May 1, 2007

A recently retired conservative Episcopal bishop from Albany, New York, has left the church to become a Catholic. Daniel W. Herzog, 65, bishop of Albany from 1998 to January 2007, was an outspoken critic of the Episcopal Church’s liberal trend, especially its 2003 election of an openly gay bishop. A suffragan, or assistant, bishop in Albany also left the diocese in March to join a missionary diocese of the Anglican Church of Nigeria. A handful of the 7,400-odd Episcopal parishes in the U.S. have left the Episcopal Church to join the Nigerian church, which is headed by conservative archbishop Peter Akinola. Episcopal presiding bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori told Herzog that she wishes him well “as you enter another room in Christ’s Church.”

The Latin American Council of Churches, known under its Spanish acronym CLAI, has elected Panamanian Episcopal bishop Julio Murray as its first black president in a tightly contested election. “This is a new day for CLAI,” said Murray, 48, after his election.

Cartoonist Johnny Hart, creator of the award-winning and sometimes controversial B.C. comic strip, died in his home in Endicott, New York, April 7 at age 76. Hart created the comic strip featuring prehistoric characters in 1958. The strip had a following of more than 100 million readers worldwide. After his religious conversion in 1987, Hart began integrating elements of his evangelical Christian faith into his comics, a decision that drew criticism from Jewish and Muslim faith groups. Jewish groups were especially upset with his Easter-themed cartoon published on Easter Sunday in 2001 that features the words “It is finished” above a menorah that becomes a cross.