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Diocesan Digest - June 8


ENS photo/Mary Frances Schjonberg
Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold, left, and Diocese of Newark Bishop John Palmer Croneberger share a moment after the Eve of the Ascension Eucharist that concluded Griswold's official visit to the diocese.   (ENS photo/Mary Frances Schjonberg)

Congregants and friends of Christ Church, Pottersville, New York, gathered at the burned-out church for Pentecost.  

[Episcopal News Service] 
  • ALBANY: Arson-destroyed church vows to come back
  • CENTRAL PENNSYLVANIA: Nominees to succeed Creighton as bishop announced
  • NEWARK: Ascension makes Christ available to all, Griswold says
  • NEVADA: Church will be praying for convention
  • SOUTHEAST FLORIDA: Bishop gets ‘raise' to bless church roof
  • UPPER SOUTH CAROLINA: Cathedral opens new mission and ministry center

ALBANY: Arson-destroyed church vows to come back

[Sources: Diocese of Albany, North Country Gazette] The tiny congregation of Christ Church, Pottersville, New York, whose church building was destroyed by a suspicious fire on May 30, celebrated Pentecost with more than 170 people in attendance. One person was baptized.

While the cross was still firmly standing on the top of the steeple, the service was conducted outside under tents. Demolition of the building started shortly after the service concluded.

When asked how he felt about the loss, warden Jack Watson, said "we pray for the person who did this, but it won't stop us from rebuilding." Another parishioner said "the building burned before, and we rebuilt. We'll do the same again, and this time it'll be even better."

"The building is not Christ Church, the people gathered here today are Christ Church, and they are members of Christ's one holy catholic church," Bishop Daniel Herzog said in his Pentecost sermon preached during the Eucharist celebrated under a tent near the burned building.

On June 9 during the Diocesan Convention a special offering will be received, designated for the rebuilding of Christ Church.

Two weeks after vandals broke into the church and left a message that "you've been warned," the fire gutted the church in a resort town in the southern Adirondack Mountains.

Investigators from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms are heading up the investigation in conjunction with the state Office of Fire Prevention and Control and the Warren County Sheriff's Department. Fire officials said the fire apparently started inside the church.

The building was damaged with writings of a religious connotation scrawled on the walls and a warning left as the result of burglaries at the church on May 11 and 13.

One parishioner who asked not to be identified said that head of a statute of the Virgin Mary had smashed on the baptismal font. Religious items were reported stolen.

As a result of the previous break-ins and vandalism, surveillance equipment had reportedly been installed inside the church. Investigators have reportedly recovered the cameras in the rubble but it is unknown what data has been recovered from that equipment.

Parishioners said that the original church was built on the site in 1848 and had burned in the 1920s. The church which burned Tuesday had been constructed in 1929.

CENTRAL PENNSYLVANIA: Nominees to succeed Creighton as bishop announced

[Source: Diocese of Central Pennsylvania] Five priests have been nominated in the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania to take over leadership of the diocese later this year when Bishop Michael Creighton retires.

The nominees are:

  • The Rev. Stephen T. Ayres, 51, vicar, Old North Church, Boston, Massachusetts;
  • The Rev. Dr. Nathan D. Baxter, 57, rector, St. James' Church, Lancaster, Pennsylvania;
  • The Rev. Catherine A. Munz, 52, rector, St. Brendan's Church, Franklin Park, Pennsylvania;
  • The Rev. Dr. Gary Nicolosi, 55, rector, St. Peter's Church, Morristown, New Jersey; and
  • The Rev. Canon Mark Scheneman, 57, rector, St. John's Church, Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

The election is scheduled for July 22. Creighton, 65, has been bishop since January 1996.

NEWARK: Ascension makes Christ available to all, Griswold says

[Source: Episcopal News Service] Christ's ascension opens a new way for all people to be in communion with him, Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold said during a sermon preached at the Diocese of Newark's Trinity and St. Philip's Cathedral May 24 on the eve of the Ascension.

Christ's gift of the Holy Spirit is the mediator of that new way, Griswold said.

"What the Spirit takes from Christ is not information but life, life expressed as love and realized in the intimacy of communion where by Christ dwells in us and we in him," Griswold said during his sermon.

Thus the Spirit works in us what William Law, the 18th century Anglican mystic, called "the process of Christ."

"Not all at once but over time," Griswold said.

"Again and again we are shaped and shattered, transformed and conformed, by the events which overtake us, the choices we make, the struggles we endure, the responsibilities we bear, the joys that surprise us," Griswold told those who participated in the Eucharist with him.

How the Spirit uses all those events of our lives to work the process of Christ in us "bears witness to the ever-unfolding process of Christ unleashed by the Ascension and carried out unremittingly by the Spirit, in us, in others, in this diocese, in our church, in the Anglican Communion and in the whole of creation," Griswold said.

Griswold was in Newark, New Jersey, for his official diocesan visit. He met for just more than two hours with about 100 members of the diocese's clergy during the afternoon. During that time he spoke about ways clergy can stay grounded in the midst of the changes and challenges of their lives, and took questions from the clergy.

NEVADA: Church will be praying for convention

[Source: Trinity Episcopal Church] Trinity Episcopal Church in downtown Reno, Nevada, will be celebrating the Holy Eucharist each day of the General Convention at 12:10 pm.

Interim rector John R. Goddard said that the parish felt the need to join with other parishes in the Northwest Mission District of the diocese in praying for the church during the time of General Convention. 

"What better way to do this than to join with the people attending the convention in celebrating daily Holy Eucharist. This parish and the diocese are excited about the future of the church and wanted to support those making decisions about the future," he said.

Nevada Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori is among those bishops nominated to be the 26th Presiding Bishop.

More information about Trinity is available at

SOUTHEAST FLORIDA: Bishop gets ‘raise' to bless church roof

[Source: Palm Beach Post] For more than 100 years, a little white clapboard church perched atop a hill overlooking the Indian River has withstood everything Florida's weather has thrown at it — heat, humidity, drought, hurricanes.

The pristinely preserved All Saints' Church, which was consecrated in 1898, survived hurricanes Frances and Jeanne in 2004 with only a few lost shingles. But when Wilma howled through last year, the shingled roof sprouted serious leaks, including one over the altar.

Now the oldest church building of the 84 in the diocese, which stretches from Jensen Beach to Key West, sports a new metal roof. And its congregation found an unusual way to celebrate it June 3.

Bishop Leo Frade climbed into a cherry picker which hoisted him about 50 feet into the air until he was almost parallel with the wooden cross at the peak of the roof's gable.
Frade sprinkled holy water on the shiny metal and the heads of about 30 people who gathered to watch and pray as the bishop blessed the roof.

"Give us joy in all your works," Frade prayed. "And grant that this roof may be a safe place under which we shall gather."

On his way up, before the prayer, Frade smiled and joked: "They said they were going to give me a raise. I guess I didn't understand exactly what kind of raise it would be."
Afterward, Frade said he's blessed cars, ships and even children -- but this was his first roof.

"But with Florida's hurricanes now, this could become a custom," he said.

UPPER SOUTH CAROLINA: Cathedral opens new mission and ministry center

[Source: Trinity Cathedral] Trinity Cathedral in Columbia, South Carolina, dedicated its Trinity Center for Mission and Ministry on Pentecost.

The $6.2 million, 39,100-square-foot project, will serve Trinity members of all ages through its gymnasium, walking track, and exercise room. There are meeting rooms for Christian education and Bible study, youth group meetings, and senior adult activities.

The Trinity Center will also be a hub for outreach ministries to the wider community of Columbia. The present focus of the cathedral Outreach Committee is to have the Trinity Center expand and broaden its ministries to the underserved children of Columbia.

"The Trinity Center for Mission and Ministry is quite literally the realization of the seeds of a vision planted by the lay leadership more than 25 years ago," the cathedral's dean, the Very Reverend Philip C. Linder, writes on the cathedral's website (

The land the center occupies was a parking lot that was once the Trinity Church Lecture Room, before it was burned by during the Civil War General Tecumseh Sherman in 1865.

"I personally believed that it was critical for the Trinity Center to mirror the historic gothic architecture of the cathedral, built in 1846, and the parish house, built in 1924," Linder writes. "The Trinity Center looks as if it has stood on the corner of Gervais and Marion for many years, with her gothic tower as a beacon for Jesus Christ to all who pass by."