From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Episcopal News Service Briefs

Date Fri, 14 Dec 2001 12:22:40 -0500 (EST)


News Briefs

Episcopal Parish Services moves online with new signs

     (ENS) For the past 55 years, Episcopal congregations across 
the nation have posted the familiar red, white and blue "The 
Episcopal Church Welcomes You" signs. This year, for the first time, 
congregations have new choices in signs and a new way to order 
them and other products from Episcopal Parish Services (EPS).

     Beginning December 12, congregations and individuals can order 
EPS products online using a credit card or a church EPS account, 
by going to the Episcopal Parish Services website 
( They can also call Episcopal 
Parish Services at (800) 903-5544 to request a brochure and order 
form, or use the forms in the center of the EPS catalog to place 

     Congregations now have a choice of a new church sign design 
with new words, a new design with the traditional words, and the 
traditional words and design. They can also order a small additional 
information sign that attaches to the main sign, reading "Member 
of the Worldwide Anglican Communion."

     Images of sample signs and detailed instructions located online 
will help the viewer select a sign and place the church name and 
other information on the sign. A preview section allows the viewer 
to see how the words entered will appear on the 
finished sign. The sign can then be purchased on the site's secure 
server, using a credit card and/or the church's EPS account number. 

     The signs come in standard sizes: large (24" x 30"), a small 
additional information sign (8" x 24") and an Anglican Communion 
sign (8" x 24"). All are constructed of porcelain glass fused to 
18-gauge steel, made to last for three decades. The "additional 
information" sign can be attached to the main sign to give times 
of services or other information, and the Anglican Communion sign 
can be attached below it. A specially designed scroll type bracket 
of rigid construction can be purchased to hang the sign.   

     "I think people will find the site inviting and easy to use," 
remarked Dan England, director of communication for the Episcopal 
Church. "I'm especially excited about the possibility that the new 
signs ordered online will soon be going up around the country. Of 
course, we're always looking for ways to improve service and we 
really want feedback on this."


University of the South awarded $1.9 million foundation grant

     (ENS) The University of the South is one of 28 colleges and 
universities in the country to receive a $1 million-plus grant from 
Lilly Endowment, Inc., to create or enhance programs that enable 
young people to draw upon the resources of religious wisdom as they 
think through their vocational choices and to consider the ministry 
as a profession they might pursue.

     The university, owned by the dioceses of Province IV of the 
Episcopal Church, received $1.98 million to attract young people 
to the ordained ministry, to provide more students with hands-on 
experience in religious- and service-based vocations 
through internships and outreach opportunities, and to support 
curricular and co-curricular efforts to help students explore 
values and vocations in collaborative programs involving the 
University Chapel, academic departments, the School of Theology, 
and Career Services.

     "With the Lilly Endowment's support, Sewanee can build a 
strong and enduring program to help young adults carefully consider 
their values and how they can best live out those values in their 
lives and chosen professions," said Dr. Joel Cunningham, president 
of the University of the South.

     Craig Dykstra, vice president for religion at the 
Indianapolis-based foundation, said: "These exciting grants directly 
address one of the major themes of the Endowment's grantmaking in 
religion, and that is to help identify, recruit, call and 
nurture into Christian ministry a new generation of talented pastors."

     A recent issue of Congregations magazine shows the percentage 
of clergy 35 years old and under is at just 4 percent in the 
Episcopal Church.

     Totaling $55.3 million, the 2001 grants will fund programs 
affecting students, faculty and staff at all the schools of the 
University of the South. Schools have planned activities such as 
student retreats, enhancing worship on campus, changing 
career-planning services, curricular changes, lecture series and 
conferences, special courses, semesters of study in seminaries 
and divinity schools, internships in congregations and faith-based 
organizations, and mentoring projects.

     "It is clear that these schools thought through their 
missions and strengths and that they were very intentional in 
devising these proposals," Dykstra said. "The caliber of 
proposals was outstanding, and it is obvious that all these 
schools thought seriously and productively about how to encourage 
young people to consider questions of faith and commitment as 
they choose their careers."

     Founded in 1937, the Lilly Endowment is a private family 
foundation that supports causes of religion, community development 
and education.


Future of Christian Coalition in doubt with Robertson's resignation

     (ENI) The resignation of the Rev. Pat Robertson as president 
of the conservative Christian Coalition has led to doubts about 
the organization's future. The coalition has been losing influence 
in recent years, its membership has dropped and its financial 
resources diminishing, critics point out.

     "The Christian Coalition has been a sinking ship for several 
years and now the captain has jumped overboard," said the Rev. 
Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for the 
Separation of Church and State. "Without Robertson's money and political 
clout, it's only a matter of time before the organization collapses 

     "The religious right in this nation is much bigger than any one 
person," said the Rev. C. Welton Gaddy, executive director of the 
Interfaith Alliance, formed in 1994 to counter the religious right. 
He argued that critics of the coalition must contend with "a 
broad-based movement that has power centres in the US government 
itself. I think he feels there is an Administration in place and 
at least one branch of Congress in place that carry his agenda."

     In the December 5 announcement of Robertson's resignation 
of the group he founded in 1989, the influential religious 
broadcaster and one-time Republican presidential candidate said 
he wanted to devote more time to ministry, to spirituality and to 
the Christian Broadcasting Network. He said that he wanted to 
focus on the things that would "bring forth the greatest spiritual 

     Robertson's successor, Roberta Combs, said that his vision 
to give US Christians "a seat at the table was the inspiration 
for millions who are now in their communities actively defending 
America's Godly heritage."

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