Saturday, June 30, 2007

Exodus Freedom Speaker Warns of 'The Gay Gospel'

[The Christian Post] 30 June 2007--There is a growing movement today to legitimize homosexuality not only in the eyes of the culture but also in the eyes of the church, according to Joe Dallas, a featured speaker at Exodus' Freedom Conference this week.

Seeing a pro-gay theology or "the gay gospel" growing in prominence, Dallas released a book titled The Gay Gospel: How Pro-Gay Advocates Misread the Bible earlier this year to equip the average believer to be able to answer the claims of those who say they are gay and a Christian and believe that's fine with God.

"There is, in essence, a new gospel being preached which teaches that homosexuality not only is legitimate but is even God-ordained, and that the church which believes homosexuality is wrong needs to change its position," Dallas said in a recent interview with Concerned Women for America.

While he heard pro-gay interpretations of the Bible, he didn't find them very convincing.

"I believe that the pro-gay theology ... is a symptom of the problem of people wanting to believe something and then imposing that desire on the Bible. Rather than reading the Bible for what it says, they interpret it for what they want it to mean," Dallas explained in the interview.

But what makes pro-gay theology distinct from other false teachings is that it has a very powerful lobby behind it; it is gaining popularity and it has media support, Hollywood support, academic support, and psychological support, Dallas added.

"So there's more pressure on the church to either adopt a pro-gay interpretation of the Bible or be silenced."

Church Development Expert Looks Beyond a Denomination in Crisis

[The Christian Post] 30 June 2007--Although the Rev. Paul Nixon, author of recently released I Refuse to Lead a Dying Church, sees much hope in the United Methodist community, at the same time, he recognizes that the denomination is in "the midst of a cultural avalanche."

"Avalanches can roll on for a while and wipe out whole villages in their path. But if we are quick, nimble, and attentive in our skiing, we may escape burial in snow," wrote Nixon in the May/June issue of New World Outlook, a mission magazine of the United Methodist Church.

And when the "slide of snow ceases, we may view a panorama never before seen by human eyes, a place of fresh start," says Nixon, also director of Congregational Development in the Alabama-West Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church.

But in that new terrain, doing church business as usual would be "insane," as Nixon stated.

Related article:
United Methodists Turning Tide for Growth - The Christian Post
Report: United Methodists More Hopeful in Global South than West - The Christian Post
What Makes a Thriving Mainline Church When Many are Dying? - The Christian Post

Episcopal bishop removes Bristol priest, claims church property,0,6540002.story?coll=ny-region-apconnecticut

[] 30 June 2007--Connecticut's Episcopal Diocese has removed the leader of a Bristol parish that left the Episcopal church over the appointment of an openly gay bishop.

The Rev. Donald Lee Helmandollar of Trinity Church has been deposed _ the equivalent of being defrocked _ and the diocese will take over the church's property on July 8, Connecticut Bishop Andrew Smith said Friday.

Trinity's congregation voted itself out of the Episcopal Church earlier this year, becoming one of several nationwide who left their dioceses and joined the more conservative Anglican Church of Nigeria.

Trinity has hired an attorney to fight the diocese's order to vacate the property, Helmandollar said Friday. He also has continued to lead worship services in the church, he said.

Anglican priest to bless lesbian and gay couples

[Times Colonist] 30 June 2007--Father Antonio Osorio is inviting lesbian and gay couples to be blessed at St. Saviour's Anglican Church tomorrow.

Archdeacon Bruce Bryant-Scott of the Diocese of British Columbia said Osorio is "pushing the envelope" but not crossing any lines. "He knows what the guidelines are. He knows what's acceptable."

New report: frustrated older clerics are ‘demotivated’

[Church Times] 30 June 2007--An unpublished report about frustration among older clerics in the Church of England is under discussion by bishops and senior staff, amid fears that under-fulfilled clergy are holding back the Church’s mission. The 45-page document, From Frustration to Fulfilment: The final ten years of licensed ministry, calls for a national vocational assessment for the over-50s.

The report identifies a small group of clerics who have lost their sense of vocation and faith in God. It suggests that such clerics should not move to another post, but be helped to leave the ministry with as much dignity as possible.

Sliding Down the Slippery Slope in the West

[Anglican Mainstream] 30 June 2007--When the BBC invited me onto one of its talk shows recently to talk about the day’s hot topic — legalizing adult incest — I thought of Rick Santorum.

Back in 2003, as the Supreme Court was preparing to rule in Lawrence v. Texas, a case challenging the constitutionality of laws criminalizing homosexual sodomy, then-Senator Santorum caught holy hell for warning that if the law were struck down, there would be no avoiding the slippery slope.

11 Bishops for Orthodox Anglicans in the USA.

[Anglican Mainstream] 30 June 2007--The announcement of the election of the Rev William Murdoch brings to 11 the number of American Bishops from other jurisdictions giving oversight to faithful Anglicans in the United States.

They are Bishops Murphy, Rodgers, Barnum, Greene, and Johnston (AMiA- Rwanda)Bishops Minns and Bena (CANA - Nigeria)Bishops-elect Atwood and Murdoch (Kenya)Bishop-elect Guernsey and Bishop Fairfield (Uganda)

The Province of Wales has six bishops; the Scottish Episcopal Church has seven.

Sermon by The Rev. Ann Holmes Redding: Revisiting the Trinity

[Stand Firm] 30 June 2007--Those of us who attended Jamal Rahman's presentations on Rumi and on Islam as part of our formation offerings, have heard him quote the prophet Mohammed who was, in turn, quoting God: "I cannot be contained in the space of the earth. I cannot be contained in the space of the heavens, but I can be contained in the space of the pure loving heart of my servant."

In Islam, which has no concept of original sin, the human heart remains uncorrupted. Allah is said to stand between a person and that person's heart, protecting it from any distortions of wrong actions and sins committed. If we can hear and obey, if we can get back to the wisdom in our heart, the place where God deigns to dwell in us, then we will know what God's will is.

So what if Jesus could be one who always listened to his pure loving heart, who identified wholly with the God who dwelled in his heart? In that sense Jesus can be a model, a window for us, a lesson in listening to God's heart wisdom.

How could we look at the Trinity from that perspective? Could perhaps another rendering of the Trinity be the most high God, the heart of God in Jesus, and the spirit of God working in the world and in us?

Again, I'm not suggesting we throw out our creed; however, as I have often said in Christian initiation and baptismal preparation classes, the creeds do represent historical debates. They answer questions that we do not necessarily have. I for one must confess that I recite the creed as an act of filial piety -- out of respect for our ancestors for the creativity of their theological explorations and struggles...


On the First Article of Religion

[Stand Firm] 30 June 2007--The Article moves next to affirm that God is the "Maker and Preserver of all things visible and invisible." God, in other words, is not the famous “Watchmaker” imagined by the Deists. He did not create the universe and then walk away to let it run by itself. God actively "preserves" or sustains everything in existence. If, for one moment, God were to withdraw his sustaining hand, the universe would come undone in the twinkling of an eye. God provides the breath of life to all who live and the power of existence to all things that exist, moment by moment, hour by hour, year by year....

Kenyans Elect Bishop Suffragan for U.S. Parishes

[The Living Church] 30 June 2007--The provincial synod of the Anglican Church of Kenya on June 29 elected the Rev. William L. Murdoch, rector of All Saints’ Church, West Newbury, Mass., as a Bishop Suffragan of All Saints Cathedral in the Diocese of Nairobi.

Bishop-elect Murdoch will be consecrated along with bishop-elect Bill Atwood on Aug. 30 by the Most Rev. Benjamin Nzimbi, Archbishop of Kenya, in Nairobi to “serve the international interests of the ACK [Anglican Church of Kenya], including taking responsibility for care for the congregations and clergy in the U.S. under Kenyan jurisdiction.”

Related Article:
Network Welcomes the Rev. William Murdoch’s Election - Anglican Communion Network
Second Bishop elected from Kenya for the USA - Anglican Mainstream

Friday, June 29, 2007

Changes that Count

[Christianity Today] 29 June 2007--5 steps to a new future.

One Family at a Time

[Christianity Today] 29 June 2007--What does today's family look like, and how can your church connect with it? Churches share what's working—and what's not—to reach the 21st-century home.

Christian Theologians: 'Episcopal Muslim' Faith is Illogical, Contradictory'Episcopal_Muslim'_Faith_is_Illogical,_Contradictory.htm

[The Christian Post] 29 June 2007--Dr. Emir Caner, dean of The College at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, described Redding’s faith conviction as “an extraordinary illustration of what has become Postmodern Christianity in America.”

Postmodernists are characterized for criticizing the conventional and embracing contradictions.

“It is a logical impossibility for someone to be both a Muslim and Christian since they stand in direct opposition to each other on such crucial theological issues as the cross, resurrection, and salvation,” Caner, a former devout Muslim, said to The Christian Post.

An Episcopal Muslim?

[The Christian Post] 29 June 2007--On Friday nights, Ann Holmes Redding of Seattle puts on a black head scarf, heads to the Al-Islam Center, and prays with her fellow Muslims.

Nothing I just told you is remarkable. What’s remarkable is what I didn’t tell you: Redding is an Episcopal priest. Not an ex-Episcopal priest, mind you, but a priest, as far as she and her superiors are concerned, in good standing.

Her story is a vivid reminder of what’s really at stake in the various culture wars within Christian churches: orthodoxy.

Episcopal priest says she's Christian and Muslim

[Christian Examiner] 29 June 2007--Ralph Webb, director of the Institute on Religion and Democracy's Anglican Action program, noted that the "Episcopal Church continues to find new, creative ways to allow for heterodox faith variations at the local level. First, there was a 'local option' for same-sex blessings in the Episcopal Church. Now there's apparently an unofficial 'local option' for clergy who profess dual faiths."

The idea that a person can become a Muslim while remaining an Episcopal priest in good standing trivializes both faiths, Webb said.

New Beginning for Rector, Christ the Redeemer Church

[The Connection Newspapers] 29 June 2007--The Rev. Mark Sholander didn't initially set out to become a man of the cloth. Actually, said his wife Cindi, "Mark's a second-career priest. He was formerly vice president of the American Arbitration Association.

"But he left that profession, followed his heart — and soul — and was ordained in 2000. In January, he became the rector of Christ the Redeemer church in Centreville, and last Sunday morning was his official installation.

Sydney proposes alternative to Lambeth Conference

[Church Times] 29 June 2007--Conservatives are planning an alternative meeting in the UK at the same time as the 2008 Lambeth Conference, it emerged this week.

The idea is now being put to other conservative bishops in the Anglican Communion including those who have already refused or who have not been invited to Lambeth. The standing committee send warm greetings to Canon Bill Atwood, soon to be consecrated to serve in the US by the Archbishop of Kenya (News, 15 June).

Speaking on Tuesday from Sydney, Robert Tong, a standing-committee member, said that: “Everyone on our 60-strong committee appreciated the dilemma; if we don’t go [to the Lambeth Conference] the conservative position is weakened because of our absence, but if we do go, are we saying that we are in support? That is why we have suggested these principled objections.”

Mr Tong said that he had no idea what form the protests would take. “One obvious course of action is that some bishops may absent themselves from taking holy communion with the others. This goes to the heart of fellowship and makes a liturgical point.”

He said that Bishop Martyn Minns, a member of the Nigerian-based conservative group in the US, was one of a number who would be approached. Bishops and archbishops in the Global South would also be contacted.

“Sydney has tended to be on the edge of the Global South grouping, but this does not rule out contacting all the leaders. But this is a situation that is evolving. Nothing definite has been arranged, and no alternative venue has been booked,” said Mr Tong.

Rwanda: Bishops to Boycott Anglican Conference

[] 29 June 2007--In a letter sent to Rwanda Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini on June 18 2007, the Archbishop of Canterbury wrote, "you should know that I have not invited the bishops of AMiA and CANA".

Mr. Williams added: "This is not a question of asking anyone to disassociate themselves at this stage from what have been described as the missionary initiatives of your Provinces.. I appreciate that you may not be happy with these decisions, but I feel that as we approach a critical juncture of the life of the Communion, I must act in accordance to the clear guidance of the instruments of the Communion.."

Another reason the Rwandan bishops say has influenced their decision not to attend Lambeth 2008 is the fact that Mr. Williams has invited the Episcopal Church of America (TEC), the Anglican Church of Canada, and "other like-minded Provinces.

The Rwandan clergy say all the above are now "violating holy orders" by making the decision to "ordain and to consecrate practicing homosexuals".

"From his actions and decision to invite TEC, a province which is violating holy orders, biblical teaching and the tradition of the church, and his decision not to invite the bishops of AMiA and CANA, the Archbishop of Canterbury has shown that he has now taken sides because the Primates have asked TEC for repentance in order to be in communion with them.", reads the communiqué by the Rwandan bishops dated June 26.

The Rwandan bishops also add: "We would like to know if there are instruments in the Communion more important than the Primates and Provinces themselves".

"The Archbishop of Canterbury also refers to the consecration of the AMiA and CANA bishops as irregular. We would like to know why their consecrations are considered irregular when the actions of TEC are not considered irregular."

Related Article:
RWANDA: Bishops rebuke Archbishop of Canterbury, announce no-show at Lambeth Conference - Episcopal Life Online

Episcopal Diocese sues Attleboro dissidents

[The Boston Globe] 29 June 2007--The Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, faced with the prospect of conservatives bolting the denomination over its support for gay rights, is taking a newly tough stance against would-be schismatics, filing suit to freeze the bank account of a breakaway group in Attleboro.

The diocese, which filed the suit Tuesday in Bristol Superior Court in Taunton, is alleging that in the months leading up to a split in Attleboro, the parishioners secreted away about $200,000 that rightfully belongs to the Episcopal Church.

Related Article:
Anglicans face suit - Attleboro Sun Chronicle

Who's paying for all this litigation, folks?

Anglicans allege ‘intimidation’ in attempt to name defendants

[St. Louis Examiner] 29 June 2007--Virginia Anglicans who split from the Episcopal Church last year are accusing their former diocese of “intimidation,” after the diocese moved to specifically name dozens of its former congregants in a land lawsuit.

A hearing is set today in Fairfax County Circuit Court to resolve whether about 75 now anonymous defendants — all vestry members or trustees of eight dissident churches — can be named in the suit.

The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia is suing to reclaim the properties after one of the most high-profile rifts within the Christian Church in modern American history. The conservative congregations left the Episcopal Church in December after a long-standing feud over the interpretation of scripture, a fight intensified by the ordination of a gay bishop four years ago in New England.

“It’s just harassment of defendants, that’s all it is,” Jim Oakes, vice chair of the Anglican District of Virginia, the umbrella group for the churches, said of the most recent motion. “It’s frankly intimidating to soccer moms and people who aren’t used to encountering our legal system.”

Listening Process facilitator meets with Integrity, other groups

[Episcopal Life Online] 29 June 2007--A group brought together by Integrity USA, the church's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) affinity group, spent June 27-28 telling the facilitator of the Anglican Communion's Listening Process about their experience of being homosexual or transgender, or having a family member or friend who is.

Related Article:
Gay Lobby Cherry-Picks Lambeth 1.10 - Stand Firm

When God Says No

[Stand Firm] 29 June 2007--Well, God didn't say no. Twenty-one Canadian bishops said no. But that's not nearly as provocative a headline.

There is so much in this article I don't have anywhere near enough time to go through it all. [WARNING: The link leads to a gay site, which is full of the usual images of a wholesome lifestyle deserving of the church's blessing] There's the grammatical train wreck of the picture caption, where the author refers to the bishops' "suspicious resemblance to aging queens." There's the lots and lots and lots and lots of talk about "listening"....

Letters Exchanged during Diocese of Pittsburgh Actions

[Stand Firm] 29 June 2007--Crossing over from the bellicose to the simply weird, TEC Presiding Litigator David Booth Beers has informed the Diocese of Pittsburgh that although the church's constitution in Article VII states that "no diocese shall be included in a province without its own consent," General Convention must approve any changes in provincial membership, plainly implying that Pittsburgh may declare what it wants to on the basis of the church's constitution, but it may do only what General Convention allows it to do.

Gene Robinson to be invited to Lambeth - Two Questions

[Anglican Mainstream] 29 June 2007--Following the report that Gene Robinson is to be invited to the Lambeth Conference, two questions need an answer.

Is the Archbishop of Canterbury deliberately drawing a line between Gene Robinson, who is to be included, and orthodox bishops, such as Charles Murphy and Martyn Minns, and elect-bishops such as Bill Atwood and John Guernsey appointed by his brother Archbishops of Rwanda, Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda who are to be excluded?

Since the Primates of the Global South have made it very clear that an invitation of any kind to Gene Robinson would mean that the bishops from their provinces will be unable to attend, does the reported invitation mean that the Archbishop of Canterbury is signalling that he has abandoned any attempt to hold the Communion together and is accepting that it is irrevocably split - with Canterbury siding with the TEC revisionists?

Gene Robinson 'to be invited' to Lambeth, says ABC

[Times Online] 29 June 2007-- number of Anglicans in England have been writing to the Archbishop of Canterbury in protest at his decision to leave Gene Robinson off the invitation list to Lambeth. I have been 'leaked' one of the letters sent back in response. Signed by Canon Flora Winfield, of his office for International, Ecumenical and Anglican Communion Affairs, it reflects on the Archbishop's concern about the 'canonical impediment' to Bishop Robinson's consecration. The letter concludes: 'The Archbishop is therefore exploring inviting Bishop Robinson to the conference in another status.' Full text printed at the end of this post.

A source tells me he will indeed be invited as an official guest, with a voice but no vote, in the same way that eight TEC delegates were invited to the ACC meeting at Nottingham. Ecumenical guests would fall into the same category. Martyn Minns will not be invited in any category however. The two more recent consecrations, including that of Bill Atwood, have not been discussed yet.

Related Article:
Rowan Williams backtracks on gay bishop snub - Pink News

Diocese of Virginia Standing Committee Rejects Proposed Anglican Covenant

BabyBlueOnline] 29 June 2007--BB NOTE: The Standing Committee of the Diocese of Virginia has released a "response" regarding the proposed Anglican Covenant - and it's a doozy. Indeed, it is illuminating. BabyBlue Commentary is posted.

Wider Use of Latin Mass Likely, Vatican Officials Say

[The New York Times] 29 June 2007--Pope Benedict XVI has signed a document that would allow more churches to adopt the old Latin Mass that largely faded from use during the 1960s, when the groundbreaking Second Vatican Council opened the door to worship in the local vernacular, Vatican officials say.

The revival of what is known as the Tridentine Mass has long been promoted by Roman Catholic traditionalists, who say it is more moving, contemplative and historically authentic than the modern Mass.

But Pope Benedict has been hearing resistance from cardinals and bishops, many of them in Europe, who argue that the change would divide the church by promulgating two very different official rites.

They say that it could create rifts in smaller parishes that cannot agree which Mass to use, and that it would burden already overburdened members of the clergy, many of whom do not know Latin and were never trained to perform the older rite’s more complex choreography.

Back to Basics

[New Vision] 29 June 2007--After three days of hectic and sometimes emotional debate over the issue of the blessing of same-sex unions, General Synod eventually refused to approve local diocesan authorization of such blessings and committed itself, by passing the final resolution of its last day in session, June 25, to going back to basics and to major processes of ongoing study.

Related article:
Bishops discuss fallout from same-sex vote at General Synod - Anglican Journal

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Parishioners pray for church

[Daily Pilot] 28 June 2007--The weekly noontime Eucharist service at St. James Church drew a crowd three times the usual size on Wednesday, when about 30 parishioners prayed for support and guidance after a court revoked their rights to the church's Newport Beach property.

"Typically we meet in the side chapel, but more people came today to be together, to meet God, and to receive encouragement and support during this challenging time," said St. James' pastor of discipleship Cathie Young, who delivered Wednesday's sermon.

Two Articles on the Aftermath of Canadian General Synod in the Diocese of New Westminster

[TitusOneNine] 28 June 2007--One, entitled "Bishop says diocese will study General Synod decisions" begins thus:

Leaders of the Diocese of New Westminster will have to study this week’s resolutions of the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada, and determine what the implications are for the diocese, Bishop Michael Ingham said Monday (June 25).

Canadian gay marriage vote blow to U.S. Anglicans

[The Toronto Star] 28 June 2007--Canadian Anglicans further isolated the U.S. wing of the church with their narrow weekend vote against allowing church blessing of same-sex unions.

But those within the U.S. branch of Anglicanism – known here as the Episcopal Church – pointed to the slim margin of the Canadian vote as a sign that the two churches are not that far apart.

"Naturally I'm disappointed," said Rev. Susan Russell, the California-based president of the U.S. branch of Integrity, which advocates on behalf of gays and lesbians in the Episcopal Church.

"The fallout will not only be for the faithful gays and lesbians in the United States, but all ministries of the church because it will only further drag out this issue to the detriment of larger questions which should be dealt with."

Character Traits in the Church: Part 1 The Simple Life of the Fool

[Stand Firm] 28 June 2007--The simpleton’s concern is to avoid personal effort. He wants short pithy sermonettes, pretty music, nice vestments, and good coffee in under an hour once a week. He does not want bible studies, expository sermons, conviction. If it sounds good to his ear; be it a sermon, a song, or a speech, he likes it and swallows it whole without question. It's easier that way.

Communion Laity and Clergy of Colorado Release a Letter to Bishop O'Neill

[Stand Firm] 28 June 2007--We know you have asked the Diocesan Task Force “to find some ways to maintain the essential unity of the body by identifying practical means by which different groups can hold and exercise their convictions with integrity without needing either to act out or to split off completely and to identify some way in which the two polarizing elements of the diocese can continue to work together.” While the goal of the Task Force is noble, we do not see any solution to the dilemma facing either group, short of a miracle. The dilemma is not based on issues of sexuality. Rather, the primary source of our differences is two interpretations of scripture and of the Gospel itself.

An Ephram Radner Sermon: "Who Do You Say: Commitments In The Church"

[Stand Firm] 28 June 2007--It is going to be interesting to watch the response of communion conservatives now that even Archbishop Gomez has lent his support to those primates and domestic leaders who seek "conformity" to "percieved" truths.

What, by the way, are those "percieved" truths to which Dr. Radner points? Disturbing to say the least.

ACC Statement on California Appellate Court Decision{5B2A25C8-3DFE-4B92-9009-E1BAED072242}&notoc=1

[American Anglican Council] 28 June 2007--The American Anglican Council notes with disappointment the recent decision made by California's Fourth District Court of Appeals in regard to church property that attempts to reverse almost thirty years of California law. A three judge panel reversed the Orange County Superior Court's ruling that three churches, St. James Church in Newport Beach, All Saint's Church in Long Beach, and St. David's Church in North Hollywood, which disaffiliated from the national denomination did not forfeit their property. The Rev. Canon David C. Anderson of the American Anglican Council called the ruling, “a bad judgment that flies in the face of basic justice, good standing law and good common sense."

The Anglican Covenant - preparing for the General Synod debate

[Anglican Mainstream] 28 June 2007--Rev Dr Andrew Goddard (Wycliffe Hall, Oxford) and Canon Dr Chris Sugden argue that the Church of England General Synod should support the development of an Anglican Covenant.


The Bishop of Lincoln and the Modern Churchmen’s Union oppose the draft Anglican Covenant.

Read here

Province 3 President: Pittsburgh Diocese May Not Opt Out

[The Living Church] 28 June 2007--A decision to leave the Province 3 regional ministry jurisdiction of The Episcopal Church cannot be made unilaterally, according to the Rt. Rev. Robert Ihloff, retired Bishop of Maryland and president of Province 3. Bishop Ihloff wrote all ordained clergy canonically resident in the Diocese of Pittsburgh on June 22.

As in the case of the Executive Committee, the constitution and canons of The Episcopal Church do not give the president of a province authority to interpret the constitution and canons. What Bishop Ihloff is doing is expressing his personal opinion.

Appeals Panel Ruling Favors Los Angeles Diocese

[The Living Church] 28 June 2007--The decision puts one division of the appellate court in direct conflict with other California court of appeal decisions, according to Eric Sohlgren, a legal spokesperson for the three parishes. The 2004 decision in Calif. Nevada Annual Conf. vs. St. Luke’s Methodist Church was only the most recent over the last 30 years in which California appellate courts have rejected the idea that it must automatically defer to the denomination in church property disputes, he said.

“Under this ruling, any big church which calls itself hierarchical could try to confiscate the property of a local congregation simply by passing an internal rule," Mr. Sohlgren said. "That idea offends basic principles of fairness and property ownership.”

If the parishes decide not to appeal to the California Supreme Court, the case will be returned to Orange County Superior Court with new instructions on which legal principle Judge David Velasquez will employ. Still at issue in the lower court, according to Mr. Sohlgren, is whether The Episcopal Church validly passed the so-called “Dennis Canon,” to which the appellate court deferred in finding in favor of the diocese and national church.

It is “unlikely” that the parishes will concede defeat as a result of the appellate court decision, Mr. Sohlgren said.

From what I understand the "Dennis Canon" did not receive receive the required approval of two successive General Conventions, and therefore was not validly passed under the constitution of The Episcopal Church. However, the courts generally defer to organizations in the interpretation of constitutions and bylaws.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Church of England Recruits Simpsons to Teach Theology, Boost Attendance

[The Christian Post] 27 June 2007--The Church of England is getting help from the Simpsons to provide a more relevant way of teaching children about theology and to give a boost to dwindling congregations.

Mixing it Up with the “Simpsons”, a book to be released by the Church of England’s publishing company, will be sent to youth advisers in every diocese across the country next week, the Sunday Telegraph reported, with the hope of showing how Christianity is relevant to life today through issues tackled in the popular U.S. TV cartoon series. Clergy will be urged to show episodes of “The Simpsons” that focus on Christian themes such as love and punishment.

Top 25 Multiplying Churches in America

[The Christian Post] 27 June 2007--Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York was ranked the number one multiplying church in America.

Based on a survey sponsored by Leadership Network, Outreach Magazine's 2007 list of the top 25 multiplying churches placed Redeemer on top, Mars Hill Church in Seattle second and NorthWood Church in Keller, Texas, third. All three churches have planted a total of 100 churches since their founding.

Are there any Episcopal churches on this list?

UCC Synod Recommends - No Change on Same Gender-Marriage Stance

[World Faith News] 27 June 2007--Two years after becoming the first major denomination to support same-gender marriage equality, the UCC General Synod took no action on Tuesday, June 26, on a pair of resolutions meant to revisit, and in one case overturn, the action.

UCC Synod Calls for Study of Physician-Assisted Death

[World Faith News] 27 June 2007--The United Church of Christ, at every setting, was urged Tuesday afternoon to initiate study and conversation about the possibility of supporting the legal right of a terminally ill and mentally competent adult to receive medication to hasten death.

Attendance declines with 'liberal' attitudes

[Caledon Citizen] 27 June 2007--There are two main characteristics about formal organized religion in Canada. First, the vast majority of Canadians believe in God (and in percentage terms, most espouse the traditional Christian God). Second, the vast majority of Canadians rarely attend Church.

Why? What's the disconnect between faith and church attendance?

Part of the answer can be seen in this week's historic General Synod in Winnipeg where more than 400 bishops, clergy and ordinary members of the Anglican Church of Canada, this country's oldest Protestant Church, are holding their first such meeting in three years.

There are two main issues: electing a new Canadian leader; and voting on whether or not to let Anglican priests bless same-sex partnerships. And there, dear hearts, is the rub.

The fact is, the more "liberal" a Church becomes, the more Church attendance declines. And in Canada, as elsewhere, Churches have been taken over by the liberals and - with the exception of the Roman Catholics and evangelical churches, which continue to espouse more conservative theologies (and enjoy attendance growth) - attendance has plummeted.

Which is why the future of the Anglican Church of Canada hangs in the balance this week.

Uganda: Orombi Wants Makerere Job

[] 27 June 2007--Archbishops Henry Orombi and John Sentamu are among the seven candidates so far nominated for Makerere university chancellor.

They join Vice-President Prof. Gilbert Bukenya and former general duties minister Prof. Mondo Kagonyera in the race.

Confused signals to the Global South

[Anglican Coalition in Canada] 27 June 2007--The Anglican Coalition in Canada is disappointed but not surprised by the significant 'walking alone' shown by the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) General Synod 2007. The writing seems to be on the wall, in terms of the direction that the ACC has chosen. We choose in the ACiC to compassionately hold in prayer those orthodox Anglicans who are still currently within the ACC, and are being traumatized by these decisions.

We remember well how difficult it was for us five years ago when many of us walked out from the Diocese of New Westminster Synod. We have discovered in our experiences as ACiC Churches that there is indeed a way forward. Our calling in Canada is to offer hope with gentleness and humility.

Globe and Mail Poll Results in the Wake of the General Synod

[Globe and Mail] 27 June 2007--In your view, did Anglican bishops do the right thing in vetoing a resolution to allow same-sex union blessings in parish churches?

Godly Bishops

[Stand Firm] 27 June 2007--At the center of the apostolic experience of forgiveness is the reality of the one people of God and the body of Christ. The Apostles witness to the reality of the forgiveness of sins not just as an idea, as a teaching of the master, but as something which he has accomplished by his costly work and which has now through the power of the resurrection and the gift of the Spirit appeared.

Can't We All Focus on Mission and Forget about All This Heresy?

[Stand Firm] 27 June 2007--Some anonymous blogger at Much Nothing about Ado says this about us....

I Like Unity, as Long as It's on My Terms

[Stand Firm] 27 June 2007--From high atop the poop deck comes the latest reiteration of the basic lessons of the Anglican crisis: For revisionists, "listening" means "doing what we say." Also, "diversity" means "everyone must do what we're doing"....

A Reversal from the California Court of Appeals in the LA Church Fracas

[TitusOneNine] 27 June 2007--A three-judge panel of the California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, Division Three, today reversed the Orange County Superior Court’s prior ruling that three former Episcopal churches which disaffiliated from the national denomination in 2004 did not forfeit their property. This division of the appellate court broke with nearly thirty years of California church property law, and instead ruled that hierarchical church denominations can take over local church property by simply passing an internal rule – even if the local church is separately incorporated, bought and maintained the property.

Legal spokesperson, Eric C. Sohlgren, said, “This decision puts one division of the appellate court in direct conflict with other California court of appeal decisions that for almost thirty years have rejected the idea that a court must automatically defer to a church denomination in church property disputes. Under this ruling, any big church which calls itself hierarchical could try to confiscate the property of a local congregation simply by passing an internal rule. That idea offends basic principles of fairness and property ownership. St. James, All Saints’ and St. David’s are seriously evaluating an appeal to the California Supreme Court.”

Related articles:
The Full Text of the Court Ruling in the Diocese of Los Angeles Property Lawsuit - TitusOneNine
Landmark court decision upholds diocese's claim to parish property - The Episcopal News,1,3561183.story?coll=la-headlines-pe-california&ctrack=1&cset=true
Diocese wins rights to buildings - Los Angelos Times
Church may forfeit land - Long Beach Press-Telegram

Lgenfritz to Be Consecrated Forward in Faith North America Bishop

[Virtue Online] 27 June 2007--The Rev. William Ilgenfritz a national leader among traditionalist Episcopalians has been nominated to be a bishop for Forward in Faith North America. A time for the consecration has yet to be set.

"My name was put forward at the recent Nineteenth Annual Assembly of Forward in Faith North America at the National Shrine of our Lady of the Snows Conference Center in Belleville, Illinois in June," Ilgenfritz told VirtueOnline.

Ilgenfritz has been the rector of St. Mary’s in Charleroi, PA, in the Diocese of Pittsburgh since November 2004."It is now in the hands of the Primates,"

Ilgenfritz told VirtueOnline. "It could be by one of the African jurisdictions that consecrates me, but nothing has been decided."

Related Resolution:
Elections & Resolutions - FIF North America

When marriage became a ‘hate crime’

[Jewish World Review] 27 June 2007--Marriage is the foundation of the natural family and sustains family values. That sentence is inflammatory, perhaps even a hate crime.

At least it is in Oakland, Calif. That city's government says those words italicized here constitute something akin to hate speech, and can be proscribed from the government's open e-mail system and employee bulletin board.

Shifting Authority

[The Living CHurch] 27 June 2007--But with great respect for Bishop Steenson and the Windsor bishops, just to say something doesn’t make it true, and to say it often doesn’t make it less false. The Archbishop of Canterbury has never been the focal point of unity in the Anglican Communion. Instead, the focus of unity has always been a theology, what the prayer book calls “the substance of the Faith,” of which the archbishop is obligated to uphold. To give Canterbury control over our identity gives him far more power than he was ever meant to have.

According to Ian Douglas (Understanding the Windsor Report, coauthored with Paul Zahl), the four “instruments of unity” described in the Windsor Report were never identified as such before 1987. The Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Singapore in 1987 considered a paper that brought the four together for the first time. Yet, in reading the Windsor Report, one would get the feeling that these four — the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Anglican Consultative Council, the primates, and Lambeth Conference — have always been authoritative.

What the Windsor Report does is very subtle, but it should concern every traditional Episcopalian. Windsor shifted the authority of the church from the scriptures and Anglican theology as preserved in its formularies to four modern entities. This makes “the heritage” almost incidental to the hugely expanding role of Canterbury.

This development puts many orthodox bishops on a collision course with biblical Christianity. To put Canterbury on such a pedestal puts the church over the written word. But the Articles of Religion clearly state that the church is the servant of the word (XX), that the councils of the church may and sometimes have erred (XXI), and that the traditions and ceremonies of the church are subordinate to the authority of God’s word (XXXIV). To give Canterbury primary authority (or even the four instruments together) diminishes what Anglicans have historically believed.

Retired North Dakota Bishop Joins Ugandan Church

[The LIving Church] 27 June 2007--The Rt. Rev. Andrew H. Fairfield, retired Bishop of North Dakota, has joined the Church of Uganda and will assist Bishop-elect John Guernsey in overseeing the church’s 26 US congregations, according to an announcement this morning by the Most Rev. Henry Orombi, Archbishop of Uganda.

“Now, although I am ‘retired’ from a jurisdictional and financial point of view, I seek further Christian service, especially in the process of this transition in Anglican orthodoxy,” Bishop Fairfield stated, noting that he had written to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori resigning from the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church.

It was an honor to receive Bishop Fairfield into the Ugandan Church, Archbishop Orombi said, adding he would be a “great support to Bishop-elect John Guernsey and all the congregations in America that are under our care.”

The Anglican Covenant

[Global South Anglican] 27 June 2007--What is the proposed Anglican Covenant?

The idea of an Anglican Covenant originates in one of the main proposals of The Windsor Report (TWR) as a response to the recent crisis in the Communion. The principles of TWR were supported by General Synod in Feb 2005 before the Primates met at Dromantine. Following the support for developing a covenant from the Primates and the ACC, a consultation paper Towards an Anglican Covenant was written and commended to the Communion in 2006. The Archbishop of Canterbury gave further support to the covenant in his June 2006 address when he said....

Communique from the House of Bishops of the Province of the Episcopal Church of Rwanda

[Anglican Mission in America] 27 June 2007--In response to the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Honourable Rowan Williams, inviting the bishops to the Lambeth Conference 2008, the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church of Rwanda, who met in Kigali on 19 June 2007, resolved not to attend the Lambeth Conference for the following reasons:

1. Our Primates represent the bishops, clergy and laity from their Provinces. Therefore what they decide as representatives cannot be taken lightly when it engages the faith of the churches they represent. The invitations to Lambeth 2008 have been issued in complete disregard of our conscientious commitment to the apostolic faith once delivered.

2. The manner in which the invitations to the bishops of Rwanda were issued is divisive as some of our bishops were not invited. The bishops that provide oversight to the Anglican Mission (AMiA) are not “Anglican Mission bishops,” but rather bishops of the Province of Rwanda given the responsibility to lead Rwanda’s missionary outreach to North America. We are a united body and will not participate in a conference which would divide our number.

3. The invitations to Lambeth 2008 not only contravene the Lambeth 1998 Resolution 1.10 but also the positions taken in the communiqués that have been agreed upon in previous Primates’ meetings and in the “Road To Lambeth” document prepared for and accepted by the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA) bishops.

The following are issues of great concern....

Sydney POnders Parallel Lambeth

[] 27 June 2007--The Sydney Diocese’s Standing Committee has urged Archbishop Peter Jensen and his five regional bishops to make crystal clear Sydney’s protest at Lambeth’s guest list if they decide to accept the Archbishop of Canterbury’s invitations to attend next year’s conference of the world’s Anglican leaders.

Standing Committee also requested that Archbishop Jensen and Bishops Forsyth, Davies, Tasker, Lee and Stewart approach other orthodox bishops in the communion with the proposal of meeting in England during the Lambeth conference.

This meeting would allow for “Christian fellowship and the planning of joint action within the Anglican Communion to contend for the faith of the Apostles once delivered to the saints.”

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Anglican Church 'fiddling away while Rome is burning'

[The Daily News] 26 June 2007--Among all the items discussed by the Anglican Church of Canada at its national meeting this past weekend, from same-sex unions, to residential schools, and aid to Africa, missing from the agenda was one of the institution's most pressing problems - the fact increasing numbers of Canadians don't go to church.

While the church's 300 delegates talked for days about whether their priests should bless the unions of gay and lesbian members, there was no formal discussion about the serious decline in membership at Canada's oldest Protestant church.

"I think we are a church in denial," says Jonathan Gibson, an Anglican priest from Calgary who attended the Winnipeg meeting as an observer, but not a voting delegate.

"I think we're kind of fiddling away while Rome is burning. If I had anything to do with the setting of our agenda, I would have tried to address the larger issue of our relevancy.

"In 2005 the Anglican Church of Canada's House of Bishops was handed an internal study that said the church was losing 13,000 members a year, and that membership lists had shrunk by 53 per cent from 1961 to 2001.

Tired of Church? Meet with Jesus

[] 26 June 2007--We sometimes attend our church out of mere habit, or perhaps because we do not wish to be criticised for non-appearance. Sometimes we go simply in order to meet friends. None of these reasons is wrong in itself. Even habit, or the fear of criticism, can work for our good. But the real reason for attending the fellowship of believers is that we may meet Christ. That should be our purpose, our motive. And what a difference it will make to our spirits if we remember that this is the reason for our attendance. Instead of the mood of routine, we may gather with delight and anticipation.

Of course, we do not meet him bodily. His presence is a spiritual fact. We may put it this way: he meets us in his word and by his Spirit. His Spirit brings new birth, opens our eyes to the truth, unites us with Christ and indwells us in such a way as we may say that Christ and the Father dwell within us (John 14:15-24). His Spirit inspires the word of God and opens our hearts to its truth. By the word of God, Christ governs his church – promising, exhorting, teaching, rebuking, encouraging his flock.

Top Episcopal bishop celebrates Jamestown

[] 26 June 2007--Jefferts Schori marks the church's 400 years, urges more growth.

Church's new leader tells of her mission

[Seattle Post-Intelligencer] 26 June 2007--So far, [Katharine Jefferts] Schori is speaking softly, but signaling that there may be a steel fist beneath the velvet glove.

Backed by the national church, the Diocese of Virginia has launched legal action to regain property of the breakaway congregations.

Schori said her approach is to act as the church's chief pastor, keep dialogue going, and work toward "adaptive solutions" that will "hold us together" despite differences."

If the pastoral responses fail, and there are attempts to destroy the structure, the way you respond is the structural way, the canonical way," she said. "When you get out the big guns, the pastoral solution has failed."

And, in the American way, the faithful may end up fighting it out in civil court.

Sydney Anglicans Expressed Its Dissatisfaction Of Attendance of ‘Unrepentant’ At Lambeth

[Anglican Mainstream] 26 June 2007--The Standing Committee of the Anglican Diocese of Sydney on Monday has requested the Sydney Anglican Archbishop, to express its dissatisfaction of maintaining union with the unrepentant while excluding the faithful and orthodox Anglicans in the upcoming Lambeth conference in 2008 by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Sydney response to Lambeth Invitations and consecration of Bill Atwood

[Anglican Mainstream] 26 June 2007--Resolutions from the Meeting of the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Sydney, held in the Chapter House of St Andrew’s Cathedral from 6.00pm to 10.00pm, Monday 25th June.

Who Do Your Books Say That I Am?

[Christianity Today] 26 June 2007--New volumes tell much about our Lord--and our cultural movement.

Essentials Network Statement: Side Door Open for Same Sex Blessings

[Anglican Essentials Canada] 26 June 2007--Despite the news headlines, the Anglican Church of Canada did not close the door on same sex blessings at the Church’s General Synod in Winnipeg this past week. Nor did the Church take the steps specifically requested by the leaders of the global Anglican Communion – known as Primates.

By General Synod declaring that same sex blessings are compatible with Anglican core doctrine, nothing now stands in the way of these blessings continuing in the Diocese of New Westminster (in the Vancouver area) and being introduced into dioceses throughout Canada.

The Primates have called for a clear, unambiguous endorsement of traditional Church teaching on sexuality and an end to same sex blessings, as has been practiced in the Diocese of New Westminster since 2002. This General Synod has created confusion and ambiguity. By its action – and lack of action – the Church has clearly signaled that it does not value walking with the global Anglican Communion.

Members of Network are deeply grieved by the decisions of General Synod. We will now await the response of the Primates and will be consulting with our membership.

Related articles:
Anglican sensibilities - The Winnipeg Free Press
Homophobia accepted in church, bishop says - Globe and Mail

Anglican fight back at 'Nasty Party' slurs

[Times Onlie] 26 June 2007--At about the time the Wycliffe Hall story was broken in the Guardian, 'Inclusive Church' Putney vicar Giles Fraser wrote: 'Anglicanism is fast becoming the nasty party at prayer, with traditionally inclusive theology being submerged by a bargain-basement prejudice that damns to hell all those who disagree.' One of the aspects I've been enjoying about this story is the holy, inclusive unity it apparently confirms there to be between Giles, scourge of the conservative evangelicals, and 'open evangelical' Fulcrum vicar Graham Kings, of St Mary's Islington. (Does Graham Kings know that in one article on Giles' Inclusive Church website, Jim Naughton is cited describing him as 'odious', along with Bishops Wright and Scott-Joynt? Praise indeed I should say.) Graham Kings has behind the scenes been defending Fulcrum chair, the popular Elaine Storkey, broadcaster and Wycliffe staff member, who is under disciplinary action and has brought grievance procedures against Richard Turnbull, evangelical principal of Wycliffe who has been bearing the brunt of the attacks. The latest is a letter calling for him to resign sent by three past principals including the extremely eminent Alister McGrath, demi-scourge of Prof Dawkins. Dr Turnbull could be forgiven for wondering who really is the 'nasty party' in all of this. Now a fightback is beginning, with a strong open letter of support for Turnbull posted this lunchtime on the AM website.

Related story:
An open letter in support of Wycliffe Hall - Anglican Mainstream

On the Future of Biblical Christianity in the Episcopal Church in the US

[Stand Firm] 26 June 2007--Few of today's Episcopalians will recognize the name of George David Cummins or know of the small denomination called the Reformed Episcopal Church to which he with others gave birth in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. The momentous events which brought about that birth were front page news in our nation's secular press, struck fear into the hearts of our denomination's leaders for an entire decade and very nearly rocked the Episcopal Church to its foundations. If there is any truth in the old adage that "Those ignorant of history are condemned to repeat it," those in orthodox leadership at this particular moment in the history of the Episcopal Church had best attend to some lessons to be learned from those events.

The Story of Your Salvation -- The Story of My Salvation

[Stand Firm] 26 June 2007--I think one of the problems that Christians have in sharing the gospel with others is that we really cannot articulate how Jesus Christ has saved us, personally. We know about what Jesus did for us more than 2000 years ago, when He won our redemption for sins and offered Himself a ransom for many. But we are unable to "tell the story of our salvation".

Canadian Synod Does Not Approve Same-Sex Blessings

[The Living Church] 26 June 2007--The Anglican Church of Canada’s constitution stipulates that changes to the church’s doctrine require a two-thirds majority by bishops and delegates at two successive General Synod meetings. When General Synod last met in 2004, the issue of same-sex blessings was referred to the Primate’s Theology Commission for study.

A task force of bishops, led by the Rt. Rev. Victoria Matthews, Bishop of Edmonton, prepared the St. Michael’s Report, which found that approval of same-gender blessings would represent a change to church doctrine, but not core doctrine. The St. Michael’s Report was approved earlier during General Synod, which has been meeting since June 19 in Winnipeg.

Debate over Motion A186 began June 23 and involved a number of complex procedural motions, leaving even the outgoing primate, the Most Rev. Andrew Hutchison, perplexed at times. Prior to the start of synod, the church’s Council of General Synod proposed a compromise in which the motion on same-sex blessings would require 60 percent approval at one General Synod meeting. Opponents of same-sex blessings insisted on two-thirds approval from two successive synods, while advocates argued that a simple majority at one synod ought to be sufficient.

Related article:
Emotions run high after blessings defeated - Anglican Journal
New Westminster Anglicans to continue blessing gay unions - CBC News

Can the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada be really said to have adopted a change in the church's doctrine since the vote does not conform to the requirements of the church's constitution?

Monday, June 25, 2007

The Anglican Church of Canada moves closer to blessing same sex unions

[The Daily News] 25 June 2007--Canadian Anglicans inched closer towards blessing same sex unions, but stopped short of giving priests the power to perform ceremonies.

The Anglican Church of Canada agreed that same sex blessings do not conflict with its core doctrine, a decision that paves the way for the practice.

But ultimately, delegates voting Sunday at the General Synod rejected the idea of letting individual dioceses decide whether their priests could perform blessing ceremonies for same sex couples who were married in civil ceremonies.

"So on the one hand, we said it is a matter of doctrine, but not credal, that is, not essential to one's salvation, shall we say. But on the other hand, the church is not prepared... to proceed immediately with the blessing of same sex unions," said Archbishop-elect Fred Hiltz, who will be installed as the church's new primate Monday evening.

Supporters and opponents of same sex blessings call the decisions confusing.

Same-sex blessings not in conflict with core doctrine

[The Anglican Church of Canada] 25 June 2007--Members of the Anglican Church of Canada's General Synod in Winnipeg agreed Sunday that the blessing of same-sex unions is not in conflict with the church's core doctrine, in the sense of being credal.

Related articles:
General Synod morning session 24/6/07 - Anglican Essentials Canada
A Sad Day for the Anglican Church of Canada - Anglican Mainstream
If you’re going to debate doctrine, then debate doctrine - Peter Ould
The St. Michael's Report - The Anglican Church of Canada
J. Packer's Response - Anglican Essentials Federation

Canada's bishops veto synod on gay blessings,,2110618,00.html

[Guardian Unlimited] 25 June 2007--Canadian Anglicans failed by the narrowest of margins last night to agree to allow their churches to bless the committed relationships of same-sex couples.

In a tense vote after nearly two days of debate at the church's synod in Winnipeg, lay and clergy members voted in favour of a motion that would have allowed dioceses in Canada officially to authorise blessings. But the church's bishops voted against the move by 21 votes to 19, meaning that the motion failed, because it needed to be passed by all three groups.

Related article:
Blessing of same-sex unions defeated- The Anglican Church of Canada Bishops narrowly overturn vote to approve gay unions - Globe and Mail
Canada Anglicans Reject Blessing Same-Sex Unions - The Christian Post
Anglican Church of Canada shies away from blessing same sex unions - The Winnipeg Free Press
Synod narrowly defeats same-sex blessings -Anglican Journal
Anglicans vote against same-sex blessings - The Telegraph
General Synod afternoon session 6/24/07 - Anglican Essentials Canada

British Government plans to promote Islamisation of Universities

[EV News] 25 June 2007--The Barnabas Fund issued a news release on Friday about how the government plans to promote Islam in Universities. The news release is not on the Barnabas Fund website yet so we are including the entire contents below....

Sunday, June 24, 2007

More False Teaching from TEC and Canada

[North Plains Anglicans] 24 June 2007--TEC and other revisionists say that "if one is baptized, one is entitled to anything and everything in church - ordination, marriage, you name it." The flaws in that assertion are too many to list, but the main problem is that the "baptismal convenant" is divorced from what the New Testament says about baptism. Romans 6 teaches that baptism is death to an old, sinful way of life so that we walk in a new, transformed life in Christ. It does not mean we are free from teachings about sin and righteousness - that there are "no rules" as some have argued. I Timothy 5:22 warns against "laying hands" (ordaining to leadership) those who are entangled in sin, and I Timothy 3 gives strict criteria limiting who should be a bishop. And the full message of the Bible assumes that marriage is between one man and one woman. Baptism does not entitle church members to sacraments or offices. The baptismal covenant argument depends upon willful ignorance of the Bible and seeing "Episcopalian" or "Church of Canada" as something above and against being Christian.

Breakaway Colorado Parish Makes Plea to Preserve Church Property

[The Christian Post] 24 June 2007--Breakaway members of an Episcopal congregation in Colorado have made pleas to their congregation to help establish a new legal precedent in a court battle over church property.

Congregants of Grace Church and St. Stephen's Episcopal Church who voted to split from The Episcopal Church last month continue to worship at the multi-million dollar church property while those that voted against the withdrawal claim the property rightfully belongs to The Episcopal Church.

Grace and St. Stephen’s revealed in a news release Wednesday a plea made by the breakaway group on their website to "please make a donation to help us establish a new legal precedent and overturn the Colorado Mote decision that is used as the basis for differing to hierarchal structures," according to the Episcopal News Service.

Another request was made Thursday on the splinter group's website that read, "Please help us establish new legal precedent to preserve parish buildings for the purposes and faith for which they were intended."

Exodus Head Clarifies 'Ex-Gay' Remarks

[The Christian Post] 24 June 2007--Alan Chambers, a former homosexual who heads the nation's largest evangelical referral ministry on homosexual issues, clarified recent controversial remarks that he reportedly made regarding the term "ex-gay."

The president of Exodus International said he did not say that he has never met a successful ex-gay, as a Los Angeles Times article suggested, but that he has never met anyone who has loved the term "ex-gay."

Leader's Insight: Sidelined by Failure

[Christianity Today] 24 June 2007--What to do when your best players drop the ball.

Connecting the Generations

[Christianity Today] 24 June 2007--Close the gap between younger and older people in your church.

Bridging the Generation Gap

[] 24 June 2007--When Stuart Crawshaw turned 21 he found he was the last young adult left at his church.

“All my mates I had grown up with at church during the 1980s had left. The next youngest person was 35,” he says.

Most of Stuart’s mates had left for the pub scene. But, as numbers dwindled, the Christians left as well to find another church with young people their age.

Stuart’s experience at Gymea Anglican is repeated many times across the country. The latest National Church Life Survey (NCLS) found that 40 per cent of church-goers’ children do not go to church. Despite young adult retention rates improving amongst Sydney Anglicans, about one in three children of Sydney Anglican attendees does not attend any church.

The Rev Craig Blacket, who co-ordinates TAFE ministry in Sydney, says that if we are serious about the 10 per cent mission goal then we need to tackle the issue of young adult retention.

APCK Must Decide Issue of Unity with Others

[Virtue Online] 24 June 2007--The Bishop of the Eastern States of the Anglican Province of Christ the King, (APCK) the Rt. Rev. Rocco A. Florenza has written a letter to his clergy and people declaring that "a state of genuine unity and full communion" now exists with the Anglican Church in America (ACA).

Bishop Florenza's unilateral action has neither been approved nor disapproved by the other bishops of the APCK, a denomination which stands at a crossroads.

The timing of this announcement comes as Archbishop Robert Sherwood Morse has said he will step down as the head of the Continuing Church body.

The election of his successor is scheduled for the end of June.

The Episcomuslim Priest and Baptism

[Newbie Episcopalian] 24 June 2007--The story about the Seattle Episcopal priest who insists she is both Christian and Muslim is the gift that keeps on giving. In spite of the wishes of certain TEC leaders that this story would go away, it hasn’t yet. Here’s a list of some of the blog activity on this.

Now, it may shock you for me to say this. But this is not an occasion to bash liberals, not all of them at least. For many of them are appalled by this “priest.” In two interesting threads here and here at the Ship of Fools (Be warned on the language. Also, the links will eventually become defunct.), for instance, I’m pleasantly surprised to see a number of normally flaming liberals state that they think she has violated her vows and ought to at least suspend acting as a priest.

Also, this is not an occasion for you Cartholicks to chortle. For she will begin teaching this Fall at Seattle University. Isn’t that a Jesuit institution? Hmmmmm?

I don’t want to repeat all that’s been already said about this story. But something stands out to me that has gotten relatively little notice....

You will need to scroll down the page to read this blog entry.

Wake Up, Episcopalians - Your Church is Deceiving You

[North Plains Anglicans] 24 June 2007--If you or your friends in The Episcopal Church are still saying, "I don't see a problem" or "Why are these conservatives picking on the nice gay people?", then you have not been paying attention. And TEC is working actively to keep you from paying attention.

In an excellent investigative piece, blogger Greg Griffith of Stand Firm exposes actual messages from TEC communications personnel, describing their desire to hide controversial information about FALSE TEACHINGS and pagan, anti-Christian clergy.

Problem? What Problem?

[North Plains Anglicans] 24 June 2007--For those wondering why we should fret about or even leave the Episcopal Church (TEC), here's some truth-is-stranger-than-fiction news:

"She does both, she says, because she's Christian and Muslim."

So she's just an eccentric, you say?

Then explain this:Redding's bishop, the Rt. Rev. Vincent Warner, says he accepts Redding as an Episcopal priest and a Muslim, and that he finds the interfaith possibilities exciting.

And think about this....


[Midwest Conservative Journal] 24 June 2007--Jim Naughton would REALLY like the story of Muslipalian Ann Holmes Redding to go away:

Jim Naughton, an influential Episcopal communicator, said he hopes the news of a Seattle Episcopal Priest claiming to be both Christian and Muslim is ignored. Naughton, Canon for Communications and Advancement for the Diocese of Washington, in an e-mail to Episcopal communicators said “I fervently hope that it will be possible to ignore this story until it slips back beneath the radar.”

Not happening any time soon, Jim lad. EVERYBODY'S on this story now. But there is something you could try that might speed up the process some. What's the term I'm looking for? Oh yes. You could....

Episcopalians for Allah - focus on The Rev. Ann Holmes Redding ...

[Lobster Pot] 24 June 2007--It is both educational and painful to hear this. This is a cut from the Michael Medved Show. This runs about eight minutes. It is important to keep this story alive. Please consider forwarding this to others. The envelope at the bottom of this post (and all others) will send email for you.

The Strange Business of the Muslim Episcopalian

[The Kew Continuum] 24 June 2007--I have over the last few days been attempting to get my mind around the assertion of the Rev. Ann Holmes Redding that she is both a Christian and a Muslim. I have done my research by going back to the "source" documents to make sure that I have fully grasped what this is all about. Then this morning, my day off, as I have been going about my chores I have been turning it around in my mind.

The furor surrounding Ann Holmes Redding has a number of fascinating dimensions, not least the appropriateness of her status as a priest in the Episcopal Church. During the last few years it seems that some of us have been regularly lectured about obedience to the doctrine and discipline of the Episcopal Church, and there have for some been dire consequences for stepping outside it. Now Dr. Redding has provided an interesting test case about whether all the talk about the doctrine and discipline of the church of these years is really serious, or if deep down it is about something else.

While the Episcopal Church has turned itself into a maximalist when it comes to obedience to the discipline and canons of the church as interpreted by the leadership, it has steadily become increasingly minimalist regarding doctrinal affirmation. Yet however many fundamental Anglican formularies are shaved away, the Nicene Creed is one fundamental doctrinal statement that the overwhelming majority say they accept.

If Ann Holmes Redding is now free to continue her idiosyncratic course without action being taken, then the creeds are up for grabs and any pretence of being a catholic and reformed church is being deliberately abandoned. That her bishop, Vincent Warner, does not seem to understand the theological implications of the statements Ms. Redding has made is a sad and ominous sign.

Silence Regretted

[Captain Yips Secret Journal] 24 June 2007--So. Lot happening, what. Let’s start with Ann Holmes Redding, poor woman. There she is in the midst of her spirit journey, being led to Islam by Jesus (she says), then she gets laid off from her job as director of ed at Seattle’s St. Mark’s Cathedral (and just why did 100 fewer people pledge in 2007 than in 2006? That seems to be a 15% decline, kind of a lot for a flagship church. Couldn’t have had anything to do with GC2006, could it? Just asking, you know), then things get really bad. Everyone is picking on her.

I feel sorry for her, I really do, in multiple ways. First of all, for following a dead end path personally. Secondly, for the failures of formation, education, and guidance that enabled this woeful tale. Lastly, for The Episcopal Church as a whole. Having spent a couple of generations excising Christian Truth from the vocabulary of its leadership (but hush! Don’t tell the pew sitters, they still believe that stuff), it was inevitable that this sort of thing would happen. So embarrassing when it does. But if you empty out the house, something will move in.

Motion to Encourage Synods to Develop Ways to Best Minister to People Living in Committed Same-Sex Relationships Defeated

[Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada] 24 June 2007--After much thoughtful, considerate and respectful discussion, reflection and prayer the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) voted to defeat a motion before delegates at the Eleventh Biennial National Convention to encourage Synods to develop ways “to best minister to people who live in committed same-sex relationships, including the possibility of blessing such unions”. The motion was voted on by secret ballot during the afternoon session on the third day of convention. The motion received 181 votes in favour and 200 votes in opposition.

You will need to scroll down the page to read this highlight.

Sin or sacrament?

[Winnipeg Sun] 24 June 2007--The question of whether to bless same-sex unions remained unanswered for Anglicans yesterday, so they will tackle it again today.

Instead of debating the issue last night, delegates at the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada spent hours wrangling over procedural issues.

Canada's outgoing primate, or church leader, seemed somewhat fed up after two hours of discussion about technical issues, and even joked the debate would go more smoothly after a good night's rest.

"It vexes me that Anglicans are prepared to spend more energy in process than substance," said Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, a comment that drew cheers and clapping from the delegates and observers.

Related article:
Canadian Anglicans facing a Crossrooad in a Historic Vote- Christianity Today Australian Edition

Same-sex blessing debate to continue

[The Anglican Church of Canada] 24 June 2007--Anglicans meeting in General Synod suspended their discussion of controversial blessing of same-sex unions resolutions Saturday evening with at least 16 delegates still waiting to speak on the subject.

The Primate, Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, in deciding to halt the session, said the session was "making his dying hours as Primate very interesting."

A motion from the floor to alter the agenda and continue debate was defeated. The discussion will continue Sunday.

General Synod defeated a motion that would have required resolutions sent to it by the Council of General Synod on same-sex blessings to carry only if they received 60 per cent of the vote. This means that approval now defaults to a 50 per cent vote requirement.

Just how important is the Lambeth Conference and who will come?

[Anglican Mainstream] 24 June 2007--The Archbishop of Canterbury sent out his invitations to 850 bishops inviting them to the Lambeth Conference on May 22. This was already almost 12 months behind schedule as invitations went out two years in advance for the 1998 conference. They were to individual bishops, a break with the past as invitations have usually been sent to the 38 archbishops of the Anglican Provinces who then passed them on to their bishops.

But then the upcoming Lambeth Conference will hardly be conventional.

The Archbishop of Canterbury himself played down its significance in his letter of invitation. He wrote: “It is not a formal Synod or Council of the bishops of the Communion, which would require us to be absolutely clear about the standing of all the participants. An invitation to participate in the Conference has not in the past been a certificate of doctrinal orthodoxy. Coming to the Lambeth Conference does not commit you to accepting the position of others as necessarily a legitimate expression of Anglican doctrine and discipline, or to any action that would compromise your conscience or the integrity of your local church.”

The conference already feels more like a graduate seminar with discussion groups, or “ndabas” as they will be called. So the inevitable question is asked: “Precisely what will be the value of any of its pronouncements?” Perhaps the Archbishop does not want them to be particularly momentous. In which case perhaps he gives comfort to those who do not think any previous pronouncements of Lambeth Conferences are momentous. There are those who continually downplay the significance of Lambeth 1.10. Are we seeing the dumbing down of the Lambeth Conference? In which case, why all the expense and effort? The African Bishops have said in The Road to Lambeth (see below): “There is no point, in our view, in meeting and meeting and meeting and not resolving the fundamental crisis of Anglican identity.”

Anglican Church of Canada defers vote on blessing same-sex unions

[International Herald Tribune] 24 June 2007--Delegates of the Anglican Church of Canada deferred voting on the issue of blessing same-sex unions, but expected to take up the matter again on Sunday.

Attendees at the General Synod 2007 debated whether to allow Anglican priests to bless same-sex couples in an open-microphone session Saturday that was to culminate in a resolution. But after hours of wrangling over procedural issues, it was decided they would try again Sunday.

The resolution would not permit priests to marry same-sex couples, but rather to conduct blessing ceremonies for gay couples who already married in civil ceremonies. Civil marriage for same-gender couples has been legal in Canada since 2004.

Related article:
Debate continues on same-sex blessings - Anglican Journal

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Beyond the conflict

[] 23 June 2007--The Rev. Cathey Dowdle likes to call it a resurrection story.

“Their past is not defining their future,” she says.

Dowdle is speaking of Christ the King Episcopal Church, which in December 2005 became the first local casualty of the rift in the U.S. Episcopal Church over biblical interpretation and sexuality issues.

Now the Alpine church is making history again – this time, with Dowdle becoming Christ the King's first female priest.

In the Episcopal Church women priests are often assigned to dying churches to serve as hospice ministers to help the church to come to terms with its demise. They are thought to make better care takers.

Nova Scotia bishop to head Anglican Church of Canada

[Daily News] 23 June 2007--Fred Hiltz is coy when asked about his views on same-sex unions.

Diocese of Quincy gears up for fight with TEC

[] 23 June 2007--The Episcopal Church has a question for the west-central Illinois Diocese of Quincy:

Are you ready to rummmmmbbbbblllllllllle

Little civility in the US on gay marriage debate

[Belfast Telegraph] 23 June 2007--During the demonstration in Boston, I spoke to an opponent of 'gay marriage' who told me that he despaired of having his point of view heard because the opposition from the homosexual community was so well-organised.

Certainly, that particular Boston lobby, including many people from a wide variety of churches, was skilled in changing the minds of a small number of politicians whose vote swung the verdict in favour of 'gay marriage'.

In the same week that the Boston vote took place, I read in the New York Times that the American Episcopal Church was maintaining its determined stance on same-sex relationships and was arguing that the Anglican Primates had no right to impose their views on a member-church of the Anglican Communion.

The current, and apparently unstoppable, move towards schism within worldwide Anglicanism was triggered by the decision of the USA members to approve the appointment of the openly homosexual Bishop Gene Robinson, despite the pleas of the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams and other senior colleagues not to do so.

By going ahead in the way they did, the Americans showed once again a theological imperialism that is so repugnant.

A New Primate

[New Vision] 23 June 2007--Unlike Bishop Matthews, Bishop Hilz was not known for his theological conservativism prior to his election. At a time of such obvious doctrinal (and electoral) division, a major challenge for the new Primate could thus be the extent to which he will prove practically willing and able to reach out to all parts of the church, including conservatives, in keeping with Synod's theme of "drawing the circle wide."