Daily Archives: September 1, 2009

Stephen Lane: The Church of Summer is Episcopal, of course

There are 18 summer chapels in the Diocese of Maine. Summer chapels are interesting communities. They’re not congregations in the strict sense: they have no members and elect no officers, and they’re not churches in union with the Diocese of Maine. Most are private trusts or foundations or family chapels. They were founded by a family or an Episcopal priest or bishop for the convenience and benefit of family and friends.

And yet they are Episcopal churches. They use the Book of Common Prayer and are served by Episcopal clergy. They are often quite involved in mission work and raise money both for the their communities and for the diocese. Some have been holding services for 100 years or more. Their congregants are devoted. Families have been attending them for generations and have returned for baptisms, marriages and even burials.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Bishops

RNS: Outspoken Pennsylvania Roman Catholic Bishop Steps Down After Stormy Tenure

A Pennsylvania Catholic bishop whose public scoldings of politicians””including Vice President Joe Biden””created a stir nationwide resigned on Monday (Aug. 31), citing stress and lack of confidence in his leadership.

Bishop Joseph Martino was appointed in 2003 to head the Diocese of Scranton, a heavily Catholic corner of northeastern Pennsylvania. His relatively brief tenure was marked by battles with local parishes, a teachers union, college administrators and a number of politicians, particularly over abortion rights.

“For some time now, there has not been a clear consensus among the clergy and the people of the diocese of Scranton regarding my pastoral initiatives or my way of governance,’’ Martino said Monday at a press conference. The Vatican appointed Cardinal Justin Rigali, archbishop of Philadelphia, as temporary head of the Scranton diocese, which encompasses about 350,000 Catholics in 11 counties.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Roman Catholic

Bloomberg: Mormons Become Victims in $50 Million Scam to Sell Gold Bullion

Henry Jones delivered the good news in a conference call with Tri Energy Inc.’s investors: The gold deal the company had been working on for years was about to pay off.

Jones, 55, a record producer in Marina del Rey, California, and his two partners had raised more than $50 million from 735 investors, which they said they were using to broker the sale to Arab buyers of 20,000 tons of gold owned by a group of Israelis. They promised to triple investors’ money — if only Tri Energy could overcome some last-minute glitches.

All the company needed to close the deal, Jones said on the Dec. 20, 2004, conference call, taped by one of the participants, was a “safe-passage letter” that would cost $450,000. A few days later, on another call, he said Tri Energy had to come up with $100,000 to open a “commission account.” Then, on Jan. 15, 2005, a new request: The bank handling the deal wanted $125,000 to conduct an audit.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Personal Finance, Religion & Culture, Theology

Joe Carter: Marriage Minus Monogamy

Last week the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America decided to allow gays in “life-long, monogamous” relationships to serve as clergy and professional lay leaders in the church. The question left unanswered, however, was, “Whose definition of monogamy would be used?”

One of the unspoken assumptions in the debate over gay marriage is that monogamy is equally valued by both gay and straight couples. While far too many heterosexuals opt for a form of serial monogamy””marriage, divorce, remarriage””it is still generally understood that sexual fidelity is too be expected within the bounds of marriage. The same assumption, however, is not necessarily true within homosexual relations.

Many same-sex marriage advocates will naturally find such a claim shocking, if not scurrilous. The “It’s about love” crowd have often been strong on empathy while weak on their understanding of how homosexual relationships tend to differ from those of heterosexuals. (It also seems to have escaped their notice that marriage may not be the only term that homosexual activists want to redefine.) But this isn’t a controversial idea””at least it wasn’t until the recently.

Until a few years ago, many gay activists freely admitted that the traditional view of monogamy was a heterosexual ideal that did not apply to homosexual relationships.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Lutheran, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Theology

Montana Court to Rule on Assisted Suicide Case

Religious divisions have also surfaced, with many Roman Catholics and evangelicals siding with the state ”” arguing that the homicide statutes could be weakened if a right to assisted death is affirmed by the court ”” while some liberal church leaders speak out on behalf of what they say are matters of choice.

“I don’t think God created us to be string puppets,” said John C. Board, an Episcopal deacon at a church in Helena who supports the Baxter claim. “If we say that God has given everyone free will, that means God has given you the opportunity to do things right and do things wrong.”

Kathryn L. Tucker, co-counsel for Mr. Baxter’s estate and the other plaintiffs, says this case is also about boundaries.

At a time when the limits, if not failings, of medicine are part of the national debate about health care reform, Ms. Tucker said, what is the power of the individual to set his or her own course?

“This case is part of a journey,” said Ms. Tucker, who is director of legal affairs for Compassion and Choices, a national group that advocates to protect and expand the rights of the terminally ill and is also one of the plaintiffs. “It’s about empowering patients and giving them the right to decide when they have suffered enough.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry, Theology

Some released Washington State prisoners getting free rent

Some felons who have earned early release from prison are getting a few months of subsidized rent from Washington taxpayers, a new cost-cutting move expected to save the state $1.5 million by reducing the prison population.

The voucher program was approved earlier this year by the state Legislature, which needed to fix a roughly $9 billion state budget deficit. Before the program was in place, some inmates who had earned early release still couldn’t be let out of prison because they had no place to live.

By paying rent directly to an early-release felon’s landlord, the state avoids the higher costs of keeping those convicts behind bars. Inmates released under the voucher program are eligible for rent subsidies of up to $500 a month for three months – thousands of dollars less than the state would spend caring for them behind bars.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Politics in General, Prison/Prison Ministry, State Government

Wendy Cadge and Laura Olson on the Mainline Same Sex Union debate

It is too early to call the ELCA’s decision a tipping point for mainline Protestants. The Presbyterian Church (USA) and the much larger United Methodist Church continue to prohibit gay people from being ordained. Demographics likely explain some of these differences – there are many more Methodists and Presbyterians in the most conservative regions of the country than members of the ELCA, Episcopal Church, or United Church of Christ.

The history of debate in individual denominations matters too – the Presbyterians and Methodists have been locked in divisive internal battles about homosexuality for longer than the ELCA – as do the formal ways denominations make decisions. The Presbyterians seem the most likely to follow the ELCA; their denominational vote on gay ordination this year was narrower than in the past.

These shifts within mainline Protestantism reflect liberalizing public opinion about homosexuality. They show that mainline Protestant denominations, like most religious traditions, are continually adapting and revising theological interpretations as their social environments change. We salute the ELCA for taking a bold step in the direction of justice and equality and hope the Presbyterians and United Methodists soon follow suit – fully tipping the mainline Protestant denominations toward complete equality for gay men and lesbians.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lutheran, Methodist, Other Churches, Presbyterian, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), United Church of Christ

Zenit: 10 Episcopal Nuns to Join Roman Catholic Church

On Thursday, a community of Episcopal nuns and their chaplain will be received into the Catholic Church by the archbishop of Baltimore.

Ten sisters from the Society of All Saints’ Sisters of the Poor will be received into the Church by Archbishop Edwin O’Brien, along with Episcopal Father Warren Tange, the Baltimore archdiocesan newspaper reported last Thursday.

Having spent seven years in prayer and discernment, the sisters felt drawn to the Catholic faith due to its orthodoxy and unity.

The superior of the community in Catonsville, Mother Christina Christie, affirmed that after studying Catholic teaching for two years, the sisters are “very excited” for their upcoming reception.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Other Churches, Roman Catholic

Jacksonville priest becomes bishop for Anglican diocese

A Jacksonville priest who led thousands from the Episcopal Church has been elected the first bishop of a new diocese that will oversee about 5,000 conservative Anglicans in North Florida and South Georgia.

The Rev. Neil Lebhar was elected Saturday by clergy and lay leaders in what will be called the Gulf Atlantic Diocese of the Anglican Church in North America.

The Anglican Church in North America itself is a new American denomination, having been formed in June largely by those who left the Episcopal Church after an openly gay priest became bishop in New Hampshire in 2003.

Lebhar said he’s eager to lead but also glad the position has a seven-year term limit.

“I think the greatest impact for the kingdom takes place through the ministry of local Christian communities,” Lebhar said. “So my heart has been, and always will be, for the parish.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA)

South Carolina has first swine flu death

A Midlands child with serious health issues has become South Carolina’s first swine flu fatality, health officials said Monday while cautioning residents not to panic.

“This was a child with a very serious underlying health condition that left them susceptible to opportunistic infections,” said Thom Berry, spokesman for the state Department of Health and Environmental Control. “It’s not something that people should panic about but a tragic example of how this particular strain of influenza can be deadly.”

Most deaths from Novel H1N1, also called swine flu, around the country have involved people with other health conditions. Though most cases in the state have been mild, some have been more severe and some have required hospitalization, Berry said. But that happens with seasonal flu as well, he said.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Children, Health & Medicine

3 Lutherans and one Episcopal Clergyman in Upper South Carolina bear Witness to the Truth

We are writing as individuals to disassociate ourselves from certain actions taken at the recently concluded General Assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the General Convention of The Episcopal Church (TEC). We believe that by their actions, the ELCA and TEC have abandoned the authority and plain teaching of Holy Scripture; overturned two thousand years of Christian thought and teaching; and sought to conform the church to this world/age instead of discerning the will of God (Romans 12:2).

In response to these actions, we wish to affirm that:

· Jesus Christ is “the Way, the Truth and the Life” (John 14:6) and that “there is salvation in no one else” (Acts 4:12).

· We believe the Holy Scriptures to be God’s Word written and to “contain all things necessary for salvation.” In addition, we feel that “it is not lawful for the Church to ordain anything that is contrary to God’s Word written” (XX ”“ Articles of Religion).

· The ideal set forth by God in Holy Scripture for human sexuality is found within the bounds of Holy Matrimony between one man and one woman, or chastity in the single state. And if this be the case, the church cannot bless relationships outside of this standard, and ought not ordain those whose lifestyle does not conform to this standard.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, Lutheran, Other Churches, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), TEC Conflicts

USA Today: Report maps out solutions to child obesity

To make it easier for children to eat healthfully and move more, local governments in towns and cities across the country need to help create a better environment, a new report says.

Children and their families should have access to grocery stores that offer plenty of healthful food such as fruits and vegetables, and schools shouldn’t be surrounded by fast-food restaurants. Children should be able to ride their bikes or walk safely to school, and they should have safe places to play afterward, says the report out today from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and National Research Council.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Health & Medicine

A New Program to Try to Keep College Students on Track

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Interesting to see this with our son just beginning his freshman year.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Education, Science & Technology, Young Adults

From the Morning Scripture Readings

And immediately the cock crowed a second time. And Peter remembered how Jesus had said to him, “Before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.” And he broke down and wept.

–Mark 14:72

Rembrandt’s The denial of Peter leapt to my mind this morning again while perusing this.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Art, Theology, Theology: Scripture

How Can it Be September Already?

Anyone else fell this way? I do love the fall but boy it has come too quickly somehow.

Posted in * By Kendall