At the July 10th parish picnic at St. Paul’s, Montrose, Father Paul Walker, and host/senior warden, Lynn Graham, prepare to cut the cake celebrating the Republic of South Sudan’s birth day. The South Sudan national anthem was played to a thoughtful group. - Al Leigh
In Our Diocese or our Partner Diocese of Kajo Keji
Christians in northern Sudan flock south ... [Andrew Gerns, Episcopal Cafe] Reuters reports that many Christians who live in northern Sudan are flocking south in anticipation of independence there, but are also driven by fears that the north could become an Islamic state governed by Shariah law. More here.
Election results for Kajo Keji from Bishop Anthony Poggo: The provisional Referendum results for Kajo-Keji County were announced today. The summary showed that 198 people voted for Unity while 45,892 voters voted for Secession. This represented 98.7 % of all the votes that were casted. There were 102 invalid votes and 85 unmarked votes. Out of 46,454 registered voters, 46,277 voters participated in the plebiscite. This represented 99.6% voter turn-out. The Archbishop of Sudan casts his vote ... [fron Bishop Anthony] Sunday 9th January marked the first of seven days in the historic self‐determination referendum for the people of Southern Sudan. The Most Rev. Dr.Daniel Deng Bul Yak, Episcopal Archbishop of the Sudan, together with Archbishop Paulino Lukudu of the Roman Catholic Church advanced to Hai Jalaba Junior School polling station to cast their referendum ballots at four o’clock that afternoon. Unsurprisingly, there was heavy media attention ready to capture the two archbishops exercising their democratic right at the polling station. Download the pdf file forwarded by Bishop Anthony for the complete story and pics. Download 01. ABD and ABP vote in Referendum
First Day's voting passes peacefully in Kajo Keji by Stephen Tomor...[ACNS]Read it here. Sudan's referendum and why the West should care[WHYY Radio Times Broadcast] with Dr. Randall Fegley. Check it out here. New Hope's Faith Journey ... A photo story in the Oct-Dec newsletter of Kajo Keji. Download it here.
12 Days of Christmas for Kajo Keji ... [World Mission Committee] The first batch of gifts to Kajo Keji from the Diocese of Bethlehem for Christmas 2010 is being transferred. More here.
"Bethlehem People, God has Chosen You to Come" to Kajo Keji by Charlie Barebo. Find it here. In the World
Southern Sudanese celebrate the birth of a new nation...[ENS]Read it here. Southern Sudan votes to split from the north...[CNN]
Northern Sudan's protests trigged by long-term economic, political frustrations...[Christian Science Monitor] Read more here.
Complete preliminary results show 99% vote to split in Southern Sudan...[CNN]More here.
Church of Sudan Builds Peace, Serves Returning Refugees During Country’s Transition...[Episcopal Relief and Development blog]Read more here.
Analysis: South Sudan secession a risky precedent...[The Florida Times Union]More here.
Some south Sudanese believe independence in Bible...[Associated Press]Read it here.
As South Sudan prepares for independence, old hurts linger...[Christian Science Monitor]More here.
Exiled Sudanese clergy hope for peaceful return...[Ecumenical News International, Nairobi]Read it here. In Sudan, provisional referendum results indicate landslide independence vote...[ENS] More here.
Overwhelming vote for Southern Sudan secession ... Southern Sudanese election officials posted early results on Sunday indicating that perhaps more than 95 percent of voters in this regional capital of Juba voted to secede from Sudan. More at the NYTimes.
Notes from Sudan...[Trinity Wall Street]Read it here. Voices of Sudan Part 4: Lost Boy Abraham Achiek...[Odyssey Networks]More here.
Voices of Sudan Part 3 Lost Boy Gabriel Tor...[Odyssey Networks] More here.
Sudanese Episcopalians rejoice as historic referendum draws to a close... [ENS] More here.
US allies keep close watch on Sudan independence vote...[Christian Century]. Read it here. Prayer Vigil...[Odyssey Network] More here. Thousands vote in Southern Sudan as violence flares in disputed region...[CNN] Find it here. Sudan referendum success in Juba...[ENS]. Read it here.
Millions take to the polls in Sudan's historic referendum; clashes in Abyei claim lives...[ENS]More here. Southern Sudanese, in a Jubilant Mood, Begin to Vote on Secession...[New York Times]Find it here. Chicago Episcopalians pray for peace in Sudan...[Chicago Tribune]More here. First day of voting goes off well...[CNN]Read it here. In Southern Sudan, the clock ticks toward 'liberation'...[CNN] Find it here. In Sudan, an Election and a Beginning (by President Barack Obama)...[New York Times]More here. Praying for Peace in Sudan...[Trinity Wall Street]Read it here.
Chicago Episcopalians capture spirit of Sudan through video, images, music...[ENS]Read it here.
Voices of Sudan Part 2... [Odyssey Network]More here.
Southern Sudan returnees put a strain on limited resources...[CNN] An influx of people returning home to vote in Southern Sudan is straining communities suffering from lack of food and water in the remote region, aid groups said Wednesday. Read it here.
Sudan's President Opens to South's Succession...[Wall Street Journal, by Sarah Childress]Find it here.
Can Sudan split without falling apart? ... [Time Magazine]Read it here.
Peaceful vote on Sudan appears more likely ... [NYTimes, Jan. 2, Jeffrey Gettleman]Read it here.
George Clooney 'antigenocide Papparazzi': Watching Sudan ... [Time Magazine]Read it here.
Prayer vigil for the people of Sudan[Trib-local, Libertyville]More here.
Pace: Southern Sudan secession?[Richmond Times Dispatch]More here.
Peace hovers in Sudan, but most soldiers stay armed ... [NYTimes, Josh Kron] With little more than a week to go before a vote on independence for southern Sudan, virtually none of the soldiers have put down their weapons and fully rejoined civilian life. More here.
Trinty, Wall Street's Praying for Peace resource page. Find it here.
Episcopal Relief and Development's Power of Partnerships.More here.
Ballots delivered for Sudan independence vote[CNN]...Each ballot carries two pictures: One hand signifies independence; two hands, a unified Sudan. More here.
Sudan's president warns of tighter Islamic law[CNN]...Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has warned that he will tighten the application of Islamic law, or sharia, in northern Sudan if southern Sudan votes for independence next month, the Sudan News Agency reported. More here.
Praying with and for the people of Sudan [ACNS]...From the Secretary General, Canon Kenneth Kearon. More here.
New CD features Sudanese voices from the Diocese of Renk...[From Rebecca Wilson, Diocese of Chicago] A newly-released musical composition that captures the spirit of the people on the fault line in Sudan’s bloody civil conflict has its roots in the relationship between the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago and the Sudanese Diocese of Renk.
In Voices of Faith, Chicago composer Chris Beckstrom, has woven song, percussion and handclapping recorded in Sudan by members of the Chicago diocese’s Renk Media Team into an original 12-track audio CD available for $20 through Amazon.com. All proceeds benefit the Diocese of Renk.
Sudanese summit strengthens partners in ministry...[ENS] Here.
Dreams of life in Southern Sudan clash with reality ... [NPR]Here.
Act now to prevent war in Sudan ... [CNN, George Clooney and John Prendergast]Here.
African poverty is falling ... much faster than you think. More here. [VoxEU, H/T John B. Chilton at Episcopal Café]
Attention-Grabber for Sudan's cause ... [NYTimes] John Prendergast has focused the attention of movie stars and President Obama. But will that be enough to head off another bloodbath? More here.
Bishop Katharine discusses discusses Sudan's January referendum in new video ... “I ask for your action on behalf of the people of Sudan,” Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori notes in a new video posted on the Episcopal Church’s Sudan Resource page. where you will also find prayer resources and more on Sudan. A Sudanese-wide referendum is slated for January 9, 2011 which, if successful, will establish a separate Southern Sudan with full rights to self-determination.
Sudan is church's focus as vote on partition draws near ... [Episcopal Cafe, Nick Knisely] As part of the 2005 Peace agreement signed by Sudanese in the northern and southern parts of country, a binding vote on partition will be taken in early January that could split the country into two parts, its Muslim dominated north and its Christian dominated south. More here.
George Clooney and John Prendergast on Sudan's Peace Process ... [The Atlantic Wire] Clooney and Prendergast then put forward a series of proposals to help lay the foundation for peace. Read Not too late to stop another war in Sudan.
[Editor's note: The following release was provided by Mike Riess, Executive Director of the Interprovincial Board of Communications for
the Moravian Church in North America. I took the photo and you can see more from the vote here]
By Mike Riess
JUNE 18, 2010, BETHLEHEM, PA. – Today, delegates of the Moravian Church, Northern Province voted to bring their Province into a relationship of full communion with the Episcopal Church. The proposal, brought to the floor of the Northern Province’s 2010 Synod held at Moravian College in Bethlehem this week, was approved by voice vote.
What a great and glorious day,” said Steven Miller, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Milwaukee and co-chair of the dialogue. “In a world that wants to divide us more and more, we are called to unity. We look forward to new and deeper relationships across our churches as we continue to work together to witness the true unity of God through the Church of Jesus Christ.”
This is an important day in the life of our churches,” said David L. Wickmann, president, Moravian Church, Northern Province. “This communion means our Church has the opportunity to engage with one of our historic partners in a more complete and meaningful way.”
The communion of the Moravian Church, Northern Province and the Episcopal Church brings a greater unity to the Christian church. “We seek this relationship of full communion so that our mission as Christ’s church will be more effectively fulfilled and each of our denominations might be more complete because of the spiritual treasures of the other,” reads Finding Our Delight in the Lord: A Proposal for Full Communion Between the Episcopal Church; the Moravian Church Northern Province; and the Moravian Church, Southern Province. “We do this for the sake of the world so that the world may believe.”
In pursuing full communion with another church, both denominations remain faithful to Christ’s will for his church. On the night before he died, our Lord Jesus prayed, “…that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me, and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (John 17:21 NRSV)
Full communion is not a merger. There will still be differences between the denominations, just as there are differences in individual churches, provinces and dioceses of any denomination. Current differences in structure, doctrine, liturgy and positions on social and ethical issues may require each church to speak for itself at times.
This communion maintains what makes each denomination special or unique to its members; it is about the unity of Christ’s church, not the uniformity of practice. The two will mutually recognize and respect each other as part of the one holy catholic and apostolic church, which affirms its faith through the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed.
In addition to the unity of Christ’s church, full communion provides for the sharing of ministry. With this agreement, ordained clergy in each denomination will be able to serve in the other, allowing for the orderly interchange of ordained ministers, joint worship and the celebration of Holy Communion.
On a practical level, the full communion provides opportunities to share resources and mission work. Full communion agreements bring mutual cooperation and laboring together in mission work, church planting, clergy education, disaster relief and other areas of common endeavors. The communion also offers opportunities to enhance the life and ministry of local congregations.
The Northern and Southern Provinces of the Moravian Church recently celebrated the tenth anniversary of their full communion with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The Episcopal Church also has full communion with the ELCA. This is the first time three denominations have come to full communion agreements on their own.
The full communion is the result of many years of work between the two churches. It was first proposed in 1999. Since then, ecumenical representatives from both denominations worked to reach the accord. The 76th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, meeting July 8-17, 2009, adopted Finding Our Delight in the Lord unanimously. Following the Northern Province Synod this week, the proposal is expected to be taken up by the Moravian Church-Southern Province at their Synod in September.
The Moravian Church, which celebrated its 550th anniversary in 2007, is one of the oldest Protestant denominations, dating back to 1457 in Europe and first coming to America in 1735. Moravians have a strong tradition of ecumenical work and are best known for their missionary work and rich musical heritage. The Moravian Church in North America is comprised of the Northern and Southern Provinces. The Northern Province has around 23,000 members in 93 congregations in 13 states in the U.S. and two Canadian provinces. The Southern Province includes nearly 17,000 members in 58 congregations, which are located primarily throughout the Southeast. The worldwide Moravian Church consists of 19 provinces with nearly 795,000 members, half of which live in Africa. Moravian Church contact: Mike Riess, email@example.com
The image of a picture I did not take stays with me. It’s of a sign
embedded in my mind since childhood. I’ve caught sight of it all over
the world, and it always makes me smile. That red, white and blue
shield with the familiar words, The Episcopal Church Welcomes You. I
saw a fragment of it on a shattered wall in Leogane, Haiti. Most of the
sign was gone, but it was still recognizable to me. I smiled out of
habit; I could have cried.
[Download, from the April issue of Diocesan Life, Haiti for the Long Haul by Winnie
Romeril, daughter of Bob and Canon Gwendolyn-Jane Romeril of Bethlehem, who claims
"two weeks in Puerto Rico" with a Diocese of Behlehem youth group some
years ago, "changed my life."]
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The public commotion over Father Alberto Cutie's entry into the Episcopal Church strained ecumenical relations between the Roman Catholic and Episcopal dioceses in southeast Florida because the switch was magnified by the celebrity of the convert.
While there have lots of times when clerics "swim the Tiber" in one direction or another, usually very little is made of it in the press by the churches. Not a written rule, but etiquette says "don't make a fuss."
Which made the story Cutie and his reception into the Episcopal Church followed by a press conference very unusual. An angry MIami Archbishop Favalora said unkind things about Episcopal Bishop Frade. But when Cutie was broadcasting on tv and radio and writing books as a Roman Catholic, Favalora and the rest of his diocese basked in the glow of his celebrity. When circumstances turned the other way, well, it did not feel so good.
Columnist Carl Hiassen, writing for the Miami Herald, made two observations. First, "The good news: He was with a woman, thank God, not an altar boy." And second, "For the Miami archdiocese, losing Father Cutie to the Episcopalians would be like the Yankees losing Derek Jeter to the Red Sox." On the whole, he said, this is a scandal everyone can live with.
The difference in this matter seems to be celebrity of the convert. Daniel Burke writing for Religious News Service says:
With a star of Cutie's magnitude—millions tuned in to his television and radio shows for relationship advice—media attention of his conversion was, perhaps, inevitable. Reporters from English and Spanish-language media crowded into Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Miami to witness the half-hour ceremony and subsequent press conference.
Miami’s Catholic Archbishop, John Favalora, Cutie’s former boss, was not pleased.
He blasted the new convert and his Episcopal counterpart, Bishop Leo Frade of Southeast Florida, for breaking the unwritten rules of conversion: Advise the other bishop about your plans and don’t show up the other faith by making a public display....
Even Episcopalians say Favalora has a point. Bishop Christopher Epting, the Episcopal Church’s point man for interfaith affairs, said Friday, “There’s no written rule, but it’s certainly been the informal understanding between all our ecumenical partners that it’s not something one seeks headlines about. It doesn’t help us ecumenically.”
There’s a delicate diplomacy to conversions, with long-established protocols to ensure that interfaith bridges that take decades to build are not burned in a single afternoon. Epting said the Episcopal Church’s ecumenical office, which is usually consulted on all conversions, was not informed about the ceremony ahead of time.
“I wish we had been consulted,” Epting said. “We will be pursuing this.”
On the other hand, when a person of such high profile makes such a change, it cannot be help but be done publicly. If he could not go to the beach with his girlfriend without being photographed by paparazzi, then it hard to imagine him being received without a press conference. So while the Roman Catholics complain about all the negative publicity--and cite the legitimate hurt Cutie's former congregants, most of whom have remained in their church, feel-- they may have hoisted on the celebrity they were anxious to create when "Father Oprah" was in their bullpen.
But there’s been plenty of traffic toward Rome too, said Monsignor William Stetson of the Office of Pastoral Provision, which was created by the late Pope John Paul II in 1980 to prepare former Episcopal priests for ministry in the Catholic Church. Four or five former Episcopal priests—including, recently, several bishops—convert to the Catholic Church each year, he said....
But none of those converts were celebrities. In a sense, Frade’s hands were tied by his new convert’s fame, said Jim Naughton, director of communications for the Episcopal Diocese of Washington.
“When (someone) joins the Episcopal Church, it would be silly to chase them away,” he said. “And in such unusual circumstances it’s very difficult to be critical of Bishop Frade because he has both a very vibrant and gifted priest, but also an atmosphere of controversy. Unless you’re from that community, I think it’s very hard to pass any judgment.”
We in Northeast Pennsylvania will simply note silently the publicity that emanated from a local Catholic diocese when a married Episcopal priest joined their ranks a few years back. Grumblings about that situation being a "man bites dog story" were put aside for the greater good. So we have some idea about how Favalora feels.
But here is a lesson that is unique to Cutie's switch: Sometimes publicity happens, and sometimes publicity is a tool used to send a message. If you groom a priest for the media, emphasizing his charm, charisma and, yes, his sex appeal (the ultimate Father Whatawaste) be ready for the publicity tide to change very quickly.
John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter has written an interesting column on John McCain's running mate, Sarah Palin. Actually, it's not so much about her as about post-denominational Christians.
[snip, snip, snip] The initial confusion surrounding Palin’s denominational identity, therefore, has a simple explanation: She doesn’t have one. Instead, Palin appears to be part of that rapidly expanding galaxy of “post-denominational” Christianity, where elements of Evangelical and Pentecostal styles of faith and worship fuse into a myriad of unique local combinations, and where old denominational loyalties are essentially dead. Though post-denominationalists are, by definition, difficult to catalog and index, they’re unquestionably numerous.