Daily Archives: September 22, 2009

From the Do Not Take Yourself Too Seriously Department

A boy was watching his father, a minister, write a sermon.

“How do you know what to say?” he asked.

“Why, God tells me.”

“Oh, then why do you keep crossing things out?”

Posted in * General Interest, Humor / Trivia

Vestry Statement from St. Michael's of the Valley in Ligonier, Pennsylvania

We are committed to Jesus Christ and also to The Episcopal Church and we rejoice in its rich historic, authentic tradition of worship, outreach, and evangelistic mission while also seeking to be a place where all are welcome to worship the Lord and grow in grace.

However, recent actions in some portions of the church have raised great concerns for us. Specifically the actions of the 76th General Convention in resolutions D025 and C056 which we believe do not serve the Church well, especially in the wider context of our relationship to The Anglican Communion. While we understand that we represent a congregation with varying opinions on issues of sexuality, we also believe these resolutions open the door to innovations, which are not in concert with the majority of the Church and certainly The Communion. We are concerned that the passing of these resolutions will continue to strain our international relationships and we believe that they encourage an ethical stance, which is contrary to scripture. For these reasons we reject them.

We are also concerned with opening remarks made by The Presiding Bishop at the General Convention. We find her statement that the “great western heresy (is that) we can be saved as individuals, that any of us alone can be right with God” extremely troubling. We have read the full text of her speech and while we appreciate her emphasis on exercising our faith in right relationship, we believe her statement about individual salvation to be wrong, and we reject it.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, Instruments of Unity, Presiding Bishop, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh

Georgetown (S.C.) Times: Historic church property goes to Anglican Mission

The S.C. Supreme Court ruled that the 50-acre campus of All Saints Church, just off Kings River Road, does not belong to the Episcopal Church.

The judge’s decision is thrilling, but the dispute might not be over, said All Saints church member Sue Campbell.

The congregation remains “cautiously optimistic” about the Supreme Court decision, she said.

“We know that chances are, this may not be the last step, but we continue to be hopeful and prayerful,” Campbell said.

The legal battle began in 2000, when the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina filed a public notice in Georgetown County that the historic land and the pre-revolutionary church belonged to the Episcopal Church.

All Saints sued the diocese, saying that the original deed gave the property to the people of the Waccamaw Neck.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts

USA Today–People with 'no religion' gaining on major denominations

Americans who don’t identify with any religion are now 15% of the USA, but trends in a new study shows they could one day surpass the nation’s largest denominations ”” including Catholics, now 24% of the nation.

American Nones: Profile of the No Religion Population, to be released today by Trinity College, finds this faith-free group already includes nearly 19% of U.S. men and 12% of women. Of these, 35% say they were Catholic at age 12.

“Will a day come when the Nones are on top? We can’t predict for sure,” says lead researcher Barry Kosmin.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Religion & Culture

Former Episcopal church, Found via Ebay, a cozy home

John Pierce Archer, a devout Christian, feels right at home living in a former church in Mt. Jewett.

“This feels cozy and comfy,” Archer said as he showed off his home in the former St. Margaret Episcopal Church at 13 Gallup Ave. “It’s my fortress of solitude.”
Archer, a world-renown art curator whose primary home is in Palm Beach, Fla., purchased the Mt. Jewett church Dec. 30, 2006.

“I’ve been looking for churches to buy for years before I found this one listed on Ebay,” Archer said. An Episcopalian, Archer said finding the church in Mt. Jewett was an “epiphany.”

Read it all.

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

RNS: Faith Groups Advocate for Poor Ahead of G-20 Summit

Faith-based organizations are warning finance ministers from the world’s 20 richest economies they will not meet the majority of their own goals to help the world’s poorest nations.

The Jubilee USA Network, an alliance of 75 faith-based and human rights organizations, issued a report Wednesday (Sept. 16) outlining progress on the 13 goals the so-called “G-20” set for itself last April.

According to the report, the G-20 is “on track to meet five of these goals, is failing to meet four and is unlikely to meet four without major attention.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Globalization, Poverty, Religion & Culture

Washington Post–Same-sex marriage: exploring the racial divide

As the D.C. government prepares to legalize same-sex marriage, some supporters fret that the issue could divide the city along racial lines. It probably won’t happen, because gay rights activists in the District have built a potent, biracial political bloc that seems set to drive the bill to passage easily in coming months. The real threat to same-sex marriage here will be conservatives in Congress trying to meddle in what should be a matter for the District to decide on its own.

Nevertheless, it’s an intriguing fact, acknowledged by both sides, that blacks in the District overall oppose same-sex marriage while whites support it. Why is that so? And should African Americans, who battled so long for civil rights for themselves, be natural allies of gay people seeking such rights today? The answers cast light on the intersection of racial , gender and class politics in the city.

The issue is sure to attract lots of attention in our region and beyond. The District is poised to become the first jurisdiction south of the Mason-Dixon line to allow same-sex marriage. Approval would accelerate efforts to legalize it in Maryland as well.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Sexuality

Local Paper: Hospice caregivers customize care for black and Jewish communities

For many, hospice care is synonymous with death, and death is not an event to be confronted or embraced but, rather, feared and avoided.

In the Jewish and black communities, cultural attitudes often cause people to reject the idea of death until the bitter end, according to Sandy Slavin, program director for Lutheran Hospice, the Charleston area’s nonprofit hospice organization. This tendency, along with other factors, keeps many members of the Jewish and black communities away from end-of-life medical care and counseling that might benefit them, Slavin said.

Her views were confirmed by religious leaders who attested to the fear and avoidance, citing a variety of religious, cultural and historical reasons.

In an effort to reach these underserved populations, Lutheran Hospice recently launched a campaign to cater to the particular concerns of the two groups and to ensure that patients enjoy regular access to the people and practices of their religious traditions despite the sequestered nature of hospice care, Slavin said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, * South Carolina, Death / Burial / Funerals, Health & Medicine, Judaism, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

F.D.I.C. May Borrow Funds From Banks

Tired of the government bailing out banks? Get ready for this: officials may soon ask banks to bail out the government.

Senior regulators say they are seriously considering a plan to have the nation’s healthy banks lend billions of dollars to rescue the insurance fund that protects bank depositors. That would enable the fund, which is rapidly running out of money because of a wave of bank failures, to continue to rescue the sickest banks.

The plan, strongly supported by bankers and their lobbyists, would be a major reversal of fortune.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government

NPR–More Troops? A Tough Choice On Afghanistan Looms

More troops and resources are needed in Afghanistan to avoid failure, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, writes in a confidential report being reviewed by the Obama administration.

Officials had been describing parts of the 66-page assessment in recent days, but the full document ”” leaked to The Washington Post ”” is a grimmer-than-expected cataloguing of the challenges facing the United States and NATO in Afghanistan as the Taliban grows more sophisticated and dangerous.

Here’s a look at what the report says, the early reaction to its findings, and what it means for the U.S. effort in Afghanistan:

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, War in Afghanistan

Baltimore Sun: Stem cell fight ahead

During the George W. Bush years, stem cell advocates fought an uphill battle to expand funding opportunities and engage the National Institutes of Health in this potentially lifesaving research. The political climate improved drastically with the election of President Barack Obama, who lifted the Bush-era restrictions by executive order and freed the NIH do its job in providing comprehensive guidelines for human embryonic stem cell research.

In the long run, these actions will add much-needed funding for this basic research. But there is still heavy lifting to be done on the advocacy front.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Life Ethics, Science & Technology

In Pittsburgh People of many faiths join in prayers for world peace

All that could be seen of Maryan Shalaby was her face, wrapped in a yellow headscarf and peeking above the lectern, as the 11-year-old from O’Hara led 250 Jews, Christians and Muslims in a prayer for peace inside St. Paul Catholic Cathedral in Oakland.

She asked God to grant “peace to you all, to the G-20 summit and to the universe.”

The prayer service, among numerous other G-20-related religious events, was organized by Christian Associates of Southwestern Pennsylvania and the Religious Leadership Forum of Southwest Pennsylvania. Another interfaith service, with groups as diverse as Buddhists and Zoroastrians, was held simultaneously on Mount Washington.

Read it all

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Economy, Globalization, Inter-Faith Relations, Spirituality/Prayer

Russian Orthodox official’s Vatican trip seen as pinpointing a thaw

On a five-day visit to Rome, a Russian Orthodox official in charge of interchurch relations had a meeting with the Pope, and this is being seen as a sign of improved relations between the two churches under Benedict XVI and the new Russian Patriarch Kirill I.

An official Web site of the Moscow Patriarchate has reported that Russian Orthodox Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk met Pope Benedict at Castel Gandolfo, the pontifical summer residence.

Hilarion is chairperson of the external church relations section of the Moscow Patriarchate. He is reported as having told Benedict that the Orthodox and Roman Catholic positions on issues such as family values and euthanasia were identical, and distinct from the views of many Protestant churches.

Read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Ecumenical Relations, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

Episcopal Life September Letters

Here is one:

Re.: “Canterbury reflects on General Convention” (Episcopal Life Online), [this is] truly another indication of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s attempts to put the brakes on where he clearly has no jurisdiction. Why can’t he finally accept that the Episcopal Church has made its choices and respect those choices if it is too impolitic for him to say they are being prophetic?

Br. John Forbis, OHC
Grahamstown, South Africa

Read them all.

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

Local Paper: Court rules in favor of Pawleys Is. congregation

Please note: There is an important error in this article, which is that a statement of A.S. Haley, a lawyer, cited on this blog, is attributed to me–KSH.

A Pawleys Island congregation, embroiled in litigation ever since it left the Episcopal Church in 2004, has won a major court battle over land and assets that could have wide implications for others looking to break away.

The S.C. Supreme Court unanimously ruled Friday that All Saints Church at Pawleys Island belonged to the independent corporation All Saints Parish, Waccamaw Inc. and not to the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, which had staked a claim to the property.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts