Thursday, May 29, 2008

Will We Speak Up?

[Virtue Online] 29 May 2008--All of us within the Church wrestle with those who stubbornly refuse to respond to the truth of the Gospel. Often these bred in the bone rebels against God claim the things of the Church as their own, even the very highest offices. Anybody who has been through the long Lent of Church life has slammed up against the concrete wall of "entitlement" that is so often a mark of these claimants to the privileges of the children of God. They often take the high road assuming a righteousness tinged with viciousness. Every church that has tucked some history under its belt has experienced this problem.

Too often the vestibule of the church has a closet full of the robes of the Pharisees and Sadducees who still look for ways to crucify the Christ. Of the traitorous, Sir Launcelot du Lake said, "Hard it is to take out of the flesh that which is bred in the bone" (Mallory). What is needed is not just a heart transplant, but a bone replacement. The very structure of their lives needs to be torn up, so that God in his grace can begin again. They are the ruined pot on the wheel, and the Potter seeks to scrape them off the wheel, pound the lumps out of them, and reshape them one more time.

Orthodox Anglicans Remain Confident in Legal Position that Virginia Division Statute is Constitutional

[Virtue Online] 29 May 2008--A hearing will be held today at the Fairfax County court house in Fairfax, Va., to address issues regarding the constitutionality of Virginia Code § 57-9, known as the Division Statute. Members of 11 Anglican churches throughout the region that have been sued by The Episcopal Church and Diocese of Virginia remain confident that the Statute is constitutional. The 11 churches are members of the Anglican District of Virginia (ADV) and the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA).

According to Jim Oakes, vice-chairman of ADV, "We enter this hearing with much prayer throughout our congregations and thorough preparation on the part of our legal team. We are confident in our legal positions, and we look forward to the resolution of this case. Until then, we will not let the unfortunate distraction of the litigation hinder our efforts to reach out to those around us in mission and ministry."

Five Dioceses Oppose Depositions of Schofield and Cox

[Virtue Online] 29 May 2008--The Standing Committees of five dioceses have come out condemning the actions of Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and her attorney, David Booth Beers in deposing two orthodox bishops, John David Schofield and William Cox, arguing that the canons of the church were either misused or not followed.

Deposition is the ecclesiastical equivalent of impeachment and formally removes the bishop from office. Deposed members of the clergy are no longer allowed to exercise their offices in The Episcopal Church. In the eyes of The Episcopal Church, they are laicized. The canonical process for deposition is complex and usually involves a formal trial. In the case of "abandonment of communion" (where no trial or hearing is provided for), the process is designed to require a very high level of support in the House of Bishops before the deposition can be carried out.

Except the LORD build the house...

[Church of Nigeria] 29 May 2008--

Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. (Psalm 127:1 KJV)

Whenever man fails to recognise and acknowledge God as the source and ground of all success, but foolishly attributes same to himself, fellow men or any creature other than God he is committing the sin of idolatry. And this happens ever so often in empirical history. When success comes the way of the unregenerate man, he quickly forgets it is God who has endowed him with wisdom, skill and ability to be able to function; he gets puffed up, begins to see himself as the centre of life, thinking that without him the universe will cease to be. And we all know this is one sin God cannot and will not countenance. The LORD our God declares:

“I am the Lord; that is my name!

I will not give my glory to another

Or my praise to idols” [Isaiah 42vs 8]

This was the contention and struggle of the prophets of YHWH all through the history of Israel.

Bishop Sauls: HOB Followed ‘Fair and Lawful Procedure’

[The Living Church] 29 May 2008--The House of Bishops followed the proper canonical procedure for consenting to the depositions of bishops John-David Schofield and William J. Cox, according to Bishop Stacy Sauls of Lexington.

Bishop Sauls, who is a licensed attorney and a member of the House of Bishops’ task force on property disputes, prepared a 12-page legal memorandum that cites the evolution of the canonical language, precedent and procedural safeguards in support of his conclusion.
Saul's Memorandum Refuted (1) - Anglican Curmudgeon

Standing Committee Statement on Threatened Deposition

[The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh] 29 May 2008-- Editor's Note: The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh has released the following statement regarding the threatened deposition of Bishop Robert Duncan at the September 2008 meeting of The Episcopal Church's House of Bishops. Their statement has been faxed and mailed to the office of the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church.
The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh is saddened to learn the Presiding Bishop and her chancellor will continue to press for the deposition of our Diocesan Bishop, Robert W. Duncan, Jr. for the Abandonment of Communion at the September 2008 House of Bishops Meeting. Although we recognize the authority of the Episcopal Church to discipline and remove its ministers for violations of its canons, we believe Canon IV.9, Sec.1 has been misapplied and Canon IV.9, Sec.2 has been misinterpreted in this instance.

Should our Diocesan Bishop be validly deposed pursuant to the requirements set forth in the canons, the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh is prepared to exercise its role as the Ecclesiastical Authority of this diocese.

Unanimously affirmed by the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, May 27, 2008.

A Christian Britain in a Plural World?

{Lapido Media] 29 May 2008--The rapid fragmentation of society, the emergence of isolated communities with only tenuous links to their wider context and the impact of home-gown terrorism have all led even hard-bitten, pragmatist politicians to ask questions about ‘Britishness’: what is at the core of British identity; how can it be reclaimed, passed on and owned by more and more people?

The answer to these questions cannot be only in terms of the ‘thin’ values, such as respect, tolerance, good behaviour, etc, which are usually served up by those scratching around for something to say. In fact, the answer can only be given after rigorous investigation into the history of nationhood and of the institutions, laws, customs and values which have arisen to sustain and to enhance it. In this connection, as with the rest of Europe, it cannot be gainsaid, that the very idea of a unified people under God living in a ‘golden chain’ of social harmony has everything to do with the arrival and flourishing of Christianity in these parts. It is impossible to imagine how else a rabble of mutually hostile tribes, fiefdoms and kingdoms could have become a nation conscious of its identity and able to make an impact on the world. In England, particularly, this consciousness goes back a long way and is reflected, for example, in a national network of care for the poor which was yet locally based in the parishes and was already in place in the sixteenth century.

Undercover mosque: How did police get it so wrong?

[Anglican Mainstream] 29 May 2008--A report into the first riots in Bradford in 1995 warned that there were ‘politicized Muslim activists’ in Britain bent on using disaffected youth for sinister ends – and that policy-makers were burying their heads in the sand about it.

That report by the Bradford Commission – a body comprised of city leaders including a Muslim trade unionist Mohammed Taj - warned of extremists bent on the seizure of temporal power, urging the destruction of secular society. It all seemed rather far-fetched, and was mostly ignored. But that was seven years before 7/7. Ten years later, far from just a cult of silence about the true nature of radicalism, there’s now a culture of institutionalized denial. West Midlands police with no less a body than the Crown Prosecution Service have had to apologise to Hardcash Productions, the makers of the Dispatches film ‘Undercover Mosque’, for libeling them with accusations of ‘fakery’ and inciting religious hatred. Their exposure of hate preachers at Green Lane Mosque and other Birmingham Islamic centres, rather than being praised as a service to the community, was reported to the broadcast watchdog Ofcom by the police.

Pilgrimages high on agenda for GAFCON

[Conger] 29 May 2008--Participants at the Global Anglican Future Conference (Gafcon) in Jerusalem will divide their time between worship, pilgrimages around Jerusalem, workshops and plenary sessions on the future life and witness of the Anglican Communion, the tentative agenda for the July 22-29 conference reports.

Approximately 280 bishops and 600 lay and clergy delegates from 17 of the Anglican Communion’s will attend the gathering to be held at Jerusalem’s Renaissance Hotel. Details on the pre-conference meeting in Jordan, for Anglicans from Muslim majority countries unable to freely travel to Israel have not yet been published.

Aid for Myanmar through the Anglican Church

[Global South Anglican] 29 May 2008--Churches and organizations seeking to give aid to the Myanmar cyclone crisis can do via a collaborative effort between the Diocese of Singapore and the Province of the Anglican Church in Myanmar:

Contact info:

Revd Michael Teh

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Are You the Neighbour from Heaven?

[] 28 May 2008--One of the aspects of Connect09 which has attracted a lot of excitement is the idea that we, as Christians, form a ‘spiritual neighbourhood watch.’ We care for our neighbourhood and our neighbours.

It’s a great thought ­­– and churches across the city are busy researching their areas to make sure everyone is covered.

For Connect09, we’ve done some research about ourselves. One standout point is that we are really optimistic!

We are busy, that’s true. But we are also positive. And as I have moved around over the last few months - speaking to rectors and congregations right across the diocese - I think I can see this optimism at work.

People understand why we need to connect in a way we have not done before. Momentum is building and people across the board are contributing to the shape of Connect09.

Anglican split over gay stance

[Sydney Morning Herald] 28 May 2008--Almost a third of the world's Anglican Bishops have registered to attend a rival gathering of Anglican leaders set up in response to the church's stance on homosexuality.

Sydney Archbishop Peter Jensen is one of the key movers in setting up the rival gathering, held a month before the Lambeth Conference - the once-a-decade worldwide assembly of Anglicans at Canterbury, England.

More than 1000 people from 17 provinces in the Anglican Communion have registered for the Global Anglican Future Conference, to be held in Jerusalem from June 22 to 29.

Anglican Church effectively outlawed in Zimbabwe

[Religious Intelligence] 28 May 2008--Reports are coming out of Zimbabwe that the Government has effectively shut down the Anglican Church there.

The move comes following an uprising in the Church against the former Bishop of Harare, Nolbert Kunonga (pictured), a close ally of President Robert Mugabe. He was deposed from the leadership and his successor has been welcomed by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

A court case upheld the bishop’s deposition, but allowed him to carry on holding services in the cathedral in Harare. He refused to relinquish office and instead seized the cathedral building and accounts. That move was also deemed illegal in court. However, he was required to share the building with the Anglican Church under his successor Bishop Sebastian Bakare.

Now it seems that security forces in Zimbabwe have over-ruled the courts and deemed that only services loyal to Kunonga can go ahead. It seems likely that Anglicans will now have to join services of other denominations.

Religious trends and our religious future

[Church of England Newspaper] 28 May 2008--If recent reports of trends in religious observance prove to be correct, then in some 30 years the mosque will be able to claim that, religiously speaking, the UK is an Islamic nation, and therefore needs a share in any religious establishment to reflect this. The progress of conservative Islam in the UK has been amazing, and it has come at a time of prolonged decline in church attendance that seems likely to continue.
This progress has been enthusiastically assisted by this government in particular with its hard-line multi-cultural dogma and willingness to concede to virtually every demand made by Muslims. Perhaps most importantly the government has chosen to allow hard-liners to act as representing all Muslims, and more liberal Muslims have almost completely failed to produce any leadership voices to compete, leading many Britons to wonder if there are indeed many liberal Muslims at all, surely a mistake.

Iran Arrests 12 Christian Converts

[The Christian Post] 28 May 2008--Police in a southern city in Iran reportedly arrested 12 Christian converts from Islam in what appears to be part of a crackdown on the country’s growing house church movement.

The first arrests took place on May 11 at the Shiraz International Airport when two Christian couples were taken into custody before boarding their flight. They were all sent to jail and interrogated for hours “just about their faith and house church activities,” an Iranian source told Compass Direct News, a Christian persecution watchdog group.

Also on the same day, authorities raided the home of Hamid Allaedin Hussein, 58, and arrested him and members of his family.

Out of the 12 Christian converts arrested, eight have been released.

New Anglican church consecrated in the steps of St Paul

[Christianity Today UK] 28 May 2008--The Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe followed in the steps of St Paul last Saturday to consecrate a missionary endeavour on the Greek island of Crete.

The consecration took place during a visit to the Anglican Church of St Thomas, built in the form of a traditional Cretan mountain chapel with outdoor worship area for summer use.

The church was built by Tony Lane, formerly a steel boat builder from Bristol and his wife Suzanne who retired to Crete seven years ago.

Speaking to the “Athens News” newspaper Tony says it is the first Anglican church to be built in Greece since St Andrew’s, Patra 145 years ago.

Up, Down and Out in Canda: A Personal Retrospective

[VirtueOnline] 28 May 2008--My mind, like everyone else's, I suppose, resembles a manufacturing site where all sorts of planned movements and processes take place in the illuminated foreground, while at the rear, more or less in the dark, are piled heaps of clutter; clutter, however, of which various bits may pop up into consciousness through one or other of the processes that we label association of ideas. As I wondered what to call this piece, two such items popped up into my mind together. One was the haunting KJV version of Acts 27:27, where we read that before the shipwreck "we were driven up and down in Adria (the Adriatic)" - a rare case, incidentally, of KJV over-translation, for "driven across" is all that the Greek means.

The other was the equally haunting title from the pen of old Etonian, social critic, beautiful writer, master satirist George Orwell, "Down and Out in Paris and London". Suddenly my own title was fully formed in my mind. Earlier I had thought I might steal Duke Ellington's "Echoes of the Jungle" but this fits even better.

Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali: Radical Islam is filling void left by collapse of Christianity in UK

[Telegraph] 28 May 2008--The decline of Christian values is destroying Britishness and has created a "moral vacuum" which radical Islam is filling, one of the Church of England's leading bishops has warned.

The Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, claimed the "social and sexual" revolution of the 1960s had led to a steep decline in the influence of Christianity over society which church leaders had failed to resist.

He said that in its place, Britain had become gripped by the doctrine of "endless self-indulgence" which had led to the destruction of family life, rising levels of drug abuse and drunkenness and mindless violence on the streets.

The bishop warns that the modern politicians' catchphrases of respect and tolerance will not be strong enough to prevent this collapse of traditional virtues, and said radical Islam is now moving in to fill the void created by the decline of Christianity.

Anglican leader won't roll out welcome mat

[Sydney Morning Herald] 28 May 2008--A leading figure of the Sydney Anglican Church says he will not welcome Pope Benedict XVI to Sydney but he does not begrudge taxpayer subsidies going to the Catholic Church for its global youth gathering.

The Dean of Sydney, the Reverend Phillip Jensen, the brother of the Archbishop, has defended the event, as well as state and federal governments that have contributed more than $120 million to help stage July's World Youth Day.

The outspoken leader of the Sydney Anglicans rejects papal authority and the Catholic Church's doctrine of papal infallibility in a guest editorial written for Christian evangelicals.

Referring to the Protestant reformation, Mr Jensen said: "There is nothing in modern Roman Catholicism that reduces our need to protest. They have not repented of their Reformation errors."

But while Mr Jensen said he would "not be welcoming the Pope, going out to see him or waving a flag" he did not "pray for rain on his parade".

Indaba, Ubuntu, Jefferts Schori, Lambeth and the Anglican Communion

[VirtueOnline] 28 May 2008--It was the legacy of Frank Griswold, former Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, in an effort to resolve differences among bishops, that small (non-legislative) groups be formed comprised of bishops with opposing viewpoints (Duncan v. Robinson). It was hoped that once each had heard the others' story and the appropriate pain was felt, that out of the ecclesiastical ether peace, but not necessarily truth, would emerge and the HOB could stand as one.

It was a vain and vacuous hope treasured by Griswold even as the House of Bishops slowly came unglued with a growing number of orthodox bishops refusing to attend HOB's meetings. Over time, bishops fled to Rome and CANA. The Bishop of Virginia Frank Gray articulated the angst of the time (2004) in his memorable line, "I will not attend HOB. I promised to guard the Faith".

Virginia Statute Trial Begins To Day

[Stand Firm] 28 May 2008--A Civil War-era law being used to allow a group of conservative Episcopalians to desert the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia with millions of dollars worth of property is on trial today at the Fairfax County courthouse.

Attorneys for the diocese and the national Episcopal Church, along with representatives of other mainline denominations, will argue that Virginia's 1867 "division statute" is unconstitutional.

Petitions on Women Bishops

[Chelmsford Anglican Mainstream] 28 May 2008--A number of petitions are available online for those taking varying positions on women bishops, following the production of a letter by WATCH and others, apparently signed by over 700 serving women clergy, urging the bishops to take a minimalist 'Single Clause, Code of Practice' approach.

Two More Dioceses Oppose Depositions

[The Living Church] 28 May 2008--The bishop and standing committees of two more dioceses have joined with the dioceses of South Carolina and Western Louisiana to formally protest the means by which the House of Bishops removed two of its members from the ministry in March.

Bishop Peter Beckwith of Springfield and the standing committee of that diocese approved a resolution on May 22 calling on Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori in part “to acknowledge publicly that the depositions of bishops [John-David] Schofield and [William] Cox were not validly procured, and, should it be their desire to continue to seek depositions in these questionable circumstances, to revisit this issue at a future meeting of the House of Bishops, conducting any further proceedings in accordance with the clear language of canon.”

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Hitting the target, missing the mark

[] 27 May 2008--All of the church growth books and our own instincts tell us that we must understand the community that we seek to serve and confront with the gospel. This means that, more and more, we seek out and rely upon the statistics that present a picture of our area.

Demographic statistics are a great resource in our task, as where people live and with whom they interact is not accidental. God has placed everyone where they are, so that they may reach out and find salvation (Acts 17:26-27). Since it is God who draws people to salvation, it falls to us to ensure that we do not cause those He has called to be hindered in responding. That’s why Paul says “he has become all things to all men so that by all means some might be saved”. Statistics can be a great help in removing hindrances.

The Gospel in Narnia

[] 27 May 2008--The popularity of C.S.Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia continues to grow. Sales of the books, now over 100 million, increase every year and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was recently voted the most popular Children’s Book ever in the UK. Meanwhile the film of the book has been officially classified as one of the all-time top grossing movies worldwide. This has opened up a whole new audience, most of whom have little contact with the church or are even aware that the books are infused with Christian ideas. With production of the next two films under way, and planning for the remainder of the series in the pipeline, this global phenomenon presents an extraordinary opportunity for the gospel.

However Christians face a real challenge in seizing this opportunity effectively. For apart from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, many of us are less familiar with the remaining Chronicles and are even less sure about their connection with the Christian message. So, following Lewis’ own ‘outline of Narnian history’, let us go on a brief journey through each of the books, highlighting the central biblical themes that he has woven into the fabric of the stories.

Perception is Not the Problem: A Response to Dan Martins

[Stand Firm] 27 May 2008--There are many people in this church who come here to this site looking for advice, looking for detailed maps on a way out of this mess. There are, I'm sure, many people reading this post right now, who fully expect the Big Message here to be: It is not too late to save your church; and: Saving your church will not be that difficult. There are many people, I'm sure, who still believe that the problem is one of "process," or that as soon as we can find a way to "communicate" better, all the tension will go away and we'll be able to settle in for a brief and painless discussion after which all of our problems will be solved.

In case we have not been clear: Nothing could be further from the truth.

Churches may leave diocese; controversy surrounds same-sex marriage

[The Sarnia Observer] 27 May 2008--Several Anglican churches in southern Ontario could abandon their diocese after it passed a contentious motion yesterday that would recognize same-sex unions, an insider says.

A resounding 70 per cent of Anglicans from the Huron Diocese voted in favour of conditionally allowing ministers to bless married, same-sex couples during a gathering in London.

The motion put to the delegates was to ask the presiding bishop to consider authorizing clergy and congregations, comfortable with the idea, to bless a union of two people of the same gender who've already legally married in a civil ceremony.

Church will separate, Anglican bishop says

[Virtue Online] 27 May 2008--Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan, a man at the epicenter of forces shaking the world Anglican Communion and its affiliated U.S. Episcopal Church, got a standing ovation from about 75 people in Waukesha County this week as he said that a new North American church was arising for traditionalists opposed to same-sex blessings and gay, partnered bishops.

As chairman of the Common Cause Partnership, a federation of Anglican jurisdictions and partnerships in the United States and Canada, he hosted a meeting of like-minded bishops in May in Pittsburgh. A reference to that in his talk evoked the applause.

"What I can tell you about a meeting of the lead bishops was that there was unanimity among us, that all of the efforts that are swelling up from the ground around the country are to be encouraged, and that we actually anticipate that we will be in a situation within 24 to 36 months in which . . . a separate ecclesiastical structure in North America within the Anglican Communion will exist as a united reality. And that I think is very good news."

US Presiding Bishop gives warning to traditionalists

[Anglican Mainstream] 27 May 2008--Anglican bishops exercise universal jurisdiction over the geographical territories that lie within their dioceses, US Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, has argued.

This proprietary ecclesial oversight covers all parts of the geographic territory of a diocese, Bishop Schori said, and extends to entities outside of the Episcopal Church — an opinion not shared by other leaders of the Anglican Communion.

While the concept of territorial episcopal inviolability has been active in Anglicanism since the debates over the restoration of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in England in 1850, it has taken on a new life within the Episcopal Church in recent years as a tool to stifle dissent, conservatives claim.

Church of England faces exodus over women bishop reforms

[Telegraph] 27 May 2008--The church of England faces a mass exodus of priests and worshippers after plans were approved to allow women to become bishops without protection for traditionalists.

At a confidential meeting, bishops narrowly voted to proceed with the historic reforms and to resist pressure to create separate dioceses free of women clergy.

The decision will dismay hundreds of priests who could defect to the Roman Catholic Church, which refuses to ordain women. It was taken at a meeting of about 50 members of the House of Bishops, at a hotel in Market Bosworth, Leicestershire, last week, and has set the stage for a showdown with traditionalists when the General Synod, the Church's parliament, is next convened, in July.

The Islamisation of Britain

[The Spectator] 27 May 2008--The Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali has been getting some stick for suggesting that Christians should evangelise British Muslims. Dr Nazir-Ali, who previously received death threats for suggesting there were Muslim no-go areas in Britain, has been outstanding as a rare voice within the Church of England speaking out against the erosion of Britain’s Christian culture and traditions under the cultural onslaught from radical Islam. But now his concerns are echoed in a striking cri-de-coeur by the Church of England newspaper. In its editorial, it writes....

First female bishop ‘may lead to gay priest’

[The West Australian] 27 May 2008--An Anglican splinter group has warned that the consecration of Perth Archdeacon Kay Goldsworthy as Australia’s first woman bishop tonight will pave the way for the appointment of openly gay priests and further deepen the rift between Church factions.

Bishop Harry Entwistle, who heads the WA chapter of the breakaway conservative group the Traditional Anglican Communion, said the consecration would add weight to the call from liberal Church elements to accept gay priests and bishops.

He said openly gay clergy would follow female bishops “as night follows day”, as had been the case in some parts of the US and Canada.

Church is not doing enough to convert UK Muslims, says bishop

[Daily Mail] 27 May 2008--The Church of England was accused by one of its most senior bishops yesterday of failing in its duty to convert British Muslims to Christianity.

The Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, said Church leaders had rightly shown sensitivity towards Muslims as part of efforts to welcome minority faiths.

But he said: ‘I think it may have gone too far and what we need now is to recover our nerve.’

St. Christopher's priest resigns, concern grows over denomination's direction

[] 27 May 2008--Less than a year after the Rev. George N. Gray Jr. became rector of St. Christopher's Episcopal Church in Spartanburg, talk of splits within the Episcopal Church began.

Controversy ignited when the Rev. V. Gene Robinson, an openly gay priest, was consecrated bishop of New Hampshire in 2003. Conservative Episcopalians called for "realignment," and the church has remained divided over Robinson's consecration, the blessing of same-sex unions and interpretation of Scripture, among other issues.

'Women to become bishops without protection for traditionalists'

[EV News] 27 May 2008--The Sunday Telegraph reports that plans have been approved to allow women to become bishops without any protection for opponents.

At a confidential meeting of about 50 members of the House of Bishops in Leicestershire last week, bishops narrowly voted to proceed with the reforms and to resist pressure to create separate dioceses free of women clergy.

Following the debate, the bishops decided on legislation (to be voted on at the July Synod) that would end protection for clergy who are not prepared to accept female priests, including "flying" bishops.

Instead, the bishops opted for a Synod motion that asks for respect for opponents of women bishops, but does not make provisions for them.

Church of England debate over Muslim conversion

[EV News] 27 May 2008--The BBC News website reports that Paul Eddy, a lay member of General Synod will continue with a campaign for the Church of England to try to evangelise Muslims, despite coming under intense pressure from bishops to withdraw the plan.

The motion calls on the Church to proclaim Christianity as the only route to ultimate salvation. He said he had received angry e-mails and telephone calls from senior figures in the Church denouncing his motion. However, Mr Eddy has secured enough support for his motion to be debated at the next meeting of Synod in July.

Mr Eddy claims to have the backing of at least 124 members of the synod, including the Bishops of Rochester, Carlisle and Chester.

GAFCON Geared for Action

[] 27 May 2008--The Global Anglican Future Conference is just three weeks away and there are growing indications that participants will push for concrete action to be taken at the gathering.

More than 1,000 senior leaders from seventeen provinces in the Anglican Communion, representing 35 million church-going Anglicans, have registered for the meeting in Jerusalem from June 22nd to 29th.

They include 280 bishops, almost all accompanied by their wives.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Weaving a Tangled Web

[Churchman] 23 May 2008--The year of grace 2008 is now upon us and we still cannot say for sure what will happen to the Lambeth Conference, which is due to open in mid-July.
Voices have been raised urging that it should be called off but, however
desirable that might be, it seems unlikely. It is said that the First World War
could not be stopped by last-minute appeals to common sense because the
trains were already rolling and the timetables had to be observed. Something
similar seems to be the case with Lambeth 2008. The university facilities would
have been booked some time ago and to cancel them now would be costly. It
might also create suspicion and ill-will towards the church which would
compromise the availability of the venue ten years from now, and those who
plan conferences have to bear such things in mind. So whatever happens to the
Anglican Communion in the meantime, it seems a safe bet that the decennial
meeting of its bishops will go ahead as scheduled.

Who will attend it is another matter, but the Western liberals will no doubt
turn out in force, as will their few supporters from the developing world. How
many conservatives will show up is harder to predict, but many of them will
remember the French proverb les absents ont toujours tort (‘the absent are
always wrong’) and decide that it is better to attend and put their case than to
stay away and lose by default. This will almost certainly mean having to
tolerate the presence of Gene Robinson, the Bishop of New Hampshire who,
although he has conspicuously not been invited, will undoubtedly turn up and
be allowed in, if only to prevent the media scandal which would otherwise
ensue. Whether similar ‘crash the party’ tactics will be employed by uninvited
conservatives like Robinson Cavalcanti of Recife is hard to say, but is more
doubtful, if only because conservatives tend to be more scrupulous about such
things than their opponents and less given to making provocative gestures. The
American missionary bishops who have been ordained by African churches are
not so predictable on this score, but as they lack the covert support which Gene
Robinson receives from the administrative hierarchy of the Anglican
Communion, it is perhaps unlikely.

The Anglican Church continues to be persecuted

[Nehanda Radio] 23 May 2008--We, the Anglican Church of the Diocese of Harare (CPCA) are shocked and dismayed by the continuous Police interference with Sunday services and the increased brutality causing casualties.

Many of our Parishioners were assaulted and beaten, several of our parishioners of St Monica's Church in Chitungwiza were brutally assaulted and had to be admitted to hospital.

Floor Fight Anticipated at Diocesan Convention over Sexuality Issues

[Virtue Online] 23 May 2008--When the Diocese of Albany meets June 6-9 in Speculator, New York, a major floor fight over sexuality issues is expected to erupt between orthodox and liberal Episcopal delegates.The orthodox bishop of the diocese, the Rt. Rev. William Love, is expected to clamp down hard on any innovations liberals might propose.

Already skirmishes have broken out on the Internet between the bishop and diocesan liberals that could prove embarrassing for a diocese that has invited the Archbishop of Jos, Nigeria, The Most Rev. Ben Kwashi, to be their guest speaker.

Uh oh ... Mouneer Anis jumps the shark?

[BabyBlueOnline] 23 May 2008--Ladies and Gentleman. We have completely changed our mind about this letter. Sadly, after much reflection, it now appears to be one of the most extreme examples of passive/aggressive writing I have ever read. My first reading was based on assumptions from the past and those assumptions appear to be false on closer reading. This letter is so incredibly upsetting. Why would he write such a letter? I counted him amongst the heroes.

For bishops, charged with responsibilities - and especially primates in particular cultural venues - we can only imagine the torn and conflicted hearts amongst that order. At the very heart of the conflict is our Anglican identity. Why are people Anglican? The question is as simple and as complex as the first question on the Alpha Course. That question has to do with the identity of Jesus. But this question has to do with our identity as Christians. Why are we Anglican? What makes us Anglican? Is that the same as being Episcopalian? And who decides? God? Man? And what do we make of the cares and occupations of our lives? When trust is broken - whom do we trust?

The Sterile Evil Of The Episcopal Church

[Stand Firm] 23 May 2008--Dr. Mabuse has written a fascinating article where she compares The Episcopal Church and The Mahabharata.

Perhaps it's not so odd that I've been seeing parallels between the Episcopal Church and various "end of the world" stories recently - what we are witnessing IS a small world ending, and these things seem to move in an almost choreographed way.

The thoughts were motivated by a piece written by Doug LeBlanc on the survival of conservativism in The Episcopal Church.

Orthodox Laity Formed in Diocese to Counter "Proliferation of Disinformation"

[VirtueOnline] 23 May 2008--A group of local Episcopalians met Tuesday to form an organization to respond to what they are calling a "proliferation of misinformation" concerning the pending split between the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth and The Episcopal Church (TEC) headquartered in New York. The group, calling themselves "Remain Faithful," has taken steps to organize as a non-profit corporation with the stated purpose of setting forth the true position of traditional and orthodox Episcopalians in this diocese who believe TEC no longer stands for the historic faith.

"Remain Faithful looks forward to stating clearly the positions of orthodox Episcopalians - and in particular orthodox lay Episcopalians," said Chad Bates, the group's chairman. "We stand along side our orthodox clergy in support of our shared beliefs and feel the time has come for an organization led by the laity to uphold our traditional faith in unequivocal terms.

Two Continuing Church Prelates Seize Property To Block Parish's Disaffiliation

[The Christian Challenge] 23 May 2008--Given what the first wave of orthodox refugees from The Episcopal Church (TEC) went through in the late 1970s and afterward, it is small wonder that the Continuing Anglican manifesto, the 1977 Affirmation of St. Louis, defends the right of congregations to control their property.

So why have two bishops of a small Continuing Church jurisdiction acted just like a couple of Episcopal prelates, filing suit against a congregation to keep it from leaving with its property?

That is what a lot of Continuers want to know - or will want to know - when they read this story.

Australia's first female Anglican bishop denies rift

[Yahoo! News] 23 May 2008--Australia's first female Anglican bishop has denied that her appointment will lead to a split within the church despite lingering opposition to women priests.

The Right Reverend Kay Goldsworthy, a married mother of twins, was Thursday consecrated as Australia's first female Anglican bishop at St George's Cathedral in Perth, the country's western capital.

Bishop Warns Clergy Not to talk to Media about St. Christopher's in Spartanburg

[VirtueOnline] 23 May 2008--The situation at St. Christopher's is finding a place in the media (I am aware of coverage by at least one newspaper in Spartanburg), and, of course, in the "blogosphere." In this situation, it is crucially important that we keep our eyes on the prize: We are an Easter people whose mission it is to equip the saints for ministry, build up the Body, and invite a broken world (including the Church) to new life.

The "Safe Church Training" materials, with which we are all familiar, say it well: to keep a discipline among us, it is essential that we speak "with one, clear, honest, and compelling voice."

I ask, therefore, that if you are contacted by members of the media, you refer them to me....

Pro-Gay, Anti-Christianity

[Inside Catholic] 23 May 2008--A learned friend of mine recently wrote an op-ed piece for a newspaper in which she argued that the drive for same-sex marriage is not simply about same-sex marriage; it is also about winning moral approval for homosexuality. If society, acting through the state, tells us that homosexuals can marry one another, then it is by the same token telling us that there is nothing morally objectionable about homosexual conduct.

My friend is, of course, correct. But I'll add to this that the drive for same-sex marriage is not simply about same-sex marriage or the moral legitimization of homosexual behavior; it is also about the de-legitimizing of Christian morality. More, it is about the de-legitimizing of Christianity itself.

Anglican-TV Interviews Ugandan Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi

[VirtueOnline] 23 May 2008--The Most Rev. Orombi was in California recently speaking to some 250 orthodox Anglican leaders. In this video he addresses the tragic deaths of 20 girls in a fire that swept through a Primary School recently. He also spoke on the theme of courage as a leader and said the new Anglican presence in North America must "move on" into a being a church of their own. We need to have the courage to shift and move forward, he said. "We must walk away from sin" he told the new Anglican leaders. God is doing a new thing.

The interview was done on May 19, 2008, at St. James Anglican, Newport Beach.

Of 2008 Lambeth Conference and the Conscience of Bishops.

[Anglican Mainstream] 23 May 2008--A lot has been said about the crisis that has rocked the Anglican Communion in the past few years, as especially aggravated by the election and consecration of Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire. Unfortunately despite many committees and design groups the Anglican Communion has not managed to resolve the crisis yet.

This has come to its height this year being the year of the 10-yearly Lambeth Conference of Anglican Bishops and their spouse. The question that has dominated the space in recent times is who and who is attending and who is not attending Lambeth. Even though Lambeth is now just a few weeks away, the question is still being asked. But it is important to stress that attending Lambeth is not an indication of commitment to the Anglican Communion while it is not a sign of less commitment on the part of those who might choose not to attend. In fact, attendance or otherwise at Lambeth Conference might no longer sustain the argument of commitment to the Communion, not least when those who attended and participated in the Conference were also the same people who undermined it and ignored its resolutions as if they do not matter. As a matter of fact, it has almost become a matter of choice as to which resolution one should obey and which one to disregard. This only further undermines the essence of the conference as a whole. Notwithstanding how much it is stressed that Lambeth Conference is not a legislative body, this would seem to be the importance of Lambeth—a place of meeting and fellowship, to discuss relevant issues in the Communion and to jointly agree on some line of action.

Richard Wood: Not gone and not forgotten

[Anglican Mainstream] 23 May 2008--It is now almost a year since Richard Wood, having been accepted for ordination by the Church of England’s advisory panel and completed his training, was refused ordination at the last minute by the Bishop of Chelmsford.

Richard had felt for a long while that he did not wish, in good conscience, to be ordained by a bishop who was patron of an organization, Changing Attitude, opposed to biblical teaching on homosexuality and campaigning to overthrow the Church’s teaching both here and abroad. The nature and extent of Changing Attitude’s commitment may be judged from their website and from their intention to have a major presence at the Lambeth Conference.

Letter to the Presiding Bishop from the Diocese of Central Florida

[The Episcopal Diocese of Central Flordia] 23 May 2008--We, the Diocesan Board and Standing Committee and Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida, strongly protest what we believe to have been a failure to follow the Canons of our Episcopal Church in the recent depositions of Bishops Schofield and Cox.

Since deposition is the most severe sanction that can be applied against a bishop, it is critical that both the letter and the spirit of the Canons be followed. The Canons intentionally provide for an exceptionally high level of participation and agreement from the Bishops in order to impose a sentence of deposition. In this instance, it seems clear to us that the canonical safeguards in place were not followed.

If Elected, Barak Obama Would Become 'The Abortion President

[Christian News Wire] 23 May 2008--Senator Obama's views on abortion would be the most radical and extremist of any President in history and are completely out of step with the opinions of mainstream America.

Senator Obama talks about change yet he clings to tired abortion policies that the majority of Americans moved past years ago.

Editorial comments: Lambeth, GAFCON and my ‘two sense’ worth

[Global South Anglican] 23 May 2008--Much can be gathered through reading articles on the Net on how Lambeth and GAFCON are being perceived. What is obvious is that there are a range of views, as one would expect, depending on one’s churchmanship, theological views and personal experience of the communion or those wider ‘instruments.”

I don’t wish to take any personal stand here and those of my Province (Southeast Asia) have been made known .

However, I have ‘sensed’ two things in my personal interaction with Anglican leaders across the board.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Mere Christianity in a Pluralist World (Part 3): Marcionism, Gnosticism and the “Manly” Heresy

[Stand Firm] 21 May 2008--What is a “Christ event”? Christ is not primarily an historical person, according to the Presiding Bishop, but a “venue, an event, a experience and an instance in which life is renewed”. The historical, public, enfleshed events of Jesus’ life are reinterpreted in mystical/metaphorical terms. Jesus, in this way, becomes a fetish for mystical self-exploration. The certainty of our own experiences of the Christ fetish is preferable and more trustworthy than an historical figure through whom God acted to save his people in the public realm of history. The radical dichotomy between flesh and spirit central to Gnosticism is replicated or remanifest in the pluralist church.

Bishop tells Diocesan Council diocesan property and assets must be protected

[Diocese of New Westminster] 21 May 2008--Bishop Michael Ingham has told his Diocesan Council that he feels he has no option but to protect the property and assets of the Diocese of New Westminster and the Anglican Church of Canada, and warned that the diocese may find itself in the civil courts to do so.

“If a congregation leaves, then it is the responsibility of the diocese to see that the parish continues, and is available for future generations of Christians,” he told the 45-member body that with the bishop governs the diocese between Diocesan Synods.

Is Anglican conference nothing more than a tea party?

[Chicago Tribbune] 21 May 2008-- Since the first Lambeth Conference took shape in 1867, leaders of the global Anglican Communion have passed hundreds of resolutions and recommendations about land mines, religious freedom, nuclear weapons, euthanasia, ecology, international debt and, yes, human sexuality. Bishops from around the world participated in the conversations, which ran according to parliamentary procedure.

But that was before the Episcopal Church consecrated Rev. Gene Robinson.

Call to 40 Days of Prayer for GAFCON

[Common Cause] 21 May 2008--The lead bishops of the Common Cause Partnership have called for 40 Days of Prayer and Fasting for the Global Anglican Future Conference to begin on Wednesday, May 21. The effort will run through the end of the Conference, which is taking place in Jerusalem, June 22-29. More than 1,000 Anglican leaders, including 280 bishops, will take part in this historic gathering.

Middle East Presiding Bishop Bows out of GAFCON

[VirtueOnline] 21 May 2008--The Most Revd Mouneer Anis, Presiding Bishop of Jerusalem and the Middle East has written a letter saying that he will not be attending GAFCON, a fellowship of some 1,000 orthodox "pilgrim" Anglicans meeting in Amman and Jerusalem next month, and urged their leaders to build "parallel processes among those loyal to the biblical historic faith and ethics in both the South and the North."

In the letter (see below) Mouneer says his reason for pulling out were personal and do not reflect the "whole Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East."

GAFCON: The Programme

[GAFCON] 22 May 2008--The "pilgrimage" agenda for GAFCON in Jerusalem has been released. Pilgrims will stay at the Renaissance Jerusalem Hotel from Saturday, June 21 through Sunday, June 29.

An estimated 1000 people, including 280 Bishops, plus exhibitors will attend.

The conference includes daily Bible study, worship, and plenary sessions in the hotel conference facilities, with guided tours to selected sites by day, a chance for participants to see sites on their own and a one day bus tour to Galilee.

The Conference brochure says <>that "An initial Consultation in Jordan will include the pilgrimage leadership, theological resource group, those bishops serving in majority Islamic settings and other key leaders."

Colorado Bishop Will Brief Presiding Bishop During GAFCON

[The Living Church] 22 May 2008--Bishop Robert O’Neill of Colorado has agreed to serve as the eyes and ears of Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori during the upcoming Global Anglican Futures Conference (GAFCON) next month in Jerusalem.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Mere Christianity in a Pluralist World (Part 2)

[Stand Firm] 19 May 2008--Subsequently, this radically subjective turn, this move from theology—the study of God—to theological anthropology—the investigation of our own perceptions about God—began to effect and infect the mainline protestant bodies in the west. The Anglican bodies including the Episcopal Church in the United States were no exception. The classic Christian position, that God reveals himself and his law to humanity generally in nature and specially in Holy Scripture and the Church and that this revelation was knowable in an objective sense, gradually became, in many denominations, especially the mainline denominations whose leading theologians and clergy were heavily influenced by Schleiermacher, a minority position. So, along with western culture, the western church began to slowly succumb to epistemological doubt, to uncertainty, and as she did, she began to adopt a pluralist paradigm if we cannot know truth with certainty we cannot assert it with certainty.

Zimbabwe: Robert Mugabe police target Anglican churches

[Telegraph] 19 May 2008--Armed riot police prevented Harare's beleagured Anglican congregations from worshipping in their churches on Sunday in defiance of a supreme court order.

Police moved into the gardens of Anglican churches around the city from early morning and senior officers telephoned priests and warned them not to try and hold services yesterday.

Two weeks ago the usually pro government Supreme Court of Zimbabwe dismissed an application by Nolbert Kunonga, the former Bishop of Harare, to take control all Harare's 58 Anglican churches.

Mr Kunonga, who is an avid supporter of President Robert Mugabe and was given a 1600 acre white-owned farm in 2003, was sacked by the Church of the Province of Central Africa last November.

Splitting up: Anglican angst

[The Christian Century] 19 May 2008--Last year the Church of the Resurrection in suburban West Chicago closed its doors and put its building up for sale. The Episcopal congregation had suffered membership losses 14 years earlier when some conservative members left to start their own church, also called the Church of the Resurrection, in nearby Glen Ellyn. The new congregation later aligned itself with the Anglican Mission in the Americas (AMIA), which is connected to the Anglican Church in Rwanda.

The new Church of the Resurrection later experienced its own split, with some members leaving to launch the Church of the Great Shepherd-also affiliated with AMIA-in Wheaton. The Church of the Great Shepherd eventually closed its doors, but not before a 2004 split led to the formation of the Church of the Savior back in West Chicago.

Uganda: Church of Uganda Steps Farther Away Over Gays

[] 19 May 2008--The fallout over the ordination of gay priests as bishops in the worldwide Anglican Communion reaches a critical point next month when the Global Anglican Future Conference (Gafcon) kicks off in Israel.

Gafcon brings together the more conservative bishops, several of whom have said they are boycotting the Lambeth Conference that takes place a month later in July.

Archbishop Luke Orombi of the Church of Uganda is one of the primates who will not be attending Lambeth but will be in Jerusalem at Gafcon, which some have christened the "alternative Lambeth".

If the boycott goes through on the anticipated scale, it could damage the unity of the Anglican Church.

Southern Cone Changes Constitution to Welcome Others

[Conger] 19 May 2008--The Province of the Southern Cone has begun work to amend its Constitution and Canons to permit parishes and dioceses outside of South America to affiliate with the church.

In an address to the Diocese of Fort Worth on May 3, Presiding Bishop Gregory Venables of Argentina said his province had agreed to accept the diocese of San Joaquin into the South American church as a “pastoral” and interim response to the divisions within the US Episcopal Church. Work was now underway to alter the church’s constitution, removing language that limited membership to dioceses located in South America.

The “Anglican Communion in the United States has been hijacked,” Bishop Venables said, by a liberal clique that is less concerned with theological integrity than with power. They do not “mind what happens as long as they control it,” he said according to a report prepared by the diocese’s communications officer.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

CANA to Ordain New Priests and Deacons

[Stand Firm] 17 May 2008--The Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) will ordain five candidates to the Sacred Priesthood and three candidates to the Sacred Order of Deacons on Saturday, May 17. The candidates represent five Virginia parishes and Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, N.Y. The celebrant and ordaining bishop is the Rt. Rev’d David Bena, Suffragan Bishop of CANA, who will perform the ordinations at a 1:00 pm service at The Falls Church, in Falls Church, Va.

“CANA is committed to providing the church with the next generation of American Anglican clergy who are well-trained, Spirit-filled, and mission driven. These new ordinands are certainly no exception. The fact that CANA’s 60 congregations with an average Sunday attendance of 8,600 are thriving, despite relentless opposition and some of the largest lawsuits ever mounted by The Episcopal Church, speaks volumes to the faith of our parishioners and our commitment to the Scriptural foundation of the Anglican tradition,” said CANA Missionary Bishop Martyn Minns.

Bishop David Anderson: The Present State of Affairs, 16 May 2008

[Anglican Mainstream] 17 May 2008--This week let me begin with a personal praise report. My grandson Palmer has this week passed his five year cancer-free date, and the doctors have pronounced him cured. It was a long battle and at several time we worried that we might lose him, but the prayers of thousands around the world and the Grace of God preserved and healed him. He has no cognitive damage, nor any physical impairment that we can ascertain. He is very intelligent, very loving, and a good soccer player. To God be the glory.

We note the letter of Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori to Archbishop and Primate Henry Orombi telling him to stay out of "her domain." She of course sent a copy to Bishop Henry Louttit, who is under pressure to continue litigation against Christ Church, Savannah, the Mother Church of all Georgia and the Rev. John Wesley’s American parish. She also sent a copy to the Archbishop of Canterbury. The interesting thing is she waited to notify Orombi until he was already within a stone’s throw of Georgia, leaving him to discover her letter posted on the Internet. It is clear that this was ninety percent theatrics on the part of Schori.

The Presiding Bishop of TEC: Does She Know What She Is Doing?

[Anglican Mainstream] 17 May 2008--Three events in the recent past have posed a serious question. Does the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church (TEC) know what she is doing? The possible answers to this question have raised even greater concern than the question itself. For, I have concluded, if, on the one hand, she does not know what she is doing then TEC is without effective leadership at perhaps the most crucial time in its history. If, on the other hand, she does know what she is doing, she is leading TEC in directions for which she has no warrant.

To be specific, her decline of an invitation to greet the Pope on his present visit calls into question her understanding of the office of Presiding Bishop. The canonical irregularities surrounding the specially called convention in the Diocese of San Joaquin and the actions to depose Bishops Cox, Schofield and Duncan raise questions about the way in which she understands and deploys the Constitution and Canons of TEC. Finally, her Easter Message to TEC raises a question about the adequacy of her grasp of the Christian Gospel.

Police continue to persecute Anglican Church

[The Zimbabwean] 17 May 2008--Continuous disruption of church services by the police and the army, who have disregarded four High Court orders, is causing deep concern in the Anglican Church, says Bishop Sebastian Bakare.The Bishop has taken the unusual step of issuing a statement condemning the actions by police and highlighting their abuses.

“These (High Court) orders do not give any right to the police to interfere in the civil disputes in the Church affairs before the Court. Regrettably, all the Court orders are being disregarded by some individuals who give “orders from above”.“The police are supposed to be the custodians of the law, but what we are experiencing as the Diocese of Harare proves that the have become a law unto themselves by accepting orders from above,” he said.“Police are supposed to uphold, protect the people of Zimbabwe and their properties without fear or favour and not to disobey court orders. This Godless behaviour displayed by the police officers of pulling up people who are in prayer and worship is not a true reflection of levels of lawlessness in Zimbabwe or in the force - but in individual police officers.“What we are experiencing in the Diocese of Harare CPCA indicates that Police do not only refuse to obey court orders but also show their unacceptable bias,” Bishop Bakare added.

On May 4, Holy Communion Services were disrupted through out the Diocese except for a few isolated churches in rural areas areas.

Church split over woman bishop,21598,23713567-2761,00.html

[] 17 May 2008--A BREAKAWAY group of Anglicans will snub the historic ordination of Australia's first woman bishop, West Australian Kay Goldsworthy, this week.

They claim the event is the death of traditional religion as stated in the Bible.

Anglican Acceptance of both Abortion and Sanctity of Life will Allow the Creation of a Gay Church: Gene Robinson

[] 17 May 2008--The Anglican Church is the perfect vehicle for creating a new “gay” Christianity by virtue of the fact that it is the only church that accepts the logical contradiction of asserting both the sanctity of human life and the existence of a right to abortion.

Episcopal bishop Gene Robinson, whose ordination to the episcopate has precipitated the ongoing schism between traditionally Christian Anglicans and its ultra-liberal, secularized branches, is in London to talk about his vision for the homosexual future of the Anglican Church. He was visiting and promoting his cause in preparation for the upcoming Lambeth Conference in July.

He told an admiring audience in Putney, in southwest London, that Anglicanism is uniquely suited to the establishment of the contradiction of homosexual Christianity. “The Anglican tradition is uniquely capable of holding two seemingly contradictory ideas together. Its position on abortion, for example is that all human life is sacred. And, that no one has the right to tell a woman what to do with her body. Both are true,” he said.

The logical principle of non-contradiction, a basic philosophical concept identified by Aristotle, is defined as the idea that two opposed things cannot both be true. Aristotle put it that, “One cannot say of something that it is and that it is not in the same respect and at the same time.” It is not possible, for example, for a person to both be in a room and not in a room at the same time. This principle is regarded by philosophers as one of the three first principles of rational thought, without which no assertion of any truth is possible.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Zimbabwe’s Rulers Unleash Police on Anglicans

[The New York Times] 16 May 2008--The parishioners were lined up for Holy Communion on Sunday when the riot police stormed the stately St. Francis Anglican Church in Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital. Helmeted, black-booted officers banged on the pews with their batons as terrified members of the congregation stampeded for the doors, witnesses said.

A policeman swung his stick in vicious arcs, striking matrons, a girl and a grandmother who had bent over to pick up a Bible dropped in the melee. A lone housewife began singing from a hymn in Shona, “We will keep worshiping no matter the trials!” Hundreds of women, many dressed in the Anglican Mothers’ Union uniform of black skirt, white shirt and blue headdress, lifted their voices to join hers.

Anglicanism: Orthodox or Progressive?

[VirtueOnline] 16 May 2008--There are now two very distinct understandings of the Christian Faith at work both in the Church of England and the wider Anglican Communion, especially in the US and Canada, as well as in New Zealand, Wales, Ireland and Scotland. They can best be summed up as orthodox, faithful, biblical, evangelical, Anglo-Catholic on the one hand, and liberal, revisionist and/or progressive (a relatively new word) on the other.

The progressive view was echoed this week by George Pitcher, the new Religion Editor of London's "Daily Telegraph", in an opinion piece where he argues that the Church of England isn't just needs to evolve."This is not a charter for trendy, relevant vicars. But at the risk of summoning discredited spirits, there must be a third way. It's part of the Church's genius that it evolves contextually in our society while maintaining eternal constants. It needs to meet its new-millennial people where they are, rather than where they used to be. It needs to redevelop the pluralistic and tolerant voice that has been at the heart of Anglicanism at its best," he writes.

More Hierarchical Denominations Support Diocese in Amici Filing

[Diocese of Virginia] 16 May 2008--Over the past four days, eight more religious denominations and judicatories, as well as the two other Virginia Episcopal dioceses have asked the Court to allow them to join the Amici Curiae brief supporting the Diocese of Virginia and the Episcopal Church in recognizing that the §57-9 division statute is unconstitutional. All churches in Virginia are threatened by this statute, which discriminates against hierarchical churches in favor of congregational ones, in violation of their faith and the right of churches to structure and govern themselves based on their religious beliefs. All churches in Virginia must have the right to structure themselves according to their faith beliefs without the intrusion of the government.

Religious underpinnings of the Narnia chronicles

[Scripps Howard News Service] 16 May 2008--While there are no cars in Narnia, screenwriter Stephen McFeely rolled out an automotive image to express the message at the heart of the second film drawn from the seven-book fantasy series by C.S. Lewis.

At its heart, he said, "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian" describes what happens "when people lose faith, when you don't keep Aslan in your windshield and he's in your rear-view mirror."

But if the most important thing to do during a life-shaking crisis is to keep one's eyes on a character named Aslan, then it's crucial to know who Aslan is and why following him is so important.

The Search For An Anglican Future

[The Christian Challenge] 16 May 2008--“See you in court.” That seems, increasingly, to be the pastoral response of The Episcopal Church to those who act in institutionally irregular ways in order to defend orthodox belief. But while the pressure of North American woes will be evident this summer, as separate meetings in Jerusalem and Canterbury seek to shape the future of Anglicanism, could the tide be turning a bit for an under-attended Lambeth Conference?

A house divided

[The Hamilton Spectator] 16 May 2008--It was an awkward Sunday.

Church members divided, sharing the same building.

One service run by a priest from the national church body, the other by the church's pastor.

Ugandan Archbishop: P.B.’s Visitation Request ‘Sadly Ironic’

[The Living Church] 16 May 2008--Following a May 14 visitation to Christ Church, Savannah, Ga., Archbishop Henry Orombi, Primate of the Anglican Church of Uganda, responded to a letter he said he never received from Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.

A majority of members at the 275-year-old congregation voted in September to disaffiliate from The Episcopal Church and to accept an offer of episcopal oversight from the Church of Uganda.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The trashing of parliamentary procedure

[Hills of the North] 15 May 2008--Parliamentary procedure is at its core about democracy at its best: achieving in decent and orderly fashion the will of the majority while fully respecting and protecting the minority (or as one writer put it, "to give the minority a fighting chance.") There is a reason that every democratic voting organization uses a form of parliamentary procedure (in this country, usually Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised), whether it be church, or city council, or stockholders' meeting, or legislature. Those who object to parliamentary procedure, or who abuse it, are almost inevitably those who have no patience for democracy or dissent, or those who simply do not like the result that would be forthcoming when the ayes and nos aren't to their liking.

In our church we have two recent and regrettable examples of antipathy toward parliamentary procedure. The first, of course, is the Presiding Bishop, who has lawlessly decided to ignore the very basics of Robert's and the canons themselves in a whole range of actions where she can't be bothered to follow the rules, or where she worries she might not get the votes necessary to do what she wants. She has, in essence, with the apparent acquiescence of a majority of bishops, turned parliamentary procedure into a sham--something no more meaningful to them than, say, a Book of Common Prayer liturgy. This certainly reflects her anger at, disrespect for, and, some say, hatred of the minority orthodox, who after all have the temerity to do what minorities generally do--object and disagree and attempt to obstruct the majority. And in a sense her suspension of parliamentary procedure (for that is what she has done) is evidence of her own weakness, her inability to reason with those with whom she disagrees, and her intolerance of those who do not see the world exactly as she does. It is a rejection of democracy, since the rules came about by democratic vote, not by fiat. And it is with her, as with Mugabe in Zimbabwe and every other tinhorn dictator who cannot accept the norms of democratic procedure, an unequivocal admission of defeat.

Gay issue dividing Lutheran Church

[National Post] 15 May 2008--A Toronto-area Lutheran church parish plans on ordaining a married gay man despite warnings it is breaking Church teachings and it will face disciplinary action, including expulsion, if it goes ahead.

Lionel Ketola will be ordained tomorrow night by a non-traditional American Lutheran group that ordains gay candidates. Their ordinations are not officially recognized in Canada or the United States. But despite that, he will then be hired by Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Newmarket, Ont., as an associate pastor, where he has interned for the past two years. Members of Holy Cross will also take part in the ordination ceremony.

Aliens may exist, says Vatican,23599,23696471-23109,00.html

[] 15 May 2008--The search for extraterrestrial life does not contradict belief in God, the Pope's chief astronomer says.

And some aliens may even be innocent of the original sin.

Women priests write protest letter to Anglican bishops

[Times Online] 15 May 2008--Women priests in the Church of England say they would rather never be bishops at all than have to accept special arrangements for opponents of women’s ordination.

Nearly half of all the serving women priests in the Church of England have signed an open letter to the Church’s bishops warning that the entire integrity and mission of the Church is at stake.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Mere Christianity in a Pluralistic World (part 1)

[Stand Firm] 14 May 2008--Most Episcopalians know too little about classic doctrine to question it, too little about scripture to reject its contents, too little about the Christian worldview to sense that it has gone missing because the past emphasis on these things has long since been discarded by the “shepherds” and “pastors” of the church who considered them irrelevant to modern humanity, replacing them with superficial calls to “love one another” and to “social justice.” And so absent a firm grasp of classic doctrine, absent the ongoing presence and proclamation of the content of the apostolic faith, inevitably the values, mores, habits of thought and life that characterize the culture began to characterize the church. The Episcopal Church is a sick body. Like any sick body she manifests visible symptoms that tell knowledgeable observers that something has gone terribly wrong. The consecration of Gene Robinson to the office of bishop was a particularly illustrative symptom of a far greater disease.

Post-Decision Briefs Filed in Virginia Property Cases

[Stand Firm] 14 May 2008--The Attorney General's Office for the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Virginia have all filed their post-decision briefs in advance of the scheduled May 28 hearing on who owns the property of the 11 parishes that have departed the Diocese of Virginia.

The Attorney General's brief is a defense of Virginia statute 57-9, the so-called "division statute" on which part of the Virginia parishes' cases rest, the applicability of which Judge Bellows ruled overwhelmingly in favor of the parishes a few weeks ago. Bellows will issue his ruling on the constitutionality of the statute at a date following the May 28 hearing.

Bishop Seizes Continuing Congregation Property

[VirtueOnline] 14 May 2008--On Friday, May 2, Diocesan Bishop James McNeley and Bishop Leo Michael Suffragan Bishop of the Holy Catholic Church-Anglican rite (named by Bishop McNeley to be his successor) seized the building, bank accounts, and personal property of St. James Church, Kansas City, under a court order they obtained without prior notice to the congregation, its Rector, Senior Warden, or Vestry.

Representatives of St James say this suit is the "flight test" of a new procedure for HCC(AR) Bishops to deprive other HCC(AR) congregations of their assets. The Bishops' suit against the parish and their attempted takeover of parish property are expressly forbidden by the HCC(AR)'s Constitution, sources said. Autonomy of parish property is common to all the "continuing Anglican churches" which began in the late 1970s by separations from the Episcopal Church (ECUSA). These were reactions to ECUSA's ordaining women clergy, promoting homosexuality, and abandoning Scripture as the source of moral principles.

Most of these withdrawing Episcopalians lost their parishes and property to the Episcopal Church. This experience made local ownership of parish property a cornerstone of the "continuing church" movement. Since the HCC(AR) formed in 1997 in a schism from one of the original "continuing churches", HCC(AR) members have declined to eliminate the constitutional guarantee of parishes' freedom to leave that body with their property intact.

Colorado Church Property Dispute Unresolved

[TitusOneNine] 14 May 2008--Judge Larry E. Schwartz of the El Paso County District Court issued a decision today that the property dispute between Grace Church and St. Stephen’s and the Episcopal Bishop and Diocese of Colorado cannot be resolved by summary judgment and must go to trial court. Yet, significantly and critical to Grace Church and St. Stephen’s legal argument for ownership of the property in question, Judge Swartz concluded that the parish is a valid, non-profit corporation recognized by the State of Colorado since 1973.

Judge Schwartz’s decision was in response to a hearing held on May 2, 2008 at the El Paso County Courthouse in which 18 members of Grace Church and St. Stephen’s requested that personal lawsuits brought against them by the Episcopal Bishop of Colorado be dismissed.

President Apostate?

[The New York Times] Barack Obama has emerged as a classic example of charismatic leadership — a figure upon whom others project their own hopes and desires. The resulting emotional intensity adds greatly to the more conventional strengths of the well-organized Obama campaign, and it has certainly sufficed to overcome the formidable initial advantages of Senator Hillary Clinton.

One danger of such charisma, however, is that it can evoke unrealistic hopes of what a candidate could actually accomplish in office regardless of his own personal abilities. Case in point is the oft-made claim that an Obama presidency would be welcomed by the Muslim world.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Treasures of the Church

[Christianity Today] 13 May 2008--The relationship between the early church and the Roman government was a turbulent one. Persecution and peace surfaced sporadically at the whim of the emperor. The Roman officials, ignorant of the true practices of Christianity, often acted out of fear, superstition, and misinformation. The royal court assumed that the Christian church operated just like their greedy religions.

There is a story told of the emperor who coveted the riches he believed the church possessed and ordered their head bishop to produce "the treasures of the church." The bishop tried to tell the emperor that the church had no gold, silver, jewels, or other valuables, but still he ordered that "the treasures of the church" be brought before him the next morning.

Early the next day the bishop appeared before the emperor empty-handed. Outraged, the emperor demanded an answer about why "the treasures of the church" were not being given to him.

The bishop invited the emperor to look out at the palace steps. Gathered together, cautiously gazing up at the great doors of the royal palace, was a mass of ragged beggars, cripples, slaves and outcasts.

"These," said the bishop, with a broad gesture of his arm, "are the treasures of the church."
For his unappreciated but very accurate insight, the bishop was promptly martyred.

Breakaway congregation recognition is blow to Canadian Church

[Conger] 13 May 2008--The Anglican Church of Canada’s united front against the breakaway congregations and clergy of the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC) received a major blow last week after a diocesan synod voted to recognize the secessions.

“All of these churches have by their decisions stayed within the Anglican Communion,” the synod of the Diocese of Athabasca said on April 26, disputing assertions made by Bishop Michael Ingham of New Westminster and other Canadian bishops that by quitting the Canadian Church the secessionists were no longer Anglicans.

The Northern Alberta-based diocese adopted a series of resolutions affirming that it was in “full communion” with ANiC and its sponsor, the Province of the Southern Cone.

The diocese also expressed “its dismay” at the attempts by several bishops to respond to the secessions by turning to the civil courts. “By resorting to the civil courts so readily, the bishops of those dioceses where there are dissident parishes and clergy have displayed so visibly that, to them, the issue is power, not the will of God,” synod said, according to a statement posted on the diocesan website.

Parishes file to appeal court ruling

[The Hamilton Spectator] 13 May 2008--Three Anglican parishes are seeking permission to appeal a court ruling that requires them to share their buildings with the church body they left.

Lawyers for St. George's in Lowville, St. Hilda's in Oakville and Church of the Good Shepherd in St. Catharines notified diocese lawyers of their intent to appeal yesterday.

"What we have are two conflicting decisions out of the Ontario court which are based on the same facts and that, in and of itself, is a grounds for appeal," said Cheryl Chang, chancellor for the Anglican Network in Canada. The three churches joined the network just over two months ago after leaving the Niagara diocese of the Anglican Church of Canada, arguing it had developed too liberal an interpretation of scripture.

Archbishop of Canterbury writes to the bishops of the Anglican Communion

[Episcopal Life Online] 13 May 2008--The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, has sent an open letter to the bishops of the Anglican Communion in advance of the 2008 Lambeth Conference, set for July 16-August 4 at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England.

The full text of the May 12 letter follows.

Related article:
The Archbishop of Canterbury writes to the Bishops of the Anglican Communion - BabyBlueOnline

Ugandan primate's 'incursion' into Georgia violates Windsor Report, Presiding Bishop notes

{Episcopal Life Online] 13 May 2008--Archbishop of Uganda Henry Orombi's actions to visit a Savannah congregation on May 14 without the invitation of Episcopal Bishop of Georgia Henry Louttit "violate the spirit and letter of the work of the Windsor Report, and only lead to heightened tensions," Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori wrote in a May 12 letter to Orombi.

"We are more than willing to receive you for conversation, dialogue, and reconciliation, yet you continue to act without speaking with us," Jefferts Schori wrote in her letter sent by email. "I hope and pray that you might respond to our invitation and meet with representatives of this Church."

But noting that Orombi's planned visit comes without Louttit's invitation, "I must protest this unwarranted incursion into The Episcopal Church," Jefferts Schori wrote in her letter.

According to reports, Orombi plans to meet May 14 with clergy and laity who voted in October 2007 to disaffiliate with the Episcopal Church. The group continues to occupy historic Christ Church, Savannah, while the continuing Episcopal congregation meets at Savannah's Church of St. Michael and All Angels. Christ Church, Savannah, dates from 1733.

The full text of Jefferts Schori's letter follows.

Monday, May 12, 2008 easy as ABC

[] 12 May 2008--Six months after the launch of the Diocesan Mission in 2002, it seemed that every ministry connected to the Sydney Diocese was about the Mission and the goal of reaching 10 per cent of the population in Bible-based churches.

Today, about six months after the launch of Connect09, it seems every ministry is about connecting, and has always been!


[] 12 May 2008--Phillip Jensen video on repentance.

Meet Our Street Champions

[] 12 May 2008--Springwood Anglican Church has become the first parish in Sydney to launch a “Street Champions” scheme - a key ‘grass-roots’ ministry initiative for Connect09.

The concept is modelled on the Church Army’s “adopt-a-block” program, and the Rev Andrew Nixon, executive director of Connect09, says it will operate as an informal and low-key form of neighbourhood chaplaincy.

Related article:
Wrestling against flesh and blood - Next 1000
Wrestling Against Flesh and Blood II - Next 1000
High Hopes - Light Our World
Tips from the Dream Center Part 1 - Building an 'Adopt-A-Block' - Love Your Neighbor
Tips from the Dream Center Part 2 - The Key Ingredients of a Successful Adopt-A-Block - Love Your Neighbor
Tips from The Dream Center Part 3 - How to make an Adopt-A-Block work long-term - Love Your Neighbor