Tuesday, December 27, 2016
Wednesday, December 21, 2016
Week Ending 12/19/16
Chief Operating Officer Nominated for Church HeadquartersThe Executive Committee has approved the candidate nominated by the Presiding Bishop and President of the House of Deputies as the new Chief Operating Officer for the Episcopal Church. It is a deacon, Geoffrey T. Smith, currently serving on the diocesan staff in New Hampshire. He has previously served as a deacon in the Dioceses of Chicago, Maine, and Massachusetts. He has a long career in the insurance field as a risk management officer, and has served in all four dioceses as a safe church trainer.
Bell Ringer Controversy ContinuesIn October the Cathedral of York fired all of its bell ringers and announced it would be holding interviews to create a new group to ring the changes. At the time there was a lack of communication between the cathedral dean and ringers, and an issue related to dismissal of one member suspected of sexual impropriety with a child. The cathedral has been having difficulty in recruiting a new set of ringers and is now complaining about intimidation of candidates by the old ringers. Thinking Anglicans has a good summary of the current flap, statements and counter-statements.
Lexington Bishop to ResignPittsburgh Update reported earlier on the unwillingness of the Diocese of Lexington to allow Bishop Douglas Hahn to return after a leave imposed because a past sexual affair became public. Now there has been a joint announcement by the Standing Committee of the Diocese and Bishop Hahn that he will resign March 10, 2017. Bishop Bruce Caldwell who has served as provisional bishop during Hahn's year-long leave, will continue in that role.
Church of England Appoints Second Black BishopWhen John Sentamu was chosen as Bishop of Stepney in 1996, he became the first black bishop in the Church of England. He was still the only black bishop in 2005 when he became Archbishop of York. Now, twenty years after he was consecrated a bishop, Sentamu will be joined in March by another African-born priest, Dr. Woyin Karowei Dorgu. Dorgu has been chosen Bishop of Woolwich, a suffragan see in the diocese of Southwark. Woolwich is an area of London with a large Nigerian population. Before ordination, the newly nominated bishop served as a medical doctor. His service as a priest has been entirely in the Diocese of London and he is the current president of AMEN (Anglican Minority Ethnic Network). The Guardian reports that Dorgu hopes to encourage more ethnic minorities to enter the Church of England ministry. The Episcopal Cafe also has a story on his appointment.
Famine in AfricaThe Canadian Church's Anglican Journal reports that famine in Madagascar, Malawi and Zimbabwe is forcing starving people to eat locusts which are toxic in large quantities. The famine is a result of crop failures at least partially caused by climate change. A bishop in Madagascar reported that one man collapsed from hunger as he was being confirmed, and that church officials had confirmed that some others had been too weak to come to the service. Although the UN is providing some relief and the Anglican diocese are working with farmers to mitigate crop damage in the future, there is a need for immediate relief.
Communion Secretary-General Fears African Churches Manipulated by American ConservativesBishop Joseph Idowu-Fearon, the Secretary-General of the Anglican Communion gave an extensive audio tape interview to the Church of Ireland Gazette last week. His comments on GAFCON and the role of American conservatives in creating the African anti-gay issue drew the most attention. Idowu-Fearon stressed there was more diversity in Africa than the primates would admit. The real pressure was from American conservatives who have manipulated African Church leaders. The Church Times has a full story on the interview, Episcopal Cafe has a shorter one.
Standing Rock Chaplains Provided a Needed Service After Army Corp of Engineers Denies Pipeline PermitAn ecumenical group of 30 trauma chaplains, recruited to work during the witness of several thousand veterans at the site of pipeline protests in Standing Rock had to quickly switch their focus after arrival. The 10 Episcopalians, 3 Buddhists, 6 Disciples of Christ, 4 Lutherans, 5 Unitarians, and 2 UCC ministers had just arrived when the Army Corps of Engineers announced it was denying a building permit for the pipeline on the last crucial segment. The chaplains quickly switched gears to help the veterans present process their own reactions to the changed situation and a fast approaching blizzard. The chaplains had come in response to an invitation issued by the Rev. John Floberg, priest of the Episcopal congregation at Canon Ball on the Standing Rock Reservation. They left feeling part of a team and convinced an ecumenical group of chaplains had much to offer in other crisis situations. The Episcopal New Service story has interviews and comments from the group.
Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Week Ending 12/13/16
Massachusetts Bishop Ask Trump to Reconsider EPA HeadFive Episcopal Bishops from Massachusetts, including the current diocesans of the Dioceses of Western Massachusetts and Massachusetts, and the current and two retired suffragan bishops of the Diocese of Massachusetts have all signed a letter to President-elect Donald Trump requesting that he rethink his appointment of Scott Pruitt as head of the Environmental Protection Agency. They also stated that they would write their representatives in Congress urging them to block Pruitt's appointment. Both dioceses currently feature the letter on the home page of their diocesan web site.
South Carolina Episcopalians Back in Federal CourtEpiscopalians in South Carolina made oral arguments in their second appeal to the Federal Appeals Court in Richmond Virginia. They are hoping to get the appeals court to tell the retired federal judge in S.C. he can no longer delay in hearing the suit brought originally by Bishop von Rosenberg against Mark Lawrence for fraudulently claiming he is an Episcopal bishop. The local judge had originally stayed the case until the State law suits over property had been settled. SC Episcopalians appealed the stay and the court sent the case back to the retired judge to hold the trial. He again issued a stay.
You can find a summary of the arguments on the December 9, 2016 blog posting on scepiscopalians.com. The actual oral arguments are available from the diocese. . Pittsburgh Update covered the filing of the second appeal here.