Wednesday, October 31, 2007

For Everything there is a Season

[The Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida] 31 Oct 2007--The Book of Ecclesiastes says there is: “a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted…a time to break down, and a time to build up…a time to mourn, and a time to dance….” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-4) Over the past several months, we have seen a time of separations coming upon the Diocese of Central Florida, and it appears finally to be at hand.

The following agreed statement was released by all of the participants in a meeting held at Diocesan House two weeks ago....

A Statement on the Global South Primates’ Visit to China

[Global South Anglican] 31 Oct 2007--At the invitation of the Honourable Minister of the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) of the People’s Republic of China, Mr. Ye Xiaowen, the Primates of the Global South of the Anglican Communion visited the cities of Beijing, Xi’an, Nanjing and Shanghai from 21-30 October 2007. We wish to express to the government and the people of China our deepest appreciation for the very warm welcome and hospitality extended to us. This most historic visit is opportune as it affirms the ties already established through the efforts of the Minister and the esteemed officials of the Religious Affairs Administration. We are grateful to God for giving us this golden opportunity to deepen our mutual understanding and future cooperation.

Our visit to China has shown us the indomitable spirit of a 5,000-year civilization. We were fascinated by its colossal achievements, its rich cultural expressions and the values that have emerged from its history. We were also impressed by the splendour of the ancient imperial courts, the skillful handicrafts of the populace, the growth of the economy, the advanced technology and the vision demonstrated in the launching of China’s first lunar probe Chang’e-1 on October 25, 2007. We thank God for these manifold gifts and bounteous blessings that He has poured out on China.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Why Muslims Follow Jesus

[Christianity Today] 30 Oct 2007--"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times," Charles Dickens said about the time leading up to the French Revolution in A Tale of Two Cities. The same could be said today of Christian witness to Muslims, who belong to a bitterly divided community undergoing a revolution.

The anti-Christian part of the Islamic resurgence certainly qualifies as the "worst of times." It burst onto the world scene with the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and into everyone's living room on September 11, 2001, leaving victims and sometimes churches in its wake.

Festival of Fears

[Christianity Today] 30 Oct 2007--According to New York Newsday columnist Ellis Henican, just about everybody is protesting Halloween this year: "Interest groups left and right—Christian, Muslim and Wiccan—are finding new reasons to be outraged about Halloween. Fundamentalist Christians warn the celebration promotes devil worship. Prudes and feminists say the costumes have gotten too risque. Civil-rights groups complain that too many Halloween ghosts resemble lynching victims. Even the witches feel aggrieved …"

Protests are nothing new, but if history teaches us anything, we shouldn't expect them to stick. As Ellen Feldman once noted in American Heritage magazine, "Halloween is a plastic holiday … mauled and molded to fit the needs of each generation."

Openly Lesbian Priest Still Vying for Episcopal Diocese's Top Post's_Top_Post.htm

[The Christian Post] 30 Oct 2007--Parishioners across the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago had the opportunity to grill eight nominees – including a lesbian priest – vying to become the next bishop.

The candidates concluded on Sunday a weeklong tour of the diocese that consisted of meetings, presentations and answering questions on controversial issues such as immigration and the full inclusion of gays and lesbians.

At a time when The Episcopal Church has placed the global Anglican family on the brink of schism, openly lesbian candidate the Rev. Tracey Lind remains in the running to lead the Chicago diocese.

Anglicans Knocking on Vatican Door

[the] 30 Oct 2007--Hundreds of thousands of Anglicans from 13 countries are requesting “full communion” with the Catholic Church. The Traditional Anglican Communion, which represents traditional Anglicans, made the formal request in October.

The request was made in a letter to the Vatican and has been cordially received by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

'Being gay is rebelling against God'

[Daily Express] 30 Oct 2007--Bishops in the Anglican Church are strongly against the ordination of homosexuals in the Anglican Communion across the world, said Jill Southern, 65, from the Ellel Ministries in the United Kingdom.

She said the scenario of gay pastors in same sex marriage is unusual and has caused a lot of problems.

"It is God's view that homosexuals should not be ordained as priests or pastors in any country because their sin separates them from God.

However, the Church does not really know quite how to handle the situation.

Diocese of Upper South Carolina Caves into Bishop's Plea to Give More Money to the National Church

[Stand Firm] 30 Oct 2007--The Diocese of Upper South Carolina has buckled under to repeated, passionate appeals from Bishop Dorsey Henderson to increase the giving to the national Episcopal Church to the full quota.

The current (2007) budget for the national Church is $272,974 and the diocese is 100% current in payments! The 2008 contribution to the national Church is budgeted to be $412,396. This is an increase of $139,422--51%.

Ontario priest disciplined for marrying same-sex couple

[Anglican Journal] 30 Oct 2007--A priest in the diocese of Ontario has been disciplined and had his licence to marry cancelled after officiating at the wedding of a same-sex couple last August in a church in rural Ontario, where he is the incumbent.

Rev. Michael Bury, rector of St. John the Evangelist church, in Stirling, Ont., a small village located about 190 km east of Toronto, confirmed in an interview that his licence to perform marriages has been cancelled.

Will there be Discipline in the Common Cause Partnership?

[Stand Firm] 30 Oct 2007--This common conviction does, I believe, provide the foundation for a future ecclesial order to which orthodox clergy and people can submit in good conscience. Were the bishops of an orthodox body of this sort, for example, to make a pronouncement on a disputable matter (a matter not plainly taught in the scriptures) then all Christians within that body would be obligated to submit and I hope that they would. I mention this future possibility because I think that, unfortunately, the battle against heresy and false teaching may have bred a sense of defiance in us that while, perhaps, necessary and good when faced with golden statues and fiery furnaces, is not good at all within a true visible manifestation of the Church.

California backs gay blessings

[Religious Intelligence] 30 Oct 2007--The diocese of California has authorised the use of trial rites for the blessing of same-sex unions. Meeting at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral on Oct 20, the synod asked Bishop Marc Andrus to authorise for trial use three rites developed by a diocesan liturgical commission.

The San Francisco vote will add to Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams’ difficulties in convincing the Primates and the wider Communion the American Church had abided by the primates’ request to ban gay bishops and blessings. Dr Williams’ claims that America had substantially complied with the primates Dar es Salaam made earlier this month to the House of Bishops were not well received as some bishops disputed the Archbishop’s assertions of compliance as factually inaccurate.

In addition to its gay blessings resolution, California also adopted a resolution denouncing the ban of gay bishops promised last month by the US House of Bishops and refused ‘to discriminate against partnered gay and lesbian bishops-elect’ while deploring ‘the lack of access to adequate pastoral and ritual care for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender’ Episcopalians across the Church.

Bishop Irish of Utah calls for cancellation of Lambeth 2008

[Anglican Mainstream] 30 Oct 2007--With reference to your letter of October 17 inviting us to comment on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s recent and urgent request of you, The Episcopal Diocese of Utah Bishop, Deputation, Diocesan Council, Standing Committee and Diocesan Convention make the following recommendation in the next steps part of the request: We urge you to ask the Archbishop to cancel the Lambeth Conference for 2008.

The Communion is in such disarray over who recognizes who, and the participation of irregularly consecrated bishops, that little good can come from the fragmented gatherings sure to take place at the Conference, and even attendance at common worship is unlikely.

Critique Yourselves, Presiding Bishop Challenges Council

[The Living Church] 30 Oct 2007--Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori challenged Executive Council to undertake a critical self-review and offered a possible role in a review of her own performance Oct. 28 during closing remarks of the council in Dearborn, Mich.

“I have structured my ordained life around ministry review,” she said. “I don’t know if that has ever been done before for the Presiding Bishop.”

I wonder if she reviewed her theology.

With Revenue Down, $1.8 Million Deficit Looms for Council

[The Living Church] 30 Oct 2007--Some $1.8 million will need to be trimmed from the 2008 budget when the national Executive Council meets in Quito, Ecuador, next February.

The deficit, which includes up to $550,000 in additional expenses for staff reorganization, was discussed during meetings of Executive Council’s Administration and Finance Committee. Council met Oct. 26-28 in Dearborn, Mich.

South Carolina Bishop-elect Mark Lawrence receives necessary consents

[Episcopal Life Online] 30 Oct 2007--Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori announced October 29 that the Very Rev. Mark Lawrence had received the consents needed for him to become the next bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina.

The consecration will be held January 26, 2008 at the Cathedral Church of St. Luke and St. Paul in Charleston, South Carolina.

Related article:
New Episcopal bishop in S.C. to be consecrated in January - Myrtle Beach Online
Episcopal Diocese's bishop approved - Charleston Post and Courier

Monday, October 29, 2007

“Progressive” Anglicans urge bishops to allow gay marriage

[Anglican Journal] 29 Oct 2007--A group of Canadian Anglicans on the liberal, or “progressive,” side of issues concerning homosexuality and the church have urged Anglican bishops to “proceed to (the) full inclusion (of gay and lesbian people) by providing access to all sacraments and sacramental rites of the church,” including marriage.

The letter was addressed to the bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada, who are holding their fall meeting here from Oct. 25 to 30.

Stephen Noll: A Letter to the Diocese of Pittsburgh’s Annual Convention

[Stand Firm] 29 Oct 2007--Someone asked me recently if I was planning to vote at the Convention on November 2. “Not until they allow email ballots,” was my answer. But it occurred to me that I could send an electronic voice vote instead of a paper ballot.

I write to you from a distance but with a closeness of heart as you prepare for the Convention this weekend. I have been an Episcopalian since my conversion and baptism as a university student in 1966. I have been ordained since 1971 and a priest of the Diocese since 1979. I have been a theologian and educator at Trinity School for Ministry for 21 years and now in Uganda since 2000. I have been addressing the crisis in the Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion for the past 20 years.

C of E to empower foreign bishops

[Anglican Mainstream] 29 Oct 2007--The Church of England is set to allow foreign archbishops to intervene in its affairs, secret papers reveal. Under controversial plans being drawn up by the Church’s bishops, leaders from Africa and South America would be able to take over the care of parishes in this country.

They threaten to end the historic power of bishops to have ultimate control over their dioceses because parishes could ask for overseas prelates to carry out important duties, such as leading ordination services.

Windsor Bishops will haemorrhage membership: Bishop-elect David Anderson comments on the correspondence between Bishop John Howe and the Archbishop of

[Anglican Mainstream] 29 Oct 2007--For years as a parish priest I heard the arguments over which is more important, or the basic unit of the church, the local parish or the diocese.

Is the basic unit the diocese with bishop and people or is it the local parish church? A parish church and priest can baptize, celebrate Holy Communion, marry, anoint the sick, hear confessions and grant absolution. The two things the local church and priest cannot do are confirm and ordain. A local church which is well managed might feel quite self-sufficient ecclesiastically until they need to have someone ordained. The American Episcopal Church went from the early 1600s until the late 1700s - not quite two hundred years - without Confirmation generally being available since Bishops were unwilling to venture to the American colonies. Priests had to be imported, or candidates sent to England for ordination.

Executive Council Responds to HOB Statement

[Anglican Action] 29 Oct 2007--The Executive Council of the Episcopal Church passed resolution NAC 026, "Response to House of Bishops Statement on Resolution B033," this afternoon without any amendments.

Resolution NAC 026 raises sharp questions concerning the House of Bishops’ mind of the house statement, declaring that the statement “may inappropriately suggest that an additional qualification for the episcopacy has been imposed beyond those contained in the constitution and canons of the Episcopal Church.”

A Response from the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church to The Draft Anglican covenant

[Episcopal Life Online] 29 Oct 2007--The Covenant Design Group has requested comments on the Draft Anglican Covenant to assist in the further consideration and revision of the Draft Covenant by the churches of the Anglican Communion. The Episcopal Church, at its General Convention of 2006, committed itself to this covenant development process and requested that its Executive Council engage in this process. (See General Convention Resolution GC2006-A166, which is attached.)

The present document contains the response of the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church to the Covenant Design Group's request. We submit it with the sincere hope that it will be useful to the Covenant Design Group, to members of The Episcopal Church, and to our sisters and brothers in Christ across the Anglican Communion as the future shape of our Communion is considered.

Why the American Church crisis is not front and center

[The Kew Continuum] 29 Oct 2007--Watching the goings on in the American church from a distance of 3,000 miles, is an eerie, almost out-of-body experience. It is like sitting on the window sill and looking across at the being you once inhabited while a melee of people work on it, and you are not quite sure which ones are doing the healing and which ones are doing the ripping apart!

What is more intriguing and a little disconcerting is that apart from a few enthusiasts, ecclesiastical events on the landmass that sits between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans do not seem to be high on most lists of priorities here in Britain.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Taking Revival to the World

[Christianity Today] 27 Oct 2007--Step into a Hillsong London service and you walk into the Dominion Theater, which seats 2,000 people. Choose a seat on the balcony or on the ground floor, and when the strobe lights and sophisticated video images begin flashing in the dim theater, you might wonder if you're waiting for We Will Rock You: The Queen Musical!, the show currently running at the Dominion.

Hillsong Church, which recently celebrated its 20th year in Sydney, Australia, is growing its global reach Sunday by Sunday. As the largest church in Australia's history, it regularly attracts 20,000 people to its weekend services. GOD TV, a Christian satellite channel, broadcasts many Hillsong events, boosting its potential audience to 400 million worldwide.

A member of the Assemblies of God denomination, Hillsong has burgeoning church plants in London, Paris, and Kiev, Ukraine. It has also been holding services in Moscow and Berlin. Hillsong's reputation alone is enough to generate huge interest. In London, a Saturday night service and three Sunday services are necessary to accommodate the 7,000 in attendance.

When God Comes to Church

[Christianity Today] 27 Oct 2007--But I also knew I had been at some meetings where God's presence was undeniably real, and others where it wasn't. At times it was almost palpable enough to reach out and touch with your hand. In those special, holy times, you didn't want to move or cough for fear of breaking the moment. The leaders or singers on stage were eclipsed by the presence of one greater than they. It was not exaggerating to say that "God was in the house."

I yearned to have this happen at our spring revival meeting. I knew that if God truly showed up, sinners would be touched and Christians would be stirred.

The Crisis of Modern Fundamentalism

[Christianity Today] 27 Oct 2007--There would be no need for a new evangelical movement without the liberal decline of Protestant theology during the 19th and early 20th centuries. But eminent evangelical theologian Carl Henry expected fallen humans to doubt the Bible's authority. "What concerns me more is that we have needlessly invited criticism and even ridicule, by a tendency in some quarters to parade secondary and sometimes even obscure aspects of our positions as necessary frontal phases of our view." This was The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism (1947).

A Higher Ecclesiology for Evangelicals

[Christianity Today]m 27 Oct 2007--Bryan Litfin's Getting to Know the Church Fathers, which has chapters on Ignatius of Antioch, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus of Lyons, Tertullian, Perpetua, Origen, Athanasius, John Chrysostom, Augustine, and Cyril of Alexandria, is designed to introduce the ancient church to evangelicals. Litfin writes about the lives and major issues of each person, then lists possible study questions, books for deeper exploration, and a short excerpt of the church father's writing. He is concerned that many Christians have rejected the church fathers under the impression that they were detached from Scripture, Roman Catholic, and that they represent the "fall" of Christianity after Constantine's conversion. Litfin spoke with CT about introducing evangelicals to Patristics.

Who Owns Episcopal Church Properties?

[VirtueOnline] 27 Oct 2007--It is axiomatic thinking according to liberal and revisionist bishops that parish properties are held in trust for the diocese and the national church. This does not, however, include diocesan properties.

This was reiterated recently by evangelical bishop John W. Howe of Central Florida. This is what he wrote to his parish priests, many of whom are seeking to leave the diocese and The Episcopal Church. "...the Diocese is bound to work within the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church which state that a Parish holds in trust all real and personal property for the benefit of the Diocese and The Episcopal Church. We have a solemn responsibility to protect the interests of the Diocese and the larger church," he wrote.

For the most part, dioceses who have sued orthodox parish priests and vestries to retain the properties have been successful. A number of parishes in the Diocese of California have been more successful because of state laws favoring the local parish. But that is still an open question as these liberal diocesan bishops repeatedly counter-sue in state courts to "recover" the properties that say rightly belong to them even though, in most cases, they did not put a dime into their construction. Most parishes in the U.S. were built by parishioners. If it wasn't for the Dennis Canon they would, in all probability, retain the right of ownership to this day. Furthermore there is a serious question as to whether the Dennis Canon was validly adopted.

Group will discuss rift among church members

[Fort Worth Star-Telegram] 27 Oct 2007--A retired Episcopal priest from New Mexico will lecture Monday in Fort Worth on "The Undermining of the Episcopal Church" to a group concerned about recent decisions by the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth.

The Rev. Tom Woodward, who writes for the Episcopal Majority blog, ( will "sort out distortions and refute the misrepresentations" of the diocese, said Lynne Minor, public relations chairman of Fort Worth Via Media. A question-and-answer session will follow.

"Sort out distortions and refute the misrepresentations" sounds like this presentation will be a part of the Via Media propaganda campaign in the diocese.

Door still open for Quincy Diocese exit from Anglican church

[Quad-Cities Online] 27 Oct 2007--An Episcopal train still may be leaving an Anglican station, and members of the Quincy Diocese are waiting for it to pass by before deciding to disembark, according to a diocesan press officer.

Resolutions paving the way for a possible split from the embattled U.S. Episcopal Church body were approved during an annual synod meeting last weekend at Christ Church in Moline, said the Rev. John Spencer.

No final decisions about leaving were or could have been made during that synod meeting, he said.

Church constitution requires two readings of such resolutions before they can be made binding.

Executive Council receives draft response to proposed Anglican covenant

[Episcopal News Service] 27 Oct 2007--Members of the Episcopal Church's Executive Council received copies of a proposed Council response to the draft Anglican covenant during private conversation the afternoon of October 26.

The Council, the church's governing body between meetings of General Convention, will discuss the draft response on October 27 in another private conversation during the second day of its three-day meeting at the Hyatt Regency in Dearborn, Michigan.

Also on October 26, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, during her opening remarks to the meeting, discussed her plan to reorganize the staff of the Episcopal Church Center in New York. The goal is to create an "organic and flexible structure that is mission-driven" that is dispersed in terms of decision-making and actual location, she said.

"We're looking for a system that tends to be more self-organizing rather than directed from the top," she said.

St. John's Strawn settles into role as Anglican bishop

[Quincy Herald-Whig] 27 Oct 2007--Bishop Stephen D. Strawn remembers how he felt shortly before his consecration earlier this month.

"What hit me... was the enormous responsibility that would come with being a bishop," he said. "Suddenly, the thought occurred to me — I'm officially a bishop."

Strawn, rector of St. John's Anglican Church in Quincy, was consecrated Oct. 13 as bishop coadjutor of the Anglican Church in America's Diocese of the Missouri Valley.

Anglican bishop expects same-sex motion to pass

[] 27 Oct 2007--It's "highly likely" Anglicans in the Diocese of Huron, which includes churches in Waterloo Region, will vote on same-sex blessings at their next decision-making meeting in the spring, the diocese's bishop says.

"I can certainly say it's highly likely that something will come forward," Rt. Rev. Bruce Howe said yesterday in a news conference in London, the seat of the diocese.

When asked if he thought such a vote would pass, Howe said "My guess would be yes."

Anglican debate reignites

[The Age] 27 Oct 2007--Divisions in the Anglican Church over women bishops were reignited yesterday when conservatives from opposite ends of the spectrum set up an organisation to protect dissidents.

More than a quarter of the 247 delegates to the Anglican general synod in Canberra held a hastily organised late-night meeting and set up a group to represent opponents of women bishops.

Liberals thought the battle for women bishops was over when the church's highest court ruled last month that they were legal, but debate will now start again.

The new group, the Association for Apostolic Ministry, is headed by Sydney Archbishop Peter Jensen, the church's leading evangelical, and Ballarat Bishop Michael Hough, chief spokesman for the high-church group known as Anglo-Catholics.

Dr Jensen said yesterday that those who opposed women bishops might number as much as half the church, scattered through the different dioceses.

Bonnie Anderson Asks Executive Council for Help

[The Living Church] 27 Oct 2007--Loyalist Episcopalians in dioceses affiliated with the Anglican Communion Network feel isolated and lack access to important information to help them plan for their future, said Bonnie Anderson, president of the House of Deputies, during brief introductory remarks to Executive Council, Oct. 26 in Dearborn, Mich.

“Every time that I'm in one of those places, I get a lot of questions, both public and private,” she said. “I want Executive Council to be aware of the concerns of these people and to perhaps discuss responses to some of these. I don’t know the answer myself to all of these.”

Does this portend an Executive Council intervention in ACN dioceses?

Friday, October 26, 2007

Archbishop’s letter divides opinion

[Religious Intelligence] 26 Oct 2007--A letter sent by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s describing his views over the ecclesiology of the Anglican Communion has provoked mixed reactions on both sides of the debate.

In the letter to the Rt Rev John W Howe, Bishop of Central Florida, (pictured) the Most Rev Rowan Williams said that the diocese, rather than the national church or the province, is the primary ecclesial entity within the Anglican Communion.

Ulster Anglican parishes deny Catholicism link

[Belfast Telegraph] 26 Oct 2007--Anglican religious group 'the traditional rite' today played down reports that members have asked the Vatican for a "full, corporate, sacramental union" with the Catholic Church.

The request, if successful, could result in some parish communities in Ireland - including a number in the north - being received formally into the Catholic Church, according to The Irish Catholic newspaper.

Report from Australian General Synod

[Stand Firm] 26 Oct 2007--But in some ways the saddest thing of all today was that Synod declined even to make a decision on the following straightforward motion about the cross of Christ, presented by Dr Barry Newman:

“Synod humbly acknowledges that in the determined love of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God, died for our sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, bearing our guilt in our place, enabling our redemption from the slavery and curse of sin, our total forgiveness, no debt owing, freely given but obtained at great cost, a righteousness from God, not our own, peace with God, reconciled to him, no longer his enemies, our adoption as his children, and our salvation from the coming wrath on the Day of the Lord, and gives heartfelt thanks to Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, for his overwhelming grace, love and mercy.”

The Rev. Chuck Collins: Is He Wright?

[Stand Firm] 26 Oct 2007--By starting with the solution (Jesus is Lord and Messiah) and going in search of the problem, Wright reduces sin to bad table manners, justification to name tags for covenant fellowship, and salvation to a hope for some vague future reward. Bishop Allison likens this to a gospel in which a drowning person needs no savior, just a swimming coach (25). What H. Richard Niebuhr said about liberal Protestantism is generally true of Wright’s theology on Paul: “A God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministration of a Christ without the cross.”(26)

Forward in Faith’s US Bishops hope to be free in 2009

[Anglican Mainstream] 26 Oct 2007--Conversations about affiliating the three Forward in Faith (North America) dioceses - Fort Worth, Quincy, and San Joaquin - with an overseas province were “very far along”, the Bishop of Fort Worth, Texas, the Rt Revd Jack Iker, told Forward in Faith UK’s National Assembly in London last Saturday.”Our plan is not only to disassociate . . . from the Episcopal Church, but to officially constitutionally reaffiliate with an existing orthodox province of the Communion that does not ordain women to the priesthood. These conversations are very far along, but cannot be announced until the province that is considering our appeal has made the final decision,” the Bishop said.

They had reached “the end of the road” in the Episcopal Church. None of them would be able to secure consecration of “orthodox” bishops-elect under the canons of the Episcopal Church, as they would need the consent of a majority of the diocesan standing committees and of the Episcopal Church’s bishops - “and that is simply not going to happen”. Rather than wait until an elected candidate was turned down, they had decided to secure their own futures by separating from the constitution and canons of ECUSA. The election of a woman as Presiding Bishop had made their position “untenable”; and they believed that their request for alternative Primatial oversight had been rejected: within the Episcopal Church, it was “dead”.

Letter Doesn’t Sway Central Florida Parishes

[The Living Church] 26 Oct 2007--A letter from Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to Bishop John W. Howe of Central Florida has changed nothing for the rectors and wardens of seven parishes and two church plants in that diocese, said a spokesperson for the group.

“We remain committed to disaffiliation from The Episcopal Church and continue in discussion with Bishop Howe over that process,” said the Rev. Don Curran, rector of Grace Church, Ocala, and president of the standing committee. “We want to handle this as expeditiously as possible, but there is no established deadline.”

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Anglicans elect first female bishop

[The Chronicle-Herald] 25 Oct 2007--The Anglican diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island has elected its first female bishop.

Right Rev. Sue Moxley of Halifax, who had been serving as the diocese’s suffragan bishop since March 2004, was the overwhelming choice of members of the diocesan synod in a vote conducted Saturday at the Cathedral Church of All Saints in Halifax.

More than 400 lay persons and clergy from across Nova Scotia and P.E.I. cast ballots. Bishop Moxley received 196 lay votes and 104 clerical votes to win on the first ballot.

She becomes the diocese’s 15th bishop, succeeding Most. Rev. Fred Hiltz, who was elected primate of the Anglican Church of Canada in June.

Support for US Bishops Evaporates

[] 25 Oct 2007--It looks highly unlikely Australian Anglicans will offer US Episcopal bishops any clear support for their attempts to re-enter full participation in the worldwide Anglican Communion, despite two senior Anglicans backing the American bishops.

Both the Australian Primate, Archbishop Phillip Aspinall in his presidential address and Canon Kenneth Kearon, head of the Anglican Consulative Council, in an after-dinner speech, advised Australia’s General Synod (parliament) that US bishops had complied with requests not to consecrate another homosexual bishop and not to authorise same-sex blessings.

“What I saw at the Primates’ meeting with the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church of the USA,” said Canon Kearon, “was a genuine attempt by both to seriously repair the breeches of trust which have arisen.”

No women bishops before 2008: Anglicans

[The Age] 25 Oct 2007--The Anglican Church of Australia has vowed to work together on the controversial issue of female bishops.

Last month, the church's highest court - the Appellate Tribunal - found no legal obstacle to the consecration of women as bishops.

The decision was a hot topic at a meeting of the Anglican Church of Australia's General Synod - a triennial decision-making meeting of 247 clergy and lay people - in Canberra this week.

The group resolved to move forward on the issue of women bishops together.

300 Anglicans defect to Rome after row over women priests

[Irish Independent] 25 Oct 2007--Up to 300 Irish Anglicans could soon be joining the Roman Catholic Church to the traditional hymn tune 'Faith of Our Fathers'.

A report in today's 'Irish Catholic' newspaper claims that three Church of Ireland parishes are Romeward-bound, and may soon be received by Pope Benedict into full communion with the Catholic Church.

This change of denominational allegiance is part of a long-standing doctrinal feud over the ordination of women.

All three parishes broke away from the mainstream Church of Ireland in 1991 after the House of Bishops of the Church of Ireland decided to start ordaining women, a move which they condemned as "a defiance of scripture and tradition."

Two of the parishes are in the North and one is in the Republic.

Episcopal parish breaking from US church

[The Boston Globe] 25 Oct 2007--A conservative Episcopal parish in Marlborough is bolting the denomination, in the latest indication that even in liberal Massachusetts the Episcopal Church is losing congregations over its support for gay rights.

Holy Trinity Church in Marlborough is leaving behind its building, renting space in a nearby Methodist church, and affiliating with the Anglican Mission in the Americas, which is overseen by the Episcopal Church of Rwanda.

The small Marlborough congregation, with about 70 active members, is following a national trend in which conservative Episcopal congregations are leaving the Episcopal Church USA to affiliate with theologically like-minded Anglican provinces in Africa.

Total Obedience to God's Commandment

[Church of Nigeria] 25 Oct 2007--“So Samuel said: Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat rams.”

King Saul gathered his people, fought and defeated the Amelekites. But he took Agag alive, spared the best of the sheep, oxen, fatlings, lambs and all that was good, contrary to the commandments of God. When King Saul was challenged by Samuel, his defense was that the animals were spared to be sacrificed to God. He asked King Saul, as in the text, “Has the Lord as great delight in sacrifices as in obedience?” Although Saul was not a man of great acquaintance with religion, yet he could not but know this:

That nothing is so pleasing to God as obedience, no, not sacrifice and offering, and fat of rams. See here what we should aim at and endeavour in all exercises of religion, even acceptance with God that he may delight in what we do. If God is well pleased with us and our services, we are happy; we have gained our point, otherwise, to what purpose is it? Isaiah 1:11 says: “To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me? Says the Lord. “I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed cattle. I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs or goats.”

What Samuel is telling us is that humble, sincere, and conscious obedience to the will of God is more pleasing and acceptable to him than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.

No support for inviolability of diocesan boundaries in practice of the early Church

[Touchstone] 25 Oct 2007--A year ago, after the uproar over the consecration as bishop of New Hampshire of the notorious Vicki Gene Robinson—the Episcopal priest who divorced his wife and subsequently openly entered a homosexual relationship that continues to this day—the Archbishop of Canterbury appointed a committee to look into the matter. The consecration clearly contradicted the 1998 Lambeth Conference’s resolution declaring such relationships to be incompatible with the Christian faith, and the “Lambeth Commission” was to recommend ways in which the Anglican Communion could maintain the highest possible degree of communion.

The ensuing “Windsor Report,” released on October 18, 2004, called for moratoria on the ordination of all non-celibate homosexuals and on the approval of rites for blessing same-sex “partnerships,” as well as for an end to the intervention of traditionalist bishops (usually from Africa or Asia) in the dioceses of “revisionist” bishops. It called both traditionalist and revisionist groups to express regret for their actions, which were deemed to be incompatible with the tangible and intangible bonds that held the Anglican Communion together.

Reflections on Archbishop Williams’ letter to Bishop John Howe

[Anglican Mainstream] 25 Oct 2007--AM website comment:

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s letter indicates that he wishes to affirm that “any Diocese compliant with Windsor remains clearly in communion with Canterbury and the mainstream of the Communion, whatever may be the longer-term result for others in The Episcopal Church. The organ of union with the wider Church is the Bishop and the Diocese rather than the Provincial structure as such. Those who are rushing into separatist solutions are, I think, weakening that basic conviction of Catholic theology and in a sense treating the provincial structure of The Episcopal Church as if it were the most important thing - which is why I continue to hope and pray for the strengthening of the bonds of mutual support among those Episcopal Church Bishops who want to be clearly loyal to Windsor.”

This statement can be affirmed in that it takes seriously the issue of the confessional basis of the Anglican Communion, for “compliant with Windsor” is clearly held to trump “in accord with our polity”. The statement moves the issue of polity to a higher level. The polity of primates and provinces is relegated, but “communion with Canterbury” is elevated. What are we to make of communion with Canterbury?

Bishop Hails Improved Relations in Connecticut

[The Living Church] 25 Oct 2007--The Bishop of Connecticut may exercise a newly canonically approved veto over parishes seeking to hire an assistant rector that do not pay their full 12½ percent diocesan assessment quota following approval of a canonical amendment by delegates during the annual convention Oct. 19-20 at Christ Church Cathedral, Hartford.

In contrast to the past four years, when convention experienced moments of rancor over the public insistence on alternative episcopal oversight by the so-called “Connecticut Six,” convention featured a group of 10 greeters from St. Paul’s Church, Norwalk, who were invited to provide hospitality and directions to delegates and visitors. With events scheduled at two buildings across the street from one another in downtown Hartford, greeters directed people to the convention and to the cathedral, helped people cross the street, find the registration tables and ballot boxes, workshops and meals, and chatted with convention members.

The Rt. Rev. Andrew D. Smith, Bishop of Connecticut, reflected on the improved relations with four of the six estranged clergy and congregations during his address to convention.

Spokane Convention Holds Forum on Same-Sex Blessings

[The Living Church] 25 Oct 2007--Some 80 persons crowded into a hearing room for an open forum where delegates, youth and visitors to the convention of the Diocese of Spokane discussed the issues of homosexuality and what it means for the church in terms of membership and notions of marriage.

Delegates received, but otherwise took no action on the report which prompted the hearing. It recommended that the diocese should “seek a format that will recognize the reality of committed same-sex relationships.” Convention met Oct. 19-20 in Post Falls, Idaho.

Although acknowledging that some format to recognize same-sex blessings was desirable, the group did not reach a consensus on whether that format should be called marriage. Much of the conversation centered on what it meant to love others and what it meant to allow others to love, according to Ron Large, task force chair, who described the conversation as very thoughtful and helpful.

Bishop Andrus: Trial Rites ‘Honor the Spirit’ of Primates’ Requests

[The Living Church] 25 Oct 2007--Delegates to the annual convention of the Diocese of California approved overwhelmingly a resolution calling on Bishop Marc Handley Andrus to permit trial use of three rites as resources for formalizing the blessing of same-gender unions. Convention met Oct. 19-20 at Grace Cathedral, San Francisco.

The trial liturgies, which were developed by a task force approved by convention two years ago, were published in the convention delegate journal. The journal is available in electronic form on the diocesan website.

“I think the resolution properly augments my pastoral goal of caring alike for all of the people of the diocese, not reinforcing damaging distinctions,” Bishop Andrus said in his address. “I also think, at the same time, that the resolution writers have honored the spirit of the Windsor Report and subsequent requests from the primates of the Communion to not develop ‘public rites’.”

Archbishop's Letter Angers Liberals

[Conger] 25 Oct 2007--The Diocese, not the national church or province, is the primary ecclesial entity within the Anglican Communion, the Archbishop of Canterbury has stated in a letter written to an American bishop.

Dr. Williams’ elucidation of his views on the ecclesiology of the Communion has sparked outrage from liberals in the US, who have condemned the letter as undermining the special “polity” of the Episcopal Church. The letter has also prompted conservatives to rethink plans for secession, as the letter shifts the political dynamic within the American church by undermining the importance of left’s long march through the Church’s central administrative apparatus.

However a spokesman for Dr. Williams told The Church of England Newspaper the letter was not an ex cathedra statement but a pastoral response to a particular local situation that broke no new ground.

Andrew Carey on Rowan Williams Letter to John Howe and Ecclesiology

[TitusOneNine] 25 Oct 2007--I think Anglican ecclesiology has probably always been a mess. This is partly a result of the way Anglicanism came about in the 16th century, initially through a break with Rome for the King’s own idiosyncratic reasons. So there’s a sense in which the national identity of the Church came first to Anglicanism in a rather topdown sort of way.

However, what emerged over the ensuing decades, and indeed centuries, was a national and then international church which underwent reformation. This was on a different path from the continental Reformation and Counter Reformation but was heavily influenced by at least the former. However, we can pretend no longer that it was a peaceful reformation that met with little resistance. It had many martyrs and the acts of uniformity were ruthlessly and tyrannically imposed on the English people.

In a recent article for the Church of Ireland Gazette (Anglicanism and Protestantism, October 19) Professor Alister McGrath attacks a sort of wishful thinking that places Anglicanism solely in the Catholic tradition. This type of thinking primarily emerges through the plainly unhistoric way in which Anglicans have imagined themselves to be always in a via media between Protestantism and Catholicism.

Yet as recent historians have pointed out the original English reformation was far more self-consciously about finding a middle way between Zwingli and Luther than between Rome and Geneva. Furthermore, other Protestant churches, not just Anglicanism, retained aspects of Catholic order, high views of the sacraments and even an episcopate while still maintaining a Protestant outlook. Anglicanism can therefore be rightly considered different and unique, like every other single church, but certainly cannot claim to uniquely occupy that mythical via media.

Anglo-Catholic and Evangelical Faculties Agree on Mission, Future Collaboration

[TitusOneNine] 25 Oct 2007--After two days of worship, dialogue and brainstorming, the faculties of Nashotah House Theological Seminary and Trinity School for Ministry, meeting on the Nashotah House campus this week, announced today their commitment to partner together in common witness to a biblically faithful, traditional Anglicanism, and to welcome opportunities to join in common ministry as they emerge.

“While each seminary has its own unique character and ethos, we are united in our core theological convictions,” said the Very Rev. Robert S. Munday, Dean and President of Nashotah House. “Above all, we are united in our commitment to training biblically faithful leaders for the Church, and in our desire to support a renewed orthodoxy within North American Anglicanism today. These past two days of fellowship have only strengthened those shared commitments.”

“We each belong to our own tradition,” said the Right Rev. John Rodgers, Dean and President of Trinity School for Ministry, which is located near Pittsburgh, PA, “and we each need to be faithful to our own tradition. But it’s growing increasingly clear that the fullness of our faith and our tradition is realized when we come together. We rejoice in each other’s encouragement. And we need to be a caution to each other. We want the diversity and the fellowship of both traditions sharing the same table.”

Are the Priorities and Concerns of Charles Simeon Relevant for Today?

[TitusOneNine] 25 Oct 2007--There is a strong argument for reforming the Church from within rather than through schism and we have a practicable model for pastoral care and social action. In closing, permit me to highlight three areas of Simeon’s ministry which have greatly challenged me in my reflections and which, if we were to follow them, would have the potential to rejuvenate our ministry.

1 Giving priority to an effective devotional lifestyle, with a commitment to spending ‘quality’ time in Bible study and prayer.

2 A commitment to living a holy life, recognizing the need of the renewing and cleansing power of the Holy Spirit in our daily lives.

3 That, along with Simeon, our understanding of the purpose of our preaching would be: ‘Sir, we would see Jesus’ (John 12:21).

Fort Worth welcomes Archbishop’s view on diocese

[Global South Anglican] 25 Oct 2007--We welcome the comments from the Archbishop of Canterbury, contained in a recent letter to the Bishop of Central Florida, where he reminds us that “the organ of union with the wider Church is the Bishop and the Diocese rather than the Provincial structure as such,” calling this a “basic conviction of Catholic theology.” He goes on to say:

“I should feel a great deal happier, I must say, if those who are most eloquent for a traditionalist view in the United States showed a fuller understanding of the need to regard the Bishop and the Diocese as the primary locus of ecclesial identity rather than the abstract reality of the ‘national church’.”

Given the current atmosphere and controversies in the life of the Anglican Communion, it is helpful to be reminded that dioceses, not provincial structures, are the basic unit of the catholic church. As is stated in the clarifying note issued by Lambeth Palace on Oct. 23, “The diocese is more than a ‘local branch’ of a national organization.” Clearly, provincial alignments are intended for the benefit of the dioceses, and not the reverse.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Episcopal Church misguided in downplaying Christ, Bible

[The Times Herald] 24 Oct 2007--
When one member of the Body of Christ suffers, all members suffer. As Christians, we are grieved by the direction of several Christian denominations toward a "progressive Christianity," which really isn't Christianity at all.

This progressive Christianity can take many forms, including a denial of Jesus Christ as the divine Son of God, the only Name given under heaven and earth by which we may be saved.

Progressive Christianity denies the true nature of sin and its offense to God, and our need for a personal Savior. It denies the authority of the Bible as the revealed, inspired word of God, authoritative and applicable today.

As an example of progressive Christianity, take the actions of the Episcopal Church. Over many years, the Episcopal Church has consistently followed a course departing from orthodox Christianity:

Practicing the Sacrament of Presence

[Anglican Mission in America] 24 Oct 2007--Summer brought opportunity for many in the Anglican Mission to travel to Rwanda and experience God in a fresh way. For most on the journey, agendas became secondary as they encountered Christ’s redemption lived out in people still recovering from the ravages of genocide. The spirit of the Rwandan people continues to captivate those who visit, their journey through reconciliation illuminating the supremacy of God often passed over in American culture.

An estimated 10,000 were in attendance for the International Evangelism Convention in Ruhengeri, July 25-28, 2007. The Rt. Rev. John K. Rucyahana, Bishop of the Shyira Diocese that hosted the crusade, estimates that over 1200 people made a first time commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior during the event.

“The Lord was very present,” said Bishop John, “and we rejoice in the work which He did in the hearts of all who attended.”

Mission teams representing several Anglican Mission congregations participated in the crusade. The Rt. Rev. Thaddeus Barnum, the Rev. John Richardson of St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Birmingham and the Rev. Ken Ross of International Anglican Church (IAC), Colorado Springs delivered daily expository bible preaching. Team members also organized and led break-out sessions for men and women as well as hundreds of children.

Dr. Robert Gagnon: Don’t ENDAnger Your Liberties in the Workplace

[Stand Firm] 24 Oct 2007--This bill apparently has a "religious exemption clause." Members of the Diocese of Ft. Worth, for example, know how such "conscience" clauses fare in the long term. I fully expect that within my lifetime Christians in America will face the coercive power of the state for speaking the truth about the sinfulness of homosexual behavior. It is already happening in Europe. It is somewhat hypocritical for leftist Episcopalians to huff and puff with regard to Nigerian legislation while turning a blind eye to the Netherlands....


[Christianity Today] 24 Oct 2007--Nancy became a Christian last year and was eager to be baptized. But as an Army nurse deployed to a field hospital in Baghdad, her opportunities for full-immersion baptism were extremely limited.

She would have to wait until several of her fellow soldiers were also ready for the rite, then they could dig a shallow hole in the sand in their compound, line it with plastic, and fill it with water. But Nancy didn't want to wait.

"I was ready," she said excitedly. "I decided I had waited long enough. Seeing some of the things I do in my work made me realize that I needed to get my life in order, so after I made the decision to become a Christian, I was going to find a place to be baptized."

The only available water nearby was in a pool at one of Saddam Hussein's presidential palaces. "I asked the chaplain if there would be anything sacrilegious about using that pool, and he said there wasn't, so that's where I was baptized."

An article on baptistries in an Anglican blog?! In listing dipping first, the rubrics of The Book of Common Prayer of 1662 make immersion the preferred method for baptizing adults and those who can answer for themselves. In a century in which we are likely to see more adult baptisms in the Anglican Church, Anglican congregations may want to invest in a portable baptistry for those occasions.

Bishop Jack Iker’s Address to the Forward in Faith International

[Stand Firm] 24 Oct 2007--Thank you very much for that welcome. Madam Chairman, members of the Assembly, it’s a privilege to have this opportunity to briefly report on the state of affairs of Forwardin Faith in North America.

I bring you warm greetings and assurances of our prayers and best wishes from all the members of Forward in Faith there, especially our national council and our president,Bishop Keith Ackerman. I ask you to keep Bishop Keith in your prayers. As some of you may have heard, he has had some illness over the past year, some of it most recently related to high blood pressure, and he’s not able to be here to make this presentation himself, not because of his health but because he is presiding at his diocesan synod at this very time.

I’d like to make my report to you in two parts. First, I want to speak about the situation with the Forward in Faith dioceses and our relationship with The Episcopal Church. And then the second part of my report will deal with the Common Cause Partnership and the role that Forward in Faith plays in that new venture.

Too Many Churches?

[Christianity Today] 24 Oct 2007--Some neighbors tend to complain about too many Wal-Marts or too many strip joints in their midst. In southeast Orlando, it's too many churches.

About a dozen churches—Baptist, Nazarene, Pentecostal and independent—are located within a few miles of each other on city's outskirts, and more are under construction.

Neighbors venturing out Sunday mornings for bagels or errands often find themselves stuck in traffic, heads bowed not in faith but frustration. Some complain the congestion persists all week as religious, youth, sports and other activities draw crowds after work and school, too.

Unmitigated by taxes, zoning, or other restrictions, church development can pose a delicate quandary for municipal leaders who want to balance neighbors' concerns with the valuable services churches provide.

Questions from the USA which the Archbishop of Canterbury still needs to answer

[Anglican Mainstream] 24 Oct 2007--Another batch of fudge from Canterbury October 23, by Todd Wetzel

Although some have tried to hail his statements as a great thing, a recent letter from Archbishop Rowan Williams to Bishop John Howe of Central Florida strikes me as further muddy-ing the waters regarding the future of orthodox Anglicans in the global Communion.

Abp. Williams has stated to Bp. Howe that: “…any Diocese compliant with Windsor remains clearly in communion with Canterbury and the mainstream of the Communion, whatever may be the longer-term result for others in The Episcopal Church. The organ of union with the wider Church is the Bishop and the Diocese rather than the Provincial structure as such. Those who are rushing into separatist solutions are, I think, weakening that basic conviction of Catholic theology and in a sense treating the provincial structure of The Episcopal Church as if it were the most important thing - which is why I continue to hope and pray for the strengthening of the bonds of mutual support among those Episcopal Church Bishops who want to be clearly loyal to Windsor.” He later said that the orthodox “need to regard the Bishop and the Diocese as the primary locus of ecclesial identity rather than the abstract reality of the ‘national church’.”

So, now we are to understand that each individual American Diocese is considered to have separate membership in the Anglican Communion? If this is the case, why is there an 815 and a TCGC with a General Convention? Why is there a Provincial Primate, i.e., TCGC’s Presiding Bishop, and why does she wield such power? Why are there national Constitution and Cannons to which 815 demand each parish pay fealty? Why does TCGC purport to set theology and policy for the entire American Church? Why is there a national Chancellor who is directing litigation in several individual Dioceses which is being funded by the national Church? And why are all pledges and donations to individual parishes in part being transmitted to TCGC by way of so-called “fair-share” giving?

The Alternative After-Lifestyle

[Out of Ur] 24 Oct 2007--In August, leaders at High Point Church in Arlington, Texas, “cancelled a memorial service for a Navy veteran shortly before it was to start because the deceased was gay.” That is how the event was described by the Associated Press. The report ignited a firestorm of bad press for the church with many accusing the congregation of homophobia.

Initially, High Point Church had volunteered to host the funeral because the dead man was the relative of a church employee. However, the church withdrew the offer when the family asked that a choir of homosexual men (Turtle Creek Chorale) perform at the funeral. In addition, they wanted a homosexual minister to officiate the service. The church’s decision to cancel the funeral was “a slap in the face” according to the man’s sister.

The Dallas Morning News reported that the church’s reason for cancelling the funeral had nothing to do with the man’s homosexuality but that “his friends and family wanted that part of his life to be a significant part of the service.” This contradicted the church’s policy and beliefs.

A statement released by High Point Church said:

The issue was not whether we would hold a memorial service for someone in a lifestyle of sin. We have assisted many families in this regard. The issue was whether we would allow an openly homosexual service that celebrated and emphasized homosexuality in our church. We love the homosexual, but cannot condone the homosexual lifestyle. We could not allow homosexuality to be glorified in this house of worship.

Forward in Faith Assembly Resolution on TEC

[TitusOneNine] 24 Oct 2007--This Assembly notes with concern that the actions of the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church consistently fail to match its words and assurances. The Assembly cannot agree with the Joint Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates’ Meeting that the response to the Windsor Report and the Dar-es-Salaam communiqué was adequate or honourable.

Priest Innocent of Fraud and Theft

[Grace Church & St. Stephen's] 24 Oct 2007--After a thorough investigation of several months duration, independent forensic auditor Robert D. Johnson, CPA, P.C. today issued a report surrounding the allegations of financial mismanagement, fraud, and theft at Grace Church & St. Stephen’s. His findings concluded that the Parish rector, the Rev. Donald Armstrong, is innocent of allegations of fraud and theft.

The forensic audit was initiated by the vestry in direct response to the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado’s investigation and presentment against Fr. Armstrong. Since 2003 relations between the conservative parish and the diocese have deteriorated over the revisionist theology of The Episcopal Church, creating a tenuous standing within the mainstream of the biblically faithful worldwide Anglican Communion. Grace Church has chosen to remain in the Anglican Communion.

The Rt. Rev. Robert O’Neill, Episcopal Bishop of Colorado, suspended Fr. Armstrong from ministry within the parish during the Christmas season of last year pending completion of an investigation of financial mismanagement. After several frustrated attempts by the vestry over the course of months to mediate in a situation that it viewed as politically motivated, the vestry determined that the Episcopal Diocese’s investigative and ecclesiastical judicial process was fatally compromised.

More importantly and a cause of great concern for the Grace Church leadership were the theological controversies within the Episcopal Church that jeopardized its own historic standing within the worldwide Anglican Communion. In response, last May the parish voted to disaffiliate with the Episcopal Church and join the conservative Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) to remain in fellowship with the larger worldwide Anglican Communion.

Since this action, the vestry has been working with the Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns, Bishop of CANA, to specifically address the allegations brought against Fr. Armstrong by the Episcopal Bishop and Diocese of Colorado. Bishop Minns asked for a complete report of the parish’s internal control and accounting functions based upon an independent forensic audit.

Southwest Florida Halts Apportionment Redirection

[The Living Church] 24 Oct 2007--For the first time since 2003, delegates to convention in the Diocese of Southwest Florida rejected a resolution which would have allowed congregations to redirect apportionment payments away from the program budget of the General Convention.

Similar resolutions had passed at the 2003-2005 conventions. Last year, a procedural error kept the resolution from being considered but diocesan council approved a mechanism to implement the procedure anyway.

Bishop Dabney Smith used his Oct. 20 convention address, his first as diocesan, to steer a new course for Southwest Florida, one with an emphasis on mission, outreach and young adults. He also elaborated on a line item in the budget providing for an assistant bishop.

Archbishop Williams' Letter 'Not a Roadmap for the Future'

[The Living Church] 24 Oct 2007--The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Oct. 14 letter to Bishop John W. Howe of Central Florida was not a statement of Anglican Communion policy but a particular response to a local situation.

In a formal statement released on Oct. 23, Archbishop Rowan Williams said the letter “was neither a new policy statement nor a roadmap for the future but a plain response to a very urgent and particular question about clergy in traditionalist dioceses in TEC who want to leave TEC for other jurisdictions, a response reiterating a basic presupposition of what the Archbishop believes to be the theology of the Church.

“The primary point was that – theologically and sacramentally speaking – a priest is related in the first place to his/her bishop directly, not through the structure of the national church; that structure serves the dioceses. The diocese is more than a ‘local branch’ of a national organisation,” the statement noted.

Quincy Postpones Realignment Decision

[The Living Church] 24 Oct 2007--With Bishop Keith L. Ackerman of Quincy unable to preside, delegates did not consider resolutions immediately severing the diocese’s affiliation with General Convention during the annual synod Oct. 19-20 at Christ Church, Moline, Ill. A final decision will be made within the next 12 months, according to an amended substitute.

“Far from being a retreat, these decisions give us flexibility,” said Tad Brenner, diocesan chancellor. “We simply made a judicious decision about timing. The original resolution was premature. The circumstances don’t justify it at this time.”

As worded, the resolution not considered would have immediately ended the diocese’s submission to “the authority or governance of the General Convention of the Episcopal Church.”

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Responding to the American House of Bishops - Archbishop Peter Jensen

[Global South Anglican] 23 Oct 2007--We have heard three weighty defences of the Joint Standing Committee’s response to the American House of Bishops’ Statement – from the Primate, from Canon Kearon, from Mr Fordham. These are men we trust as first-hand participants in the making of these documents.

However, as Proverbs 18:17 says: ‘The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.’ My difficulty with the Primate’s summary is that it omitted to account for the many and strong voices on the other side of this debate. Thus, we already have a negative statement on behalf of thirteen African primates. Since we have been invited to join a political process, we need to hear the concerns of those equally weighty witnesses who believe that the House of Bishops has failed to give the assurances for which it was asked. The political forces which are understandably pushing this forward as a decisive reply by the Americans and one which will lead to an outbreak of peace, are bound to be frustrated

Archbishop Ndungane condemns Anglican covenant as 'a mechanism for exclusion'

[Stand Firm] 23 Oct 2007--Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane of the Anglican Church in Southern Africa has described a draft covenant designed to deal with disagreements within the Anglican Communion as "a mechanism for exclusion."

Speaking to the Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of California October 19 during a sermon at San Francisco's Grace Cathedral, the Archbishop of Cape Town said the covenant was "wholly contrary" to the nature of God. "I remain to be convinced that a relationship founded on grace can be regulated this way," he said, adding that unity was a gift, given by Jesus Christ.

Will Words and Actions Ever Meet? Canterbury’s Letter to Bishop Howe

[Stand Firm] 23 Oct 2007--What the Archbishop does not seem to understand is that “those who are rushing to separatist solutions” do not think that maintaining communion with his See is vital when compared to the theological concerns I have articulated above. Nor does he seem to recognize that if he makes the decision not to withdraw Lambeth invitations from bishops who currently permit same sex blessings or who have and/or would give consent to non-celibate homosexual bishops-elect, setting himself, in other words, firmly in the path of agreeing with the conclusions of the Joint Standing Committee Report, that many will consider maintaining communion with Canterbury to be of similar importance as maintaining good relations with the local Elks Club or the Rotary.

California Diocese Okays Same-Sex Couple Blessings

[CNS News] 23 Oct 2007--The Episcopal Diocese of California on Saturday approved religious blessings of homosexual couples, opening the way for same-sex couples to receive the same recognition the church gives to heterosexual couples.

In a statement on the Web site of Oasis California, the homosexual ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of California (EDC), Bishop Marc Andrus pledged to make "lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders" (LGBT) feel welcome in the church.

Related Article:
Diocese of California Endorses Three SSU Rites - Stand Firm

Anglicanism in twilight

[Anglican Mainstream] 23 Oct 2007--The tale is simply told yet sad to relate.

In response to the challenge from The Episcopal Church (TEC) in consecrating as bishop a man in an active homosexual relationship, the Archbishop of Canterbury called three meetings of the Anglican Primates. He affirmed that he was not a pope and could not take these decisions on his own.

The Primates commissioned the Windsor Report to ask the TEC to comply with the teaching and practice of the Anglican Communion. The TEC General Convention responded in June 2006. The Archbishop of Canterbury judged that their response was adequate in the opening presentation to the Dar-es-Salaam Primates’ meeting in February 2007. Most primates disagreed. After five very uncomfortable days for the Archbishop of Canterbury, the primates unanimously drafted three questions to the TEC to answer by September 30.

One primate has told me personally that the Primates understood that September 30 was a deadline and that the TEC response would be evaluated by their meeting. The Primates’ Meeting has been taking responsibility for addressing the crisis. “The questions posed to TEC were posed by the Primates together. We expect to evaluate the answers together,” he said.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has now reversed that direction because the Anglican Communion establishment still thinks that it can manage this matter. The Archbishop indicated in his New Orleans Press Conference that the September 30 date was not a deadline; he has said that that he will not call a Primates’ Meeting ( because he has no funds for it and a number of Celtic archbishops have said they will boycott it); and that he will not postpone the Lambeth Conference as strongly recommended by the Primates of the Council of the Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA). Jonathan Petre in the Church of England Newspaper for October 5 said that “the Archbishop of Canterbury and his advisers are making up the rules of the game as they go along.”

Questions: Icebreakers and Beyond

[Christianity Today] 23 Oct 2007--Let me describe a common scenario in many small groups. At the beginning of your discussion the leader may ask an icebreaker question like, "How was your week? Does anybody have anything to share with the group?" Or, perhaps the leader has a specific icebreaker question like: "Who was your favorite childhood friend?" or "What is the best trip you have ever taken?" Typically, the icebreaker question sets the tone for the group's discussion time. The remainder of the group time is typically devoted to Bible study, prayer, etc.

What is it to be Anglican?

[Anglican Mainstream] 23 Oct 2007--This debate is at the heart of the arguments in the Anglican Communion.

For some, being Anglican means belonging to a particular hierarchical Church organisation with a specific set of rules (canons). Those of “Anglo- or Liberal-Catholic” persuasion identify the church by the “Bishop at the altar”. The Bishop has a geographical jurisdiction. This Roman approach was settled at the Council of Whitby in 697. The Celtic Church “lost” the argument for having more flexible ways of working.

Since all Christians in a geographical area were presumed to be in fellowship with the Bishop round his altar, at the Reformation the Church of England accommodated those who took different views on matters that were not required by the scripture. It differed from some of the Reformation churches in distinguishing those matters required scripture, and those cultural matters which were allowable as long as they did not go against scripture. Elizabeth I insisted that she could not make windows into men’s souls. It was enough to subscribe to the articles of faith and the Book of Common Prayer.

But there is more to be said.

CANA ordains ten new clergy

[Anglican Mainstream] 23 Oct 2007--The Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) ordained nine candidates to the Sacred Order of Deacons and a deacon to the Sacred Priesthood on Saturday. Six of the candidates who were ordained to the diaconate are in transition to the priesthood. The new clergy members, representing four Virginia parishes and a parish in Georgia, were ordained by the Rt. Rev’d Martyn Minns, Missionary Bishop of CANA at The Falls Church in Falls Church, Va.

“This ordination ceremony underscores the continued growth of CANA as our parish leaders become new clergy members. We are blessed to have clergy who are committed to moving forward in mission and ministry while preserving the scriptural foundation of the Anglican tradition,” said CANA Missionary Bishop Martyn Minns. “These ordinands are a blessing to CANA and to each of their member parishes.”

Has Bishop John Howe averted Schism?

[The Ledger] 23 Oct 2007--There have been some pretty significant developments in the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida within the past week. Nine priests in the diocese -- two with connections here in Polk County -- met on Oct. 16 with Bishop John Howe to discuss ways they might "disaffiliate" with the Episcopal Church. Something like this had been rumored for awhile. (See my story about this meeting here.)

But then, Howe sent a letter to Archbishop of Canterbury Rown Williams, looking for some hint whether or not the Episcopal Church is facing some kind of sanction over its progressive stance toward gays, in defiance of a consensus in the Anglican Communion. In his reply, Williams gave Howe a place to stand in the midst of this whole controversy. In part, Williams wrote: "I should feel a great deal happier, I must say, if those who are most eloquent for a traditionalist view in the United States showed a fuller understanding of the need to regard the Bishop and the Diocese as the primary locus of ecclesial identity rather than the abstract reality of the 'national church'." (Read the entire correspondence at Kendall Harmon's TitusOneNine blog here.)

Anglican Faith Needs “Serious Adjustments” To Remain In Tact

[The Bahama Journal] 23 Oct 2007--The worldwide Anglican Communion will have to undergo a drastic reformation if it is to stave off a split that would shake the faith to its core, Anglican Archbishop His Grace Drexel Gomez suggested last night as he opened the 107th Session of Synod at Christ Church Cathedral.

The crisis over same sex blessings and openly gay clergymen has been simmering ever since some liberal Episcopalians endorsed both, much to the chagrin of conservative Anglican primates.

"It is clear that the future of the Anglican Communion is unclear at the moment but there can be no doubt that the future shape of Anglicanism will have to undergo significant adjustments if the Communion is to remain intact," said Archbishop Gomez, who heads The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Diocese.

Constitutional Changes and A Resolution from the Diocese of Dallas

[TitusOneNine] 23 Oct 2007--The Church in this Diocese accedes to the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America and recognizes the authority of the General Convention of said Church.

The foregoing accession and recognition are expressly premised on the Episcopal Church in the United States of America being and at all times remaining a full, constituent member of the Anglican Communion as set forth in the Preamble of the Constitution of the said Church, “a Fellowship within the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, of those duly constituted Dioceses, Provinces, and regional Churches in the communion with the See of Canterbury, upholding and propagating the historic Faith and Order as set forth in the Book of Common Prayer.” In the event that such premise shall no longer be applicable in whole or in part to the Episcopal Church in the United States of America, such accession and recognition may be revoked, limited, or otherwise amended by this Diocese immediately, notwithstanding Article 17, by a concurrent two-thirds vote of both orders at any Annual or Special Convention.

Moreover, the foregoing accession and recognition shall in no way be deemed to prevent or limit this Diocese from disassociating (as the word is used in Title IV, 3.21 b) itself from any actions of the General Convention by concurrent majority vote of both orders at any Annual or Special Convention.

The dangers of an Anglican Covenant

[Diocese of New Westminister] 23 Oct 2007--Will the Anglican Communion be joined together or rent asunder? That was the question that the Rev. Dr. Richard Leggett offered to a group gathered at St. Faiths.

The reason for these discussions is that the current solution to global Anglicanisms difficulties is to craft a covenant document which would make room for what many call a two-tiered membership, with some who are full members and some in association but not fully entitled because of differences in their practice of worship or discipleship.

Anglican Crises More About Leadership, Doctrine, Not Homosexuality- African Bishops

[] 23 Oct 2007--The President of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa(CAPA), Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria, Anglican crises hinge on leadership, doctrine - African bishops have said at a convention in Mauritius that the Anglican Church in Africa had more serious problems to address than its stance on homosexuality.

The Primate of Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) was speaking to journalists after the two-day closed-door CAPA meeting that began in the Indian Ocean Island on Oct. 3. While responding to a question from the press, Archbishop Akinola said the church would focus on problems like the HIV/AIDS pandemic and the crises in Darfur and Zimbabwe, which he said threatened the wellbeing of Africa.

Two Sees in Central Africa Declared Vacant

[The Living Church] 23 Oct 2007--The Anglican Province of Central Africa has removed Bishop Nolbert Kunonga of Harare and another diocesan bishop in Zimbabwe from its college of bishops.

In a statement released on Oct. 19, the Dean of the province, Bishop Albert Chama of Northern Zambia, stated that Bishop Kunonga and Bishop Elson Jakazi of Manicaland were no longer bishops of the church and the Sees of Harare and Manicaland had been declared vacant “with immediate effect.” Vicar generals would be appointed to supervise the election of new bishops, Bishop Chama wrote.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Sunset or New Dawn for Anglican World?

[] 23 Oct 2007--After-shocks from the earthquake rocking the worldwide Anglican Communion will be felt during the deliberations of the General Synod – or parliament – of the Australian Anglican Church this week.

Another Glimpse Behind The Curtain

[Stand Firm] 23 Oct 2007--Time to face the facts, folks, the GLBT agenda is really a case of tell them what they want to hear in order to get what you want. America would do well to remember that each advance of the GLBT into the political arena has been made at the expense of the basic rights of those who oppose their agenda. Think that’s a bit of hyperbole? An overstatement? You might want to review the facts. There’s Canada and now England’s hate speech laws, pending federal hate speech laws in Washington, and most recently, California SB777.

The Great Betrayal - Rowan Williams and the end of the Anglican Communion as we know it

[THe BLOG] 23 Oct 2007--At 5:15 p.m. on Sunday, October 27 any respect I have been able to maintain for Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, and any hope for the survival of the Anglican Communion as we currently know it, died.

Quincy Episcopalians will wait on realigning

[] 23 Oct 2007--The Episcopal Diocese of Quincy "opened the door" to possible realignment with a different province of the Anglican Communion at its annual synod Friday and Saturday.

Same Gender Blessings Backed by Episcopal Diocese of California

[PRNewsWire] 23 Oct 2007--Electedrepresentatives of the Episcopal Diocese of California today approved useof rites for the blessing of same gender couples by an overwhelming margin.The action opens the way for Diocesan Bishop Marc Andrus to allow theseservices to be used on a trial basis by Episcopal churches across the BayArea.

A Statement Regarding Upholding the Ministry of Faithful Bishops

[Anglican Communion Institute] 23 Oct 2007--Many Anglicans were convinced that September 30th, 2007, would bring clarity to the ongoing struggle within the Anglican Communion over the church's coherent witness. By this day, it was hoped, there would be a clear decision as to the Episcopal Church's House of Bishops commitment to abide by the common teaching and discipline of the Communion; by this date "realignment" according to the definitions of this teaching and discipline would proceed with general and orderly consent. Obviously, this has not happened. But a new push to re-order the lines of jurisdiction within American Anglicanism has occurred nonetheless, one that has necessarily proceeded without common consent or order. Oddly enough, it is happening - as it has in the past - with a special intensity and passion within dioceses led by bishops who have long opposed the innovations of TEC's leadership and General Convention and remained faithful to the teaching and discipline of the Communion. The current work of breaking up traditional dioceses, whose bishops are still recognized as faithful leaders by the Communion's Instruments of Unity, including by her Primates, has been going on at least since 2000. Its pace, however, has recently accelerated in some places, like the Diocese of Central Florida and the Southwestern part of the church. What shall we say about this trend?

Archbishop Rowan Williams’ Letter to Bishop John Howe

[Global South Anglican] 23 Oct 2007--The exchange between Bishop John Howe (Central Florida) and the Archbishop of Canterbury gives some further insight.

“Any Diocese compliant with Windsor remains clearly in communion with Canterbury and the mainstream of the Communion, whatever may be the longer-term result for others in The Episcopal Church. The organ of union with the wider Church is the Bishop and the Diocese rather than the Provincial structure as such…. I should feel a great deal happier, I must say, if those who are most eloquent for a traditionalist view in the United States showed a fuller understanding of the need to regard the Bishop and the Diocese as the primary locus of ecclesial identity rather than the abstract reality of the “National Church.” - Abp Williams

Bishop Howe’s pastoral letter here

Archbishop of Canterbury reply here.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Zimbabwe: Anglican Church Fires Kunonga - Declares Vacancy

[] 20 Oct 2007--The Anglican Church's Province of Central Africa has expelled the bishop of Harare, Nolbert Kunonga, and declared his post vacant after he withdrew the diocese from the province alleging rampant homosexuality in the church.

Conservative Anglicans may split off over ordination of gay bishop

[Los Angelos Daily News] 20 Oct 2007--A worldwide rift in Anglican churches over the ordination of a gay Episcopal priest is being felt in Santa Clarita, where plans are under way to establish a conservative offshoot.

The African-based Anglican Mission in America is advertising locally to see how much interest there is in the church, a breakaway from the more liberal Episcopal denomination.

Both are under the umbrella of the Anglican Communion, the third-largest Christian denomination in the world.

"A number of families are interested in starting a new parish," said the Rev. Jim Obermeyer, an Anglican priest now on sabbatical in Phoenix.

"The plan is to see, after having the ads in the paper, to hold a meeting and decide how we want to proceed."

Australian way could help heal Anglicans' global rift over gays

[The Age] 20 Oct 2007--Australia's national Anglican leader yesterday backed the American church in the homosexuality row that has brought the worldwide church to the brink of schism, and suggested that Australia might offer a solution.

Let the Spin Begin!

[Stand Firm] 20 Oct 2007--The liberal apparatchiks of the Episcopal Church have begun pushing "For the Bible Tells Me So," their cinematic equivalent of the Davis Mac-Iyalla Fraud Tour '07™. There have been a few remarks on liberal blogs, a quip here and there in the mainstream media, and now articles like this, which will be more numerous and higher-profile in the months to come. Keep this in mind as you watch the secular media promote this film. The writers of articles like this take pains to make you think they've just discovered - mirabile dictu - this little jewel of a film, all by their widdle selves:

Montreal Synod asks Bishop to consider blessings of same-sex unions

[Synod of the Diocese of Montreal] 20 Oct 2007--At its annual synod or general meeting, held 19 October 2007, the Anglican clergy and laity of the Diocese of Montreal voted in favour of a motion requesting "that the Bishop grant permission for clergy, whose conscience permits, to bless duly solemnized and registered civil marriages, including marriages between same-sex couples, where at least one party is baptized; and that the Bishop authorize an appropriate rite and make regulations for its use in supportive parishes." The vote taken on Friday night was passed in the order of clergy (44 - 25) and in the order of laity (59 – 32).

The Constitution of the Anglican Communion and the Current Crisis

[Anglican Mainstream] 20 Oct 2007--Roger Beckwith argues that since the 1930 Lambeth Conference established the autonomy of individual provinces, it is entirely proper for a province to declare itself out of communion with another province. Cross boundary oversight does not apply because the boundary is no longer recognised.

The Rector and Vestry of Saint Stephen’s Sewickley Write the Parish

[TitusOneNine] 20 May 2007--We have come to a moment of decision. After years of effort and much personal anguish, I now believe that the Episcopal Church has clarified and hardened its opposition to the historic and biblical Christian faith to such an extent that we cannot pursue our gospel mission fruitfully while remaining under its authority. Your Vestry concurs. For the sake of our health and future mission, we believe that we must now partner with our diocese to realign our congregation and affiliate with a different Province of the Anglican Communion.