Antiochian Church Interested In St Alban’s Site

And pray that they get it: yet another a disused Anglican Church building. That, or it it becomes a  block of flats.

The Antiochian Orthodox Church has expressed an interest in taking over the St. Alban’s Church site as a base for its congregation.

A group of representatives from its Council of Management visited the Acton Green site yesterday (Thursday, May 24th).They were accompanied by a representative of the London Diocese of the Church of England who own the land.

The property is the subject of a controversial planning application by a developer who wants to turn the disused church building into ten flats. Local residents want it to be retained for community use and say they have three parties interested in the site, either for use as a church, theatre, or new primary school.

In a letter to Ealing Council last month, the Hon. Sec of the Council of Management of the Antiochian Orthodox Church (a Christian church with roots in the Middle East), Mr. Simon Abdel-Nour said that the church had 500 members on its books many of them living in Ealing, but others local to the site.

If the Antiochian Orthodox Church acquired the premises it would build a community hall on its southern side to replace the temporary one already there. This would be made available to the local community for use-it is used as a nursery at present.

As the church building would be mainly used on Sundays, there would not be an issue of parking congestion, the letter stated. It called upon Ealing Council to reject the application to transform the church premises into residential units .

A decision on the controversial development was expected to be made at a planning committee meeting at Ealing Town Hall last November but deferred. A report by a council official has recommended granting planning permission to the developer, subject to conditions, but the Chiswick-based group,SACA has collected a petition of 4,500 signatures opposed to the plan, and wants the building to be kept for community use.

St. Alban’s, a Victorian red-brick structure which was built in 1888, ceased to be a functioning Church of England parish church in the late 1990s and was then used by evangelical mission the Oak Tree Anglican fellowship, which relocated to Acton in 2006, finding it unsuitable due to the need for renovation and difficult accessibility.

In recent years there has been a growing fashion for former churches to be converted into residential accommodation as the church-going population declines throughout the UK.

The current application before the council is for conversion of the disused church building into ten residential flats and the demolition of the former church hall building and second outbuilding, currently occupied by the Caterpillar Montessori group. This would be replaced with two two-storey’ pavilion’ type structures, one to provide a replacement nursery school facility and the other a detached house. It is understood there is a contract for sale subject to planning permission between the Church of England and a local developer. In 2006 when the vicarage of St. Alban’s was sold it fetched a price of £3.2million, the highest price ever paid for residential property in Chiswick at that time.

The application to convert the building was made last December.

Defending its decision to sell for residential development at the time, the London Diocese issued a statement to Ealing Council explaining that the Church of St. Alban’s, one of three in the parish of Acton Green (the others are St. Peter’s in Southfield Road, and the All Saints Church Centre in Bollo Bridge Road) was no longer required for worship due to “diminishing attendances”.



Bible Archaeology

April 3, 33

Is the supposed date of Christ’s crucifixion.

That’s according to geologists working around the Dead Sea.

The International Geology Review investigated an earthquake that was  said to have occurred the same date as Jesus’ crucifixion; which was  most likely Friday April 3, 33 A.D.

In Gospel of of Matthew, Chapter 27 says: “And when Jesus had cried  out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the  curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth  shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open.”

According to Discovery News,  geologist Jefferson Williams of Supersonic Geophysical and colleagues  Markus Schwab and Achim Brauer of the German Research Center for  Geosciences, analyzed earthquake activity in the area by studying three  cores from the Ein Gedi Spa beach.

The research confirmed that two major earthquakes have hit the area  specified, one during the period between 26 BCE and 36 CE, and could be  the one referred to in the Gospel of Matthew.

All good and well, right? Until,

However, the earthquake data alone doesn’t fully confirm the date. Williams, Schwab, and Brauer admit that the earthquake implied in the gospel could be allegorical, referring to the earthquake that occurred sometime before or after the crucifixion.

This earthquake would have been powerful enough to break apart the sediments of Ein Gedi but not enough to have warranted “a still extant and extra-biblical historical record.”

“If the last possibility is true, this would mean that the report of an earthquake in the Gospel of Matthew is a type of allegory,” they write in the International Geology Review

It’s best if I at this point defer to the outstanding biblical archaeology blog Bible Places:

A recent study of seismological activity carried out in the Dead Sea region by geologist Jefferson Williams claims to have found evidence for an earthquake that can be dated to April 3, 33 CE. This study then goes on to make the claim that this earthquake relates to the crucifixion earthquake mentioned in Matt. 27:51. However, later in the article Williams concedes that the earthquake could have happened some time “before or after the crucifixion” at which point it was “borrowed” by the “author of the Gospel of Matthew”…

What’s the point of arguing for the calendar week and day in which Jesus was crucified if you are going to say it could have happened any time in 33 CE? Moreover, the fact that he is looking for naturalistic ways of explaining the phenomena mentioned in Matt. 27 reeks of the formula used in “The Exodus Decoded.” So prepare yourself for a Discovery channel documentary in the near future. That said – if the report is to be trusted – it is quite interesting that there is seismological activity in the period in question. In fact, this lines up quite well with the late Harold Hoehner’s chronology in Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ (see pg. 95-114). However, given the caveat of the geological analysis proving to be accurate, this evidence still proves relatively nothing. I suspect scholars will line up along party lines with inerrantists claiming infallible evidence and the rest claiming allegorical etiological explanations (e.g. Arad, Ai/Et-Tell, Sodom and Gomorrah, etc.)



Former Anglican Priests Make History as First Ordination Class for Catholic Ordinariate

Mobile, Alabama man to be first of 30 priests ordained for U.S.-based Ordinariate

The Anglican Use of the Roman Rite:

A former Episcopal priest, Matthew Venuti of Mobile, Alabama, will make history when he becomes the first priest ordained for the Catholic Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. The U.S.-based ordinariate was created by Pope Benedict XVI to welcome Anglican groups and clergy seeking to become Catholic while retaining elements of their Anglican heritage. It is equivalent to a diocese, but national in scope.

Mobile Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi will ordain Venuti a priest on Saturday, June 2, 10 a.m. at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, 2 South Claiborne Street, Mobile, AL 36602, along with four priests for the Archdiocese of Mobile.

Venuti’s ordination will be followed by 29 more ordinations of former Anglican priests across the United States this summer. They include hospital executive Jon Chalmers on June 3 in Greenville, South Carolina, followed by a father and son in Fort Worth, Texas; an editor of a major Catholic website in Virginia; military chaplains; and former Anglican priests in Arizona, California, Iowa, Maryland, Pennsylvania and other states.

The ordinariate is led by former Episcopal bishop, Monsignor Jeffrey N. Steenson of Houston, Texas. Only one other exists, in England, and a third will be established in Australia on June 15. Dozens of communities are in the process of joining the U.S. Ordinariate and 60 Anglican priests are in formation, including the 30 to be ordained this summer.

Archbishop Rodi noted, “Matthew’s ordination is both a joy and a sign of hope that the unity Jesus prayed for at the Last Supper may one day be fully realized. We welcome him to serve the people both of the Archdiocese of Mobile and the Ordinariate.”

In speaking about the ordinations nationally, Msgr. Steenson said, “These ordinations mark a significant moment in the history of Catholic unity. Our expedited formation program, approved by the Holy See, has been a wonderful testimony to the deep respect that the Catholic Church has for the former Anglican ministries of these men.”

“They will continue to engage in ongoing formation and it is my hope that our brother priests throughout the Catholic Church will come along side us as mentors and friends. Together we will strive to lay a good foundation for this apostolate of unity that Pope Benedict has made possible,” he added.

“Coming home to the Catholic Church has been an amazing experience. I am ever grateful to the Holy Father for calling Anglicans back home and extending such pastoral generosity,” said Venuti.

Matthew Venuti, 31, received an undergraduate degree from the College of St. Rose in Albany, NY in 2002. He worked in the music industry, in the jazz and pop music fields, before entering Virginia Theological Seminary. After receiving a master of divinity degree in 2010, he was ordained an Episcopal priest.

He served as curate for the Episcopal Church of the Nativity in Dothan, Alabama until entering the Catholic Church in September 2011. He currently serves as the coordinator of faith formation for St. Mary Catholic parish in Mobile. He also leads the Society of St. Gregory the Great, an Anglican use group that is based at St. Mary’s and is online at He and his wife, Minerva, have been married for five years and have a young son. Special permission has been given for those former Anglican priests who are married to be ordained Catholic priests.

Prior to ordination, the men must go through an extensive process that includes submitting detailed background information to, and receiving approval to move forward from, the Vatican; undergoing a criminal background check and psychological assessment; receiving an endorsement from the local Catholic bishop; participating in an intensive formation program; passing an examination; and receiving a rescript from the Vatican permitting ordination. Ordinations are being scheduled as rescripts are received.


·         U.S. Ordinariate: and