Hi there

We are still under construction. Come back and visit us on April 19. We may still be under construction then, too. But maybe not.

A Thursday debut?

Hello, we are still working out a few kinks, but hope to have our site ready for public consumption by Thursday April 19.

Welcome!

Welcome to the Episcopal Café, a ministry of the Diocese of Washington in partnership with The Episcopal Church and Visual Arts.

The Café is a collaborative effort by more than two dozen writers and editors, and an ever-growing list of visual artists. Together, we aspire to create a visually appealing, intellectually stimulating, spiritually enriching and at least occasionally amusing site where Episcopalians and those interested in our church can read, watch, listen and reflect upon contemporary life in a context informed by faith and animated by the spirit of charity.

Our aim is frankly, but we hope gently, evangelical. To the extent that we can speak intelligently, passionately, persuasively and truthfully—and to the degree that we manifest wisdom, humility and genuine concern for those we disagree with—we will succeed in drawing Episcopalians more deeply into their faith, and in persuading those without a spiritual home to explore our Church.

The new site includes Daily Episcopalian, a blog previously devoted to news and commentary on events in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. News items can now be found on The Lead blog. Commentary on the Church and Communion can still be found on Daily Episcopalian, but in its new incarnation the blog also features articles on theology, peace and justice initiatives and popular culture. A new blog, Speaking to the Soul, includes sermons, reflections, multimedia meditations and excerpts from books on spirituality.

Most of the art on the Café is provided by The Episcopal Church and Visual Arts. The Art Blog offers additional information, and sometimes a brief meditation, on each piece. We also feature a growing collection of multimedia meditations.

Today is our first day online, and we are having trouble with our comment function, so it is turned off for the time being. In the future, we will be accepting comments, but not from anonymous or pseudonymous posters. Please check our feedback policy before posting.

We are receiving comments!

It has taken a while to work out the bugs, but the blogs of the Episcopal Cafe can now receive comments. Before posting a comment, please read our feedback policy. Comments will be moderated, but regular posters will find that a good track record will move their comments through the moderation process more quickly.

Leaks About Lambeth

An unconfirmed leak published today on the internet suggests that when invitations go out later this year for the 2008 Lambeth Conference, all Bishops in the Anglican Communion will be invited.

Ruth Gledhill, who writes "Articles of Faith" for Times OnLine wrote "a well-informed source who indicated to me a few weeks back that everyone, including Gene Robinson and those who consecrated him, was to be invited. "

The Lambeth Conference Official Website says on its FAQ page only that invitations will be mailed later in 2007, and "Those attending the Lambeth Conference are bishops and archbishops of the Anglican Communion, and those in communion with the Anglican Communion. The Archbishop of Canterbury invites the participants to the conference." No other criteria is spelled out.

Much of Gledhill's blog is devoted to strange speculations about another possible invitation, and that is whether or not Mark Andrew, Bishop Gene Robinson's partner, would be invited as well. How this speculation is written, and the pictures chosen to accompany the post, seem to be intended to stir up outrage from those quarters who would wish for Bishop Robinson, if not the rest of the Episcopal Church, to be excluded from the conference.

At the same time, if Ms. Gledhill's "deep purple" (as she calls it) source is correct, this would prove to be a significant development.

Our partners make it big

Having a bulletin insert devoted to your ministry is about the highest accolade the Episcopal Church can provide, so we are delighted to announce that the Episcopal Church and the Visual Arts is the subject of this week's insert, prepared by the staff at Church Center in New York. We're especially pleased because Mel Ahlborn, Brie Dodson and the gang were gracious enough to drop the Cafe's name and address.

Ethic of transparency catches on

Father Jake reflects on the comment policy at Episcopal Café:

I initially was uncomfortable with this policy, but after giving it some thought, I've come to see the wisdom in it.

If our contributions to the conversation are to be of value, an ethic of transparency, of honesty, needs to be upheld.

No, I'm not going to adopt this policy at Jake's place. As one who has used a nom de plume for many years, I understand the need some folks have to protect their privacy. However, I am encouraging those who are comfortable doing so to begin using their real names.

To launch this effort towards more tranparency, it seems appropriate to begin with myself.

Read Father Jake's self outing here.

The bios of the contributors to the Café are here. Information on the sponsorship of the Café is here.

The Café's comment policy is here.

To register to comment , simply click on the word "comments" in gray type at the bottom of this, or any other individual blog entry.

Thanks, USC

The Diocese of Upper South Carolina is featuring the Café in its Web site spotlight. It's always nice to be noticed, but that much nicer when the people doing the noticing are Canon Peggy Hill and her assistant Bethany Human. The Diocece of USC generally needs a wheelbarrow to take home all the awards it receives at the Episcopal Communicators annual convention.

Thanks, too, to the Diocese of Bethlehem and the Diocese of East Tennessee for featuring us on their homepages.

We are not PBS

The Café is not a branch of the Public Broadcasting System. But we are trying to raise a little money this week to defray our development costs, which were paid by the Diocese of Washington. So, we are asking you today just what we asked you yesterday, to make a donation to the diocese's fourth annual Bishop's Appeal. You can donate online in as little as two minutes, or write a check to the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, and mail it to:

Bishop's Appeal
Episcopal Church House
Mount Saint Alban
Washington D. C., 20016

Please put the word "Café" in the subject line of your check or in the dedication line of your online donation. Thanks. Now back to Part 27 of Asphalt: an American Odyssey, by Ken Burns.

Thanks

Our thanks to everyone who supported the Café by contributing to the Diocese of Washington's annual Bishop's Appeal. You will be receiving a more formal expression of our appreciation in the mail, but we wanted to be sure you heard it from us first. If you haven't contributed but would like to, please visit this link, or mail a check made out to the Episcopal Diocese of Washington to:

Bishop's Appeal
Episcopal Church House
Mount Saint Alban
Washington D. C. 20016
Don't forget to mention the Café on your check, or in the dedication line of your online donation.

Our apologies

A story on the Church of England's General Synod that originally appeared in this space was out of date.

Café's video blog debuts Monday

Video is coming to the Episcopal Café.

Through a partnership with Trinity Church Wall Street, the Café will begin offering a weekly video feature produced by Trinity Television and New Media on Monday July 16. The initial video features the Rev. Thomas Keating, a Cistercian monk and popular author, talking about the practice of Centering Prayer.

Future installments include reflections from Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Jim Wallis, John Hockenberry, and Phyllis Tickle, as well as profiles of Sister Helen Prejean and author Kathleen Norris.

“We’ve envisioned video as an integral part of the Café right from the beginning,” said Jim Naughton, founding editor of the Café, a group blog site that went online in late April, “but we wanted to team up with people who did quality work. Trinity fits that bill in spades.”

According to Nathan Brockman, editor of Trinity Church Wall Street's website and publications, “Trinity's website is a sacred parish space that receives nearly as many visitors annually as our historic church buildings. Virtual outreach is essential to church vitality, and our partnership with Episcopal Cafe helps us extend that outreach in service of the wider Church.”

The Café, a partnership between the Diocese of Washington and Episcopal Church in the Visual Arts (ECVA), currently features news, art, spiritual readings, multi-media meditations, and a daily essay from one of 30 contributors from around the Episcopal Church.

The Episcopal Parish of Trinity Church was established in lower Manhattan and attracts over 1.8 million visitors annually. Parish ministries include St. Paul's Chapel, the Trinity Institute, a national theological conference and Trinity Grants, which has provided $72 million in funding in 85 countries around the world since 1972. The parish maintains www.trinitywallstreet.org, a premier website providing faith formation resources throughout the Anglican Communion.

New video feature

Our new video feature has made its debut. You'll find a fresh segment in that slot every Monday morning. Daily Episcopalian and the Speaking to the Soul blogs are still available. You can find them in the blue navigation bar on your left.

Station break

If you are new to the Episcopal Café and have dropped in to read about the House of Bishops meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury and the conflict within the Anglican Communion, please have a look at some of our subtler charms, particularly the Art blog and Speaking to the Soul.

Long-time reader, first-time commenter?

We welcome your comments. The Café is, well, a café. So we encourage kibbitzing, correction, debate, advice, engagement and other comment from our readers.

To make a comment to a post:

Visit https://www.typekey.com/t/typekey/register?lang=en-us

Set up your account. To ensure that you're ALWAYS authorized to comment to the Café, include your real name in your registration, either under 'display name' or 'membername'. Even though Typekey says it will not publish your real name unless you choose to, the Episcopal Café's Ethic of Transparency requires that you use your real name in order to have your comments published on the site. You may wish to register an ID specifically for interacting with the Cafe if you have a 'handle' you use elsewhere.

The first few times you comment, it may take a while for your comment to show up. Never fear! We keep an eye out and have to hand-approve people their first time round. But if you start commenting regularly, you'll get a status that will allow your comments to appear instantly.

When you go to comment on the Café blogs, you'll be told to "login" first. Clicking the login link will take you to a Typekey page where you enter your newly registered name and password.

More about our Ethic of Transparency, and other guidelines to comments can be found here.

Give!

"'At this festive season of the year, Mr Scrooge,' said the gentleman, taking up a pen, 'it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. ... We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices."

Each day on its Advent calendar, the Diocese of Washington presents giving opportunities, many of them drawn from Episcopal Relief and Development's Gifts for Life Catalog.

Elsewhere, Mad Priest and Elizabeth Kaeton have teamed up to raise money for Christ the King Anglican Church in the impoverished Cidade de Deus section of Rio de Janeiro where seminarian Luiz Coelho, known to many in the Anglican blogosphere, had a placement.

I have to mention my own favorite charity, Beisbol y Libros, a sports-related outreach effort in the Dominican Republic, run by my friend John McCarthy of the Home Run Baseball Camp in D. C. They accept donations here.

And if you are feeling especially generous, you might also consider an end of the year gift to support the Cafe. You can contribute to our annual Bishop's Appeal here.

Feel free to add your own causes in the comments section.

One last pitch

If you could see your way clear to making a year-end contribution to the Episcopal Café, we'd appreciate it. Even $20 would make a difference if enough of our daily visitors chip in.

To donate online, visit the Episcopal Diocese of Washington's Bishop's Appeal.

Thanks a million

Some time along about noon yesterday, the Episcopal Café received its one millionth visit since opening for business in late April, 2007. Just a day earlier, we reached 2.5 million “page views.” Our heartfelt thanks to everyone who visits the site, especially those of you who drop by daily to keep up with the news here on The Lead, read the essays on Daily Episcopalian appreciate the art and perhaps spend a little time in meditation.

We hope you will journey with us through Lent.

Special thanks to our contributors and our partners, Episcopal Church in the Visual Arts and Trinity Television and New Media which supplies our weekly video clip. And congratulations to our Facebook group, which reached 300 members yesterday.

You can support the work of the Café by contributing to the Diocese of Washington's annual Bishop's Appeal.

Our first year

We are celebrating our first anniversary today. We actually began operations in this incarnation on April 19, but we’ve decided that today is easier to remember, and probably represented the first day we had most of the bugs worked out and were getting a relatively clean read on our Web statistics.

We’d like to thank all of our visitors, especially those who make us a part of their daily routine. You make doing this work seem worthwhile.

As the Café’s creator, I’d also like to thanks our partners Episcopal Church in the Visual Arts and Trinity Television and New Media, without whom we’d be nothing more than words.

Thanks also to our terrific line-up of contributors, who recently won the Polly Bond Award for best Web writing from the Episcopal Communicators.

I owe my deepest thanks to the people who are elbows (and sometimes neck) deep in the works of the blog every day: Andrew Gerns (Mondays); Ann Fontaine (Tuesdays); John B. Chilton (Wednesdays); W. Nicholas Knisely (Fridays); Helen Thompson (Saturdays); Chuck Blanchard (Sundays) and Mel Ahlborn (art).

In our first year, we received about 1.36 million visits and 3.36 million page views. Our biggest sensation was an essay on a Japanese tourist begin kicked off a train for taking pictures, which drew nearly 60,000 visitors to the site in November—not quite double the 30,000 visitors (and 125,000 visits) per month we’ve been averaging since then. More people visit The Lead, our news blog, than any of our other offerings, but all of the blogs receive an average of at least 250 visits per day.

While people visit to keep up with the Anglican controversies and news of the Episcopal Church (and to read rip-snorting essays like this address by Marilyn McCord Adams to the Chicago Consultation), we’ve also had some off-beat hits like this April Fool's piece on the Episcopal Church being named the official denomination of Major League Baseball and Carol Barnwell’s interview with one of the students portrayed in Denzel Washington’s recent movie The Great Debaters.

Now comes the part where we ask for money.

The Diocese of Washington provided what might be called our start-up capital, but we no longer draw on its budget. As we’d like to redesign the home page of the Café and several of the blog pages (so that all of features and recent postings are visible at a glance) and as we’d like to throw you all a party at General Convention in 2009, we could use a little financial help.

Please consider making a donation to the 2008 Bishop’s Appeal, and marking your contribution “Episcopal Café.” You can do the job here.

Thanks again. Now back to the news.

Cheers,
Jim Naughton

Rather well-mannered, actually

Mike Croghan, the Rude Armchair Theologian, examines a day in the life of The Lead (yesterday as it happens) and asks some pertinent quesitons about the usefulness of hierarchy. Have a look.

A gentle reminder

We promise not to go all PBS on you and raise money 'round the clock, but it is the fund raising season, and we ask your support of our work here on the Café.

As we mentioned in an early posting:

The Diocese of Washington provided what might be called our start-up capital, but we no longer draw on its budget. As we’d like to redesign the home page of the Café and several of the blog pages (so that all of features and recent postings are visible at a glance) and as we’d like to throw you all a party at General Convention in 2009, we could use a little financial help.

Please consider making a donation to the 2008 Bishop’s Appeal, and marking your contribution “Episcopal Café.” You can do the job here.

Thanks for visiting

We're growing.

Last June, Episcopal Cafe received 93,700 visits from 20,770 computers, and those visitors looked at 220,000 pages.

This June we received more than 135,000 visits from 48,800 computers, and those visitors looked at more than 409,000 pages. We've never broken 400,000 page views before, so permit us a moment of celebration.

Wheeee!

Oh, yeah, our Facebook group just hit the 500 mark.

Okay, back to work.

One feed to read them all

Updated

Last week, the Episcopal Cafe Lead news team put together a list of all the bishops that are blogging during Lambeth, either as part of their existing blog or as part of a blog specially assembled for Lambeth. We posted the resulting list here.

This editor, being of the time-oppressed sort, spent the better part of Saturday putting the bishops with RSS feeds into one feed, which you can subscribe to here. The only two we could not add were Bp. Ely of Vermont and Bp. Hough of Ballarat.

Please note that we didn't include the non-bishop blogs and sites referred to in the first post, so be sure to check it out if you missed it.

Addendum: In using the same process to repair the Episcopal Cafe feed for our Facebook fan page, we also established a Twitter stream here.

Oh, how we miss hearing from you

There's a problem with our commenting system right now. We are aware of the problem, are looking into it and hope to have it resolved soon.

In the meantime, you can continue the conversation at our Facebook group. Cafe reader Bill Wong has set up a topic under the discussion boards for that purpose, adding to please include the title of the post you are responding to.

The name game

Astute readers will notice that your Saturday editor is writing under another name, one which will be familiar to those who know me through Facebook. The name change I've been alluding to for months is now official.

Formal announcement and some pictures are here.

Comment problem is fixed

We've been having some trouble with our comment function, but we think we've got it licked, so all you folks who were eager to talk about the essay on Daily Episcopalian today, have at it, but don't forget to sign your (real) name.

Please support Episcopal Café

Episcopal Café is staffed almost entirely by volunteers, but that doesn't mean it has no overhead. We rely on donations from you our visitors to keep the place looking good and running well. At this time of year, when many parishes are in the midst of stewardship drives, we thought it was appropriate to ask for your support. Even a contribution of $25 from each of our regular visitors would allow us to undertake a redesign and make technical improvements that currently we can only dream of. Please consider supporting us with a donation to the Diocese of Washington's Bishop's Appeal. Simply type the word Café in the Dedication box.

Thanks.
______________________________

Or you can mail a check to:
Bishop's Appeal
Episcopal Church House
Mount Saint Alban
Washington DC 20016

Getting to know you

The Café is participating in the Blog Reader Project Survey. Please help us out by taking this survey. It will take about eight to ten minutes of your time. Thanks.

Survey reminder

The Café is participating in the Blog Reader Project Survey. Please help us out by taking this survey. It will take about eight to ten minutes of your time. Thanks.

Online Advent calendar returns

The Diocese of Washington's fifth annual online Advent Calendar supports the Bokamoso Youth Program of Winterveld, South Africa. Each day from December 1 through Christmas, visitors can open one of the calendar’s windows to find links to a daily meditation, the daily office and a videotaped interview with one of the scores of young people who have benefited from Bokamoso’s work.

Founded in 1999 to help at-risk youth, the Bokamoso program provides essential training in life skills, scholarships for college-level education and the emotional support for the young people of Winterveld. Through the performing arts, program participants spread their message in their own community and in the United States, spending a month each in residence at Saint Andrew’s Episcopal School in Potomac, Md.

The youth program is part of the Bokamoso Life Center, a community center, and is run by South Africans, but relies on U.S. support. By U.S. standards, the cost of changing a life in South Africa is astonishingly low. With grants of only $1,500 per year, graduates have received the college education they need to go work in the health professions, retail management and technical fields-careers that would have been unimaginable without Bokamoso's support and guidance.

The connection between St. Andrew’s and Bokamoso was forged by Roy Barber, a music and drama teacher who has visited South Africa more than 20 times since the mid-1990s, and who writes much of the music that the group performs. This summer, the diocese’s gave Barber a small video camera to record interviews with the youth in his program. These interviews are featured in the calendar.

Please make a donation to support Bokamoso.

Writing for the Café

Every now and then we get an email asking how to submit an article to the Café. We've now created an email address for that purpose: thetransom@episcopalcafe.com.

We are looking for topical essays on faith, politics and culture at a length of 700 to 900 words. If you are not writing directly about faith, morality, ethics or spirituality, the article needs to tie in to one of those themes in some way. If you want to get a better idea of the sort of articles we prefer, read ten or a dozen selections from Daily Episcopalian.

A word on formatting: Double space your articles, but beyond that, DO NOT format them in any way. Don't center text. Don't indent new paragraphs (but do put in an extra double space.) All formatting has to be stripped out of an article when we paste it into the blogging software. If a piece is loaded up with formatting, it makes more work for us.

A few other do-s and don'ts:

Do send us the articles in Microsoft Word or in the body of the email.
Do abide by length restrictions.
Do let us know at the top of the email whether the article would need to run by a particular date.
Do send the article well in advance of said date to increase chances of usage.
Do send us contact information including a telephone number. We will need to verify authorship.

Do not send us news items. We are open to essays, but have no interest in promotional material.
Do not send us articles that have appeared elsewhere.
Do not send us poetry unless it is truly outstanding.
Do not expect a reply. (We will try to get back to you, but we can't guarantee it.)
Do not send us outdated material.
Do not send us poetry unless it is truly outstanding. (We said this once, but it can't be overemphasized. We once knew of a Web site that published nothing but poetry submitted by teenage girls. It had precisely as many readers as it had contributors. We suspect this result would be reproduced regardless of the demographic.)

Finally, we are open to essays about people's personal experiences of faith, but we offer this bit of advice: writing for publication is not primarily a therapeutic enterprise. It is difficult to turn down articles that are deeply-felt, but either poorly written or narrowly relevant, but as editors, our primary allegiance is to our readers.

"The greatest thing that has happened in my life"

As Christmas draws near, please consider making a gift to support the Bokamoso Youth program in Winterveld, South Africa. The videos below attest to the powerful effect the program is having in the lives of South Africa's young people.

Christina Motseta

Kenneth Daniel Mphuthi

For more information, visit the Bokamoso Web site. For additional videos, visit the Diocese of Washington's online Advent calendar.

The windows are open...

...on the Diocese of Washington's online Advent calendar. Pay a visit, and consider a year-end gift to the Bokamoso Youth program.

Merry Christmas from all of us at Episcopal Café

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And thanks to the Rev. Peter Pearson for this Christmas icon. Peter is priest in charge at Saint Philip’s Church in New Hope, Pa. He is a former Benedictine monk, an icon painter (and our editor in chief's former roommate when they worked at Camp Saint Andrew in Tunkhannock, Pa.)

Resolutions, anyone?

Step right up and make your New Year's resolutions public on this open thread.

Changing the Church

If you visit The Lead but don't drop in at the Cafe's other blogs, you owe it to yourself to visit Speaking to the Soul today.

March Gladness reminder

Episcopal Cafe is supporting March Gladness, a clever initiative by Episcopalians for Global Reconciliation that has caught the eye of the mainstream media.

The deadline looms in 48 hours, so fill out a bracket, and join in. Full details are available in previous posts.

March Madness Gladness reminder

(Updated: the Associated Press included an item about March Gladness at the bottom of its weekly round-up of religion briefs.)

Episcopal Cafe is supporting March Gladness, a clever initiative by Episcopalians for Global Reconciliation that has caught the eye of the mainstream media.

Fill out your NCAA men's basketball tournament brackets, picking the winners all the way to the national champion. (You'll need a Yahoo ID to do this. If you don't have one, it's OK, it's free, easy and zero risk -- click on "Sign Up" when you click to register) - MAKE SURE YOUR BRACKET NAME IS YOUR NAME + THE NAME OF YOUR NONPROFIT (e.g. Michael Jordan -- Nets For Life). Got your name and the name of your nonprofit? You're ready to click here.

The deadline looms in 24 hours, so fill out a bracket, and join in. Full details are available in previous posts.

The End is Near: March Gladness deadline looms

You've only got a few hours left to enter March Gladness.

Episcopal Cafe is supporting March Gladness, a clever initiative by Episcopalians for Global Reconciliation . Follow the first link for full details on March Gladness.

Read more »

April Fool's Day elsewhere

You've read our April Fool's Day offering, now have a look at others, including one from our friend, Pluralist.

USA 1, Café 0

The Lead loses its regular Sunday news post-person, Charles Blanchard. Our loss is the administration's gain. Congratulations, Chuck.

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts

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Support the Café; give to the Bishop's Appeal

Bishop John Bryson Chane of the Diocese of Washington, which hosts Episcopal Café, recently sent the following letter to members of his diocese. The Café derives its very meager budget from the diocesan communications budget, which was significantly reduced this year. If you would like to support our work, please make an online donation here, and put the word Cafe in the box marked "dedication."

Read more »

Please help us out

Covering the General Convention of the Episcopal Church is expensive, and Episcopal Café needs your help in making ends meet. Please make an online donation today. (Actually, please make it RIGHT NOW.) Just fill out this form, and put the words Episcopal Café in the "Dedication" box.

See you next week in Anaheim.

The Café at General Convention: what to expect

Those of you who followed our coverage of the Lambeth Conference last summer know that the tempo picks up here on The Lead during major meetings of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. Unlike Lambeth, however, the General Convention is a legislative gathering. This isn’t to say that there won’t be stories around the edges: the Archbishop of Canterbury and a number of Anglican primates are coming, and there are receptions, meet-ups and chance encounters by the dozen. Still, the big stories will likely unfold in committee rooms and on the floors of the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops. We will try to stay on top of them to the best of our ability.

Read more »

New Sunday Feature: Our Social Media Roundup

Recently, we launched a new initiative on Twitter, using the popular hash-tag feature to start keeping an eye on tweets related to Café links (which are broadcast on @episcopalcafe) and to allow Café readers to talk amongst themselves about these links and related topics.

Read more »

Leaving Church House, but not the Café

Here is an announcement of a big change for me, and a small one for Episcopal Café:

On December 11, I will be leaving my position as canon for communications and advancement for the Episcopal Diocese of Washington to form Canticle Communications, a strategic communications partnership that will work primarily with church clients.

Read more »

New ways to sign in to Episcopal Cafe´

The software we use here at the Café behind the scenes is supplied by TypePad. Like anything in the online world, the plumbing is always being updated. Occasionally you might even notice that something obvious is different.

Read more »

Advent reminders

If you are still shopping for a Christmas present for that spiritually-inclined person on your list, let us recommend Speaking to the Soul by Vicki Black, it is a collection of the excerpts that appear every day on our Speaking to the Soul blog here at the Cafe.

Read more »

Merry Christmas!!!


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Christmas wishes

We have a few Christmas wishes here at the Café and wonder if you would like to add your own in this open thread for Christmas.

Read more »

Readers' Top Ten Stories

What are your top stories in the Episcopal sphere? or other religious stories - add them here or on Twitter #10Episcopal or on our Facebook fan page here.

Local boy makes good

Café news blogger, the Very Rev. Nicholas Knisely, dean of Trinity Cathedral in Phoenix, Ariz., is one of four nominees chosen by the search committee to stand for election as Bishop of Kentucky.

Via Amy Real Coultas' twitter feed, the four are: The Rev. David Boyd, the Very Rev. John Downey, the Very Rev. Nicholas Knisely, the Rev. Terry White.

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Farewell, Mel. Welcome, Robin

I don't remember who introduced me to Mel Ahlborn at the 2006 General Convention. I was roaming through the exhibit hall and she was sitting at the booth sponsored by Episcopal Church in the Visual Arts, of which I believe she was then president. She had heard of Daily Episcopalian, the one-person blog I was then running, and we got to talking about my plans for something bigger and more far reaching--the thing that eventually became Episcopal Café.

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Episcopal Café in top 100 religion blogs

The Episcopal Café appears in a ranking of "nearly 100 of the most influential blogs that contribute to an online discussion about religion in the public sphere and the academy." (The proprietor of Spiritual Politics, Mark Silk, wryly notes, "OK, you're asking, how many non-influential such blogs are there? Now now, the number, no doubt, is legion." )

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2,500 and counting

Let it be known that earlier today, 24-year-old Daniel Stroud, a regular participant in #ecafe Twitters posts became our 2,500th fan on Facebook. Thanks, Daniel. And thanks to the 14 or 15 folks who have signed up since then.

Working on our comment problems

Folks, due to an FTP problem, some of you have been having problems signing on to leave comments in the last 20 hours or so. Sorry for the incovenience. We're working on it.

Enter the Cafe's ad writing contest

The Cafe is about to dab its toe into the waters of online advertising. The newsbloggers are chipping in a few bucks a piece to pay for a small initiative on Facebook. And we'd like your help. Not in paying for the ad, but in writing it. We need something punchy and catchy, no more than 135 characters. Shorter is probably better. Make your submissions in the comments of the item, or, if you don't want to audition publicly, send your submission to our feedback address. The contest will be judged by the highly imperious news team, and its decision is final.

Reminders: of orchards and ad copy

Don't forget, Episcopal Cafe is asking for your help in writing a Facebook ad, and we are also trying to help the folks at Jericho Road bring a fruit orchard to Central City, New Orleans. The first task requires some creativity, but the second just involves clicking on your mouse. And, hey, you're doing that anyway.

Milestone

According to our Webalizer 2.0 statistics, Episcopal Cafe has received more than 2 million visits in the last 12 months. That's a first for us. Visits are up by more than 17 percent over the previous year. Thanks to everybody who visits, and everybody who comes back, especially that 27 percent of the audience who have visited the site more than 200 times.

Ugandan gay murder story may be false.

Updated.

Details are emerging that a story we published yesterday via the Changing Attitude blog in England may have been a scam. The story concerned the alleged murder of a youth worker for Integrity Uganda. We published it, in part, due to a quote in the story from Bishop Christopher Senyonjo, whom we know well enough to know that he wouldn't make up a murder. However, we didn't figure on the possibility that someone made up Bishop Christopher's quote. We now have confirmation that the quote was made up, and that the bishop is looking into the incident.

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...and rise in glory

Frank Turner, University Librarian at Yale and author of a recently published biography of John Henry Newman died suddenly last week. Turner, contributed the essay "The imagined community of the Anglican Communion" to the Cafe last September. His widow, the Rev. Ellen Tillotson, is rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Torrington, Connecticut.

Merry Christmas from The Lead

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Andrew, John, Ann, Jim, Helen, Peter, Nick, Torey



Thanks to Larry Graham

2010: top 10 stories
from Episcopal Café

The end of the year is the time to list top 10 news stories, so your Lead team has come to a consensus on what we see as our top 10. We also have the stats for what our readers read and which stories gathered the most comments. What do you think?

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Happy New Year!

Thanks for visiting with us in 2010. We had more than 275,000 visitors and more than 985,000 visits according to Google Analytics. About a quarter of our visitors dropped in for the first time, and about a quarter of our visits came from loyal friends who had visited more than 200 times. We enjoyed your company, and we hope you will keep coming back.

Most commented posts by month

Last week we gave you the most viewed posts of the year 2010 on the Cafe.

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Local woman makes good!

Cathy Grossman of USA Today explores the issues surrounding Christian seders. Including this passage, which will be familiar to Café readers:

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It's Anglican Covenant Week here at Episcopal Cafe

As the Anglican Covenant picks up support from provinces across the globe, we thought it might be a good time for Episcopalians to think once again about the nature of the document we may be asked to put our church's name to at our General Convention in 2012.

We take as our text The Genius of Anglicanism, a study guide produced by the Chicago Consultation. Beginning today, and continuing through the Memorial Day Weekend, we will be featuring three of the eight essays from this booklet on our Daily Episcopalian blog for your examination and discussion.

Give them a read and get back to us.

Vicki Black moves on; changes ahead for Soul blog

Seven years ago, I asked Deacon Vicki Black, former managing editor at Cowley, and as sweet-souled a person as you are likely to meet, whether she would be interested in helping me beef up the content of the Diocese of Washington’s web site by providing a daily meditation excerpted from the vast library of Christian spirituality that she seemed to carry around in her head.

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Lowell Grisham will be new blogger at Speaking to the Soul

Along about 9:30 a. m. today, the Rev. Lowell Grisham, rector of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Fayetteville, Ark., will take over as the primary blogger for our Speaking to the Soul blog, succeeding Vicki K. Black.

We are delighted to have him. On most days, Lowell will write a reflection on the lectionary readings for the day. His work will be supplemented several times a week by that of one or two other bloggers, but we aren't ready to make that announcement yet. We will keep you posted.

John Chilton goes back to college

John Chilton, a charter member of the Café’ team of news bloggers, is giving up his weekly slot in the Café’s rotation to devote his considerable talents to teaching economics at Virginia Commonwealth University. He filed his last story as a daily blogger last night, and, typically, it focused on the intersection of morality and economics.

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You like us!

Woo-hoo! We just crossed the 5000 mark. As of this morning, 5011 people "like" the Episcopal Cafe on Facebook. Thanks everyone!

Musical chairs, Café style

If the old poem holds true, Sunday's child is "bonny and blithe, good and gay," while "Wednesday's child is full of woe."

I guess I'll find out. This is my last Sunday as the official Sunday blogger for Episcopal Café. It's also my first week as the official Wednesday blogger for Episcopal Café. I'm stepping into the chair held capably the past few years by The Rev. Peter "Santos Woodcarving Popsicles" Carey.

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Keeping up with the Cafe on FB

Here is how you can make it easier to keep up with The Episcopal Cafe on Facebook

Here's a neat trick to keep you up to date with the latest from your Episcopal pages (including ours) on Facebook.

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Merry Christmas from The Lead

Merry Christmas from all of us at The Lead.

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Stories of the year

In the next few days, we will be looking back at some of the bigger stories of the year here on the Cafe. (Hint, expect the names Sarah Palin and Bede Parry, and the phrase "Communion without Baptism" to surface.) But we'd be interested in hearing your thoughts about the most important stories that we covered--or missed--in 2011. Have at it in the comments.

Sign your name

If you are wondering why your comments don't show up on the Café - you must sign your name (first and last) to your comments (unless you have special permission and some reason you cannot sign). Also - please remain civil. Okay to disagree but not attack each other or call each other names. Stick to discussing the subject matter. You may also post comments at our Facebook page.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

The most read essays on the Café this year

256,000 people visited the Café in 2011, 27 percent of those for the first time, and 34 percent visited over 100 times. Our thanks to all of you.

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Last year's top stories from The Lead

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

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

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

Server migration

Hi folks,

We won't be posting any fresh content for a few hours while we migrate to a new server. Thanks for your patience.

Back live

Hi folks, it seems that our server migration issues are in hand. Nice to see you all again.

Episcopal Café: Today we celebrate our fifth anniversary

Today is the fifth anniversary of Episcopal Café. Five years ago a team of volunteers began posting news stories, commentary, spiritual reflections and artwork provided by Episcopalians from all around the country—and, to a lesser extent, the world. Today we are still at it.

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We're back. We think.

Folks, we have been through two disruptive rounds of server migration. We hope that things will run smoothly now, but we don't really know. If you posted a comment within the last 24 hours it was probably lost during the migration, even if the system seemed to accept it. Sorry about that. Please repost if you are so inclined.

Making progress

Hi folks. Efforts to resolve the Cafe's server problems continue. The Lead seems to be working. We aren't so sure about the comments. You may be under the impression that some of your comments have been lost, but we are under the impression that they still live on a server to which you are not being directed.

In any case, we plan to post content as we are able. We will keep you posted on further developments.

Café newsblogger's parish needs your vote

St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Sioux City, Iowa, whose rector is the Cafe's own Father Torey Lightcap, needs your help. St. Thomas' community garden is one of 15 such gardens vying in online voting for a $4,000 grant from DeLoach Vineyards.

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Cafe newsblogger makes good!

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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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Hip, hip hooray & let the church say Amen!

Nicholas Knisely, one of the original newsbloggers at Episcopal Cafe, is now officially the Bishop of Rhode Island.

Follow it on Twitter! #newbishopri and here.

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Digital Bishop

This is the sermon that Bishop Kirk Smith of Arizona preached on Sunday at the consecration of Nick Knisely, former Cafe newsblogger, as Bishop of Rhode Island.

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Maria Evans off for South Sudan

Maria L. Evans, a frequent contributor to Speaking to the Soul and Daily Episcopalian, is part of a six-member delegation from the Diocese of Missouri visiting the Diocese of Lui in South Sudan this week. Please keep them all in your prayers.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from all of us at Episcopal Café:

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Episcopal Cafe 2012: Favorites

We'll be looking back at 2012 on Episcopal Cafe today, and to begin we'd like to ask you what were your favorite essays, items, meditations, art work and videos of the year. Let us know in the comments.

Episcopal Cafe 2012: Numbers

More than 1.34 million visits from what Google Analytics calls 313,698 "unique visitors" who looked at 2.56 million pages.

Slightly more than 26 percent of our visitors were new to the site in 2012. Twenty three percent of our visitors have visited the site more than 200 times. Slightly more than 49 percent have visited at least 50 times.

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Episcopal Cafe 2012: First quarter highlights

January: The voluminous number of comments generated by Derek Olsen's piece on the Non-negotiables. Derek said the Book of Common Prayer was non-negotiable. Commenter Josh Magda said the prayer book was "the first thing" that needed to be negotiated. The two pieces garnered 153 comments between them.

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Episcopal Cafe 2012: Second quarter highlights

Our most popular story in April ran on the first day of that month and concerned a local church procession that ended in chaos.

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Episcopal Cafe 2012: Third quarter highlights

The General Convention of the Episcopal Church was held in Indianapolis in July, and though the convention passed a trial rite for the blessing of same-sex relationships, extended canonical protections against discrimination to transgender people, created a special task force to begin the process of restructuring the church, voted to take no action on the proposed Anglican Covenant and elected the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings to succeed Dr. Bonnie Anderson as President of the House of Deputies and the Hon. Byron Rushing as her vice president, none of those significant developments generated the most highly read items of the month.

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Episcopal Cafe 2012: Fourth quarter highlights

The story of two bishops dominated the Episcopal Café in October.

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Happy New Year 2013

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Happy 50th Anniversary to Ann and Jim Fontaine

Today is the 50th wedding anniversary of Ann and Jim Fontaine. Ann has been a Cafe newsblogger for as long as there has been a Cafe. Congratulations to Ann and Jim.

¡Christ is Risen! ¡Hallelujah!

Easter blessings from Episcopal Café


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On missing our anniversary

With one thing and another, we neglected to make note of the fact that the Cafe has been in operation for seven years as of April 19. Thanks to everyone who has visited and commented during that time. This might be the year when we finally gather ourselves to raise some money and update the site.

My thanks to all of our contributors, especially the news blogging team of Ann Fontaine, Kurt Weisner, Theresa Johnson and Andrew Gerns, our art blog editor C. Robin Janning and Lowell Grisham, Maria Evans and Linda Ryan who write for the Speaking to the Soul blog.

ECVA steps onto the global stage

Episcopal Cafe partner and friend, Episcopal Church and Visual Arts (ECVA), steps onto the global stage with their latest Call for entries: Women At Prayer.

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Happy Thanksgiving from Episcopal Café

Thirteen years ago, I wrote a Thanksgiving column for Beliefnet. If offer it here, as I do most every year, for your consideration. Happy Thanksgiving.

An excerpt:

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Chuck Blanchard, 2.0. At least.

Good news for readers of the Episcopal blogosphere: After four and a half years as General Counsel to the United States Air Force, Chuck Blanchard has returned to private life and is blogging again.

His first blog in five years is about what kinds of charitable giving do the most good. It doesn't submit to easy excerpting, so go ahead and read it all.

Merry Christmas from the Café gang

Merry Christmas from the gang at Episcopal Café:

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2013 at Episcopal Café

Thanks to all our readers for making this another successful year at Episcopal Café. We received just a smidgen fewer than one million visits from about 312,000 visitors. Our percentage of first time visitors is up about 10 percent over last year, and as of 2:30 p.m. EST today, we had 8,083 "likes" on Facebook and 9,046 followers on Twitter.


Some highlights:

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Welcoming two new news bloggers to the Cafe team

We are delighted to announce that beginning next week, the Rev. Megan Castellan and Weston Mathews will be joining the Café news team.

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