Friday, February 29, 2008

An Prayer Book (2008): The Order for Holy Communion - Part I

In this third article of my series on An Anglican Prayer Book (2008) I examine the Introduction to The Order for Holy Communion.

When reading the Introduction to The Order for Holy Communion, the first thing that really caught my attention is An Anglican Prayer Book (2008) has retreated from the biblical concept of the celebration of the Holy Communion as the action of the whole people of God. One of the positive developments of the liturgical renewal of the 20th century was the recovery of the ministry of the members of the congregation. This ministry is expressed through their active participation in the liturgy, and by some of them reading the Lessons, leading the Prayers, assisting at the Lord’s Table, and distributing the Communion. It gives tangible expression to the New Testament doctrine of the priesthood of all believers.

An Anglican Prayer Book (2008) goes back to the practices of the 1950s when only licensed lay persons were permitted to perform these functions, acting as assistants to the priest instead of ministers of the worshiping assembly. Instead of giving the laity a greater role in the liturgy, which, after all, is the work of the laos, the people of God, An Anglican Prayer Book (2008) reduces their role.

The second thing that caught my attention is that An Anglican Prayer Book (2008), like the trial services, takes the view that "the public, expressive form of ‘passing of the peace’" is not really appropriate in a celebration of Holy Communion because there is no provision for the practice in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, 1928 American Prayer Book, and 1962 Canadian Prayer Book. While drawing attention to the presence of the late Medieval Roman form of the Peace in the 1926 Canadian Prayer Book, which is a verbal exchange between the priest and the people, An Anglican Prayer Book (2008) neglects to mention that a more expressive form of the Peace was a part of earlier liturgies and has a Scriptural warrant in the Peace salutations and the "holy kiss of peace" in the New Testament.

It must also be noted that the lack of a precedent in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, 1928 American Prayer Book, and 1962 Canadian Prayer, however, has not prevented the compilers of An Anglican Prayer Book (2008) from incorporating other practices and doctrines into the services of the book. They give appearance of seeking to discourage the "passing of the peace" for other unstated reasons. This is evident in the reluctant tone of the provision that they make for the exchange of the Peace.

"If the people are used to a modern, expressive form of ‘passing of the peace,’ and desire it, then the Minister may at his discretion add this to begin the Service or at the notices."

At the beginning of the Ministry of the Sacrament, before the Consecration and the Communion, would be a much more appropriate place for the exchange of the Peace than at the notices. This is where it is found in the early liturgies. The exchange of the Peace at this juncture in the Service enables those who are preparing to receive Communion to demonstrate in the presence of their brothers and sisters in Christ that they are indeed "reconciled and at peace" with their neighbors. It provides an opportunity for the newly reconciled to share a gesture of reconciliation and peace to cement their restored reconciliation.

In his First Epistle to the Corinthians the Apostle Paul articulates an important biblical principle for the conduct of public worship: Let all things be done for edification (1 Corinthians. 14:26). The expressive form of the Peace and the warmth, friendliness, and acceptance shown to strangers has greatly impressed visitors and newcomers to churches that enthusiastically exchange the Peace at the beginning of the Ministry of the Sacrament. It has made tangible to them the love that our Lord would have us show each other and even our enemies. It serves as a visible sign of God’s power to heal, reconcile, and transform. I fail to see the wisdom of doing away with this practice at a time when a growing number of non-liturgical churches are discovering the Peace and incorporating a similar practice into their worship gathering in which the people greet each other in the name of the Lord with a handshake, a hug, or some other appropriate gesture.

The third thing that caught my attention is the particular interpretation that An Anglican Prayer Book (2008), like the trial services, gives to the salutation "The Lord be with you" "And with your spirit". Both the Introduction to The Order for Holy Communion in the trial services and An Anglican Prayer Book (2008) describe these words as being "more like a prayer, where the presence of the Lord with his people is being affirmed by the Minister, and in turn, the people pray that the spiritual gift is given to him in ordination will be aroused, so that the Celebration will be in spirit and in truth, and thus acceptable to the Lord." This raised a red flag in my mind when I first read it in the Introduction to The Order for Holy Communion in the trial services.

First, the view expressed in this description is not Scriptural. Worshipping God in spirit and truth is not dependent upon the arousal of the priest’s "spiritual gift" but upon the state of the worshiper’s hearts. In a discussion of the merits of "Lord be with you" "And with your spirit" an Anglo-Catholic Canadian priest of my acquaintance offered this explanation of the words:
"It is more than a mutual salutation, though that is the name we have given it; it is a mutual prayer best appreciated in English when presented in the Southern dialect: ‘The Lord be with all y'all...’ ‘And with your (singular) spirit,’ which essentially means that the people are praying that the Lord may dwell in the soul of the priest, sanctifying him and enabling him to do the work of his office. For it is through him that the Holy Spirit works to affect the miracle of the Eucharist, and of Baptismal regeneration. So while ‘And also with you’ is a nice salutation, it does not convey the Spirit-filled holiness of the moment."

What he is saying is what the Introduction to The Order for Holy Communion in the trial services and An Anglican Prayer Book (2008) says but in less specific terms. This raises questions as to whether the words "Lord be with you" "And with your spirit" should be used in The Order for Holy Communion, much less this particular interpretation of them be given in the Introduction to The Order for Holy Communion. All Anglicans do not share this sacerdotal view of the priesthood, which ascribes to the priesthood the power to confect bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ and historically is associated with the doctrine of Transubstantiation. It has been a point of heated dispute between Anglo-Catholics and Evangelicals.

The New Testament also teaches that the Holy Spirit indwells all believers and not just the priest. While the Holy Spirit may impart to them different varieties of gifts, they all share in the same Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:4). All manifestations of the Spirit are given for the common good (1 Corinthians 12:7) The one and same Spirit empowers them and apportions them to each one individually as he wills (1 Corinthians 12:11).

Second, this salutation is not used in the Communion Service in the 1552, 1559, 1604, and 1662 Prayer Books and the 1789 and 1892 American Prayer Book because of its association with the doctrine of Transubstantiation, which classical Anglicanism rejects. In looking through my copies of the 1552 Prayer Book and 1559 Prayer Book, I find the salutation used only once—before the Lesser Litany at Morning and Evening Prayer. In the 1669 Prayer Book it is used before the Lesser Litany at Morning and Evening Prayer and before the Lord’s Prayer at the Confirmation Service and in the 1789 and 1892 American Prayer Books after the Apostles’ Creed at Morning and Evening Prayer and before the Lord’s Prayer at the Confirmation Service.

Third, in its Proposed Constitution the Anglican Mission in Americas affirms Thirty Nine Articles of Religion of 1562 and The Book of Common Prayer of 1662 and The Ordinal annexed thereto as its standards of faith and worship. The Anglican Mission in Americas as a Common Cause Partner agreed to accept "The Book of Common Prayer as set forth by the Church of England in 1662, together with the Ordinal attached to the same, as a standard for Anglican doctrine and discipline, and, with the Books which preceded it, as the standard for the Anglican tradition of worship." The AMiA also agree to "accept the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion of 1562, taken in their literal and grammatical sense, as expressing the Anglican response to certain doctrinal issues controverted at that time, and as expressing fundamental principles of authentic Anglican belief." With the Bible the Thirty-Nine Articles, the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, and the 1661 Ordinal provide a yardstick against which we can measure the theology of An Anglican Prayer Book (2008).

As we will see in future articles, all kinds of theology have crept into An Anglican Prayer Book (2008) so that the book does not really conform to these standards.

Do the words "Lord be with you" "And with your spirit", you may be wondering, have a more Scriptural interpretation?

The apostle Paul uses the phrase "The Lord be with your spirit" in a parting words of one of his letters:

"The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you." (2 Timothy 4:22 ESV)

When the apostle Paul dictated this words to his follower or scribe, I doubt that he was thinking of the priest at Mass. As a Pharisee, learned in the Old Testament, the Hebrew Bible, he in all likelihood had such passages as Psalm 34:18; Isaiah 57:15; and Isaiah 66:1-2 from the Old Testament in mind. Certainly the Biblical teaching of God being with certain individuals and people groups would not have been far from his mind--Genesis 39:2,3 Numbers 14:43; Deuteronomy 20:2; Deuteronomy 31: 6,8; Judges 6:16; and 1 Samuel 3:19.

Other passages that likely came to his mind are Genesis 39:2,3; 1 Samuel 16:18; 1 Samuel 18: 12,14,28; 2 Kings 18:7,25; 2 Chronicles 25:7; and 2 Chronicles 32:8. And the related teaching that God is among his people, dwells among them, dwells in their midst--Exodus 17:7; 29:46; Numbers 35:34; Deuteronomy 7:21; Deuteronomy 23:14; and Joshua 22:31. And is near to his people--Leviticus 10:3; Deuteronomy 4:7; Psalm 119:151; Psalm 145: 18; and Isaiah 50:8.
Undoubtedly he also had our Lord’s promise in mind.

"And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:20 ESV)

I find nothing in Paul’s letters that comes even close to the meaning that the compilers of An Anglican Prayer Book (2008) and my Canadian friend are reading into the words.

Paul’s prayer that the Lord be with Timothy’s spirit appears to be related to the charge that he has given Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:1-5. Paul is praying for Timothy in the diligent and conscientious discharge of his work and office as an evangelist. The charge that Paul gives to Timothy is one that all ministers of the Gospel should take to themselves. This includes deacons and licensed lay readers as well as bishops and priests.

If we incorporate Paul’s prayer into the liturgy, Paul’s use of the prayer must determine how we use the prayer and what explanation we offer for its use. Only in this way will our use of the prayer and our explanation for its use be agreeable to Scripture. We are therefore limited to using the prayer to pray for the priest or other minister as an evangelist, as Paul prayed for Timothy. This is also the sole explanation we can offer for its use. Such an explanation, however, belongs in a commentary upon the service book and not in the service book itself.

At the same time we must draw to the attention of Episcopal and Anglican clergy and laypersons that the ministry of evangelist is not solely that of the priest. Indeed the primary evangelists of the congregation are the members of the congregation themselves. The role of the priest is to mobilize the congregation in the cause of the gospel--to equip the members of the congregation for evangelism, model evangelism for them, and lead them in evangelism. If the priest himself does not engage in evangelism, the congregation is not likely to engage in evangelism either. Paul speaks of being partners in the gospel (Philippians 1:5). If we are to reach the growing segment of the population in the United States that is spiritually disconnected and unchurched, this partnership needs to be something more than members of the congregation praying and giving money. They need to assume an active role as the primary evangelists of the congregation. Too many congregations expect the priest or other minister to do the evangelism when they should be doing it themselves.

In my next article I will examine the first half of the Communion Service, the Ministry of the Word. I have launched a new web log, Exploring An Anglican Prayer Book (2008), on which I will be posting with the articles in this series other articles on An Anglican Prayer Book (2008) and related topics.

What should the Anglicans do?

[Steve Addison's Blog] 29 Feb 2008--It is no exaggeration to say that the global Anglican church of is at a crossroads facing its greatest crisis since the Reformation. It’s been there at least since the 1998 Lambeth Conference when the vast majority of Anglican bishops worldwide rejected “homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture.”

Despite this the Episcopal church in the US and the Anglican Church in Canada have pursued an agenda of acceptance of homosexuality and the ordination of practicing homosexual clergy.

A decade later, at next July’s Lambeth Conference, the battle over the nature of the Anglican communion will continue. The church is going through a painful and protracted identity crisis. Whatever happens at Lambeth, this crisis will not go away.

So what is to be done? What is the future for the world’s 82 million Anglicans?

"We expect Judge Bellows ruling at any time" says Bishop Minns

[Virtue Online] 29 Feb 2008--Judge Bellows has signaled he could rule in one of three ways, either that:

1. There has been a division and the 57-9 statute is constitutional. 2. There has been a division and the 57-9 statute is unconstitutional. 3. There has been no division and so that 57-9 statute does not apply.

Talks with dissident Anglican parishes end

[The Toronto Star] 29 Feb 2008--A battle over the ownership of three breakaway Ontario Anglican churches will continue in court.

Efforts to settle an ownership dispute between the Niagara Anglican diocese and three dissenting area congregations broke down today after several days of talks.

The two sides are now expected to duke it out Friday in court in Hamilton, Ont.

BREAKING: JI Packer threatened with suspension

[The Lambeth Conference] 29 Feb 2008--As evidence of the escalating crisis in the global Anglican Communion, today one of the of the world’s most esteemed Christian theologians, Dr. J.I. Packer, received a letter threatening suspension from ministry by the controversial Bishop of New Westminster, Michael Ingham. Bishop Ingham accused Dr. Packer, hailed by Time Magazine as the “doctrinal Solomon” of Christian thinkers, “to have abandoned the exercise of ministry” after the church where he is a member voted to separate from the diocese and join the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone under the oversight of Anglican Archbishop Gregory Venables. Dr. Packer, who was ordained in the Church of England, is the author of the Christian classic, “Knowing God,” and joined Billy Graham and Richard John Neuhaus as one of Time Magazine’s 25 most influential evangelicals in 2005.

Canada's largest Anglican congregation leaves ACC

[Anglican Planet] 29 Feb 2008--The largest congregation in the Anglican Church of Canada has voted overwhelmingly to leave the ACC and realign with a more orthodox branch of the Anglican Communion based in South America.

In a secret ballot on Feb. 13, St. John’s Shaughnessy in Vancouver voted 475 to 11 (with 9 abstentions) to come under the episcopal authority of Bishop Donald Harvey and the Primatial oversight of the Most Reverend Gregory Venables of the Province of the Southern Cone. This move will ensure that the clergy and congregation, while under a new jurisdiction, are still part of the global Anglican Communion.

Bishop Howe: ‘Informal’ Briefing for HOB

[The Living Church] 29 Feb 2008--The House of Bishops will receive an informal presentation on the “Anglican Bishops in Communion” proposal that was shared with Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori during a 50-minute meeting on Feb. 21 at the Episcopal Church Center. The House of Bishops meets March 7-13 at Camp Allen in the Diocese of Texas.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori expressed no objections to the plan during the meeting, according to bishops John W. Howe of Central Florida and D. Bruce MacPherson of Western Louisiana, who met with Bishop Jefferts Schori. The Bishops in Communion plan is a modified version of the “Episcopal Visitor” concept announced by Bishop Jefferts Schori during the fall House of Bishops’ meeting in New Orleans. It includes a commitment to abide by existing canon law of The Episcopal Church.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Report from the Field: A Layperson in the Diocese of Louisiana Writes on the Stewardship Resolution

[Stand Firm] 28 Feb 2008--I read the 10/10/10 resolution being considered at the Diocesan Convention and wanted to voice my opinion to you. I think that the whole concept of requiring mandatory giving and then implementing punitive action for those churches / missions that don’t comply, including taking over the church (reduced to mission status), is contrary to scriptures:For the individual believer, tithing is not required (although its spiritually valid, and a great idea).

The key verse (my opinion) is 2 Cor 9:7-8.

Transcript of ++Venables’ Canadian Radio Interview

[Stand Firmn] 28 Feb 2008--We've previously linked to the audio file of this interview. For those of you who prefer to read, we can now offer up the transcript (provided to us):

Also joining us was The Most Reverend Gregory James Venables, Presiding Bishop of the Province of the Southern Cone. He's also the Bishop of Argentina and the leader of the parishes that have split with the Anglican Church of Canada. Archbishop Gregory James Venables spoke to us from Buenos Aires.

An Open Letter to the Members of the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church

[TitusOneNine] 28 Feb 2008--This letter constitutes our final effort to obtain information from you as representing the leadership of the Episcopal Church about the amount currently being expended in the extensive litigation in which the Episcopal Church is engaged.

We directed our last letter to the Executive Council. We received our answer in a letter from two attorneys, who are members of the Council, writing on behalf of the full Council. Conveyed in a three page letter, their answer to us is:


Opinion: Don't rush the Anglican Covenant

[Diocese of New Westminister] 28 Feb 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:

Rwandan Earthquake Appeal

[Anglican Mainstream] 28 Feb 2008--You may have heard on the news that on Sunday 3rd Feb 2008 the Cyangugu area of Rwanda suffered an earthquake registering 6.2 on the Richter Scale and then a subsequent one registering 5.0 3 hours later. Since then there have been a series of small after tremors. This was a very frightening experience for all those living in the area and unfortunately there have been around 35 fatalities and some serious injuries. The government acted very quickly and it was not long before the casualties were being treated and people were being given information and advice.Life in many ways got back to normal fairly quickly; electricity and water supplies and communication systems were restored within hours and have been operating well since then. The media very soon stopped reporting the earthquake and for many in the rest of the world Rwanda, and especially this remote part of Cyangugu, is yesterday’s news. However, the effects of the quake are not easily forgotten here in Cyangugu and although we are not living in a crisis situation there are many people suffering.

Many schools, hospitals and health centres, churches, businesses and homes have been destroyed or partially destroyed as a result and there is a considerable amount of rebuilding work which will have to be done to restore this already poor area of the country to its former state

British Bishop Refuses to Back Down on Islamist Threat

[FrontPageMagazine] 28 Feb 2008--In January, Church of England Bishop of Rochester Michael Nazir-Ali ignited Islamic protests when he asserted that some areas of British cities have become “no-go” zones for non-Muslims.

Now under police protection after receiving death threats, Nazir-Ali refused to back down this past Sunday in an interview with The Telegraph of Britain. The ethnically Pakistani Nazir-Ali has also criticized the remarks earlier this month by his superior, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who suggested Islamic law possibly should have civil authority in Britain .

No resolution in talks between Anglican Church and breakaway congregations

[The Canadian Press] 28 Feb 2008--Talks to determine the ownership of two southern Ontario Anglican churches will continue into a third day.

Representatives of the Anglican Network in Canada and the two parishes in Lowville and Oakville began talks with the Diocese of Niagara on Tuesday.

The congregations in Lowville, Oakville and St. Catharines, Ont., have voted to split from the church.

Southern Cone Primate to visit Fort Worth Diocese

[The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth] 28 Feb 2008--Archbishop Gregory Venables, Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, has accepted an invitation from Bishop Iker to make a pastoral visit to the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth during the first weekend of May. He will be accompanied by his wife, Sylvia.

On Friday, May 2, Archbishop Venables will meet with all the clergy of the Diocese at the Church of the Holy Apostles, and then on Saturday, May 3, he will address a specially-called Convocation of the 2008 convention delegates at St. Vincent’s Cathedral. The purpose of the convocation is to provide information: Archbishop Venables will answer questions from the delegates, but no legislation will be considered. On Sunday, May 4, Archbishop Venables will preach in the morning at the Cathedral, and on Sunday evening at St. Andrew’s Church in downtown Fort Worth. Question-and-answer forums will follow the services at both churches.

Sharia law 'would undermine British society'

[Telegraph] 28 Feb 2008--Muslim Sharia law would undermine society if it was introduced in Britain, Conservative leader David Cameron said today.

His words put him at odds with the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams who earlier this month suggested some element of Sharia law was unavoidable.

Mr. Cameron said it would in fact lead to a "legal apartheid".

He added that "state multiculturalism" was also the wrong way to tackle integration.

San Joaquin Provisional Bishop Election March 29

[The Living Church] 28 Feb 2008--The Rev. Canon Brian Cox, one of two clergy appointed by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori to serve as an “interim pastoral presence” in the Diocese of San Joaquin, told The Living Church that a search is underway for a location at which to hold an organizing convention on March 29, at which time representatives to that convention will elect a provisional bishop.

The process of electing a provisional bishop is described in Title 3, canon 13, sections 1-3 of the constitution and canons of The Episcopal Church.

Related article:
More San Joaquin congregations opt to remain within Episcopal Church - Episcopal Life Online

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Centralizing Power in the Diocese of Louisiana

[Stand Firm] 27 Feb 2008--According to this proposed canonical change, a congregation in the parish of "West Baton Rouge" in the suburbs or outskirts of the city of Baton Rouge could not sponsor or initiate any ministry related work whatsoever in the parish of "East Baton Rouge," which is where downtown Baton Rouge lies, without the consent of the bishop or the "Ecclesiastical Authority". Given the absolute nature of the language of the proposed canon, that would mean that members of a congregation in West Baton Rouge who live in East Baton Rouge could not so much as form a congregationally supported or sponsored bible study group or a prayer group in East Baton Rouge. The congregation itself could not open a downtown soup kitchen or help with disaster relief. They could not do any ministry at all without the bishop's consent or in the absence of a bishop, the consent of the Standing Committee.

This measure is intended to prevent conservative groups from starting new churches in other parts of the diocese where the population is growing, new churches that might affiliate with the Anglican Communion Network or break away from The Episcopal Church.

The joys of Sharia: Iran today

[Anglican Mainstream] 27 Feb 2008--Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has challenged members of the Consortium of Endowed Episcopal Parishes to be "confessors of Jesus Christ and the power of resurrection."

Jefferts Schori was the preacher at the closing Eucharist of the organization's 23rd annual conference which concluded on February 23 in St. Louis, Missouri. The service was held at the Church of St. Michael and St. George, in suburban Clayton, one of the two host congregations for the conference. Missouri Bishop George Wayne Smith was the celebrant.

A Resolution from the Diocese of Louisiana Garnering Much Attention

[Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana] 27 Feb 2008--PDF file of the full text of the resolution that is attracting so much interest.

Reverend Carl Reid answers readers' questions about the Anglican split

[National Post] 29 Feb 2008--When we published columns by the Rt. Rev. Carl Reid and Susan Martinuk about the split in the Anglican Church, we invited our readers to follow up with questions for the authors. Here, Rev. Reid answers some of these queries.

Fractured Anglican groups agree to meet over split

[Globe and Mail] 27 Feb 2008--Breakaway Anglicans and the national church will sit down for a second day of discussions today in the hopes of reaching a compromise on who gets the keys to two Ontario parishes.

Breakaway churches begin to organize amid confusion

[] 27 Feb 2008--Bishop Roger Ames is no longer a cleric in the Ohio Diocese of the Episcopal Church USA.

But he is a leader in the global Anglican Communion, which includes the Episcopal Church USA.
Then there's the church that Ames pastors — St. Luke's in Fairlawn. Its incorporation papers list its name as St. Luke's Anglican Church and Ames as pastor. Diocesan records, however, show that it is St. Luke's Episcopal Church and that the pastorate is vacant.

The status of both Ames and the church is an indication of the level of confusion in the denomination and of what might very well be the beginning of a new Anglican province in North America.

Both Ames and Bishop Martyn Minns, the missionary bishop for the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), say an effort is under way to unify the theologically conservative parishes that have broken away from the Episcopal Church.

Switch to Southern Cone by San Joaquin Appears to Violate Canons of New Province

[The Living Church] 27 Feb 2008--The newly available English-language translation of the canons and constitution of the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone indicates several inconsistencies with moves by dioceses to switch their affiliation from The Episcopal Church to the South American-based province.

The situation seems especially complicated for the Diocese of San Joaquin which already approved the switch at its annual convention last December. Article two of the Southern Cone constitution limits membership in the province to dioceses “that exist or which may be formed in the Republics of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay and which voluntary declare themselves as integral diocesan members of the province.” Article four of the constitution requires that amendments “be submitted to the Anglican Consultative Council for consideration and then to each diocesan synod for approval.”

In a statement given to a reporter from The Living Church, a spokesman for Presiding Bishop Gregory Venables of the Southern Cone said the provincial leadership was aware of the constitutional impediments before voting unanimously to issue its “emergency, temporary and pastoral” invitation to affiliate. “Both the House of Bishops of the Southern Cone and the General Synod decided to go ahead because of the nature of the emergency,” the spokesman said.

Bishop of San Joaquin Lays Down the Law to Intruding "Reconcilers"

[Virtue Online] 27 Feb 2008--The Rev. Canon F. Brian Cox, rector of Christ the King Parish in Santa Barbara, California, likes to position himself as a major force in the Episcopal Church and as a reconciler of importance. Twice now he has been nominated for bishop; once in the Diocese of Tennessee and the second occasion in the Diocese of the Rio Grande. In neither case was he successful.

This has not thwarted his ambition, however, to try and fix The Episcopal Church's ailing, irreconcilable problems. He is considered a conservative, but many believe he slipped his conservative moorings when he began a career to bring reconciliation and peace to dioceses and parishes at odds with the national church over doctrine and morals. He views his reconciliation activities as a new mission/evangelistic model for other organizations, and he does it under the aegis of The Reconciliation Institute which is headquartered at his church in Santa Barbara. The Institute is sponsored by that church and the Institute for Freedom and Democracy in Washington, DC.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Ten Suggestions for Resisting (or “differentiating") Parishes, Pastors, and Laypeople in TEC

[Stand Firm] 26 Feb 2008--Do not fund an orthodox diocese committed to funding a heretical national structure. Do not fund a heretical bishop by giving pledges or tithes to an orthodox parish committed to funding a heretical diocesan structure. Do not fund a heretical parish leadership through pledges and tithes that can go elsewhere. To do any of these things is to facilitate financially the destruction of souls and to participate in the wicked work of false teachers.

Is cable TV killing Christ?

[] 26 Feb 2008--Easter week 2006, Australia woke to front page news that a new gospel written by Judas Iscariot had been discovered that would blow the Bible’s version of Jesus’ death out of the water.

The respected National Geographic no less would be releasing a cable TV documentary, a special magazine edition and a three-book deal unveiling the find.

Diocese of Louisiana Convention Watch

[Sttand Firm] 26 Feb 2008--But what happens if the parishes merely do what is canonically mandated [and under the new canon punitively enforced], and pay a 10% assessment. It appears that the diocese would actually bring in less money than in 2007, by some 47K. But wait -- it gets worse. At the same time that the diocese decreased its take, the pledge "to the work of the national Episcopal Church" would still go up radically, meaning that the loss to the bottom line for the diocese would be significant.

If I didn't have a naive and trusting heart, I would suspect that this is a classic bait and switch. If the diocese succeeds in selling the laity on "giving more money to the diocese" under the new system, the only institution that appears to actually be assured of receiving significantly more money is "the national Episcopal Church".

Looks like Bishop Charles Jenkins got tired of begging for money and pleading for Louisiana Episcopalians to support the national church.

"Monday Morning Fresh Hell Roundup" from Stand Firm

[Stand Firm] 26 Feb 2008--The Episcopal Communion Partners Visitors Pastoral Oversight Thingamajig is getting a frosty reception on the other side of the aisle just as it is here, only for different (and predictable) reasons. Jake and company are, of course, complaining about the threat to that most holy of TEC doctrines - polity....

Episcopal Life, R.I.P.

[Stand Firm] 26 Feb 2008--Episcopal Life, the monthly fishwrap with all the gay Episcopal news that's fit to print, which we all so eagerly await to arrive in our mailboxes, just lost its editor, and as noted here, Episcopal Life Media director Robert Williams confirmed that...

In order to operate within the 2008 budget approved in mid-February by Executive Council, ELM has agreed to a request to suspend at this time the current search for a full-time editor for the Episcopal Life monthly newspaper

Uganda: Another American Bishop Defects to Church

[] 26 Feb 2008--The Anglican Province of Uganda led by ArchbishopHenry Luke Orombi, has received the Rt. Rev. Terence Kelshaw, the retired bishop of the Rio Grande, USA.

The Rev Kelshaw belongs to the Episcopal Church which advances change within the Anglican Church.

"I have requested and been received into the Province of the Church of Uganda. I sense security and unity with that decision," said the Rev Kelshaw

The retired bishop was called to serve as an interim pastor to one of the churches in California, according to Dr Alison Barfoot, assistant to Archbishop Orombi, in charge of international relations.

The Co-Chair of the CLC [Colorado] Sends a Resignation Letter

[Stand Firm] 26 Feb 2008--Deb Tenney, who is a friend and ally, has written a letter of resignation from the CLC, which is the grass-roots organization of traditional laity and clergy in the Episcopal diocese of Colorado. It is a fine organization and I wish every diocese had one. As I have stated before on numerous occasions, I believe that the organizations that are tasked or called to fight a strategic, resistance battle within TEC should be made up of members of TEC. Otherwise -- as with other organizations of note from the past decade -- the goals and values of one group win out over the goals and values of the other group and bitterness on all sides ensues as both groups feel betrayed. That does not preclude, however, mutual and cross-boundaried fellowship groups, which are entirely different creatures.

I am posting Deb's letter below, as I believe that this is a model of clarity, decisiveness, responsibility, freedom, and grace. Thank you, Deb, and may God bless you in your leadership in other battles over other Little Stone Bridges to which I am confident that God will call you [after suitable R & R, of course.]

Land dispute enters holy ground as sacked bishop seizes cathedral

[Guardian Unlimited] 26 Feb 2008--The Rev Christopher Tapera laid his altar on a wooden table outside the granite walls of Harare's Anglican cathedral and told the assembled worshippers that if they wanted to find the devil they only needed to look toward the locked and barred church.

"The bishop is the devil in disguise. He has been sent by the devil to destroy the church. The devil is living in the cathedral," said the priest.

Anglican split not expected here

[The London Free Press] 26 Feb 2008--A flurry of disaffected congregations is leaving the Anglican Church of Canada, but the bishop representing Southwestern Ontario churches doesn't expect a split to take place here.

About 15 churches have voted to split from the Anglican Church of Canada, mostly those wanting the church to definitively reject same-sex unions.

But Bishop Bruce Howe -- who heads the Huron diocese -- which stretches from Windsor up to Tobermory through to Kitchener -- said yesterday that hasn't been the case here.

Report on Panel Discussion at Seabury-Western Concerning Communion for the Unbaptized

[Stand Firm] 26 Feb 2008--Note that out of six panelists, only two were traditionalists opposed to communion of the unbaptized -- a standard TEC "balance" these days for a panel.

As a reminder, recall that the dean of Seabury-Western admitted not complying with the canons regarding communion and baptism. The T19 thread regarding this issue is here.

But of course, the Episcopal church does not have anyone at all that violates canons except traditional clergy who are deservedly deposed for their "abandonment of communion." And of course, Seabury-Western Seminary is Entirely Orthodox.

Anglicans fight over parish properties

[The Toronto Star] 26 Feb 2008--Breakaway Anglicans and the national church sit down today in a last-ditch effort to resolve a potentially ugly dispute over who gets the keys to three local churches.

The three congregations, in Oakville, Lowville and St. Catharines, all voted recently to split from the Anglican Church of Canada, which they see as having become too liberal. If no agreement is reached at the closed-door session between the churches and the Diocese of Niagara, the matter goes to court Friday.

"It's not in anybody's interest for this to end up in court," said Cheryl Chang, lawyer for the breakaway churches.

Chang will argue today the disputed properties were built to uphold a historic Anglican tradition that the church itself no longer follows.

"When people gave money to build the churches, they gave it because the believed in the Anglican Church," Chang said.

"They believed in the faith that the Anglican Church was teaching and that it is bound to."

The Anglican Church of Canada is among the most liberal in the worldwide communion, which Chang called "a breach of trust" with past generations.

"Those people died in a church that had a different faith," she said

British Columbia Anglicanism: How things change

[Anglican Mainstream] 26 Feb 2008--A colleague from Canada very recently alerted my attention to the following, which appeared in a BC Diocesan publication last May. I flag it here on two counts.

First, note how in effect the liberal position has subverted that of the conservative, even while the conservative spokesmen have naively believed that their convictions were holding their own in the larger religious public domain. The liberal does not care how much time, talk and energy it takes as long as the real agenda is successfully advanced elsewhere. And it is.

IT'S THE ECONOMY, FATHER Part Two: A Friendly Response to Dr. Toon

[Virtue Online] 26 Feb 2008--In the 70s the Church did not so much search its store of doctrine for a theological response to pressing social issues as seize upon the historic forms of the Christian religion to package an altogether new product -- "saving" the world through political correctness, a new parlor game for aging Baby Boomers who still savored the righteous self-absorption of the 1960s. That this was a game is borne out by the fact that the world was not "saved" during the period that followed, nor brought nearer to salvation or enlightenment. In general our diverse society is not more trusting or more tolerant than before the relentless liberation of 1960s, but more hostile and polarized than ever, with a new social pathology lurking behind every tree. The culture of obsessive righteousness and the secular puritanism of the bourgeois Left have helped create the rigid adversarial society of the present, both inside the church and out.

American mass culture was born in the 1960s and immediately proved itself to be market driven to the core. One of the casualties of the new mass market was Old World religion. Christian denominationalism in the New World had been an adaptation from an Old World political economy. With the advent of the modern European nation-state came the modern established church. In Protestant countries each national church reflected a local vision of the "catholic" church -- what local reformers envisioned as a "true" replica of the New Testament and early Christian communities. In countries where the Roman Catholic Church became the state religion national churches took on an ethnic character, particularly when transplanted in the New World. From the beginning each of these groups had its own "market". Each of the national churches paid lip service to the idea of a worldwide church, but the "universal church" was more a myth than it was a part of anyone's experience. Perhaps it always had been.

Joining Together - Parishes Crossing Lines for Ministry

[Anglican Communion Network] 26 Feb 2008--Divisions in The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion get all of the headlines, but a grassroots movement that is bringing Anglicans together again is beginning to quietly gain momentum.

From California to Florida, Anglicans from many jurisdictions are starting to formally work together in their local areas, creating “clusters” of congregations that are committed to carrying out concrete ministry and outreach as one body.

House of Bishops will Address ‘Bishops in Communion’ Plan

[The Living Church] 26 Feb 2008--Four diocesan bishops met with Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori Feb. 21 to outline an “Anglican Bishops in Communion” plan that was developed in consultation with Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.

The plan builds upon the “Episcopal Visitor” concept announced last fall by Bishop Jefferts Schori, according to the Rt. Rev. John W. Howe, Bishop of Central Florida, who was one of the group that met with the Presiding Bishop. The existence of the plan was reported Feb. 22 by the British Telegraph newspaper. Bishop Howe subsequently released a summary of the plan and a partial correction of the Telegraph article. The actual plan has not been released.

Related article:
Episcopal Visitors Option for Orthodox Dioceses in a New Twist on APO - Virtue Online

Monday, February 25, 2008

Preaching duel no contest

[The Toronto Star] 25 Feb 2008--In the battle of duelling pastors at St. Hilda's Anglican Church in Oakville yesterday, Rev. Paul Charbonneau pitched a shutout.

More than 100 members of his flock turned out for what could be the last service he celebrates at the half-century-old building on Rebecca St. in the town's west end.

It could be the last because the congregation has voted unanimously to split with the Anglican Church of Canada over several issues of fundamental faith, including same-sex marriage, which the congregation opposes. It has chosen to align itself with the principles of the worldwide Anglican Church, from which it says the Canadian wing split years ago.

A sea of bishops

[Hills of the North] 25 Feb 20-08--James Lipton, in his classic and somewhat tongue-in-cheek dictionary of collective nouns, An Exhaltation of Larks, offers this homophone of see (as in the seat of authority of a bishop) as the collective noun of choice for bishops. Sea also suggests expanse and volume, and in the current Anglican realignment, there do seem to be bishops everywhere. The churches in Nigeria, Rwanda, Kenya, and Uganda, for example, have consecrated bishops to oversee their parishes in North America. Whether these are “regular” or “irregular” consecrations is of course a question; what doesn’t seem to be at issue is the validity of their ordination. They are bishops, and made so by churches in the Anglican Communion.

Most of these Communion bishops (for lack of a better description) are humble, hardworking servants of God. They had established reputations well beyond their parishes, dioceses, and the United States. Most were not prone to calling attention to themselves, and had not spent a career "running" for bishop. They were all well known and well vetted. In another time, in a more orthodox Episcopal Church, many of them would likely have found themselves wearing purple, such is their quality.

Whether there are too many of these new bishops is a different and open question. Whether in creating so many bishops the primates doing so are enhancing or impeding the possibility of unifying the North American orthodox is likewise an open question. Perhaps in some respects the cynicism of many--orthodox included--will propel these new bishops to prove everyone wrong as they work together in the Common Cause Partnership. Time will tell. But history, one must admit, is not on their side.

What Empty Churches Are Made of

[The Christian Post] 25 Feb 2008--There are an estimated 1.6 million Muslims in Great Britain. By some estimates, more people attend mosque than go to Anglican churches every week. Judging by recent comments by the Archbishop of Canterbury, it is easy to see why.

As most of you by now know, Archbishop Rowan William said in a recent interview that the “UK has to ‘face up to the fact’ that some of its citizens do not relate to the British legal system.” He left no doubt who those “citizens” are: British Muslims.

So according to Williams, British Muslims should not have to choose between “the stark alternatives of cultural loyalty or state loyalty.” Instead, in the tradition of having your cake and eating it too, he proposes finding “a constructive accommodation with some aspects of Muslim law”—in other words, sharia.

British Muslims could choose to have “marital” or “financial” disputes resolved in sharia courts. Sharia courts in Britain? At first I thought the Archbishop misspoke.

But it turns out, no. He calls this “supplementary jurisdiction” unavoidable. He compared it to accommodating Christians in areas like abortion or gay adoption.

Gay-supporting bishop could split Anglicans

[] 25 Feb 2008-- Canadian woman bishop who has signalled support for blessing gay marriages is being confirmed as Christchurch's new Anglican bishop.

The move is likely to stir controversy among many Anglicans and there is still a chance that Victoria Matthews' appointment could be vetoed by the general synod, which incudes representatives from Polynesia.

Church sources said yesterday that Dr Matthews, a former bishop of Edmonton, was two-thirds of the way through the ratification process.

Brad Drell Comments on the Communion Partners Plan

[Stand Firm] 25 Feb 2008--As I have said over at T19,

"I appreciate anyone’s efforts at doing something. I don’t begrudge those happy dioceses that will have some greater connection and fellowship with these five Primates. And I don’t begrudge those bishops and clergy who will be able to get together at Gafcon.

Most of us in the average everyday dioceses—Alabama, Colorado, Mississippi, Southern Virginia, etc, etc,—will benefit from neither, but it is churlish to begrudge joy and fellowship to others just because it does nothing for oneself."

IT'S THE ECONOMY, FATHER: A Friendly Response to Dr. Peter Toon

[Virtue Online] 25 Feb 2008--For many years I have followed Dr. Peter Toon's commentary on the American religious scene with the greatest interest and respect. As a young priest his depiction of "the religious supermarket" opened my eyes to the inner dynamic of parish ministry as I was coming to know it. I saw that, in the American free market system, people "buy" the brand of Christianity that suits their particular "demand" much the way they buy anything else. The peculiar gospel of Episcopalians was, Have it your way! -- high church or low, catholic or charismatic, hot country gospel or cool urban activist. The professional minister had to "market" whatever "product" he could create a demand for, based upon his own entrepreneurial skill. "Ministry" was the hallowed name we gave to servicing our "buying customers" -- our "share of the market".

At first I felt the language of economics to be demeaning to the saving activity of the church and recoiled against it. This was convenient, because it permitted me to overlook my failures as a religious entrepreneur. It was expedient for a young professional used to functioning in a setting insulated from the world of real problems and solutions. It reflected the earlier prejudice of my college years that economic self-interest was simply another name for greed. By contrast the parroted slogans of radical economics were exhilarating and prophetic, relieving the conscience of spoiled middle class kids like me who wanted the "good life" without the guilt.

Islanders split from national church

[] 25 Feb 2008--Parishioners from a Vancouver Island Anglican church have become the latest Canadian congregation to separate from the national body, primarily over the issue of same-sex marriage.

In a weekend vote, 86 per cent of parishioners at St. Mary the Incarnation Anglican Church voted to split from the Anglican Church of Canada over the national church embracing same-sex blessings.

St. Mary, located in the rural Victoria suburb of Metchosin, will now align with the Anglican Network in Canada, said Rev. Andrew Hewlett, the church's assistant priest.

Anglican Network in Canada: Three more Anglican congregations take decisive votes

[Stand Firm] 25 Feb 2008--Three more Anglican congregations voted today to accept the offer of episcopal oversight of Bishop Donald Harvey, Moderator of the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC), under the Primatial authority of Archbishop Gregory Venables and the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. All three churches accepted this offer with strong majorities. Since this offer of episcopal oversight was first extended in late November 2007, 15 parishes and congregations have voted to accept the offer and join ANiC.

This means that these congregations are requesting spiritual care from and will come under the authority of Bishop Harvey and Archbishop Venables, rather than their former Anglican Church in Canada diocese and bishop who are walking away from established Christian teaching and globally recognized Anglican doctrine.

St. Catharines church votes to split from Niagara Anglican diocese

[The St. Catherines Standard] 25 Feb 2008--For her entire life, Phyllis Wilson has worshipped in the Anglican Church’s Niagara diocese, but on Sunday she voted to break away from the pack.

“It’s been coming for a long time,” the 84-year-old said after the congregation at Church of Good Shepherd in St. Catharines overwhelmingly voted to leave the diocese.

Instead, church members will align with the more conservative Anglican Network in Canada.

Anglican rift deepens as two sides go to court

[Globe and Mail] 25 Feb 2008--The cracks in the Anglican Church of Canada are widening over the issue of blessing same-sex marriages, with three more congregations voting to split with the national organization over the weekend - and the two sides headed to court on Friday.

So far, the legal battle is limited to the diocese of Niagara in Ontario, where two congregations voted to break away last week and a third, the Church of the Good Shepherd in St. Catharines, followed suit yesterday. Two congregations in the diocese of New Westminster in B.C. - Church of the Good Shepherd, and St. Matthias and St. Luke, both of Vancouver - also voted to break away, bringing the total of dissident churches to 15. They have all put themselves under the authority of the Archbishop Gregory Venables of the Province of the Southern Cone in South America.

That traditional branch of the Anglican church does not recognize same-sex marriages.

Breakaway Anglicans to share parish churches - for one day

[The Toronto Star] 25 Feb 2008--The Anglican Church of Canada and a breakaway conservative Anglican group plan to take turns today holding services at two parishes that voted last weekend to split from the national church.

"They are going to worship after us," says Michael Patterson, archdeacon for the Niagara diocese. "I think it's good news."

Episcopalian Responses in Baylor Religion Survey

[mySite] 25 Feb 2008--I have seen and heard some statements that theology and practice among different groups within the the Episcopal Church has diverged so much that there are now essentially two different religions. Lots of anecdotal evidence, and reports from General Conventions indicate that there are differences among the leadership and delegates. However, how much does that represent the "parishoner in the pew"?

I recently learned about the Baylor Religion Survey. This 2005 survey by Gallup covered a broad sample of Americans. The questions asked people to identify their religious affiliation and identity. Using that information, I extracted data on Episcopalians/Agnlicans. Assuming that the respondents to the survey represent the parishoner, we can learn something about how diverse Episcopalians are, and how representative the delegates and press stories are of the overall view. So here are some relatively simple cross-tabs of the data in the survey.

Anglican Communion has ‘family argument’

[The Courier-Journal] 25 Feb 2008--Kentucky Episcopalians heard a combination pep talk and Bible study today from one of the leaders in efforts to keep the fragile Anglican Communion together despite what seem irreconcilable differences over sexuality and theology.

The Rev. Katherine Grieb told the annual meeting of the Diocese of Kentucky that divisions in the church are as old as the church itself, and Bible passages offer differing models on whether to split or stay together despite differences.

“We’re having a family argument,” said Grieb, a Virginia Theological Seminary biblical scholar and a member of a team drafting a “covenant” to hold together the Anglican Communion, which consists of the Episcopal Church and other national churches descended from the Church of England.

Cleaning out their outdated rolls?! The Jackson Purchase once had six Episcopal churches. Now it has five!

Bishop of Rochester reasserts 'no-go' claim

[Telegraph] 25 Feb 2008--In his first interview since his controversial comments, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali vows not to be forced into silence

The Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, who received death threats for airing his views on Islamic issues, has vowed that he will continue to speak out.

His claim that Islamic extremism has turned some parts of Britain into "no-go" areas for non-Muslims led to fierce rows between political and religious leaders over the impact of multiculturalism on this country.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

An Anglican Prayer Book and the Great Commission

Book Review by Robin G. Jordan

One of the doctrinal deficiencies of The Book of Common Prayer of 1662 is its lack of a theology of missions. Various revisions of The Book of Common Prayer have recognized this deficiency and have sought to correct it. The 1926 Irish Prayer Book contains a suffrage in the Litany imploring God to "further the work of the Church in the world, and send forth labourers into the harvest." The 1926 Irish book also contains a number of prayers for missions. These prayers include a collect that may be said after the Collect of the Day or before the Blessing in the Service of Holy Communion at the discretion of the minister:

"O God, who hast made of one blood all nations of men to dwell on the face of the whole earth, and didst send thy blessed Son to preach peace to them that are afar off, and to them that are nigh; Grant that the peoples of the world may feel after thee and find thee; and hasten, O Lord, the fulfillment of thy promise to pour out thy Spirit upon all flesh; through Jesus Christ our Lord."

The 1929 South African Prayer Book makes provision for the inclusion of the following petitions in the Prayer for the Whole State of Christ’s Church in the Communion Service:

"Guide and prosper, we pray thee, all those who are labouring for the spread of thy Gospel among the nations."

"And to all Schools and Universities grant the light of thy Spirit, that the world may be filled with the knowledge of thy Truth."

The Litany in the 1962 Canadian Prayer Book implores God to "send forth labourers into thy harvest; to prosper their work by thy Holy Spirit; to make thy saving health known unto all nations; and to hasten thy kingdom…." The Prayers and Thanksgivings in the 1962 Canadian Prayer Book contain a number of prayers for missions. The Intercession in the 1962 Canadian Communion Service also contains this petition:

"Prosper, we pray thee, all those who proclaim the Gospel of thy kingdom among the nations…."

Prayers for the Various Occasions in An Australian Prayer Book (1978) include A Prayer for the Spread of the Gospel. The Litany in An Australian Prayer Book contains this suffrage:

"Encourage and prosper your servants who spread the gospel in all the world, and send out labourers into the harvest."

The following prayer may be added to An Order for Confirmation, First Form, in which all may join:

"Almighty and everlasting God, we pray that you will direct, sanctify, and govern our hearts and bodies in the ways of your commandments, that through your mighty protection, here and ever, we may be kept safe in body and soul, and joyfully serve you in the work of the gospel to which you have called us [my emphasis]; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen."

At the conclusion of A Service of Confirmation, Second Form, the bishop may exhort the congregation with these words:

"Those who have been baptized and confirmed, and desire to acknowledge the obligation of membership in the church…are called to share with others, by word and example, the love of Christ and his gospel of reconciliation and hope…."

The Anglican Church of Kenya’s Our Modern Services (2002, 2003) has a rich theology of missions. In Confirmation and Commissioning for Service and Witness the candidates for confirmation promise to tell their neighbors about the love of Christ and pledge to proclaim Christ in season and out of season. After confirming the candidates, the bishop commissions them to go into the world.

Among the services in Our Modern Services are Commissioning of Evangelists and Admitting Lay Readers. Lay readers are expected to receive training befitting evangelists. In the examination that precedes their admission the bishop asks the candidates:

"Will you endeavour to fulfill the great commission by preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ with fervour in season and out of season?"

Collects for Seasons contain prayers like the Collect for the Fifth Sunday before Lent:

"O Lord our God, in as much as we are dedicated to your service, it is only you who can give the results or else we labour in vain. Show us and lead us into those mission fields where the harvest is ripe but the reapers are few. Glorify yourself in our work for your kingdom’s sake. Amen."

And the Collect for the Seventh Sunday of Easter:

"Lord Jesus, you bid your disciples to 'go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation…' Grant that we too shall be committed to this commission. Send us Lord wherever you chose, whenever you will, and we shall gladly go in your name and by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen."

Prayers and Intercessions for Different Times and Purposes contain the following Prayer for Mission and Evangelism:

"O God our Father, give us your passion for your Word and boldness in telling our neighbor about your grace, may the Holy Spirit convict the lost and draw them to the Saviour, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

In An Anglican Prayer Book, a service book produced for the Anglican Mission in Americas, a missionary outreach of the Anglican Church of Rwanda, one would expect to find an equally as rich theology of missions. But those who look for such a theology in An Anglican Prayer Book will search in vain and will be sadly disappointed. An Anglican Prayer Book contains no prayers for missions. The closest thing to a prayer for missions in An Anglican Prayer Book is the third Collect for Good Friday. The Anglican Mission in Americas is reportedly planting on the average one new church every three weeks but An Anglican Prayer Book contains no prayers for church planters.

The Litany in An Anglican Prayer Book timidly asks God to send laborers into the harvest but does not ask God to encourage and prosper those already spreading the gospel. Nor does the Litany ask for boldness for the Church to preach the gospel in all the world, and to make disciples of all nations. (At a time when Islamic terrorists threaten the United States and Canada and US forces are involved in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq and Canadian forces in Afghanistan, the Litany also contains no suffrage imploring God to bless and defend those striving for our safety and protection, and to shield them in all dangers and adversities.)

An Anglican Prayer Book adds a section to the 1662 Catechism, in which those preparing for Confirmation are instructed that their "binding duty is to follow Christ, to worship God every Sunday in his Church, and to work and pray and give for the spread of the kingdom." But An Anglican Prayer Book does not go any further than this.

In the twenty-first century, in which Christianity is declining in North America and the United States and Canada together represent the largest English-speaking mission field in the world, one might expect An Anglican Prayer Book to place greater emphasis upon missions but it does not. Indeed, it gives the impression of having been compiled for an earlier century in which missions was not regarded a priority.

Anglicans subscribe to the principle of "lex orendi, lex credendi," literally the law of praying is the law of believing. What we pray shapes what we believe. In its neglect of the Great Commission one must wonder what beliefs An Anglican Prayer Book will be shaping.

Building may be on the line after local Anglican vote

[The St. Catherine Standard] 23 Feb 2008--Same-sex marriage blessings are the "flashpoint" but not the main reason a St. Catharines Anglican church is voting on whether to break from the national body, a spokesperson said.

Members of the Church of the Good Shepherd on Grantham Avenue will make their decision Sunday in a meeting after the morning service.

It's a move that could see them booted from the church building if they vote to separate.

"It comes down to the fact that as long as the Anglican Church has been established, it has based its beliefs on the reliability and authority of scripture," said Pat Decker, the church's treasurer and people's warden. "We have seen in the last 20 years, a major drift by the hierarchy of the church."

Bishop asks eight clergy to say whether they remain within the Anglican Church of Canada

[Diocese of Westminster] 23 Feb 2008--Bishop Michael Ingham has asked eight of his clergy to formally declare whether they’re in or out of the Anglican Church of Canada.

The priests have been involved in a series of meetings in which congregations in two Parishes in the diocese have voted to join a foreign Church.

On Friday, February 22, the Bishop sent rectors and clergy working in the parishes involved--St. Matthew’s Abbotsford and St. John’s Shaughnessy--”notice of presumption of abandonment of the exercise of ministry” asking them to tell him whether they have left the ministry of the Anglican Church of Canada, and if they are seeking admission into another religious body outside Canada.

Anglican priests get 'grace period' in diocesan rift

[Globe and Mail] 23 Feb 2008--The Anglican Diocese of British Columbia has temporarily softened its position against a pair of priests who have been suspended for leading a congregation of breakaways.

Diocesan Archdeacon Bruce Bryant-Scott wrote in an e-mail to parishioners on Thursday that he has agreed to a 12-day grace period, during which no disciplinary action will be taken against the Venerable Sharon Hayton, the rector, and Rev. Andrew Hewlett, the assistant priest, of St. Mary's of the Incarnation in the Victoria suburb of Metchosin.

Ms. Hayton and Mr. Hewlett were told a week ago to stop performing their duties "as an ordained priest."

Presiding Bishop backs US deal

[Religious Intelligence] 23 Feb 2008--US Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has endorsed a programme of alternative Episcopal oversight brought to her by a group of conservative American bishops.

The “Anglican Bishops in Communion” seeks to meld the Primates’ Dar es Salaam pastoral council scheme with the “Episcopal Visitor” programme created by Bishop Schori in a bid to hold the fissiparous elements of American Anglicanism together until an Anglican Covenant is agreed.

“This is a step forward, albeit a small one,” the Bishop of Central Florida, the Rt Rev John W Howe noted, that permits freedom of conscience for traditionalist while preserving good order in conformance to the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church.

However, critics charge there is nothing in the plan to compel a liberal bishop to permit alternative oversight, while spokesmen for the dioceses of Pittsburgh and Fort Worth told The Church of England Newspaper they were unable to comment on the merits of the plan as they had not been consulted in its creation and were unaware of the details.

Bishop John Howe responds to the Telegraph article Alleging a Secret Plan

[TitusOneNine] 23 Feb 2008--It is not quite 11:30 PM here in Orlando. In London it is not quite 4:30 AM tomorrow. And Jonathan Petre of the London Telegraph has just released a story about yesterday's meeting between four American Bishops (Howe, Central Florida; MacPherson, Western Louisiana; Smith, North Dakota; and Stanton, Dallas) with the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church.

Petre could not have been much more inaccurate!

Here are his opening remarks:

"The Archbishop of Canterbury is backing secret plans to create a 'parallel' Church for American conservatives to avert fresh splits over homosexuality.... Dr Rowan Williams has held confidential talks with senior American bishops and theologians who oppose the pro-gay policies of their liberal leaders...."Dr Williams is desperate to minimize further damage in the run up to the once-a-decade Lambeth Conference this summer which could be boycotted by more than a fifth of the world's bishops....

"According to insiders, Dr Williams has given his blessing to the plans to create an enclave for up to 20 conservative American bishops that would insulate them from their liberal colleagues."

No, Dear Friends. Here is a summary of what we presented to the Presiding Bishop yesterday. We were not quite ready to release it, but in the light of this significant distortion, I am doing so tonight....

Secret plan to avoid church gay split

[Telegraph] 23 Feb 2008--The Archbishop of Canterbury is backing secret plans to create a "parallel" Church for American conservatives to avert fresh splits over homosexuality.

Dr Rowan Williams has held confidential talks with senior American bishops and theologians who oppose the pro-gay policies of their liberal leaders.

A handful of hardline American dioceses are already defecting from the Episcopal Church, the American branch of Anglicanism, and transferring their loyalties to a conservative archbishop in South America.

Dr Williams is desperate to minimise further damage in the run up to the once-a-decade Lambeth Conference this summer which could be boycotted by more than a fifth of the world's bishops.

His recent comments backing aspects of sharia law have heightened tensions by further alienating Africans who are struggling with militant Islam in their dioceses.

Bexley Hall to Close Rochester Campus

[The Living Church] 23 Feb 2008--The class of seminary students graduating in May will be the last for Bexley Hall Seminary’s Rochester, N.Y., campus which will be closed. Bexley Hall remains committed to a three-year residential seminary program at its Columbus, Ohio campus, according to the Very Rev. John R. Kevern, dean of Bexley Hall.

The decision to close the Rochester campus was based in part on changing demographics, Dean Kevern told The Living Church. Another factor was the more stringent standards the Rochester campus would have to meet when its accreditation from the Association of Theological Schools came up for renewal in 2012.

More evidence of The Episcopal Church's "vitality"?

Friday, February 22, 2008

Back to his roots for breakaway bishop

[Globe and Mail] 22 Feb 2008--It wasn't until relatively late in his career that the man now fiercely leading an Anglican breakaway group in Canada had his Robert Frost moment.

Donald Harvey, at the time in his sixth year as chaplain of Memorial University where he taught English literature and theology, got a phone call one May evening in 1989 offering him a prestigious $15,000 academic grant to pursue a doctorate in poetry.

Not even an hour later, another call. The bishop on the other end of the line was offering him a dean's position at the cathedral.

Torn, he said he thought back to the nearly 30 years he had served as minister in parishes across Newfoundland and Labrador and what he called a miraculous recovery from a six-month bout of tuberculosis, and knew which path he had to choose.

Progressing Toward Utopia

[Stand Firm] 22 Feb 2008--But as we have been pointing out for some time now, the root of our current controversy over sexuality does not lie in the sexuality debate itself but in a wholesale contemporary departure from Christianity on the part of the Episcopal Church. This departure is pelagian in its rejection of the fall, marcionite in its exaltation of anthropologically derived “moral” criteria over and against divine revelation, and Gnostic in its embrace of new “truths” revealed only to a tiny sect of the spiritually elite.

Deepak Chopra Invents His Own Jesus

[Stand Firm] 22 Feb 2008--I read this article three times, looking carefully for the words "...and in the process of becoming an Episcopal priest," but amazingly they're not there. Still, he sounds like he could skip straight over priest... heck, straight over bishop... and right into PB-hood:

In his book "The Third Jesus," published this week, Chopra says there is a "sketchy historical figure," a second "abstract theological creation" and a third Jesus with the highest level of enlightenment -- what Chopra calls God-consciousness....

Chopra said the Jesus created by the Catholic Church was confusing because although the religion had done a lot of good in the world, it had also taken part "in the Crusades, in witch hunts, in burning people on the stake, homophobia, depriving women of their rights, all kinds of things."

Bishops of Niagara appoint new Administrators in two parishes

[Diocese of Niagara] 22 Feb 2008--In our earlier releases, it was indicated that two parishes in the Diocese of Niagara voted in favour of leaving the Diocese and the Anglican Church of Canada to seek a more conservative leadership. These parishes are St. Hilda’s in Oakville under the pastoral leadership of The Rev. Paul Charbonneau and St. George’s, Lowville, under the pastoral leadership of The Rev. Charles Masters.

It is the Bishop’s responsibility to uphold the unity of the Church and ensure that the laws of the Church and of the land are observed, in order to protect the people of the church and its heritage. To that end, as of Tuesday February 19th, Bishop Spence and Bishop Bird have appointed:

The Rev. Dr. Brian Ruttan as administrator of St. Hilda’s Church in Oakville and
The Rev. Susan Wells as administrator of St. George’s, Lowville.

The previous rectors have been suspended from their responsibilities until further notice.

Church of England donates cash to aid Muslim prayer

[Times Online] 22 Feb 2008--A diocese of the Church of England is giving an unprecedented £250,000 towards a multi-faith building in which the largest amount of worship space will be reserved for Muslims.

The Guildford diocese is one of the wealthiest in the UK. The Bishop of Guildford, the Right Rev Christopher Hill, today handed over the £250,000 cheque to Surrey University for the first multi-faith building of its kind in Britain.

The £6.5 million building will contain separate worship spaces for the Jewish, Christian, Muslim and Sikh communities, along with a further shared space for Buddhists and Hindus.

All faiths will share the cafe in the basement, with a shared staircase down from the upper floors.
Converting each other will be strictly forbidden, an insider said, but it is hoped that the different faith members will form friendships, learn to respect each other and enhance each other’s understanding.

Anglican Church facing danger point, says expert

[Calgary Herald] 22 Feb 2008--The Anglican Church of Canada is approaching an "open schism" because of its inability to resolve differences over issues such as same-sex marriage, an expert in Anglican church history said Thursday.

"We're at a danger point," said Bill Acres, a professor of religious studies at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ont. "There will be some really sad consequences if this whole thing breaks apart. We're a very spread out church and there are not a lot of Anglicans in Canada as is."

Acres estimates there are 77 million members of the Anglican church, worldwide.

We need the Church of England

[Guardian Unlimited] 22 Feb 2008--There's no point now in kicking the corpse of the Archbishop of Canterbury's career as a public intellectual. After the debacle of Rowan Williams' speech on sharia, no one who has to make decisions will ever take seriously anything he says again. Nor will they take seriously the church he is supposed to lead. If you want to know what he is good at, there is a rather fine funeral oration online that he gave at the funeral of a Cambridge don in the middle of all the outrage. But nothing he says now matters to anyone who isn't mourning.

It is time to look at the damage he has done to others, and not just himself; one of the things that his flameout has illuminated is just how dangerous disestablishment might prove. The last thought-provoking thing that I heard him say was at a radio award ceremony where he had to present himself, or at least his producer, with a third place prize for religious radio. He said that it was not true that religion must always lead to conflict, but almost always true that in any sufficiently serious conflict you would find religion.

I wish he had developed and made more explicit that line of thought, because it provides the beginning of a justification for the existence of the Church of England. The defenders of a place for religion in public life do not have to suppose that religious belief is true, and many of them don't - in fact all of them suppose that most religious dogma must be false. The question is not whether irrationality is irrational; it is how it can best be managed.

Eyewitness: Sharia in Nigeria - Archbishop Benjamin Kwashi

[Anglican Mainstream] 22 Feb 2008--We have a great respect for the religious beliefs and practices of the Muslim people as a whole, and in particular their concern for law and order and their respect for peoples of other faiths. Over the years we have had many discussions with Muslim leaders and Islamic Scholars, and we have had no difficulty with Islamic law as coded in Shari’a. In general, Shari’a law has always been portrayed as an Islamic law restricted in operation, applying exclusively to Muslims.

However, it must be noted that with the experiences in Sudan, and with the experiences in parts of Northern Nigeria where the Islamic penal code has been in existence since 1960, it would seem that slowly but surely there is the infiltration of an Islamic system that seems deliberately to penalise non-Muslims, rather than simply remaining impartial towards them, or even ignoring their existence. In fact this kind of Islamic law runs totally contrary to the legal notion that one is innocent until proven guilty. For example:

On 21 March 2007, the 32 year old mother of two was stoned, stripped, beaten and stabbed to death before her body was burnt beyond recognition by an angry mob after a Muslim student at a Government Secondary School falsely accused her of having desecrated a copy of the Quran while invigilating an exam. A student had been caught cheating and the teacher concerned had merely confiscated a paper with Arabic inscriptions which the student had hidden in a book that was not, in fact, a religious volume. Despite the fact that another (Muslim) teacher illustrated that the book was not the Quran and had not been torn, a vicious attack on the teacher was launched. The verdict was carried out without any explanation, defence or trial being allowed, The innocent was instantly condemned and brutally murdered.

Seabury-Western Suspends Recruitment, Admissions

[The Living Church] 22 Feb 2008--The Very Rev. Gary R. Hall, dean and president of Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, has announced that the school will “suspend recruitment and admissions to all degree and certificate programs” while it considers its future.

“We believe that the church does not need Seabury in its present form,” Dean Hall wrote. “There are a number of other schools who do what we have traditionally done as well as we do. But we also believe that the church very much needs a seminary animated by and organized around a new vision of theological education­one that is centered in a vision of baptism and its implications for the whole church, one that is flexible and adaptive and collaborative in nature.”

The decision to suspend recruitment and admissions was made following a meeting earlier this week of the board of trustees. The board approved a resolution calling on Dean Hall to develop “a detailed plan for the future operation of Seabury, including a financial plan that brings expenses in line with revenues” by its next meeting.

More evidence of The Episcopal Church's "vitality"!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

It's time to return to the fold

[National Post] 21 Feb 2008--Last week, Vancouver's St. John's Shaughnessy, the largest Anglican congregation in the country, overwhelmingly voted to separate itself from the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC).

Since then, seven congregations across Canada have followed its lead. Another 10 opted out long ago and are considering their options. For many others, the "what to do" conversations are just beginning.

Conservative Anglicans are taking this drastic step to separate themselves from a national Church that has increasingly rejected Biblical teachings and core Anglican doctrine. The last straw was when the Church began to bless same-sex unions in 2002.

After years of debate, the Diocese of New Westminster (headed by Bishop Michael Ingham) voted to bless same-sex couples that year. The worldwide Anglican Church immediately asked the diocese to delay the practice until it was fully debated. Global Church leaders then met to draft a formal letter specifically requesting that the diocese (and Bishop Ingham in particular) refrain from the practice.

But the ink was barely dry and Church leaders were (literally) still flying home, when Bishop Ingham forged ahead and allowed the first blessing of a same-sex couple in a Vancouver parish.


[Virtue Online] 21 Feb 2008--Criticisms have been directed against GAFCON (Global Anglican Futures Conference, announced by a mainly Global South gathering for Jerusalem this June), many of them by those considered to be conservatives. And these criticisms are not to be ignored. But for the Global South and their allies, no real alternative to GAFCON is evident, given two factors. The first is the evasiveness of the House of Bishops (HOB) of The Episcopal Church (TEC) in responding to the communiqué of the Primates' Meeting of February 2007.

The second, no less compelling, is Canterbury's undercutting of the Primates' Meeting and of the Primates themselves, apparently to avoid rejection of the HOB response. By way of giving grounds for this view, this article traces the sequence of events giving rise to GAFCON.

Yesterday’s Revolutionaries: Responding to Fr. Mark Harris

[Stand Firm] 21 Feb 2008--The "love" of Christ, or "a broad understanding of the Great Commandment..." as understood and experienced by contemporary Episcopalians, is often used as the criterion through which the rest of scripture is filtered. A month after the consecration of Gene Robinson, I visited with a bishop for whom I hold great affection. He sat in my parish library and explained that even though he recognized that passages like Romans 1:18-32 and 1st Corinthians 6:9 condemn homosexual behavior, he voted to consent to Bishop Robinson's election because "the love of Christ" trumps Paul's more Pharisaical approach. There is little if any difference between this bishop's use of the criterion of "love" and Marcion's use of the criterion of "grace".

Bishop of Diocese of Northwest Australia Declines Lambeth Invitation

[Stand Firm] 21 Feb 2008--In 1998, the Lambeth conference made it clear that nearly all of the leaders of our denomination maintained the biblical view of sexual ethics; that is, that sexual relationships are reserved for marriage between a man and a woman. In 2003, the Anglican Church in the USA defiantly acted against the Lambeth decision by the consecration of an openly homosexual man, Gene Robinson. Some of the Ministers in Canada and the USA began blessing ‘same-sex unions’.

While unbiblical sexual ethics is the presenting problem, it is really a symptom of a cancer eating away at true Christianity. Archbishop Peter Akinola is the Primate of Nigeria, the largest Anglican Church in the world. This is what he has to say about this: “The real issue is that there are members of our Anglican family who are not paying attention to scripture, but giving prominence to modern culture. They are bringing new principles to interpret scripture. The Word of God has precedence over any culture”.

Breakaway churches begin to organize amid confusion

[] 21 Feb 2008--Bishop Roger Ames is no longer a cleric in the Ohio Diocese of the Episcopal Church USA.

But he is a leader in the global Anglican Communion, which includes the Episcopal Church USA.

Then there's the church that Ames pastors — St. Luke's in Fairlawn. Its incorporation papers list its name as St. Luke's Anglican Church and Ames as pastor. Diocesan records, however, show that it is St. Luke's Episcopal Church and that the pastorate is vacant.

The Bishop of Fort Worth Announces Plans to Attend the GAFCOn Conference

[TitusOneNine] 21 Feb 2008--The Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, announced today that he plans to participate in the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), to be held in Jerusalem, June 22–29, 2008. Described as “a full week of planning and pilgrimage,” the event is being organized by the leading orthodox Primates of the Anglican Communion, and participation in the conference is by invitation only.

“I want to demonstrate my solidarity with the Bishops of the Global South,” Bishop Iker said, “and to stand with them as we seek a positive way forward for the mission of the Anglican Communion during this time of dissension. I expect it to be a time of spiritual renewal and refreshment.”

The conference program will focus on worship, prayer, discussion, and Bible study, shaped by the context of the Holy Land.Bishop Iker said that he “remains in consultation” with several other bishops regarding attendance at the upcoming Lambeth Conference of Bishops, which is to be held at the University of Kent in Canterbury from July 16 to August 3. He also will be seeking the advice of his own clergy about participating in this gathering of Anglican bishops from around the world that meets once every ten years. Bishop Iker was among those in attendance at the last Lambeth Conference, which was held in 1998.

Response to the Interim Pastoral Presence

[Diocese of San Joaquin] 21 Feb 2008--It is my understanding that you have been hired by the Presiding Bishop’s Office to be a part of an interim pastoral presence with oversight in the Diocese of San Joaquin. This fact indicates one of the two things: 1) You do not believe that the Diocese was capable of removing itself from TEC in December 2007, and therefore you are intruding into the internal affairs of a recognized TEC diocese; or, 2) You do believe this diocese left TEC in 2007 and you are entering into the internal affairs of a diocese of another province.

In either case, at present, The Episcopal Church has begun attacking both me and this diocese. Your coming here is unconscionable in that you are meddling in the affairs of San Joaquin with neither the courtesy of requesting my permission as bishop nor even troubling to inform me of your plans. Such actions are hardly those of men with honorable intentions.

Even though you have already taken it upon yourself to be in contact with clergy and parishes, under no circumstances are you welcome to hold meetings in this diocese or to ask permission of clergy or other leaders to do so.

New Schedule for Alternative Anglican Conference

[The Living Church] 21 Feb 2008--Five Global South primates recently rejected a plea to attend next summer’s Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops. In a related development, the leadership team of an alternate Lambeth Conference announced Feb. 19 that the dates and location had changed.

Last month, 21 English bishops who identified themselves as coming from the evangelical wing of the church wrote an open letter pleading with Global South primates to attend the Lambeth Conference. In their reply, the primates said participating in a conference with unrepentant bishops from The Episcopal Church would be hypocritical and “an assault on our consciences.” They stressed that they are not withdrawing from the Anglican Communion.

The five primates—Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria, Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini of Rwanda, Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi of Kenya, Archbishop Henry Orombi of Uganda, and Presiding Bishop Gregory Venables of the Southern Cone—all belong to the 15-member Global Anglican Fellowship conference (GAFCON) leadership team that is organizing the alternate event, which was first announced on Christmas Eve.