California bans therapies to 'cure’ gay minors

The NYTimes reports:

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Kenya Archbishop condemns attacks on Sunday school

From Anglican Communion News Service:

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Reaching out to spiritual refugees

Tom Moran, the editorial page editor of the Newark Star-Ledger, is a cradle Roman Catholic who now refers to himself as a spiritual refugee. In a moving column in yesterday's Newark Star-Ledger, he talks about how the Catholic hierarchy's teachings on divorce and homosexuality drove him out of the church.

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Bishop Andrus has a few thoughts on his new Catholic counterpart

Bishop Marc Andrus of the Episcopal Diocese of California has some thoughts on the appointment of Salvatore Cordileone as the Roman Catholic Archbishop of San Francisco

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Church of England says bankers should repent role in financial crisis

Think Progress reports that the Church of England wants bankers to repent of their role in the financial crisis:

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London Times: CNC agreed on Welby as first choice

UPDATED: see below

With a caveat about the lack of named sources:

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ABC defends his outspoken approach

Archbishop of Canterbury defends his outspoken approach to the office as reported in The Guardian:

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Clergy arrested for protesting firing of union workers

Episcopal clergy are represented in arrests for civil disobedience and protest have a long history according to the website God Discussion:

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Amazing Grace Circus

A youth group turns their grief into a circus - story in the Nyack (NY) News and Views:

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Garrison Keillor on clergy fashions

Some clergy fun from A Prairie Home Companion:

Calvin Klein clerical wear:

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What should be asked at tonight's presidential debate?

ThinkProgress ponders "5 Questions that should be asked at the Presidential debate but probably won't be", along with their analysis of each question. Here is their list:

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Unitarian faith growing nationwide

Bon Smietana of USA Today writes of the growing popularity of Unitarian Universalist congregations in the US:

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Methodists path still "unsustainable"

Changes made during and after the United Methodist Church's 2012 General Conference, according to the final report of the Call to Action Interim Operations Team, are insufficient to address the challenges the denomination faces.

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PB, PHoD announce appointments to church committees

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, President of the House of Deputies, have announced their appointments to the Standing Commissions of General Convention, as well as other bodies that help shape the policies and practices of the Episcopal Church.

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Rest in Peace, Rise in Glory: Rev. Terry Parsons

Word comes to us of the passing of The Rev. Terry Parsons, Rector at St. Alban's Bay City, Michigan, and former missioner for The Episcopal Church's office of Stewardship and Discipleship.

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Harlem woman is Episcopal Church's first female Korean-American priest

Excerpted from an article on DNAinfo.com by Jeff Mays:

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Padre Alberto earns HuffPo recognition

Fr. Alberto Cutié is among seven Latino religious leaders recognized byThe Huffington Post as "shaping the wider religious, spiritual and political landscape of America."

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Wholly compatible: Freedom of religion, freedom to marry

A new report from the Center for American Progress contends that freedom of religion and the freedom to marry are "twin freedoms" wholly compatible with one another, despite claims to the contrary by conservative religious groups. The group states:

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St. Francis of Assisi, on YouTube

I've just finished reading Fr. James Martin's lively memoir "My Life with the Saints," and found this video compelling. Happy Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi!

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Why is Africa poor?

Why? In part because its coast line half as long as Europe's and its land mass is much larger.

Two economics professors have embarked on a MOOC (massive open online course) university. Their first course is Development Economics.

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UPDATED, again: Bishop Marc Andrus denied seating at Catholic archbishop's installation

UPDATED AGAIN - see bold directly below.

SAN FRANCISCO

The Rt. Rev. Marc Andrus, Episcopal Bishop of California and an invited guest for the installation of Archbishop-designate Salvatore Cordileone, was not allowed to be seated. He was escorted to a basement room at St. Mary's Roman Catholic Cathedral and detained by an usher until the time the service began, whereupon Bishop Andrus left the cathedral.

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My experience at the installation of Archbishop Cordileone

Bishop Marc Andrus has issued this statement on his bishop's blog:

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The faith of Boomers: advancing with age?

The Baby Boomer generation's fabled relationship with religious institutions hasn't exactly been hand-in-glove - more suspicion than participation, or so the story goes.

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The undecided Evangelical voter

Dan Gilgoff takes an insightful look at the dilemma faced by some evangelical Christians in this presidential election. he focuses on Rob Seyler who has a picture of Barack Obama on the wall of his classroom at Grandview Park Baptist Church in Des Moines, Iowa.

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An undecided Catholic voter

Here is another piece from CNN's undecided voter package, this one focusing on an undecided Catholic. Jen Christensen writes of Mary Roberts of Columbus, Ohio:


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Your homicide risk depends on your social network

Sentences to ponder:

Results indicate that the risk of homicide is highly concentrated within the study community: 41 percent of all gun homicides in the study community occurred within a social network containing less than 4 percent of the neighborhood’s population.

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Church Times: Archbishop of Canterbury's job is too demanding

The Church Times suggests that the Crown Nominating Commission has had a difficult time settling on a choice for the next Archbishop of Canterbury is that the job is almost impossible to do. The editors' write:

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Matthew Shephard: Fourteen years ago tomorrow

From the blog Talk About Equality:

On October 7, 1998, Aaron Kreifels was riding his bike through a field in Wyoming. He wasn’t expecting that day to be different from any other beautiful sunny afternoon in the vast plains surrounding Laramie, but that day would change many lives.

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Man, Movement, Machine, Monument

John Ohmer, new rector at The Falls Church (Episcopal!) writes:

[Richard} Rohr [the well-known Franciscan writer] points out the "Four M's" that happen over time to churches (and other organizations, for that matter), a pattern or cycle that goes something like this...

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New National Cathedral Dean speaks on religion, politics

Niraj Warikoo of the Detroit Free Press interviewed the Rev. Gary Hall, former rector of Christ Church, Cranbrook, who is now dean of Washington National Cathedral. Here is some of their conversation:

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Praying to an impersonal God

Writing for the Huffington Post, Joshua Stanton, associate director of the Center for Global Judaism, explains why he believes it is both possible and worthwhile to pray to "an impersonal God."

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Boy Scouts sticking to their anti-gay guns

Yahoo has the story, and a photo:

A longtime Boy Scout claims he's being denied the organization's highest honor because he's gay.

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Preaching on some tough readings

Several preachers who share their thinking and sermons online mentioned that this week's readings made challenging sermon fodder.

The Very Rev. John Downey of the Cathedral in Saint Paul in Erie, asks for help with his sermons almost every week in a You Tube feature called "This Preacher needs help." Here is what he had to say this week:

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What we can infer given the CNC's voting method?

One former member of the panel said the new Archbishop was being chosen by a process of elimination. Once a number of candidates have been chosen, they are ranked in order of preference by members in a blind vote. The name with the least votes drops out. The panel then votes again, and again, until one man has the 11 votes necessary for a two-thirds majority. - The Sunday Telegraph

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Talking about God and sex on campus

Here is a fascinating account of the conversations that students and the Rev. Kimberly Jackson are having about sexual ethics and their religious faith at the Atlanta University Center, which serves several universities in that city. An excerpt:

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Bishop Whalon offers a few thoughts on restructuring the church

Bishop Pierre Whalon takes a long look at the structure of the Episcopal Church, and ventures a few opinions on the sorts of changes that might be necessary in an essay at Anglicans Online. He writes:

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Non-Catholics less likely to believe Columbus discovered America

Catholics are more likely to credit Christopher Columbus with discovering America than are other U. S. citizens. Peter Smith of the Louisville Courier-Journal reports:

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Nuns on the Bus weigh in on Ryan budget

Following last week's presidential debate, and in anticipation of the vice-presidential debate to come, E.J. Dionne sits down with Sister Simone of the Nuns on the Bus cause.

Nuns on the Bus has been particularly critical of the proposed Ryan budget.

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Nones on the rise, Protestants in decline in new Pew study

Rachel Zoll of the Associated Press reports on a new study from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life:

For the first time in its history, the United States does not have a Protestant majority, according to a new study. One reason: The number of Americans with no religious affiliation is on the rise.

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Designer clergywear is spreading

You sometimes get the impression that vicars and priests wouldn't mind a brief sashay down the catwalk instead of the aisle, so colourful and inventive are the vestments they wear.

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An Episcopal ordinariate for disaffected Catholics?

The esteemed Mark Silk, professor of religion in public life at Trinity College (CT) surveys the recent unpleasantness between Episcopal Bishop Marc Andrus and Roman Catholic Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone and asks a question worth pondering:

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ENS reports Bennison to retire at year's end

UPDATED with full story

Episcopal News Service is reporting that Bishop Charles Bennison, the controversial leader of the Diocese of Pennsylvania, will resign at the end of the year.

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"The arithmetic of good things cancelling out bad things"

Andrew Brown of The Guardian has written a column that people who wrestle with questions of faith and doubt and who try to make sense of justice and suffering, might well find useful. It doesn't submit easily to the taking of excerpts, but here is a bit that conveys something of his approach.

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The death of Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Elisabeth Sifton and Fritz Stern of The New York Review of Books offer an in-depth account of the last days of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his brother-in-law Hans von Dohnanyi. These two excerpts touch on the influence that his involvement in the plots against Adolph Hitler had on Bonhoeffer's theology.

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Compass Rose Society honors Williams with musical premiere

The Compass Rose Society honored outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams at its annual meeting last week, with the premiere performance of “Advent Calendar” an anthem based on a poem by Dr. Williams composed by renowned composer Peter Hallock.

The poem, published in Williams first poetry collection, 'After Silent Centuries' (Oxford, 1994), is quite beautiful:

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Archbishop of Canterbury speaks to Roman Catholic Synod of Bishops

Thinking Anglicans reports:

Archbishop of Canterbury addressed the “Thirteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith”.

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Poll shows rising support for same-sex marriage in Florida & Ohio

A recent Washington Post poll shows most voters in the swing states of Ohio and Florida support the right of same-sex couples to wed, as do nearly half the voters in Virginia. The Post reports:

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Cafe Divine offers fine dining & inspiration in Austin

The Austin American-Statesman has an inspiring story about Cafe Divine, serving up delicious food and job training at St. David's Episcopal Church:

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Jesus calls us to help the poor, deserving or not

Christians err when they fall into the trap of believing that charity should be based on whether those in need deserve help or not, contends Rachel Johnson, writing at Patheos.com. This is important to consider as we debate public policy on poverty issues. In a piece titled "Jesus Doesn’t Care or Why Liberals Need Christ," she writes:

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VP debate pits Catholic against Catholic

Melinda Hennenberger presents an excellent piece at washingtonpost.com analyzing how Joe Biden and Paul Ryan incorporate their Catholic faith very differently when it comes to public policy -- most notably on abortion.

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Reaction to Pew poll from young atheists, agnostics & believers

What do young people have to say in response to the recent Pew poll showing that religious affiliation is in sharp decline in the United States, particularly among their age group?

The New York Times asked readers 13 and younger to respond to this today at its Student Opinion blog, and drew strong reactions from young people, most of whom echo the report's findings. One wrote:

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Do you tend to feel guilty? Congratulations!

As a former Catholic and devoted mom, I work to encourage my adult children to feel guilty at every turn. So I was delighted to see this item today at the Wall Street Journal, asserting that people who are guilt-prone are actually pretty awesome.

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International Day of the Girl

Yesterday marked the first ever ‘International Day of the Girl’. A Day designated by the United Nations to promote the education, protection and nurturing of girls, while overcoming discrimination against girls, so that they may flourish and contribute to their communities and to the world.

ACNS:

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2011 saw membership growth in 33 dioceses

Thirty-three diocese of the Episcopal Church showed membership growth in 2011 according to statistic released today by The Research Office of the Episcopal Church

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Presiding Bishop asks candidates to address Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Dear Mr. President and Governor Romney,

As each of you prepares for the two remaining presidential debates, I write to urge you to use the debate forum to articulate strong support for a just and peaceful resolution to the Arab-Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as a clear plan for how you would work to support that goal in the next four years.

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Final judgments in two California property disputes

Final Judgments in favor of the Diocese of Los Angeles and the Episcopal Church in cases regarding Long Beach and North Hollywood property disputes have been entered by the Orange County Superior Court.

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"The Real Seminarians of Wales"

Camera crews and producers followed around ordinands at St. Michael's College, Cardiff, Wales, for a year recording what life is like for those preparing for the priesthood. The turned into a documentary called Vicar Academy, will appear on BBC One Wales starting on Monday October 15th.

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A psychologist and historian of morality reflects on the conventions

Gareth Cook of Scientific American introduces us to Jonathan Haidt, author of The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion. Haidt, he says, "is concerned, like many Americans, with the way our country has become divided and increasingly unable to work together to solve looming threats. Yet, unlike most Americans, he is a psychologist and specialist on the origins of morality. In his book, Haidt examines the roots of our morality, and how they play out on the stage of history. Cook asked Haidt what he made of the recent political conventions, and he said:

I was mostly struck by how much the culture war has shifted to economic issues. These days it’s fought out over the three moral foundations that everyone values: Care/harm, Fairness/cheating, and Liberty/oppression. The Democrats say that government must care for people, and that government programs are necessary to make America fair – to level the playing field, and give people the basic necessities that they need to enjoy liberty, especially education and health care. George W. Bush once called himself a "compassionate conservative," but Republicans in the Tea Party era don't talk much about compassion. For them, government is the cause of massive unfairness – taking money from taxpayers (the "makers" and "job creators") and giving it to slackers and freeloaders (Romney's "47 percent"). Government is seen as the principle threat to liberty. The private sector is much more trusted. This is a huge shift from the period between 1992 and 2004, when the culture war was fought out mostly between social conservatives, particularly the religious right, and the secular left. It was fought out primarily over the three moral foundations that we call the "binding" foundations, because they bind people together into tight moral communities: Loyalty/betrayal (for example, issues of patriotism and flag protection), Authority/subversion (for example, respect for parents, and whether parents and teachers can spank children), and Sanctity/degradation (which includes most bioethical issues pitting the sanctity of life against a more harm-based or utilitarian ethos). This older culture war re-emerged briefly with Rick Santorum's turn in the spotlight, but then it faded away. The Republican Party in particular has changed, and the moral arguments made in this Republican convention were very different.

I can't say I noticed that. Your thoughts?

Hat tip Andrew Sullivan.

Three dangers of social media for clergy

Blogger Bruce Reyes-Chow, a great fan and user of social media and the interwebs, writes about the dangers of distraction, creating echo chambers, and self-disclosure that come might come with ministering on-line.

Here is his "Open Letter to Pastors About the Dangers of Using Social Media"

You see, as one who interacts with many church folks online, I deeply believe that some of you have used this technology as vehicle for distraction, escape and avoidance from life, ministry and call. Of course this is not a phenomenon that is confined only church folks and I may be overstepping my bounds, but, because I care so deeply for you and for the churches you serve, I want you to avoid heading down a dangerous road.

First, let me say that I KNOW that there are times when online community provides all of us a safe place to find meaning, healing, support, etc. As one who is fully supportive of embracing and integrating social media into the life of the church, I am in no way advocating any kind of blanket limit, ban or rejection of this powerful communication medium. So please to not hear these things as a plea to turn away from social media. That said, let me point out three dangers that I perceive happening as I have watched some of you interaction twitter, facebook, etc.

Pastor David Hansen responds, saying "Hey, don't scare the horses!"

Ask anyone who advocates for the church to use social media as a tool for ministry. People are already afraid of it. Those who are not using social media have a laundry list of fears. Yes, some are real concerns, like what Bruce has named here. They are possible. But just because they are possible, does not mean that they are probable.

Let’s get people out of the garage and onto the road before we start handing out NASCAR safety equipment. Warning signs are not for those who are in the garage, but those who are on the road.

The line in the pulpit between the prophetic and the political

A political group wants to provoke the IRS into suing a minister for endorsing a candidate and a political party from the pulpit. The mainly right-wing group promotes something called "Pulpit Freedom Sunday" and they say nearly 1500 preachers took part.

Where is the line between the political and the prophetic in the pulpit?

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Archbishop Williams interview with Vatican Radio

After his address to the Synod of Bishops in the Vatican on Wednesday, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, was interviewed by Vatican Radio.

He talked about the legacy of Vatican II and the need transparency in the Church. He also spoke about the state of the state of Anglican-Catholic dialog, and impact women bishops in the Church of England will have on that church's relationship with the Vatican.

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Gay like me

Paul Harris of the Observer of London tells the story of Timothy Kurek, author of The Cross in the Closet. Kurkek, an evangelical Christian and graduate of the late Jerry Falwell's Liberty University, spent a year pretending to be gay. Kurek grew up believing that being gay "was an abomination before God," Harris writes. But when

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So, have you sold what you own yet?

From today's gospel reading

"You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me."

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4 Occupy protestors chain selves to St. Paul's pulpit

The Associated Press covers the most recent activities of the Occupy movement at St. Paul's Cathedral in London.

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Fraser column marks anniversary of Occupy London

The Rev. Giles Fraser, who left his job as canon chancellor of St. Paul's Cathedral in London rather than assent to the cathedral's plans to forcibly remove Occupy London protestors from its property has written a forceful column to mark the one-year anniversary of the movement. He writes:

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"Cynical fear mongering" from the American Family Association

For reasons that are not immediately apparent, The New York Times has written a story about the American Family Association, which believes that telling people not to beat up gay and lesbian children is morally wrong.

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Executive Council begins four-day meeting

Updated at bold-facing with the Presiding Bishop's sermon at the opening Eucharist. Updated again at bold-facing with President of House of deputies opening remarks at 1:20 pm, and a report on the award made to the Rev. Canon Dr. Gregory S. Straub, who will retire as executive secretary of the General Convention of the Episcopal Church on January 1 at 1:35. Updated at 5:35 with the Presiding Bishop's opening remarks.

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The lament of a pro-life lefty

Writing in The New Statesman, Mehdi Hasan, political director of the Huffington Post, UK, says arguments against abortion can be rooted in reasoning that politically progressive people should find persuasive. He writes:

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Just whose religious freedom is in jeopardy in marriage equality debate?

Ross Murray, director of religion, faith and values at the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, suggests that it is not the religious freedom of Catholic bishops that is in jeopardy in the United States, but the freedom of the people who sit in their pews.

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Marriage equality: it's for the kids

Aaron C. Davis of The Washington Post tells one family's story, and in the process captures a) the ways in which laws that prohibit same same-sex marriage harm the children of gay and lesbian couples, and b) how politically potent the message that those children need protection has become. He writes:

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Gay Jennings' Executive Council Top Ten list

We linked earlier in the day to the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings' opening remarks to the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church at her first meeting as President of the House of Deputies. But her Top Ten list of healthy working habits for members of the council is getting some social media play, and we decided it merited its own item.

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Liturgical conversion and The Episcopal Church

On the Laity Lodge blog, Pilgrim movingly describes a liturgical conversion to The Episcopal Church from the Baptist tradition - a transition I myself underwent 19 years ago - after ending up with a dry but cerebral connection to Christ.

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Economics Nobel for saving lives

This year's Nobel prize in economics went to Al Roth and Lloyd Shapley for their work on markets without prices and the application of that work to real world problems.

The most significant application is Roth's work on kidney-exchanges. Society finds the buying and selling of kidneys as repugnant and prohibits it. Yet transplants save lives, and people die for lack of a willing donor.

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Canadian and African bishops in dialogue

Anglican Journal reports on the consultation between Canadian and African bishops that began at Lambeth 2008:

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Canada: non-Christian prison chaplains' contracts cancelled

The Rev. Malcolm French writes to object to the new policy in Canada that only allows Christian chaplains to work in prisons:

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Varghese to be installed as rector of St. Mark's Church-in-the-Bowery

The Rev. Winnie Varghese will be installed Saturday as rector of St. Mark's Church-in-the-Bowery, the first rector of the history church in more than two decades.

From PRWeb:

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PB and HOB announce delay in appointing structure task force

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and President of the House of Deputies the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings released the following statement today, announcing a delay in appointing the special task force for church structural reform:

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Judge rules couple can't change last name to 'ChristIsKing'

A Staten Island Judge, citing separation of church and state, ruled yesterday that a couple cannot change their last name to "ChristIsKing."

The same judge denied a request six years by the same couple to change their son's name to "JesusIsLord." The couple, Michael and Angela Nwadiuko, subsequently went to Virginia where a judge ruled in their favor on that one.

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Political rhetoric fails to reflect true value of work

We heard a lot of talk from both presidential candidates last night about the need for jobs in America, but throughout the campaign, neither Obama nor Romney has focused on the concept of truly valuable work, according to Hugh Whelchel, executive director of the Institute of Faith, Work & Economics. He blogs for the Washington Post:

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TEC moves against Diocese of S.C. & Bishop Mark Lawrence

UPDATE: News release from The Episcopal Church

Disciplinary Board for Bishops certifies that South Carolina Bishop has abandoned the church

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Prep football squad gives opposing team a welcome boost

It's not every day we find items to post here from ESPN.com, but this inspirational story from Rick Reilly caught our attention:

They played the oddest game in high school football history last month down in Grapevine, Texas.

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Protesters prompt Trinity Wall Street to cancel Halloween party

Sad news for hundreds of children in New York City. Trinity Wall Street has cancelled its annual Halloween fright fest because church officials fear that Occupy Wall Street protesters threaten to disrupt the event.The New York Daily News reported this week:

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Appeals court in NY strikes down Defense of Marriage Act

A federal appeals court in New York became the second in the nation today to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act, ruling that denying federal benefits to married same-sex couples is unconstitutional. CNN reports:

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PB clarifies comment on 'thick' interpretion of General Convention

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said earlier this week that Executive Council members "can't always take General Convention decisions literally." Asked about this at a press conference today, she offered some clarification. From Episcopal News Service:

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Knights of Columbus spending millions to battle marriage equality

Many U.S. Catholics would be dismayed at how much money the Knights of Columbus are pouring into efforts to battle marriage equality. According to a new report released by Equally Blessed, a coalition of Catholic groups support equal treatment for the LGBT community in the church and beyond, the fraternal organization has"used its extensive financial resources to become one of the most aggressive opponents of marriage equality in the United States."

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Did Lawrence lie or is he simply doing what he promised?

Mark Harris blogs that Bishop Mark Lawrence lied to the Church when he his election was confirmed by a majority of Standing Committees and Bishops. Did he?

Harris says on his blog Preludium that it's "Time to fess up, Bishop Lawrence: You have lied to us."

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Williams on Women Bishops Measure: "Just Pass It!"

The Church Times is reporting that Rowan Williams is urging a final push to pass the measure to allow the ordination of women to the episcopate.

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McConnell becomes Pittsburgh's bishop Saturday

Saturday, October 20, the Rev. Dorsey McConnell will become the next bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, the first diocese that suffered schism to elect a non-provisional bishop:

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Good News to a weary world

Graham James, the Bishop of Norwich, addressed his Diocesan Synod last Monday. Right now, the conventional wisdom (and the bookies) have him as one of the two front-runners for the next Archbishop of Canterbury.

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City crime linked to self hatred

Professor James Cone of Union Theological Seminary proposes that self hatred is a root cause of urban violence and suggests a role for churches. From WXXInews in Rochester, NY:

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Adding worship to the Marks of Mission

The Rev. Bosco Peters of Aotearoa New Zealand is campaigning to have worship, liturgy and the Eucharist added to the Marks of Mission. Currently the list has 5 "marks." He asks Anglican Consultative Council 15 meeting in New Zealand October 27-November 7 to consider this change. Peters writes:

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For progressive Methodists, is breaking up the right thing to do?

Professor Jack Johnson argues that if Methodists who want to move beyond the church's currently discriminatory practices toward gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people may need to make an amicable break with the larger church.

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Book of Common Prayer at 350

The New Yorker Magazine notes the 350th anniversary of the Book of Common Prayer and reflects on its influence on the English language and literature:

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Native American saint stirs controversy

Religion News Service reports on the controversy surrounding the latest person to be canonized by the Roman Catholic Church, Kateri Tekakwitha:

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If Barack Obama is the "wrong kind of Christian" so are most of us

John Blake of CNN has written a probing account of President Barack Obama's Christian faith, and why some theologically conservative Christians still refuse to believe that it is for real. Blake's thesis, and the tension in the piece are captured by these two excerpts:

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No blessings in Fond du Lac

The Rt. Rev. Russell Jacobus has announced that there will be no blessings from the church for gay and lesbian couples in the Diocese of Fond du Lac (Wisconsin), reported in the PostCrescent.com:

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New survey examines role of religion in upcoming election

The Public Religion Research Institute has released a survey examining how religion will shape next month's presidential election. It focuses particularly on Roman Catholics and the religiously unaffiliated.

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Fire damages Good Shepherd, Berkeley

Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Berkeley was heavily damaged in a fire last night. KTVU TV filed a report. It begins:

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Who wants to help make sense of the South Carolina situation

Who is up for an assignment?

In the past, I believed that the way in which the tensions within the Episcopal Church were perceived by the people in our pews, by the general public, by the Church of England and within the larger Anglican Communion would play a significant role in the survival of our church.

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Bishop Robinson plans an active retirement

Surprise! Bishop Gene Robinson plans an active retirement. The Advocate has the story:

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Being a pastor is bad for your health

Amy Frykholm of The Christian Century surveys some of the latest data on clergy wellness and writes:

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Is President Obama a "pro-life hero"?

An intriguing argument from Eric C. Miller at Religion Dispatches: Barack Obama Pro-life hero.

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What's a bishop to do?

The Rt. Rev. Sam Hulsey was visiting a church in Fort Worth when the Lay Eucharistic Minister's dog took over the bishop's chair. How did the bishop react? Photos follow:

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Reparations: listening

From the PBS station KTOO in Juneau, Alaska, an interview with Katrina Browne and Juanita Brown about the documentary Traces of the Trade, slavery in the northeastern U.S. and the story of a slave-trading family.

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Slaughtering Bill and Lou and the ethics of meat

The ethics of meat and the fate of two oxen intertwine at Green Mountain College in Vermont. From the Huffington Post:

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Hopes for the Anglican Consultative Council meeting

Episcopal News Service reports on the upcoming meeting in New Zealand of the Anglican Consultative Council, and The Rt Rev. David Chillingworth of Scotland comments:

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Ted Haggard now believes in marriage equality

In an online debate, Pastor Ted Haggard says now that gays and lesbians should be allowed to marry under state law even if churches do not agree. OnTop Magazine summarizes Haggard's points:

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Court rejects Kunonga appeals in Anglican property row

Tererai Karimakwenda writes in allAfrica.com on the decision of Zimbabwe's Supreme Court concerning the dispute over The Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) properties with ex-communicated Anglican Bishop Nolbert Kunonga:

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"God's intentions" creates more political controversy

Tom LoBianco of the Associated Press:

Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock said Tuesday when a woman becomes pregnant during a rape, "that's something God intended."

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Election day communion: choose to remember

The Election Day Communion Campaign is a creation of Mark Schloneger (Pastor, North Goshen Mennonite Church; Goshen, IN), Kevin Gasser (Pastor, Staunton Mennonite Church; Staunton, VA) and Ben Irwin (Creator, The Story; Member, Episcopal Church; Grand Rapids, MI) which grew out of "...a concern that Christians in the United States are being shaped more by the tactics and ideologies of political parties than by their identity in and allegiance to Jesus."

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Why your church staff burns out

Alan Rudnick explores clergy burnout in his latest blog post:

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Feds seek to block Hobby Lobby's religious freedom claim

The federal government is seeking to block Hobby Lobby from denying its employees access to the morning-after pill under the nation's new health care law. Hobby Lobby's attorneys are claiming this violates a constitutional right to freedom of religion. Associated Press reports:

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Panel wants "conciliation" with 9 bishops who support breakaways

Updated several times to correct an earlier error, flesh out the membership of the Reference Panel and include a story from Episcopal News Service.Thanks to the Office of Public Affairs for information on the membership of the reference panel, which is determined by canon.

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World Series Challenge benefits Nets for Life

Detroit Tigers fan Bonnie Anderson (recently retired president of the House of Deputies) and SF Giants fan Sean McConnell (CEO & president at Live Stream Digest) invite their friends to play the World Series Challenge to benefit the Nets for Life Inspiration Fund.

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The 'new Episcopalians' of Southeast Florida

The Palm Beach Post has an interesting story about the "new Episcopalians" in Southeast Florida:

In the Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida, which includes Palm Beach County, attendance is up or at least holding its own. This diocese is bucking a nationwide trend as a group of energetic reformers works to make their church meaningful to the very people who are drifting away from church — the young.

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Is organ music killing our churches?

As someone who happens to love love love classical sacred organ music, I cringed reading this piece by Jennifer Graham in the Boston Globe. She believes the decline in church attendance is directly related to the dogged and long-outdated use of church pipe organs. She focuses on the Catholic church, but let's face it, classical pipe organs continue to shake the rafters of most Episcopal churches as well. She writes:

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The conflict with South Carolina is in South Carolina

Two Primates of the Anglican Communion have written a letter of support to Bishop Mark Lawrence of South Carolina and a neighboring bishop laments the collision course that diocese is on with the Episcopal Church. Both letters assume that the collision is between the Lawrence and the Episcopal Church, namely the Presiding Bishop. In fact, the conflict is between a bishop and the loyal Episcopalians of that diocese who have no other recourse except the canons.

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When rotten theology goes political

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock started a firestorm of controversy during a debate in Indiana Tuesday when he said pregnancies from rape are “something that God intended to happen.”

When rotten theology goes political, there is more than just politics involved. When a politician makes pronouncements for political gain, they end up messing with how people make meaning out suffering. It is certain to come back to bite them.

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How smart are you about religion in America?

A new study by the Pew Center for Religion and Public Life says that Atheists and agnostics know about religion than evangelical and mainlines Protestants and Catholics.

The U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey:.

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What we say about our belief versus what we do

Not only do 1 in 5 Americans now admit they have no religious affiliation, most of the rest overstate their church attendance.

This is not news to parish priests who know that many of the people on the books of their parish only attend periodically if at all.

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Haiti and Hurricane Sandy

While the eastern U.S. awaits the arrival of Hurricane Sandy, Haitian have suffered yet another blow to their country from this storm. Kesner Ajax writes (received by email):

Dear brothers and sisters,

389501_4307000067874_322008931_n.jpgI am writing you to let you know of the situation in Haiti following Hurricane Sandy.

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Anglican Consultative Council gets challenging welcome

Mary Frances Schjonberg reports from Aotearoa New Zealand for Episcopal News Service (ENS) writes of the welcome to the Anglican Consultative Council members:

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"Not my grandfather's Knights of Columbus"

Last week we ran an item reporting on the extraordinary efforts of the Knights of Columbus, a venerable Catholic men's organization now run by a former official of the Reagan administration, to defeat marriage equality at the ballot box.

Knit for seafarers

Every year knitters from around the church make gifts for seafarers. Seamen's Church Institute offers ideas for gifts and assistance for those who work the seas and rivers in the shipping industry:

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"Nones" not on the bus

Interview with religion scholar Diana Butler Bass, author of Christianity After Religion, about the religious implications of the rise of the religiously unaffiliated on PBS Religion and Ethics Newsweekly:

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A long ways to go to eradicate racism

AP has released its latest poll on prejudice in the U.S and the news is bad:

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Theology of same sex love

Ekklesia reports that Savitri Hensman has written Journey towards acceptance: theologians and same sex love, an overview of theological discussion and debate from the last 60 years.

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Obsessing about storm and election properly

Are you obsessing about the storm and the election? Here are some tips on how to do it properly from @pourmecoffee's mom:

Overview

As a service to many who are struggling to properly obsess over both the election and hurricane, I have consulted with my mom, a recognized Thought Leader in the field.

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Congratulations Torey Lightcap

Anglican Theological Review publishes "The Gospel of Inconvenience in the Agora and Ecclesia" sometime editor and essayist with Episcopal Café, the Rev. Torey Lightcap in the latest edition. Congratulations Torey.

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Anglican Consultative Council gets down to business

The Anglican Consultative Council meeting in (Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand) has begun the business of their meetings. Mary Frances Schjonberg of ENS reports:

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Reports from the storm #SandyTEC

We are maintaining an open thread today so that people in the path of Hurricane Sandy can tell us how their parishes and dioceses are holding up. Please send news and requests for prayers and other kinds of help in the comments. We realize that soon many of you may not have the electrical power to respond online, so consider tweeting your information to @episcopalcafe with the hashtag #SandyTEC

UPDATE: NASA and NOAA images of Sandy

Methodist court reaffirms guaranteed appointments

The United Methodist Church is struggling with the issue of job security for clergy. The Wall Street Journal has the story.

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Next time, you'll know better

While it may be too late to act on these disaster preparedness checklists this time, we offer this excellent advisory that the Rev. Linda Grenz, soon to be canon to the ordinary in the Diocese of Rhode Island, sent to parishes in her state today.

Along with the usual info about how to protect your buildings, it includes specific information on pastoral care

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Episcopal Relief and Development responds to Sandy

Episcopal Relief and Development is responding to Hurricane Sandy. Here's how:

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VA Supreme Court to hear appeals on Falls Church

The Virginia Supreme Court will hear some or all of the issues in the appeal by Falls Church Anglican:
From the Diocese of Virginia

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Aftermath of Sandy

Tell us your stories of how you are coping with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Here is one photo* that tells the story of New York City. (credit David Rhodes:

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Anglican Communion Office puts "happy face" on Covenant adoption

The roundup of news from the Anglican Consultative Council 15, meeting in Auckland, Aoteara New Zealand includes an update on the Anglican Covenant. Putting the best possible face on essentially a rejection of the Covenant by most Provinces, the ACC placed the voting into 3 categories. Episcopal News Service reports:

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Safe Church Charter urged by ACC 15

UPDATED: video about Safe Church - see below
Anglican Consultative Council 15 urges member churches to adopt the Safe Church Charter:

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Thoughts on driving into a dark Manhattan

The Rev. David Sibley who keeps the blog, Feeding on Manna, writes about his Thoughts Driving into a Dark Manhattan:

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Episcopal Relief & Development responds to Sandy storm

Episcopal Relief & Development has set up a fund to support the efforts of their partners managing the response in the Caribbean and the US:

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"Undecided voters" found in pulpit

The latest "On Faith" offering in the Washington Post on undecided clergy voters features two Episcopalians.

Roger Ferlo speaks on why pastors stay out of declaring a candidate until Election Day:

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Living 24/6 in a 24/7 world

With great insight and creativity, Dr. Matthew Sleeth writes on the importance of rest:

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Forward Movement adds to leadership team

Forward Movement names new managing editor, community engagement manager:

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