Category : TEC Parishes

(RNS) As one historically black Episcopal church closes, others face strong headwinds

On a chilly December morning, 100 years and one week after its sanctuary opened, All Saints’ Episcopal Church, an African-American congregation with a proud history, was formally closed.

Bishop Samuel Rodman presided over the Eucharistic service in an elementary school a block away from the church, where weekly services ended more than three years ago. Several longtime members returned to read Scriptures and sing hymns. Afterward, the group of 100, including history buffs and well-wishers from North Carolina and Virginia, shared a meal of fried chicken and baked beans.

All Saints is hardly alone among mainline Protestant and Catholic congregations. Faced with dwindling members, crumbling infrastructure and costly maintenance, some 6,000 to 10,000 churches shutter each year, according to one estimate. More closures may be in the offing as surveys point to a decline in church attendance across the country.

But All Saints is an example of an even sharper decline.

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Posted in Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Parishes

Episcopal Church Statistics from the Diocese of San Joaquin 2007-2017

Posted in Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin, TEC Data, TEC Departing Parishes, TEC Parishes

TEC Diocese of Connecticut–St. Paul’s, Darien put under direct authority of bishop by vote of Episcopal Annual Convention

On Friday Oct. 26, the highest governing body of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut (“ECCT”) — its Annual Convention — changed the internal governance of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Darien putting the church directly under the authority of the Rt. Rev. Ian T. Douglas, Bishop Diocesan. This action was taken as a result of the refusal of its elected lay leaders to participate in reconciliation efforts with its Rector, the Rev. Canon George Kovoor.

The action changed St. Paul’s status in ECCT from a “Parish” to a “Worshiping Community,” which puts it now under the exclusive supervision, direction, and control of Bishop Douglas. While the change in status does not affect the worship life or the property of St. Paul’s, the change ended the authority of the previous lay leaders of the church, the Vestry and Wardens, whose job it had been to oversee the property and business affairs of St. Paul’s.

St. Paul’s is one of more than 165 Episcopal Parishes and Worshiping Communities in ECCT, spread across the state. The life of all ECCT Parishes and Worshiping Communities, as well as church-related actions by the bishops, priests, deacons, and elected lay leaders, are governed by church laws known as “Canons.” The Canons require that “Every Parish . . . live within a system of support and accountability that links its life and ministry to that of the Bishops and with those of other Parishes in the Diocese.” The Canons also require that lay leaders of a Parish comply with a godly judgment of the Bishop, and authorize changing a Parish to a Worshiping Community if the leaders refuse.

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Posted in Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Bishops, TEC Parishes

(Advocate) ‘All you need is love’: Louisiana Episcopal pastor in Covington to lead ‘Beatles Mass’ featuring Fab Four’s songs

U2, whose lyrical themes often align with the philosophy of the Anglican church, has always been a favorite. The success of last year’s “U2charist” at Christ Church made an encore inevitable.

“I had so many people come up to me and very genuinely say, ‘That was the best worship service of my entire life, and it profoundly affected me,’ ” Miller said.

“What makes a profound or sacred religious moment an authentic service? It’s good music. It’s reflecting on readings from a tradition that centers us and reminds us of what matters. It’s prayer. And it’s love that motivates people to be there in the first place, their love for God or for one another or the world.

“And the fact that we, in our extended family at Christ Church, have these great musicians — we can do anything.”

Those musicians include keyboardist Matt Lemmler, vocalist Ashley Lemmler and Crispin Shroeder, a professional musician who is also the pastor of the north shore’s Vineyard Fellowship. The Christ Church choir will also lend their collective voice to the Beatles canon on Sunday.

The hardest part was selecting the songs and making sure all four Beatles were represented.

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I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, TEC Parishes

(JE) More Questionable Liturgical practices from Grace Cathedral in San FranCisco

Fresh off publicity from their recent Beyoncé Mass, Grace Cathedral is back with more liturgically questionable performance art in a worship service. This time, the San Francisco Episcopal Cathedral hosted a multi-faith service “of wondering and commitment” as part of the September 12-14 Global Climate Action Summit featuring participants on stilts dressed as trees….

Read it all and follow the links.

Posted in Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, TEC Parishes, Theology

(1st Things) Nic Rowan–Rejuvenation at Trinity Church

For years, the Episcopal Church and its decline into secularism have been the butt of many a joke in the conservative Christian communities through which I’ve drifted. Membership is down—if baptism rates continue their decline, it will never recover—as the church concedes ever more beliefs in order to accommodate the modern world. Already, many of its members practice in a way that is nearly indistinguishable from the spiritual-but-not-religious folks who visit The Met on Sundays in lieu of a liturgy. Soon they may become like those who spend Sundays at MoMA.

It’s easy to be cynical about the state of the Episcopal Church. But everyone hungers for some salvation. When I entered the chapel, I found ten chairs set up in a ring behind the nave. In front of the chairs, ten flower-embroidered cushions formed an inner ring. Six middle-aged women sat in the chairs. A seventh woman wearing a scarf that looked like a tallit stood in the middle of the ring.

She introduced herself as Ellen and said she would be leading today’s meditation. “Now take a nice deep breath,” she said. “We’re centering ourselves for the exercises. Once you’re in your center, take one more deep breath and then exhale. Take one more big inhale, lift your arms up, and then exhale….”

Ellen addressed my singularity when she sat down on one of the flower cushions.

“Since we have a gentleman among us, I’ll be a little more modest,” she said as she draped the scarf over her legs. “Okay, now let’s just focus on our breath. As you breathe, focus on that breath and when your mind wanders—as it will do—get back to the breath. We’ll do this for about three minutes. Notice your breath. Notice your nose, your lungs….”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, America/U.S.A., Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, TEC Parishes

(The State) In one of SC’s smallest churches, The Episcopal Church of the Epiphany in Spartanburg, 6 people sit in pews meant for 50. Can it survive?

Where does the church go from here?

That depends on who you ask.

Jane Span, 80, who has attended Church of the Epiphany since she was 25, doesn’t have much hope for her beloved church.

“We just don’t have people rushing to join the Episcopal Church,” Span said.

And without a sizable number of congregants, running the church can be expensive, she said. The church needs to be maintained. Except for the priest, everyone who works at the church is a volunteer.

Plus, she suspects that not as many African-American families have continued to raise their families with the Episcopal faith.

“I was born in the church,” Span said. “And I think it makes a difference.”

Keeping the church’s history alive is also difficult.

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

(ENS) 69 percent of congregations in the Episcopal Church (TEC) ‘have an average Sunday attendance of less than 100’

Although capacious churches, glorious choirs, multiple clergy and the smells and bells of Holy Day services may capture the imagination of Episcopalians, the reality is that the majority of congregations in the Episcopal Church tend toward the smaller size, with often dramatically different backdrops and ministerial needs than large churches.

In fact, according to data presented by the Task Force on Clergy Leadership Formation in Small Congregations, 69 percent of Episcopal congregations have an average Sunday attendance of less than 100, placing them in the category of “small congregation.” To take this even further, bishops surveyed by the task force reported that a “substantial minority” of their congregations number less than 20 on an average Sunday.

Recognizing these congregations’ unique needs and issues, the 78th General Convention three years ago asked for a task force to “develop a plan for quality formation for clergy in small congregations that is affordable, theologically reflective and innovative.”

Read it all and I found the comments of interest as well.

Posted in Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Parishes

(WKTV) Saint John’s Episcopal Church in Whitesboro, New York, closes its Doors

The atmosphere inside St. John’s Episcopal Church was bittersweet Sunday, as it closed its doors for the final time. It was a day to celebrate Pentecost, but also a day to call it quits at 135 Main St. in Whitesboro.

“I will remember this church as a gather of people I knew throughout my life,” said John Groves, a member of St. John’s. “It will be a sad time.”

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Posted in Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Parishes

(Abingdon Journal) In the TEC Diocese of Bethlehem, Tunkhannock, Glenburn parishes share a priest

St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Tunkhannock and The Church of the Epiphany in Glenburn began a new ministry relationship in January.

Rev. Lou Divis will remain as the pastor of St. Peter’s, and has become the Priest-in-Charge at The Church of the Epiphany. Both positions are part-time. This is a new era in The Episcopal Church as people become more involved in various ministerial activities with pastoral oversight.

In the not so distant past, every parish wanted “their own priest” for sacramental, missional, administrative and teaching needs. There are now several parishes in The Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem using one priest for two parishes. The people in these parishes take on some of the responsibilities of mission, administration, home visitations and teaching, while the priest continues with sacramental, worship, mission and other duties.

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Posted in Parish Ministry, TEC Parishes

(LA Times) St. James and TEC Diocese of Los Angeles leaders try to forge ahead

Local Episcopal Church leaders acknowledged the continual, bruising conflict that has surrounded the St. James the Great church in Newport Beach for the last two and a half years of off-and-on sale attempts, extending a promise to transparently work together with the ascension of a new bishop and the impending reopening of the long-shuttered sanctuary.

In a joint statement released Thursday titled “Making All Things New,” John Taylor, the successor to retiring Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles Bishop J. Jon Bruno, Rachel Nyback, president of the diocesan Standing Committee governing body, and Rev. Canon Cindy Evans Voorhees, the priest who has continued to lead the St. James the Great flock, acknowledged the pain that has come from the sales attempts and related closure.

“The church’s sudden closing hurt the people of St. James,” they wrote. “Their leaders countenanced hurtful statements and tactics. This cycle of hurt strained relationships in the diocese. We will end the cycle by sharing our narratives openly and honestly, using reconciliation in relationship to rediscover our unity and purpose as a diocesan family in Christ.”

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Posted in Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Parishes

(WBFO) In Buffalo, NY, Converting Episcopal Church of the Ascension into senior housing becomes confrontational

The fight over converting historic Ascension Church at Linwood Avenue and North Street into senior housing turned into something of a confrontation between Buffalo’s Preservation Board and its Planning Board during Monday’s Planning Board meeting.

The Episcopal Diocese and an affiliate want to convert the century-and-a-half-old church into 28 units of low-income senior housing, wading through regulations on three different levels of government and concern the rules for financing the project might change.

The project has been in the works for more than two years, as various approvals were sought and various design changes were made, shrinking the project and moving a new building.

Charles von Simson said it is still not worth building in his neighborhood and other residents agree.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Housing/Real Estate Market, TEC Parishes, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Wash Po) Ryan Danker–Historic church should rethink Washington, Lee plaque removals

The plaques on the walls of Christ Church in Alexandria, Virginia, commemorate famous Americans who at one time called the Episcopal parish their own: George Washington and Robert E. Lee.

As a church historian, I believe the vestry’s recent decision to remove the memorials – as well as their forebears’ decision to put them up in the first place – disregards the true purpose of Christians’ commemoration of the dead.

From the very start of the Christian faith, believers have remembered the “great cloud of witnesses” who came before them. During the third century, the church in North Africa regularly commemorated early martyrs on the anniversary of their death – the origin of saints’ days.

Whether honored through holidays or monuments, the church still recognized the complexity of the human situation and never expected perfection from these early saints. Scripture and church history provided plenty of evidence of their shortcomings: Paul’s thorn in his flesh, Peter’s denial of Christ, Augustine’s lust, Thomas Aquinas’ borderline gluttony, Martin Luther’s anti-Semitic tendencies, John Calvin’s use of capital punishment, and John Wesley’s failed marriage.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Office of the President, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, TEC Parishes

(JE) Mark Tooley–What Christ Church’s decision to Remove George Washington’s Plaque really Tells us

Over the last 14 years the Episcopal Church has suffered a nationwide schism since electing an openly homosexual bishop. Some conservative congregations, including several in Northern Virginia, left the denomination to create the new Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). Another church Washington helped govern at the same time as Christ Church was The Falls Church, whose congregation joined ACNA. It lost its historic property in litigation to the Episcopal Church but continues to thrive and grow while meeting in a Catholic high school auditorium. It has even planted several successful new churches.

Christ Church remained in the Episcopal Church and has headed in a more liberal direction. One Christmas Eve sermon I heard got political, as I shared here. And in recent years the church has hosted a labyrinth, advertised by a large banner outside the church to passing commuters. This arguably New Agey fad is popular in some liberal Protestant churches, and I wrote about it here, noting that neither Washington nor Lee, if alive today, were likely to walk the labyrinth.

I mention the political sermon, the labyrinth and support for same-sex marriage because they could all be interpreted as unwelcoming signals to potential worshipers who don’t share Christ Church’s form of Episcopal liberalism. This kind of church invariably attracts a demographic that is nearly all middle and upper class, educated, socially liberal urban white people. Churches that stress their welcome-welcome-welcome message of inclusion over a firm orthodox theological message typically are, whether realizing it or not, actually welcoming some and discouraging others. In my visits to Christ Church I have noticed the well-dressed congregation is not very diverse. Removing the Washington and Lee plaques will not likely expand its demographic.

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Posted in Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), History, Religion & Culture, TEC Parishes, Zimbabwe

(DNA info) Old St. James Episcopal Church in Elmhurst in the borough of Queens, the City’s 2nd Oldest, Gets Landmarked

The Old St. James Episcopal Church on Broadway, one of the city’s oldest churches, is now officially a landmark.

The Church of England mission church, which was built in 1735 and 1736, was unanimously voted for the distinction by the Landmarks Preservation Commission on Tuesday.

It’s the second-oldest religious building in the five boroughs, constructed in what was then Newtown Village for the new Anglican residents. (The oldest is the Old Quaker Meeting House in Flushing, also known as the Flushing Friends Meeting House, which was built in 1694, according to the church’s website.)

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Posted in Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Parishes

(OM) Downtown Milwaukee landmark Episcopal Church will close; transform into a wedding/events venue

St. James Episcopal Church, which has made its home at 833 W. Wisconsin Ave. since 1851, will close its doors at the end of this month. The building, which was put up for sale a few years ago, is in the process of being sold.

According to the church’s pastor, Father John Allen, the final worship service will be held on Oct. 1 and the diocese will hold a closing service on the evening on Nov. 1.

“The church will be secularized,” Allen said. “The bishop or his representative will come and say a prayer to say, ‘we blessed you but now we’re taking it back.'”

Allen said the sale of the building is expected to be finalized in November.

He added that a group of partners – including developer Josh Jeffers, Shawn Hittman and The Hidden Kitchen owners Oliver Hunt and Kate Crowle – plan to open a wedding and events venue in the building.

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Posted in Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, Stewardship, TEC Parishes

(AI) Despite win against Bruno, St James Newport Beach learns they will lose their church

We understand that the Hearing Panel’s ruling, which awaits the possibility of Bishop Bruno’s appeal, calls on us to return the congregation to the building. The four concurring Hearing Panel members and the attorneys who advised them evidently did not take fully into account the existence of a binding contract nor all the ways the dispute begs for wider reconciliation. (One panel member dissented and supported Bishop Bruno.)

Their advocacy bespeaks a commendable pastoral connection with the people of St. James. As recently as the filing of the church attorney’s brief after the hearings in Pasadena in March, those conducting the proceeding against Bishop Bruno made it clear that he could avoid being sanctioned if he would relent on his intention to sell the property. This is not to understate the significance of the panel’s findings against Bishop Bruno. But we trust that from the painful experience of the Diocese of Los Angeles, The Episcopal Church will learn lessons about how, in disciplinary settings, to differentiate between actions by a respondent which deserve sanction and a complainant’s wish to reverse an operational decision.

We share the panel’s profound concern for the people of St. James. Bishop Bruno asked them to start a new congregation, and under the leadership of the Rev. Canon Cindy Voorhees, they accepted the challenge. They praised, worshipped, and served, as they continue to do. We are not here to relitigate Bishop Bruno’s actions or the Hearing Panel’s verdict. In all likelihood, after 40 years of ordination, including many moments of courage and vision, he will lose the right to say Holy Eucharist and to baptize, confirm, and bless for three years. It is also outside the realm of Bishop Curry’s charge to assess how long it would have taken St. James to achieve sustainability. Suffice it to say that it was making good progress and that losing its church building was a disappointment and shock….

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Posted in Episcopal Church (TEC), Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles, TEC Parishes

Potomac's St. Francis Episcopal Church Gains a New Rector

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

TEC's Bishop Bruno blocks Newport Beach congregation from attending convention

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anthropology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles, TEC Parishes, Theology

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church properties for sale in Augusta, Maine

The proposed sale is expected to force the food and clothing banks, and the essential pantry and warming center, to move. Depending on who or what type of entity puts in a bid to buy the property, the sale could reshape a prominent parcel between the city’s downtown and a large west side residential neighborhood.

Augusta resident Joseph Riddick, senior warden of the church, said the 40-member St. Mark’s congregation, while now able to pay to maintain the buildings, won’t be able to afford to do so long-term. Also, he and the Rev. Rebecca Grant, the church deacon, said the money they’d spend maintaining and heating the aging facilities will be better spent on the church’s focus of helping needy people in the community.

“This is a building. It’s a wonderful building, but our ministry is people,” Riddick said, standing in the high-ceilinged St. Mark’s Church, beneath its rows of elaborate stained-glass windows and among its wooden pews. “We’re transitioning to a facility for our congregation that we can afford. And the money we use to maintain this campus, we’ll take that money and help people, help those in need. St. Mark’s Church continues and our ministries are going to continue, just in a different place.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), Housing/Real Estate Market, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, TEC Parishes

A Look Inside the Oldest Church in North Carolina

For 282 years’ worth of Sundays, someone has sat, and stood, and sung, and knelt, and prayed here, in this space, inside these very walls. Someone in a waistcoat, in a hoop skirt, someone holding a homemade rag doll or an imported, porcelain-headed version, has stood at the first strains of the opening hymn. Someone wearing a bustle, or Confederate gray, or denim overalls, or deep black mourning, has unobtrusively bowed his or her head as a sign of humility as the processional cross was carried aloft and down this very aisle toward the altar. Someone in a middy blouse or boxy suit; in knickers or a knitted cloche; in a belted, darted, shirtwaist dress or Army fatigues, has opened the Book of Common Prayer and followed a liturgy dating from 1549. Like these colonists, these forebears, these faithful, this Sunday, in the oldest town in North Carolina, in the oldest standing, active church in North Carolina, in a short-sleeve dress and flats, I’m doing what they did, and what has been done every week for 282 years.

Like nearly everything in Bath, St. Thomas Episcopal Church is mere yards from water. The town was founded in 1705, on Bath Creek, which leads to the Pamlico River, which leads to the Pamlico Sound, and on to the Atlantic. Behind the church ”” simple, squarish, steeple-less ”” are fields of crops. The church’s front yard ”” indeed, its back yard ”” is randomly dotted with gravestones, both recent and ancient. No fences. No foundation plantings. A few firs, crooked with age. It’s easy to imagine how St. Thomas looked in 1734, when it was constructed. Little, it seems, has changed.

Read it all and enjoy the pictures.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, TEC Parishes

(NPR) National Cathedral Will Remove Confederate Flag Stained Glass Windows

The National Cathedral will be removing two images of the Confederate Flag from the building’s stained glass windows, after a period of public discussion on issues of race, slavery and justice.

The windows in question memorialize Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson; they were installed in 1953 after lobbying by the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Art, Episcopal Church (TEC), History, Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, TEC Parishes

8 Episcopal parishes in New Haven consider future as congregations shrink, costs grow

St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in New­hallville is confronting questions about its very existence, but it is not alone.

Eight Episcopal parishes in New Haven have been engaged in talks at the diocesan offices in Meriden about their future. Like all of the so-called mainline Protestant denominations, the Episcopal Church is dealing with the decline in churchgoers while many parishes are weighed down with expensive, if beautiful, churches.

“We have until Dec. 4 really to resolve several issues that we have to address,” said Lou Campbell, senior warden of St. Andrew’s. These include “a deficit that accumulated over many, many years ”¦ and also we don’t have a priest so we have to start moving toward getting a priest.”

Read it all from the New Haven Register.

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

(Abilene Reporter-News) Abilene Anglican Fellowship split from Episcopal churches

Delegates to the Episcopal convention last summer approved a marriage equality resolution allowing same-sex couples to be married in an Episcopal church if the local priest is willing. The passage of the resolution came days after the June 26, 2015, ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that legalized same-sex marriage for all Americans.

For some, like Mark McCarty, that was the last straw. McCarty was a member of the Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest for 60 years before deciding to leave over the same-sex marriage issue. To him, it is a matter of biblical interpretation. He says no one has been able to show him a Bible passage that OKs same-sex marriage. He prefers the “traditional biblical Anglican worship” referred to in the newspaper ad.

Deciding to leave Heavenly Rest was painful, McCarty said. He will miss the beauty of the building itself, the bell tower, the music and grandeur of the service. But, McCarty said, he believes staying at Heavenly Rest for those reasons, when he opposes the Episcopal Church’s theology, would be wrong.

“That’s idolatry,” he said. “That’s building worship.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Anthropology, Christology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, TEC Parishes, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Needing to raise ten of millions, Washington National Cathedral picks a fundraiser for its new dean

One of Randy Hollerith’s earliest memories is of watching stonemasons at work at the Washington National Cathedral when his great-aunts took him there as a child. Now, as the nationally prominent institution’s next dean, Hollerith will be responsible for stabilizing the cathedral in a different way.

The cathedral, a huge, soaring hilltop church known for hosting presidential funerals and other major national worship events, announced Monday that the 52-year-old Richmond priest will take over in August.

Hollerith follows Gary Hall, a gregarious, Hollywood-bred activist who brought the Gothic cathedral into the news by hosting same-sex weddings, gun control events and Muslim prayer, among other things. Hollerith isn’t as widely known and describes himself as not driven by issues; he was picked out of a field of 32 candidates in good part because of his experience as a strategic fundraiser and manager. That’s considered essential at a time when the cathedral needs to raise tens of millions of dollars to get on stable financial footing because of a damaging earthquake and a culture that is largely deserting its commitment to religious institutions.

Read it all from the Washington Post.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, TEC Parishes, Theology

TEC Bishop Jon Bruno's hearing date set for June 20

A hearing date of 20 June 2016 has been set for the Bishop of Los Angeles, the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, to answer charges of misconduct brought by St James the Great Episcopal Church in Newport Beach, California. On 6 July 2015 members of the Orange County congregation filed a complaint under Title IV alleging “140 canon violations” by their bishop including: “negligent, grossly negligent, reckless or intentional misrepresentation”, “conduct unbecoming” a bishop, and unlawful sale or conversion of consecrated property.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles, TEC Parishes, Theology

A S Haley–TEC's Los Angeles Bishop Bruno Tries to Serve Two Masters

Under California law, a religious body or organization may create a unique form of corporation, called a corporation sole, whose principal purpose is to allow the parent organization (which may or may not itself be incorporated) to hold title to real property. A corporation sole is different from the usual variety of that entity: it has a single officer, director and shareholder, who are all one and the same person, called “the incumbent of the corp sole.” The governing body makes the rules for who can be the incumbent. Typically it is that body’s bishop or other spiritual leader.

Bishops may come and go, but corporations sole do not. Under law, their existence is perpetual — and that is why they are a good vehicle for maintaining ownership of real property. And like any religious organization, they are not-for-profit, and pay no income taxes.

So it comes as a bit of a surprise to learn that Bishop J. Jon Bruno of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles is at odds with his own Diocese over the disclosure of financial information concerning the corporation sole of which he is the incumbent. (In order to avoid a vote on an outside audit of his corp sole at the diocesan convention last December, Bishop Bruno promised to disclose its financial statements.)

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, - Anglican: Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Parishes

(AI) TEC Bp of Los Angeles Jon Bruno refuses to release financial records

The Bishop of Los Angeles has reneged on his promise to the 2015 Diocesan Convention to make public the finances of the diocese’s corporation sole. In a statement released on 28 Feb 2016, the Save the St James the Great Coalition reported the diocese’s chief operating officer had responded to the group’s request for the audited records of the bishop’s finances by saying that disclosure would at this time would harm the bishop in his on-going litigation with the parish and donors of the land. The Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, who is facing ecclesiastical charges of conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy that include lying to members of the diocese, had faced a public censure at his diocesan convention over his handling of church property, but was able to postpone a showdown after he promised to make public his activities.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Stewardship, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Parishes, Theology

An Episcopal Priest in Chehalis, Washington responds to the Primates Gathering

Last month, the archbishops of the Anglican Communion voted to temporarily kick the American branch of the Communion, the Episcopal Church, out of its international association to a degree for its acceptance of gays and lesbians.
Two-thirds of the 37 leaders of the Communion voted for the censorship, suspending the Episcopal Church from voting and decision-making for the next three years.
While the decision is said to have derived from the Episcopal Church’s decision in July of last year to allow its priests to perform same-sex marriages, Father Joe Mikel, priest at St. Timothy Episcopal Church in Chehalis, agrees with the Episcopal Church’s acceptance.
“If you’re gay, a lesbian, transgender human being, do I throw you on the ash heap of life?” Mikel asked. “Are they human beings? Do they need love? Do they long for inclusion and forgiveness ”¦ just like me?”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Primates, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, --Justin Welby, Anglican Primates, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, TEC Parishes, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Former San Diego Episcopal priest+Dean Scott Richardson removed from clergy ranks

Members of St. Paul’s Episcopal and Anglican Cathedral on Fifth Avenue learned this week that the congregation’s former dean has been removed from the Episcopal Church’s clergy as discipline for at least one undisclosed offense.

Parishioners received a letter dated Wednesday from San Diego Bishop James R. Mathes informing them of the disciplinary actions against Scott Richardson, 60, who left the cathedral in 2012 to serve as rector at St. Mary the Virgin in San Francisco. He resigned from his position late last month.

Richardson’s wife, Mary Moreno Richardson, who is also a member of the Episcopal Church’s clergy, remains a priest in good standing, according to the church.

“Obviously, this is a grave matter with serious consequences,” Mathes wrote. “Because of Scott’s significant ministry among us, we are all wounded by this.”

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