Friday, January 15, 2021

392,349 Total US Coronavirus deaths

 




Where do we stand?

 


“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. —Strength to Love, 1963

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Church Times (UK): US Bishops call for Trump's removal

 


US bishops call for Trump’s removal

13 JANUARY 2021

PA

A window damaged during the storming of the Capitol building, left unrepaired on Tuesday

THE Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States, the Most Revd Michael Curry, has called for the immediate removal of President Trump from office after the President’s public comments — widely regarded as incitement — before and during a violent attack on the Capitol. Five people died (CommentNews, 7 January).

After repeatedly alleging that the election had been “stolen”, President Trump told a crowd rallying south of the White House to “walk down to the Capitol,” and said: “You will never take back our country with weakness.”

Bishop Curry added his name to an open letter from church leaders in the United States to Vice-President Mike Pence, urging him to remove the President at once.

Their letter reads: “For the good of the nation, so that we might end the current horror and prepare the way for binding up the nation’s wounds, we, as leaders of the member communions of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA, believe the time has come for the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, to resign his position immediately. If he is unwilling to resign, we urge you to exercise the options provided by our democratic system.”

Bishop Curry had described the violence as a coup attempt. In a video message to the Episcopal Church, he urged people to choose community over chaos. “In the moment of a national crisis, a moment of great danger . . . a people must decide, ‘Who shall we be?’” he said.

On Wednesday, as expected, Vice-President Pence rejected demands to enact the 25th Amendment, which would have removed the President immediately. The House of Representatives, however, later voted for an unprecedented second time on a motion to impeach President Trump. The vote was carried, as predicted, and the Senate is to hold a trial to determine his guilt. Impeachment would block Mr Trump from running for office ever again.

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Some of those who stormed the Capitol on Wednesday of last week held signs reading “Jesus Saves” and “Jesus 2020”. Some were there to join an event dubbed the “Jericho march”: a gathering of Christians to rally for “election integrity”.

Mr Trump took the presidency in 2016 with up to 80 per cent of the white Evangelical vote, a figure that fell by just a few percentage points in November’s election.

Some of the Christian leaders who had questioned the legality of the November election distanced themselves from the President after the violence last week. Franklin Graham, the son of Billy Graham and a former supporter of President Trump, posting on Twitter, called on “Christians to unite our hearts together in prayer for President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice-President Elect Kamala Harris, and for the leadership in both parties.”

But other pastors who backed Trump were supportive in their Sunday sermons. Pastor Brian Gibson, of HIS Church in Kentucky, blamed others, including the left-wing Antifa movement, for the violence.

He told his congregation: “So now I know some, some bad actors went in, and I believe potentially there were Antifa up there. I think more and more I know there were Antifa up there, insiders up there that started that action.”

Pastor Tim Remington in Idaho, from the Altar church, called on “the army of the Lord” to be ready. “The next two weeks are probably the most important two weeks in the history of America,” he told his congregation. Others referred to freedom of speech and the First Amendment, including the President’s spiritual counsellor Paula White-Cain.

President Trump has now been banned permanently from Twitter, which referred to the “risk of further incitement of violence”; and he was suspended from Facebook and Instagram indefinitely. YouTube has also suspended President Trump’s channel.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Virginia, General seminaries pursue joint venture to foster deeper collaboration

 

Virginia, General seminaries pursue joint venture to foster deeper collaboration

By David Paulsen
Posted 2 hours ago

[Episcopal News Service] The Episcopal Church’s two oldest and largest seminaries, Virginia Theological Seminary and General Theological Seminary, announced Jan. 13 that they had reached an agreement to begin “the process of exploring partnership options” that could include shared faculty and “collaborative governance” while maintaining two distinct institutions.

“Purposefully walking together in as many ways as possible is our goal going forward,” the chairs of the two seminaries’ boards, David Charlton at VTS and Atlanta Bishop Robert Wright at General, said in a joint written statement. “We both put service to the church at the top of both of our missions.”

General Theological Seminary is located in New York, and Virginia Theological Seminary is in Alexandria, Virginia.

The details and extent of this partnership are still under consideration. The seminaries underscored that their growing collaboration is not a merger. “This is an imaginative and innovative model of cooperation in a shared venture,” the seminaries said in a list of talking points about their discernment process.

General Theological Seminary in New York was founded in 1817. VTS, founded in 1823, is located in Alexandria, Virginia. The boards of the two seminaries met Jan. 8, and each voted to begin a process of review, starting with the seminaries’ legal and financial positions and then seeking opportunities for “shared programming and some form of collaborative governance.”

The seminaries, in pursuing “shared leadership,” say they envision “a model that safeguards seminary identities and safeguards the assets and endowments of each institution.” Seminarians still will receive degrees from either VTS or General.

“The ultimate goal is two stronger institutions, with more faculty, more students, and more opportunities to create program that makes a real difference for the work of The Episcopal Church within the world,” the seminaries said. “Working together will enable the two seminaries to do more than they can separately.”

This partnership will build on the seminaries’ experience of working together on the TryTank Experimental Lab, a joint project founded in 2019 to develop new approaches to church growth and innovation.

“We have a lot more in common, which is serving the church and serving Christ in this world,” the Rev. Lorenzo Lebrija, TryTank’s director, said in an interview with Episcopal News Service after the announcement. He graduated from General in 2014 and now is attending VTS for his doctorate.

A deeper partnership between the seminaries “opens up more possibilities for the future, and that’s really what this is about,” Lebrija said. There eventually may be some cost savings, he said, but with both seminaries financially sound, that wasn’t the primary motivation. “What do we do together that we couldn’t do by ourselves?”

To answer that question, the review of the seminaries’ operations and development of a collaborative framework is expected to continue through November, followed by decisions on how to move forward together.

“I am encouraged to hear that these two seminaries are exploring creative possibilities for how to more faithfully, effectively and strategically form leaders for the movement of Jesus Christ, through the Church, for the sake of the 21st century world,” Presiding Bishop Michael Curry said in the seminaries’ news release. “This is the crucial question. All other issues of practicalities and logistics must fall under the primary question of what serves our participation in the mission of God as followers of Jesus of Nazareth and his way of love and life.”

– David Paulsen is an editor and reporter for Episcopal News Service. He can be reached at dpaulsen@episcopalchurch.org.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

RIP: Former Georgia Bishop Henry I. Louttit Jr. dies at 82

 RIP: Former Georgia Bishop Henry I. Louttit Jr. dies at 82

Georgia Bishop Henry I. Louttit Jr. during the 2009 diocesan convention. Photo: Julius Ariail

[Diocese of Georgia] The people of the Diocese of Georgia mourn the loss of the Rt. Rev. Henry I. Louttit Jr., who died peacefully on the morning of Dec. 31.

Louttit was born in West Palm Beach, Florida, on June 13, 1938, son of Bishop and Mrs. H. I. Louttit Sr. Married in 1962, he and his wife Jan had three children: Amy, Susan and Katie. His undergraduate degree is from The University of the South and he graduated from Virginia Theological Seminary in 1963. He was ordained a deacon by his father, then bishop of South Florida, and a priest the following year by Bishop Albert R. Stuart, then bishop of Georgia. He served Trinity Church, Statesboro, and in 1967 became rector of Christ Church, Valdosta, where he remained until election as bishop in 1994. He was consecrated bishop on Jan. 21, 1995, in the Roman Catholic Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Savannah.

The bishop promoted congregational development and planted new congregations: Holy Comforter was established from St. Paul’s, Augusta, in Evans County; King of Peace was planted in Kingsland; and St. Luke’s was started in Rincon.

Bishop Louttit strove to keep the diocese united during a period of great controversy following the ordination of Bishop Gene Robinson in New Hampshire.

In order that congregations that could not support a full-time priest would have the Eucharist every Sunday, Louttit initiated the training and formation of local people for ordination as priests and bivocational priests. He also named the goal of at least one deacon in every congregation and ordained many people to that order of ministry. He supported Cursillo and Happening and regularly led summer camp sessions, offering the music camp for many years as priest and bishop.

Louttit called for the election of a successor in February 2009. He retired on the consecration of the tenth bishop of Georgia on January 23, 2010.

In his first address as bishop to diocesan convention, Louttit stated he believed the ministry of the bishop to be: an encourager, friend and prayer supporter; the link between congregations in our diocese, throughout the world and back through time to the apostles; the chief administrator, planner and visioner; troubleshooter and reconciler; the sharer of family stories, like the grandfather of the family; an iconic model of Christian service.

Current Bishop Frank Logue said, “He lived into that vision well, creating a stronger diocesan community in the process. With a pastor’s heart, he left us more connected, a closer community with its eyes on Jesus.”

Logue added, “Personally, he saw more in me than was present when he saw it, and I am not alone in experiencing this. He offered me the opportunity to plant a church when the safe bet was that it wouldn’t work and then supported me fully.”

Louttit’s successor, Bishop Scott Benhase, recalls, “One of my fondest times with Bishop Louttit was completely serendipitous. I had no liturgical responsibilities on Ash Wednesday one year, so Kelly and I headed to St George’s Savannah for the evening liturgy. There also, to our surprise, were Henry and Jan. The four of us broke our fast together at a little Thai restaurant nearby after the liturgy. We had the best time with the best company.”

Bishop Benhase added, “Episcopal transitions are never easy for anyone, but Henry was so humble and open and that made it so much easier. His love for God was apparent to anyone who spent time with him.”


Please join in prayer for Jan, for their daughters Amy, Susan and Katie and the whole Louttit Family. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations go to our Honey Creek Retreat Center. Donations may be made by texting “HoneyCreek” to 73256 or via check sent to 299 Episcopal Conference Center Road, Waverly, GA 31565.

Wednesday, January 06, 2021

Epiphany 2021: A Call to Prayer for our Nation from Presiding Bishop Curry

 

Epiphany 2021: A Call to Prayer for our Nation from Presiding Bishop Curry

Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs




[January 6, 2021] On this day of the Feast of the Epiphany, Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry invites Episcopalians and people of faith to turn and pray on behalf of our nation.

Watch the video of the Presiding Bishop’s statement here.

A transcript of the statement follows:

Today is January the 6th, 2021. It is the Feast of the Epiphany. And on this particular day at this particular moment, even as our nation’s capital is being endangered and assaulted, we pray that the Lord Jesus Christ, we pray that God, in his Way of Love, might prevail in all of our hearts.

The events at our Capitol today are deeply disturbing. We believe the actions of armed protesters represent a coup attempt. We are a democracy, with long-standing institutional norms that must be honored, foremost among them, following the processes laid out in the Constitution and Federal statute to facilitate the peaceful and orderly transition of power.

Today’s protesters pushed through police barricades and forced their way into Congressional chambers, and the Capitol building are now threatened, and threatening the safety of lawmakers, their staff, and others who work in the Capitol complex.  This threatens the integrity of our democracy. The national security of our nation, the continuity of government, and the lives and safety of our legislators, their staffs, law enforcement, and all who work in the Capitol.

I, therefore, ask you now to join me in prayer for our nation, praying first from the prayers that accompany Morning Prayer:

Save your people, Lord, and bless your inheritance;
Govern and uphold us now and always.

Day by day we bless you;
We praise your name forever.

Lord, keep us from sin today;
Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy. 

Lord, show us your love and mercy;
For we put our trust in you. 

In you, Lord, is our hope;
And we shall never hope in vain.
-Morning Prayer II, Book of Common Prayer, p. 98

Let us pray:

Eternal God, in whose perfect kingdom no sword is drawn but the sword of righteousness, no strength known but the strength of love: So mightily spread abroad your Spirit, that all peoples may be gathered together under the banner of the Prince of Peace, as children of one God and Creator of us all; to whom be dominion and glory, now and forever.

  • For Peace, Book of Common Prayer, p. 815

Oh God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your son. Look now with compassion on the entire human family; and particularly this part of the family, in the United States, and those in our nation’s capital; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

  • For the Human Family, Book of Common Prayer, p. 815

On this day and at this moment, we pray for our nation. We ask God to heal us, to show us the way to healing, to show us the way to be one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Now, as our Savior Christ has taught us, we are bold to say,

Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy Name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power and the glory,
forever and ever.
Amen.

And now, may the peace of God which passeth all understanding keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God and of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

The blessing of God Almighty the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit be on you and on this nation and on the entire human family and all of creation this moment and forevermore.
Amen.



Bishop Budde and Dean Hollerith on Election Violence

Bishop Budde and Dean Hollerith on Election Violence


 

Cultivating Culture Change: Tips and Resources for Antiracism Christian Formation

 Cultivating Culture Change: Tips and Resources for Antiracism Christian Formation


Click HERE for more information on this great program

Tuesday, January 05, 2021

The office transcends the individual

 

In Jean Edward Smith's biography of George W. Bush, he wrote about what President Bush thought of President-elect Obama during the transition period.

On page 650, it states:

“As part of the presidential transition, Barack Obama asked Bush if it would be possible for him to meet all the ex-presidents. Bush was happy to oblige, and organized a White House luncheon in the Oval Office on January 7. Bush and Obama were joined by Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and George H. W. Bush. The luncheon lasted over two hours, each former president ordered his lunch à la carte from the White House mess, and the tone was convivial and friendly. “All the gentlemen here understand both the pressures and possibilities of this office,” said Obama before the meeting. “For me to have the opportunity to get advice, good counsel and fellowship with these individuals is extraordinary, and I just want to thank the President for hosting us.”

Bush was equally effusive. “We want you to succeed,” he replied. “Whether we're Democrat or Republican we care deeply about this country. And to the extent we can we look forward to sharing out experiences with you. All of us who have served in this office understand that the office transcends the individual.”

Saturday, January 02, 2021

One Sweet World

 


Nine planets around the sun
Only one does the sun embrace
Upon this watered one
So much we take for granted
So let us sleep outside tonight
Lay down in our mother's arms
For here we can rest safely
If green should turn to grey
Would our hearts still bloody beat
And if the mountains crumble away
Rivers dry Would it stop the stepping feet
Oh let us sleep outside tonight
Lay down in our mother's arms
For here we can rest safely
Take all that we can get
When it's done
Nobody left to bury here
Nobody left to dig the holes
And here we can rest safely
One sweet world
Around this star is spinning
One sweet world
And in her breath I'm swimming
And here I will rest in peace
So let us sleep outside tonight
Lay down in our mothers arms
For here we can rest safely

Friday, January 01, 2021

The Moment



The Moment

Margaret Atwood

The moment when, after many years
of hard work and a long voyage
you stand in the centre of your room,
house, half-acre, square mile, island, country,
knowing at last how you got there,
and say, I own this,
 
is the same moment when the trees unloose
their soft arms from around you,
the birds take back their language,
the cliffs fissure and collapse,
the air moves back from you like a wave
and you can’t breathe.
 
No, they whisper. You own nothing.
You were a visitor, time after time
climbing the hill, planting the flag, proclaiming.
We never belonged to you.
You never found us.
It was always the other way round.