Friday, September 22, 2006

Thursday Posts -- Part 2

People Who Share a Bed, and the Things They Say About It

September 21st, 2006 posted by kendall at 9:07 pm

While researching rural life more than 20 years ago, Paul C. Rosenblatt took his 12-year-old son with him to interview farm families in the Midwest. Father and son stayed in a farmhouse and had to share a bed.

“It was terrible,” said Dr. Rosenblatt, a professor of sociology at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, because his son thrashed and turned so much that “his feet were in my face all night.”

Tired and bedraggled the next day, he recalled thinking about how challenging it can be to adapt to sleeping with another person.

In more recent research — on grief — Dr. Rosenblatt interviewed couples whose children had died.

“They quite often would tell me that they dealt with their grief by holding each other and talking together in bed at night,” he said. “It seemed that I kept being reminded of how sharing a bed impacts our lives and sense of well-being.”

And yet, no one had really studied it, perhaps because sharing a bed is so mundane, Dr. Rosenblatt said. So he wrote “Two in a Bed: The Social System of Couple Bed Sharing,” published this summer by State University of New York Press.

Great stuff. The money line for me was here:

“It surprised me how many people thought they were alive today because they shared a bed,” Dr. Rosenblatt said.

Read it all.

Still More on one Arkansas parish’s Same-Sex Relationship Blessing Ceremony

September 21st, 2006 posted by kendall at 6:54 pm

The liturgy, which was an adapted form of one developed by the Diocese of New Westminster in the Anglican Church of Canada, was a topic included on the agenda for the Sept. 19 diocesan council meeting by Bishop Maze. After a short report on the service, the council and Bishop Maze discussed it for about 10 minutes, with two or three of the 20 council members present expressing concern that Fr. Wills and St. Michael’s had not honored the strictures laid down by Bishop Maze. They contended that the service presented itself as a sacrament, rather than a “pastoral response.”

The service was “all very wedding-like” and had all the “earmarks of a marriage rite,” said the Rev. Walter Van Zandt Windsor, rector of Trinity, Pine Bluff, and a council member.

“With two hundred people present, and invitations sent out, not to mention a front-page article in the largest Arkansas newspaper, one would have to gather there was never a serious attempt to keep it quiet or keep it from being a public event. Rings were exchanged. It was called a ‘covenant’,” he told The Living Church.

Read it all.

Steve Skardon Jr. Chimes in on the South Carolina Episcopal Election

September 21st, 2006 posted by kendall at 6:40 pm

An articulate and outspoken member of the Episcopal Forum, Steve writes in part in a letter to today’s local paper:

Finally, the election was about far more than schism with the national church. Delegates were clearly impressed with Mr. [Mark] Lawrence’s commitment to parish ministry, his pastoral skills and his vision. They also liked his age. The two other nominees were in their 40s, and the delegates clearly were not ready to elect a leader whose tenure might last as long as thirty years. Mr. Lawrence is 56.

Read it all.

All Saints Church Pasadena to fight IRS over sermon

September 21st, 2006 posted by kendall at 5:04 pm

A liberal church that has been threatened with the loss of its tax-exempt status over an anti-war sermon delivered just days before the 2004 presidential election said Thursday it will fight an IRS order to turn over documents on the matter.

He said the church‘s 26-member vestry voted unanimously to resist IRS demands for documents and an interview with the congregation‘s rector by the end of the month.

Religious leaders on the right and left have expressed fear that the dispute could make it more difficult for them to speak out on moral issues such as gay marriage and abortion during the midterm election campaign.

Read it all.

The Service Bulletin of The Covenanting and Blessing of the Union of Theodore Holder and Johannes van den Heuvel

September 21st, 2006 posted by kendall at 4:40 pm

The Covenanting and Blessing
of the Union
Theodore Holder
Johannes van den Heuvel

St. Michael’s Episcopal Church
Little Rock, Arkansas


Blessing is a common feature of Christian worship. For centuries the church has blessed people, places and things. Every prayer of blessing is thanksgiving for creation and redemption offered in petition for the fulfillment of God’s purpose in the world.

All human relationships have the potential to be agents of God’s purpose. The act of blessing does not make the relationship more holy, but rather, in giving thanks to God and invoking God’s holy name, releases the relationship to realize its full potential as an expression of God’s love and peace.

The act of blessing recognizes the pre-existent reality of the relationship; confers the community’s authority upon the recipients to conduct themselves as formal and public participants in such a relationship; establishes a communal context of responsibility, accountability and privilege; and petitions God to endow the partners with all such grace and strength necessary to fulfill the vows and commitments being made.

This Service of Blessing is celebrated before God in the body of the church and in the presence of friends, family and the local faith community. Friends and family members are encouraged to participate where indicated.

The Covenanting and Blessing of the Union of
Theodore Holder and Johannes van den Heuvel


Sung by all Hymn Lasst uns erfreuen

Celebrant Blessed be God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
All And blessed be God’s kingdom, now and for ever. Amen.

Celebrant Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Song of Judith Judith 16:13-16
All I will sing a new song to my God, *
for you are great and glorious, wonderful in strength, invincible.
Let the whole creation serve you, *
for you spoke and all things came into being.
You sent your breath and it formed them, *
no one is able to resist your voice.
Mountains and seas are stirred to their depths, *
rocks melt like wax at your presence.
But to those who fear you, *
you continue to show mercy.
No sacrifice, however fragrant, can please you, *
but whoever fears the Lord shall stand in your sight for ever.

Celebrant The Lord be with you.
All And also with you.
Celebrant Let us pray.
The Collect of the Day
Celebrant O gracious and everliving God, look joyfully upon Ted and Joe, who come before this assembled community to make a covenant of love, fidelity, and life-long commitment. Grant them your blessing and assist them with your grace, that, with true fidelity and steadfast love, they may honor and keep the covenant they make, through Jesus Christ, our Savior, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.

The First Reading Song of Solomon 2:10-13; 8:6-7
Reader A reading from the Song of Solomon.
My beloved speaks and says to me: “Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away; for now the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. The fig tree puts forth its figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away. Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is strong as death, passion fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, a raging flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If one offered for love all the wealth of his house, it would be utterly scorned.
Reader The Word of the Lord.
All Thanks be to God.

Psalm 67
All 1 May God be merciful to us and bless us, *
show us the light of your countenance and come to us.
2 Let your ways be known upon earth, *
your saving health among all nations.
3 Let the peoples praise you, O God; *
let all the peoples praise you.
4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, *
for you judge the peoples with equity
and guide all the nations upon earth.
5 Let the peoples praise you, O God; *
let all the peoples praise you.
6 The earth has brought forth its increase; *
may God, our own God, bless us.
7 O God, give us your blessing, *
and may all the ends of the earth stand in awe of you.

The Second Reading 1 John 4:7-12
Reader A Reading from the First Letter to John.
Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and God’s love is perfected in us.
Reader The Word of the Lord
All Thanks be to God

Sung by all Hymn Ruth C. Duck Foundation

The Holy Gospel John 15:9-12
Deacon The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John.
All Glory to you, Lord Christ
Deacon Jesus said to his disciples, “ As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”
Deacon The Gospel of the Lord
All Praise to you, Lord Christ

The Homily

The Covenanting
The Celebrant invites the couple to stand in the full view of the gathered community and says
A covenant is an ancient form of promise, a public declaration of commitment that binds people in an enduring relationship. The Bible tells the story of God’s covenant with human beings.

God’s covenant with Israel was the basis of the people’s liberation from slavery and exile. God’s covenant with the followers of Jesus brings us into a new community where there is no male nor female, Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, but one people united in Christ.

All our covenants with family and friends are signs of God’s faithfulness and love. They are living expressions of God’s promises to us and sources of hope for ourselves and for others. Today we gather to witness and to bless the public commitment of Ted and Joe to such a covenant.

The Celebrant then addresses the couple as follows
Ted and Joe, do you believe God has called you into a life-long covenant of love and fidelity?
Couple We do believe.

Will you live together in love?
Couple We will, with God’s help.

Will you be faithful to one another?
Couple We will, with God’s help.

Will you support one another in love so that you may both grow into maturity of faith in Jesus Christ?
Couple We will, with God’s help.

Will you do all in your power to make your life together a witness to the love of God in this world?
Couple We will, with God’s help.

Ted facing Joe and taking his hand says
In the name of God and before this congregation, I, Ted, promise you, Joe, to honor and cherish you; to share with you in life’s joys and triumphs, and to stand with you in times of grief and misfortune. I will be truthful in all things and strive with you to create a home filled with reverence and hospitality. I promise to love you all the days of my life. This is my solemn vow.

Joe then takes Ted’s hand and says
In the name of God and before this congregation, I, Joe, promise you, Ted, to honor and cherish you; to share with you in life’s joys and triumphs, and to stand with you in times of grief and misfortune. I will be truthful in all things and strive with you to create a home filled with reverence and hospitality. I promise to love you all the days of my life. This is my solemn vow.

The rings are then blessed.
Bless, O Lord, these rings to be signs of the vows by which Ted and Joe have bound themselves to each other; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The giver places the ring on the finger of the other’s hand, saying
I give you this ring as a symbol of my vow, my friend, my spouse, my love; in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The Celebrant then addresses the congregation as follows
You, friends, family and faith community are witnesses to this covenant.
Will you support Ted and Joe in the promises they have made?
All We will.

Will you celebrate the goodness of God’s grace evident in their lives?
All We will.

Will you stand by them, encourage, guide, and pray for them in times of trouble and distress?
All We will.

Do you give them your blessing?
All We do.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Sermon at the Consecration this past Saturday of the New Bishop of Albany

September 21st, 2006 posted by kendall at 4:19 pm

Sitting in the Tree of Life
by the Rev. Mike Flynn
(inspired by a sermon by Ted Haggard)
at the Consecration of Rev. Bill Love

[Note to readers: Comments inserted during the presentation are here added in brackets. Footnotes are also added to provide background for the comments.]
[Introduction: comments re my association with Albany and Uganda. Archbishop’s chaplain’s greetings to Bill Love.]

Someone asked me: are you targeting anyone in your sermon? Yes: everyone!

Greetings, first to children. Please stand. Jesus said the first shall be last and the last first. So I greet the children first. If the rest of us aren’t just like you, we won’t even see the kingdom of God, much less enter it.
Then lay members. When you were confirmed you entered the principal order of ministry in the church. I greet and honor you as the ministers of the church.
Then deacons and sisters. I honor your heart to serve.
Then priests. I greet you brothers and sisters, whose principal role is equipping the laity for their ministries.
Next bishops. I pray for you. Scripture says that few should be teachers because they will receive the weightier judgment. So I pray that you teach what is true.
Warm greetings to Bps. Dan Herzog and Dave Bena.
Finally, our presiding bishop. I wouldn’t have your job for all the world. I greet and honor you. May you be consoled in the arms of Jesus. And happy almost birthday, Sir.
Greetings to you all in the name of Jesus.

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Samuel Davidson: Darfur Diaries

September 21st, 2006 posted by kendall at 2:35 pm

After the last image was shown of a Sudanese child whose future is uncertain, the theater was completely silent. The few hundred of us who came to watch “Darfur Diaries” were in a place of mixed emotions. On one hand, we were motivated to act like never before. On the other hand, we were paralyzed by our own ignorance on how to act.

“Darfur Diaries” is an hour-long documentary shot in 2004 in the northern region of Darfur. There are countless interviews with refugees and internally displaced persons, all victims of the Sudanese government’s attempts to eradicate an entire population.

Since 2001, government-backed militias known as the janjaweed have killed, raped, beaten, tortured and starved African Muslims. Those who were lucky enough to survive still face continued attacks in their makeshift refugee camps along the border with Chad.

Overwhelmingly, the theme that comes across in these interviews is one of separation. People are separated from the land that they can trace back through nine generations of grandfathers. Husbands are separated from wives, and parents from children. Those who were in school before the attacks are separated from education. Nearly everyone is now separated from food. But worst of all, this reality is separated from the rest of the world.

The movie is almost entirely shot in the tribal language of the victims, with subtitles in English. There is no commentary, but stark facts let us know what has happened that causes people to sleep under trees and run as fast as they can when they hear a plane fly overhead. Listening to these stories from those who have had the misfortune of living them invokes pity, sorrow, fear, and regret.

Read it all.

For 4th Time, Pope Clarifies Islam Remark

September 21st, 2006 posted by kendall at 1:27 pm

I wished to explain that not religion and violence, but religion and reason, go together,” he said. He added that he hoped he had made clear his “profound respect for world religions and for Muslims.”

But in the crowd here, and around much of the world that is not Muslim, there were voices like Mr. Corbetta’s, saying the pope did not need to keep explaining himself.

Perhaps, some of them said, he should have been more diplomatic in his choice of quotations in his speech, in Regensburg, Germany. But some Catholics and other non-Muslims say that Benedict has distinguished himself from other world leaders in these tense times by speaking about violence and Islam — and that the violent reaction to his remarks simply proved his point.

“It’s about time that somebody from the Western, Judeo-Christian religions finally came out stating that some of the teachings of Muhammad are used violently,” said Steven Gottesfeld, 40, an American Jew who attended the pope’s weekly audience with his wife, Patricia, a Roman Catholic.

For some Catholics, Benedict’s speech — for all its complexity and all that remains unclear about what he meant to say — was a turning point in this papacy and, perhaps, a historic moment of clarity. They say that just as his predecessor, John Paul II, played an important role in ending Communism, maybe Benedict’s role will be in speaking against militant Islam.

Some supporters of the pope say he absolutely should not issue the further apology that many Muslims are demanding. For them, his use of the words “very sorry” on Sunday already gave the impression of retreat.

“It just seemed to me that by apologizing and backing away a little, he was encouraging more of the violence and anger on the streets,” said Edward Morrissey, 43, who this week posted an anguished “open letter” to Benedict on his popular blog, Captain’s Quarters, urging the pope not to apologize further.

Read it all

Proposed resolutions for the October 2006 Convention of the Diocese of Upper South Carolina

September 21st, 2006 posted by kendall at 12:35 pm

Here is one:

Date: August 15, 2006

Resolution offered by: The Rev. Preston B. Huntley, Jr. Rector

Name of Church: St. John’s, Winnsboro

Subject: The Authority of Holy Scripture

Whereas the 74th General Convention (2003) of the Episcopal Church defeated Resolution B001 reaffirming that “Holy Scripture contains all things necessary to salvation,” and

Whereas the 75th General Convention (2006) removed the following original language from Resolution D069: “…General Convention acknowledges that the Bible has always been at the center of Anglican belief and life, and declares its belief that Scripture is the Church’s supreme authority, and as such ought to be seen as a focus and means of unity,” and

Whereas the 75th General Convention passed a Resolution C001: “… to collect and develop materials to assist members of the Church to address anti-Jewish prejudice expressed in an stirred by portions of Christian scriptures and liturgical texts…,” and

Whereas these actions of General Convention together make up a serious and troubling trend regarding the commitment of the Church to the authority of Scripture,

Now, therefore, be it resolved, that the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Upper South Carolina reaffirm its commitment to the teachings of Holy Scripture and acknowledge that God’s word is the authoritative light for our lives; and

Be it further resolved, that this diocese witness this commitment by supporting biblically orthodox mission and ministry programs, which also guard and maintain the historic teachings of Anglicanism.

Read them all.

Nigerian Cathedral burned and Bishop’s Office attacked in a riot

September 21st, 2006 posted by kendall at 12:07 pm


The Bishop of Dutse (Jigawa State, Nigeria) The Rt Revd Yesufu Lumu, has told ACNS in a telephone interview that a local conflict between a Christian and Muslim woman escalated into a full blown riot on the streets of the city. The end result was St Peter’s Anglican Cathedral was burned to the ground and the Bishop’s office and car port destroyed.

“It was calm during the night,” the bishop said, but was very concerned as the “police would not respond to the calls for protection from the Christians.”
According to one report the anger was said to have been “sparked off by an alleged blasphemous comment on Prophet Muhammed by a Christian woman, who reportedly spoke in reaction to a similarly irreverent statement about Jesus Christ by a male Muslim.”
The Provincial Communications Officer, the Revd Canon AkinTunde Popoola, told ACNS, “All vehicles belonging to the Diocese were also burnt as well as business premises of some church members” during the rioting on 19th September.

The bishop said, “No one was hurt, we are simply praying that the conflict does not spread.”

Skye Jethani–iChurch: All We Like Sheep, Is our insistence on choices leading us astray?

September 21st, 2006 posted by kendall at 11:12 am

I don’t drink coffee but that hasn’t stopped me from using the Starbucks across the street from my church as a second office. I sip my overpriced beverage in the armchair near the window. On this afternoon I was meeting Greg and Margaret*—members of our church I’d worked with closely for the last few years.

“We’ve decided to leave Blanchard,” Greg started. “For two months we’ve been church shopping.” Church shopping—where did that dastardly term come from? I thought while gazing out the window at the swarm of suburbanites fluttering between The Gap, Banana Republic, Barnes & Noble, and Williams-Sonoma.

“We really love Blanchard,” Margaret added to soften the blow. “It’s been a great church for our family, with a wonderful children’s program. Greg and I really like it, but our boys are teenagers now and they prefer the music at Faith Community*.” I took a sip of my preferred drink—a tall, no whip, Tazo chai latte. Maybe I should have gotten the low cal, non-fat, grande Earl Grey, with Splenda.

Margaret continued, “Faith Community has so much to offer our family, and I think it’s really important to go someplace the boys like. When your kids are teenagers, you’ll understand.” Having played the evangelical trump card (the kids), Margaret sat back in her chair believing no further discussion was necessary.

“What are you going to do when your boys leave home in a few years?” I asked.

“I’m not sure,” said Greg. “Maybe we’ll come back to Blanchard.”

“I hope you don’t,” I replied, meaning no malice. I did, however, relish the stunned look on their faces, if just for a moment. “I hope that you commit yourselves so fully to Faith Community—building strong relationships, serving with your gifts, participating in its mission—that you could never see yourselves leaving that church. I really believe God grows us most when we are committed to a community.”

For the next hour we had a difficult but edifying conversation about their decision to leave. Then I prayed for Greg and Margaret in the middle of Starbucks, and watched from my chair by the window as they drove away in their SUV, a chrome fish on the tailgate.

Read it all.

David Yount: The Unchurched aren’t necessarily unbelievers

September 21st, 2006 posted by kendall at 11:04 am

In recent years researchers have actually counted those Americans who are regular churchgoers, concluding that they are a shrinking minority and that the nation is sliding slowly toward secularism.

But an ambitious new study by Baylor University affirms that the nation is more religious than ever. Fewer than 11 percent of Americans have no ties to a congregation, denomination or faith group. Yet more than 60 percent of these unaffiliated citizens acknowledge they believe in God. Moreover, nearly one-third of the unaffiliated pray and 11 percent believe Jesus to be the Son of God.

Early in the last century, the English pundit G.K. Chesterton admired the United States as “the nation with the soul of a church.” But the faith of Americans is not always tied to membership in a church congregation or denomination. Many contemporary Americans are comfortable with polemicist Thomas Paine’s affirmation that “My mind is my own church.”

Whether they are regular churchgoers, one-third of Americans are evangelical Protestants, nearly one-fourth are mainline Protestants, one-fifth are Roman Catholics and 5 percent are black Protestants. Jews account for 2.5 percent of the citizenry, while 5 percent of Americans belong to other religious faiths.

Especially fascinating is how respondents to the nationwide survey depict God. Nearly a third consider him Authoritarian (involved in people’s lives and judgmental). Nearly one-fourth considers him Distant (nonjudgmental and uninvolved). Another nearly one-fourth see God as Benevolent (nonjudgmental but highly involved with people), while 16 percent believe God to be Critical (judgmental but uninvolved). African Americans believe overwhelmingly in an authoritarian God.

Read it all.

New venture announced as Zambian priest is appointed Anglican Communion Mission and Evangelism Officer

September 21st, 2006 posted by kendall at 10:57 am


In a new co-operative venture with the Church Mission Society (CMS), the Revd Canon Kenneth Kearon, Secretary General of the Anglican Communion Office (ACO) is delighted to announce the appointment of the Revd John Kaoma Kafwanka as Mission and Evangelism Desk Officer for the Anglican Communion. The position became available after the recent retirement of the Anglican Communion Office Director of Mission and Evangelism, Miss Marjorie Murphy.

Both CMS and ACO saw this as a moment to look at global mission and evangelisation work in a concentrated way. Canon Kearon said, “The ACO is encouraged by this new level of team work with CMS. The secondment of John Kafwanka, I trust, will pave the way for appropriate links with others working in the various areas of ministry we are charged with by the Anglican Communion Instruments of Communion and the Archbishop of Canterbury.” The ACO already has a working relationship with the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (USPG) in the area of theological education.

Canon Tim Dakin, General Secretary of CMS, said, “We are delighted to be working with the ACO to further the work of mission and evangelism in the Communion. John Kafwanka’s will enrich the Anglicanism’s understanding of mission, especially through his knowledge of the Church of the South and its evangelistic effectiveness. ”

For the last three years, John Kafwanka worked for the Church Mission Society (CMS) as a Regional Co-ordinator in Lusaka, Zambia in Southern Africa. Ordained in 1994, to the Priesthood, served St John’s in Zambia and was also the Principal and Rector for the national seminary. Speaking to ACNS he said, “I am looking forward to working within the Anglican Communion Office with the hope of widening his experiences in mission work and increasing the visibility of mission endeavours in our churches.”

With his previous experiences (such as the work involved in Mission and Evangelism within the Anglican Communion and in non-western churches), some of which were gained from working in CMS, he believes that these elements will “help me succeed in my new post.”

John Kafwanka describes Mission and Evangelism as being about: “God’s mission to humanity in a holistic sense, where it is God’s mission and not the Church’s mission. Thus wider and bigger than we can envisage.”

Some of the duties will consist not only on researching Mission and Evangelism and other key issues, but also to survey the work of the Member Churches of the Communion with respect to mission and evangelism and to identify the needs and resources of our fast changing world in this area of ministry. Important to his portfolio is his work in the preparation of materials to be used at the next Lambeth Conference on issues concerning evangelisation.

John Kafwanka’s interests include meeting people and networking, seeing growth in ministry and seeing mission happen: “what God is doing through his people,” as he says. He is married to Martha and has two children, Limbani (a boy) and Mwila (a girl), aged 5 and 8 years old, respectively. All will be moving to London from Africa in due course and his work begins at the office in St Andrew’s House, London, in October.

Source: ACNS

Terry Mattingly on the Press Coverage of the South Carolina Election

September 21st, 2006 posted by kendall at 10:56 am

Read it all.

Posted in ECUSA Bishops, South Carolina, ECUSA | Edit | 5 Comments


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