First Woman Bishop for India Consecrated
The Church of South India has consecrated its first woman bishop. On 29 Sept 2013 the Rev. E. Pushpa Lalitha was consecrated Bishop in Nandyal in the Southern Indian state of Andhra Predesh.
On 25 Sept the CSI’s Synod Executive selected Bishop-elect Lalitha from among four candidates short listed by the diocese to succeed the Rt. Rev. P.J. Lawrence.
Bishop-elect Lalitha (57) was born in Diguvappad village in the Kurnool district of Andhra Predesh in Southern India. Educated at Andhra Christian Theological College, she was ordained a priest in 1984. A Telugu speaker, she ministered in several villages before serving as the director of Vishranthi Nilayam in Bangalore and as the administrative head of the CSI’s women fellowship.
Among her priorities is the empowerment of women. “Be it any institution, women are always given second-rung treatment. We need to change that by promoting values that teach us to not to discriminate and treat all humans the same.”
“I hail from a village and my parents sold their land to educate me. I want every girl from such a background to get the best education possible. Only education can change lives,” she said.
“As a priest, my primary responsibility was towards my congregation. As a bishop, the responsibilities are much more,” she said.
Women were first ordained for the Church of South India – a united church formed from the merger of the Anglican, Presbyterian, Baptist and other Protestant denominations in 1947. The church at present has 110 women clergy.
Read more - HERE
Let's Get Out Of Church Sunday
“What if we’ve never been to Church, Bish?,” a sailor asked me one “smoko”. I’d been Googling “Back to Church Sunday” and he reminded me that, among the thousands of sailors and marines in the ships of the Royal Navy Task Group at sea in the Mediterranean, many have never been to church. How can my shipmate go back to somewhere he’s never been?
Doesn’t the same apply to people the length of the land? Maybe that’s why, whenever I hear “Back to Church Sunday”, I see an uncomfortable vision of God calling: “Get off your pews and come to where the work is.”
I’m chaplain to the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, 2,000 people who operate the 13 ships that supply the Royal Navy and Royal Marines at sea. I am ordained priest and commissioned into the navy. They call me “Bish”, sometimes “Padre” (especially the marines) and occasionally “Father”. My nicknames include “Sky Pilot”, “God Botherer” and, my personal favourite: “Sin Bo’sun”. My job is deceptively simple: “Friend and adviser to all on board.” I try and keep a free-ish diary so that I can loiter “with intent”, hence the chats at “smoko”, a tea-break.
Read more HERE
Leicester Cathedral Reveals Richard III Tomb
Stone fit for a King
The detailed designs for the tomb of King Richard III were revealed today by Leicester Cathedral, as they seek planning permission for the design . The Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England will review the plans and is expected to make a decision by late October.
The King will have a raised tomb of finely worked Swaledale fossil limestone deeply incised with a simple cross, placed at the centre of a rose carved in white limestone, surrounded by a band of dark Kilkenny limestone, in a special area created by re-ordering part of the interior of the Cathedral. The top of the tomb is inclined towards the east, as a symbol of the resurrection of the dead.
The name of the King, the dates of his birth and death (1452-1485) his personal motto , ‘Loyaulte me Lie (Loyalty binds Me)’ and his ‘boar’ badge will be carved into the dark circular band on the floor around the tomb. The area will be defined by wooden screens, between the new altar under the tower and a new chapel which will be used for private prayer and for regular daily worship.
The site of the tomb is in what is now the Chancel of the Cathedral, a traditional place of honour. This is equivalent to the position of the King's original grave in the Grey Friars Priory.
The Dean of Leicester, the Very Reverend David Monteith, said today: "We fully respect the process of the Judicial Review which will ensure the procedure leading to the reinterment is correct. While this takes its course we must, as would any Cathedral in this position, seek planning permission for the detailed and costly changes which need to be made to the building.
“The overall concept is regal and respectful in its elegant simplicity, as befits the final resting place of a King of England. By placing the tomb in our Chancel, we are giving King Richard the same honour as did those friars more than 500 years ago."
The Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Tim Stevens said “I am proud to support the Cathedral in continuing to progress its responsibility to prepare for the reinterment of King Richard while the judicial process continues. Our Cathedral deserves our prayerful support during these exciting and challenging times”.
The improvements to the inside of the Cathedral - which include opening up the area directly under the tower - will also create a better experience for the thousands of people expected to visit - leading them through the building, past the tomb area and through various interpretation boards telling the story of the King and the Cathedral.
The Cathedral site is also being dramatically improved through the Cathedral Gardens project, which will create a new public open space, including re-siting the statue of Richard III now in Castle Gardens and a new piece of artwork funded by the County Council. This project is currently out to tender and work is expected to start next month.
Dr Phil Stone, Chair of the Richard III Society, described the design as "utterly inspired'.
He said: "Because of the Judicial Review, the Society must stick by its neutrality. If in two to three months’ time it is clear that Richard is coming to Leicester then I hope this will proceed according to these plans. This design is utterly inspired and if it does not come here, I hope they will do the same thing somewhere else."
The overall design work has been guided by a project group chaired by the Rev Canon Mandy Ford, which included representatives from the Richard III Society, the City Council and the University of Leicester. Mandy said “This design is the result of wide and careful consideration. The architects have responded to our desire for a monument which speaks of the great Christian themes of life, death and resurrection, while marking the resting place of one individual”.
All the designs have now been submitted to the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England for final approval. The CFCE is the statutory planning body who have to approve all proposed alterations to English Cathedrals. A decision is expected by the end of October. The documents and pictures can all be seen on the website www.leicester.anglican.org, with a short video from the Dean.
The tomb and interior designs were created by the firm of van Heyningen and Haward, Architects. The designs were presented to interested groups earlier in the week, including local MPs and Peers, the Richard III Society and the wider Cathedral community. The cost of the reinterment and the reordering of the Cathedral in connection with it will be around £1.3m. The tomb and vault will cost in the region of £96,000.
Waikato Chooses A New Leader
The Rev Dr Helen-Ann Hartley has been chosen as the 7th Anglican Bishop of Waikato – the first woman to hold this office.
The Rev Dr Helen-Ann Hartley has been elected the next Anglican Bishop of Waikato. She is the FIRST woman ordained in the Church of England to EVER hold the office of Bishop, which is a momentous achievement!!
Helen-Ann, who is 40, will become the 7th Bishop of Waikato – and the first woman to hold the office. She succeeds Archbishop David Moxon, who is now the Anglican Communion’s ambassador to Rome.
Bishop-elect Helen-Ann is at present Dean of Tikanga Pakeha students at St John's College in Auckland.
She was born in Edinburgh and grew up in north-east England. She is the fourth generation of her family to be ordained, and was priested in 2005 in the Diocese of Oxford.
She worked as one of a team ministering to 12 rural parishes in Oxfordshire before being appointed as the Director of Biblical Studies and a lecturer in the New Testament at Ripon College Cuddesdon, near Oxford – arguably the most prestigious theological college in the Anglican world.
Helen-Ann, with her husband Myles who is a musician and church organist, came to New Zealand in 2010 to undertake research at St John’s College – and returned in February 2011 to take up the position as Dean.
Helen-Ann sees the Diocese of Waikato and Taranaki as having a richness that she wants to explore as she joins its journey of faith.
Read more - HERE
Born To Be Bikers: Motorcycle Ministries
“Someone got up [at a funeral] and asked ‘where’s Billy?’ and I started talking about God’s love for all of us. I said he’s with God of course,” Geisler recalled during a recent interview. “Everybody erupted with cheers of happiness, because they’ve been told they’re bad people.”
An avid biker, Geisler, 57, rector of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Pittsburgh, realized the need for a motorcycle ministry after a biker said to him, “you don’t know what it’s like to look like Frankenstein and have the heart of Shirley Temple.”
Read more HERE
The Religion of Apple
Decades after Apple's founding, we've grown used to referring to lovers of the company's products as a "cult." The devotion of customers to Apple products has long been the envy of competitors for its fanatical fervour.
It turns out that the religious intensity with which people follow the company is not entirely by accident. In a new book, "Appletopia," author Brett Robinson examines the way that Steve Jobs drew on religious metaphors and iconography to elevate his products specifically, and technology more generally, into a kind of religion.
"The creative rhetoric around Apple's technology has favoured religious metaphors," Robinson said in an interview. "Some of it is conscious on Apple's part. Some of it is unconscious."
Read more HERE
The New Zealand Defence Force is issuing new recruits with waterproof Bibles, endorsed by TV adventurer Bear Grylls, in a worldwide military first.
The act of presenting military personnel with Bibles harks back to World War I when personnel were presented with them by King George V.
Even in modern times, NZDF Chaplain Class One Lance Lukin says he still distributes around 2500 Bibles a year.
"In moments of crisis, pulling out a Bible can provide our service men and women with reassurance and strength," he said.
Chaplain Lukin is the brainchild behind the camouflaged book of faith after coming across a waterproof version in a Wellington bargain bin last year.
"I saw it and immediately thought 'how cool is that' and wondered how it could be adapted into an NZDF resource specifically for new recruits."
Read more HERE