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Anglican Unscripted Episode 36, April 16, 2012 April 16, 2012

Posted by geoconger in AMiA, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Church of Rwanda, Anglican Church of the Congo, Anglican.TV, Church in Wales, Property Litigation, Wicca/Druidism.
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Back from Holy Week your Host Kevin and George discuss AMiA, the Occult, and the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. David Ould joins us this week to talk about Clergy Protocol in the Australian Church and Dean Munday tackles Easter (the real one). Alan Haley talks about San Joaquin and the battle for paper documents.

Witchcraft warning from Wales: The Church of England Newspaper, April 6, 2012 p 6. April 9, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Church in Wales, Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Wicca/Druidism.
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Bishop Dominic Walker

The Bishop of Monmouth has voiced concern over the illicit celebration of black magic rituals in churches and graveyards performed by devotees of Wicca in Wales.

In an interview with WalesonLine, Bishop Dominic Walker said that the rise in popularity in the occult and wicca may have led to a rise in break-ins.  “Churches get disturbed and you can see someone’s carried out a ritual in a graveyard,” the bishop said.

“They’ll have drawn pentagrams and they will have performed rituals summoning up spirits.  Sometimes it’s difficult to know what’s happened whether it’s just sheer vandalism, kids playing, or whether it really has been a witchcraft group,” Bishop Walker said.

In an interview published last month with WalesonLine, Bishop Walker spoke of his work in deliverance ministries and exorcism helping people break free from the entanglements of the occult.

“Those who belong to occult groups – where someone has got into black magical group or satanic group or involved with the black arts – they can find it very difficult to get out,” the bishop said, adding that there can be “peer pressure and sometimes they’re controlled by fear – they’re told if they leave, if they disclose any of the secrets you’ll be cursed. It’s sort of religious version of belonging to a gang.”

Some hoped to use the occult for “good, for healing and for love” the bishops said, while others sought to practice the “black arts.”   “White magicians would say they’re an ancient religion which give equality to men and women … but also occult powers can be used for evil so the other side of it is that there are more involved in the black magic,” he said, noting “they hex, curse people [and] they try to use their powers for their own personal gain.”

While exorcism and deliverance ministries in popular imagination may be linked with the Roman Catholic Church or charismatic groups, some Church of England dioceses have clergy licensed by the diocesan bishop to perform exorcisms.

In 1972 the SPCK published a report entitled “Exorcism: the Findings of a Commission Convened by the Bishop of Exeter” that summarized the Church of England’s views on the phenomena.  In the foreward to the report, Bishop Robert Mortimer said the “unhealthy and near-hysterical publicity” given by the press to the subject led him to convene a group of Anglican and Roman Catholic scholars to investigate the theological, scriptural and pastoral issues involved.

In the 1970s, the bishop reported, few within the Church of England had knowledge of exorcism.  The church’s “general attitude” seemed to regard “exorcism as an exercise in white magic or a survival of medieval superstition.  It was seen as the purely negative action of expelling an evil force or cleansing an evil environment.  Its positive aspect as an extension of the frontiers of Christ’s Kingdom, and a demonstration of the power of the Resurrection to overcome evil and replace it with good was overlooked.”

The situation today within the church had changed, Bishop Walker said.  While some remained skeptical , “We know people practice black magic and if we believe that prayers and blessings are effective then you could say there must be spiritual forces that are evil and oppress people.”

“I think most of our clergy would say they know when they’re involved in a spiritual battle, when good things are happening and the Holy Spirit seems to be at work there does seem to be a force working against it as well,” the bishop said.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Anglican Unscripted, Aug 19, 2011 August 21, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Anglican.TV, Hymnody/Liturgy, Wicca/Druidism, Zimbabwe.
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Anglican Unscripted for August 19th, 2011 | AnglicanTV Ministries

http://anglican.tv/content/anglican-unscripted-august-19th-2011

This week’s Anglican Unscripted is our best yet. Kevin and George discuss our wicked church history from 499 years ago. They also discuss the latest news on the Anglican Liturgy and TECs hope in making changes to the sacrament of marriage.  Plus an exclusive on Zimbabwe.

Romanian witch tax introduced: The Church of England Newspaper, Feb 18, 2011 p 7. February 18, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Romanian Orthodox, Wicca/Druidism.
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First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Romanian witches have threatened to hex their government after the Senate passed a bill imposing fines on psychics, soothsayers, tarot card readers, fortunetellers and witches if their prognostications do not come true.

The bill, which must be approved by the lower house of the Romanian Parliament, the Chamber of Deputies, follows the implementation of a new tax and labour code which regulates “witches”.  Tarot card readings, curses, blessings and other forms of ‘witchcraft for pay’ as of Jan 1 are subject to 16 per cent VAT, and its practitioners must make mandatory contributions on their earnings to the country’s health and pension programmes.

While devotees of Wicca in Western European and the US see their beliefs as distinct from Christianity, in Romania witchcraft is viewed as a folk custom not in conflict with the tenets of the Orthodox Church.  The church however, has traditionally condemned witchcraft, while its practice was banned during the Communist era.

However, the ban on witchcraft was unevenly enforced, as Elena Ceausescu, the wife of Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausesecu, retained a witch on her staff.  Following the downfall of the Ceausescu regime, vrajitoares, or witches, enjoyed a renaissance, and by 2006 there were an estimated 4000 professional witches working in Romania: almost exclusively female and of Roma or “gypsy” heritage.

Proposals to tax witchcraft were first broached in 2001, and in 2002 the government banned witches from advertising on television.  Following Romania’s entry into the European Union in 2007 many witches registered as “alternative health care providers” under the EU’s “shared competence” regulations, making some fees eligible for government reimbursement.

The collapse of the Romanian economy, however, has pressed the government to find new sources of revenue, and in September 2010 the witch’s VAT law was passed.  The first reading of the law was defeated in the Senate however, after a number of legislators changed their vote at the last minute in response to a campaign of curses and hexes launched by the witches.

However, the ruling Democratic Liberal Party was able to push the law through in a reform of the labour code, prompting a number of witches to dump mandrake roots into the Danube on Jan 6, before a national television audience, and pronouncing curses upon the government.

The proposed bill which would impose fines on false predictions has further angered Romania’s witches.  “They can’t condemn witches, they should condemn the cards,” Queen Witch Bratara Buzea told the Associated Press.

Political commentators, however, see the anti-witchcraft campaign as a ploy by the government to build popular support.  Attacks on witches, and by implications the Gypsy population, appeal to nationalist elements in the country, while an attack on the perceived wealth of witches enjoys popular support in the country’s tabloid press.

“The government doesn’t have real solutions, so it invents problems,” Romanian political commentator Stelian Tanese said.  “This is the government that this country deserves.”

Appeal for Saudi woman facing death penalty for ‘witchcraft’: CEN 2.15.08 February 15, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Civil Rights, Crime, Islam, Wicca/Druidism.
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AN AMERICAN civil liberties group has written an open letter to the King of Saudi Arabia, urging him to pardon a woman sentenced to death for witchcraft under Sharia law.

Fawza Falih was condemned to death by a court in the town of Quraiyat after confessing under interrogation to having used sorcery to bewitch people. Witchcraft is not a crime under the Saudi penal code, however Sharia, or Muslim religious law, forbids its practice.

Read it all in The Church of England Newspaper’s Religious Intelligence section.

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Somerset priest quits: CEN 1.25.08 p 3 January 24, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Wicca/Druidism.
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chris-horseman.jpgA Somerset priest has agreed to resign his licence to officiate at Church services as a Church of England priest after a meeting with his bishop, after it was revealed he was training to qualify as a witch, third class.

The Rev. Chris Horseman relinquished his licence on Jan 16 after a meeting with the Bishop of Bath & Wells, the Rt. Rev. Peter Price. “Mr. Horseman, who lives in Claverham near Bristol, agreed his activities as a ceremonialist were incompatible with his Anglican Orders,” a statement released by diocesan spokesman Preb. John Andrews said.

“He offered his resignation which the Bishop is minded to accept though the Bishop has offered him a period of grace to consider the matter.”

In December the Bristol Evening Post reported the 53-year old non-stipendiary priest was enrolled in an online course offered by the College of Sacred Mists in California. The course offers classes in the history of religions, herbalism and spell-making. Upon completion of his studies he will be qualified to lead a coven and cast spells, the college prospectus states.

Mr. Horseman conceded his interests had raised some concern with the Church. “After I enrolled on the Wiccan course, I was called in to see the rural Dean, who asked some very sensible questions, but then wanted to know if I’d ever been involved in any satanic rituals?” he said, adding that his interests were in white magic.

No witch hunt for occult worshippers: Southern Cross 12.17.04 December 17, 2004

Posted by geoconger in Pennsylvania, Southern Cross, Syncretism, Wicca/Druidism.
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First published in The Southern Cross.

There would be no “witch hunt” for Druids, the Anglican Bishop of Pennsylvania declared following revelations that two of his clergy were active in the occult.

On October 29 Bishop Charles Bennison stated allegations that two rectors, the Rev William Melnyk and his wife, the Rev Glyn Ruppe-Melnyk, were “practicing druids and in violation of their ordination vows are extremely serious and merit further inquiries to establish the facts”.

The allegations have shocked conservatives around the world who are already critical of the US Church over the consectration of a gay bishop.

Charges of occult practices against the two were first raised when a staffer at the Washington think-tank, the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD), noticed that a liturgy entitled “A Celebration of the Divine Feminine” published on the website of the Office of Women’s Ministries of the Episcopal Church was identical to a “Eucharist to our Mother Goddess” posted on a pagan website.

Investigations revealed that the authors of the pagan liturgy submitted to the Episcopal Church were the Melnyks, and that they had written under the Druid and Wiccan names and conducted rituals evoking pagan gods and goddesses including some condemned in Scripture.

In an internet chatroom, under the pseudonym “Druis”, Mr Melnyk wrote in May that he was “57 and has been a member of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids since 1998. My spouse and I are both Druid graduates of the training course. We are also both priests in the Episcopal Church. Between us, we lead two groves, some call them ‘congregations’, of Christians.”

Last month the Melnyks “recanted and repudiated” their connection with Druidism in a letter to Bishop Bennison.

The reason for their involvement with the occult, they explained, was to “help others who had lost connection to the Church to find a way to reconnect.”

Mr Melnyk resigned the next day after the parish vestry determined it would not be possible for him “to continue effectively as the Rector”.

Mrs Ruppe-Melnyk continues in her post. They declined to respond to queries about their involvement in pagan worship.

While warring with traditionalist Anglo-Catholic and Evangelical clergy in his diocese, Bishop Bennison has taken a softer line with pagan clergy, issuing a letter of admonition to the Melnyks saying they “assure me that [druid worship] has never been used in liturgy or in their prayer life.”

Bishop Bennison gained notoriety after stating that while Christ forgives sins he “acknowledged his own sin [and] knows himself to be forgiven.”

Mr Bennison blamed right wing agitators for the Druid fracas, telling the Philadelphia Inquirer the IRD sought “to intimidate people in our church who would exercise theological imaginations, who would think out of the box.”

Sydney’s Anglican Church League called the move a ‘staggering celebration of paganism’.

Christianity Today accused US church leaders of diverting attention from the crisis over homosexuality by promoting pagan deities.