Daily Archives: March 24, 2012

Connecticut's Bishop Seabury Church appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court

Because of the uncertainty, Bishop Seabury Church claims local churches cannot predict whether courts will recognize them as property owners, and that no local church can affiliate with a denomination without risking the loss of its property.
The church also claims in its petition that the uncertainty forces both churches and denominations to wage costly legal battles over property, and discourages local churches from expanding their buildings. The ruling, the church claims, also discourages local churches from acting in accordance with conscience on whether to remain affiliated with their current denominations.

“God is faithful, and we know the Lord will lead and guide us regardless of where we worship,” said Gauss in a statement. “But we also believe it’s time for the U.S. Supreme Court to decide once and for all whether the state courts have to enforce church canons or can decide these cases based on ordinary property and trust law. We believe the First Amendment is on our side.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Connecticut, TEC Departing Parishes

Christ Church Savannah turns to Supreme Court in property flap

Attorneys for Christ Church Savannah have filed documents asking the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene in litigation they contend deprived them of the Johnson Square church property.

The 45-page document filed Thursday afternoon asks the high court to determine the law on local church property, which it contends has been inconsistently treated in five different jurisdictions considering the issue.

The supreme court may accept or reject the request for review.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), Housing/Real Estate Market, Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Georgia, TEC Departing Parishes

Trinity Cathedral, the mother church of the Diocese of Southeast Florida, Undergoes Major Renovation

A $7 million renovation project, which should be completed by the summer of 2013, involves restoring its signature organ and delicate stained glass windows and bringing the cathedral’s electrical and structural components up to code ”” a major undertaking for a building completed in 1925.

The renovation, like many home-repair projects, uncovered something a bit unusual: The marble floor around the altar was held up by concrete, plaster of Paris and straw.

“We were pretty much astounded,’’ said The Very Rev. Douglas Wm McCaleb, who is overseeing the project.

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

(LA Times) Suit alleges financial fraud at TBN, an Orange County Christian network

The Trinity Broadcasting Network, which bills itself as the world’s largest Christian network, is embroiled in a legal battle involving allegations of massive financial fraud and lavish spending, including the purchase of a $100,000 motor home for family dogs.

Brittany Koper, a former high-ranking TBN official and the granddaughter of its co-founder, Paul Crouch Sr., was fired by the network in September after discovering “illegal financial schemes” amounting to tens of millions of dollars, according to a lawsuit filed in Orange County Superior Court.

“She blew the whistle and got terminated,” said attorney Tymothy MacLeod, who filed the suit on behalf of Joseph McVeigh, the uncle of Koper’s husband, Michael Koper, who was himself a high-ranking TBN officer.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Law & Legal Issues, Media, Movies & Television, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Theology

(NPR) Pope Encounters A 'Wounded, Depressed' Mexico

“Pope Benedict XVI comes during a very different time [than his predecessor]. With a country wounded, depressed by the prolonged violence,” [Bernardo ] Barranco says, “a country that doesn’t have a clear vision of its own future.”

Speaking with reporters on his flight from Rome to Mexico, Benedict denounced the drug violence that’s claimed almost 50,000 lives here over the last five years.

This is expected to be one of the leading themes of his visit to Mexico. He’s also expected to call for a return to traditional Catholic values.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Mexico, Other Churches, Politics in General, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

(McClatchy) U.S. panel on religious freedom reports Cuban violations

A week before Pope Benedict XVI visits Cuba, a U.S. government panel on religious freedom has alleged “serious” violations on the island, including arrests of pastors and “pressure to prohibit democracy and human rights activists” from church activities.

The violations also include government “interference in church affairs” and controls on “religious belief and practices through surveillance and legal restrictions,” said the annual report by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

“Serious religious freedom violations continue in Cuba despite some improvements,” noted the report, issued Wednesday, which also listed a number of arrests and pressures on individual religious leaders, all of them Protestant pastors.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Caribbean, Cuba, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

PBS' Religion & Ethics Newsweekly–The Pope Visits Cuba

[BOB] ABERNETHY: For the ordinary Cubans, after all these years of official atheism by the state, persecution of religion in Cuba, are the ordinary Cubans wanting to have, be able to worship again? Are they wanting to be religious again?

[PATRICIA] ZAPOR: Well, Cubans want all sorts of freedoms, religious freedom among them. Atheism officially went away in 1992, and since then the Catholic Church has been creating more space for itself, and in ways that are trying to reach out to more Catholics, more of the general population of Cuba, and people want to participate in these things. There’s an energy.

ABERNETHY: But I think it’s, what, just a little over half of people who identify themselves as Catholics, and five percent of them only who go to Mass.

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Caribbean, Cuba, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

(CEN) The search begins for a new Archbishop of Canterbury

Tom Wright, 62, is the only bishop to approach Rowan Williams’ intellectual prowess. He has less range as a thinker than Williams but is a much better communicator. As Bishop of Durham he spent too much time away from the diocese giving lectures at Harvard and elsewhere but was an inspiring figure for younger clergy. Like Rowan Williams he is a genuine spiritual leader and a public intellectual. It is uncertain that he want to leave academia, especially with the defeat of the Covenant in the Church of England, but he is definitely a big beast, one of the very few in the Church of England.

Nick Baines, 53, usually heads the list of younger bishops. He wins admiration for his communication skills but has yet to prove himself as a deep thinker. He probably lacks enough experience and has not yet been tested to prove he has the abilities for Lambeth. In with an outside chance but unlikely to be appointed.

Christopher Cocksworth, 52, has been Bishop of Coventry since 2008. Among the younger bishops, he is a leading candidate….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Rowan Williams, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

Eastern Oregon Puts Forward Resolution Proposing Communion of the Unbaptized

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Baptism, Episcopal Church (TEC), Eucharist, General Convention, Sacramental Theology, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology

Saturday Morning Mental Health Break–A 2 year old dancing the jive

Watch the whole thing.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Music

Did you Know a Child Helps Select the next Coptic Pope?

There is no quorum for the election, and once the votes have been counted the names of the three top candidates will be announced. The Sunday following the elections, a procedure will be held at St Mark’s Church in Cairo to choose the next pope from among the three top candidates. Their names will be placed on the altar, and after mass a blindfolded child will pick one of the names. The name of the person picked will become the next pope of the Coptic Church.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Children, Coptic Church, Other Churches

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Oscar Romero

Almighty God, who didst call thy servant Oscar Romero to be a voice for the voiceless poor, and to give his life as a seed of freedom and a sign of hope: Grant that, inspired by his sacrifice and the example of the martyrs of El Salvador, we may without fear or favor witness to thy Word who abideth, thy Word who is Life, even Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with thee and the Holy Spirit, be praise and glory now and for ever. Amen.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, --El Salvador, Central America, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Heavenly Father, whose blessed Son Jesus Christ has shown us that the secret of happiness is a heart set free from selfish desires: Help us to look not only on our own things, but also on the things of others; and inspire in us such fair dealing and fellow-feeling as may show our brotherhood in thee; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect; but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood. So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

–1 Corinthians 13:3-13

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Pope Benedict XVI's remarks on arrival in Mexico

Together with faith and hope, the believer in Christ ”“ indeed the whole Church ”“ lives and practises charity as an essential element of mission. In its primary meaning, charity “is first of all the simple response to immediate needs and specific situations” (Deus Caritas Est, 31), as we help those who suffer from hunger, lack shelter, or are in need in some way in their life. Nobody is excluded on account of their origin or belief from this mission of the Church, which does not compete with other private or public initiatives. In fact, the Church willingly works with those who pursue the same ends. Nor does she have any aim other than doing good in an unselfish and respectful way to those in need, who often lack signs of authentic love.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Mexico, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Minnesota pastor, emerging playwright, inspired by ministry experiences

As a pastor ”” especially as a woman pastor ”” the Rev. Kristine Holmgren is used to being in the public eye.

In addition to speaking from the pulpit, Holmgren has reached people across the country through the informally syndicated column she wrote for the (Minneapolis) Star Tribune and as a commentator for National Public Radio.

That exposure has perhaps helped prepare her for her newest venture as a playwright.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Presbyterian, Theatre/Drama/Plays

(RNS) Study offers view of religious life behind prison walls

… a report that was released Thursday (March 22) by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, based on the perceptions of 730 chaplains who serve in the nation’s state prison systems, [shows that]…as the U.S. has grown more religiously diverse, the prison population has, too, but often in different directions, said Stephanie Boddie, a senior researcher on the study.

“The unaffiliated is growing in the general population but it’s decreasing in the prison population,” said Boddie, who noted the Pew findings are based on the impressions of chaplains rather than official prison statistics.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Prison/Prison Ministry, Religion & Culture

(Economist) Rowan Williams’s successor will have an even harder tenure

The next Archbishop of Canterbury will also have to answer a more basic question: is the institution he heads part of the establishment, with an accepted role as its moral guide, or is it called on to be a provocateur, speaking its own version of truth to power? Defeat over gay marriage will make it tougher to play the first role, but a church that strives to be idiosyncratically prophetic will be harder to keep together. And the church’s role at home has implications for the communion: can an English church that is steadily disestablishing itself retain any natural place as a pacesetter for much bigger churches abroad?

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Religion & Culture

(Telegraph) Schools are 'last bastion' of traditional values

Speaking at ASCL’s annual conference in Birmingham, general secretary Brian Lightman said: ”Children are faced with a lot of different role models these days, not all of which are the most positive. They see examples on TV, in celebrity culture, of people not speaking the right way and not interacting in a way we would expect people to.

”In many ways schools are the last bastions of those traditional values.

”We do assert old fashioned standards of discipline and we do that unashamedly because we do see it as our job to educate children in that way.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Education, England / UK