Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Top evangelical theologian leaves Anglican Church of Canada

[The Vancouver Sun] 30 Apr 2008--One of the world's most famous evangelical theologians quit the Anglican Church of Canada this week because he believes many of its bishops are "arguably heretical" for adhering to "poisonous liberalism."

James (J.I.) Packer, whom Time magazine recently named as one of the planet's 25 most influential evangelicals, said he hesitated before using the harsh terms to describe the Anglican bishops, but believed he must do so in the name of truth.

Vancouver-based Packer, who has sold more than four million copies of his many books, said he and 10 other B.C. Anglican clergy left the national denomination this week to operate under the authority of a South American Anglican archbishop because they felt they were being "starved out and worn down."

Presiding Bishop in Dallas: “Have You Been Watching San Joaquin?”

[The Living Church] 30 Apr 2008--Using a traditional Rogation service, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori blessed a new community garden at St. Thomas’ Church, Dallas, during a visit to that diocese April 28. About 140 persons from the dioceses of Dallas and Fort Worth attended the blessing. The group met in the parish hall for an informal question-and-answer session after the ceremony, which followed a two-hour session with diocesan clergy in the morning.

Clergy and laity from the Diocese of Fort Worth comprised a little less than half of those attending the reception. Their questions dominated, with some pleading with the Presiding Bishop for “help to get us out of the wilderness we now find ourselves in.” Fort Worth is one of several dioceses that are likely to consider leaving The Episcopal Church when their conventions are held this fall.

Bishop Jefferts Schori assured her questioners that a plan similar to the one employed in San Joaquin has already been prepared. When the Fort Worth delegation declared that they have been forgotten in this battle, the Presiding Bishop replied, “Have you been watching San Joaquin? They were not forgotten and now show dynamic signs of new life. You will not be forgotten, either.”

Gene Robinson’s ‘Incredible Orthodoxy’

[Anglican Mainstream] 30 Apr 2008--The BBC’s Roger Bolton interviewed Gene Robinson for the BBC Radio’s Sunday programme. As his new book is published in the run up to Lambeth, Bishop Robinson says his ‘passion is about the gospel’. He asserts, ‘I am incredibly orthodox in my beliefs – in my holding to the historic creeds’.

Williams criticized by gay bishop

[Anglican Mainstream] 30 Apr 2008--The first openly gay Anglican bishop has accused the Archbishop of Canterbury of failing to confront critics of hisappointment.

US bishop Gene Robinson, who has received death threats, said Rowan Williams’s handling of rhetoric against gay Anglicans could endanger them.

He said God was "very disappointed" in the way Dr Williams had failed to confront Nigeria’s Archbishop Akinola.

He also said Dr Williams had criticised the US church but not others.

“The cracked plate” Archbishop Venables’ Sermon to Commissioning service of ANiC

[Anglican Mainstream] 30 Apr 2008--We are glad and sad. Your decision and timing are correct. God will work with us as we walk through the next days and weeks and months and years. The Lord never tells us what is going to happen. He promises to be with us as we walk with him. That is how you will know who your true brothers and sisters are.

Now to the future and what needs to be done.

Evangelism in Western Post-Modern Secular Culture

[VirtueOnline] 30 Apr 2008--To begin: Have you ever been driven to think, when you are waiting for a call centre, which assures you endlessly that your call is very important to them but keeps you waiting ten minutes, and when finally you express pathetic gratitude at being connected to one of their consultants, that consultant turns out to know less about the issue you have rung about than you do, have you ever been driven to think that this world is run by machines and idiots? Or to put it more kindly, it is run by machines and people who are not allowed to exercise any judgement. This is no accident: it is a function of modern western secularity.

In talking about evangelism today we are not shifting the focus away from our concerns in meeting this weekend. We do not have two separate activities - one an internal church activity to secure our organisation, our borders and our future so that we may continue to reach out to win others for Christ.

We are engaged in something far more integrated: the very process we are engaged in of affirming our commitment to the truth of the scriptures and the reality of the God who transforms human life itself is the most powerful declaration of the good news of the Gospel in the post-modern secular culture in which we are called to bear witness. Contending for the faith once given to the saints now is part of our witness to our societies.

Fort Worth visit an 'unwarranted invasion,' Presiding Bishop tells Southern Cone primate

[Virtue Online] 30 Apr 2008--Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has advised Southern Cone Presiding Bishop Gregory J. Venables in an April 29 letter that his planned May 2-4 visit to address a special convocation of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth "with the expressed purpose of describing removal to the Province of the Southern Cone is an unwarranted invasion of, and meddling in, the internal affairs of this Province."

"I write to urge you not to bring further discord into The Episcopal Church," Jefferts Schori told Venables, who was, according to reports, scheduled to be in Central California on April 29 to meet with church leaders who last year voted to disaffiliate with the Episcopal Church and align with his Argentina-based province. "The actions contemplated by some leaders in Forth Worth are profoundly uncanonical," Jefferts Schori wrote. "They also prevent needed reconciliation from proceeding within this Province."

The full text of Jefferts Schori's letter, copied to Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, follows.

‘Gender havens’ to avert split in Church

[Times Online] 30 Apr 2008--The Church of England is proposing to tear up hundreds of years of tradition by establishing spiritual havens for opponents of women priests and bishops.

In a desperate attempt to stave off a schism over female ordination, church leaders have suggested the creation of new dioceses based on gender rather than geography.

The proposal – allowing some parishes to flee from the prospect of women bishops to male bishops hundreds of miles away – is one idea intended to preserve the unity of the Anglican Communion amid intense anger among millions of conservative church members.

But it risks antagonising liberals who believe that Anglicanism should not offer a compromise.

Report sets out roadmap for women bishops

[Times Online] 30 Apr 2008--A "church within a church" is proposed in a new report as a way of finding a home for the opponents of women priests and bishops in the Church of England.

A series of new dioceses that would transcend geographical boundaries and be havens for men and women opposed to female ordination is the radical proposal set out in the long-awaited report on how to proceed with the Church's desire to consecrate women bishops.

The report sets out a number of possible options and says that the General Synod must decide. But if the Church decides to opt for a structural solution, it makes clear that this would be the best way forward.

Critics claim the solution to how to consecrate women bishops without disenfranchising a substantial minority of opponents would leave the established Church resembling a "Gruyere cheese", with dioceses being left with large "holes" in them as parishes fled wholesale from the prospect of women bishops.

Packer Packs One Two Punch at Liberal Anglican Denomination

[VirtueOnline] 30 Apr 2008--He made it official on the weekend. The most famous orthodox Anglican theologian in Canada, and one of the world's most renowned, relinquished his orders in the Anglican Church of Canada, one of 11 priests to surrender their licenses. The Rev. Dr. J. I. Packer was then officially relicensed by the Most Rev. Gregory Venables, Primate of the Southern Cone into his province.

It was an historic moment for the modest, humble 81-year old theological warrior, author, and one of the most compelling voices for evangelical Anglican Christianity of the late 20th Century. Time magazine hailed him as one of the planet's most influential evangelicals. He deserves it.

It all took place in Vancouver at the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC) conference, where some 400 Anglicans in the Anglican Church of Canada made it official, renouncing an apostate denomination for the fresh spiritual pastures that affirmed the ancient faith and the gospel that goes with it.

Packer did not mince his words. In surprisingly harsh words, but acknowledging the realism of the occasion, he called many of the Anglican Church's bishops "arguably heretical" for adhering to "poisonous liberalism."

Monday, April 28, 2008

Influential evangelical theologian latest to split with Anglican Church

[The Vancouver Sun] 28 Apr 2008--One of the world's most famous evangelical theologians quit the Anglican Church of Canada this week because he believes many of its bishops are "arguably heretical" for adhering to "poisonous liberalism."

James Packer, whom Time magazine recently named as one of the planet's 25 most influential evangelicals, said he hesitated before using the harsh terms to describe the Anglican bishops, but believed he must do so in the name of truth.

Vancouver-based Packer, who has sold more than four million copies of his many books, said he and 10 other B.C. Anglican clergy left the national denomination this week to operate under the authority of a South American Anglican archbishop because they felt they were being "starved out and worn down."

Methodists defend Episcopal Church in land battle

[Louisville Examiner] 28 Apr 2008--The United Methodist Church and a handful of other religious bodies have rallied to the side of Virginia's Episcopal Diocese as it seeks to reclaim millions of dollars worth of property from breakaway congregations in court.

The U.S.-based Methodists, as well as two African branches and the Worldwide Church of God, joined the Episcopal Church this week in challenging the constitutionality of a Civil War-era Virginia law on which the case likely hinges.

New Canadian Anglican Bishops Poised To Lead Church & Country Back to Christ

[Virtue Online] 28 Apr 2008--After a 6-year struggle, two newly licensed Canadian Anglican bishops, along with 30 licensed priests and four deacons, are poised to win souls for Christ in a country that is fast becoming secularized and post Christian. They would also like to see their old denomination, the Anglican Church of Canada, won back to the gospel even as theological liberalism falters and fails and their churches close.

The Rt. Rev. Donald Harvey, Moderator of the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC), and the Rt. Rev. Malcolm Harding, Suffragan bishop for the Network, both made solemn promises to uphold the doctrine and discipline of the church and to defend the faith of the church to Archbishop Gregory Venables, Primate of the Southern Cone, in an emotionally and spiritually charged ceremony before some 400 former members of the Anglican Church of Canada.

Women Bishops in Australia

[Stand Firm] 28 Apr 2008--The innovation of women in the priesthood, and now women in the episcopate, means we are a church divided, without a common ministry and more significantly, without a common understanding of the word of God.

Apostolic Gospel Must be at Core of our Beliefs, says Priest Theologian

[Virtue Online] 28 Apr 2008--The priest of the largest Anglican parish in Canada, who is under ecclesiastical siege from revisionist New Westminster Bishop Michael Ingham, says his denomination has lost faith in the gospel. This is evidently revealed in the diocesan newspaper, which gives the impression that the gospel is about being nice, being compassionate, recycling "and we will even bless your pets."

"The eternal gospel of redemption through the sacrifice of Jesus' death and the power of his resurrection has been replaced with a gospel which is about approval, affirmation and acceptance. The apostolic gospel of sins forgiven, of rescue from eternal punishment has been smoothed and soothed to be more acceptable and relevant," said the Rev. Dr. David Short, pastor of St. John's, Shaughnessy in Vancouver.

Addressing some 400 members of the Anglican Network in Canada, Anglicans who have broken away from the mother church, Short blasted the denomination's Anglican seminaries saying that the gods of our culture have taken up residence in the seminaries of Canada. "They have spokesmen and spokeswomen in the House of Bishops who have managed to rewrite the gospel and to promote their worship."

Why Churches Die

[Believe Out Loud] 28 Apr 2008--A few years ago, a pastoral friend and I were shopping for used religious books in London. We noticed that a high percentage of religious bookstores were housed in former churches. Churches that once held human letters read of all men now contained dusty tomes stacked to the rafters.

Churches close often in America - an estimated 3,500 each year. The number of churches per capita in the United States has fallen steadily. One estimate says that no county in this country has more churches today than it did a decade ago. Astounding if accurate!

Anne Coletta interviews Bishop Kelshaw

[Anglican TV] 28 Apr 2008--Interview with Bishop Terence Kelshaw, Province of Uganda.

Argentine Archbishop Says Anglican Communion Now Has Two Gospels

[Virtue Online] 28 Apr 2008--Despite his lofty title and a name that wreaks history, the Archbishop of the Southern Cone, the Most Rev. Gregory Venables, is amazingly humble as he sits and contemplates the future of the Anglican Communion and his role in it. No Archbishop has been more outspoken, tilted at windmills, or been vilified by a fellow Anglican Primate. Yet he still reaches out with love and compassion with firmness of resolve that the Gospel of Jesus Christ cannot be compromised and that its life-changing message, valid in the First Century, is just as valid in the 21st Century regardless of time, place, culture, gender, age or education.

In Vancouver to attend an historic moment in the life of Canadian Anglicanism, a group of orthodox Anglicans, meeting under the banner of the Anglican Network in Canada's (ANiC), inaugurated and commissioned 30 priests committed to spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ in a church (the Anglican church of Canada) that has lost its way and its message. "In this age of academic, clever people there are truths that mark our path forward. God has given us clear directions that are not secrets for the clever, but God's clear direction for all of us.

"Starboard is on the right; port is on the left," he says to 400 Anglicans looking for hope, direction and leadership as they see their old church rolling over to moral relativity, walking away from the revealed word of God and departing from the faith once received. "Once you move away from there, you have nowhere else to go," Venables says.

Episcopal Church sues Binghamton parish

[] 28 Apr 2008--The Episcopal Diocese of Central New York has filed a lawsuit seeking the property of a Binghamton congregation that opposes the denomination's policy on homosexuality.

It's the second such lawsuit filed by the diocese and among dozens of similar cases across the country as the Episcopal Church faces ongoing opposition from congregations that disapprove of the 2003 consecration of New Hampshire Bishop Gene Robinson. Robinson has publicly acknowledged being in a committed gay relationship.

In August, a settlement between the diocese and St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Syracuse stipulated that the diocese would retain the building at 5013 S. Salina St. while the breakaway parish would be allowed to remain there up to a year.

Anglican Communion Is In First Stages of Divorce, Says Archbishop

[Virtue Online] 28 Apr 2008--The Archbishop of the Southern Cone says the Anglican Communion is in the first stages of divorce.

"I believe that the time comes when a marriage is no longer a marriage and you have to recognize it. With reference to the two positions in Anglicanism at present we are incompatible doctrinally and ethically and quite different in our presuppositions. Once we recognize that maybe we can have an amicable divide. This is separation from an apostate situation. Perhaps we can have an Anglican federation but even that seems unlikely at present," said Archbishop Gregory Venables, Primate of the Southern Cone. "But as in the case of a divorce we are in a conflict that does not bring us any joy."

Speaking at a press conference of the Anglican Network in Canada, a conference of 400 orthodox Anglicans meeting near Vancouver, BC, Venables said liberal Christianity does not have a doctrine of salvation or believe that Jesus is uniquely the Son of God. Liberal Christianity is not true Christianity., There is no eternal hope or salvation.

Reflections on the April 25th-26th ANiC Conference (Vancouver)

[Global South Anglican] 28 Apr 2008--An encouraging report and some photos can be viewed here and here.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

What I know about the lack of singing

[] 26 Apr 2008--The following was taken from an article in February, 2007, called The day the music died. The author is addressing the factors that cause Christian musicians to struggle, in particular their congregations:

Musicians and singers who minister at Katoomba Men’s Convention invariably say how they are blown away with encouragement when they look out at 3000 men singing their hearts out. But take them back into their home congregations and if they are looking out onto a group of people who look like they are at a funeral, it is very discouraging. Some singers have felt like shaking members in the congregation to see if they are still alive.

So why don’t people sing? In my opinion, one major reason would be because they don’t know the songs! So why don’t people sing? In my opinion, one major reason would be because they don’t know the songs!

Anglican church warns against visit by controversial South American bishop

[The Canadian Press] 26 Apr 2008-- controversial Anglican leader from South America arrived in this country on Wednesday, drawing a strong rebuke from Canadian church officials who fear his presence will further divide their flock.

Several congregations have split with the Canadian church to join Archbishop Greg Venables' more conservative Buenos Aires-based diocese. Eleven more clergy members of the Anglican diocese of New Westminster handed in their resignations this week, saying they will continue under Venables' jurisdiction.

When did supporting orthodox Biblical Christianity become controversial?

LifeWay Research finds unchurched prefer cathedrals to contemporary church designs

[LifeWay] 26 Apr 2008--People who don’t go to church may be turned off by a recent trend toward more utilitarian church buildings. By a nearly 2-to-1 ratio over any other option, unchurched Americans prefer churches that look more like a medieval cathedral than what most think of as a more contemporary church building.

The findings come from a recent survey conducted by LifeWay Research for the Cornerstone Knowledge Network (CKN), a group of church-focused facilities development firms. The online survey included 1,684 unchurched adults – defined as those who had not attended a church, mosque or synagogue in the past six months except for religious holidays or special events.

Anglican Churches Respond to Ruling on Discovery

[Virtue Online] 26 Apr 2008--The 11 Anglican churches being sued by The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Virginia responded to the Fairfax County Circuit Court decision to open discovery around the Contracts Clause, congregational votes and related questions.

"Today's Court ruling is part of the process which will prove that the 11 churches own their property and that they followed proper procedures when an overwhelming majority in each church voted to disaffiliate from The Episcopal Church and Diocese of Virginia," said Jim Oakes, vice-chairman of the Anglican District of Virginia. The 11 churches being sued by The Episcopal Church are a part of ADV.

"Judge Randy Bellows has indicated that he would like to see the entire case resolved soon after the October hearing. We welcome that news as we have consistently stated our belief that this litigation is a regrettable distraction from our core mission as a church. He also invited the parties to submit lists of issues that can be decided as a matter of law without any further discovery. On the remaining issues, Judge Bellows indicated that he would be receptive to motions for protective orders should discovery become too burdensome, which we appreciate.

Dr JI Packer speaks at launch of Anglican Network in Canada: geographical exclusiveness cannot be restored.

[Anglican Mainstream] 26 Apr 2008--May I begin by saying where I come from. If a certain dignitary kept his word and threat, I am here under false pretences. Two days ago I will have been deprived of the ministry to which I was ordained in 1952 and I ought not to be wearing a clerical collar. It is utterly tragic. This led me to resonate deeply with the way AB Venables presented in his talk. I have a joyful heart. One cannot be seeking to live under the leading and power of the Holy Spirit without joy in one’s heart. Joy has been added to my state of mind. Despite the fact that in Acts 27 the ship was wrecked, everyone was saved and got safe to land, and we have got safe to land in the same way through the generous offer of jurisdiction from AB Venables which we have settled for most gratefully. I want to celebrate the goodness and graciousness of AB Venables. This is not two Brits together but two Christians together. AB Venables has lightened my gloom considerably. As he illuminated what has gone wrong, I was saying Amen sir you are right, but oh dear.

Eleven clergy resign in New Westminster

[Virtue Online] 26 Apr 2008--Eleven members of the clergy in the Vancouver-based diocese of New Westminster on April 21 resigned due to theological conflicts with the diocese and Bishop Michael Ingham, but said they intend to continue their parish ministry under the jurisdiction of an Anglican province in South America.

The nine priests and two deacons, in a letter to Bishop Ingham, said "it is our intention to remain members of the Anglican church" but "we cannot continue the Anglican ministry to which we were ordained under your jurisdiction."

Archbishop’s Letter to Lambeth Bishops Still Not Sent

[The Living Church] 26 Apr 2008--
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams discussed his hopes and called on all Anglicans to pray for the Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops in a seven-and-a-half minute video published on the internet on April 23.

“Yes this is a conference for bishops, not for bishops with their clergy and laity as so often happens, but primarily for bishops,” Archbishop Williams said. “We don’t want at the Lambeth Conference to be creating a lot of new rules, but we do obviously need to strengthen our relationships and we need to put those relationships on another footing, slightly firmer footing, where we have promised to one another that this is how we will conduct our life together. And it is in that light that at this year we are discussing together the proposal for what we are calling a covenant between the Anglican Churches of the world.”

A spokesman for Archbishop Williams told The Living Church the internet video presentation was “not related” to his forthcoming letter to the bishops of the Communion. In that letter, the archbishop is reported to ask that they predicate their attendance at the Lambeth Conference upon their willingness to accept the Windsor Report and Anglican Covenant processes.

Anglican primate blasts South American rival

[Globe and Mail] 26 Apr 2008--Leaders of the Anglican Church in Canada and South America drew beads on each other yesterday with Canadian primate Fred Hiltz posting a letter on the Internet telling South America's Gregory Venables to stay out of the country and Archbishop Venables icily criticizing Archbishop Hiltz's manners in reply.

“My number is there on the Anglican Communion network,” Archbishop Venables said in a telephone interview from Buenos Aires. “I mean, this is only my humble opinion, but if somebody really wants to talk to me, they can pick up the phone and talk to me.

“Do you write a personal letter, between primates, on the Internet if you seriously want a personal dialogue?”

Canadian Anglican Clergy deny charges

[Anglican Church League] 26 Apr 2008--Clergy in six Lower Mainland Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC) churches today denied charges they have abandoned their ministry.

In February, Bishop Michael Ingham of the Anglican Church of Canada Diocese of New Westminster issued a “Notice of Presumption of Abandonment of the Exercise of the Ministry” to nine Anglican priests and two ordained deacons. These priests and deacons – including world renowned theologian, the Rev Dr J I Packer – all serve in churches where parishioners had voted to join the Anglican Network in Canada.

Orthodox Canadian Anglicans Set to Make Ecclesiastical History

[Virtue Online] 26 Apr 2008--Fourteen bishops, including several archbishops, many from the Global Anglican Communion, led by the Archbishop of the Southern Cone, the Most Rev. Gregory Venables, will make an historic visit to Vancouver, British Columbia, this weekend to officially launch an ecclesial organization that will stand in permanent opposition to the theologically liberal Anglican Church of Canada.

More than 500 people are expected to fill the South Delta Baptist Church near Vancouver to worship, celebrate and hear Archbishop Venables speak. He will commission a new generation of evangelical clergy at odds with a morally and theologically compromised Anglican Church that many believe has moved beyond the boundaries of historic Christianity and is at odds with the vast majority of the Anglican Communion.

Anglican splinter group to welcome South American primate

[Global South Anglican] 26 Apr 2008--As a global battle pits senior Anglicans against each other, more than 300 conservative Christians who have broken from the Anglican Church of Canada will gather at an evangelical church in Delta on Friday to welcome their new leader, South American Anglican Archbishop Gregory Venables.

The meeting takes place the same week 11 Anglican Church of Canada clergy in Greater Vancouver resigned from the denomination to serve under the authority of the South American primate, who was asked this week by Canadian Primate Fred Hiltz not to intervene in his jurisdiction.

The gathering of the Anglican Network in Canada Friday and Saturday at South Delta Baptist Church includes 15 congregations, eight from B.C., that have severed ties with the 700,000-member Anglican Church of Canada.

Bishop Says GAFCON not LAMBETH is Anglican Province's Choice

[Virtue Online] 26 Apr 2008--When the Rt. Rev. Dr. Eliud Wabukala, from Bungoma in Western Kenya, was asked why he was going to GAFCON,but not to the Lambeth Conference in July, he told a congregation of Kenyans in his diocese that you don't go to a place where men marry men.

"For us it is not just a theological issue, it is a practical issue. We don't go to a meeting where men marry each other. That is not the way of God. It is not the way of the Lord or Scripture. This is the Sensus Fidelium. It is what the people of God believe, accept, and reject."

The bishop said it was a "hard agonizing decision to make choosing not to go to Lambeth. The question then was what do we do? It became clear to us that we had to go to GAFCON.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Y Factor

[Building Church Leaders] 21 Apr 2008--In tough times, you need to radically increase your ministry's volunteer quotient.

Sexual Abuses Issues in the Church; Raising the Bar

[Christianity Today] 21 Apr 2008--In recent years, our society has begun to better understand the widespread problem of child sexual abuse. Conservative studies indicate that one out of three girls and one out of seven boys will be sexually abused before reaching 18 years of age, regardless of religious or socio-economic demographic.

Law enforcement sources estimate nearly 60 million survivors of childhood sexual abuse are living in America today.

Sexual abuse is not limited to any racial, ethnic, or socio-economic class. It is no respecter of any religious denomination or creed. Sexual abuse can happen anywhere.

The way into the kingdom

[] 21 Apr 2008--The first in the Mountain Sized Christianity series, focusing on Matthew 5:1-12.

Is Your Church More Chinese Than Christian?

[] 21 Apr 2008--Every church is cultural to some extent. Unwittingly, unknowingly perhaps, all churches run the danger of baptising their particular cultural values in the font of Christianity.

Coming from a Chinese church context myself, and now as pastor of Asian Bible Church (ABC), I’ve had to wrestle with the issue of being in a specific ethnic/cultural church. Now, there are all sorts of cultural churches – surfer church, skater church, cafĂ© church, pub church, etc – but I’ll turn my critical eye to what I know first-hand. This is what I see.

Orthodox Canadian Anglican Bishop Resigns. Takes Parish in Dallas

[Virtue Online] 21 Apr 2008--The Rt. Rev. Tony Burton, Bishop of Saskatchewan, Canada, has resigned as bishop of the diocese to take up an appointment as rector of the Church of the Incarnation, a traditionalist parish in the Diocese of Dallas. He will begin his new duties September 8, 2008.

In a letter to the clergy and people of the Diocese of Saskatchewan, Burton wrote, "This is a difficult letter to write but I must let you know that I have submitted my resignation to the Metropolitan of Rupert's Land effective September 1, 2008. I begin that day a new ministry as Rector of the Church of the Incarnation in Dallas, Texas.

Uninvited gay US bishop will attend bishops’ conference

[Times Online] 21 Apr 2008--The openly gay US bishop at the heart of the Anglican Church’s schismatic row over sex is to “marry” his partner in June and attend the 2008 Lambeth Conference in Canterbury this summer, despite not being invited.

The Right Rev Gene Robinson, Bishop of New Hampshire, has pointedly not been asked by Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, to attend the conference in his official capacity as an Anglican bishop.

An Open letter to the Bishops of the Anglican

[Anglican Eseentials Federation] 21 Apr 2008--We are writing to you as members of the Anglican Church of Canada to express our deep concerns about the actions of some of the Bishops, most especially the Bishop of Ottawa in the appointment as incumbent of a female priest married to another woman, and the Bishops of Ottawa, Niagara and Montreal in assenting to votes on the blessing of same-sex civil marriages.

Our first concern is that theology is being changed by actions rather than allowing theology to inform actions. We have not resolved as a Church to bless same-sex unions nor to ordain those living in same-sex unions. Regardless of the individual circumstances, the appointment in Ottawa demonstrates an affirmation of these unions far beyond anything yet decided by the Church or allowed by the canons. Canon XVIII warns against “teaching or advocating doctrines contrary to those accepted by the Anglican Church of Canada.” Are we to understand that by the Bishop of Ottawa’s actions we now advocate such unions as suitable for the clergy of this Church? Let us be clear in our theology and actions.

More Praise for Due Process

[Confessions of a Carioca] 21 Apr 2008--The inimitable House of Bishops/Deputies listserv, where I cut my teeth on cyber- "conversation" beginning almost six years ago now, has been continuing to chatter about the canonically-flawed procedure for the putative depositions from the ordained ministry last month of Bishops Cox and Schofield. In the name of synergy, I share here some of my own participation in that discourse:

At the risk of aggravating those who consider this thread a thoroughly beaten horse ... a response to some posts that I was not able to engage as they arrived because of “technical difficulties”:

Anglican Church of Canada chooses litigation over negotiation

[Virtue Online] 21 Apr 2008--The Anglican Church of Canada's House of Bishops has rejected an overture from the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC) to seek negotiated settlements of property disputes rather than pursue litigation.

Bishop Donald Harvey, moderator of ANiC, expressed his disappointment, and said that, while he was fully aware of the sensitivities of "diocesan autonomy" and wasn't surprised at this response, "I had hoped the Primate would have attempted to facilitate negotiations between the dioceses and the Anglican Network parishes."

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Leaving the New Episcopal Church

[Private Papers] 19 Apr 2008--Most Christians in America probably don’t know much about what is happening in the Episcopal Church (TEC). It is very small in comparison with the Roman Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention, or the new, “non-denominational” neighborhood churches, whose campuses dwarf small towns; and TEC is in decline, losing 32% of its membership between 1960 and 2002. After making a small recovery, its numbers are heading down again, due mainly to losses of whole churches and dioceses, which are pulling out because of deep concerns about the theological direction of the church, and in response to the consecration of gay bishop Eugene Robinson in New Hampshire. This membership decline does not bother the new presiding bishop and leader of the church, Katharine Jefferts Schori, who in a New York Times Magazine interview in 2006 responded to two questions about the size of her church:

Archbishop of Canterbury Seeks Assurances From Bishops

[The Living Church] 19 Apr 2008--Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams will write all bishops planning to attend the Lambeth Conference this summer, requesting that they support an Anglican Covenant and be prepared to abide by the recommendations of the Windsor Report.

Will Europe Resist Islamization?

[Anglican Mainstream] 19 Apr 2008--Some analysts of Islam in Western Europe argue that the continent cannot escape its Eurabian fate; that the trend lines of the past half-century will continue until Muslims become a majority population and Islamic law (the Shari‘a) reigns.

I disagree, arguing that there is another route the continent might take, one of resistance to Islamification and a reassertion of traditional ways. Indigenous Europeans — who make up 95 percent of the population — can insist on their historic customs and mores. Were they to do so, nothing would be in their way and no one could stop them.

New ultimatum to Lambeth Bishops:

[TitusOneNine] 19 Apr 2008--Bishops attending the Lambeth Conference will be asked to affirm their willingness to abide by the recommendations of the Windsor Report and work towards the creation of an Anglican Communion Covenant.

A spokesman for the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams told The Church of England Newspaper that letters affirming support for Windsor and the Covenant process had not yet been mailed, but would go out presently.

Reply Brief Submitted to California Supreme Court in Church Property Case

[Virtue Online] 19 Apr 2008--Attorneys for St. James Church have submitted the reply brief to the California Supreme Court in our church ' s property case with the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles and the national Episcopal Church. This brief reinforces the strengths of our case while responding to legal arguments made by the Episcopalians in their briefs. The case is being watched closely throughout the nation. A link to the brief is below.

Tomball church splinters

[The Houston Chronicle] 19 Apr 2008--The Rev. Stan Gerber has preached his last sermon at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Tomball. On Sunday, the Episcopal priest, most of his staff and an expected majority of churchgoers will worship in a local junior high school.

Their departure is the latest casualty in the ongoing crisis in the Episcopal Church and the doctrinal debate between conservatives and liberals over sexuality and biblical interpretation. Nationwide, about 55 churches and a California diocese also have left the national denomination over its liberal stands.

From an "orthodox" point of view, Gerber said, "The culture has begun to influence the church, rather than the church influencing the culture."

Pope says divisions, abandoning tradition weaken Christian witness

[Virtue Online] 19 Apr 2008--NOTE: Observe the Pope's comments regarding The Episcopal Church. He condemned the use of 'local option' to broker in innovations unacceptable to Catholicism and the broader orthodox community.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Diocese sues former Episcopal church in Binghamton to gain control of property

[Press & Sun-Bulletin] 18 Apr 2008--The Diocese of Central New York is attempting to order a former Episcopal Church in Binghamton to vacate its buildings and turn over legal title of the property to its regional office.

In a lawsuit filed this week, the diocese asked the State Superior Court to force Church of the Good Shepherd, on Conklin Avenue, to leave the facility as well as account for all money -- including an endowment fund -- because the congregation withdrew from the Episcopal Church and joined the Anglican Church of Kenya.

Western Louisiana Bishop: 'Two Sets of Rules for One Church'

[The Church Times] 18 Apr 2008--The recent deposition of bishops John-David Schofield and William J. Cox lends credence to those who say two sets of rules govern The Episcopal Church, according to Bishop D. Bruce MacPherson of Western Louisiana.

At a diocesan standing committee meeting on April 14, all six members approved a statement that noted that the deposition votes of the House of Bishops on March 12 failed to achieve the canonically required number of votes for enactment. A pastoral emergency prevented Bishop MacPherson from attending the standing committee meeting, but he endorsed the statement and urged its approval the following day at a meeting of diocesan council. All 19 members of council present also approved the resolution.

“The purpose is to express displeasure and concern, to encourage everyone to obey the canons” Bishop MacPherson told The LivingChurch. “Right now there is a disparity. It appears there are two different sets of rules for one church.”

Covenant will protect male power, says critic

[Church Times] 18 Apr 2008--A member of the Lambeth Commission that first proposed an Anglican Covenant has changed her mind.

Speaking at a conference in New York last week, the Dean of St John’s College, in Auckland, New Zealand, Dr Jenny Plane Te Paa, said that events since the launch of the commission’s report had “caused me to reconsider my initial support for the development of covenant”.

Among the events she cited was the behaviour at the Primates’ Meetings, which had gone from being a gathering for “leisurely thought [and] prayer” to being a “quasi-governance body universally perceived as inappropriate, unbidden, and unhelpful”.

Made for the Job? Women in leadership in the church and the world

[Anglican Mainstream] 18 Apr 2008--John Richardson has raised some rather awkward but very important issues about women and leadership, power and value both in the church and across our culture. In matter of fact, one of the results of second-wave feminism (from the 60s onward) in the West has been for many women to endeavour to beat men at their own ‘game’ - money, power, status and external achievement (and now for girls and young women, sexual pleasure and conquest). They have been fed the party line: this is where the action is at and is what really counts. What women had been so good at in the past has been sidelined, downplayed, even rubbished, because it is not deemed ‘important’ now. Maternity and female nurturing of the next generation is a prime example. Funny, that one, for it is trendy for New Men to be ’stay-at-home’ dads; the same does not apply to their female counterparts who are often consigned to the Dark Ages of the 50s. And notice that even here, in PC world, what is actually happening is a privileging of the male and a denigration of the female. I believe hard questions need to be asked of both sexes: in the light of eternity what is crucially important? how can I know? and what role does gender play?

Response to alleged attacks on Changing Attitude leaders in Nigeria

[Anglican Mainstream] 18 Apr 2008--The early church quickly discovered that although persecution by pagan world powers was deeply painful and distressing, a far bigger and more dangerous threat was posed by ungodly arguments and divisions within the Christian community. The first documented instance of this is in Acts 6, when a disagreement stemming from tribal sympathies arose. The apostles saw the danger and acted quickly to find a positive and creative solution. Throughout the centuries the story has been the same. Schism, heartbreak and unhealed wounds have been caused by arguments emanating from within the church, rather than from persecution from outside.

The church in Nigeria knows much about suffering from persecution, but the stories have not generally been brought to the attention of the world’s media. We are now, however, faced with vilification, bullying and unfounded accusations from fellow Christians, and while we struggle to understand why this should be, these stories are blown up into world headlines.

Recife Bishop Survives Attempted Takeover of His Diocese

[Virtue Online] 18 Apr 2008--He has every right to feel abandoned. A flicker of pain crosses his face as he talks about not being invited to Lambeth this summer by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Rt. Rev. Robinson Cavalcanti, Bishop of Recife, might justly feel rejected.The ultra-liberal Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil, through its Primate, issued a series of documents, which he says contain little truth. He is further accused of being schismatic by inviting an orthodox primate of another province to provide spiritual protection for his evangelical flock.

Surprisingly, the pain and suffering has produced a depth of character that is visibly discernible. His humility in the face of opposition, is palpable. He is holding up despite the obstacles and opposition.

Trinity Church leaders in Vero say they won't vacate soon

[Virtue Online] 18 Apr 2008--Leaders of Trinity Episcopal Church aren't planning to obey their bishop's request for them to vacate their church by May 1, a spokesman said Thursday.

"The call for us to vacate is spurious, at best," said Ron Joaquim, spokesman for the leadership that wants to break with the national Episcopal Church, citing theological differences.

On Wednesday, Bishop John Howe, with the church's Central Florida Diocese, announced those who want to break off should depart and leave behind the parishes' multimillion-dollar church complex in Vero Beach.

It is Howe's answer to a stalemate between church members who want to stay and those who want to leave the Episcopal Church. The controversy has been going on for six months.

Will some at church in Vero be forced to leave?

[TC Palm] 18 Apr 2008--Trinity Episcopal Church officials and parishioners who want to break from the national Episcopal denomination have two weeks to leave their church in Vero Beach, the bishop of the Central Florida Diocese said Wednesday.

The parish's multimillion-dollar church will remain in Episcopalian hands, said Bishop John Howe, in announcing his answer to a six-month controversy within the local church.

"It is one of hardest, saddest things I have ever had to deal with," Howe said.

Is it smart to forget God's wrath?

[Anglican Planet] 18 Apr 2008--One of the gravest weaknesses of contemporary Christianity is the little attention paid to the wrath of God. We have become sentimental and have so stressed the love of God as to become unwilling to talk about his wrath.

In part this is because the culture will not let us do so. There is an outcry whenever the clear teaching of the Bible is given in public. Church members have to live in this world. They do not want their minister to talk about unpopular or divisive subjects. The minister is aware of this and he is tempted to soft-peddle on matters which are scriptural. Among them is the subject of God's wrath.

There is an even deeper reason. Many false teachings (or lack of true teaching) begin with an inadequate idea of human sin. In the twentieth century, there were significant advances made in psychology. We learned more clearly than ever before the effect of the brain on human behaviour, the shaping we experience through our parents, and the sort of things which motivate and explain the way we operate. Much of this has been for the real betterment of people.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Three Strategies, Same Result

[DCNY] 17 Apr 2008--Three parishes that were formerly in the Diocese of Central NY have left, albeit in different ways. St. Andrew's in Syracuse was the first to leave and they were sued. After some preliminary legal work the parish and diocese settled out of court. St. Andrew's in Vestal negotiated with the diocese and when the negotiations proved fruitless the parish abandoned the parish facilities. Good Shepherd also negotiated with the diocese and has this week been sued by the diocese.

Related letter:
From a Good Shepherd Parishioner - DCNY

An Apology for the Middle Way Between Two Extremes

[Stand Firm] 17 Apr 2008--My argument was not that orthodox Episcopalians and/or Anglicans “must” break from the Anglican Communion or from the Episcopal Church. Rather my position was, is, and has been since General Convention 2006 twofold: 1. Given the Episcopal Church’s corporate legislative embrace of heresy in both 2003 and 2006, a decision on the part of orthodox Episcopalians to formally disassociate from the Episcopal Church or to radically differentiate while remaining within her jurisdictional boundaries (to the point of not partaking in Eucharistic fellowship) is at the very least legitimate according to New Testament standards and 2. a decision on the part of orthodox Anglican provinces, primates, or individual bishops not to partake in Eucharistic fellowship at Lambeth or not to participate in the Lambeth Conference wherein heretics are to be recognized as full and legitimate members of the Church is also legitimate according to New Testament standards. I did not, again, presume to say what orthodox Episcopalians and/or Anglicans “ought” to do or “must” do. Rather I sought to defend on biblical grounds the legitimate decisions of Episcopalians and Anglican leaders who choose not to maintain ecclesial and/or Eucharistic fellowship with those whose teachings go beyond and run counter to the clear teachings of the apostles

Peter Jensen interviewed on ABC Radio

[Anglican Church League] 17 Apr 2008--Archbishop Peter Jensen was interviewed by Richard Glover on ABC Radio in Sydney yesterday. The topic was sexuality and the controversy over the Anglican Church of England Grammar School in Brisbane.

The interview runs for 12 minutes and may be heard at the ABC Sydney website. also has a roundup on the latest.

Evangelicals told they must rescue their title

[Anglican Mainstream] 17 Apr 2008--Evaneglicals must act now to stop the term ‘evangelical’ going the same was as ‘fundamentalist’, it has been claimed.

Despite previously being associated with great names such as the abolitionist William Wilberforce and activist Lord Shaftesbury, now a group of researchers believe ‘evangelical’ is rapidly becoming a by-word.

The warning came from extensive study carried out by the Jubilee Centre, a Christian social reform organisation based in Cambridge. John Hayward, executive director of the centre, said their research found that many in parliament viewed evangelicals as people against the use of contraceptives. “Our research on Hansard found that as far as parliamentarians are concerned ‘evangelical’ is a word to be associated with condoms,” he said.

Episcopal Priest Denied Access To Church In Groton

[] 17 Apr 2008--When the newly appointed “priest-in-charge” of the Bishop Seabury Church, the Rev. David Cannon, came to the church Tuesday morning, he was denied entry.

He was not given the keys or granted access to records.

Cannon, however, said he does not have any hard feelings. He accepted the appointment well aware of the ongoing tug of war between church parishioners and the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut.

No Pre-Lambeth Meeting for House of Bishops

[The Living Church] 17 Apr 2008--Members of the House of Bishops have voted not to meet before the Lambeth Conference in July, the canon to the Presiding Bishop announced April 16.

Earlier this month, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori moved forward with preparations for a vote to depose Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh at a special House of Bishops’ meeting before the Lambeth Conference. E-mail messages were sent April 8 to all members of the House of Bishops entitled to vote.

“After receiving a large number of responses to our poll regarding the need for a May meeting of the House, we can confirm from the results that there will not be a meeting in May,” the Rev. Canon C. K. Robertson wrote to the bishops.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Our absenting-minded Archbishop

[The Times] 16 Apr 2008--While I was schussing down the slopes of Serre Chevalier, a world away from the unending bad dream of contemporary Anglican polity, one of my absolute top favourite blogs, BabyBlueOnline, picked up Bishop Tom Wright's speech to Fulcrum where he said that the Archbishop of Canterbury had written to non-Windsor bishops suggesting they might wish to 'absent themselves' from Lambeth. These letters had been written with 'apostolic pain and heart-searching but also with apostolic necessity,' said Dr Wright. 'This is what he promised he would do, and he is doing it,' said the good Bishop of Durham. Well guess what. According to Lambeth Palace, he hasn't written any such letters. He might have 'promised' to do it but he hasn't done it. Yet.

Judge Vows Episcopal Property Ruling Friday

[Virtue Online] 16 Apr 2008--It's been two-and-a-half months since the date he'd originally set for making his ruling, but Fairfax Circuit Court Judge Randy Bellows will rule on the ownership of the Falls Church Episcopal Church and 10 other Church properties this Friday, according to a notification from his law clerk issued to attorneys in the case yesterday.

The dispute stems from the defection of a majority of members of those congregations from the Episcopal Church, U.S.A., in December 2006, and their subsequent claim to the properties of those churches.

Official Launch of Lambeth 2008: Jesus-Free

[Anglican Mainstream] 16 Apr 2008--(and Holy Spirit-Free and Trinity-Free; ’God’ is given a very low profile, but does a little better than the ‘Bible’ - hmmmm, why does this sound strangely familiar?) I missed the official launch when it first appeared. However, given the increasing flurry of activity surrounding Lambeth (the latest, of course, being those apparently non-existent ‘letters in the mail’) it is really important to understand the thinking of those who are hosting it. Please do have a read of the official document yourself (see below) if you have not, already. And read what it doesn’t say, where it isn’t invested.

Gospel Grip and Fulcrum Fantasy

[Anglican Mainstream] 16 Apr 2008--Fulcrum seems to take pride in being the voice of balanced orthodoxy, but Tom Wright’s recent lecture is evidence that the real function of Fulcrum - whatever the intentions of its members - is to try and hold the balance between post modern religiosity and the historic biblical Anglicanism which it mimics. Such a position is of course fundamentally unstable and the strained exegesis of this latest lecture shows the extent to which reality, not least in the form of GAFCON, is overtaking the Fulcrum fantasy.

Canon Cameron: Lambeth Won’t Affirm North American Innovations

[The Living Church] 16 Apr 2008--Speaking at a conference on the proposed Anglican Covenant, the Rev. Canon Gregory Cameron, deputy secretary general of the Anglican Consultative Council, did not offer hope to those eager for other Anglican provinces to follow the North American churches’ perceived leadership in social justice ministries.

Canon Cameron was the final keynote speaker at “An Anglican Covenant: Divisive or Reconciling?”, a conference held April 10-12 at The General Theological Seminary’s Desmond Tutu Center. He explained that the Archbishop of Canterbury has no juridical authority, and noted that while individual bishops have differing levels of sympathy for full inclusion of homosexual persons, neither intervention nor affirmation can be expected at this summer’s Lambeth Conference.

Episcopal Diocese Sues Church of the Good Shepherd in Binghamton

[Virtue Online] 16 Apr 2008--The Episcopal Diocese of Central New York filed a lawsuit today against Church of the Good Shepherd in Binghamton, New York seeking the seizure of the church building, the parish hall, and the rectory. This is the third church which Episcopal Bishop Gladstone "Skip" Adams of Syracuse has moved against to seize since 2006, and the second church he has actually sued. The priest at Good Shepherd is Fr. Matt Kennedy who is a commentator on the internationally known Stand Firm website.

The Church of the Good Shepherd was a small struggling congregation when Bishop Adams took over the diocese as its new bishop. One of the first priests he ordained was Fr. Kennedy, who then went to Good Shepherd and raised it to be a vibrant congregation doubling its Sunday morning attendance.

Priest Threatened With Ouster

[Virtue Online] 16 Apr 2008--The Jewish born evangelical Episcopal priest of Bishop Seabury Church, named for the First Bishop in America, has had his parish declared vacant even though he has not been inhibited and has the full support of his vestry and congregation to stay.

Fr. Ron Gauss, a priest for nearly 35 years at this high profile 800-member Episcopal parish, told Virtueonline that even though he retired from The Episcopal Church, the parish, at their annual meeting, renewed his Annual Civil Contract, re-elected the same vestry and has no intention of moving and will fight for the property. "I was ordained using the 1928 Book of Common Prayer. I am in total agreement with Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan who said that he is only living up to his ordination vows."

Anglican Province Now Over 25 Million in Unique Discipleship Program

[Virtue Online] 16 Apr 2008--The Anglican Church in Nigeria, the largest and fastest growing Province in the Anglican Communion, is growing by leaps and bounds in a unique 1+1+3 program that has seen the church soar from 18 million to more than 25 million with 10 archbishops, 140 bishops and 37 new dioceses birthed in the last two years.

"We are not simply making new converts, we are making disciples for Christ," said the Rt. Rev. Ikechi Nwachukwu Nwosu, Bishop of Umuahia in Eastern Nigeria. His diocese was started 15 years ago and now has 1.2 million practicing Anglicans in five dioceses out of a population of 2.5 million. This is typical of the growth throughout Nigeria.

"The 1+1+3 program means that one person leads one person to Christ and disciples them intensively for three years. Every Anglican, from archbishops to bishops to lay people, must fulfill this requirement in order to reach Nigeria's 120 million. Every Anglican is a one on one agent of conversion. Each must disciple that one person for three years and then that person must disciple someone else. It has had a multiplying effect. This is why the church is growing. Archbishop Peter Akinola, Primate of Nigeria started the program in 2004. It was his vision for multiplying the Anglican presence in Nigeria. He did it to effectively combat crime and ills in Nigerian society, which were rapidly increasing at that time.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Bishop Tom Wright reports that Rowan Williams has sent letters to bishops requesting that they consider "absenting themselves" from Lambeth

[BabyBlueOnline] 15 Apr 2008--It should not be thought that it is only the consecrators of Gene Robinson who are in view: there may be some less than enthusiastic supporters of the Windsor Report and Process among conservative bishops who have as a result crossed boundaries. Bishop Tom Wright reports that Rowan Williams has sent letters to bishops requesting that they consider "absenting themselves" from Lambeth Calling this the "most difficult and fraught moment," the Bishop of Durham, Tom Wright, in his talk to the Fulcrum Conference yesterday in London on "Conflict and Covenant in the Bible,"said that letters are now posted in the mail from the Archbishop of Canterbury to bishops who have been initially invited to Lambeth but who have been identified as not supporting the Windsor Report and the Covenant.

According to Bishop Wright, the letter is being sent to those whom Rowan Williams has identified as being "particularly unsympathetic to Windsor and the Covenant." Bishop Wright goes on to state that if these bishops are not ready to support Windsor and the Covenant, they should "absent themselves" from the Lambeth Conference.

I do not believe that Rowan Williams is going to disinvite the bishops of TEC. That is wishful thinking. He is more likely to disinvite the GAFCON bishops.

Rhetoric, Empathy, and the Holiness of the Church

[Stand Firm] 15 Apr 2008--No level of empathy or mutual recognition of "good intent" can overcome or override the fact that if this new teaching is heresy then the eternal destiny of souls is at risk. Simply writing that is considered bad form in some orthodox circles; impolite at best, demagogic at worst. If we are to get anywhere near resolving our issues and reconciling the church, some will say, then such rhetoric must be put away and a gentler tone adopted. The implicit assumption behind such objections, however, is that what divides us is less important than the fact that we are divided and that by employing a gentler tone, the serious but non-essential issues facing the church may be resolved or at least set within a larger context of mutual commitment to an ecclesial body...

Conflict and Covenant in the Bible

[Fulcrum] 15 Apr 2008--The long wait between the events of 2003 and the forthcoming Lambeth Conference has constituted a call to patience, to prayer, to faithfulness, and - by no means least - to fresh study of the scriptures. At a time of enormous cultural and moral confusion, when shrill voices are raised on all sides, there is an urgent need for calm, prayerful biblical reflection; and, though my own feelings just now are anything but calm, I hope what I can provide this morning is at least biblical, as I assure you it is also prayerful. I have three points to make about the current context, and then three main biblical reflections, focussing particularly on the Corinthian correspondence.

Canon, Covenant, and Rule of Faith – The Use of Scripture in Communion

[Anglican Communion Institute] 15 Apr 2008--In order both to set limits and for clarity's sake-themes to which I shall return- the present essay will undertake theological reflection on covenant and the appropriateness of using this term for work presently before us in the Anglican Communion. This requires some threshold consideration. By ‘theological reflection' I mean, giving a comprehensive account of Scripture with concern for its total, mutually-informing witness. I take this to be the concern of one of the Articles, with a long prior history, that scripture be read in such a way that its portions be not repugnant, one with another. The same concern also animates what in our present period is called ‘canonical reading.'

Pilgrimage at the heart of Gafcon

[Anglican Mainstream] 15 Apr 2008--Plans are well in hand for the Global Anglican Future Pilgrimage and Conference at the end of June.

The Pilgrimage is to the roots of the Christian Faith. Pilgrims will visit the Mount of Olives where Jesus and his disciples often spent time, especially on the eve of his crucifixion, the steps of the Temple where Peter preached on the day of Pentecost, and Bethlehem, Nazareth and Capernaum, the places of Jesus’ birth, upbringing and early ministry.

‘That attack’: Greg Griffith

[Anglican Mainstream] 15 Apr 2008--What Colin Coward, Davis Mac-Iyalla, Susan Russell and Integrity, and the rest of CA’s English and American partners are doing is charging that the Anglican Church of Nigeria, and Archbishop Peter Akinola himself, aren’t just hostile to homosexuality in general, or to certain homosexuals in particular, but that they deliberately orchestrated this "attack." If the "victim" really sustained life-threatening injuries, and if he really has any credible evidence whatsoever that the Anglican Church of Nigeria and Peter Akinola had anything to do with the planning and execution of the attack, then charges should be brought against Akinola and the church immediately. Furthermore, the scope of the charges should include at the very least conspiracy, assault and battery, and attempted murder....

Inhibition Against Bishop MacBurney Lifted Temporarily

[The Living Church] 15 Apr 2008--The inhibition against the Rt. Rev. Edward H. MacBurney, retired Bishop of Quincy, has been temporarily lifted following an announcement on April 14 from the canon to the Presiding Bishop.

“In light of the personal tragedy that Bishop and Mrs. MacBurney are facing, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori wishes to offer the bishop the opportunity to function liturgically in any services for his son if he desires to do so,” said the Rev. Canon Charles Robertson in an e-mail message.

Related article:
Presiding Bishop "graciously" grants permission to Bishop MacBurney - Virtue Online

Archbishop Gomez: Covenant Development a ‘Painful Process’

[The Living Church] 15 Apr 2008--The proposed Anglican Covenant could be applied in a variety of circumstances, including lay presidency of Holy Eucharist, according to the Most Rev. Drexel Gomez, Archbishop of the West Indies. Archbishop Gomez delivered the opening address at “An Anglican Covenant: Divisive or Reconciling?”, a conference and panel discussion April 10-12 at The General Theological Seminary (GTS) in New York City.

Archbishop Gomez is chairman of the Covenant Design Group, a task force appointed by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to prepare a draft covenant for the Anglican Communion. Given his position, Archbishop Gomez said it should not be surprising that he speaks with a bias in favor of adopting an Anglican Covenant.

‘Marketing of Evil’ fires up churches

[Anglican Mainstream] 15 Apr 2008--It’s been one of America’s most talked-about books for the last two years, but now David Kupelian’s "The Marketing of Evil" is lighting a fire in the one place the author considers most important – the nation’s churches.

From small-town churches and prayer groups to one of America’s largest Presbyterian congregations, numbering over 10,000, Christian leaders and laymen are buying the book, sometimes by the case.

Bishop urges boycott of persecutors

[Anglican Mainstream] 15 Apr 2008--A Church of England bishop is calling on British holidaymakers to boycott sunspot favourites such as the Maldives, Bali and Turkey because of persecution of Christians.

The Bishop of Shrewsbury, the Right Rev Alan Smith, urged travellers to think twice when booking exotic holidays as a report today lists some of the top holiday destinations as among the worst countries for persecuting Christians.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Priest Says Anglican Church of Canada is undermining authority of Scripture

[Virtue Online] 11 Apr 2008--As the minister at St. Mary of the Incarnation Church in Metchosin, I write in response to the editorial "When churches lose their way" of April 8.

I too am saddened that the apparent "fighting" appears to have distracted us from our mission as a Christian church. However, the picture is a much bigger one, and the stand we have taken was a matter of being faithful.

The mission of the Christian church is to proclaim the good news that God is alive and cares for each and every person, and is in the business of restoring lives through faith in Jesus Christ. God's love is made known in Christ and in the Scriptures and is experienced by faith.

Anglicans appoint first woman bishop

[The Sydney Morning Herald] 11 Apr 2008--One of Australia's first Anglican women priests has shattered the stained glass ceiling to become the nation's first woman bishop.

Perth Archdeacon Kay Goldsworthy, 51, was named as an assistant bishop, to be consecrated on May 22.

Pansexual Anglican Leaders in Smear Campaign against Nigeria and GAFCON Evangelicals

[Virtue Online] 11 Apr 2008--Two Anglican homosexual leaders from a group called Changing Attitude say they were threatened with murder and one was assaulted in Nigeria. They blame the Anglican Church of Nigeria and a group called GAFCON for the assaults.

The Rev. Colin Coward, Director of Changing Attitude England (CA), said he received a text message calling him an "evil homosexual promoter". Mr. Davis Mac-Iyalla, leader of the Nigerian arm of CA, said he was savagely beaten in an attack outside a funeral home.

Both men pointed the finger at the evangelical Anglican Church in Nigeria. They have been supported in those charges by twenty Church of England bishops, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the pansexual American Episcopal organization called Integrity.

Bishop Demands Decision from Orthodox Parish to Stay or Go

[Virtue Online] 11 Apr 2008--An orthodox Episcopal congregation in the Diocese of Upper South Carolina has been asked to make a decision by its Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Dorsey Henderson, whether to stay or go. They have till the Feast of Pentecost to make up their minds.

Recalling that he was once called the "savior of the Anglican Communion," Bishop Henderson told St. Christopher's of Spartanburg, SC, that it was time to be in a "normal" and "committed" relationship with The Episcopal Church (TEC). St. Christopher's is the only Anglican Network parish in Upper South Carolina. It must decide whether to commit itself to the plan outlined by Henderson or leave.

Henderson, the chair of the Title IV Review Committee, a committee responsible for issuing certifications (Duncan/Schofield/Cox) and presentments (MacBurney), has been busy, in recent days. Many of these deposed have been current and former bishops of the Network of Anglican Dioceses and Parishes, including a deposition against the moderator of the Network, Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh. Henderson is now going after his one Network parish telling St. Christopher's that it must conform and fully support The Episcopal Church.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Bishop Kelshaw Denies Resigning from the Ministry

[The Living Church] 10 Apr 2008--Four weeks into his new ministry assignment,” Bishop Terence Kelshaw said on April 9 that there are times when he still has to hunt for a stapler, but he harbors no such confusion about his continued right to exercise the gifts and spiritual authority of an ordained minister.

Bishop Kelshaw retired as Bishop of the Rio Grande in 2005. He is currently serving as “Bishop-in-Residence” at St. James’ Anglican Church, Newport Beach, Calif., while the congregation searches for a new rector. Both St. James’ and Bishop Kelshaw have been received into the Anglican Church of Uganda.

Last month Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori informed Bishop Kelshaw by letter that she had accepted his renunciation of the ordained ministry and that he was “deprived of the right to exercise the gifts and spiritual authority as a minister of God’s word and sacraments.” The action came after Bishop Kelshaw wrote the Presiding Bishop to inform her that he had left The Episcopal Church.

“It means little to me in that I don’t intent to squabble with her over this,” Bishop Kelshaw said, “but I did not renounce my orders. I wrote to her last February informing her that I felt called to request alternate primatial oversight and that my request had been granted by Uganda. I am still a bishop within the Anglican Communion.”

Bishops protest Southern Cone archbishop's unauthorized visit, violation of Windsor Report

[Virtue Online] 10 Apr 2008--The bishops of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil issued an open statement April 9 expressing their "strong repudiation" of a recent unauthorized visit by Southern Cone Archbishop Gregory Venables to Recife "where he took part in and celebrated at official occasions outside his Province without the knowledge and consent of the Archbishop of the Province of Brazil and this House of Bishops."

The full text of the statement, dated April 3 and released on April 9, follows.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Church renames itself, pledges to retain its mission

[] 9 Apr 2008--In 2004, the Rev. Rick Terry broke away from the Episcopal Church to lead people closer to Bible teachings within a new church, and now his church's name reflects that "shepherding."

Terry's church has been known as Chillicothe Anglican Fellowship for the past four years, but now proudly proclaims the moniker Good Shepherd Anglican Church.

The name change is a result of two factors. First, people not familiar with church vernacular don't necessarily relate fellowship as being a sanctioned church. Second, the word shepherd reflects the scripture and Jesus, Terry said.

The Edwardine Ordinal & Anglican ordinations

[Catholic Insight] 9 Apr 2008--Catholics involved in ecumenical discussions have a serious obligation to know the basic fundamentals about the parties they are dealing with. This requires, on the part of both clergy and laity, a clear idea of what the Church is and how the other party relates to her.

With respect to the Anglican community, Catholics have to shed some ideas which have crept in since the close of the Second Vatican Council. The following essay concerns the validity of Anglican orders.

Claiming Catholicity, Rationalizing Confiscation

[Stand Firm] 9 Apr 2008--The...position seems to be that the state, as a matter of protecting the free exercise of religion, must act as the coercive arm of the Church, enforcing the confiscation of properties to which the Church lays claim (regardless of deed and title). And, moreover, the state’s failure to do so constitutes a violation of the constitutional “rights” of the Church. Just how far might such a principle be carried? If a hierarchical Church can rightly claim the property of a local congregation (without deed or title) with the state’s coercive support and if denial of that support constitutes a denial of the constitutional rights of the Church, what else can the church claim?

Radical Pro-Gay Activist to Train Priests

[Stand Firm] 9 Apr 2008--The mendacity of the Episcopal left is currently on display in none other than my own diocese, which is once again offering its country retreat up to the promotion of homosexuality (the last two Augusts it has hosted a weekend sleepover "spiritual retreat" for gays and their partners.)

Now it is offering "Clergy Pastoral Training: Working with Gay and Lesbian Persons," which, hey, sounds like it might be about how to counsel gays and lesbians in order to lead them out of homosexuality and back into the realm of Christian sexual morality. But no, this is the Episcopal Church, where "Working with Gays and Lesbians" means 'bringing in folks like Phillip Culbertson to celebrate homosexuality, and affirm them in their lifestyle.'

Letter of Inhibition against The Right Revd Edward H MacBurney

[Forward in Faith North America] 9 Apr 2008--It is with deep regret that I must inform you of this action that has been taken against Bishop Edward MacBurney.

Bishop MacBurney's son, Page, died two days after this letter was signed.

We received the letter in the mail today, and I had to read it to Bishop MacBurney over the phone since he had not yet received it.

More to follow.

Related article:
The Bishop of Quincy reacts to MacBurney inhibition - TitusOneNine

The Shrinking Church of England

[Virtue Online] 9 Apr 2008--The Church of England (CofE) is shrinking even as its leaders argue over whether women priests should become bishops and if homosexual behavior is acceptable among its clergy.

Provisional numbers attending on any given Sunday during 2006, and also the latest edition of "Population Trends", a report from the UK's National Statistics Office, reveal that the CofE has been declining in Sunday attendance at least since 1970.

In his blog (Anselmic's Place) The Rev. Lee Proudlove, a CMS Mission Partner in CEBU, said that the figures are "worrying at least for the future of the Church of England."

Bishop A. B. Lamido Visits Pittsburgh

[] 9 Apr 2008--The Rt. Rev. A. B. Lamido, who most recently visited Pittsburgh at the end of March, has not always been a leader within the Anglican Church in Nigeria. In fact, through his early years he wasn't even a Christian. As a convert from Islam during adolescence, Bishop Lamido is very open about the difference that following Christ has made in his life. "When I was fifteen, my aunt witnessed about Christ to me, and I prayed to receive Him. I had gone to a primary school where Christian education was taught, so I already knew about the Bible, the Apostles’ Creed and the Lord’s Prayer. So when my aunt shared Christ with me, it was easy for me to understand the Christian faith."

Is Evangelism an "Un Anglican Thing To Do"

[Virtue Online] 9 Apr 2008--When the idea of evangelism comes to mind, many men and women may hold certain images; some of these range from a man impeccably dressed and zealously telling the audiences to commit their lives to Christ, to people coming to your door on a Saturday and asking if you have been "saved." This brings me to my first point.

In the Western World, a large number of people believe that to be an evangelical, one must be a member of a very fundamentalist Christian community or a "mega-church" that fills all the seats on Sunday morning. However, we are all evangelicals, whether we are High Church, Broad Church, Low Church or an "evangelical." After Eastertide, our Lord appeared to his disciples, and exhorted them to go throughout the world making "disciples of men"; this is called "the Great Commission." In fact, the Scriptures recorded this event prominently.This passage was not taken out by the Undivided Church, who edited the Bible that appears in its current form.

This is an important subject to discuss because, for at least 200 years, there has been a mild division between Anglo-Catholic, Broad and Low Churchmen, and Evangelicals; each side believes that their approach to the Faith is superior to the others. However, despite our different approaches to Christianity, we as Anglicans collectively are responsible for sharing our faith to those who do not know Christ, the second person of the Godhead of the undivided Trinity, "once essence and divided." This leads us to the next point.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

4 Marks of a Deeper Church

[Christianity Today] 8 Apr 2008--"How deep is your ministry?" Seven years ago, I found myself asking this question. As senior pastor of an inner-city church in Indianapolis, I was responsible for developing a long-range plan for our congregation. Our church offered a wide range of ministries to the poor, including a soup kitchen, tutoring program, and a sports ministry that reached 2,000 children. At Thanksgiving we served hundreds of turkey dinners. In the fall, we distributed shoes, book bags, and winter coats as part of a back-to-school program. We appeared to be doing an effective job of serving the poor. We were proud of our reputation as "the church that stayed" instead of fleeing to the suburbs. Nevertheless, I sensed something was wrong. None of our outreach programs were leading people to faith in Jesus Christ. Neighborhood residents who received our charity were not being invited into the life of the church. Despite our outreach efforts, the church remained an enclave for affluent, educated whites.

What was wrong? While wrestling with this question I happened to read Luke 5:1-11. It's the story of Simon Peter, who spent all night fishing on the Sea of Galilee without catching any fish. In frustration, Peter called it quits. When Christ encountered him, Peter was picking seaweed from his empty nets. Stepping into the boat, Jesus gave one command: "Put out into deeper water and let down your nets for a catch."

I was struck by this biblical event's similarity to our church's situation. We had a tremendous breadth of outreach, but we lacked depth. Like Peter, we needed to venture out into deeper waters.

In September 1996 I preached a series of sermons entitled "Deeper Waters," in which I suggested four ways we needed to deepen our outreach.

Church seeks standby plan on women bishops

[The Sydney Morning Herald] 8 Apr 2008--A retired male bishop or one from a neighbouring diocese could be invited to stand in for a female bishop, where conservative church members refuse to accept women ministries.

Proposals to go before Australian Anglican bishops next week suggest that alternative arrangements for episcopal care for dissident congregations should not be made law by the church, but would need to rely on "good will and Christian grace" to be implemented, said a discussion paper prepared by the Adelaide Archbishop, Jeffrey Driver.

Former church buildings in Tier await new lives

[Press & Sun Bulletin] 8 Apr 2008--Episcopal Church officials have decided not to start a new congregation in the buildings of a former Episcopalian parish in Vestal. Instead, the church building, community center, and house where the rector and family had lived -- all in residential neighborhoods -- are listed for sale.

The former St. Andrew's -- which vacated its buildings after leaving the Episcopal denomination last year and uniting with the Convocation of Anglicans in North America -- is one of at least seven churches for sale in Broome and Tioga counties.

The Other King Of England

[EURSOC] 8 Apr 2008--EURSOC has spent much time discussing the constitutional vandalism carried out by the British government. Most of the repercussions of this tinkering and "modernisation" will be felt years or even decades hence, and few will end well for Britons.

The Act of Settlement - a 1701 law which prevented Catholics from taking the throne, ensuring it passed to the House of Hanover - is said to be high on the list of Gordon Brown's reforms. The Presbyterian PM is said to be stung by criticism that the Act discriminates against Catholics, and is said to be considering repealing it.

Russian Orthodox bishop challenges WCC

[AFA Online] 8 Apr 2008-- When the World Council of Churches (WCC) opened its international central committee meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, in February, delegates heard a passionate plea for orthodoxy from a Russian Orthodox bishop.

According to The Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD), Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev, the Russian Orthodox bishop of Vienna and Austria, stepped up to a microphone and boldly challenged the assembled delegates.

“I would like to draw your attention to the danger of liberal Christianity. The liberalization of moral standards, initiated by some Protestant and Anglican communities several decades ago and developing with ever-increasing speed, has now brought us to a situation where we can no longer preach one and the same code of moral conduct,” he said. “We can no longer speak about Christian morality, because moral standards promoted by ‘traditional’ and ‘liberal’ Christians are markedly different, and the abyss between these two wings of contemporary Christianity is rapidly growing.”

Bishop Alfeyev (picture to the right) specifically derided the acceptance of abortion and homosexuality by some Protestant denominations.

Anglican group quadruples membership

[AFA Online] 8 Apr 2008--A conservative alternative to the theologically troubled Episcopal Church in the USA (ECUSA) is attracting interest as more and more churches join the group. In a February press release, the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA, said the organization had “experienced momentous growth in one year, quadrupling its congregational membership.” Although the numbers are still small overall, the group’s growth has been encouraging for its members. In November 2006, there were 14 congregations that had joined. By November 2007 that number had grown to 61.

Forward in Faith UK reacts to Welsh vote on women bishops

[Anglican Mainstream] 8 Apr 2008--Forward in Faith notes the failure of the Bill for the ordination of women as bishops recently brought before the Governing Body of the Church in Wales. This was despite confident predictions to the contrary, and despite the unequivocal support given to the unamended legislation by the Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan.

Many enthusiasts of the innovation in England had looked to Wales to give a lead – and many in Wales had hoped to pre-empt the English. Both parties need now to take stock. It is clear that the price of women bishops is clear and adequate provision for those whose obedience to scripture and to the Church’s two thousand year tradition prevents them from accepting the orders of ordained and consecrated women.

The recent Welsh experience will no doubt inform the minds of members of the General Synod as they gather in July to consider the recommendations of the Legislative Drafting Group chaired by the Bishop of Manchester.