Thursday, March 22, 2018

Report following Heather Cook case finds Episcopal Church in denial about alcohol abuse

From Baltimore-

The Episcopal Church U.S.A. has done little to address alcohol abuse in its upper ranks, despite the 2014 death of a Baltimore cyclist killed in a drunk-driving hit-and-run by then-Bishop Heather Cook.

Instead, the church remains mired in a “system of denial and helplessness,” concluded a commission set up by the Episcopal House of Bishops after the widely publicized indictment and conviction of Cook, one-time suffragan bishop of the Maryland Diocese.

Cook is now serving a seven-year term for manslaughter, having been denied early parole after a hearing last May in which she accepted no responsibility for the death of Tom Palermo, a 41-year-old software engineer and father of two.

“The commission has discovered that in many instances, church polity has impeded the ability of the church to intervene, assess and treat impaired people and care for the injured community,” the report, released online yesterday, noted.

“The Report of the Commission on Impairment and Leadership,” took a case-study approach, “identifying several cases involving deacons, priests, and bishops across the span of their vocational life.”

More here-

Sewanee revokes Charlie Rose’s honorary degree after months of pressure to take action

From ENS-

 Sewanee: The University of the South has revoked Charlie Rose’s honorary degree after facing increasing pressure from all sides to act in response to the sexual harassment scandal that derailed the broadcast journalist’s career last fall.

The final decision was made by the Sewanee Board of Regents in a March 20 meeting, the university said in a statement released March 21. The statement noted this was the first time Sewanee had revoked a honorary degree, and the action required the creation of a new procedure for reconsidering such degrees.

“In the new four-step process, a written request for the revocation of an honorary degree was submitted to the vice-chancellor, who shared it with and received approval from the Joint Regent-Senate Committee on Honorary Degrees, the University Senate, and the Board of Regents, in that order,” the university said.

The Board of Regents initially had resisted requests to revoke the degree in February, but a month later it has reversed itself, joining the honorary degree committee and the University Senate in voting with at least two-thirds majorities to take action against Rose.

More here-

Not a Tame Lion: The “Deplorable” C.S. Lewis

From Crisis-

C.S. Lewis was not Catholic, much less a theologian who teaches with an authority Catholics are obliged to recognize. As an eloquent proponent of natural law and the close colleague of important Catholic writers like J.R.R. Tolkien and Elizabeth Anscombe, however, the Anglican Lewis is surely someone whose significance we must acknowledge. Unfortunately, among some there is a tendency to celebrate an imaginary Lewis, a tame conservative establishmentarian who opposes atheism, abortion, and human cloning but would otherwise fit nicely into a post-1960s dispensation of multiculturalism and working mothers. Such sanitizing of Lewis is unfortunate not because he was always right, but because we cannot possibly benefit from our conversations with the finest minds of the past until we are ready to listen to what such minds actually have to say.

“By learning to drink and smoke and perhaps to tell risqué stories,” observes Lewis, the supposedly emancipated modern girl has not really “drawn an inch nearer to the men than her grandmother.” Moreover, he adds, “her grandmother was far happier and more realistic. She was at home talking real women’s talk to other women and perhaps doing so with great charm, sense and even wit.” There are “sensible women,” but at a mixed party such women are wont to “gravitate to one end of the room and talk women’s talk to one another,” for they know full well that “it is only the riff-raff of each sex that wants to be incessantly hanging on the other.” So much for co-ed dorms. Or, for that matter, co-ed colleges.

More here-

SA Anglican Church sex abuse scandal: four victims come forward

From South Africa-

Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba says four cases of sexual abuse in two dioceses have emerged in recent weeks.

Urgent consultations are now under way to bolster procedures for dealing with cases of sexual abuse in the church‚ he said on Thursday.

The church has been rocked by allegations of abuse‚ with South African author Ishtiyaq Shukri saying he had been “repeatedly and routinely” sexually abused in the past by priests at St Cyprian's Cathedral‚ Kimberley.

A second victim told the Weekend Argus at the weekend that he had been abused from the late 1970s until the early 1980s when he was 13 years old.

“The other priest stopped pursuing me. But one continued. He would come to our home‚ telling my parents he was taking me to church events. This continued for about four years. And suddenly he was moved about 150km from Cape Town‚” he said.

Archbishop Makgoba acknowledged on Thursday that the church had been “lagging behind in our care for victims of abuse”.

More here-

and here-

and here-

The Episcopal Diocese of San Diego Seeks a New Bishop

From San Diego-

The Episcopal Diocese of San Diego seeks applications from qualified clergy throughout the Episcopal Church and churches in the Anglican Communion to enter into the discernment process for identifying our Fifth Bishop. The standing committee has appointed a nominating committee to compile a slate of qualified candidates for election at a special electing convention to be held in February 2019. The nominating committee will be the single confidential contact point between candidates, nominators and the diocese.

The nominating committee now invites interested persons to carefully read and prayerfully reflect on our profile and this website. Priests and bishops interested in applying should complete the application form and submit it as well as all requested documentation to  All materials must be received by Tuesday, April 10, 2018.

More here-

Church Introduces New Soundproof Section For Terrible Singers

A Little Humor To Start The Day-

Christ Church of the Hills introduced an innovative new feature at its central campus Sunday: a completely soundproofed section of pews reserved exclusively for loud, off-key singers in the congregation, sources confirmed.

The section of several pews is encompassed by state-of-the-art anechoic technology, preventing any screeches, bellows, or other distracting noises from leaving the isolated chamber and disturbing the rest of the congregation. Those seated in the section can listen to the service through a set of speakers wired into the quarantined area.

According to head usher Monty Bennett, the program is working out great so far.

More here-

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Justin Welby: sexual abusers can never be trusted again

From The Guardian-

People who sexually abuse children or vulnerable adults can never be trusted again even if they genuinely repent, the archbishop of Canterbury has told the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse.

“We know abusive behaviour tends to repeat. If someone has been an abuser, they can never be trusted again. You will never take a chance on them again,” Justin Welby said.

The Bible was “utterly, brutally blunt about the difference between forgiveness and the consequences of sin. Where there is something done wrong, there will be consequences,” he said.

“If you have abused and repent genuinely, you should still go to prison,” he added.

Welby was giving evidence on the last day of witness testimony in three weeks of hearings into sexual abuse in the Church of England, focusing on the diocese of Chichester in West Sussex. 

More here-

Diocese: Shelter Island retired minister tied up in home invasion

From Long Island-

A retired minister on Shelter Island was tied up in a home invasion several days ago and found Monday by a friend during a wellness check, authorities said.

The victim, who was not identified by police, was found seated in a chair at his home, not far from Shell Beach, and was airlifted to a hospital, said Town Supervisor Gary Gerth, who spoke to police at the scene. The minister has friends checking on him every three or four days, Gerth said.

“His garage door was open, so his friend went directly into the house and found him tied up and . . . immediately called 911,” Gerth said. “The person was in pretty difficult shape.”

Town police responded there about 12:40 p.m. and found an 87-year-old man injured in what is being investigated as a burglary, said Suffolk police, who are also on the case.

In an email asking for prayers, the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island identified the victim as Paul Wancura, a longtime priest and one of its former archdeacons.

More here-

also here-

Small, rural Episcopal churches designed by world-renowned architect are disappearing

From ENS-

In the center of a little former frontier town in northeastern South Dakota stands an Episcopal sole survivor.

The one-room wooden Trinity Episcopal Church was built only three years after the town of Groton was organized as a railroad stop in 1881. Groton is now a city of 1,400 people, according to the last U.S. census.

This simple, white-painted church is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, representing significant mid-19th century revival architecture, exploration and settlement. Properties listed in the register are deemed important in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering and culture. It’s the official list of the nation’s historic places worthy of preservation.

More here-

Bishop Search Update #5

From The Convocation in Europe-

The Bishop Search Process has moved into a new stage following the closure of the window for receipt of applications. The Search and Nomination Committee is delighted with and encouraged by the number of applications it has received from highly qualified clergy who have put themselves forward as candidates to be our next bishop.

The next part of the discernment process is to conduct video interviews with those candidates best fitting our Bishop Profile. To do this effectively, the Committee will work in small groups from the week beginning March 19. The aim will be to determine who to ¬invite to the Candidates’ Retreat being planned to take place in Germany in May.

Please continue to hold in prayer all those who have put themselves forward as candidates as well as the Search and Nomination Committee. Your support in this way is greatly appreciated.

More here-

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

ACNA diocese contemplates secession, dissolution

From Anglican Ink-

Fears for its future and disquiet over the Anglican Church in North America’s stance on the ordination of women has prompted the Missionary Diocese of All Saints (MDAS) to explore relations with non-Anglican bodies.

The bishops of the MDAS  have not withdrawn the small traditionalist Anglo-Catholic diocese from the ACNA, however in his presidential address to the 15-17 March  2018 meeting of his diocesan synod in Ocean City, Md., the Rt. Rev. William J. Ilgenfritz stated the diocese was speaking to “non-Papal Catholics” with a view to joining a new denomination.

While no decisions on withdrawal is imminent, diocesan sources tell Anglican Ink, but Bishop Ilgenfritz’s speech highlights the disquiet traditional Anglo-Catholics feel over the church’s policy of “two integrities” on women’s orders. The address also comes as Bishop Ilgenfritz and his suffragan, the Rt. Rev. Richard Lipka, prepare for retirement, raising questions as to the viability of the 34-congregation diocese’s survival.

Is Mark Rylands the humblest bishop in the Church of England?

From "Archbishop Cranmer"-

The Rt Rev’d Mark Rylands is presently Bishop of Shrewsbury. He is well-known to readers of this blog for being a thoughtful and intelligent advocate for UK secession from the European Union – the Church of England’s only Brexit Bishop, indeed. It has been announced that he is leaving his area bishopric in the Diocese of Lichfield and returning to parish ministry in the Diocese of Exeter. He explains:

“It will be sad to leave. And for some it may seem a surprise move. But, for me, I have sensed God’s beckoning to serve as a parish priest again. For the last 16 years, as both diocesan missioner and area bishop, much of my ministry has been to encourage, challenge and help churches and church leaders to embody and share the Good News of Jesus Christ in the local community. I have heard God calling me now to ‘go and walk the talk’.

“I am acutely aware that I have a great deal to learn in becoming a parish priest and am not unaware of the challenges I face. However, I have a heart for rural mission and ministry and am greatly looking forward to getting to know the people of Ashburton and the Moorland Team in Exeter Diocese, to seeing where God will lead us. I am slightly daunted but also know that, where God calls, he also equips.

You may ponder perfectly reasonable questions:

More here-

Meet the Candidates for Election to be the next Bishop of the Diocese of the Rio Grande

From Rio Grande-

"The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande is delighted to announce a slate of three candidates for the office of Bishop presented to us by the Bishop Search Committee," said Dr. Kathleen Pittman, president of the Standing Committee.

"The people of our Diocese have prayed diligently and faithfully for God to send us good candidates. Our prayers have been answered," she said.

The electing convention will be May 5, 2018, at the Cathedral of St. John, Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Service of Ordination and Consecration is scheduled for November 3, 2018, with the Most Rev. Michael Bruce Curry, Presiding Bishop, officiating.

The candidates are:

The Rev. Canon Lucinda Ashby, Canon to the Ordinary, The Episcopal Diocese of Idaho
The Rev. Canon Michael Buerkel Hunn, Canon to the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church
The Rev. Simon Charles Justice, Rector, Church of the Good Samaritan, Corvallis, Diocese of Oregon

More here-

Archbishop Justin Welby urges Commonwealth leaders to have “the courage to dream big”

From ACNS-

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has spoken of his hopes that the Commonwealth heads of government will have “the courage to dream big” when they gather in London next month for their biennial meeting. The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) will take place in London and Windsor Castle from 19 – 20 April. In the three days ahead of the meeting, a number of forums will take place at which a number of civil society organisations – including provinces of the Anglican Communion – will take part.

“The great majority of members of the Anglican Communion are also members of the Commonwealth,” Archbishop Justin said in a video published by the Commonwealth secretariat. “The Commonwealth is one of those rare international bodies that is both useful and crosses all kinds of cultural and linguistic and historic boundaries.

More here-

God revealed through people with disabilities

From Living Lutheran-

His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him” (John 9:2-3).

I was born with one arm. I was 10 when I heard my mom tell the story of bringing her newborn to worship, only to be confronted by another member who insisted that God was punishing one or both of my parents by sending them a child with one arm.

Experiences like this have left me asking: “Is that what the church thinks of people with disabilities?”

When congregations never talk about disability, it sends the message to people with disabilities and their loved ones that they don’t really matter to the church. And when congregations talk about disability thoughtlessly or unkindly, it sends another message—that people with disabilities aren’t really welcome.

I’m a lifelong Lutheran and a lifelong person with a disability, and I need both of those parts of my identity to be welcome in the church. It’s not just up to leaders like pastors and deacons to make a congregation welcoming to people with disabilities. Every member of the body of Christ has the responsibility and power to make every other member welcomed and included.

More here-

Monday, March 19, 2018

The Episcopal Church changed course for our LGBT members

From Kansas City-

For more than 40 years the Episcopal Church has stood in support of the rights of gay and lesbian people and in more recent years has expanded that to include transgender people. This support for LGBT rights isn’t a political stance but a theological one, based in the knowledge that people are beloved children of God and worthy of respect.

It was one of the first Christian denominations to recognize in 1976 that “homosexual persons are children of God who have a full and equal claim with all other persons upon the love, acceptance and pastoral concern of the Church.” This resolution was passed only one year after the American Psychological Association voted to remove homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses. At its next General Convention in 1979, the Episcopal Church declared that there is no barrier to the ordination of homosexual people.

Over the next 36 years, we struggled with the recognition of the faithful and monogamous relationships between gay and lesbian couples. Our denomination has its conservative wing, and we were unable to reach a consensus to give full recognition to these relationships.

Read more here:

Matthews resigns her position as Bishop of Christchurch

From New Zealand-

Victoria Matthews resigns her position as Bishop of Christchurch

After ten years of leadership of the Anglican Diocese of Christchurch Bishop Victoria Matthews will step down from the Diocese on 1 May this year.

Bishop Matthews describes her time here in Christchurch as “an extraordinary privilege.”

“I want to thank the people in this Diocese for their faithful service. This beautiful Diocese has been through many challenges brought about by earthquakes, wind, fire and floods. But through it all, people have been their best selves by helping others, working together and finding new ways of doing things.”

More here-

and here-

and here-

Modern Christianity’s Mental Health Stigma Must End

From Relevant-

“Are you OK, Rachel? You don’t seem yourself. You’re making quite a lot of mistakes.”

I could hear the disapproval in his voice. I watched my feet as I shuffled them side to side. I couldn’t look him in the eyes.

I wish I never told you about my anxiety.

It was in that moment when I drew the conclusion that I had made a terrible mistake—the mistake of disclosing my mental health struggle to my previous boss.

The only thing more threatening than mental health stigma is someone’s ability to hold your mental health against you. That’s what happened to me with a previous employer. Amidst a myriad other factors, I felt discriminated against for having anxiety in the workplace. And get this—it was a Christian organization!

“Have you prayed about this? You might want to consider getting prayer.”

More here-

How Eastern Orthodox's ‘Forgiveness Sunday’ could save us from our Facebook feeds

From American Magazine-

As we enter deeper into Lent and continue to abstain from certain foods and habits, even those who have given up constantly checking Facebook and Twitter cannot retreat entirely from our divided, toxic political environment.

Partly because of my work in community and government relations for a Jesuit university, and partly the responsibility of simply being a citizen I will continue to take in news. This means I will inevitably be exposed to the usual mix of “fake news,” political grandstanding and negative partisanship—what the Stanford political scientists Shanto Iyengar and Masha Krupenkin call “a primal sense of ‘us against them.’”

Can our preparations for Easter help us cope with this reality? Can they do so not only now, but throughout the year?

In the Eastern Orthodox tradition in which I worship, the season of Lent begins with a “Forgiveness Vespers.” At the end of the service, each member of the community proceeds to the front of the church to exchange with the priest and fellow parishioners—the whole church—a plea of repentance.

More here-

Sunday, March 18, 2018

New abuse claim hits church

From South Africa-

THE ANGLICAN church has been rocked by another disclosure of sexual abuse, a few weeks after a well-known author broke a 40-yearsilence on his own experience.

The latest victim to come out is battling to reconcile with the church’s decision at the time to move alleged perpetrators of sexual abuse to another town “where they possibly damaged the lives of many more”.

This week, David Fields (not his real name) recalled how the abuse started in the late 1970s until the early 1980s when he was about 13 years old.

“As a young boy I grew up in church. Our parents wanted us to attend church and priests were looked up to in the community as people with authority and power.

“The priest and another one in the parish started taking an interest in me but at the time I didn’t know why nor could I understand what the interest was all about. Then the abuse started with touching and led to sexual activity.

More here-

A ‘Social Gospel’ in an age of religious diversity?

From Cape Cod-

While the incentives for these expressions remain the fundamental beliefs of the various faith traditions involved, institutional survival can also be a motivating force. St. George’s Church-Stuyvesant Square, an Episcopal congregation in New York City, was faced in the 1870s with a departing upper-class congregation and a growing lower-class immigrant population in its neighborhood when, with the support of J. Pierpont Morgan, the Rev. William Rainsford was called to be its rector. Under his leadership, the concept of a church that served the educational, medical, and social needs of that community was fully realized and in time shared in his widely implemented “The Administration of an Institutional Church.”

That was then. The Social Gospel did not survive the disillusionment of World War I, and for many contemporary religious institutions the Institutional Church no longer works as a model for parish life, a vehicle for survival, or an effective tool for mission and ministry. In addition, the modern world has complex challenges and social issues that are beyond the capacity of a single church, denomination or even religion to address fully. These range from substance abuse to human trafficking, gun violence to immigration, racism to economic inequality. What worked in the inter-bellum era no longer adequately addresses the third role of religion in our age. What then should replace them?

More here-

Welcome to the House of Deputies Newsletter

From The House of Deputies-

Impairment Task Force Report Released

Executive Council commission examines leadership and addiction

 In March 2015, the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church, by affirming a House of Bishops resolution,  created and funded the Commission on Impairment and Leadership. The group was charged with exploring "the canonical, environmental, behavioral and procedural dimensions of matters involving the serious impairment of individuals serving as leaders in the Church, with special attention to issues of addiction and substance abuse." The group's appointment was precipitated by a 2014 crash in which then-bishop Heather Cook, who was driving while drunk, killed bicyclist Thomas Palermo.

The commission's report, which includes recommendations about the church's ordination, training, transition, deployment, wellness, management and oversight processes, is now available online.

More here-

Episcopacy, Priesthood, and the Priesthood of the Church

From The Living Church-

It is a great pleasure to join you this evening to honour one of the great Anglican theologians and Bishops of the 20th century, Michael Ramsey. I have many illustrious predecessors as Van Mildert Professor at Durham. I count it particularly daunting but inspirational and a source of enormous pride to follow Michael Ramsey. Whilst I would never pretend for a moment to his depth of learning and spirituality, we do share an unswerving devotion both to Catholic and orthodox Anglicanism and the capacious nature of Anglican ecclesiology, a commitment to ecumenism and a deep love of this beautiful church and its liturgical and preaching ministry.

When Ramsey arrived in Durham as Van Mildert Canon Professor of Divinity in 1940, he was just 35 years old and came from a brief spell as vicar of St. Benet’s. The Gospel and the Catholic Church, written whilst he was a tutor at Lincoln Theological College, was not well-liked by some in Durham and he was regarded as very eccentric. Before his marriage to Joan Hamilton in the Galilee Chapel at Durham Cathedral in 1942, Ramsey lived alone in 12, The College (the cathedral close), a huge building that looks like a castle that the cathedral now lets as six substantial flats. You may know that Ramsey served as an air-raid warden during the war, although he was less distinguished in this role than he was as a theologian or bishop. He never quite grasped the difference between the air raid siren and the all-clear. He would often mistake them and rush round The College waking the residents as the all-clear was sounded, just in time for them to see the German bombers return from Newcastle.

More here-

Saturday, March 17, 2018

A model settlement: The wise resolution of a church property dispute

From Pittsburgh-

This week the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh and nine churches that broke away from the diocese in 2008 finally settled their differences over property rights, and they did so in a refreshingly evenhanded way.

Pittsburgh was the center of a national debate about orthodoxy within the Episcopal Church that had been brewing for years. When the national church named an openly gay priest as bishop of New Hampshire in 2004, the Pittsburgh diocese and many of its members objected and began the process of splitting into two separate dioceses. 

The agreement that the Episcopalians and the breakaway Anglican Church of North America announced allows the nine churches to continue their ministry in the buildings they currently occupy. The parishes continue as title holders to their property, while the Episcopal Diocese retains its role as legal beneficiary. The nine will pay annual fees to the Episcopal Diocese for the use of the properties and will not be able to sell their properties without approval.

More here-

Turkey seeks life sentence for U.S. pastor

From World-

Turkish prosecutors are seeking a life sentence for a U.S. pastor accused of participating in the 2016 coup that attempted to oust Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. A private Turkish media outlet reported the news Tuesday after getting a look at the indictment. Prosecutors must win approval from a court before they can pursue the case. Andrew Brunson, who has pastored a church in Turkey for 23 years, has been jailed since October 2016. The indictment reportedly charges Brunson with being a member of and leading a terror organization. Turkish government officials accuse him of having ties to the Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, who now lives in Pennsylvania. U.S. officials have denied Turkish requests to extradite Gulen, who denies involvement in the failed coup. 

Brunson also denies any involvement in the coup, as well as any links to Gulen. Erdogan has offered to free Brunson in exchange for Gulen. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) condemned the indictment, urging the Trump administration to redouble its efforts to secure Brunson’s freedom. “No stone should be left unturned in our efforts on behalf of this unjustly imprisoned American,” USCIRF Vice Chairwomen Sandra Jolley and Kristina Arriaga said in a statement. “We call again for his immediate release and, if this is not forthcoming, for the administration and Congress to impose targeted sanctions against those involved in this miscarriage of justice.”

More here-

Friday, March 16, 2018

National Council of Churches Announces April 4th A.C.T. to End Racism Rally on National Mall

From PRN-

Today, the National Council of Churches (NCC) announced plans to hold a rally to end racism on the National Mall on April 4. The A.C.T. to End Racism Rally is the starting point of a multi-year effort, launched by NCC, to remove racism from the nation's social fabric and bring the country together.

In remembrance of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who inspired and challenged America to confront and put an end to racism, the rally will take place on the day the nation marks 50 years since his assassination. "We have for too long lived under the scourge of racism in our society. To begin the process of healing our nation, we as Christians must join with people of all faiths in holding ourselves accountable for our complicity, and commit to righting the wrongs," said Jim Winkler, president of NCC.

NCC and its coalition of over 50 partners recognize that the faith community and those of moral conscience have a specific responsibility to address and eliminate racism, but also unique gifts that enable them to do so. "As we look at our society today, it is painfully evident that the soul of our nation needs healing. We must not only pray, but take concrete action to realize and achieve racial and social justice, and we cannot possibly put an end to racism unless we commit to change at all levels — including within the faith community," said  Bishop W. Darin Moore, chair of the Governing Board for NCC.

More here-

Lambeth Conference 2020 theme unveiled

From ACNS-

The theme for the Lambeth Conference in 2020 is to be “God’s Church for God’s World: walking, listening and witnessing together”. Details have been announced on a new webpage which went live today. A more detailed website is being designed and will go live later this year.

The Lambeth Conference will take place from 24 July to 3 August in 2020 at the University of Kent in Canterbury. More than 900 bishops from around the world will be invited to attend, along with their spouses.

Conference CEO Phil George said the new webpage was a sign that momentum was building.

More here-

Jacob and the angel, as told by the angel

From Christian Century-

In the beginning, when I was first making appearances to mortals, most of them died before I could speak the first word of truth. Just from the sight of me—they fell right over. Great burly men and women too, not like the kind you see nowadays. I mean, real antediluvian hulks with chests the size of wine barrels and legs like cedar trunks. Their consciences would seize right up; they were that certain I’d come to find them out. And they’d give up the ghost—practically flung the ghost right at me—rather than listen to a word of what I had to say.

The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, and the distribution and installation of wisdom is the task with which all powers and principalities have been charged, not excepting myself. Fear being the operative word, and not panic, which is why most of us have learned to start each incident log with a command like “Fear not,” or “Dread not,” or “Be thou not dismayed,” or some other variation thereof; most people are full of the beginning of wisdom already, and appearing before them without some form of reassurance is liable to result in total system overload, followed shortly by shutdown.

More here-

Difficult But Necessary Work: A Lay Leader’s #metoo Reflection

From The House of Deputies-

My #metoo Lenten reflection begins before I became Episcopalian. My father is from Mexico and my mother is European-American. I was raised by my mother’s family, a large working class Catholic family, in the Archdiocese of Chicago in the 1980’s. My home parish was affected by the sexual abuse of priests as well as the school principal. Perhaps because of this context, from a very young age while I deeply loved the church, I also knew that it was not always a safe place. Regardless, I was committed to my church and as involved as they would allow me to be. I was an altar girl, pre-school Sunday school teacher, and I took my first paid job working in the parish office. At the age of 15, I gave birth to a baby that I placed for adoption, an open adoption that continues to this day. At the very moment he took his first breath and stretched out his tiny newborn hand, I was stuck with a powerful spiritual experience that I can only liken to Saul on the road to Damascus. Over the next several decades, until the writing of this very reflection, I would begin to hide the nature of this event by simply calling it a “spiritual awakening.”

This event, or spiritual awakening, led me to look for Jesus outside of my home church. I spent a brief few years as a born-again Evangelical Christian with a strong testimony in my pregnancy and birth story. During this time I was accepted into a prestigious Christian faith-based college where I just knew that God had amazing things planned for me. Through my unbridled excitement, I allowed myself to become naive enough to believe that I would be safe among my peers.

More here-

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Christian leaders in US oppose plan to tax church-owned property in Jerusalem

From CWR-

Prominent Christian leaders in America co-signed a letter Tuesday to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat asking them to reconsider a proposed plan to tax church-owned properties in the city.

Currently, properties owned by churches are not taxed.

In the March 13 letter, the leaders warned that the policies would “severely inhibit” the work of the churches in and around Jerusalem, and would disrupt the Status Quo policy.

“If enacted, these measures would have the effect of creating a situation that jeopardizes the very survival of the Christian community in the Holy Land,” they said.

The letter was signed by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops; Archbishop Vicken Aykazian of the Armenian Apostolic Church; Elizabeth Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; and Michael Curry, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church.

More here-