Daily Archives: July 26, 2007

In face of human tragedy, what's a pastor to say?

From the Christian Science Monitor:

Warm waves lapped a Cape Cod beach just a few blocks away, but pastor Liz Magill spent much of a July day in a dining hall among the staples of her unusual week off: a laptop computer and a group discussion about suffering.

“This is supposed to be a vacation,” laughed Ms. Magill, pastor of Worcester Fellowship, a ministry among homeless people in Worcester, Mass. “I’m going to go home exhausted.”

In her uncommon reprieve, Magill had plenty of company ”“ about 80 preachers, lay people, and theologians from at least five denominations. Together, they grappled with a problem facing modern American churches: People in the pews want to know why, if God is loving, the innocent suffer ”“ and they aren’t always happy with the answers from the pulpit.

The occasion was the annual Craigville Colloquy, a theological conference of Christians. Attendance this year was unusually high, organizers said, because the collective effect of tragic events ”“ from 9/11 to hurricane Katrina to April’s massacre at Virginia Tech ”“ has made the issue more urgent in the faith community.

“It’s getting harder to give answers that do in fact satisfy,” says Richard Coleman, a United Church of Christ minister from Pembroke, Mass. Events are producing “a whole rash of dying, killing, and suffering that for us just doesn’t add up. That makes the old question more intense because we want someone’s life, when it ends in death, to have some meaning” and not simply succumb to the inexplicable.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology

Family living in renovated church

Tania Rolland has always been fascinated with old churches.

Their character, the way they feel inside, the warm atmosphere, beautiful wood, open ceilings, simple construction and history have all drawn her to churches and created a burning desire to renovate and live in one some day.

That day has come and Ms. Rolland is living her dream.

She and her family are now living in the newly renovated St. Albans Anglican Church in Lequille, Annapolis County, a small rural community just south of Annapolis Royal.

“It has an absolutely wonderful feel to it,” she said in an interview inside the building.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces

Anglican Priest to Replace Musyimi At National Council of Churches in Kenya

The National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) has appointed a new secretary general.

The Rev Peter Karanja Mwangi, an Anglican priest currently serving as the provost of All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi, takes over from the Rev Mutava Musyimi, who opted for early retirement.

Karanja’s appointment comes four months after a search committee was mandated to fill the position.

On Wednesday, Musyimi said the search committee presented Karanja as the appropriate candidate.

“The executive committee has duly endorsed the recommendation of the search committee. The Rev Karanja will assume office on October 1,” Musyimi said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Kenya, Anglican Provinces

The Wittenburg Door Interview: Brian McLaren

DOOR: How come so many liberal clergy never talk about Jesus? It’s like they’re afraid to say His name.

MCLAREN: I think a lot of them are reacting to fundamentalism and the Religious Right. Enough angry folks have hurled the word “Jesus” around like an insult that other folks don’t want to say His name at all. It almost feels to them like a racist or a hate crime statement sometimes because “Jesus” is used to legitimize all kinds of fear and intimidation. Another reason goes back farther in history of liberalism where I think people were seeking to speak in more theistic, deistic, universal, non-particular, nonspecific ways. They had reasons for this in the 17th and 18th centuries, with all the religious wars in Europe, but I think that tide is going to change because of the work of people like N. T. Wright and Steve Chalke, who are helping us get a new vision of what the message of Jesus is. I think if we could get that back, people are going to be very excited to talk about Jesus again.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

Archbishop of York: Exclusive interview

From the Daily Telegraph:

“As long as someone does not deny the very basic doctrines of the Church – the creation, the death, the resurrection of Christ and human beings being made in the image of God – then the rest really helps but they are not the core message.

“And I haven’t found that in Ecusa or in Canada, where I was recently, they have any doubts in their understanding of God which is very different from anybody. What they have quarrelled about is the nature of sexual ethics.”

He nevertheless emphasised that Dr Williams does expect those who attend Lambeth to abide by the decision-making processes of the Anglican Communion.

“The Archbishop of Canterbury is very clear that he still reserves the right to withdraw the invitations and that those who are invited are accepting the Windsor process and accepting the process about the covenant.

“But in another sentence, he said that attending Lambeth is not also a test of orthodoxy.

“Church regulations and Church legislation should not stand in the way of the gospel of love your neighbour.

“You are members of one body and therefore you should listen to one another and find a way out.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Lambeth 2008

Father Dow Sanderson Offers Further Clarification on the Virginia Consent Form Controversy

Steve Waring’s article in The Living Church has prompted several requests for clarification. Let me begin by saying how deeply tragic it is that trust levels are so badly damaged in this church that whether or not a diocese used this or that “form” becomes such an issue. One of my favorite Chesterton quotes is: (to paraphrase) The pessimist is not to be faulted for criticizing the world. The pessimist is to be faulted for not loving what he criticizes. Amen. I trust that none of us takes any glee or delight in finding ourselves at such a place in the life of the Episcopal Church.

It is also important I believe for me to say that neither I (nor I trust anyone in South Carolina) would have felt the need to say anything about this at all save for the fact that Mr. Beers and others had made the statement in print that South Carolina used the same “short form” as Virginia. That is verifiably not the case. What seems to be a matter of curiosity is how it came not to be the case.

We seemed to have had in our election files, as apparently did many other dioceses, the now infamous “short” form. In receiving information from Bishop Matthew’s office, he simply cautioned us to check the language very carefully, and to make sure that our language complied with the standard. His assistant, Lindy Emory very kindly sent us the correct form, which as I stated before, we simply cut and pasted into our consent request letter (I verified these details with Bishop Salmon’s assistant on Monday to insure that I remembered them correctly. She faxed me the “boiler plate” we had received from Ms. Emory and indeed, we used the correct form).

It is also extremely important for me to add that in offering advice to “keep us out of the ditch” Bishop Matthews and his staff were in every instance respectful, kind and helpful. We were grateful that they kept us from making a mistake. Why the Diocese of Virginia “didn’t get the memo” is unclear.

So on the day that Mark Lawrence was elected, the request letters, in the proper form, sat addressed and ready to go. They sat for 60 days or so while we waited for the “green light” from Canon Gerdau. The delay was in the requirement for the second psychological exam. Fr. Lawrence had to go from Bakersfield to UCLA, and the physician was painfully slow in getting the results to 815. According to Fr. Lawrence, the second exam was most cursory compared to the one done just a few weeks before, and the physician marveled that such a thing was required, given that an objective “third party” examiner in another diocese and previously employed by 815 had just completed the same test. But those were the rules and we followed them. The rest, as they say, is history.

And finally, to answer the question posed on a blog, yes, nearly all this took place during the last days of Presiding Bishop Griswold’s term in office. If my memory serves me correctly, Presiding Bishop Schori took office the same week that our consents went out. I remember this because much of the staff at 815 was absent, having gone to Washington for the ceremony.

Hope this helps clarify.

Dow Sanderson,
Standing Committee, South Carolina

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Polity & Canons

Laura Seay: What Does It Mean to Be Reconciled?

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from Congo, it’s that most aspects of human nature are universal. Sometimes this place seems like another world altogether, but again and again I’m reminded that we’re really not all that different when it comes down to the essentials.

Politicians are greedy, corrupt and will almost always say what they think you want to hear. Mothers will do anything to save their children’s lives. Unsupervised teenage boys with weapons will make stupid decisions and someone will be killed. People will often do the selfish thing, but sometimes choose to sacrifice their own well-being to serve another. At some basic level, we’re all the same.

So it shouldn’t be surprising to learn that the Baptists here don’t get along with one another either.

I’m not sure I completely understand what their split was about; it has something to do with ethnicity and long-ago grudges. So instead of there being one, unified Baptist group here in the eastern Congo, there are two separate associations, with separate bureaucracies, separate hospitals and separate schools.

Sound familiar?

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches

Same-sex salvation

The Lutheran pastor soon to be bishop of the Metropolitan Chicago Synod wants his denomination to lift a celibacy requirement for gay and lesbian clergy.

“That’s where I think the church is going,” Bishop-elect Wayne Miller of Aurora said. “That’s where I think it needs to go.”

He’s hoping the change will come next month in Chicago, where the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is conducting its churchwide assembly. Nearly a third of the denomination’s 65 synods are asking for a policy shift in clergy standards.

Eventually, gay and lesbian clergy in monogamous, same-sex relationships could be allowed to serve.

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Lutheran, Other Churches, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Priest facing charges suspended

A 63-year-old Episcopal priest is being temporarily barred from his official duties while he faces charges including public indecency and drunken driving.

The suspension of Robert A. Hufford, chaplain to the Convent of the Transfiguration, takes effect as soon as he receives it, said Richelle Thompson, spokeswoman for the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio in Cincinnati.

Hufford’s lawyer, Brad Kraemer, declined to comment Tuesday except to say his client has pleaded not guilty to the four charges against him: failure to drive within marked lanes, operating a vehicle while impaired, public indecency and abusing harmful intoxicants. Hufford is set to appear in Butler County Area II Court in Hamilton on Sept. 5.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC)