Friday, November 30, 2007

Nominations Sought for Elections at GC 2009

Check out Sarah Hey's posting at Stand Firm on how to apply as a delegate for General Convention 2009, to be held in Anaheim:

[Surely preparing your nomination is a good way to spend your weekend, all you Trusting Conservatives!]

Okay, we know that out there in cyberspace there are many of you Trusting Conservatives who still think that the Episcopal church will someday be reformed and renewed. You huddle at your computer, reading StandFirm and sending us occasional mild-mannered reproofs about whether someone is merely a heretic or a full-throttle apostate, but you read us avidly and also send us encouraging and kindly and affirming words of inclusion and gentle nudges towards a "posture of hopefulness and optimism."

We think you are crazy.

But we love you anyway.

Now is the time to put your money where your mouth is, to go ahead and put your head on the chopping block, so to speak, and fill out an application to be considered for one of these shining examples of the polity of the Episcopal Church. . .

Read it all - she tells you the hows and whatfors - and consider applying!

"That's where I wanted to go today!"

How did I miss this? ("I don't quite know. What does it matter where people go?" h/t to Winnie the Pooh):

Church of ACTS
Anglican Church of the Spirit

The orthodox Anglican Church of the Spirit, located in the Perris / Nuevo / Hemet area of Southern California, has been newly created by a group of Anglican laity. It is firmly aligned with the worldwide Anglican Communion through the ‘Anglican Communion Network’ and affiliation to the ‘American Anglican Council’. Our worship follows the rich, Bible-based Anglican tradition, acknowledging that Holy Scripture is the Word of God.

Our mission is: “To devote ourselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer (Acts 2:42) by following the Great Commission of Jesus Christ to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that Jesus commanded us as disciples to do (Matthew 28:19-20).”

Our Mission, Theological & Covenant Statements can be found here.

We are located at 28740 Reservoir Avenue, Nuevo, CA 92567

Telephone: 951-306-5647
Email: info@c-acts.org

Real h/t to SanDiegoAnglicans.com.

People before prophets

From Peggy Noonan writing for the Wall Street Journal Online:

. . . In 1968 we were, as now, a religious country. But when we walked to the polls, we thought we were about to hire a president, not a Bible study teacher.

No one cared, really, that Richard Nixon was a Quaker. They may have been confused by it, but they weren't upset. His vice president, Spiro Agnew, was not Greek Orthodox but Episcopalian. Nobody much noticed. Nelson Rockefeller of New York was not an Episcopalian but a Baptist. Do you know what Lyndon Johnson's religion was? He was a member of the Disciples of Christ, but in what appeared to be the same way he was a member of the American Legion: You're in politics, you join things. Hubert Humphrey was born Lutheran, attended Methodist churches, and was rumored to be a Congregationalist. This didn't quite reach the level of mystery because nobody quite cared.

It is true that everyone knew Jimmy Carter was an evangelical Christian, but that was famous because they were a new and rising force in American politics in 1976, and after Watergate his immersion in faith seemed refreshing. He was a Southern Baptist who left the Southern Baptist Convention in 2000 after many arguments, including over whether Mormons were Christians. He said yes. No one knows what religion Jerry Ford was and, just to add some mystery, I'm not going to go to Ask.com about it, as I did with the others. Ford didn't publicly share his heart on these matters. He was of a generation that knew some things are actually, we should brace ourselves here, private. Ronald Reagan was Presbyterian, but his faith was both ardent and lightly held. He prayed a lot, and when he did he knew who was listening. But he was so unused to the normal ways of Christian service that, Mike Deaver once told me, he once happily dipped the bread in the wine as communion was passed. . .

There are some people who believe faith doesn't belong in politics. But it does, and it is there inextricably. The antislavery movement, the temperance movement, the civil rights movement, the antiabortion movement, all were political movements animated in large part by religious feeling. It's not that it doesn't matter. You bring your whole self into the polling booth, including your faith and your sense of right and wrong, good and bad, just as presidents bring their whole selves into the Oval Office. I can't imagine how a president could do his job without faith.

But faith is also personal. You can be touched by a candidate's faith, or interested in his apparent lack of it. It's never wholly unimportant, but you should never see a politician as a leader of faith, and we should not ask a man who made his rise in the grubby world of politics to act as if he is an exemplar of his faith, or an explainer or defender of it.

We have the emphasis wrong. It's out of kilter. And the result is a Mitt Romney being harassed on radio shows about the particulars of his faith, and Hillary Clinton -- a new-class yuppie attorney and board member -- announcing how important her Methodist faith is and how much she loves wearing her diamond cross. For all I know, for all you know, it is true. But there is about it an air of patronizing the rubes and boobs.

We should lighten up on demanding access to their hearts. It is impossible for us to know their hearts. It's barely possible to know your own. Faith is important, but it's also personal. . .

Read it all.
H/t to Mere Comments at Touchstone.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Shoe Thursday: Excessive consumption

Okay, I don't get it. These shoes sell for $425! And that's not gold plate, either. What am I missing? (They're not even attractive!)
Taryn Rose Onyx

Dr John Sentamu is a mini marvel

Archbishop of York, Dr. John SentamuFrom The Press (York, U.K.):

A SELL-OUT frenzy has stopped the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, buying a Christmas tree decoration of himself.

Miniature versions of the archbishop are hanging on festive trees in many homes across the city this Christmas - except for his own.

Dr Sentamu was approached by representatives from York Minster earlier last month and agreed to the production of the decorations in the hope it would help raise funds for the cathedral.

The 10cm fabric decorations were handmade in Thailand by a group of 30 women, and the bespoke range features a 6in-high padded Dr Sentamu wearing a gold and blue robe.

Avid Christmas decorators snapped up all 200 of the £6.50 fabric tree decorations before they even hit the shops. . .

Ah, but how are sales going for the Archbishop of Canterbury ornament?

LRA rifts worry bishops

From The New Vision (Uganda), a reminder on the work of Christians to promote peace:

THE Uganda Joint Christian Council (UJCC) has expressed fear that the rifts within the LRA ranks could weaken the search for peace in northern Uganda.

The council noted that reports on the conflict between rebel leader Joseph Kony and his deputy, Vincent Otti, had caused anxiety among Ugandans.

In a joint statement released yesterday, the Christian leaders appealed to the rebel leadership to quickly resolve the rift, if the peace process was to progress and end smoothly.

The UJCC chairperson, Metropolitan Jonah Lwanga and his co-chairpersons, Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi and Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga, signed the statement.

The council requested Kony to clear rumours that he had killed Otti. There have been reports that Kony executed Otti after accusing him of conspiring with his enemies to kill him.

UJCC, however, commended the Government and the LRA for the considerable progress made at the talks.

“The most notable achievements include the successful negotiations that have resulted into the signing of the protocols on agenda items 1 to 3, dealing with cessation of hostilities, comprehensive solutions and reconciliation and accountability,” they observed.

The council asked the Government to refrain from its planned joint offensive against the negative forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo, arguing that the attack could undermine the talks.

Quoting St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians, the Christian body urged the parties not to look at their interests only but also those of others for peace. . .

Read it all.

Happy Birthday!

From The Llama Butchers, a welcome reminder of what today is:

November 29, 2007

Happy Birthday!

C.S. Lewis
Clive Staples Lewis was born this day in 1898.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Bishops without borders launched in Canada

From Anglican Mainstream [boldface mine]:

. . . Dr James Packer, now 82, underlined that this was not schism, despite the protestations of his own (former) Bishop Ingham of New Westminster in the press.

Dr Packer said “Schism means unjustifiable dividing of organized church bodies, by the separating of one group within the structure from the rest of the membership. Schism is sin, for it is a needless and indefensible breach of visible unity. But withdrawal from a unitary set-up that has become unorthodox and distorts the gospel in a major way and will not put its house in order as for instance when the English church withdrew from the Church of Rome in the sixteenth century, should be called not schism but realignment, doubly so when the withdrawal leads to links with a set-up that is faithful to the truth, as in the sixteenth century the Church of England entered into fellowship with the Lutheran and Reformed churches of Europe, and as now we propose gratefully to accept the offer of full fellowship with the Province of the Southern Cone. Any who call such a move schism should be told that they do not know what schism is.”

“The present project is precisely not to abandon Anglicanism but to realign within it, so as to be able to maintain it in its fullness and authenticity”. . .

Read it all.

The problem with the church

From Darryl's Blog at DashHouse.com:

I've been studying Judges this year. Judges is one of those depressing books that emphasizes how badly God's people get off track. One commentator says that it's one of the most relevant books for the church today, because we are just like the people we read about in this dark book.

When I thought about a theme or title for the series I've been preaching on Judges, I was reminded of the time that the Times in London invited several eminent authors to write essays on the theme "What's Wrong with the World?" Chesterton's contribution took the form of a letter, and was probably the shortest and most accurate reply they received. What's wrong with the world?
Dear Sirs,

I am.

Sincerely yours,
G. K. Chesterton

Read it all.
H/t to acheivable ends.

The dark night of Mother Teresa's soul

From Breakpoint:

. . . Could it be that God left Mother Teresa empty inside in order to drive her outside of herself to find Him in the needs of others? Whether or not this is a valid explanation of God’s will for her, I believe it is a valid expression of where we need to go now as His church. We have been focused for too long on our own spiritual navels. Time to leave our souls to the One who made us, and seek Him in those around us who need help and love. . .

Read it all.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

So I took a little vacation over Thanksgiving. . .

And it came to me (although I’m sure everyone has already realized this) that the Anglican Communion is one big soap opera.

You know how you can not watch a soap opera for a few days or even a few weeks, and when you finally get a chance to sit down and turn on the TV, you discover that you can jump right back into the storyline where you left off. Not much has actually happened, but there has been tremendous sturm und drang.

Which is particularly interesting when you realize that

the term Sturm und Drang first appeared as the title to a play about the American Revolution by German author Friedrich Maximilian Klinger, published in 1776, in which the author gives violent expression to difficult emotions and heralds individual expression and subjectivity over the natural order of rationalism

(Heh - Wikipedia is good for something)

So the Americans once again have created storm and stress, but not much else.
The only truly exciting event that has happened over the past few weeks is that I can now buy a Kendall Harmon/TitusOneNine coffee mug (described as "hefty"). And, yes, my order is in.

GP may be struck off for her 'think twice' plea to abortion patients

From the Daily Mail (U.K.):

A family doctor faces being struck off for daring to suggest to women seeking an abortion that they should think twice.

Dr Tammie Downes says at least eight grateful mothers have children today which they would have terminated until she asked them to consider the consequences.

But Dr Downes, 36, is now being investigated by the General Medical Council for a possible breach of ethical guidelines.

If charged and found guilty of professional misconduct, she could be removed from the medical register and forced from her job.

The GMC, which regulates doctors, is understood to have received a complaint from another doctor who claims Dr Downes is promoting her anti-abortion views to patients.
Doctors must not allow personal opinions to affect their advice.

The complaint stems from an interview Dr Downes, a GP in the West Country, gave to the Daily Mail in May in which she described how she talked to women wanting an abortion about having the baby instead.

The investigation could become a pivotal test case in the battle between pro-life campaigners such as Dr Downes and advocates of pro-choice such as the Liberal Democrat MP Dr Evan Harris - known as 'Dr Death' for his strong views on abortion and euthanasia.

He has publicly criticised Dr Downes, saying: "By her own admission this doctor tries to persuade patients to go in one direction only and boasts of her "success" in a national newspaper."

But Dr Downes insisted yesterday: "I don't try to persuade anybody.

"I give them the facts and allow them space to think through the decision that they are making.

"It has to be the mother's choice. I have no right to make that choice for them. But I do think it is my duty as a doctor to help a woman make that choice."

Dr Downes, who has been a doctor for 12 years, seven of them as a GP, is a committed Christian.

She added: "People talk about being pro-choice as being pro-abortion, but I like to think I am pro an informed choice, which many women don't always make."

Opposition to abortion is growing among GPs, one in five of whom believes it should be banned. . .
Read it all.
H/t to Creative Minority Report.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Psalm 100: A psalm. For giving thanks.

Blue Ridge mountains

Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.

Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.

Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

Psalm 100

Shoe Thursday: Thanksgiving edition

From the ShoeOracle, edible shoes especially for Thanksgiving (from Gayle's Chocolates):
Gayle's Chocolates shoes
Or try these for the younger crowd (not edible, but very cute):

Hand-Painted Fall Leather Pumpkin Shoes

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Presiding Bishop says she made diocese sue 11 churches

I know this happened last week (reported Nov. 16), but I'm behind over Thanksgiving travel and family time. From Anglican Mainstream:

The Episcopal Church’s top official says she forced the Diocese of Virginia to sue 11 churches that broke away a year ago over disagreements on biblical authority and the 2003 consecration of a homosexual bishop.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said she acted to prevent “incursions by foreign bishops” during a four-hour deposition taped Oct. 30 and entered yesterday as evidence during a trial involving the largest property battle in Episcopal Church history under way at Fairfax Circuit Court.

According to prior testimony, Virginia Bishop Peter J. Lee was ready to accept buyouts from the 11 departing churches, several of which sat on historic pieces of property in Fairfax and Falls Church. That changed after he met with the new presiding bishop soon after her Nov. 4, 2006, installation.

“I told Bishop Lee I could not support negotiations for sale if the congregations intended to set up as other parts of the Anglican Communion,” Bishop Jefferts Schori said, referring to the 77 million-member worldwide body of which the Episcopal Church is a part.

What particularly angered her, she said, was the presence of the Nigerian-controlled Convocation of Anglicans in North America, then headquartered in Fairfax. An American bishop for CANA, the Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns, had been consecrated that August.

CANA’s presence “violates the ancient principle of the church that two bishops do not have jurisdiction in the same area,” said the presiding bishop, whose face appeared on three screens positioned around the courtroom.

Under further questioning by attorneys for CANA, she said that had the property been sold to a Methodist or Baptist congregation, she would not have objected. . .

Wow. Read it all.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The proverbial fat lady has sung: it's over.

Binks hangs it up:

.. a sick-week here at chez Binks, with your host collecting news only intermittently. It’s almost ready to go online, but today has been the worst (who’s the patron-saint of intestinal woes?).

In the meanwhile, the world-loving Canadian Anglican Church has begun running repeatedly into the iceberg. Either abandon ship, or start playing ‘Nearer My God To Thee‘, because Captain Hiltz and his ilk are listening only to the gods of multiculturalism and synods and church bureaucrats and whiny minorities and other such false deities.

The Anglican Church, as a revolutionary thought-experiment, has failed the test of time. Don’t crawl out onto twigs and debris bearing the familiar logos and comfortable fit, nor take on Anglo-Baptist religion from Africa or Australia or wherever: head back down the trunk of the tree and find the true roots.

This WebElf has been honoured: I’ve fought for and beside so many of you down the years: as I’ve said before, this site will no longer be a combing of the ruins of Anglican protestantism, except in the occasional news item. Christianity is Not Us, and (officially at least) We’re Not Christianity.

The proverbial fat lady has sung: it’s over. Would the last one out please get the lights?
Read it all at the Webelf Report.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

AnglicanTV in Fort Worth

LIVE STREAMING FORT WORTH CONVENTION




PLEASE SUPPORT ANGLICANTV

CLICK HERE TO VIEW A PDF OF AGENDA


Ok Anglican's hold on to your hats. I will be live streaming the convention from this post on Saturday morning and afternoon. I may put up some video on Friday PM too.

Oh and please add the Lawrence trip in the right hand column. I need to buy my plane tickets while the rates are so low.

Sharing His Victory

Kevin

Diocese of San Joaquin invited to join Anglican Church of the Southern Cone

From Stand Firm:

FRESNO, CA - November 16, 2007 – The Diocese of San Joaquin today announced that the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone of South America has extended an invitation to offer the Diocese membership on an emergency and pastoral basis.

The announcement comes three weeks before the Diocese is scheduled hear the second and final reading of Constitutional changes first adopted on December 2, 2006. Should the second reading of the Constitutional changes be approved at the Diocesan Convention on December 8, 2007, the Diocese is free to accept the invitation to align with the Province of the Southern Cone and remain a diocese with full membership within the Anglican Communion.

According to the Rt. Rev. John-David M. Schofield, Bishop of the Diocese of San Joaquin, “We welcome the invitation extended by the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone. The invitation assures the Diocese’s place in the Anglican Communion and full communion with the See of Canterbury.”

He added, “This is a sensible way forward and is by no means irrevocable. During the 1860’s, the Dioceses of the Southern States left the Episcopal Church and then returned after the Civil War. As the Southern Cone invitation makes clear, the Diocese may return to full communion with the Episcopal Church when circumstances change and the Episcopal Church repents and adheres to the theological, moral and pastoral norms of the Anglican Communion, and when effective and acceptable alternative primatial oversight becomes available.”

The Bishop’s pastoral letter will be read in churches of the Diocese on Sunday, November 18, 2007. For a full text of the letter, visit www.sjoaquin.net or contact Joan Gladstone, jgladstone@gladstonepr.com.

The Diocese of San Joaquin was founded as a missionary diocese in 1911 and became a full autonomous diocese in 1961. The Diocese encompasses churches in the counties of San Joaquin, Alpine, Stanislaus, Calaveras, Mono, Merced, Mariposa, Tuolumne, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare, Kern and Inyo.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Diocese turns up heat in lawsuit over schism

More on happenings in the Diocese of Colorado from the Rocky Mountain News:

The Episcopal Diocese of Colorado moved Friday to sue individual parishioners who support the breakaway congregation at Grace Church and St. Stephen's Parish in Colorado Springs, according to documents filed in El Paso District Court.

The petition asks the court to add 18 people to the diocese's existing countersuit, which is seeking monetary damages as well as repossession of the church.

The targeted members include everyone on the parish's governing board as well as the church's main spokesman, Alan Crippen, and its rector of 20 years, the Rev. Don Armstrong.

The diocese's action is part of a lawsuit already under way to determine the rightful owner of the historic, multimillion-dollar church property located in the central part of the city.

The property is currently under the authority of Armstrong and about 500 followers who supported him when he broke away from the Episcopal Diocese in March to join a conservative Anglican movement.

Until now, the legal dispute hasn't named any individuals. However, according to a diocesan news release, because "Colorado law requires that all essential persons be included in a suit," the diocese "is requesting that the court add as parties those individuals who have led the secessionist group in taking the property."

The statement adds: "Time after time, in Colorado and other states, courts have ruled that while individuals can leave the church, they may not take church property with them."

Crippen, Armstrong's spokesman, said Sunday that the decision to add individuals has "escalated" the conflict, but he said members of the breakaway congregation "will not be intimidated by the bullying tactics.". . .

Read it all.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Conflict management to stop bishops coming to blows

From Ruth Gledhill at the Times (U.K.):

Dozens of senior Anglican bishops and other church leaders have signed up for a new course in “conflict management” designed to help them resolve doctrinal disputes without descending into schism.

One aim of the course is to equip leaders of the Church of England in particular with the psychological tools to deal with the conflict over gays before they go head-to-head with each other at next summer’s Lambeth Conference.

The course, titled Conflict Transformation among Christian Leaders with Different Theological Stances, is being targeted at Christian leaders who preach a creed of peace and love to governments and other faiths, but turn into pugilistic bullies when it comes to issues such as homosexuality.

Cambridge University has enrolled dozens of church leaders from six denominations for the intensive three-day courses, which will begin early next month. Dozens of church leaders, including some of the UK’s most senior Anglicans, have enrolled for the lessons on how to speak to each other in a “positive and constructive manner”, even when they can barely stand being in the same room, or church.

The sessions, to be run in groups of four or six bishops, will be closely monitored - presumably to make sure the clerics do not come to blows.

It is hoped that the course, being run by Cambridge University’s Psychology and Religion Research Group, will eventually be rolled out to Muslim faith leaders as well.

Academic research has shown that without special training, dialogue does not resolve but merely perpetuates conflict. . .

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, is among those invited to take part. Lambeth Palace declined to comment on whether he would be doing so.

Read it all.

Virginia: Church property battle heads to court

From the Examiner [boldface mine]:

Lawyers for Virginia’s Episcopal Church and about a dozen splinter congregations will wrangle in court Tuesday over a key legal issue at the core of which side ultimately gains control of tens of millions of dollars worth of disputed property.

This week’s trial, which will weigh both sides’ interpretation of religious property rights statutes in Virginia code, represents a major step in a legal dispute that could last well into next year.

It began last December and January when 11 conservative Virginia Episcopal churches voted to split from the Diocese of Virginia. The break, which culminated decades of ideological disagreement, came after the consecration of a gay bishop in New England four years ago.

The dissident churches — which include the Truro in Fairfax and The Falls Church in Falls Church - joined an Anglican sect affiliated with a conservative African archbishop.

The diocese sought soon afterward to reclaim eight properties held by the dissident churches in Fairfax County Circuit Court.

“We’d rather not be slugging it out in secular court,” said Jim Oakes, vice chairman of the Anglican District of Virginia, which includes the 11 churches. “We’d much rather find an amicable way to settle this.”

He estimated the combined value of the properties at $30 million to $40 million. . .

Read it all.

A church out of control

From the Very Rev. Robert Munday:

. . . All of this means that, despite the Windsor Report and the Dar Es Salaam Communique, despite the General Convention's passage of B033, and regardless of what the House of Bishops said at its meeting in New Orleans, the blessing of same-sex unions and the ordination of non-celibate homosexuals will continue unhindered.

There was also this rather bizarre news item that the Episcopal Church is taking disciplinary action against three retired bishops. The three retired bishops: Fairfield, Bena, and Cox have, since their retirement, been received into, respectively, the Anglican provinces of Uganda, Nigeria, and the Southern Cone. Their "crime" is, apparently, that they have, under the direction of their new provinces, ministered to Anglicans in North America who are also affiliated with those overseas provinces. The substance of the complaint is that the bishops failed to "resign" in a way that was approved by the House of Bishops. I am sure the bishops thought their resignation was taken care of when they retired. To all but the most bellicose among us, pursuing these bishops in retirement must seem like an egregious example of legal overkill. But, hey, welcome to the Episcopal Church!

Then there is the news that the Province of the Southern Cone had passed a resolution opening its doors to any US diocese that desired to transfer into that province. This is a move obviously aimed at the bishops and dioceses who are "being reached out to" by the Episcopal Church's litigious Presiding Bishop. It will be very interesting to see how all this plays out.

In all this, the silence from Lambeth Palace has been deafening!

Ealier in the week, there was a report from London Times religion writer, Ruth Gledhill, that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, "described the plan of [Southern Cone] Archishop Greg Venables [to take dissenting US dioceses under his wing] as a 'sensible way forward.'" I am willing to bet that this is the last talk of that sort anyone hears from the ABC. . .

Read it all.

The Bishop of the Diocese of Fort Worth responds to the Presiding Bishop

From Stand Firm:

November 12, 2007

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
815 Second Avenue
New York, NY 10017

Dear Katharine,

I have received your letter of November 8th and am rather surprised by your suggestion that I have somehow abandoned the communion of the church and may be subject to ecclesiastical discipline. Such a charge is baseless. I have abandoned nothing, and I have violated no canons. Every year at our Chrism Mass, I very happily reaffirm my ordination vows, along with all our clergy, that I will be “loyal to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of Christ as this Church has received them.” (BCP, pages 526 and 538)

It is highly inappropriate for you to attempt to interfere in the internal life of this diocese as we prayerfully prepare to gather in Convention. The threatening tone of your open letter makes no attempt to promote reconciliation, mediation, or even dialogue about our profound theological differences. Instead, it appears designed to intimidate our delegates and me, in an attempt to deter us from taking any action that opposes the direction in which you are leading our Church. It is deeply troubling that you would have me prevent the clergy and laity of this diocese from openly discussing our future place in the life of the wider Anglican Communion, as we debate a variety of proposals. As you well know, the polity of this Church requires the full participation of the clergy and lay orders, not just bishops, in the decision making process. It grieves me that as the Presiding Bishop you would misuse your office in an attempt to intimidate and manipulate this diocese.

While I do not wish to meet antagonism with antagonism, I must remind you that 25 years ago this month, the newly formed Diocese of Fort Worth voluntarily voted to enter into union with the General Convention of the Episcopal Church. If circumstances warrant it, we can likewise, by voluntary vote, terminate that relationship. Your aggressive, dictatorial posturing has no place in that decision. Sadly, however, your missive will now be one of the factors that our Convention will consider as we determine the future course of this diocese for the next 25 years and beyond, under God’s grace and guidance.

In closing, let me be very clear. While your threats deeply sadden us, they do not frighten us. We will continue to stand firm for the unchanging truth of the Holy Scriptures and the redeeming Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, whatever the costs. I shall continue to pray for you, as I trust you will pray for me, in the difficult days ahead.

Faithfully in Christ,

The Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker Bishop of Fort Worth

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sunday night proverb

http://www.uwm.edu/People/garciame/images/BlueAbstract.jpg

When a man's ways are pleasing to the LORD, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him.

Proverbs 16:7

Armistice Day history

The Great WarArmistice Day is the anniversary of the official end of World War I, November 11, 1918. It commemorates the armistice signed between the Allies and Germany at Compi├Ęgne, France, for the end of hostilities on the Western Front, which took effect at eleven o'clock in the morning — the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month."

In November of 1919, President Woodrow Wilson issued his Armistice Day proclamation. The last paragraph set the tone for future observances:

To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nation.


In 1927 Congress issued a resolution requesting President Calvin Coolidge to issue a proclamation calling upon officials to display the Flag of the United States on all government buildings on November 11, and inviting the people to observe the day in schools and churches. But it was not until 1938 that Congress passed a bill that each November 11 "shall be dedicated to the cause of world peace and ...hereafter celebrated and known as Armistice Day."

After World War II, there were many new veterans who had little or no association with World War I. The word, "armistice," means simply a truce; therefore as years passed, the significance of the name of this holiday changed. Leaders of Veterans' groups decided to try to correct this and make November 11 the time to honor all who had fought in various American wars, not just in World War I.

In Emporia, Kansas, on November 11, 1953, instead of an Armistice Day program, there was a Veterans' Day observance. Ed Rees, of Emporia, was so impressed that he introduced a bill into the House to change the name to Veterans' Day. After this passed, Mr. Rees wrote to all state governors and asked for their approval and cooperation in observing the changed holiday. The name was changed to Veterans' Day by Act of Congress on May 24, 1954. In October of that year, President Eisenhower called on all citizens to observe the day by remembering the sacrifices of all those who fought so gallantly, and through rededication to the task of promoting an enduring peace. The President referred to the change of name to Veterans' Day in honor of the servicemen of all America's wars.

teddy mak comments on Archbishop Rowan Williams

Here's a comment by teddy mak at Stand Firm under Sarah Hey's posting of "Ruth Gledhill Reports on Venables and a Meeting with ABC." I'm not sure if I agree with this comment completely, but there is a lot of truth here.

I am, at last, becoming irritated at the +++Rowan bashing. The man is following the ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY PROCESSES to effect our freedom. It is clear he has concluded that the GS, and numerous other bishops, including 40 some odd of HIS See, intend for TEC to be disciplined, that the Anglican Communion either acts on that discipline or it fragments, with 2/3 of its adherents forming an alliance that ignores his decaying Northern European and North American innovators. He is actually moving, in what is lightning speed to Anglicans, to assist in the coming Anglican Reformation. For the perhaps hundredth time, I implore my orthodox friends to allow this process to play out. As I have said elsewhere, It is now days, not months for this to happen.

Put a sock in it. Rowan Williams may indeed dissapoint me on this, but I think not. That he appears to be acceeding to ++Venables’ plan is monumental, you knuckle heads. I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Episcopal Diocese of Colorado adds to counterclaim against breakaway parish

From the Associated Press via KJCT8.com:

The Episcopal Diocese of Colorado has added a request for monetary damages in its legal dispute with a breakaway parish over church assets.

Last spring, leaders of Grace and St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Colorado Springs voted to leave the Episcopal church and asked a judge to declare that the diocese doesn't own the historic church and its property.

The diocese filed a counterclaim, contending it still owns the church's property. . .

Yesterday the diocese asked an El Paso County District Court judge for permission to include leaders of the breakaway parish as defendants in its counterclaim, as well as to seek unspecified monetary damages.

Read it all.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Beyond compromise

From the Guardian (U.K.):

. . . For years [the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams] has used his considerable charm to try to hold [the Anglican Communion] together. But the simmering row over homosexuality has made this increasingly difficult. And two developments in the past fortnight make brutally plain that the communion is already falling apart.

Last week primates from the developing world - led by the conservative Nigerian bishop Peter Akinola - issued a demand that the Lambeth conference planned for next year should be postponed until the disputes dividing the affiliation have been decisively settled. Their aggressive stance cuts to the heart of the communion, since the Lambeth conference, held once every 10 years, is one of the only institutional expressions of this loose allegiance of churches. Then, on Thursday, another conservative archbishop -this time based in Latin America - suggested he was ready to adopt breakaway dioceses from within the US. In making the offer Bishop Gregory Venables launched a direct attack on the American Episcopal church, which has been trying to stem a flow of conservative defectors since New Hampshire elected the openly gay Gene Robinson as a bishop in 2003. By definition, in an "episcopal" church individual bishops hold sway in specific areas. If another bishop is competing for worshippers then he is running a different and parallel church. . .

Dr Williams is a liberal who is instinctively supportive of gay people. His desire to hold the communion together, however, has already led him to support a moratorium on the consecration of gay bishops and to suggest that Anglican churches should not recognise same-sex unions through public rites. These concessions have not, however, checked the communion's unravelling. The fence on which Dr Williams has been sitting has collapsed. It is time for him to preach what he believes.

Read it all.

The spike of dogma


. . . It was as if I had been blundering about since my birth with two huge and unmanageable machines, of different shapes and without apparent connection—the world and the Christian tradition. I had found this hole in the world: the fact that one must somehow find a way of loving the world without trusting it; somehow one must love the world without being worldly. I found this projecting feature of Christian theology, like a sort of hard spike, the dogmatic insistence that God was personal, and had made a world separate from Himself. The spike of dogma fitted exactly into the hole in the world—it had evidently been meant to go there—and then the strange thing began to happen. When once these two parts of the two machines had come together, one after another, all the other parts fitted and fell in with an eerie exactitude. I could hear bolt after bolt over all the machinery falling into its place with a kind of click of relief. Having got one part right, all the other parts were repeating that rectitude, as clock after clock strikes noon. Instinct after instinct was answered by doctrine after doctrine. . .

G. K. Chesterton
(English writer, 1874-1936)
Orthodoxy
Chapter V, "The Flag of the World"

Friday, November 09, 2007

"Irreconcilable Truth Claims" -- Watch for Anglican Developments

From Al Mohler's blog [boldface mine]:

Pressures in the Anglican Communion continue to build as conservative leaders around the globe now call for a postponement of the communion's next great gathering -- the Lambeth Conference scheduled for London in 2008. . .

A conservative boycott of the Lambeth Conference would be, in effect, a statement that the communion is no more. Archbishop Akinola set the issue in its clearest form yet:
"The world needs to understand that the situation that we now confront is not primarily about structure or conferences but about irreconcilable truth claims. It is worth remembering that in the Biblical narratives religious structures have often been the enemy of revealed truth."

Akinola's insistence that the controversy is about "irreconcilable truth claims" is irreducibly justified and necessary. Liberal forces continually try to define the issues as merely procedural or structural. Akinola knows better -- and so do those who oppose him. The issue is truth, not structure. The conservatives cannot ignore the fact that liberals are violating the clear teachings of Scripture. . .

All this comes just days after the U.S. church's Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori, warned Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan that he might be removed from his office if his diocese pressed ahead with a vote to leave the church. The diocese did press ahead, voting overwhelmingly to leave.

Meanwhile, all eyes are now on Chicago, where the diocese is scheduled to elect a new bishop tomorrow. One of the candidates, Rev. Tracey Lind, is a practicing lesbian.

Those two votes will tell us a great deal about the future of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. Increasingly, the church is divided between those who believe that the Bible's teachings about homosexuality are authoritative and valid, and those who see them as repressive and in need of revision or replacement. Underlying all this is the fundamental issue of biblical authority. . .

Read it all.
H/t to A Voice in the Wilderness.

Heretical Friday: Albigenses

Albigenses

Named for the town of Albi in southern France where this heresy developed in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries; given this name by the Council of Tours (1163)

Albigenses had its foundation in Gnosticism, specifically as a neo-Manichaean sect. Like all Gnostic views of the world, Albigenses held that there were mutually opposed principles or two gods: the good god of light (usually referred to as Jesus in the New Testament) and the god of darkness and evil (usually associated with Satan and the “God of the Old Testament"). Anything material was considered evil including the body which was created by Satan. The soul, created by the good god, was imprisoned in the evil flesh and salvation was possible only through holy living and doing good works. At death, if the person has been spiritual enough, salvation comes to the believer. But, if the person has not been good enough, he is reincarnated as an animal or another human. The Albigenses denied the resurrection of the body since it was considered evil.

The Albigenses taught that Jesus was God but that He only appeared as a man while on earth, because if He had taken on a real human body, He would have come under the control of evil. His body was, then, of celestial essence, and with it He penetrated the ear of Mary. It was only apparently that He was born from her and only apparently that He suffered. His redemption was not an operative action, but solely instructive.

Albigenses also taught that the Catholic church of the time was corrupted by its power and wealth. Their asceticism and humility compared to the great affluence of the clergy helped to bring many converts to this movement.

There were two types of Albigenses:
  • Believers (credentes) - Albigenses who had not taken the initiation rite of consolamentum to become a Perfect

  • Perfects (perfecti) – Albigenses who had taken the initiation rite of consolamentum and had denounced all material possessions, as well as abstained from meat, milk, cheese, eggs, and sexual relations.
The consolamentum was an initiation rite involving the laying on of hands that was supposed to bring the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

The dualism of the Albigenses was also the basis of their moral teaching. Man, they taught, is a living contradiction. Hence, the liberation of the soul from its captivity in the body is the true end of our being. To attain this, suicide is commendable; it was customary among them in the form of the endura (starvation).

In 1208, Peter de Castelnau, an official representative of the Pope, was murdered by an Albigenses. Since they had been growing in number, becoming a threat, and would not convert to Christianity, Pope Innocent III ordered them to be wiped out. The persecution was fierce and the movement was stopped. It had disappeared by the end of the fourteenth century.

Sources:
Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry (CARM)
New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia


Previous heresy posts:
Donatism
Manichaeism
Gnosticism
Pelagianism

Repost of Bishop Iker's comments to Forward in Faith *Correction*

Correction: Okay, now I'm totally confused. From what I can tell (although I may be wrong), the Province of the Southern Cone does allow women to be ordained to the Diaconate but not to the priesthood. I was thinking that the Diaconate was in preparation for the priesthood, but I wasn't taking into account the Diaconate as a lay order. So now, I'm not sure whether this would be a place for Fort Worth or not. I guess I'll have to wait until their convention next week.

Here's repost of an earlier entry I posted on Bishop Iker's comments to Forward in Faith reported on October 26 in the Church Times. I've seen various conjectures since ++Gregory Venables announced his intention to provide a safe haven on where different U.S. dioceses may end up. It seems from his comments that Bishop Iker would not move under ++Venables, but may be talking to other Primates:

CONVERSATIONS about affiliating the three Forward in Faith (North America) dioceses — Fort Worth, Quincy, and San Joaquin — with an overseas province were “very far along”, the Bishop of Fort Worth, Texas, the Rt Revd Jack Iker, told Forward in Faith UK’s National Assembly in London last Saturday.

“Our plan is not only to disassociate . . . from the Episcopal Church, but to officially constitutionally reaffiliate with an existing orthodox province of the Communion that does not ordain women to the priesthood. These conversations are very far along, but cannot be announced until the province that is considering our appeal has made the final decision,” the Bishop said.

They had reached “the end of the road” in the Episcopal Church. None of them would be able to secure consecration of “orthodox” bishops-elect under the canons of the Episcopal Church, as they would need the consent of a majority of the diocesan standing committees and of the Episcopal Church’s bishops — “and that is simply not going to happen”.

Rather than wait until an elected candidate was turned down, they had decided to secure their own futures by separating from the constitution and canons of ECUSA. The election of a woman as Presiding Bishop had made their position “untenable”; and they believed that their request for alternative Primatial oversight had been rejected: within the Episcopal Church, it was “dead”.

“The Primates put forward a very workable plan that we were willing to go along with when they met at Dar es Salaam,” Bishop Iker said; but the Bishops had overwhelmingly objected that, and had encouraged ECUSA’s Executive Council to do the same. Similarly, the Bishops had rejected the Windsor report.

It is our contention that the Episcopal Church has decided to walk away from the Anglican Communion, and our Forward in Faith dioceses will walk with the Anglican Communion.”

“Messy” litigation would reach “another level of controversy when entire dioceses attempt to separate from the Episcopal Church”, Bishop Iker said. The “official structure” had made it clear that it would declare those sees vacant, depose the bishops, and call a convention in order to reconstitute what it called “continuing dioceses”. . .

. . . FiF dioceses would have full communion only with those those Common Cause partners that did not ordain women to the priesthood.
“Co-operation with the bodies which do ordain women or receive women cannot extend to communio in sacris, but we will co-operate with them in every way possible in a state of continuing impaired communion.”

Further, leaders of the Anglican Communion Network and the Common Cause Partnership were “fully committed to undertaking a substantial theological study of the question of the ordination of women, once the structures are in place and we have relatively settled in. We will have a chance, in other words, to bring those who now accept this innovation to reconsideration of their decision in the future.” . . .

Are you lying?

You know, normally I steer clear of politics, but this piece on the Raving Atheist was just too good to pass up (and it's more humorous to me than political) [boldface mine] :

Karl Rove is an agnostic who manipulated the Christian Right for political gain, charges PBS commentator Bill Moyers. Rove, a self-described observant Episcopalian, labels the charge a "drive-by slander." In a defense of Rove, Fox News' Chris Wallace asserts that Moyers is guilty of lazy journalism. . .

I see no discrepancy here - do you?

Retaining the knowledge of God

fractals
For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

Romans 1:20

'Realignment' of the Anglican Communion underway

From Ruth Gledhill at the Times (U.K.):

. . . The province of the Southern Cone, which includes Argentina, Peru and Chile and is headed by expatriate British Bishop Greg Venables, is offering itself as a “safe haven” for traditionalist US dioceses that wish to secede over gays.

The plan will allow disaffected US dioceses to leave the oversight of The Episcopal Church Primat Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori but to remain within the body of the Anglican Communion and in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury.

According to well-informed insiders, Dr Rowan Williams, while opposed to separatist solutions to the Anglican crisis, has described the plan of Bishop Venables as a “sensible way forward.”

Up to five dioceses in the US are understood to be interested in moving to the Southern Cone province. They include San Joaquin, Fort Worth and Pittsburgh. The development is unprecedented. While provinces such as Nigeria and Uganda have ordained bishops to pastor US parishes, none has yet agreed to take on board an entire diocese.

In a recent letter to one traditionalist US bishop, Dr Williams indicated the strenth of his support for diocesan autonomy. He said: “The organ of union with the wider Church is the Bishop and the Diocese rather than the Provincial structure as such.”

Bishop Jefferts Schori has made it clear that she will take legal action under canon law against any bishops that lead their dioceses into another province. The legal actions will enable canon lawyers to focus for the first time on the extent to which traditional diocesan autonomy in Anglican and Catholic church structures is a reality.

Four US diocesan bishops met Bishop Venables and his bishops at his episcopal headquarters in Buenos Aires in August to discuss the plan. Bishop Venables met Dr Williams in London in September where they discussed the proposal.

In an interview with The Times, Bishop Venables said: “We have talked with a number of US dioceses and bishops. They think the could remain within the Anglican Communion if they are no longer part of The Episcopal Church. So we took an overwhelming decision in our provincial synod this week to receive into our province any diocese that wishes to come.”

The diocese must first go through the necessary synodical procedures to separate from The Episcopal Church. . .

Read it all.

Reading Psalm 19: The law of the Lord is perfect

From Anne Kennedy at an undercurrent of hostility [boldface mine]:

. . . [P]salm 19 has, over time, very much informed my emotional sense of obedience to God, and my overall desire to know God through the Scriptures. Because, let’s face it, the easy way is not obedience or even knowledge of God. The easy way is strict slavish adherence to one’s own passions and desires. To first of all know the Law and then to find it sure, right, pure, clean, true and golden, that takes a life time of work.

As I write this, I am most painfully aware that this sets me entirely outside the worldview of most of the west, actually. I frequently delude myself into thinking myself in the majority by reading people I agree with and avoiding everything else. But this is not the case. The west has become obsessively self centered. The Law of the Lord, perfect or not, is not known nor sought. Even the church has bought into the boring madness of self gratification. Only its called ‘self actualization’ or ‘becoming one’s best self’ or even, ‘living into the baptismal covenant’. And its why the Anglican World is breaking apart. . .

Read it all.

Last Chance for Rowan?

A great wrap-up of the week's events by Peter Ould at An Exercise in the Fundamentals of Orthodoxy:

Events have been moving fast in the past week in the USA…

1. Last weekend the Convention of the Diocese of Pittsburgh met (the equivalent of our Diocesan Synods here in the Church of England) and passed a motion that began to remove the Diocese from being part of the Episcopal Church in the USA.

2. In response, KJS, (the US Primate) sent a letter to Bob Duncan, the Bishop of Pittsburgh, basically telling him that he and the Diocese weren’t allowed to leave TEC and that she would sue the pants of him and them if they tried (or words to that effect).

3. Archbishop Akinola, Primate of Nigeria, said that he, and most of Nigeria and huge chunks of Africa and beyond, may not come to Lambeth 2008 if TEC is not disciplined.

4. Yesterday, Bishop Iker of Fort Worth, received his letter from KJS saying “If you leave I will be very Christian and take you to court” (or words again to that effect).

5. The same day the Telegraph reported that Greg Venables, Primate of the Southern Cone, had offered Primatial oversight to US dioceses that want to leave TEC. He confirmed this in a phone call.

6. A whole series of English Bishops, clergy and lay members of Synod came out in support.

Wow

If I was Rowan Williams I would be worried. The orthodox in the USA are no longer saying that they’re going to take action. They now actually are. Primates of the Communion are now offering to take whole chunks of the American church under their wing, and in response 815 is fighting dirty. English Bishops are lining up (expect more in the next few days) to support Pittsburgh et al and it looks as though the Lambeth Conference is falling apart. If he doesn’t come down on the side of Bob Duncan, Iker and the rest, then he faces not just unrest abroad (with calls for a new Primates Meeting being so far ignored from Lambeth Palace) but the possibility of outright mutiny at home.

On top of that though, Rowan also has to contend with a large liberal lobby here in England who will also be highly vocal if he comes down on the side the conservatives in the USA. Does he dare upset Affirming Catholicism and Inclusive Church?. . .

Read it all.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Orthodox Anglicans unite in prayer as church property trial looms

From BabyBlueOnline:

Churches within the Anglican District of Virginia (ADV) are joining together in prayer in advance of the November 13 church property trial that will take place in Fairfax County Circuit Court. Prayer services will be held at The Falls Church and Church of the Apostles in the next few days and Truro’s chapel will be open for prayer throughout the trial. All 11 of the churches named in the lawsuit, now known as Multi-Circuit Property Litigation, Case No. CL-2007-0248724, are members of ADV, an association of Anglican congregations in Virginia and a part of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA).

“Our legal team and the ADV member parishes are prayerfully preparing for the court proceedings next week. The upcoming prayer services illustrate our continued desire to act in accordance with the will of God and the laws of the land. We remain confident in our legal standing and in our decision to dissociate from The Episcopal Church due to its blatant rejection of the authority of Scripture. It is unfortunate that The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Virginia abruptly halted our collective efforts to resolve this matter amicably out of court,” said Jim Oakes, vice-chairman of the Anglican District of Virginia. . .

On Friday, November 9 at 7:30 p.m., Church of the Apostles, located at 3500 Pickett Road in Fairfax City, Va., will hold a prayer and worship service focused on the legal team and the court proceedings. On Saturday night, November 10, The Falls Church will devote the 5:30 p.m. worship service especially to prayers for the litigation. The prayer vigil will take place in the main sanctuary located at 115 E. Fairfax Street in Falls Church, Va. Truro Church located at 10520 Main Street in Fairfax, Va., is also making its chapel available for prayer throughout the legal proceedings.

Read it all.

Outsourcing wombs in India

From CNSNews.com:

In a new twist to the outsourcing for which India has become renowned, poor Indian women are renting out their wombs to foreigners.

Surrogate motherhood -- carrying to term and giving birth to another woman's baby - once was limited in India to helping close relatives who couldn't complete a pregnancy due to medical difficulties.

But leading gynecologist Dr. Kamla Selvaraj says it's now becoming a regular "profession" in India, with more and more women willing to carry babies for others, for a fee.

India has for years been providing foreigners with in-vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment at a cheaper rate than the equivalent services in Western countries.

Surrogacy comes in when the biological mother is unable to carry the child. Alternatively, a surrogate also provide eggs when the woman wanting a child is unable to do so herself.

Apart from low-cost IVF treatment, India also is offering surrogate mothers at a considerably lower price than couples would pay in the U.S. or Europe.

Women's counselor Harleen Ahluwalia says surrogacy cases are estimated to have nearly doubled in the past three years.

"Foreigners find Indian legal procedures easy and less exploitative, unlike [in the] U.S., where any complication could cost a fortune," she said.

Although surrogacy cases have been reported from various regions, one area that appears to be over-represented is Anand district in the western state of Gujarat, where more than 50 economically deprived women are reported to be presently carrying babies for foreigners and non-resident Indians. . .

Leading advocate of surrogacy, Dr. Naina Patel of the Akanksha Fertility Clinic in Anand, contends that it is a positive service. "Infertility is a global problem and we have its global solution," she said.

Responding to criticism that poor Indians are being exploited, Patel insisted that surrogate mothers were extremely well looked after by those paying for their services. They were housed comfortably and were under expert medical supervision to ensure healthy children for their clients, she said.

But not all share Patel's enthusiasm and many believe surrogacy carries a huge physical and emotional cost for the women.

Dr. Mohanlal Swarankar, chairman of the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences in Jaipur and one of the leading fertility experts in India, is firmly opposed to the practice of surrogacy and wants what he called the "commercial sale of wombs and babies" to be outlawed. . .

Swarankar said he worried that in a country where women are often forced into submission, "Who could tell if a woman hadn't been pressured to be a surrogate mother for the sake of big money?". . .

He said he was also distressed at the increasing number of young healthy, married working women unwilling to put their careers on hold to have a baby, and thus paying someone else to do so on their behalf.

This was nothing short of sacrilege, he said.

Meanwhile, in the absence of clear-cut statutes, Indian courts have found themselves grappling with cases of proprietary rights of rival mothers. Most rulings to date are stated to favor surrogate mothers, and legal experts note that if a surrogate mother decides not to give up the baby, nobody can force her to do so. . .

Read it all.

ECUSA: Fort Worth bishop receives notice of possible consequences if withdrawal effort continues

From EpiscopalLife Online [boldface mine]:

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has made public another letter of warning sent to a bishop actively seeking to withdraw his diocese from the Episcopal Church.

The letter to Bishop Jack Leo Iker of the Diocese of Fort Worth notifies him that such a step would force her to take action to bring the diocese and its leadership into line with the mandates of the national Church.

The first of the letters was sent to Bishop Robert Duncan of the Diocese of Pittsburgh on October 31. Letters to other bishops will follow.

Fort Worth's diocesan convention, meeting November 16-17, is set to consider the first reading of a constitutional amendment that would remove accession to the Constitution and Canons of General Convention, as well as several canonical amendments that eliminate mention of the Episcopal Church. Iker has indicated his support and approval of the amendments.

A similar canonical change was approved on first reading by the Diocese of Pittsburgh's convention November 2-3, despite a warning letter written by Jefferts Schori to Pittsburgh's bishop.

In December, the Diocese of San Joaquin is scheduled to hear the second and final reading of its constitutional accession amendment.

If these and related constitutional changes go forward, the Presiding Bishop could ask the Title IV Review Committee to consider whether the bishops who have proposed and supported them have abandoned the communion of the Episcopal Church. . .

A lawsuit would be filed against the departed leadership and a representative sample of departing congregations if they attempted to retain Episcopal Church property.

Appointed to the 2007-2009 Title IV Review Committee are Bishop Dorsey Henderson of Upper South Carolina (president), Bishop Suffragan Bavi E. Rivera of Olympia, Bishop Suffragan David C. Jones of Virginia, Bishop C. Wallis Ohl Jr. of Northwest Texas, the Rev. Carolyn Kuhr of Montana, the Very Rev. Scott Kirby of Eau Claire, J.P. Causey Jr. of Virginia and Deborah J. Stokes of Southern Ohio.

Read it all.
H/t to Stand Firm.

A time to scatter stones and a time to gather them

[God] has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil — this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him.
Ecclesiastes 3:11-14

The "stones" have been scattered across ECUSA. I pray that this is now the time of gathering them back together under committed leadership, for God's glory in Christ Jesus.

Shoe Thursday: Party Time! Disco Inferno!

Hey, we have a great reason to celebrate! So let's dress the part (at least the guys - I really don't want to see what the gals were wearing in 1975).


Muchissimo thanks to ++Gregory Venables, ++Henry Orombi, ++Peter Akinola, and all the other committed Anglican Primates that have given us so much of their time, resources, and understanding to provide us with safe haven in the Anglican Communion. Of course, there's a lot of hard work and sacrifice ahead, but for today, let's enjoy!

So to put us in the party mood, here's Kool & the Gang:

Celebrate good times, come on ! Let's celebrate

There's a party going on right here
a celebration to last throughout the years.
So bring your good times and your laughter
too

we're gonna celebrate your party with you !

let's all celebrate and have a good time!

(photo from the 1975 J.C. Penny catalog, courtesy of the Manolo)

Anglican leader offers haven to US conservatives

Boy, you go to sleep for a few hours, and see what happens! From the Telegraph (U.K.):

The worldwide Anglican Church suffered a dramatic new split last night when a leading conservative archbishop approved plans to adopt breakaway American dioceses, the Daily Telegraph has learned.

Archbishop Gregory Venables is to allow conservative dioceses that are defecting from the pro-gay American branch of Anglicanism to affiliate with his South American province thousands of miles away.

The unprecedented realignment will rock the 70 million-strong worldwide Church and escalate the bitter civil war over gay clergy that is tearing it apart.

It will also dismay the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, who is struggling to avert a formal schism.

Dr Williams is certain come under huge pressure to denounce what liberals will regard as an illicit “parallel” province.

But if he does he will risk the wrath of the powerful coalition of conservative Global South primates from Africa and Asia who are backing the initiative.

He is already facing threats of a conservative boycott of next year's showcase Lambeth Conference in Canterbury if he fails to discipline the liberal Americans over their pro-gay policies.

Global South leaders yesterday stepped up pressure on Dr Williams to postpone the conference, the ten-yearly gathering of Anglican bishops from across the globe, until the row has been resolved.

The crisis could deepen even further if the Diocese of Chicago elects a lesbian cathedral dean to be its next bishop at the weekend.

Archbishop Venables said that the Americans were to blame for triggering the crisis by consecrating Anglicanism's first openly gay bishop in 2003 in defiance of official Church policy.

The British-born Archbishop, who is the Primate of the Province of the Southern Cone, told the Telegraph: "This is a pivotal moment in the history of the Anglican Communion.

"The new realignment demonstrates the depths of the divisions that already exist."

Dr Williams appears to want to keep the Communion together at all costs, but Gospel truth should never be sacrificed for structural unity.

"Conservatives in America and elsewhere cannot wait in limbo any longer. They need a safe haven now."

Archbishop Venables unveiled the decision of his bishops and other leaders after the plans were overwhelmingly approved by his provincial synod during a meeting in Chile last night.

A handful of conservative American dioceses are already in the process of opting out of the Episcopal Church by voting in their diocesan synods to alter their constitutions.

Up to five are expected to become part of the Southern Cone, which covers most of South America except Brazil, over the next six months or so. . .

In a letter sent last night, 46 conservative members of the Church of England's General Synod pledged their support. A number of traditionalist parishes in Canada are also likely to affiliate with the Southern Cone province in protest at plans by liberal dioceses to introduce same-sex blessings.

Read it all.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Disciplinary action proceeding against three resigned bishops

From the Living Church:

The House of Bishops is proceeding with disciplinary action against three of the six bishops who have resigned from The Episcopal Church during the past year. The bishops were briefed on active cases during an executive session of the fall meeting held Sept. 20-25 in New Orleans.

An ecclesiastical trial against the Rt. Rev. William Cox is still pending, despite the fact that he transferred to the Anglican Church of Southern Cone last March. Bishop Cox told The Living Church he was not aware that he was still a target of interest to the ecclesiastical court. . .

Disciplinary investigations of the Rt. Rev. Andrew Fairfield, retired Bishop of North Dakota, and the Rt. Rev. David Bena, former Bishop Suffragan of Albany, are in process. Last June, Bishop Fairfield transferred to the Church of Uganda. Shortly before his own renunciation last January, the Rt. Rev. Daniel Herzog, former Bishop of Albany, approved the transfer of Bishop Bena’s episcopal orders to the Anglican Church of Nigeria.

Like Bishop Herzog, the Rt. Rev. Clarence Pope, retired Bishop of Fort Worth, and the Rt. Rev. Jeffrey N. Steenson, Bishop of the Rio Grande, renounced and subsequently sought to join the Roman Catholic Church.

The canons of The Episcopal Church require bishops to receive permission to resign from a majority of bishops with jurisdiction. Bishops Herzog, Pope and Steenson did request and receive such approval. Bishops Bena, Cox and Fairfield wrote Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori informing her of their transfers, but they did not request approval for their actions from the House of Bishops. . .

Read it all.

'The Golden Compass' does not point to True North

From Ben Witherington's blog, a review of The Golden Compass, a movie based on Philip Pullman's first novel in his trilogy titled His Dark Materials (read especially if you're a parent) [boldface mine]:

I am not a person that is much in favor of banning things. For one thing it usually backfires (although the banning of the 'Da Vinci Code' movie after a brief release in China, seems to have accomplished some of the government's aims to avoid religious upheaval). Plus I do indeed believe in those amendments, including free speech.

However I continue to get red alerts from persons on both sides of the Atlantic pond that Phillip Pullman is not an author you want young Christian children to read or spend time with.Www.snopes.com/ reports that Pullman, in an interview with the Aussie paper The Sydney Morning Herald in 2003 said that his books are about "killing God".

Peter Hitchens, a British commentator, (no relation to the atheist of the same name) [ed. correction - Peter is Christopher Hitchens' brother] calls Pullman the most dangerous author in Britain. Whether dangerous or not, he is certainly popular, and his novels have won various awards. The first in the trilogy we are concerned with, called 'Northern Lights' has now been made into a movie entitled 'Golden Compass' and released just in time for the Christmas rush season. Hollywood can of course do what it wants, but Christians have no obligation to support films with an atheistic, or better said strongly anti-theist point of view. Below you will find what the Catholic League says about the matter:
". . . A film called "The Golden Compass" opens December 7. It is based on the first book of a trilogy titled His Dark Materials. The author of this children's fantasy is Philip Pullman, a noted English atheist. It is his objective to bash Christianity and promote atheism. To kids. "The Golden Compass" is a film version of the book by that name, and it is being toned down so that Catholics, as well as Protestants, are not enraged.

The second book of the trilogy, The Subtle Knife, is more overt in its hatred of Christianity than the first book, and the third entry, The Amber Spyglass, is even more blatant. Because "The Golden Compass" is based on the least offensive of the three books, and because it is being further watered down for the big screen, some might wonder why parents should be wary of the film.

The Catholic League wants Christians to stay away from this movie precisely because it knows that the film is bait for the books: unsuspecting parents who take their children to see the movie may be impelled to buy the three books as a Christmas present. And no parent who wants to bring their children up in the faith will want any part of these books.

"The Golden Compass: Agenda Unmasked" is the Catholic League's response. It provides information about the film, "The Golden Compass," and details what book reviewers have said about Pullman's books; a synopsis of his trilogy is also included. . .

Read it all.

How to assist the Diocese of Pittsburgh

From Jackie Bruchi at Stand Firm:

The following is an email I received from Peter Frank, Director of Communication for the Diocese of Pittsburgh in response to my letter to him advising that many of our readers desired to assist Bishop Duncan and the Diocese in the battle ahead. My request stated that we are already praying for them and asked for specifics of how else we can help. Here is the response:
Assisting the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh,

We are so thankful for the support Anglicans and other Christians from all over the world have already offered to the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh over the last few years. In the aftermath of big meetings and big decisions we hear over and over again that people are praying for us and support us.

Stand Firm has brought it to our attention that some are looking for ways to also help financially. Since 2003, the diocese has faced significant legal costs. We have already had to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend ourselves. To make sure that paying those costs does not force us to curtail parish and diocesan mission; we have created a “Mission Support Fund.” Since it was founded earlier this year, donors have given some $60,000.

If you would like to give to this fund, send a check made out to The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh with Mission Support Fund in the memo line to:

The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh
900 Oliver Building
535 Smithfield St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Gifts are tax deductible (we will send you a receipt). On behalf of Bishop Robert Duncan and all of us here in Pittsburgh, thank you again for your past support and willingness to stand with us now during these challenging days. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1).

Peter Frank
Director of Communications

At this time the Diocese does not have a PayPal link. If that changes, I will do my best to let you know. In the meantime, may I suggest you place Bishop Duncan and the Diocese of Pittsburgh in your prayers and consider a donation to this worthwhile cause?

Liverpool: Black and white

Anglican Cathedral, Liverpool; photo credit Brian Saville

Open letter to the Primates from Archbishop Akinola

From the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, an open letter from Archbishop Akinola to his fellow primates [boldface mine]:

. . . I write on the 490th anniversary of that moment in Church history when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Cathedral in Wittenberg in which he asserted, among other things, that the truth of the gospel must always take precedence over the structures of the church. It is becoming increasingly clear that we are facing a similar situation today. While it has been my hope that we would be able to share these reflections face to face it seems unlikely that we will be called to meet together in the near future and so I offer these thoughts by letter.

It has been repeatedly stated and most succinctly summarized in the report, 'Road to Lambeth' we face a two fold crisis in 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 the common foundation of faith. (See the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral)

The Church of Nigeria is not interested in territorial expansion. The failure to resolve these dual crises has been at the heart of the decision by our Church and a number of other Global South Provinces to offer encouragement and oversight to a growing number of clergy and congregations in the USA. These pastoral initiatives are not and should not be seen as the cause of the crises.

Although they have variously been described as “interventions” “boundary crossing” or “incursions” -- they are a direct and natural consequence of the decision by The Episcopal Church (TEC) to follow the path that it has now chosen.

These pastoral initiatives undertaken to keep faithful Anglicans within our Anglican family has been at a considerable cost of crucial resources to our province. There is no moral equivalence between them and the actions taken by TEC. They are a heartfelt response to cries for help. We acted in accordance with the Gospel mandate. Had TEC, against all godly warnings, not taken actions that tore the fabric of our beloved Communion there would be no need for hundreds indeed, thousands of its members to seek pastoral, episcopal and now primatial care elsewhere.

It has been suggested that our actions violate historic Anglican polity and early church tradition with particular reference made to the Council of Nicea. This assertion is both hollow and made in bad faith since those who make it are more than willing to ignore historic biblical teaching on the uniqueness of Christ, the authority of the Scriptures and the call to moral obedience. With regard to Nicea - while there was concern for proper order there was even greater commitment to maintaining right teaching. This can be seen by the provision of godly bishops and clergy in places where the incumbents were proponents of false teaching.

The world needs to understand that the situation that we now confront is not primarily about structure or conferences but about irreconcilable truth claims. It is worth remembering that in the Biblical narratives religious structures have often been the enemy of revealed truth. When these structures become obstacles, YHWH, in his own way and at a time of his own choosing removed them and brought His people back to Himself. Of course there is value to preserving Anglican structures but we must never do so at the expense of the people for whom our Lord Jesus the Christ gave his life.

Until the Communion summons the courage to tackle that issue headlong and resolve it we can do no other than provide for those who cry out to us. It is our earnest prayer that repentance and reconciliation will make this a temporary arrangement. One thing is clear we will not abandon our friends.

When we met in Dar es Salaam, after a great deal of effort, we suggested a way forward that had the support of all those present – including the Presiding Bishop of TEC. The House of Bishops and Executive Committee of The Episcopal Church quickly rejected this proposal on the grounds that it apparently violated their canons. We now have a counter proposal from TEC and yet there is no indication that it will meet the needs of those for whom it is supposedly designed. This endless series of proposals and counter proposals continues with no apparent conclusion in sight. Sadly, it is becoming increasingly clear that the only acceptable end as far as TEC is concerned is the full capitulation of any who would stand in opposition to their biblically incompatible innovations- this we will never do. There is a way forward - we have written and spoken repeatedly about it – the time for action is now.

I believe that we Primates must meet in the next few months to respond to the crisis that now confronts us. The situation in The Episcopal Church is deteriorating rapidly. Lawsuits are escalating and I have just heard that Bishop Bob Duncan is now threatened with ecclesiastical trial by the Presiding Bishop for his faithful attempts to find a way to protect his faithful members and diocese. Other godly bishops are under the same threat. Their only crime is a desire to continue their Christian pilgrimage as faithful Anglicans. This situation will affect all of us. We dare not let our love for the historic structures of our beloved Communion, important as they are, allow us to destroy its future. We are losing members. We are losing time. We are losing our integrity as an important part of the One, holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

“Multitudes, multitudes, in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision”. Joel 3:14

+Peter Abuja,

All Saints Day, 2007

Read it all.
H/t to Stand Firm.