Thursday, May 31, 2007

Hospitality and Heretics: The Necessity of Discipline in the Anglican Communion

[Stand Firm] 31 May 2007--We can have all the structure in the world, but if there is no core faith to uphold; no articulated standard, the structure will only serve to promote and enforce the viewpoints and positions of the most powerful party. And as various parties vie for positions of power the structure will become corrupt and useless as a vehicle for the spread of the gospel. In fact, since such a system necessarily tolerates heresy so long as heretics follow proper Communion procedure, the structure will ultimately fall prey to precisely the sort of infectious poison against which Paul and John warned so severely.

Barna: American Christianity a lukewarm church

[Christian Examiner Online] 31 May 2007--Like the lukewarm church at Laodicea that Jesus said in the Book of Revelation He was about to spew out of His mouth, The Barna Group in a recent study assessed American Christianity as neither hot nor cold.

"Most Americans do not have strong and clear beliefs, largely because they do not possess a coherent biblical worldview," David Kinnaman, president of The Barna Group, said. "That is, they lack a consistent and holistic understanding of their faith. Millions of Americans say they are personally committed to Jesus Christ, but they believe He sinned while on earth.

"Many believers claim to trust what the Bible teaches, but they reject the notion of a real spiritual adversary or they feel that faith-sharing activities are optional," Kinnaman added. "Millions feel personally committed to God, but they are renegotiating the definition of that deity."

One reason beliefs fluctuate, Kinnaman said, is that most Americans hold few convictions about their faith and "have one foot in the biblical camp and one foot outside it."

"They say they are committed, but to what? They are spiritually active, but to what end? The spiritual profile of American Christianity is not unlike a lukewarm church that the Bible warns about," Kinnaman said.

Uganda: Christians Prepare for Martyrs Day

[] 31 May 2007--Preparation for this year's martyrs Day celebrations are in high gear at both the Anglican and Catholic shrines in Namugongo. This year's celebrations are being organised by Nebbi Catholic Diocese.

On June 3 every year, Christians from within and out of Uganda make a pilgrimage to Namugongo in commemoration of the Uganda martyrs who where killed on the orders of Kabaka Mwanga for failing to renounce Christianity.

Mwanga, then the Kabaka of Buganda ordered the execution of 22 Catholic and 23 Anglican converts in 1866.

Split in two

[The Colorado Springs Independent] 31 May 2007--As a Colorado Springs church congregation finalized its split on Sunday, feelings of elation, not bitterness, ruled.

There was triumphant, vivacious Anglican singing, even rare applause, in the historic Grace Church and St. Stephen's Parish at 601 N. Tejon St.

Three blocks away at First Christian Church, there was glee and festivity among exiled Episcopalians.

This is the way Pentecost, a celebration of the birth of the Christian church, should be embraced, according to both sides of what once was Colorado's largest Episcopal congregation.

Common Cause Council of Bishops Set for Sept. 25 - 28

[VirtueOnline] 31 May 2007--Bishops from the Anglican Communion Network, the Anglican Mission in the Americas (including the Anglican Coalition in Canada), the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, the Anglican Network in Canada, the Anglican Province of America, Forward in Faith North America and the Reformed Episcopal Church are invited to attend the first-ever Common Cause Council of Bishops in Pittsburgh, PA, September 25-28.

The Limits of Tolerance

[The Episcopal Majority] 31 May 2007--One of the most significant failures of modern progressive Episcopalians is the belief that the application of reason to any given conflict will ultimately prove effective in convincing our opponents of the correctness of our cause.

This is proved false again and again, of course; people are often irrational. But our own innate – sometimes arrogant – belief in the reasonableness of humanity and its susceptibility to what we perceive as rational discourse seems to have the ability to overwhelm the mountains of evidence to the contrary.

This is clearly the case in the current struggle within the Anglican Communion. The majority in the Episcopal Church continues to maintain a tolerant attitude to those within our own province and in Africa who have adopted a stance toward our actions that has profound echoes of the scapegoating and exclusion that the first Puritans practiced.

Having on a number of occasions been a victim of liberal Episcopal "tolerance" I must wonder if Mr. Nigel-Tabor and I live on the same planet!!

Orthodox Anglicans Welcome 3 New Splinter Churches

[The Christian Post] 31 May 2007--An Anglican splinter group in the United States has welcomed three new congregations, bringing its growing membership to now 37 registered churches in 15 states plus the District of Columbia.

“I am very pleased that CANA is providing a safe haven for faithful Anglicans in the U.S. who feel cut off from the worldwide Anglican Communion,” said the Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns, bishop of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, in a statement on Tuesday. “I am also delighted that we are reaching out and planting new congregations. It is especially appropriate that new people are coming to faith and new churches are being established as we celebrate the beginning of the Christian movement on the Feast of Pentecost.”

Measuring Success

[Episcopal Cafe] 31 May 2007--There’s no accounting for tastes (de gustibus non est disputandum). But the evidence suggests that the passive evangelism methods of the Episcopal Church are not effective in appealing to the tastes of the majority.

Most people, it appears, want to be told that it really matters to their salvation what they believe, how they came to believe it, and what they need to do to grow in grace. They want a charismatic leadership that professes no ambiguity or uncertainty. They want to see a clear boundary between those who are in grace, and those who are not. They desire membership requirements, and an intolerance of those who do not meet the requirements. They are inspired by unshakeable confidence, not by the encouragement to question and doubt. To most of us in the Episcopal Church all this is way too close to Amway for comfort. But we appear to be in a minority amongst believers in the U.S.

You might think that a tolerant church with modern attitudes, a willingness to experiment even with its rich tradition in order to be accepting, and an orientation to bringing about the Kingdom would appeal to those who remain unchurched in secular American society. But there’s no sign that we do appeal to the unchurched, at least not in large numbers.

Many are going to call it a cheap out, but my belief is that numbers are not the only measure of success. We are not a mass market church. We are a niche church with a rich liturgical tradition that brings some closer to God’s immanence, transcendence and longing for a relationship with God’s people. But our style doesn’t work for everyone – even if they agree with us on social issues – and that’s okay.

Numbers may not be the only measure of success but they are an important one. A denomination that is failing to replace dying and dead churches with new ones and in a number of areas of the United States such as western Kentucky is clearly in retreat is not a healthy denomination. One has to ask why. It is simply NOT a matter of changing demographics.

The Bishop of Rio Grande Writes His Clergy

[Stand Firm] 31 May 2007--The Standing Committee/Trustees and the Council of the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande held a joint planning retreat in El Paso on May 18-19, 2007, to identify some of the challenges that might face the Diocese in the months ahead in light of the larger Anglican Communion developments. Specifically, we are concerned about what might be the impact of the primates’ Communiqué and the response from the Episcopal Church come Sept. 30, 2007 – Will there be a walking apart between the Episcopal Church and parts of the Anglican Communion? How might this affect life in our own congregations?

It seems wise that we identify some principles to guide us in dealing with the problems that will be created should one or more of our congregations attempt to alter their relationship with the Diocese and the Episcopal Church. Two resolutions were approved unanimously, which commit us to seek negotiated rather than litigated solutions. It is our hope that we will not have to face such a painful moment, and we will work diligently to keep the lines of communication open between the diocese and congregations deeply alienated from the actions of the Episcopal Church especially since 2003.

Ugandan Primate Restates Intention to Boycott Lambeth

[The Living Church] 31 May 2007--In a related matter, retired Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. George Carey, queried the rationale for not inviting the bishops of the Anglican Mission in America (AMiA) and the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) to the Lambeth Conference.

“My opposition to the consecration of two AMiA bishops related to the setting up of Episcopal activity in the United States which I regarded as unconstitutional and unnecessary,” he wrote in a letter to the editor of Church of England Newspaper.

“Everything has changed in the Anglican Communion as a result of the consecration of Gene Robinson,” Archbishop Carey noted.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Get-It-Done Leadership

[Christianity Today] 30 May 2007--6 questions for pastor and leader Andy Stanley.

All Growing Spiritually—Not just a Few!

[Christianity Today] 30 May 2007--Something for everyone.

A Clear and Present Word: The Clarity of Scripture

[] 30 May 2007--Mark Thompson has contributed the latest volume to this excellent series on the clarity (or ‘perspicuity’) of scripture, and he analyses the issue with thoughtfulness, clear headedness and insight.

Clergy of the Diocese of VA with TEC Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori

[VirtueOnline] 30 May 2007--A follow up question by another priest asked the Bishop what she does with the Great Commission. The priest asking said she felt the Great Commission had been watered down.

Bishop Jefferts-Shori responded that it was to be lived out by "teaching and forming and baptizing and nurturing and continuing to prod people to grow up into the full stature of Christ." Absent from this answer was any value of evangelism. There seemed almost a reticence or bashfulness about spreading the Gospel to those who have not yet heard it.

Lambeth Conference Faces Conflict Over Mission

[VirtueOnline] 30 May 2007--What is wrong with this picture?

Parish opts for 'traditional beliefs'

[The Bristol Press] 30 May 2007--Trinity Episcopal Church has declared itself a member of the Anglican Church of Nigeria.The Rev. Donald Helmandollar, Trinity's rector, confirmed Tuesday that as of Sunday the parish had joined the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, a self-described mission of the Nigerian church, serving Episcopalians who hold traditional beliefs. It is based in Fairfax, Va.

The action means the parish is no longer a member of the Episcopal Church U.S.A. but is still Anglican, Helmandollar said.

All hell breaks out as pagans given go-ahead for university gathering

[] 30 May 2007--The University of Edinburgh has granted permission to the Pagan Society to hold its annual conference - involving talks on witchcraft, pagan weddings and tribal dancing - on campus next month. Druids, heathens, shamans and witches are expected to attend what is a major event in the pagan calendar.

But the move has enraged the Christian Union, which accuses the university of double standards after banning one of its events on the "dangers" of homosexuality.

Matthew Tindale, an Edinburgh-based Christian Union staff worker, claimed some faiths and beliefs appeared to be more equal than others on campus.

"This seems to be a clear case of discrimination," he said. "It's okay for other religions, such as the pagans, to have their say at the university, but there appears to be a reluctance to allow Christians to do the same. All we are asking for is the tolerance that is afforded to other faiths and organisations."

Anglican Church in a 'mess' over gay bishop row

[The Daily Telegraph] 30 May 2007--The Primate of the Southern Cone in South America, Archbishop Gregory Venables, told The Daily Telegraph: "It is a mess. Unless there is a major shift there are going to be significant absences from Lambeth."

The conservative "Global South" primates, who are mostly from Africa and Asia, are furious because they believe Dr Williams has been unduly lenient with the liberal leadership of the American branch of Anglicanism.

Many of them had expected that all the liberal American bishops would be excluded from the Lambeth Conference unless they reversed their unilateral pro-gay agenda.

The US bishops were given until September 30 by the Anglican primates to declare a moratorium on the consecration of gay bishops and same-sex blessings and to approve a "parallel" Church scheme for American conservatives.

So far the Americans have rejected the scheme and seem unlikely to fulfil the other requests. Dr Williams, who begins his extended leave on Friday, appeared to offer them unconditional invitations to the Lambeth Conference last week.

Archbishop Venables, who is a leading member of the Global South group's steering committee, said: "The fact that Gene Robinson isn't going to be at Lambeth is important. But the gesture towards the liberal American bishops is far, far more significant."

David K. Fly's Personal Reflection on the Lambeth Invitations

[Stand Firm] 30 Mayb 2007--There are none so blind as those who will not see. And then... there is the Episcopal left....

CANA Welcomes New Congregations

[CANA Convocation] 30 May 2007--Congregations in Connecticut, Florida, and Colorado have joined the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) during the past several days. CANA now has 37 registered churches in 15 states plus the District of Columbia, plus several non-parochial priests ministering in Iraq, Israel, and the United States....

The Media And the Journalistic Swamp

[Stand Firm] 30 May 2007--Get takes on the issue of media perceptions as it relates to the current Anglican crisis.

Family Friendly

[The Living Church] 30 May 2007--According to the Rev. Charles N. Fulton III, The Episcopal Church’s director of congregational development, the average age of an Episcopalian is estimated to be 57 years old. The future of our denomination is dependent upon us lowering that number substantially. One proven way to attract younger members is to create a service that is more in tune with them and their young children. In church parlance this is often referred to as a “third service” or “family service.” This approach has both merits and pitfalls.

Trinity Seminary Names AMiA Bishop Rodgers Interim Dean

[The Living Church] 30 May 2007--The Rt. Rev. John H. Rodgers, Jr., has been appointed interim dean at Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry. He will serve for one year beginning Aug. 1 while Trinity searches for a permanent successor for the Very Rev. Paul F.M. Zahl, who announced May 10 that he would resign effective at the end of July.

Church of Uganda will uphold Road to Lambeth Statement

[Global South Anglican] 30 May 2007--In response to the recent announcement that the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. and Rt. Hon. Rowan Williams, has sent out invitations to the 2008 Lambeth Conference of Bishops, the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, the Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi, made this statement:

On 9th December 2006, the House of Bishops of the Church of Uganda, meeting in Mbale, resolved unanimously to support the CAPA Road to Lambeth statement, which, among other things, states, “We will definitely not attend any Lambeth Conference to which the violators of the Lambeth Resolution are also invited as participants or observers.”

We note that all the American Bishops who consented to, participated in, and have continued to support the consecration as bishop of a man living in a homosexual relationship have been invited to the Lambeth Conference. These are Bishops who have violated the Lambeth Resolution 1.10, which rejects “homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture” and “cannot advise the legitimising or blessing of same sex unions nor ordaining those involved in same gender unions.” Accordingly, the House of Bishops of the Church of Uganda stands by its resolve to uphold the Road to Lambeth.

The Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi,
Archbishop of the Church of Uganda

The Church is Flat: A New Anglicanism

[Global South Anglican] 30 May 2007--In his book The World is Flat, Thomas Friedman explains how our world has shrunk. Thanks to instant information and rapid transportation, hierarchical structures have been flattened.

One global organization that should be ideally positioned for this transformation is the Christian Church. The genius of its founder was that it was designed to be “flat;” small groups with a common vision, a common language of faith, and international networks that crossed national boundaries. As often happens, initial flexibility was soon lost and replaced by more predictable and controllable structures and the early vision forgotten while waiting for another fresh wave of inspiration and creativity.

We are witnessing such a new wave. A prime example is the Anglican Communion - an international community of more than 75 million in 164 countries, ordered into 38 separate provinces.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Danger in Our Dreams

[] 29 May 2007--In April’s Southern Cross, I critiqued the teaching about intergenerational spirits which has become popular recently. One reason why we are sometimes open to such teaching is that it comes associated with remarkable spiritual experiences. In ourselves, we can find no other explanation than that God has blessed us in a miraculous way, and therefore that the teaching itself must be true. But there are other explanations even for miracles and we need to be cautious and test everything by the word of God.

Lambeth Conference, 2008-will it actually take place?

[VirtueOnline] 29 May 2007--Invitations have gone out from the Archbishop of Canterbury to over 850 Anglican Bishops of the Global Anglican Communion of Churches, made up of 38 Provinces. Whether all or most of those who receive invitations will accept will only be known in the long term.

However, if these invited Bishops act according to their stated principles, then it is probable that Lambeth 2008 will be cancelled or will take place as a much smaller and different type of Conference. Why? Because while the stated principles of many (say 500) allow them to attend the Conference under virtually any reasonable conditions, the stated principle of others forbid them to attend. And if they follow their consciences then they will refuse.

Ruling widens split in church

[MyrtleBeachOnline] 29 May 2007--Members of a historic, pre-Revolutionary War church on the Waccamaw Neck have now moved to a new location, but the ongoing dispute over religious beliefs and property ownership that split the congregation continues....

Anglican Conflict

[Christianity Today Australia] 29 May 2007--The recent non-invitation of two wayward bishops to a decennial global Anglican meeting produced a media frenzy this week. But what does all this mean ...

Nigerian Church Leader May Lead Boycott of Decennial Anglican Gathering

[The Christian Post] 29 May 2007--Archbishop Peter Akinola, the leader of Anglican churches in Nigeria, may lead a boycott of the 2008 Lambeth Conference, following news that two controversial bishops did not receive invitations from the Anglican Communion’s spiritual leader.

Akinola revealed he was greatly upset that Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams did not issue an invitation to Bishop Martyn Minns, the “missionary bishop” of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) - an orthodox Anglican splinter group and offshoot of the Church of Nigeria. He had said the failure to invite Minns could be “viewed as withholding invitation to the entire House of Bishops of the Church of Nigeria.”

The first set of invitations for Lambeth 2008 – the Anglican Communion's global decennial gathering – were sent out by Williams to more than 850 bishops last week. Openly gay Bishop V Gene Robinson of New Hampshire was also not invited to Lambeth 2008.

Akinola warned that he might now refuse to attend the Lambeth Conference, and encourage all other Nigerian prelates to join him in boycotting the meetings....

Related articles:
Akinola Threatens To Boycott Anglican Meeting - Nigerian Tribune
Akinola Threatens Lambeth 2008 Boycott - Christianity Today UK

Nigerian Gay-Rights Advocate Speaks Out to U.S. Churches

[The Christian Post] 29 May 2007--An Anglican gay-rights advocate from Nigeria is currently visiting Episcopal churches across the United States on a speaking tour.

Davis Mac-Iyalla, founder of Changing Attitude Nigeria – the country's only gay-rights organization – spoke at Church of Our Saviour in Cincinnati, on Pentecost Sunday amid divisions in the Episcopal Church over homosexuality and Anglican tradition. Nearly two weeks into his six-week tour, Mac-Iyalla has visited three U.S. congregations and prepared a petition against the "persecution" of homosexuals in Nigeria.

"Frequently Asked Questions" from the upgraded Church of Nigeria website

[Church of Nigeria] 29 May 2007--Q6. Why does the Church of Nigeria hate Gays?

The Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion does not hate any human being. Rather the Church has been outspoken in attempts by some to undermine the importance of God's word written as received by the fathers of the Church and accepted by the Creeds and Anglican Book of Common Prayer 1662. The Church maintains that God's plan as evidenced in Genesis 2:18 - 25 and affirmed by Christ is for marriage between male and female. Efforts to bless same-sex unions are unscriptural and those in such dilemma are called to repentance as they pray for God's love to lead them aright. As a caring church, we do not turn any away, but we exhort all Christians to present their bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God as outlined in the Holy Scriptures. Churches and church leaders who teach or live otherwise are walking away from the truth of the Scriptures and they endanger the lives of their followers....

Former Episcopal Churches find ways to form Anglican links abroad

[TitusOneNine] 29 May 2007--As they professed their faith, Hector Zavala, Anglican bishop of the Diocese of Chile, laid his hands on the heads of three young people yesterday and welcomed them into his flock.

The cleric, wearing vestments decorated with indigenous patterns and the Chilean national flower, was leading the first confirmation ceremony at his mission church in the United States - whose congregation worships in the heart of Baltimore County's Green Spring Valley.

The Church of the Resurrection is one of many in the United States forming relationships with foreign bishops after growing increasingly dissatisfied with the perceived liberal direction of the Episcopal Church, the U.S. arm of the international Anglican Communion....

Methodist bishops table proposed new gay stance

[The Christian Century] 29 May 2007--A proposed change in the United Methodist Church's 25-year-old stance on homosexual behavior that would condone same-sex marriage "where legally possible" was tabled by a committee at the Council of Bishops meeting this month near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

The denomination's Book of Discipline says the church "does not condone the practice of homosexuality and consider[s] this practice incompatible with Christian teaching." The stance of the worldwide, 11-million-member church has withstood many challenges in past conventions, but the issue is expected to arise again next year.

A council subcommittee had recommended replacing the 1972 language with wording saying the church does not condone sexual relationships between people of heterosexual or homosexual orientation "outside the bonds of a faithful, loving and committed relationship between two persons; marriage, where legally possible."

The proposed change also declared that the present stance "is based on highly questionable theology and biblical understanding and causes profound hurt to thousands of loyal United Methodist members and potential members."

But the bishops' administrative committee voted May 1 to table the recommendation, and the measure never formally went before the Council of Bishops, according to the United Methodist News Service....

Praying for a Miracle

[Times Online] 29 May 2007--It’s not just Muslims and Jews who have faced persecution in recent years. An estimated 200m Christians in 60 countries are now suffering increasing victimisation. So why isn’t the West doing anything to protect them?

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Anglican College Pres Says 'Go to Hell'

[The Conservative Voice] 27 May 2007--Richard Turnbull, principal, Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, proclaims that "ninety-five per cent of Britons are heading for hell," per The Guardian’s Stephen Bates.

Perhaps he is right. If one takes seriously Jesus’ statements concerning heaven and hell, Turnbull could be right on the money.

Anglican Conflict: A Battle with 'Eternal Significance'

[Christianity Today] 27 May 2007--The recent non-invitation of two wayward bishops to a decennial global Anglican meeting produced a media frenzy this week. But what does all this mean?

Media Bias on Transgenders Raising Concerns

[The Christian Post] 27 May 2007--"They're (media) trying to normalize transgender existence. There's no question about that," said Dr. Robert Gagnon, associate professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.

Not only are some Christians concerned about the normalizing of the transgendered life, but one pro-family activist noted mainstream media bias on the controversial issue.

Pete LaBarbera, executive director of Americans for Truth, told One News Now that the American media is justifying its biased reporting on the transgender movement in the name of compassion.

Echoing LaBarbera's concerns, Gagnon said the media is "trying to present a case where they are able to demonstrate that these persons cannot help themselves, [that] this is not something they asked for. [And] if you don't allow them to become transgender, they'll probably kill themselves."

Learn to Shepherd Your Small Group

[Christianity Today] 27 May 2007--Three important relationships that will help you watch over God's flock.

Preaching the Hollywood Gospel

[] 27 May 2007--Australian women are some of the biggest consumers of Hollywood gossip in the world. But it was still a shock when our latest research revealed that a third of Sydney Anglicans regularly read women’s magazines. Is all that Tinseltown talk warping our minds? Southern Cross wondered if there are tools that may help our readers sort the treasure from the celebrity trash. Jeremy Halcrow asked a panel of four women experts for their advice.

Australian woman are not the only ones influenced by magazines and other forms of media.

How to Stop Tongues Wagging

[] 27 May 2007--It takes everyone in a church to stop a destructive gossip culture from being fed. However Christians have a secret weapon in the battle against gossip – God.

Gossip: He Says, She Says

[] 27 May 2007--Women and men are impacted by our celebrity-obsessed culture. Journalist Mark Hadley and TV producer Maia Hadley discuss their professional and personal insights.

Please explain the term ‘commodified gossip’?

Beware the Enemy Inside the Gate

[] 27 May 2007--Recently I read a web article that outlined views expressed by Marcus Borg from the group called The Jesus Seminar. At the ‘Church for the 21st Century’ Conference held at the Episcopal Church’s Washington National Cathedral, Borg argued that people today need to be re-educated about Christianity because the common understanding of Christianity of a generation or two ago has become “hugely unpersuasive” in our time. At first glance that seems plausible. We are all looking for ways to communicate the gospel effectively in today’s world.

But Borg told his audience that today’s need was for Christians to leave behind the ‘belief-centred paradigm’ of the past and commit to a ‘transformation-centred paradigm’of faith. For Borg, ‘belief-centred’ means assenting to a set of specific beliefs, while ‘transformation-centred’ means primarily to be on a path, a way of being, for the individual and the world.

He said the belief-centred view sees the Bible as inerrant, infallible and directly from God’s hand. In contrast, in the transformation-centred view the Bible is a human product and a social construction representative of particular people or peoples, place or time. “What we have in the Bible is how our spiritual ancestors saw things, not how God sees them,” Borg said.

If we listen to him the Bible is thrown away, replaced by our experience.

Beside Borg we can place another internal attack on Biblical Christianity, one possibly more persuasive, but highly inimical to Biblical understanding.

The Bishop of Ohio Responds to the Lambeth 2008 Invitations

[TitusOneNine] 27 May 2007--I write to let you know that I am aware of the current scope of the Archbishop of Canterbury's invitations to the Lambeth Conference and respect his privilege and prerogative in making those invitations. I also want to be clear with you that I do not believe it is Bishop Robinson's "manner of life" that has "caused exceptionally serious division or scandal within the Communion," rather it is the divisive actions of those who have used it in an intentional effort to divide both The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.

Note the common talking points in this letter and the one written by the Bishop of Arizona. Both letters try to blame the divisions in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion on orthodox Anglicans and their leaders and to absolve the liberal Episcopal leadership of any responsibility.

Bishop of Arizona's Letter:
E-pistle for May 25, 2007 - The Episcopal Diocese of Arizona

Leader: Who can come to the party

[Church Times] 27 May 2007--The Americans are coming. Invitations to the 2008 Lambeth Conference went out to 800 bishops on Tuesday, scotching rumours that those in the Episcopal Church in the United States and the Church of Canada would not be welcomed without further concessions over Gene Robinson (and no further initiatives on gay partnerships).

The September deadline set by the Primates for the US bishops to agree an alternative structure for their conservatives still stands, but attendance at the Lambeth Conference will not hang on it. Threats might still be made, and attempts to persuade Dr Williams to invoke his right (which his letter carefully reserves) to withhold or withdraw invitations.

But Dr Williams is unlikely to act so unwisely. For all their talk of alternative gatherings, the conservatives will not want to walk away when they feel in possession of the centre ground, especially given their numerical confidence.

Conservative, charismatic and open. Really?

[Anglican Mainstream] 27 May 2007--Into the discussions about Wycliffe Hall has been brought a way of differentiating evangelical Anglicans as either open, charismatic or reformed/ conservative which has been around for some time. This is offered as a neutral description in an effort to understand, relate to, appreciate and include all types of evangelicals. A similar process of differentiation is also taking place in the wider Anglican family about who are the real Anglicans.

However, such differentiation is never entirely innocent. There is no neutral differentiation.

In trying to understand “the other” than them – people define “the other” by suggesting how very different they are.

CO Springs Parish votes to break from Episcopal Church,1299,DRMN_1_5557363,00.html

[Rocky Mountain News] 27 May 2007--A majority of voting members at Grace Church and St. Stephens Parish in Colorado Springs have declared their willingness to break away from the Episcopal Church to join a conservative Anglican network more in line with their beliefs, according to spokesman Alan Crippen.

The vote, tallied Saturday, showed 93 percent of 370 voting members approved of the plan to leave the Episcopal Church, Crippen said. It capped an ongoing period of uncertainty that began March 26 when parish rector, The Rev. Don Armstrong, and a majority of the church’s governing board, declared they were each individually leaving the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Colorado.

Related articles:
The Episcopal Diocese of Colorado's Statement on Yesterday's Parish Vote - TitusOneNine
Episcopal parish votes for split - The Denver Post

Nigerian gay activist brings message to Episcopal Church, Executive Council

[Chelmsford Anglican Mainstream] 27 May 2007--Nigerian Anglican Davis Mac-Iyalla, 33, founder of his country's only gay-rights organization, Changing Attitude Nigeria, has embarked on a six-week speaking tour of the United States.

Among his stops will be the Episcopal Church's Executive Council June 11-14 meeting in Parsippany, New Jersey. He will be an invited guest of the Council's National Concerns Committee.

Mac-Iyalla will visit about 20 cities and participate in 52 events before departing July 5 to attend the General Synod of the Church of England. His tour is being sponsored by which was founded by Josh Thomas primarily as a means of supplying the Daily Office of prayer to internet users.

Richard Turnbull Tells How It Is

[The Ugley Vicar] 27 May 2007--headline in The Independent is certainly eye-catching: "The man who says we are all going to hell". It is, however, inevitably misleading, since the man they are referring to is only Richard Turnbull, the principal of Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, who made the comment in a welcoming speech at the Reform Conference last year. (You can read a transcript of it here.)

Of course, the man who really put the cat amongst the pigeons regarding the dangers of hell was called Jesus, and what he said has already been widely reported. To give just one example, amongst his last reported comments to his followers was this: "If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned." (See John 15:6)

Reflections on Round One of the Lambeth Invitations: Part Two

[Stand Firm] 27 May 2007--You may note that yesterday's article attempted to point out the positives of the recent actions of Canterbury. And there were positives. But today's article looks at his actions making the assumption that the invitations will stand, that ECUSA's status is now solidly secure, that the bishops of ECUSA [and of Canada] who have grossly violated the teaching of the Anglican Communion will not be disciplined [and thus the teaching of the Communion is neither universal, enforceable, nor all that important], that the Windsor process was a sham and a delaying tactic, and that the "Covenant Process" looks as if it will be the more of the same.

Dr. Stephen Noll: Open Letter on Theological Education to Network Bishops and Common Cause Partners

[Stand Firm] 27 May 2007--I write you about an issue close to my heart: the sustenance of orthodox Anglican theological education in the USA . As many of you know, I worked for 21 years at Trinity School for Ministry to fulfill its vision to reform and renew the Episcopal Church. Sadly, we failed. Any failure has multiple explanations, but I am convinced that one of them is the failure of conservative bishops to see the urgent need to send ALL orthodox and evangelical students to Trinity. Instead many naively accepted a pluralistic approach to theological formation. Trinity was seen as a nice new dish at the Episcopal smorgasbord, catering to certain renewal people, not the necessary remedy to a radically sick denomination.

(N.B. I am focusing on the seminary I know best, but there is a surely parallel story to be told for Nashotah House and the Reformed Episcopal seminaries. It strikes me that Trinity and the REC seminaries should naturally serve an evangelical Anglican constituency which seeks to be catholic-minded and Nashotah should naturally serve an Anglo-catholic constituency that seeks to be evangelically-minded.)

Utah's Episcopal diocese calls shunning of gay bishop 'hurtful'

[The Salt Lake Tribune] 27 May 2007-- Bishop Carolyn Tanner Irish of the Episcopal Diocese of Utah has been a strong supporter of Robinson. Irish was out of the country and could not be reached for comment, but a statement issued Wednesday by the Utah diocese called the shunning "an extremely rare historic occurrence" and "deeply hurtful."

"To single him out because of his sexuality shows a regrettable lack of respect for his diocese," the statement read.

The Rev. Walter van Zandt Windsor: The Lambeth Walk

[Stand Firm] 27 May 2007--Someone has a bee in his bonnet.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Episcopal Church faces ‘significant pruning’ over doctrine, bishops says

[Our Sunday Visitor] 25 May 2007--Episcopal Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh has been interviewed by nearly every major news outlet in the country within the past few years, but not necessarily for something he wishes was happening.

Bishop Duncan has emerged as the leader of a movement within the Episcopal Church in the United States to realign Episcopalian doctrines with those of traditional Christianity.

The disagreements between the American church and the worldwide Anglican Communion have capture headlines around the world. He is one of 110 diocesan bishops and numerous laity within the Anglican Communion who were dismayed with the ordination of a bishop who is living an openly homosexual lifestyle. The movement for realignment includes about 900 of the 7,000 congregations within the U.S. Episcopal Church.

In the following interview, Bishop Duncan shares insights about this “realignment” and offers a courageous example for all faithful Christians to truly live their faith, even when it is unpopular.

The Episcopal Church ‘mishandled the debate on human sexuality’

[TitusOneNine] 25 May 2007--The Episcopal Church has mishandled the debate on human sexuality by misleading the Anglican Communion about its intentions to regularise gay bishops and blessings, the Primate of the West Indies said on May 15. By placing autonomy above unity it has brought the Anglican Communion to the brink of collapse, Archbishop Drexel Gomez told the clergy of Central Florida. Archbishop Gomez criticised the leadership of the Episcopal Church for not being entirely straight forward with the Communion. "You just cannot have collegiality," he explained, "if when you meet with your colleagues you don't share."

Global Schism: Is the Anglican Communion the First Stage in a Wider Christian Split?

[The Pew Forum] 25 May 2007--Some of the nation's leading journalists gathered in Key West, Fla., in May 2007 for the Pew Forum's biannual Faith Angle Conference on religion, politics and public life.

Philip Jenkins, a Penn State University professor and one of the first scholars to call attention to the rising demographic power of Christians in the southern hemisphere, analyzed the ongoing schism in the worldwide Anglican church. While the dispute concerns attitudes toward homosexuality, Jenkins argues the core of the conflict lies in how biblical authority is defined.

Will the current alliances between conservative Western and African leaders endure? Will African leaders begin to press an ultra-liberal economic agenda? Are other mainline denominations in the U.S. headed for similar splits? Jenkins answered these and others questions, while offering a fascinating glimpse into the life of African Christianity.

Dumbing down the Communion

[Anglixcan Mianstream] 25 May 2007--The Living Church, a web and print newspaper of the Anglican Church in the United States, reports a speech by the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion in which he says that the Anglican Consultative Council’s synodical organization allows it to work in collaboration with the various types of church government or polity found across the Communion. What holds the Communion together is the “figure of the Archbishop of Canterbury” as Anglicans across the globe are “not in communion with one another but with him.”

Canon Kearon has a track record in ministries of reconciliation in Ireland and must be rejoicing with others at the current developments of the restoration of devolved powers to a power-sharing government. This process has recognized and makes space for both the unionist and nationalist causes in Ireland.

In this speech he is clearly making a contribution to the current political crisis in the Communion. That is that up to 18 provinces have declared that they are in some way out of communion with The Episcopal Church, a fact that was visibly demonstrated at the Tanzanian meeting when 7 primates wrote a letter explaining why they in particular could not take Holy Communion with Presiding Bishop Schori....

Forming Tomorrow’s Ministers - a renewed vision for theological education

[Anglican Mianstream] 25 May 2007--Richard Turnbull writes in the Church of England Newspaper

The call to ordained ministry is a wonderful privilege to serve God. Hope for the church lies, of course, in Jesus Christ and the message of the gospel, but I see the human means of that hope when I stand before the students at Wycliffe Hall. Faith, commitment, creativity, transformation are the hallmarks of how God has acted in the hearts and lives of these men and women, young and not so young, from north, south, east and west, charismatic and conservative, some both, some neither. However, the challenges of ministry and evangelism should not be underestimated.

How (not) to Read the Bible (Part 3) - Workshop

[Stand Firm] 25 May 2007--Alright class, time for a bit of a workshop.

In this post Susan Russell claims that,"Inasmuch as you have done it unto the least of these,” is the only criterion Jesus gave for being on his invitation list.

The only criterion?

AMiA Statement on Lambeth Invitations

{Stand Firm] 25 May 2007--In response to the decisions by the Archbishop of Canterbury regarding invitations to the 2008 Lambeth Conference, the Rt. Rev. Charles H. Murphy, III, Chairman of the AMiA, in consultation with the Most Rev. Emmanuel Kolini, Primate of the Province of Rwanda, issues the following statement.

The Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon, Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, announced this week that invitations to the 2008 Lambeth Conference have been issued to over 800 bishops in the Communion, including all but one of the bishops in The Episcopal Church (TEC). I believe that this action and decision by Archbishop Williams indicates an intentional distancing of himself from the primates’ Godly counsel which they have repeatedly stated in their gatherings and in their Communiqués....

Thursday, May 24, 2007

What Is a Missional Community?

[The Off Ramp] 24 May 2007--So what is a missional community? How is it different from church as we know it in modern Evangelicalism? Probably the best place to begin is with a general definition.

Want to learn more about being "missional"? Check out these weblogs and websites.

Friends of Missional - What others are saying about missional

Becoming Missional

Missional Network

Missional Matrix

The Missional Challenge

Drive-by Evangelism, or Missional Rescue Force?

[] 24 May 2007--While surveying the news recently, I came across a small but disturbing story that grabbed my attention. A California pediatrician reportedly refused to treat a baby girl because her mother had tattoos. The doctor, whose name I won’t mention, says “his Christian faith has inspired him to enforce certain standards in his medical practice, and that means no tattoos, no body piercings, and no gum chewing.” The article goes on: “After taking one look at Tasha Childress, who has both tattoos and piercings, [the doctor] asked her and her daughter to leave.” The shunned mother, speaking about her daughter, said, “She had to go that entire night with her ear infection with no medicine because he has his policy; it isn’t right.”

Does Archbishop Williams Know How to Count?

[Independent Online] 24 May 2007--There's a problem with middle-of-the-roaders: they don't always know how to count. Archbishop Rowan Williams is a distinguished theologian, and a generally capable leader of the Anglican Church.

Anglicans Ready to Face Episcopal Church in Virginia Court

[Church Report] 24 May 2007--The Anglican District of Virginia (ADV) is facing the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Virginia in the Fairfax Country Circuit Court. The first hearing was on Monday, May 21 and involves a property dispute among 11 churches and the Diocese of Virginia.

Theologian damns most Britons to hell,,2086769,00.html?gusrc=rss&feed=networkfront

[Guardian Unlimited] 24 May 2007--.Ninety-five per cent of Britons are heading for hell, according to the principal of Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, who has been under fire from some staff for taking one of the leading Anglican theological training colleges in a conservative direction.

Richard Turnbull, appointed two years ago, made the claim in a speech to the annual conference of Reform, a conservative evangelical pressure group within the Church of England. If he truly believes it, the figure would encompass at least all non-evangelical Christians, including many members of the Church of England, and those of all other religions and none.

Reginald Fuller - A theologian of stature

[Salisbury Journal] 24 May 2007--Many of you will know Dori Rockefeller and some will have attended the course of lectures on the Passion narratives she gave at Sarum College during Lent.

She left to return to the United States just after Easter, earlier than she had planned, to attend the memorial service of Reginald Fuller. A dear friend and teacher, he died at the age of 92 in his home in Richmond, Virginia.

I was delighted and honoured, when preaching and leading a quiet weekend in Virginia a few years ago, to meet this delightful, courteous man, whose gentle, unassuming way belied his formidable learning.

For R H Fuller was, for theologians and clergy of my generation, a name to conjure with in the galaxy of Anglican theologians.

Anglican Catholic Church and United Episcopal Church Sign Communion Agreement

[VirtueOnline] 24 May 2007--On Ascension Day, May 17, 2007, The Anglican Catholic Church (ACC) and the United Episcopal Church (UECNA) entered into a communion agreement. Archbishop Stephen Reber of the UECNA and Archbishop Mark Haverland of the ACC signed the agreement at Saint Stephen's Pro-cathedral, Athens, Georgia to restore or reaffirm the state of communio in sacris between the churches. This agreement came into immediate effect, though it still needs to be ratified by the ACC Provincial Synod and the UECNA Convention.

Integrity Canada Responds to the news of the Lambeth 2008 Invitations

[TitusOneNine] 24 May 2007--Although disappointed that the Archbishop of Canterbury has decided to withhold an invitation to the 2008 Lambeth Conference of Bishops from the only openly gay bishop in the Anglican Communion, members of Integrity Canada are relieved the invitations come before the June meeting of the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada at which resolutions about homosexuality will be discussed.

Is Everything Fine in the Episcopal Church?

[TitusOneNine] 24 May 2007--I just thought I would ask. Doesn't sound like it to me:

“The proportion [of parishes] with excellent or good financial health declined from 56% to 32% between 2000 and 2005.”

And: “The proportion in some or serious financial difficulty almost doubled, increasing from 13% in 2000 to 25% in 2005.”

Where is this from?

Exactly who has not been invited

[Anglican Mainstream] 24 May 2007--In a variety of briefings to journalists over the last 48 hours following the announcement of the invitations to the Lambeth Conference, it appears that the following 10 bishops have so far not been invited to the Lambeth Conference. This information is gathered from a variety of press reports based on briefings from the Anglican Communion Office and its spokespersons.

Diocese of Recife Ordains New Ministers

[Anglican Mainstream] 24 May 2007--Over the coming days Bishop Robinson Cavalcanti will be ordaining new ministers in the Diocese of Recife.

Reflections on Round One of the Lambeth Invitations: Part One

[Stand Firm] 24 May 2007--Something historic happened yesterday. For the first time, one of the 108 dioceses of the Episcopal church in the U.S. -- the legitimate accepted franchise of the Anglican Communion within this region -- will not have a representative bishop at the Anglican Communion's gathering of bishops at Lambeth. The force of this recognition has actually grown for me since the announcement yesterday morning.

Analyzing the Lambeth Invitations

[Stand Firm] 24 May 2007--Video

The Bishop of Washington D.C. Responds to the news of the 2008 Lambeth Invitations

[titusonenine] 24 May 2007--I am deeply troubled by the decision reached by the Archbishop and believe that the real issue is not about Bishop Gene; instead this is about leadership within the Anglican Communion. Until we are able to separate ourselves from our fixation on human sexuality as the root of our divisions and address the dynamics of power and leadership in the Communion, we are doomed to fail in Christ's call to engage the world in the act of inclusive love and a mission-driven theology that claims justice, the rule of law and the respect for human rights as the core of our work as a Communion.

Church of England Newspaper: Bishop Robinson Cavalcanti Has Not Been Invited

[Stand Firm] 24 May 2007--See the May 23rd Daily Edition

Invitations Sent and Withheld

[In a Godward Direction] 24 May 2007--Much is being made of the guest-list to Lambeth. To my mind, it seems above all that +Cantuar is giving +Abuja the opportunity to walk apart.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has been quietly clear about CANA (once it changed from a legitimate chaplaincy for Nigerians into an incursion and occupying colony for disaffected Episcopalians). ++Rowan described the consecration of Martyn Minns as "unhelpful" and urged against his installation in a private (though publicized) letter. So it should come as no surprise to anyone that Martyn Minns is not regarded as a "legitimate" bishop but rather as "irregular" -- joining the ranks of Rodgers and Murphy in that select group of modern Anglicoid episcopi vagantes. +New Hampshire, on the other hand, is commended as legal but as he is seen as a source for anxiety, he is simultaneously not sent an invitation but told he might attend as a guest; and I leave it to more subtle minds than mine to tell the difference, since +Cantuar is also clear this Lambeth Conference is not to be a legislative or doctrinal assembly or synod, but rather more along the lines of what +Peter Abuja has called a "jamboree."

Why only Robinson?

[Stand Firm] 24 May 2007--Following on from Sarah's great post I made the following comment...

Letter from Bishop Minns

[CANA Convocation] 24 May 2007--I was encouraged by an almost immediate response from Archbishop Akinola, “In response to requests for comments on the Lambeth Conference invitations, Archbishop Peter Akinola reaffirms that the Church of Nigeria is committed to the CAPA commissioned report "The Road to Lambeth"

Since only the first set of invitations has been sent, it is premature to conclude who will be present or absent at the conference. However, the withholding of [an] invitation to a Nigerian bishop, elected and consecrated by other Nigerian bishops, will be viewed as withholding invitation to the entire House of Bishops of the Church of Nigeria.” Archbishop Akinola is clear that CANA is as much a constituent part of the Communion as any diocese and so this unprecedented action to exclude one part of the church will be firmly resisted.

The Archbishop of Cowardice

[Stand Firm] 24 May 2007--I hope he'll pardon our intrusion into his intensely private reflections, but someone calling himself "Hamza Darrell Grizzle" wonders - I'm not making this up - if the Episcopal Church is... wait for it... gay enough....

The Most Noxious Point of the Windsor Report Becomes Reality

[Bishop Marc] 24 May 2007--When the Windsor Report came out I found myself in a very tiny minority. Certain forms of math are not my strong suit, but I kept counting the Windsor recommendations differently - No blessings; No consents; No border crossings; Listen to the lives of gay and lesbian people. Four fingers of one hand, so even the arithmetically challenged could manage. But I had to keep using my thumb, because I counted five.

Number five made me work to try and pay attention to not only its presence, but its great danger for who we are as a Communion, even as Christians. It was this: The Archbishop of Canterbury should exercise extreme caution in inviting Gene Robinson, Bishop of New Hampshire, to Communion-related events. Now this has happened; the Archbishop has decided that Bishop Robinson will not be among the bishops invited to attend the 2008 Lambeth Conference.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

How Teenagers Transformed the Church (part 3)

[Out of Ur] 22 May 2007--In this final installment of Angie Ward’s report on the impact of youth ministry on the American church she talks more with Tic Long, Youth Specialties’ president of events. Long shares his thoughts on the lasting impact youth ministry has had on the larger church, and what current trends among teens will continue to gain momentum among evangelicals in the decades ahead.

Decision on Lambeth Conference invitations draws reaction

[Episacopal Life Online] 23 May 2007--Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori sent a short e-mail message to the House of Bishops urging "a calm approach to today's announcement regarding 2008 Lambeth Conference invitations, a subject on which I plan to make no formal statement at this time. It is possible that aspects of this matter may change in the next 14 months, and the House of Bishops' September meeting offers us a forum for further discussion."

House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson also issued a short statement saying that "the Episcopal Church elects bishops and consents to the election of bishops in a democratic and participatory manner. The process is carried out within our Constitution and Canons, both at the General Convention and in our dioceses. The Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson is a duly elected and consecrated bishop of this Church. Not inviting him to the Lambeth Conference causes serious concern to The Episcopal Church."

Bishop Martyn Minns is a duly appointed and consecrated bishop of the Anglican Church of Nigeria. Not inviting him to the Lambeth Conference has caused serious concern to that province of the Anglican Communion.

The church-emptying Episcopal leadership

[VirtueOnline] 23 May 2007--At the beginning of the United States, the Episcopal Church of George Washington and so many other Founding Fathers was this nation's dominant denomination.

Since it first began to veer into a left-wing leadership in the 1950s, the denomination has lost more than 1 million members. With the current fight over consecrating an openly sodomist bishop of New Hampshire, this may well develop into a major split and the loss of many more of the (reportedly) remaining 2.4 million.

Barred Anglican Bishop: Communion Torn at Deepest Level

[The Christian Post] 23 May 2007--Robinson expressed "great disappointment" in Williams' decision, but the New Hampshire bishop may be invited to attend the Lambeth Conference as a guest, according to Kearon.

Currently, however, there is seemingly no intention to invite Minns as a guest.

"It is a very different situation," said Kearon, explaining that while Minns is a bishop, his consecration is not regular.

Minns was regularly consecrated a missionary bishop of the Anglican Church of Nigeria. To question the regularity of his consecration is to question the regularity of the consecration of all Nigerian bishops.

Stonewall survey on Attitudes to Same-Sex attraction questioned

[Anglican Mainstream] 23 May 2007--Stonewall has published a survey of attitudes to same-sex attraction in Britain.

Read here

A document has been released with signatories on it from across the globe - including some from Europe - which totally contradicts what Stonewall is saying.

Stonewall minimises any sense of true care for people with same-sex attraction by its failure to tell the whole truth about what living the gay lifestyle is all about.

How (not) to Read the Bible - Part 2

[Stand Firm] 23 May 2007--The key, however, is this: Contrary to what the Presiding Bishop states it is not our work. There is nothing we can do to restore this world to what it should be. There is nothing we can do to bring about even the "abundant life" that Schori speaks of for we have all sinned and fallen short of God's glory and we have dragged the Creation down with us. We are a dead weight hanging on the Creation's back, our very presence is not the catalyst for restoration but the cause of the problem in the first place.

Peter Ould: Rowan Williams on Homosexuality

[Stand Firm] 23 May 2007--The 'good' Ould brother on the Archbishop's reading of the Bible on homosexuality....

Llama Butchers: Past Caring Anymore

[Stand Firm] 23 May 2007--In one of his occasional "That's My Church!" posts, Robert declares his apathy....

Dr. Ephraim Radner: Fractured Identity and Broken Trust: TEC’s Invention of Itself

[Stand Firm] 23 May 2007--In the midst of an increasingly exhausting and exhausted ecclesial struggle, we are now once again hearing the plea, “Why can’t we just get along?”. It is a question many have long raised, but its renewed urgings, from leaders within TEC or recently from e.g. South Africa, have about them the resonance now of anxious desperation. We are watching relations slip from our grasp, relations that were once dear, and once fruitful, and that, in the face of the tremendous human needs of the world’s confused peoples, seem more precious than ever. Is there no way to go back to the days before Anglicans fought so bitterly with one another?

Dr. Chris Seitz: Response to the Statement of the ABC Regarding Lambeth Conference

[Stand Firm] 23 May 2007--Some Anglicans, especially critics of the authority of the primates meeting as an Instrument of Unity/Communion, have tended to see the four Instruments of Communion as competitors. There is no evidence that this view is held by the Archbishop of Canterbury, who is himself an Instrument, and who presides at the Lambeth Conference, the primates meeting and the Anglican Consultative Council. Clearly he views the Instruments as mutually encouraging, even as they have a specific and discrete identity and remit.

Elizabeth Kaeton makes a good point

[Stand Firm] 23 May 2007--Over at Telling Secrets, Kaeton makes an observation of dazzling clarity.

As things currently stand, Nigeria will not be going to Lambeth

[Stand Firm] 23 May 2007--Some of you may remember that last year I interviewed Nigerian Bishop Josiah Fearon. The full text and an audio file can be found here.

Bishop Josiah served on the Windsor Commission.

Let me just remind you of one of the key comments...

Integrity is "Outraged and Appalled"

{Stand Firm] 23 May 2007--"Integrity is outraged and appalled," said Integrity President Susan Russell. "This is not only a snub of Bishop Gene Robinson but an affront to the entire U.S. Episcopal Church. The Archbishop of Canterbury has allowed himself to be blackmailed by forces promoting bigotry and exclusion in the Anglican Communion. This action shows a disgraceful lack of leadership on Williams’ part."

Sober Leadership Retreat Considers Future of Diocese

[The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh] 23 May 2007--...“We are facing something that we never thought we would face. We thought we would prevail. We thought that what we believed and what the majority of the Communion believed would be provided for,” said Bishop Duncan.

While, diocesan leaders reached no immediate consensus on what course to suggest to diocesan convention, there was a strong sense that the diocese should maintain the direction it set at the diocesan conventions of 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006. In 2006, the diocesan convention affirmed the appeal for Alternative Primatial Oversight. In 2005, the convention accepted the Windsor Report. In 2004, it approved the second reading of an amendment to the diocesan constitution that states the diocese will not be bound by decisions of the national church that are “contrary to the faith and order of the one holy catholic and apostolic church.” In 2003, the convention stated that in the approval of Bishop Gene V. Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire, “The Episcopal Church has exceeded its authority and departed from its constitution.”

Statement by Bishop Martyn Minns on the 2008 Lambeth Conference Invitations

[Stand Firm] 23 May 2007--A statement was issued by the Anglican Communion Office on May 22 regarding the Lambeth Conference of Anglican Communion bishops in July 2008. The Rt. Rev'd Martyn Minns, Missionary Bishop of CANA (Convocation of Anglicans in North America), has made the following response....

Presiding Bishop Reflects on Poverty and Climate Change

[Stand Firm] 23 May 2007--The San Francisco Chronicle hosts an open forum for Katharine Jefferts Schori's reflections on poverty....

A Statement from The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, Bishop of New Hampshire

[Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire] 23 May 2007--It is with great disappointment that I receive word from the Archbishop of Canterbury that I will not be included in the invitation list for the Lambeth Conference, 2008. At a time when the Anglican Communion is calling for a “listening process” on the issue of homosexuality, it makes no sense to exclude gay and lesbian people from that conversation. It is time that the Bishops of the Anglican Communion stop talking about gay and lesbian people and start talking with us....

Global South Attendance at Lambeth Conference Doubtful

[The Living Church] 23 May 2007--The participation by the Nigerian House of Bishops and bishops from other “Global South” Anglican provinces is doubtful, according to the Most Rev. Peter Akinola, Archbishop of Nigeria, who released a brief statement following news that invitations to the 2008 Lambeth Conference of Bishops have been issued.

The Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns, formerly rector of Truro Church in Fairfax, Va., and now a missionary bishop of the Church of Nigeria, was one of a handful of bishops (along with the Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, Bishop of New Hampshire) who did not receive an invitation to the Lambeth Conference, according to a statement distributed at a press conference in London May 22 by the Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon, secretary general of the Anglican Consultative Council, and Tim Livesey, public affairs officer for the Most Rev. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury.

The invitation letter sent by Archbishop Williams noted that additional guest and ecumenical invitations will be forthcoming, and that some invitations may be withdrawn to “bishops whose appointment, actions or manner of life have caused exceptionally serious division or scandal within the Communion.”

“The withholding of invitation to a Nigerian bishop, elected and consecrated by other Nigerian bishops, will be viewed as withholding of invitation to the entire House of Bishops of the Church of Nigeria,” Archbishop Akinola stated.

No Lambeth Invitation for Bishop Robinson

[The Living Church] 23 May 2007--The Bishop of New Hampshire will not be invited to participate in the 2008 Lambeth Conference, according to the Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon, secretary of the Lambeth Conference.

Invitations to the conference were mailed May 22 to more than 800 bishops of the Anglican Communion by the conference’s host, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.

The Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns, Bishop of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) and the Rt. Rev. Charles Murphy and his suffragans, the bishops of the Anglican Mission in North America (AMiA) will not receive invitations either, the conference organizers said.

Consent Canons to be Reviewed

[The Living Church] 23 May 2007--The Standing Commission on Constitution and Canons met recently in San Diego, agreeing to review the current consent process for episcopal elections and to update an annotated commentary on national church bylaws. It was the second time the interim body had met since the 75th General Convention adjourned last June.

During the meeting a commission member from the Diocese of Eau Claire reported that the diocese’s consent to the election of the Very Rev. Mark Lawrence as Bishop of South Carolina had been ruled invalid.

Response from Archbishop Akinola to Withholding of Invitation to Bishop Minns
[Global South Anglican] 23 May 2007--
In response to requests for comments on the Lambeth Conference invitations, Archbishop Peter Akinola reaffirms that the Church of Nigeria is committed to the CAPA commissioned report “The Road to Lambeth”

Since only the first set of invitations had been sent, it is premature to conclude who will be present or absent at the conference. However, the withholding of invitation to a Nigerian bishop, elected and consecrated by other Nigerian bishops will be viewed as withholding invitation to the entire House of Bishops of the Church of Nigeria.

The Lord bless you as you remain in Christ

The Venerable AkinTunde Popoola
Director, Communication
Church of Nigeria.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Church Army Explores ‘Café Church’

[Christianity Today UK] 22 May 2007--The Director of Church Army’s Research Unit, George Lings, has explored some myths circulating about café church in the latest edition of the 'Encounters on the Edge' series of booklets.

Travelog of Visit to Bishop Martyn Minns Installation

[Reform] 22 May 2007--Instead of a regular newsletter the following is a travelogue of David Banting’s recent visit (on behalf of Anglican Mainstream UK and Reform) to the US to support Martyn Minns at his installation as the first missionary Bishop for CANA (the Convocation of Anglicans in North America) by Archbishop Peter Akinola, Primate of Nigeria, on Saturday May 5th 2007....

First invitations to 'reflective and learning-based' Lambeth Conference go out

[Anglican Communion News Service] 22 May 2007--The first invitations for the 2008 Lambeth Conference, to be held in Canterbury next summer, are being sent out today by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams. The gathering, which is set to be the largest Lambeth Conference in the history of the Anglican Communion, brings together bishops from the Churches in the 38 Provinces of the Anglican Communion together with ecumenical and other invited guests.

The 2008 Conference is intended to comprise nearly three weeks of shared retreat, common worship, study and discussion. It differs from previous gatherings in that the bishops will begin the conference with a period of retreat and reflection. It is planned that much of this retreat time will be held in and around Canterbury Cathedral.

Related article:
2 Bishops Not Invited to Anglican Parley - The New York Times
Gay U.S. bishop snubbed by Anglican conference - Reuters
Gay bishop's church conference snub - The Telegraph
Gay row US Anglicans miss summit - BBC News

How Much Is Too Little? How Much Is Enough?

[Glory to God for All Things] 22 May 2007--One of the most pervasive rules in Christian believing is the Latin phrase, “Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi,” usually rendered, “The Law of Praying is the Law of Believing.” It is a simple way of saying both that we believe what we pray (praying will inevitably bring about a conformity in believing), and that if something is to be preserved it must become part of the liturgical life. Time and history have largely born this out.

It has been a rule that concerns people who write or translate liturgies - and it has been a rule for those who helplessly watch as others write and translate liturgies. For it is simply the case, if the people do not pray it, in time they will cease to believe it.

A good article but I must point to the attention of the reader that it has been my experience that many Episcopalians are quite capable of praying what they do not believe and not believing what they do pray, thereby nullifying the principle of "lex orandi, lex credendi".

Tales of Woe from the Parallel Universe

[Stand Firm] 22 May 2007--I was about to nominate this post for the latest Braxton's Lear, but I thought it would be more interesting to have some Fun with Search and Replace™. Check this out....

What We Really Need are Some Episcopal Mega-Churches

[Stand Firm] 22 May 2007--More radical incoherence from the Episcopal Church. In an opinion piece, The Rev. Glenn Busch (DioNC) suggests that TEC look seriously at some creative consolidation of "marginal" Episcopal parishes....

Monday, May 21, 2007

Making Musical Contact

[] 21 May 2007--Last month I asked the question about the best ways to make contact with our community. I suggested that we have turned our backs on old methods like door knocking and gone for up-market entertainment events. My suggestion was that there is strong evidence that the old methods produce better long term results.

In that article I noted that a brilliantly organised Jazz Night brought no lasting contacts. My friend Con Campbell, who many of us know to be a wonderful saxophonist who plays at evangelistic jazz nights, told me a number of stories of people eventually coming to faith through events such as these. This was a good corrective by Con. I am not opposed to innovative contact means and jazz nights work brilliantly, especially with university educated, childless people. What I am suggesting is that we should not jettison the personal, relational methods which Christians are best at, and which are entirely gospel encouraged.

I want to now revisit another old means of making contact with our community…

It’s the choir.

Coffee Cart Christianity

[] 21 May 2007--School is back! This is self evident, not only because I can now walk down the street without being gang tackled by young kids on skate boards, but by an even more interesting indicator. It is the crowd of anxious parents each morning and evening outside the school gates of the local Infants/Primary School each mid-morning and mid-afternoon.

On any calculation the bulk of these parents, if not all of them, are non-Christians. Friendly, caring, concerned and responsible they may be, but converted they are not.

So where does the coffee come in?

“Interpreting Christ in a Pluralistic World”

[Washington National Cathedral] 21 May 2007--I can no longer think about Jesus as the only way to God and to a saving faith. How one comes into a relationship with God has taken on a meaning that it did not have in my younger years.

I personally reject the claim that Christianity has the truth and all other religions are in error. Unfortunately, this is the position of the new Pope, Benedict XVI, who says salvation is only possible through Jesus Christ. I think it is a mistaken view to say Christianity is superior to Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, and Judaism and that Christ is the only way to God and salvation.

George Regas preached this sermon at the Washington National Cathedral. He and other liberals like him claim to represent 'true Anglicanism'. Here is what the Thirty-Nine Articles says about the "liberation of pluralism".

"They also are to be had accursed that presume to say, That every man shall be saved by the Law or Sect which he professeth, so that he be diligent to frame his life according to that Law, and the light of Nature. For Holy Scripture doth set out unto us only the Name of Jesus Christ, whereby men must be saved."

Church schism set for Va. court

[The Washington Times] 21 May 2007--The mother of all lawsuits pitting Episcopalian against Anglican kicks off today in the red-brick confines of Fairfax County Circuit Court.

The case has amassed numerous court filings involving 11 churches, two dozen lawyers, 107 individuals, the 90,000-member Diocese of Virginia, the 2.3 million-member Episcopal Church and the 18.5 million-member Anglican Province of Nigeria.

Archbishop Akinola’s visit to the USA

[Anglican Mainstream] 21 May 2007--In the Church Times of May 11 Andrew Brown (Press, 11 May) quoted comments in Fall Church News-Press about the Primate of All Nigeria, the Most Revd Peter Akinola.

The Rev Ben Enwuchola, the chaplain to the Nigerian Community in the United Kingdom has written to the Church Times hoping that readers will judge the Archbishop by the facts.

Kendall Harmon: On Universalism, Hell and the Episcopal Lectionary

[titusonenine] 21 May 2007--Universalism–the idea that it is not possible for anyone not to be saved, runs rampant in the Episcopal Church, for example, particularly among the clergy. But there is also a huge amount of what I call practical universalism, that is, in a number of Episcopal parishes, you will not hear universalism explicitly affirmed, but you will just never hear the alternative affirmed or spoken about either. Hell may as well not exist in terms of the way the parish functions in its day to day existence.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Priest is braced for more battles

[The State] 19 May 2007--The Rev. Mark Lawence says he is prepared to re-enter the ecclesiastical fray once the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina renews its bid to elect him as bishop.

There is no question the Lowcountry diocese wants the conservative California priest as its leader. In a recent letter to parishioners, retiring bishop Edward Salmon Jr. wrote of a consensus among leaders that “the Holy Spirit has spoken in the election of Fr. Lawrence.”

But Lawrence said Thursday he knows he will not escape a second round of divisive debate that mirrors in many ways the theological struggle in the larger Episcopal Church.

“I am sure it will happen again,” he said in a telephone interview from his office at at St. Paul’s Episcopal Parish in Bakersfield, Calif. “How it unfolds is hard to know.”

The Goddess Unmasked

[Christianity Today] 19 May 2007--What every woman should know about the "sacred feminine".

Anglican Mission to meet in Kingsport

[Tri-Cities] 19 May 2007--The president of the Anglican Mission in the Americas will speak at a meeting Tuesday on establishing an Anglican Mission in the Americas (AMiA) church or churches in the region.

The meeting is open to interested members of the public.

Sola Ecclesia: The Episcopal Church as the Measure of Truth

[Stand Firm] 19 May 2007--The Episcopal Church, in other words, is not guided, convicted, and/or rebuked by the Word of God but rather she rummages about in the word for something she deems "helpful" and "true" and discards the rest. So, what happens if, and I know this is inconcievable, the Episcopal Church falls into error? Apparently she doesn't. The only way, in fact, for a system like this to function is to assume that God's truth is both heard and revealed more clearly at the General Convention of the Episcopal Church than it is in Scripture or in Tradition. The Episcopal Church must herself act as the thresher, sorting the true wheat from chaff. And to act in this way is to assume, as the thresher, an authority not on par with other sources but over and above them.

Back to the Bible

[Christianity Today] 19 May 2007--A recently rediscovered religious text is making huge waves in the world today. With stunning power, it is driving the largest religious change in human history. This book is subversive, revolutionary, and transformative in its approach to good and evil; spirituality; politics; wealth and poverty; race, ethnicity, and social status; gender and sexuality; and health and healing. It also reveals long-hidden truths about Jesus of Nazareth. What is this book? Is it the Gospel of Thomas? No. How about The Da Vinci Code? Hardly.

It's the Bible. All over the global South—in Africa, Asia, and to a large extent in Latin America as well1—people are reading, believing, and living out of the Bible in ways that make it a very different book from the one known in the North Atlantic realms. Not only that, but because of unprecedented migration, this new Christianity is close at hand in the North as well. In The New Faces of Christianity, a stunning sequel to The Next Christendom, historian Philip Jenkins sets out to take a much closer look at the Christianity of the global South. What he finds is a deeply biblical faith that understands the Scriptures in strikingly different ways than are common in the global North.

Second AAC Report on Tanzania Communique Compliance by ECUSA

[Stand Firm] 19 May 2007--The AAC continues to do yeoman's work in cataloguing how ECUSA is responding to the Tanzania Communique -- copious quotes and references in this document, divided into four categories: top leadership responses, bishop responses, same-sex blessings, and litigation....

AnglicanTV Interviews Archbishop Orombi

[Stand Firm] 19 May 2007--Exclusive: Anne Coletta of AnglicanTV interviews Archbishop Orombi

Why I Think the Anglican Covenant Process is Useless

[Newbie Anglican] 19 May 2007--So Archbishop Gomez straight up said that PB Schori’s honesty and trustworthiness about Tanzania is . . . lacking.

As notable as that is, I want to focus on what the Primate of the West Indies said earlier: “Covenant is making promises and keeping promises.”

Though coming from the chairman of the Covenant committee himself, that statement sums up why I think the current Anglican Covenant process is useless. Even if one puts an extremely, uh, charitable spin on the words and actions of PBs Griswold and Schori, making covenants with those who for all practical purposes lie every time they recite the Nicene Creed is hardly a useful undertaking.

Conference Addresses Congregational Health

[The Living Church] 19 May 2007--Declining attendance in mainline denominations is primarily due to secularizing cultural trends, and in the absence of other factors may not be a cause for concern, according to Marcus J. Borg, professor of religion and culture at Oregon State University, who said the consolidation of membership may ultimately prove beneficial.

Prof. Borg and author Diana Butler Bass addressed the decline in mainline church attendance and characteristics of healthy mainline parishes at the Church for the 21st Century Conference, held May 10–12, 2007, at Washington National Cathedral.

Autonomy or Communion?

[Global South Anglican] 19 May 2007--“Does autonomy supersede communion? Or in the interests of a common mission are we willing to subsume autonomy?”

With this rhetorical question the Most Rev. Drexel Gomez, Primate of the West Indies, summarized the question before the member Provinces of the worldwide Anglican Communion at a clergy conference of the Diocese of Central Florida gathered at the diocesan retreat center in Oviedo, Florida, outside Orlando.