This summer thousands of high school and college-age Jewish youth have been descending on Israel. These students are participating in the Birthright Israel program, established by philanthropists Charles Bronfman and Michael Steinhardt.
Among the means of grace John Wesley lists “Christian conferencing.” Summer is always a popular time for Christians to congregate at denominational meetings, and this summer has been particularly so for me.
According to articles in the New Yorker and Business Week, churches are leading an urban renaissance. The media have celebrated the churches’ role in prompting economic development in distressed areas as well as the social services that churches offer to low-income residents.
In the waning days of the Episcopal Church’s July 5-15 General Convention in Denver, a weary sense of déjà vu descended on the bishops and the lay and clergy deputies who make up the church’s highest legislative body. Twenty-four years ago the General Convention made headlines by permitting the ordination of women as priests.
By some gracious irony, the death of Robert Runcie came while the U.S. Episcopal Church’s General Convention was in session. As archbishop of Canterbury, Runcie led the Church of England and the Anglican Communion through the turbulent 1980s, seeking to hew to a “middle way” when issues of women’s ordination and modernized liturgies threatened to split his church.