Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Tuesday a.m. posts

Forbes to Leave New York’s Riverside Church

September 19th, 2006 posted by kendall at 10:26 am

The Rev. James A. Forbes Jr., one of the stalwarts of American religious liberalism, has announced his retirement as senior minister of Manhattan’s historic Riverside Church.

In an announcement Sunday to his interdenominational and multi-racial congregation, Forbes, 71, said it was time after nearly 18 years in Riverside’s pulpit to focus on new challenges.

Forbes said he plans to take a six-month sabbatical beginning in January to determine the next forum for his work, which is likely to involve ministry focused on “the nation’s spiritual revitalization.”

The possibility that Forbes, Riverside’s first African-American senior minister, may try to increase his profile nationally is hardly a surprise. In recent years, Forbes has been outspoken on a host of issues–including war and peace concerns as well as support of same-sex marriage–and has hosted a radio program on the liberal Air America Radio.

Read it all.

From the No Comment Department

September 19th, 2006 posted by kendall at 10:20 am

MONROE, N.Y. (AP) — School officials apologized after an X-rated font was used on a third-grade spelling packet handed out to parents. The font showed male and female stick figures in provocative poses to form the letters of the alphabet.

A Joint Pastoral Letter from the Episcopal and Lutheran Leaders on Global Poverty and the Millennium Development Goals

September 19th, 2006 posted by kendall at 9:24 am

“I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (John 17: 20-21)

Brothers and Sisters:

Five years ago The Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) entered into a relationship of full communion. As the name of the agreement, Called to Common Mission, makes clear, the unity lived out between our two churches is for the sake of God’s mission in the world. The full flourishing of our world and the human family requires our urgent attention to the fight to end global poverty and build a more peaceful, secure world for all God’s people. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) provide the Church and the world with a clear path to do this.

Extreme poverty binds more than one billion of God’s children, depriving them of the abundant life God intends for all. The MDGs are a set of eight targets for eradicating global poverty adopted by the 191 member states of the United Nations, including the United States, out of the conviction that humanity can build a better and safer world if it is willing to unite. The Goals reflect the reality that the resources, strategies, and knowledge to end global poverty exist if only the moral and political will can be built. Christians must play a key role building this will and holding governments accountable for promises made.

A world that meets the Goals would have 500 million fewer people living on less than a dollar a day, 70 percent of whom will be women. More than 400 million fewer people will go to bed hungry each night. The lives of 30 million children currently destined to die before their fifth birthday would be saved. The rise of HIV and AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis would be halted, and infection and death rates would begin to decline. The population of orphans in the world – currently numbered at more than 110 million – would begin to decline as well. In short, a world that has achieved the MDGs will be a world that more greatly reflects Christ’s prayer that all be one as he and the Father are one.

This joint pastoral letter comes as the ELCA and The Episcopal Church embark upon new shared commitment to the MDGs, particularly through our collaboration in ONE: The Campaign to Make Poverty History, a large and growing movement of more than 2.3 million Americans working for the end of global poverty. We hope that by reflecting together on the challenge of global poverty, our communities may be called into deeper conversation, collaboration, and advocacy on this urgent topic.

We invite you to consider the four reflections on global poverty that follow, each examining the church’s engagement with the Goals from a different perspective. They need not be read together and, in fact, time between each might invite deeper discernment of God’s calling to the Church at this moment in the life of the world.

As churches that stand in the shadow of the cross – knowing that in God’s kingdom death and sorrow always give way to resurrection and life – we pray that the Spirit may equip us through the deathless love of the Risen Christ for God’s mission of making all things new.

In Christ’s peace,
The Most Rev. Frank T. Griswold
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church

The Rev. Mark S. Hanson
Presiding Bishop
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Schiff defends priest’s sermon

September 19th, 2006 posted by kendall at 9:20 am

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Pasadena, has teamed with conservative Rep. Walter B. Jones to demand the Internal Revenue Service clarify its rules on politicking from the pulpit.

In a letter sent Monday, the congressmen express concern that the First Amendment rights of churches and other nonprofit agencies are under threat.

The letter, a copy of which went to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, was prompted by an IRS investigation into whether a politically charged sermon at All Saints Episcopal Church, preached days before the 2004 presidential election, compromised its tax-exempt status.

“The investigation itself has a chilling effect on speech,” Schiff said Monday. “Other religious institutions are going to look at a sermon about war and peace and poverty and think, `If we can’t talk about that from the pulpit what can we talk about?”‘

Jones, a socially conservative Roman Catholic from North Carolina, said he is “very concerned that the IRS is trying to become the speech-control police to control what a minister is going to say.”

Schiff and Jones issued the demand a day after an emotional sermon by All Saints’ Rector Ed Bacon suggesting the church may stop cooperating with the investigation.

Bacon said Monday he was “very gratified” that the letter was sent.

“I did know it was in the works, I received a draft earlier this summer,” Bacon said.

Read it all and ENS has a story on this as well.

The Bishop of Maryland to Retire in 2007

September 19th, 2006 posted by kendall at 9:19 am

Episcopal Bishop Robert W. Ihloff of the Diocese of Maryland announced plans to retire in April, a spokeswoman said yesterday.

Ihloff, 65, has served as bishop for 11 years and is choosing to leave next year for personal reasons, said spokeswoman Sharon Tillman.

“He has spent nearly 40 years in service to the church,” she said. “He feels it’s time to devote more time to family and personal pursuits.”

Read it all.

A few technical notes about comments, etc.

September 19th, 2006 posted by admin at 8:35 am

Greetings all.

A few notes about comments.

Yesterday we had at least one very offensive pornographic comment make its way onto the public comment threads. We apologize to those of you who were offended. It should have been snagged by our filters for at least three different words / phrases. We’re mystified about how it got online. Perhaps our spam flters were damaged in recent server crashes? We’re checking that out. If ever you see something offensive, please don’t hesitate to e-mail us: t19elves[at]yahoo[dot]com

In checking the filters, we found some blank lines in the blacklist filter that shouldn’t have been there. That could mean some valid comments have been disappearing for no reason. If you have had comments vanish, let us know. We continue to strongly recommend you get in the habit of saving your comments before posting (see below).

Some continue to have problems with the math question and comments being rejected as spam. We have a detailed post about that here which explains how to avoid problems with the math filter and how to save your comments. We remain willing to help anyone register so you can avoid the math filter. Please e-mail us if you’re interested.

Finally, on a related note, this elf recently switched (long overdue!) to Firefox from Internet Explorer. We note that when the spam filter has eaten a comment and we hit the back button that our comment is STILL THERE along with a new math question. For those of you fed up with losing your comments to the math question, Firefox could be your answer. We’d welcome feedback from readers on your experience or problems and whether Firefox is a better browser to use to avoid the math filter problems.


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