Thursday, March 15, 2007

Thurs. Mar 15th, 5:30 p.m. backup

Given the huge breaking news below, I'm posting all of today's posts below in case the demand overwhelms the CaNNet servers.

Breaking News: Consents Ruled Insufficient even Though South Carolina Standing Committee Heard from more than a Majority of Standing Committees that they voted yes; Election declared Null and Void, Options for the Future Being Mulled

March 15th, 2007 posted by kendall at 5:32 pm

From here:

I received a phone call late this afternoon from the Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori giving notification that she was declaring null and void the election of The Very Rev. Mark Lawrence to be bishop of The Diocese of South Carolina. Although more than a majority of dioceses had voted to consent to Fr. Mark’s election, there were canonical deficiencies in the written responses sent to us. Several dioceses, both on and off American soil, thought that electronic permission was sufficient as had been their past accepted practice. The canons which apply are III.11.4(b), pp. 101-102 in the newly published 2006 Constitutions and Canons that require the prescribed testimonial to the consent be signed by a majority of each standing committee.

I have also notified Fr. Mark of her decision. We offer our deepest condolences to Fr. Mark and his wife Allison who have navigated this time of process with class, dignity and courage. I know that it is toughest on Allison who has had to watch her beloved spouse suffer so many indignities. We hope that they will agree to continue to be a part of the Diocese of South Carolina’s pursuit of securing our next Diocesan. Fr. Lawrence has modeled exemplary patience and calmness by enduring a level of scrutiny and persecution that is without precedent in The Episcopal Church (TEC).

Our Chancellor, Nick Ziegler has been suffering with bad health for several months. Currently our acting Chancellor, Wade Logan, is out of the country. He is scheduled to return within ten days. Upon his return we will convene both the Chancellor and acting Chancellor to discuss our options within the canons of TEC. The Standing Committee will then plot a course of action for the near future. In the meantime the Standing Committee will continue our partnership with our acting Bishop, the Right Rev. Edward Lloyd Salmon in tending to the needs of our diocese as we have for over the past 8 months. Bishop Salmon will represent us this week at the House of Bishop’s meeting to be held in Camp Allen, Texas.
I hope 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. I have been blessed and encouraged by the many clergy and lay people throughout the world that have worked tirelessly on Fr. Mark’s behalf making phone calls and communicating through the electronic media in an effort to secure a majority of consents.

As I write this release I am reminded of Christ’s words in Luke 9:62 But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” Our hand is to the plow, and in faithfulness to our Christ, we will not look back.

--The Rev. J. Haden McCormick
President of the Standing Committee of the Diocese of South Carolina

–The Rev. J. Haden McCormick
President of the Standing Committee of the Diocese of South Carolina

A Signal From Above

March 15th, 2007 posted by kendall at 5:08 pm

At first it sounds like classic morning-zoo radio: A host plays ringleader, telling stories and jokes, while a couple of sidekicks chime in and laugh a lot. The banter is peppered with sound effects, like the noise of a guy vomiting. There are snappy jingles and lots of running gags.

The format of “Johnny Stone in the Morning,” heard weekdays here on WAWZ, “Star” 99.1 FM, is familiar. The content — to anyone accustomed to radio shows like “Don and Mike” or “Opie and Anthony” — is not.

“I’ve got five phrases here, and you’ve got to tell us whether they’re Bible or not,” says Stone one recent morning, talking to a caller named Stephanie. She knows the rules and she’s ready to play.

“The tree is known by its fruit,” Stone reads aloud.

There’s a pause.

“Bible,” answers Stephanie.

A you-are-correct ding is heard, then a surprising amount of joy in the studio.

“B-I-B-L-E,” sings Stacey Stone, Johnny’s wife and the show’s news reader, “yes, that’s the book for me!”

“I stand alone on the word of God!” shouts David Dein, the show’s self-described wisenheimer, who for the moment sounds like a very earnest cheerleader. “B-I-B-L-E, Bible!”

Once calm is restored, Stone reads another sentence.

“We can’t all be heroes, because someone has to sit on the curb and clap as we go by,” he says.

This does not fool Stephanie for a moment.

“Not the Bible,” she says.

More joy. Stephanie gets three more right, acing the game and winning circus tickets. The crew congratulates her, and the show heads to a commercial.

“Johnny Stone, on the positive new sound of 99.1,” a recorded voice coos.

A Christian morning-zoo show? The genre is known for stunts, bawdy talk and poop jokes. But Stone and Pillar of Fire International, the evangelical group that owns Star 99.1, have removed the racy content and replaced it with family-friendly repartee and the occasional bit of scripture. That plus local traffic reports, news and lots of Christian rock, which the station calls “encouraging music

Read it all.

No Change on South Carolina Consents–55 and Holding

March 15th, 2007 posted by kendall at 4:40 pm

We are stilll waiting to hear from the national church office in South Carolina, as are a number of people in many places. So to all the people who keep calling and emailing, I don’t know with confidence any more than what I have already posted. I am guesing we will hear today or tomorrow before the start of the House of Bishops meeting. Thanks–KSH.

Canadian philosopher wins Templeton Prize

March 15th, 2007 posted by kendall at 2:09 pm

Charles Taylor, a Canadian philosopher who for 45 years has advocated the inclusion of spiritual dimensions in the study of humanities and natural and social sciences, won the 2007 Templeton Prize worth more than $1.5 million, it was announced in New York on Wednesday.

Taylor, 75, who teaches at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., is the first Canadian to win the Templeton Prize for Progress Toward Research or Discoveries About Spiritual Realities.

Taylor will receive the award, the world’s largest annual monetary prize given to an individual, from Britain’s Prince Philip at a private ceremony at Buckingham Palace on May 2.

In a telephone interview from New York, Taylor said the prevailing emphasis on the secular in the contemporary culture of science and academic study had shortchanged humanity.

It is impossible, he said, to “really understand” what makes people and societies “tick” without considering both the secular and spiritual.

“People must be able to think in both languages, in both levels — not just with one half of their brain,” Taylor said. To leave out the spiritual is like “working with the other half [of the brain] frozen.”

Born in Montreal in 1931, Taylor grew up in a Catholic home. His first degree was in history, but a 1952 Rhodes scholarship led him to study philosophy at Oxford, where he encountered what he describes as “an unstructured hostility” to religious belief.

Read it all.

Women and Aids

March 15th, 2007 posted by kendall at 2:02 pm

Father Michael Kelly, a world-renowned expert on educational responses to HIV and AIDS, describes the impact of the pandemic on women in Africa.

Listen to it all from BBC Northern Ireland but before you do, guess what percentage of women in Zambia are infected with AIDS.

Stephen Bates: Make the break

March 15th, 2007 posted by kendall at 12:04 pm

QUESTION: What is the one thing you would most like to see happen by this time next year?

I would like to see the division of the worldwide Anglican communion. Despite his prolonged and selfless efforts to keep it together over the last few years, Archbishop Rowan Williams ought to fail, because the communion has become irreconcilably divided over the issue of homosexuality. It would be better for the two factions to move apart, so that they can stop sniping at each other and start focusing on other issues.

Separation would ensure that conservative evangelicals and their developing world allies, with their fierce denunciations of homosexuals, could retreat into their own pure, sexually-unsullied, hermetically sealed bubble and float off on their own, while liberals and those who feel that the church can indeed accommodate itself to all types and conditions of folk can spend their energies on issues that should rightly concern them more.

Read it all.

Andrew Sullivan: Hope In Baghdad?

March 15th, 2007 posted by kendall at 11:51 am

Read it all.

Top General Explains Remarks on Gays

March 15th, 2007 posted by kendall at 11:45 am

The nation’s highest-ranking military officer said Tuesday that he should not have expressed his personal view that homosexual conduct was immoral, and that he instead should have focused recent remarks on his support for current Pentagon policy that prohibits openly gay people from serving in the armed forces.

The officer, Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, re-ignited a smoldering debate on Monday over the armed services’ policy, telling the editorial board of The Chicago Tribune that he believed homosexual conduct was immoral and akin to adultery.

Gay rights advocacy groups denounced General Pace’s remarks on Tuesday and demanded an apology. Even staunch supporters of the military, including Senator John W. Warner of Virginia, the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, criticized General Pace for his statements.

“I respectfully, but strongly, disagree with the chairman’s view that homosexuality is immoral,” Senator Warner said Tuesday.

General Pace released a statement Tuesday afternoon in an effort to quiet the debate, saying: “In expressing my support for the current policy, I also offered some personal opinions about moral conduct. I should have focused more on my support of the policy and less on my personal moral views.”

“People have a wide range of opinions on this sensitive subject,” General Pace stated. “The important thing to remember is that we have a policy in effect, and the Department of Defense has a statutory responsibility to implement that policy.”

He noted that the Pentagon policy, often called “don’t ask, don’t tell,” allows individuals “to serve this nation” while, at the same time, “it does not make a judgment about the morality of individual acts.”

During the 14 years the policy has been in effect, most of its advocates said the rule should remain to protect discipline and unit cohesion, and rarely entered a discussion over morals. There is a growing call from some retired officers and members of Congress to do away with the policy and the underlying legislation.

Read it all and there are letters in response here.

From Public Radio’s Marketplace: The separation of church and real estate

March 15th, 2007 posted by kendall at 10:40 am

Listen to it all.

Anglicans, Roman Catholics reflect on relationship, continue dialogue on Mary statement

March 15th, 2007 posted by kendall at 10:28 am


The 62nd meeting of the Anglican-Roman Catholic Theological Consultation (ARC-USA) took place at Saint Paul’s College in Washington, DC, March 8 to 10. Chaired jointly by Bishop Edwin F. Gulick, Jr., of Kentucky, and the Most Reverend Edward W. Clark, auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles, the meeting focused on recent developments in Anglican-Catholic relations, trends within the Anglican Communion and two statements that are nearing completion.

Further consideration was given to a response by ARC-USA to the 2004 ‘’Seattle Document'’ of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission, entitled ‘’Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ.'’ Reflection papers were presented by the Rev. Francis Sullivan, SJ, of Boston College and the Rev. Dr. Ruth Meyers of Seabury-Western Theological Seminary. The group decided to move forward on drafting an agreed statement that would be ready for approval at the next meeting.

The Rev. Dr. Robert Prichard of Virginia Theological Seminary presented an initial draft text of a proposed Spanish-language pastoral tool that could be used to clarify the distinctions between the churches and to illustrate what progress has been made in their ecumenical relationship in recent decades. The text will be revised and completed for consideration at the next meeting.

The group also reflected on the relationship between ARC-USA and the international Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogue. It also heard a presentation from Gulick on the contents of a document soon to be issued by the International Anglican Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM), ‘’Growing Together in Unity and Mission.'’

Bishop Christopher Epting, ecumenical officer for the Episcopal Church and a guest at the meeting of Anglican primates that took place in February in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, reported on that gathering. A main focus of the primates’ meeting was a discussion on the Episcopal Church’s response to the Windsor Report. In the short term, the primates asked the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church not to give consent to any candidate for bishop who is living in a same-gender relationship nor authorize same-gender blessings within their dioceses. In the longer term, the group approved the offer of the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church to install a ‘’primatial vicar'’ to represent her in certain Episcopal dioceses that are uncomfortable with recent developments. It also called for the creation of a pastoral council of bishops, and the development of an Anglican Covenant intended to affirm the cooperative principles that hold together the Anglican Communion.

During their meeting, ARC-USA members visited the headquarters of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). They met briefly to hear from Dr. Joanne Pierce of the College of the Holy Cross about progress in the publication of a study guide on Anglican-Roman Catholic relations, and were given a tour of the building. This was followed by a special luncheon in their honor, attended by the Rev. James Massa, Executive Director of the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, and other members of the SEIA staff. Msgr. Ronny Jenkins, Associate General Secretary of the USCCB, also greeted the group.

As usual, during the course of the meeting Eucharist was celebrated in both traditions, and likewise Morning Prayer and Compline were celebrated each morning and evening. The members participated in these to the extent allowed by the disciplines of their own churches.

The sixty-third meeting of ARC-USA is scheduled to take place from October 18 to 21, 2007, at a location to be determined. The October meeting will conclude the current phase of the dialogue, and will be followed by a re-constitution of the commission according to a new model. The dialogue will now be conducted in rounds, each of which will address a specific topic and include members from both sides with special expertise on the question at hand. In October the current members will decide the topic of the next round, which will last approximately five years. This model is already in effect in several other national dialogues taking place in the United States.

The Anglican-Roman Catholic Consultation in the United States was established in 1965 and ordinarily meets twice each year. In addition to Bishop Gulick, the Episcopal members are Bishop Barry Howe of West Missouri; Bishop-Elect Thomas Breidenthal of the Diocese of Southern Ohio; the Rev. Dr Ruth Meyers; the Rev. Dr. Robert W. Prichard; the Rev. Dr. Ellen Wondra; Dr. Marsha Dutton; the Rev. Canon Dr. J. Robert Wright; Bishop Christopher Epting (staff); and Rev. Dirk Reinken (staff). The Rev. Richard D. Visconti serves as EDEIO representative.

The Roman Catholic members, in addition to Bishop Clark, include the Most Reverend John C. Dunne, Auxiliary Bishop of Rockville Centre; the Rev. Dr. Robert Imbelli; Prof. Jon Nilson; Prof. Joanne Pierce; the Rev. Francis A. Sullivan, SJ; the Rev. George Tavard, AA; the Rev. Msgr. Robert Trisco; the Rev. Dr. Ronald G. Roberson, CSP (staff); Benjamin Brown (staff); and the Rev. Vincent Heier (CADEIO representative).

A complete list of the agreed statements released by the consultation as well as links to earlier press releases can be found on the USCCB website.

A Pastoral Letter from the Bishop of Quincy

March 15th, 2007 posted by kendall at 10:12 am

From here:

Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6).

To the Beloved Clergy, People, and Companions of our Diocese:

We write to thank each of you who have been diligently praying for direction for our Diocese at this very difficult time in the life of our Church, our Diocese, and the Anglican Communion, and to ask you to remain steadfast in those prayers.

The statements of the Primates of the Anglican Communion, meeting recently In Tanzania, have made it clear that in some essential areas of theology and practice the Episcopal Church has moved outside the bounds of apostolic teaching and practice as received within the Anglican Communion and has not made a fully acceptable response to the Windsor Report.

If you have not read the Primates’ Communique, you can find it, and the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant, at the following link, or your priest can obtain a copy for you.

The Primates, in a more-than-gracious gesture, have again pleaded for reconciliation within the Communion and offered the Episcopal Church a final opportunity to stop, repent, and return to acceptable Christian teaching and discipline. They have set a deadline of September 30th for a response. If the House of Bishop does not make a clear and “unequivocal” covenant to abide by the requirements of the Windsor Report by that date, we expect there will be timely further action by the Primates.

Some of you, like us, have concerns and questions about the proposals set out in the Communique. We continue to assess these proposals, but we need to hear from you. We will hold three special Deanery Convocations in the next few weeks to which all of you are invited. The time and place of each Convocation will be published via our email servers, our website, and by announcement in each church. The Bishop and members of the Standing Committee will be present at each Convocation. We urge you to take part so that we may hear from you, and you may hear from your brothers and sisters around the Diocese. You will help us chart our course of action in the coming months as we await the response of the House of Bishops. It is especially important that members of your Vestry or Bishop’s Committee and your elected Synod delegates make every effort to attend their Deanery Convocation so that they are fully informed.

We must be mindful that the struggle of the present moment goes beyond the internal difficulties of the Episcopal Church. The actions of 2003 General Convention have endangered the unity and trust of the Anglican Communion itself. These actions have escalated into a crisis which we can not avoid and which we must address in the interests of the unity and faithful witness of the Diocese of Quincy.

Most importantly, we want you to know that as we wait, we are not waiting passively. As we honor the request of the Primates to give the leaders of the Episcopal Church one final chance to amend their course, we, your Bishop and Standing Committee, will be diligent to assure the Diocese of Quincy a secure home with faithful Anglicans in America, and around the world.

We appeal for your continued patience. Let us continue to encourage one another, and not lose hope. If at times we feel “stuck,” we might remember St. Paul in prison. Some of his most powerful witness came during those times when he was the Lord’s “ambassador in chains.” Nothing must prevent us from proclaiming the Gospel.

Our prayers for the Lord’s intervention must be unwavering, so let us join St. Paul in exhorting one another to prayer:

To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that utterance may be given me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

Please do not hesitate to contact any one of us directly with your thoughts and concerns. We each pledge to you that we will speak boldly on behalf the Gospel - and our Diocese -in the coming months.

Faithfully in Christ,

The Rt. Rev’d. Keith L. Ackerman, SSC Bishop

The Very Rev’d. John R. Spencer President of the Standing Committee

The Rev’d. Jim Marshall, Obl. OSB

The Rev’d. Robert Dedmon

Mrs. Lois Shawl

Mrs. Joan Quigg, Obl. OSB

Mr. Robert Fairman

Housing Price Declines May Set Off U.S. Recession, Merrill Lynch Says

March 15th, 2007 posted by kendall at 7:34 am

Tighter credit standards among mortgage lenders might lower U.S. home prices by 10 percent this year and push the economy into recession, a Merrill Lynch & Co. analyst said in a report.

New Century Financial Corp., the second-biggest subprime lender and other mortgage companies may fail as the number of customers falling behind on payments rose to a four-year high. More than 20 subprime lenders have closed or sought buyers since the start of 2006 and bank regulators are pushing lenders to raise credit standards.

“Even if the pullback is only aimed at the subprime market, there could well be potentially significant further drags on home prices, construction activity and of course consumer spending growth,'’ Merrill’s David Rosenberg said in a note to investors.

Declines in home prices would have an effect on everything from furniture and appliance sales to landscaping and the price of copper. That would drive unemployment above 5 percent by the end of the year and the probability of a recession to “very close to 100 percent'’ unless the Federal Reserve cut benchmark interest rates by a full percentage point, Rosenberg said.

“What we are concerned about most are the knock-on effects from the pullback,'’ Rosenberg said.

Read it all.

Gay marriage supporters out in force at hearing in New Hampshire

March 15th, 2007 posted by kendall at 7:22 am

[John] Lynch spokesman Colin Manning said the governor has been talking with legislators about the issue, but gave no specifics.

“The governor opposes gay marriage however he does believe the rights of all New Hampshire families should be protected. He believes the state needs to do a better job of doing that,” Manning said. “It’s very early in the process.”

Meanwhile gay marriage supporters say it is long overdue.

“This legislation once and for all puts an end to the New Hampshire government’s discrimination of its gay and lesbian citizens by denying them access to a marriage license and the protections and societal recognition that brings,” said Baxley, who is executive director of the New Hampshire Freedom to Marry Coalition, a pro-marriage group.

“New Hampshire is about to become the first state in the nation to elect an openly gay man to become chair of a state political party,” said Baxley, referring to former state Rep. Raymond Buckley.

“New Hampshire is the state that consecrated the first openly gay bishop of the Episcopal Church in the world,” she said, referring to Bishop Gene Robinson.

More than 100 people attended the hearing Wednesday in Representatives Hall, many wearing fluorescent stickers reading “Support Marriage. I do.”

Supporters included Sen. Harold Janeway, D-Webster, and his wife, Betsy Janeway, who have a gay son and daughter.

“Let us be the state that leads, not follows,” Betsy Janeway said. “Civil unions are nice and well meant, but they are not marriage.”

Dawn Touzin, a director at Planned Parenthood of Northern New England and chairwoman of the board of Freedom to Marry, said the steps she and her partner have taken to legally secure their relationship still fall short of the benefits marriage provides.

Read it all.

Episcopal bishops expected to talk, not act

March 15th, 2007 posted by kendall at 7:18 am

“There’s an ultimatum before the bishops,” says the Rev. Kendall Harmon, canon theologian for the Diocese of South Carolina. Harmon reads this in the lengthy statement signed by the 38 primates, leaders of national and regional churches, including U.S. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, after they met in Tanzania in February.

But when the Episcopal House of Bishops meets Saturday through Wednesday at Camp Allen, Texas, for its annual spring retreat, “no definitive statement is expected, although they may have a business session,” says the Rev. Jan Nunley, a spokeswoman for the Episcopal Church.

They may not vote on the issues until their regular September business meeting — if then. “It’s not an ultimatum unless you think it is,” Nunley says.

Read it all.

Luxury Pie: New York City Restaurant Offers $1,000 Pizza

March 14th, 2007 posted by kendall at 8:52 pm

We’ve been dealing with the pocket-emptying effects of rising gas prices, new electric rates, and an increase in cab fare, but how would you feel about breaking the bank all for…a pizza? Now you can find out thanks to Manhattan restauranteur Nino Selimaj, who has apparently brought from the heavens a real “pie in the sky” with his new $1,000 pizza.

Yep, that’ll be $1,000 please.

The pizza will be added to the menu at “Nino’s Bellisima,” one of Selimaj’s six restaurants in the city. Forget traditional cheese and pizza sauce, the record-priced pie will be topped with creme fraiche, chives, eight ounces of four different kinds of Petrossian caviar, four ounces of thinly sliced Maine lobster tail, salmon roe, and a little bit of spice with wasabi.

And unlike your typical pizza, this one won’t be cooked, after all, that would spoil the fish. The 12-inch pie is sliced into four pieces, which comes to $250 per slice.

“Let them say I’m crazy,” Selimaj says. “But I believe in this product, and it’s gonna sell!”

So who’s gonna buy this pie? Selimaj is betting Wall Street business types.

“My luxury pizza will become as famous as a night at the Waldorf Astoria. When Mr. Chow’s introduced upscale Asian Cuisine several years ago, people couldn’t imagine paying hundreds of dollars for Chinese food. Now upscale Asian cuisine is as common as New York hotdogs. Upscale Pizza will be next,” Selimaj said.

Read it all.


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