel message and our religious traditions in the world around us.

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Will church go the way of the bookstore?

...in the Meantime author, David Lose, asks if churches and bookstores are on the same path:

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Sister Farley's revenge

UPDATE: see below

Nothing like having your book "banned" to make sales according to the Washington Post :

From papyrus to vellum to paper to e-books, two principles of publishing have not changed over the centuries:

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Newark votes down canonical amendment on health care

The Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Kaeton discusses the background on the amendment. Today, according to Kaeton, "A canonical amendment to be in compliance with A177 was defeated." More here.

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Philadelphia Cathedral wins OK to demolish historic buildings

Following up on a story we posted last week, the Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral won approval Friday to demolish two historic buildings on Chestnut Street in order to build a 25-story apartment tower. The dean of the cathedral and others contend that the plan will create funding for crucial renovations to the cathedral.

From the Philadelphia Inquirer:

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In the breaking of the bread

StoryKeep has produced a lovely video about St. Lydia's Dinner Church in Brooklyn. One of St. Lydia's leaders, Emily Scott, has contributed several essays, including this one, to the Cafe.

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Welcoming those with autism and Asperger syndrome to church

The Diocese of Oxford has published a guide to help churches welcome those with autism and Asperger syndrome. Bishop John Pritchard writes:

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WATCH London on the amendments to legislation on women bishops

Updated Thinking Anglicans has a statement from the National WATCH committee here.

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A dumb question I have been meaning to ask

I have had question on my mind for a few weeks that I have only recently decided is worth asking.

Is it important that we speak compellingly about Jesus?

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"God has been present among us."

Professor Gerald West, who developed the Bible study program for the 2008 Lambeth Conference, was one of the principle planners of a gathering of Episcopalians and African Anglicans held in October in Durban, South Africa. In the first of these two videos, he talks about the the work of the Ujamaa Centre at the University of KwaZulu Natal. In the second he reflects on what was accomplished at the gathering.

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Gay rights advocates find support in religious, civil rights circles

New research offers "a cautionary note for those who would try to fit members of different religious groups into monolithic boxes on gay and lesbian issues," writes David Briggs of the Association of Religion Data Archives:

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Church of England says marriage equality one of biggest threats in 500 years

The Church of England has responded in harsh terms to the British government's plan to legalize same-gender marriage. The document will be found here when it appears.

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It is getting harder to be homeless

Yamiche Alcindor of USA Today writes:

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Does it make a difference whether your parents are lesbians?

Update: June 12th is Loving Day. On this day in 1967 the U.S. Supreme Court issued the decision in Loving v. Virginia that struck down all anti-miscegenation laws remaining in 16 states at the time. (H/T Episcopal Intercultural Network.)

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CoE looks ridiculous over fears of marriage equality

Reactions to yesterday's news that top Church of England bishops believe marriage equality is the biggest threat to the church in 500 years are appearing from other members of the Church of England. Many are furious, others see it as one more step to irrelevance, and common themes "ridiculous" and "shameful." Those who support marriage equality wonder if it is time for disetablishment and accuse the bishops of "dictatorship".

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Is the Episcopal Church becoming too delicate for democracy?

In the run-up to General Convention I have heard several intelligent people, including Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and the Rev. Susan Snook (who has done such helpful analysis of the budget) point out that voting on the pressing issues that face our church "creates winners and losers." The implication seems to be that this is a bad thing, and that somehow if we were better people or had a better system principled disputes over deeply held convictions would resolve themselves in some non-legislative sort of way.

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Diet groups increase church growth

Colin Mathewson asks, "Does God want you to be thin?" in Time Magazine this week:

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Church of England disses marriage proposals

Tobias Stanislas Haller, on his blog In a Godward Direction, writes on the position expressed by the Church of England in this week's released statement:

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WWJD NOW?: Episcopal Diocese of California commissions web-film

"Since when is being Christian all about worshiping Jesus instead of following him?"

WWJDN is a four part web movie by filmmaker Rick Johnson, Emmy and Webby winning broadcast TV and documentary producer.

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"Same-sex parent study" is not what it claims

A study by University of Texas professor Mark Regnerus which claims that children of gay parents fare worse than others raises numerous red flags that do not support such a conclusion.

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Archbishop of Canterbury's message for the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development

The pre-recorded video is entitled "What kind of world do we want to leave to our children?" The entire transcript (courtesy of Anglican Communion News Service) is below:

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Episcopal leaders step up fight against death penalty

Episcopal News Service reports that long-held opposition to the death penalty on the part of Episcopal leaders is gaining traction as more states move to abolish capital punishment:

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TEC among 37 faith groups to back anti-discrimination law

The Episcopal Church is one of 37 faith groups to sign a letter sent this week to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) urging passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (S.11). The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism coordinated and released the letter, supporting the measure to prohibit workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The measure includes a strong religious liberty exemption, and states:

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Board member of Boy Scouts speaks out against anti-gay policy

The CEO of Ernst & Young, board member of the Boy Scouts of America, has expressed opposition to BSA's anti-gay policy, and said he is working with the group to amend its membership rules. This comes after one lesbian mom ousted as Tiger Cub den leader launched an online petition urging board members to speak out on the issue. From msnbc.com:

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Mayor's ruling could block ministry of communion & danish

Ronnie Polaneczky of the Philadelphia Daily News has a poignant column today about Violet Little, a pastor who with other clergy provides holy communion and then coffee and pastry to the homeless (and others) on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Little fears that Mayor Michael Nutter's ban on feeding the homeless could threaten this ministry, and she's filing suit to prevent that from happening:

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Church Times: C of E paper on marriage is tendentious, poorly argued

The Church Times devotes its lead editorial to an evisceration of the paper that the Church of England submitted to the British government expressing its opposition to same-sex marriage:

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Why millennials are losing faith: one man's take

There is no shortage of opinion on why people in the "Millennial" generation are losing interested in organized religion, and, according, to a recent poll, doubting the existence of God in greater numbers. Here is how Nick Vadala at the Philly Post sees it:

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Catholics aim to keep Jesus on Big Mountain

As Catholic Bishops in the U.S. plot public relations strategy to improve their public image, I suggest they throw in with the Knights of Columbus in Montana, who are working to make sure a statue of Jesus Christ stays where it is on Forest Service land on Big Mountain.

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ACNA three years in

The Revs. Mark Harris and Scott Gunn have written blog posts recently about the Anglican Church in North America. In general I think it is a mistake for the Episcopal Church to pay too much attention to these folks because it distracts us from our own issues, with which they have little to do. Yet it is useful to have vigilant folks like Mark and Scott keeping an eye on a church that means us no good--even if that church is decreasingly able to do us harm.

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President Obama gives hope to immigrant youth

President Obama issued an Executive Order today giving hope to young people who were brought to the US as children. New York Times reports:

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Theory: low-income evangelicals vote their economic interest

Paul Froese, a sociologist at Baylor University, argues that if you understand their view of God you have an explanation of why low-income evangelist are voting both their values and their economic interest:

... approximately 31 percent of Americans, many of whom are white evangelical men, believe that God is steering the United States economy, thus fusing their religious and economic interests. These individuals believe in what I call an “Authoritative God.”

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Rhode Island passes "Homeless Bill of Rights"

Bucking a national trend to criminalize homelessness, Rhode Island has enacted a "Homeless Bill of Rights" according to a report in The Huffington Post.

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Niobrara Convocation: revelation

The Rt Rev. Carol Gallagher writes A New Winter Count from the Niobrara Convocation.

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Christ Church Ponte Vedra creates innovative school for the arts

Christ Church in Ponte Vedra, Florida has created an arts school open to anyone in the community, offering at a nominal cost instrumental and vocal private lessons, instrumental group lessons, music education and appreciation classes, theatrical training, dance classes, and visual arts private and group lessons for children and adults.

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Christian Brother calls for women's ordination in RCC

America Magazine, The National Catholic Weekly reviews DeThomasis' new book and interviews him.

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Smoke-filled rooms at Lambeth Palace

The Rev. Malcolm French wonders if the leaders of the Church of England are trying to sneak the Covenant in by the back door of Church of England Synod. French writes at Simple Massing Priest. In an unseemly power grab they are trying to subvert the defeat of the Covenant in the Diocesan Synods:

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C of E "fit only for bigots and hypocrites"?

Nick Cohen of the Guardian is not so keen on the Church of England, and neither are the headline writers who called this piece "A church fit only for bigots and hypocrites." It includes this bit:

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Yorkminster nave transformed into field of grass

Earlier this month, a living grass carpet was laid out in Yorkminster for a fund-raising event. The Daily Mail explains.

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General Convention wish list

General Convention starts in 16 days. What would you like to see happen in Indianapolis? What would you like not to happen?

U. S. Supreme Court denies appeal by breakaway parish in CT

The United States Supreme Court has decided to let stand a ruling that upholds the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut's victory in the Connecticut Supreme Court.

The court denied a petition filed by former clergy and members of Bishop Seabury Episcopal Church in Groton for a writ of certiorari. A writ is issued if four justices express an interest in hearing the case. The former members of Bishop Seabury now belong to the Anglican Church in North America.

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General Convention predictions

Okay, we've compiled our wish lists for General Convention. Now tell us what you think will happen to key legislation.

Two guess from me: the resolution to permit Communion before Baptism or without Baptism, or regardless of Baptism will not be approved. The degree of alarm over this resolution has always seem disproportionate to the likelihood of its approval. But I have enjoyed the conversation.

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Boy preacher

Hamil Harris of The Washington Post tells the story of the Rev. Ezekiel Stoddard, an 11-year-old boy preacher with his own congregation.

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Breaking: Bishop Packard and others found guilty in OWS v. Trinity, Wall Street

Updated

Retired Bishop George Packard and seven other defendants have been found guilty of trespassing for climbing a fence and entering an empty lot owned by Trinity Episcopal Church, Wall Street in December. Packard and six others defendants were sentenced to four days of community service and assessed fines. One defendant, Mark Adams, was sentenced to 45 days in jail. More details to come. You can follow developments on twitter at #D17.

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The bishops are overreacting

The U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has launched its Fortnight of Freedom. The campaign was inspired the bishops' opposition to the contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act, but has morphed into something that is either grander or more grandiose, depending on one's point of view.

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What should Trinity, Wall Street have done?

I have had a difficult time understanding exactly what Trinity, Wall Street could and couldn't have done to avoid a situation in which an Episcopal Church was involved in the criminal prosecution of a retired Episcopal bishop and an Episcopal priest for what seems to me, at this point, to be little more than street theater.

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National Cathedral convenes Christian-Muslim summit in Beirut

From Episcopal News Service:

The Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem, a former Episcopal bishop of Washington and four Iranian Shi’ite Muslims, two holding the rank of ayatollah, are among the religious leaders who’ve traveled to Beirut, Lebanon, for the second Christian-Muslim peace summit organized by Washington National Cathedral.

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Don't restructure for mission, restructure through mission

The Rev. Lauren R. Stanley has written an opinion piece on the restructuring of the Episcopal Church for Center Aisle, a publication and, this time around, a website, offered by the Diocese of Virginia.

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Southern Baptists elect first
black president

Running unopposed, Fred Luter, is the newly-elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention, the first African-American to hold the post. AP has a report.

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Juneteenth

June 19th celebrates the day in 1865 when word reached slaves in Texas.

Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States.  Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation - which had become official January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance.

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First day of summer

Today is the summer solstice: the longest day of the year and the first official day of summer.

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Does social media change the terms of youth pilgrimage?

With summer on, many Episcopal parishes, including mine, have sent or will soon be sending teenagers on “pilgrimage.” Our youth group is in San Francisco for a week, visiting tourist sites and sacred spaces. I’ve been pondering how social media has changed the terms of this rite of passage, in that parents, friends and our entire congregation can keep up with every move these kids make, via Facebook, a blog they’ve created, email, video clips and Twitter.

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Uganda continues to move against gay rights

Reuters reports:

Uganda said on Wednesday it was banning 38 non-governmental organizations it accuses of promoting homosexuality and recruiting children.

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People who give you hope...

Bishop William White ‏was the 1st and 4th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, the 1st and 4th President of the House of Deputies, and the Chaplain to Continental Congress. He "lives" now on Twitter @BpWhiteLives .

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21 photos to restore your faith in humanity

This seems to be getting some viral purchase. It's worth a look:
http://www.buzzfeed.com/expresident/pictures-that-will-restore-your-faith-in-humanity

Fortnight for Freedom begins today; Who's paying the freight?

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has called on Catholics throughout the country to observe a "Fortnight for Freedom," beginning today and running through July 4, to protest the Obama administration's health care policies.

They contend this is not political. Some Catholics in the pews disagree: According to an NPR report by Barbara Bradley Hagerty:

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Breaking: Presiding Bishop releases her own budget

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has released her own budget, developed in consultation with the Church Center staff as an alternative to the budget developed by Executive Council and currently under consideration by the legislative committee on Program, Budget and Finance.

It is not clear if members of Executive Council members or members of PB & F were aware that an alternative budget was under development.

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Early reaction to PB's budget proposal

"Crusty Old Dean" Tom Ferguson says the presiding bishop's budget proposal, released today, "stands the old budget on its head, and redefines it in terms of the marks of mission. This is something COD has been arguing for all along: if we really, truly are going to shape our budget around these understandings of the marks of mission, then let’s actually do it. T

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Martha Alexander to run for president of House of Deputies

Martha Bedell Alexander, a trustee of the Church Pension Fund and a North Carolina state legislator, had announced that she will stand for election as president of the House of Deputies.

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Connecticut bishop seeks agreement with breakaway parish

From the Hartford Courant:

Following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision this week not to hear the case of a conservative Episocopal parish in Groton, Conn. that split from the larger church, Connecticut's Episcopal bishop said Wednesday that the diocese is trying to reconcile with the breakaway congregation.

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Decide what to abandon

Arizona bishop Kirk Smith talks about restructuring the Episcopal Church on his blog "Arizona Bishop." He applies Peter Drucker's "principle of abandonment" and asks what it is working and what is not, saying "If it is not working, get rid of it."

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CCAB Nominiations for the next triennium now open

"CCAB" is General Convention-speak for "Committees Commissions and Boards". Nominations are now open for places on these during the period between General Conventions. Nominations are also being accepted for committees of Executive Council.

ENS:

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Breaking: Philadelphia RC priest convicted of child endangerment

Reuters:

Monsignor William Lynn was found guilty on Friday of one count of endangering the welfare of a child, making him the highest-ranking U.S. Roman Catholic official convicted in the church child sex abuse scandal.

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Stats show positive trends for the Episcopal Church

ENS reports that preliminary data from the 2011 Parochial Reports show an increase in Episcopal Church revenue and a moderation of recent declines among Episcopal congregations.

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Marriage equality and communicating grace

Bishop Mary Glasspool considers the sacramental dimensions of marriage equality.

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Bishop Stanley Ntagali elected 8th Archbishop of Uganda

ACNS reports that that the Rt. Rev. Stanley Ntagali was elected the 8th Archbishop of the Church of Uganda today at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Namirembe, Uganda. He replaces Archbishop Henry Orombi who is retiring.

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Dealing with hateful words from pulpits

CNN Belief Blog looks at the hateful. anti-gay rhetoric that come from the pulpits of some American Protestant churches and the discomfort this causes both gay activists and conservative Christians.

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Could you convince a Christian you're a Christian?

What Happens When We Turn the World's Most Famous Robot Test on Ourselves? The Atlantic:

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Bishops face push-back on women bishops amendment

Thinking Anglicans reports that two diocesan synods are urging General Synod to send back to the Bishops their amendments that would impose limits on the authority of women bishops in the Church of England.

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Christian-Muslim summit issues appeal for human rights

Episcopal News Service reports:

A landmark three-day Christian-Muslim peace conference concluded on a hopeful note here by issuing an appeal to religious leaders and institutions to collaborate on promoting human rights, self-determination, peaceful co-existence, and non-violence, particularly in Jerusalem and the Holy Land.

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Church giving down,
bring in the pros?

Religious News Service reports on the Indiana University Center on Philanthropy findings on Charitable giving in 2011.

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What noisy Christianity needs is a conspiracy of silence

Diarmaid MacCulloch, professor of the history of the church at Oxford University, says that noisy Christianity has long resisted silence.

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Rethinking the future of marriage

David Blankenhorn was an outspoken opponent of gay marriage. He writes in the New York Times how he came to change his mind.

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Executive Council, the PB, the COO and the budget: one member's story

Katie Sherrod, a member of Executive Council, and one of the people most responsible for keeping the Episcopal faith alive in the Diocese of Fort Worth has written an anguished in-depth account of her experiences on Executive Council during the development of the draft budget for 2012-2015:

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Sally Johnson is a candidate for VP of House of Deputies

Sally Johnson, chancellor to the President of the House of Deputies, has announced she will run for Vice President of the House of Deputies should a clergy person be elected president.

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Episcopal Café at General Convention, or #ecafe @ #GC77

One week from today I will be heading to Indianapolis for the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, July 4-12. I will be blogging and live blogging here at the Cafe, and tweeting and live tweeting both under my own name @JimNaught and as @episcopalcafe. We will also have material appearing with more frequency than usual on our Facebook page.

On Twitter, I will be using the Cafe's hashtag #ecafe and the General Convention hashtag #GC77. Other hashtags may spring up as events--and opportunities for cheap humor--dictate.

We may have another trick up our sleeves, or that might be a baseball cap or a pair of gloves I stuck in there and forgot about. So, more on that later. Or possibly not.

Arizona bishop "guardedly pleased" with Supreme Court immigration ruling

Robert Barnes of The Washington Post writes:

The Supreme Court on Monday said states may play a limited role in enforcing laws on illegal immigration, upholding part of Arizona’s controversial law but striking other portions it said intruded on the federal government’s powers.

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GOEs: Defunding a canonical mandate

The Rev. Canon Dr. Raewynne J. Whiteley posted, on the bishops and deputies listserve, a thoughtful exploration of questions surrounding the defunding the General Board of Examining Chaplains (GBEC). A history and the purpose of the GBEC and its canonical mandate can be found here. She writes:

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On Anglican Covenant, Australian primate's diocese demurs

The Diocese of Brisbane, which is led by Archbishop Phillip Aspinall of Australia, a key player in Anglican Communion politics, has passed up a chance to support the proposed Anglican Covenant. Jonathan Clatworthy has the story gleaned from the Australian Catholic discussion board:

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"That's why they crucified him."

Joe McKnight, an student at Union Theological Seminaryinterviewed the Rev. James H. Cone, Charles A. Briggs Distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology at Union Theological Seminary, on black liberation theology, among other subjects, for The Revealer. (The text of the interview begins about two thirds of the way down the page.)

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Teen lesbian couple found shot

MSNBC is reporting the shooting of 2 teens in a small town near Corpus Christi TX:

Two teenage girls in a relationship were found with gunshot wounds to the head in a south Texas park, with one of them dying from her injuries, media reports say. Police were searching for their assailants.

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Polly Getz stands for election as Vice Pres of House of Deputies

From the Facebook page of Pauline Getz:

I have been asked by some Province VIII leadership to stand for election as Vice President of the House of Deputies of the Episcopal Church. After a great deal of prayer and consideration, the answer is Yes, and here's why:

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Analyzing the PB's budget proposal

Steve Smith and Susan Snook have analysed the Presiding Bishop's budget.

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Neil Alexander to be Dean of School of Theology, Sewanee

The University of the South School of Theology, Sewanee TN announces the Rt Rev Neil Alexander has been named Dean:

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Financial development in Episcopal churches

The Rev. Canon Charles LaFond offers A Position Paper for our reflection about finances and stewardship:

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Egypt's president to pick a woman and a Christian VPs

CNN reports that the new president of Egypt will select 2 vice presidents. One will be a woman and one will be a Christian:

Egypt's first ever democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi, will make history in another way: by appointing a woman as vice president, his policy adviser told CNN.

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"Help, my friends think I'm mad!' ABC at Youth Day

The Most Revd Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury spoke with young people at Lambeth Palace.

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Bigger Things to Worry About Than Death of Denominations

Derek Penwell explores community and ministry in a post-denominational world at the blog D-mergent:

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Is $2 million for church planting a good idea? Yes! No! Help!

I would love to hear today from people who know something about church planting. The Presiding Bishop has included a new $2 million line item in the budget document she submitted to the Program, Budget and Finance Committee, and I have had a difficult time forming an opinion about it.

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The Lament over the Doctrine of Discovery

Episcopalians everywhere are invited to add their voices to the Lament Over the Doctrine of Discovery at a special event at General Convention on July 10th:

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Colorado wildfires

From the Office of the Bishop, Denver, by Beckett Stokes:

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"Ain't no mountain high enough"

The Washington Post shared Tom Ehrich's post "Ain't no mountain high enough" that was published by Religion News Service.

Below is an excerpt:

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Childbearing without marriage: analysis of a trend

Harvard Magazine reports on an analysis of the rising national trend of having babies before or without marriage.

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Health care act upheld; insurance exec, moved by faith, joins the fight

Update: The U. S. Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act in a 5-4 decision. We will be posting links to the responses of religious organizations as we receive them.

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Pension fund limits employees' role in wider church

We've learned that The Church Pension Group has a new policy as of last week’s Board of Trustees meeting. It limits the role that its employees can play in the Episcopal Church. Part of the policy reads:

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Resolution for unicameral General Convention combines clergy, lay orders

We don’t have text we can post yet, but several of us here at the Café have read a resolution that has been submitted to General Convention calling for the establishment of a unicameral governing system. The new house would consist of diocesan bishops, bishops co-adjutor and suffragan bishops; two clergy deputies and two lay deputies from each diocese. The presiding officer would be a bishop chosen by the bishops eligible to vote at the convention and approved by the deputies.

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In C of E, opposition mounts to amendments to women bishops legislation

Thinking Anglicans reports:

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The Episcopal Church Welcomes You-- if you can find the actual door

At my church, visitors cannot figure out where our front door is. The place, a traditional cathedral structure, is a fortress. Beautiful? Yes. Cold and unwelcoming? Probably, at least for first-time visitors.

So I read with interest a recent commentary by Carin Ruff about Episcopal worship space and access. She writes about two churches, starting with Saint Mark's Church on Capitol Hill:

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Sistine Chapel and Westminster Abbey choirs sing together

For the first time in 500 years, the Sistine Chapel Choir will sing alongside the Westminster Abbey Choir.

The Huffington Post:

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HoD Chaplains and Musician announced

The chaplains and musician for the House of Deputies have been announced.

ENS:

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Transgender Christians and the Church's mission

Sarah Lawton, a Deputy from the Diocese of California writes about Resolutions D002 and D019, and the full inclusion of trangendered persons into the life of the Church.

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More on the religious implications of the health care ruling

Michelle Boorstien of the Washington Post looks at the implications of yesterday's Supreme Court ruling upholding the majority of the Affordable Health Care act.

There are still fights ahead about whether religious institutions will be mandated to cover medical procedure that they deem contrary to their teachings. This means that fights over contraception, abortion rights, and other issues are likely to get more intense.

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Peacebuilding brings Candler faculty to General Seminary

Practical Peacebuilding will be the first collaborative program of the new partnership between Candler and General Seminary. Candler faculty will come to Chelsea Square and teach the technique for addressing conflict.

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Living at a slower pace 'off the grid'

At the On Being web site, a story of someone who unplugged herself from the grid to work in Ireland, in the L'Arche system of community-building ministering to someone with Down Syndrome, and being ministered to.

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Standing with the Kivalina at GC77

The Rev. P. Joshua Griffin writing at Episcopal News Service (ENS) urges attention to a resolution coming before General Convention:
.. It’s ... obvious that climate change is not so much about future generations as it is about our most marginalized brothers and sisters, right here, right now.

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Episcopalians and Jesus

John Ohmer, Uapologetic Theology writes on how Episcopalians claim "Christian" (or don't).

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Complaint filed against seven bishops

George Conger reports that someone has filed a complaint against seven Episcopal bishops who supported the breakaway Diocese of Fort Worth in an Amicus Curiae brief before the Texas Supreme Court.

We don't know who brought the charges or what they are.

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Solidarity Rally with Hyatt workers at GC

Dianne Aid, Episcopal Network for Economic Justice, Jubilee Ministries, writes on the bishops and deputies listserve, shared with permission:

SOLIDARITY RALLY AND MARCH WITH HYATT WORKERS

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