From The Stranger: "Seattle's best Christians"

The subhead on this story from The Stranger on "Seattle's Best Christians" reads: They're Not All Homophobic, Science-Denying, Uterus-Controlling, Government-Dismantling Jerks—Praise the Lord!

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Seriously, watch what you tweet

Humor for a Sunday morning, from Lark News, "The Onion" of the church world:

SARASOTA, Fla. —John Royal, pastor of Peace Christian Fellowship, the largest church in the city, was long considered a pillar in the community.

Then he opened a Twitter account.

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The powers of a bishop

Bishop Dan Martins of Springfield is one of seven bishops being investigated on disciplinary charges brought against them by an as yet unknown party for reasons seemingly rooted in their filing an amicus curaein support of the breakaway Diocese of Fort Worth in a property case currently before the Texas Supreme Court. Two other bishops are under investigation for filing affidavits in supporting a faction that broke away from the Episcopal Diocese of Quincy.

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What to expect on the hot button issues at General Convention

I am on my way to Indianapolis for the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, which begins, officially, on July 5, although I believe folks began trickling into town yesterday.

I don’t entirely know what to expect at this convention, but I suspect that people may arrive in a state of some agitation and find that there is little immediate legislative reason to be so stirred up.

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On not being too good for General Convention

I had a little very minor moment of self-realization recently. I am not too good for General Convention. I don’t believe that the whole thing is such a mess that I have to stand at an ironic distance and make comments that demonstrate my superior intellect and my more refined sensibility—tempting as those activities may be for a writer and an introvert.

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Penn State and the culture of silence

If there is one thing that is comes up over and over again whenever we hear news of churches and schools that fail to protect children from sexual abuse or women from abuse and harassment, it is this: institutions encourage a culture of silence and official denial.

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Corrected: 12 bishops file resolution to reduce diocesan asking to 15% in 2016

My apologies, I have made a significant mistake in reporting this story. A corrected version appears below:

A dozen bishops, led by the Rt. Rev. Thomas Ely of Vermont, have filed a resolution calling on the Program, Budget and Finance Committee to submit a budget to the General Convention that reduces to 15 percent the percentage of diocesan revenue to be committed to the budget of the wider church in 2016-18.

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Update on complaint against 9 bishops

The Episcopal Church confirms that a complaint has been filed against 9 bishops. Mary Frances Schjonberg reports at Episcopal News Service:

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Bear market in God

Business Insider notes that construction spending on religious institutions is "Off the cliff."

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Covenant: The Unfriendliness and Place-at-the Table Arguments

The Revd. Dr. Marilyn McCord Adams refutes the arguments that The Episcopal Church should sign up to the proposed Anglican Covenant or at least continue the discussion of the document and not refuse it outright. Shared with permission:

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Pray for General Convention

A Facebook group has been formed to encourage prayer for General Convention starting this week.

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Following General Convention

Episcopal News Service is offering a Media Hub for following General Convention with live streaming of worship services and tracking legislation among other ways of checking the activity in Indianapolis from the comfort of your computer:

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The Diocese of Indianapolis is throwing one heck of a party

From the Diocese of Indianapolis

The 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church is throwing a big party at Victory Field on Sunday, July 8, noon-4 p.m. and everyone is invited.

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Convention eve

The Rev. Marshall Scott, chair of the deputation from the Diocese of West Missouri, and a regular contributor to Daily Episcopalian, offers this brief account of July 3, this first day at General Convention.

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Can we reduce the asking right now?

The Program, Budget and Finance Committee, which is charged with delivering a budget to the General Convention of the Episcopal Church next week, has already begun its work here at convention. I don’t have much to report about it yet aside from the fact more bishops than I might have suspected would like to see the percentage of their budgets that they are expected to contribute to the wider church reduced from 19 percent to 15 percent.

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GC 2012 blogging scan

Highlights from the relatively few posts so far as people get settled in:

The Michigan GC Deputies Blog shares a photo and recap on honoring Bonnie Anderson:

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Opening remarks at General Convention from Bonnie Anderson

From Episcopal News Service:

President of the House of Deputies Bonnie Anderson

Opening Remarks for the 77th General Convention

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Presiding Bishop's opening remarks to General Convention

Episcopal News Service reports the opening remarks to General Convention from the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori:

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Presbyterian Vice Moderator resigns

The Vice Moderator of the Presbyterian Church (USA) has resigned amid controversy over her signing a same-gender marriage license:

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View from the Convention: 'The big word is change'

Bishop Steve Lane from the Diocese of Maine presents a nice intro to General Convention in this video message to the folks back home. "The big word here at this General Convention is change," he notes, "and everywhere you go, conversation about change is taking place. Some of it is technical change, things that we can fix in easy ways ... and a lot of it is about adaptive change, our need to try new things, to experiment, to be fleeter of foot and to move more quickly and more flexibly. Lots of conversation about change and I think much less clarity and consensus about what particular changes we should make."

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Will Episcopal Relief and Development take a hit?

Episcopal Relief and Development will lose more than $700,000 that the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church intended to send its way if the church’s General Convention adopts a budget proposal offered by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.

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Help! We need a theme song for GC2012

Episcopal Café has just received this urgent request:

As you may recall, GC2009 say the introduction of an unofficial theme song for the gathering: "I Will Survive (General Convention)."

I have now been tasked with writing an appropriate theme song for GC2012. The possibilities are, of course, nearly endless in terms of matters to spoof and tunes to employ. You can imagine how greatly this great responsibility weighs on me.

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No gay families in the pool?

UPDATE: Just minutes after we published our item news flashed on twitter that the club had reversed itself:

@changeLGBT
BREAKING NEWS: The Carilion Clinic announced they will change their family policy so children with gay parents can swim in the pool!

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'The God Particle' - What does it mean for people of faith?

Big news in the world of physics this week. The long sought "God particle" has been discovered! Associated Press reports:

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Presiding Bishop preaches opening Eucharist

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori preached at the General Convention opening Eucharist. From Episcopal News Service:

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Day 1, House of Deputies

Melodie Woerman of Episcopal News Service reports on day one of the House of Deputies:

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GC2012: The energy and passion of unexpected moments

The Rev. Marshall Scott reports:

At any given General Convention, perhaps the most interesting questions is, “What are
we really going to argue about?” That might seem an odd question. After all, before the
Convention begins there have been meetings and conversations and unnumbered blog
posts to discuss the issues.

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DANGER in the structure debates

Thomas Jackson questions the rush to change the structure of The Episcopal Church at the Diocese of California Pacific Church News, asking for fewer "buzz words" and some honesty about why it is needed:

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Keeping up with hearings on resolutions- LIVE

Follow debate in legislative hearings @episcopalcafe and @jimNaught on Twitter. Today - Israel-Palestine among others.

GC committee says time to sell 815

UPDATE: House of Deputies votes Yes - sell the building but does not give time frame.

Lauren Stanley reports for Center Aisle:

The Committee on Structure cut to the chase this morning, editing D016 down from eight resolutions to one:

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What the MSM is saying about General Convention

The Mainstream Media (MSM) reports on General Convention. Sex and gender lead the stories, of course:
Chicago Tribune:

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Palestine/Israel and Fort Worth/Quincy controversies at General Convention

Episcopal News Service (ENS) has reports of today's hearings, meetings, and events of General Convention. One hearing with passionate testimony was by the committee dealing with resolutions about Israel and Palestine:

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Meanwhile in Fiji: General Synod in Aotearoa/NZ/Polynesia

While The Episcopal Church General Convention meets in Indianapolis, the General Synod of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia is meeting in Fiji. According to Anglican Taonga (the news site of the Province) the big issues are resource sharing, the Anglican Covenant, sexuality and more:

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Frank Logue: nominee for President of House of Deputies

The Rev. Canon Frank Logue has been nominated for election as President of House of Deputies:

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PB&F passes a 19% asking

Updated with more reporting from ENS
_____________

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Jesus was fine with women apostles, why not CoE?

In advance of Monday's vote in Church of England on women in the episcopacy, Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch writes in The Guardian:

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Bishops extend non-discrimination canons

The House of Bishops voted today to include transgender and gender identity to non-discrimination canons for laity and clergy D019 and D002 The legislation now moves to the House of Deputies.

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Knit along at General Convention

UPDATED: more info on project

The Seaman's Institute is sponsoring a "Knit Along" at General Convention. Christmas at Sea (CAS) project knits gifts for searfarers:

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Bishops hold private meeting on hierarchical nature of church

The House of Bishops met in Executive Session to discuss the meaning of hierarchical church by The Episcopal Church. This was requested by Bishops of Quincy and Fort Worth. Bishop Christopher Epting notes on his blog:

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BREAKING: Structure resolution offered by committee

UPDATE: see also Daily Episcopalian

From the blog Feeding on Manna, via David Sibley ‏@davidsibley
Omnibus Restructure Resolution from Structure Committee - fast transcription for twitterverse ‪#gc77, may not be exact transcription‬:

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Bp. Bruno shares inspiration regarding his cancer

He's not attending General Convention, but Bp. J. Jon Bruno of Los Angeles had good news to share in a phone call broadcast to the House of Bishops meeting in Indianapolis. The L.A. Times reports:

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Structure in the Spotlight

Center Aisle reports from the Committee on Structure's progress. As reported last night, by the close of last evening's meeting the committee had produced a draft omnibus resolution.

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1963: Church Center opens

It was in 1963 that Church Center opened. It could be sold by 2013. The House of Deputies the other day voted to sell the Church Center at 815 at an opportune time.

Through the magic of the online Archives of the Episcopal Church here's the ENS press release of May 10, 1963:

NEW YORK, --- The new, national Episcopal Church Center, 815 Second Avenue, was dedicated Monday, April 29.

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House of Bishops releases letter on renewing dioceses

UPDATED: ENS report - see below:

The House of Bishops today responded to the controversy initiated when nine Episcopal bishops offered support through either affidavits or an amicus brief to breakaway factions attempting to take possession of the property of the church. The letter names the legitimate bishops of the four renewing dioceses, a matter which is at issue in cases in the Dioceses of Fort Worth and Quincy.

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As the Anglican world turns...

UPDATE #3 The resolution that passed in formal session say, in essence:

We have rejected the proposed Covenant, but subscribed to Sections 1, 2 and 3 as a useful starting point for consideration of our Anglican understanding of the church.

We have affirmed the commitment of the ACANZP to the life of the Communion, including the roles and responsibilities of the four Instruments as they currently operate.

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From the closet to the altar: Integrity at General Convention

Interviews with the original organizer of the Integrity Eucharist to last year's celebration:

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Church of England adjourns debate on female bishops

UPDATED below:

Breaking news from the General Synod of the Church of England:

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A big day ahead at General Convention

Today should be a big day at General Convention (#GC77).

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New Zealand "unable to adopt" Anglican Covenant

A full report of Monday's (in New Zealand) deliberations on the proposed Anglican Covenant from General Synod meeting in Fiji.

As expected, the General Synod said a final: ‘No’ to the proposed Anglican covenant today.

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Resolution on same-sex blessings heads of House of Bishops

From the Office of Public Affairs of The Episcopal Church


[July 9, 2012] The following statement has been issued by Deputy Ruth Meyers of Chicago and Bishop Thomas Ely of Vermont, chairs of the Cognate Subcommittee on Blessings of the Committee 13, Prayer Book, Liturgy, and Church Music, meeting on July 9 at the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church.

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After bruising, chaotic lead in, PB&F calmly produces a budget

From The Episcopal Church's Office of Public Affairs:

[July 9, 2012] The following statement has been issued by the members of the Episcopal Church Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance, on July 9 at the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church.

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Bishop Robinson has had about enough

UPDATE 7/10: Audio of +Gene's comments:

UPDATE: Complete transcription of +Gene's comments are at Center Aisle

Tom Jackson is live tweeting from the House of Bishops this morning, and he has captured a remarkable moment in which Bishop Gene Robinson, who is soon to retire as the bishop of New Hampshire, told his colleagues in the house that he was fed up with the sniping and mistreatment he has endured as the Episcopal Church's first openly gay bishop.

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Restructuring resolution clears committee

Here is the text of Resolution C095 Substitute, the omnibus resolution creating the task force that would take the lead in restructuring the Episcopal Church. It was approved this morning by the legislative Committee on Structure:

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Russell: Episcopal Church puts T in LGBT with resolutions' passage

The Rev. Susan Russell on the passage of two resolutions establishing anti-discrimination protections for transgender people in the Episcopal Church:

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Bishops pass blessings

The House of Bishops approve Blessings legislation #A049 on a role call vote of 111 Yes, 41 No, 3 Abstain - goes to House of Deputies next.

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World Mission "punts" Covenant resolution

The World Mission legislative committee led by Bishops Ian Douglas and Ed Little and Deputies Mark Harris and Josephine Hicks has brought forth a resolution on the proposed Anglican Covenant that essentially kicks it down the road to 2015.

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Difficult choices: Israel/Palestine resolutions

Marshall Scott reflects on the resolutions on Palestine and Israel as they came to the floor of the House of Deputies on Monday July 9:

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Another big day ahead at General Convention

The House of Deputies will discuss legislation on the Anglican Covenant today, possibly quite soon. There is deep dissatisfaction with what some consider the wishy-washy nature of the legislation, but it is unclear how broad it is, or whether, with so much on the agenda, there is energy to do much about it.

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Gay Jennings elected President of House of Deputies

The Rev. Canon Gay Jennings was elected President of the House of Deputies on the first ballot.

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The proposed budget of the Episcopal Church

Here is the proposed budget of the Episcopal Church, 2013-2015.

Whaddaya think?

Deputies/Bishops vote no decision on Anglican Covenant

Updated: Bishops Concur

The House of Deputies and the House of Bishops chose to follow the lead of the World Mission Committee and passed both of their recommendations:

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Deputies sing after passing omnibus restructuring resolution

The House of Deputies passed the resolution below and sent it to the House of Bishops. It passed unanimously, and following its passage the house sang "Sing a New Church Into Being, to the tune of "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing."

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Deputies Concur on Blessings

UPDATED - 12 bishops sign dissenting statement - see Episcopal News Service
UPDATED with News links - see below:

The A049
House of Deputies concurs with House of Bishops

lay 86 yes 19 no 5 divided 5 78%
clergy 85 yes 22 no 4 divided 76%
motion carries in lay and clery orders

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Bishop Roskam preaches truth to House of Bishops

Tom Jackson writing on the Diocese of California news site:

Yesterday Bishop Catherine S. Roskam stood and preached truth to one of the most powerful men’s club’s of the Episcopal Church: the House of Bishops.

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Youthful presence livens Convention

This year's General Convention has a certain youthful energy to it. The Young Adult Festivala for 18-to-30-year-olds drew 95 participants. Eighteen teenagers are participating as non-voting delegates as part of the "Official Youth Presence." Young people are also on hand as volunteers and observers, reportedly having a great time.

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Another day at General Convention

While the budget of the Episcopal Church has been presented, it hasn't yet been approved by either house. The deputies are about to start considering it now (11:30). The bishops will take it up within the next two days.

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Breaking: Bishops pass restructuring resolution. Now to form the task force

The House of Bishops unanimously passed a restructuring resolutions that had already been passed unanimously by the House of Deputies. Now the Presiding Bishop and the new President of the House of Deputies must appoint a special task force of no more than 24 members to begin the job.

New members of Executive Council

New members of Executive Council elected at General Convention:

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Responses to Episcopal Church non-position on Anglican Covenant

A news release from the No Anglican Covenant Coalition:

COALITION STATEMENT ON THIS WEEK’S VOTES ON THE ANGLICAN COVENANT

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Some fun at General Convention

It is not all work and resolutions and parliamentary procedure. Some have developed games to lighten the atmosphere:

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ACANZAP to hold conversations on nature of marriage

The Anglican Communion News Service reports on the Anglican Church in Aorateara, New Zealand and Polynesia Synod which passed a resolution to study the nature of marriage:

Church: We Need to Talk About Marriage.

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Do we listen? hear?

Marshall Scott continues his reflections on General Convention:

What does it mean, I wonder, when we say that we want to listen to each other?

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Byron Rushing elected Vice President of House of Deputies

Episcopal News Service ENS reports that Byron Rushing has been elected Vice President of the House of Deputies:

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The 'dangerous prayer' of St. Benedict

Wisdom of St. Benedict, from yesterday's homily by the Rev. Stephanie Spellers at the Community Eucharist of the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church:

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Final day of General Convention underway

Today is the final day of General Convention. Much of the most significant legislative work has been done. The Official Youth Presence has gone home. But business goes on.

Today the Deputies will receive legislation that would allow a diocese to dissolve its relationship with a bishop. This legislation has passed the House of Bishops.

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Musical entertainment from Five 'Marks' of Mission

Five bishops named Mark provide a moment of inspiration at General Convention. (Video by Bishop Michael Curry)

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PB to GC: 'Step out there ... and love one another'

From Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori's closing sermon, delivered today at the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church:

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Bishops affirm baptism as requirement for communion

At General Convention today, the House of Bishops affirmed baptism as a precursor to communion.The matter now returns to the House of Deputies. In voting today, the Bishops amended this resolution approved by the House of Deputies, striking the last line (in italics):

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General Convention draws to a close: 'There's no stopping us'

Matthew Davies of Episcopal News Service offers this wrap-up of the 77th General Convention:

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Summarizing General Convention #77

Some dioceses summarize of the accomplishments of General Convention and what it means for the local church.


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Rites for animals available

General Convention approved new rites and prayers for the care of beloved animals Thursday.

Resolution A054 recommends the liturgies be made available “for use in a variety of settings to provide pastorally for people caring for animals,” and the committee revised the format to make it easier for worshipers to use at home.

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Confidence in organized religion very low.

The Gallup Poll says that forty-four percent of Americans have a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in "the church or organized religion," which is below 2002 (45%) and 2007 (46%) levels. Confidence in institutional or "organized" religion has been falling in America since the 1970s.

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Thanks for following the Café during General Convention

Thanks to everyone who followed our coverage of the General Convention of the Episcopal Church here on the Café, on our Facebook page, and especially on Twitter, which was the defining medium of the convention.

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Is there room for me?

Viv Groskop recounts the story of how a rigid vicar drove her out of her parish church on the day of her wedding.

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On Leading the 5000

It seems that Episcopalians in General Convention weren't the only ones thinking about structure. The Rev. David Keen, the Opininated Vicar, looks at the fact that the way things are going in the Church of England and finds that if some basic changes aren't made, the CofE could simply collapse under it's own weight.

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Surprising "Truth Squad" takes down WSJ op-ed

An op-ed in the Wall Street Journal published yesterday was so filled with errors and misleading statements that it brought immediate rebuttal from across the Episcopal spectrum.

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A precarious moment for liberal Christianity?

Liberal Christianity would appear to be on the ropes, judging from declining membership numbers in the Episcopal Church and other increasingly progressive denominations. New York Times columnist Ross Douthat describes the Episcopal Church as "flexible to the point of indifference on dogma, friendly to sexual liberation in almost every form, willing to blend Christianity with other faiths, and eager to downplay theology entirely in favor of secular political causes." He posits:

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A thank you (and rebuttal) to Ross Douthat

The Rev. John Ohmer, rector of St. James' Episcopal Church in Leesburg, Va., respectfully and deftly takes issue with key assertions made in Ross Douthat's New York Times column, Can Liberal Christianity Be Saved?. He also agrees with Douthat on certain points:

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Hear anything today about General Convention?

On the first Sunday after the close of the 77th General Convention what did you hear (or say) either in a sermon, community forum, announcements, or coffee hour -- or receive in written communication from your bishop, rector or diocesan deputation?

Taking stock

Church News Ireland takes stock of the Anglican Covenant and where it stands as of today:

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Not dead yet!

Diana Butler Bass responds to Ross Douthat:

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Standing Festivus on its head

In the spirit of "Singing a New Church into Being," as those of us who attended the just-completed General Convention in Indianapolis promised to do, we designate today Festivus Inverted, a day for gracefully letting go of grievances, writing 'em down on little slips of virtual paper, gathering all that paper in the middle of a virtual field and setting the whole pile ablaze.

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Debriefing General Convention

There is a great deal of misinformation circulating about what the Episcopal Church did at its just completed General Convention. Maybe the editors and the community here at Episcopal Cafe can help set a few records straight for our readers. Or maybe we can point you at someone who can. If you've got questions about what the convention did or didn't do, pose them in the comments, and we will do our best to answer them.

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What is stopping you?

During General Convention I frequently heard people speak about the kind of church that they wanted to help bring into being. My question posed not as a challenge, but to gather information was: What is stopping you?

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Once more dear friends...

A surprising number of Episcopalians have rallied to the challenge posed by critics of our recently completed General Convention, particularly New York Times columnist Ross Douthat.

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Latinos/Hispanics fuel Episcopal Church growth

NBCLatino reports that Latinos are fueling growth in the Episcopal Church:

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Can't we all just get along?

More reactions to the reactions to the reactions to General Convention and the Episcopal Church. Popular bloggers, AKMA in Random Thoughts and Rachel Held Evans both discuss the liberal-conservative divide and wonder how to encourage conversation between those who have divided into camps over issues to get beyond tossing snark at one another.

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What is stopping you? more...

In the category of "great minds," the Rev. Canon Frank Logue asks us to continue dreaming along with our siblings in Christ in the video Mainline Summer:

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Communion on the moon

The Atlantic explores the intersection of faith and science as we explore space, wondering, "Our secular endeavor of space exploration is flush with religious observance. Why is that?"

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Where have all the young people gone?

Mark Silk offers some food for thought in his response to the current debate about progressive, liberal, and conservative churches and their decline/growth:

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Boy Scouts and Chick-Fil-A oppose gays

Today's news reports that the Boy Scouts and the chicken sandwich purveyor Chick-Fil-A confirm their anti-gay stances.

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Parish reactions to bishop's letter on same-sex unions vary

Not all South Carolina congregations share the opinions of their bishop.

While some of the congregations in the SC Lowcountry area publicly agree with Bishop Lawrence, Erin Moody of the Beaufort/Port Royal Reporter writes of at least one differing understanding:

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A bishop-elect moves to a new House

Rhode Island Bishop-Elect Nick Knisely, on his blog Entangled States, shares the experience of moving from the House of Deputies to the House of Bishops:

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Defenders of the faith

Three new articles address Ross Douthat's claim that the Episcopal Church is declining due to its "liberal" progression.

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Africa has its first female Anglican bishop!

UPDATED again: From ACNS:

Revd Wamukoya was not initially a candidate, but after seven rounds of elections yielding no results, fresh nominations were invited from the Elective Assembly. She subsequently received the required 2/3 majority in both houses of laity and clergy.

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Want to be ordained? There's an app for that...

Ordination process taking to long? Had it with prying discernment committees and distracted diocesan bishops?

Well, now you can Ordain Thyself!

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Bp. Waldo asks prayers for guidance in South Carolina

From The State today in Columbia, S.C.:

The leader of Midlands and Upstate Episcopalians said this week he remains in prayer and open talks with his fellow bishop in the Lowcountry in hopes of staving off a fracture within the state and the national church over gender issues.

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Pauli Murray celebrated as Episcopal saint

The first African-American female priest in the Episcopal Church was elevated to sainthood this summer, and yesterday, a crowd gathered to honor her at the church where she worshiped as a child. The Rt. Rev. Michael B. Curry, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, was celebrant at the service.

From Indyweek.com in Durham, N.C.:

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Thumbs up for 'Rev.', available free on Hulu

Need some respite from head-banging debate over the future of the Anglican Communion? I have just the ticket: 'Rev.' -- a brilliant church-centric comedy that began airing on BBC a couple of years ago. The first season is now available to U.S. audiences for free at www.hulu.com/rev. The second season will begin airing on July 21. I LOVE this show.

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Prayers for the victims of the shooting in Colorado

Prayers ascend in the wake of the mass shooting at a multi-plex in Aurora, Colorado early this morning.

Holy One, you do not distance yourself from the pain of your people, but in Jesus bear that pain with us and bless all who suffer at others' hands. Hallow our flesh and all creation; with your cleansing love bring healing and strength to the victims of this shooting; and by your justice, lift them up, that in the body you have given them, they may again rejoice. Amen

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Creating spaces of grace and love

The Rev. Jesús Reyes, Canon for Congregational Growth & Development in the Diocese of El Camino Real reflects the questions raised this weekend by Ross Douthat, saying "Yes! Liberal Christianity...and many forms of Christianity...can be saved!"

Canon Reyes shared this with us via e-mail.

Can liberal Christianity be saved?...
Yes, it can, and many other forms of Christianity can be, too.

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Did early Christianity betray Jesus?

Archbishop Rowan Williams reviews Geza Vermes new book Christian Beginnings: From Nazareth to Nicaea, AD 30-325 which asks the how much the early church changed the teachings of Jesus.

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Letter from Bishop O'Neill of Colorado

From the Rt. Rev. Rob O'Neill of the Diocese of Colorado

Dear Friends,

Like many of you I awakened this morning to the news of the tragic shootings that took place overnight in Aurora, and as the morning has progressed I have followed with sadness the various news reports coming in as this tragedy continues to unfold.

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Radically faithful to Christian tradition

Bishop Stacy Sauls, Chief Operating Officer of the Episcopal Church, wrote to the Wall Street Journal in response to an op-ed that appeared in that paper called "What Ails the Episcopalians?"

He writes:

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Church in Wales reviews structure

Members and leaders of the Episcopal Church aren't the only ones thinking about restructuring in the service of mission. The Church in Wales has completed a top to bottom review process that examined the church's structure and ministry.

ACNS:

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Guns in the US: the myth of protection

A 2009 study shows correlation between carrying a gun and getting shot or killed. From New Scientist:

People who carry guns are far likelier to get shot – and killed – than those who are unarmed, a study of shooting victims in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has found.

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International AIDS conference draws religious activists

Lucy Chumbly at Episcopal News Service reports on the International AIDS Conference and the gathering of religious activists.

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The growth of the "nones"

Another survey describes the rise of the "nones:" adult Americans who do not claim a religious affiliation.

USA Today:

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Global South primates meet, issue statement

The meeting of the Global South primates has concluded and they have issued a communique.

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Aurora Sunday

If you heard a sermon about the killings in Colorado, tell us what you heard. If you preached a sermon on the killings, tell us what you said. And if you've posted something online, give us the URL in the comments.

Another reason to love The Muppets

News from the website Tough Pigs: Muppet Fans who Grew Up

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Rowan Williams in retrospect

As Rowan Williams steps down from the office of Archbishop of Canterbury to return to academics, Mark Chapman offers his thoughts about Williams' time. From Thinking Faith: the online journal of the British Jesuits:

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The Global South Anglicans and what they didn't say

More than 100 Anglicans from theologically conservative provinces of the Anglican Communion that lie primarily in the southern hemisphere, met recently in Bangkok and released a statement that hints at some level of relaxation of the tension in the Anglican Communion.

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If Anglican relations are improving, this may be a reason why

We wondered earlier today whether tensions in the Anglican Communion might be easing a bit. If the answer is yes, the next question might be why.

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Kenyan bishop says "gay movement" more dangerous than terrorists

CORRECTION: SEE STORY ON 8/13 - Bishop says this is false

Despite some seemingly hopeful developments in the Anglican Communion, proponents of spiritual equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender should have no illusions about what they are up against in some quarters. Standard Media of Kenya reports:

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Deadline nears for nominations to Standing Commission, other governing bodies

[July 23, 2012] Now that the 77th General Convention has concluded, the work of the Church continues.

There is still time to submit a nomination to the General Convention office for clergy and lay volunteers to serve on committees and commissions of the General Convention and committees of the Executive Council.

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Jeffrey John speaks up for marriage equality in UK

Dean Jeffrey John of St. Alban's Cathedral in England has made a powerful pitch for marriage equality in the United Kingdom.

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Olympics and Church of England

The Communications Update from the Church of England encourages members to share their stories of the church and the Olympics as the games begin. Episcopal Café has one to share by Margaret Treadwell in Daily Episcopalian today.

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Global South Primates' Communique? Maybe not.

A followup to the alleged Global South Primates Communiqué as reported at The Lead -- it seems that not all the primates present at the Global South Conference are aware of the primates communiqué (as distinguised from the conference communique).

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Is Michelle Bachmann a Christian?

Frank Bruni asks from what messiah Michelle Bachmann learned her Christianity in The New York Times:

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Learned helplessness

The Rt. Rev. Scott Benhase, Diocese of Georgia writes about "learned helplessness" in Duke Divinity School's Call and Response:

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Not seeing your comments?

The policy at Episcopal Café - all sections - is that you must sign your full name to your comments or they may not be published. You can also use Facebook and other logins but your name needs to be visible either in the post or in your i.d. We are a small group of volunteers and don't have time to search you out each time (if we even can do that) - so please REMEMBER - sign your first and last name. We also reserve the right to moderate comments.

Ode to Joy

Lord,
it is night.
The night is for stillness
Let us be still in the presence of God.
It is night after a long day.
What has been done has been done;
what has not been done has not been done;
let it be. (A New Zealand Prayer Book Night Prayer p. 184)

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Climbing the fence between fear and possibility

The Rev. Susan Russell shared the content of her sermon with The Huffington Post. In it, she quotes the Presiding Bishop, whose words to the Episcopal Church on its re-imagining and restructuring seemed to also fit in post-Aurora context:

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Gay marriage to be introduced in Scotland

BBC News reports that Scotland will bring forth a bill which could introduce gay marriage by the start of 2015.

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Prime Minister affirms commitment to same sex civil marriage

The Prime Minister David Cameron has affirmed his commitment to same sex civil marriage while addressing a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) reception at Downing Street.

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Worshiping false Gods: Joe Paterno and Penn State football

Lay preacher and writer-in-residence at SSW Greg Garrett writes of "Joe Paterno, Football, and False Gods" on Patheos.

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Sally Ride: still inspiring women

Sally Ride died Monday this past Monday. She was the first American woman in space and an advocate for women in the sciences.

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Back & forth: Douthat responds to Diana Butler Bass

Heated debate continues this summer on the future of the church, liberal and otherwise. In his latest NY Times column, Ross Douthat responds to the response he got from Diana Butler Bass to his column, "Can Liberal Christianity Be Saved?" Under the headline "Is Liberal Christianity Actually the Future?" he writes:

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Bishop of Alabama: Yes, but no on same-sex blessings

Bishop Kee Sloan, who voted yes at General Convention to approve the new ritual for same-sex blessings, will not allow the blessings to be performed in the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama.

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The church that welcomes everyone

Update: The church mentioned below is in Daytona Beach, Florida. Fr. Phil Egitto at Our Lady of Lourdes says he adapted this from text originally used at a Lutheran Church, where the pastor was happy to give him permission to reprint.

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Fire destroys St. James Church in Cannon Ball, N.D.

St. James Episcopal Church in Cannon Ball, N.D., has been destroyed in a nighttime fire. Please pray for the people of this parish. Episcopal News Service reports:

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UNRWA extends funding to Gaza’s Ahli Arab Hospital

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has offered to extend funding support for the Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza for six months, allowing the hospital to honor its financial obligations and retain its staff until the end of 2012.

ENS:

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Americanizing African values

The Rev. Canon Kapya John Kaoma has written a study detailing the extent to which American leaders from the Christian right have influenced and distorted African politics to encourage draconian anti-homosexual laws in these countries. The report was released by Political Research Associates and can be found on their web-site PublicEye.org.

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Auditor says of gay parenting study: "It's bull___."

An audit of the gay parenting study has concluded the work is seriously flawed. The editor of the journal that published the study requested the audit. The Chronicle of Higher Education has obtained a copy of the audit report and interviewed its author.

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Praying to be normal

Viv Taylor writes about her experience as a transgender Christian. She was one of the members of TransEpiscopal who witnessed at General Convention in Indianapolis. She graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill, served as a chaplain’s assistant in Iraq and wrote about the experience as Sam Taylor for The Chapel Hill News from 2010-12.

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What young clergy want you to know

Pastor Keith Anderson, pastor of Upper Dublin Lutheran Church in Ambler, PA and co-author of the new book Click2Save: The Digital Ministry Bible, is a young pastor and he has listened to other young clergy about their concerns, their hopes, their fears and their wishes.

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The role of religion and politics in the UK

On Monday, a debate took place about the role of faith and politics in the UK. The forum included Former Prime Minister Tony Blair, The Most Rev. Rowan Williams, and Charles Moore, biographer to Margaret Thatcher and former editor of the Telegraph.

Andrew Brown writes at the Guardian:

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Rites at the end of life

Increasingly people are designing their own funeral ceremonies, choosing methods of burial and ways of saying good bye to loved ones. From Funeral Rights in the UK:

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Marriage is too precious a thing not to share

A lovely marriage equality ad from Maine.

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Music's cohesive role in the London Olympics opening ceremony

The heritage of the isles was on display in the London Olympics Opening Ceremony - traditional music like God Save the Queen, the unofficial national anthem Jerusalem, and Cwm Rhondda were each sung by multiracial children's choirs. Abide with Me was sung by Emeli Sandé.

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Global South Primates: next ABC must 'address the ecclesial deficit' of Communion

A letter to Lord Luce of the Crown Nominations Commission from the Global South of the Anglican Communion expresses Global South Primates' desires for traits they wish to see in the next Archbishop of Canterbury.

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Bishop Budde: Rediscovering the reasons for our existence

Writing for the On Faith section of The Washington Post's website, Bishop Marianne Budde of the Diocese of Washington says it is time for The Episcopal Church to rediscover the reason for its existence:

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Celebrating the Philadelphia 11 on their 38th anniversary

Today is the 38th anniversary of the ordinations of the Philadelphia Eleven, the first women ordained in the Episcopal Church. Louie Crew has written a open for the occasion.

Let Us Now Praise Caustic Persons

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The Anglican Convenant: Where does it go from here?

Canon Alan T. Perry takes a comprehensive look at which provinces have adopted the Anglican Covenant, which have rejected it, and which ones have given qualified and even ambiguous assent. He writes:

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Somewhat against our better judgment: a Chick-fil-A story

Richard Allen Greene of CNN reports:

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Israel, Palestine and General Convention

The conflict between Israelis and Palestinians aroused some of the more passionate testimony in hearings at the recently completed General Convention of the Episcopal Church, even though it seemed clear from the outset that the church was not going to take action strong enough to satisfy those who believe it has not spoken out strongly enough against the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

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The sad cycle of Evangelical Biblical scholarship

About six weeks ago, Peter Enns wrote a column for Patheos that has been pinging around the Internet ever since. In it, he laments the situation the dilemma that evangelical scholars who do their graduate work at non-evangelical institutions face when they return to evangelical schools. He wrote:

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National Cathedral names Gary Hall as new dean

The Washington National Cathedral has named the Rev. Canon Gary R. Hall, Ph. D. as its tenth dean succeeding the Very Rev. Samuel T. Lloyd, III.

The Cathedral's news release is here.

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The T in LGBT

Becky Garrison, writing in the Washington Post says The Episcopal Church promotes the T in LGBT:

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UPDATED: St George Cathedral children injured in Baghdad

UPDATED with a full report from ACNS below.

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++Rowan Williams on Aslan: knife edge of the erotic

Aslan is on the knife edge of the erotic according to Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams in an interview with Sameer Rahim in The Telegraph:

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Continuing Indaba process builds friendships

"Enabling conversation across difference has been the main objective of the Anglican Communion’s Continuing Indaba and Mutual Listening Process. But the fruits of the program in breaking down barriers and building friendships across vastly different contexts have far exceeded any expectations, according to the Rev. Canon Phil Groves, who said the guiding principle and the key to its success has been in placing Christ at the center of the conversations," in a report from Episcopal News Service :

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The little church that could....

In Lander, Wyoming, Trinity Episcopal Church is focused on outreach with their "hand up" not a "hand out" program, First Stop. Here is the latest success story from a church with an ASA of 25, locally ordained priest and deacon, and ministry of the all the members. As reported by the Administrator:

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