Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Several Wed. a.m. posts

Why is laughter infectious?

December 13th, 2006 posted by kendall at 12:04 pm

Scientists at a London University claim they have discovered the answer (audio).

Naomi Kritzer: On Giving to the Poor

December 13th, 2006 posted by kendall at 11:58 am

“The unbreakable bond between love of God and love of neighbor is emphasized,” Pope Benedict writes near the beginning of Deus caritas est. “One is so closely connected to the other that to say that we love God becomes a lie if we are closed to our neighbor or hate him altogether. St. John’s words should rather be interpreted to mean that love of neighbor is a path that leads to the encounter with God, and that closing our eyes to our neighbor also blinds us to God.”

As I have repeatedly approached Catholicism and then backed away again, part of my struggle has been to reconcile Jewish and Catholic approaches to certain issues. Judaism offers a tremendously useful and results-oriented approach to organized charity. Judaism created the idea of a tithe as a guideline for how much to donate to charity, and has a strong focus on protecting the dignity of those who are helped. I like the idea that tzedakah is not a favor to the person that we are helping, but justice-because no one should go hungry, no one should go without medical care, and no one should be homeless.

Yet when faced with a human being who needs something, I find that the Christian approach is tremendously inspiring. By feeding a hungry person, I feed Christ; when a hungry person asks me for help, Christ has sought me out. I am offered a gift: the opportunity to see this encounter as a moment in the presence of God. My gift may have the potential to transform someone’s life, but even if she squanders it, my gift has the potential to transform my life. If I give with a heart that sees.

Read it all.

Holy See Says the Holocaust Is a “Warning”

December 13th, 2006 posted by kendall at 11:36 am

The Holy See considers the Holocaust of the Jews during World War II as an “immense tragedy” which must be a “warning” to consciences.

So says a press statement issued today by the Vatican press office, a day after the opening in Tehran, Iran, of a conference that questioned the Holocaust.

The forum was organized under the sponsorship of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who in a televised speech last December labeled the Jewish Holocaust a “myth.”

Today’s press statement ratifies the Holy See’s position, expressed on March 16, 1998, with the document of the Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, entitled “We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah.”

Read the whole thing.

Ethics Committee Blasts House Leadership for Handling of Foley Affair

December 13th, 2006 posted by kendall at 11:34 am

bipartisan House ethics committee report last week harshly criticized outgoing Speaker Dennis Hastert and other Republican leaders for negligence in investigating reports of inappropriate computer messages from former Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla., to former congressional pages.

But the committee said it found no evidence that anyone broke House ethics rules and recommended no further investigation or punishment of any of Foley’s enablers.

A Baptist ethicist said the report didn’t go far enough.

“Criticism without corrective action is shallow critique for public consumption,” said Robert Parham, executive director of the Baptist Center for Ethics. “Foley’s outrageous behavior and the outrageous negligence of the House leadership necessitate more than a report hiding behind House rules unable to assign responsibility.”

The report by the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, released Friday, described a “disconcerting unwillingness” by House leaders to take responsibility for investigating Foley’s conduct.

It found a “significant number” of instances where leaders “failed to exercise appropriate diligence and oversight, or should have exercised greater diligence and oversight,” regarding interactions between Foley and current or former House pages.

“Rather than addressing the issues fully, some witnesses did far too little, while attempting to pass the responsibility for acting to others,” the report said. “Some relied on unreasonably fine distinctions regarding their defined responsibilities. Almost no one followed up adequately on the limited actions they did take.”

While the committee did not determine the motive for inaction, it noted that factors in play might have been concerns that pursuing the issue too aggressively would have revealed Foley’s closeted homosexuality, which “could have adversely affected him both personally and politically.”

“There is some evidence that political considerations played a role in decisions that were made by persons in both parties,” the report said.

Read it all.

Senator John Mccain: Illegal images must be reported

December 13th, 2006 posted by kendall at 11:31 am

Millions of commercial Web sites and personal blogs would be required to report illegal images or videos posted by their users or pay fines of up to $300,000, if a new proposal in the U.S. Senate came into law.

The legislation, drafted by Sen. John McCain and obtained by CNET, would also require Web sites that offer user profiles to delete pages posted by sex offenders.

In a speech on the Senate floor Wednesday, the Arizona Republican and former presidential candidate warned that “technology has contributed to the greater distribution and availability, and, some believe, desire for child pornography.” McCain scored 31 of 100 points on a 2006 election guide scoring technology-related votes.

After child pornography or some forms of “obscenity” are found and reported, the Web site must retain any “information relating to the facts or circumstances” of the incident for at least six months. Webmasters would be immune from civil and criminal liability if they followed the specified procedures exactly.

McCain’s proposal, called the “Stop the Online Exploitation of Our Children Act” (click for PDF), requires that reports be submitted to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which in turn will forward them to the relevant police agency. (The organization received $32.6 million in tax dollars in 2005, according to its financial disclosure documents.)

Internet service providers already must follow those reporting requirements. But McCain’s proposal is liable to be controversial because it levies the same regulatory scheme–and even stiffer penalties–on even individual bloggers who offer discussion areas on their Web sites.

Read it all.

New York Times Letters on Church, State and the Prisoners

December 13th, 2006 posted by kendall at 9:06 am

Here is one:

““Religion for Captive Audiences, With Taxpayers Footing the Bill” (“In God’s Name” series, front page, Dec. 10) reports that prisons are offering benefits to those who undergo intensive religious education.

This blatant and offensive display of religious proliferation deserves intense scrutiny not only by the judicial system but also by any American who believes that all people have the right to equal benefits, regardless of religious beliefs.

Religious affiliation is no basis for increased government-financed benefits. Ben Wiessmann

Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y.”

Read them all.

Posted in Religion & Culture, Church/State

Holocaust Survivors gather to condemn Iran meeting

December 13th, 2006 posted by kendall at 9:02 am

Vernon Rusheen saw fellow Jews marched into the Auschwitz gas chambers. He watched the crematorium flames climb high into the night sky. And he lost 120 family members in a nightmare he knows was all too real.

“Those who deny the Holocaust, I ask them: Find me those who vanished,” No. 104502, now 82 and living in Woodland Hills, demanded during a survivors’ conference Monday.

The event at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in West L.A. was called to denounce a gathering in Iran, where 70 Holocaust deniers from 30 countries began a two-day conference to discuss theories to disprove six million Jews were systematically killed during World War II.

That conference is sponsored by the Iranian government, whose president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has called the Holocaust as a myth and has said peace in the Middle East begins with the obliteration of Israel.

“He is not any better than Hitler,” Rusheen said, echoing a statement made by Israeli Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu in Los Angeles last month.

Read it all.

Bethlehem welcomes Church Leaders’ visit

December 13th, 2006 posted by kendall at 9:00 am


The Catholic and Anglican bishops of Jerusalem have welcomed the announcement by UK church leaders of their pilgrimage to Bethlehem.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Westminster Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, the Moderator of the Free Churches the Revd David Coffey, and the Primate of the Armenian Church of Great Britain Bishop Nathan Hovhannisian are to undertake a four-day visit to the Holy Land from the 20th-23rd December. The focal point of their visit will be a pilgrimage to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

Speaking on behalf of all the Christian Churches of Jerusalem, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Michel Sabbah, said:

“The Patriarchs and Heads of Christian Churches in Jerusalem look forward to welcoming to Bethlehem and Jerusalem this Christmas, the ecumenical delegation of our brother bishops and archbishops of England. At a time when our communities in these two Holy cities are separated by a wall and checkpoints the visit of the churches’ ecumenical delegation is a reminder to us, to the Israelis and the Palestinians, and to the world, that the pilgrims’ path of hope and love must remain open.”

The Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem Rt. Rev. Riah H. Abu El-Assal, says, “This historical and ecumenical pilgrimage to Bethlehem and Jerusalem demonstrates that the bonds of faith are stronger than any divisions between our churches. To Christians on the ground, it renews the hope that they are not forgotten, despite their current imprisonment behind walls and fences. This Christmas, we will pray alongside the distinguished pilgrims from Britain in the certainty that there is always hope in this world.”

The visit has also been welcomed by Open Bethlehem, which campaigns to keep the city open to the world at a time when the Israeli wall and land annexations are causing hardship for its inhabitants.

Open Bethlehem’s chief executive, Leila Sansour, said:

“We pray that this pilgrimage will help focus world attention on the challenges faced by our communities on the ground and that it will inspire Christians as well as people of other faiths to take an active role in safeguarding a two-thousand year old tradition that is shared by millions in the world. We hope that this visit heralds the rebirth of pilgrimage to Bethlehem, a city that has survived because it has been open to the world.”

“The need to open Bethlehem to the world has never been more important. Bethlehem is witnessing serious waves of emigration due to the economic harshsip imposed by the system of closure and the practices of Israeli occupation. The emigration is particularly pronounced among the Christian community. Our failure to act now will have a devastating effect on the cause of open democracy in the Middle East and on Christianity world-wide. We want to remind the world that all of us are citizens of Bethlehem. In the New Year, we urge everyone to follow in the footsteps of these distinguished pilgrims and take up their citizenship by visiting our town.”

Posted in ANGLICAN, Roman Catholic, Middle East | Edit | No Comments

Trying to Understand Some of What is Involved in Teen Suicide

December 13th, 2006 posted by kendall at 8:57 am

Read it all.

Louisiana Church members react to pastor’s retirement

December 13th, 2006 posted by kendall at 8:55 am

Members are having a hard time envisioning Church of the Holy Cross, Episcopal, without the Rev. Kenneth Paul.

He has been the rector of the church and an active member of the community since May 1968. Monday night during a church vestry meeting, he announced his decision to retire at Easter.

“It wasn’t a surprise because we knew he was at the retirement age,” Senior Warden Lynn Walford said. “But it was something none of us are happy about because he has been an institution for many years.”

The Episcopal church has a mandatory retirement age for priests of 72. Paul will reach that birthday in March.

He plans to rest and travel and find a routine with his wife, Ginger.

Originally from Alexandria, Paul was ordained as a Methodist minister in 1959 at First United Methodist Church in Shreveport. While studying at Oxford University in England, he learned more about the Episcopal church.

“While there I began to think, if I’m going to continue in the ministry, where do I best fit?” he said. “I best fit and have fit well in the Episcopal church.”

In 1964 he converted and was ordained a priest in 1966.

He admits that his theology has always been on the liberal end. He supported the ordination of women in the 1970s, and over the last several years he has supported openly gay clergy.

While it may have irritated some members of the community, Paul hasn’t been concerned about it.

“I never did have a notion that a clergyperson could be very satisfactory in pleasing people,” he said. “What we are called to is not correct understanding but to faithfulness.”

Read it all.

December 13: Status Update

As of 8:15 Eastern this morning The Titusonenine main blog is fully functioning, comments and all.

We apologize for the problems. We will continue to post all new entries from the main blog here throughout the day as a precaution.

Megachurches Migrating to Charles County

December 12th, 2006 posted by kendall at 10:53 pm

The Rev. Rodney J. Blackmon has a vision. He wants to build a megachurch along a rural road in Charles County.

He sees computer labs, playgrounds and athletic facilities. There would be classrooms to train entrepreneurs to become millionaires. The sanctuary would seat 2,500 people, and the chapel would hold 800 more.

Blackmon’s vision is altogether new in the exurbs of Southern Maryland, where sprawling subdivisions have replaced tobacco farms. His church in Charles has ballooned from 35 congregants when he took it over six years ago to nearly 500 today.

“When I first got here, you didn’t hear too much about African American churches,” said Blackmon, who runs Christian Unity Baptist Church in Waldorf. “Ever since then, churches have been popping up everywhere, and they’ve been growing.”

As black families migrate south from the District and Prince George’s to Charles, African American churches are expanding in number, scale and ambition. The growth mirrors what happened when African Americans migrated from the District into Prince George’s in the 1970s.

“The people came first, and the churches followed. That’s the pattern,” said Ronald Walters, director of the University of Maryland’s African American Leadership Institute. “I would imagine you’re going to have the same syndrome repeated in Charles County that you had in Prince George’s, which is to say you’re going to have a rash of African American churches that are fairly well-appointed institutions.”

To accommodate the growing population, churches in Charles are adding community service components, many of them looking to the megachurches in Prince George’s as a model.

Megachurch leaders in Prince George’s have been teaching their counterparts in modest black churches in Charles how to organize programs for the homeless and clean-up efforts in poverty-stricken areas. They also have been advising them about successfully winning government funding for faith-based initiatives.

The number of new faith-based social programs “has jumped dramatically,” said Sandy Washington, executive director of a Charles alliance of black ministers. “We’ve said, ‘Listen, there’s some basic needs.’ ”

African Americans have almost exclusively driven the rapid growth in Charles. The county’s white population remained relatively stagnant between 2000 and 2005, while its black population increased by more than 50 percent, according to census estimates. Blacks now make up about 34 percent of Charles’s roughly 139,000 residents.

Read it all.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Anglicanism is alive and well in Umbria

Women priests and gay bishops have severely tested relations between Canterbury and Rome, who admitted recently to rubbing along in an ‘imperfect communion’. Even so, during the Archbishop of Canterbury’s official visit to Rome last month he was invited to celebrate the Eucharist in the beautiful Santa Sabina church on the Aventine Hill, where the Pope himself preaches on Ash Wednesday each year. Across Italy, in fact, widespread co-operation between the faiths at grass-roots level is helping Anglicanism thrive. The pockets of worship may be small — in Orvieto, Ms Skillen has just 17 worshippers — but regular services are being held from Padua in the north to Sorrento in the south.

In Orvieto, the ecumenically minded Bishop Scanavino says he is keen to ‘normalise relations’, advising Ms Skillen to brush up her Italian so that he may more easily talk to this 53-year-old mother of four daughters who was ordained less than two years ago. Even so she is stunned when, at the end of the Advent service, he stands alongside her at the altar to perform a simultaneous blessing, having earlier preached a message of unity that left his Italian ladies visibly reassured.

‘Our Anglican brothers are surely our closest brothers,’ the bishop told the congregation. ‘We are instruments of God to create communion and unity. We have all heard the same words and we have told the same story of faith. That’s what unites us, and those things are great and important.’

Other bishops are equally generous with their churches. Venice’s sizeable community of Nigerians attend services in Padua. Near Naples, the Bishop of Sorrento allows the Anglican community to celebrate the Eucharist at the high altar in the town’s 11th-century cathedral between April and October.

In Macerata, in the Le Marche region, another group of Africans has been lent a 12th-century church for Eucharists accompanied by drums and tambourines. A similar arrangement exists for Anglican expats in Città della Pieve, in Umbria. The driving force behind both arrangements, as well as services in Assisi, Perugia and Umbertide, is Peter Hurd, a lay minister and cousin of Douglas Hurd whose affectionate nickname ‘The Bishop of Umbria’ reflects his priestly pester power.

Read it all.

A Covenant for the Church of England

From Anglican Mainstream:

A small group met with the Archbishop of Canterbury on Tuesday December 12 and presented A Covenant for the Church of England on behalf of a wide group of Evangelical and Charismatic members of the Church of England with the support of a number of Anglo-Catholic leaders.

The Covenant is the fruit of an ongoing process reacting not to a few local or immediate difficulties but responding to widespread concerns in the national and global church.

The group were listened to carefully and as a result of the meeting it was agreed that there would be further discussion of the issues raised in the Covenant to find a way to maintain the unity of the Church of England.

Rev Paul Perkin
Canon Dr Chris Sugden



At this time in the life of the Church of England and the Anglican Communion, faced with a faulty view of revelation, false teaching and indiscipline, we believe that it is necessary to set out where we as orthodox Anglicans stand, and to invite others to join us.


We are members of the Church of England, part of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church, who share with others throughout the world a commitment to the biblical truths on which the Anglican Communion is based. This is what guarantees our fellowship with Anglicans historically and globally. We pledge ourselves to strengthen this fellowship.

The love and grace of God in the gospel saves and converts individuals to a relationship with God, introduces people to life in the Spirit, and draws members into the Body of Christ. It produces holiness of life, unity in the Spirit and life-giving and life-transforming mission. Therefore in dependence on God, we are committed to spreading the unchanging gospel of Jesus Christ, to making disciples who make disciples of Christ, and to reviving existing and planting new churches. We wait for heaven to belong to a pure and perfect church – indeed, we confess our own guilty part in the church’s present failings. Nonetheless the gospel challenges the church to faithful obedience.

We are committed to faithful biblical orthodoxy as defined by the classic formularies of our tradition. Canon A5 states: “The doctrine of the Church of England is grounded in the Holy Scriptures, and in such teachings of the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church as are agreeable to the said Scriptures. In particular such doctrine is to be found in the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, the Book of Common Prayer, and the Ordinal”. The Preface to the Declaration of Assent declares that the Church of England professes “the faith uniquely revealed in the Holy Scriptures and set forth in the catholic creeds.” This is what the Church of England confesses and true unity belongs in this common confession. It is departure from this common faith that is responsible for causing schism.

Commitment to the gospel has the following implications for action at this time.


Mission Jesus’ Great Commission to “Go into all the world and make disciples” has renewed force for us in our post-Christian society. As is being increasingly recognised, the historic focus on the traditional patterns of parishes, clergy and ecclesiastical buildings is now inadequate by itself to meet this great challenge and must be transformed by one that is dynamically evangelistic, committed to using every available means to reach the unchurched. “Existing ecclesiastical legal boundaries should be seen as permeable”. This means there cannot be any no-go areas for gospel growth and church planting. Best practice will always involve appropriate consultation, including with non-Anglicans. We will support mission-shaped expressions of church through prayer, finance and personnel, even when official permission is unreasonably withheld.

Appointments The local congregation is the initial and key seed-bed for recognising, authorising, raising up and releasing new leaders. We affirm the need for the wider recognition and authorisation for leaders. We recognise the vital importance of biblically orthodox training both regionally and nationally. But many parishes have lost confidence in the institutional centre to discern and train suitable ministers, and fund and deploy them in sufficient numbers and appropriate contexts. Local churches must in future also play a major role in the selection, training, funding and appointment of ministers. This means that we can no longer be constrained by an over-centralised and increasingly ineffective control that is stifling the natural development of ministry. If the local Bishop unreasonably withholds authorisation, we will pay for, train and commission the ministers that are needed, and seek official Anglican recognition for them.

Fellowship Fellowship is based on the faith “once delivered to the saints”. Global Anglicans observe that the Church of England is increasingly polarizing into two churches: the one submitting to God’s revelation, Gospel-focused, Christ-centred, cross-shaped and Spirit-empowered; the other holding a progressive view of revelation, giving priority to human reason over Scripture, shaped primarily by western secular culture, and focused on church structures. We reaffirm the Church of England as a confessing church, built supremely not on administrative or human structures but on biblical authority, belief and behaviour. This means that we can no longer associate with teaching that is contrary to the clear teaching of the Scriptures either doctrinally (for example, on the supremacy and uniqueness of Christ) or morally (for example, on issues of gender, sex and marriage), or church leadership which advocates such teaching. We will therefore encourage new informal networks of fellowship, augmenting where necessary the institutional geographical groupings, and will respect and support those who cannot in good conscience maintain Christian fellowship with neighbouring Anglicans who do not uphold the authority of Scripture.

Money Money is an aspect of gospel partnership in the New Testament. It is entrusted to church leaders by church members who generously and sacrificially give to Christian ministry. Under charity law there is a responsibility that those who handle the church’s money steward those resources with integrity. Funds are expected to be directed towards the churches and causes in line with the beliefs and expectations of those who give. To direct the church’s giving elsewhere is a dereliction of duty for which leaders will be held accountable by God. This means that we can no longer support ministries or structures increasingly marked by the doctrinal and ethical heterodoxy outlined above. Our congregations will seek actively to become self-sustaining when and where we can, to donate a reasonable yet modest amount to support the administrative centre, to be part of mutually accountable financial partnerships, and to give generously to gospel ministries, at home and abroad, that share the same values.

Oversight Christian leaders are servant leaders, servants of the gospel. As Anglicans, we affirm Episcopal oversight for the sake of God’s mission. But it must be ordered for the church’s well-being. This means having biblically orthodox oversight that will teach the apostolic faith, refute error and discipline the wayward. We can, therefore, no longer accept churches being denied such oversight. Ensuring that such biblically orthodox oversight is available for the health and well-being of the church is more important than arguments about jurisdiction. The immediate crisis is over the fundamentals of revealed truth. We are aware of those who justifiably consider that their communion with their bishops is impaired, and will support and help them to find alternative oversight.

We are committed, as authentic Anglicans, to praying, believing and working for a restored, reformed and renewed Church of England, holding its traditional convictions: confidence in the truth of God in his Word, in the sacrificial death of his Son for his world, and in the power of God’s Spirit to fulfil his mission.

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Gay and Evangelical, Seeking Paths of Acceptance

Justin Lee believes that the Virgin birth was real, that there is a heaven and a hell, that salvation comes through Christ alone and that he, the 29-year-old son of Southern Baptists, is an evangelical Christian.

Just as he is certain about the tenets of his faith, Mr. Lee also knows he is gay, that he did not choose it and cannot change it.

To many people, Mr. Lee is a walking contradiction, and most evangelicals and gay people alike consider Christians like him horribly deluded about their faith. “I’ve gotten hate mail from both sides,” said Mr. Lee, who runs, a Web site with 4,700 registered users that mostly attracts gay evangelicals.

The difficulty some evangelicals have in coping with same-sex attraction was thrown into relief on Sunday when the pastor of a Denver megachurch, the Rev. Paul Barnes, resigned after confessing to having sex with men. Mr. Barnes said he had often cried himself to sleep, begging God to end his attraction to men.

His departure followed by only a few weeks that of the Rev. Ted Haggard, then the president of the National Association of Evangelicals and the pastor of a Colorado Springs megachurch, after a male prostitute said Mr. Haggard had had a relationship with him for three years.

Though he did not publicly admit to the relationship, in a letter to his congregation, Mr. Haggard said that he was “guilty of sexual immorality” and that he had struggled all his life with impulses he called “repulsive and dark.”

While debates over homosexuality have upset many Christian and Jewish congregations, gay evangelicals come from a tradition whose leaders have led the fight against greater acceptance of homosexuals.

Gay evangelicals seem to have few paths carved out for them: they can leave religion behind; they can turn to theologically liberal congregations that often differ from the tradition they grew up in; or they can enter programs to try to change their behavior, even their orientation, through prayer and support.

But as gay men and lesbians grapple with their sexuality and an evangelical upbringing they cherish, some have come to accept both. And like other Christians who are trying to broaden the definition of evangelical to include other, though less charged, concerns like the environment and AIDS, gay evangelicals are trying to expand the understanding of evangelical to include them, too.

Read it all.

The Clergy and Wardens of Church of the Apostles, Fairfax, Virginia, write Bishop Peter Lee

(With permission–KSH).

Dear Bishop Lee,

Your personal letters of December 1 to every member of the Vestry of Church of the Apostles shocked and greatly disappointed us all. You will recall that the last time you were in direct communication with us was at the dinner we hosted for you at the home of our Junior Warden, Mark Robbins, on March 28. That evening was a warm time of fellowship and conversation. We reminisced about our cordial relations over many years, and how they had been important to all of us. We discussed our serious areas of difference that night, of course, but we also made a strong effort to do so with decorum and civility, in a manner and tone that we felt was appropriate to our genuine respect for you and your office, and to our long-term relationship with you. We sincerely hoped after that meeting that this mutual respect and civility could be maintained between us, even as we moved into what we all knew would be a difficult phase of our relations, which might involve Church of the Apostles separating from the diocese.

That is why we were so taken aback when the next direct communication from you to our vestry was the cold, sharp, and threatening letter you sent us all last Friday. What an unpleasant reversal! Beyond our great concern about what it may be revealing to us about you as an individual and your style of dealing with us, we are honestly confused about your intent.

In the early paragraphs, you discussed the Special Committee, which you had appointed and which had worked diligently in good faith under your direction for a year before it came up with a Protocol for Departing Congregation, on which the Committee unanimously agreed. You had given us every indication that if this Committee were somehow able to reach consensus—a seemingly miraculous accomplishment—you would honor and support their recommendations, and that they would become the basis for our moving forward to resolving our differences in an honorable and amicable manner.

But now you tell us that you cannot actually approve the protocol they defined; that in your view, the power to do so does not even rest within our Diocese, but rather is the purview of the National Church. Do you really believe that? Have you suddenly ceded your authority over the diocese so completely? And if that is the case, why are you only revealing that fact now? If this was a matter that involved the national church, why did you not include representation from the national church on the Special Committee from the outset? To what end were their efforts spent?

After your seeming willingness to abandon the hard work of the Special Committee, you then turned to reciting to us a litany of quotations from the Church Canons, in an extremely cold and condescending manner. “The place of Christian leaders—chiefly within the Anglican tradition, of bishops—as teachers of scripture can hardly be overemphasized,” the Windsor Report explained. “The ‘authority’ of bishops cannot reside solely or primarily in legal structures, but, as in Acts 6.4, in their ministry of “’‘prayer and the word of God.’ ’”. If this is ignored, the model of ‘the authority of scripture’ which scripture itself offers is failing to function as it should.” (Windsor Report, para. 58). Frankly, we all found this exercise deeply insulting and profoundly disappointing. Certainly you cannot have thought that we actually needed this information, that our Vestry is unaware of the relevant Canons, and that our church does not have them easily available. Obviously your intent lay elsewhere. But what was it?

We can only speculate, Bishop Lee, but the motive that seemed most probable to us was individual intimidation of vestry members, an attempt to make them fear you and what you as our bishop would attempt to do not only to our church, but also to each one of us. Why else would you cite actions in Pennsylvania and highlight that there, “Members of the vestry were held individually liable for the expenses the Diocese and the Bishop incurred in the litigation.” We note that you did not mention instances where the reverse has been true, and Dioceses in the United States have lost in court on property issues.

If indeed intimidation was your goal, we must respectfully inform you that you have utterly failed. Nothing has galvanized our vestry so strongly in all its deliberations over our affiliation with the Episcopal Church as your recent letter. Rather than making us think that we may be making a mistake, despite our having carefully studied, prayed and deliberated about this matter for years, you have succeeded in confirming our conviction that the Episcopal Church is not where we belong. Does your threatening letter reflect the way that a chief Pastor should speak to men and women who are voluntarily serving the church on a vestry, in order to help further the work of Christ in the world? The fruit of love, which you referenced by a quote from 1 Corinthians 13 in your video address to our church, and exhorted us to take to heart, is seems completely absent in your letter.

Our conclusion was confirmed even further when we noted sadly that although you quoted the Canons many times in your letter, you never once referenced scripture. And then this past Sunday, when members of our Vestry attended a Parish meeting at the Falls Church, so that we could hear what members of the Standing Committee wanted to say to that congregation, we got another shock. We learned that you have apparently written John Yates that the belief that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, and that no one comes to the Father except through him, is an “ideological statement that exceeds the witness of scripture.” We are increasingly unclear about where you really stand theologically. Do you also fully embrace the revisionism that Presiding Bishop Schori is now expounding?

We recognize that our relations with you are now in a different phase from where they were during our amicable dinner. Your letter seems to indicate that your many years of gracious leadership, where we have been able to discuss our serious differences in matters of scripture, doctrine, and standards for moral behavior, in a climate of civility and mutual respect, are now behind us. You appear to beAre you now signaling to us that you have fundamentally changed how you will deal with those who disagree with you?. In the coming months, can we expect to find you no longer athe man of honor and civility we have come to know who seeks amicable solutions in the best traditions of the Diocese of Virginia? Or Are are you instead becoming a man of legalisms, threats, and intimidation? And are you ceding your authority over the Diocese of Virginia to national church officials?

Bishop, we know that we will never convince you of our positions on the authority of scripture, the meaning of marriage, and a host of other fundamental issues on which we disagree. TEC and the Diocese are deeply divided, in what the Rev. Sam Faeth described in the Reconciliation Commission as a “Level 5” conflict. You know that we stand in our beliefs with the majority of Anglicans throughout the world, and not with the new positions taken by the Episcopal Church in the United States. Where we fervently hope and pray that we still can find agreement is in how this Level 5 conflict can be amicably resolved through negotiations conducted in an honorable and civil manner. The Special Commission’s Protocol, developed under your leadership, was the first step in that process. We ask you not to draw back from it now, but to embrace it, to defend it, and to implement it in our Diocese. We ask you not to cede your authority in our negotiations in Virginia to the national church. We have no question that you have that power. We ask you to return to the civility that has so long been the hallmark of your leadership, and the fundamental characteristic of our relationship with each other.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.” Eph 3:20-21

“…Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.” Eph. 4:15

Respectfully in Christ Jesus,

David Harper, Rector David Allison, Snr. Warden Mark Robbins, Jnr. Warden

Members of Vestry: (Names Listed)

December 11 - 12 posts

Note: this post contains the 15 posts that were on the T19 front page as of about 3:30 p.m. Eastern. You can leave comments, but there is only one comment section for all these posts at the very end of the post. We'll be posting new entries tonight as individual stories to make commenting easier.

Paul Barnes Resigns

December 12th, 2006 posted by kendall at 3:22 pm

Who is Paul Barnes? Read it to find out.

How Businesses are Harnessing the Power of Apathy

December 12th, 2006 posted by kendall at 11:41 am

An interesting audio segment on the BBC.

Frank Limehouse: A Message from the Imperial Palace

December 12th, 2006 posted by kendall at 11:41 am

May God open our eyes to see the sin within. And also eyes to see God’s way of salvation through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. This is the core message and the great good news of Christianity.

Let me just give you one example of how this goes. In March 2000 I buried a man who had been a member of the choir at St. Helena’s in Beaufort. A relatively young man, David struggled through a long illness before departing this life. But he wrote something before he died and requested that the priest read it aloud at his service as a kind of Last Will and Testament. So I have no reservations in reading now just two little sentences from it that in essence sum up the way he saw his life and relationship with God:

I, Patrick David Crosby, do hereby confess that I have led a life of hypocrisy and other grievous sins (which he listed) and I am totally unworthy to associate with the Saints in heaven… that unworthy as I am, I firmly believe that I am saved by the grace of my Lord Jesus Christ, and beg of him not justice, but mercy.

Well, according to his wishes, I actually read it at the funeral. That is true biblical repentance. And at the funeral we could have blabbered on about what a great guy he was and this, that and the other thing, but by reading those two little sentences I could say nothing better, more admirable, or in fact more pleasing to God who said, There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine (so called) righteous persons who need no repentance.

Read it all.

Virginia Episcopal Diocese Loses Another Parish

December 12th, 2006 posted by kendall at 9:19 am

All Saints Episcopal Church in Dale City, whose members voted 402-6 on Sunday to leave the Episcopal Church, has become the first Northern Virginia church to flee the denomination out of several expected defections.
The 500-member church was one of nine churches to vote last weekend whether to leave the Episcopal Church over disagreements on biblical authority and the 2003 consecration of New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson, a practicing homosexual.
All Saints’ vote ratified an agreement its leaders had struck last month with the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia to cede their property to the diocese, then rent it back for five years until the church completes a new 800-seat sanctuary near Potomac Mills Shopping Center in Prince William County.
“We are heartened by the congregation’s vote to move forward with our mission to be a church overflowing with God’s love and healing power,” said the Rev. John Guernsey, rector of All Saints. “We are grateful to the diocese that we were able to reach an amicable settlement and we pray that this may be a model for others in the [Episcopal] Church.”
Virginia Bishop Peter J. Lee released a statement yesterday mourning the loss of All Saints.
“As the first of several churches to vote, I am disappointed with the result at All Saints and I sincerely hope that the result in the other congregations will be different,” he said.
The remaining eight churches are keeping their polls open throughout the week and will announce their voting results Sunday.

Read it all.

As Others See Us

December 12th, 2006 posted by kendall at 7:06 am

From Weiwen’s Religion Blog:

“Titus 1:9 is maintained by Canon Kendall Harmon of, I believe, South Carolina. The articles he posts are usually very good and give a good view of the conservative side of the Episcopal Church. A lot of liberals and moderates frequent his blog as well, but some of the more virulent conservatives post…[comments] that are not so good.”

Accurate in every respect, I think. And a good launching point to remind people of the importance of remembering to be respectful and considerate in your comments which are read by others with whom you may not agree. Also to try, please, to keep the comments on the topic of the content of the article at hand.

Paul Weyrich–The Salvation Army: Hope and help for our culture and our needy

December 12th, 2006 posted by kendall at 7:02 am

One early mission of the Salvation Army was to prevent young women from becoming prostitutes. That missionary work continues with PROMISE — the Partnership to Rescue Our Minors from Sexual Exploitation. Believe it or not, the Salvation Army says, “In the U.S. an estimated 244,000-325,000 children are currently being emotionally, physically and spiritually devastated through the sex trade, and very little is being done to stop it.”

The Salvation Army’s PROMISE model in Chicago seeks to galvanize the governmental and voluntary sectors of the community in a crusade to make the citizenry and also law enforcement more aware of sex trafficking.

Every month in Chicago members of a task force comprised of twenty-two governmental, law enforcement and social service agencies meet in the Cook County Courthouse to discuss strategies and tactics to combat prostitution. The Salvation Army promoted the concept of forming the task force and persuaded the different organizations and agencies to buy into it.

Many citizens fail to realize how widespread the prostitution business is or how brutal it can be, particularly for the children or young men and women recruited into it. Often they are immigrants brought to this country with no real knowledge of English or they come from fractured family backgrounds. Unthinkable as it may be, some children can have their sex changed and then be “pimped out.” Now court officials in Chicago are more cognizant that the truant from school or homeless person is a victim of the sex trade. When they realize the underlying problem is prostitution the officials can provide help to the victim.

A Department of Justice grant announced late last week will help the Salvation Army expand nationwide the Chicago model of PROMISE.

A salutary reminder especially at this time of year. Read it all.

One Yale Student’s Story

December 12th, 2006 posted by kendall at 6:14 am

It’s hard to say what’s worst in all this. A.’s spectacular mendacity? The recruiter’s breach of confidentiality? The fact that the bloggers who posted A.s resume — including phone number, e-mail, and home address — keep their own names secret? My vote for worst of all is the media bombardment of a young person who is clearly troubled. A student whose resume is so grandiose that recruiters laugh and send it to their friends isn’t a threat to society; he’s not even a threat to other applicants. Jayson Blair and Kaavya Viswanathan published dishonest work and deceived readers. A. is just a kid who needs help. But the bloggers and reporters mobbed him like bullies on a playground.

Yale won’t comment about A. But his story raises larger issues for an elite university. While A.’s problems are atypical, all Yale students are subject to the pressure of high expectations. Yale should help its students resist the seductive notion that dishonesty in a resume or a paper might be better than failure.

Read it all.

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rules on parental rights of lesbians

December 12th, 2006 posted by kendall at 6:12 am

The state’s highest court ruled yesterday against a lesbian who sought to establish parental rights to the 5-year-old biological child of her former partner, because she did not adopt the child during the 18 months they were together after the infant’s birth.

The case reflects the Supreme Judicial Court’s view that same-sex couples who fall out of love while raising children must abide by the same legal rules as any other dissolving couples: What counts in the court system are birth certificates, marriage licenses, adoption papers, or proof that you share equally in the nurturing of the youngsters.

In a complex legal case that stretched over three years, a lesbian from Middlesex County put forward some novel legal theories to establish her parental role. She said she deserved to be a legal parent because she and her former partner had effectively formed an agreement to raise a child together. She also argued she should be, at least, a de facto parent with visitation rights, because what she lacked in time with the child she gave in money as the primary breadwinner.

Her case was backed by briefs from Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders of Boston, a legal rights group for gays and lesbians, and Fathers and Families, a father’s rights group that represents many divorced fathers.

But in a unanimous opinion, written by Chief Justice Margaret Marshall, the court said the woman failed to meet the state’s requirement for legal parental rights or prove that her emotional bond was so strong that she deserved at least court-mandated visitation.

The justices said the woman never took up her option to adopt the baby, which would have given her the same rights as the biological mother. (Same-sex marriage was not an option when the women ended their relationship in 2003, when the child was about 18 months old.) The court also said the woman, who toiled long hours as codirector of a nonprofit organization, did not spend enough time caring for the child to establish her parental rights while the biological mother tended to most of the caretaking.

Marshall wrote that while the plaintiff may love the child and the child may derive some benefit from spending time with her, “these facts are insufficient, in themselves, to accord the plaintiff parental rights.”

Lawyers for the biological mother — Regina Hurley and John Foskett of the law firm Deutsch Williams — said the court’s opinion shows that courts now apply its child-protection measures equally, regardless of the sexual orientation of the couple.

“They’re neutral on whether they are same-sex or heterosexual,” Foskett said.

Elizabeth Zeldin, a Boston lawyer who represented the plaintiff, said her client is deeply upset by the result, especially because the biological mother has said she planned to end the temporary court-mandated visitation if she prevailed in the SJC.

“It’s very sad for this child,” Zeldin said.

Read it all.

Mary Zeiss Stange: Christmas, pagans and religious divergence

December 12th, 2006 posted by kendall at 6:12 am

Happy holidays!

Have I just offended you? If you are a member of the American Family Association, the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights or the Committee to Save Merry Christmas, I probably have.

For the second year in a row, conservative Christian groups have threatened boycotts of big-box and department stores whose advertisements for “holiday trees” and whose hearty if non-specific holiday well-wishes reflect, these groups say, an “anti-Christian and anti-Christmas bias.” Opponents of generic holiday greetings also suspect that there is something un-American about them. As Alderman Thurston Hanson of Monroe, Wis., objected, when he recently voted against a City Council motion to grant the Chamber of Commerce a permit for a post-Thanksgiving “holiday” parade: “Christmas is a federally mandated holiday. … Ninety percent of people celebrate Christmas, and we shouldn’t offend them by not calling it what it is.”

Hanson’s numbers might be somewhat skewed (roughly 80% of Americans are self-identified Christians), but major chains, including Wal-Mart, Target, Walgreen’s, Macy’s and Kohl’s, have gotten the message. The assumption at work here appears to be that, while we are a diverse society, Christmas is a national holiday that trumps all other seasonal celebrations.

“Black Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving that kicks off the annual frenzy of consumerism known as the holiday season, sets the tone. Gone are the days when folks who worried about rampant materialism cautioned that it was time to “put Christ back into Christmas.” Now it’s time to put Christ back into Kmart. And so, as Wal-Mart spokeswoman Marisa Bluestone has bravely proclaimed, “This year, we’re not afraid to say ‘Merry Christmas.’ ”

Of course, if you are a Jew celebrating Hanukkah, or a Muslim marking Eid al-Fitr, or a neo-pagan Wiccan for whom the Winter Solstice (Dec. 21) is a major observance, you probably had appreciated the more inclusive acknowledgement that the end of the year is a festive time for you, too.

Indeed, particularly if you are Wiccan, the matter of being un-included this holiday season must especially sting. A group of Wiccan families is suing the Department of Veterans Affairs for the right to bury their fallen heroes in military cemeteries in graves marked with a pentacle, the five-pointed star that symbolizes their religion, much as a cross does Christianity or a Star of David, Judaism.

Read it all.

Mitt Romney under criticism for 1994 Letter

December 11th, 2006 posted by kendall at 8:02 pm

Gov. Mitt Romney, the Massachusetts Republican who has built a presidential campaign on a broad appeal for conservative support, is drawing sharply increased criticism from conservative activists for his advocacy of gay rights in a 1994 letter.

Mr. Romney’s standing among conservatives is being hurt by a letter he sent to the Log Cabin Club of Massachusetts saying that he would be a stronger advocate for gay rights than Senator Edward M. Kennedy, his opponent in a Senate race, in a position that stands in contrast to his current role as a champion of a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

“We must make equality for gays and lesbians a mainstream concern,” Mr. Romney wrote in a detailed plea for the support of the club, a gay Republican organization.

The circulation of the letter by gay rights groups in recent weeks has set off a storm of outrage among social conservatives, and by Friday was looming as a serious complication to Mr. Romney’s hopes.

Aides to Mr. Romney, who did not dispute the letter’s legitimacy, said that the governor’s opinions on gay issues had not changed. They said Mr. Romney had always been an opponent of same-sex marriage, had always opposed discrimination against gay men and lesbians and had been consistent in his views about allowing them to serve in the military.

“Governor Romney believes Americans should be respectful of all people,” said Eric Fehrnstrom, his spokesman. “However, over the past four years as governor, Mitt Romney has not advocated or supported any change in the military’s policies and he has not implemented new or special rights in this area.”

Read it all.

Airport’s trees stoking “war on Christmas”

December 11th, 2006 posted by kendall at 7:59 pm

The departure of Christmas tree displays at main passageways at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport — the Port of Seattle’s response to a local rabbi’s insistence that an electric menorah also be put up — is accelerating into an international spectacle in the so-called “war on Christmas.”

And that is not what Rabbi Elazar Bogomilsky wanted.

“I am devastated, shocked and appalled at the decision that the Port of Seattle came to,” he said Sunday. As news coverage about the airport’s trees spread from CNN to ABC to the Paris-based International Herald Tribune, Bogomilsky on Sunday began to receive hateful messages from people holding him responsible for the removal of the trees.

Harvey Grad, the rabbi’s attorney, said the vitriol against Bogomilsky is misplaced, emphasizing that the rabbi neither objected to the trees nor said he found them offensive.

“The last thing we need is anyone thinking that Jews want to end the celebration of Christmas on public property,” Grad said.

Bogomilsky is spending today on the TV talk-show circuit, continuing a media frenzy that began Saturday.

Around 4 a.m. Sunday, Port Commissioner Patricia Davis was on the phone with CNN for a live interview, joined by Bogomilsky, who works at Chabad Lubavitch, an education foundation in the University District.

Read it all.

Clergy call on their ‘drunk’ bishop to show penitence

December 11th, 2006 posted by kendall at 7:43 pm

Clergy in the Diocese of Southwark are calling on their bishop to issue a statement of “repentance and regret” after he was found, apparently drunk, in the back of a silver Mercedes throwing children’s toys out of the window.

The Bishop of Southwark, Dr Tom Butler, repeated yesterday his claim that he has no memory of the episode in Crucifix Lane, Southwark, that left him with a black eye and a bump on his head that prevented him from wearing his mitre.

He cannot recall how he got from a Christmas party at the Irish Embassy, near Buckingham Palace, to a back street near Southwark cathedral and from there to his home, bloodied and bruised, in Tooting Bec Gardens.

Priests in his diocese want their bishop, who they say has always taken a “zero-tolerance” approach to drunkenness by the clergy, to come clean.

“We are keeping a very close eye on the situation,” said one. Some are considering writing to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, asking him to investigate Dr Butler under discipline rules.

Read it all and there is more here and there.

The Telegraph has an article here also.

Stephen Bates has comments here as well.

A BBC article is there and the Independent has coverage here too.

I tried and failed to find anything on the diocesan website about this.

A tale of two churches one year later

December 11th, 2006 posted by kendall at 6:54 pm

Religious leaders from the Anglican, Lutheran and Episcopal Church gathered Saturday to talk with the faithful about what they say is a crisis threatening to tear their churches apart. We are having a struggle between two points of view that can be described as conservative and liberal.
people look at scripture differently they interpret it differently,” says Rev. Doug Taylor-Weiss.
Those two different views are on how the church should view homosexuality.
one progressive…the other conservative. “It now appears that that’s the intractability of this crisis that there doesnt appear to be a middle ground,” says Taylor Weiss.

Read it all.

Tanzanian Bishops declare they are in severely impaired communion with Episcopal Church

December 11th, 2006 posted by kendall at 5:12 pm

(Anglican Church of Tanzania)

The House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Tanzania (ACT) issued a statement December 7 saying that its “communion with the Episcopal Church (USA) is severely impaired” in light the 75th General Convention’s response to the Windsor Report.

The bishops also declared that ACT “shall not knowingly accept financial and material aid from dioceses, parishes, Bishops, priests, individuals and institutions in the Episcopal Church (USA) that condone homosexual practice or bless same-sex unions.”

Meeting in Dar Es Salaam, where the next Primates’ Meeting will be held in February 2007, the bishops noted that the Episcopal Church did not “adequately respond to the requirement made to them by the Anglican Communion through the Windsor Report by their failure to register honest repentance for their actions.”

During the past three years, leaders of at least 14 out of the 38 Anglican provinces have issued statements saying that they are in a state of “impaired” or “broken” relationship with the Episcopal Church. It is unclear how many provincial synods have ratified the statements.

One of 12 Anglican Provinces in Africa, ACT has 19 dioceses representing both evangelical and Anglo-Catholic Churches.

The full text of the statement follows:

1. Mindful of the fact that the Anglican Church of Tanzania issued statements in 2003 following the election, confirmation and eventual consecration to the Episcopate of Gene Robinson a practicing homosexual clergyman, whereby we declared that henceforth we are not in communion, namely, communio in sacris, with:

Bishops who consecrate homosexuals to the episcopate and those Bishops who ordain such persons to the priesthood and the deaconate or license them to minister in their dioceses;
Bishops who permit the blessing of same sex unions in their dioceses;
Gay priests and deacons;
Priests who bless same sex unions;
2. And because in their June 2006 General Convention, the Episcopal Church (USA) did not adequately respond to the requirement made to them by the Anglican Communion through the Windsor Report by their failure to register honest repentance for their actions that were contrary to the dictates of the Holy Scripture and the teaching of the Anglican Church as expressed in Resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference and thereby indicating that they were deliberatively choosing to walk apart from the rest of the Anglican Communion;

3. Therefore after its meeting on 7th December 2006 in Dar es Salaam, the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Tanzania hereby declares that its communion with the Episcopal Church (USA) is severely impaired but the Anglican Church of Tanzania remains in communion with those who are faithful to Biblical Christianity and authority of Scripture who remain in the Episcopal Church (USA) or have left or are considering leaving that church body for the same reasons that we have stated above.

4. Further to the consequent state of the severely impaired communion, the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Tanzania declares that henceforth the Anglican Church of Tanzania shall not knowingly accept financial and material aid from Dioceses, parishes, Bishops, priests, individuals and institutions in the Episcopal Church (USA) that condone homosexual practice or bless same sex unions.

5. The House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Tanzania declares that we are committed to concerted prayer for renewal in the Anglican Communion that will further the mission of Jesus Christ and will render greater glory to God.

6. Finally, the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Tanzania hereby mandates the Primate of the Anglican Church of Tanzania to forward this statement to the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church (USA), to the Archbishop of Canterbury and to all the Primates of the Anglican Communion.

Pastor-ized milk: Nyack minister dresses as a cow to deliver homily

December 11th, 2006 posted by kendall at 5:05 pm

Though his message of helping the poor was familiar to the Grace Episcopal parishioners, the Rev. Richard Gressle’s sermon yesterday morning certainly wasn’t typical.

Wearing a full-body cow costume, complete with udders, and flanked by two real pygmy goats at the altar, Gressle was introduced to churchgoers as “Ms. Moo,” a heifer who can “plow fields and give milk to families that don’t have it.”

“This is a very moo-ving experience,” said Gressle, as children crowding the pews laughed and clapped, along with their parents.

Gressle decided to dress as a bovine to exemplify the benefits of the Heifer Project, a nonprofit organization that collects donations to purchase and distribute livestock to disadvantaged families in more than 125 countries, including the United States.

For the families that receive them, the animals provide milk or eggs that can be either consumed or sold.

When their farm animals give birth, the families are expected to give the young to other families, to help continue the cycle of self-sufficiency, said Claudia Uccelani, chairwoman of the church’s youth commission.

“It’s a wonderful organization that gives people the tools for subsistence,” said Uccelani, a Nyack resident and 10-year member of Grace Episcopal Church. “They employ the pass-the-gift philosophy, so that many people are helped over time.”

Many of the children who attend the church have been collecting money over the past few weeks for the project, Uccelani said.

Read it all.

Friday, December 01, 2006

December 1 -- morning posts

‘Asian Tiger’ to discuss Anglican missions in U.S.

December 1st, 2006 posted by kendall at 9:02 am

The Most Rev. Datuk Yong Ping Chung, a co-founder of the Anglican Mission in America, will speak at Roger Ludlowe Middle School on the significance of sending Anglican missionaries to America and on what it means to live as a devoted Christian in Malaysia, a country dominated by Muslims who cannot legally convert to other religions.

Chung, 65, affectionately known as the “Asian Tiger,” retired as archbishop of the Anglican Province of Southeast Asia in February after serving for five years. In 2000, he and Anglican Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini of Rwanda started a missionary organization to offer an alternative to members of the Episcopal Church disillusioned with the denomination’s acceptance of homosexuals, and to recruit millions of Americans who do not attend church. They also established another North American organization, the Anglican Coalition in Canada.

The Fairfield conference will be Chung’s first visit to southern Connecticut.

“This is a dramatic moment in some ways for Anglicanism in New England,” said the Rt. Rev. Thaddeus Barnum, a bishop and senior pastor of Church of the Apostles, an Anglican Mission congregation in Fairfield that is hosting the event. “Here’s a man from Southeast Asia who looked at the Episcopal Church and said, ‘No. What you’re doing is wrong. We need to set up an Anglican presence in America and recognize the historical Christian faith.’ ”

Read it all.

Anglican urges freedom in dialogue with Rome

December 1st, 2006 posted by kendall at 9:00 am

The chairperson of the governors of the Anglican Centre in Rome, Bishop Stephen Patten, has invited the Roman Catholic church to allow more freedom of expression in theological dialogue. “Catholics say Anglicans do not have a clear enough structure on authority, and I agree that there are areas it ought to be better. But I also believe the Catholic church should exercise its authority in a much more collegial way,” said Bishop Patten, the Anglican bishop of Wakefield in England. “Many Anglicans would be pleased to have a central figure – just like the Pope – in the church, but they want its role to be more collegial also.”

During a two-day visit to Hong Kong on Oct. 20-21, Bishop Patten held a seminar at the Anglican Cathedral of St. John, briefing some 50 Anglicans and Catholics about the ecumenical mission of the Rome centre.

The bishop emphasized there were many positive factors in Anglican-Catholic dialogue, but there are also some difficulties.

“I believe the tradition of faith could be better understood if people were allowed to have reasonable dialogue theologically in the Christian community,” Bishop Patten said. He had a feeling that outside the confines of the church, dialogue among Catholics was not encouraged. “We would like to see much more freedom of expression.”

Read it all.

Episcopal diocese in Fresno ponders break with church

December 1st, 2006 posted by kendall at 6:27 am

Differences over the Bible and sexuality within the Anglican faith may push the Diocese of San Joaquin to become the first in the nation to split with the Episcopal Church.

Bishop John-David Schofield, who refuses to ordain women and gays, has publicly accused the church’s newly elected female leader of promoting “heresy.” Under his leadership, the Fresno-based diocese has already stopped sending most funds to the national church and has considered a plan to affiliate with an Anglican diocese in Argentina.

Should delegates decide to formally break with the national church at a convention Saturday, all parties expect a protracted legal battle over the diocese’s millions of dollars in real estate.

“The sentiment of many of the pastors is Christ first, property second,” said the Rev. Van McCalister, a spokesman for the diocese, whose lush, mission-style headquarters sits at a busy city intersection. “If we’re successful in defining who we are as Anglicans and keeping our diocese intact, I think it’s going to be encouraging to other dioceses in the Episcopal Church that are looking to do the same thing.”

On Thursday, leaders of the national church offered conservatives more independence through the creation of a leadership position called a “primatial vicar,” who would work with dioceses and perform functions that normally fall to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, including consecrating local bishops. It was unclear how the move would effect San Joaquin’s decision.

Read it all.

The Anglican Communion Institute’s Proposal for an Interim Arrangement While Awaiting a Conciliar Communion Covenant

November 30th, 2006 posted by kendall at 11:41 pm


The new Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church and a group of like minded bishops have just released a proposal to address an appeal by a number of dioceses for Alternative Primatial Oversight/Relationship.

It must be pointed out that this appeal was originally to the Archbishop of Canterbury, and thereby to the Primates of the Communion, and not to the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, she herself symbolizing the very problems necessitating such alternative arrangements.

Further, any solution that leaves the new Presiding Bishop giving alternative relationships and oversight as her gift is highly problematic. Such a solution leaves her fully at the table and has the effect of appearing to establish the very commitments and authority that drove some of the bishops to make this request for APO in the first place.

Any solution that leaves the Episcopal Church in an undiminished capacity also has the effect of behaviorally overturning the Primates decisions at Dromentine and thereby establishing the decisions of General Convention as viable options within the Anglican Communion.

For these reasons, the Anglican Communion Institute makes this our own proposal, that has previously been circulated among some of the leadership of the Anglican Communion, a public document.

Following is the proposal:

Read the rest of this entry »

A Pastor’s Heart Takes Benedict XVI to Turkey

November 30th, 2006 posted by kendall at 11:39 pm

As the papal visit to Turkey grew closer, it seemed that the Turkish tug-of-war between the Vatican and the media intensified.

Newspapers, television and radio harped on the significance of Benedict XVI’s visit to a Muslim country, stridently announcing the protests and politics of the trip. The Vatican, on the other hands, kept gently repeating that the “trip” was really a pilgrimage, and that long before the European Union or even Islam existed, Constantinople was established as the first Christian city.

If one pays attention to the historical and cultural context of this papal voyage, the dates and places will reveal more about the Pope’s plans than any sensationalizing headline.

Constantinople, or “Secunda Roma” (the second Rome), was founded by Emperor Constantine in 330 on the site of an earlier Greek city, Byzantium. Constantine, after uniting the empire and legalizing Christianity, had built six churches in Rome, but soon realized that he would never be able to realize his dream of a Christian city in a town still dominated by pagan gods.

So he founded this new city on the Bosporus. Ideally situated at the juncture of Europe and Asia, Constantinople also linked the northern and southern areas of the empire through the Black Sea on one coast and the Mediterranean on the other. This great crossroads of the known world geographically exemplified the universality of the Christian Church.

Constantine conceived of the city as a new Rome, and an even better Rome, because it would be Christian. Like Rome itself, Constantinople was spread across seven hills.

The visit of the Roman Pontiff to Turkey, the center of the world in which Christianity was born, represents a papal agenda concerned more with his own flock than the media might imagine.

Read it all.