Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Tuesday, June 21, 2016
Week Ending 6/20/16
Bishop of Missouri Appoints Deputy for Gun Violence PreventionBishop Wayne Smith has appointed the Rev. Marc D. Smith to a special deputy role to lead efforts in his diocese on education and action (but not advocacy) to prevent gun violence. The diocese is approaching the issue as a health issue. Marc Smith has a background in medicine, including hospital administration, and has already been leading efforts in health and wellness within the diocese. For more on the job description, see the bishop's announcement. Actual biographical information on the Rev. Marc Smith is slim on-line, but a Bloomberg listing provides some insight as does this parish announcement.
Changes in Women's Role as Clergy Marked in Three LocationsChanges in women's roles as priests can be marked in three announcements this last week. The first is the addition of a fifth candidate to the bishop search in Central New York. The search committee put forward three women and one man as candidates. Now a fifth candidate, another woman has been nominated. She is th rector of the oldest parish in Central New York, and the only candidate from the diocese. The Diocese of Spokane has also announced candidates for its search for a bishop, and like Central New York, three of the four candidates named by the search committee are women. Meanwhile, Bishop Davidson of the Diocese of Guyana in the Province of the West Indies has announced that the upcoming diocesan synod will have ordination of women as priests on the agenda. It has been discussed for two or three years, but the bishop wants the diocese to come to a conclusion.
Gun Violence Continues in the NewsA man who had made threats and defaced both the church sign and beheaded an antique church statue charged into the services of St. Bernard de Clairvaux Episcopal Church which meets at the Ancient Spanish Monastery and threatened to shoot the priest. He also ordered the roughly 140 people attending the Sunday service to leave. Police were on site because of the threats and he was arrested before anyone was hurt. The parish meets in a 12th century building dismantled and reassembled in Florida in the 1950s and donated to the Episcopal Diocese in 1964. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh's bishop, Dorsey McConnell has issued a pastoral reflection on the Orlando shooting. Update covered other responses last week.
Gay Rights Continues to Roil Waters of Anglican CommunionWhile insiders at the Church of England are beginning to predict that the issue of same sex marriages may well split that church and will be the focus of major "conversations" at the upcoming synod, the Archbishop of York hotly defended on TV the idea that you could oppose church marriages for same sex couple without being homophobic. More basic issues are at stake in Kenya, where a parish priest has joined a lawsuit asking for greater protection and human rights for LGBT people in his country. He argues it is a pastoral matter, having seen the way some of his parishioners have been abused. He risks the wrath of his bishop by going against the official position of the Kenyan Church. In Kenyan there are strict laws making homosexuality illegal.
Hearing on Presentment of Bishop Bruno Took PlaceThe St. James the Great Congregation which has been locked out of its building by Bishop Bruno for a year after Bruno announced he was selling the property, posted a Facebook notice June 20 asking for prayers. The official hearing had finally convened into their charges that Bruno had violated his oaths and church canons. Mediation had already failed, and this is closest equivalent to a trial that can be held under current Episcopal Church canons. The outcome will not be known for a while.
Wednesday, June 15, 2016
Week ending 6/13/16
Orlando Shooting Elicits Numerous Statements From Church LeadersThe Archbishops of Canterbury and York have issued a statement on the Orlando shooting, along with a number of American Church leaders. The Thinking Anglicans web site provides a convenient set of links to them all, including the statement Presiding Bishop Michael Curry.
Epected Pushback Emerges on Scottish Episcopal Church VotePittsburgh Update reported several weeks ago on expected changes by the Scottish Episcopal Church to change its canon on marriage to be inclusive of same sex couples and that it had already begun allowing blessings of civil marriages. The Scottish Episcopal Church General Synod overwhelmingly passed the first reading of canon changes June 10, 2016. Before the action is final, the synod will need to pass in 2017 by a two-thirds majority. In between each Diocesan Synod is to hold a discussion on the measure. Nonetheless, the usual voices are already acting as if it is complete. The Archibshiop of Canterbury has responded by informing the Scottish Primate he will be removed as leader of the World Anglican - Reformed Dialog. from A faction within the Scottish church called the Scottish Anglican Network has issued a statement suggesting they may follow a path pioneered by American dissidents, and the leadership of GAFCON has denounced the Scottish church as no longer Christian. GAFCON has offered "alternative episcopal oversight."
The Pope Upgrades Mary MagadaleneWhile Episcopalians have long commemorated the Feast Day of Mary Magdalene, the Roman Catholics just listed her in their secondary "memorials." Now Pope Francis has announced that the church should observe her date as a feast of the church. The official announcement focuses on her role in telling the apostles of the resurrection, her role as a evangelist, and as a role model for women in the church.
Latvian Lutherans Downgrade WomenIn a vote that has elicited horrifed responses from the rest of the European Lutheran Community, the Latvian Lutheran Synod voted to end ordination of women as priests.
Those women already ordained will be allowed to continue in the ministry. Women were ordained priests beginning in 1975. There have been no ordinations of women since 1993 when a conservative archbishop assumed control. This makes the Latvian Church one of about 30 world-wide Lutheran bodies out of 145 that only ordain men.