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Methodist General Conference: Six things to watch

The Conference meets very four years to vote on proposals that concern the entire church. Emily McFarlan Miller, writing for Religion News Service, lists six proposals that have generated interest from within and without the church.

Issues include human sexuality–more than 100 petitions on that topic alone–gun violence, immigration, abortion, religious freedom, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Arguments are being made for and against on many of these topics before the meeting has even occurred.

You can read the background and find a […]

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St. Sava invited to hold services at the Parish of Calvary ~ St. George’s

Honoring a 150-year connection, the Episcopal Church has welcomed the Orthodox Serbian congregation into St. George’s Episcopal Church, the New York Times reports. Other good news includes the sound condition of the St. Sava Cathedral, which the church plans to rebuild.

From the article:

Lidija Nikolic, a board member, said that despite the damage, the building’s structure was intact and that they would try to rebuild it. She noted that the church was insured and had received around $8,000 a day in […]

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Commentary on Archbishop of Canterbury’s reflections following the Anglican Consultative Council meeting

The Anglican Consultative Council met for a marathon voting session on April 18th, as part of ACC 2016. Many hoped that the votes and comments made during the forum would provide clarity for Anglicans and Episcopalians worldwide on disagreements around the acceptance of people married to partners of the same sex. As previously reported, the group declined to take up for a vote a request that they ‘welcome’ the statement from the primates’ gathering calling for consequences for TEC.

Archbishop of Canterbury, […]

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Haiti cholera epidemic worsens, UN still not taking responsibility

The international community was quick to respond in 2010 following the devastating earthquake in Haiti, but the worsening cholera epidemic has received less attention and resources for a variety of reasons. Nearly 10,000 people have died, less than 10% of the estimated mortality of the earthquake, but the disease continues to spread, and interventions have had little impact.

One of the issues may be the root cause: as a natural disaster, the earthquake was an attractive problem to solve, with no villains, […]

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“Voluntourism” mocked by satirical Instagram users with Barbie photos

The new pop culture term, “Voluntourism”, is a portmanteau coined to describe the earnest but ineffectual approach many take to volunteering in foreign nations. Two women who identify as former ‘white saviors’started an Instagram account, Barbie Savior, to lampoon and bring attention to the problems Americans create when we try to insert ourselves into the fabric of foreign places.

Of course, many of these initiatives come from religious organizations with good intentions, so a distinct theme of Christianity  runs through the account. […]

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“Intentional Discipleship in a World of Differences”: ACC 2016 declines to enforce ‘consequences’ issued by primates

Episcopal News Service reports that the Anglican Consultative Council passed 44 resolutions in a new up-down voting session, dubbed the ‘consent calendar’. The consent calendar allows for quick yes-no votes on issues, without debate.

Passed resolutions encompassed a wide diversity of issues, from climate change to church abuse of minors, but had a heavy emphasis on the theme of the meeting, which was “Intentional Discipleship in a World of Differences”

To the theme, a resolution calling for a season-long focus on intentional discipleship […]

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‘Forgiving the unforgivable’ interfaith conference hosted speakers Bishop Gene Robinson and vision keeper Audri Scott Williams

A local paper reported on the four-day event held at Williams College, where Bishop Gene Robinson spoke about forgiving his enemies, and the danger in seeking revenge.

From the article:

“I would sum up that decade of being bishop with the most important learning from that whole decade. What I learned was: no matter how badly someone treats me, it does not relieve me of my responsibility to treat them like a child of God,” Robinson said, noting all the hostility he endured […]

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What explains the prevalence of Christianity in Korea?

Writing for the Diplomat, Dave Hazzan notes that Christianity, persecuted for 75 years, has flourished in Korea, which now sends out the most missionaries of any nation, except for the United States. The article explores this rise and tries to sort out the particulars and the reasons behind these developments.

One factor in the rise seems to be a remarkable lack of negative experiences with early missionaries. Christianity was seen as a protecting force against annexation from Japanese invasion, and acquired a […]

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What unites Ted Cruz and cheerleaders in Kountze, Texas?

This tiny city of some 2,000 is overwhelmingly white and Christian, and home to a group of young women who sued their school district for the right to display banners bearing Bible quotes, while serving as cheerleaders for their high school team.

The case was brought in 2012, after the school district banned the banners, following letters threatening legal action from the Freedom From Religion group, based in Wisconsin. Passages were chosen to reference Lions, the team name, and provide more positive […]

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The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

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