Thursday, November 30, 2006

November 29-30 posts

Regional intrigue worries Fiji church

November 30th, 2006 posted by kendall at 3:39 pm

Anglican Church Bishop Apimeleki Qiliho yesterday expressed concern over Australia and New Zealand’s involvement in Fiji’s problems.

Bishop Qiliho said the Fiji leaders were quite capable of solving their own problems.

“The least we can expect from Australia and New Zealand is an expression of their confidence in the wisdom, abilities, goodwill of our people,” he said.

He also asked Fiji’s citizens to rally behind its President and Vice-President on the reasoning that “the high offices of the land need moral support at this time”.

Bishop Qiliho expressed dismay with the police search of the Office of the President, which he labelled as an insult.

Read it all.

Common Declaration by Pope Benedict XVI and Patriarch Bartholomew I

November 30th, 2006 posted by kendall at 2:16 pm

“This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!”

(Ps 117:24)

This fraternal encounter which brings us
together, Pope Benedict XVI of Rome and
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, is God’s
work, and in a certain sense his gift. We give
thanks to the Author of all that is good, who
allows us once again, in prayer and in dialogue,
to express the joy we feel as brothers and to
renew our commitment to move towards full
communion. This commitment comes from the
Lord’s will and from our responsibility as
Pastors in the Church of Christ. May our meeting
be a sign and an encouragement to us to share the
same sentiments and the same attitudes of
fraternity, cooperation and communion in charity
and truth. The Holy Spirit will help us to
prepare the great day of the re-establishment of
full unity, whenever and however God wills it.
Then we shall truly be able to rejoice and be glad.

1. We have recalled with thankfulness the
meetings of our venerable predecessors, blessed
by the Lord, who showed the world the urgent need
for unity and traced sure paths for attaining it,
through dialogue, prayer and the daily life of
the Church. Pope Paul VI and Patriarch
Athenagoras I went as pilgrims to Jerusalem, to
the very place where Jesus Christ died and rose
again for the salvation of the world, and they
also met again, here in the Phanar and in Rome.
They left us a common declaration which retains
all its value; it emphasizes that true dialogue
in charity must sustain and inspire all relations
between individuals and between Churches, that it
“must be rooted in a total fidelity to the one
Lord Jesus Christ and in mutual respect for their
own traditions” (Tomos Agapis, 195). Nor have
we forgotten the reciprocal visits of His
Holiness Pope John Paul II and His Holiness
Dimitrios I. It was during the visit of Pope John
Paul II, his first ecumenical visit, that the
creation of the Mixed Commission for theological
dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and
the Orthodox Church was announced. This has
brought together our Churches in the declared aim
of re-establishing full communion.

As far as relations between the Church of Rome
and the Church of Constantinople are concerned,
we cannot fail to recall the solemn ecclesial act
effacing the memory of the ancient anathemas
which for centuries had a negative effect on our
Churches. We have not yet drawn from this act all
the positive consequences which can flow from it
in our progress towards full unity, to which the
mixed Commission is called to make an important
contribution. We exhort our faithful to take an
active part in this process, through prayer and through significant gestures.

2. At the time of the plenary session of the
mixed Commission for theological dialogue, which
was recently held in Belgrade through the
generous hospitality of the Serbian Orthodox
Church, we expressed our profound joy at the
resumption of the theological dialogue. This had
been interrupted for several years because of
various difficulties, but now the Commission was
able to work afresh in a spirit of friendship and
cooperation. In treating the topic
“Conciliarity and Authority in the Church” at
local, regional and universal levels, the
Commission undertook a phase of study on the
ecclesiological and canonical consequences of the
sacramental nature of the Church. This will
permit us to address some of the principal
questions that are still unresolved. We are
committed to offer unceasing support, as in the
past, to the work entrusted to this Commission
and we accompany its members with our prayers.

3. As Pastors, we have first of all reflected on
the mission to proclaim the Gospel in today’s
world. This mission, “Go, make disciples of all
nations” (Mt 28:19), is today more timely and
necessary than ever, even in traditionally
Christian countries. Moreover, we cannot ignore
the increase of secularization, relativism, even
nihilism, especially in the Western world. All
this calls for a renewed and powerful
proclamation of the Gospel, adapted to the
cultures of our time. Our traditions represent
for us a patrimony which must be continually
shared, proposed, and interpreted anew. This is
why we must strengthen our cooperation and our common witness before the world.

4. We have viewed positively the process that has
led to the formation of the European Union. Those
engaged in this great project shouldnot fail to
take into consideration all aspects affecting the
inalienable rights of the human person,
especially religious freedom, a witness and
guarantor of respect for all other freedoms. In
every step towards unification, minorities must
be protected, with their cultural traditions and
the distinguishing features of their religion. In
Europe, while remaining open to other religions
and to their cultural contributions, we must
unite our efforts to preserve Christian roots,
traditions and values, to ensure respect for
history, and thus to contribute to the European
culture of the future and to the quality of human
relations at every level. In this context, how
could we not evoke the very ancient witnesses and
the illustrious Christian heritage of the land in
which our meeting is taking place, beginning with
what the Acts of the Apostles tells us concerning
the figure of Saint Paul, Apostle of the
Gentiles? In this land, the Gospel message and
the ancient cultural tradition met. This link,
which has contributed so much to the Christian
heritage that we share, remains timely and will
bear more fruit in the future for evangelization and for our unity.

5. Our concern extends to those parts of
today’s world where Christians live and to the
difficulties they have to face, particularly
poverty, wars and terrorism, but equally to
various forms of exploitation of the poor, of
migrants, women and children. We are called to
work together to promote respect for the rights
of every human being, created in the image and
likeness of God, and to foster economic, social
and cultural development. Our theological and
ethical traditions can offer a solid basis for a
united approach in preaching and action. Above
all, we wish to affirm that killing innocent
people in God’s name is an offence against him
and against human dignity. We must all commit
ourselves to the renewed service of humanity and
the defence of human life, every human life.

We take profoundly to heart the cause of peace in
the Middle East, where our Lord lived, suffered,
died and rose again, and where a great multitude
of our Christian brethren have lived for
centuries. We fervently hope that peace will be
re-established in that region, that respectful
coexistence will be strengthened between the
different peoples that live there, between the
Churches and between the different religions
found there. To this end, we encourage the
establishment of closer relationships between
Christians, and of an authentic and honest
interreligious dialogue, with a view to combating
every form of violence and discrimination.

6. At present, in the face of the great threats
to the natural environment, we want to express
our concern at the negative consequences for
humanity and for the whole of creation which can
result from economic and technological progress
that does not know its limits. As religious
leaders, we consider it one of our duties to
encourage and to support all efforts made to
protect God’s creation, and to bequeath to
future generations a world in which they will be able to live.

7. Finally, our thoughts turn towards all of you,
the faithful of our two Churches throughout the
world, Bishops, priests, deacons, men and women
religious, lay men and women engaged in ecclesial
service, and all the baptized. In Christ we greet
other Christians, assuring them of our prayers
and our openness to dialogue and cooperation. In
the words of the Apostle of the Gentiles, we
greet all of you: “Grace to you and peace from
God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Cor 1:2).

At the Phanar, 30 November 2006

XVI Bartholomew I

Pro-lifers call on Rick Warren to bar Barack Obama from AIDS summit

November 30th, 2006 posted by kendall at 2:14 pm

Members of Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church in Southern California are hosting a two-day summit on the global AIDS crisis in an effort to “serve the hurting like Jesus did.” But the event is not without critics — among them conservative Christians.

The event, which begins Nov. 30 and concludes on World AIDS Day Dec. 1, will feature Bono, Bill and Melinda Gates, and Barack Obama (D-Ill.), among others. But according to some evangelicals, and Southern Baptists in particular, Warren cannot hope to fight the “evil” of AIDS while “justifying another” evil — abortion. In a Nov. 28 letter, representatives from 18 pro-life groups condemned Warren for inviting Obama, who supports abortion rights.

“In the strongest possible terms, we oppose Rick Warren’s decision to ignore Senator Obama’s clear pro-death stance and invite him to Saddleback Church anyway,” the letter said. “If Senator Obama cannot defend the most helpless citizens in our country, he has nothing to say to the AIDS crisis. You cannot fight one evil while justifying another. The evangelical church can provide no genuine help for those who suffer from AIDS if those involved do not first have their ethic of life firmly rooted in the Word of God.”

The signatures on the letter included Phyllis Schlafly, president of the Eagle Forum, Judie Brown, president of the American Life League, and Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association.

Read it all.

Bishops develop proposal responding to ‘Appeal to the Archbishop of Canterbury’

November 30th, 2006 posted by kendall at 10:53 am


A group of bishops, including Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, has developed a proposal responding to “An Appeal to the Archbishop of Canterbury” addressing what other petitioning bishops and dioceses have termed “alternative primatial oversight” or “alternative primatial relationship.” Full texts of the group’s response and accompanying statement follow here.
A Response to “An Appeal to the Archbishop of Canterbury”

Some bishops and dioceses of the Episcopal Church have requested that the Archbishop of Canterbury provide what they have variously called “alternative primatial oversight” or an “alternative primatial relationship.” In consultation with the Presiding Bishop, the Archbishop of Canterbury proposed that a number of bishops from the Episcopal Church meet to explore a way forward. A first meeting took place in September, and a second meeting in November developed the following proposal that seeks to address the concerns of those parishes and dioceses which for serious theological reasons feel a need for space, and to encourage them to remain within the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.

1. Taking seriously the concerns of the petitioning bishops and dioceses, the Presiding Bishop, in consultation with the Archbishop of Canterbury, will appoint a Primatial Vicar in episcopal orders to serve as the Presiding Bishop’s designated pastor in such dioceses. The Primatial Vicar could preside at consecrations of bishops in these dioceses. The Primatial Vicar could also serve the dioceses involved on any other appropriate matters either at the initiative of the Presiding Bishop or at the request of the petitioning dioceses.

2. The Primatial Vicar would be accountable to the Presiding Bishop and would report to an Advisory Panel that would consist of the designee of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Presiding Bishop’s designee, a bishop of The Episcopal Church selected by the petitioning dioceses, and the President of the House of Deputies (or designee).

3. This arrangement for a Primatial Vicar does not affect the administrative or other canonical duties of the Presiding Bishop except to the degree that the Presiding Bishop may wish to delegate, when appropriate, some of those duties to the Primatial Vicar. The Primatial Vicar and the Advisory Panel shall function in accordance with the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church.

4. Individual congregations who dissent from the decisions of their diocesan leadership are reminded of the availability of Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight and its process of appeal.

5. This arrangement is provisional in nature, in effect for three years, beginning January 1, 2007. During that time, the Presiding Bishop is asked to monitor its efficacy and to consult with the House of Bishops and the Executive Council regarding this arrangement and possible future developments.


A group of bishops, including the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, gathered at the initiative of the Archbishop of Canterbury, has developed a proposal for the appointment of a Primatial Vicar in response to those bishops and dioceses that have requested what they termed “alternative primatial oversight” or an “alternative primatial relationship.”

Those present at the September meeting, in addition to Bishops Griswold and Jefferts Schori, included Bishops Peter James Lee of Virginia, and Bishop John Lipscomb of Southwest Florida, as co-conveners, and Bishops James Stanton of Dallas, Edward Salmon of South Carolina, Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh, Jack Iker of Fort Worth, Dorsey Henderson of Upper South Carolina, Robert O’Neill of Colorado, and Mark Sisk of New York. Bishop Don Wimberly of Texas was invited but did not attend. The Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon, Secretary-General of the Anglican Communion was also present at the September meeting.

The same bishops and Canon Kearon were invited to the November meeting with the exception of Bishop Griswold who had completed his tenure as Presiding Bishop. Bishop Don Johnson of West Tennessee joined the group in November. Bishops Salmon, Stanton, Iker, Duncan and Wimberly did not attend the November meeting. Bishop Lipscomb, who had been involved in the planning of the meeting, was unexpectedly hospitalized at the time of the November meeting, sent his sincere regrets, and was briefed on the meeting at its conclusion.

The proposal provides for the appointment by the Presiding Bishop, in consultation with the Archbishop of Canterbury of a Primatial Vicar as the Presiding Bishop’s designated pastor to bishops and dioceses that have requested such oversight. The Primatial Vicar, in episcopal orders, could preside at consecrations of bishops in those dioceses. The Primatial Vicar, accountable to the Presiding Bishop, would report to an advisory panel that would include the designees of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Presiding Bishop, the President of the House of Deputies, and a bishop of the Episcopal Church selected by the dioceses petitioning for pastoral care by the Primatial Vicar.

The response makes clear that the arrangement does not affect the administrative or other canonical duties of the Presiding Bishop except to the degree that the Presiding Bishop may wish to delegate some of those duties to the Primatial Vicar. The response also specifies that the Primatial Vicar and the Advisory Panel shall function in accordance with the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church.

The response drafted at the New York November 27th meeting is provisional in nature, beginning January 1, 2007 and continuing for three years. The New York group asked the Presiding Bishop to monitor its efficacy, and to consult with the House of Bishops and the Executive Council regarding the arrangement and possible future developments.

The response has been submitted to the Archbishop of Canterbury and to the bishops of the petitioning dioceses.

Bishop Lee of Virginia, co-convenor of the meetings that drafted the response said: “The group was conscious of the need to respond quickly to the needs of parishes and dioceses which felt themselves to be under pressure and sought a proposal which could be put into place without delay. Accordingly, this is a provisional measure that is entirely within the discretion of the Presiding Bishop and requires no canonical change nor any action by the General Convention. It is intended to provide some space for dioceses and congregations that feel they need it while the Anglican Communion sorts out more lasting measures to deal with differences. Those of us who drafted it hope it will be received and used in good faith.”

Lure of Great Wealth Affects Career Choices

November 30th, 2006 posted by kendall at 10:48 am

A decade into the practice of medicine, still striving to become “a well regarded physician-scientist,” Robert H. Glassman concluded that he was not making enough money. So he answered an ad in the New England Journal of Medicine from a business consulting firm hiring doctors.

And today, after moving on to Wall Street as an adviser on medical investments, he is a multimillionaire.

Such routes to great wealth were just opening up to physicians when Dr. Glassman was in school, graduating from Harvard College in 1983 and Harvard Medical School four years later. Hoping to achieve breakthroughs in curing cancer, his specialty, he plunged into research, even dreaming of a Nobel Prize, until Wall Street reordered his life.

Just how far he had come from a doctor’s traditional upper-middle-class expectations struck home at the 20th reunion of his college class. By then he was working for Merrill Lynch and soon would become a managing director of health care investment banking.

“There were doctors at the reunion — very, very smart people,” Dr. Glassman recalled in a recent interview. “They went to the top programs, they remained true to their ethics and really had very pure goals. And then they went to the 20th-year reunion and saw that somebody else who was 10 times less smart was making much more money.”

The opportunity to become abundantly rich is a recent phenomenon not only in medicine, but in a growing number of other professions and occupations. In each case, the great majority still earn fairly uniform six-figure incomes, usually less than $400,000 a year, government data show. But starting in the 1990s, a significant number began to earn much more, creating a two-tier income stratum within such occupations.

The divide has emerged as people like Dr. Glassman, who is 45, latched onto opportunities within their fields that offered significantly higher incomes. Some lawyers and bankers, for example, collect much larger fees than others in their fields for their work on business deals and cases.

Others have moved to different, higher-paying fields — from academia to Wall Street, for example — and a growing number of entrepreneurs have seen windfalls tied largely to expanding financial markets, which draw on capital from around the world. The latter phenomenon has allowed, say, the owner of a small mail-order business to sell his enterprise for tens of millions instead of the hundreds of thousands that such a sale might have brought 15 years ago.

Three decades ago, compensation among occupations differed far less than it does today. That growing difference is diverting people from some critical fields, experts say. The American Bar Foundation, a research group, has found in its surveys, for instance, that fewer law school graduates are going into public-interest law or government jobs and filling all the openings is becoming harder.

Something similar is happening in academia, where newly minted Ph.D.’s migrate from teaching or research to more lucrative fields. Similarly, many business school graduates shun careers as experts in, say, manufacturing or consumer products for much higher pay on Wall Street.

And in medicine, where some specialties now pay far more than others, young doctors often bypass the lower-paying fields. The Medical Group Management Association, for example, says the nation lacks enough doctors in family practice, where the median income last year was $161,000.

“The bigger the prize, the greater the effort that people are making to get it,” said Edward N. Wolff, a New York University economist who studies income and wealth. “That effort is draining people away from more useful work.”

Interesting to read this the day after I preached on the tenth commandment on Sundau in a series on the ten commandments. Read it all.

Archbishop appoints woman to top theological post

November 30th, 2006 posted by kendall at 8:43 am

Congratulations to Esther Mombo.

An Interview with Bishop Robert Duncan

November 30th, 2006 posted by kendall at 6:37 am

You’re the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh and the spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion Network - does that present any pastoral or spiritual conflicts for you?

If I could do what I wanted to do, I’d be a parish priest. But right now I’m doing what I think God wants me to do. … My pastoral heart is for the work in Pittsburgh.

Your own diocese has joined the network - has that created problems for those in your diocese who are not at odds with the Episcopal Church?

Sure. I’ve certainly offered if they want to join another diocese or go under another bishop, they could. In some ways they’ve decided that it’s more fun to stay and fight. … I’ve had two of my 70 congregations gather and sue me in court in Pittsburgh … saying that we’re not fit trustees of what’s been entrusted to us in the diocese. That was settled out of court.

Bishop Howard has sued a church in Jacksonville that quit his diocese but remains on the property where it worships. Is that happening a lot around the country?

It’s happening in some places. In some places there are settlements being made where a diocese and a congregation come to an agreement without recourse to the courts. I’m pressing the national leadership [of the Episcopal Church] for a negotiated settlement in all these cases.

Some overseas Anglican bishops have urged American congregations not to fight over property. Do you advise them to just pick up and go?

No. … Their advice is an exhortation to make sure we don’t make it [property] our god. The question I want to ask is, for a church that hasn’t changed what it believes or where it stands, and whose people have built the buildings, often with no diocesan involvement, why should they turn that property over to somebody who has no interest in it except the claim of a hierarchical church?

Have you been gravitating toward any particular Scripture or prayers during this turbulent time in the church’s history?
Certainly in this time the story of the Exodus in the Book of Exodus has been something I’ve thought about and quoted as we’ve gone through this time. What has astounded me about the Episcopal Church and its majority has been its hardness of heart . … I would have guessed we would have dealt with this in a kind and charitable way, but that’s not what happened. The Lord hardened their hearts - just like he hardened Pharaoh’s heart.”

Read it all.

One in every 32 American Adults in Jails, on Probation or Parole

November 30th, 2006 posted by kendall at 6:25 am

A record 7 million people _ or one in every 32 American adults _ were behind bars, on probation or on parole by the end of last year, according to the Justice Department. Of those, 2.2 million were in prison or jail, an increase of 2.7 percent over the previous year, according to a report released Wednesday.

More than 4.1 million people were on probation and 784,208 were on parole at the end of 2005. Prison releases are increasing, but admissions are increasing more.

Men still far outnumber women in prisons and jails, but the female population is growing faster. Over the past year, the female population in state or federal prison increased 2.6 percent while the number of male inmates rose 1.9 percent. By year’s end, 7 percent of all inmates were women. The gender figures do not include inmates in local jails.

“Today’s figures fail to capture incarceration’s impact on the thousands of children left behind by mothers in prison,” Marc Mauer, the executive director of the Sentencing Project, a Washington-based group supporting criminal justice reform, said in a statement. “Misguided policies that create harsher sentences for nonviolent drug offenses are disproportionately responsible for the increasing rates of women in prisons and jails.”

Read it all.

Dwight Longenecker: In just over one month I will be ordained a Catholic priest. My wife will be in the front row.

November 30th, 2006 posted by kendall at 6:20 am

In just over one month I will be ordained a Catholic priest. My wife will be in the front row. My oldest son will be an altar server. My daughter and younger sons will present my priestly vestments as part of the ordination rite.

Since I was a married Anglican priest when I became a Catholic, the Church allows me to be dispensed from the vow of celibacy. Remember, celibacy is a discipline of the Church and not a doctrine. This exception is processed through a special office set up to deal with each case as it arises.

When a married former Episcopalian or Anglican is given permission to marry, is Rome changing the rule about priestly celibacy? No. These few exceptions prove the rule. Those of us who are given “special treatment” are not pushing for clergy to marry or for the Church to ordain married men. The tradition of priestly celibacy is the norm in the Roman Church, and none of us wishes to campaign for a change to that discipline.

However, the presence of married clergy through this exception (as well as their presence in the various Uniate churches) does raise some interesting questions. They are questions that I ponder as I face a life within the Catholic priesthood while being married with a young family. The questions are practical, theological and spiritual.

Read it all.

Pope’s mass at Ephesus is a picture of a church embattled

November 30th, 2006 posted by kendall at 6:20 am

On the second day of his visit to Turkey, Pope Benedict turned parish priest, celebrating Mass with 250 people beside a house where the Virgin Mary is reputed to have spent her last years. He also honoured the name of an Italian Catholic priest shot dead in February by a Turkish teenager, apparently in an act of revenge during the row over “blasphemous” Danish cartoons.

“Let us sing joyfully,” the Pope told the congregation, one of the smallest in memory for a papal mass, “even when we are tested by difficulties and dangers as we have learnt from the fine witness given by the Reverend Andrea Santoro.” Fr Santoro was shot while praying in his church in Trabzon, a former Greek enclave on the Black Sea coast. His murderer, Oguzhan Aydin, 16, was sentenced to 19 years in prison.

The sense of a church embattled and besieged was strongly present during the ceremony. On Tuesday, the Pope was a head of state and the head of a world religion, chauffered from one stiff state engagement in Ankara, the Turkish capital, to another. Yesterday, he celebrated mass before parishioners who crowded in among the olive trees next to “Mary’s House”. He did not say whether Mary moved here from Jerusalem some time after her son Jesus was crucified AD30 but simply called Ephesus - the ancient Greek name for the area - “a city blessed by the presence of Mary Most Holy”. He focused on theological questions rather than scant historical facts.

Read it all and guess how many of the 70 million in Turkey are Christians before you click.

Bishop Schofield Responds to Bishop Schori’s Letter of November 20th

November 29th, 2006 posted by kendall at 8:04 pm

Diocese of San Joaquin: November 29, 2006

Bishop Schofield Responds to Bishop Schori’s Letter of November 20th.

November 28, 2006

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts-Schori
The Episcopal Church Center
815 Second Ave.
New York, NY 10017

Dear Bishop Schori:

Greetings in the name of our Lord and only Savior Jesus Christ.

I am in receipt of your letter to me and wish to make clear from the outset that I have always remained faithful to my vows as an ordained bishop in the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. At my consecration, I vowed to “guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the Church of God.” I was charged by my chief consecrator to “Feed the flock of Christ committed to [my] charge, guard and defend them in his truth, and be a faithful steward of his holy Word and Sacraments.” I carry out my vow by defending and propagating “the historic Faith and Order” which The Episcopal Church commits to upholding in the preamble of its own Constitution.

In 2003, the General Convention committed itself to a theological path that is irreconcilable with the Anglican faith this Church has received and has torn the fabric of the entire Communion. The Primates repeated calls for repentance have not been heeded. More than half of the Primates and Provinces of the Anglican Communion have declared themselves to be in impaired or broken communion with The Episcopal Church. Beyond our Anglican Communion, relations throughout Christendom have been profoundly strained. With obvious reference to innovations and novelties introduced by The Episcopal Church, last week Pope Benedict XVI publically stated to Archbishop Rowan Williams that recent developments, “especially concerning ordained ministry and certain moral teachings,” have affected not only the internal relations within the Anglican Communion but also relations between the Anglican Communion and the Catholic Church.

The Episcopal Church, as an institution, is walking a path of apostasy and those faithful to God’s Word are forced to make painful choices.

At a diocesan level, the choice is between continuing membership in an unrepentant, apostate institution or following Holy Scripture and the Anglican faith. Whether or not the Diocese of San Joaquin will continue its institutional membership in The Episcopal Church is a choice that will be made by the people and the clergy and not by me. They will express their collective will as provided in the diocesan governing documents which were approved by the General Convention when the diocese was first admitted to membership.

It is important to point out that the vote at the Diocesan Convention in December 2006 is neither final nor irrevocable. Should the Constitutional amendments being proposed pass the “first reading,” then the diocese will simply have positioned itself to make a final decision at a second consecutive Annual Convention in 2007 if that proves God’s call.

Under our diocesan constitution, the second and final reading is automatically scheduled for October 2007. The setting of the exact date may be advanced or delayed by the bishop. There are some significant factors that would influence such a decision.

First, at the meeting with the leading Primates of the Global South in Virginia, November 15-17 this year, the Global South Primates Steering Committee encouraged us by supporting our faithful stand and commitment to Christ, and they expressed a desire to be of help to us to relieve our untenable position. They have promised assistance, the form of which they will bring to the entire Primates meeting scheduled for Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, in February 2007. In the meantime, in keeping with the goals of the Windsor Report and positioning ourselves to accept the Primates’ help, we are responding to the Primates who called upon us to remain flexible until the details are worked out.

An additional consideration was your letter to me. I believe you have shown wisdom and restraint by not issuing an ultimatum. Instead, you have invited further discussion which could possibly lead to some degree of reconciliation. In recognition of what you have proposed, I, too, will exercise restraint by not advancing the date of what could be an historic and final act. However, should proceedings be instituted against me as threatened in your letter, I would not feel obliged to exercise restraint. My prayer is that neither of us takes action which upsets the delicate balance which now exists until the Primates have given us direction at their February 2007 meeting. Until then, powerful forces will be at work that will ultimately shape the future.

I pray that God’s will be revealed to us all.

You may be assured of my prayers for the Holy Spirit’s wisdom and guidance.

In Christ,

The Rt. Rev. John-David M. Schofield, SSC
Bishop of San Joaquin


On a Personal Note

November 29th, 2006 posted by kendall at 7:58 pm

I have been getting a lot of emails lately which have a similar theme: you have been quiet lately, are you all right?

I appreciate the concern. Tomorrow I am journeying back to New York for the third time in the last five weeks to see my Mom and Dad, since my Mom continues to battle ovarian cancer, radiation treatments, chemotherapy, and other challenges–like the visits of her two sons. Also, since August I have been on a very serious supervised diet. Between these two things and the upcoming diocesan transition from one bishop to another there is just a little going on! So please continue to pray for me. Thanks–KSH.

South African Lesbians wait for wedding bells to chime

November 29th, 2006 posted by kendall at 7:37 pm

South African lesbians Franci Schoeman and Bianca Berrios got “married” two years ago but are now primed for the real thing as same-sex unions become legal for the first time on the continent.

The Anglican pastor who risked earning the church’s wrath by solemnising their union in a ceremony not recognised by law said he would be happy to perform the rites all over again.

“It is something I did and would do again. I believe they love each other and should be taken seriously,” he said, speaking to the media on condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile, Schoeman and Berrios are readying for a “bigger and better bachelors’ party” than the first time around before exchanging their I dos.

Parliament’s decision this month to approve same-sex marriages, which must come into force by December 1, was the latest step in the government’s bid to banish discrimination in all its forms after the downfall of apartheid in 1994.

The overwhelming vote for the Bill was guaranteed by the unanimous support of the ruling African National Congress, but the measure remains vehemently denounced by smaller conservative parties.

Read it all.

Doug LeBlanc: You do have to go through Lambeth to remain Anglican

November 29th, 2006 posted by kendall at 7:35 pm

Some of my fellow conservatives talk about Archbishop Williams as if one more meeting, usually of the primates, will force him to cast his lot either with the Global South or with the Episcopal Church. Some conservatives talk, with what seems to be utter seriousness, about their vision for an Anglicanism that does not depend on being in communion with the archbishop of Canterbury.

I can think of only one thing to call this: crazy talk. Churches do, of course, declare themselves Anglican and in the same breath declare their independence from the archbishop of Canterbury. As the editors of Anglicans Online have pointed out, there is no copyright on the word Anglican.

But honest Anglicans who are serious about catholic order will recognize that a Canterbury-free Anglicanism carries the same ecclesial credibility as the late Marcel Lefebvre’s decades-long insistence that he, not the bishop of Rome, represented true Catholicism. How many legions has the pope? Quite enough to make Lefebvrites look like buffoonish upstarts.

As Episcopalians’ arguments with one another grow more pointed and angry, I sense a fairly widespread denial that Archbishop Williams intends to oversee an Anglican Communion that still includes the Episcopal Church, the Church of Nigeria, the Anglican Church of Canada, the Church of Uganda — you get the picture. Both sides will continue wishing that he would slap the other side upside the head. Both sides will keep wishing that one radical action too many will bring sudden clarity to a debate that only grows messier with each passing month.

I have a feeling that Archbishop Williams will remain the coolest head of the Anglican Communion in the months and years ahead. With the other three Instruments of Unity (the Anglican Consultative Council, the Primates Meeting and the Lambeth Conference), he will affirm the mind of the communion and work to keep its body from blowing itself into a thousand pieces. He will continue to befuddle his critics. The archbishop will abide.

Read it all.

No room in the plaza for `Nativity Story’

November 29th, 2006 posted by kendall at 7:31 pm

A Nativity display has a spot at this year’s holiday celebrations in Daley Plaza. So does an Islamic crescent and a Jewish menorah.

But clips from a film celebrating the birth of baby Jesus are too much for the Christkindlmarket, a Christmas festival held at the plaza for more than 10 years.

Stung by criticism that the film’s maker was dropped as a sponsor to ensure the event appealed to all faiths, city officials said Tuesday they objected to “The Nativity Story” because it was too commercial.

“This particular incident is about a movie studio aggressively marketing a movie and trying to sell tickets to that movie,” said Veronica Resa, spokeswoman for the Mayor’s Office of Special Events.

Still, that explanation has failed to appease critics, who were swift to spread the word about a new aggressor in what some see as the annual “war on Christmas.” The controversy highlights the difficulty Americans have as Dec. 25 approaches in reconciling the distinction between secular and religious celebrations of Christmas.

“It is politically correct nonsense gone amok,” said Jan LaRue, chief counsel for Concerned Women for America. “It’s another symptom of narrow-minded city officials and businesses who want to cash in on Christmas without acknowledging Jesus.”

The dispute flared when the German American Chamber of Commerce, which organizes the yearly festival, asked the city for guidance regarding New Line Cinema’s sponsorship.

Jim Law, the city’s executive director of special events, said Monday that showing scenes from the film would be “insensitive to the many people of different faiths” who attend the festival. Officials amended their position Tuesday, citing guidelines “to refuse or reduce any blatant commercial message.”

City officials said their original advice was blown out of proportion. A spokesman for the chamber referred all calls to the city.

Read it all.


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