Thursday, July 31, 2008

Lambeth Diary: Rowan accused of 'betrayal'

[Times Online] 31 Jul 2008--In a comment piece in tomorrow's Times, the Archbishop of Uganda, Henry Orombi, will accuse the Arcbishop of Canterbury of a betrayal at the very deepest level. He will argue that even the Pope is elected by his peers, but Dr Williams in his office is little better than a remnant of colonialism. 'The spiritual leadership of a global communion of independent and autonomous Provinces should not be reduced to one man appointed by a secular government,' he says. Nor is the absence of Uganda, Nigeria and other Global South churches a sign that they want to leave the Communion. Far from it. It is a sign of how much they care that it endures. Read it all from when it goes online at 2100 BST and in the paper tomorrow, it is strong stuff!

It comes on a crucial day for Lambeth.

Archbishop of Kenya Benjamin Nzimbi has also made it clear today that there is no way he and his colleagues will cease their interventions in the US.

Catholic-Anglican relations reach new low over women bishops

[Times Online] 31 Jul 2008--The Roman Catholic Church has finally ended all hope that Anglican priestly orders will ever be recognised as valid.

In an address to the Lambeth Conference of 670 Anglican bishops from around the world, the cardinal who heads the Council for Christian Unity said the dialogue between Anglicans and Catholics would be irrevocably "changed" as a result of the ordination of women and the recent vote to go ahead with consecrating women bishops.

Cardinal Walter Kasper also reiterated the Vatican's stance that homosexuality is a "disordered" condition.

In a well-attended closed session at the conference at the University of Kent University, Canterbury, Cardinal Kasper said relations between the two churches are now deeply compromised. He urged bishops to consider their shared inheritance, which he said was "worthy of being consulted and protected."

LAMBETH: David's Diary - From My Ear to Yours (3)

[VirtueOnline] 31 Jul 2008--The whole gay and lesbian presence here is overwhelming and relentless. When you go into the Marketplace, the first booth to hit you as you go through the front door is "Lesbian and Gay Christian and Our Friends". (Who set that up?) Cheery young people dressed in yellow tee shirts hand out literature to all and sundry. From there the push is on. In all, there are five sodomite booths ranging from Integrity, Inclusive Church, Affirming Catholicism (pro gay), Changing Attitude to Sybils (a transgender presence). A Massachusetts priest who had a sex change operation (he now sports a beard) is eager to tell his story. And then there's the Rev. Dr. Christina Beardsley, now a woman who was a man, who functions as a hospital chaplain in the UK. Gay and lesbian literature is everywhere, but most of it seems unread. Last night there was an evening with somebody called Peterson Toscano who has written a play, "Doin' Time in the Homo No Mo Halfway House" in which he tells the story of how he survived the 'ex-gay' movement.

Speaking of ex-gay or post-gay, the Zacchaeus Fellowship is here bearing witness to the transforming power of Christ's love in our lives. "As men and women who have struggled with same-sex attractions, we seek to be a voice of hope to the church and to others who share these struggles. We encourage the Church to stand firm in proclaiming to everyone who experiences same-sex attractions that Christ offers them new life and hope." Not with this crowd. Inclusion means never having to repent or change your life.

Revulsion is everywhere. The Africans find all this public display of homosexual behavior repulsive and in-your-face. They are polite here, except for occasional eruptions in Indaba groups. When they go back to their countries, I have no doubt they will have second thoughts about what they saw and heard. Africans react slowly, but when they do, it will be final and possibly fatal to the long- term future of the Communion.

Greg Venables: We’re still not addressing the basic issue

[Church bTimes] 31 Jul 2008--The Presding Bishop of Bishop of the Southern Cone, the Most Revd Greg Venables, said there had been meaningful dialogue at the conference, but felt the real issues had still not been discussed.

“We’re still not addressing the basic issue which is whether or not we believe the same things and consider ourselves members of the same Church, and that’s obviously the thing that has caused people to break away from their national churches.”

He said he found the method of trying to discuss issues through Bible studies frustrating.
Regarding the observations put forward by the Windsor Continuation Group, he said they were covering ground the Primates had already looked at.

American Bishop Speaks His Mind

[The Living Church] 31 Jul 2008--Bishop Peter Beckwith of Springfield spoke of his own Christian faith and responded to questions from the media during a 45-minute session at the Lambeth Conference on July 30.

It was one of the few unscripted moments that the media have been able to observe to date at this event, and Bishop Beckwith drew a large group that delayed the start of an official Episcopal News Service media briefing with bishops Leo Frade of Southeast Florida and Dean Wolfe of Kansas. Bishop Beckwith’s willingness to entertain questions was also notable in that he broke ranks with his colleagues who have received training that encourages them to give the media “no more than they need or can use.”

Related articles:
Press Conference with Bishop Peter Beckwith - Stand Firm
Bishop Peter Beckwith got it right - so right! - Anglican Mainstream

'A Problem of America' at Lambeth

[The Living Church] 31 Jul 2008--Bishop K.D. Daniel of East Kerala in the Church of South India (United) never wavered in his determination to the Lambeth Conference, but that does not mean he is happy with the situation in the Anglican Communion.

“The problem we are basically facing is a problem of America,” he said. “They want to push their problems on to other nations.”

Bishop Daniel was one of 16 nominated to serve indaba group listeners on July 25. This is the group that will prepare the conference “Reflections” paper.

The Forgotten Third Voice: Generosity Rebuffed by the West?

[Global South Anglican] 31 Jul 2008--Archbishop Rowan Williams’ second presidential address, delivered near the mid-point of the Lambeth Conference, is most disappointing and worrying. The Archbishop calls for acts of generous initiatives from both the traditionalists and innovationists in the Communion. He ended his address with this plea: “Having heard the other person, the other group, as fully and fairly as I can, what generous initiative can I take to break through into a new and transformed relation of communion in Christ?”

Whether he correctly expressed the feelings and perceptions of the traditionalists and innovationists can best be decided by their respective proponents. Quite aside from this, it is unclear whether the indaba group discussions have contributed to the Archbishop’s (and the bishops’) understanding of the ground realities and perceptions. Canterbury’s summary of the two positions could as well be read off web-blogs before the Conference. Nothing new is advanced; no fresh insight gained. That would be disastrous if genuine listening and sharing among the bishops did not take place in the much-vaunted indaba groups.

More seriously, this second Presidential Address showed a worrying misreading of the ground realities of the Communion. Together with many who come from churches outside the Anglo-American axis, I cannot identify myself with either side the Archbishop portrayed. It put me at a loss. What is the “generous initiative” am I supposed to take in the Communion? More poignantly, am I expected to take any generous initiative at all? Even more pointedly, has the Archbishop – with his best intents – completely ignored the realities outside the familiar Anglo-American perceptions? And so, the many generous acts of love from churches in the southern continents have been dismissed by the sense of “superiority and dependence” in the West, as Gregory Cameron has pointed out. This is to say, British academics and US financiers have the rest of the world all figured out and neatly configured from the vantage points of sanitised settings in the West.

Second Presidential Address to the Lambeth Conference 2008 - Abp Williams

[Global South Anglican] 31 Jul 2008--What is Lambeth ‘08 going to say?’ is the question looming larger all the time as this final week unfolds. But before trying out any thoughts on that, I want to touch on the prior question, a question that could be expressed as ‘Where is Lambeth ‘08 going to speak from?’. I believe if we can answer that adequately, we shall have laid some firm foundations for whatever content there will be.

And the answer, I hope, is that we speak from the centre. I don’t mean speaking from the middle point between two extremes — that just creates another sort of political alignment. I mean that we should try to speak from the heart of our identity as Anglicans; and ultimately from that deepest centre which is our awareness of living in and as the Body of Christ.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Pointy Hat Club

[To All the World] 29 Jul 2008--Once upon a time in a far away place called Dar Es Salaam there was a party attended by boys and girls who liked to wear pointy hats, including one girl who liked to wear a pointy hat, but who sometimes wore a rainbow-colored oven mitt on her head instead. The other boys and girls were very polite and never used the words "oven mitt" in front of the one girl because they knew it would make her very cross.

Some of the folks at the party weren't having a very good time. It seems that in some places there were boys who wanted to live with other boys (the way Mommy and Daddy live together) who had been allowed to join the Pointy Hat Club. The people at the party murmured as how this wasn't a good thing, and agreed that boys who wanted to live with other boys and girls who wanted to live with other girls (the way Mommy and Daddy live together) shouldn't be allowed to join the Pointy Hat Club. The girl who sometimes liked to wear an oven mitt nodded her head and said that was all right with her too.

When all the boys and girls got home from the party, the girl who sometimes wore an oven mitt said that she had not nodded her head along with the others who wore pointy hats and that, furthermore, she thought there ought to be more boys who lived with other boys and girls who lived with other girls (the way Mommy and Daddy live together) in the Pointy Hat Club.

Same-Sex Blessings not Authorized by Episcopal Church? Think Again

[Stand Firm] 29 Jul 2008--Reports are coming out of the indaba groups that some American bishops are claiming that the Episcopal Church has never authorized same-sex blessings. This article over at Fulcrum (search for the one posted Monday 28 July 2008 - 06:24pm) by Bishop Nick Croydon contains this....

What did Jesus say about the "father of lies"?

Live: dueling analysis

[Episcopal Cafe] 29 Jul 2008--Be afraid: some of our bishops think the pastoral forum proposal has a head of steam, that it is what Rowan Williams wants and that he has established the credibility at this conference to get it. They don’t go as far as I am about to, but the implication of their thinking is that the Episcopal Church should prepare to distance itself in some way from the Anglican Communion, or accept some sort of reduced status so as not to a) implode; b) compromise one of the few things that makes us attractive to our rapidly secularizing culture; c) betray our consciences on the issue of full inclusion.

Be not afraid: others folks I have talked to say that we should be glad to have had a look at the Windsor Continuation Group’s work in process because it provides an opportunity to make our views known; that the fact that the recommendation for a pastoral forum won’t be voted on by this conference is a good thing; that the fact that the report will be presented to the Anglican Consultative Council for final action is also a good thing because the ACC is the most widely representative of the so-called instruments of union.

Our bishops will talk this over tomorrow at a provincial meeting.

Related blog entry:
Live, breaking: a pastoral forum?

Traditional Anglicans receive Vatican reassurance

[Total Catholic] 29 Jul 2008--The Vatican has assured a group of traditionalist Anglicans that it is seriously studying their request to be welcomed into the Roman Catholic Church as a group.

Cardinal William Levada, head of the Vatican's doctrinal congregation, also linked the issue of corporate unity for the Traditional Anglican Communion to larger issues within the Anglican Communion.

"The situation within the Anglican Communion in general has become markedly more complex," Cardinal Levada said in a letter to Archbishop John Hepworth of Blackwood, Australia, primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion.

"As soon as the congregation is in a position to respond more definitely concerning the proposals you have sent, we will inform you."

Episcopal Diocese's lawsuit put on hold

[The Press Democrat] 29 Jul 2008--A lawsuit over ownership of a Petaluma church was postponed Monday to await the outcome of a similar case before the California Supreme Court.

Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Lloyd von der Mehden said in a tentative ruling that motions in the case brought by the Episcopal Diocese of Northern California against the breakaway St. John's Anglican Church would be continued to Dec. 2.

The diocese sued the congregation in February after it split from the church in objection to gay ordinations, but retained the 117-year-old church building on 5th and C streets.

Settlement offers were made to get the church building back, but the upstart church refused.

"Upstart church"!? It is evident where the reporter's sympathies lie.

he Episcopal Church as a Dysfunctional Family

[Virtue Online] 29 Jul 2008--"We recommend that the Pastoral Forum develop a scheme in which existing ad hoc jurisdictions could be held "in trust" in preparation for their reconciliation within their proper Provinces. Such a scheme might draw on models derived from religious life (the relationship of religious orders to the wider Church), family life (the way in which the extended family can care for children in dysfunctional nuclear families) or from law (where escrow accounts can be created to hold monies in trust for their rightful owner on completion of certain undertakings. Ways of halting litigation must be explored, and perhaps the escrow concept could even be extended to have some applicability here."

For nearly two decades I worked with children who had been abused within their nuclear families. I know what a dysfunctional family looks like. I also know that the very systems intended to save children from the life-long effects of abuse frequently do more harm than good.

It is common practice for Children and Youth Services organizations to remove only the victims of abuse from the nuclear family, leaving behind the rest of the children. Those left behind become the next generation of abused children within the same family.

The press conference from Lambeth today, revealed a similar attitude toward the victims of abuse within the nuclear family. While offering foster care to the children who ran away from home because they could no longer tolerate the abusive patterns of behavior within the family, they did nothing to protect the many kids at home who cannot find refuge from the same abuse. (Notice the word "existing" in the above quoted paragraph) The press conference made this point very clear. The "in trust" provision applies only to those who have already departed TEC. I suppose the rest of the kids are expected to continue to suffer.

It is very sad that Lambeth appears to believe that the parents will be healed from their addiction to abuse and those children in "foster care" will eventually return home to their loving family. To say that this is rarely the case is an extreme understatement.

Obama: Sermon on the Mount supports gay civil unions

[Baptist Press] 29 Jul 2008--Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama defended his belief in same-sex civil unions March 2 by referencing Jesus' Sermon on the Mount and then implicitly criticizing those who view Romans as a binding teaching on homosexuality.

Obama made the comments during a question-and-answer session with voters in Nelsonville, Ohio. A local pastor asked Obama how he plans to win the votes of evangelical voters when they disagree with him on moral issues.

"I believe in civil unions that allow a same-sex couple to visit each other in a hospital or transfer property to each other," he said, referring to unions that grant all the legal benefits of marriage, minus the name. "I don't think it should be called marriage, but I think that it is a legal right that they should have that is recognized by the state. If people find that controversial, then I would just refer them to the Sermon on the Mount, which I think is, in my mind, for my faith, more central than an obscure passage in Romans. That's my view. But we can have a respectful disagreement on that."

The Sermon on the Mount is found in Matthew 5-7, the passage in Romans is found in chapter 1, verses 26-32.

But Obama's quote may open him up to further criticism from evangelicals, because it's a common evangelical belief that all of Scripture is inspired by God and equally authoritative -- that is, the words of Jesus in Matthew are just as inspired as the words of Paul in Romans. Although it is often argued by homosexual activists that Jesus said nothing about same-sex relationships, He in fact defined marriage as between one man and one woman in such passages as Mark 10:6-9.

Originally posted on Baptist Press on 3 Mar 2008.

Ballot Summary on California Marriage Amendment Changed

[The Christian Post] 29 Jul 2008--The ballot summary to California's amendment to protect marriage has been rewritten.

The description to Proposition 8, known as the "California Marriage Protection Act," originally stated that the measure would amend the California Constitution "to provide that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."

But the modified version, which will be published in the voter information guides this fall, describes the marriage initiative as amending the state Constitution to "eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry."

The original ballot summary appears in the second sentence of the revised description.

The new language also suggested a negative fiscal impact in the short term.

"Over the next few years, potential revenue loss, mainly sales taxes, totaling in the several tens of millions of dollars, to state and local governments. In the long run, likely little fiscal impact to state and local governments," reads the revised summary.

The old summary read: "The measure would have no fiscal effect on state or local governments. This is because there would be no change to the manner in which marriages are currently recognized by the state."

The secretary of state's office says that description was changed to reflect a May 15 California Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex "marriage," according to The Associated Press.

Evangelical Scholar Takes New Atheists Seriously

[The Christian Post] 29 Jul 2008--They may make up only a minority in America but the small atheist numbers do not give one evangelical scholar reason to ignore them and their potential influence.

Arguments refuting theism have been made for centuries but have not swayed the American people's overwhelming faith in God's existence. But the challenges presented by a new group of atheists in recent years are starting to make a dent and, as Dr. Albert Mohler stated, demands "our closest attention."

"Just look at the number of media appearances these authors have made; look at where their book sales are," said Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a preeminent evangelical.

Mohler just released Atheism Remix this month in response to the New Atheist movement and its leading figures – Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens, many of whom are widely recognized scientists and best-selling authors. Mohler called them "The four horsemen of the New Atheist apocalypse."

The media attention alone – from newspaper coverage to books and television shows – has thrust their challenges to Christian belief into the public square with many viewing the New Atheists as a "vanguard of a new intellectual movement," as Mohler stated.

Court Orders that Pro-Homosexual Proselytism by Students be Permitted in Schools

[Life Site News] 29 Jul 2008--A judge in Holmes County, Florida, has ruled that the school board cannot forbid students from "wearing or displaying t-shirts, armbands, stickers, or buttons containing messages and symbols which advocate the acceptance of and fair treatment for persons who are homosexual."

The case that led to the ruling surrounded incidents at Ponce de Leon High School in Holmes County. According to court documents, a 12th grade student - called "Jane Doe" by the court - went to school officials last year to complain that she was being taunted by a group of middle schools students because of her homosexuality.

The complaint was passed on to the school's principal, David Davis, who met with the student after school on September 10, 2007. Davis allegedly questioned Doe about her sexual orientation, and in the process told her that it was "wrong" to be a homosexual. Davis also stated his intention to inform Doe's parents that she was a homosexual.

The day after Davis' encounter with the student, a false rumor began to spread that the principal had suspended Doe because of her homosexuality. A number of students began to organize various acts of protest, ranging from initiating a petition drive, to the wearing of various t-shirts and armbands with slogans such as: "Gay? Fine By Me," "I Support My Gay Friends," "God Loves Me Just the Way I Am," "Pro-Gay Marriage," and "Sexual Orientation is Not a Choice. Religion, However, Is."

Standing for GAFCON

[] 29 July 2008--The Standing committee of the Diocese of Sydney has overwhelmingly endorsed the Jerusalem Declaration from GAFCON, with the Bishop of North Sydney calling it a “great moment in defining Anglicanism”.

Bishop Glenn Davies spoke in favour of a three-part motion which endorsed the declaration, approved printing a copy for all participants in the upcoming Synod and forwarded a motion for the Synod which commends the declaration to all Anglicans in Australia.

The motion, moved by the acting Chancellor of the Diocese, Robert Tong, calls on Synod to endorse the Jerusalem Declaration as “exemplifying the tenets of orthodoxy which underpin our Anglican identity and invites all Anglicans in Australia to endorse the Declaration”.

Mr Tong told Standing Committee that he had been at GAFCON and “There was no talk of split or division. Mission was one of the prevailing themes.”

The Grumpy Old Bishop returns

[] 29 Jul 2008--Willow Creek is abandoning its famous seeker services after nearly 30 years of running weekend services tailored explicitly to the unbeliever. The American megachurch now plans to gear its weekend services towards more mature believers seeking to grow in their faith (Christianity Today, June 2008).

Apparently the church decided it had gone too far towards making church relevant to its target community and not enough towards building up the integrity and strength of the Christian faith internally.

The tension between relevance and integrity very much lies with us here in Sydney. One thing I really love about our clergy and people is that so many are so committed to making our churches good places for non-believers to attend and be attracted to.

The trouble is, some of the efforts have been counterproductive. Too often, a lack of discipline and thoughtfulness have led to ‘do-it-yourself’ services that are unthought-out, sloppy and incoherent, rather than friendly and warm.

There has been enough attempts to rewrite creeds and improve the sacraments. Trying to improve these crucial elements is a bit like me trying to improve my high-tech motor car by fiddling with the engine. Almost certainly I will be degrading its performance.

And what’s with the growing reluctance to have a clear assurance of forgiveness after a confession of sins?

Why Lambeth is like a Hollywood set

[] 29 Jul 2008--Peter Jensen is hardly likely to thank the pewsitter for comparing him to Ronald Reagan. But the Archbishop is safely out of the country so let’s take the risk.

Maybe it was the actor in him, recognising the scent of pretence, but Reagan realised that the Soviet Union was a tottering edifice like a rickety stage set likely to collapse under the weight of its own contradictions. All he had to do was give it a little push. The rest was history.

Jensen has very different politics to Reagan, and he doesn’t dye his hair, but somewhat like the president, Jensen has seen that the liberal dominance of the Anglican Communion is a Potemkin village, an elaborate camouflage that only serves to dazzle passing dignitaries.

British journalist Andrew Brown cheekily told a meeting of the Modern Churchpersons Union (the pewsitter has not made up the name) that the “malevolence towards the structures of the Anglican Communion started with the liberals. It started with you guys.”

Brown recounts that when Li Tim-Oi, the first woman priest, was ordained in emergency conditions in China during World War Two, respect for the Communion’s conventions (because that’s all they are) meant that she quietly returned to lay life. But when the Americans ordained women priests thirty years later, things had changed.

“The whole understanding of what constitutes obedience to God had shifted,” says Brown. “The old colonial church played by the rules. The new independent one ignored them, pointed out that they didn’t exist, they weren’t binding and so on and so forth.”

Lambeth Reflections: Creating "Little Englands"

[BabyBlueOnline] 29 Jul 2008--Watching the Press Conference as I pack and repack my suitcase, I am reminded of an observation that the British have a tendency over the years to deal with conflict by creating what we might call, "Little Englands." Americans deal with conflict by having a revolution - usually quite public, usually on television - and we ask questions later. England has a Prime Minister who goes before Parliament and the members can actually ask him questions! If the American president went before Congress and took questions, the House of Representatives would chop him up and have him for lunch. We are a noisy, rambunctious, passionate, unruly, unwavering, over optimistic, rather fun bunch.

When in pinch, we organize revolutions. The British reorganize Little Englands.

Ugndan fury at Lambeth Conference session

[Religious Intelligence] 29 Jul 2008--The Archbishop of Canterbury had no hand in inviting a deposed Ugandan bishop to address a scheduled session of the Lambeth Conference.

Dr Rowan Williams said he “wasn’t aware of this” invitation to the Rt Rev Christopher Ssenyonjo to participate in a self-select group scheduled for July 22 entitled “Disciplined Listening: Building Relationships and Fostering Communion.”

The invitation to Bishop Ssenyonjo, the second Bishop of West Buganda, is a matter of grave concern, the Church of Uganda tells Its bishops have boycotted the conference due to the presence of the American and Canadian bishops who consecrated Gene Robinson.

A supporter the pressure group Integrity --- which seeks to change the church’s stance on homosexual conduct, Bishop Ssenyonjo retired in 1999. The Church of Uganda deposed him on Jan 17, 2007 for consecrating as bishop a Church of Uganda priest for a independent denomination called the Charismatic Church of Uganda.

Bishop Ssenyonjo was deposed because of his consecration of a Ugandan priest “under discipline,” a Ugandan spokesman said. “One of the co-consecrators was another deposed Uganda Bishop, the former bishop of North Mbale. He had been deposed because he took a second wife. So, Ssenyonjo was not deposed because of his association with Integrity.”

On July 11 the Church of Uganda released a statement saying it had been assured by Lambeth Palace that Bishop Ssenyonjo “will not be seated with Bishops at the Lambeth Conference and will not participate in the deliberations during the Conference.”

The statement was released after a Kampala newspaper New Vision reported on July 7 that Ssenyonjo, the second bishop of West Buganda, would be the sole Ugandan bishop attending the Lambeth Conference.

Pastoral Forum proposal identifies orthodox as the problem

[Anglican Mainstream] 29 Jul 2008--Another observer has noted that the Pastoral Forum identifies the real problem as the orthodox. A coda to the Windsor Continuation Group Observations describes Angloicanism as “a distinctive global expression of Reformed Catholicism: not only in its content, but in its processes – diverse, patient, hospitable and tolerant.” Bishop Clive Handford denied that the Forum would be open to those liberals in conservative provinces who wanted to move away from conservative bishops – the Forum was only open to those currently in dispute.

So the orthodox need caring for in a special unit until they start behaving in the way that Anglicanism is described and can return to their proper Provinces.

Anglican Pastoral Forum - Lets play Happy Families

[Anglican Mainstream] 29 Jul 2008--Bishop Clive Handford, representing the Windsor Report Group, has offered Lambeth a typically Anglican solution to the deep and serious theological errors which are leading to the breakup of the Communion - another committee or rather a Pastoral Forum.

"Oversight by the forum will be a safe space into which these bodies (which have left their own provinces) can come. They will not be dependent on primates in other provinces. They will have a real link to the pastoral forum. They are being held in trust till the day when they can return to their parent bodies."

He said: "It’s a bit like having a member of the family who is not getting on with the family, having an aunt or uncle who can take them under their wing while they work for the restoration of the family."

Sorry Clive - a rather patronising analogy suggesting the traditional children can’t get along with their liberal parents. If you want to use the family analogy - think child abuse - because the TEC ‘parents’ are abusing their children. That is why GAFCON and the Global South Primates have acted while the liberal establishment are in denial mode wanting to play their surreal game of ‘Happy Families’.

What difference has thirty-two years of woen's ordination made in the American context?

[The Ugley Vicar] 29 Jul 2008--Looking for something else, I came across this piece by the Revd Margaret R Rose, Director of Women’s Ministries, Episcopal Church USA. The title is the original and I would emphasise therefore that this is strictly "in the American context". It is quite long, and I've not read it all, but I was intrigued - well, stunned, actually - by this bit....

On the Windsor Continuation Group

[The Ugley Vicar] 29 Jul 2008--The only phrase I can think of to describe it is, 'as much use as a chocolate ladder at a house fire'.

Says it all!!

After the honey moon...

[The Ugley Vicar] 29 Jul 2008--Of course, troubles come and go with any institution, but the Anglican Communion is sunk and the Church of England is sinking.

Think of it. Hundreds of bishops have refused to go to the great Lambeth Conference — the gathering that for over a hundred years has had the social status amongst Anglicans of a Buckingham Palace tea party. The sheer fact that you were invited meant you were ‘something’. And despite what people have said since 1998 about its resolutions having no ‘binding force’, they have been of monumental significance in representing and determining the ‘mind’ of Anglicanism.

If the fact that there are so many unfilled places at the Canterbury tables doesn’t convince you the party is over, the popularity of the alternative party in Jerusalem should. Imagine if in the nineteen thirties the bishops of Africa had told the then-Archbishop of Canterbury, “Thank you, but we will not be coming to England.” It is, of course, unthinkable —an impossibility. And that it can happen now is simply a demonstration of how things have changed.

Windsor Continuation Group - Preliminary Observations to the Lambeth Conference (Parts 1, 2 and 3)

[Stand Firm] 29 Jul 2008--The official text including all three reports

First Draft of the Lambeth Reflections document

[Stand Firm] 29 Jul 2008--From here (PDF). Looks a little like a brainstorming session

Special Press Conference: “they will be held in a sort of holding bay, a safe place”

[Stand Firm] 29 Jul 2008--Conger: I remember in n Ireland the panel of reference was requested as a mater of urgency and was ultimately counted a failure because nothing was done. How do you know this forum would not go down that road?

Hanford: The way this will work in detail has yet to be worked out. We hope it is established speedily and that it can respond speedily. That it will do so as much by relational ways as by written reports and requests.

Not Again…Confusion about the Status of Same Sex Blessings from the WCG

[Stand Firm] 29 Jul 2008--But the chronic Anglican allergy to decipherable communication reared its head during the Special press conference in the following exchange:

Chris Sugden: could you clarify what your moratoria refers to in section 2? Is the moratoria about authorization or practice of same sex blessings?

Hanford: it is about a cessation where authorization has or may have been given. We are saying that that authorization must cease. If there are any in the pipeline they must also cease.That’s what I recorded in my live blog. The Living Church records this additional sentence that I missed:

“One cannot legislate what happens in an individual parish,” he said.

“One” cannot? Really?

'Time Out' Proposed at Lambeth Conference

[The Living Church] 29 Jul 2008--Private blessings of same-sex unions would continue under a preliminary proposal submitted to the Lambeth Conference Monday by the Windsor Continuation Group. A few hours later, the first draft of the conference’s final reflections paper was distributed. It calls for support of those “who are isolated in their diocese by initiatives such as that by GAFCON (the Global Anglican Fellowship Conference).”

The document from the Windsor Continuation Group was the third to be distributed during the 20-day conference which began July 16 at the University of Kent in Canterbury. As currently configured, the report calls for all to agree to a “time out,” with the one exception being the proposal for the formation of a plan under which dioceses and parishes which already have broken with their province would be held in trust until they were reconciled.

“The proliferation of ad hoc episcopal and archiepiscopal ministries cannot be maintained within a global Communion,” the report states. “Such a scheme might draw on models derived from religious life (the relationship of religious orders to the wider Church), family life (the way in which the extended family can care for children in dysfunctional nuclear families) or the law (where escrow accounts can be created to hold monies in trust for their rightful owner on completion of certain undertakings.) Ways of halting litigation must be explored, and perhaps the escrow concept could even be extended to have some applicability here.”

Windsor Continuation Group - Preliminary Observations: Part Three

[Global South Anglican] 29 Jul 2008--(The WCG’s observations, can also be read in a pdf copy here)

3. How do we get from here to there

The various initiatives set out in Part Two and the Covenant is a longer term process to reverse the trends described in Part One; to restore the sense of trust, fellowship and communion on which we thrive. In the period leading up to the establishment of a covenant, however, there are urgent issues which need addressing if we are going to be able to get to the point where such a renewal of trust even becomes possible.

The question of the moratoria

* The Windsor Report sets out requests for three moratoria in relation to the public Rites of Blessing of same sex unions, the consecration to the episcopate of those living in partnered gay relationships and the cessation of cross border interventions.

* There have been different interpretations of the sense in which “moratorium” was used in the Windsor Report. Our understanding is that moratorium refers to both future actions and is also retrospective: that is that it requires the cessation of activity. This necessarily applies to practices that may have already been authorised as well as proposed for authorisation in the future.

* The request for moratorium applies in this way to the complete cessation of (a) the celebration of blessings for same-sex unions, (b) consecrations of those living in openly gay relationships, and (c) all cross border interventions and inter-provincial claims of jurisdiction.

* The three moratoria have been requested several times: Windsor (2004); Dromantine (2005); Dar es Salaam (2007) and the requests have been less than wholeheartedly embraced on all sides.

* The failure to respond presents us with a situation where if the three moratoria are not observed, the Communion is likely to fracture. The patterns of action currently embraced with the continued blessings of same-sex unions and of interventions could lead to irreparable damage.

* The call for the three moratoria on these issues relates to their controversial nature. This poses the serious question of what response should be made to those who act contrary to the moratorium during the Covenant process and who should make a response.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Another Pointless Anglican Committee

[EV News] 28 Jul 2008--Proposals have emerged from the Windsor process this afternoon for the creation of another pointless committee which will achieve nothing. Over the last 5 years we have seen again and again decisions taken to create committees which have produced no resolution to the issues tearing apart the Anglican Communion. There is no will from the Archbishop of Canterbury or from many other key players to take appropriate action against error and every tactic therefore seems to have been aimed at delay and compromise.

Decisive action should have been taken years ago to declare the US Episcopal Church and Canadian Anglican Church as out of the communion but despite meetings where this appeared to have been agreed nothing ever happened because revisionists like Rowan Williams are at heart supportive of error.

The nature of the Anglican Communion means that it is individual provinces who must take action to declare themselves out of communion when one or other provincial churches depart from the apostolic faith. Of course they can and should consult together on the issues. However, we should be wary of creating institutions (as proposed by Windsor) because they are just as capable of espousing error as upholding truth (See Article 21).

A summary is available from Stand Firm.

Episcopal Priestess: Abortion is a Sacrament

[One News Now] 28 Jul 2008--“Forward in Christ,” is the publication of Forward in Faith North America, an organization dedicated to upholding traditional Anglicanism. Among other things, it keeps readers abreast of happenings within The Episcopal Church, which most of us “traditionalists” believe lost its way years ago.

The current issue includes a quote from an Episcopal priestess named Carter Hayward on the subject of abortion which speaks for itself:

“Abortion would be a sacrament if women were in charge. Abortion should be a sacrament even today. I suspect that for many women today, and for their spouses, lovers, families and communities, abortion is celebrated as such, an occasion of deep and serious and sacred meaning.”

The Future Of Jesus

[] 28 Jul 2008--For Christians convicted of and even perhaps too comfortable in their faith, it might seem somewhat confronting, even worrying, that an Archbishop would be penning a book titled The Future Of Jesus – Does He Have A Place In Our World?

But in a world where faith is being challenged by the equally religiously held views of the likes of Richard Dawkins, this is the question we increasingly need to be able to answer.

The book is adapted from the very successful Boyer Lectures of the same title, originally presented in 2005, and Peter looks first at the history of Christ and Christianity; as indeed any attempt to understand the future must.


[Church of Nigeria] 28 Jul 2008--When Christ calls, it involves sacrifices. It involves giving up certain things. It involves self-denial. It leads to denial of some personal interests or belongings that one has been used to or dependent upon. It leads to a choice - life’s important decision. When Christ called Peter and Andrew, they had to leave their professional trade. When He called the sons of Zebede - James and John, they had to leave their trade and father who was the director of their fishing business and followed Christ to become fishers of men. The decision of these disciples of Jesus was not an easy one and so it is with any follower of Christ. It is an expensive decision to make. It involves real sacrifice and the future is not immediately understood.

Episcopal Cafe: Rowan Rising?

[Stand Firm] 28 Jul 2008-- I'd be cautious reading this. Recognize that so long as the ABC is playing TEC's game, then he will be perceived and described as having exemplified wise and steady leadership by ideologues like Mr. Naughton. The suggestion, further, that the "indaba" groups "seem to be working" is fairly far off the mark.

Discipline: Is There a Chance?

[Stand Firm] 28 Jul 2008-- Both rumor and report suggest that today could see a firm (in the Anglican sense of the word) call by the Windsor Continuation Group for the Episcopal Church to "respect the ban" as the Times puts it, against the consecration of non-celibate homosexual clergy, or step away from the Communion.

I'm keeping my powder dry. I don't know what to expect but revelation, in this crisis, has never matched speculation.

Let's say, however, that truth proves the rumors accurate. What would it mean? What, really, could the Lambeth Conference do to enforce such a dictum?

One commenter pointed out recently that we already have a document that does precisely what the rumored document will do. It's called the Windsor Report.

And we've all seen how effective that has been.

There is at least one difference, and Sarah mentioned it this morning, between the Windsor Report and what could come out of this Lambeth Conference. The Windsor Report was the first Communion response to consecration of Gene Robinson in 2004 and General Convention in 2003. Were the Lambeth Conference to come away affirming a call by the Windsor Continuation Group for the Episcopal Church to comply or walk apart, it would mean, for the first time, that all four Instruments of Unity have weighed in negatively on the actions of the Episcopal Church

David Booth Beers was on the Drafting Committee of the “Principles of Canon Law”

[Stand Firm] 28 Jul 2008--The Principles of Canon Law Common to the Churches of the Anglican Communion has yet to be published online. In the interest of keeping you informed, I will transcribe as much as I can over the next few days. I may not go in order, but I want as many Anglicans as possible to see what this book has in it and begin to think through the implications.

This afternoon I'll start with the names of those who drafted the book and the table of contents.

Related articles:
The First Four Principles Transcribed - Stand Firm
Principle 80: Ownership and administration of church property - Stand Firm
Principle 52: Legitimate theological diversity and Principle 53: Doctrinal discipline - Stand Firm
Part II: Principles 10-14: The (nature of the) Anglican Communion - Stand Firm
Part V: Doctrine and Liturgy: Principles 48-51 - Stand Firm

Lambeth Diary: Storm clouds gather

[Times Online] 28 Jul 2008--This is a crucial week for the Anglican Communion. This afternoon, we get the third document from the Windsor Continuation Group. That could be a reiteration of Windsor, or an attempt to enforce Dar es Salaam, in other words, the removal of rebellious Primates from the councils of the church. Both conservatives and liberals could then be at risk. Then there are the Covenant and human sexuality debates. Liberals are deeply unhappy about the Covenant, in particular the appendix. Read it here and you'll understand why. Conservatives are even more unhappy about TEC resistance to rowing back on human sexuality, as made clear by Bishop Mouneer Anis in his letter back home to Egypt. (Dr Anis pictured here by George Conger.)

Clarity needed before next ACC — Archbishop Chew

[Church Times] It would be unwise to dismiss the Sudanese statement and the comment that followed it as solely an African voice.

Archbishop Deng’s suggestion that 500 of the bishops had been present at a meeting of provinces of the Global South on Monday was described by someone who had been there as a huge over-estimate: the number was around 150. But his claim that 17 provinces agreed with the statement was thought extremely likely to be accurate by the Archbishop of South-East Asia, the Most Revd John Chew.

Archbishop Chew has been secretary to the Global South Anglicans since 2003, and is widely respected for the serious theological input that the group has had into matters such as the Covenant and the Anglican catechism that it published two weeks ago.

As a land of ancient civilisations, Asia probably had a longer and wider perspective than Africa, and, because of its presence alongside the other major world religions, did not speak in isolation or in absolute terms, the Archbishop suggested. “We might be saying the same thing, but, because of our context, we say and see it in a different way.

“Sudan came out with the statement for reasons of their own, and felt they had to say something. It was important for them to make that statement, and we appreciate them for that. I don’t think you will find any of the Global South provinces disagreeing with what they say. The way they put it will be coming from Sudan, but the essence — yes.”

Archbishop Chew had not studied the statement, but there was nothing new in it, he suggested: it repeated Windsor and was consistent with the Primates’ statement from Dromantine. “They are not calling for anything new, which would have been unfair. They are saying that if we do not take up what we have committed [ourselves to] seriously, then even in the eyes of the secular world, our credibility is reduced.”

Gay sex is a sin, say four in five Protestants

[Times Online] 28 Jul 2008--Most Christians believe gay sex is a sin and that practising gays should not be ordained. A survey by ComRes of 517 Protestant Christians in Britain found that only 3 per cent of nonCatholic Christians believe homosexuality is not a sin, while 81 per cent say it is and 15 per cent say “it is more complicated than this”. Taking into account all Protestant denominations, 81 per cent believe that gay sex is sinful.

The survey also found that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, lacks majority support. Only one in three Anglicans said Dr Williams represented their views.

A legacy from Newman to Lambeth?

[Church of England Newspaper] 28 Jul 2008--Evelyn Waugh, waspish convert to Rome and satirical novelist, once said that he could believe that the church was defined by communion with the Pontiff, or that the classical Protestant position could be right in that the church had gone off course and needed radical reform in the light of the Bible at the Reformation. What he could not believe as a theory was the Anglo Catholic view, that the true church was revealed as a small group of homosexual curates in 19th Century Oxford! That of course is a wicked remark, but it has a haunting resonance for this Lambeth Conference and its obsession with homosexuality and to a lesser extent women bishops.

The Oxford Movement was certainly coloured by the closest male friendships. Newman himself is buried next to his life-long priest friend Ambrose St John, and the Pope has, interestingly, ordered that he be exhumed as part of his canonisation. The poetry of Hopkins, another convert from the Oxford Movement, is pregnant with homosexual imagery, repressed or not. The Oxford Movement zealots would meet late at night, strip to the waist, and lash each other with whips - as penance for their sins, a custom that modern psychologists of sex would find most interesting. The Oxford Movement prospered and coloured the Anglican church with ‘catholic’ styles of worship and priesthood; the evangelicals gradually lost influence as the 19th Century wore on.

A message from Bishop David Anderson

[Anglican Mainstream] 28 Jul 2008--At the AAC, we learned long ago that since the media can help or hurt you, treat them humanely, the way you would wish to be treated. When an event occurs, certainly those present take away their own impressions, but for the vast majority who will only read about it or see it on the TV, the media interprets the event. Why would anyone go out of their way to make life miserable for the media? Although GAFCON in Jerusalem wasn’t perfect from a media standpoint, there was a sincere attempt to get the media what they needed: access inside during plenary sessions, interviews with bishops, press conferences, etc. In retrospect, could it have been done better? Absolutely, but there was a genuine attempt to do the right thing for the media.

Contrasted with that philosophy is the view that the media is your enemy and you must a) keep them out, b) choose between good and bad media for access, and c) have everyone so disciplined that their talking points are recited no matter what the question. One has to pity the media, seeing how they are being treated at Lambeth, but then again, it doesn’t sound like the bishops themselves are being all that well taken care of, either. The secrecy thing is either hilarious or pathetic: is not everyone there under godly authority? Are some there in defiance of their House of Bishops or their Primate? Are they making a "prophetic statement" by being there anyway? Yet their "prophetic statement" must be kept secret.

How many CHURCHGOING Anglicans does Lambeth represent?

[Anglican Mainstream] 28 Jul 2008--A lot of things have been said over the last few months about just who represents whom in the Anglican world. GAFCON, for example, is pilloried by the media and the leadership at Lambeth as a "breakaway" movement.

But, is this right?

Already some journalists are beginning to realize that while the Lambeth Conference might have a large number of bishops in attendance, those bishops actually represent a SMALL MINORITY of the world’s Anglicans.

I have done some informed arithmetic, and the result is surprising.

Homosexual bishops face Anglican Church ban

[Anglican Mainstream] 28 Jul 2008--Homosexual clergy will be barred from becoming bishops in the Anglican communion under controversial new plans backed by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Liberals will be warned that they face being expelled from the heart of Anglicanism unless they respect the ban, The Sunday Telegraph has learnt.

The American church caused deep divisions between conservatives and liberals when it consecrated Gene Robinson as the first openly homosexual Anglican bishop in 2003.

There have been reports that it is prepared to consecrate more gay bishops while the Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, told this newspaper that he would be willing to do the same.

The proposal to ban future consecrations is the most significant move yet over the issue.

No Hope of a Solution at Lambeth, conservative bishop says

[Christianity Today] 28 Jul 2008--The Lambeth Conference has been a time of great fellowship and strength; it has also been a time of disunity and conflict. Everything is going fairly well, but I do not believe that there is hope of a solution from this Lambeth conference. However I hope that we would be able to come up with a road map for a final solution of the current crisis.

Bishop Alvarez: Roman Catholic Church Hinders Ecumenism

[The Living Church] 28 Jul 2008--The Roman Catholic Church is regressing in its ecumenical overtures to the Anglican Communion under Pope Benedict XVI, said Bishop David Alvarez of Puerto Rico at a July 25 Lambeth Conference media briefing. The theme of the bishops’ small group discussions was “Serving Together: The Bishop and Other Churches.”

The Roman Catholic Church is one of 36 ecumenical guests at Lambeth, and official messages from the Holy See during the conference have been consistent in urging the Anglican Church to heal its internal divisions and honor apostolic tradition. At times this message has been formal, such as in the letter written by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican Secretary of State, and published in the July 19 ecumenical service booklet. Other times the message has been sharp, such as when Cardinal Ivan Dias, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, spoke derisively during a plenary group on July 22 about some churches falling into “spiritual Alzheimer’s” and “ecclesial Parkinson’s.”

The message Friday during an afternoon self-select group session was a gentle one delivered by Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor, Archbishop of Westminster. He said the search for unity was worth the effort, but that “new tensions only slow the progress.”

But Bishop Alvarez said that what had been “a very good process even under Pope John Paul II” has changed under the new pope.

“They are the ones who are the obstacles,” Bishop Alvarez said, contending that Pope Benedict was placing too much emphasis on issues such as the ordination of women and homosexuals, which were not issues decided during the Church’s first seven ecumenical councils. “My concern is that they open themselves to dialogue instead of just saying this is wrong.”

Anglican Head Warns Divisions Hindering Wider Church Mission

[The Christian Post] 28 Jul 2008--The head of the Anglican Communion urged bishops in a Sunday sermon to resolve “internal tensions” and suggested that current rows over gay clergy and women bishops were hindering the Church’s wider mission.

Dr. Rowan Williams’ comments come mid-way through the Lambeth Conference – a gathering of the worldwide bishops of the Anglican Communion which takes place just once every ten years.
The conference has been marred by a large portion of conservative bishops boycotting in protest over the gay clergy issue.

There have already been clear indications of the tensions among delegates, with some bishops expressing their frustration that the conference still has not openly discussed the topic of sexuality within the Church.

In particular, Archbishop Gregory Venables from South America told the BBC that there was "frustration" that sexuality had yet to be discussed. The Archbishop, who is the senior Anglican bishop in South America, said there was "some suppressed anger" from people wanting to talk about a topic which he described as the "elephant in the living room."

"I think it's because we don't know how to approach it," he said.

"...suggested that current rows over gay clergy and women bishops were hindering the Church’s wider mission. A familiar liberal talking point.

Nigerian Anglicans keep angry distance from Canterbury

[AFP] 28 Jul 2008--About a quarter of the bishops in the worldwide Anglican Communion -- including most from Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda and Uganda -- are consequently boycotting the once-a-decade meeting this summer in Canterbury.

And the Nigerian church, which accounts for 17 million of the 77 million Anglicans worldwide, is leading the opposition to the communion's leader, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.

"The issue is not that of gay alone. The crux of it is the revisionist agenda, which is that some people are out to rewrite the Bible," Archbishop of Lagos Adebola Ademowo said Saturday.

"The authority of the Scriptures cannot be challenged. Old time religion is good enough for us."
Speaking specifically about Williams, the 60-year-old said: "That man, I don't know what's wrong -- he should be able to say 'this is the Bible standard' and come out and defend it."

Aides to Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola, head of the Nigerian Anglican community, have refused to comment on the row, with one saying this week only that "the moment is not appropriate" to speak.

Prayer needed for spiritual battle at Lambeth

[Global South Anglican] 28 Jul 2008--Please pray for me because on Monday 28 July we will have another debate. Last Wednesday the TEC bishops were well prepared and spoke very bluntly, making it clear that there is no turning back. I will present my thoughts to them on Monday. I pray to God for strength and direction, that He may direct my thoughts and words.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

... a Holy Office to call our own?

[Episcopal Cafe] 26 Jul 2008--The Windsor Continuation Group has endorsed a strong centralizing agenda that elevates the role of the Primates Meeting, diminishes the influence of the Anglican Consultative Council, and endorses the establishment of an "Anglican Communion Faith and Order Commission." The proposal, which is sure to face stiff resistance, is the strongest signal yet that this important body intends to recommend wide ranging changes in Communion governance.

The recommendations, contained in part two of the group's "preliminary observations" says the survival of the Communion may depend on "communion with autonomy and accountability."

The Communion suffers from an emphasis on "independence at the expense of interdependence in the Body of Christ," the report says. "This has led to internal fragmentation as well as to confusion among our ecumenical partners."

Resolving the current controversy over the morality of homosexual relationships will require "a common understanding of the place and role of the episcopal office within the sensus fidelium of the whole Church.

The members of the committee, all but one of whom are bishops, and none of whom supports the ordination of gay and lesbian clergy, said that the Lambeth Quadrilateral, which once provided the framework of Anglican unity now required "strengthened" instruments of communion to stand "alongside" it to hep the Communion "regain a sense of Anglican identify."

This is a politically skillful move on the part of moderate conservatives in the Communion who have been working hard to marginalize the Episcopal and Canadian churches. There are enough dioceses led by moderate conservative bishops to form a substantial American province in communion with Canterbury if the Episcopal Church decides it cannot sacrifice its convictions on homosexuality to maintain its membership in the new, rapidly centralizing, bishops' club previously referred to as the Anglican Communion.

On unity, do Episcopal bishops have a prayer?

[The Boston Globe] 26 Jul 2008--If the Episcopal Church didn't exist, the Catholics would have to invent us. Oops, I forgot, they already did.

The Catholics must be pretty happy that Henry VIII broke with the Vatican back in 1534 and created his own Protestant church. Thank heavens we Episcopalians exist, otherwise Pope Benedict would be heading up the world's only openly dysfunctional Christian sect.

My brethren in Christ - about 650 Episcopal and Anglican bishops from all over the world - have been puttering around England for the past week or so, at the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury, for the faith's decennial worldwide conclave. The spectacle, known as the Lambeth Conference, named after the archbishop's palace, is an embarrassing festival of nothingness. About 250 bishops held their own, separate conclave in Jerusalem called Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON - like DEFCON, only religious) earlier this year to drive home the point that the church of J.P. Morgan and Desmond Tutu is in schism.

Note to readers: Henry VIII did not "create" the Church of England.

Anglican tensions not welcomed by Catholics, Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor says at Lambeth

[Catholic News Agency] 26 Jul 2008--The Catholic Church takes no pleasure in the tensions within the Anglican Church, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor said in a Friday address to Anglican bishops at the Lambeth Conference in Canterbury.

Discussing the progress of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) on Church unity, the cardinal suggested that ARCIC’s work on the nature of the Church is relevant to present Anglican disputes. While voicing his confidence in the commission’s work, he said the path to church unity “might be longer than we had imagined at first.”

The cardinal, who is now the Archbishop of Westminster and head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, noted that he had co-chaired ARCIC for 26 years until 1999 and continued to be involved with the commission after stepping down. He recounted the early years of the commission, which he described as “heady days.”

“All this was very new. Engaging in this sort of dialogue was itself new, and people were genuinely amazed and delighted by what had been done over twelve short years,” he said.

Lutherans see stronger ties with Anglicans after CofE women bishops vote

[Christianity Today UK] 26 Jul 2008--The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) has welcomed this month’s decision by the Church of England General Synod to reaffirm its support for women bishops.

In a statement this week, the LWF General Secretary Rev Dr Ishmael Noko said the vote had immediately opened the way for stronger ecumenical ties between Lutheran and Anglican churches and "the fuller recognition and celebration of the gifts of women called to ministry".

He spoke positively of the experience of Lutheran churches with women bishops, since the first consecrations in 1992.

It was, he said, "already clear that the leadership of women in all the roles of ordained ministry has been a blessing to those churches which have experienced it".

Dr Noko went on to state that women bishops in the Church of England would "bring gifts of leadership for the enrichment of the entire Anglican Communion”.

He acknowledged, however, that there were divisions in the LWF as well as the Anglican Communion over the theological grounds for the ordination of women.

Secondhand Witnessing

[Walk with Me] 26 Jul 2008--We can’t expect T-shirts, jewelry, and bumper stickers to do all the work.

Lambeth: Is Inquisition on the cards?

[Religious Intelligence] 26 July 2008--A “bombshell” report is expected to be delivered to bishops attending the 14th Lambeth Conference on July 28 that is expected to call for the Episcopal Church to abandon its push for gay bishops and blessings.

The request is expected to come in the third presentation of the Windsor Continuation Group (WCG) to the bishops at Lambeth and follows a call for the creation of an Anglican Holy Office to police the boundaries of the faith.

Backed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Anglican “Faith and Order Commission” will be a fifth instrument of unity for the Anglican Communion.

Plans for were disclosed on July 23 during the second of three briefings on the work of the Windsor Continuation Group (WCG) chaired by the former Presiding Bishop of Jerusalem and the Middle East, Bishop Clive Handford.

In its briefing paper to the bishops, the WCG commended the creation of an “Anglican Communion Faith and Order Commission that could give guidance on the ecclesiological issues raised by our current ‘crisis’.”

The Anglican Inquisition proposal came in the last sentence of the briefing paper delivered by Bishop Handford to the bishops. “One person said it would be a good thing and welcomed it,” Bishop Handford explained, but noted there was little substantive discussion of the proposal by the bishops.

Lambeth Conference: Archbishop of Canterbury wishes he wasn't here

[Telgraph] 26 Jul 2008--Conference organisers went round every bishop in their “indaba” discussion groups asking if they would mind being identified to the press so a list of consenting attendees could be compiled. But of course this would not include those who had just failed to make it to their session that morning, not just the publicity-shy ones.

Today we finally received the long-awaited document - 12 typed pages of names and dioceses in no particular order, some underlined, some crossed-out and some with ticks next to them for no discernible reason.

The information-hungry hacks scoured the list for unexpected attendees, such as a cache of hidden Ugandans. But instead the all-knowing George Conger, of the Church of England Newspaper, spotted a notable absentee. The Archbishop of Canterbury, head of the entire 80 million-strong Anglican Communion, is not on the official list of attendees at the Lambeth Conference.

Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams backs 'Anglican Inquisition'

[Telegraph] 26 Jul 2008--Dr Rowan Williams said there was a "very strong feeling" within the 80 million-strong Communion that guidance is needed on questions of Biblical teaching, which have led it to the brink of schism over sexuality.

He said he was "enthusiastic" about the idea of a Faith and Order Commission that has been proposed by a group set up to resolve the crisis triggered by liberal Americans, who in 2003 elected an openly gay bishop, the Rt Rev Gene Robinson.

But liberals claim the Commission - which would be based on a code of Canon Law and which is being proposed in addition to a new set of rules to bind the provinces of Anglicanism - has echoes of the medieval Inquisition, which was used to enforce Roman Catholic doctrine and punish those condemned as heretics.

It came as the most senior Catholic in England and Wales, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, warned of the "shadows" spreading over the relationship between Rome and Canterbury caused by the liberal attitude of some Anglican churches towards homosexuality and the introduction of women to the clergy.

Lambeth Diary: Rome says 'come hither' but not just yet

[Times Online] 26 Jul 2008--Rome is taking seriously the prospect of 'corporate unity' with traditional Anglicans but the message is: 'Not yet.' So says Cardinal Levada, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in this letter. The Traditional Anglican Communion's Primate, Archbishop John Hepworth, is rumoured to be heading to Lambeth this week. Read Hepworth's response to his flock here. Meanwhile, the Moscow patriarchate has now criticised the conference for failing properly to address the key issues at stake, which everyone is describing as the 'elephant in the room.' It's a three letter word beginning with 's'. Expect more numinous sparks to fly next week.

FIF NA: Common Cause Partnership welcomes the Jerusalem Declaration

[Anglican Mainstream] 26 Jul 2008--One of the two stated goals of Forward in Faith, North America, has been since its Assembly in Riverside, CA, the creation of an orthodox province of the Anglican Communion in North America.

The conservative primates of the Communion have made clear since that time their unwillingness to deal separately with a multitude of conservative groups in North America. They have asked the various groups to form a single body to speak and act for them all. Because those conservative groups are divided, not only by issues of sponsorship, but also by their respective positions on certain issues — not least, the ordination of women — the group which they have formed to this end, the Common Cause Partnership (CCP), is federal in structure. It is hoped that as these issues are addressed and resolved, the group may adopt a more traditional structure.

Forward in Faith North America was a founding member of the group, and its representatives have played an active part in the drafting of its theological statement and the design of its structure. Since the CCP is a federation, it in no way impinges on the four essentials which FiF NA, together with FiF in the UK, requires of any structural arrangment: a clearly orthodox line of apostolic succession, entire control of the process of selecting, training, and ordaining candidates for the apostolic ministry, the right to opt out of decisions of the larger structure if they contravene its theological principles, and freedom to pursue its own ecumenical relationships.

"Does the CCP Theological Statement, in the drafting of which Forward in Faith played an active part live up to the standards of the Jerusalem Declaration?" is a question that some evangelical Anglicans are asking in North America. The Jerusalem Declaration regards the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion and the Book of Common Prayer and Ordinal of 1662 as "the" standards for Anglicans in matters of faith and practice while the CCP Theological Statement regards them as just one of a number of standards and plays down their importance. "Shouldn't a new North American province to which GAFCON gives recognition conform in its doctrinal and worship standards to that of the Jerusalem Declaration?" they ask.

THE NON-JURIDICAL COVENANT: The Triumph of Symbol Over Substance, by Gary L'Hommedieu

[VirtueOnline] 26 Jul 2008--Bishop John W. Howe has been diligent in reporting to his clergy in Central Florida on the day to day events at Lambeth, sometimes detached and dispassionate, sometimes scarcely restraining his own sarcasm at the overtly political nature of this "conference".

Bishop Howe has lived up to his commitment to be fair in his own positions and administrative actions, in marked contrast to many of his episcopal peers who use "fairness" as an ideological weapon. In one of his recent reports he commented on a hearing of the "Windsor Continuation Group" and its "effort to produce an 'Anglican Covenant.'" He offered the following personal reflection on the proceedings: "If anyone thought we might be close to completing that task at this Lambeth Conference, I think s/he was quickly disabused of the notion."

No surprise there. While Bishop Howe didn't say it, it seems pretty obvious that the Lambeth Conference, along with the various Covenant task force meetings before and after, is designed to fix the Anglican Covenant in the limbo of unending "conversation".

One of the Bishop's comments was striking to say the least, in spite of the matter-of-fact tone of his reporting: "One of the predominant themes [of the Covenant hearing] from many (both TEC and others) was that we do not want a Covenant that can be used 'juridically' to expel, discipline, or exclude."

This sentiment of the "many" comes as no surprise. Many of us on the sidelines have assumed the Covenant was dead in the water, that it would never become anything more than a pro forma exercise, and that "signing" would never take place in a setting that was other than purely ceremonial, should such a Covenant even be completed. Certainly no Covenant would see the light of day that would challenge the Windsor non-compliant Provinces to adjust their behaviors and policies, even though precisely this challenge is the sole reason for both Windsor and the Covenant.

Windsor has been successfully domesticated. It cannot be permitted to offend the offending Provinces that made Windsor necessary to begin with.

The notion of an Anglican "covenant" has been laden with irony, if not outright absurdity, from the beginning. Only now do we come to see that absurdity is its sole function.

Most Important Press Conference yet: Saturday, July 26 9:45 AM: read carefully

[Stand Firm] 26 Jul 2008--This morning's press conference was, perhaps, the most important yet. I am uploading the live blog as I correct it so keep refreshing. Read carefully! I was very careful in this live-blog.

Related article:
A Quick Analysis of the Lambeth Reflections Group That Is Writing the Statement - Stand Firm

Mystery, Myth and some Guesses: Friday Lambeth Summary

[Stand Firm] 26 Jul 2008--It has been a mysterious week. I say mysterious because it has been high on rumor and short on fact. There are lots of reports circling around, some true, some half true, some based on facts but facts that I think may have been misunderstood.

There is one rumor in particular that I think is based on truth but the implications being drawn by various reporters and bloggers, so far as I have read, do not seem to add up.

I do not believe that a separate and distinct Global South entity made up of moderate conservatives is being formed for the purpose of undermining the GAFCON primates. There may well be a distinct entity in the making, I do not know, but I do not believe the purpose behind such an entity could be as divisive as some suggest(follow the links).

Why not?

Time will tell who is right.

Lambeth Report #8 Friday morning, July 25, 2008

{Anglicans United] 26 Jul 2008--After a Bible study on the book of Jude by Bishop Wallace Benn, President of the Church of England Evangelical Council (CEEC), we heard from the various bishops who cared to speak. Since the press had been invited, we were asked to stand, introduce ourselves and promise that we would not identify any bishop present or attribute what they said. All the press did so.

Then the fun began. How is the conference? Worrisome.

How is your indaba group? “Well, the funny thing is,” began one bishop, “The Americans here have this cheat sheet that they use in our group. It has statements on it that justify their decisions in the last two conventions that led to the consecration of Gene Robinson and same-sex marriage. It is a prioritized list of talking points and the one in our group reads off this thing every day.”

It was as if someone dropped a bomb in the room. Was I surprised that my church would utilize a tactic of this nature to persuade the rest of the Communion? No, I was not. Was I surprised that one of those same bishops would bring the document and read from it in a forum such as the Indaba group? No, I was not. Was I surprised by the strong counter reaction of the other bishops in the room, who considered this to be almost treachery? Yes.

So, while we were in London yesterday for the Walk of Witness, conceived by the Micah Challenge UK and nearly high jacked by the TEC promotion of the Millennium Development Goals project sponsored by the United Nations, much research was going on back in Canterbury on this story.

Archbishop: Communion Faith and Order Commission Gains Momentum

[The Living Church] 26 Jul 2008--If the Anglican Communion is to survive, another Instrument of Unity may need to be created, according to a paper prepared by the Windsor Continuation Group.

“We commend the suggestion for the setting up of an Anglican Communion Faith and Order Commission that could give guidance on the ecclesiological issues raised by our current ‘crisis’,” the group wrote in a working paper distributed on July 25.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams established the six-member group earlier this year to help implement some of the longer-term recommendations made in the Windsor Report. Archbishop Williams said the plan was a very preliminary one, but that it seemed to have broad support among bishops during a Lambeth Conference media briefing this afternoon.

“There is a strong feeling that we need another kind of structure in the Communion that will be a ‘clearinghouse,’ as I want to put it, for some of these issues, and I think there is quite a head of steam behind that,” he said. “I’m actually quite enthusiastic about that.

“It’s not as if we can just coexist without any impact on one another as Anglican churches,” Archbishop Williams continued. “There have to be protocols and conventions by which we recognize one another as churches. The difficulties that we currently face have a lot to do with that recognition.”

Friday, July 25, 2008

Court again blocks Internet porn law

[Baptist Press] 25 Jul 2008---The U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals has again upheld a judge's decision to block enforcement of a congressional effort to protect children from Internet pornography.

A three-judge panel of the Third Circuit, based in Philadelphia, affirmed in a July 22 ruling a lower-court opinion permanently preventing enforcement of the Child Online Protection Act (COPA). It marked the third time the court has endorsed a judge's preliminary or permanent injunction against the federal law.

The decision came a day after a three-judge panel of the same appeals court threw out a $550,000 indecency fine by the Federal Communications Commission against CBS Corp. The television network received the fine for its broadcast of the controversial 2004 Super Bowl halftime show that included the baring of one of singer Janet Jackson's breasts.

Enacted in 1998, COPA is intended to prohibit commercial websites from making sexually explicit material available to children under the age of 17, but it has never been enforced.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rules that Homosexual 'Hate Crimes' Law Violates Pennsylvania Constitution

[LifeSiteNews] 25 Jul 2008--On Wednesday the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania issued a short per curiam order, in which it agreed with the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania that the state legislature violated the Pennsylvania Constitution when it added "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" to Pennsylvania's "ethnic intimidation" law.

Eleven Christians of the evangelical group Repent America were arrested due to that same law in 2004 for reading the Bible and singing hymns at Outfest, a homosexual rally. Though the case was eventually dropped, Repent America filed legal action in 2005 against the act, citing its unconstitutional nature.

The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania agreed last November that the law was unconstitutional and struck it down. On appeal the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania sided with the Commonwealth Court, saying on Wednesday: "The order of the Commonwealth Court is AFFIRMED for the reasons ably set forth in the opinion of the Honorable James Gardner Colins, which opinion is adopted as that of the Supreme Court."

In the Commonwealth Court opinion Justice Colins observed that the court struck down the law because the provision violated Article III of the state Constitution, which prohibits a bill's alteration during its passage through the legislature, if the bill's original purpose is changed.

California Public Guardian Attempts to Dehydrate Woman to Death over Wishes of Family

[] 25 Jul 2008--Janet Rivera, 46, is the center of a new battle over the ethics of intentionally dehydrating a person to death.

Rivera has been in coma for the past two years, resulting from a heart attack.

Rivera's husband was recently replaced as her public guardian, after he experienced medical problems. The appointed Fresno County Public Guardian, David Hadden, decided that because she is unlikely to recover, Rivera's fluids and food would be removed. This decision was against the wishes of the Rivera family and Janet's husband.

Yesterday, Judge Debra Kazanjian granted an injunction and ordered medical staff to resume fluids and food for Rivera through a tube and to provide ventilator support, if necessary.

The case will return to court next week when a hearing will determine who has the right to make medical decisions for Rivera.

Dr. Henry Morgentaler and "the Goddess with the Golden Breasts"

[] 25 Jul 2008--"My God is a Goddess with golden breasts, dripping milk and honey. A suckling baby am I, nursing at the golden breast." So writes Dr. Henry Morgentaler, Canada's father of abortion, in one of the poems found in his self-published book of poetry, "Freedom is my Passion."

With Morgentaler having burst once again onto the public stage in recent weeks, after being awarded Canada's highest civilian honor, the Order of Canada, many people are questioning who exactly Henry Morgentaler is, and what his legacy has been.

While news coverage of the abortion doctor over the years has typically limited itself to his remarks on his role in securing abortion-on-demand in Canada, in recent months there has been an increasing emphasis on exploring Morgentaler the man, catalyzed by the release late last year of the intimate documentary "Henry."

One particularly revealing interview was aired this past January, on the day before the 20th anniversary of the decriminalization of abortion in Canada. In the hard-hitting program, CBC interviewer Evan Solomon delved into some of the more controversial personal details of Morgentaler's life, particularly his relationships with women. It was during that interview that Morgentaler recited his poem, "Goddess With Golden Breasts."

Under Influence of Harry Potter, Kids are Being Drawn into the "Language and Mechanics" of the Occult

[LifeSiteNews] 25 Jul 2008--A book that gives instructions to teenage girls on witchcraft sells 150,000 copies. Films and television shows about teenagers and young people involved in witchcraft and the occult begin to proliferate. Bookshops begin to carry large sections on "esoterica" next to the religion and philosophy sections. And then Harry Potter bursts on the scene and becomes the best selling children's book of all time.

This progression is described by Linda P. Harvey a Christian and publisher of Mission: America, a quarterly Christian newsletter and Internet web site, who claims that in the last number of years there has been an unprecedented explosion of occult material aimed directly at children and teenagers. However, anyone who objects that Potter and other witchcraft and magic-oriented children's fare draws kids into the world of the occult, she says, are dismissed as giving in to "pure hysteria".

As of June 2008, the seven book Potter series has sold more than 400 million copies and the books have been translated into 67 languages. The phenomenal success of the books has made their British author, J.K. Rowling, the highest-earning novelist in history. Three years after Harry Potter, Harvey writes, a review of television programs, major children's book publishers, and popular youth websites, "should more than confirm our initial warnings."

"Sorcery and witchcraft have become the hottest themes in youth culture and education for the first time in modern Western civilization."

Harvey is the author of an influential article, "Heresy in the Hood: Teen Witchcraft in America" published in 1999. Since the publication of that article, she says, the number of self-professed young witches and occult practitioners has grown markedly.

The kids are taking a cue from the homosexual activist handbook, equating any criticism of their interests as "hate." Similarly, such rhetoric is pushing the adult publishing and bookselling world to proliferate books and materials on the occult. "Without protectors, the profit-driven media is both responding to interest in witchcraft and creating it in a rapid feedback loop," Harvey writes.