Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Survey: Christians Worldwide Too Busy for God


[The Christian Post] 31 July 2007--Christians worldwide are simply becoming too busy for God, a newly released five-year study revealed.

In data collected from over 20,000 Christians with ages ranging from 15 to 88 across 139 countries, The Obstacles to Growth Survey found that on average, more than 4 in 10 Christians around the world say they "often" or "always" rush from task to task.

Busyness proved to be the greatest challenges in Japan, the Philippines, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Mexico and Indonesia. Christians in Uganda, Nigeria, Malaysia and Kenya were least likely to rush from task to task. But even in the less-hurried cultures, about one in three Christians report that they rush from task to task. In Japan, 57 percent agreed.

The busy life was found to be a distraction from God among Christians around the globe.

Back-to-School Block Party


[Christianity Today] 31 July 2007--For many kids, August means stocking up for school. But school supplies are not always affordable for the lower-income black community in the heart of Oklahoma City. However, thanks to a partnership between Holy Temple Baptist Church, Oklahoma City (HTBC), and First Christian Church in neighboring Edmond, Okla. (FCC; fccedmond.org), 1,000 local kids get not only free school supplies, but also a day of fun. Each August, the two churches host a Back-to-School Block Party at HTBC—complete with food, games and music.

Pittsburgh Episcopalians launch Web site for future options


[CentralDaily.com] 31 July 2007--The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh has established a Web site to help parishioners weigh in on whether the conservative diocese should leave the national church.

Episcopal priest's case goes to church court


[Rocky Mountain News] 31 July 2007--An Episcopal Church court meets in Denver today to weigh the case against the Rev. Don Armstrong, who has been accused by the diocese of misusing hundreds of thousands of dollars from his Colorado Springs parish.

The public is invited, but Armstrong will be among the missing when the five-member judicial body of clergy and laity convenes at 9 a.m. in Dagwell Hall of St. John's Episcopal Cathedral, 1350 Washington St.

The Episcopal Church: A Safehaven for Homosexuals


[ChristianNewsWire] 31 July 2007--Tyrone Short announces publication of The Episcopal Church: A Safehaven for Homosexuals in conjunction with Lulu (www.lulu.com), the world's fastest-growing provider of print-on-demand books.

Because the outcry against the Episcopalian Church is so great and their sin is very grave, God is calling for his elect to flee. The Episcopal Church has embraced the homosexual community as one of their own. Is this practice biblical? The Episcopal Church: A Safehaven for Homosexuals is a passionate outreach to the authorities of the Episcopal Church and the Christian Homosexual.

Tyrone Short designed The Episcopal Church: A Safehaven for Homosexuals because of what is taking place today in the Episcopal Church. He came to Lulu because he wanted to be in control of the publishing process and found Lulu's print-on-demand tools to be fast, easy and, most importantly, free.

Conservative Anglicans Losing Hope in Episcopal Church


[Christianity Today UK] 31 July 2007--

Conservative Anglicans in the United States are finding themselves living through an "extended Good Friday," mourning for The Episcopal Church.

The Anglican Communion Network, an orthodox group of Anglicans discontent with The Episcopal Church, began its fourth annual council meeting in Bedford, Texas, on Monday. Over 80 representatives opened the two-day meeting with disappointment in a church many had grown up in.

"Because our sense of order is such that we have always sought to be Christian first and Episcopalian next, we find ourselves on this present Way of the Cross," said the Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, moderator of the Anglican Communion Network, in his opening address.

A growing number of Episcopal parishes and leaders have left The Episcopal Church, citing the U.S. Anglican branch's departure from Christian orthodoxy and Anglican tradition, particularly the 2003 consecration of an openly gay bishop.

An Anglican Revival? It's Happening in Africa!


[News Bloggers] 31 July 2007--"The younger churches of Anglican Christianity will shape what it means to be Anglican," Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi writes in the August-September issue of First Things. "The long season of British hegemony is over." Orombi can afford to be confident. While Anglicanism stumbles in Britain, the land of its birth, it is thriving in Africa. The Church of Uganda has more than 9 million Anglicans, making it the second largest Anglican province in the world, after that of Nigeria.

The distinguishing element of Third World Christianity is its traditionalism and orthodoxy. Orombi writes that "the Bible cannot apear to us a cadaver." Rather, he says, the Bible is seen as a relevant guidebook to contemporary life. More, the Bible is how most Africans have historically learned to read. While African society had an oral culture for millennia, the Bible was "the first book available in our own languages." It has helped to assure equal status for women, undermining the African customs of polygamyand female genital mutilation. While African tribes preached revenge, Orombi writes that "the Bible brought the teaching of Jesus to love our neighbors and even our enemies." For centuries, Africans regarded their future as determined by spirits residing in rocks and trees. But according to Orombi the Bible "brought hope for deliverance from fatalism" and replaced it with the dignity of living under a monotheistic Creator and Redeemer.

Gomez: Conservative Leaders Will Ensure Communion’s Orthodox Stand In Gay Dispute


[Anglican Mainstream] 31 July 2007--“This is a fight we are engaged in and we will see it through to the end. We are determined to see that the Anglican Communion ends up on the right side of the debate” over homosexual practice.

Bishop Duncan: Fall HOB Meeting is Windsor Bishops' 'Last Stand'


[The Living Church] 31 July 2007--In an interview with a reporter for The Living Church Canon Daryl Fenton, chief operating officer for the Network, acknowledged that the distance between The Episcopal Church leadership and the Network has grown to the size of a chasm, but he downplayed the likelihood of a formal departure occurring during this meeting.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Bishop urges christians to be born-again


[The Tide Online] 30 July 2007--Christians have been charged to take the biblical injunction of being born-again seriously so as to receive the blessing and saving grace of God in life.

The Bishop of the Diocese of Ikwerre, Rt Rev Blessing Enyindah, who gave the charge in a sermon during his Episcopal visit to St James Anglican Church, Elele, for the confirmation and admission of Mothers Union and Women Guild, decried the attitude of church members still living in sin and appealed to them to live a new life.

Episcopal Gay Bishop Says Crisis is Not an 'American Problem'


[The Christian Post] 30 July 2007--Meanwhile, Robinson emphasized he is more focused on saving souls than gay rights.

"As a matter of fact I’m more evangelical than almost anyone you would run into in The Episcopal Church ... When I speak to gay and lesbian groups I don’t talk to them about gay rights, I talk to them about their souls. My goal is to get them to church and bring them to Jesus."

Practicing sin and promoting its practice is "saving souls"?!

Revisionists will dominate Lambeth if traditional Anglicans pull out says Gomez


[VirtueOnline] 30 July 2007--If traditional Anglicans don't turn up at Lambeth 2008, the liberals in the Anglican Communion will change Anglicanism and will do so without blinking an eyelid.

Speaking to traditionalists at a Festival of Faith gathering in Bladensburg, Maryland, on Saturday, West Indies Archbishop the Most Rev. Drexel Gomez said the communion was at a turning point and he had grave doubts it will survive in its present form.

"The official Anglican representation will be synonymous with the American Episcopal Church and that movement is increasing if Global South traditionalists don't attend. Many believe that if that happens the communion will no longer be Anglican.

"We need a communion meeting that reflects the future of the communion. There is no reason why a priest or congregation is persecuted because they simply want to practice traditional Anglicanism. We cannot go on with an ambiguousness and intolerance that is only increasing."

The Bishop of Western Louisiana, the Rt. Rev. Bruce McPherson made an impassioned plea at Dar es Salaam, (Tanzania) to give us the space to practice our religion; "Just allow us to practice our faith."

Gomez told his audience, "We have to change the mindset of people in The Episcopal Church who not only resent traditional Anglicanism but want to root it out. We must claim our God given space. God has not given them the right to deny us what the church has believed and practiced. We need a communion meeting and a communion decision on how we move forward, and that might lead us to move beyond the geographic delineations we have imposed on the communion."

Homosexual Priests: Nigerian Anglicans Will Not Succumb To Pressure From The West, Says Akinola


[The Nigerian Guardian] 30 July 2007--The Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Most Rev. Peter Akinola has manifested as a lone voice in the crusade against the attempt to re-write the scripture by some Anglicans in Europe and South America, with the admission of people who practise homosexuals as priests and even bishops in the church. This has caused a wide division within the church. However, next year, the once- in-10 years Lambeth Conference of all Anglican Bishops from all over the world will hold in August at the Lambeth Palace, residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury and spiritual head of the estimated 78 million Anglicans world-wide Dr. Rowan Williams. The meeting will provide a platform to assess the impact of this division. Nigerian bishops, the largest in the communion, have threatened to boycott the meeting except an invitation is extended to Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns, the bishop of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), created by the Nigerian bishops, to cater for the interest of their members, who are opposed to the churches with homosexual priests in America. Akinola has written to the Lambeth Palace to protest the development; and in his office in Abuja recently, he spoke to DICKSON ADEYANJU on this issue and how much damage the same sex crisis has done to the Anglican Church, which broke away from the Catholic Church in the 16th century and became the official church of England since then....

Theology battle rocks Springs church, world


[The Denver Post] 30 July 2007--The Gothic Revival tower of Grace Church and St. Stephen's Parish stands as a monument to staid tradition - but this sanctuary has turned into a battleground.

Rebellious parishioners left the American Episcopal Church this spring, protesting its acceptance of gay unions and other departures from orthodoxy, to join a Nigerian Anglican diocese.

Now, the congregation is locked in a legal battle with the Colorado Diocese over ownership of the church, valued at $17 million.

The congregation also is trying to keep its conservative priest of 20 years, the Rev. Don Armstrong, in his pulpit, despite allegations of theft and fraud.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Pittsburgh Bishop Faces a Critical Moment in History


[VirtueOnline] 29 July 2007--Whether you totally agree with him or not, the bushy-eyed Bishop of Pittsburgh has emerged as the lead in the on-going play of North American orthodox Anglicanism.

From his early beginnings as Vice President and chair of the Bishops Council of the American Anglican Council (AAC) to Moderator of the Anglican Communion Network (ACN) and convener of Common Cause Partners, the Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan has dared to go where no other bishop has gone before. At the end of the day, it could cost him his current job.....

The Mission and Role of a Bishop


[Stand Firm] 29 July 2007--In June I had the pleasure to meet with the clergy who are under the Diocese of Recife in the Northwest. It was a wonderful time together. During our meeting they brought up the upcoming consecration of three Americans for the purpose of providing oversight for Kenyan and Ugandan congregations here in the United States.

This conversation highlighted the need we have for godly bishops. What are we looking for in a bishop? There are five paramount qualities that need to be recognized in anyone who would be a candidate for this office no matter what the faith tradition might be. In the past some of us have been abused by our bishops. Many of us, because of their defective theology, have wanted to have as little contact with our bishops as possible. You know the old joke.

What is the place of the bishop in the Church? As far away as possible....

Aged to Perfection: Two decade old Must-Read Essays by The Very Rev. Dr. Stephen Noll


[Stnad Firm] 29 July 2007--These essays were written by Dr. Noll following GC1997. They are both profound and prophetic. Please take the time to read both.

Fourth Report on the Compliance of TEC with the requests of the Tanzanian Primates’ Meeting


[Anglican Mianstream] 29 July 2007-- A link to the PDF file of this report with the requests of the Dar es Salaam Primates' Meeting can be found at the Anglican Mianstream web site.

Advent Senior Warden's Statement


[Cathedral Church of the Advent] 29 July 2007--The Standing Committee and Bishop Parsley hosted a Diocesan Forum on "Communion Matters: A Study Document for the Episcopal Church", at All Saints' Church in Homewood, on July 24th, 2007. Here are the comments offered by Mr. George Elliott, our Senior Warden....

"We at the Advent are disappointed with the document because it does not lead us even to consider repentance and compliance with the clear advice and requests of the Primates; actually, it leads us down the path of attempting to justify the current direction of the Episcopal Church. We do not believe this is the course that God intends for us as Christians to follow. We humbly and respectfully implore the leadership of the Diocese of Alabama to stand up and do the right thing. Tell the leaders of the Episcopal Church to turn back from their current direction and comply with the recent demands of the Primates of the Anglican Communion....

Stott’s Keswick farewell


[TitusOnenIne] 29 July 2007--The Reverend evangelical speaker the Rev Dr John Stott called for Christians to continue to strive for ‘Christ-likeness’ during his final major address before retiring from public ministry.

Speaking at the annual Keswick Convention, the 87-year-old former chaplain to the Queen told the audience that ‘Christ-likeness is the will of God for the people of God’.

He warned his audience that being Christ like in ‘patient endurance’ may become ‘increasingly relevant as persecution increases in many cultures’, and highlighted the importance of the incarnation for Christians.

He said: “As Christ had entered our world, so we are to enter other people’s worlds.

This entering into other people’s worlds is exactly what we mean by incarnational evangelism.

All authentic mission is incarnational mission.”He added that evangelistic efforts often failed because Christians did not reflect the Christ they are proclaiming.

It's Really Not About Sex


[The Episcopal Majority] 29 July 2007--Just recently, the Anglican Communion website published a rather lengthy essay, "What is Anglicanism?," by the Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi, Archbishop of Uganda. [The complete text is now only available at First Things.] The essay is mainly a history lesson, in which the archbishop recounts the arrival of Anglican Christianity in his country, and the very real sacrifices made by many of those missionaries and by the newly Anglicanized Ugandans . (Indeed, the martyrs of Uganda are remembered in our calendar.)

In sharing some details of the founding of the Anglican Church of Uganda and its subsequent growth, the archbishop also weaves in another story, about what he understands to be the centrality of Scripture in the life of the church. Near the end of his essay, the archbishop makes what appears to be his central point....

While I would agree that the Bible cannot replace Jesus, we as followers of Jesus must be mindful of how Jesus himself saw the Holy Scriptures - as the Word of God written, as divinely inspired and authoritative. This is what sets Archbishop Orombi's approach to the Bible apart from that of liberal North Atlantic Anglicans: he sees the Holy Scriptures as Jesus saw them. Liberal North Atlantic Anglicans, however, see the Scriptures as being purely human writings, bereft of a divine Author. Therefore, they believe that they can pick and choose from the Scriptures as they please and ignore what they do not like.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Duplicity over Consents by Presiding Bishop Shows Episcopal Church Bias


[VirtueOnline] 28 July 2007--A consent form circulated by the Diocese of Virginia that enabled a bishop to get elected was significantly different from that used by the Diocese of San Joaquin resulting in one man getting elected and the other tossed out.

The Standing Committee of the Diocese of San Joaquin wrote a letter to Mrs. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop accusing her of an abuse of office for selectively enforcing the church's canon law to the disadvantage of conservatives.

Ephraim Radner Responds to Matt Kennedy's 'A Hard Truth'


[Stand Firm] 28 July 2007--I think Matt’s numbers are, if not exactly on target, at least in the vicinity. And, yes, it’s a “hard truth” to grapple with – the “truth”, that is, that we are looking at the split up of the Anglican Communion along rather major, not minor, lines, with a Canterbury that will not be able to straddle both (or the many) sides. As some of the posters here have pointed out, furthermore, we are (at least in terms of numbers and “holding things together”), in a lose-lose position at this point: whatever Abp. Williams chooses to do, there are bishops and primates and provinces – and therefore, congregations and clergy – who are going to separate from one another. After all, this has already happened, and it appears as if it will not be avoided in the future. Some people will care a lot about this; others (as we can see) not much at all. Whether or not, as Dr. Noll and others speculate, this or that of the divided groups ends up being a source of renewed faith and witness into the future is, however, a bit of speculation I would not try to entertain. The history of the Church is filled with examples of groups who have thought themselves to be the bearer of God’s blessing into the future who have been proved right (just a few); and other groups (far more numerous) who have been proved wrong. Only God knows in this case. I do not place bets on churches.

Savitri Hensman--Re-writing History: the Episcopal Church struggle


[TitusOneNine] 28 July 2007--1. Because The Episcopal Church (USA and other regions) is more accepting than most provinces of lesbians and gay people, including those in loving partnerships, it has been accused of failing to act in accord with the clear teaching of the Bible and the agreed position of the Communion, being too heavily influenced by the dominant culture and acting in an imperialist manner. Resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference is often mentioned: though its position on homosexuality was not binding, TEC has been condemned for breaching 'bonds of affection' by not conforming.

2. However it is unjust to punish TEC when senior clergy in certain other provinces have to a far greater extent failed to act in line with Scripture and Anglican consensus, to examine their own cultures critically and to oppose imperialism. These include the primate and bishops of the Church of Nigeria, who have acted in ways contrary to key Biblical teachings, the 1998 Lambeth Resolution on homosexuality and over thirty resolutions agreed by Lambeth or the Anglican Consultative Council, as well as several recommendations of the Windsor Report.

Another letter from Bishop Howe


[No Claim to Sainthood] 28 July 2007--Bishop Howe put another missive out to the clergy of the Diocese of Central Florida, clarifying and expanding his response to members of the standing committee and diocesan board who want to leave The Episcopal Church and take the property with them.

Without gay priests Church would be lost claims Bishop Gene


[Time Online] 28 July 2007--The openly gay bishop whose ordination sparked the crisis in the Anglican Communion has claimed the Church of England would be close to shutting down if it was forced to manage without its gay clergy.

Related article:
CofE 'would shut down' without its gay clergy, says +Gene Ruth Gledhill - Times Online

See Andrew Collier's article posted below.

Millions believe this man is the Antichrist


[Scotsman.com] 28 July 2007--Forty years after the decriminalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales, American The Rt Rev V Gene Robinson, the world's first openly gay bishop, explains to ANDREW COLLIER in an exclusive interview what it's like to be many Christians' number one enemy.

This is the first time I have heard Gene Robinson referred to as "the Anti-Christ."

English Bishops Divided over Episcopal Church's Lambeth Participation


[The Living Church] 28 July 2007--If The Episcopal Church does not respond affirmatively to the primates’ February communiqué by the Sept. 30 deadline, as many as 60 percent of the Church of England's 114 bishops would share a sense of solidarity if bishops from the Global South declined to attend, according to the Rt. Rev Michael Scott-Joynt, Bishop of Winchester.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Leader's Insight: Your Church's DNA


[Christianity Today] 27 July 2007--Each church has unique make-up that's essential to its life, health, and future.

Accountability in Small Groups


{Christianity Today] 27 July 2007--How early Methodists practiced small-group accountability.

Spirituality Squared


[Christianity Today] 27 July 2007--Webber's Divine Embrace touches both head and heart.

Theology, Research ... : Anglicans Not in the Anglican Communion


[VirtueOnline] 27 July 2007--Churches of Anglican or Episcopal Tradition

Giles Fraser is wrong again (of course)


[Stand Firm] 27 July 2007--Well, it pains me to admit it but I can't improve upon what the Clone wrote about Fraser's latest column in the Church Times.

(And, let me be clear: if one thing annoys me more than Fraser's consistent outright denial of Christian truth then it's conceding ground to my brother.) Right then...

Reality Check: Katie’s Endorsement of Post-Orthodoxy


[Anglican Mainstream] 27 July 2007--I am intrigued by the psychological and intellectual mental gymnastics apparent in this run-up to Lambeth. We keep being informed that the les/bi/gay issue is a second-order matter, that that though disagreement over it may be sadly, indeed, unchristianly, heated and even hostile, in the main, where it really matters, nothing has shifted. The core essentials of the faith once delivered to the saints are still intact. Sounds good, doesn’t it? For many of us, we need such psychological reassurance; too much is at stake for us to think otherwise. Worlds within and upon worlds are now threatened by the sin of all sins being committed by those difficult, dogmatic conservates, that of ’sectarianism’. Loyalty to denominational structures and the unity of ‘The Church’ is preached with increasing conviction to those who have the audacity and bad manners to challenge the illiberal ‘liberalism’ of certain ecclesiastical hierarchies.

Bishops threaten to boycott Lambeth Conference


[Times Online] 27 July 2007--Six out of ten senior Church of England bishops could boycott next year’s Lambeth Conference of more than 800 Anglican bishops and archbishops from around the world because of the row over gays.

Such a boycott would be unprecedented in the history of the Anglican Church and would be an indication of how deep the divisions go, in England as well as in the rest of the communion.
The fifth most senior bishop in the mother church of the Anglican Communion warns today that a majority of English diocesan bishops could consider a boycott if the US does not row back on its pro-gay agenda.

A UK boycott would confirm the gravity of the splits within even the Church of England, traditionally the model for Anglicanism’s “via media”. It would effectively spell the end of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s dream of maintaining unity.

Related articles:
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/ukcorrespondents/holysmoke/july07/anglicancommunionover.htm The Anglican Communion: it's over - Telegraph
English bishops could have to consider positions over Lambeth Conference – Bishop of Winchester - The Church of Ireland Gazette
Church of England Bishops Threaten to Boycott Anglican Meeting - The Christian Post

Archbishop Sentamu on Unity


[EV News] 27 July 2007--EVnews quoted on Tuesday a piece from the Daily Telegraph from an interview with the Archbishop of York. It appears that the specific quotation which caused such a stir was an inference rather than a direct quotation. We have quoted in full the section from the Telegraph so that readers can decide whether it was a fair inference or not.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Defining Anglicanism in Today’s World


[Anglican Mainstream] 26 July 2007--Letter in the Church of England Newspaper July 26 2007

Dear Sir

Some recent statements have raised the question of what defines being an Anglican church. It is worth remembering that a number of Anglican churches have already pointed out that Anglican churches have from their beginnings seen themselves as part of the one holy, catholic and apostolic church. That is much more than a matter of formal conformity with a particular see or institution, or attendance at a specific gathering within the Communion, no matter how venerable. It is, rather, founded on a commitment to faithfulness to the scriptures as the supreme authority in matters of faith and conduct and the catholic creeds. That commitment requires agreement in faith, holiness of life, and biblically faithful teaching. Only thus can the leaders of our churches enable the Communion to remain part of the one holy, catholic and apostolic church, positioned for global mission.

Yours sincerely,

The Most Rev Peter Jensen, Archbishop of Sydney
The Rt Rev Wallace Benn, Bishop of Lewes and President of the Church of England Evangelical Council
The Rt Rev Colin Bazley, Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Chester and former Primate of the Southern Cone
Canon Ben Enwuchola, Chaplain to the Nigerian Community in Britain

Primates of Burundi, Central Africa, Congo, Southern Africa and Brazil at TEC Consultation


[Anglican Mainstream] 26 July 2007--A statement from the Rt. Rev. Carlos Lozano Lopez, bishop of the Reformed Episcopal Church of Spain, in Madrid’s Iglesia Episcopal de España (not to be confused with the REC in the US), welcomed the consultation and named the primates of Burundi, Central Africa, Congo, and Southern Africa, as well as the primate of Brazil as attendees. It is not known who the remaining African bishops present are. It is noted that of this group only Burundi, Central Africa and the Congo are orthodox in faith and morals. Southern Africa and Brazil are solidly liberal and represent the pluriform mindset of the U.S. Episcopal Church and draw heavily from its coffers.



[Midwest Conservative Journal] 26 July 2007--The recent claim by the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin that the recent election of Shannon Johnston as Bishop Coadjutor of the Diocese of Virginia was canonically invalid must have really rattled 815 for Jan Nunley to spin this ineptly....

Pressure tactics from the Akinola Axis


[The Episcopal Cafe] 26 July 2007--The Global South Steering Committee has released a statement announcing, in essence, that it has the right to ordain bishops in whichever Anglican provinces it chooses, and that its surrogates are entitled to the property of their theological adversaries. They offer no greater justification for this than "because we say so," but that's worked well enough for them so far.

The group's membership includes Archbishop Drexel Gomez of the West Indies, chair of the committee that is drafting the Anglican Covenant. The covenant, if adopted in its current form, would place unprecedented authority in the hands of the Primates. The recklessness of Gomez and his primatial allies indicates how dangerous that can be. Today the United States, tomorrow, Canada, eventually...

A Hard Truth


[Stand Firm] 26 July 2007--The worst case scenario for Archbishop Rowan Williams, supposing he refuses to act in accordance with the Tanzania Communique’s Pastoral Scheme and/or refuses to discipline the Episcopal Church, would be the loss of some populous but politically isolated provinces in the Global South and the loss of several primates--primates who, frankly, threaten the power and position of the see of Canterbury and that of the Church of England.

Archbishop Sentamu Links Communion Ties to Lambeth Attendance


[The Living Church] 26 April 2007--The Archbishop of York has urged Anglican bishops from the Global South not to boycott next year’s Lambeth Conference, telling a British newspaper that by withdrawing they would be removing themselves from the Anglican Communion.

Welcome at the Table


[The Living Church] 26 July 2007--In his Guest Column, “Careless Communion” [TLC, July 8], the Rev. Ian Montgomery described a commencement he attended at “one of our seminaries” where, from his point of view, everything seemed to go wrong. The eucharistic bread crumbled and fell to the floor, the presider made an open invitation to communion, and the preacher seemed to endorse what the article called the “new Episcopal religion.”

I was not able to find Ian Montgomer's Guest Column online. I would have like to had him speak for himself.

Central New York Defends Its Defiance of Court Order


[The Living Church] 26 July 2007--The Diocese of Central New York has defended its decision not to comply with an ecclesiastical court order in the trial of the Rev. David Bollinger, former rector of St. Paul’s Church, Owego, who was facing presentment charges....

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Fr. Terry Wong, Secretary of the Global South Steering Committee


[Stand Firm] 25 July 2007--Caution: do not assume that those primates not in attendance were not supportive of the Steering Committee statement. As Fr. Wong notes, the statement was made available to all committee members prior to release and I would think it important for the primates concerned not to repeat the mistake made with the release of the open letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury in 2006. There has been no similar repudiation of this statement or distancing from it, nor should we expect any.

Finally, Archbishop Mouneer Anis was, apparently, present and he is, like Archbishop Gomez, a communion conservative.

Just a Little Reminder: What Our Presiding Bishop Said about SC's Bishop Election


[Stand Firm] 25 July 2007--Stand Firm draws to our attention how Katie Jefferts-Schori responded differently to canonical violations in two episcopal elections.

What is the Point?


[All Too Common] 25 July 2007--What is the point? I have been racking my brain lately asking myself–and others–this question, desperately trying to find a sound answer. What is the point of remaining in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury? Reading articles such as this one brings this question again to the forefront of my mind. What is the point?

Down Lambeth Way


[Anglican Mainstream] 25 July 2007--From the July 2007 issue of New Directions

Gerry O’Brien looks ahead to the 2008 Lambeth Conference, and wonders as an Evangelical whether there is any rationale behind the Archbishop of Canterbury’s invitation policy

African-American Christian Women in Oakland, guilty of ‘Hate Crime’ speech


[Anglican Mainstream] 25 July 2007--Though some of the following is more oriented to American readers, the ideological dynamic and strategy deployed by the PC ‘Thought Police’ is ubiquitous in most sectors of life in the West now.

Given that the Senate is presently voting on the Hate Crimes Bill, the following is even more relevant. If you are an American reader, do you know the position of your senators? What has happened to these brave women could happen to you…and if the law is changed, it will be even worse. Many Christians believe that as long as the ’sanctuary’ continues to enjoy immunity from political interference, things are okay. Such a stance, however, is both naive and short-sighted. What happens ‘out there’ moves ‘in here’, no doubt about it....

Trinity Conference Fosters North-South Ties


[The Living Church] 25 July 2007--Forty bishops representing 22 dioceses of The Episcopal Church are participating with bishops from 29 Anglican dioceses in Africa at a six-day conference in Madrid meant to foster closer links between north and south in the Anglican Communion.

The July 21-26 conference is underwritten by the Parish of Trinity Church, Wall Street, with the Spanish Episcopal Church serving as local host. Conference organizers invited all bishops with companion Episcopal-African relationships for what a Trinity press release described as a consultation.

Ten of the 12 Anglican provinces in Africa are represented, according to Diane Reed, manager of promotion and public relations at Trinity. The event is closed to media, and Ms. Reed said she did not have permission to release the names of the participants. However, a Trinity press release noted the archbishops of Central Africa, the Congo, Southern Africa, Burundi, and Brazil were present for a Eucharist July 22 at Madrid’s Iglesia Episcopal de España.

A consultation? No media?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Canonically Defective Testimonial Alleged in Virginia Coadjutor Request


[The Living Church] 24 July 2007--The standing committee did not use a properly worded canonical request last winter when it sought consent to the election of the Rev. Shannon S. Johnston as Bishop Coadjutor of Virginia, a defect not considered serious enough by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori to invalidate the election.

Instead the standing committee of the Diocese of Virginia used what the Rev. Canon Carl Gerdau, canon to the Presiding Bishop and Primate, described as a “short form,” successfully employed by a number of other dioceses in recent years. The so-called short form has been “used for a long time and no one has ever objected to it before,” Canon Gerdau said in an interview with The Living Church. “We don’t think this is a defect.”

More congregations embrace 'robust passing of the peace' A hug and a prayer


[The Cleveland Plain Dealer] 24 July 2007--Church leaders who embrace hugging say it follows the biblical example of Jesus, who embraced disciples and healed people with his touch, according to Scripture.

"Jesus touched people in every single way imaginable," said the Rev. Patricia Hanen, assistant to the bishop for congregational development for the Episcopal Diocese of Ohio.

Paloma said the wider use of hugging in contemporary churches is in part an indication of the growing influence of Pentecostal and charismatic movements. Those churches, she said, were always more in touch with the body, encouraging clapping, dancing, weeping and other physical expressions of faith.

Why I Love My "Charlie-Brown Church"


[Christianity Today] 24 July 2007--My humble Sunday morning home has turned out to be a surprise blessing.

Nothing Retiring About These Seniors


[Christianity Today] 24 July 2007--People move to Arroyo Grande, California, for one of two reasons: to work in the fields, or retire to the golf courses. The two cultures—immigrant workers and retiring professionals—rarely intersect. But the ministry at a local church connected them, and everyone is benefiting.

Five years ago, leaders at Grace Bible Church (www.gracevine.com) struggled with how to infuse significance into the daily lives of its retired people.

"Many of our people were settling into the second half of their lives," says associate pastor Gary Clatterbuck. "We wanted to help them to have more purpose than how many golf games they got in that day."

They named the ministry "Grace Alive" because "we wanted to make clear that this was a ministry for people who were vital and vibrant," Gary says. After reading in the local news-paper North Oceano, a nearby elementary school that had the lowest test scores in the county, Gary went to visit the school principal, to ask how they could help. The principal was shocked by the offer.

The Gospel According to J.K. Rowling


[Christianity Today] 24 July 2007--The magic world of Harry Potter begins yielding to a 'deeper magic.'

The Network and The Common Cause-some initial observations


[Virtue Online] 24 July 2007--I always read my friend Dr Radner's essays with care, and I highly respect him even though we belong to different forms of Anglicanism-he fully embraces women priests and I fully reject them, even as I also affirm the great value of the ministry of godly women. His expressed concerns at the direction of the Anglican Communion Network are to be taken most seriously, which I do. Having read his essay, these are my thoughts.

What may be called Episcopalianism and/or Anglicanism in the U.S.A. is in one big mess. All this has come about initially (but not completely) through the faithlessness, heresy and apostasy within the Protestant Episcopal Church of the U.S.A. since the 1960s. Secessions from PECUSA have occurred continually-by dribs and drabs and occasionally in brief intensity-since the days of the civil rights rallies and marches. Thus the most recent secessions primarily over the new doctrine of sexuality in this Church are part of a long line.

The practical difference between the secessions since 2004 and the major ones of 1977 (which created the Continuing Anglican Church[es]) is that major players in the Anglican Communion are involved in the recent ones, even to the extent of gathering the seceders into their arms as shepherds and making them part of their provinces. And thus it is that very little attention is paid by the most recent seceders to those who preceded them, and so they cannot even learn from them and their experience of extra-mural Anglicanism-its pros and cons! I note here that only rarely does Dr Radner mention the traditional Continuing Anglicans in his essays.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Sauce for the Gander?


[Confessions of a Carioca] 23 July 2007--When Father Mark Lawrence was elected (by an overwhelming majority on the first ballot) Bishop of South Carolina more than ten months ago, the required consents from Bishops and Standing Committees were abnormally slow in coming, for a number of reasons that are already familiar to most readers of this blog. When the deadline approached this past March, a concerted effort was made to push him over the top.

By all accounts, the effort was successful, albeit narrowly. However, the Presiding Bishop--into whose court balls of this sort are eventually thrown--determined that some of the Standing Committee consents were defective in form. Substantively, then, Fr Lawrence received the requisite number of consents. Technically, he did not. Bishop Jefferts Schori chose to be a strict constructionist in this case, abiding by the letter of the canonical law. She declared the South Carolina election null and void, allowing the technical to trump the substantive. South Carolina has been forced to call a new electing convention, in which the only nominee is, to no one's surprise, Mark Lawrence....

The focus of Communion unity is the centrality of the gospel rather than an institution - a response to the Archbishop of York


[Anglican Mainstream] 23 July 2007--A letter to the Church Times on 30 September 2005 affirmed the decision of the Church of Nigeria to focus on the centrality of Jesus rather than Canterbury.

The focus of unity for the Communion, as Nigeria insists, is the centrality of the gospel rather than the centrality of a person or institution, however venerable.

Moreover, the Nigerian Church has only done what the Church of England did in the Elizabethan Settlement, when it rejected the relationship with a particular see as the touchstone of authentic Christianity and ecclesiology, created a national Church accountable only to itself or, more strictly, to the civil power, and then became confessional - as evidenced by the Thirty-Nine Articles.

The claim that the actions of Nigeria indicate an abandonment of the Windsor process seems at odds with the declaration by Canon John Rees, joint secretary of the Lambeth Commission, that “It does not seem to me to change the legal position at all” (The Times, 17 September). Far from abandoning the Windsor process, Archbishop Akinola has in fact reiterated his commitment to it....

Are sexual ethics not “core issues”? A response to the Archbishop of York.


[Anglican Mainstream] 23 July 2007--Dr J.I. Packer wrote on the Canadian Church’s view of this issue:

The first limitation is an inadequate concept of what in the past has been called heresy (a word not used here), that is, a denial of core doctrine that breaks the church’s prior unity in faith. The St Michael’s Report equates core doctrine with what is affirmed in Anglican foundation documents and argues that blessing same-sex unions, whatever else it is, is not a violation of core doctrine, but is an adiaphoron, a secondary matter, which does not warrant any breach of church communion. But the reasoning on which this conclusion is based is not the whole story, though it is indeed part of it. However, a sounder, profounder concept of what in the past has been called heresy is: any belief or practice that negates any part of the New Testament gospel of Jesus Christ, understood as the divinely revealed truth that shows our sinful race the way of salvation from sin and sin’s consequences. This concept covers not only doctrines of the Creeds and Anglican foundation documents, but also the practice of faith in Christ, repentance, obedience, life in the Spirit, and personal holiness, according to the Scriptures.

Paul in 1 Corinthians 6 lists behavioral habits that, if not repented of and forsaken, keep people out of God’s kingdom, and male homosexuality is explicitly included in the list (vss. 9-11). Paul goes on to celebrate the power of the Holy Spirit sanctifying persons at Corinth who had previously lived in the ways he has mentioned. It seems undeniable that he would have viewed blessing same-sex unions as sanctifying sin, and thus as a denial of an essential ingredient in the gospel, namely repentance of all one’s sins and forsaking of them. And the gospel as such is surely the church’s core doctrine.

The gravity of the homosexual lifestyle as Paul views it warrants the description of it when found in the church as practical heresy; which raises the question, whether the suspending of full communion pro tem is not warranted and indeed needed as a disciplinary measure, aimed at bringing offenders to repentance....

Lessons from the Harry Potter phenomenon for the Anglican Communion


[Anglican Mainstream] 23 July 2007--Geographical borders aren’t what they once were and for an American denomination to retain 16th century English feudalistic structures to defend of its new nationalistic-cultural innovations is, at best, ironic. What are the boundaries now, when we can watch one book released to millions at the same time around the world? Through the internet, Harry Potter fans come together from all over the world to discuss the canon of the series. What brings us together is not our geographical center, but our love for the books. Anglicanism is the same - it is not our geographical center (no, not even in Canterbury) but our love for the books - the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer that brings us together as Anglicans. Now both books - the canon Anglican Christianity - fall in their reinterpretion to fit the spirit of the age, even as those who prop up the institutions wail at the fall of geographical borders. It’s not what you believe that matters (for that is subjective) - it’s who. There are lots and lots of Harry Potter fan fiction writers - and some of them develop quite a following. The fan fiction is written as another way to defend theories in the books (rather than just expository writing). But ultimately, the fiction is judged against the canon. Now that the canon is complete, those fiction writings will be judged against the canon. The fan fiction will never become canon - they may be entertaining - but they are not true. That is the power of the word. But we turn our attention to the power of Logos - to The Word made flesh. Our Word is not something, but someone, who is alive in the pages of scripture and written on our hearts. And geographical borders fall when our bond is forged in Jesus....

Archbishop of Armagh expresses Doubt over Anglican Covenant


[Christianity Today UK] 23 July 2007--The Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, the Most Rev Alan Harper, has spoken out on the “sin” of division plaguing what he calls the “tortured” Anglican Communion....

Communion Matters


[The Kew Continuum] 23 July 2007--As I have been working with Communion Matters in preparation for a gathering in our congregation, I find myself disheartened. Not only is it confused and confusing, but it seems politically-driven, desiring rank-and-file Episcopalians to concur with special pleading being made by this Anglican province which has run foul the rest of the Anglican Communion. It is designed like a questionnaire whose outcome is already predetermined, and the predetermination is that the Episcopal Church at the very best wants to sit loose to the wider Communion....

An end to Nationalistic Anglicanism


[Anglican Mainstream] 23 July 2007--The Archbishop of Canterbury will be meeting with the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church on 20 and 21 September. Later, the Common Cause of Bishops in the Americas, including Canada and Recife, Brazil will meet as the September 30 deadline for the response of The Episcopal Church to draw back from its apostate stance draws near.

While the captain and officers on the bridge of the good ship The Anglican Communion work out how to avoid the rocks for which it is heading, and others recommend improvements to improve its superstructure, below decks some American passengers are being persecuted for holding, promoting and sharing the faith which the Communion has held dear. This outrage, in defiance of the clear requests of the Primates in Tanzania in February, should be continually before us as we read the news of proposals, covenants and new bishops being consecrated for America.

Meanwhile orthodox parishes in the United States are being sued by the central bureaucracy of The Episcopal Church for property which the local church has invested in for generations but which the central bureaucracy now claims as it own. People may leave The Episcopal Church, but buildings or property may not. In some cases churches are being sued for the crayons from the Sunday School. In other cases a pastor moving to a parish cannot get a mortgage to buy a house because he is named in a lawsuit and the mortgage company fear that all his assets might be seized including “their” house. One Diocese is spending £20,000 to £25,000 a month just to defend itself from lawsuits emanating from the central bureaucracy of The Episcopal Church....

Telegraph reports Sentamu saying sexual ethics are not core issues


[EV News] 23 July 2007--An article has appeared in today's Daily Telegraph in which they report the Archbishop of York as saying that sexual ethics are not core issues. The Telegraph reports:

"Dr Sentamu, a close ally of Dr Williams, said that as long as Anglican bishops did not deny the basic Christian doctrines they should all be able to remain within the same Church.

While liberal north Americans disagreed with conservatives over sexual ethics, these were not core issues, he said."

We have been unable to confirm that this accurately reports John Sentamu but if it does then it is very serious. Previously he appeared to have taken the view that sexual immorality is important and that the actions of the revisionists and sodomites in North America is a problem. If these reports are accurate it indicates that he has changed his stance and adopted the revisionists way of handling Scripture....

Related article:
Archbishop Sentamu warns Anglican conservatives - “Anglicanism has its roots through Canterbury”. Sexual ethics “not core issues” - Anglican Mainstream
Sentamu Warns Anglicans Not to Sever Themselves from Communion - The Christian Post

Saturday, July 21, 2007

More Cake, Vicar?’ Campaign to Support Anglican Mission Abroad


{Christianity Today UK] 21 July 2007--From carrot cake to Lincolnshire plum bread with marmite, bishops throughout the UK and the Anglican Communion have named their favourite cakes to help launch the ‘More Cake, Vicar?’ campaign – which is being run by the USPG: Anglicans in World Mission.

Related article:
Changing Face of Anglican Mission - Christianity Today Australian Edition

A Threat Revealed?


[Stand Firm] 21 July 2007--Imagine, if you will, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primates' Standing Committee (with perhaps one dissenting voice) emerging from Navasota on September 25th proclaiming with loud voice that the Episcopal Church has met the requirements of the Windsor Report--essentially raising the Archbishop’s favored Sub-Group report from the dead.

Episcopal News Service tries to Counterspin the Global South Steering Committee Statement


[TitusOneNine] 21 July 2007--This is sad but also very predictable. What is particularly lamentable is how blatantly American-centric this piece is, with so little attention to what has been occurring and why.

Related article:
ENS: Global South Primates vow to continue violating Episcopal Church boundaries - Stand Firm

See the comments posted on the Stand Firm web site.

The Crown’s right to choose priests


[Church Times] 21 July 2007--Responses to the Green Paper The Governance of Britain (News, 6 July) have been generally positive (but see Bishop Buchanan’s reaction). Almost all have concentrated on the senior posts. The Green Paper, however, also makes explicit reference to the 200 Crown livings, as well as a small number of cathedral canonries, which are in the gift of the Queen and filled on recommendations from the Downing Street appointments secretary; and also to the further 450 livings administered by the Lord Chancellor’s office. The Green Paper suggests that these, too, should be governed by the basic principle that the Prime Minister should not take an active part in the selection of individuals.

The subject of patronage is so complex that it is hard to discover who is responsible for what. The bishops and archbishops control 49 per cent of livings, and the Crown about eight per cent. About one third of patrons are private individuals, ecclesiastical societies, or bodies such as Oxford or Cambridge colleges. The reorganisation of benefices in recent years means that, in about one third of parishes, the patronage rotates by turns between two or three patrons.

TEC Charm offensive on African Dioceses


[Anglican Mainstream] 21 July 2007--Trinity Wall Street is convening a group of bishops from Anglican Communion provinces in Africa and their companions in the Episcopal Church “for a consultation to strengthen relationships, develop mission partnerships, and to discover new opportunities to bear witness to the Gospel,” according to a Trinity news release.

“The Best News and the Clearest Word in a very long while - David Anderson


[Anglivcan Mainstream] 21 July 2007--The American Anglican Council (AAC) applauds the recent statement from the Global South Steering Committee. The statement is “a clear warning to both Presiding Bishop Schori and Archbishop Williams,” said AAC President and CEO the Rev. Canon David C. Anderson.

“The Global South and their 40 million congregants refuse to sit by and watch The Episcopal Church (TEC) defy Communion agreements and legally persecute those U.S. parishes that wish to remain faithful to the Gospel and church teaching,” said Anderson.

The Global South Primates urged TEC to reconsider its rejection of the Dar Es Salaam Communiqué requests and principles and called for TEC’s “heartfelt repentance and genuine change” in order to restore true communion. The statement also called the Anglican Church of Canada to task for their declaration that “same-sex blessing is not core doctrine” and their defiance of Windsor Report recommendations. The statement made clear the Global South’s intention to continue extending pastoral care to U.S. based churches and to make similar provisions for biblically faithful churches in Canada. It also showed the Global South’s resolve to not attend next year’s Lambeth conference unless the Archbishop of Canterbury reconsiders his Lambeth invitations and allows for discipline in the Communion and true reconciliation.

Anderson said the statement “is the best news and the clearest word we have received in a very long while.”

Fr. Lawrence Remains Only South Carolina Bishop Nominee


[The Living Church] 21 July 2007--The Very Rev. Mark Lawrence, rector of St. Paul’s Church, Bakersfield, Calif., remains the only candidate on the ballot for the Aug. 4 election of a bishop in the Diocese of South Carolina after the deadline for nominations by petition passed with no additional names submitted.

Related article:
William McKeachie: The Re-Election of Mark Lawrence...and Beyond - TitusOneNine

Diocese, Congregation Announce Amicable Separation in Massachusetts


[The Living Church] 21 July 2007--The Diocese of Massachusetts recently announced an amicable separation agreement with the Rev. William Murdoch and the majority of members at All Saints’ Church, West Newbury, who have left The Episcopal Church for the Anglican Church of Kenya.

Global South Leaders Urge Emergency Primates’ Meeting


[The Living Church] 21 July 2007--The leaders of the Global South coalition of Anglican Primates have called for an emergency primates meeting to determine the fate of The Episcopal Church and have urged the House of Bishops to put aside their “intransigence” and not force the break up of the Anglican Communion.

Global South Steering Committee update and info - 21 July 2007


[Global South Anglican] 21 July 2007--The Global South Steering Committee (GSSC) comprises:

President: Most Rev’d Peter J. Akinola, Nigeria
General Secretary: Most Rev’d John Chew, Southeast Asia
Treasurer: Most Rev’d Mouneer Anis, Jerusalem and the Middle East.
Most Rev’d Emmanuel Kolini, Rwanda
Most Rev’d Drexel Gomez, West Indies
Most Rev’d Bernard Malango, Central Africa
Most Rev’d Gregory Venables, Southern Cone

Assoc Secretary: Bishop Martyn Minns
Asst Secretaries: Canon Wong Tak Meng, Canon Terry Wong

Other Global South Primates do participate in some of the meetings as and when the need arises. The Most Revd Henry Orombi (Uganda) participated in the recent meeting in London.

Different Kinds of Pastors for Different Kinds of Churches


[The Christian Post] 21 July 2007--Before you can grow your church to the next level, you’ve got to fully understand where you are at now. This week we’re going to look at three kinds of churches and the roles of the pastors who lead them.

Structurally, there are basically three kinds of churches: single-cell, multiple-cell, and multiple congregation churches.
In the single-cell church, there is just one single cell, one group of people who make up the church. Generally this church has less than 200 people.

Multiple-cell churches have between 200 and 300 people. In this church, you have several cells, such as Sunday school classes, women’s groups, men’s groups, and so forth.

In multiple congregation churches, you have congregations within congregations within congregations with cells inside all of them. For example, in our church, women’s ministry is a congregation within itself. So is our men’s ministry. Our children’s ministry is larger than most churches. Multiple congregation churches have 400 people or more.

In each of these levels of growth, your role as a pastor (or leader) has to change.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Bishop praises ‘Gospel according to Potter’


[icWales] 20 July 2007--The Anglican communion should learn lessons from Harry Potter, a senior religious figure urged yesterday.

The Bishop of St Davids, Carl Cooper, said the Christian virtues of humility, respect and love portrayed in the stories about the teenage wizard should be replicated within the church.

But the religious world last night remained divided about the influence of the hugely popular series of books and films, with one Welsh evangelist describing them as a “doorway to the occult”.

The Rise of Christianity in the Global South


[The Christian Post] 20 July 2007--Like other northern European countries, Denmark has historically been a homogenous society. Also like its neighbors, this has changed in recent years with the arrival of immigrants from what’s called the “Global South.”

The religious fervor of some of these immigrants, like that of immigrants to other European countries, has shaken things up among the “notoriously staid” Danes. But if you’re thinking this is “another story about Muslims in Europe,” guess again.

A recent Washington Post story described the impact that Christians from Africa, Asia, and Latin America are having on the Danes. Immigrants have started more than 150 churches in Denmark. These churches not only minister to foreign-born residents, but increasingly to native Danes as well.

Karsten Nissen, a Lutheran bishop, called the immigrant Christian churches “a gift to our Danish Lutheran Church” that helps Danes understand how Christians are supposed to live.
According to Bess Semer-Pederson, who runs Alpha Denmark, a course that teaches the basics of Christianity, Denmark “[needs] these immigrant churches, because they are bringing a message that we have forgotten.”

What’s happening in Denmark is only a small part of a larger trend. “Churches in countries such as Nigeria, Ghana, South Korea, and the Philippines have sent thousands of missionaries to Europe to set up churches in homes, office buildings and storefronts.” African Anglican bishops are reaching out to conservative congregations in the United States, breaking away from the apostate Episcopal church.

John Stott Concludes Public Ministry: "Be More Like Jesus Christ"


[Christianity Today UK] 20 July 2007--Rev Dr John Stott concluded his final public engagement at the Keswick Convention last night, asking, "What is God's purpose for his people?”

As the world says goodbye to one of the most celebrated evangelists of the modern era, Dr Stott told the crowd: “I want to share with you where my mind has come to rest as I approach the end of my pilgrimage on earth. God wants His people to become like Christ. Christ-likeness is the will of God for the people of God.”

Giving his last major address before retiring from public ministry, veteran preacher and Queen's Chaplain Dr John Stott electrified his audience and was greeted with a standing ovation.

Building his sermon on three texts, Romans 8:29, 2 Corinthians 3:18 and 1 John 3:2, Dr Stott affirmed that “if we claim to be a Christian, we must be Christ-like”.

He went on to stress that the five main examples in the New Testament of how Christians should seek to imitate Christ: “We are to be like Christ in his Incarnation,” he said. “It was unique, in the sense that the Son of God took our humanity to himself in Jesus of Nazareth, but the amazing grace of God in the Incarnation of Christ is to be followed by all of us. We are to be like Christ in his Incarnation in the amazing self-humbling which lies behind the Incarnation.”

It's Not About the Crusades


[Christianity Today] 20 July 2007--In addition, Western Christians feel deep guilt over the Crusades, even though, as Sanneh says, Arab historians give the Crusades (which they refer to as the wars with the Franks) little notice. These incursions, mostly rebuffed by the Muslims, pale in comparison to the Mongol invasion under Genghis Khan.

Sanneh urges Western Christians to move beyond the guilt of the past. The global picture has changed, after all. Although the worldwide percentage of Christians has declined only slightly, from 35 percent in 1800 to 33 percent today, the geographical shift has been immense. While Christianity lost 800 million adherents in the 20th century—mostly in Europe and the former Soviet Union—explosive growth in places like Africa and China replaced them. (Sanneh acknowledges that this explosive growth occurred only after colonialism ended.)

Seventy-five thousand people a day become Christians, according to some estimates, and two-thirds of them live in Africa. These buoyant new believers do not carry around burdens of history such as the Crusades and the Inquisition. They experience the gospel as Good News and celebrate it in new and creative forms.

At the same time, Christians in Africa and Asia are confronting a newly resurgent and sometimes militant Islam. Repulsed by the decadence and rampant secularism of the West, Muslims have their own evangelistic agenda. In places like Iran, Egypt, and Palestine, moderates who once dreamed of modern, secular states are losing out to religious zealots who want to impose a harsh version of Shari'ah law. Only God can legislate, they say; religious leaders act as God's deputies in ordering society according to Qur'anic principles. In some Islamic nations, "crimes" such as conversion to Christianity or teaching evolution are capital offenses.

Onward, Christian Soldiers


[Christianity Today] 20 July 2007--To best understand Christopher Tyerman's impressive God's War: A New History of the Crusades (Belknap/Harvard), you must go back more than a half century, to when Sir Steven Runciman produced his three-volume History of the Crusades. A monumental work, it had flaws more visible today than when it was written. One of the misconceptions that Runciman was instrumental in popularizing (and that infuses Terry Jones's awful, 1995 made-for-TV program The Crusades) was the idea that the Crusades were an assault on the sophisticated and superior civilizations of Islam and Byzantium by a barbarian West.

Muzzling talk radio?


[Baptist Press] 20 July 2007--Members of Congress are laying the groundwork for a serious effort to revive the Fairness Doctrine, a regulation the FCC adopted in 1949 that required broadcast licensees to provide balance when dealing with controversial issues. The government decided how many sides there were to an issue, how much time must be provided to each, and then chose a reasonable and fair way to treat the differences. The doctrine began to unravel in 1985. The remotely defensible rationale for the Fairness Doctrine -- scarcity of radio spectrum access -- was disappearing, with the burgeoning number and variety of media outlets. Presidential administrations had used the regulation to silence political opponents.

In 1987 President Reagan vetoed Congress's attempt to restore the Fairness Doctrine, and President George H.W. Bush threatened to veto a second attempt in 1991. Good riddance. This development was a great victory for the deregulation of speech, and it resulted in the cataclysmic success of talk radio, including the launch of Rush Limbaugh's program, which began syndication 1988.

Today there are more than 1,400 stations that devote most of the day to the talk format. This phenomenon would never have occurred under the Fairness Doctrine's regime. And now there are calls from some high-profile members of Congress to bring it back.

Talk radio's giant role in the demise of the recent immigration reform bill was a catalyst, but the latest move to revive the Fairness Doctrine has been in the works since January. Ohio Congressman and Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich promised, as chairman of the House subcommittee on domestic policy, to hold hearings that will include a look at restoring the Fairness Doctrine. In May, Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean said, "I believe we need to re-regulate the media." Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.) is also moving to bring back the Fairness Doctrine. He has the support of other members of the House's so-called Future of American Media Caucus, of which he is a member.

Right now, talk radio is the liberals' target. It's the engine of the conservative movement, employing the constitutional tool of free speech to dig into the details of controversial issues. Radio is the perfect medium because it does not demand that busy and productive Americans drop what they're doing to absorb its message. It's interactive and populist. Opposing views get a hearing -- and often a point by point argument from the host. If talk radio's critics really wanted both sides of the story aired, they'd regulate television and print media, which leans decidedly liberal. In fact, talk radio is the balance to the 50-plus year liberal dominance in television.

APA study on ex-gay policy causes concern


[Baptist Press] 20 July 2007--Conservative and evangelical leaders are expressing concern that an American Psychological Association task force might condemn efforts on the part of some homosexuals to change their sexual preference.

An APA task force assigned to revise and update the organization's policy on counseling homosexuals met for the first time July 17 and could issue its full report early next year. Conservatives are particularly concerned because they say the six-member task force is stacked with those who don't believe it's possible for people to leave homosexuality.

Current APA policy -- adopted in 1997 -- condemns therapy that considers homosexuality a mental illness, although it doesn't specifically prohibit conversion therapy. Conservatives and evangelicals simply want the APA to leave room in the official policy for homosexuals who, on their own, want to change and are seeking professional help.

"We consider it a foundational principle that respect be afforded to clients who determine that their religious teachings forbid homosexual conduct and construct their lives accordingly," a June 29 letter from more than 100 conservative and evangelical leaders to the APA board of directors reads.

British ‘hegemony’ over, says Orombi


[Church Times] 20 July 2007--British dominance of the Anglican Communion is a thing of the past, says the Archbishop of Uganda, the Most Revd Henry Orombi. The “younger Churches” will shape what it means to be Anglican, the Archbishop writes in a lengthy essay, “What is Anglicanism?” for the American journal First Things.

Contemporary Anglicans are in danger of confusing doctrine and discipline, he writes. The “long season of British hegemony is over”, and Anglican Churches around the world have ended “the assumption that Anglican belief and practice must be clothed in historic British culture”.

The Church of Uganda is built on the three pillars of its martyrs, the East Africa revival of the 1930s, and the historic episcopate, each of which “refers back to the Word of God”, the Archbishop says. “We in the Church of Uganda are convinced that scripture must be reasserted as the central authority in our Communion.”

The Bible, he argues, “cannot appear to us a cadaver, merely to be dissected, analysed, and critiqued, as has been the practice of much biblical criticism.”

The pivotal case of free speech now pending in Alberta, CA


[Anglican Mainstream] 20 July 2007--Pastor accused of “hate speech” defends himself before Human Rights Commission.

“I do not hate the homosexual. I hate the practice,” Boissoin tells Commission

This is a critical time - A Statement from the Global South Steering Committee

London, July 16-18, 2007

1. We are grateful for the prayers and witness of the millions of Anglicans around the world who live out their Christian faith in complex and sometimes hostile situations. Their lives and witness offer hope to a world that is in desperate need and we have been greatly encouraged by their testimony. Their commitment to the ‘faith once and for all delivered to the saints’ deepens our determination to stay true to the biblical revelation and our historic tradition.

2. We reaffirm our dedication to the vision of the church that has a passion to reach all those who have not yet come to a saving knowledge of Christ and one that is truly good news for the poor and freedom for those who are oppressed. We are saddened that the actions of a small part of our Communion family have caused such division, confusion and pain and we are grieved that our witness to the oneness of Christ and his Church has been sorely compromised.

3. We in the Global South remain committed to the underlying principles and recommendations of the Windsor Report and the various Communiqués that we have issued, especially the statement that was produced during the most recent Primates’ meeting in Dar es Salaam. It was the result of enormous effort and heart-felt prayer and we remain convinced that it offers the best way forward for our beloved Communion. In particular, we are hopeful that the development and endorsement of an Anglican Covenant will help us move past this debilitating season into a new focus of growth and missionary zeal.

4. We were distressed by the initial response of the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church USA issued on March 20th, 2007, reaffirmed by the Executive Council on June 14th, 2007, in which they rejected the underlying principles and requests of the Dar es Salaam Communiqué. We urge them, once again, to reconsider their position because it is their rejection of the clear teaching of the Church and their continuing intransigence that have divided the Church and has brought our beloved Communion to the breaking point. Without heartfelt repentance and genuine change there can be no restoration of the communion that we all earnestly desire and which is our Lord’s clear intent.

5. We have also been pained to hear of the continuing and growing resort to civil litigation by The Episcopal Church against congregations and individuals which wish to remain Anglican but are unable to do so within TEC. This is in defiance of the urgent plea agreed to by all of the Primates in the Dar es Salaam Communiqué. This approach to use power and coercion to resolve our current dispute is both enormously costly and doomed to failure and again, we urge the immediate suspension of all such activities and a return to biblical practices of prayer, reconciliation and mediation.

6. Because of the categorical rejection of the unanimously agreed Pastoral Scheme and the urgent needs of the growing number of congregations now linked to various Provinces in the Global South, we have had no choice but to provide additional episcopal oversight from the concerned Provinces. We believe that failure to do so would have resulted in many individuals and congregations lost to the Anglican Communion. The rejection of the proposed Pastoral Scheme has also had a profound impact on those dioceses that had requested alternative primatial oversight. We are aware that they are exploring various ways in which they can maintain their Anglican identity apart from The Episcopal Church. We are encouraged by this and also that they are working together within the Common Cause Partnership to avoid unnecessary fragmentation. We recognize that this is a temporary measure and look forward to the time when it is either no longer necessary or they are all part of a new ecclesiastical structure in the USA.

7. We are aware of the anticipated visit by the Joint Standing Committee of the Primates and the ACC to the September meeting of the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church USA. Sadly we are convinced that this decision, made jointly by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Chair of the ACC, undermines the integrity of the Dar es Salaam Communiqué. We believe that the Primates Meeting, which initiated the request to the TEC House of Bishops, must make any determination as to the adequacy of their response. We strongly urge the scheduling of a Primates’ Meeting for this purpose at the earliest possible moment.

8. We have also noted the decisions of the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada and are dismayed by their unilateral declaration that ‘same-sex blessing is not core doctrine’. While we were grateful for the temporary restraint shown in not proceeding with any further authorization, we have observed that a number of the bishops are continuing to defy the recommendations of the Windsor process. We are exploring the possibility of additional pastoral provisions for those who want to remain faithful to Communion teaching and have been affected by the continuing actions of their own bishops.

9. We are concerned for the future of our Communion as a truly global fellowship and our witness before the world as a respected ecclesial family within the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. In regards to the proposed Lambeth Conference in 2008, we are concerned that the publicly stated expectations for participation have changed its character and function. It is now difficult to see it either as an instrument of unity or communion. At a time when the world needs a vision of reconciliation and unity, our failure to restore the ‘torn fabric’ of our Communion threatens to show the world a contrary example.

10. We remain committed to the convictions expressed in the CAPA report “The Road to Lambeth” and urge immediate reconsideration of the current Lambeth plans. It is impossible for us to see how, without discipline in the Communion and without the reconciliation that we urge, we can participate in the proposed conference; to be present but unable to participate in sacramental fellowship would all the more painfully demonstrate our brokenness. The polarization surrounding the Lambeth meeting has been exacerbated because we are also unable to take part in an event from which a number of our own bishops have been arbitrarily excluded while those whose actions have precipitated our current crisis are included.

11. We have received requests from around the Communion to call a gathering of Anglican Communion leaders. We expect to call a Fourth Global South Encounter to bring together faithful Anglican leaders across the Communion to renew our focus on the apostolic faith and our common mission.

12. This is a critical time for the Anglican Communion and one that will shape our future for many years to come. We are praying for all those in leadership that the decisions made and the actions taken will bring glory to God and encouragement to all God’s people. We are hopeful for the future because our confidence is not in ourselves but in Jesus the Christ who gave his life that we might have life. (see John 10:10)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Grace's paper chase


[Colorado Springs Independent] 19 July 2007--Nearly 80 years ago, leaders at Grace Church joined and, in writing, invoked "the name of God."

With a few pen strokes, Grace's rector, wardens and vestry — its board — signed away their grand, young church, placing it under the "spiritual jurisdiction and authority" of Bishop Irving P. Johnson, then the highest Episcopal authority in Colorado.

The leaders relinquished "all claim to any right of disposing" the building at 601 N. Tejon St. in Colorado Springs without Johnson's consent or that of his successors, according to the "instrument of donation," signed on Nov. 15, 1929.

The one-page form could be a Holy Grail for a diocese eager to return to the building now being used by hundreds of entrenched Episcopal secessionists and their embattled patriarch, the Rev. Don Armstrong.

Parish Divide Continues: Bishop's Call To Support New Pastor Fails To Persuade Breakaway Flock


[Hartford Courant] 19 July 2007--Trinity Episcopal Church could be called a house divided: Its defrocked pastor led a heavily attended prayer and song service at the church Wednesday night, while Episcopal Bishop Andrew Smith tried to muster parishioners to meet with a new pastor at a church in Plainville.

Smith promoted his meeting in a letter to parishioners last week as a way to discuss the dispute between Trinity and the Episcopal Diocese and "begin to identify new leadership for the parish so that we can move forward in our life in Christ within the doctrine, discipline and worship of The Episcopal Church."

But the message didn't draw much of Trinity's membership, which earlier this year joined Pastor Donald Helmandollar in a defection from the Episcopal Church, related to its 2003 installation of a gay bishop.

The bishop's session at the Church of Our Savior in Plainville drew a dozen people at most, and Smith refused to allow a reporter to attend, declaring it a closed meeting.

Churches co-opt Potter's magic


[Globe and Mail] 19 July 2007--As if battling Voldemort, Death Eaters and Dementors wasn't enough, the boy wizard has also endured the wrath of religious conservatives in the decade since J.K. Rowling's books first found their way into the hearts of young Muggles the world over.

There have been book burnings, book bans and even a declaration by one Catholic Church official last year that Harry Potter is "the devil."

But with Potter fans already lining up ahead of the final book release this Saturday, some Christian denominations are now eschewing condemnation for praise, embracing Ms. Rowling's tales as powerful religious fables for our time.

Leading the Potter parable movement is the Church of England. This Saturday, it will release Mixing it Up with Harry Potter, a 48-page guidebook that directs religious leaders how to translate tales from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry into religious lessons.

Hearing begins for Alberta pastor who wrote anti-gay letter


[Globe and Mail] 19 July 2007--Darren Lund was shocked when he first read a letter five years ago in an Alberta newspaper written by a local pastor who urged people to "take whatever steps are necessary to reverse the wickedness" of the "homosexual machine."

Two weeks later, the former Red Deer high-school teacher and now university professor was devastated to hear the news: A 17-year-old local gay youth was followed home and asked, "You're a faggot, right?" before allegedly being beaten by another young man.

Nobody was ever charged in the case, but Prof. Lund, who teaches education at the University of Calgary, was convinced letters like the pastor's could cause harm. He filed a complaint against the pastor with the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission, which yesterday began hearing evidence.

"I do stand on the principle that I think the letter did expose people to hatred and I think the government, if it's serious about its human-rights legislation, needs to make a ruling in this case and I think it's very clear what they need to do," Prof. Lund told reporters outside the hearing room.

We are here! Being the Church!


[Stand Firm] 19 July 2007--Much amazing stuff there, not the least of which is that the word "Episcopal" is nowhere to be found in the entire publication, although with such "organizational partners" as PCUSA, the United Methodists, and ELCA, I'm at a loss as to how we were left out. Surely it's an oversight.

I don’t fit within the broad Episcopal milieu


[Thoughts, Musings and Ramblings] 19 July 2007--While browsing last night I came across an article that was reporting on an Episcopal priest in the Seattle area who claimed to be both a Christian and a Muslim. (Her diocese suspended her for a period of time to allow her to reflect upon her actions.) For those who might be interested such a claim is logically inconsistent (if logic would matter to her): a tenet of Muslim belief is that both Jesus and Mohammad are prophets of God (Allah) thus Jesus is merely a prophet and not God as He claimed. So by one professing to be a Muslim one is denying the fundamental teaching of Christianity. Be that she is inconsistent or not the story got me to reflect upon my past periodic dalliances with Episcopal church.

It was a nice place to be baptized in. While I certainly don’t remember mine (infant baptism) I do have a vague recollection of Lura’s, my younger sister. The church, in Longview, was not large and seemed to me to be a little dark and/or gloomy. The service was at the back of the church and the font was carved and made of wood. My parents were there as were her godparents, the Bennets. My mother was holding her through the part of the service that I remember. I think that my maternal grandmother was also there.

Speaking of my maternal grandmother it was she that made sure that I went to Sunday school when I was staying with her in the summers (I could write about that church in Navasota or describe how I would walk the last block to the church balancing on a stone wall – and driving my grandmother crazy, but that is for another time, maybe) and it was she that taught me to prayer before going to bed....

Gloria Dei Church Affirms Appeal for APO


[Stand Firm] 19 July 2007--On June 29, 2006 the Bishop, Diocesan Board and Standing Committee, of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida, after holding a joint meeting, appealed for Alternative Primatial Oversight (APO).

The question is: Where are we with the appeal for Alternate Primatial Oversight?

When the Diocese of Central Florida first appealed for APO in June 2006, it was hoped that a special pastoral relationship could be established with an Orthodox primate, in the interest of preserving unity and fostering mission in the face of an impaired relationship with the newly elected Presiding Bishop. The original appeal was made in good faith and was directed to the Archbishop of Canterbury, the primates of the Communion and the Panel of Reference.

Other dioceses made similar appeals during the course of the summer. The Archbishop arranged a summit in New York in September 2006 with interested parties, to discuss the matter, in an attempt to come up with “an American sounding solution to an American problem.” This meeting failed to reach an agreement, with the Presiding Bishop-elect claiming that she had no Primatial oversight of The Episcopal Church (TEC) dioceses an could not therefore give to another what she does not have. Subsequently, representatives from the Orthodox dioceses met in November with the Steering Committee of the Global South primates to present their request for APO. This meeting ended with the assurance that they would respond with a plan to address the expressed needs of the Orthodox dioceses.

Bishop discriminated against gay youth worker


[Telegraph] 19 July 2007--A gay man won a landmark case of unlawful discrimination against the Church of England yesterday after a bishop refused him a job because of his sexuality.

But the Bishop of Hereford, the Rt Rev Anthony Priddis, said he was "naturally disappointed" and was considering whether to appeal. The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement said the bishop should resign.

The Rev Richard Kirker, the chief executive of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, whose sympathisers include a number of Church of England bishops, said the bishop should resign.

But Bishop Priddis said: "I still think the decision I made was the right one."

Related article:
News Release from Diocese of Hereford: ‘Tribunal decision is mixed blessing for Church’ - Anglican Mainstream
Hereford Case Judgement - Peter Ould