July 10th, 2012
10:00 PM ET

Episcopal Church approves same-sex blessing service

By Michael Pearson, CNN

(CNN) - Episcopal priests will be allowed to conduct services blessing same-sex relationships under a policy approved Tuesday at the church's national convention in Indianapolis.

The convention's House of Bishops approved the provisional policy 111-41 with three abstentions Monday, clearing it for consideration by the House of Deputies, which approved it Tuesday evening.

The policy was approved in the House of Deputies, following more than an hour of debate, by 78% of the voting lay members and by 76% of clergy.

With the vote, the Episcopal Church will become the largest U.S. denomination to officially sanction same-sex relationships. The Episcopal Church has about 1.95 million members in the United States, down 16% over the last decade, according to the church.

The service is not considered a marriage ceremony, media affairs representative Nancy Davidge said.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Episcopal • Gay marriage

My Take: The Christian case for gay marriage
The author backs same-sex marriage because of his faith, not in spite of it.
May 19th, 2012
02:00 AM ET

My Take: The Christian case for gay marriage

Editor's Note: Mark Osler is a Professor of Law at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

By Mark Osler, Special to CNN

I am a Christian, and I am in favor of gay marriage. The reason I am for gay marriage is because of my faith.

What I see in the Bible’s accounts of Jesus and his followers is an insistence that we don’t have the moral authority to deny others the blessing of holy institutions like baptism, communion, and marriage. God, through the Holy Spirit, infuses those moments with life, and it is not ours to either give or deny to others.

A clear instruction on this comes from Simon Peter, the “rock” on whom the church is built. Peter is a captivating figure in the Christian story. Jesus plucks him out of a fishing boat to become a disciple, and time and again he represents us all in learning at the feet of Christ.


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Episcopal • Gay marriage • Opinion

April 9th, 2012
05:07 PM ET

Celebrating Easter in a temple

(CNN)–Grace Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina had its Easter service in a local Jewish temple because of an earthquake centered in Virginia. CNN affiliate WCSC reports that the earthquake last August weakened the mortar between the bricks in the church that dates back to 1886.

The Easter service was held at Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim Synagogue two blocks from the church.

Read more from WCSC.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Episcopal • Houses of worship • Judaism

Faith Online: Social media bridges the old and the new
Joseph P. Mathews (on left) and Colin Chapman participate in one of the latest Digital Formation webinars.
February 22nd, 2012
02:39 AM ET

Faith Online: Social media bridges the old and the new

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – The General Theological Seminary was founded in 1817, making it the oldest Episcopalian seminary in the country. Twitter, on the other hand, was introduced to the public in 2006, making it, by comparison, a newborn.

Colin Chapman and Joseph Mathews, the relatively young founders of Digital Formation, hope to bring those two worlds together.

As a social media consulting endeavor, Digital Formation looks to help clergy and lay church leaders work their way through the ever-changing world of social media. When Chapman and Mathews proposed using webinars and classes as the means of teaching, the leadership of the seminary embraced the idea.

Though the organization is still in its early stages, the fact that Digital Formation was so quickly embraced shows how religious organizations not only desire more exposure to Twitter, but are willing to throw out what Chapman describes as a “behind the times” attitude to get that exposure.


- Dan Merica

Filed under: Culture & Science • Episcopal • New York • Technology • United States

My Take: An open letter to Kermit the Frog
The author writes to the famed frog, thanking him for his message on the importance of community in the movie "The Muppets."
December 7th, 2011
05:00 AM ET

My Take: An open letter to Kermit the Frog

Editor's note: Danielle Elizabeth Tumminio is an ordained Episcopal Church priest and is author of "God and Harry Potter at Yale: Teaching Faith and Fantasy Fiction in an Ivy League Classroom."

By Danielle Elizabeth Tumminio, Special to CNN

(CNN) - Dear Kermit,

You’re right. It’s not about the building.

In your newest movie, I hear them saying that you guys are irrelevant, washed up.

But I’m an Episcopal priest and for years they told me that I and other Christians were washed up and irrelevant, too.


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Church • Episcopal • Movies

Catholic Church smooths way for disaffected Episcopalians
Washington Archbishop Cardinal Donald Wuerl announced the new program for former Episcopalians Tuesday.
November 16th, 2011
02:26 PM ET

Catholic Church smooths way for disaffected Episcopalians

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - The Roman Catholic Church is establishing a program to help disaffected American Episcopalians to join the Catholic fold – including married Episcopal priests who want to become Catholic priests – it announced Tuesday.

The move comes after dozens of Episcopal parishes have left the Episcopal Church in recent years over what they allege is the mother church’s liberal drift, which they say is most dramatically reflected in its ordination of openly gay clergy.


- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Episcopal

Crane collapses at Washington's National Cathedral
A 500-ton crane collapsed at the Washington National Cathedral on Wednesday
September 7th, 2011
03:52 PM ET

Crane collapses at Washington's National Cathedral

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Washington (CNN)– A 500-ton crane collapsed at Washington's National Cathedral Wednesday morning, crushing several cars in a nearby parking lot and sending one person to the hospital, officials said.

The crane was working on the south side of the cathedral to stabilize debris on the central tower, the Cathedral administration said in a statement. Heavy rain was coming down when the crane fell around 10:55 a.m. in a parking lot adjacent to the cathedral, smashing cars and damaging another building on the grounds.

One person was transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries as a result of the crane crash, authorities said.


- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Church • Episcopal • Houses of worship

July 31st, 2011
01:00 AM ET

Do you speak Christian?

Editor's note: Kirby Ferguson is a New York-based writer, filmmaker and speaker who created the web video series Everything is a Remix. His videos, like the one above, can be found on Vimeo, an online community where artists share their films.

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - Can you speak Christian?

Have you told anyone “I’m born again?” Have you “walked the aisle” to “pray the prayer?”

Did you ever “name and claim” something and, after getting it, announce, “I’m highly blessed and favored?”

Many Americans are bilingual. They speak a secular language of sports talk, celebrity gossip and current events. But mention religion and some become armchair preachers who pepper their conversations with popular Christian words and trendy theological phrases.

If this is you, some Christian pastors and scholars have some bad news: You may not know what you’re talking about. They say that many contemporary Christians have become pious parrots. They constantly repeat Christian phrases that they don’t understand or distort.

Marcus Borg, an Episcopal theologian, calls this practice “speaking Christian.” He says he heard so many people misusing terms such as “born again” and “salvation” that he wrote a book about the practice.


- CNN Writer

Filed under: Baptist • Belief • Bible • Christianity • Church • Culture wars • Episcopal • Faith • Fundamentalism • Politics • Uncategorized

My Take: Should Christians spend a fortune on weddings?
Unlike William and Kate, the author did not have the Westminster Abbey choir perform at her wedding.
April 26th, 2011
08:55 AM ET

My Take: Should Christians spend a fortune on weddings?

Editor's Note: Danielle Elizabeth Tumminio is ordained in the Episcopal Church and has taught a variety of educational institutions, including Yale University. She is also the author of "God and Harry at Yale: Faith and Fiction in the Classroom."

By Danielle Elizabeth Tumminio, Special to CNN

In my last Belief Blog post, I expressed concerns about the cost of the upcoming royal wedding to taxpayers. Two days later, a friend e-mailed me (and I paraphrase):

You are in no place to criticize expensive weddings. You wear a diamond the size of a kiwi, the caterer served lobster profiteroles, a bagpiper led everyone in a procession from the church to the catering hall, and your whitened teeth looked as unnatural as Eva Longoria’s.

Though personal finances and not taxpayer dollars paid for our wedding, her words exhumed the Dr. Faust-style angel-devil debate between Danielle the Priest and Danielle the Bride that dominated my engagement. FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Episcopal • Opinion • United Kingdom

Jesus on trial: What would a modern jury do?
April 22nd, 2011
07:18 AM ET

Jesus on trial: What would a modern jury do?

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Richmond, Virginia (CNN) - If Jesus were tried in Richmond, Virginia, today, would he have been sentenced to death? Or would he have faced life behind bars with no chance for parole?

That’s the choice given to jurors here recently.

During Lent, the Church of the Holy Comforter used Virginia law to retry the sentencing phase of the blasphemy case against Jesus of Nazareth. Church members and guests played the role of the jury.

The trial was the brainchild of Mark Osler, a former U.S. Attorney in Detroit who teaches at the University of St. Thomas Law School in Minneapolis and is friends with a member of the Richmond church.

Osler wanted to hold the trial in part to call attention to the state’s use of capital punishment. Virginia is second only to Texas in the number of executions per state since the mid-1970s, when the U.S. Supreme Court reinstituted the death penalty, according to federal statistics. He held a similar event in Texas a few years ago.


- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Church • Episcopal • United States

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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.