British bishop convicted for child abuse

This video from Britain says about itself:

Church Inquiry Into Bishop Peter Ball Abuse Cover Up

The Church of England has announced an independent inquiry into allegations of a cover up of sexual abuse in the church, looking at whether the behaviour of a former Bishop of Gloucester, Peter Ball, was overlooked because of his connections within the church and the establishment.

Originally broadcast on the BBC on October 5th, 2015.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Years in prison for Anglican bishop because of abuse

Today, 16:53

A former bishop of the Anglican Church in Britain has been sentenced to 32 months in prison for abuse of boys and young men. The 83-year-old Peter Ball has admitted that he abused eighteen victims in the 1970s, 80s and 90s.

The judge said the bishop abused his position. His victims have stated that he was sadistic and mentally abused them as well. One of the victims committed suicide.


In 1993 already a 16-year-old victim went to the police. During the investigation that followed, Ball was supported by parliamentarians, ministers and a member of the royal family, reports The Guardian. Ball eventually got only a warning and he resigned.

In 2012 the police started a new investigation. Ball first tried to evade persecution by saying that his health was too ill to stand trial. The judge did not agree with that. Last month the former bishop admitted the abuse.

Prince Charles denies using influence to protect bishop from sex crimes prosecution. Unnamed member of the Royal Family sent a letter of support for Peter Ball as prosecutors considered putting him on trial: here.

The inertia plaguing historic child sexual abuse investigations of Establishment figures does not bode well for any final resolution, writes Steven Walker: here.

Texas Christians march for justice for Sandra Bland

Christian demonstrators for justice for Sandra Bland

From the United Church of Christ in the USA:

Texas ministers join justice rally for Sandra Bland

September 01, 2015

Written by Anthony Moujaes

A trio of United Church of Christ ministers in Texas carried banners for justice, joining residents of Waller County in a public demonstration calling for justness in the death of Sandra Bland, a black woman who died while in police custody in July in that county’s jail near Houston.

What they discovered was the StillSpeaking God in an unexpected place, as march participants chanted “Sandy still speaks”. The Rev. Lynette Ross and the Rev. Ginny Brown Daniel say they were “struck by that phrase to the similarity of our own mantra in the United Church of Christ that ‘God is Still Speaking.'”

“Indeed God was still speaking as we marched to the town hall,” Brown Daniel said.

Rev. Lynette Ross and Rev. Ginny Brown Daniel for justice for Sandra Bland

On Aug. 20, the Rev. Dan De Leon, pastor of Friends Congregational Church UCC, in College Station, went to the jail where Bland died and to the site of her arrest. Five days later, Aug. 25, Ross, pastor of Cathedral of Hope-Houston, and Brown Daniel, a UCC minister and president of Divine Sparks, Consulting, marched in the Solidarity with Sandy Walk to protest Bland’s death. The walk began at Bland’s alma mater, Prairie View A&M University, and ended at the Prairie View Town Hall, where the City Council voted to change the name of the road where Bland was arrested from University Drive to the Sandra Bland Parkway.

The circumstances of Bland’s death have been disputed. She was pulled over on July 10 for a minor traffic violation, and was arrested after the interaction between her and a state trooper became heated. Three days later, police found her dead in her jail cell. Believing she had hanged herself, the county coroner ruled her death a suicide. Bland’s family doesn’t believe that version of events, and is awaiting the results of an independent autopsy.

Prayer vigils have been held at the Waller County jail since Bland’s death, and a district attorney said that her death is being investigated as a murder.

“Sandra’s prophetic voice was disarming, and it needs to be, De Leon said. “There was a print that read, ‘Always be loving,’ placed right next to a poster with the words, ‘May you have no peace until justice is served.’ For me, this resembles the paradox of the cross of Christ—a visible intersection of love and justice. Sandra’s memorial reminds us that we need to keep going to those places where love and justice meet if we truly desire to see God’s transformative power topple racism and the racist systems that still plague not just Waller County, but our very hearts and minds.

Ross and Brown Daniel said that local residents told them that before Bland’s death many African-American men and women in Waller County had been unfairly pulled over by the police and subsequently arrested. “The only difference this time is that it was recorded and has made the national news because of her death, they said.

“It was as if the spirits of those who have endured oppressive and violent racism in Waller County, Texas, surrounded us as stories were shared about political injustice and voter rights denial, Brown Daniel said.

The Waller County sheriff, who has called protesters members of the “church of Satan,” ordered the tree where protesters gathered for shade to be cut down, according to Bland supporters, preventing protesters any reprieve from the summer heat.

Ross said, “Christ’s mandate to all of us is that we are called to walk shoulder-to-shoulder together as brothers and sisters, speaking truth to power, liberating the oppressed, caring for the poor, comforting the afflicted, and afflicting the comfortable. We are the United Church of Christ!”

Although the ministers weren’t aware of the county’s history, they vowed to preach, march, and advocate with the residents of Prairie View. One of those people they met, a woman named Karisha, told them that Bland’s life is stirring up her own faith again and fueling her passion for justice and opening her heart to humanity.

“This is the people that God has called us to be as the South Central Conference of the United Church of Christ—a Church that will unapologetically go to those places where love and justice meet, no matter how uncomfortable those places might be, until oppression gives way to equality, Brown Daniel said. “God is still speaking.”

Evangelical Lutheran solidarity with pro-Sandra Bland vigil in Texas, USA

This video from Texas, USA says about itself:

Pastor and activist Hannah Adair Bonner gives a tour of the Waller County Jail where questions still remain over the death of Sandra Bland.

From the Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church in Louisiana, USA:

A Letter In Solidarity With the Sandra Bland Vigil Participants in Waller County

17 August 2015

Throughout history threats and acts of intimidation have been used to oppose those who call for justice in the lives of people who are marginalized, imprisoned, oppressed, or losing their lives. As people of faith, we gather at the foot of the cross of Jesus to resist this oppression. We join our voices to the voices of all who seek a fair and transparent investigation of the death of Sandra Bland. We say, with them, “Black Lives Matter.”

Recently, people of every faith, and those with no faith, have gathered in front of the Waller County Jail in Hempstead, Texas to proclaim that “Sandra Bland’s life mattered. It still matters. Sandy still speaks.” Rev. Hannah Adair Bonner, a United Methodist pastor, has been a faithful, prayerful, steady presence in front of the jail, along with the other conscientious participants.

On Sunday, August 9, the crowd was larger than the daily gathering. Rather than respond graciously to those exercising their constitutional rights to petition the government and gather for prayer, Waller County Sheriff Smith demeaned the protestors. He later said to Rev. Bonner, “Why don’t you go back to the church of Satan that you run?” Since then, we understand the sheriff’s office has taken other actions to intimidate the protestors standing in vigil for Sandra Bland.

Rev. Bonner and those with her are a living witness to what it means to be the church. They are working to tear down the walls of classism, sexism, and racism while building bridges of unconditional love. Their presence in these vigils embodies what it means to be Christ in the world.

We stand in solidarity with Rev. Bonner, and all who gather outside the Waller County Jail to protest and pray peacefully. They are bravely doing Christ’s work. Their peaceful actions demonstrate how Christians respond to injustice with love. We join with them in committing ourselves and our prayers to the important work of building bridges to those divided from us by reasons of hatred, fear, racism, injustice, and oppression.

Finally, and most importantly, we remember and proclaim that Sandra Bland was a beloved child of God. Her life mattered to her family. It mattered to her friends. It mattered to God, just as her life, and all black lives, matter to us. We, therefore, urge the Sheriff’s Department to act with restraint, compassion, and kindness toward all who are gathered outside the Waller County Jail to bear witness to Sandra Bland’s life.


Bishop Michael Rinehart

Please email the synod office with the following information, if you’d like to be added to this letter of support: Name, City, State, Faith (if applicable)

Rev. Sandra Barnes, Slidell, LA, ELCA
Rev. Jennifer E. Boyd, Danbury, CT, ELCA
Rev. Margaret C. Casper, Galena, IL, ELCA
Rev. Andrew V. Chavanak, Falls City, NE, ELCA
Rev. Michael Coffey, Austin, TX, ELCA
Rev. Kathleen Davies, PCUSA
Fredericka DeBerry, Brenham, TX
Diana Edis, Columbia, SC, Lutheran
Paula Fox, Bryan, TX
Rev. Brad Fuerst, Houston, TX, ELCA
Rev. Kristin Galle, Spring, TX, UCC
Rev. Lura Groen, Houston, TX, ELCA
Amy Gulliksen, Carrollton, TX, ELCA
Megan Hansen, Conroe, TX, PC(USA) Ruling Elder
Rev. Barbara Harrison Condon, Idaho Falls, ID, ELCA
Beth Hartfiel, Houston, TX, ELCA
Rev. Peder Hinderlie, Milnor, ND, ELCA
Rev. Nancy Jaster, Woodhull, IL, ELCA
Rev. Sandra Jones, Aurora, IL
Rev. Ann Koopmann, TX, ELCA
Rev. Jennifer Shimota Krushas, High Point, NC, ELCA
Rev. Dr. Duane Larson, Princeton, IA, ELCA
Rev. Michael Lawrence-Weden, San Antonio, TX
Rev. Paul Lubold, Pittburgh, PA, ELCA
Rev. Blair Lundborg, Conroe, TX, ELCA
Andrea Martinez, Houston, TX
Rebecca McDonald, Cypress, TX, ELCA
Rev. Br. Chris Markert, Galveston, TX, ELCA
Rev. Cora Lee Meier, Mesa, AZ, ELCA
Rev. Kerry Nelson, Houston, TX, ELCA
Rev. Diane M. Olson, Milwaukee, WI, ELCA
Rev. Priscilla Paris-Austi, Seattle, WA, ELCA
Rev. Charles Parnell, Brenham, TX, ELCA
Br. Michael Patterson, OLF, Cypress, TX, ELCA
Rev. Mindy Roll, College Station, TX, ELCA
Susan Ruch, The Woodlands, TX
Rev. Karl Runser, Lock Haven, PA, ELCA
Rebecca Shields, Houston, TX
Laura Sims, Arlington, TX, ELCA
Joanna Thornton, Houston, TX, ELCA
Rev. Kim Truebenbach, Giltersville, PA, ELCA
Donna Vass, Houston, TX, ELCA
Joe Watt, Beaumont, TX
Rev. Donna M. Wright, Cheltenham, PA, ELCA
Rev. Edward Wunderlich, Waller, TX, ELCA

Sandra Bland’s Family Says They Are “Infuriated” By Arrest Video: here.

USA: Black August, a month of political prisoner activism and commemoration, can help remind us of the nation’s exponentially expanding racist prison system: here.

The Prophetic Preaching of Sandra Bland. By Rev. Hannah Adair Bonner 09-16-2015. See more here.

Baptists arrested in Missouri, USA

Members of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America delegation that traveled to Ferguson, Mo. Four were arrested in a civil disobedience demonstration. (Photo: Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America Facebook page)

After a sheriff in Texas, USA referred to a Methodist preacher as ‘Satanic’ for caring about the death of Sandra Bland, now Baptists arrested for caring about the death of Michael Brown. Maybe ‘Satanists’ to law enforcement as well? [sarcasm off]

From the Baptist Standard in the USA:

August 17, 2015

By Staff / Baptist Standard

Four of the 57 people arrested Aug. 10 in a peaceful protest outside a federal courthouse in St. Louis were part of an eight-member Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America delegation in Ferguson, Mo., there to observe the one-year anniversary of the Aug. 9, 2014, police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan issued a statement saying the arrests were for “obstructing the normal use” of entrances to the Thomas Eagleton Federal Courthouse. They occurred during an “otherwise peaceful and nonviolent” march by about 200 protestors through downtown St. Louis in a day of civil disobedience dubbed “Moral Monday.” BPFNA Executive Director LeDayne McLeese Polaski identified the four arrested delegation members as Martha Kearse, associate minister at St. John’s Baptist Church in Charlotte, N.C.; Tremaine Sails-Dunbar, a senior at American Baptist College in Nashville, Tenn.; Barbara Smalley-McMahan, a pastoral counselor and American Baptist minister active in previous Moral Monday protests in North Carolina; and Alexis Tardy, a recent graduate of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and former intern in the office of Congressman André Carson, D-Ind.