Thursday, January 31, 2008

Christianity vs. Jesusanity: The Postmodern Temptation

[Virtue Online] 31 Jan 2008--The most hard-core forms of postmodern thought are generally limited to academic campuses, but the postmodern worldview is trickling down in various forms to the popular level. While postmodern literary theorists debate the meaning of "totalizing metanarratives," at the level of popular piety we see the widespread substitution of "spirituality" for biblical Christianity.

In this sense, spirituality is a project centered in the self and constantly negotiable -- more about "meaning" than truth. Where does Jesus Christ fit in all this? Darrell L. Bock and Daniel B. Wallace argue that popular culture is on a quest "to unseat the biblical Christ." They make their case in Dethroning Jesus [Thomas Nelson].

As Bock and Wallace explain, classical biblical Christianity is being replaced by "Jesusanity." In their words....

Lament for a Lost Church. Rector Resigns

[Virtue Online] 31 Jan 2008--The time has come for a formal announcement of my retirement. I have been putting this off, seeking the right dates as well as, most importantly, seeking God's will for our lives. With all this in mind Polly and I have decided to retire on January 5, 2009.

I had thought that I would be your rector until I was either sixty-five or even sixty-six, when the various pension and social security plans would make the most sense. None-the-less I have decided that I must retire before the next General Convention, which is in 2009. The reason is simple. It is a matter of conscience. Each successive recent General Convention has made more and more egregious decisions that adversely affect my spiritual well being.

I knew Ian Montgomery when he was the rector of St. Philip's Episcopal Church in Algiers, Louisiana. The Episcopal Church is losing another faithful and godly pastor.

Islam neo-puritan trends 'barbaric' says ABC at HMD

[Articles of Faith] 31 Jan 2008--Interviewed for BBC Radio 4's Sunday programme, the Archbishop of Canterbury covered a range of topics, including the Anglican Communion and Lambeth, and his full comments are below. But speaking about Islam, he spoke of 'neo-puritan Salafi, Wahhabi trends which wipe out Islamic history and make Islam something rather barbaric.' He was saying this at Holocaust Memorial Day in Liverpool, where the Muslim Council of Britain had a representative, assistant gen sec Tahir Alam, for the first time. My own contribution to HMD was to interview Yona Metzter, Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Israel. (Irene's linked to it on her blog.) If you go to the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust website, you can virtually light this candle. (HT to little green footballs.)

The barbarity is not new for the Wahhabists. Examine the history of the movement in Islam.

Jerusalem Bishops trade charges

[Virtue Online] 31 Jan 2008--Charges of fraud and misconduct are being traded between the current and former Anglican Bishops in Jerusalem.

Already internally conflicted over its relationship with the diocese of Los Angeles, and the political implications of the June GAFCON conference, the civil war between current Bishop Suheil Dawani and former Bishop Riah Abu Al-Assal (pictured) adds a further burden to the weakened Anglican presence in the Holy Land.

Episcopal Diocese Settles Property Dispute in Favor of Parish

[Virtue Online] 31 Jan 2008--St. Joseph's Anglican Church, Brooklyn, formerly Trinity Church of East New York, which broke with the diocese in 1977, settled its case with the diocese in a Brooklyn court recently with the parish keeping its property.

The settlement was for $275,000.00, an amount considerably less than the market value of the property as recently appraised, said the attorney for the parish Eugene Voorhis.

The Anglican Church in America is not affiliated with one of the global South provinces of the Anglican Communion so it is not surprising that 815 would permit this settlement.

Kissing the Leper - A Response to Criticism of San Joaquin Bishop

[Virtue Online] 31 Jan 2008--A recent opinion piece, "Kissing the Leper" by The Rev. Tim Vivian, a leading light in the Remaining Episcopal movement in the Diocese of San Joaquin, appeared recently in a Bakersfield California newspaper. Vivian has been Bishop Schofield's antagonist for some time and, in this article, he articulates the unbridgeable chasm between orthodox and "progressive" Christians. The "conversation" is done and dead.

VOL takes a hard look at what he says and responds.

CANA Grows Pulling in Archbishops and Bishops to Priestly Ranks

[Virtue Online] 31 Jan 2008--The leader of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, a Nigerian church plant of orthodox Anglicanism in the US says his church is growing with some 60 parishes (20 more in the pipeline), 120 plus clergy, and some 8,000 in attendance all in two years, making it one of the fastest growing body of orthodox Anglicans in North America. In an interview with the Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns at the Anglican Mission in the Americas Winter Conference in Dallas, David W. Virtue talked with Bishop Minns about the present state of Anglicanism in North America and CANA.

Anglican Covenant Design Group meets in London

[Christianity Today UK] 31 Jan 2008--The Anglican Covenant Design Group is in London this week to review responses to the draft Covenant and fashion steps towards a final document.

The Covenant was first proposed in the 2004 Windsor Report as a means of rebuilding trust and cooperation between the churches in the Anglican Communion after relations became strained over a number of contentious issues, most notably homosexuality.

The Episcopal Church Website: “Anglican Approach to Scripture” (count the errors)

[Stand Firm] 31 Jan 2008--Anglicans have a high regard for the Holy Scriptures, but we do not describe them as having ultimate authority in all matters, nor do we assert that everything found within them is binding on us. We are a biblical tradition, but we have no doctrine of biblical supremacy, literal inspiration, or verbal inerrancy. While not accepting the Scriptures as our sole authority or guide, we do believe they provide the Church with the primary criteria for its teaching and the chief source of guidance, in terms of principles and norms for its life.

Melbourne and Moloch

[Stand Firm] 31 Jan 2008--Once again, a group of Anglicans have bowed down and worshiped Moloch. This time they're from the Diocese of Melbourne here in Australia. The Australian State of Victoria, of which Melbourne is the principal city, is currently reviewing its abortion legislation. Eager to show the world what they think, the ArchBishop put together a work group to make a submission...

Legalized Theft: Diocesan Property Grabs

[Stand Firm] 31 Jan 2008--While most Episcopalian parishes were built to be part of a diocese, many if not most were not built by the diocese. While individual members associated through a given local parish to a given diocese maintain the buildings, the diocese, as an entity, rarely if ever maintains the building. While individual members associated through a given local parish to a given diocese worship, serve, occupy, and cultivate growth on a given piece of property, the diocese, as an entity neither worships, serves, occupies, or cultivates growth on that same property. While individual members associated through their parish to a given diocese might operate the parish property, the parish property is not operated by the diocese as an entity. In other words while the people of a given parish are indeed members of a diocese by virtue of their membership in the parish, the physical property is not nor was it ever diocesan property properly speaking. It was built, occupied, maintained, and cultivated by the people of the parish given parish.

Archbishop of Sydney 'vandalising' Anglican culture

[PM] 31 Jan 2008--MARK COLVIN: The conductor of one of the world's most famous choirs has launched a blistering attack on the leaders of the Sydney Anglican Church.

Peter Phillips is the Director of the Tallis Scholars, as well as being a regular columnist for The Spectator magazine in London.

He's written an article accusing the Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, and his brother Philip, the Dean of St Andrew's Cathedral, of vandalising Anglican music and culture in their city.

This report from Stephen Crittenden, presenter of The Religion Report on ABC Radio National.

Related article:
Statement from Archbishop Peter Jensen, Archbishop of Sydney, Metropolitan of New South Wales - TitusOneNine
Discord rages in music war - The Sydney Morning Herald

English Bishops urge African and Souther Cone Primates to attend Lambeth: Primate Akinola takes a different view

[Anglican Mainstream] 31 Jan 2008--The Church of England Newspaper reports:

An open letter from a group of evangelical bishops in the Church of England has urged those Primates threatening to boycott this year’s Lambeth Conference to attend the 10- yearly meeting. In an open letter to the Archbishops of Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and the Presiding Bishop of the Southern Cone, the clerics, who describe themselves as ‘the evangelical bishops in the Church of England’, say they share the Primates’ ‘increasing sorrow and alarm at the developing situation around the Anglican Communion’, and highlight their support for the Windsor process and the idea of a pan-Anglican Covenant. The bishops give their backing to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Advent Letter which encouraged the Global South Primates to attend Lambeth, and point to Dr Williams’ determination to base the conference on Scripture. They go on to offer their support to the Archbishop ‘in his immensely difficult task of developing the life of our Communion in new ways of mutual understanding and support’, and urge the Primates ‘to be present to help us do this’. The Bishops acknowledge that the whole Windsor process has been ‘tortuous and frustrating and much slower than we would all have wished’, but warn if it is abandoned it ‘would inevitably split apart those who share an equally high regard for Scriptures and for the historic faith of the Church’. They continue: “We cannot believe this to be the mind of the Spirit or indeed that you yourselves would really want such a result. “We urge you therefore to take the long route, waiting for God to work through the processes that are already in train and praying for him to work his purposes in us and through us together. “We long to share with you in fellowship and long to share with you in fellowship and in celebration at Lambeth and, beyond that, we look to sharing with you in our common calling to proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord throughout the world.”

Parsonage Houses threatened: What are the issues?

[Anglican Mainstream] 31 Jan 2008--Sir, CEN readers, particularly the laity, should be concerned at your report last week over plans to transfer the ownership of vicarages from incumbents (vicars) to central church funds. Historically, the vast majority of vicarages/ parsonages were paid for by donations from parishioners/patrons to house a priest to look after the spiritual needs of people in a parish. The legal ownership of the parsonage remained with the vicar thereby giving him/her, and the parish, some security from interference from Bishops. Vicars own property as ‘sole corporate’ and are said to enjoy the ‘freehold’.

However, in a wide ranging review of clergy conditions of service, the Bishops, through a General Synod committee, are recommending the freehold be scrapped, replaced with a new title called ‘common tenure’ and that all property be transferred en-bloc to diocesan Parsonage Boards or to Diocesan Boards of Finance. No substantial reason has yet been given for transferring vicarages to central bodies and lay representatives of diocese on General Synod are bracing themselves for a fight at next month’s General Synod sessions in London (February 11-14).

Dr Vinay Samuel responds to Bishop Tom Wright

[Anglican Mainstream] 31 Jan 2008--Sir, Since I am now 65 and have not been active in Church of England affairs for some time, my letter needs an introduction to your readers. I was General Secretary of the Evangelical Fellowship in the Anglican Communion between 1986 and 1989. I acted as consultant to the Lambeth Conference on Mission in 1998. For many years I have been secretary of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Mission Theologians which included mission scholars from the “south” and the “west”, for example Dr Ron Sider. I also helped to found and led an institution in Oxford which has produced significant scholars for the non-western world.

I have read the concerns raised in the press by Bishop Tom Wright of Durham about the emerging network of orthodox Anglican primates, bishops and mission activists, especially in Africa and the “western” world who are calling a Global Anglican Future Conference. He has suggested in particular that that this whole movement is now following the lead and the agenda of three white men, Bishop Martyn Minns, Archbishop Peter Jensen and Canon Chris Sugden.

I am part of the leadership team of this movement. I have known and worked with Archbishops Akinola, Kolini, Mtetemela, Nzimbi and Orombi and Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali for many years. I have to say that if the scenario were as BishopWright imagines it to be, neither I nor any leader of Christians in the non-western world who have stood for years for the identity, selfrespect and dignity of Christians from the “global south” and their right to self-theologise and organise their own networks independent of influence from the former metropolitan centres of power, would have anything to do with it.

Rochester, Oxford and the 'call to prayer'

[Articles of Faith] 31 Jan 2008--As we report today, the Rector of St Aldates Oxford, Charlie Cleverley, has been attacking the plans for a thrice-daily 'call to prayer' in Oxford, plans which the Bishop of Oxford, John Pritchard, has supported. Some of the comments on ThisisOxfordshire make interesting reading. Dr Nazir-Ali, who made headlines with his comments that some parts of Britain were becoming no-go areas for non-Muslims, and has criticised permitting the azan in Britain, also spoke at the Oxford Union last night. A mole in the audience sent me some of his remarks, which I've reproduced below.

'Christianity is at the heart of British history, art, constitutional arrangements and literature. If a society doesn't have the spiritual resources of that kind it will fail to deal with other faiths. It will marginalise them all. In many ways that is what has happened in Britain and that's why it is very important for the people of Britain to recover a moral and spiritual vision on the basis of which they can be hospitable to everyone else.'

PB Recognizes Remaining San Joaquin Episcopalians

[The Living Church] 31 Jan 2008--During videotaped remarks shown Jan. 26 at the Church of the Saviour in Hanford, Calif., Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori recognized Episcopalians gathered there as the legitimate members of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin. Bishop Jefferts Schori also announced that she had written to the eight standing committee members informing them that she did not “recognize” them as the standing committee of the diocese.

“I understand that these have included voting to amend the diocese’s constitution and canons and attempting to organize as the standing committee of an entity that identifies itself as an Anglican diocese of the Province of the Southern Cone,” Bishop Jefferts Schori wrote. “These actions directly conflict with the constitution and canons of The Episcopal Church,” she added, citing as justification for her action Canon 1.17.8, which requires those holding office in The Episcopal Church to “perform the duties of that office in accordance with the constitution and canons of this church and of the diocese in which the office is being exercised.” The canons are silent as to who determines whether or not an individual has “well and faithfully” performed the duties of office and since in the case of a standing committee it calls into question the fiduciary responsibilities of individuals charged with oversight of a non-profit corporation, it may be necessary to obtain a court order before the six can be “officially” decertified.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Anglican Laity in Revolt

[Reform] 30 Jan 2008--Anglican lay people are preparing for an unholy scrap with their Bishop over Church of England proposals to transfer the ownership of vicarages from incumbents (vicars) to central church funds.

Historically, the vast majority of vicarages/parsonages were paid for by donations from parishioners/patrons to house a priest to look after the spiritual needs of people in a parish. The legal ownership of the parsonage remained with the vicar, thereby giving him/her, and the parish, some security from interference from Bishops. Vicars own property as ‘sole corporate’ and are said to enjoy the ‘freehold’.

Bishop Chane ‘Sick of Reports of Decline’

[The Living Church] 30 Jan 2008--The Episcopal Church can be viewed as one large community that is well positioned to compete with non-denominational megachurches, said Bishop John Bryson Chane of Washington during his address to the convention of the Diocese of Washington Jan. 26 at Washington National Cathedral.

“I am so sick and tired of reading reports about the statistical decline of The Episcopal Church that I no longer read them,” Bishop Chane said. “You can do anything you want with statistics.” He said that when he visits parishes around the diocese someone will sometimes say, “Bishop, we just can’t compete with the non-denominational megachurches that seem to be surrounding us on every side.” While he said at first glance this may seem to be true – since megachurches have jammed parking lots “like huge hockey rinks … often with local police directing traffic,” Bishop Chane urged convention goers to look beyond the crowded parking lots and concentrate on the bigger picture.

Putting on a brave face.

Bishop Howe: Church Litigation a Travesty

[The Living Church] 30 Jan 2008--The Diocese of Central Florida is “poised for a new round of significant growth,” after three months of tense negotiations with clergy and lay leadership from nine congregations seeking to leave The Episcopal Church, according to Bishop John W. Howe.

At the conclusion of the diocesan convention Jan. 25-26 at St. James’ Church, Ormond Beach, Bishop Howe told a reporter for The Living Church that though exhausted, he was pleased with the negotiations.

Letter shows rift among Episcopal conservatives

[Pittsburgh Post-Gazette] 30 Jan 2008--In the first public sign of disagreement among theologically conservative clergy in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh over the leadership of Bishop Robert W. Duncan Jr., 12 such rectors and priests told him this week they disapprove of his effort to remove the diocese from the Episcopal Church and will, instead, remain with the denomination.

The 12, including the president of the diocese's clergy association and its longest-tenured rector, mailed a signed, one-paragraph letter yesterday to the diocese's 66 churches saying that while they supported the "reformation of the Episcopal Church ... we have determined to remain within, and not realign out of" it.

Latest TEC Numbers

[The Episcopal Church] 30 Jan 2008--The latest official figures.

Gay rights versus religious liberty: US test case

[Anglican Mainstream] 30 Jan 2008--Elaine Huguenin’s photography business is being sued by the State’s Human Rights Division.

A Christian photographer who refused to take photographs of a ‘commitment ceremony’ between two women is being sued in the United States under laws similar to the UK’s sexual orientation regulations on goods and services.

Attorneys from the Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian legal organisation in America, are representing the photographer who is being sued in the state of New Mexico.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The bizarre Ms. May

[National Post] 29 Jan 2008--Green party leader Elizabeth May has done as much as she could to extricate herself from the controversy she touched off last week when she stated in a press release about Afghanistan that "forces from a Christian/ Crusader heritage will continue to fuel an insurgency that has been framed as a 'Jihad.' " She is still trying to blame the Conservative party and the press corps for her failure to make it clear that her use of the phrase "Christian/Crusader heritage" was what the Romans called oratio obliqua. Apparently, she has reached the age of 53, and spent an entire career in advocacy and public service, without learning the intricacies of that handy-dandy device known as the quotation mark.

It would be one thing if a Muslim political candidate had allowed those words to go out under his name, but Ms. May is studying for the Anglican priesthood -- an unusual vocation for someone at the head of a political party in the Western world. Given this, the correct presumption in her case might be that she meant to refer to the "Christian/Crusader heritage" of Canadian troops without any irony or derisive connotation at all.

On the other hand, given the state of the contemporary Anglican church, there may well be some ordained ministers so liberal that they really do think the term "Christian" has acquired overtones of fanaticism and imperialism.

The PB Looks a Gift Horse in the Mouth

[Confessions of a Carioca] 29 Jan 2008--The San Joaquin drama took another turn yesterday--one that I have to say caught me by surprise, and very little surprises me anymore.

The Standing Committee of the Diocese of San Joaquin (whatever that may be--we'll just leave it alone for the moment) has accomplished a noteworthy feat. Six of the eight elected members have been "de-acknowledged" by not just one, but two Primates of the Anglican Communion. How did they manage such an accomplishment?

Episcopalians ponder alternative alliances

[Lubbock Online] 29 Jan 2008--On an average Sunday, fewer than 800,000 worshippers are present in all Episcopal churches throughout the United States, according to the leader of a U.S. Anglican group seeking shelter outside the Episcopal Church United States of America while desiring to remain within the worldwide Anglican family.

"People are voting with their feet," Bishop Martyn Minns said in a telephone interview from his church in Fairfax, Va.

Newcastle Bishop disassociates himself with GAFCON

[Christianity Today UK] 29 Jan 2008--The Anglican Newcastle Bishop, The Right Reverend Dr Brian Farran, has disassociated himself from the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), describing it as a one-dimensional conference designed to ‘cause embarrassment,’ whether intended or not, to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, and to the rest of the Anglican Communion.

Dr. Farran declared that GAFCON is a theological politically conference designed to act as a ‘counter-conference’ to the 2008 Lambeth Conference and has the potential to damage or lessen the moral authority of it.

A Fascinating Set of Articles about English Evangelicalism

[Stand Firm] 29 Jan 2008--From the Ugley Vicar, there is this article about two competing strands of Anglicans who claim to be evangelical:

Fulcrum was launched at the 2003 National Evangelical Anglican Congress, somewhat to the chagrin of the organisers who said that it “undermined their attempts to build evangelical unity”. Indeed, the launch was preceded by private consultations amongst some of those in the Evangelical constituency who felt concerned at the way the Congress was being managed, and the decision to go ahead was taken behind closed doors two and a half weeks before the Congress began.

The claim of Fulcrum has always been to represent the ‘middle ground’ of Evangelicalism — inclining neither too far towards the ‘left’ of Liberalism nor the ‘right’ of Conservatism. However, as events, and comments on the Fulcrum website, have shown, if this is ‘Open Evangelicalism’ it cannot entirely live up to its name.

The problem for Open Evangelicalism is that those who adopt this position agree primarily on just one thing, namely that they are not Conservative Evangelicals. And this inevitably means that the ‘Open’ label is misleading, both to others and, perhaps more significantly, to themselves.

The Rt. Rev. John C. Bauerschmidt: Bishop’s Convention Address, Diocese of Tennessee

[The Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee] 29 Jan 2008--...I want to say something about the peculiar point in our life as Episcopalians and Anglicans that we presently inhabit. I believe the Windsor Report offers us the way forward as we work to repair the common life of the Anglican Communion. At our 2007 Convention, clergy and delegates resolved that “the findings and recommendations of the Windsor Report represent the best way forward for the Episcopal Church USA and the Anglican Communion”. In addition, the Diocese re-affirmed a commitment to being a “full and active part of the Anglican Communion, in unity with the See of Canterbury, and the Episcopal Church USA; forgoing our own local desires for the sake of the greater Anglican Communion; and a conciliar approach to decision-making in the life of the Church and the Anglican Communion by working with and heeding the collective wishes of the Communion before making unilateral decisions”. These graceful words of connection I have made my own on a number of occasions, and I do so again today.

As Bishop of Tennessee, I am committed to the so-called Camp Allen principles of compliance with the recommendations of the Windsor Report, principles that the Archbishop of Canterbury identified in his recent “Advent Letter” as making obvious “that such dioceses and bishops cannot be regarded as deficient in recognizable faithfulness to the common deposit and the common language and practice of the Communion”. I hope that you know that I am committed to a traditional understanding of Christian marriage, and that that I believe the Church’s traditional teaching on sex and sexual relationships. I have been saying this consistently and publicly, I believe, since the year 2000, when it suddenly seemed necessary (at least to me) to say so. I will follow through with the discharge of my responsibilities as bishop, but you should also know that I am not planning on taking my beliefs and commitments and using them as a weapon against anyone, a tool in some war of separation that I do not believe will serve the Gospel or the Church.

Local Option Resolution Referred to Special Committee

[Stand Firm] 29 Jan 2008--Heads up, Virginians... please keep your ears to the ground on who gets appointed to this special committee, and drop us a line when you find out:

The council referred to a special committee resolutions seeking permission for same-sex blessings and the ordination of partnered gays and lesbians. Bishop Lee will appoint members to a “Windsor Dialogue Commission,” which will be charged with determining “in light of the emerging experience of our church” whether “local option for the blessing of same-gender unions” is permissible and another resolution committing the diocese “to a process of discernment and reflection on the ordination and service of deacons and priests living in same-gender relationships.”

Ordinands taking second degree could face huge rise in tuition fees

[EV News] 29 Jan 2008--The Times reported on Saturday that ordinands in the Church of England who are taking second university degrees to become ministers in the CofE could face a huge rise in university tuition fees after the government announced plans to remove £100 million for students wishing to take a second degree.

According to the Times, three quarters of those who train to become ministers in the CofE already have a degree in a different discipline and could therefore face huge rises in tuition fees.

Bill Rammell, the universities minister, has suggested that the Church should pay the full tuition costs for theology students or that it should move students from the normal three-year theology degrees into cheaper and less demanding two-year vocational courses. The Church has two months to persuade the council to change its mind or to face the consequences.

Bishop exhorts Episcopalians to fund diocese

[Washington Times] 29 Jan 2008--Virginia Episcopal Bishop Peter J. Lee rebuked fellow Episcopalians yesterday for stinginess, saying the nation's largest Episcopal diocese is financially strapped because of the "continuing inability or unwillingness" of its churches to contribute.

Speaking at the annual diocesan council meeting at the Hyatt Regency Reston, he also revealed that the diocese has spent $2 million to date on a lawsuit involving 11 churches that left the diocese a year ago over differences in theology and the 2003 consecration of the openly homosexual New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson.

The diocese officially does not ordain homosexual clergy, although a resolution is on the table for today's meeting that would change that policy.

It also does not conduct "blessing" ceremonies for same-sex unions. However, a diocesan committee report, issued yesterday, said there was an "emerging consensus" among committee members to eventually allow such blessings.

Related article:
Budget Concerns Dominate Virginia Council Agenda - The Living Church

Episcopal Church members struggle

[Fresno Bee] 29 Jan 2008--Like other Episcopalians, Steve Bentley of Stockton has been struggling since most members of his diocese voted to leave the U.S. Episcopal Church.

On Saturday, he and dozens of others gathered at the Church of the Saviour here to discuss how to keep going amid a religious dispute that has gained attention nationwide.

Related article:
Remaining Episcopalians Move On after Split - The Christian Post

Monday, January 28, 2008

Toward Reconciliation and Reunion: Can Orthodox Anglicanism Emerge from Disarray?

[Stand Firm] 28 Jan 2008--One way, possibly, to think of this strategy is to imagine a kingdom overrun by her enemies and its throne usurped by a pretender. In such a situation some provinces would necessarily break ties with the kingdom and seek to regroup, restructure, and prepare for re-invasion. Other leaders and entities would remain within the overrun kingdom for the express purpose of resistance and, ultimately, overthrow. Ideally, both the resistance on the inside and the new kingdom externally would support one another toward the common goal of defeating the invader and restoring the kingdom.

Two Key Misunderstandings of Law and Canons

[Stand Firm] 28 Jan 2008--First, SF commenter "Chancellor" on the presiding bishop's attempt to remove the members of the standing committee in San Joaquin....

Second, David Trimble on Peter Lee's comment concerning the involvement of the Virginia attorney general in the property lawsuits there....

Remain Episcopal

[Bill Ockham] 28 Jan 2008--The dissidents who have abandoned their diocese, which previously abandoned the Episcopal Church had a pep rally in Hanford California today. All clear? No? Ok then.

Remain Episcopal is a group of members of the formerly Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin. San Joaquin voted last month to leave the Episcopal Church. Remain Episcopal has organized to leave the Diocese of San Joaquin. There are five churches that form the core of Remain Episcopal. In 2006, these churches had a combined membership of around 1,400 with an average Sunday attendance (ASA) of 470.

How Egalitarian Tactics Swayed Evangelicals in the Church of England

[Stand Firm] 28 Jan 2008--This is an old article but made relevant again by the recent discussions on what it means to be an Evangelical, open or otherwise. The author is Wallace Benn, a suffragen bishop in England and a solid evangelical. Here's his report on the debate surrounding the ordination of women in the Church of England back in 1992. Some of the highlights from this article hosted on the website of the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. Some of the names mentioned might be familiar.

Two Things

[Captain Yips Secret Journal] 28 Jan 2008--The Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church may be found here, and I, curious to find where said constitution and canons gave to the Presiding Bishop the power to remove a Standing Committee, searched fruitlessly. So we have come to rule by edict. The argument, I suppose, is that all actions of the last San Joaquin convention are invalid - on what canonical grounds I cannot imagine. La Eglise, c'est moi.

Episcopal leader appoints clergyman to serve Bakersfield churches

[The Bakersfield Californian] 28 Jan 2008--A national Episcopal leader visited Bakersfield Thursday, heard believers’ concerns about the San Joaquin Diocese’s recent secession from the church and appointed a local clergyman as a temporary missionary priest to serve Bakersfield area believers.

He also said the national church considers the diocese’s Dec. 8 decision to place itself under overseas Anglican rule illegal.

San Joaquin Standing Committee not recognized as official, Presiding Bishop says

[Episcopal Life Online] 28 Jan 2008--Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori on January 25 wrote to inform each member of the standing committee elected at the last convention of the Fresno-based Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin that she does not recognize them as the standing committee of that diocese. She also assured continuing Episcopalians of financial and legal support in reconstituting the diocese.

Jefferts Schori, in a letter delivered January 26 to the committee's eight members, cited their unanimous vote to disaffiliate with The Episcopal Church (TEC) and their "attempt to organize as the standing committee of an entity that identifies itself as an Anglican Diocese of the Province of the Southern Cone," actions which violate church canons.

Bishop conveys message of activism

[The Roanoke Times] 28 Jan 2008--Calling for economic evangelism and political advocacy, the Most Rev. Katherine Jefferts Schori, elected leader of the nation's 2.7 million Episcopal Church members, roused an audience of her denomination's regional leaders in Roanoke on Saturday.

"Pester your legislators" to be more aggressive in battling poverty and hunger across the globe, urged Jefferts Schori. "Annoy them."

The 53-year-old former oceanographer, who is said by religious scholars to be the only female top-ranked official of a major denomination -- except for Queen Elizabeth II, whose crown makes her head of the Church of England -- spoke with the conviction of a street preacher.

Surveys find Americans tolerant of religious beliefs

[Scripps Howard News Service] 28 Jan 2008--When it comes to religion, modern Americans think religious beliefs are good, but they tend to worry about beliefs that affect other people.

As a rule, religious words are safer than religious actions.

Consider these numbers from a new Ellison Research study that shows surprising support -- on the left and right, among believers and skeptics -- for freedom of expression when it comes to words and symbols.

An overwhelming 90 percent of adults agreed that faith groups should be allowed to rent public property, such as a school gym, if laws gave non-religious groups the same right. Asked about allowing a moment of silence in public schools, 89 percent said that was fine. Another 88 percent said teachers should have the right to wear jewelry, such as a cross or a Star of David, in public-school classes.

Status of Stirling rector remains uncertain

[Belleville Intelligencer] 28 Jan 2008--The congregation of St. John the Evangelist Church here remains in the dark about the future of its rector, more than six months since he was disciplined by the Anglican Church.

Rev. Michael Bury's licence to perform marriages was suspended after he married a same-sex couple last August.

While details of the offending ceremony haven't been released by the church and local church officials declined to comment on the issue, Bury was disciplined by the diocese of Ontario for marrying the same-sex couple.

Churchgoers urged to celebrate “Christ-centred Anglicanism”

[Diocese of Lichfield] 28 Jan 2008--The Bishop of Stafford has called on churchgoers to celebrate Anglicanism and “proclaim what God has done and is doing for us in Jesus Christ.” The Rt Revd Gordon Mursell makes his comments in a pastoral letter printed in the February edition of parish magazines in the Diocese of Lichfield.

He says the church only has itself to blame for media reports about how mainstream churches in the UK have ‘lost it’, or are in ‘terminal decline’. And he adds: “We English Anglicans are extraordinarily good at talking down our church. It’s frightening to ask yourself: how often have I been in a conversation with non-churchgoers during which I’ve criticized ‘the Diocese’ or ‘the Evangelicals’ or ‘the Prayer Book groupies’ - or simply failed to use the opportunity to say what I really value about my church and my faith?

Opinion: Don't rush the Anglican Covenant

[Diocese of New Westminster] 28 Jan 2008--A summary of a statement regarding the Archbishop of Canterbury's plan to develop an Anglican Covenant, possibly as soon as the Lambeth Conference in England this summer. It was written by "The Widening Circle," a group of Anglicans that met this year in London, Ontario, who consider themselves "orthodox, comprehensive, and catholic (universal)."

The current position of the Anglican Church of Canada has been stated quite unambiguously by the Council of General Synod, namely that the development of a Covenant must be a process undertaken with the utmost careful deliberation and consultation, and that the timetable that has been proposed is very much too short:

Putting the 'P' back in Anglican

{Spero News] 28 Jan 2008--I know that you’re thinking, well some of you: “This Fr. Hart wants to make Protestants out of us. After all, since he does not want to swim the Tiber he must have descended to some sort of Low Churchmanship. We all know that the opposite of 'Catholic' must be 'Protestant,' mustn’t it? The opposite of 'Papalist' must be 'Puritan.'” Ah, but what if I am really so Catholic that I believe that the opposite of "Tridentine" must be "Patristic?"

Consecrations of Three Bishops to AMiA Challenge Diocesan Boundaries

[Virtue Online] 28 Jan 2008--With more than 1,500 orthodox Anglicans watching, three Anglican Mission in the Americas (AMiA) priests were consecrated by a cross section of the Anglican Communion's bishops during an emotional three-hour worship service in a ballroom of the Adam's Mark Hotel in Dallas.

The Rt. Rev. Terrell Glenn Jr. of Pawley's Island, SC; the Rt. Rev. John Miller III of Melbourne, Fla.; and the Rt. Rev. Philip Jones from Little Rock, Arkansas were consecrated using a service drawn from the new Book of Common Prayer (1662 revised) and modern praise and worship music. The service concluded the three-day winter conference of the Anglican mission that brought together a bevy of evangelical motivational speakers.

Jefferts Schori Accuses Fleeing Episcopalians Who Want Their Properties of Being Like Child Abusers

[Virtue Online] 28 Jan 2008--The Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church believes that Episcopalians who flee the Episcopal Church and want to keep their properties are being like child abusers.

Here is what she said; "It would be easier to let U.S. conservatives secede to join another Anglican province without a fight, but I don't think that's a faithful thing to do. Episcopal leaders are stewards of church property and assets, protecting past generations' legacies and passing them on to future Episcopalians. Allowing congregations to walk away with church property condones bad behavior. In a sense, it's related to the old ecclesiastical behavior toward child abuse, when priests essentially looked the other way. Bad behavior must be confronted."

So there you have it.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

N.C. Episcopalians back inclusion of gays

[Monterey Herald] 26 Jan 2008--Delegates to the annual convention of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina adopted a resolution asking the national body to support the full inclusion of gays and lesbians and to encourage the development of liturgies to bless same-sex unions.

The resolution passed by a majority vote of the more than 700 delegates to the convention, which met in Greensboro last week.

Quote of the Day: Not so happy in Whoville?

[BabyBlueOnline] 26 Jan 2008--The Presiding Bishop recently took a Q&A following the consecration of Alabama Bishop Suffragan Kee Sloan on January 12th. Here is one of the questions followed by her answer:

Question: May I just ask how is your conversation with the Bishop of Canterbury?

Katherine Jefferts Schori: How is my conversation with the Archbishop of Canterbury? Right. I don’t know him terribly well. (laughter) I’ve met him only three times. I think there is a desire for greater relationship there. Certainly there is on my part. Charles Robertson - Chuck Robertson, the Canon to the Presiding Bishop who was here until this afternoon - is going to England on Monday to try and increase the level of conversation with the Archbishop’s Office and the office of the Anglican Communion; the General Secretary of the Anglican Communion. We’re working at it. I think the biggest difficulty is the conflict in the Church of England is far greater than it is in this church. And the Archbishop of Canterbury is first and foremost head of the Church of England. Everything that impacts the rest of the communion is being played out even on a larger stage in his own church. He’s in a very difficult position. Very difficult. I empathize with him. And I pray for him and I hope you do too.

Traditionalists Need to Be Dealt with Like Abusers

[Conger] 26 Jan 2008--US Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has defended her legal assault on traditionalist leaders, telling a reporter last week the desire of conservatives to secede from the Episcopal Church with their property was akin to child abuse.

Allowing congregations or dioceses to walk away with church property condones “bad behavior,” she told the Religion News Service on Jan 16.

Frail vicar hauled before Church court

[Times Online] 26 Jan 2008--A 62-year-old clergyman suffering from ill health was suspended and hauled before some of the best legal brains in the Church of England in a long-running dispute over suspicions of "fraud or embezzlement". The allegations against the Rev David Faulks led to a secret ecclesiastical tribunal which met in a chapel at the heart of the west London building which is the headquarters of the worldwide Anglican Communion, representing 77 million souls.

The weight and majesty of the Church's legal system was brought to bear in this way, all because Mr Fauls had failed to keep "full and accurate financial records" - in relation to a few hundred pounds each year to do with the profit made by his parish magazine.

Schori: "You're Fired"; Schofield: "I Already Quit"

[Still On Patrol] 26 Jan 2008--With more utterly predictable wrongheadedness, PB Schori last Friday issued an inhibition of Bishop John-David Schofield of the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin, based upon his alleged "abandonment" of communion with the Episcopal Church. Just as predictably, Bishop Schofield and Archbishop Gregory Venables responded that Bishop Schofield and his Diocese are now part of the Province of the Southern Cone and thus not within the disciplinary jurisdiction of TCGC. I seriously doubt that ++Schofield or ++ Venables were the least bit surprised, nor are they the least bit concerned with this weak shot taken in their direction. Sticks and stones.

New Anglican American bishop to visit Christ Church Sunday

[MyWestTexaS.COM] 26 Jan 2008--The new Anglican bishop for protesting Episcopal churches, including Christ Church Midland, will pay a visit and lead worship Sunday.

On Sept. 2, Anglican Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi of Uganda consecrated the Rev. John Guernsey as bishop over all American Anglican congregations currently under the protection of the Uganda's Anglican Church.

"Scripture and the Gospel have no boundaries"

[VirtueOnline] 26 Jan 2008--He looks the picture of health. At 68, Bishop Donald Harvey might have just cause to feel a tad down and out after being ecclesiastically beaten up by a church he served faithfully for most of his adult life, for daring to make a stand for the Faith in his home province of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador in the Anglican Church of Canada.

Today, though, is a special day in his life. On 25 January 1993, exactly 15 years ago, he was consecrated as a bishop in the church of God. "I never thought I would be celebrating this anniversary here in Dallas with people from across the world who share the same gospel I do and who want to share it with others," he says somewhat wistfully, but with deep joy.

African Bishop Spins Homosexuality Debate in TEC Diocese

[VirtueOnline] 26 Jan 2008--A liberal African bishop, who has wrought havoc in his own diocese and the Province of Central Africa over his liberal views on homosexuality, told delegates to the 192nd annual meeting of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina in Greensboro, recently, that the majority of African Anglicans, about 37 million, are not bothered by the debate about sexuality.

The Rt. Rev. Musonda Trevor Mwamba of Botswana blasted the African Anglican Church, which represents the vast majority of the Anglican Communion, saying the majority of African Anglicans have their minds focused on life and death issues, like AIDS, poverty ... and not what the church thinks about sex or the color of your pajama pants. "Villagers who live on less than $1 a day aren't aware this is going on. The majority of Africans who can afford TVs and radios, they don't want to see the communion incinerate," he said.

Clergy without degrees not suitable as bishops or deans

[Anglican Mainstream] 26 Jan 2008--Ed: Well, it’s not the actual headline, or indeed the story, but it is the response of Anglican officialdom to new government proposals to charge full fees to students taking a second degree of the same or lower level than their first - which would indeed include a lot of trainee clergy. However, the ‘case against’ presented by the director of the Ministry Division overlooks the fact that the Church of England has been downgrading theological training from degree level for decades, encouraging people onto part-time courses and precisely the two year foundation degrees it now apparently says are not suitable for the “brightest and best”. Just as a ‘for instance’, how many ordinands study Greek, let alone Hebrew, to any level of competence?

Who is running the Anglican Communion?

[Anglican Mainstream] 26 Jan 2008--Readers of the Anglican Communion Office’s website might begin to wonder who is running the Anglican Communion. The Anglican Communion Office is described on the site as “the permanent secretariat of the Anglican Consultative Council, which is led by the Revd Canon Kenneth Kearon, Secretary General” and is “based in London, England”.

As such, it has a finger in many pies, but it is clearly a ’service and support’ organization, supporting the working of the Communion in a ‘diaconal’ rather than presbyteral (much less, episcopal) role.

Curious, then, that the ACO website lists the Diocese of San Joaquin as ‘vacant’ - curious, because it isn’t. The Diocesan Bishop, John-David Schofield, has been inhibited by the Presiding Bishop, Katherine Jefferts-Schori, but he is still the Bishop, unless or until he is deposed. Moreover, he is still on the ‘guest list’ of the Lambeth Conference, though this may change (and will doubtless precipitate further crisis, insofar as he regards himself as part of the Province of the Southern Cone, regarding which Greg Venables may have something to say.)

We may then ask why the ACO has jumped the gun. It may, of course, be a misunderstanding on the part of the website manager, in which case it will doubtless be corrected soon.

Virginia Bishop: Conflict a Religious Liberty Issue

[The Living Church] 26 Jan 2008--The Rt. Rev. Peter Lee, Bishop of Virginia, told members and guests attending the first day of the diocese’s annual council in Reston that the current “shadow” of litigation over the diocese is worth the expense because of the cause’s “serious consequences for religious liberty.

“If the attorney general’s view of the law prevails, it will mean that the Commonwealth of Virginia gives preference to churches with congregational governance, discriminates against churches that are hierarchical or connectional in their governance, and intrudes into the doctrine and discipline of communities of faith,” Bishop Lee said in his Jan. 25 address.

Province 8 Removes Executive Council Representative

[The Living Church] 26 Jaqn 2008--The president of Province 8, the Rev. Jack Eastwood, announced Jan. 24 that the province’s executive committee has vacated the seat held by Ted Yumoto on the national Executive Council after Mr. Yumoto told them he had voted in December in favor of amending the canons and the constitution of the Diocese of San Joaquin to join the Province of the Southern Cone.

Fr. Eastwood said he was appreciative of Mr. Yumoto's “stable and consistent” leadership to Province 8 and the church but that provincial leadership “agreed that we need to have a representative who is professing to be a member of the Episcopal Church and not some other loyalty.” The committee is seeking nominations for a new lay representative, and hopes that person will be in place in time to attend the next Executive Council meeting February 11-14 in Quito, Ecuador.

Friday, January 25, 2008

AMIA Conference Draws Record Crowd to Hear Call to Grow Church

[Virtue Online] 25 Jan 2008--Announcing that this was the largest turnout ever in the history of the Anglican Mission in the Americas (AMIA), a jubilant Bishop Chuck Murphy stood before nearly 1,700 evangelical Anglicans at their winter conference, to announce a broad plan to reach 130 million unchurched Americans."

God has given us a vision he has given us a dream to think big. Don't think in small categories, dream real big. We must continue to think, don't relax or step back God has given us the dream to dream big. We are called to expect great things from God and attempt great things for God and that requires us to think big," he told an expectant audience."

God is pulling together His people from the US, Canada and across the world. This is our eighth winter conference. We have people from 37 states and the District of Columbia. We have representatives from 13 different countries - from Canada in the north to South America, from Europe, Africa and Asia, God's people are celebrating what God is doing in and through the AMIA."

"Liberal theology without the gospel has the smell of death rather than of life"

[VirtueOnline] 25 Jan 2008--In a wide-ranging interview, the Canadian Anglican theologian J.I. Packer talked with David W. Virtue about the state of the Anglican Communion at the Anglican Mission in the Americas (AMiA) Winter Conference in Dallas, Texas.

Dr. Packer, 81, is a British-born Canadian Christian theologian in the Calvinistic Anglican tradition. He currently serves as the Board of Governors' Professor of Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. He is considered to be one of the most important evangelical theologians of the late 20th century.

The Dean of the Cathedral of South Carolina Writes about Lambeth

[Stand Firm] 25 Jan 2008--That most prolific of authors, Anonymous, nailed the human condition as it so often expresses itself amidst the deceptively dreaming spires of Oxford in the U. K., and Sewanee in the U.S., where his (or her?) ditty about the good and the clever has been passed down from generation to generation.

In Sewanee’s case, a more profound expression of another perspective on the same truth, that of the cross of Christ, 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.

Pres. Anderson and PBp Jefferts Schori: How to Offend those You hope to Serve

[Surrounded] 25 Jan 2008--You know, when our parish sent out Stewardship letters, we made every effort to make sure that the addresses being used were correct. In a couple of cases, we had parishioners whose spouses had just died, and their names were not yet removed from the address label. As well, we noted some incorrect addresses. Incorrect addresses are one thing — but the insensitivity of sending a Stewardship letter (especially) to a newly widowed member, asking for their continued involvement financially in the life of the parish, without the apparent consideration of THEIR life…. well, it’s not good. It is insensitive. It is negatively pastoral. It is impersonal, and even dehumanizing in the sense of not being “known.”We made those changes. Because we know them and love them and choose not to be rude and insensitive, especially the exacerbation of their grief by our lack of administrative attention.

The Covenant tightrope walk

[Church Times] 25 Jan 2008--My contribution to the consultations that followed the announcement of the retirement of Archbishop George Carey included the suggestion that his successor should spend less time on the Anglican Communion.

It has proved a fond hope. The past five years have seen a constant stream of reports, ultimatums, high-level meetings, and unilateral actions requiring archiepiscopal initiative or response.

Global Anglican Future - Travel Plans

[GAFCON] 25 Jan 2008--This morning we have released the following communication on behalf of the leadership team of GAFCON:

"We have heard that GAFCON has aroused considerable interest and enthusiasm. We would encourage those who are planning visits to the Holy Land to coincide with GAFCON to await the announcement of the venue and the exact start and finish dates before making final plans"

The GAFCON Leadership Team.

Quiet Deal May End Bristol Church Furor,0,4241740.story

[ourant] 25 Jan 2008--A bitter and potentially expensive battle over the question of who owns a historic Episcopal church in Bristol may be drawing to a quiet close.

Lawyers for a Bristol congregation, which defected from the Episcopal Church to join a more conservative Anglican group last year, and the Connecticut Diocese are negotiating an end to litigation over the church property, according to church sources.

Catholic opinion on Rowan Williams, the Church and ’secret communions’

[Anglican Mainstream] 25 Jan 2008--Part of the problem with Dr. Williams approach to schism is the way in which he is trying to be the only point of unity between the factions in tension. As long as each faction of the church can have relationship with him, he feels unity can be achieved.The problem is much greater than just a relationship with the Archbishop of Canterbury as a person. While the Anglican Communion qualifies its members by their relationship with Canterbury, that relationship has been historically built upon the faithfulness of Canterbury to Christian faith as it has been understood within Protestant Anglicanism.

Lambeth Conference to go ahead with most of the bishops present

[Church Times] 25 Jan 2008--Seventy per cent of bishops have said yes to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s invitation to attend this year’s Lambeth Conference.

At a press conference at Lambeth Palace on Monday, Dr Williams said that, in addition, he knew of others who intended coming. To those who had declined (on the grounds that the bishops of the US Episcopal Church were attending), he said: “I recognise their absolute right to choose in good faith and in conscience whether or not they can be there. The invitation is on the table. Naturally, I would be delighted to see more rather than fewer bishops there. That’s their choice, but the door is open.”

"He being dead yet speaketh": JC Ryle and loyalty to the Church of England

[The Ugley Vicar] 25 Jan 2008--Writing a hundred and thirty years ago, to a different crisis, Bishop JC Ryle has potent words both for the Anglican Communion today and for those who represent orthodoxy:

“In the last place, would you understand what the times require of you in reference to the Church of England? Listen to me, and I will tell you. No doubt you live in days when our time-honoured church is in very perilous, distressing and critical position. Her rowers have brought her into troubled water. Her very existence is endangered by papists, infidels, and liberationists without. Her life-blood is drained away by the behaviour of traitors, false friends and timid officers within. Nevertheless, so long as the Church of England sticks firmly to the Bible, the [39] Articles, and the principles of the Protestant Reformation, so long I advise you strongly to stick to the church. When the Articles are thrown overboard, and the old flag is hauled down, then, and not till then, it will be time for you and me to launch the boats and quit the wreck. At present, let us stick to the old ship.

Tom Wright attacks GAFCON

[Stand Firm] 25 Jan 2008--If Wright thinks that there is still a future for enforcement of the Windsor Report, the Anglican Covenant, or whatever new piece of paper will be waved in front of us promising "peace in our time", he is very much mistaken. The story of the last 5 years is one of intransigent contempt from TEC and her allies coupled with negligent and spineless inactivity from Lambeth.

Blaming the GAFCON organisers for "manning the lifeboats" and thus dooming the Communion to sink is the equivalent of the Captain of the Titanic doing the same. The problem is the destructive iceberg of unbelief which everyone is pretending could never sink the ship. Wright is fiddling as the Titanic sinks. It may be well-intentioned but it does nothing to solve the situation.

Now the MDG liturgy

[Conger] 25 Jan 2008--The Episcopal Church’s charitable arm, Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) has released a liturgy to encourage American Anglicans to focus their Lenten devotions upon the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The liturgy “Stations of the MDGs” is “designed to be used during Lent in lieu of the traditional Stations of the Cross service,” Luke Fodor, the Network Coordinator at the Office of Church Relations at ERD said in an email.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Bonnie Anderson: Mischief Maker, Trouble Maker and Meddler

[VirtueOnline] 24 Jan 2008--Wherever she goes, Bonnie Anderson, President of the House of Deputies, stirs up trouble. She is a mischief maker. She does it with a smile and the promise of good things to come, if one simply stays with The Episcopal Church.

She made big trouble in the Diocese of Ft. Worth, recently when she went there to consult with the handful of remaining Episcopalians who might, on a good day, fit into a Chinese rickshaw. She managed to tick off Bishop Jack Iker who ripped her presence in his diocese by saying, "This visit by Mrs. Anderson further exacerbates an already tense, adversarial relationship that has developed between national leaders and diocesan officials. Unfortunately, she has sought to further divide the people of this diocese rather than to promote reconciliation. I regret that Mrs. Anderson has chosen to fan the flames of division and to advocate a rather one-sided view of the controversies that have overtaken The Episcopal Church in recent decades."

Episcopal Church Discourages Home-Schooling

[Tom in the Box] 24 Jan 2008--We are concerned, however, about the education of a very small sub-segment of our Episcopal body. This small group is our home-schooled children. We have discovered that our children who are ‘educated’ in their homes are not receiving the same curriculum as other children their age in public or private school.

For example, children taught at home are not learning enough about evolution (the process by which God brought about creation; all smart people know this). They are not being instructed in how to ‘say no to drugs.’ They are not being exposed to the various sexual options available to them in society.

Of great concern also is what these home-schooled kids are being taught. We have learned that they simply know too much of the bible. They understand not only the content of the bible, but also how to properly interpret it. Furthermore, they believe that the scriptures actually mean what they say, and do not change in meaning over time. An alarming number hold to Reformed Theology.

We, the leadership of the Episcopal Church, are greatly concerned by the threat that the home-schooled children could bring against the church in the upcoming years. If these children bring their fundamentalist ideas into the church, they will only cause division and stir up strife within the Episcopal body.

Episcopal Life: San Joaquin ‘Moving Forward Welcoming All’ conference to host online audience Jan 26

[Stand Firm] 24 Jan 2008--The comments on this Episcopal Life Online article on Stand Firm raise some interesting issues.

Archbishop Williams: I Can’t Stop Defections

[The Living Church] 24 Jan 2008--Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has responded to an appeal from the Canadian Primate by saying that that he cannot stop congregations from leaving one province of the Anglican Communion and affiliating with another.

In a letter made public on the Anglican Church of Canada’s website, Archbishop Williams wrote to Archbishop Fred Hiltz that “I have no canonical authority to prevent these things.

Archbishop Outlines Lambeth Goals

[The Living Church] 24 Jan 2008--Joined by 30 bishops from 17 provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams announced the official program for the 2008 Lambeth Conference on Jan. 21.

In his opening remarks, Archbishop Williams pointed out that the first Lambeth Conference in 1867 was called in part in response to “a crisis about the limits of diversity allowed in the Anglican churches around the world; so there’s nothing so very new about a Lambeth Conference meeting in a climate of some controversy.”

Vicar resigns

[The Weston & Somerset Mercury] 24 Jan 2008--A vicar from Yatton who decided to take a course in becoming a white witch has resigned from his day job.

The Weston & Somerset Mercury revealed last week how Reverend Chris Horseman of Westaway Park, has begun his training to become a white witch, whose supposed magic is designed to do good or counteract evil.

Lambeth Conference in no sense a law making body.

[Modern Church People's Union] 24 Jan 2008--The Archbishop of Canterbury has officially launched the Lambeth Conference 2008. He said,

The Conference has never been a lawmaking body in the strict sense and it wasn’t designed to be one: every local Anglican province around the world has its own independent system of church law and there is no supreme court. But there was already in 1867 a deep concern to find ways short of passing formal laws that would make sure that Anglicans around the world acted in a responsible way towards each other and stayed faithful to the common inheritance of biblical and doctrinal faith. This is as much a challenge now as it was then. But the very fact of the Conference shows that we have always been willing to look for such ways of setting our common life on a firm basis so that we can act and serve more effectively in our world.

FiF NA President responds to inhibition of Bishop Schofield

[Forward in Faith North America] 24 Jan 2008--We note with great sadness the retaliatory canonical actions of certain members of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, a Province of the Anglican Communion, against a Bishop of another Province of the Anglican Communion, the Right Reverend John David Schofield, Bishop of San Joaquin. We applaud, Bishop Schofield’s Primate, (since December 8, 2007) the Most Reverend Gregory Venables, for coming to the defense of one of his bishops.

We further must call into question the use of the particular Canon pertaining to the abandonment of the Communion inasmuch as the American Province is not a Communion. That particular designation is reserved for the worldwide expression of Anglicanism. In an age when Christianity must be increasingly serious in its endeavors to proclaim the received Gospel of Jesus Christ and to take seriously the Great Commission to “go and make disciples of all nations,” by baptizing, teaching, and obeying all that our Savior has commanded, we are distressed by litigious behavior that inhibits mission ministry.

Forward in Faith North America has endeavored to provide a safe place for orthodox Christians, and has sought a variety of measures, such as Alternative Primatial Oversight, as a means of preserving the “Faith once delivered to the saints.”

We commend Bishop Schofield, as one of the founding members of Forward in Faith North America

Discipline and the Bishops in a Time of Confusion and Discernment: The Case of Bishop Duncan

[Anglican Communion Institute] 24 Jan 2008--III. However, third, it is an open question as to whether "the Doctrine, Discipline, or Worship of this church" are in fact being upheld and/or embodied by the current executive offices of the Episcopal Church. (Myself, I believe they are not; but that is not the point here.) The question is "open" because it has been in dispute, at least since General Convention 2003. It has been disputed in the explicit mind of a series of TEC bishops, theologians, clergy, and laity, as well as in the explicit mind of other formal leaders and members of the Anglican Communion, of which the Episcopal Church is bound, by its own Constitution, to be a "constituent member". The dispute has been openly engaged, and has continued unabated, and in fact with growing force, despite attempts by General Convention 2006 and meetings by the TEC's House of Bishops to answer, in certain respects, charges as to the constitutional integrity of its executive life.

IV. Fourth, and to further explicate the previous point, this dispute is not an artificial or tendentious construct insofar as it touches the "Doctrine, Discipline, and Worship of this church". The matter of "discipline" is bound up with a host of extensive theological and practical realities that, as we know, include liturgy and liturgical form, teaching, moral behavior, and the more narrow "disciplinary" matters of how clergy and bishops are directed, admonished, and corrected. When, as has happened in now literally hundreds of cases among clergy (and some bishops), an ordained Episcopalian declares that it is no longer possible to "keep" his or her "ordination vows" given the formal teaching, decisions, and actions of the executive leadership of the Episcopal Church itself, and on grounds that have been concretely enumerated in a host of cases and with respect to a host of matters, just insofar as this, the question of whether that leadership itself has openly renounced the Doctrine, Discipline, and Worship of this church has been formally raised. Raised and asserted, furthermore, by the departure of many thousands of the faithful.

V. Fifth, the Title Review Committee that received the charges against Bishop Duncan and formally "certified" his "abandonment of communion" simply and irresponsibly ignored this serious dispute in question and its constraining implications for their decision-making. They did not even make an attempt to assess the nature of the charges brought to them and argue for their pertinence to their judgment.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Significance of Corporate Prayer

[] 23 Jan 2008--Corporate prayer - an powerhouse for spiritual growth or public embarrassment? Mark Dever, the pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC shares his insights on the significance of corporate prayer for believers and non-believers in a church service.

Britain's Atlantis: the search for our lost capital

[The Independent] 23 Jan 2008--Around midnight, at certain tides, church bells can still be heard tolling from the lost city of Dunwich. Or so local legend has it. The sound comes from beneath the waves of the North Sea, for Dunwich – one of England's most prosperous medieval centres, a place some consider a rival to 14th-century London – has been sunk beneath the waters for 500 years and more.

The three-legged Stool: No checks and balances

[Spero News] 23 Jan 2008--“Be it in matter of the one kind or of the other, what Scripture doth plainly deliver, to that the first place both of credit and obedience is due; the next whereunto is whatsoever any man can necessarily conclude by force of reason; after this the Church succeedeth that which the Church by her ecclesiastical authority shall probably think and define to be true or good, must in congruity of reason overrule all other inferior judgments whatsoever.” (Richard Hooker, The Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, Book 5.VIII.2)

Gafcon 'disastrous' for Holy Land says local bishop

[Articles of Faith] 23 Jan 2008--Thinking Anglicans, the Guardian and I have been leaked (and posted almost simultaneously!) a copy of the minutes of two recent meetings that took place in Jerusalem between Bishop Suheil Dawani, Archbishop Peter Akinola and Archbishop Peter Jensen. The other attendees are listed below. You can read my news story on our online faith page. (See also Libby's latest blog on Britain's first Jedi church.) Bishop Suheil did not mince his words. Gafcon would be 'disastrous' for his ministry in the Holy Land. The minutes are self-explanatory. It rather fits with what Rowan Williams was saying yesterday at Lambeth. If any of you want a reminder of what Lambeth was like last time, and what Rowan Williams might be trying to avoid by turning it into something approaching a university seminar, read Andrew Brown's long essay which he's dug out of his archives for me. Meanwhile, Bishop of Buckingham Alan Wilson has dreamed up Ten Rules for Cooking up a Schism. Quite amusing. See below for the Gafcon-Jerusalem minutes in full.

Oldest Bishop in the Episcopal Church Served Deposition Papers

[VirtueOnloine] 23 Jan 2008--The oldest bishop in the history of The Episcopal Church, who has served as both priest and bishop for more than half a century, has been served a notice of deposition by Mrs. Katharine Jefferts Schori, the Episcopal Church's Presiding Bishop, for abandoning the communion of the Episcopal Church.

The Rt. Rev. William A. Cox, 87, now a resident in Tulsa, Oklahoma, told VOL that he has been served the papers and has 60 days to respond as to why he should not be tossed out of the church. The purging of orthodox bishops from The Episcopal Church is now in full throttle.

The Presiding Bishop Takes some Questions in Alabama

[Stand Firm] 23 Jan 2008--Katharine Schori spent about 45 minutes answering questions in Birmingham on January 12, 2008, following the consecration of Alabama Bishop Suffragan Kee Sloan.

Related article:
Read It and Weep: More From PB Schori - Still On Patrol

Report of the R-5 Commission to the 213th Annual Council of the Diocese of Virginia

[The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia] 23 Jan 2008--The R-5 Commission was created by Bishop Peter James Lee in response to the 212th Annual Council of the Diocese of Virginia, which recommended, in Resolution 5 (R-5)i that he appoint a Commission “to discern a possible ‘emerging consensus’ regarding the permitting of ‘local option’ for the blessing of same-sex unions,” with the Commission reporting to the 213th Annual Council.

Lee also did not consent to Duncan inhibition

[Episcopal Cafe] 23 Jan 2008--Bishop Peter Lee, the bishop of the Diocese of Virginia has released the following statement in response to questions about whether or not he agreed to consent to acting to inhibit Bishop Robert Duncan of the Diocese of Pittsburgh who has been charged with the abandonment of the Communion of the Episcopal Church....

Clergy asked to renew licences over same-sex unions

[The Globe and Mail] 23 Jan 2008--An Anglican diocese in Newfoundland will take the rare step today of requiring all of its clergy to declare their allegiances to the church, or "do the honourable thing and resign" if they support a breakaway movement that opposes same-sex unions.

In a letter written to clergy last month, the bishop of the Diocese of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador asks them to attend a mandatory meeting in St. John's to renew their licences, a move the diocese has not taken in at least 20 years.

Related article:
Canadian Anglican Bishop to Priests: Approve Homosexual Blessings or Resign - LifeSite

Canada Anglicans can't halt conservative defections

[Reuters] 23 Jan 2008--The head of the Anglican church has made it clear he is powerless to stop conservative Canadian and U.S. congregations, upset with their national churches' positions on homosexuality, from leaving and affiliating with orthodox branches in Latin America and Africa.

It was a frank admission by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, leader of the world's 77 million Anglicans, of the limits of his power, even though he is opposed to cross-border ecclesiastical moves.

Congregation won't budge on church

[The Press Democrat] 23 Jan 2008--The Petaluma congregation that split from the Episcopal Church over the issue of homosexuality, taking a landmark downtown church with it, has rejected an offer to return the building, and the two sides appear headed to court, a local vestry member said Monday.

The impasse between St. John's Anglican Church and the Episcopal Diocese of Northern California grew from the national schism that began with the ordination of a gay bishop in New Hampshire in 2003 and church support for same-sex unions.

Synod to debate lack of bibles in churches

[EV News] 23 Jan 2008--The Daily Telegraph reports today that Tim Cox, a Synod member from Blackpool (and Church Society Council member) has submitted a private members' motion to the General Synod next month to ask why there are so few bibles in Church of England Churches.

Tim Cox said he had been dismayed to discover that churches he visited “all too often” had no Bibles for worshippers to follow the readings and the sermon.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Church stalls over deal on women bishops

[Telegraph] 22 Jan 2008--Attempts to heal a damaging split over women bishops in the Church of England have faltered after bishops could not agree on a compromise deal.

It was widely expected that plans to appoint women bishops, backed by the liberal and conservative wings of the Church, would be presented to the General Synod next month.

But when bishops met behind closed doors to thrash out proposals, there were heated exchanges and no final decision could be reached. It means that the Church is back at square one on the issue.

Archbishop speaks out against poaching of priests

[Globe and Mail] 22 Jan 2008--The world Anglican Communion's titular leader, the Archbishop of Canterbury, declared yesterday he won't sanction priest-poaching in Canada by branches of Anglicanism that disagree with practices of the Canadian church.

It's the first time Archbishop Rowan Williams has directly addressed what's happening in Canada despite earlier letters of protest from Canadian Anglican leaders.

But the archbishop, writing to the Canadian primate, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, also said he has no authority to prevent what he called "interventions and irregular ordinations" by outside Anglican churches, although he made clear he doesn't support them.

Pastor offers up a small-church manifesto,0,6380026.story

[Daily Press] 22 Jan 2008--Enough already.

Is it just me, or are mega-churches the only Christian congregations deemed worthy of mention in the media or for discussion in religious circles these days? These congregations with 2,000 or more in attendance for regular weekend services (by accepted definition) have started gobbling up the scenery like Sylvester Stallone in a Rambo flick.

But Where To Go?

[The Prayer Book Society] 22 Jan 2008--A part of my daily e-mail traffic comes from people who have read my various pieces, in which I show the mess into which North American Anglicanism has got itself through (a) the initial infidelity of The Episcopal Church [for details of this see my Episcopal Innovations, 1960-2004, from] and then (b) the indiscriminate creation of small groups bearing the name “Anglican” from 1977 through to 2008 [see further my Anglican Identity from the same site]. They ask simply: what are we to do? And some of them expect that there is a simple answer which applies in all the 48 contiguous states, not to mention Alaska and Hawaii.

When controversy speaks for itself

[Get Religion] 22 Jan 2008--Los Angeles Times reporter K. Connie Kang had another interesting story on the Godbeat or, in this case, the gods beat. Yes, the Episcopalians are involved.

More on this story can be read below.

Diocese of N. California Comtemplates Lawsuit

[Stand Firm] 22 Jan 2008--The Petaluma congregation that split from the Episcopal Church over the issue of homosexuality, taking a landmark downtown church with it, has rejected an offer to return the building, and the two sides appear headed to court, a local vestry member said Monday.

Open Letter to the Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori

[Anglican Mainstream] 22 JHan 2008--I write in the spirit of openness expressed in your BBC interview on 1st January 2008 when you said, “The Episcopal Church lives in a society that values transparency …. [and has felt led] to bring these issues [of human sexuality] out into the public sphere where we can do public theologising about them”. I am a member of General Synod in the Church of Ireland, a layman with a scientific rather than a theological education, and this public theologising is helpful to people like me as we try to think through the theological and scientific evaluation of the phenomenon of same-sex attraction.

The correspondence between Dr Jacqueline Keenan and yourself recently publicised on the internet caught my attention, not least because I had just been re-reading The Episcopal Church’s report To Set Our Hope on Christ, to which both of you refer.

I hope that, in view of the discussion already circulating on the internet, and your sense of TEC’s calling to bring these matters into the public sphere, you will find acceptable my submission of these thoughts and questions in the form of an open letter.

Changing Attitude: Strong supporters of Lambeth

[Anglican Mainstream] 22 Jan 2008--‘Changing Attitude wants the Lambeth Conference to take place because it represents the best hope for a change of attitude for the majority of the communion and because it provides an opportunity to effect change. We will be working for radical change with our friends in Integrity and Inclusive Church. We may not achieve change, but we’ll be working hard for it. We believe change is possible and practical because we are people rooted in God and prayer. If we were as the conservatives try to portray us, as barely Christian, then our faith might be misplaced. But we are people as faithful in prayer and as rooted in God as the conservatives. If change occurs it will happen because there is something godly in what we believe and who we are …

A tactic that brings the majority of bishops to Canterbury in July is advantageous for us. It gives us access to bishops and to the world’s media. It gives us a further opportunity to tell our stories, educate bishops and change attitudes.’

The importance of Archbishop Ernest

[Articles of Faith] 22 Jan 2008--In October, Archbishop Ian Ernest, Primate of the Indian Ocean, was along with other leading Global South primates co-signatory to a document in which they called for Lambeth to be postponed and said that 'what is at stake in this crisis is the very nature of Anglicanism.' Today he sat next to the Archbishop of Canterbury at the press conference at Lambeth Palace to launch the 2008 Lambeth Conference. Our brief news report is now online.