The death threats have lessened over the five years since Episcopalians affirmed V. Gene Robinson’s election as their church’s first openly gay bishop. But the man who symbolizes, for many, a defiance of a traditional understanding of scripture and sexual morality will soon be in a risky spotlight again.
Every ten years bishops of the worldwide Anglican Communion assemble in England for the Lambeth Conference. This summer’s meeting is much awaited in light of the 77-million-member communion’s highly public wrangling over the issue of homosexuality.
With a dozen regulars or fewer attending services, the 150-year-old Kinderhook United Methodist Church in rural Illinois near the Mississippi River shut its doors this Easter. That Sunday was also the last for St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church in Cincinnati, where only 16 households were putting something in the collection plate.
“The Church’s Unfinished Sexual Revolution” was the title of an article in the spring 2006 issue of Yale Divinity School’s Reflections magazine. In it longtime Christian ethicist James B. Nelson described some progress in church thinking about sexual ethics, but contended that the church’s agenda on sexuality remains “confusing, unsettled, unfinished.”
The deans of Episcopal seminaries warned bishops and other church leaders last year that their theological schools must deal creatively with hard financial realities. The schools can no longer function separately as “11 little grocery stores trying to sell the same products to the church,” declared Donn Morgan of Berkeley, California, then convener of the Council of Deans.
At the last biennial Presbyterian General Assembly, many gay-rights supporters along with many conservatives weary of decades-old fights approved a delicate compromise that kept the ordination standards of “chastity and fidelity” but allowed presbyteries to approve otherwise qualified gay and lesbian clergy candidates who morally objected to the rules.
Recent surveys have indicated that clergy are generally quite satisfied with their profession. But what about the men and women who are in seminary or who are fresh from seminary and face the demands of congregational service or the challenges of other ministries? How do they feel about ministry?
In a scenario that may be performed repeatedly in months ahead, the Episcopal Church has declared that two bishops have “abandoned the communion of the church”—John-David Schofield, whose diocese in California has completed its voting to leave the denomination, and Robert Duncan of the Pittsburgh diocese, who has been the leader among dissident bishops aiming to form a competing, traditionalist ch
New “nonnegotiable” guidelines for evangelism at Young Life ministries has led to the closing of a North Carolina office of the group and the claim by a national expert on youth and religion that the organization is moving in a fundamentalist and authoritarian direction.
When the first translation of the long-lost Gospel of Judas was published last year amid considerable publicity, a few scholars trumpeted its apparent depiction of Judas Iscariot as a positive figure who was rewarded in the heavens for betraying Jesus.
When Mark Hanson, who heads the 66-million-member Lutheran World Federation, read the open letter sent to Christian leaders by an unprecedented range of Muslim clerics and scholars last month, the Chicago-based bishop was not surprised at the erudition and content of the document.
If ecumenical veteran Michael Kinnamon is ratified next month, as expected, to be the top executive of the National Council of Churches, look for a stylistic shift on social justice issues and appeals to member denominations to become mutually supportive.
The large and liberal All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California—after squirming on the hook for two years as the Internal Revenue Service examined the content of a preelection sermon—has been tossed back into the religious stream because its “political intervention” favoring one candidate “appears to be a one-time occurrence.” The church will not lose its tax-exemption over the October 3
The Episcopal Church’s struggle with the worldwide Anglican Communion over homosexuality and biblical interpretation took another turn just before the Labor Day weekend with news that one of five clergy nominated to be the next Episcopal bishop of Chicago is Tracey Lind, the dean of Cleveland’s Trinity Cathedral and a lesbian who speaks of life with her partner, Emily Ingalls, as “the gift that m
The Mormon Church claims to have some 5.7 million members in the United States, which would make the Utah-based denomination the fourth largest church body in the nation after the Roman Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church.
The unfinished Tower of Babel has stood for centuries in art, literature and biblical commentaries as an outrageous, heaven-reaching challenge to the God of Genesis, who responded by scrambling the common language of the citizens and dispersing them around the world.
I’m still amazed,” declared Mary Alice Gran, the soft-spoken national director of children’s ministries for the United Methodist Church, based in Nashville. “Not all our [regional] conferences require background checks for volunteer workers, and there are congregations who are still doing nothing.”
The multidenominational Christian Churches Together in the USA has just about got it together—enough at least for a small celebration. From Catholic and Orthodox bishops to Protestant and Pentecostal clergy, representatives of 36 church bodies meeting in California lit candles and one by one signed a document indicating their commitment to advance a common Christian witness.