Tuesday, February 20, 2018

When Religious Leaders, Parents, Teachers And Others Are Sexual Predators

From South Western Virginia-

When it comes to sexual abuse by religious leaders, however, the practice is not limited to Catholic priests. Youth minister Jeffrey Bondi in Virginia Beach began sexually molesting a 15-year-old female church member when he was 28. He walked because of jurisdictional problems in the case but left that church and sought to become the youth member at Galilee, an Episcopal Church, also in the Tidewater Area.

The father of the girl molested at Virginia Beach says he went to the pastor at Galilee, John Burnley, and told what happened.

“I told him what happened to my daughter, and he said it was all just hearsay,” the father said. “He acted like she was just some loose girl. I said, ‘I’m just trying to warn you because it’s going to be your responsibility if it happens again.’”

More here-


Anglican Bishops Denies Allegations Of Corruption, Impropriety On Election Of Lagos Bishop

From Nigeria-

The Episcopal Synod of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) has called on Anglicans and the discerning public to disregard malicious publications on the election the new Bishop of the Diocese of Lagos. The House of Bishops of the Nigerian Anglican Church was responding to some media reports alleging that the February 6 election of some new bishops in the Church was marred by corruption and impropriety. A statement issued by the Episcopal Secretary of the Church, the Rt. Rev David Onuoha, Tuesday in Abuja, said there was no iota of truth in publications in the social media, which attempted to smear the image of the Primate, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh. 

The House of Bishops explained that the process which led to the election of Rt. Rev Humphrey Olumakaiye, Bishop of Osun North East Diocese, as the new bishop-elect of the Diocese of Lagos was free and fair. ‘‘This particular election was held alongside four others at the Cathedral Church of St Barnabas, Ilorin in the Diocese of Kwara, Kwara State in accordance with the church’s laid down rules and regulations. The event was free and fair.
Read More at:


and here-



From The Living Church-

I have always been struck by a major difference between the Church of England and the Episcopal Church: the way clergy are paid. In England, all priests receive basically the same salary or stipend; there are minor increases over the base for bishops, cathedral deans, and archdeacons. This uniform wage is not high (roughly $33,500 plus housing and a few other allowances); a clergy family of four might have such a low income that they would qualify for public assistance. By contrast, the salaries in America vary enormously. Although a priest right out of seminary could earn less than English clergy, senior American clergy earn many times the English salary.

Despite the low stipends, many English clergy claim that parity is morally superior to the American scheme. They want to keep their system, even if it allows unproductive clergy to earn the same as leaders of large parishes.

But in a recent book, The Future Shapes of Anglicanism, the Very Rev. Martyn Percy claims that the Church of England would be rejuvenated if it moved toward the American system. He holds that parishes should be allowed to set salaries in order to reward initiative and creative ministry. “This would encourage a more realistic appraisal of many ministries, and allow congregations to value experience, responsibility, energy, challenge, and more besides.”

More here-


Juan Williams: Evangelicals sell their souls for Trump

From The Hill-

When it comes to the Stormy Daniels story, it is hard for me to understand the silence from evangelical Christians.

Let it sink in: It is now confirmed that the president’s personal lawyer paid a porn star for her silence.

After the story broke, a friend sent me an old article from a left-wing website.

Democrats, the story said, beat themselves up for not better understanding white, Christian support for President Trump.

But that is a fool’s errand, the writer argued, because there is no understanding people who don’t accept facts.

The facts on the porn star and Trump became clear last week when Michael D. Cohen, the president’s lawyer, said he personally paid $130,000 to Daniels.

The money changed hands just before the 2016 election to allegedly stop her from talking about a sexual affair with candidate Trump that took place in 2006, just after Trump’s wife had a baby.

More here-


Sewanee School of Theology Faculty Respond

From Episcopal Cafe-

The faculty of the School of Theology of the University of the South responds to the actions of the Board of Regents that decline to revoke the honorary degree for Charlie Rose. In declining the Board cited sin and forgiveness. The theology faculty asks them to look more deeply into these tenets fo the faith.

Dear Officers of the Board of Regents,

We believe that the recent action of the university Regents declining the petition torevoke the honorary degree conferred upon Charlie Rose in 2016 was taken with the be stinterests of the university in mind. We also know that under constraints of time and without opportunity for wider consultation, all of us can make decisions that with further reflection we may wish to revise. And so we, tenured members of the faculty of the School of Theology, want to contribute to this conversation by writing a public letter explaining why we are troubled by some of the theological assertions contained in your letter to the student trustees.

Because your letter invokes the concept of forgiveness, we wish to situate the matter of

the revocation or retention of Mr. Rose’s honorary degree within the larger, theologically grounded tradition of pastoral response to sin and forgiveness. In church tradition, forgiveness is offered after repentance and contrition. Typically, that means making appropriate restitution to those whom the individual has wronged, and the grace of forgiveness is singularly theirs to offer. 

More here-


At Current Rates Of Use World Could Run Out Of Thoughts And Prayers By As Early As 2019

From Out Abouter-

A worldwide shortage of thoughts and prayers may leave us with no choice but to actually do something by as early as January 2019, researchers are warning, after a recent study revealed the popular refrain is now fueling 93% of government inaction globally. And we are running out.

Dr. Tim Freely, a leading expert in thinking and praying, and author of the book Act Now Or Forever Wring Your Hands, explains:

“The trouble is that back in the 50’s, when they first started using this phrase as a catch-all for ‘I’m not motivated to actually do something here but feel obligated to open and close my mouth in some fashion or other,’ politicians and community leaders had no idea how much they’d be relying on this platitude by the time the 21st century rolled around. And now we’re just plain running out. Of thoughts. Of prayers. And of patience.” 

More here-


Monday, February 19, 2018

With church donation, Wyoming organization to create info packets for families affected by suicide

From Wyoming-

After the loss of a loved one to suicide, family members are left to navigate difficult, unthinkable questions in a haze of loss.

What do they tell their loved one's former employer? What do they need to do with the deceased's bank account? How do they arrange the funeral?

With a $22,700 grant from the Episcopal Diocese of Wyoming, suicide prevention organization Grace For 2 Brothers will provide packets with information that address those questions to coroners in all of Wyoming's counties. The grant will also help the group expand an existing program that dispatches volunteers to families who have experienced a death by suicide shortly after the act.

"We wanted to provide an informational packet to families in Wyoming that have to go through the storm of losing a loved one to suicide so they won’t feel so alone and also to help guide them through one of the most trying times in their lives," said Rhianna Brand, director of operations for the nonprofit. "It’s not an answer to all of the why’s we all carry, but it is a piece of hope and help from the very beginning, something that those of us who went through a loss all wished we had."

More here-


Russia church shooting kills 5 after gunman opens fire on people leaving service

From MSN-

Five women were killed and several others were injured after a gunman opened fire with a hunting rifle on people leaving a church service in Russia's Dagestan region on Sunday, Russian media outlets reported.

The shooting unfolded outside a church in Kizlyar, a town of about 50,000 people on the border with Chechnya. The Russian news agency TASS cited Svetlana Petrenko of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation as the source for the number of people killed and wounded.

The Islamic State terror network claimed responsibility, according to its Amaq media agency. ISIS said the killer was a "soldier of the caliphate," a man known as Khalil al-Dagestani, The New York Times reported.

More here-


UK to use medieval church spires to boost digital connectivity

From CNBC-

The U.K. government has signed an agreement with the Church of England that will see church spires across the country used to improve digital connectivity in rural areas.

The accord was signed by the National Church Institutions of the Church of England, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

It encourages the Church of England to uses its buildings and properties to boost mobile, WiFi and broadband connectivity for communities. The British government said that 65 percent of Anglican churches were in rural areas and that their locations, often in the center of communities, meant they were "well placed" to help solve problems surrounding connectivity and coverage.

More here-


and here-


Sunday, February 18, 2018

Vicar of Baghdad receives sign from God and visits Alderney

From The Channel Islands-

Jerusalem-based Canon Andrew White was the vicar of St George’s Church in Baghdad, the only Anglican church in Iraq, and had a role trying to maintain communications between Shia and Sunni leaders.

Canon White, who is a Harvard fellow, said that he had been asked to ‘prophesise’ for a visiting group of Christians from the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry in Redding, California.

He shared the details on a YouTube broadcast.

‘One of the people, Ivan, lived in Wales but he was from Guernsey,’ he said.

‘When I prophesised over him I said the Lord is calling us to do new work in Alderney.

‘Alderney is one of the smallest of the Channel Islands that hardly anybody has ever heard of. I said to him I feel we are being called to Alderney but God will confirm it within one day.’



Saturday, February 17, 2018

ACNA defends Gafcon decision not to reveal existence of female bishop

From Episcopal Cafe-

Although the press in South Sudan ran the news when it occurred, it was only recently learned that the Province South Sudan consecrated the first female bishop in Gafcon. The Rt. Rev. Elizabeth Awut Ngor was consecrated assistant bishop of the Diocese of Rumbek in the Province of South Sudan in December 2016, breaking a Gafcon moratorium on female bishops. Once word was out, Gafcon issued a statement revealing that the Gafcon primates first learned of the consecration in April 2017. The communique from that meeting makes no mention of the consecration, nor does any subsequent Gafcon communication.

Yesterday a press release from ACNA (Anglican Church in North America) addressed why Gafcon took no initiative to make news of the consecration public. Its author is the Rev. Canon Andrew Gross, Canon for Communications and Media Relations of ACNA. He has also served as Gafcon’s spokesperson.

ACNA’s press release is reproduced in full below. It has not appeared on ACNA’s website.

More here-


Why Amaechi, Fashola won’t allow Buhari fight corruption – Archbishop Chukwuma

From Nigeria-

Archbishop of the Enugu Anglican Ecclesiastical Province, His Grace, Most Reverend Emmanuel Chukwuma, has said that former governors of Rivers and Lagos States used their states’ monies to sponsor President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015.

According to him, that was why they were rewarded with important ministerial roles, with some of them heading three ministries in one.

Making the allegation in an interview with Punch, the cleric said Nigerians should not be surprised if former Edo State governor, Adams Oshiomhole is given a ministerial position tomorrow.
He said the government would find it difficult fighting corruption because some state governors assisted Buhari to get there using state funds.

According to him, “In this government, some people were given three ministries; we want to know why they were given three ministries.

“Look at the two former governors that were given three ministries each, let’s be frank and sincere, Lagos and Rivers must have spent so much money (on Buhari’s election).

More here-


Pastoral care should punch us in the face

From The Living Church (reference the previous post)-

I am not entirely sure when pastoral became a synonym for nice, but it was already the case when I was in seminary a decade ago. Classes on “pastoral care” focused on things like how to run vestry meetings and how to avoid conflicts. When parishes put together profiles for the priest they want, pastoral is a word that often comes up. The expectation seems to be that a pastoral priest is someone kind and easy to talk to who is highly affirming. This pastor-as-life-coach model of ministry has become dominant in the American Church, and it is killing our congregations.

Of course, Murphy’s Ecclesiastical Law dictates that whenever something terrible catches on in the life of the Church, there is an equal if not more stupid backlash. Enter the Church Growth movement with its emphasis on transforming the work of the pastor into a series of managerial tasks.

“If pastors could figure out how to better tackle the issue of pastoral care, I’m convinced many more churches would grow,” says Carey Nieuwhof in a blog post last month that has been shared more than four thousand times. Nieuwhof says that pastors are spread too thin trying to attend to every tragedy, meet with every family, and handle every baptism or wedding. His solution? Get a team of lay people to do all that stuff while you work on management and leadership development instead.

More here-


10 Predictions About The Future Church And Shifting Attendance Patterns

From Carey Nieuwhof-

Every generation experiences change.

But sometimes you sense you’re in the midst of truly radical change, the kind that happens only every few centuries. Increasingly, I think we’re in such a moment now.

Those of us in in Western culture who are over age 30 were born into a culture that could conceivably still be called Christian. Now, as David Kinnaman at the Barna Group has shown, even in America, people who are churchless (having no church affiliation) will soon eclipse the churched.

In addition, 48% of Millennials (born between 1984-2002) can be called post-Christian in their beliefs, thinking and worldview.

More here-


From the Bishop: On the Mass Shooting in Parkland, Fl.

From New Jersey-

Once again, this nation has been visited by great evil:  the evil of a mass school shooting. 17 were killed at Marjorie Douglas Stoneman High School in Parkland, Florida on Ash Wednesday – a day when we “acknowledge our wretchedness.”

16 year-old Carmen Schentrup was among those killed on Wednesday. She was an active member of St. Mary Magdalene Church in Hollywood, Florida where my good friend Mark Sims is Rector. She was also active in Episcopal Youth activities in the wider Church. When I heard the news of Carmen’s death, I texted my condolences to Mark. He responded by text, “Chip, Thank you.  One day this beautiful vibrant girl opens my office door to announce that she had been accepted at UF [University of Florida].  Two days later I’m sitting with the family and the FBI hearing for the first time that she been shot and killed…” It made me cry. Needless to say, all the killings this past Wednesday are devastating.

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-


Friday, February 16, 2018

Judge lifts stay in federal court case

From South Carolina-

U.S. District Court Judge Richard Gergel has lifted a stay in a lawsuit over false-advertising and related claims against the bishop of a breakaway group that left The Episcopal Church in 2012, issuing a scheduling order for the trial to begin on or after September 1.

The case, known as vonRosenberg v. Lawrence, had been set for trial in March, but the judge issued a stay in August 2017, putting the proceedings on hold while the parties entered a mediation process.

Thomas S. Tisdale Jr., Chancellor of The Episcopal Church in South Carolina, said TECSC and The Episcopal Church remain hopeful that mediation efforts will be productive.

The lawsuit was filed in March 2013, a few months after Mark Lawrence and a breakaway group announced they were leaving The Episcopal Church. The suit involves a claim of false advertising under the federal Lanham Act. At that time, Bishop Charles vonRosenberg was the only bishop recognized by The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion as bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina. By continuing to represent himself as bishop of the diocese, Mark Lawrence is committing false advertising, the lawsuit says.

More here-


Oxfam scandal: Archbishop Desmond Tutu steps down as ambassador

From The Church Times-

THE Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, Dr Desmond Tutu, announced on Thursday that he would retire as an ambassador for Oxfam, because of “allegations of immorality and possible criminality” involving the charity’s aid workers.

The widening crisis over allegations of sexual abuse in the aid sector has led to the Charity Commission launching a formal inquiry and the Government threatening to remove millions of pounds of funding.

Allegations that Oxfam workers engaged prostitutes while working in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti have spread rapidly in recent days to cover other disaster zones and other agencies, calling into question the behaviour of aid workers and ability of charities to manage them.

More here-


also here-


Thursday, February 15, 2018

Episcopal High in Baton Rouge says investigation finds no evidence of alleged sexual assault

From Louisiana-

After a five-month investigation led by Baton Rouge attorney Mary Olive Pierson, Episcopal High School has been unable to corroborate a complaint that an employee had sexually assaulted a former student several years ago.

Moreover, Pierson “has found no evidence of any other allegation of sexual misconduct on a student by any current or former employee,” according to a new release issued by the school Wednesday morning.

Sgt. Don Coppola, a spokesman for Baton Rouge Police, said Wednesday that it too has closed its investigation in this allegation after it was unable to find probable cause to bring charges but could reopen the investigation if new information emerged.

More here-


Church of the Advocate reverend leads community in healing

From Philadelphia-

In October 2017, the Rev. Renee McKenzie got a call from the New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia asking if she would provide sanctuary for an undocumented immigrant family whose deportation was ordered. Instinctually, she agreed.

“I have to be honest, I hadn’t really thought it through carefully before I said yes,” she said. “My instinct was to say yes because there’s no way I could not support this family. There’s no way we could not provide sanctuary if we had the ability to do so, and we did. So I said yes.”

McKenzie has been a clergy member at the Church of the Advocate on Diamond Street near 18th for six years and has consistently fought for social justice issues. She believes she has a responsibility to be an advocate for change — even when faced with significant risks.

Carmela Apolonio Hernandez, who is taking sanctuary in the Church of the Advocate with her four children, was ordered to leave the country by the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency by Dec. 15, 2017. Hernandez said she fled an unsafe environment in Mexico in 2015 after her brother and two nephews were killed by organized drug traffickers.

More here-


God’s Message on ‘Ash Valentine’s Day’: True Love Dies

From Christianity Today-

Today, on Valentine’s Day, while the world is bedecked with schmaltzy red and pink hearts, I will stand before kneeling members of my congregation and tell them that they are going to die. This, without a doubt, is among the most punk rock things I have ever done.

For the first time in 45 years, Ash Wednesday falls on Valentine’s Day, a liturgical feast day commemorating not one but two martyrdoms. The holiday—in old English, hāligdæg, or “holy day”—has been scrubbed of its bloody beginnings and now finds its chief significance in market share and revenue generation. (Houston Asset Management tracked 2017’s Valentine sales as just over $18 billion in their yearly “Cost of Loving” index.)

With its declaration of human finitude and mortality, Ash Wednesday is always counter-cultural, but when it falls on the very day that chalky candy hearts proclaim “Be Mine,” “Wink Wink,” and (my favorite) “U R A 10,” the contrast is particularly stark.

More here-


The SCLM Report on Prayer Book Revision: Welcome to the Conversation!

From Liturgy and Music-

As the Blue Book report and resolutions proposed by the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music become available online, the SCLM will present essays about its work at the rate of no more than one essay per week to allow for focused conversation. We invite your comments and hope that our discussion here will be beneficial to the legislative committees of General Convention.

Through resolution A169, the 2015 General Convention directed the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music “to prepare a plan for the comprehensive revision of the current Book of Common Prayer and present that plan to the 79th General Convention.”

At the outset, it’s important to remember that General Convention did not ask the SCLM to begin revising the Book of Common Prayer! Rather, it asked for the construction of a plan for revision for the 79th General Convention to consider. The request was for a thorough and linear process. No efforts to revise the Book of Common Prayer took place this triennium, because that was not what the SCLM was asked to do. The Episcopal Church, through General Convention, has yet to decide whether to revise the prayer book. It will have that conversation this summer at the 79th General Convention in Austin, Texas (July 5-13, 2018). To convey your opinions about prayer book revision, it will be important for you to speak directly with the elected deputies from your diocese, and your bishops.

More here-


Love, Ash Wednesday, and Living Into Lent

From Pittsburgh-

Dear Friends in Christ,

I was raised Episcopalian and, as a youth, I loved Ash Wednesday. What could be cooler than having a huge black cross smeared on your forehead? If I thought the priest hadn't done a decent job, I'd touch it up, while looking in a mirror to make it more emphatic. Of course the thing it stood for — the universe of conviction, grace, repentance and amendment of life — was completely foreign to me. Though I had said them nearly every Sunday while growing up, I never really understood those weighty lines in the old general confession at Morning Prayer about "our manifold sins and wickedness" and that "the remembrance of them is grievous unto us; the burden of them is intolerable." I didn't know who they were talking about; through my teenage years and into my early twenties I felt fine. The only burden I found intolerable was other people, particularly those who would challenge my pride, or who had the temerity to suggest that I wasn't running my world very well.

More here-


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

A Catholic priest pens the Anglican Archbishop’s prayer book

From Crux-

For those that have followed the close collaboration and friendship between Pope Francis and Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, it will come as no surprise that the spiritual head of the Church of England selected a Roman Catholic priest’s manuscript for his 2018 Lenten prayer book.

Luigi Gioia, a Benedictine priest and academic scholar, has spent the past two decades bringing together ecumenical thought and spirituality in both the Church and the classroom.

Gioia is a professor of Systematic Theology at the Pontifical University of Sant’Anselmo in Rome and also a research associate at the Von Hügel Institute in Cambridge, England. Along with his academic work, he has also given retreats around the world. His new book, Say it to God: In Search of Prayer, was just released last month and offers practical reflections particularly designed for the Lenten season.

He spoke with Crux about what monastics offer the modern age and how “the more we grow in authentic prayer, the greater our compassion grows.”

More here-


When Ash Wednesday falls on Valentine’s Day, what’s a clergyperson to do?

From RNS-

It’s Valentine’s Day, a time for chocolate, roses and perhaps a dinner date. But it’s also Ash Wednesday, which for many Christians is the start of Lent, a period of penitence that precedes Easter Sunday.

How do clergy reconcile this calendar clash, the first of its kind since 1945? Approaches abound:

An Oregon clergy couple celebrated Valentine’s Day early on a recent road trip because they knew they’d be busy at a United Methodist church’s Ash Wednesday service on Feb. 14.
An Episcopal priest in Maryland has prepared a “Lovesong” service for Ash Wednesday that emphasizes various kinds of love that can be celebrated on Valentine’s Day.
An upstate New York Catholic bishop suggested Mardi Gras might be a good time for romance this year.

More here-


Diocese of South Carolina petitions U.S. Supreme Court

From South Carolina-

The disassociated Diocese of South Carolina, which left The Episcopal Church in 2012 and sued to retain its name and property, lost its battle in the state courts in August last year when the Supreme Court issued a set of five opinions that, overall, favored The Episcopal Church and its remaining diocese.

According to that ruling, the disassociated diocese would have to relinquish 29 church buildings. (A separate federal case will determine the fate of intellectual property.)

But Diocese of South Carolina officials soon indicated they would petition the U.S. Supreme Court in an effort to overturn the state court decision, and on Friday, Feb. 9, that’s just what they did.

The petition for writ of certiorari asks the nation’s highest court to consider the case and apply “neutral principles of law.”

More here-


I bring my kids to Ash Wednesday worship. Here’s why.

From Grow Christians-

As a child, I was somewhat confused about death. I blame Star Wars.

The original Star Wars movie came out when I was three; seeing it with my family remains one of my earliest memories. My meditation on the movie continued over a comic-book adaptation of the story that I read over and over until it finally fell apart from over-reading a couple of years later. My first conscious experience of “death” was Obi Wan Kenobi cut down by Darth Vader in a dramatic lightsaber duel—and his subsequent disappearance.

Thus, I thought that’s what everybody did when they died: their body just vanished like Ben Kenobi’s.

Around that time, my maternal grandfather passed away. I was so puzzled when my mom and dad told me that they were going to the viewing; I distinctly remember wondering, “Since he disappeared, what is it that they are going to go see…?”

Parents might be reluctant to take their children to a service like Ash Wednesday because of its thematic content; the two big things on tap are death and sin. If they’re anything like me at that age, your kids have already been exposed to the concept of death, if only in movies. Indeed, if your kids have seen the virtually obligatory Disney canon, they’ve seen death used as a plot device that turns on them understanding something about it. Think of the shooting of Bambi’s mom or the crushing of Ray the Cajun firefly in The Princess and the Frog.

More here-


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

C of E raises serious concerns about Christian Freemasons

From The Guardian-

The Church of England has reiterated “significant concerns” about Christians becoming Freemasons amid renewed controversy about the presence of the secretive organisation at the heart of the British establishment. Christopher Cocksworth, the bishop of Coventry, flagged up a 1987 report issued by the church that highlighted a “number of very fundamental reasons to question the compatibility of Freemasonry and Christianity”.

The bishop was responding to a question tabled at the church’s General Synod, meeting this week in London, which sought information on services celebrating last year’s 300th anniversary of the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) held in “a number” of Anglican cathedrals.

Cocksworth said such data was not collected or monitored centrally, but added that cathedral services were required under canon law not to contravene church doctrine.

More here-


Youth Leader Stole Donations From Glen Rock Church

From New Jersey-

The youth director at All Saints Episcopal Church and Preschool was arrested Sunday after he allegedly stole nearly $600 in donations from the church.

Church officials went to police headquarters Sunday afternoon with surveillance footage of a man, later identified as Sean M. Massaro, 24, of New Milford, stealing donation envelopes from the church's Sunday collection, said Chief Dean Ackermann.

Massaro, who used to live in Glen Rock, began working for the church part time in September, police said.

The church suspected that money was being taken since the beginning of the year when one collection had no cash donations at all, which was very unusual, Ackermann said.

More here-


What did Jesus wear?

From The Conversation-

Over the past few decades, the question of what Jesus looked like has cropped up again and again. Much has been made of a digital reconstruction of a Judaean man created for a BBC documentary, Son of God, in 2001. This was based on an ancient skull and, using the latest technology (as it was), shows the head of a stocky fellow with a somewhat worried expression.

Rightly, the skin tone is olive, and the hair and beard black and shortish, but the nose, lips, neck, eyes, eyelids, eyebrows, fat cover and expression are all totally conjectural. Putting flesh on ancient skulls is not an exact science, because the soft tissue and cartilage are unknown.

Nevertheless, for me as a historian, trying to visualise Jesus accurately is a way to understand Jesus more accurately, too.

The Jesus we’ve inherited from centuries of Christian art is not accurate, but it is a powerful brand. A man with long hair parted in the middle and a long beard – often with fair skin, light brown hair and blue eyes – has become the widely accepted likeness. We imagine Jesus in long robes with baggy sleeves, as he is most often depicted in artworks over the centuries. In contemporary films, from Zefirelli’s Jesus of Nazareth (1977) onwards, this styling prevails, even when Jesus’ clothing is considered poorly made.

More here-