The News In Review newsletter is a service
by Understand The Times that
is a compilation of the news articles
on our site . Understand The Times does not
endorse these events but rather is
showing the church the current events.
Our purpose of posting these
articles is to warn the church of the
April 19 - N.Y. Episcopal Priest to Marry Gay Partner
Article: Perilous Times
The priest heading an
Episcopal parish in Bath, N.Y., has decided to marry
his longtime gay partner, according
to a recent announcement. The
Very Rev. J. Brad Benson, rector of St.
Thomas' Episcopal Church, plans to
get married this summer in a state where
same-sex marriage is legal.
The St. Thomas rector
explained that he has
begun to see the word "marriage"
in purely legal terms and has come to
realize that he and his partner "need"
the legal rights and responsibilities
afforded in a marriage.
After seeking legal
marriage in another state, the gay couple will then
seek the church's blessing
through a liturgy which will be
attended and presided by three bishops
- Rochester Bishop
Prince Singh, retired Bishop Jack McKelvey,
and Maine Bishop Stephen Lane.
The announcement comes
as more dioceses
within The Episcopal Church have
permitted clergy to wed homosexual couples
despite the call by
leaders in the worldwide Anglican Communion,
of which The Episcopal Church
is the U.S. arm, to practice gracious
restraint in regards to the blessing
of gay and lesbian couples.
Last summer, The
Episcopal Church approved a resolution
allowing "bishops, particularly those
in dioceses within civil jurisdictions where
same-gender marriage, civil
unions or domestic partnerships are
to "provide generous pastoral response
to meet the needs of members of this
The resolution also noted
the need to consider
providing theological and
liturgical resources for the blessing of
same gender relationships.
The Episcopal Church does not permit its
"Order of Marriage" to be used in
the marriage of same-sex couples.
Read More ....
April 15 - Australia faces huge locust plague
Article: Signs Of The Last Times
Farmers across the
Australian Outback have been warned of
explosion of locusts in the coming months,
after a plague of
millions of the grasshopper-like insects
swept across four
states earlier this month.
Millions of the quick-breeding and
fast-moving insects have
damaged crops and caused havoc in country
towns by infesting parts of
Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and
South Australia - covering an
area of approximately 500,000 square
kilometres (190,000 square miles),
roughly the size of Spain.
this year's outbreak could
potentially be worse
than the devastating plague of 2004 - when
locusts swept through eastern
Australia damaging an area twice the size
of England - because of
recent rainfall across drought-affected
"Some farmers are
taking it into their own hands because
quite large scale damage on a lot of
properties," he said.
And it is not just
the horticulture and agriculture industries
that have been hit by the
bugs, the towns
themselves are also being
inundated with the pests which
are a danger to drivers as
they swarm over cars on country highways,
as well as casuing a hazard to
pilots flying aircraft.
"It's really really
bad here, one of the
400m long fairways was just
completely brown because it was
covered in locusts,"
Mr Newey told The Times.
The biggest threat is
yet to come according to
authorities who have warned rural areas to
brace for a further breakout
as eggs laid by the
current plague hatch in the
"Come the middle of
September through to October across that
entire inland area...
we expect there to be
some very large infestations
again," Mr Adriaansen said.
Read More ....
April 26 - Major earthquake hits off Taiwan coast
Article: Signs Of The Last Times
earthquake struck off the southeast coast of
Taiwan on Monday, causing
buildings to sway briefly but no casualties or damage.
The temblor was felt at the site of a
massive landslide in northern Taiwan
but did not hamper rescue
quake hit at 10:59 a.m. (0259 GMT), 195
miles (295 kilometers) off the
southern Taiwan city of Taitung at a depth
of 6.2 miles (10 kilometers), the
U.S. Geological Survey said. The agency's
initial report had put the quake's
magnitude at 6.9.
buildings swayed for up to 20 seconds when
the quake hit, but police
said there were no reports of casualties or
damage anywhere on the island.
No tsunami alert was issued.
frequently rattle Taiwan but most are minor
and cause little or no damage.
However, a 7.6-magnitude earthquake in
central Taiwan in 1999 killed more
than 2,300 people.
Read More ....
April 24 - Methodists Step Outside Pews to 'Change the World'
Article: Social Gospel
More than a thousand
United Methodist churches have begun to "change
the world" through radical service
this weekend. The April 24-25
initiative is intended to get the nearly 8
out from the pews and
into local and global
communities where they can make an
"Change the World
challenges the people of The United
to see the world
holistically by giving and
serving beyond the four walls of
sanctuaries and Sunday school
classrooms," said the Rev. Larry
Hollon, chief executive of United
Methodist Communications. "Our hope is
that not only will church members
participate, they will invite neighbors in
the community to work
side-by-side with them to make a
sustainable difference in diverse
Many are also
engaging in malaria
initiatives as the "Change the
World" event coincides with World
Malaria Day on Sunday.
across the country are camping
out under bed nets to show their commitment
to ending malaria deaths in
Change the World is
part of UMC's larger Rethink Church
campaign, which was launched a year ago.
Rethink Church challenges
Christians to be more outwardly focused and
engaged in the world and
helps them reassess what it means to be
people of faith.
trying to rethink church for several
years - even before the current campaign
the Rev. Dan Peil, pastor of Elk City
United Methodist Church, Elk City,
Okla., told the denomination's news
World gives us one more chance to do
April 23 - 'Turning strangers into Friends' - Review of report from Catholic Bishops of England and Wales
Article: One World Religion
Britain we are engaged in a
process of learning how to construct
and live in a society made up of different
is how Archbishop Vincent Nichols of
Westminster begins his foreword to a
significant teaching document from the
Catholic bishops of England and Wales
on inter-religious dialogue published today.
But it is, of course,
not only Britain. The same could
be said for almost all countries in a time
of globalisation and
For this reason
Meeting God in Friend
and Stranger needs to reach a
wider readership than just British
Catholics. An important attempt to
"read the signs of the times" and, as a
to promote the importance of inter-religious
dialogue, it both draws
on and tries to clarify some of the complex
questions arising from the
contemporary Catholic position about
relationships with other faiths. It
sets out simply what the Catholic Church
means by dialogue, "a way of living
in positive relations with others", and
"enable the reign or Kingdom of God to
permeate the minds and hearts, the cultures
and activities of the world of
their time", as well as clearly
distinguishing them from "relativism" and
The basic theological
underpinning is also carefully teased out.
proposition is the universality of God's
love, the corresponding
unity - in diversity - of the
human race and the irreducible
primacy of human dignity. This means
Catholics are called
to dialogue not as an optional
extra. Dialogue is "intrinsic to our
understanding of Church" as the
"sacrament of humanity" whether it is
dialogue of life, action, theological
discussion or spirituality. Catholics must
therefore strive to be "open to
all that is true and holy" in other faiths,
and moreover, to "acknowledge,
preserve and encourage" their "spiritual and
moral truths... together with
their social life and
Catholics "come together to pray"
with other faiths - as Pope
John Paul II did on occasions at Assisi -
with each faith praying in its own
way; they do not "pray
together" with them. This is a
subtle distinction yet one of understandable
importance to religious
leaders. The bishops are also refreshingly
open about the problem posed to
genuine dialogue by the harassment and
sometimes persecution of Christians
in some countries.
The Vatican II document,
Lumen Gentium, says about Muslims, "and
together with us they adore the one merciful
does it mean that when Muslims attend their
Friday or daily worship, they
are incidentally praying on behalf of Jews
and Christians who share their
adoration - but not necessarily their
regular prayer life? This would be a
comforting thought for those with a prayer
deficit. If, as Christian
theology holds, the "fullness of truth" will
only be realised with the
second coming of Christ, how, from a
Christian perspective, can anyone be sure
that non-Christian faiths are
adequately described as containing only
"glimpses of that one truth" or
reflecting a single "ray of that truth" ?
This would be a humbling thought
for those disabled by
Read More ....
May 2 - Israeli officials: Obama to call world summit if Mideast peace talks fail
Article: Israel And The Last Days
The task of
dialogue isn't only a task for leaders of
the world's religions, but rather
one that corresponds to every member of the
Church, says the
archbishop of Westminster. Archbishop
Vincent Nichols, who is also the
president of the episcopal conference of
England and Wales, noted this in
the introduction to a teaching document of
the conference on interreligious
introduction to the 102-page text
God in Friend and Stranger: Fostering
Mutual Respect and Understanding Between the
archbishop stated that there are those who
believe that religious beliefs
"are divisive and, at worst,
faith, Archbishop Nichols
continued, "instructs us and guides us
not only in the unique pathway to God
through Jesus Christ,
but also in the manner in which
we are to learn about and
cooperate with people of other
work of learning about and cooperating with
is "a task and a duty which falls
to us all."
parishes often include Catholics from
Africa, India, Vietnam, South America, the
Caribbean and the Philippines,
not to mention those who came from Poland
and Italy in the 1940s, and the
immigrants from Eastern Europe over the past
few years." The bishops note
that the Church in the United Kingdom
been greatly enriched by this diversity,
showing us how the one Gospel can
be 'inculturated' in many different
"To turn away from even
the attempt to dialogue is to despair of the
power of God and of his risen
Son to advance his own Kingdom of peace and
love," the text adds. "It
is to forget that the work of dialogue, as
with all forms of evangelization,
is not our work at all, but his. We are
merely his 'earthen vessels,' whose
limitations show that the extraordinary
power belongs to God, and does not
come from us."
Read More ....
April 29 - Preacher debunks damnation theories
Article: Perilous Times
pygmies in Africa and gays have in common?
They are both going to heaven. At
least that's what those exploring universal
Because she always feared for people who
weren't exposed to Christianity, bar
church minister Kathy Price started pursuing
universal reconciliation, the belief that all
people will receive salvation and
won't end up in the fiery bowels of hell.
Williams gained notoriety being one of the
first high profile 'Ex- gays' to
openly acknowledge years later that he was
still gay. He says
homosexuality, or sin
for that matter, is a "non-issue"
with God. He doesn't promote or defend any
lifestyle but teaches strictly
from the Bible that all of humanity
received freedom from sin and
judgment through the death of Jesus
Price said she doesn't know anything for
sure, but she said
reconciliation settles better with her than the
things she's learned all her life. She
believes that Christ died for
everyone's sins. The doctrine of hell has
alienated people from seeking God's grace.
After all, would a loving God damn
people for eternity just because they don't
Williams believes sin
began with Adam but ended with Jesus
Christ. He said some books of the
Bible such as the letters of the New
Testament, for example, is commentary on
scriptures as opposed to the scripture
Williams is also concerned about people
around the world who aren't Christian
believe God would toss them in to
hell. Williams struggled as a
child believing in God in fear of
punishment. When he finally
believed without fear of
said his faith became much more
Williams admits he's been called a heretic
and kicked out of many churches,
something he's not ashamed about. "The
definition of heresy is that you think
and believe something that is outside of the
society's realm of normality.
That's what heresy is.
I am a heretic, I preach heresy,
because I do not agree with the religiously
accepted view of the cross which
teaches that Christ's a failure, I teach he's
victorious," Williams said.
Read More ....
May 2 - Mary helps us see the face of God in Jesus' face, Pope says during Turin visit
Article: Roman Catholic Church And He Last Days
The Holy Father prayed
the Regina Caeli after Mass in Turin's St.
Charles Square on Sunday.
Saying Mary teaches
us to recognize the face of
God in Jesus' human face, Pope
Benedict asked for
her intercession for
workers, those in jail and
Mary, said the Holy Father
before the recitation of the Regina Caeli,
"I entrust this
city and all who live
Speaking the day
after Italy celebrated the feast of St.
Joseph the Worker,
he implored that Mary keep watch over
families, the "world of work" and
those who have lost their faith and hope.
Benedict XVI also asked
for her intercession
in comforting the sick, those
in jail and all who suffer.
"He reflected on the
Virgin Mary as "she who more than any
contemplated God in the human face of
Jesus. She saw him just
after birth, while wrapped in swaddling
clothes and lying in a manger;
she saw him just after death, when after
being taken from the cross,
they wrapped him in a cloth and took him to
the tomb." The image of her
tormented son was imprinted within her; but
this image was then
transfigured by the light of the
Resurrection," Pope Benedict said.
"In this way, the mystery of the
face of Christ, mystery of
death and glory, was kept in the heart of
"we can always learn to look at Jesus
with love and faith, to recognize
in that human face the Face of
The Holy Father
concluded by thanking all who have worked
to prepare for his visit and
the special exposition of the Shroud, which
he personally called for in
2008. He said he hoped that it would
bring about a "profound spiritual
Read More ....
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