When I receive a note from email@example.com early in the morning, I read it immediately. Often enough, Episcopal Church public affairs officer Neva Rae Fox finds a news story related to a congregation or agency of the Diocese of Bethlehem before I do. She electronically searches newspapers for Episcopal-related news and, early every morning, offers headlines and links to diocesan communicators and others via her daily distribution list. I find what she does here to be among the most practical assistance the communication folk at 815 offer to communication colleagues across the country. That kind of work in the background often goes unnoticed. Thank you, Neva.
Some local flavor: Neva was born and raised in Bethlehem, a graduate of Liberty High School. Her parents still live in the Lehigh Valley. Prior to becoming public affairs officer for the Episcopal Church, Neva was director of communication for the Diocese of New York. Before that, she worked for the Diocese of New Jersey where she lives and is active in her parish.
Here is Neva's "Daily Scan" for July 5: (In Neva's note, the items come with hotlinks.)
Date: July 5, 2011 8:35:23 AM EDT
Subject: Daily Scan Tues 7-5-11
Today: Fourth of July activities (2); Dio Bethlehem ministries; Dio Newark cathedral; Father Alberto; Bp Franklin letter; col from UK
Family Makes 4th of July a Day of Service
WIBW (CBS) - Topeka, KS
Cathedral on Fourth
_ _ _ _ _
New Bethany Ministries celebrates 25 years of serving the poor in Bethlehem
The Express Times - LehighValleyLive.com
NJN - Newark, NJ
'Father Albert' not typical talk show
Letters to the Editor: Let’s treat everyone with dignity, respect
The Guardian, UK
Anglicans should throw out dry tradition
Be sure to check
Episcopal News Service: www.episcopalchurch.org/ens.
Follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/iamepiscopalian
Neva Rae Fox
Public Affairs Officer
The Episcopal Church
815 Second Ave., NYC, NY 10017
212-716-6080 Mobile: 917-478-5659
You can download the .pdf version here as well: Download July-August2011_DiocesanLife_SMALL
Posted at 01:25 PM in Archdeacon Stringfellow, Bishop Paul Marshall, Bishop's Day, Calendar, Canon Anne Kitch, Cathedral Church of the Nativity, Episcopal Church, Evangelism, Knitters/Crocheters, Moravian, New Hope Campaign, Planned Giving, Pray for..., Prayer, Prince of Peace Dallas, Social Advocacy, Social Ministry, St. Andrew's Allentown/Bethlehem, St. Anne's Trexlertown, St. Mary's Reading, St. Matthew Society, Stewardship, Youth | Permalink | Comments (0)
Churches in full communion formally recognize that they share essential doctrines, including baptism and Eucharist; agree to accept the service of each other's clergy; and pledge to work together in evangelism and mission. The churches become interdependent while remaining autonomous. In an explanation read during the Eucharist, the two denominations said that full communion is a "significant expression of the full visible unity of all Christians, which we do not yet discern but for which we pray."
[Diocese of Bethlehem Bishop Paul V. Marshall] In the 1780s, the Episcopal Church's leadership chose not to receive episcopal orders at the hands of Moravians, so our kneeling before each other tonight for the laying-on of hands and the right hand of fellowship was more than symbolic--it was a moment of healing. Ghosts can indeed become ancestors.
[Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori] The visible witness of two different traditions coming together is a profound sign of the possibility of reconciliation to the world around us.
[Kat Lehman, Moravian, serves as IT coordinator and editor of Diocesan Life for the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem] As a Moravian and a person who was there, let me tell you it was profoundly moving. I'm very excited about this historical moment in both our churches.
[The Rev. T. Scott Allen, rector, St. Andrew's Allentown] I was glad to be there and witness this historic service. The highlight for me was The Reconciliation of Episcopal Ministries with the Episcopal Bishops kneeling and receiving the laying on of hands and "Right Hand of Fellowship" from Unitas Fratrum Bishops. And then the Unitas Fratrum Bishops kneeling and receiving the Laying On of Hands from Episcopal Bishops. Very moving! The sermon was spot on as well. Thanks to all who made it a most holy evening....I consider it a blessing to have been there.
[The Rev. Canon Ginny Rex Day, Diocese of Bethlehem, retired] As one of those who studied at Moravian Seminary in Bethlehem, this milestone in our relationship with one another has a particular significance. The scholarship, the inclusiveness, and the welcome I enjoyed during those years were formative at a spiritual level beyond the obvious. Ecumenical study at this level is a unique and most valued blessing. What a gift it is to live in the region of Bethlehem and to be part of this answer to the years of prayer for Christian Unity. The Reconciliation among our bishops was particularly poignant. What's so hard about this kind of relationship restoration?
Amid music and prayer ...
By Mary Frances Schjonberg
Episcopal News Service
February 11, 2011
With an evening Eucharist Feb. 10 that blended elements of the liturgical and musical practices of both traditions, representatives of the Episcopal Church and the two provinces of the Moravian Church in North America formally inaugurated a full-communion relationship between the denominations. More here.
Episcopalians, Moravians celebrate Common Cup
By Dave Howell (of Trinity Bethlehem) for The Living Church
The sanctuary of Central Moravian Church in Bethlehem, Pa., is both simple and majestic. It is completely white, except for natural wood trim on the pews and gas lamp fixtures on the side walls. As befits Moravian tradition, there are no stained-glass windows, or a cross above the altar. Yet there is majesty in its soaring height, supported by two Corinthian columns and an arch at its front. And there is the treasured Moravian music, from a magnificent Moller organ and a choir of sterling voices. About 500 people gathered at Central Moravian Feb. 10 to celebrate the full communion of the Episcopal Church and the Northern and Southern Provinces of the Moravian Church. The Episcopal Church approved the full-communion agreement at General Convention in 2009, and the two Moravian provinces approved it in 2010. The churches had practiced interim eucharistic sharing since 2003. This historic occasion featured a prelude with music by the Central Moravian Brass Ensemble, and opened with a procession of nearly a dozen Episcopal and Moravian bishops. For this event, the Central Moravian choir merged with those of the Cathedral Church of the Nativity and Trinity Church, Bethlehem. More here.
Gallery of Photos from ENS, including two good photos of Bishop Paul during the laying on of hands ... here.
Photos taken by Kat Lehman ... here.
Video of the service ... here.
Moravians? Who are they? Here.
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. The Moravian Church, whose motto is, “In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things love,” has strong traditions of ecumenical work, missionary endeavors and creativity in music and worship. The Moravian Church in North America includes more than 150 congregations in the U.S. and Canada. The Unitas Fratrum -- the worldwide Moravian Church -- counts nearly 795,000 members. Website of The Moravian Church in North America: www.moravian.org
The final report of full communion, “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” is located here: http://www.episcopalchurch.org/110055_111526_ENG_HTM.htm or http://www.episcopalchurch.org/documents/Finding_Our_Delight_Official_Text__2_.pdf
Sermon by Milwaukee Bishop Steven Miller
at the Feb. 10, 2011, Celebration of Full Communion
Now in Christ Jesus you who were once far off have been brought near in the Blood of Christ. For he is our peace who has made us both one and has broken down the dividing wall of hostility. (Eph: 2:13)
We hear these words in our reading this evening from the letter to the Ephesians. The apostolic message to the letter’s first recipients and to us is that in Christ God brings together that which had been separate.
In the case of the Church at Ephesus, the apostle is writing to a community living after the fall of the Temple in Jerusalem, after the Church’s first wrestling with implications of God’s act in Christ Jesus and for whom that act was accomplished, in a time in which the word Christian had become the primary label for believers. The Apostle wanted those who heard and read this letter to know that the distinctions of the past were no more. Echoing the letter to the Galatians with its proclamation that in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female (Gal 3:28), the apostle reminded the church in Ephesus that in Christ Jesus what was separate is now united. He, Jesus, is our peace who has made both Jew and Gentile one. The author goes on to build an ecclesiology that shapes and challenges us today.
Jesus is our peace who has made us both one.
This is the apostolic word to us tonight as we gather to celebrate and inaugurate the full communion relationship between the Northern and Southern Provinces of the Moravian Church in the United States of America and of The Episcopal Church. They are to us reminder, comfort, and challenge. Reminder, in that what we celebrate tonight is God’s action at work in us. That the impetus to begin the conversation 17 years ago that resulted in first interim Eucharistic sharing and now a full communion agreement is the activity of the unifying spirit of God at work in Christ in his incarnation and his Body the Church today. It is comfort, in that we are strengthened and our hearts are warmed in that God continues to work his promise in us, God continues to be the God who breaks down walls and who brings together.
But these words are also a challenge: for we know that the strength of this full communion relationship depends not on the document and the synodical resolutions that have made this day possible, but upon our continuing to discover what God is calling us to as his people, allowing God’s Uniting Spirit to work in us, not just those gathered here but every member of our communions, as we seek to discover and live into the full communion we inaugurate this night.
We were reminded earlier in this liturgy that a part of our brokenness and sin is our tendency to make “idols of our achievements” (Moravian Unity Liturgy). It is important for us to remember that this liturgy is not an end but a beginning. My fear is that unless we are attentive and intentional we will miss the opportunities before us.
As I was reflecting on all this, words from my first spiritual director echoed in my ears. “The question is, Steven,” she said, “Jesus is Lord, what are you going to do about it.”
We are here tonight because we have found our delight in the Lord who has found his delight in us and sent his only Son to be our Savior. We have discovered through our dialogue and proclaimed in our synods and convention that difference does not mean division. And so the question before us tonight is: We’re in full communion, what are we going to do about it? Or better yet, we are full communion partners, what does God want it do in and through us. As I prayed and pondered this question three words came to mind: Transfigure, Transform, Send. And it is each of these that I want to focus on tonight.
In just a few weeks the Epiphany season will come to a close and we will hear again on the last Sunday after the Epiphany the story of the Transfiguration. The story of how Jesus, after the prediction of his passion, took with him Peter, James, and John, the inner circle of the twelve, up on a mountain to pray. And while he was praying, he was transfigured before them, his face shone like the sun, his garments became dazzling white, and there appeared with him Moses and Elijah. And a voice came from heaven, “This is my Son. Listen to Him.”
In each of our churches we sing of this event in the life of Jesus with these words:
O wondrous type, O vision fair, of glory that the church may share
Which Christ upon the Mountain shows, where brighter than the sun He glows
In the Transfiguration we get a glimpse of our destiny and calling that “we may shine with radiance of Christ’s glory that he may be known, worshipped and obeyed to the ends of the earth.” (BCP collect for 3 Epiphany). My prayer and hope is that in this new relationship for our two churches we will gain insights into who Christ Jesus is and what he calls us to do. We will discover a deeper and fuller sense of the meaning of Christian discipleship. If that is to happen it will require of us intentionality and effort. Taking this intentionality, to be in the presence of one another, to listen and learn, and discover. Together in the light of the transfigured Christ we can discover new songs to sing to the Lord.
But visions are not enough, the purpose of vision is to transform.
I can witness, as I know can all of us who have labored to make this day possible, sisters and brothers with whom I shared this journey, that our work together has given us a greater vision of what it means to be followers of Jesus Christ and made us more the people he has called us to be. Bishops of both churches have testified to experiences like that of another famous Anglican in which our hearts were “strangely warmed” through our fellowship one with another. Our walk of faith is enriched by the daily devotional strength of each of our traditions.
However, we are now in the second century of the Ecumenical Movement. I am fearful someday historians will be writing about the second and third centuries of the ecumenical movement unless we embrace the vision God puts before us and truly bring it into being.
We say in our full communion document that full communion is not merger. And so it is. But can it not be something more than advancing the ecumenical ball a little bit further down the field? God does not call us to stop here and build three booths, one for the Moravian Southern province, one for the Northern Province, and one for the Episcopal Church, particularly in an age when such identities matter very little to those who are outside them. Is perhaps part of the call that our denominational structures and boundaries be transformed to a new reality and new life? The call is still there to be one church on earth as it is in heaven.
Here I am reminded of Dr. Martin Luther King’s words on the night before his assassination, “I have seen the promised land.” We know how sweet and pleasent it is when sisters and brothers live together in unity. We know God’s will is that all may be one as Christ and the Father are one. May that unity be revealed in us. We have seen the promise of Ecumenism. Let us enter that promised land.
Seeing God’s vision and transformed by his work in us God sends us. Each of our traditions has a rich missional heritage. The introduction to the Moravian Daily Texts of 1739, just 17 years after the establishment of Hernhut on the estate of Count Zinzendorf, is addressed to congregations and missions throughout the world including South Africa, Surinam, Guyana, Ceylon, Ethiopia, and Persia.
The Episcopal Church is incorporated as the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, giving birth to new provinces of our communion in the Phillipines, Japan, and South America and other places through our missionary efforts. The diocese which I serve was born of our commitment to domestic mission and the efforts of the first missionary bishop, Jackson Kemper. Another of those missionary bishops, Ethelbert Talbot, later served this community as Bishop of Bethlehem and Presiding Bishop.
That Mission field is as ripe for harvest today as it was then. Our Gospel lesson tonight reminds us and proclaims to us the harvest is plentiful. The harvest is plentiful. And to each servant the master says, go work today.
The penultimate paragraph of the full communion document, Finding our Delight in the Lord, states:
44. We do not know to what new, recovered, or continuing tasks of mission this agreement will lead our churches, but we give thanks to God for leading us to this point. We entrust ourselves to that leading in the future, confident that our full communion will be a witness to the gift and goal already present in Christ, “so that God may be all in all” (1 Corinthians 15:28). Entering full communion and thus removing limitations through mutual recognition of faith, sacraments, and ministries will bring new opportunities and levels of shared evangelism, witness, and service. It is the gift of Christ that we are sent as he has been sent (John 17:17–26), that our unity will be received and perceived as we participate together in the mission of the Son in obedience to the Father through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit.
Tonight God calls us to discover what those new, recovered, and continuing acts of mission are: Together, each with its purpose “to restore all people to unity with God in Christ.” My sense is that mission has at least something to do with the ability to embrace difference while working for the common good and discovering God’s mission of reconciliation not just as for the Church but for the world.
May God bless our witness. May the God who makes us one, Make all one, that Christ may be all in all.
Starting in February, Diocesan Life, the newspaper of the Diocese of Bethlehem will include a new national newspaper covering the life and work of the Episcopal Church. Called Episcopal Journal, a new independent publication serving Episcopalians throughout the country and abroad.
Initially, the new paper will be available as a printing partner with more than a dozen diocesan and parish publications, including Diocesan Life, that reach over 50,000 households. A campaign for individual and small group subscriptions will follow.
Editorial director Jerry Hames says the Journal’s mission is “to inform, involve and inspire Episcopalians in the United States and abroad by sharing the good news of our church’s life and ministry.”
Freshly designed with an attractive contemporary layout, Episcopal Journal will offer timely and accurate reporting, drawing its news articles from Episcopal News Service and other Episcopal, Anglican and ecumenical news services, he said.
“It will also invite contributions from recognized names in the fields of religion, science and the arts, and offer columns and meditations appropriate for the church seasons.”
Hames, editor of Episcopal Life from 1990 to 2007, said the new publication will fill a vacuum caused by the decision to terminate national print publications from the Episcopal Church Center in New York.
The Executive Council of the Episcopal Church voted in October to approve a budget that cut all funding for print publications. That followed an across-the-board budget reduction voted by the General Convention in 2009. As a result, Episcopal News Monthly, which succeeded Episcopal Life a year ago, will cease publication with the January 2011 issue.
“We now have partners committed to the printing program from coast to coast,” Hames said. “They include the dioceses of Delaware, Long Island, Bethlehem, Easton, Vermont, New Hampshire, Northern Michigan, West Tennessee, Iowa, Nevada, San Joaquin and Eastern Oregon.” A quarterly issue of the Journal will also be produced for several dioceses who publish four times a year.
Four diocesan editors whose publications are partners in the printing program will serve on an editorial advisory committee. They are the Rev. Heather Cook of Easton, Cate McMahon of New Hampshire, Rise Thew Forrester of Northern Michigan and Jeanie Senior of Eastern Oregon.
At this time, Hames said, editorial inquiries and submissions may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or Box 308, Cranbury, NJ 08512. Advertising inquiries should be addressed to email@example.com, or to Box 106, Fort Washington, PA 19034.
For further information you may contact Jerrold Hames, 609-897-9769, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
"Your Faith Your Life - An Invitation to the Episcopal Church" by Jenifer Gamber with Bill Lewellis, paperback, 208 pages, April 2009, $16.[Church Publishing] This "everything-you-need-to-know" guide for newcomers to the Episcopal Church is written and designed to provide accessible and user-friendly reading, with an easy-going look and style that's packed full of substance.
[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
Bethlehem is not only the House of Bread, we are the Home of Peeps, so I thought this was worth a look.
Since April, 2007, the Washington Post has run a Peeps Diorama Contest which has, to use their words, "stunned the hearts and minds of our newsroom -- and our nation." They are now receiving entries for their fourth outing, and one of the entries is a rendering of life in the ""National Peep-thedral, or as we might say around here "worship in the House of Peeps." (Click on the pictures to get a better view.)
The diorama includes a procession, choir, details such as certain famous gargoyle, and even a peep-docent leading a peep-tour.
From the Facebook page "Washington National Peep-thedral":"Easter at the National Peep-Thedral: A House of Prayer for All Peeps" was designed by Andrew Martin, architect and master mason; Christine McCann, master couturiere; and Julie Avetta, music director.
--posted by Andrew Gerns
The report by the Social Science Research Council is intended to "spark discussion among religion bloggers that will take their work further, while also inviting new voices from outside existing networks to join in and take part."
What is the significance of blogs like the Cafe? The report says:
In old-guard organizations like the Catholic Church and mainline Protestant denominations, blogging has created space for discourse that leans against prevailing trends. At sites like Progressive Revival, Episcopal Cafe, and the Christian Century’s Theolog, mainliners maintain a rich public conversation about the present and future of their communities. They do so, meanwhile, often outside the auspices of traditional ecclesial bodies (whose populations are in a state of decline), possibly pointing toward a shift in the locus of intellectual leadership.
The Diocese of Bethlehem has two connections with The Episcopal Cafe. The first is that one of the people who cooked up the idea of an internet magazine for and about the Episcopal Church was Fr. Nick Knisely, who was rector of Trinity in Bethlehem and is now dean of Trinity Cathedral in Phoenix. It was Nick who came to me and asked to me a contributor and part of the news team when my own blog is one of the "legion" of less influential religion blogs out there. Come to think of it, we should count a third connection: Jim Naughton, until recently the Canon for Communications in the Diocese of Washington and circus master and lion tamer of this diverse group grew up in Scranton.
Read the rest here.
--posted by Andrew Gerns
The Rev. Emily Bloemker thought she was going to Christ Church Cathedral in St. Louis to talk about their dioceses partnership with the diocese of Lui in the Episcopal Church of the Sudan. Surprise! Instead of leading an adult forum, she ended up being the subject of her favorite television show, TLC's "What Not to Wear."
According to Lisa Fox blogging on "My Manner of Life,"
Emily is a smart, passionate, joyful, no-B$ priest. As I hear it, she is a fan of the What Not To Wear show and expressed a wish they could do a wardrobe make-over for her. Apparently, some of her friends contacted the show. And the show decided to take her on.
Then Mike Kinman invited Emily to deliver a presentation on Sudan early this year at Christ Church Cathedral. Except it wasn’t really a Sudan session. It was a set-up … into which the What Not to Wear Duo sprang. My St. Louis friends tell me it was a very pleasant evening. Apparently, Mike had warned the crew that they were filming in a church, and a certain decorum must be obeyed. From all I have heard, it was a delightful evening with much good-natured banter between the show’s crew and the gathered Episcopalians.
The promo reads: "Emily is your typical single girl with one divine difference... she's an Episcopal priest. She may have been called by a higher power but her friends and family called Stacy and Clinton. Can Emily find a feminine style that balances her youthful energy?"
The episode will be broadcast on TLC at Friday, February 5th at 9 pm.
--Posted by Andrew Gerns
The following is one in a series of talking points prepared as a resource for The Episcopal Church provided by The Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs.
Talking Points: The facts about The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA).
The Episcopal Church: www.episcopalchurch.org
Episcopal Life OnLine reports that Allegheny (PA) County Court of Common Pleas Judge Joseph M. James has ordered a breakaway group of former Episcopalians to return all property and assets to the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh.
The inventory includes $22 million in cash, cash equivalents, receivables, and investments including about $2.5 million in pooled parish investments and real estate and other real property.
"The diocese plans to quickly make arrangements so that all parishes may again have access to their investment funds that were frozen by financial institutions during the legal proceedings," according to a news release from the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh.
On Oct. 4, 2008 a majority of the delegates to the diocese's 143rd annual convention approved a resolution by which the diocese purported to leave the Episcopal Church. The leaders who departed have said that they remain in charge of an entity they have been calling the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh that is now part of the Argentina-based Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. And they say that in that capacity they control all the assets that were held by the diocese when they left....
The group led by Duncan said Oct. 29 that it would appeal the ruling once the court issues a final order directing it to transfer the property to the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh of the Episcopal Church of the United States of America.
--posted by Andrew Gerns
[From The Living Church News Service] The ecclesiastical Court for the Trial of a Bishop has issued a temporary gag order prohibiting the Rt. Rev. Charles E. Bennison, Jr., Bishop of Pennsylvania, from making public more than 200 letters that Bishop Bennison claims would exonerate him of charges that he failed to report sexual misconduct committed by his brother, John...Bishop Bennison maintains that he did not know about his brother’s misconduct until many years later, but in 2008, the court found Bishop Bennison guilty of conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy and recommended that he be deposed. He remains under inhibition pending appeal. Read more here.
By Bill Lewellis
Three 30-second television spots have been giving northeastern and central Pennsylvania viewers of WNEP, channel 16, visual clues of the Episcopal Church as sacramental and of its members as diverse, involved and caring for neighbors in need.
The spots for this groundbreaking project began to air on April 1 during the Good Morning America show and the 5:30 and 11:00 p.m. newscasts, introduced by WNEP’s Good Things are Happening music.
A tagline on two of the spots asks viewers to “imagine yourself in the Episcopal Church.” That continues with slight variations of “where your questions are respected as much as anyone’s answers,” All three spots – a fourth still to be developed – then conclude on the note that viewers can find an Episcopal church or more information about the Episcopal Church by visiting the WNEP website.
The WNEP website includes a link on a prominent new Episcopal Church in Northeast PA logo that will continuously display there and take interested viewers to a new Episcopal Church in Northeast PA website, www.nepaepiscopalchurch.org, developed specifically for the ad campaign. There, viewers will find information about the Episcopal Church or links to the 42 Episcopal churches in the WNEP coverage area. The spots may also be replayed at the site.
New Episcopal Church 'microsite' will showcase videos of diverse church members
Beginning Ash Wednesday, visitors to the Episcopal Church website will find an interactive feature called I am Episcopalian, containing short videos of people "sharing their deep, personal connections to the big, wide, vibrant church that we are," said Anne Rudig, who joined the Episcopal Church Center in New York as communication director on January 5. The videos will show the diversity of Episcopalians. The site will let users upload their own videos. Uploaded videos will be monitored before being posted, and should be no longer than 90 seconds. I am Episcopalian will be the website homepage throughout Lent, with a link to the rest of the Episcopal Church's web content. It is part of a renewed communications effort "to tell our own story," Rudig noted. "We are hoping it will grow, and we hope the rest of the world will see what a dynamic church we have." The microsite can also be reached at www.iamepiscopalian.org.
Read the Episcopal News Service story here. Then, the note below from Bishop Paul.
Just a couple of notes.
The budget may be slightly understated. There is a subsidy of 270k from
815 and up to 500k in privately donated (but hopefully not used) legal
Yours truly organized the PA bishops to attend, and Bethlehem was represented by a bishop, priest (Archdeacon Cluett) and lay person (Andrew Reinholz). All we needed was deacon (fortunately, Bp Baxter of CPA was accompanied by one such cleric.) Pastor Philip Pfatteicher (ELCA), formerly of Stroudsburg, was a welcome surprise. He has a parish down the street from Trinity Cathedral in the burg. He is one of the chief experts on liturgy in the ELCA and has published the official exposition of its liturgy.
The president of the Pbgh Standing Committee delivered an address that was both scholarly and relevant. His emphasis was on incarnational fellowship and ministry rather than logomachy. I hope it will be published. If not, I will originate it.
Reporters for some daily papers around our diocese, directed in some cases by their editors to do a local-angle story on the recent "departure of the Duncanites ... and others to form a new anti-gay Christian denomination in North America" [thanks to Jim Naughton for the quote], are having to stretch to localize the story.
This story from Saturday's Scranton Times-Tribune refers to the 1873 –– yes, 1873 –– formation of the tiny Grace Reformed Episcopal Church and the departure a few years ago of Eric Bergman and his group from Good Shepherd Church, Scranton, to form a so-called "Anglican Use" congregation in the RC Diocese of Scranton.
By Canon Bill Lewellis
Communication Minister, Diocese of Bethlehem
At its regular Fall meeting, September 17-19, the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church authorized Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori to depose Diocese of Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan from the ordained ministry of the Episcopal Church (85 in favor, 35 against, four abstentions) and remove him as the bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh.
The Presiding Bishop signed Duncan's sentence on September 19, The sentence and an accompanying letter from Jefferts Schori to Duncan were sent to Pittsburgh diocesan offices on September 22 and later released to the public. Read the Episcopal News Service story here.