Monday, December 31, 2007

Archbishop sparks row after holding secret communion for gay clergy

[This Is London] 31 Dec 2007--The Archbishop of Canterbury held a secret communion for gay glergyThe Archbishop of Canterbury has reignited the row over homosexuality in the church after holding a secret communion service for gay clergy.

Dr Rowan Williams has been criticised for allowing the special Eucharist to take place at the All Hallows church by the Tower of London in a potential breach of Canon law.

Leaving A Church Behind,0,1684442.story

[Hartford Courant] 31 Dec 2007--It was the last Sunday service at Christ Church. Unable to go "further in a church that continued in a false gospel," the entire congregation, including the rector and church leaders, will sever ties with the national Episcopal Church and reform under a new name: New Hope Anglican Church.

One of the "Connecticut six," the half-dozen churches in the state diocese that disagree with national leadership on departure of scripture, including the appointment of a gay bishop, the congregation will trade its historic building on the town green for a free community room at the Thomaston Savings Bank around the corner.

Global Anglican Conference threatens to split Communion

[VirtueOnline] 31 Dec 2007--The President Bishop of the Middle East, the Most Rev. Dr. Mouneer Anis, has written to the Primate of Nigeria, Archbishop Peter Akinola, asking him to reconsider the "timing and venue" of the announced GAFCON meeting of orthodox Anglicans in the Holy Land scheduled for June 2008, just a month before the Lambeth Conference meets in Canterbury.

In correspondence obtained by VOL, Archbishop Mouneer wrote saying he wanted to share his thoughts on the proposed GAFCON meeting.

GAFCON and Global South

[Thinking Anglicans] 31 De3c 2007--The following appeared earlier on the Global South Anglican website as a comment to this article, but has now been removed. I have added some typographical emphases.

7. I just received the following confidential letter by e-mail from an esteemed Primate. I am overwhelmed that my remarks on GAFCON – posted as a mere comment in the Global South Anglican web blog, would attract such swift rebuke from an Anglican Primate. I am not sure whether he himself would be so out of character to use such harsh words to a priest begging for clarifications from the authorities. After all what will take place in GAFCON affects my future. The metadata of his Word-document reveals that it was in fact drafted by another person – by an equally esteemed new bishop in America. The issues he raised are public in nature, and are decisive to the future of the Global South Anglican movement. They call for considered response.

First, I enclose his comments...

Is this another story started to promote the idea that conservative American Anglicans are writing the statements of global South Anglican primates?

Real Hope

[Stand Firm]1 Dec 2007--The best commodity the church has is hopeI read that earlier today.

The author went on...

the kind of hope that comes out of relationships

what utter nonsense. The Bible tells us of a far better and more certain hope.

Reflections on Round One of the Lambeth Invitations: Part One

[Stand Firm] 31 Dec 2007--Something historic happened yesterday. For the first time, one of the 108 dioceses of the Episcopal church in the U.S. -- the legitimate accepted franchise of the Anglican Communion within this region -- will not have a representative bishop at the Anglican Communion's gathering of bishops at Lambeth. The force of this recognition has actually grown for me since the announcement yesterday morning.

Related article:
Reflections on Round One of the Lambeth Invitations: Part Two - Stand Firm

Jerusalem Post welcomes GAFCON

[Anglican Mainstream] 31 Dec 2007--The battle over homosexuality that has threatened to split the Anglican Communion could be decided at a June meeting in Jerusalem. On December 26, a conservative coalition led by the archbishop of Nigeria, Peter Akinola, announced a June 15-22 conference in the Holy Land to chart the church’s future course.

Divided into liberal and conservative factions, the 80-million member Anglican Communion is on the verge of breaking up over the consecration in 2003 of a gay priest as bishop of New Hampshire.

However, Anglicans are as divided over Israel as they over homosexuality. While the meeting will focus on the current crisis facing the church, some Anglican and Jewish supporters of the gathering hope the presence in Jerusalem this June of conservative Anglican bishops from every continent will present an opportunity to broaden Israel’s support in the developing world.

Episcopal Diocese of San Diego convention information

[] 31 Dec 2007--Be It Resolved, that the Bishop of the Diocese of San Diego is urged to appoint a theologically diverse Task Force of clergy and lay people reflective of the Diocese, to study Holiness in Relationships and Blessings in Churches of this Diocese from the perspectives of holy scripture, church history and tradition; practical, pastoral and sacramental theology; and the movement of the Holy Spirit; and then prepare an academic paper on the subject to be presented to the 2009 Convention of the Diocese of San Diego, with additional recommendations as that Task Force might deem appropriate.

Anglican Church tradition still has its place

[Telegraph] 31 Dec 2007--During December at St Bride's in Fleet Street we have held about 25 carol services, and on each occasion the church has been full.

On Christmas Eve and Christmas morning we again had capacity congregations and I have no doubt that Anglican churches across the land can tell a similar story.

An Important Reporting Religion Program on the Anglican Communion Struggle

[TitusOneNine] 31 Dec 2007--Dan Damon looks ahead to some of the likely key religious stories of 2008.What role is religion likely to play in global politics and human relations? What effect are radical atheists having on religion? As Anglican bishops and archbishops meet for the ten yearly Lambeth Conference how will tensions over differing attitudes towards homosexuality play out; and in the Middle East how is religion likely to influence conflict and alliances in the region, and beyond?

Dan Damon is joined by Bruce Clark from the newspaper The Economist, Dr. Ghada Karmi, Research Fellow at the Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter in England, and Dr. Philip Jenkins Distinguished Professor of History and Religious Studies at Pennsylvania State University in the United States.

Bishop left in dark over secret gay service

[Times Online] 31 Dec 2007--The Archbishop of Canterbury kept a special communion service for gays so secret that he failed to tell the Bishop of London it was happening in his diocese, The Times has learnt.

Dr Rowan Williams inflamed the row over homosexuality which is tearing apart the Anglican Church when it was reported that he had agreed to hold a eucharist for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender clergy.

Michael Poon asks Archbishop Peter Jensen for clarification on several crucial points

[Global South Anglican] 31 Dec 2007--I read with interest your 27 December 2007 Statement on the proposed Global Anglican Future Conference. Thank you for unpacking the background, and for your reassurance to your faithful in Sydney that the Conference “is not designed to take the place of Lambeth”. I appreciate your conviction in upholding orthodoxy. I also share you passion in standing together with those Anglicans in North America who are courageously contending for the faith that was once delivered to the saints. I hope we can work together for the good of the Communion in the time to come, to the glory of God.

Your Statement at the same time leaves me, and perhaps others in the Southern Hemisphere, unclear on several crucial points. I look to you, as an archbishop charged with huge responsibility under God, for your further clarification, that your actions can lead to the strengthening of the faithful across the worldwide Communion at this time of deep crisis and uncertainty.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

As every good Scout knows, he should always be prepared

Commentary by Robin G. Jordan

Early in December the Chicago Consultation, an international group of liberal Anglicans, met at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary near Chicago "to build international coalitions and develop a strategy for the full inclusion of gay and lesbian Christians in the life of the church." In reporting on the three-day meeting Episcopal Life noted "the members also began to develop strategies to advance the cause of full inclusion at the Lambeth Conference in 2008, and at the Episcopal Church's General Convention in Anaheim, California, in 2009." Episcopal Life further noted that "the consultation includes two Primates of the Anglican Communion...; 12 bishops from the Episcopal Church, including 10 diocesan bishops or bishops-elect; four members of the Church's Executive Council; numerous General Convention deputies, and representatives of groups such as Integrity USA, Claiming the Blessing and Inclusive Church."

In his statement on the Global Anglican Future Conference Archbishop of Sydney Peter Jensen draws to the attention of Biblically Anglican Christians around the world that "We live in a new world. Some American Anglicans are as committed to their new sexual ethics as to the gospel itself, and they intend to act as missionaries for this faith, wishing to persuade the rest of us. The problems posed by the American church are not going to remain in North America." The Chicago Consultation is clear evidence of the truth of Archbishop Jensen's claim.

When the Chicago Consultation met to make plans and set priorities in advance of the 2008 Lambeth Confrence, we heard nothing from Peter Toon. However, as soon as the Global Anglican Future Conference was announced, with the aim of bringing together Biblical Anglican Christians for urgent consultation, Dr. Toon went on the offensive. Look at his response to Archbishop Jensen's statement.

Instead of preparing for the 2008 Lambeth Conference as those committed to bringing about the normalization of homosexuality in all the churches of the Anglican Communion are doing, Dr. Toon would have Biblical Anglican Christians meet sometime after the 2008 Lambeth Conference or even in 2009. Has he been paying attention to the announcements of gay and lesbian advocacy groups of their plans to pressure the assembled bishops and to influence the outcome of the 2008 Lambeth Conference on the issue of human sexuality ?

As Archbishop Jensen points out, the global South primates have show a great deal of patience in their attempts to call The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada back to biblical standards. Anyone who has been following the events of the last few years as closely as I have, is well-aware of the reluctance that they have shown to cross boundaries and to provide epicopal care to orthodox Christians desiring to remain Anglican but unable to do so in the context of these two churches. Their actions have hardly been precipitous. Only when The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada refused to abandon their present course and failed to make adequate provision for the disaffected did the global South primates intervene and then in response to specific cries for help. It soon be apparent that local bishops were needed to care for the growing numbers of Biblical Anglican Christians fleeing the two churches.

According to Dr. Toon, however, the global South primates should have left these North American Anglicans to the tender mercies of the radicals in The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada and waited "until the matters could be thrashed out at Lambeth 08." Dr. Toon seems more concerned with turf than he does the plight of of orthodox Christians in both churches.

The past two winters I have surveyed Episcopal churches in western Kentucky. In none of the churches in the region can it be said that the apostolic faith truly taught and maintained. I heard proclaimed from one pulpit that that Mary's Song of Praise: The Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55) is a prophesy of social and economic revolution. Another preacher assured her congregation that the message of John's gospel is that everyone is saved. She then proceeded to use a series of false arguments to prove her claim. At a third church I was invited to join a forum studying the writings and sermons of the Presiding Bishop, who in accordance with historic and orthodox Anglican standards is a heretic! Is Seattle where Dr. Toon lives such a center of Anglican orthodoxy that he is sheltered from these developments in The Episcopal Church?

I for one do not share Dr. Toon's optimism that if all the bishops attend the 2008 Lambeth Conference and "engage in godly conversation and prayer," the fracture of the Anglican Communion will be averted, and healing may begin. The Communion is already fractured. The events of the past three years have only exposed how deep and how wide the fractures are.

The 1998 Lambeth Conference reaffirmed the biblical and orthodox Christian position on marriage and human sexuality as the position of the Anglican Communion. But what has happened since then?

As Archbishop Jensen points out, the nature of the Anglican Communion has altered. We are faced with a Communion in disarray over fundamental issues of the gospel and biblical authority. Biblical Anglican Christians need to consult with each other and to plan for the future. Lambeth 2008 may be a pivotal turning point for the future of Biblical Anglicanism.

2007 was a year of transition

[The Sun Chronicle] 29 Dec 2007--The area's faith communities saw change, transition and fresh connections in the past year, and also some throwbacks to the past.

The biggest local story was a reflection of a global one, the growing division in the Anglican Communion.

That was manifested here when All Saints parish in Attleboro became two separate congregations after conservative members broke away from the national Episcopal Church and left the parish buildings on North Main Street.

Operating as All Saints Anglican, they at first worshipped in rented space, then bought the former Hebron United Methodist Church on South Main Street near the Seekonk line and began major renovations that is bringing fresh vitality to the building.

Bishop Schofield removes Episcopal vicar from Atwater post

[The Modesto Bee] 29 Dec 2007--Father Fred Risard, vicar of St. Nicholas Episcopal Church here, received an unwelcome e-mail on Christmas morning from the Diocese of San Joaquin. It said that the holy day was Risard's last day of service at the mission church and that arrangements would be made for him to pick up his personal things.

Risard said he'd known for months that his days with the San Joaquin Diocese were numbered. But in an earlier conversation -- he thinks it was in September -- with Bishop John-David Schofield, he said he was told he could remain in his post until the end of 2008 -- earlier if he found another job.

CofE unity threatened by conference spli

[] 29 Dec 2007--The Bishop of Rochester could be heading for a confrontation with the Archbishop of Canterbury over the ordination of gay bishops.

The issue has threatened to cause the biggest split in the Anglican Church’s history, which the archbishop has so far managed to narrowly avoid.

A Fascinating Communication Regarding the United Methodist 2008 General Conference

[Stand Firm] 29 Dec 2007--The United Methodist Church is changing! The liberal dominated Western Jurisdiction has lost about half its membership, even though it includes some of America's fastest growing states, like California and Arizona. The Northeast and North Central regions of our church have also lost much of their membership. Many of us believe that this is because of liberal theology. These losses are causing these regions to have fewer delegates at the 2008 General Conference. The whole Western Jurisdiction now has only 4 percent of the delegate total. The Northeast Jurisdiction now has only 13 percent, and the North Central Jurisdiction has only 14 percent.

Meanwhile the Southeastern Jurisdiction, which is relatively more orthodox theologically, is holding even. Far more dramatic is the growth of overseas United Methodism, which now includes 3 million United Methodists. Almost 30 percent of the delegates to the 2008 General Conference will come from outside the U.S., up from 20 percent in 2004. These people are overwhelmingly conservative or orthodox theologically.

Pope's exorcist squads will wage war on Satan

[Daily Mail] 29 Dec 2007--The Pope has ordered his bishops to set up exorcism squads to tackle the rise of Satanism.

Vatican chiefs are concerned at what they see as an increased interest in the occult.

They have introduced courses for priests to combat what they call the most extreme form of "Godlessness."

Each bishop is to be told to have in his diocese a number of priests trained to fight demonic possession.

William McKeachie: The ABC’s Advent Letter and the Upcoming South Carolina Consecration

[TitusOneNine] 29 Dec 2007--That most prolific of authors, Anonymous, nailed the human condition as it so often expresses itself amidst the dreaming spires of Oxford in the UK, and Sewanee in the US, where his (or her?) ditty about the good and the clever has been passed down from generation to generation.

In Sewanee’s case, the more profound expression of the perspective of the cross on the same truth is regularly sung in the University Chapel as penned by the late William Alexander Percy (one of Sewanee’s sons) and as found in the hymnal of The Episcopal Church. Both texts could surely be adapted and applied to the “crisis” (as the Archbishop of Canterbury has called it) afflicting the Anglican Communion. It is a crisis in which human polarisation has led to the present stand-off, but the cross provides a way forward.

Michael Poon asks some questions on 'The Global Anglican Future Conference'

[Global South Anglican] 29 Dec 2007--I am saddened and shocked by the Statement on “The Global Anglican Future Conference, June 15-22, The Holy Land”, issued on December 26, 2007. Perhaps the Primates responsible need to clarify their views on the matter.

1. On what basis was the Statement “announced by Orthodox Primates”? What is the basis of orthodoxy? Historically, the Communion takes Canon A5 “Doctrine of the Church of England” and C15 “On the Preface to the Declaration of Assent” of the Church of England as the basis of its belief. This underpins Section 2 (“The Faith we share”) of the proposed Anglican Covenant. On what basis did the Primates of Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Southern Cone, and Tanzania declare themselves as orthodox primates?

Friday, December 28, 2007

Bible is for all people, Mohler says on PBS

[Baptist press news] 28 Dec 2007--The Bible is a book for all people because it alone contains the message of salvation through Jesus Christ, R. Albert Mohler Jr. told viewers of the PBS television program "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" Dec. 26.

The president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary appeared on the show to discuss the relevance of the Bible in the modern age. Interviewer Ray Suarez also asked Mohler several questions related to Mohler's upcoming book "Culture Shift: Engaging Current Issues With Timeless Truth." Mohler's first full-length book, published by Multnomah, is due for release Jan. 15.

A Return to Tradition

[US News & World Report] 28 Dec 2007--Worshipers come to St. Mary, Mother of God in downtown Washington, D.C., for various reasons, but many say that a big draw is the Tridentine Latin mass that is said here every Sunday. Soon, St. Mary may be less well known for that distinctive liturgical offering than for the number of big-name government and media types that occupy its pews. Now that Pope Benedict XVI has loosened the restrictions on churches that want to observe the pre-Vatican II rite, more parishes are availing themselves of the option. Call it part of a larger conservative shift within the church—one that includes a renewed emphasis on such practices as personal confession and reciting the rosary as well as a resurgent interest in traditional monastic and religious orders.

But this shift extends beyond the Roman Catholic Church. In Richardson, Texas, the congregation of Trinity Fellowship Church participates in something that would have been considered almost heretical in most evangelical Protestant churches five or 10 years ago: a weekly Communion service. An independent, nondenominational church of some 600 members, Trinity Fellowship is not the only evangelical congregation that is offering a weekly Eucharist, saying the Nicene or Apostles' creeds, reading the early Church Fathers, or doing other things that seem downright Roman Catholic or at least high Episcopalian. Daniel Wallace, a professor of New Testament studies at Dallas Theological Seminary, which trains pastors for interdenominational or nondenominational churches, says there is a growing appetite for something more than "worship that is a glorified Bible class in some ways."

Southport's St Luke's church in ‘sexism’ row over search for new priest

[Southport Visitor] 28 Dec 2007--A Southport church has been accused of sexism as it searches for a new priest.

The Parochial Church Council of St Luke’s, St Luke’s Road, is adhering to a 15-year old resolution that bans female ministers from serving at the church.

Consequently, the Anglican church will only consider male applicants in its quest for a replacement to outgoing priest, Fr Ian Shackleton.

Nigeria: New Deacons, Priest From Theological School

[] 28 Dec 2007--Six fresh graduates from the Theological School have been ordained deacons of Anglican Diocese of Lagos Mainland. The ceremony which was tagged "Advent Ordination" took place recently at All Saints' Anglican Church, Surulere, Lagos.

The six new ordained deacons are Adesanya James Olusegun, Ajero Anthony Ikechukwu, Asaolu Adesanya Olufemi, Ayeni Omololu Ola-Oluwa, Ifionu Okechukwu Wilfred and Olusodo Adeolu Olaniyi, while Ezumba Godwin Chike was also ordained priest during the ceremony. A priest is senior to a deacon in the hierarchical structure of the Anglican Communion.

Living with the underworld

[] 28 Dec 2007--Evil spirits. Demons. Ghosts. Magic. Satan.

Do these words speak of a frightening spiritual reality? Or are they the silly remnants of a more superstitious age?

Young, Restless, and Ready for Revival

[Christianity Today] 28 Dec 2007--While preaching at Rockharbor, my home church in Costa Mesa, California, where thousands of students and young adults attend, I quoted the old Puritan John Owen on the need for personal holiness—not exactly the hottest topic today: "There is not a duty we perform for God that sin does not oppose. And the more spirituality or holiness there is in what we do, the greater enmity to it. Sin never wavers, yields, or gives up … no area of one's life indeed is secured without a struggle."

Then I issued a call to confession. Suddenly the biggest guy in the auditorium charged the platform and dropped to his knees before me. He was sobbing so hard that people in the front row began to cry along with him.

Fascinating Gallup Poll Results on Americans’ Religion

[Stand Firm] 28 Dec 2007--here's just a lot of meat in this extensive Gallup poll. Particularly useful are the comparisons with earlier decades.

But I think the most important nugget for me to take away is the insight that about one out of ten Americans have "no religious identity at all". What does that translate to me? That I need to share the gospel and be aware of the opportunity out there in the culture. Furthermore, only 62% are members of a church or synagogue -- that's about four out of ten who are not members. So, roughly, though 9 out of ten have a religious identity, perhaps two of those nine do not attend a church or synagogue. Again . . . opportunity. There is no lack of a "market" for the Christian faith, to speak in baldly marketing terms. It's just that the "salespeople" don't do that great a job.

We must resist gays - bishop

[New Vision] 28 Dec 2007--The Government should not yield to pressure and legalise homosexuality and lesbianism, the Bishop of Bukedi Diocese, the Rt. Rev. Nicodemus Okille, has appealed.

The bishop, who was delivering his Christmas sermon at St. Peter’s Church of Uganda Tororo on Tuesday, said the acts violate both the biblical teachings on marriage and African culture.

CCP and Gafcon: What does it all mean?

[Stand Firm] 28 Dec 2007--Let’s suppose a small but populated pacific island is slowly sinking into the sea. Those in positions of power and influence among the islanders believe that sinking into the sea is actually a good and right thing. Life under water, they say, is far grander than life above. Sinking is “progress”. Committed, then, to progress, they pass coercive laws and regulations to make it as difficult as possible for their fellow islanders to “regress”; to remain on the surface...

Churches careful not to start attendance row

[Belfast Telegraph] 28 Dec 2007-- That was Christmas. So now it is the sales. Mammon plunges onward, planting his boots (or hers?) in the sludge of what is left after the ancient beano of the Saturnalia. But what is this? A rival show in the wings? A bout between two of the main players in the Christmas celebration, Catholics and Anglicans?

In a flurry of rather out-of-date statistics, the Sunday Telegraph led off its front page with the daring cry that 'Britain is a Catholic country'. The explanation appeared to lie in Sunday Mass attendances exceeding Anglicans' average Sunday attendances. Anglicans were nettled, but clearly recognised it would be unseemly openly to go to war.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Discussing Doctrine in Public

[] 27 Dec 2007--We must first express a bit of sympathetic understanding for the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. As the spiritual head of the Church of England -- a state church, after all -- and as head of the Anglican Communion, he is in the awkward position of having every word he utters made a matter of potential media attention.

That said, this particular Archbishop of Canterbury seems to have a more difficult time than most making himself clear. At one point, even the British press warned him that his statements were so confusing that reporters had difficulty knowing what the Archbishop was trying to say. Just a few weeks ago he responded to atheist Richard Dawkins by stating: "There are specific areas of mismatch between what Richard Dawkins may write about and what religious people think they are doing." That is about as convoluted a response as one might imagine possible.

One in five C of E bishops faces sack;jsessionid=G1FXO1GE1FM1TQFIQMFSFFOAVCBQ0IV0?xml=/news/2007/12/27/nchurch127.xml&site=5&page=0

[Telegraph] 27 Dec 2007--More than a fifth of the Church of England's bishops could face the axe under new proposals being drawn up by its leaders.

Secret documents discovered by The Daily Telegraph reveal that the Church Commissioners - the financial wing of the Church of England - are considering reducing traditional funding for the hierarchy.

The proposals come in the wake of criticism that the Church is top heavy and the bishops too costly, while congregations are shrinking and parishes are strapped for cash.

Global Anglicans Face Test of Strength

[Christianity Today] 27 Dec 2007--This morning, Dec. 26, conservative Anglicans announced they will gather in Jerusalem (see press statement below) about 6 weeks before the historic Lambeth conference in the UK. Lambeth will start in mid-July and end in early August 2008.

Many conservative bishops will boycott Lambeth due to the fallout over The Episcopal Church's actions supportive of GLBT clergy and couples, TEC's rejection of global accountability, and its re-interpretation of core scriptural teachings.

Anglican Church Congregations In Zimbabwe Roiled By Doctrine And Politics

[VOA News] 27 Dec 2007--Anglican parishioners in Marlborough, Harare, had to abandon their Christmas church service on Tuesday when a row erupted between supporters of the former bishop of Harare diocese, Nolbert Kunonga. and its interim head, Bishop Sebastian Bakare.

Eyewitnesses said a priest suspected of being an agent of the government's Central Intelligence Organization beat up a parishioner who was praying for the well-being of Bishop Bakare, and the service was abandoned after police were called in.

Top 10 Religion Stories,30583,1686204_1690170_1692403,00.html

[Time] 27 Dec 2007--The U.S. Episcopal Church and its parent, the Anglican Communion, continue disintegrating over the issue of gay Christians. Beyond the human cost of this slow-motion implosion — sparked by the Episcopal Church's decision to consecrate an openly gay bishop in 2003 and to accept same-sex unions — the nasty split has already hatched custody battles over church property: Courts are generally being asked to determine whether the conservative parishes seceding from Episcopalianism over the gay issue can take their buildings with them — or whether they belong to the Episcopal diocese....

Episcopal church closing its doors,CST-NWS-Church27.article

[Chicago Sun Times] 27 Dec 2007--A 129-year-old Episcopal congregation on the South Side will be disbanded after worship Sunday.

Attendance at the Episcopal Church of the Mediator, which is in the Beverly/Morgan Park area, has declined to about 30 people. At its peak, it had 250 members, church leaders said.

Related article:,mediatorchurch27.article
Longtime Morgan Park church to close its doors The Southtown Star

A congregation needs at least 200 active members to be "self-gathering." A smaller congregation must be intentional in gathering new members or it will go into decline. Unfortunately few Episcopal congregations are large enough to be self-gathering or intentional enough in their membership recruitment. The older the members of a congregation, the less energy they have for reaching out beyond their existing fellowship and the less likely they have much contacts with the unchurched.

Archbishop Jensen on the Conference

[GAFCON] 27 Dec 2007--Writing for, Archbishop Peter Jensen of Sydney Diocese has unpacked some of the background behind the 2008 Holy Land Conference.

A Global Anglican Future Conference is planned for June 2008. The aim of the Conference is to discuss the future of mission and relationships within the churches of Anglican Communion. Those who wish to retain biblical standards especially in the area of sexual ethics have spent much time and effort in negotiations on these issues in the last five years. They want to move on together with the gospel of Christ’s Lordship, a gospel which challenges us and changes lives. Israel is planned as a venue because it symbolises the biblical roots of our faith as Anglicans. I want those in the fellowship of our Diocese to know what this is about and why I am involved.

Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), June 15-22, 2008, The Holy Land

[Anglican Mainstream] 27 Dec 2007--3. Is this a Global South Initiative?

Not quite. Many of the Primates at the Nairobi Consultation are in the Global South, but it also included Anglican leaders from parts of the world beyond the geographic Global South.

4. Why a pilgrimage?We are looking to the future of the Global Anglican Communion, which is itself a pilgrimage.

Those who want to hold on to the Biblical and Historical faith need to come together to renew their faith and develop a fresh vision for our common mission. The way we have chosen to do this is to undertake a pilgrimage to a land whose heritage we all share, the land where Jesus Christ was born, ministered, died, rose again, ascended into heaven and sent his Holy Spirit, and where the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out. We believe this will strengthen us for the difficult days ahead.

Traditionalists Plan June Conference in Holy Land

[The Living Church] 27 Dec 2007--A group of traditionalist Anglican primates and other bishops have announced an eight-day event to be held in the Holy Land next summer that will be structured as “a pilgrimage back to the roots of the Church’s faith.”

The Global Anglican Future conference will “outline the mission imperatives for the next 25 years for orthodox Anglicans, according to the Dec. 24 announcement. Conference details were completed at a meeting of primates and others in Kenya last week.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A Canterbury Tale--from Augustine to Apostasy

Commentary by Robin G. Jordan

While the Church of Christ has existed in time and space as well as in the spiritual realm, we must not confuse any particular church with Christ’s Church as does the Church of Rome, maintaining to this day that it is the only true Church and salvation cannot be found outside it. In his Apology of the Church of England Bishop John Jewel articulates the position of the reformed Church of England and classical Anglicanism. "God’s grace is promised to a good mind and to one that feareth God," he writes, "not unto sees and successions." The true Church is found where the word of the apostles is handed on from one generation to the next, and through the apostles’ word each new generation believes in Christ. A particular see or succession of bishops may have a pedigree stretching back to apostolic times. But if this see or succession does not teach the faith as the apostles taught it, this pedigree is spiritually meaningless. Any claim of a longstanding connection with the see or succession is likewise meaningless.

Augustine’s mission to a small Saxon kingdom at the invitation of its ruler did not bring Christianity to the British Isles. An indigenous Celtic Church had flourished in Great Britain for several centuries. The Church had sent bishops to Council of Arles in 314 AD and evangelized Ireland in the fifth century. While the Celtic Church had been forced into a temporary retreat with the invasion of Angles, Frisians, Saxons, and Jutes, it had already begun to evangelize the invaders. It was the Celtic Church and not Augustine’s mission that evangelized the North of the British Isles and most of the South. Augustine and his monks occupied an existing church building that the Saxon king gave to them for their use and the mission confined itself to his territory. Before Augustine had crossed the English Channel, he was forced to wait on the Gallican bishop whom Pope Gregory had asked to consecrate him. The Gallican bishop apparently shared Peter Toon’s scruples about a foreign church consecrating a bishop for a territory when there was an existing church and bishops in that territory. Augustine eventually persuaded the Gallican bishop to overcome his reservations and consecrate him. One might say that Augustine set a precedent for all subsequent boundary crossings.

Augustine certainly was not the first bishop in the British Isles. Indeed, he met with a group of bishops of the Celtic Church after his arrival. The meeting, however, was short-lived. Augustine demanded that the British bishops submit to the authority of the Church of Rome and to his own authority and that of his See. The British bishops refused and departed. To say that the primacy of the See of Canterbury has been never been questioned until recently, as Dr. Toon asserts in "See of Canterbury to be replaced by Lagos or Singapore?" is patently untrue. It was disputed at its very beginning.

For a number of years the two churches uneasily coexisted with each other. What Augustine achieved was to establish a tiny foothold in the British Isles for the Church of Rome. From this foothold the Roman Church spread its influence to the surrounding kingdoms. Eventually the Church of Rome would gain ascendancy in the British Isles.

In the sixteenth century Henry VIII broke with the Bishop of Rome over his divorce from Catherine of Aragorn and abolished Papal authority in his kingdom. The English Parliament at Henry’s insistence adopted legislation that recognized the English monarch and not the Pope as the supreme head of the Church in England.

Does it make sense then in a church that has rejected the jurisdiction of the Pope and which has for a good part of its post-Reformation history regarded the Church of Rome as heretical, to recognize as the primary see of the reformed Church of England and reformed churches of the Anglican Communion a see through which papistry and Romanism first established a bridgehead in the British Isles?

Anglicans in the global South have been questioning the primacy of the See of Canterbury for longer than "the last year of two," as Dr. Toon would have us believe. The largest number of global Anglicans is found in the global South provinces. African provinces like Kenya, Nigeria, and Uganda have been enjoying explosive growth. The average Anglican is Black, African, female, under 30, lives on 2 dollars a day, has three children, walks two kilometers for water, is related to someone with HIV/Aids, and is evangelical. Unhappiness with the See of Canterbury and the liberal western churches’ domination of the organs of the Anglican Communion (i.e. the Anglican Communion Office, the Anglican Consultative Council) go as far back as the 1998 Lambeth Conference and earlier. At the 1998 Lambeth Conference the liberal western churches tried to manipulate the African bishops. The African bishops, however, resisted this manipulation. They were largely responsible for bringing Resolution 1:10 to the floor and for ensuring its passage.

Archbishop Williams’ predecessor, Lord Carey, cultivated good relations with the African bishops and consulted them on important matters. When the Africans invited Williams to the All-African Bishops Conference following his appointment, he snubbed them. He claimed a prior engagement. As a result of this snub Williams lost the confidence and respect of the African bishops. It has become increasingly evident since then that Williams is more comfortable with the leaders of liberal western churches and more sympathetic to their views. He gave assurances to the newly elected Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church Katherine Jefferts Schori that her province would not be ejected from the Anglican Communion and his subsequent actions have demonstrated that he has no intention of disciplining the turbulent province. His unwillingness to hold a meeting of the primates following New Orleans House of Bishops meeting shows a growing rift between the African bishops and himself.

Both African and North American Anglicans have raised the question whether the senior most bishop of the Church of England, who is appointed by the English government and whose appointment is subject to the vagaries of English politics, is the best choice for the lead primate of an international fellowship of churches, which spans the globe. The Church of England is declining. There are more Muslims in the United Kingdom than Anglicans. The Church of England is also tainted by liberalism and modernism. The Anglican Communion is divided over the normalization of homosexuality. The official position of the Communion is that homosexual practice is not consistent with the Bible and the blessing of same sex unions and the ordination of persons involved in such unions cannot be countenanced. However, the Church of England permits domestic partnerships between members of the same sex, both clergy and laity. Williams himself approved the appointment of gay bishop whose celibacy was disputed but withdrew his approval when it created a public furor.

Would it not be better to elect the lead primate of the Anglican Communion from the college of primates, much as the president of CAPA is elected from the bishops of the participating provinces? The Archbishop of Canterbury would occupy a titular position in relationship to the Anglican Communion similar to that which the Queen occupies in relationship to the Commonwealth of Nations.

Unfortunately the liberal western churches are likely resist such a proposal since it would threaten their dominance of the Communion’s organs. It would also likely create further division with the provinces that believe their interests would be better served by leaving things as they are aligning against those who believe that their interests would be better served by changing the leadership structure.

In his Advent Letter Archbishop Williams made two proposals. He wrote:
"I wish to pursue some professionally facilitated conversations between the leadership of The Episcopal Church and those with whom they are most in dispute, internally and externally, to see if we can generate any better level of mutual understanding. Such meetings will not seek any predetermined outcome but will attempt to ease tensions and clarify options. They may also clarify ideas about the future pattern of liaison between TEC and other parts of the Communion."

He went on to write:
"I also intend to convene a small group of primates and others, whose task will be, in close collaboration with the primates, the Joint Standing Committee, the Covenant Design Group and the Lambeth Conference Design Group, to work on the unanswered questions arising from the inconclusive evaluation of the primates to New Orleans and to take certain issues forward to Lambeth. This will feed in to the discussions at Lambeth about Anglican identity and the Covenant process; I suggest that it will also have to consider whether in the present circumstances it is possible for provinces or individual bishops at odds with the expressed mind of the Communion to participate fully in representative Communion agencies, including ecumenical bodies. Its responsibility will be to weigh current developments in the light of the clear recommendations of Windsor and of the subsequent statements from the ACC and the Primates' Meeting; it will thus also be bound to consider the exact status of bishops ordained by one province for ministry in another."

When biblically faithful Anglicans in North America consider Archbishop William’s appointments to the directorship of the Anglican Communion Office and the Secretary Generalship of the Anglican Consultative Council, the chairmanships of the Eames Commission and the Panel of Reference, the flaws of the Windsor Report, the ineffectiveness of the Panel of Reference, the unconcealed sympathy of the ACO director, the ACC Secretary General, and the Eames Commission and the Panel of Reference chairmen for the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada, the intransigence of the Episcopal Church, the failure of Archbishop Schori to recuse herself from the Joint Standing Committee, the involvement of the ACO and ACC in the drafting of the New Orleans statement, the premature release of the Joint Standing Committee’s assessment of the New Orleans statement, the divided response to the assessment, the liberal efforts to dilute the proposed Anglican Covenant, the Chicago Consultation’s plans to mobilize the joint resources of the gay-liberal alliance in the cause of normalizing homosexuality in the Anglican Communion, the ambivalent and ineffectual leadership of the Archbishop Williams, his assurances to Presiding Bishop Schori following her election, his statements after the New Orleans meeting, his refusal to call another meeting of the Primates, his unwillingness to exclude the consecrators of Gene Robinson from the 2008 Lambeth Conference, his willingness to invite Robinson as a guest or observer but to exclude the North American missionary bishops of several African provinces, and his recent meeting with lesbian and gay clergy in the United Kingdom, they do not see any good coming from these proposals. Both Kendall Harmon and John P. Richardson (Leadership and Lambeth - Dr. William's Advent Challenge to the Communion and The Archbishop’s Egg) have offered thoughtful assessments of Dr. William’s Advent Letter. Both point to inconsistency and lack of clarity in William’s thinking and raise concerns about what he proposes.

After the experiences of the past four years, biblically faithful North American Anglicans and the global South Anglicans with whom they have aligned themselves no longer have the patience to wait and see what the 2008 Lambeth Conference produces. They have seen what has happened during these years under William’s leadership. They believe that they can expect more from the 2008 Lambeth Conference.

Liberals in the Episcopal Church have robbed biblical faithful US Anglicans of their church. The same liberals are likely to rob them of the buildings in which they worship God and practice the apostolic faith. Liberals at the 2008 Lambeth Conference may rob them of their Anglican identity. But they cannot take from them the faith once and for all delivered to the saints.

If the See of Canterbury persists in recognizing as branches of the One Holy and Catholic Church churches that have abandoned the apostolic faith and embraced heresy, as Williams has shown himself willing to do, whatever the role Canterbury has played in the history of the Church of England and the Anglican Communion, the See itself is no longer apostolic. As the apostle John tells us, those who welcome false teachers participate in their wickedness (2 John 9-11). There can be no communion with an apostate See. Indeed the See must be considered vacant until the appointment of a new Archbishop who actively holds to the apostolic faith and reverses the actions of his predecessor. Until that time it is both agreeable to Scripture and reasonable for those churches that were in communion with that See before it became apostate and which continue to teach and maintain the apostolic faith themselves, to minister to the faithful in the See, as well as choose one or more bishops to perform the functions of the apostate Archbishop in relation to themselves.

Rival Lambeth Conference announced

[Religious Intelligence] 26 Dec 2007--The ‘Global Anglican Future Conference’, as it is to be known, will take place in June (15-22) just weeks before the official gathering of all the world’s Anglican bishops takes place in Canterbury. It will bring together bishops and primates from the ‘orthodox’ wings of the church, both evangelical and Anglo-Catholic.

Today’s announcement is certain to put more pressure on the Archbishop of Canterbury who is struggling to keep the warring sides together in a worldwide Communion of self-governing Churches who are split over the consecration of an openly gay man as Bishop in the USA.

Catholics overtake Anglican congregations

[The Press Associatrion] 26 Dec 2007--Catholic churchgoers now outnumber Anglicans for the first time since the Reformation partly due to the massive migration from Catholic countries, according to new research.

Church of England services are no longer Britain's most popular form of worship and have been overtaken by Catholic mass, a study by the organisation Christian Research has found.

Jesus Christ the Apple Tree

[Stand Firm] 26 Dec 2007--From Wonder, Love, and Praise

The tree of life my soul hath seen,
Laden with fruit and always green:
The trees of nature fruitless be
Compared with Christ the apple tree.

His beauty doth all things excel:
By faith I know, but ne'er can tell
The glory which I now can see
In Jesus Christ the apple tree.

A Brief History of Christmas

[Opinion Journal] 26 Dec 2007--Christmas famously "comes but once a year." In fact, however, it comes twice. The Christmas of the Nativity, the manger and Christ child, the wise men and the star of Bethlehem, "Silent Night" and "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" is one holiday. The Christmas of parties, Santa Claus, evergreens, presents, "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "Jingle Bells" is quite another.

But because both celebrations fall on Dec. 25, the two are constantly confused. Religious Christians condemn taking "the Christ out of Christmas," while First Amendment absolutists see a threat to the separation of church and state in every poinsettia on public property and school dramatization of "A Christmas Carol."

A little history can clear things up.

“Christmas is not just a tall story” - The Bishop of Rochester

[Anglican Mainstream] 26 Dec 2007--At a carol service in Rochester Cathedral on December 21 the Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir Ali, made a spontaneous comment on the current debate in the press about Christmas being a tall story.”Down the ages of faith lots of stories have grown up around Christmas. This can be good because it helps people to celebrate the festival. This is true of the music at Christmas, and the great art about the nativity. But Christmas is not just a story. It is solemn and serious. It is about God being with us, God speaking to us and God saving us. The reason that Christmas remains popular even in secular society, is that for a while we see the benign heart of the universe.”

Local leader has vision for future

[The Bakersfield Californian] 26 Dec 2007--Through the Episcopal Church’s schism ordeal — the latest development in which was the San Joaquin Diocese’s vote earlier this month to secede and become Anglican — some are asking, “Whatever happened to the Rev. Mark Lawrence?”

Lawrence is the rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Parish downtown. In October, he was definitively elected bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina after a year-long ordeal in which Lawrence’s first election, in September 2006, was declared “null and void” on a technicality by the Episcopal Church’s U.S. presiding bishop, the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori.

The Division of The Episcopal Church: First Post-Trial Briefs Filed Today

[BabyBlueOnline] 26 Dec 2007--BB NOTE: Here is an excerpt from the opening Post-Trial brief that was filed today by the VA CANA Churches following the trial in November. The entire Post-Trial briefings (both the CANA churches as well as TEC and the DoV) should be up soon online and we'll link here as soon as they are.

The Opposition Briefs (which respond to the arguments made in each of the briefs filed today with Judge Randy Bellows) are due on January 11, 2007. The Reply Briefs will follow on January 17, 2007. Following that date we can expect a ruling on this historic case.

Here is an excerpt from Section IV of the Post-Trial Brief (pg. 49-60):

The Archbishop of Sydney’s Christmas message 2007

[TitusOneNine] 26 Dec 2007--Hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus - the Bible records a prediction by the prophet Isaiah. He says “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace”. Given the way we now think of governments, this may seem a strange way to put it. After all, the Australian people have spoken to change our national government and we now think of the government as being on Kevin Rudd’s shoulders and the shoulders of his ministers.

But what I once told John Howard is true of Kevin Rudd also - we all have a higher authority to which we are accountable and ultimately, God has placed the government of us all on the shoulders of Jesus, the one the prophet Isaiah spoke about. That is a radical change of perspective!

The Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), June 15-22, 2008, The Holy Land

[Global South Anglican] 26 Dec 2007--Orthodox Primates with other leading bishops from across the globe are to invite fellow Bishops, senior clergy and laity from every province of the Anglican Communion to a unique eight-day event, to be known as the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) 2008.

The event, which was agreed at a meeting of Primates in Nairobi last week, will be in the form of a pilgrimage back to the roots of the Church’s faith. The Holy Land is the planned venue. From 15-22 June 2008, Anglicans from both the Evangelical and Anglo-catholic wings of the church will make pilgrimage to the Holy Land, where Christ was born, ministered, died, rose again, ascended into heaven, sent his Holy Spirit, and where the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out, to strengthen them for what they believe will be difficult days ahead.

A Christmas message - Abp Peter Akinola

[Global South Anglicans] 26 Dec 2007--Christmas is here again despite all covert and overt attempts to wish it away. The celebration in remembrance of the love of God in giving the Saviour to the world is so important, it cannot be wished away.

Though few human beings rejoiced at the birth of the baby Jesus, the Gospels tell about multitudes rejoicing in the heavens, about a bright star leading wise men to worship the new born king, and they also tell about the trouble his birth brought to those unwilling to have him as their Lord and King.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Dr. Toon's Restrictions on the Usage of "Anglican"

Commenatry by Robin G. Jordan

The Thirty-Nine Articles do not presuppose what Dr. Toon asserts in his essay, "'Anglican' has a restricted usage -- it has been inflated!"? With the exception of one reference to the Churches of Jerusalem, Alexandria, Antioch, and Rome and to "every particular or national church" in Article 34, the "church" referred to in the Articles is to the visible church of Christ, a congregation of believers in which the pure word of God is preached and the sacraments are rightly administered. "Peculiar church" is a reference to the reformed Churches of the Continent, which were not national or provincial nor were they divided in dioceses with bishops. In the case of the Reformed Churches they usually were confined to a particular city and the adjacent countryside and were governed by the pastors as in the case of Geneva or governed by the town magistrates as in the case of Frankfurt and Basil. In the case of the Lutheran churches they were confined to a particular principality and the local ruler played a role in the appointment of pastors and the government of the church. In his interpretation of the Articles Dr. Toon fails to take note of the historical context and the compilers’ intention, which should always be considered in their interpretation. What Article 34 does is claim for the English State the liberty to organize the English Church and freely grants the same liberty to Geneva, Frankfurt, Basil, and Saxony. It does not presuppose a particular form of organization.

Article 36 affirms that the Ordinal of Edward VI contains all things necessary to the consecration of archbishops and bishops and ordering of priests and deacons. The Thirty-Nine Articles, however, make no mention of dioceses. Bishop John Jewel and the Tudor Reformers saw no reason not to retain archbishops and bishops in the reformed English Church because they were as a form of Church government "ancient and allowable." But they did not consider episcopacy a divine institution nor did they un-church those reformed Churches that adopted a different form of Church government, as did the Anglo-Catholics of the nineteenth century.
There were of necessity no particular or national churches in primitive times, and up to the sixteenth century the only major division was that of East and West. The urgent needs of the Reformation required the severance of local churches from Rome. Reforms were implemented wherever and whenever conditions permitted. In some cases these conditions existed in a city or large town; in other cases, they existed in a principality or kingdom. The result was a number of reformed Churches.

In the sixteenth century western Europe was divided between reformed Churches, Lutheran or Reformed, and the Church of Rome. In a given locality one found either a reformed Church or the Roman Church but not both. Denominationalism as we know it had not yet come into existence.

Article 34 says, "It is not necessary that traditions and ceremonies be in all places one or utterly alike; for at all times they have been diverse, and may be changed according to the diversity of countries, times, and men's manners, so that nothing be ordained against God's word." It goes on to say, "Every particular or national Church has authority to ordain, change, and abolish ceremonies or rites of the Church ordained only by man's authority, so that all things be done to edifying." Even considering its sixteenth century context and the compilers’ intent, the literal-grammatical meaning of this article will not support any to claim to exclusive jurisdiction in the United States on the part of The Episcopal Church or in the Dominion of Canada on the part of the Anglican Church of Canada, only the liberty of these churches to adopt their own ceremonies and rites and to alter or do away with them.

Where do "the Formularies acknowledge other jurisdictions or branches of Christianity (e.g., Roman Catholic and Lutheran) as existing in parallel with the Anglican National Church or Denomination"? Dr. Toon needs to identify which "Formularies" that he is referring to and quote the texts that he believes support his assertion. He also needs to show where these "Formularies" do not suggest that more than one Anglican jurisdiction can exist in a specific geographic territory. He must prove the truth of what he is asserting.

As with his claims regarding the "Formularies" he needs to substantiate his assertions about the efforts of the Lambeth Conferences to eliminate "parallel and competitive jurisdictions". Anglican Mission in America produced a paper a number of years ago showing that jurisdictional overlap in the Anglican Communion is much more extensive than Dr. Toon admits in his essay.
Classical Anglicanism has historically subjected tradition to Scripture. Scripture contains no passage that prescribes that there must be only one church in a given geographic territory nor does it contain any passage that prohibits more than one church in a given geographic territory. The existence of a practice in the early church does not make it mandatory for all times and places. Scripture prescribes what practices are mandatory. Descriptive passages are not used to command a practice. If there is not clear evidence in a descriptive passage that the author was establishing a precedence, the church is not bound to adopt a practice.

It becomes increasingly evident from the more one reads Dr. Toon’s essay that it is not the Anglican Formularies that are speaking but Dr. Toon. What Dr. Toon is presenting are his interpretation of Anglicanism, his views upon whether another Anglican church can establish itself on a geographic territory where an Anglican church already exists, and his views upon church unity.

Dr. Toon claims that wherever the Church of England spread abroad, it sought to produce a geographical Church, which occupied a territory and divided the territory into dioceses. Church history does not quite support this contention. In some parts of the world, from the eighteenth century on, one finds an effort to organize Colonial churches along the lines of the Church in England. But this was not the pattern before then. Moreover, how the Anglican Church may have organized itself in the past is a very weak basis for the claim that a geographic-based church and the diocesan system are normative for the Anglican Church in all places and for all times. The Church of England inherited the diocesan system from the Pre-Reformation English Church. Its retention of the system had more to do with political, social, and economic stability and the relationship of the Church with the State than they did with any notion it was integral to the identity of the English Church.

Territoriality is not, as Dr. Toon asserts, essential to a biblically faithful authentically Anglican way of following Jesus and being the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. This leads to what is the crux of the essay—the assertion that the See of Canterbury is the primary see of the Church of England and of the provinces of the Anglican Communion. In his previous essay "Canterbury-the See of, and Anglican Unity," Dr. Toon sought to tie Anglican identity to communion with the See of Canterbury, arguing those not in communion with Canterbury are not genuinely Anglican. Now he adds another condition—only those who are members of the Anglican church first established in a given geographic territory, with formal links to Canterbury, are Anglicans. We have heard this argument before but it came from the liberals in The Episcopal Church. It would appear that Dr. Toon has decided to join his voice to their chorus.

Dr. Toon neglects to mention that Archbishop Archibald Tate was initially reluctant to call a pan-Anglican Conference because he did not believe that he had the authority to do so. He saw his authority as extending only to those churches for which he was the metropolitan. Archbishop Tate did not take Dr. Toon’s view that Canterbury was the primary see of the Communion Churches.

Dr. Toon goes on to offer his own interpretation of the recent history of The Episcopal Church. He dismisses as insignificant the departure of conservative Evangelicals from the Episcopal Church in 1873, a departure that left the denomination without an ecclesiastical party firmly committed to, in the words of Bishop J. C, Ryle, "the Protestant and reformed faith of the Church of England." The Evangelicals who remained a part of the Episcopal Church became Broad Church Liberals. He bewails the fact that the conservative Anglo-Catholics that left the Episcopal Church over women’s ordination and prayer book revision in 1977 have "only minimal relationship to her (the Church of England’s) Reformed Catholic Formularies." He fails to acknowledge that the 1928 Book of Common Prayer that he has been championing as a "classical Anglican Prayer Book" for a number of years is one of the reasons for this minimal relationship. He downplays the growing recreancy of the Episcopal Church and its contribution to the current exodus from the denomination. Like a number of liberal commentators in the Episcopal Church he focuses upon the presenting issues of the blessing of same gender unions and the ordination of persons involved in these unions. He makes a number of assertions that are very misleading. While some involved in this exodus use the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, others do not. It is totally inaccurate, however, to describe those who do use the 1979 Prayer Book as cherishing that book. They see a need for services in contemporary English and until a satisfactory alternative to the 1979 book is produced have no other choice but use it. The problem with 1928 Book of Common Prayer is not only does the traditional language put off newcomers but also the 1928 Prayer Book gives no more expression to the biblical and reformation theology of the Thirty-Nine Articles and the 1662 Book of Common Prayer than does the 1979 book. While some involved in the exodus support women’s ordination; others do not. While some have been influenced by the charismatic renewal movement; others have not. Those involved in the exodus are simply not as homogenous as Dr. Toon presents them. While some do embrace "an experiential form of evangelical Christianity," this description does not accurately describe all who have been fleeing an apostate and heretical Episcopal Church in recent years.

What appears to disturb Dr. Toon is the attitude of those involved in the Common Cause Partnership toward the See of Canterbury. However, he does not attempt to explore what underlies that attitude or to understand it. He does not consider that they may have good reason to distrust the present Archbishop of Canterbury and view the See of Canterbury as irrelevant in the future of global Anglicanism. He sees no precedent for a group of autonomous Anglican entities agreeing to work together to form a new Province while retaining their own structures. Yet if one looks at the history of the Episcopal Church, it began as a group of former colonial churches that organized themselves into a loose confederation. At the same time this development does not need have a previous case to justify it. The Reformation had no precedent in the history of Christianity. Neither did, as far as that goes, the formation of the Episcopal Church.

What John Hooper, John Jewel, William Whitaker, and the other Tudor defenders of Reformed Anglicanism emphasized was not communion with a particular see or a particular form of ecclesiastical structure but continuity of faith and doctrine. As long as the Common Cause Partnership teach and maintain the apostolic faith as set forth in the Creeds, the Thirty-Nine Articles, and the Book of Common Prayer and Ordinal of 1662, we have no cause to deny that they are indeed Anglican!

Non-Geographic Nomadic Mission

[Church of Nigeria] 22 Dec 2007--The belief in some quarters that Fulanis do not have any religion is more of a theory than actuality. Judging from their origin, culture and political interaction as an ethnic group, the Ful'be (as they are often referred in local parlance) are more disposed to Islam than any other religion. Thus, breaking into these folks to propagate the gospel demands quite a lot.

In an outreach recently held in Kanfanchan, Kaduna State which was organized by the Bishop of the Non-geographic Nomadic Mission, Rt. Revd. Simon Peters Mutum, the nomads surprisingly were more receptive than hostile contrary to what they were thought of although there was a level of passivity noticed among the elderly folks.

Bishop Schofield: ‘Not My Wish to Leave’

[The Living Church] 22 Dec 2007--Not long after he was consecrated Bishop of San Joaquin in 1988, the Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield recalls traveling to the Episcopal Church Center in New York City on business and being mistaken for Bishop Calvin Schofield, who was Bishop of Southeast Florida at the time.

“They were expecting this tall, trim, handsome bishop and there was a brief look of dismay when they realized I obviously wasn’t the strapping athletic person they were expecting,” he said laughing at the memory.

Williams wants to see main antagonists face to face

[Church Times] 22 Dec 2007--The Archbishop of Canterbury does not accept that the division in the Anglican Communion is unavoidable. Refusal of bishops to meet at Lambeth 2008 can be "a refusal of the cross - and so of the resurrection", he writes in an Advent letter that "articulates the mind of the Communion", has stern words for both sides in the dispute, and suggests new ways forward.

Dr Williams sees no consensus among the Primates about the adequacy of the New Orleans statement from the US House of Bishops. While the Communion will be "seriously wounded and diminished" if it fractures any further, he warns that Anglicanism has its boundaries

There has been a division in TEC - Anglican District of Virginia claims

[Anglican Mainstream] 22 Dec 2007--The Anglican District of Virginia is being sued for its property by TEC, on the orders of the Presiding Bishop, despite advanced negotiations with the Bishop of Virginia at an earlier stage for an agreed settlement. The ADV churches are argueing that there is a division in the church, and thus according to state law they should be allowed to retain their property. Older members will remember that at the Reformation the Church of England retained the property formerly claimed by the Bishop of Rome.

Discussion of Authority in the Episcopal Church and the Dar es Salaam

[] 22 Dec 2007--At its March 2007 meeting, Executive Council passed Resolution EC 008 which called for the Presiding Officers to appoint a Work Group to:

. . . consider the role, responsibilities and potential response of the Executive
Council to the issues raised by the Primates Communiqué issued February 19,

Bonnie Anderson, chair of the work group, requested that the PHoD Chancellor provide a
memorandum for the Work Group on the authority of the Executive Council according to
the Canons, By-laws of Executive Council and any other source regarding responding to
the Communiqué.

The Bishop of San Joaquin Writes The Presiding Bishop

[TitusOneNine] 22 Dec 2007--Thank you for your letter of December 14, 2007 asking for clarification of my status. Much has happened in the past few weeks that have a bearing on that status. I am proud of the people of the Diocese of San Joaquin. Last year when the vote was taken to change the Constitution, that first vote was not only required by Canons but, in essence, was a "straw vote". Little was at stake, for truly no action had –or could– be taken.

This year the delegates to the Annual Convention came fully cognizant of what has taken place in Virginia and Southern California where litigation has been pursued vigorously against those who oppose the innovations of The Episcopal Church and who, consequently, have stood up for their faith and remain protective of the property they have built, purchased and maintained with no help either from The Episcopal Church on a national level nor –in most instances– from the local diocese either.

Parallel Lambeth Conference Poses Threat to Williams' Leadership and Unity

[VirtueOnline] 22 Dec 2007--VirtueOnline first broke the news of a second or parallel Lambeth Conference in June of this year. Here is what I wrote then: "The concept of a parallel Lambeth Conference was first raised by the Most Rev. Peter Akinola, Archbishop and Primate of Nigeria, as well as head of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA), which represents some 40 million Anglicans across the African continent."

Now the idea has again emerged with a news report out of London, by Jonathan Petre of the Telegraph, that Conservative Anglican leaders are secretly planning a meeting next summer for the hundreds of bishops expected to defy the Archbishop of Canterbury by boycotting the Lambeth Conference.

Bishops meet with clergy to discuss network

[Anglican Journal] 22 Dec 2007--Since the Anglican Network in Canada held a conference in late November to announce a new church structure for parishes conservative on the subject of homosexuality, several bishops have called clergy in for clarification of their intentions, but no priests have been disciplined.

Three dioceses – Ottawa, Montreal and Hamilton, Ont.-based Niagara – last fall voted to permit church blessing ceremonies for same-sex couples, moves that some Anglicans oppose.

The Wise men - a mere legend?

[VirtueOnline] 22 Dec 2007--I am surprised that the Archbishop of Canterbury should dismiss the visit of the wise men to the infant Jesus as a myth. The Greek word for them,'magoi' (from which we derive our 'magician'), suggests that they were astrologers. Astrology was common in antiquity: people believed human and political destiny was controlled by the stars.

A comet was seen at Julius Caesar's funeral and it led to the belief that he had joined the gods, and that was the start of deifying the Roman emperors when they died! Another comet, in 66 AD, appeared shortly before Nero committed suicide. The most probably explanation of Matthew's text seems to be that what the magi saw was the conjunction of the planets in the area of Jupiter and Saturn in that area of the sky.

See of Canterbury to be replaced by Lagos or Singapore?

[VirtueOnline] 22 Dec 2007--The Church is both militant on earth and triumphant in heaven—and some would add expectant between the grave and the Second Coming of Christ Jesus. On earth the Church exists through space and time; and it is in space and time that the people of God have worshipped, trusted, obeyed and served the LORD God.

We recall that it was within space and time in the year 597 in Western Europe that the mission of Augustine to England took place and the See of Canterbury established. Since that year this See—with an assortment of incumbents—has been recognized as the first bishopric (archbishopric) of England, and of the Churches which had been created from the Church of England, directly or indirectly.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Sarah Hey Answers Graham Kings

[Stand Firm] 21 Dec 2007--Graham Kings of Fulcrum made this obtuse and biting "querry" on titusonenine that has, apparently, been published on some collaborationist websites as a separate article. He writes....

Three Bishops Seek Lambeth Invitation for Bishop Robinson

[The Living Church] 21 Dec 2007--Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has appointed three bishops to “consult” with the Archbishop of Canterbury about extending an invitation for Bishop V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire to attend the Lambeth Conference next summer in England.

The Rt. Rev. Edward S. Little II, Bishop of Northern Indiana, one of the three appointed by Bishop Jefferts Schori, confirmed the authenticity of the e-mail message which he said was sent to all members of the House of Bishops on Dec. 19.

“I’ve been asked to be part of a private conversation, and before that conversation even begins, I think it is best not to discuss details in the media,” Bishop Little said, adding that he personally remains committed to the Windsor Report and its recommendations.

‘Letter backs our move’

[Religious Intelligence] 21 Dec 2007--The Diocese of San Joaquin has welcomed the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Advent letter to the Primates, seeing it as a validation of its secession from The Episcopal Church to the Church of the Province of the Southern Cone.

“I find it difficult to imagine any other reading of Canterbury’s Advent letter than the intent to recognize — or maybe I should say, to allow San Joaquin to be recognized as a legitimate member of the Anglican Communion,” Diocesan spokesman the Rev Van McCalister (pictured) told The Church of England Newspaper. In his Dec 14 Advent letter to the Primates, Dr Williams distinguished between the various responses made by North American traditionalists to the disputes over doctrine and discipline.

San Joaquin Vicar Questions Bishop Schofield’s Visitation

[The Living Church] 21 Dec 2007--The Rev. Fred Risard, vicar of St. Nicholas’ Church, Atwater, Calif., has written to Bishop John-David Schofield of San Joaquin, informing him that the congregation has retained legal counsel, and asking for clarification regarding a planned visitation on Dec. 23.

“If you do decide to come, please let us know in advance your purpose and your status as a bishop of The Episcopal Church,” Fr. Risard wrote. “Will you be coming as our Episcopal Bishop, having repented of your actions at diocesan convention, seeking forgiveness and reconciliation? Or will you be coming to worship as a visiting foreign bishop seeking to reconcile with your former congregation and vicar, and, following the Mass, to join us as we take groceries and coats to the poor?”

The wisdom of the Constitution

[Episcopal Cafe] 21 Dec 2007--"Our Constitutional Heritage: Why Polity and Canon Law Matter" by the Rt. Rev. Stacy F. Sauls, Bishop of Lexington, was presented at the Chicago Consultation at Seabury-Western Seminary, December 5, 2007. To read the footnotes of this paper, go to the end of the article and click on Read More

Dissenting Bishop Cites Ex-Gay Ministry as Influence, Denies Ever Being Homosexual

[Ex-Gay Watch] 21 Dec 2007--The Bishop of San Joaquin, California is leading his diocese out of the Episcopal Church in protest at the Church’s increasing acceptance of gays and lesbians.

The Right Reverend John-David Schofield previously attributed his views on homosexuality to his experience of Fresno-based ex-gay group New Creation Ministries.

Chuck Collins Writes His Parish Leadership about the ABC’s Advent Letter

[TitusOneNine] 21 Dec 2007--The much-anticipated Advent Letter has arrived! It is hard to overemphasize the importance of the Archbishop's letter to the Primates and to the rest of the Anglican Communion.

There is much to commend in this letter (The Rev. Canon Kendall Harmon's analysis is very helpful). It reaffirms the Bible as our primary authority, reaffirms the traditional view of Christian sexual ethics (1998 Lambeth 1.10), and it acknowledges the hurt caused the Anglican Communion when one province acts without regard for the entire Communion.

However, what is not said in this letter may be its most important feature. History might say that this was one of the greatest missed opportunities of all time.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Archbishop says nativity 'a legend';jsessionid=JHPSTTVO4EG5FQFIQMGCFGGAVCBQUIV0?xml=/news/2007/12/20/nwise120.xml

[Telegraph] 20 Dec 2007--The Archbishop of Canterbury said yesterday that the Christmas story of the Three Wise Men was nothing but a 'legend'.

Dr Rowan Williams has claimed there was little evidence that the Magi even existed and there was certainly nothing to prove there were three of them or that they were kings.

Archbishop’s warning to conservatives

[Conger] 20 Dec 2007--The 2008 Lambeth Conference will craft an Anglican Covenant that will set the boundaries of Anglican Church order and discipline, the Archbishop of Canterbury has stated in his Advent letter to the Primates.

But these parameters will not include gay bishops or blessings, Dr. Rowan Williams wrote on Dec 14 in a 4500 word theological tome/political manifesto outlining the ordering of Anglicanism.

ACI: Description and Comments on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s 2007 Advent Pastoral Letter and its significance for the Anglican Communion

[Covenant] 20 Dec 2007--The Archbishop of Canterbury’s long-awaited Advent Letter is, in many ways, a sequel to his reflection of June 2006 - ‘The Challenge and Hope of Being An Anglican Today’. It is, in fact, a longer document (at over 4,300 words compared to the earlier reflection’s 3,350 words) and one which repays careful and repeated study rather than instant reactions. The present comments are not meant to pre-empt this need for patient reflection, through a simple summary; rather, we hope to contribute to it through attentive and extended reading of its meaning.

Is Rowan fiddling while Canterbury burns?

[Gentle Wisdom] 20 Dec 2007--The story tells us that the Emperor Nero fiddled while Rome burned. This is probably only a rumour, but (according to Wikipedia) it is an ancient one (originally with a lyre rather than a violin), recorded as a rumour by Tacitus who as a child was an eyewitness of the great fire of the year 64. What Tacitus records as fact is that the public blamed Nero for the fire, and

Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. (Tacitus, Annals 15.44)

The Text of an Email Purportedly from PB Jefferts Schori Regarding Bishop Robinson & Lambeth

[Stand Firm] 20 Dec 2007--A number of you have asked about responses to one of the latter portions of our statement at the September meeting, in particular, about the status of an invitation to the Bishop of New Hampshire to the Lambeth Conference next summer. I have asked the bishops of Wyoming, Northern Indiana, and Vermont to consult with the Archbishop about extending an invitation. They hope to have a response to share with the House at our meeting in March.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Canterbury Conundrum: Instrument of Unity or Disunity?

Commentary by Robin G. Jordan

In his article "Canterbury-the See of, and Anglican Unity" Dr. Peter Toon joined the ranks of those who assert that only a church that is in communion with the See of Canterbury can be regarded as authentically Anglican. Among his new bedfellows are liberal Episcopalians who claim that it does not matter what they believe or do, they are Anglicans since the Archbishop of Canterbury has not withdrawn his recognition of the Episcopal Church. They are entitled to hang a shingle in front of their churches proclaiming "Member of the Anglican Communion." Biblically faithful Christians who trace their church’s origins to the reformed Church of England, hold to the apostolic faith as set forth in the Creeds, the Thirty-Nine Articles, and the 1662 Book of Common Prayer and Ordinal; use the reformed liturgy of the 1662 Prayer Book, translated into the vernacular of their nation or people group; ordain their ministers according to the 1662 Ordinal; and practice their faith as generations of Anglicans have practiced it, they assert, cannot view themselves as Anglicans and represent their church as Anglican if the occupant of the episcopal throne of Canterbury does not recognize them as such. This view of Anglican identity enables liberals in the Episcopal Church who have turned their backs upon the Reformed Catholicism that is their church’s heritage, who deny the particularity of Christianity and the divinity of Jesus Christ, and who teach and maintain opinions that are contrary to the teaching of the Bible and the doctrine of the apostolic Church to assert that they represent the true Anglican Way since England’s senior bishop did not strike their bishops off the invitation list to the next Lambeth Conference.

Does Dr. Toon see the absurdity of the position that he has embraced – to deny Anglican credentials to those who are Biblically faithful Christians in the historic and orthodox Anglican tradition but who are not in communion with Canterbury and to restrict these credentials solely upon the basis of communion with Canterbury to those whose purported Anglicanism is at best a thin veneer concealing a heretical and apostate heart that would transform the Anglican Way into the broad way that leads to perdition? Would he rush to embrace this position if a woman Archbishop sat on Canterbury’s throne, who was involved in a domestic partnership with another woman and who, like the Episcopal Church’s Presiding Bishop, openly denied the apostolic faith? This is not beyond the realm of possibility considering political and social developments in the United Kingdom.

Canterbury’s pre-eminence in the Church of England and the Anglican Communion is an accident of history. It has become increasingly questionable whether the metropolitan of a declining church, whose appointment is subject to the vagaries of English politics, can provide the kind of leadership required by an international fellowship of churches that encompasses a multitude of different people groups. It is also highly doubtful that the Archbishop of Canterbury can truly serve as an Instrument of Unity when his own leadership or lack of leadership has become a cause of division.

Certain functions of the Archbishop of Canterbury have been turned over to a commission of bishops several times in the post-Reformation history of the Church of England. Transferring the Communion-wide leadership functions of the Archbishop of Canterbury to the elected president or moderator of the college of primates as a new Instrument of Unity would not be without precedence.

Dr. Toon argues that what he calls "the old Continuing Churches" and "the new Continuing Churches" should be true to their convictions and adopt new names for themselves. Considering how far liberals in the Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada, and the Church of England have departed from not only classical Anglicanism but also the apostolic faith should they not be the ones changing their name? Since Canterbury looms so large in the faith of Dr. Toon and his new friends, perhaps it should be named "Canterburyism."

The argument that communion with the See of Canterbury is absolutely essential to an Anglican identity is exactly the kind of argument that the Romanists made when Queen Elizabeth I ascended the English throne upon the death of her sister Mary and reestablished Royal Supremacy. The Romanists asserted that the English Church was no longer catholic and apostolic because it was no longer in communion with the See of Rome and the Pope no longer recognized the English Church as catholic and apostolic. Bishop John Jewel articulated the position of the Church of England in his Apology of the Church of England and Defense of the Apology, maintaining that communion with Rome was not essential to the English Church’s being catholic or apostolic. If Romanists’ argument was invalid, then it stands that the Canterburyists’ argument is also invalid. Being in communion with Canterbury is not absolutely essential to being Anglican.

The events of the past ten years have exposed a number of weaknesses in the way that the Anglican Communion operates. The role of the Archbishop of Canterbury is one of them. Instead of seeking to deny an Anglican identity to those who are committed to a biblically faithful, authentically Anglican way of following Jesus and being part of the "One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church," Dr. Toon might put his energies to better use in calling for needed reforms in the Communion.