Wed. Sept 20th -- All Posts
But [Mark] Lawrence’s consent may prove difficult. “Already there are indications it will be rough,” [Kendall] Harmon said, “because of the deep fracture in our church and the fact that South Carolina is clearly seen on one side.”
The Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina is among seven diocese nationwide that voted to reject the authority of the national church’s presiding bishop, Katherine Jefferts Schori. She was elected in June as the first female presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, the U.S. arm of the Anglican Communion. The communion has about 70 million members worldwide; about 2.3 million Episcopalians live in the U.S.
Three years ago, Episcopalians stunned the communion by consecrating the first openly gay bishop - V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.
In their statement rejecting Jefferts Schori, leaders of the Diocese of South Carolina wrote, “the election of a new Presiding Bishop who supported (Robinson’s) consecration, and who has advocated and permitted same-sex blessings in her diocese is another painful complication.”
The other six diocese requesting alternative leadership include the Diocese of San Joaquin in eastern California, where Lawrence is a member.
Harmon called the request a “temporary stopgap measure.”
“We will find a way to sort this out as Anglicans, so we have a common future. But whenever you’re in a badly broken relationship, the first thing you need is space,” he said. “If they take away the space of a diocese of being able to choose its own leader, they send a signal that the Episcopal Church intends to move totally contrary to the Anglican Communion.”
Salmon, who was elected bishop in 1989 and consecrated in February 1990, will remain as the diocese’s acting bishop until sometime in 2007 “to assure a smooth transition,” Harmon said.
From this we can see how inadequate it is in any actual disagreement to exclaim, “But this issue is not such a very great matter, after all!” There are, indeed, smaller and larger differences; but - and the point is crucial - their size is not determined by the matter of the difference as such, but by the relation in which it stands to wider agreements and disagreements. The point at issue - whether homosexuality, or something else - is never the whole of what is at issue. Nobody has to make a decision about that and that alone. The question is always, what does it mean for us to approve or disapprove of this in our context? What relations are present to us in and through it? How do the various refractions of the demand of love within the moral law come together to form an understanding of the situation in which we stand? So what looks “small” at first glance can become the subject of the day, the focus of everyone’s attention, the test of where every person stands, the divide between old friendships and new ones. From outside the historical context it may be hard to understand why; but it is part and parcel of learning to understand history that we should recognise how one issue acts as a conduit for others. The struggle in the fourth century can appear to be about an iota, but it seemed to those engaged in it to be a struggle over false gods. If we cannot see how that was so, it does not mean that it was not so, but simply that we have not entered into the intellectual dynamics of the time and seen how the largest of alternatives was shaping up for the church. Large alternatives always present themselves in petty choices.
And it is no different with our own age. Understanding the times we live in can be especially difficult. Our initial familiarity with them may be a positive hindrance; it is hard to gain perspective. We must first of all, therefore, take seriously the fact that homosexuality has become a dividing issue among us. There is no point in expressing scornful wonder. It is part of the shape of the history we have been given to live through - no more rational and no more irrational than any other history. We must cope with the history we have been thrown into, and reach such understanding of it as we can. To do so, we must ask what great issues this apparently “little” issue mediates, how what is fought over can have become the question of “strange gods”. But once we press forward resolutely along that path, we may begin to untangle the knot of associations, identify the strange gods, flush them out of their cultural hiding places and leave the question of homosexuality disenchanted of them, ready to be seen precisely for what it is and not as the bearer of some wider cultural decision. That cheerful rationalist Joseph Butler thought that “every thing is what it is and not some other thing”. It would be truer to say that everything is something other than what it is, everything is charged with borrowed significations, alien references to things contiguous. A patient work of interpretation is needed. To try to handle the question peremptorily is to deny what it is we face, which is the culturally shaping force of systems of reference. And to deny that is to refuse the ancient challenge, “Know thyself!”
The Rt. Rev. Kenneth L. Price, Jr., Bishop Suffragan of Southern Ohio, has been nominated by petition for the Nov. 11 election of a diocesan bishop.
The addition of Bishop Price, who has been serving as the ecclesiastical authority in Southern Ohio since the Dec. 31, 2005, retirement of the late Rt. Rev. Herbert Thompson, Jr., brings the final list of nominees for the election to seven.
In July, the standing committee released a slate of five nominees, who joined the Rev. Canon George Hill, rector of St. Barnabas’, Montgomery Hill, Ohio, who was nominated by petition in 2005.
It’s hard to picture, if you know him only by his scientific reputation, but E.O. Wilson confesses it freely: He loves watching preachers on television.
Wilson is an internationally renowned biologist who has based his extraordinarily productive five-decade career at that great bastion of secular humanism, Harvard University. At 77, his work and his worldview are so thoroughly entwined with Darwinian theory that they’re impossible to imagine without it. His reverence is for the wondrous creatures and intricate interconnections of the natural world, not for any supreme being.
So what’s he doing tuning in those evangelical sermons from the megachurches?
“I listen to them the way an Italian listens to opera,” Wilson confesses with a lopsided grin. “I may be thinking of the texts as fiction, but I can’t resist the old-time rhythm, the music and the superlative performances.”
These rhythmic exhortations are the stuff of Wilson’s childhood. He may have put aside the Southern Baptist faith into which he was born — and, as a teenager, born again — but he has retained his emotional ties to the culture surrounding it. All of which helps explain the herculean task he recently assigned himself:
He’s trying to bridge the gap between science and religion in the hope of saving life on Earth.
The vehicle is his new book, “The Creation.” Wilson chose the title because he knew it would resonate with evangelical Christians, a community so vast and influential that without its support, he believes, reaching the goal will be next to impossible. And he chose to present his argument in the form of a letter to a fictional Southern Baptist minister.
If you called it a sermon, he wouldn’t object.
“Pastor, we need your help,” Wilson writes. “The Creation — living Nature — is in deep trouble.” At the present rate of destructive human activity, “half the species of plants and animals on Earth could be either gone or at least fated for early extinction by the end of the century.”
The Rev. David Harnish, pastor of All Saints, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Three parishioners of All Saints, contacted on Tuesday, also declined comment.
Eugene Van Voorhis, the lead attorney for All Saints Church, said Tuesday that he could not comment about the ruling at this time.
Syracuse lawyer Raymond Dague, a consultant to Voorhis and All Saints, said the ruling could be appealed.
“This is obviously a serious setback for the parish,” added Dague.
“But an appeal is one option and there are various other things in connection with an appeal which may be done, but it’s too soon for us to really say at this point where things are going to go.”
Lumbard said that to her knowledge, no date had been set for the transfer of the church’s records.
When the records are handed over, however, they will be kept in the diocesan archives, she said.
Lumbard did not have any information on how the church property would be used by the diocese.
The Rev. Ed Bacon is facing one of the biggest dilemmas of his ecclesiastical career: Should he turn over voluminous parish records demanded by the Internal Revenue Service, or resist and risk losing tax-exempt status for his church?
These equally tough prospects explain why Bacon spent all day Tuesday huddled in his wood-paneled office in the neo-Gothic All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena with attorneys and congregants, and in prayer.
The IRS is investigating whether the church engaged in improper campaigning before the 2004 presidential election — a violation of federal tax law.
Leaning back in his chair and looking pensive but relaxed during a break in his tight schedule, Bacon said, “We’re not out to stick it to the feds. The issue here is for there to be communities of faith in this country who are not timid to express their point of view. And to elevate public discourse and interrupt moral bankruptcy.”
To understand how the tall, energetic 58-year-old former Baptist from the Deep South came to lead a liberal Episcopal church into a showdown with the IRS, it helps to know that he sees himself as something of a prophet along the lines of Isaiah and Jeremiah, in frequent communication with God.
When God speaks, Bacon said, “I listen closely, and take notes.”
Bacon is well known for championing liberal causes — denouncing the war in Iraq, defending gay rights, supporting a growing role for women in the church. He’s also regarded by many as a skilled administrator. He is not shy about standing in the spotlight, and when he delivered a passionate sermon Sunday outlining the church’s predicament, TV cameras were rolling when he received a one-minute standing ovation.
Donald Miller, director of the School of Religion at USC, said Bacon has that “rare ability to be both pastor and prophet…. My own feeling is that the IRS could have chosen a weaker target.”
In a class on Islamic history at the Hartford Seminary some years back, the students were discussing a saying ascribed to the Prophet Muhammad that translates roughly as, “Whenever God wants the destruction of a people, he makes a woman their leader.”
The professor, Ingrid Mattson, suggested that the phrase should be analyzed in its historical context when Islamic societies consisted largely of tribal raiding parties. A male Saudi student contended that all such sayings were sacred and not to be challenged, the argument growing so heated that he stormed out of the classroom. Professor Mattson stood her ground, as was her style.
Now she is challenging convention again. This month, Professor Mattson, a 43-year-old convert, was elected president of the Islamic Society of North America, the largest umbrella organization for Muslim groups in the United States and Canada, making her a prominent voice for a faith ever more under assault by critics who paint it as the main font of terrorism. She is both the first woman and, as a Canadian, the first nonimmigrant to hold the post.
To her supporters, Professor Mattson’s selection comes as a significant breakthrough, a chance for North American Muslims to show that they are a diverse, enlightened community with real roots here — and not alien, sexist extremists bent on the destruction of Western civilization. Some naysayers grumble that a woman should not head any Muslim organization because the faith bars women from leading men in congregational prayers, but they are a distinct minority.
“The more Americans see Muslims who speak English with a North American accent, Muslims who were born and raised here, who understand this culture, the more it will cease to be a foreign phenomenon but something local and indigenous,” said Mahan Mirza, a Yale doctoral candidate in Islamic studies who recalled the classroom scene above from the master’s program at the Hartford Seminary in Connecticut.
A conference of Anglican prelates, which opened on Wednesday in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, is due to deliberate ways of overcoming poverty in the South, Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria said.
“In the past we went to the North, cup in hand, asking for donations to enable us to do our work; this can’t continue,” said Akinola, who is chairman of the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa representing some 37 million believers.
Twenty-five archbishops from North, South and Central America, Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East are attending the conference, which runs until 22 September.
The archbishops are part of a conservative network known as Global South, which brings together churches opposed to changes in the doctrines of the Anglican church.
The conference’s theme of “Seeking ways to make poverty history” is expected to identify new ways for the poor to generate income without relying on aid from wealthy nations.
With joy and enthusiasm the Episcopate Committee of the Diocese of Tennessee presents the following persons as nominees for election as our 11th Bishop: The Rev. John L Bauerschmidt from The Diocese of Louisiana; The Rev. James L. Burns from The Diocese of New York; The Rev. Thack H. Dyson from The Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast; The Rev. Dr. Russell Jones Levenson, Jr. from The Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast; and The Rev. Carter N. Paden from The Diocese of East Tennessee.
Biography’s, Resumes and Responses to the Questions are available on our web page at www.tnbishopsearch.org . Hard copies of all these materials are being mailed to all clergy and all delegates. Please share this material with your alternate delegates and your parishes.
The Episcopate Committee arrived at this slate by consensus. All the nominees are rooted in the faith that enables their ministry, and all are committed to building bridges to those who do not share their views. Furthermore, they offer the promise of bringing energy and a passion for ministry into the Diocese. For these reasons the Episcopate Committee completes its work with hope and anticipation.
The nominees will meet delegates and others in a series of forums to be held October 18-21 in Sewanee, Murfreesboro (clergy forum), and Nashville. More information surrounding the Presentations can be found at www.tnbishopsearch.org.
The process for Nominating by Petition can also be found on the web site, www.tnbishopsearch.org .
The Electing Convention will take place at Christ Church Cathedral on Saturday October 28, 2006.
Please continue to pray for the Church, our Diocese, and now these nominees, as we look forward to electing a new Bishop of Tennessee.
Sincerely in Christ,
The Rev. Anne Stevenson, co-Chair
Dr. David L. Rowe, co- Chair
The Rev. Patrick Allen
The Rev. Vicki Burgess
Mr. Henry Carpenter
Ms. Sally Chambers
The Rev. Chris Findley
The Rev. Dorothy Hartzog
Mrs. Edwina Hefner
The Rev. Bill Hethcock
Mrs. Judy Hines
The Rev. William Midgett
Ms. Annette Pilcher
The Rev Jim Rogers
The Rev. Lee Spruill
Mr. Jim Stranch
Ms. Johniene Thomas
The Episcopate Committee
P.O. Box 693
Brentwood TN 37024
Update: For those wondering about NT Wright, he is arriving at Camp Allen today.
We agree with Canon Cameron. We would be greatly interested to learn if the facts were otherwise. If an individual in a polygamous relationship has been ordained or elevated to the episcopate, the Communion needs to know this. Just as importantly, if someone has this knowledge and has failed to denounce it but instead kept it as fodder for backroom snickering and racist baiting, then the Communion has a lot more problems it needs to address. Lambeth 2008 may need to consider instituting a re-certification for our clergy.
This charge of polygamous bishops has been floating around the revisionist Episcopal community for years, yet no evidence for it has ever been offered. We call upon the Reverend Daniel Webster either to come forward with evidence for his allegations or immediately retract the charge and issue an apology. If Mr. Webster won’t comply, then it is incumbent upon the editors and staff of The Witness to provide the proof or a retraction and apology.
As to the many others who have made this accusation, we ask the same question. Simply stated — on what evidence did you base your accusation? For without evidence to support your allegation, you are trafficking in cheap gossip - plain and simple. Strange, but the last time we looked, there wasn’t much difference between lying and polygamy. Both require repentance.
“Number three, because this is something we hear from the West, some feel because the 1988 Lambeth Conference accepted polygamy as a way of life, why would the Africans not accept homosexuality as a way of life? As I said earlier on, we do not hate homosexuals who remain – who have the tendency to be homosexual – we love them, but we hate the sin. But you cannot equate homosexuality with polygamy. In our church – I’m now talking specifically of the Anglican Church in Nigeria – polygamists are not hated. Polygamists are members of the church, but no polygamist is given any leadership role in the church, not even a Bible study leader in a given church. He knows he’s broken the rules, he comes to church, he worships, but he cannot be a leader. Talk more of offering himself to be an evangelist or a priest or a bishop, it is – they don’t even think about it.
And in my part of the church, the Anglican Church – which is the northern part – polygamists are denied Holy Communion. Once you take a second wife, you no longer have access to the sacraments; that’s what is happening in our church. So to equate polygamy with homosexuality, we find it really offensive, because it means our brothers and sisters in the other parts of the Anglican world do not understand the position of the church. I think I’ll stop here and save my time.”
Bishop-elect Lawrence’s responses are troubling. He appears to say (I will stand corrected if the double negative of question 19 confused him) that the church should divide over the issue of the rightness or wrongness of homosexual conduct. This in itself would appear to be countenancing schism, the technical name for division in the church. The bishop-elect is “unsure” as to whether he would remain in orders if his diocese does not separate from the Episcopal Church — and such insecurity is incompatible with an Oath. Finally, he intends not to remain with the Episcopal Church if South Carolina separates from it. That is, at least, how his answers appear. He surely deserves an opportunity to correct any misapprehensions, or wrong conclusions one might draw from a survey such as the one to which he responded.
Whether these survey responses by bishop-elect Lawrence constitute an impediment — and if he stands by them — thus remains to be seen — and needs to be seen — and will have to be judged by those preparing to give — or withhold — consent. Surely his statements are troubling on the surface. But I served on a committee with him at this last General Convention, and he seemed to me to be a man of high principle and conscience. I would pray that he would carefully examine his conscience and his principles in this present instant, and if there is any defect in his intent, mend it, or otherwise not place himself in the perilous position of taking an Oath he may not be prepared to maintain.
(AP) PINEDALE, Wyo. - Thanks to natural gas, Wyoming’s schools have money to burn. In the little Pinedale district way out in sagebrush country, for example, every fifth-grader has a new laptop. Many lessons are shown on oversized computer screens instead of chalkboards. And there are plans for a $17.2 million aquatic center, with a three-story climbing wall, two racquetball courts and a competition-size pool.
Wayne Kempe never has to wonder how much he will give to St. Paul’s Church, Tustin, Calif., where he serves as director of administration and communication. Because he is an employee of St. Paul’s, Mr. Kempe’s donation comes straight out of his paycheck, just like the funds withheld for his taxes. Other members of St. Paul’s have their donations withdrawn periodically from their checking accounts rather than writing checks.
“It works very smoothly for those who have chosen to use it,” says Mr. Kempe, speaking of the 10 households at St. Paul’s that have chosen to support the church through electronic funds transfer (EFT). “We like it as a church because it means those pledges will never fall behind.” He expects that more members of St. Paul’s will sign on when the parish promotes the service during its annual stewardship campaign.
EFTs are a small but growing phenomenon in The Episcopal Church. They involve regularly scheduled withdrawals — weekly, fortnightly, monthly, even yearly — on credit cards or directly from bank accounts. Some churches work out EFT arrangements directly with a local bank, or keep a credit-card machine in the parish office. When parishioners use credit cards, which can cost the church up to 3 percent of a transaction’s amount, they can build benefits such as frequent-flier miles.
THE former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey of Clifton has issued his own challenge to “violent” Islam in a lecture in which he defends the Pope’s “extraordinarily effective and lucid” speech.
Lord Carey said that Muslims must address “with great urgency” their religion’s association with violence. He made it clear that he believed the “clash of civilisations” endangering the world was not between Islamist extremists and the West, but with Islam as a whole.
“We are living in dangerous and potentially cataclysmic times,” he said. “There will be no significant material and economic progress [in Muslim communities] until the Muslim mind is allowed to challenge the status quo of Muslim conventions and even their most cherished shibboleths.”
Lord Carey’s address came as the man who shot and wounded the last Pope wrote to Pope Benedict XVI to warn him that he was in danger. Mehmet Ali Agca, the Turkish gunman who tried to murder John Paul II in 1981 and is now in prison in Turkey, urged the Pope not to visit the country in November.
“I write as one who knows about these matters very well,” Agca said. “Your life is in danger. Don’t come to Turkey — absolutely not!”