Friday, August 31, 2007

That's my church!

Episcopal shield

Robbo the LB has another ECUSA posting at The Llama Butchers:
. . . Aside from the impending schism within the Anglican Communion, we're gearing up for the start of the new liturgical year and our annual church homecoming. But the only message I'm getting (and being expected to pass along) is "be nice to each other, dream your dreams and be sure to keep sending those checks to the U.N." How am I supposed to get excited when I perceive the message to be about a mile wide but about an inch deep? And when I know that any effort on my part to push for a deeper meaning will be met only by more spun-sugar?

Feh.

Well, I do know that this is the year something is going to happen vis a vis Robbo's spiritual journey. Just don't know what it is yet.

Read it all.

As school year starts, McGreevey heads to seminary

From newsday.com:

The nation's first openly gay governor is headed back to school Tuesday _ as a seminary student.

Jim McGreevey will begin full-time studies at General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church in Manhattan, seminary spokesman Bruce Parker confirmed. McGreevey switched his religious affiliation from Roman Catholic to Episcopalian earlier this year and expressed interest in pursuing a call to ministry.

As a student in the non-degree program at the seminary, McGreevey has up to a year to choose a course of study. In the meantime, he can choose a broad array of courses in theology, liturgy, ministry and related topics that are available to students who are unsure of their educational and vocational goals, Parker said. . .

. . . Religion has become an issue is his contentious divorce proceedings. His estranged wife, Dina Matos McGreevey, has demanded that their daughter not be allowed to receive communion in the Episcopal Church because she is being raised a Roman Catholic.

Asked about her estranged husband enrolling in divinity school, Matos McGreevey laughed.

"In order to be a leader, whether it's a leader of a state, a nation or a church, you need to have some sort of moral compass and I don't think he does. It's unfortunate," she said Friday. "I certainly wouldn't look to him for guidance or advice or as a role model."

Growing up in Middlesex County, McGreevey served as an altar boy and attended Catholic schools. While in office, he continued to practice the religion, but differed from church teachings in several areas, including his support of abortion rights. . .
Read it all.

Clergy in New Orleans need counseling

From the Associated Press:

Clergymen struggling to comfort the afflicted in New Orleans are finding they, too, need someone to listen to their troubles.

The sight of misery all around them — and the combined burden of helping others put their lives back together while repairing their own homes and places of worship — are taking a spiritual and psychological toll on the city's ministers, priests and rabbis, many of whom are in counseling two years after Hurricane Katrina.

Almost every local Episcopal minister is in counseling, including Bishop Charles Jenkins himself, who has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Jenkins, whose home in suburban Slidell was so badly damaged by Katrina that it was 10 months before he and his wife could move back in, said he has suffered from depression, faulty short-term memory, and difficulty concentrating or sleeping.

Low-flying helicopters sometimes cause flashbacks to the near-despair — the "dark night of the soul" — into which he was once plunged, he said. He said the experience felt "like the absence of God" — a lonely and frightening sensation. . .


Read it all
and please add the clergy of New Orleans to your prayers.

Christ Church: A part of Istanbul's history

Christ Church Istanbul

From the Turkish Daily News:

Tucked between the quarters of Galata and Tophane in the Kumbaracı Yokuşu neighborhood, on a street that reminds one of Orhan Pamuk's melancholic image of Istanbul with its old, dark and partially deteriorating houses, is Turkey's finest example of Neo French Gothic architecture: Christ Church.

Established in 1558 and designed by George Edmund Street, the architect famous for designing London's Royal Courts of Justice, Christ Church is part of Istanbul's Anglican Chaplaincy. The massive building was constructed between 1858 and 1868 on property that had been given to the British Crown by Sultan Abdülmecit to provide a place of worship for the British community around Galata. It served to commemorate the victims of the Crimean War that took place from 1853 - 1856 between the French-British-Ottoman allies, and Russia. Interestingly, the church shares a boundary with its neighboring mosque, which is unique in itself.

“In spite of being just a few minutes from the international atmosphere of İstiklal Street, the daily interaction takes place within the context of village culture, with each of the kahvehanes (coffee houses) representing different places of Turkey,” said Ian Sherwood, the church's chaplain. Sherwood is also in charge of the British Consulate Chaplaincy, which received much attention following the Nov. 2003 bombing.

“Apart from friendly encounters on the street between devout Muslims and the various Christians who come to Christ Church, there is unfortunately no interaction with the imam of the neighborhood,” he said.

The Anglican Church is of less dogmatic character than the Roman Catholic Church, with its liturgy in the English language being provided for people of different faiths every Sunday morning.

“At the moment our visitors come from more than 15 different nations, among them not only Anglicans but also Roman Catholics, Protestants, Hindus, and also some interested Muslims,” he said. . .

Read it all.

Clock running out on Episcopal Church

From the Catholic News Agency (yes, other parts of the Body are watching what the Anglican Communion does or does not do about the actions of ECUSA):

As of yesterday, the Episcopal Church had only one month left to respond to the requests of the Anglican primates, issued last February, to reverse the denomination's course regarding the blessing of same-sex unions and the ordination of openly gay bishops.

"With the clock rapidly running out on the Episcopal Church, the pressure is on for the denomination to place the good of the worldwide Anglican Communion above its own interests,” said Ralph Webb of Anglican Action. “Unfortunately, the denomination still gives little hope that it will rise to meet the needs of not only the Communion to which it belongs, but the entire body of Christ.”

Earlier this week, Rev. Tracey Lind, an open and partnered lesbian, was nominated for bishop of Chicago. Webb points out that all five candidates for bishop of Chicago support the Episcopal Church's movement toward same-sex blessings and gay bishops.

Webb notes that Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has said this movement is part of the denomination's mission.

“Yet that goal and many other examples of jettisoning biblical, traditional Anglican faith have led thousands of orthodox Anglicans to leave the Episcopal Church,” says Webb.

This movement puts the Episcopal Church outside of the mainstream and outside the larger body of Christ, says Webb.

AAC weekly message from the Rev. David Anderson

From the American Anglican Council weekly update email:

A Message from the President
The Rev. Canon David C. Anderson
President & CEO, American Anglican Council

Beloved in Christ,

This commentary is being sent from Nairobi as text mail from my cell phone so it will be brief. On Thursday eight primates and representatives of two other Anglican provinces gathered at All Saints Anglican Cathedral for the consecration of Bishops-elect Bill Atwood and Bill Murdoch as Suffragan bishops of the Cathedral Diocese. They will be responsible for pastoral care of the Kenyan congregations in North America . On Sunday, Uganda will have a similar consecration of Bishop-elect John Guernsey.

These bold actions taken by two Anglican provinces signify the resolve of Global South provinces to move forward in addressing the situation in North America.

What is also clear is that many provinces have seen enough evidence of the US Episcopal Church's defiance, and they are not anticipating anything further from TEC except deception and further movement forward on the revisionist agenda.

The AAC will be releasing our Communiqué Compliance Report Summary prior to TEC’s House of Bishops meeting, in time for the AB of Canterbury to "read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest" what will be obvious: the leopard hasn't changed its spots. Indeed, TEC is pursuing its agenda with audacity: a lesbian priest is a nominee for bishop of Chicago. Honestly, we couldn't make this up. And down in Lexington, Kentucky Bishop Stacy Sauls - former trial attorney and understudy to TEC Chancellor David Booth Beers - is asking for help in compiling a massive list of all the TEC congregations who have fled "overseas" so that in their litigation efforts they can leave no one un-sued.

While Bishop Sauls is compiling names, he can add Fr. Chuck Reeder and Holy Comforter Church, Broomfield, Colorado, who have announced this week that they are departing their diocese and TEC. For congregations and clergy in hostile dioceses things are becoming progressively more difficult.

And five retired TEC bishops are asking, “Where is TEC getting the money for all this litigation?” Be sure to read their letter in this Update.

On a positive note, I look forward to another refreshing time of fellowship and worship in Africa this coming Sunday, when John Guernsey will be consecrated in Uganda. May the Lord richly bless the ministries of these three new Anglican bishops in North America.

Blessings and Peace in Christ Jesus,

The Rev. Canon David C. Anderson
President & CEO of the AAC

The Anglican consecrations in Kenya

Anglican consecrations in Kenya (photo by Antony Njuguna, Reuters)

Here are some links to various reports on the Anglican consecrations of the Rev Canon Bill Atwood and the Rev Bill Murdoch that took place August 30 in Kenya:

Next stop, Uganda for the consecration of the Rev. John A.M. Guernsey as Bishop of Uganda in Mbarara on September 2. Stay tuned!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Eternity

Autumn glory
He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity's sun rise.

William Blake
(English poet, 1757 - 1827)

AnglicanTV raw footage *sticky*

You can find raw footage from AnglicanTV here. (And don't forget the Donate button on the right - perfect for showing Kevin how much we appreciate his efforts!)

Anglican Provincial Secretaries issue statement after Hong Kong meeting

From EpiscopalLife Online:

The Provincial Secretaries of the Anglican Communion met in Hong Kong from 23 to 30 August 2007 for the sixth in a series of informal meetings started in the 1980s. Provincial Secretaries are key administrators for each province and the conference programme was designed to further their professional development, encourage them in their faith and ministry, increase knowledge and understanding of the challenges facing other Provinces and to strengthen bonds within the Communion.

Representatives from 29 Provinces (see below) and from the Anglican Churches in Cuba and Sri Lanka attended. A number sent regrets. . .

The Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Kenneth Kearon, who was present with two colleagues, briefed Provincial Secretaries on a wide range of general organisational and practical issues within the Communion. He also introduced a session on current issues of division in the Communion and the particular role that Provincial Secretaries can play, including in facilitating an orderly discussion within Provinces on the draft Anglican Covenant and timely preparation for the 2008 Lambeth Conference. . .

. . . Frank discussions both in the formal sessions and informally served to strengthen bonds of friendship among all those present. These served to reinforce the importance of continuing to seek ways of maintaining unity within the Communion at this time of strain and uncertainty. All committed themselves to pray for each other over the coming days. There was agreement that planning should be put in hand for a further meeting in the series in three years' time.

Provinces represented: Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia; Australia; Bangladesh; Brazil; Burundi; Canada; Central Africa; Central American Region; England; Episcopal Church (USA); Hong Kong; Indian Ocean; Ireland; Japan; Jerusalem and the Middle East; Kenya; Melanesia; Mexico; Myanmar; Pakistan; Philippines; Rwanda; Scotland; South India; Tanzania; Uganda; Wales; West Africa; West Indies. The Anglican Churches in Cuba and Sri Lanka were also represented. Congo, Korea and Sudan had to send last minute apologies.

Read it all.

Of "independent shadowy Anglican fixers"

From Andrew Carey's blog:

To add to the Anglican chaos this week we have a further three consecrations of Americans to African provinces.

Bill Atwood, one of the new breed of independent shadowy Anglican fixers is to be consecrated by the Archbishop of Kenya on 30 August, together with the Rev Bill Murdoch, while the Rev John Guernsey receives the laying on of hands by the Archbishop of Uganda this weekend. According to my calculations when you add these three to the six Bishops of the Anglican Mission in America, and Bishop Martyn Minns who was consecrated by the Archbishop of Nigeria earlier this year, that makes 10 new bishops to serve disaffected conservative congregations in the Episcopal Church of the USA. In the meantime there continues to be talk about incursions by Nigeria onto English soil.

I’m not convinced about either the need for more mitres, or about the timing of all these consecrations. I’m not greatly sympathetic however to the official Anglican Communion response that the consecrations create ‘increased confusion’. The confusion came with the consecration of Gene Robinson, and the subsequent inability of the Episcopal Church’s leadership to respond adequately to the clear voice of the Anglican Communion, and also to find a way to accommodate parishes and clergy who could no longer identify with their own diocesan bishops. Some kind of alternative oversight scheme should surely have been worked out which responded to the need of those congregations. It is difficult to escape the conclusion that the Episcopal Church desires nothing more than conformity to its own mores and canons at the expense of theological and ecclesiological diversity. . .

. . . Of equal scandal to the theological drift of the Episcopal Church into a kind of uncommitted unitarianism, has been the failure of those who are theologically orthodox to stand firm together in opposing that movement. Individualism and schism has marked the response of American conservatives to their denominational tussles. And I still don’t see how separate Rwandan, Ugandan, Kenyan and Nigerian adventurism on American soil really helps create any kind of solidity around central theological convictions.

In fact, to the outsider these intiatives must smack of desperation – the shock tactics of a Militant Tendency, or an ‘Outrage’ rather than the calm authority of the party in power.

So what has gone so badly wrong. . .

Read it all.

Live Streaming AnglicanTV *sticky*



AnglicanTV will start live streaming at 1:00 p.m. EST today (Thursday, 8/30) from Kenya - or as Kevin says, "I guess live is a relative term. This was recorded when you were all asleep in your American beds."

The last stand of Rowan Williams

From Jordan Hylden at First Things:

. . . Things will come to a point at the September 19-25 meeting of the Americans, when the Episcopal Church’s bishops gather in New Orleans. Williams has been invited to give an address and answer questions. It could be the most important performance of his career as the archbishop of Canterbury.

As has been reported by the press, the Episcopal bishops last spring were given three requests and a deadline by the global Anglican primates. They were asked to stop consecrating actively gay bishops (meaning no more Gene Robinsons), to stop formal blessings of same-sex unions, and to provide space for those who dissent from the regnant liberal theology of the Episcopal Church. The deadline was September 30, so the upcoming meeting will in effect signal definitively whether or not the American church will decide to remain in step with the Anglican Communion or instead detach itself and go its own way.

Williams’ stance at the meeting will inevitably signal whose side he is on. The majority of the Episcopal Church’s bishops do not want to comply with the primates’ requests, as they signaled vociferously last spring. The question is: If they refuse, what if anything will happen to them? Will the American bishops get to come to Lambeth and participate in the other global conferences of Anglicanism no matter what they do, or will refusal mean that they’ll have to sit at home?

It’s an important question, because sitting at home would mean that the American church would no longer have any say in the decision-making bodies of Anglicanism. In effect, it would mean that the Episcopal Church would no longer be a fully onstituent part of the Anglican Communion—which, especially when viewed in light of Anglicanism’s history, would be a striking change. Many American bishops who
otherwise would support Gene Robinson would at the least be given pause by such a momentous choice.

Of course, it is just this choice that the Americans want to avoid, as, most likely, does Rowan Williams. . .

. . . Like any group lacking authority, Anglicanism thereafter will break apart into several factions. Many Anglican churches in the Global South will pull away, as some have already signaled they will do. This will not, however, be confined to the south, as Williams himself has publicly recognized—the dividing line will run down the middle of many Global North churches as well, such has already begun to happen in the United States and surely also would happen in England. And neither will the break be into two groups, one liberal and one conservative. Theological disputes over issues such as women’s ordination and the sacraments (not to mention old nationalistic and racial quarrels) will divide churches even further. Like the rest of Protestantism, Anglicanism will wind up as a confusing and quarrelsome alphabet soup.

Rowan Williams does not want this, and thankfully neither do most Anglicans, which is why this nightmarish (albeit plausible) scenario does not have to play itself out. Many Anglicans, desiring to avoid the demise of their church, are hoping for a better way forward; one characterized by mutual trust, promise-keeping, selflessness and community instead of pridefulness and autonomy. The solution to the current crisis in Anglicanism, as more and more have been coming to realize, is clear—walking together under the authority of the one Lord Christ Jesus as revealed to us in Scripture. . .

Myself, I think Mr. Hylden is being too optimistic about the Episcopal Church, but read it all yourself.

Little Shoe Thursday

Stride Rite Marissa (Toddler)
From Teeny Manolo: Celebrating the Joys of Parenting and Childhood,

a shoe that’s also comfy and supportive, but is as pretty as a pink unicorn as well

Kenya's Anglicans consecrate conservative US clerics

From Christian Today:

The Anglican Archbishop of Kenya has consecrated two conservative US priests as suffragan bishops to take over the pastoral care of congregations that have broken away from the Episcopal Church in the US because of its pro-homosexual stance.

Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi, leader of the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK), told the Rev Canon Bill Atwood and the Rev Bill Murdoch during Thursday’s service at the All Saints Cathedral Nairobi, “As a bishop ... you are to maintain the Church's discipline, guard her faith and promote her mission in the world.”

Hundreds of Christians, including around 10 primates from the “Global South”, looked on as Atwood and Murdoch pledged their word to “serve the international interests of the Anglican Church of Kenya, to serve clergy and congregations in North America under the Kenyan jurisdiction,” according to Reuters. . .

. . . Bishops Atwood and Murdoch will now oversee 30 North American congregations that have turned to the ACK for leadership.

And from Ruth Gledhill at the Times Online:

The worldwide Anglican Church took a further step towards schism over homosexuality today with the ordination of two American Bishops to pastor to conservative US Anglicans under the jurisdiction of Kenya.

The Right Rev William Murdoch and the Right Rev Bill Atwood were consecrated at All Saints Cathedral in Nairobu by Kenya's Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi. The ordinations are valid but are expected to be counted as "irregular" by Lambeth Palace in London, placing the two outside the officially-recognised Anglican hierarchy.

Nonetheless, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, will come under pressure from conservatives to invite the two new bishops to next year's Lambeth Conference. . .

. . . At the service, attended by ten primates from the Global South bloc of conservative African, Asian and Latin American churches, the two men pledged to serve the international interests of the Anglican Church of Kenya and of the congregations in North America that have rejected the care of their own, liberal bishiops and opted for Kenyan jurisdiction.

Archbishop Nzimbi said: “It is evident that the conflicts in the communion affect us all and we have a responsibility to address the areas that we are able to impact.". . .

AnglicanTV in Kenya

Don't forget to check out Kevin's video at AnglicanTV!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Acquainted with the night

City at night

I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain—and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.

I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.

I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street,

But not to call me back or say good-by;
And further still at an unearthly height
O luminary clock against the sky

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
I have been one acquainted with the night.

Robert Frost
(American poet, 1874 - 1963)

Episcopalians in my backyard

From Mere Comments at Touchstone Magazine:

I remember 27 years ago talking to an Episcopal priest in Chicago, an Anglo-Catholic, asking him about the future of ECUSA (I was personally interested). He described the then-current bishop as a "totalitarian liberal" and predicted that the future for orthodox Anglicans would end in some sort of separate "province" at safe arm's-length from the liberal bishops of ECUSA.

In some ways his prediction came true, though not on the timetable nor through the means he expected. . .

Read it all.

A valiant Christian living under a hostile government

A very thoughtful post from Fr. Timothy Fountain up on Northern Plains Anglicans. For those of us laity in traditional Anglican churches in revisionist dioceses, I think this post helps us understand better what our clergy have been going through:

. . . As a priest, I have spiritual needs that will influence my decision – needs that cannot be met by my relationship with my congregation. I cannot seem to get that reality across to my current TEC parish, which is overwhelmingly orthodox by just about any measure and which shows me great affection.

A spiritual leader needs to be under Biblical oversight. Without this, a rector or vicar is more vulnerable to temptations of various kinds. Pride becomes a great danger – “We don’t worry about the rest of the church – we have you” is one of things I’ve heard from well meaning parishioners here. That is dangerous to my soul, however lovingly intended. . .

. . . I don’t have a conclusion. What’s next is in God’s hands.

I’m reasonably certain that institutional TEC will not rejoin Christianity any time soon. That means a) I will be out of TEC altogether or b) I will remain in it under some kind of dhimmitude. I have made preparation either way, and will walk through whatever door God opens. I am blessed by my family’s courage and support in this – they will endure whatever sufferings or sacrifices come.

A few weeks ago, as we prayed together, my wife and I were drawn to Romans 5:8 – “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” The seemingly trivial word “while” is what caught us. We are in Dr. Seuss’ “Waiting Place”; or sitting like explorers on a becalmed sea. “While” we wait, “while” God’s plan unfolds, we’ve done all that we can to argue points, explore options, and make choices. We’ve done all we can to warn Good Shepherd about TEC’s corruption (and we’ve been clear and emphatic about this). We’ve knocked on other doors. “While” the conclusion remains open, there’s no more to do.

“While” we wait for what’s next, we rely on what Scripture tells us: God does not need us to force a particular outcome. “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” And it is on the cross – the one that TEC rejects but that still “towers over the wrecks of time”- where God will always show his love for us, wherever we are.

[boldface mine]
Read it all.

On location Nairobi, Kenya

Kevin is in Kenya! From AnglicanTV:

Here is the schedule as best I can tell. Tomorrow the consecrations will be held at the Cathedral. This will occur well before anyone in America wakes up. Therefore I will delay the streaming until 1pm est time.

The service takes four hours. I will probably stream one hour from each service and then post the rest of the videos when I return home. There will be a chat room enabled where you can discuss the service at AnglicanTV.

Now the bad news. The Hilton charges $40 per day for internet use! Please consider donating to AnglicanTV. I did NOT budget for such an excessive charge.

San Diego area traditional Anglican churches

SanDiegoAnglicans.com has a nifty search page with a listing of the orthodox/traditional Anglican parishes in the San Diego area, 3 still ECUSA. Take a look.

Still Mother Teresa clung to Christ

From Touchstone Magazine, an excellent commentary by Anthony Esolen in reaction to Time's recent article on Mother Teresa and her faith:

. . . But it turns out that Mother Teresa's life in Calcutta was not a life of what we would recognize as joy. I hesitate to claim that she did not know joy: as I would hesitate to claim that anyone so thoroughly abandoned to the call and life and grace of Christ could ever really be separated from Him, regardless of whether the affective response of her heart, how she felt her union with Christ, was what we call happiness. The world thought it knew her, and thought it could dismiss her charity with a smile at her naive belief and childish enthusiasm. But it cannot do that now, so it dismisses her by claiming her as one of its own -- not seeing that Mother Teresa's life looms as an even greater and more inexplicable mystery for those who say in their hearts, "There is no God.". . .

. . . What is mysterious is that after her visions of Jesus ceased, after all the inner consolations were taken away, after the locutions, what my evangelical brethren call "words of knowledge," fell silent, still Mother Teresa clung to Christ. She retained her faith without the emotional accompaniments (and here let married Christians take heed). She continued to serve the poor of Calcutta even though the nagging little viper at her shoulder must have whispered to her, constantly, "This is all absurd." Let us be absolutely clear about this: outside of the ambit of Christian culture, no one goes to Calcutta. What Mother Teresa did, no one does, not even for a year, without having been influenced by the message and example of Christ. And to live there for good, no one does at all without the virtue of faith. . .

. . . Here with Mother Teresa we have even more: a great goodness united to quiet suffering, unspeakable patience, and a kind of bright and steely charity, for how easy would it have been for Mother to try to salve her sores by "sharing" her feelings with her fellow sisters? A worldly man may enter the Peace Corps because he "believes" in it and wishes to do good; he will not stay there one month after he has ceased to believe. Mother Teresa never ceased to believe, even in and through the silence. . .

Read it all.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The company one keeps

Because of the official affiliation the Episcopal Church has with the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC), other groups are able to use ECUSA's name to validate their abortion support, groups like the Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing. From their open letter to religious leaders on abortion as a moral decision (a RCRC representative participated in writing this - so in a sense, this letter has ECUSA's stamp of approval):

. . . Millions of people ground their moral commitment to the right to choose in their religious beliefs. While there are strong public health and human rights arguments for supporting the right of women to safe and legal abortion, here we invite you to consider the religious foundations for affirming abortion as a morally justifiable decision. . .

. . . The sanctity of human life is best upheld when we assure that it is not created carelessly. It is precisely because life and parenthood are so precious that no woman should be coerced to carry a pregnancy to term. We support responsible procreation, the widespread availability of contraception, prenatal care and intentional parenting. . .

. . . Scriptural commitment to the most marginalized means that pregnancy, childbearing, and abortion should be safe for all women. . .

And at the end of this letter, they proudly list supporters of abortion:
Many religious denominations have passed policies in support of legalized abortion. They include: . . . Episcopal Church. . .

More than 40 religious denominations and organizations are members of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.

The Religious Institute also offers denomination statements about sexuality education, and of course, ECUSA is listed. From the ECUSA statement, there is no clear intent to support abortion that I can see, except ECUSA resolution No. 1988-A089, passed in 1989 is titled "Promote Use of Materials on Human Sexuality and Abortion for All Age Groups" and the use of the word "Promote" seems supportive of what follows:
Resolved, the House of Deputies concurring, that this 69th General Convention call on the Presiding Bishop and the Executive Council to provide and promote the use of materials on human sexuality, birth control and family planning for all age groups as part of this Church’s on-going Christian Education curricula as reflective of God’s creation; and be it further

Resolved, That the topic of abortion be included in the Church’s education curricula and that these materials be explicit, with a full understanding of the physical, emotional and spiritual realities and risks involved in abortion; and be it further

Resolved, That we encourage the members of this Church to give strong support to responsible local public and private school programs of education in human sexuality.”

The difficulty, of course, is that while some of this language may sound appropriate and reasonable, we all know what is really being advocated - abortion as a family planning option. Sometimes I think, "Who wouldn't support helping women with reproductive health?" and then I remember that these are churches speaking in support of abortion, not government agencies or secular theorists, and for me the sense of betrayal and ungodliness is overwhelming. And I realize that the push for the "easy" solution, the attempt to erase the "problem" is how our fallen society tries to deal with these fundamental issues, but should never be the approach of the Church who should be considering the eternal effect of these actions on women, men, and children.

As Christians, we are called to help those in need, most especially women who may feel overwhelmed and alone, and the children they carry to life in the world.

Amnesty's abortive move

From Ruth Gledhill at the Times Online:

From one perspective, the bold step taken by Amnesty International earlier this month in supporting abortion in particular circumstances, such as where a woman caught up in a war is pregnant through rape, is to be admired. From another, perhaps more serious point of view, it could be regretted. As we report on our faith page online, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, the most senior Catholic bishop in Scotland, is the latest to resign from Amnesty after more than 40 years as a member. The Bishop of East Anglia went a few days ago. . .

. . . The organisation's previous policy, of dignified refusal to be drawn into the pro-life debate, was also supremely courageous. And now hundreds of thousands of Catholics worldwide will be troubled, and the cost to Amnesty will be huge. I guess the human rights organisation think they price is worth paying for what they will gain. I do pray they know what they are doing. You can read their own detailed explanation of the new stance on their own website. We've also put up an MP3 file of Cardinal O'Brien at Times Online.


Read it all.

Taliban: Korean hostages to be released

From CNN:

SEOUL, South Korea (CNN) -- South Korean negotiators in Afghanistan have reached a deal with Taliban militants holding 19 South Korean Christian aid workers for over a month, a presidential spokesman in Seoul said Tuesday.

The group of South Koreans was kidnapped in Ghazni province on July 19.

Seoul welcomes the deal, but spokesman Cheon Ho-sun cautioned that many details must still be worked out and the aid workers will not be released immediately.

Under the terms of the agreement, South Korea agreed to stick by its previous decision to withdraw its 200 non-combat troops from Afghanistan, which work mostly in an engineering and medical capacity.

In addition, Seoul will halt all Christian missionary work in Afghanistan. . .

Read it all. That's great they may be released, but I grieve for the terms that include no more Christian missionary work.

Monday, August 27, 2007

The man in the iron cage

SO HE TOOK HIM BY THE HAND AGAIN, AND LED HIM INTO A VERY DARK ROOM, WHERE THERE SAT A MAN IN AN IRON CAGE.

CHRISTIAN: Well, but what art thou now?

THE MAN: I am now a man of despair, and am shut up in it, as in this iron cage. I cannot get out; Oh now I cannot!

CHRISTIAN: But how camest thou into this condition?

THE MAN: I left off to watch and be sober: I laid the reins upon the neck of my lusts; I sinned against the light of the word, and the goodness of God; I have grieved the Spirit, and he is gone; I tempted the devil, and he is come to me; I have provoked God to anger, and he has left me: I have so hardened my heart, that I cannot repent.

Then said Christian to the Interpreter, But is there no hope for such a man as this? Ask him, said the Interpreter.

CHRISTIAN: Then said Christian, Is there no hope, but you must be kept in the iron cage of despair?

THE MAN: No, none at all.

CHRISTIAN: Why, the Son of the Blessed is very pitiful.

THE MAN: I have crucified him to myself afresh, I have despised his person, I have despised his righteousness; I have counted his blood an unholy thing; I have done despite to the spirit of grace, therefore I have shut myself out of all the promises and there now remains to me nothing but threatenings, dreadful threatenings, faithful threatenings of certain judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour me as an adversary.

CHRISTIAN: For what did you bring yourself into this condition?

THE MAN: For the lusts, pleasures, and profits of this world; in the enjoyment of which I did then promise myself much delight: but now every one of those things also bite me, and gnaw me like a burning worm.

CHRISTIAN: But canst thou not now repent and turn?

THE MAN: God hath denied me repentance. His word gives me no encouragement to believe; yea, himself hath shut me up in this iron cage: nor can all the men in the world let me out. Oh eternity! eternity! how shall I grapple with the misery that I must meet with in eternity?

John Bunyan
(English, 1628-1688)

Five bishops write second open letter to the ECUSA Executive Council

From Virtue Online, a letter requesting information on where ECUSA is getting the financial resources for ongoing litigation against departing churches:

1 ) How much money has the Episcopal Church spent on litigation against congregations and individuals who have chosen to depart TEC since 2003? What are the sources of those funds?

2) In what budget(s) are those expenditures accounted for?

3) Has any income from trust funds been used to support these litigations? If so, how much and from which funds?

4) How much compensation has the law firm of the Episcopal Church's chancellor, David Beers, received for servicing this litigation?

To date we have received no reply from you in any form to address our call for financial transparency. And we are now joined by another bishop who is asking the same questions.

This contentious issue is not something to be ignored in hopes that it will dissipate or be forgotten. Because you have not pulled the veil from this issue, conjecture as to where the money is coming from is almost limitless. . .


Read it all.

"Gratitude, concern, and opportunity"

From the Prayer Book Society, a paper on the Book of Common Prayer and the Anglican Communion Network:

In negative terms, the Council of The Anglican Communion Network rejected the Formularies of The Episcopal Church as they stood before the revolution of 1976-1979; but in positive terms the same Council accepted the present Formularies of the Church of England and of other Provinces of the Anglican Communion (e.g., Nigeria and Uganda).

Put another way, the same Council did not choose to commit to the American tradition of Common Prayer (set forth in the editions of the BCP 1789, 1892 & 1928), but went behind them to the Formularies as they were for the Thirteen Colonies in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, before the break with the Crown and the creation of the USA.

Thereby the same Council may have sought to avoid all the guilt and shame involved in the rejection of the 1789-1928 Formularies by General Convention in 1976-1979, a rejection confirmed by all subsequent Conventions and Diocesan Conventions to the present. The Council sought to make a new start by re-adopting the Formularies of the old Colonial period, the same Formularies which are those of the Church of England and of many Anglican Provinces worldwide. . .

. . . Thus we anticipate seeing very soon a variety of moves from within The Anglican Communion Network towards the practical adoption and use of the Formularies of 1662 both for worship and for ordination services, as well as for doctrinal standards and moral principles. . .

AnglicanTV itinerary update

Kevin Kallsen of AnglicanTV leaves tomorrow (Tuesday) for Nairobi via Amsterdam for the consecration of the Rev. Canon Dr. Bill Atwood as Suffragan Bishop of Kenya on Thursday, August 30. Then Friday, he flies to Uganda for the consecration of the Rev. John A.M. Guernsey as Bishop of Uganda in Mbarara on September 2. Monday Kevin will be back in the U.S.

Please keep Kevin in your prayers and check AnglicanTV for more info.

On Bill Atwood from the Global South Anglican:

. . . As a part of a broader and coordinated plan with other provinces, the ACK will consecrate The Revd Canon Dr. Bill Atwood as Suffragan bishop of All Saints Cathedral Diocese, Nairobi of the ACK to support the international interests of the Anglican Church of Kenya, including support of Kenyan clergy and congregations in North America.

Our goal is to collaborate with faithful Anglicans (including those in North America who are related with other provinces). A North American Anglican Coalition can provide a safe haven for those who maintain historic Anglican faith and practice, and offer a way to live and work together in the furtherance of the Gospel.

And on John Guernsey from the Global South Anglican:

. . . Bishop-elect Guernsey will provide local episcopal oversight to the 26 congregations in the United States that are part of the Church of Uganda, on behalf of the ten Ugandan Bishops currently providing episcopal care to Biblically orthodox American congregations. He will also continue to serve as Rector of All Saints Church, Dale City, Virginia.

Archbishop Orombi said, “Rev. Guernsey has a long history with the Church of Uganda, including many short visits to Uganda for teaching and preaching missions. He is highly respected by clergy and Bishops in the Church of Uganda, and has also been a pastoral and strategic leader in the Anglican Communion Network as Dean of the Mid-Atlantic Convocation. He is the ideal candidate to pioneer this new ministry.” . . .

Another one gone

Holy Comforter Church, Broomfield, Colorado

From Stand Firm:
The Church of the Holy Comforter Announces Resignation of Church Leadership Spiritual Leader Reeder Resigns; Vestry to Follow

BROOMFIELD, COLORADO – August 27, 2007– The Church of the Holy Comforter today announced the resignation of its leader, The Reverend Dr. Charles Reeder and his departure from The Episcopal Church effective October 1, 2007. Holy Comforter also announces that Vestry, the Children’s Minister, Youth Minister and Treasurer will resign and follow Father Reeder’s move within the greater worldwide Anglican Communion Network (ACN). . .

Read it all.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Abortionist's latest tool: the Koran

From The Dawn Patrol, another entry in Dawn Eden's ongoing quest to educate us on how abortion activists and Planned Parenthood operate:

A woman walks into a pregnancy resource center, saying she's a Muslim and her religion permits her to have an abortion.

The counselor whips out a "Pregnancy Options Workbook" and shows the woman where the book says Islam forbids abortions. Impressed, the woman opts to be a client of the pregnancy resource center and keep her baby.

If that really happened, you can imagine the uproar. News would reach Planned Parenthood that the pregnancy resource center blatantly used the woman's faith to manipulate her decision. Planned Parenthood would feed the story to its friend Linda Greenhouse at the New York Times, and the rest of the press would follow with a new wave of smear stories about pregnancy resource centers.

Well, someone really did use the Koran to influence a pregnant woman who was contemplating an abortion, but there was no uproar. And the reason there was no uproar is that it was not a pregnancy resource center employee who manipulated a woman's decision to keep her baby. It was an abortionist who boasted of convincing a Muslim woman that her faith permitted her to abort.

Here is what happened. . .

Remember, Ephesians 6:12 tells us
. . . we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

And when I read stories like this, I know it to be true.

[boldface mine]
Read it all.

Reflections on the Anglican realignment

Fr. David Baumann

From Fr. David Baumann at John One Five, a very nice short overview of the current situation in the Anglican Communion:

. . . At the risk of putting it too simply, it seems to me that there are now two views about the way Anglicans should do business. One view says that in the modern world, Anglicans need to realize that they are in fact a world community addressing world issues, and that the provinces are interdependent—not “should be interdependent”, but already “are”. Major issues that confront any given province will likely affect all the other provinces. Therefore a way must be found to define Anglicanism as a world community with a decision-making process at the world level. That means that we must “centralize” the way we make decisions in areas that affect the whole Anglican world.

The other view asserts that that is not the way Anglicans have ever made decisions, and actually goes against one of the strengths and boasts of Anglicanism: a decentralized form of government with provincial independence. This claim is certainly accurate—historically, at least. The question is whether this way of doing business meets our current needs. In my opinion, the old way is clearly inadequate. Even apart from the issues that have created the crisis, to try to maintain the old way of doing things is backward thinking—basically merely saying, “But we’ve never done it that way before.” It is doing business this way that has brought the Anglican Communion to its current crisis. It doesn’t work any more. It hasn’t worked for more than thirty years. (I find it more than curious that most of those who claim to be “pushing the envelope forward” in the Anglican world are the “backward thinkers” in the matter of Anglican decision-making!)

The first view, proposed by the great majority of Anglican leaders, is indeed a way new to Anglicanism. This does not make it automatically wrong. In my opinion, it is, in fact, wise, realistic, and essential. The realignment is moving in the direction of this view—creating a worldwide Anglican identity with mutual accountability and effectively recognizing that Anglicanism has become a world family and is no longer a loose confederation. . .

[boldface mine]

Read it all.

Association of the Western Anglican Convocation

Interesting words from the Vestry Update in the September newsletter of The Anglican Church of St. Timothy & St. Titus here in San Diego:

So now what? Well the Association of the Western Anglican Convocation is coming together. This is a group of fellow Christians who follow Anglican traditions of worship. Fr. Russell is on the Executive Committee of that organization (AWAC) which will be meeting next month and Elaine Fox and I will join Fr. Russell in a meeting of all delegates to AWAC in October. We will keep you posted on progress toward the establishment of a genuine Anglican organization in North America.

H/t to SanDiegoAnglicans.com.
Read it all.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing

ShadowsTo-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow; a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

From Macbeth (V, v, 19)
William Shakespeare
(1564-1616)

A discussion with Bishop Catherine Roskam

From The Episcopal New Yorker, the official news publication of the Episcopal Diocese of New York (apparently this article is not yet online):

The Rt. Rev. Catherine S. Roskam has been Bishop Suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of New York since 1996. Bishop Roskam served on the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church as Chair of the International Concerns Committee and is a representative from the Episcopal Church to the Anglican Consultative Council. . .

ENY: What do you see as the origins of the current controversies in The Episcopal Church (TEC) and the Anglican Communion?

Bishop Roskam: The tensions have a long history, but the immediate controversy around homosexuality has been driven by the dissidents in this country. The deeper causes have to do with the wealth and power of The United States and the disregard in the past for the voices from the developing world. These causes have been exacerbated by our country's recent aggression in the Middle East. In many places in the world, The Episcopal Church is synonymous with the power of The United States [it provides a huge proportion of the funding for the Anglican Communion]. This is ironic as The Episcopal Church has opposed many of the policies that have alienated us from the rest of the world.

Where is Christopher Johnson when you need him? Because I know I just don't have the skill to fisk this properly.
ENY: How do you see the controversy playing out at the congregational level here and abroad?

Bishop Roskam: I don't see it so much on the local level. People don't agree on the issue but are more concerned with filling their churches, about the future of their children, the war, making ends meet. I think people are concerned about mission, the Millennium Development Goals, and I think the people in our diocese do extraordinary work here and abroad—sheltering, feeding, running programs for children.

We're a communion, not a church; disaffection by a few does not constitute schism.

H/t to Admiral of Morality.
Read it all.

Did the Dennis Canon pass the 1979 General Convention?

From George Conger's Web site:

[This] is an unabridged version of a piece I submitted to The Living Church magazine. The details did not survive the editing, which is understandable, as this is an insider’s inside story—one that would make no sense, nor spark interest outside of that small group who follow in detail the Episcopal Church’s property wars.

From the article itself:
While the minutes of the House of Deputies and other important papers from the 1979 General Convention have not survived, sufficient documentary evidence exists in the Archives of the Episcopal Church to cast doubt on published claims that the Dennis Canon was overlooked and not brought to a vote in the final hours of the 1979 General Convention.

However, the paper trail that would support a conclusive determination that the Dennis Canon did pass the House of Deputies on the 10th legislative day is incomplete, keeping open the door for further litigation. . .

H/t to TitusOneNine.

Read it all.

Matt Kennedy: The 5th Article: Of the Holy Ghost (part 1)

From Matt Kennedy at Stand Firm in his continuing series on the Thirty-nine Articles:

. . . It has become increasingly common both in mainline denominations and in some (not all) of the more radical charismatically inclined bodies to blame all sorts of odd practices and aberrant behaviors on the Holy Spirit. Apparently, the “Holy Spirit” has caused many to flop backwards onto the floor, rained gold dust from convention center ceilings, provided golden tooth fillings and called the various leaders of Trinity Broadcasting Network to amass great personal wealth so that through their “prosperity” they might show forth the glory of God.

It seems that for all the contemporary talk of spiritual gifts (and there are indeed spiritual gifts) and spiritual power (which is real) and claims of being a spirit-filled this or a spirit filled that, the Holy Spirit has in truth been largely reduced to a religious euphemism for “what we want to do.” . . .

This is not at all to say that the Holy Spirit will not speak directly to contemporary circumstances (he does) or that he will not give guidance, strength, encouragement, discernment, rebuke, conviction, etc in a very personal and experiential way (he will). It is to say that you can be certain that if ever you hear a voice in your heart or experience a strong urge toward some action or behavior or decision that will put you in opposition to the Word of God, that that voice or experience or leading, no matter how peaceful, beautiful, and/or rapturous, is not of the Holy Spirit. . .

Read it all.

Primates are the ‘logical centre of authority’

From George Conger for the Church of England Newspaper:

The Primates are not an Anglican Curia but are the logical center of authority for the Communion in difficult times, South American Presiding Bishop Gregory Venables has said.

“Common sense and biblical concepts” would say the Primates “are at that highest level of authority, under the presidency of the Archbishop of Canterbury by tradition” within the Anglican Communion, Bishop Venables said at a press conference on July 31 at St. Vincent’s Cathedral in Bedford, Texas at the close of the Anglican Communion Network council meeting.

“We are an episcopal church,” he noted. “Bishops have authority within their dioceses,” the “House of Bishops is very significant within a Province,” a “Presiding Bishop or Archbishop has authority within a Province,” the difficulty is “that nobody has ever said what happens after that.”

“We’ve got authority, we’ve got structure, we’ve got canons, we’ve got rules, up until that level,” Bishop Venables said. “Because we don’t have written rules, you can say what you like” about the Primates authority without fear of contradiction. “That is the problem” and “I don’t see the Anglican Communion finding a place to solve that problem” at the present time.

However, the majority of Anglicans believe “we are an Episcopal Church and expect our church to be overseen by the episcopacy in the Anglican way, expecting the church to be led by those so set apart.”. . .


Read it all.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

'The King' is coming back to Brock Township


From myKawartha.com (Peterborough, Ontario):

Well, he may not be Elvis, but he looks and sounds just like him.

Dorian Baxter, also known as Elvis Priestly, will be taking the stage at the Beaverton Legion Sept. 8. The fundraising concert/dance is a fundraiser in memory of Thora Horan, a lifelong Beaverton resident and avid Elvis fan who passed away last September after a lengthy battle against cancer. . .

[Baxter] first heard Elvis as a youngster in Mombasa, Kenya and quickly learned how to imitate The King.

"I've been doing Elvis for more than 50 years," he said. "I've done Elvis longer than Elvis did Elvis. Mind you, no one does it better than he did."

Mr. Baxter immigrated to Canada in 1968 and enrolled in teacher's college. His impersonation grew better over his three decades as a teacher and he began working as Elvis professionally in 1983, the same year he was ordained as an Anglican priest.

A few years ago, he formed Christ the King, Graceland Independent Anglican Church [of Canada] in Newmarket, where he presides in full Elvis regalia. . .

And from the church's Web site:
Reverend Baxter's Elvis Sermon stands for

E ... everlasting life
L ... love of Jesus
V ... vitality of Father, Son & Holy Ghost
I ... inspiration- God gives daily
S ... salvation in the shed blood of the lamb

Read it all.

St. Luke's may stay on property pending appeal

St. Luke's

From the American Anglican Council:

St. Luke’s of the Mountains Church will continue to occupy the church property and buildings it has purchased and maintained for over 60 years, during the appeal of a ruling by the Los Angeles Superior Court on July 3, 2007. . .

The Court had previously granted summary judgment in favor of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles and The Episcopal Church on their claim to take over the property of St. Luke’s based on an internal Episcopal rule, following a recent decision of the California Court of Appeal for the Fourth Appellate District. On August 15, 2007, St. Luke’s Church appealed the Court’s judgment against it. This morning, the Honorable John S. Wiley of the Los Angeles Superior Court granted a stay of the judgment pending appeal, which allows the St. Luke’s congregation to remain in the La Crescenta church property until a final appellate ruling is made.

The Court rejected the Episcopal demand that the local congregation deposit over $7 million – based on a commercial valuation – in exchange for permission to remain on the property. By doing so, the Court adopted St. Luke’s arguments that the property was an historic church in continuous operation for many decades.

In addition, the Court rejected the demand of the Episcopal Diocesan bishop, the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, that no other Christian bishops be permitted on the property without his prior permission. This demand was irrelevant to protecting the property from damage pending appeal, and instead would have served solely to deprive St. Luke’s Church of visits from its spiritual leaders based on their church affiliation. . .


Read it all.

Shoe Day Thursday

Berry by Delman
Time to start thinking of fall shoes! Remember, no white after Labor Day.

Taliban renews threat to kill South Korean hostages

From The Christian Post:

The Taliban renewed threats Wednesday to kill its remaining 19 Korean hostages if their demands were not met but did not immediately set a deadline.

“If the demands of the Taliban are not met, the Korean hostages face death,” said purported rebel spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed to Agence France-Presse by telephone from an unknown location.

“Although we want this crisis to be solved through negotiations, it seems the U.S. authorities are creating problems,” he added.

Mujahed also reported that most of the captives were sick from weather conditions and from lack of “proper food.”

“Their health condition is not good,” the spokesman said. “The weather conditions and a lack of proper food have made conditions for them very hard. Most of them are sick.” . . .

It has been over a month since the Taliban militants abducted the group of 23 South Korean Christian volunteers on July 19 – the largest abduction of foreigners in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001. During that period, two male hostages have been killed – the leader of the group, Bae Hyung-kyu, who was found dead on July 25, and 29-year-old Shim Sung-min, whose body was found July 30.

Last week, the rebels released two females – 37-year-old Kim Kyung-ja and 32-year-old Kim Ji-na – as a “gesture of goodwill” when talks were going well.

Read it all and remember them and their families in your prayers.

RCRC: oxymoronic language [Updated]

ECUSA banner Of all the problems I have with the Episcopal Church, most can be dealt with by realizing that while the Church is the Bride of Christ, the "church" as we see her in our fragmented denominations is made up of fallen creatures who often have difficulty discerning God's Will and Direction. So misunderstandings and incomplete discernment are part of being a church member.

There are a few issues, however, that cross over from human failing (mine and others) to affiliation with heresy or evil. The belief in the divinity of Jesus and the Resurrection (as physical realities, not metaphorical symbols) are two truths I think that all Christians must hold in order to be called followers of Christ. And an evil that must be avoided is worldly association with those who, while sounding so compassionate in their language, are actually advocating and supporting abortion.

The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC, and formerly known as the "Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights" - gee, wonder why they changed the name?), instead of focusing on helping a young girl or woman handle a pregnancy with all necessary support (spiritual, financial, etc.) focuses on helping her justify whatever she wants to do while she's in a vulnerable state.

Just to remind you of what The Episcopal Church has offically aligned itself with (see minutes of the Executive Council January 2006 meeting, pages 4-7), here are some excerpts from the RCRC Web site.

From the RCRC Mission statement:
RCRC was founded in 1973 to safeguard the newly won constitutional right to abortion.

They are nothing if not up front and proud of their calling.

From Call to Justice:
Just after the Supreme Court handed down its devastating decision in Gonzales v. Carhart, our friends in Congress introduced the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA). FOCA is a simple, clear and powerful – women have a right to have safe, legal abortion care - and to make the medical decisions that she and her doctor think are best in regards to her reproductive health. FOCA would write into law that every woman has the fundamental right to:
  • choose to bear a child
  • end a pregnancy prior to fetal viability
  • end a pregnancy after fetal viability when necessary to protect her life or health
From All Options Clergy Counseling:
Women and their families who are dealing with unwelcome or problem pregnancies often have religious, spiritual, and theological questions and look for supportive pastoral help to answer these questions. To help clergy address this need, the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, in conjunction with our affiliates, offers a training workshop in All Options Clergy Counseling. In this training, we explore all options that are available: parenting, adoption, and abortion.

All Options Clergy Counseling is many things: it is emotional, relational, medical, financial, and legal in nature. It is also, at the core, spiritual. The conversations that take place during an All Options training are shaped by participants' various understandings of God. The unspoken questions of the counselees are: Will God still love me? Will God forgive me? Therefore, how clergy speak about God is central to All Options counseling even when the woman cannot articulate her own anxieties.

The decision of whether or not to continue a pregnancy is an extremely complicated one for many women. During the workshop, clergy learn more about those complexities. Factors that lead to those complexities may include any one or more of the following: relationship with boyfriend or husband; relationship with parents; attitudes about sexuality; feelings about being pregnant; previous pregnancies; financial and social situation; feelings about being a woman; plans for the future; attitudes about abortion; interpretation of scripture; personal religious beliefs. Therefore, no one choice is best for all; each choice has the potential for pain and loss. . .

Ultimately clergy who take this training and engage in this type of pastoral counseling will be helping a woman to strike a balance between the time she needs to consider her decision carefully and the time she decides to act (over 89% of all abortions are performed in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, both by choice and due to legal barriers to abortions post-12 weeks).

I don't know, but their idea of "balance" sounds suspiciously to me like "hurry up and make a decision" - I don't get the feeling of concern and prayerful intent here.

From Spiritual Youth for Reproductive Freedom:
Spiritual Youth for Reproductive Freedom (SYRF) is an interfaith, multicultural program of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice that is, of, by, and for youth and young adults ages 16-30. Through a network of campus and community SYRF groups and the SYRF website, SYRF educates, organizes, and empowers young people to put their faith into action for:
  • Comprehensive sexuality education
  • Religious
  • liberty
  • HIV/AIDS prevention
  • Access to family planning services
  • Access to legal, safe, and affordable abortion services
Through SYRF, youth and young adults:
  • Connect with other spiritual, pro-choice young people
  • Challenge the myth perpetuated by the religious right that religion and pro-choice values are incompatible
  • Become members of college or congregational SYRF chapters
  • Get information and tools to become powerful spiritual advocates for choice
  • Plan events that raise awareness about religion and choice on their campuses and in their communities
  • Find answers to religiously based questions about abortion, sexuality education and other reproductive and sexual health issues
  • Advocate for increased access to comprehensive reproductive health care services and education
Challenge Anti-Choice Demonstrations:
Extremist groups are creating offensive displays at colleges and universities, clinics, religious congregations, and even busy sidewalks. We value free speech but think it's wrong when these displays break laws and spread lies and promote hate. If there is a possibility your campus will experience this intrusion, our packet will help your group to counter the misinformation promoted by these displays and express the meaning of choice - respect, compassion, tolerance, justice, and dignity.

Free speech is fine, as long as I agree with it. And if I don't, it isn't really free speech, it's lies and promotion of hate, and you're breaking the law to express your ideas. And yes, unfortunately, they also now have a group called Seminarians for Choice (they sponsor campus worship services to celebrate the Roe v. Wade anniversary).

From FAQs:
I've heard the Coalition supports "partial-birth abortion." Is that true?
There has been considerable misinformation about abortion procedures in the media and in legislation. Groups that want to return to the days when abortion was illegal have conducted a vigorous campaign of legislation and publicity to ban abortion procedures. They made up the name partial-birth abortion to drive a wedge in the pro-choice movement. The National Right to Life and their friends in Congress wrote legislation so broad that it outlaws safe and common procedures used throughout pregnancy.

Notice how the question "Is that true?" is never answered.

What is the Coalition's position on late-term abortion?
The Coalition believes that this issue should be left up to the individual member groups. In a policy position taken March 5, 1982, the Board of Directors stated that late-term abortion should not be a focus of the Coalition. Our focus is supporting choice and striving for religious freedom.

Of course they don't want it as a focus - most Americans, religious or not, do not support late-term or partial birth abortions. And that the godly woman of Proverbs 31 can be used to justify abortion, as below, seems blasphemous to me:

From the final paragraphs of one of the Perspectives essays:
The essay in Proverbs concludes, “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all’” (Prov. 31).

The children who will rise up and call their mothers blessed are unlikely to be the unwanted children of enforced pregnancies and shotgun weddings. Nor are admiring husbands likely to be those who are angered by the birth of unwanted children, increased responsibilities, decreased prosperity, and a sense of curse rather than blessing in their sexual and family lives.

Women who will be called blessed by their children—and excellent by the men in their lives—are likely to be women of prudence and planning who manage their difficulties and the survival of their households well.
And another Perspective:
No woman should be required to give up her life, her health, or her family’s security to save the life of a fetus that is threatening her well-being. At the very least she is entitled to self-defense.

Yes, abortion as self-defense - I don't think it gets any more twisted than that.

From the Perspectives intro page:
The Episcopal Church, Presbyterian Church (USA), United Church of Christ, United Methodist Church, Unitarian Universalist Association, and Reform, Reconstructionist and Conservative Judaism all have official statements in support of reproductive choice as a matter of conscience, adopted by their governing bodies. Religious and religiously affiliated organizations from these and other traditions and independent religious organizations such as Catholics for a Free Choice are members of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.

Wouldn't you know ECUSA would be listed first?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I am a grilled cheese sandwich

You Are a Grilled Cheese Sandwich


You are a traditional person with very simple tastes. In your opinion, the best things in life are free, easy, and fun. You totally go with the flow. And you enjoy every minute of it!

Your best friend: The Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

Your mortal enemy: The Ham Sandwich

Not sure how accurate this is, but find out here for yourself - What Kind of Sandwich Are You?

Anglican Communion provincial secretaries meet in Hong Kong

From The Living Church:

Canon Margaret S. Larom, director of Anglican and Global Relations for The Episcopal Church, will attend a meeting of the Anglican Communion’s provincial secretaries Aug. 23-30 in Hong Kong.

This will be the sixth time the provincial secretaries have gathered. The triennial event is organized by the office of the Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon, secretary general of the Anglican Consultative Council. . .

The Hong Kong conference is expected to cover a broad variety of issues affecting general secretaries such as relationships with primates, interaction with secular authorities and the 2008 Lambeth Conference of Bishops. The secretaries also will give updates on their provinces and learn about the Anglican Church in Hong Kong.

Oh, to be a fly on the wall. . .read it all.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Connecticut diocese seeks damages from former Bristol vestry

So when they say they want "reconciliation," be sure to ask for their definition. From The Living Church:

The Diocese of Connecticut has initiated legal action against the former rector and vestry of Trinity Church, Bristol, asking the court to order the 11 defendants to pay $15,000 in diocesan legal fees as well as unspecified punitive damages.

I don't know about you, but this makes me feel very "reconciled." As always, read it all.

BabyBlue and Archbishop Akinola

Great posting by BabyBlue Online in reaction to Archbishop Akinola's letter and visit to CANA churches in northern Virginia.

Read it all.

Interesting that ++Akinola ends with a reference to John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, since I'm reading this now.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Pied Beauty

Dappled things

GLORY be to God for dappled things
  For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
    For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
  Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
    And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
  Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
    With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
              Praise him.

Gerard Manley Hopkins
English poet
(1844–1889)

The Road to Lambeth

In light of Archbishop Akinola's recent letter, here is a reminder of what the Global South said in their 2006 Road to Lambeth report:

Although the Anglican Communion came into being at a time of theological and ecclesiastical crisis – the so-called Colenso case – the Lambeth Conference of bishops has by and large managed to avoid doctrinal disputes and disciplinary cases that might have led to controversy and even disunity. Instead the Communion has functioned under the broad umbrella of biblical faith, historic order and Anglican worship, as summarized in the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral. Although there have been tensions from time to time, e.g., over the ordination of women, most Anglican churches have been content to live with what seemed to be secondary differences. Until now. . .

The opposing trends noted above – the growth of the churches of the Global South and the tight control of power by the Anglo-American bloc – came to a head at the Lambeth Conference in 1998. The presenting cause was the acceptance of homosexuality in the Western societies and churches. Despite a determined effort by the Communion bureaucracy to blunt the issue, the Global South bishops managed to get a Resolution to the floor which stated that homosexual practice is “contrary to Scripture” and “cannot be advised.” Resolution 1.10 on Human Sexuality was approved by the Conference by an overwhelming majority.

The importance of this Resolution cannot be overstated. By using the phrase “contrary to Scripture,” the bishops indicated that homosexual practice violates the first principle of the Communion’s Quadrilateral and indeed the fundamental basis of Anglican Christianity (as expressed in Articles VI and XX). They were saying: “Here is an issue on which we cannot compromise without losing our identity as a Christian body.” Such was the understanding of the Global South bishops, and hence they were taken aback when Resolution 1.10 was immediately ignored and denounced by bishops of the Episcopal Church. . .

From the point of view of the African bishops, the Windsor Report was considered a vehicle by which the offending churches might realize the enormity of their actions and turn back. It was never seen by us as a process that would preempt the decisions of the Lambeth Conference or the Primates. And the Report, while restricted in its scope and cautious in its language, did present a thorough exposé of the ways in which the Episcopal Church arrogated to itself unilaterally a practice condemned in Scripture, tradition and the Resolutions of this Communion.

The churches in Africa, while grateful for the overall judgement of the Windsor Report, felt that it often did not go far enough in spelling out the needed steps of repentance and return. . .

We in CAPA want to say clearly and unequivocally to the rest of the Communion: the time has come for the North American churches to repent or depart. We in the Global South have always made repentance the starting point for any reconciliation and resumption of fellowship in the Communion. We shall not accept cleverly worded excuses but rather a clear acknowledgement by these churches that they have erred and “intend to lead a new life” in the Communion (2 Corinthians 4:2). . .

The current situation is a twofold crisis for the Anglican Communion: a crisis of doctrine and a crisis of leadership, in which the failure of the “Instruments” of the Communion to exercise discipline has called into question the viability of the Anglican Communion as a united Christian body under a common foundation of faith, as is supposed by the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral. Due to this breakdown of discipline, we are not sure that we can in good conscience continue to spend our time, our money and our prayers on behalf of a body that proclaims two Gospels, the Gospel of Christ and the Gospel of Sexuality. . .

In light of the above, we have concluded that we must receive assurances from the Primates and the Archbishop of Canterbury that this crisis will be resolved before a Lambeth Conference is convened. There is no point, in our view, in meeting and meeting and not resolving the fundamental crisis of Anglican identity. We will definitely not attend any Lambeth Conference to which the violators of the Lambeth Resolution are also invited as participants or observers. . .

We recognize the strategy employed by Episcopal Church and certain Communion bodies to substitute talk of Millennium Development Goals for the truth of Scripture. These choices are false alternatives: it is the Christ of Scripture who compels us to care for the poor and afflicted. But we must take the initiative in these areas and not accept the patronizing of those who are rich in endowments but who are not rich toward God. . .

We Anglicans stand at a crossroads. One road, the road of compromise of biblical truth, leads to destruction and disunity. The other road has its own obstacles because it requires changes in the way the Communion has been governed and it challenges our churches to live up to and into their full maturity in Christ. But surely the second road is God’s way forward. It is our sincere hope that this road may pass through Lambeth, our historical mother. But above all it must be the road of the Cross that leads to life through our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Read it all.