Wednesday, August 23, 2017

She Gave Words to Opera’s Nixon

From The New York Times-

When “Nixon in China” had its premiere at Houston Grand Opera on Oct. 22, 1987, there had never been anything quite like it. No previous American opera — perhaps no opera, ever — had so boldly dealt with recent political history. The topic, President Richard M. Nixon’s 1972 trip to China, was still the subject of international conversation 15 years later, and many of its principal characters were still very much alive and contentious.

The opera caused a sensation. John Adams, its composer, and Peter Sellars, its director, went on to become two of the most prominent figures in contemporary music.

But Alice Goodman, who wrote its enigmatic, poetic libretto, seemed to vanish from the scene after her subsequent collaboration with Mr. Adams and Mr. Sellars, the still-controversial “Death of Klinghoffer.” Raised Jewish, she converted to Christianity in 1989 and in 2001 was ordained an Anglican priest in England. Now 59, she serves around 6,000 people in a group of parishes in Cambridgeshire, driving a battered car festooned with flinty, expletive-strewn bumper stickers with mottos like “Doing my part to piss off the religious right.”

More here-

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/22/arts/music/nixon-china-john-adams-alice-goodman-peter-sellars.html

Patrick P. Augustine: There's no place for white supremacy

From Wisconsin-

White supremacy and racial superiority has no place in today’s America.

Last week we saw images of a noxious rally with a message of hate in Charlottesville, Va. Groups of individuals with White Supremacist and Neo-Nazi ties attacked those who came to show their solidarity against such bigotry. One person was killed and many others severely injured.

All the great world religions call on their followers to live in goodwill and peace. It is only when these religious beliefs are perverted that misguided followers choose the path of hatred and violence.

Christians believe Jesus called his disciples to form a church that would be multiethnic, multinational, from every family, language, people and nation. This message is opposite to hatred. It says love your enemies, live in peace and settle disputes without violence. The White Supremacist agenda is exclusionist, while Jesus’ agenda of “God so loved the world” includes white, black and yellow. God equally loves them all.


More here-

http://chippewa.com/dunnconnect/opinion/patrick-p-augustine-there-s-no-place-for-white-supremacy/article_9e9cf1d5-e5a9-5e7d-a637-b4e8c9ed4e60.html

Alabama judge dismisses ex-Episcopal Church official Stacy Sauls’ lawsuit

From ENS-

An Alabama judge has dismissed a lawsuit against the corporation of the Episcopal Church, called the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (DFMS), by former Chief Operating Officer Bishop Stacy Sauls after he was let go from his post.

Mobile County 13th Judicial District Judge Ben Brooks said in his Aug. 22 decision that Alabama was not the proper place for Sauls to bring such a suit.


The former chief operating officer said that because the Episcopal Church is present in Alabama, he ought to be able to file suit there. The church had argued that the case did not belong in the Alabama courts but, instead, in New York where Sauls was based.


The judge agreed with the church, saying all the actions described in the suit took place in New York, where Sauls still lives and where the church maintains its denominational office.


“The only potential Alabama witnesses are the lawyers [Sauls] hired,” Brooks noted.


Neva Rae Fox, the church’s public affairs officer, said late on Aug. 22 that “we believe this to be a just and proper decision.”


More here-

http://episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/ens/2017/08/22/alabama-judge-dismisses-ex-episcopal-church-official-stacy-sauls-lawsuit/

also here-

http://livingchurch.org/2017/08/23/judge-tosses-suit-by-bp-sauls/

Bishop encourages name change for R. E. Lee Memorial

From The Cafe-

Michelle Boorstein of the Washington Post today has This is the church where Robert E. Lee declared himself a sinner. Should it keep his name?

Less than two weeks after a deadly white supremacist rally, leaders of the R.E. Lee church found themselves back at the table Monday night, with some again pressing the issue of a name change. While the church has been divided in the past over the issue, Charlottesville has pushed more members and some in leadership to conclude that, no matter what good Lee did in Lexington a century ago, white supremacists have taken ownership of his reputation and made him their symbol. The bishop [Mark Bourlakas, Episcopal bishop for Southwestern Virginia] has made clear that the Lee name is a distraction from sharing the gospel and is heading to Lexington in the next week or two to push the issue.


More here-

https://www.episcopalcafe.com/bishop-encourages-name-change-for-r-e-lee-memorial/

also here-

http://www.myajc.com/news/should-church-named-for-robert-lee-keep-his-name/HHieFXt9Mu6NadW7YGxNxK/

Bishops to decide on same-sex Anglicans

From South Africa-

The Anglican bishops will be urged to finalise guidelines on how its leaders should respond to same-sex partnerships of a “faithful commitment”, following a motion tabled on the matter in Cape Town at the weekend.

Leaders of the Cape Town diocese’s meeting in Rondebosch, Cape Town, debated the motion and asked for the bishops to publish the final report on the matter.

At the diocesan synod in 2011, a motion requesting a pastoral response to same-sex partnerships of faithful commitment was defeated but a request was made that the bishops refer the matter to the synod bishops for preparation of guidelines to help the church respond to the matter.

While the draft report was being prepared in 2016, a motion was tabled at the provincial synod and was defeated.


More here-

https://www.iol.co.za/news/south-africa/western-cape/bishops-to-decide-on-same-sex-anglicans-10864694

God's words and liturgy's echo

From Christian Century-

The historian of liturgy Hughes Oliphant Old once observed that “prayer, particularly Christian prayer, uses biblical language. . . . The Bible contains a vast number of paradigms for prayer and a thesaurus of words to handle the unique experience of prayer.” The Book of Common Prayer is a paradigmatic instance of the use of biblical language in prayer. If you are familiar with that tradition of prayers, you know more Bible than you realize.

Indeed, at a Sunday Eucharist in the Episcopal Church, words of scripture are almost the first words we say. After an opening hymn, the priest and the congregation exchange a greeting. During the season of Lent, that greeting is “Bless the Lord who forgives all our sins. His mercy endures forever.” During the season of Easter, it’s “Alleluia. Christ is risen. The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia.” 
During the rest of the year, the greeting is “Blessed be God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And blessed be his kingdom, now and forever. Amen.”


More here-

https://www.christiancentury.org/article/gods-words-and-liturgys-echo

First rule for lectors: Remember that you’re not a public speaker

From Aleteia-

In the past I have taught college speech, many times. Along with requiring students to deliver the usual species of speeches conforming to the usual categories, I always included sections on poetry recitation and public reading before a group. Both are art forms, I think (I may exaggerate but at least I taught them that way). Certainly they are a craft, and lectoring is a craft by itself.

Done well, reading scripture publicly is more than just a Bible reading. It is the lector’s job to read a passage into life so we may hear God’s story for us, first hand, for ourselves.


So here’s the first thing. Public reading is not public speaking. That runs the other way, too: Public speaking is not public reading. Too many times the one is mistaken for the other. Nearly every lector’s manual I’ve read emphasizes eye-contact with worshipers, even to the point of providing scripted clues for when to leave the text and look up at people.

I could not disagree more. So let me say it again: public reading is not public speaking. Here’s why:


More here-

https://aleteia.org/2017/08/21/first-rule-for-lectors-remember-that-youre-not-a-public-speaker/

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Priest urges haters to repent; reveals his Ku Klux Klan past

FromYahoo-

Forty years ago he was a Ku Klux Klan "wizard," burning crosses on black families' lawns. Now, after decades as a Catholic priest, he's coming forward about his past.

While Father William Aitcheson's racist past was a matter of public record, it wasn't widely known in the diocese of Arlington, until this week. Prompted by images of violence during a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Aitcheson described his transformation in a column published Monday in The Arlington Catholic Herald, the diocesan newspaper, and urged white supremacists to repent.

"While I firmly believe God forgave me -- as he forgives anyone who repents and asks for forgiveness -- forgetting what I did would be a mistake," wrote Aitcheson, who is taking a leave of absence from active ministry. "My actions were despicable. When I think back on burning crosses, a threatening letter, and so on, I feel as though I am speaking of somebody else."

Aitcheson, 62, said 40 years have passed since he was in the Klan, but the violence he saw last week compelled him to describe his journey.


https://www.yahoo.com/news/priest-takes-leave-disclosing-past-ku-klux-klan-142249934.html

Guatemalan mother who sought refuge in Manhattan church files petition to stay in U.S.

From New York-

A Guatemalan mother of three U.S. born children who has taken refuge in a Manhattan church to avoid deportation has filed a motion to remain temporarily in the United States.

On Monday, Geoff Kagan Trenchard, an immigration attorney representing Amanda Morales Guerra, 33, filed a petition with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials requesting she be allowed to stay in the U.S. for at least for a year.


Kagan Trenchard is preparing an asylum bid on her Guerra’s behalf and pursuing “other legal avenues” that would allow her to stay indefinitely with her three children, ages 9, 7 and 2.


The family lived previously in Massapequa, but moved into the Holyrood Episcopal Church in Washington Heights on Thursday in an effort to avoid a deportation order against Morales.


More here-

http://www.amny.com/news/guatemalan-mother-who-sought-refuge-in-manhattan-church-files-petition-to-stay-in-u-s-1.14081267

Indigenous bishop slams the “doctrine of discovery”

From ACNS-

The “doctrine of discovery” – the idea that indigenous people need to be discovered and westernised – has been criticised by the national indigenous bishop of Canada. Bishop Mark MacDonald made his comments during a visit to Australia where he attended a number of events, including a retreat for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Anglican leaders retreat in central Australia. “The doctrine of discovery describes a habitual way of thinking that continues to marginalise, dehumanise and downgrade Indigenous people,” Bishop Mark said.

During a forum in Adelaide, Bishop Mark was asked to nominate the “blind spots” of the Australian Church in relation to reconciliation. He spoke of the experience of Canadian Anglicans in unveiling and seeking to repudiate the doctrine of discovery.

“At the heart of the doctrine is the idea that Indigenous people are a primitive form of human life who are therefore discoverable,” he said. “This hidden assumption causes us to look at indigenous people as people who need to be updated, who need to be westernised or civilised in order to have any sort of happy life.


More here-

http://www.anglicannews.org/news/2017/08/indigenous-bishop-slams-the-doctrine-of-discovery.aspx

With bathroom bill dead, Pastor Council looks to future fights

From Texas-

A day before the Texas Legislature ended its special session this week, a session that included a high-profile fight over a bathroom bill that appeared almost certainly dead, David Welch had a message for Gov. Greg Abbott: call lawmakers back to Austin. Again.

For years, Welch, executive director of the Texas Pastor Council, has worked to pass a bill that would ban local policies that ensured transgender individuals’ right to use restrooms in public schools and government buildings that match their gender identity. The summer special session, which was quickly coming to a close, had been Welch and other social conservatives’ second chance, an overtime round after the bill — denounced by critics as discriminatory and unnecessary — failed during the regular session that ended in May. 

But with the Texas House unlikely to vote on a bathroom bill, Welch gathered with some of the most conservative Republicans in that chamber to make a final plea. The bill, they argued without any evidence, would prevent men from entering bathrooms to sexually assault or harass women.


More here-

https://www.texastribune.org/2017/08/18/With-texas-bathroom-bill-dead-pastor-council-looks-future-fights/

Why We Should Stop Funding Church Plants

From Gravity Leadership-

Here’s an idea whose time has come: Let’s stop funding traditional church plants.

Instead, let’s fund missionaries to inhabit contexts all across the new mission fields of North America. It’s easy, simple, saves money, and I think it could seed the mission of God in North America for generations to come.

Traditional funding for church plants

Traditionally denominations have funded church plants. They do this by providing:

A full time salary plus benefits for three years for the church planter,
Start-up funds for equipment, building rental, etc. to a well-assessed church planter (basically an entrepreneur).


The goal is a self-sustaining church in three years, which means the church pays its own pastor’s salary and assorted costs of running the church’s services internally from tithes and offerings.


More here-

https://gravityleadership.com/stop-funding-church-plants/

Evangelical pastor who has promoted social justice steps down from leading megachurch

From Christian Century-

Megachurch pastor Joel Hunter, who tried to lead evangelicals toward more moderate positions on issues such as climate change and immigration, is stepping down as leader of Northland, in Florida.

In a public letter he said that God was calling him to “a new season of ministry outside the four walls of the church.”

He has led Northland for more than 30 years, during which time it grew from 200 to 15,000 members. For the past two decades, Hunter urged his fellow evangelicals to make common cause with other faith communities on issues on which they could agree, such as human trafficking, homelessness, hunger, and prison reform.

“He is true to evangelical core values and at the same time rethinks responses based upon a changing world,” said Steven Engel, rabbi of the Congregation of Reform Judaism in Orlando. 


More here-

https://www.christiancentury.org/article/evangelical-pastor-who-has-promoted-social-justice-steps-down

Monday, August 21, 2017

Liberal Anglican bishop slams Christian Right for supporting 'amoral' Trump

From Christian Daily-

A liberal Anglican bishop has slammed America's "Christian Right" for not seeing U.S. President Donald Trump's "narcissistic amorality" beforehand and for supporting him in the November elections.

In a blog titled "We won't get fooled again: Trump, Charlottesville and the American Dream," the Bishop of Leeds, Nicholas Baines, launched an attack on Trump and the evangelicals who voted for him. The entry was written after the violent rally by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, which the president had at first not condemned specifically, Christian Today noted.

According to Bishop Baines, the Christian Right was at fault for believing Trump's promises of making America great again without questioning his "empty rhetoric." He also slammed the president over his alleged "misogyny, amorality, financial track record, sexual behaviour, narcissism and nepotism," and other negative characters which reportedly would have ruled out other candidates from the presidency.


More here-

http://www.christiandaily.com/article/liberal-anglican-bishop-slams-christian-right-for-supporting-amoral-trump/60966.htm

Immigrant Family Seeking Sanctuary In Washington Heights Church Gets Support From Community

From New York-

The Washington Heights community has pitched in to help a Guatemalan immigrant facing deportation who publicly took sanctuary Thursday at Holyrood Episcopal Church.

The rectory library which Amanda Morales and her three children — 9-year-old Dulce, 8-year-old Daniela and 2-year-old David —now call home was outfitted with bunk beds Friday, food donations are pouring into the church and local officials are planning to rally Monday morning at Federal Plaza to request a stay of deportation.

Yvonne Stennett, the executive director of the Community League of The Heights, told Patch that her organization was called on by City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez to help Morales and her family while seeking sanctuary.


More here-

https://patch.com/new-york/washington-heights-inwood/washington-heights-community-rallies-around-mother-facing

also here-

http://nypost.com/2017/08/21/immigrant-facing-deportation-finds-refuge-at-church/

L.A. Parker: Solving U.S. race issues requires white leadership

From New Jersey-

Fifty-two years have passed since destiny caught up with Jonathan Daniels, a 26-year-old white Episcopal seminary student from Massachusetts.

Destiny and fate frequently travel parallel with death and such an unexpected demise awaited Daniels as he, Richard Morrisroe, a Catholic priest, and two young black women were ambushed while attempting to buy soda pop in a Ft. Deposit, Alabama store on August 20, 1965.

Daniels jumped in front of a shotgun shell fired by white supremacist and special county deputy, Tom Coleman.

Coleman had targeted 17-year-old Ruby Sales who escaped injury but Daniels suffered a fatal wound.


More here-

http://www.trentonian.com/opinion/20170819/la-parker-solving-us-race-issues-requires-white-leadership

PRIESTS ARE NOT PAID TO DO ANYTHING

From The Living Church-

In these early days of my priestly ministry, the questions I’ve thought about the most are the ones that fall into the same category as Cole Hartin’s “Should priests be paid to pray?“ — a category I might call questions of theological scheduling. In my daily life, I feel many of the tensions that Hartin articulates. Is it okay for me to wait until the start of the traditional work day to say the morning office? If I had to skip my day off last week, does that mean I take an extra one the next? Do I count a midnight call to the hospital as “working hours”?

To be a parish priest is, if nothing else, to live in a world of bizarre rhythms — you don’t clock in but you also never really clock out. On one hand, you work for a volunteer organization, which means you often need to be available after 5 p.m., when your volunteers are free. On the other hand, you also work in an institution that looks in many ways like the offices many of your parishioners work in from 9 to 5 — with office hours, staff meetings, terrible coffee, and a regular UPS guy.


More here-

http://livingchurch.org/covenant/2017/08/21/priests-are-not-paid-to-do-anything/

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Member of Trump's Evangelical Advisory Board resigns over 'conflict in values'

From The Hill-

The pastor of a New York megachurch said Friday that he has resigned from President Trump's Evangelical Advisory Board, citing "a deepening conflict in values" with the administration.

Rev. A.R. Bernard, who leads the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn, said in a statement that he had "quietly stepped away" from the panel several months ago, but submitted his formal resignation on Tuesday.

"In a social and political climate such as ours, it often takes a gathering of unlikely individuals to shape the future of our nation on issues of faith and inner city initiatives," Bernard said. "I was willing to be one of those individuals, and that is why I agreed to serve on the President's Evangelical Advisory Board."


More here-

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/347179-member-of-trumps-evangelical-advisory-board-resigns-over-conflict-in

Hitting the pavement instead of the sheetcake

From Christian Century-

Tina Fey officially made “sheetcaking” into a verb, as she consumed copious amounts of frosting on SNL’s Weekend update. Fey is, of course, unveiling the grassroots art of stress eating. Which was her way of dealing with watching the heartbreaking Nazi parade at her alma mater.

Boys in white polo shirts, khakis, and torches, standing next to militia armed to the teeth, chanting, “Jews will not replace us” will certainly up the caloric intake for most of us. Between long walks and fervent prayers, I found that my ice cream intake has also increased. Ben and Jerry have become steady companions.


Please, please. Find comfort where you can. Yet, I have to say, since most of the people who read the esteemed Christian Century are clergy or lay people who have at least one denominational t-shirt in our drawers, we can’t really take Tina Fey’s advice. We, unfortunately, don’t have the convenient option of screaming into a pile of bakery goods. Especially if we're white, we have to robe up, show up, stand up, and pray up, whenever possible.

More here-

https://www.christiancentury.org/blog-post/born-again-again/hitting-pavement-instead-sheetcake

How Church Leaders in Charlottesville Prepared for White Supremacists

From The New Yorker-

Just down the road from Emancipation Park in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a thousand white supremacists congregated around a statue of Robert E. Lee this weekend, is another historical landmark. It’s a large, two-story brick building called the Jefferson School, which first underwent construction in 1924—the same year that the Confederate monument went up—at the insistence of the local black community, whose children were barred from the city’s high schools because of segregation. Now the school is on the National Register of Historic Places.


On Monday night, a few hundred Charlottesville residents gathered at the Jefferson School, in an auditorium on the second floor, for a community meeting. Two days before, three people died and nineteen were injured when violent demonstrators from across the country came to Charlottesville with guns, shields, weapons, and flaming tiki torches for a “Unite the Right” rally. “We’ll fucking kill these people if we have to,” one of them told Vice News. A twenty-year-old neo-Nazi from Ohio ran over counter-protesters in his car, in an act that Jeff Sessions, the Attorney General, later called domestic terrorism. (The President initially condemned violence “on many sides,” then followed up on Tuesday afternoon by saying that there were “very fine people on both sides.”) But, almost as soon as they had arrived, the agitators were gone, and community members were left to try to make sense of what had just happened.


More here-

http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/how-church-leaders-in-charlottesville-prepared-for-white-supremacists?mbid=social_facebook

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Diocese in Europe ‘shocked and alarmed’ by terrorist attacks in Spain

From The Church Times-

THE Archbishop of Canterbury has joined faith leaders and politicians in expressing his sorrow for the 14 people who were killed and hundreds more injured in a spree of terrorist attacks in Barcelona and the surrounding Catalonian region in Spain on Wednesday and Thursday.

Reports first emerged of an explosion at a house in the small town of Alcanar, 200 km south of Barcelona, on Wednesday night, which killed one person and wounded 16. Senior police officials in the region said that the blast — from a failed attempt to create an explosive device — was directly related to a van attack in Barcelona the next day.

Police were hunting for an 18-year-old, Moussa Oubakir, on Friday, who is said to have driven a white Fiat van into pedestrians outside the Pla├ža de Catalunya metro station, in the centre of the city, on Thursday night, killing 13 and wounding at least one hundred others.


More here-

https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2017/25-august/news/world/diocese-shocked-and-alarmed-by-terrorist-attacks-in-spain

Trump's evangelical panel remains intact as others disband. Here are his religious cheerleaders

From The Guardian-

Donald Trump was forced to disband two business advisory councils and an infrastructure panel after some of America’s most prominent business leaders fled their posts, protesting against Trump’s statements appeasing white nationalist marchers at the weekend rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

But the president’s religious evangelical advisory board, a mix of radical born-again preachers, televangelists and conservative political influencers, still stands almost intact. Not only have members avoided criticism of the president, while occasionally scolding the violence in general – some have been openly supportive of Trump’s statements assigning blame “on many sides” and slamming those who turned up to oppose the militant neo-Nazis.


More here-

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/aug/18/donald-trump-evangelicals-charlottesville

Angry Arminian Mob Pulls Down Statue Of John Calvin

From Babylon Bee-

PITTSBURGH, PA—A rowdy gang of angry, riled-up Arminian believers gathered to pull down a statue of Reformer John Calvin standing in front of Calvin Reformed Bible College & Seminary, authorities confirmed Friday.

The band of Wesleyan troublemakers brought a rope, lassoed it around the neck of the stone likeness of Calvin, and yanked it down while yelling rallying cries like “Down with limited atonement!” “You’ll never take our free will!” and “For Servetus!”

Mob members then stomped on the statue and spray-painted crude Arminian slogans on the downed Reformer, according to police reports.


More here-

http://babylonbee.com/news/mob-angry-arminians-pulls-statue-john-calvin/

Friday, August 18, 2017

Vexing times for many S.C. Episcopalians

From South Carolina-

The recent State Supreme Court ruling that The Episcopal Church (TEC) can reclaim 29 of the original 36 breakaway parishes is a stunning and largely unexpected setback for the clergy and congregants of the (Episcopal) Diocese of South Carolina represented by those parishes, which broke away from the national church (The Episcopal Church) in 2012 after years of bitter fighting over scriptural interpretation, governance matters and — yes — the role of openly gay clergy within the church hierarchy.

In a complicated ruling rife with disagreement and decided by the five-member court as it was comprised two years ago (former Chief Justices Toal and Pleicones are no longer on the bench), the essence of the legalities appears to have boiled down to canon law vs civil law — and canon law won.


More here-

http://www.postandcourier.com/columnists/vexing-times-for-many-s-c-episcopalians/article_8aca27d8-8294-11e7-ac9c-139149d27dbe.html

Is the Solar Eclipse a Message From God?

From Atlantic-

In Silverton, Oregon, Sonrise Ranch is hosting a sold-out, family-friendly festival on its grounds called “Eclipsed With God’s Love,” which will include outdoor church services and Christian film screenings. In Casper, Wyoming, which is expecting thousands of visitors, a pair of Baptist churches and a local chapter of a Christian nonprofit will hand out hundreds of copies of God of Wonders, a movie, styled like a nature documentary, that features creationist explanations for everything from weather systems to DNA. “Additionally, if our parking lot is utilized for eclipse watchers, we will take that opportunity to try and share the Gospel,” a pastor explained, according to the Baptist Press. In Chillicothe, Missouri, a Baptist-run campground will host a “Wonders of Creation Solar Eclipse Family Retreat” of hiking, swimming, and other activities, interspersed with time for worship and teachings. “Since we’re in the range of the eclipse, we thought we were in a position to do teaching and ministry for families,” an organizer told The Pathway, a Baptist publication in Missouri.

More here-

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/08/solar-eclipse-as-religious-experience/536823/

A Message to the Church from the Presiding Bishop

From The Epsicopal Church- (Video)

Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?

In this moment – when the stain of bigotry has once again covered our land, and when hope, frankly, sometimes seems far away, when we must now remember new martyrs of the way of love like young Heather Heyer – it may help to remember the deep wisdom of the martyrs who have gone before.

The year was 1967. It was a time not unlike this one in America. Then there were riots in our streets, poverty and unbridled racism in our midst, and a war far away tearing us apart at home. In that moment, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote a book, his last one, with a message that rings poignant today. It was titled, “Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?”

One of his insights then was that a moment of crisis is always a moment of decision. It was true then and is true now. Where do we go from here? Chaos? Indifference? Avoidance? Business as usual? Or Beloved Community?

I’m a follower of Jesus of Nazareth because I believe the teachings, the Spirit, the Person, the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus have shown us the way through the chaos to true community as God has intended from the beginning.


More here-

http://publicaffairs.cmail19.com/t/ViewEmail/r/1C15B0C226A8449B2540EF23F30FEDED/0D2066E3A39D3F72F1E87EB810D8F10A

Why are thousands of people who've never set foot in church before suddenly showing up for choral evensong?

From Christian Today-

Thousands of people are turning out to hear free choral music around Britain, many for the first time.

The ancient church music has been around for centuries – but is getting a new audience due to a new website set up to enable people to find choral evensong services at cathedrals, colleges and churches anywhere in Britain and Ireland.

The website is now receiving about 8,500 unique visitors a month, and 11,500 visits a month, and that number is rising. There are now 505 churches, chapels and cathedrals with their own pages on the website, and the number keeps growing.

And the effect on congregations is staggering.

One poorly-attended church in London found attendance shot up from around 20 people to nearly 200 at one evensong alone. 


More here-

https://www.christiantoday.com/article/why.are.thousands.of.people.whove.never.set.foot.in.church.before.suddenly.showing.up.for.choral.evensong/112048.htm?internal_source=ct_most_popular

Thursday, August 17, 2017

A small Episcopal church’s welcome to refugees hits the movie screens

From ACNS-

The true story of how a group of refugees from Burma helped to save an Episcopal church in the US state of Tennessee has been turned into a movie. Distributed by Sony Pictures, All Saints will open in cinemas in north America next week and is also being distributed internationally.

The diocese of Tennessee explains that the All Saints movie “is a fictionalised account of how the congregation of All Saints’ in Smyrna was very close to shutting its doors just a few years ago until a group of refugees from Burma (Myanmar) came to the vicar and asked if they might attend church there. The Karen are a close-knit group of people who found Christ through the Anglican Church in Burma prior to moving to the United States.

“As more and more Karen began to join the congregation of All Saints, it became clear that the Holy Spirit was at work … in a big way. Needed health care services, farming on the church’s land, selling products from the farmed land to create income, and more activities opened up to the new members a vivid experience of what the American dream looks like within a close church family.”


More here-

http://www.anglicannews.org/news/2017/08/a-small-episcopal-churchs-welcome-to-refugees-hits-the-movie-screens.aspx

A word from Bishop Wayne Smith about Charlottesville and Racism

From Missouri-

Only a few days ago I had meant merely to point the people and clergy of the Diocese of Missouri to the statement from the Bishops of the Diocese of Virginia, which can still be found here. Charlottesville, after all, lies in the geography of their pastoral concern, not mine. My desire was then, and still remains, to support ministry and faithful witness on the ground, where the wound actually occurred. The President’s news conference on August 15, however, has broadened the reach of some deeply troubling issues and made them pertinent to every citizen, everywhere in this country. I thus have no conscientious option left but to speak out. And I do so primarily from a moral and theological perspective, not a political one.

A foundation of Biblical faith requires belief in the One True God and a corresponding renunciation of all others, who are but idols. Idolatry is a cagier, more insidious matter than we often realize. It certainly includes all the false gods made of sticks, stones, or metal, yes. At base, however, an idol is just something that is no god at all—but still demands the allegiance which belongs to the true God. Ideology, for example, can therefore become such an idol. 

More here-

https://www.diocesemo.org/news/2017/08/16/word-bishop-wayne-smith-about-charlottesville-and-racism

NCC Condemns “Unite the Right”

From The NCC-

The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA condemns, in the strongest terms, the “Unite the Right” gathering of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday, August 12th.  We deplore the ideology behind it and the hatred manifest in it. White supremacy must find no sanction or shelter in America today.

We grieve for the lives needlessly lost.  Heather Heyer, 32, died in what we believe has been appropriately named a terrorist act by Attorney General Sessions.  She died as a witness to love and justice for all.  We grieve for the two officers in the Virginia State Police, Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen, 48, and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates, 40, and pray for their families.

We also give thanks for the moral witness given by concerned people of faith, including clergy, who came to Charlottesville to stand as a barrier before those gathered in the cause of white supremacy.  We are grateful for the leadership offered by Rev. Brittany Caine-Conley, Rev. Seth Wispelwey, Congregate C’ville (a group instrumental in the organizing of the counter-protest), and dozens of others who spent countless hours preparing for this now-infamous day.  Their courage and faith in the face of hate is an inspiration to all of us.


More here-

https://nationalcouncilofchurches.us/ncc-condemns-unite-the-right/