Friday, March 16, 2007

Friday March 16th: 4 p.m. backup

AAC Statement on the Denial of Consent for South Carolina Bishop-elect Mark Lawrence

March 16th, 2007 posted by kendall at 3:54 pm

The American Anglican Council (AAC) received yesterday’s news that the Rev. Mark Lawrence has been denied consent to become the next bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina with grave disappointment and renewed concern for the U.S. Episcopal Church. According to a diocesan press release, Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church (TEC), declared the election “null and void” due to “canonical deficiencies” – namely, that some of the written permissions by standing committees were offered electronically – even though the number of standing committees giving consent would otherwise have been sufficient.

The AAC joins the president of the Standing Committee of the Diocese of South Carolina, the Rev. J. Haden McCormick, in praying that “this tragic outcome will be a wake up call to both clergy and lay through out TEC as to the conditions in our church.”

Following an unprecedented attempt by liberal revisionist Episcopal leaders to block the consent process for Lawrence, the consent has been finally blocked not by too few consents, but because of technicalities in how the consents were provided.

“This is outrageous that a duly-elected priest, who clearly meets the Scriptural standards for church leadership, not to mention has gone out of his way to assure the rest of TEC that he will keep his vows and will not take the diocese out of the church, has been blocked from serving for no other reason than his orthodox views,” said the Rev. Canon David Anderson, AAC president and CEO. “This demonstrates that, more than ever, many in TEC are not only unfriendly toward the faithful, but outright hostile, and desire to punish the orthodox in any way possible in order to push and keep them out of the church.”

The AAC noted the irony of the situation: While a man living in a same-sex union – which is in clear contradiction to biblical guidelines for church leaders – can be elected, confirmed and consecrated a bishop in one state, a man of high integrity who meets the strict demands of leaders as laid out in Scripture is denied consent in another. Furthermore, the action calls into question TEC’s explanation for Gene Robinson’s 2003 confirmation, which TEC leaders have consistently defended by stating their belief that each diocese in the Anglican Communion has a right to elect the leader appropriate for its own “local context.” If true, why did more standing committees not vote to consent to Lawrence’s election?

“The discrepancy is obvious even to the casual observer,” Canon Anderson said. “TEC says ‘all are welcome,’ but that is simply not true based on their actions toward those with whom they disagree. This particular situation exemplifies the fact that the Episcopal Church has really got things backward; they have basically, if you will, turned Scripture upside down on its head.”

The AAC offers its full support to the Diocese of South Carolina as it discerns its next step. We are reminded that Isaiah prophesied this day would come, when people will “call evil good and good evil” and “substitute darkness for light and light for darkness” (Isaiah 5:20). The AAC takes heart that the Anglican leaders around the world stand with us in defense of the Gospel, and that God Himself is faithful to guide and provide for those who trust in Him.

A Statement by the Standing Committee and Diocesan Board of the Diocese of Central Florida

March 16th, 2007 posted by admin at 3:25 pm

[via e-mail]

March 15, 2007

To the Bishops of the Episcopal Church

Grace and Peace in our Lord Jesus Christ. Be encouraged in the faith that has once been handed down to us by the apostles.

The matters before your House in its meetings leading up to the September 30th deadline have risen to a critical level for our common life. For this reason we feel compelled to share our deepest convictions regarding these matters as the Diocesan Board and Standing Committee of the Diocese of Central Florida.

With the Primates’ Communiqué from Dar es Salaam the issues of permitting same-sex unions and consecrations of non-celibate homosexual clergy have become matters which could permanently alter the nature and structure of the Anglican Communion. This is no longer about continued dialogue and nuance. The questions before the House are clear and concrete and call for your “unequivocal” submission to our common life in the Anglican Communion and The Episcopal Church. There is no room for equivocating and parsing.

The Primates have now definitively clarified the received teaching of this Church regarding these matters to be Lambeth 1:10. They have also provided the Bishops of the Episcopal Church with a minimum threshold commitment for continued membership in the Communion. Because of the Episcopal Church’s constitutional commitments of constituent membership in the Anglican Communion, conformity to that received teaching is no longer optional. Failure to agree with the demands of the Communiqué will have lasting and dire consequences regarding our continued constituent membership in the Anglican Communion.

A failure to provide an unequivocal answer on the part of the House of Bishops will signal your intention to “walk apart” from the Anglican Communion and The Episcopal Church.

As a Network Diocese, we will not separate ourselves from the faithful and orthodox expression of Anglicanism in America. We will continue to stand firmly with those in the Communion who have not revised the faith on such important matters. In the end, a failure on your part to agree to the demands of the Communiqué may well lead to formal division within The Episcopal Church, a situation which would deeply sadden all concerned.

Please know that we do not make such statements lightly and without prayerful consideration. We are deeply concerned about our beloved Episcopal Church and its future health in terms of its ability to faithfully spread the Gospel of God’s redeeming love and forgiveness.

In the words of the Archbishop of Canterbury, “It isn’t a question of throwing people into outer darkness, but of recognizing that actions have consequences – and that actions believed in good faith to be ‘prophetic’ in their radicalism are likely to have costly consequences.”

In the end, each of you, as bishops of the Church, are individually accountable to what has been given to you. You are called to be good stewards of the treasure which is the Body of Christ, and not to squander it on unscriptural notions and interpretations of what does and does not constitute justice.

The stakes have never been higher. You will never be engaged in a more crucial deliberation than the one before you now. Your choices will have consequences which will echo through time and potentially change the face of The Episcopal Church forever. We therefore urge you, in the strongest possible terms to honor the Communiqué and accede to its clear call for an unequivocal statement of obedience to its demands.

Individually and corporately we pledge our fervent daily prayers for you as you hold these important meetings.

The Standing Committee and Diocesan Board of the Diocese of Central Florida.

Christianity Today: Global Ultimatum

March 16th, 2007 posted by kendall at 1:25 pm

For Henry Luke Orombi, Anglican archbishop of Uganda, the topic for his chapel sermon on Friday, February 16, was an obvious choice. That is the day when Anglicans worldwide remember Janani Luwum, honored as a modern martyr.

But this time, the commemoration of the Ugandan archbishop who confronted Idi Amin became the prelude to a fateful turning point for global Anglicanism.

Once every three years, the top leaders of the world’s 78 million Anglicans, called primates, gather for consultation and study. In mid-February, 35 of the 38 primates assembled for the first time on African soil amid threat of Anglican schism over homosexuality. In 2003, an openly gay priest, V. Gene Robinson, became the Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire, throwing Anglicans into a historic struggle between left-leaning revisionists and conservatives.

In their Windsor report (issued October 2004), Anglican leaders demanded that the Episcopal Church (the American branch of Anglicanism) repent of the Robinson consecration, forbid any new gay bishops from taking office, and stop the blessing of same-sex unions. On the first of their five days of meetings in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, primates received a report from a panel that said the Episcopal Church had met two of the three Windsor demands. Yet there was “more work to be done” to end same-sex blessings. To conservatives, it seemed that the Episcopal Church had once again outmaneuvered them.

The next day, Orombi, a tall, charismatic figure, preached at the noonday chapel service. He described the importance of martyrdom in Uganda—doing what it takes to stay true to the gospel. In February 1977, Janani Luwum, the Anglican archbishop of Uganda and Rwanda, was arrested along with leading Christians by Idi Amin, a dictator with the blood of thousands on his hands. The leaders were all accused of treason.

Days earlier, Luwum and the others had publicly called Amin to repent for the brutal slaughter of political opponents. Luwum had also demanded that co-opted church leaders separate themselves from political “powers of darkness.”

The archbishop was executed almost immediately after a violent interrogation. Luwum’s murder brought a stagnating church back to life as tens of thousands joined in revivals after his murder.

“His death … changed the political climate of Uganda,” concluded Orombi.

Read it all.

Alabama Episcopal diocese to elect suffragan bishop

March 16th, 2007 posted by kendall at 1:22 pm

Read it all.

6 Muslim leaders sue US Airways

March 16th, 2007 posted by kendall at 1:21 pm

A group of six Muslim religious leaders, five of them from Arizona, filed suit on Tuesday, arguing that US Airways and other defendants violated their civil rights by removing them from a Phoenix-bound flight in November.

The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, where the imams had attended the North American Conference of Imams. Their lawsuit did not specify monetary compensation, and US Airways maintains that it stands by its crew’s decision to have the men removed from the flight.

“This is not about prayer but rather about behavior on the airplane that led to a decision by our crew members that was backed by local law enforcement to remove these customers from the airplane for further questioning,” the airline said in a statement.

Read it all.

Dow Sanderson: The Arrogant and Ignorant Rejection of Mark Lawrence

March 16th, 2007 posted by kendall at 12:09 pm

If you are a southerner as I am, you will know the indignation that we feel nearly every time that southern people are portrayed by the national media and “entertainment” industry. Stereotypes abound. Accents and phrases that have never been uttered by any human being since time began are foisted upon the unsuspecting. We are depicted as ignorant barefoot fools, slapping our children, each of whom is supposed to be infected with lice and pinworms. Amos and Andy could never have been more of a tortured caricature.

And so we do well to be indignant, because the picture painted of us is a lie. We are indignant because the people who manufacture such images are arrogant and ignorant, a most unattractive combination. And we are indignant because the perpetrator has formed his smug opinion, and nothing, least of all the truth, will change his rigid mind.

And so, it seems like the same-old story. Anglicanism in South Carolina dates to 1680. We have had a gracious and blessed heritage. Our leaders, both lay and clerical, have served this church with distinction for generations. They have shown themselves time and again to be reasonable, articulate, well-educated and faithful. The first four or five bishops of the diocese were known as Carolina Catholics, for while they were not ritualists, they held a doctrine of the church that was both catholic and evangelical in the best Anglican sense of those words.

In the conflicts that have beset our Church since the General Convention willfully ignored the rest of the communion, we have set our course with very simple and well-stated parameters:

1) We are Biblical, Creedal, and Apostolic. The Scriptures have authority. The Scriptures are interpreted in light of Sacred Tradition. The Tradition has been received from the Apostolic Church. No Christian has the right to alter this deposit of Faith and still call himself a catholic Christian. When bishops, conventions or seminaries attempt to change the received doctrine, we will protest and resist.

2) We are both evangelical and catholic. Our Evangelical hearts require us never to cease in our quest to take the Gospel to all people. Our Catholic sense of order reminds us that the church is never merely the local community, but the whole people of God connected through a common Faith and the Apostolic Succession to Jesus himself. Therefore, we understand that “independent” Anglicanism is impossible. Our request for Alternative Primatial Oversight had nothing to do with schism. On the contrary, it was clear to us that the American Church, by its unilateral actions, had in fact created a de facto schism with the rest of the church. It was our very catholic ecclesiology that would not allow us to stand for such a breach in communion. But even as we registered our strong protest against American unilateralism, we never once took a single uncanonical action, nor have we threatened to do so.

This is what we have consistently said, and we have been called schismatic.

This is what our bishop-elect has consistently said, and he has enjoyed the same abuse.

South Carolina votes to leave the Episcopal Church, the newspapers declare. That is a lie.

Disloyal. Rebellious. Fanatical spouteth the Via Media and Episcopal Forum.

But that is but slander and hypocrisy.

Your bishop-elect will not take his oath of allegiance! complain the Standing Committees in spite of his own clear words to the contrary.

And in Tanzania, the unanimous communiqué signed by our own Presiding Bishop has validated and vindicated every single point we have tried to make.

So what could possibly cause a Standing Committee to vote no? Arrogance and ignorance. No two ways about it.

Mark Lawrence is one of the finest priests this church has produced. He is humble, scholarly, wise and spiritually mature. What a tragedy if he is denied the office to which God and South Carolina have so clearly called him.

All because some people would rather believe in their prejudices, than the truth so plainly available to them.

Arrogance. Ignorance. And Shame.

–The Rev. Dow Sanderson is rector, Church of the Holy Communion, Charleston, South Carolina

From the Anglican Communion Institute: TEC and the Anglican Communion – On the Eve of the Upcoming House of Bishops Meeting

March 16th, 2007 posted by kendall at 10:22 am

We are grateful for the general direction and careful recommendations offered by the Primates in their Dar es Salaam Communiqué. With them, we share the “belief that it would be a tragedy if the Episcopal Church was to fracture”, and with them “we are committed to doing what we can to preserve and uphold its life”. But the Primates are right in noting that, whatever their particular recommendations may be for The Episcopal Church, they are only recommendations: “such change and development which is required must be generated within [TEC’s] own life” (28).

The House of Bishops is about to meet, and much of their meeting will be given over to Communion-related matters emerging from the Primates’ Meeting. What kind of “change and development” are they capable of “generating” in the face of the threat of their church’s fracture and demise?

At present three groups are emerging in the Episcopal Church. The Dar es Salaam Communiqué has focused the way in which lines are now being drawn.

1. ‘Windsor Bishops’ – With two Camp Allen meetings now past, and especially with the ‘Camp Allen Principles’ identified as relevant at Dar es Salaam, this group is relatively stable and capable of clear definition. No fewer than twenty-five or so Bishops have signed statements identifying with the Windsor Report in specific terms. Other Bishops may view the ‘Camp Allen Principles’ as requiring subscription given other options only now becoming clearer. The number could rise to as high as 35, depending on the evolution of the other two groups.

2. ‘TEC alone Bishops’ – After Dar es Salaam, public statements have been issued by a high number of Bishops, and standing committees, firmly rejecting the Communiqué and its recommendations. The grounds are various: (1) the Primates have no standing, or ought not to have any; (2) there is a special polity in TEC that has not been understood or has been ignored; (3) TEC has a special mission of advocacy for human rights, etc. The number of Bishops and Standing Committees espousing this view can be calculated easily enough, but it is about the same or slightly higher than the Windsor Bishops group.

What demands further clarification is just what holding this position means in practical fact. Does this position require an amended Constitution or new canons, stating the irrelevance of the Anglican Communion and claims of Anglican catholicity? If in addition, invitations are not issued for this group to the upcoming Lambeth Conference, or Bishops in this group choose not to attend, it will become manifest that two groups of Bishops at least within the Episcopal Church are separated empirically. Will this constitute a final “fracture” such as the Primates described? It would be helpful if the Bishops holding this view spelled out what the new denomination is meant to look like and how it is to relate to other Anglican Communion bodies.

3. ‘All Other Bishops’ – This category is simply an acknowledgement that some Bishops have made more cautious statements about the Dar es Salaam Communiqué; have said nothing; have not chosen to be Windsor Bishops according to Camp Allen Principles, or have abstained from deciding; have said various things about B033 and human sexuality and the affairs of TEC from 2003 until now.

This group may decide to wait to see what happens with the umbrage and commitments of the ‘TEC alone’ Bishops. It is possible to conjecture that many in this group wish to remain in the Anglican Communion, wish to attend Lambeth Conference, and wish they had some way to do that without having to identify with ‘Windsor Bishops’ in terms of Camp Allen Principles. Others have simply decided to wait and see what the larger Communion voices would say. Dar es Salaam will have provided new and vital information, impossible to ignore or temporize.

Finally, it should also be noted that ‘Network Bishops’ face their own specific challenge, independent of involvement in group 1 above. The ‘Common Cause’ movement includes among others both AMiA and CANA, and these groups rely on a primatial oversight scheme that has been asked by the Primates to “negotiate” with the Pastoral Council in order to “find a place within these [recommended pastoral] provisions”,. Initially, AMiA indicated that they were still ‘under’ Rwanda and had no intention of being included in a Primatial Vicar scheme. At issue here are matters of substance and timing, but as with many matters now facing Anglicanism in the USA, it will require the passing of time and fresh judgments about realities that are only slowly becoming clear.

We realize that this is a crucial week for the Episcopal Church, with the House of Bishops meeting at Camp Allen over several days. How the various groups mentioned above will conduct themselves, as they meet and discuss what has happened at Dar es Salaam, will say a lot about what kind of options must now be faced. The Archbishop of Canterbury has asked the Primates to provide the names of the representatives and chair of the Pastoral Council by 16 March. Things are clearly in motion.

We commit ourselves to pray for the House of Bishops meeting and especially for clarity and charitable decisions. We look forward to the meeting of Windsor Bishops later in April and pledge our support and our own prayers. We hope to provide suggestions soon about how the Windsor Bishops in accordance with the ‘Camp Allen Principles’ might think about their future in the light of the proposed Pastoral Council.

Anglican Communion Institute

15 March 2007

Top Episcopal bishop tosses S.C. election

March 16th, 2007 posted by kendall at 10:17 am

To become bishop, [Mark] Lawrence had to sesecure a majority of “consents” from members of the church’s House of Bishops and from Episcopal standing committees nationwide. Votes had to be signed by a majority of standing committee members and postmarked by Monday.

Lawrence said his visits and consultations with Episcopalians in the Lowcountry left a deep mark.

“My heart has been knit with the good people there,” he said.

And the election process may not be finished, he added.

“I’m not sure it’s over,” he said. “The ball is in the court of the diocese. If they desire that I stand for election once again, then we would look at that.”

In four months of often acrimonious debate and “mud flinging,” many people have learned a great deal, Lawrence said, and perhaps it would make sense to “play the second half.”

“That will have to be prayed through,” he said. “With God there’s always hope. I live by that.”

The election of Lawrence has been steeped in controversy from the beginning. He was one of three finalists chosen because of their orthodox views of Scripture, the Rev. M. Dow Sanderson, former president of the standing committee, said last year.

Since 2003, when the openly gay Gene Robinson was elected bishop of New Hampshire, the church has struggled to reconcile a “broad tent” view held by the majority of adherents with a view held by a small faction of dissenters who oppose what they call the liberalization of the church in the U.S. The dissenters have sought to align with other parts of the global Anglican Communion, especially churches in Nigeria and Rwanda, which have been actively courting unhappy parishes and dioceses in the U.S. and Canada.

The Rev. Canon Dr. Kendall Harmon of the South Carolina diocese called the razor-thin vote “very disturbing.” For someone as well-qualified as Lawrence to encounter such resistance bodes ill for the future of the church, he said.

“This is about trust. What you have is a community where trust has broken down,” Harmon said. “It’s a real tragedy, because good people are being badly hurt.”

Read it all.

Priest’s life guided by ‘divine coherence’

March 16th, 2007 posted by kendall at 9:12 am

The Rev. Sue Kruger always followed her gut.

That’s not the way she puts it. She says it’s divine intervention, and she follows a path God has put in front of her. And that path shows up in a deep, intuitive feeling that’s hard to express in words. Sometimes it leads to places that surprise even her. Click here to listen

It led her to the Episcopal Church when she was a young woman, even though she grew up in a family that never went to church or even discussed spiritual matters.

It led her to Yale Divinity School before she even was baptized.

“Talk about putting the cart before the horse,” Kruger said, just before throwing her head back and letting out a great bark of a laugh.

Eventually, as a young woman, after spending weeks in prayer at an Anglican Benedictine abbey in England, she became an Episcopal priest, only about a decade after the first female Episcopal priest was ordained.

Today that feeling is leading her to Washington, D.C., to participate in a rally for peace that will include an ecumenical service at the Washington National Cathedral tonight and a march to the Pentagon on Saturday.

“It’s a familiar feeling,” Kruger said. “I’ve never doubted it. It’s always led to a more abundant life.”

Read it all.


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