Dying Church Is Very Much Alive

Grace ChurchThe Greene County Record seems to be reporting that The Episcopal Church is dying. The Record implies that at least one congregation, Grace Episcopal Church in Stanardsville (population 700-ish and the County Seat of Greene County, Virginia), has already gone to the great bye-and-bye in the sky. The paper’s November 19 “Church Briefs” section reports the following:

November 22
An annual Thanksgiving community service, music and Thanksgiving will be held at Grave Episcopal Church in Stanardsville Sunday, at 7 p.m. If you have any questions please call the Rev. Jan Piver.

Episcopopcorn did not call The Rev. Jan Piver, but we did call The Rev. Jane Piver, the Vicar of Grace, who assures us that the 108-year-old mission is still very much alive and well. Not only are things not grave, but “in fact,” Jane says, “things are really humming right along,” commenting that the congregation is planning for a second century of life. The church, nestled in the foothills of the Shenandoah Mountains, is a center for ministry in the area, offering a variety of programs including a preschool and a meal ministry.

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“Episcopal” is hard to say

The Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire, The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, must be used to having television news crews follow him around as he shares his thoughts about marriage for gay and lesbian people. But for some of the news professionals who report on Robinson, covering The Episcopal Church and its issues proves to be a daunting task.

For some on-camera-types, just saying the word “Episcopal” is difficult. Apparently, so is the word “pulpit.” One tongue-tied reporter, at Maine’s Channel 8, WMTW, elaborates that Robinson’s position in the Church is that of Bishop of the “Pispul” Diocese of New Hampshire (at :52) and that he is making his comments from the “pulprit” (at 1:58).

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First Woman Priest in Fort Worth

The Rev. Susan Slaughter

The Rev. Susan Slaughter - first woman ordained priest in the Diocese of Fort Worth

The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, Texas finally ordained a woman priest, and it was only thirty-three years in coming. The Rt. Rev. Edwin F. (Ted) Gulick Jr., bishop of Kentucky and provisional bishop of Fort Worth, laid hands on The Rev. Susan Slaughter to ordain her to the priesthood on November 15, 2009 at St. Luke’s in the Meadow Episcopal Church, where she had served as a deacon. Slaughter becomes the first woman ordained to the priesthood in the history of the diocese. She is also the first woman to serve as rector of a diocesan parish — continuing on at St. Luke’s in the Meadow.
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Welcome Susan. May God richly bless your ministry! The local news report may be found here.

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Anglicans Switch Spirituality Providers

Jon Stewart reports on The Daily Show that the Vatican is attempting to lure Anglicans to the Roman Catholic Church just like a cell phone provider reaches out to new customers.

Apparently, Pope Benedict XVI’s recent offer to Episcopalians and other Anglicans who make the switch to the Roman Catholic Church not only provides more reliable service, but you get to keep your phone number, as well.

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Pope Courts Episcopalians

Pope Benedict XVI announced his plans to allow for special provisions that would accept groups of former Episcopalians and other Anglicans who wish to convert to the Roman Catholic Church, according to an Oct. 20 press release from The Vatican.

Stephen Colbert calls it “holy water under the bridge” in his October 27th Colbert Report. Colbert interviews Episcopal Priest and author The Rev. Randall Balmer, professor of American religious history at Barnard College, Columbia University, who questions the Pope’s move saying he’s suspicious of any religious group that defines itself in negative terms.

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Around One Table

After five years of research among 3000 participants, The Episcopal Church, with the help of its College for Bishops and CREDO, has unveiled a new report entitled Around One Table, a “first-of-its kind” examination of the church and the “commonalities uniting all Episcopalians.” The report, aimed at exploring Episcopal identity, is meant to be used by congregations and dioceses as a “conversation starter.”

Unfortunately, the Around One Table report is accompanied by a rambling, disjointed, PowerPoint-ish promotional video that seeks to answer the question, “Who are we?” More than six minutes of stick figures, far-flung factoids, and disconnected themes leave the viewer sapped of the strength needed to download and read the 140-page report.

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Episco-ninjas

The people at King of Peace Episcopal Church in Kingsland, Georgia, think they’re ninjas. Episco-ninjas to be precise. They write that their latest video is “A lighthearted, but accurate look into The Episcopal Church, a covert group of Christ-like ninjas.”

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