Friday, February 29, 2008

Happy Leap Day!

The Rt. Rev. Valentino Mokiwa elected Archbishop of Tanzania

From, some international news with a local connection:

Some exciting news for my rector, Fr. Lawrence Bausch, and the people of Holy Trinity Parish, where Archbishop-elect Mokiwa (Dar Es Salaam) is companion bishop (Archbishop Gregory Venables, Diocesan). Many in our community had the chance to meet then-Bishop Mokiwa during his visit to Holy Trinity Parish and the local AAC Chapter just this past February.

Of note, the province of Tanzania has typically alternated its selection of primates, choosing more Anglo-Catholic archbishops for itself every other election. In this instance, however, the province has chosen a second Anglo-Catholic as successor to Archbishop Mtetemela.

I understand some from Holy Trinity Parish may be attending the installation on May 25 of this year.

See also my posting on Bishop Valentino's visit to San Diego.

More on the situation of Dr. J.I. Packer

From TitusOneNine, a letter from Lesley Bentley:

I am the spokesperson for St. John's Shaughnessy Anglican Church in Vancouver. Dr. Packer has been an honourary assistant at St. John's for well over 20 years. We are a church in serious theological dispute with the Diocese of New Westminster which was the first diocese in the worldwide Anglican Communion to write a rite for the blessing of same sex unions and then allow them to happen. This is, of course, only a symptom of the underlying theological dispute which is currently ripping the worldwide communion apart.

Two weeks ago St. John's voted by a 97.7% margin to accept an offer of temporary emergency episcopal oversight from the Province of the Southern Cone under Archbishop Greg Venables. Dr. Packer strongly supported this move. To see Dr. Packer's specific views on the situation in the Anglican Church I encourage you to check out a YouTube posting where he discusses the issue with a reporter. You can find it on YouTube by searching for St. John's Shaughnessy. It is a 10 part video (115 minutes in all) with our rector, David Short, and Dr. Packer giving a very comprehensive explanation of the Anglican Church's situation right now. . .

Read it all, and check out the YouTube videos starting here.

From Michael Daley:
Below is a brief outline of the nature of the charges brought against Dr. Packer by the Diocese of New Westminster, under the leadership of Bishop Michael Ingham:

Dr. Packer together with the other clergy at St. John’s have been served with a Notice of Presumption of Abandonment of the Exercise of the Ministry under Canon XIX. According to Bishop Michael Ingham of the Diocese of New Westminster, the notice is based on the following “facts”:
  • that he has publicly renounced the doctrine and discipline of the Anglican Church of Canada; and

  • that you have sought or intend to seek admission into another religious body outside the Anglican Church of Canada.

The notice also states that if Dr. Packer does not take advantage of provisions under the Canons to dispute the facts stated above, Dr. Packer’s spiritual authority as a minister of Word and Sacraments conferred in ordination will be revoked on April 21, 2008.

The legal team of ANiC is reviewing and considering the validity and alleged consequences of such a “Notice of Presumption of Abandonment”.

Check it out.

AAC weekly update from Bishop Anderson

From Bishop David Anderson of the American Anglican Council via email [boldface mine]:

Beloved in Christ,

In every age, there are a few leaders who become legends in their own time, iconic and larger than life. The people who attain to this level are nearly always unaware of it and not quite understanding of it, thus they are surprised that so many hold them in such high esteem. The Rev. Dr. James I. Packer certainly falls in this category, and so it is with surprise and disbelief that we learn that the controversial and revisionist bishop of New Westminster (Canada), the Rt. Rev. Michael Ingham, has threatened the most orthodox Dr. Packer with suspension of his clerical license for ministry.

In both Canada and the United States, if you love Jesus and take his teachings and commands seriously, the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) or the Episcopal Church (TEC) will come after you with harmful intent. Pray for Dr. Packer as he endures harassment once again from Bishop Ingham. Why is Ingham on the warpath again? It might be over the entire Anglican Church of Canada’s largest church, located physically in Ingham’s geographical area, St. John’s Shaughnessy, Vancouver, voting to affiliate with former ACC Bishop Don Harvey, now of the Province of the Southern Cone, and Archbishop Gregory Venables. The vote was 474 to realign, 11 voting no, and 9 abstentions. This action taking the church out of the ACC ensures that the laity, clergy and congregations are able to maintain their orthodox Anglican Christian faith and, within a new jurisdiction, remain a part of the worldwide Anglican Communion. Things are becoming critical in Canada, and the persecution of the faithful up there will probably grow worse in the future.

News pertaining to the USA, but involving as usual the Archbishop of Canterbury, seems centered on a pastoral care scheme put forward by some orthodox TEC bishops as a way for some TEC dioceses and churches to have orthodox primatial and episcopal oversight, and for them to be able to have another channel of relating to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the global primates other than just through Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori. The plan does little to give respite to those orthodox congregations (hopelessly?) trapped in revisionist dioceses with revisionist bishops over them. Why are these congregations hopelessly trapped? Often the challenge of expensive litigation or walking away from deep attachments to their property simply is more than they can muster, so they stay, but in a very endangered capacity.

Although many parishes have walked away, often without their property, and several bishops and dioceses are considering leaving, albeit with their property, there are congregations and orthodox bishops and dioceses for whom this seems to be too much to ask. This scheme put before Dr. Williams is thought to address this, and the ABC seems enthused over the prospect. Unfortunately, it is a formula for disaster. If the world has learned anything, it is that TEC can’t be trusted to keep its word, and in this plan which is being set before Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori, the details aren’t even worked out. If there is any hope of it working, everything must be thought through and noted and agreed upon in the document before any signatures are attached. A further difficulty is that without the permission of the local revisionist TEC bishop, no congregation that petitions for help can be assisted. The lambs can only have a watchdog if the wolf gives permission. Bishop Howe of Central Florida commented, “We (Episcopal Visitors) will visit no congregation without the diocesan bishop’s invitation and permission.” Duh! Does that make sense? If the local bishop was at all accommodating of conservatives, the need for protection wouldn’t be there in the first place. Because the need is there, you have to have permission from the person who is the greatest danger to those asking for help. Some of our orthodox bishops wrote this and the Archbishop of Canterbury likes it, and even Jefferts Schori might agree to it. Help me make sense of this. Additionally, can this be legally done without the TEC House of Bishops concurring with the Presiding Bishop in agreeing to such a proposal? We will have to wait and see, but I see this as various stages and degrees of collaboration which offers false hope to a few and puts many at grave risk. I urge the bishops thus involved to reconsider their plans. Bishop John Howe remarks, “If we do this right, it will strengthen the hands of the Presiding Bishop and the Archbishop of Canterbury.” Pray tell, why does Bishop Howe wish to strengthen the hand of Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori who is suing the pants off most of the orthodox who have left and now has been handed up to $500,000 of TEC trust fund income to advance the litigation further, especially against Bishop Howe’s brother bishops in the Anglican Communion Network?

Meanwhile, as TEC raids trust fund income for $500,000 worth of upcoming litigation, some money is found to spread around poorer parts of Africa on what is called by some "The Charm Offensive." Money from TEC, funneled through Bishop Pierre Whalon, a francophone, is being used to attract African primates and bishops to the American cause. Whalon recently delivered money to buy Archbishop Fidèle Dirokpa and Bishop Henri Isingoma new automobiles.

Meanwhile all over the United States, the Common Cause Partners federation churches are preaching the Gospel, seeing men and women’s lives change by Christ, planting and growing churches, and equipping more and more individuals being called by God to enter the ordained ministry to preach the Truth. God is Good...All The Time.

Blessings and Peace in Christ Jesus,
The Rt. Rev. David C. Anderson, Sr.
President & CEO of the AAC

Gunmen kidnap Iraqi Chaldean Catholic archbishop

From Reuters:

MOSUL, Iraq (Reuters) - Gunmen kidnapped the Chaldean Catholic archbishop of Mosul on Friday in the northern Iraqi city and killed his driver and two guards, police said.

"He was kidnapped in the al-Nour district in eastern Mosul when he left a church. Gunmen opened fire on the car, killed the other three and kidnapped the archbishop," said provincial police spokesman Brigadier-General Khaled Abdul Sattar.

An assistant to Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly, the Chaldean patriarch of Baghdad and spiritual leader of Iraq's Catholics, said they had heard three people were killed and they did not know the fate of the archbishop, Paulos Faraj Rahho.

Chaldeans belong to a branch of the Roman Catholic Church that practices an ancient Eastern rite. Most of its members are in Iraq and Syria, and they form the biggest Christian community in Iraq.

While violence across much of Iraq has dropped in recent months, U.S. and Iraqi officials say that Mosul remains the last urban stronghold of al Qaeda, which they identify as the biggest threat to the country's security. . .

Read it all.

JI Packer threatened with suspension

I'm sure you all have already heard about this - it was all over the web yesterday. From Michael Daley at The Lambeth Conference:

As evidence of the escalating crisis in the global Anglican Communion, today one of the of the world’s most esteemed Christian theologians, Dr. J.I. Packer, received a letter threatening suspension from ministry by the controversial Bishop of New Westminster, Michael Ingham. Bishop Ingham accused Dr. Packer, hailed by Time Magazine as the “doctrinal Solomon” of Christian thinkers, “to have abandoned the exercise of ministry” after the church where he is a member voted to separate from the diocese and join the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone under the oversight of Anglican Archbishop Gregory Venables. Dr. Packer, who was ordained in the Church of England, is the author of the Christian classic, “Knowing God,” and joined Billy Graham and Richard John Neuhaus as one of Time Magazine’s 25 most influential evangelicals in 2005.

Dr. Packer, who received his theological education at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, was ordained a deacon (1952) and priest (1953) in the Church of England. He was Assistant Curate of Harborne Heath in Birmingham 1952-54 and Lecturer at Tyndale Hall, Bristol 1955-61. He was Librarian of Latimer House, Oxford 1961-62 and Principal 1962-69. In 1970 he became Principal of Tyndale Hall, Bristol, and from 1971 until 1979 he was Associate Prinicipal of Trinity College, Bristol. In addition to his published works, he has served as general editor for the English Standard Version of the Bible. He currently serves as the Board of Governors’ Professor of Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia.

He will be 82 in July.

Check it out.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Student magazine says Planned Parenthood probe finds abortion racism *UPDATED*

From Kathy Shaidle at Five Feet of Fury, a transcript of a call to Planned Parenthood [boldface Kathy's]:

Actor: I want to specify that abortion to help a minority group, would that be possible?

Planned Parenthood: Absolutely.

Actor: Like the black community for example?

Planned Parenthood: Certainly.

Actor: The abortion – I can give money specifically for a black baby, that would be the purpose?

Planned Parenthood: Absolutely. If you wanted to designate that your gift be used to help an African-American woman in need, then we would certainly make sure that the gift was earmarked for that purpose.

Actor: Great, because I really faced trouble with affirmative action, and I don't want my kids to be disadvantaged against black kids. I just had a baby; I want to put it in his name.

Planned Parenthood: Yes, absolutely.

Actor: And we don't, you know we just think, the less black kids out there the better.

Planned Parenthood: (Laughs) Understandable, understandable.

Actor: Right. I want to protect my son, so he can get into college.

Planned Parenthood: All right. Excuse my hesitation, this is the first time I've had a donor call and make this kind of request, so I'm excited, and want to make sure I don't leave anything out.

This transcript corroborates a report I saw yesterday on but wanted to get more info on it before posting, since the charges are so serious. From [boldface mine]:
A magazine published by pro-life students at UCLA has conducted a probe into whether or not Planned Parenthood still harbors some of the racist policies it has been accused of promoting since its founding. The Advocate called Planned Parenthood centers in several states and found officials supportive of abortions on black Americans.

On Tuesday, the magazine released phone recordings of Planned Parenthood staffers approving a donor's racist agenda.

The magazine conducted a probe in seven states to find out how the staff members would react to a racist donor who wanted his donation used to promote abortions on African Americans. The magazine said it was shocked by the results.

An actor, posing as a racist donor, called Planned Parenthood development centers and asked that his donation be used to abort African American babies in order to "lower the number of black people."

"Each branch agreed to process the racially earmarked donation, with some encouraging the racist motive behind it," the Advocate editors told "None expressed concern about the racist reasoning for the donation."

The magazine says the caller told Idaho Planned Parenthood that "the less black kids out there the better."

IPP Director of Development Autumn Kersey called his position "understandable" and indicated she was excited to process his donation.

The magazine said an Ohio Planned Parenthood representative, Lisa Hutton, told the donor that Planned Parenthood "will accept the money for whatever reason."

UCLA senior Jose Manaiza, a 2007 nominee for the UCLA Student of The Year award and winner of the 2007 UCLA Chancellor's Service Award, is outraged by the news and called on the university to end its ties with Planned Parenthood.

He told he hopes fellow African American students and the entire UCLA student body will "commit to this new era of the Civil Rights Movement and fight any type of racism from Planned Parenthood.". . .

Now there is additional confirmation from WorldNetDaily that includes the link to actual phone conversations posted on YouTube, so we can hear the actual conversations (one call is transcribed above).
A student-run magazine at UCLA has revealed an undercover investigation in which representatives of Planned Parenthood, the nation's abortion industry leader, admitted willingness to accepting a financial donation targeting the destruction of an unborn black baby.

Lila Rose, who edits The Advocate, previously revealed how Planned Parenthood officials expressed a willingness to conceal statutory rape, an investigative piece that earned her an appearance on the Fox News Channel's "The O'Reilly Factor."

Now she's told WND she hopes the taped responses of Planned Parenthood officials in seven states reveal to her local UCLA community and the nation the racist leanings of the organization.

WND calls to Planned Parenthood of Idaho, which was featured in The Advocate report, requesting a comment were not returned.

"Students on campus are shocked and saddened that such a huge organization would have racist leanings in the present day," Rose told WND. "They are surprised to hear the truth about [Planned Parenthood founder] Margaret Sanger, and how the African-American community is being hurt by abortion. . .

Sanger supported eugenics to cull those she considered unfit from the population. In 1921, she said eugenics is "the most adequate and thorough avenue to the solution of racial, political and social problems."

At one point, Sanger lamented "the ever increasing, unceasingly spawning class of human beings who never should have been born at all." Another time, Sanger wrote, "We do not want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population."

According to Bryan Fisher, executive director of Idaho Values Alliance, Planned Parenthood, which gets an estimated $200 million annually from U.S. taxpayers, has located nearly 80 percent of its clinics nationwide in minority neighborhoods, and about one-third of all abortions are performed on blacks, even though they make up only 13 percent of the population. . .

Planned Parenthood and the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice - supported by your Episcopal Church. Enjoy your pledge dollars at work!

UPDATE: From [boldface mine]:
Planned Parenthood Affiliate Apologizes for Accepting Racist Abortion Donation

One of the Planned Parenthood affiliates a student magazine has accused of racism is responding to the charges and has apologized. Planned Parenthood of Idaho was one of the groups The Advocate magazine, a publication of UCLA pro-life students, said accepted a racist donation during a recent investigative story.

On Tuesday, the magazine released phone recordings of Planned Parenthood staffers approving a donor's racist agenda.

An actor, posing as a racist donor, called Planned Parenthood development centers and asked that his donation be used to abort African-American babies in order to “lower the number of black people.”

The Advocate spoke over the phone with Autumn Kersey, Vice-President of Marketing and Development for Planned Parenthood of Idaho. . .

On Thursday, Planned Parenthood of Idaho CEO Rebecca Poedy released a statement responding to the allegations and apologizing.

"Planned Parenthood firmly and unequivocally denounces racial bias in the delivery of health care," the statement read.

It continued, "A fund raising employee violated the organization's principles and practices when she appeared to be willing to accept a racially motivated donation. This employee made a serious mistake. We apologize for the manner in which this offensive call was handled."

Bryan Fischer, the executive director of the Idaho Values Alliance, a pro-family group, told that Planned Parenthood should be ashamed for excusing the racist motivations behind the "donation."

“Ms. Kersey’s conduct in the phone conversation is reprehensible," he said. "She should be immediately fired, and since her thinking appears to represent the thinking of Planned Parenthood, it might be best if the organization closed its doors and left the state. Idaho is too great for hate and racism.”

According to the magazine, Planned Parenthood officials in six other states gladly accepted the racist donations.

Read it all.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Amy Welborn: I officially give up…

From Amy Welborn's blog:

…trying to understand the crisis in the Anglican communion.

The acronyms have finally done it. I read Christopher Johnson and Kendall and Thinking Anglicans and Stand Firm and Captain Yips and follow their links, and it all just gets murkier and murkier to me, because it’s finally dawning on me that there isn’t a united front on the “reasserter” side of the coin and so now, besides the basic divide I have to try understand the divisions within the divisions?

And now they’ve added some sort of anti-missile defense system or whatnot called GAFCON to the mix?

I tried people. I really did. But GAFCON just broke my brain.

Check it out.

San Joaquin: ECUSA March 29 special convention anticipated

From EpiscopalLife Online (but I'm not sure what's going on in San Joaquin with the duly elected Standing Committee - this report just refers to a "steering committee" which seems to be the functioning authority according to the presiding bishop):

More San Joaquin congregations opt to remain within Episcopal Church; March 29 special convention anticipated

A growing number of Episcopalians in the Diocese of San Joaquin are opting to remain within the Episcopal Church (TEC), as the Fresno-based diocese prepares for an anticipated March 29 special convention that would elect a provisional bishop.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, in a letter to be distributed via a new diocesan newspaper, notes the proposed convention date and reassures the people of the diocese that work is ongoing "to ensure that you and your fellow Episcopalians may continue to bless the communities around you well into the future."

"I anticipate convening a Special Diocesan Convention on 29 March, at which you will elect new diocesan leaders, and begin to make provision for episcopal leadership for the next year or so," Jefferts Schori writes. "That gathering will be an opportunity to answer questions you may have, as well as to hear about plans for the renewal of mission and ministry in the Diocese of San Joaquin."

The convention announcement follows a series of February 19-22 meetings with individuals and groups from Lodi to Bakersfield which the Rev. Canon Bob Moore called "very fruitful. We've been able to broaden the scope of people who may see a future in the reconstituted Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin and that's been good," he said.

Moore noted as signs of progress the appointment of a 26-member steering committee to help continue the diocese (see roster below); 17 congregations who have opted to remain with TEC; the anticipated March 29 special convention to elect a provisional bishop; establishment of new diocesan headquarters in Stockton and a partnership with Episcopal Life Media to facilitate dissemination of information and to provide a new diocesan newspaper edition.

"It's an enormously big step," said Moore, of the new diocesan publication. "The lack of information here is profound," he said.

The Presiding Bishop appointed Moore, and later the Rev. Canon Brian Cox, as an interim pastoral presence to continuing Episcopalians after 42 of 47 diocesan congregations voted in December to leave TEC and to realign with the Argentina-based Anglican Province of the Southern Cone.

In the absence of ecclesiastical authority, the Rev. Mark Hall, rector of St. Anne's Church in Stockton and the senior active priest in San Joaquin, is also serving as temporary diocesan administrator.

He said, light-heartedly, that the continuing diocese is rapidly growing from an informal group "with cell phones wandering around the valley trying to get organized" to establishing a new diocesan headquarters and readying for the convention and necessary elections.

"Our biggest challenge has been that the entire administration of the diocese was taken over," Hall said, referring to the December 8 convention vote that splintered the diocese. "We had no center" until recently, he added. The Congregational Church has offered office space in Stockton, where "the original diocesan headquarters were before it was moved to Fresno," he said.

Membership in the continuing diocese is growing with 17 congregations remaining with TEC and the possibility of more coming on board. "Some are start-up and some are continuing congregations," Hall said. About five others are also considering continuing with TEC, added Hall, who is a steering committee member.

Delegates to the anticipated March 29 convention will, in addition to electing a provisional bishop, also elect the standing committee, deputies to General Convention, provincial representatives and diocesan officers.

Michael Glass, a San Rafael attorney who represents many of the continuing Episcopalians, said Title III. Canon 13, Section 1 provides for the election of the provisional bishop "in consultation with the Presiding Bishop."

Glass predicted additional congregations will also "come out of the woodwork" and decide to remain with TEC after the election. "Right now the only authority is Bob Moore and Brian Cox and the steering committee," he said. "When people have a new bishop they can call up and an alternative functioning structure to interact with, you'll see more people."

TEC is providing the funding for ongoing mission congregations, and other forms of support have been designated by the Episcopal Church's Executive Council.

Nancy Key, a co-founder of Remain Episcopal, said that the group of continuing Episcopalians is now offering financial assistance to emerging missions and other faith communities. "About two-thirds of our budget is going to support these missions; we've developed an application process which is on the website," Key said.

Getting the word out has been a significant challenge, said St. Anne's Hall. "Because of the nature of how things have been … people were kept from talking to each other and … we've been marginalized." He said that Episcopal Life's monthly newspaper and other church-wide publications were unavailable within most of the diocese for at least a decade.

Cindy Smith, a steering committee member, recalled discovering Episcopal Life during a visit to Virginia.

"I thought it was a diocesan publication, and I asked about it. They told me it was the national newspaper and I remember saying, 'what national newspaper?' I had never seen it or heard of it," said Smith, who is also a member of the Bakersfield Faith Community and president of Remain Episcopal.

"The idea that it's now going to be mailed to all the people in the diocese, 3,700 households, along with information about Episcopal Relief and Development and all the things the church is doing, all the things nobody ever told us about, except that it's 'bad' or 'apostate,' the possibility of what that can provide to people, is amazing."

Moore agreed. "We talked to people this morning who simply hear rumors on blogs and get the impression that these various blogs and web pages are the national church speaking with some uniform voice. This is an enormously big step."

The new publication will be edited by Doris Hall, who had retired in December 2007 after serving for 19 years as editor and ten years as associate editor of the diocesan publication, the "San Joaquin Star." (Hall is no relation to the Rev. Michael Hall.)

"I'm thrilled and excited," she said about the new publication, which is expected to publish its first issue in early March. "Now we can give people news about what's happening all over the Episcopal Church and not just locally."

The steering committee has organized into subcommittees, including an executive committee and: finance; canons and constitutions; reconciliation; arrangements; nominations; negotiations; liturgical planning and outreach.

Committee members represent a broad theological spectrum and include:

The Rev. Keith Axberg, rctor of Holy Family Parish in Fresno
The Rev. Marlin Bowman, vicar of St. Clare of Assisi Mission, Avery
The Rev. George Cano, a deacon at Christ the King, Riverbank
Barbara Conrad, St. Clare of Assisi, Avery
Amanda Gaona
The Rev. Mark Hall, rector, St. Anne's Parish, Stockton
Mike Handy, member, Church of the Saviour, Hanford
Richard Jennings, treasurer, Remain Episcopal
W. Marshall Johnston, member, Holy Family, Fresno
The Rev. Glenn Kanestrom, rector, Christ the King, Riverbank
Nancy Key, member, Holy Family, Fresno, and Remain Episcopal
Lejf Knutson, member, Church of the Saviour, Hanford
John Ledbetter, member, St. John the Baptist, Lodi
Shelley Lindgren, member St. Matthew Parish, San Andreas
Ron Miller, member, St. Francis, Turlock
Adrian Nestor, member, St. Matthew Parish, San Andreas
Dr. John Olowoyeye, member, St. John the Baptist, Lodi
Brenda Peterson, member, St. Nicholas Mission, Atwater
The Rev. Fred Risard, vicar, St. Nicholas Mission, Atwater
Joe Sadler, member, St. Nicholas Mission, Atwater
The Rev. John Shumaker, rector, St. Matthew Parish, San Andreas
Cindy Smith, member, Bakersfield Faith Community, Remain Episcopal
Norel Steffen, member, Christ the King, Riverbank
Tom Vanderwal, member, Remain Episcopal
Juanita Weber, member, St. Anne Parish, Stockton
Stanley Boone, provisional member . . .

Read it all.

Historic Anglimergent gathering in Minneapolis

Now there's a catchy phrase: Anglimergent. From emergent village:

Last week, there was a historic Anglimergent gathering at Solomon’s Porch in Minneapolis, featuring 18 people, described by Phyllis Tickle as a mixture of “emergent Christians and more than half of whom were Anglican types.”

Dixon Kinser described the meeting as “a ‘think tank’ trying to figure out weather Anglicanism can emerge through our post-modern context.” During the two days of meetings, Rev. Fred Burnham spoke about network theory and “the new science’s contribution toward alternative polity structures,” which Dixon described as “mind bending.”

But it was Phyllis Tickle’s presentation on “The Great Emergence” that was apparently mind blowing. [ed: see my earlier posting on Phyllis Tickle here] According to Dixon, Tickle shared that her thesis of emergence every 500 years has been presented to Jewish and Islamic groups who have noted that the same pattern exists in their own histories (“for the Jews, the rabbis went from the fall of the temple, to the Babylonian exile, back to the Judges, back to Abraham, she said, really amazing”).

Discussing the Anglimergent meetings on her Beliefnet Lenten blog, Tickle wrote, “As meetings go, this one was important … pivotal even, I suspect. ... There have not yet been many meetings like the one in Minneapolis. Without a doubt, there will be many, many more, and very shortly.”

Holly Rankin Zaher said the gathering was “one of the most encouraging, hope-filled conversations I’ve had about the episcopal church in a long, long time.”

To learn more about the growing Anglimergent network, visit [ed: the website lists as Bishop Protector, The Right Reverend Gregory H. Rickel, Diocese of Olympia]

UPDATE 2/24/2008: Karen Ward, the urban Abbess/Vicar at Church of the Apostles in Seattle and one of two Anglicans on the board of directors for Emergent Village, has weighed in on the Anglimergent gathering: ”’Anglimergent activity’ has now officially ‘begun’ in TEC with the meeting of Anglican emerging leaders (in the Episcopal Church) in Minneapolis recently. I was glad to be part of this (with me still being an ‘undocumented’ Anglican leader). It gives me hope for the future/present of this church that I love. I’m fully engaged in re-imagining the Anglican way of being Christian, and I’m amazed by how deeply this tradition (when freed from modern strictures) resonates with the souls of post-moderns.

“The freeing of Anglican tradition from the modern strictures part is the crux. The modern Anglican matrix is strong, but I ‘m hopeful our little Nebuchadnezzar flight crew can navigate this matrix and deliver a payload of hope into Gen Con 2009.”. . .

Read it all, and also my earlier posting on Phyllis Tickle.

National Pastors Convention 2008 in San Diego

National Pastors ConventionWell, I just found out about this (sponsored by Zondervan) or I would have posted on it earlier (and tried to get some interviews for AnglicanTV!):

NPC 2008: February 26-29, 2008

Three of the speakers and their events:

Anglican bishop John Rucyahana was elected Bishop of the Shyira diocese of Rwanda in 1997. During his term, John often escaped death, even as many pastors, friends and family members were killed in the ongoing genocide. John works tirelessly for reconciliation in Rwanda: having founded the Sonrise orphanage for children orphaned in the genocide, and ministering in prisons to its perpetrators. He is the author of The Bishop of Rwanda: Finding Forgiveness Amidst a Pile of Bones. He and his wife, Harriet, have five children.

Reconciliation for All, Not only Rwanda

No matter how big or small the difficulties, God can bring about reconciliation in all of our lives. In telling the story of genocide in Rwanda, Bishop John shares about how Rwandans are “finding forgiveness amidst a pile of bones”. He shows how a loving God transforms even the darkest nights of horror into a new day of hope and reconciliation.

Learning from the Sages

Spend 90 minutes with our sages, Bishop John Rucyahana, Ben Patterson and Calvin Miller as they share about what they have learned over their years that would help pastors position themselves for the long-haul in ministry. Hear them talk about ministry, the church, spiritual formation and what has helped them sustain and grow their relationship with God. These sages have a collective wisdom that will position pastors well as they continue to minister in the future.

N.T. Wright is Bishop of Durham and was formerly Canon Theologian of Westminster Abbey and dean of Lichfield Cathedral. He taught New Testament studies for twenty years at Cambridge, McGill and Oxford Universities. Wright's full-scale works The New Testament and the People of God, Jesus and the Victory of God, and The Resurrection of the Son of God are part of a projected six-volume series entitled Christian Origins and the Question of God. Among his many other published works are The Challenge of Jesus and Evil and the Justice of God.

The Cross and the Reconciling Task of the Church

When we learn to read the gospels for all they're worth, we discover that they are the focal point of a much larger story, which is the narrative of how the creator God had planned to reconcile the entire world to himself. The cross is much bigger, in other words, than simply a mechanism for enabling individual humans to find salvation: it is the means by which reconciliation is to happen at every level. How then does the reconciliation achieved on the cross get to work out in real situations in the world today? What can we learn from those who've been doing it?

Rev. Dr. D. Zac Niringiye is a theologian, pastor, Bible teacher, counselor, trainer, and organizational development consultant. Currently, he is Assistant Bishop of the Diocese of Kampala, a position he assumed after four years as Regional Director of the Church Mission Society’s work in Africa and 20 years of ministry among students in Uganda.

Redefining Power: Finding Our Place in a Global Church

Our central Christian affirmation makes a claim about power: “Jesus is Lord.” This alone means followers of Jesus should be especially alert to issues of power. At this time in our North American culture and in the state of global affairs, the collisions, claims, and counterfeit ideas about power are everywhere. They affect the church around the world every day, as well as right here at home. North American pastors and churches particularly need to think again about power. We need to consider how the Gospel, and the global church, can help us see power redefined in order for us to live and preach the gospel more faithfully. This seminar brings together a set of outstanding pastoral and theological leaders from churches in the Majority World, to reflect and challenge us.

Check it out.
H/t to Go a Little Deeper, who actually is attending and posting on some of the sessions.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Traditionalist bishop inadvertently invited to Lambeth Conference

From George Conger:

CANA Bishop Martyn Minns appears to have been inadvertently invited to the Lambeth Conference.

A clerical error, or as one aide suggested-deliberate mischief - caused a flurry of excitement at Lambeth Palace this week after reports surfaced that Bishop Minns had been asked to pledge his financial support to assist overseas bishops to attend the conference.

The fundraising letter was part of a mass mailing sent to all of the bishops of the Communion asking their help in defraying the £3,500 conference costs to assist their brethren from the developing world to attend the gathering. Bishop Minns told The Church of England Newspaper he had received the letter last week, which closed with the note that the conference organisers looked forward to seeing him at Lambeth this July.

Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire told CEN he had ‘not received any kind of invitation to Lambeth, and my plans remain up in the air’.

Attempts to contact Dr Nolbert Kunonga, the former Bishop of Harare, to ascertain whether he had received the note were unsuccessful. . .

Read it all (heh).

The Association of Western Anglican Congregations

Association of Western Anglican Congregations sealA new website to check out for those interested in what's happening on the west coast - The Association of Western Anglican Congregations. They currently have 14 member congregations in California and Arizona.

Excerpts from their FAQ page [boldface mine]:

What's the difference between orthodox Anglican churches and the Episcopal Church?

An influential majority in the Episcopal Church has wandered far afield from the orthodox Christian faith. While clinging to the form of the Book of Common Prayer, and the historic documents of the Church, they redefine them to conform to perceived cultural changes. This tendency is insidious because it results in a religion that denies the authority of Holy Scripture and uniqueness and centrality of Jesus Christ as the Way to the Father. It is more than a little reminiscent of the humorist Garrison Keillor's tale of a fellow named Bob who invented a faith called Bobism, "the religion that changes to meet your needs."

What does your organization believe about the role of a bishop?

In the Episcopal Church model of leadership, a bishop sits like a monarch, issues instructions flowing down from the top and receives money flowing back up from the congregations. That's top-heavy management. Congregations don't need to be controlled like that; they need the encouragement and blessing of a godly bishop. The Western Anglicans' DNA recognizes that the most effective ministry takes place person-to-person at the parish level and can't be imposed from on high. In our vision a bishop might also be the rector of one of the parishes. First and foremost, a godly bishop defends the faith, making sure no weeds grow in that garden. A godly bishop manages, ministers to and, when necessary, disciplines the clergy. And a godly bishop does the work of an evangelist and plants churches. A bishop thus focused would have a small budget, mainly for travel expenses, and little or no staff. In other words, the money goes for church planting or stays at the parish level where the ministry needs are found and where God is moving.

What will keep Western Anglicans from falling into the same mistakes that have beset the Episcopal Church?

During the past four decades, perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the Episcopal Church has been its failure to defend the basic Creedal tenets of the Christian faith, such as the divinity of Christ and the nature of the Trinity. Under a godly bishop, who views defense of the faith as a sacred obligation, this type of erosion would not happen.

It's important to note that the Episcopal Church has fallen into apostasy despite the authenticity of its historic documents. So documents per se, however sacred, aren't the answer here. Beginning with its failure to discipline the heretical Bishop James Pike in the 1960s, if not before, the Episcopal Church House of Bishops has tolerated an ever increasing apostasy. The only answer to this kind of erosion of the faith is to do what the Church has done throughout the millenia, and that's to maintain a robust defense of the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. (Jude 3) And this gets us right back to the sine qua non of godly bishops who view defense of the faith as a sacred obligation. So what will keep Western Anglicans (and its successor diocese) from falling into the mistakes of the Episcopal Church is diligence in the process of selecting its bishops. Also helpful will be a simple diocesan structure that supports the role of a bishop in providing godly leadership.

How is Western Anglicans being financed?

We're not a high-maintenance organization. We suggest that each of our member congregations contribute $100 multiplied by the number of its delegates to our House of Delegates meeting, held quarterly. That means the largest of our member congregations would contribute $700 annually, and that's a suggestion, not a tax. We've been blessed by private individuals donating a few thousand dollars to date. The only expenses we've had so far are for creating this website and holding meetings of our House of Delegates. As of December 1, 2007, we've raised less than $10,000 and spent less than half of that amount. The "Why" is that we believe effective ministry springs from our member congregations, that it can be encouraged and coordinated but can't be imposed from the top down. Any real money coming our way will be used to strengthen support of our smaller, newer congregations, as they seek to grow through mission, evangelism and service to our Lord. . .

What you are doing seems wonderful. But isn't there a danger that your organization will become just another splinter group and will not lead to unity?

Not really, because we're doing at the grass-roots level, here in the West, exactly what is being done by the Common Cause Partners' Bishops at their level of a College of Bishops. In both cases, orthodox Anglicans are laying aside whatever differences they might have and are coming together in what they pray and expect will be a new orthodox Province of the Anglican Communion in this land. We intend Western Anglicans to become the organizational structure of a diocese of the new Province.

Being subject to the oversight of a number of foreign bishops, will you be able to maintain your unity?

Yes, definitely. To understand why, permit a little history. The Episcopal Church has been hemorrhaging parishes in fits and starts for decades. The first large group departed in 1873 to form The Reformed Episcopal Church (which is now one of the Common Cause Partners, whose "Theological Statement" Western Anglicans has adopted). Some 14 other large groups (and many smaller groups) have left to form splinter denominations since that time. None, however, preserved its connection with the worldwide Anglican Communion until some recently departing congregations found a way to remain in communion with the worldwide church. For example, Western Anglican congregations, beginning in 2004, appealed to the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone of South America (Argentina, Bolivia) or the Anglican Province of Uganda for "provisional" (i.e., for the time being) oversight. Archbishop Henry Orombi of Uganda put it this way: "They came to us like children who were running away from home, and we offered them a safe place to be. We will not relinquish them into a spiritually dangerous situation."

We regard our several overseas bishops as wonderful, if somewhat temporary, blessings. (Recently, Uganda has consecrated an American, John Guernsey of Virginia, a bishop to provide additional oversight to Uganda's American congregations, including those that are members of Western Anglicans). . .

CBC radio: Anglican split

I haven't listened to this yet, but I'm posting it anyway since it includes an interview with ++Gregory Venables talking about the situation in Canada:

Parishioners at three Anglican churches -- two in British Columbia and one in Ontario -- have voted to split from the Anglican Church of Canada and join up with the Province of the Southern Cone. That's the part of the Anglican church that covers South America.

In all, ten parishes have now split with the Canadian church, all of them because of a fundamental disagreement over its stance on blessing same sex unions.

Joyce Lee is a member of the Church of the Good Shepherd in Vancouver. That's one of the parishes that voted to leave the Anglican Church of Canada. The Current caught up with her after the vote to hear her thoughts.

The fight over the issue has left Steve Schuh in an awkward situation. He's a member of the Anglican Church of Canada's General Synod. He's also a spokesperson for Integrity Canada, a national organization for gay and lesbian Anglicans. And he worships at St. John's Shaughnessy in Vancouver, a parish that voted to split with the Canadian church earlier this month.

We spoke to Steve Schuh from Vancouver. Also joining us was The Most Reverend Gregory James Venables, Presiding Bishop of the Province of the Southern Cone. He's also the Bishop of Argentina and the leader of the parishes that have split with the Anglican Church of Canada. Archbishop Gregory James Venables spoke to us from Buenos Aires.

Listen to The Current: Part 1

Monday, February 25, 2008

South Carolina: Conclusion of the Clergy Day

From Steve Wood, rector at St. Andrew's Mount Pleasant, on today's meeting with Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori:

There’s a wonderful little encounter between Alice and Humpty Dumpty in the book, Through the Looking Glass, which best described the day with the PB:
‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone,’ it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.’

‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master - that’s all.’

I haven’t heard such theologically incoherent language since I left the Diocese of Ohio. The epigrammatic moment came at the very end of the day when Ms. Jefferts-Schori gestured dramatically to express her bewilderment over the communication gap that remained, even after three hours of conversation, and concluded by saying, “I am very struck by our inability to communicate.” Of course, the problem, from my limited, sinful point of view, is that the clergy of South Carolina seem to foolishly believe that words have meaning and should convey substance and content.

A couple of people asked me why I didn’t ask her a public question. There were four reasons and one action.

First, as host of the event, I felt obliged to host and attend to the details involved in hosting. Secondly, I was not involved the planning of the day and the people responsible had developed a satisfactory and reasonable process for conversation in which substantial issues were raised. Thirdly, I don’t believe in publicly “jumping” someone, especially if we’ve not had prior personal conversation. Fourthly, Anthony, who did speak, spoke well on behalf of St. Andrew’s.

Now, the action. Please know that for the sake of personal integrity, and for the parish which I have both the privilege to serve and the responsibility to protect, I did have a brief face-to-face conversation with the PB. While the specifics are private, I attempted to communicate to her my observation and belief that The Episcopal Church as currently represented by our national leadership is no longer a Christian Church, has embraced a false gospel, and, its descent into error and irrelevancy has been hastened by her leadership.

I am anticipating that both audio and video recordings of the day will be made available shortly. I’ll keep you posted. . .

Check it out.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Lexington Episcopal Diocese income drops sharply

From the Bible Belt Blogger:

The diocese budget anticipated total income of $1,265,532.76 for 2007. Instead, total income totalled $1,114,580.53. The difference -- $150,952.23.

Click here to see the 38-page budget, which is currently availabe on the diocese's website.

Part of the problem, according to a memo posted online, is that Grace Church in Florence only paid $1,736.17 of its $20,834.04 allocation, a shortfall of $19,097.87.
The total cash in bank diocese dropped from $225,718.87 on Dec. 31, 2006 to $54,805.08 on Dec. 31, 2007, a difference of $170,913.81. . .

Read it all.

Cranmer: Since when has church-going on a Sunday become a form of child abuse?

From Cranmer (U.K.):

Homosexuality – good; Church – bad

This is the essence of the judgement of Labour-controlled Derby City Council, who have banned a Christian couple from fostering young children because they refused to abide by the new Sexual Orientation Regulations. Social workers rejected an application by Eunice and Owen Johns, who have been married for 39 years and have four grown-up children, to be foster parents because they refused to agree to tell any children in their care that the homosexual lifestyle was acceptable.

But, even more significantly, the adoption panel was also unhappy that the couple wished to take any child in their care to church with them on Sundays. Mrs Johns, a retired nurse, is a Sunday school teacher.

Yet the Johns’ application was to offer weekend respite care for foster children under the age of 10. As Mrs Johns said: "I would love any child, black or white, gay or straight. But I cannot understand why sexuality is an issue when we are talking about boys and girls under the age of 10."

Quite so.

There is obviously not a prejudiced bone in her body; just a sincere expression of the Christian faith with an outpouring of good works in her altruistic desire to do some good and give sacrificially of herself.

But Derby City council responded: "Our first duty is to the children in our care, some of whom are very vulnerable."

Since when has church-going on a Sunday become a form of child abuse? And since when were children under the age of 10 so sexually aware that they have to be told that homosexuality is acceptable?. . .

There is, of course, humour to be found in this story, not least in its irony and absurdity, but it represents a development on the previous case. While the Sexual Orientation Regulations have previously proved a hurdle to Christian foster parents refusing to acknowledge the acceptability of homosexual practice, this is the first time that church-going has been adduced as a reason for declaring a couple to be unsuitable for fostering.

Cranmer can hardly wait for Derby City Council to inform a Muslim couple that their mosque-going renders them unsuitable, or a Sikh couple that their gurdwara-going is unacceptable. And, for that matter, he awaits with bated breath to hear of the first homosexual couple to be rendered unsuitable for fostering because of their refusal to take the children in their care to the local mosque or church. This is as blatant an example of religious discrimination as these regulations could be employed to yield, and the decision must be challenged in law. If not, it may not be long before married, heterosexual Christians – who are all, of course, invariably bigoted and prejudiced - may have their children forcibly removed and handed over to a couple in a civil partnership – who are all so utterly reasonable, progressive and enlightened.

As the ever-impressive Bishop of Rochester says in The Sunday Telegraph: ‘There are times when Christian leaders have to speak out.’ Indeed there are, and this is one of them. So where is the Archbishop of Canterbury?

He is nowhere to be heard.
So it is left to Dr Nazir-Ali to ask:

"Do the British people really want to lose that rooting in the Christian faith that has given them everything they cherish - art, literature, architecture, institutions, the monarchy, their value system, their laws?". . .

Read it all.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Children who have an active father figure have fewer psychological and behavioral problems

From ScienceDaily, a study by Swedish researchers (of course, if they'd read their Bibles, they'd already know this, but I suppose it never hurts to get clarification!) [boldface mine]:

Active father figures have a key role to play in reducing behaviour problems in boys and psychological problems in young women, according to a review published in the February issue of Acta Paediatrica.

Swedish researchers also found that regular positive contact reduces criminal behaviour among children in low-income families and enhances cognitive skills like intelligence, reasoning and language development.

Children who lived with both a mother and father figure also had less behavioural problems than those who just lived with their mother.

The researchers are urging healthcare professionals to increase fathers' involvement in their children's healthcare and calling on policy makers to ensure that fathers have the chance to play an active role in their upbringing.

The review looked at 24 papers published between 1987 and 2007, covering 22,300 individual sets of data from 16 studies. 18 of the 24 papers also covered the social economic status of the families studied.

The smallest study focused on 17 infants and the largest covered 8,441 individuals ranging from premature babies to 33 year-olds. They included major ongoing research from the USA and UK, together with smaller studies from Sweden and Israel.

"Our detailed 20-year review shows that overall, children reap positive benefits if they have active and regular engagement with a father figure" says Dr Anna Sarkadi from the Department of Women's and Children's Health at Uppsala University, Sweden.

"For example, we found various studies that showed that children who had positively involved father figures were less likely to smoke and get into trouble with the police, achieved better levels of education and developed good friendships with children of both sexes.

"Long-term benefits included women who had better relationships with partners and a greater sense of mental and physical well-being at the age of 33 if they had a good relationship with their father at 16."

However the authors point out that it is not possible to conclude what type of engagement the father figure needs to provide to produce positive effects.

"The studies show that it can range from talking and sharing activities to playing an active role in the child's day-to-day care."

The researchers believe that more research is needed to determine whether the outcomes are different depending on whether the child lives with their biological father or with another father figure.

"However, our review backs up the intuitive assumption that engaged biological fathers or father figures are good for children, especially when the children are socially or economically disadvantaged" says Dr Sarkadi. . .

Read it all.

Anglican coverage in Canada

If you're interested in what's going on to the north of us, check out the WebElf Canada website. From Michael Daley:

Dear readers,

Thank you so much for the incredible prayer and other support that you have given us over the past week.

LambethConference.Net/Canada was started just one week ago as a result of what I saw as an overwhelming lack of established bloggers that were covering the situation in the Anglican Church of Canada, and your response has been overwhelming. By providing you - the Canadian reader - with a voice that is heard around the world, we hope to effect a change in how bishops at the Lambeth Conference perceive Canada. That is, that contrary to what the national church is saying, all is not well.

To do that - in conjunction with our parent blog (LambethConference.Net) - we need your prayerful cover and support. But it doesn’t stop there. Making your voice heard on this blog is equally as important both in encouraging us to carry on and showing the world that this church is not just dealing with a 'small, ultra-conservative’ group.

All this costs money, of course. Trips to various churches to cover their Sunday services when the diocese shows up - again, to be sure both sides are seen and heard - costs money and time. So will our trip to Lambeth, where we will be stationed with the rest of the press feeding you back up-to-the-minute information about the goings-on at Lambeth.

With years of experience in the blogging and press world (I ran the General Convention 2006 CaNNet blog, while there working with the Anglican Communion Network press team), we hope to do all this with excellence, humility, charity and truth.

Would we like to attend GAFCON for you, too? Well, yes. But right now, our sights and financial goals are set on three things:

1. Keeping this blog online ($50/mo), with the gracious help of our brother Greg Griffith at Stand Firm and our sister Kate Sanderson, who has just joined us a writer.
2. Having a stable of finances from which to draw to travel to churches within Ontario and hopefully across Canada to cover events as they unfold.
3. Raising enough financial support to get our cameras and audio devices to Lambeth.
None of this is possible without your support.

Please, would you consider partnering with us both in prayer and financially? One-off donations are very helpful - in any amount. As are monthly giving plans. We’ll have the facility set up to allow for monthly giving shortly, but for now we are only asking for one-off donations to get us through the next month.

At present, we need just over $200 to cover our expenses at Oakville and Milton, this weekend.

I’ll be posting frequent updates on our financial status, including a donation thermometer, shortly. But for now there is a real and immediate need.

Please, would you consider a gift at this time? On our sidebar is a SECURE PayPal transaction processor that does not require a PayPal account to use.

Pax Christi,

Michael Daley for LC.Net and LC.Net/Canada

A tragic story

I saw this story yesterday in the Telegraph (U.K.) and took time to consider whether to post or not. Yes, this is just one case of a woman who apparently had a history of anxiety and depression, so this is not the "normal" reaction to the act of abortion, but there are some real home truths in here. The fact that she had an abortion because others wanted her to is very common.

And the fact that those in the hospital saw this as a routine procedure and didn't seem to clue into the fact that this woman had real and tragic doubts is reprehensible, no matter what the inquest says. From the Telegraph [boldface mine]:

An artist killed herself after aborting her twins when she was eight weeks pregnant, leaving a note saying: "I should never have had an abortion. I see now I would have been a good mum."

Emma Beck was found hanging at her home in Helston, Cornwall, on Feb 1 2007. She was declared dead early the following day - her 31st birthday.

Her suicide note read: "I told everyone I didn't want to do it, even at the hospital. I was frightened, now it is too late. I died when my babies died. I want to be with my babies: they need me, no-one else does."

The inquest at Truro City Hall heard that Miss Beck had split up with her boyfriend, referred to as "Ben" after he "reacted badly" to the pregnancy.

She saw her GP before the termination, but missed an appointment at a hospital in Penzance. She then cancelled, but later turned up to an appointment at a clinic at Royal Cornwall Hospital in Treliske. The counsellor was on holiday so a doctor referred Miss Beck to a pregnancy counselling telephone service eight days before carrying out the abortion when she was eight weeks pregnant, the inquest heard. . .

The inquest heard that Sylvia Beck, the victim's mother, wrote to the hospital after her daughter's death, saying: "I want to know why she was not given the opportunity to see a counsellor. She was only going ahead with the abortion because her boyfriend did not want the twins.

"I believe this is what led Emma to take her own life - she could not live with what she had done."

The doctor said: "I discussed Emma's situation with her, and wrote on the form, 'Unsupported, lives alone, ex-partner aware'.

"It is normal practice to give a woman the number for telephone counselling when a counsellor is not available. I am satisfied that everything was done to make sure that Emma consented to the operation.". . .

Katie Gibbs, Miss Beck's GP, told the hearing: "She was extremely distressed by the abortion procedure, and I didn't think she ever came to terms with it.

"She had a long history of anxiety and depression. Despite my best efforts, she was not willing to see a counsellor after the termination."

Her boss at the clinic, said: "The time that can be given to a woman by a counsellor is limited in a busy hospital.

"I am satisfied everything was done to make sure Emma was consenting to surgery. I don't feel there was any gap in the counselling service.

"There were lots of individuals who would be alert to any doubts. The comments made by Emma's mother are not about a doctor I recognise."

Mrs Beck told the court: "Emma was considered a talented artist, and sold a number of paintings. She was pleased when she became pregnant, but Ben reacted badly to the news."

Recording a verdict of suicide, Dr Carlyon said: "It is clear that a termination can have a profound effect on a woman's life. But I am reassured by the evidence of the doctors here."

Read it all.

Bishop John Howe responds to Petre’s report and provides details of the plan

From Matt Kennedy at Stand Firm, a response from Bishop John Howe of Central Florida to yesterday's story on the "Secret plan to avoid church split" [boldface mine]:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

It is not quite 11:30 PM here in Orlando. In London it is not quite 4:30 AM tomorrow. And Jonathan Petre of the London Telegraph has just released a story about yesterday's meeting between four American Bishops (Howe, Central Florida; MacPherson, Western Louisiana; Smith, North Dakota; and Stanton, Dallas) with the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church.

Petre could not have been much more inaccurate! Here are his opening remarks:

"The Archbishop of Canterbury is backing secret plans to create a 'parallel' Church for American conservatives to avert fresh splits over homosexuality.... Dr Rowan Williams has held confidential talks with senior American bishops and theologians who oppose the pro-gay policies of their liberal leaders....

"Dr Williams is desperate to minimize further damage in the run up to the once-a-decade Lambeth Conference this summer which could be boycotted by more than a fifth of the world's bishops....

"According to insiders, Dr Williams has given his blessing to the plans to create an enclave for up to 20 conservative American bishops that would insulate them from their liberal colleagues."

No, Dear Friends. Here is a summary of what we presented to the Presiding Bishop yesterday. We were not quite ready to release it, but in the light of this significant distortion, I am doing so tonight:

Communion Partners

In the context of the Episcopal Visitors concept announced by the Presiding Bishop at the House of Bishops meeting in New Orleans, a number of us have reflected a need for a larger gathering which we are calling Communion Partners. We believe such a gathering will afford us the opportunity for mutual support, accountability and fellowship; and present an important sign of our connectedness in and vision for the Anglican Communion as it moves through this time of stress and renewal.


To provide a visible link for those concerned to the Anglican Communion

Many within our dioceses and in congregations in other dioceses seek to be assured of their connection to the Anglican Communion. Traditionally, this has been understood in terms of bishop-to-bishop relationships. Communion Partners fleshes out this connection in a significant and symbolic way.

To provide fellowship, support and a forum for mutual concerns between bishops

The Bishops who have been designated Episcopal Visitors together with others who might well consider being included in this number share many concerns about the Anglican Communion and its future, and look to work together with Primates and Bishops from the Global South. In addition, we believe we all have need of mutual encouragement, prayer, and reassurance. The Communion Partners will be a forum for these kinds of relationships.

To provide a partnership to work toward the Anglican Covenant and according to Windsor principles..

The Bishops will work together according to the principles outlined in the Windsor Report and seek a comprehensive Anglican Covenant at the Lambeth Conference and beyond.


The Communion Partners will be informally gathered – there will be no "charter" or formal structure

Are committed to non-boundary-crossing: the relationships will be governed by mutual respect and proceed by invitation and cooperation

Will work with mutual cooperation within and beyond the partnership


The Episcopal Visitors who desire to participate (EVs named at House of Bishops New Orleans)

Those Bishops who are willing to serve as EVs

Initially, five Primates of the Global South: West Indies, Tanzania, Indian Ocean, Burundi, Middle East


Communication of activities with both the Presiding Bishop and Archbishop of Canterbury

Respect for the canonical realities, integrities and structures of the Episcopal Church and other Churches

Our purpose in meeting with Bishop Schori yesterday was to apprize her of this plan, seek her counsel, and assure her that we remain committed to working within the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church, and that the Primates involved in this discussion are NOT involved in "border crossing," nor would we be. We will visit
no congregation without the Diocesan Bishop's invitation and permission. We do believe this is a step forward, albeit a small one.

I hope this is helpful, and I thank you for your prayers regarding this important meeting.

Warmest regards in our Lord,

The Right Rev. John W. Howe
Episcopal Bishop of Central Florida

Check it out, and here's more from George Conger:
US Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has endorsed a programme of alternative Episcopal oversight brought to her by a group of conservative American bishops.

The “Anglican Bishops in Communion” seeks to meld the Primates’ Dar es Salaam pastoral council scheme with the “Episcopal Visitor” programme created by Bishop Schori in a bid to hold the fissiparous elements of American Anglicanism together until an Anglican Covenant is agreed. . .

Okay, we've had the Camp Allen bishops, the Windsor bishops, the Episcopal Visitor bishops, and now we have the Anglican Bishops in Communion - sorry, I think I agree with Philip Bowers commenting at Stand Firm [boldface mine]:
. . . TEC will not be disciplined by the AC. A Church that does not discipline is not a Church. The only way forward for the orthodox is GS realignment, and if that fails to materialize, it’s to some other branch of Christ’s Body I go. Despite the best intentions of Radner and Seitz, it seems to me that border crossing is a red herring in this mess. Everyone has forgotten or ignored the primates clarification and adjustment of Windsor at Dromatine that placed border crossing at a much lower level of seriousness than heterodox moral teaching and practice, yet it is the latter that will entail no discipline, no official sanctions and consequences, that will continue unabated and uninhibited, and it is the minor issue that the primates recognized as an unfortunate necessity that is being addressed by the communion. TEC has won the battle for the hearts and minds of the Canterbury AC. The GS needs to get on with a separate structure.

The so-called Windsor bishops are a great disappointment. They are proven to be institutionalists who are too cowardly to defend the faith. Just remember their collective silence at N[ew] O[rleans] that was heard around the world. How shameful. It will take only two generations for the heterodox revisionists to consolidate their hold as the remaining orthodox bishops face retirement. It is sad to see that these bishops cannot see that the political game is over; there remains only mop-up operations that will continue at full speed from PB Shori and 815.

Friday, February 22, 2008

David Ould: Caroline on abortion

From David Ould [boldface mine]:

In my recent post, ”Abortion - EVERYONE’s talking about it”, Caroline made a comment that was so good I wanted to reproduce it on the front page:
Yes, everyone is writing about it.

But no-one who has had one is ever going to say so because we are all so high-and-mighty and theological about it (me included).

We do need to think correctly about the unborn, we do need to be overwhelmed by the extent of the tragedy, but as I read over all that has been written in Christian blogs about abortion, I just can't imagine a Christian women owning up to the fact that she has had an abortion, and so she is left to her grief in even greater silence, where she should have received the love and compassion of sisters (and brothers - but more removed) in Christ.

So many had external pressure exerted on them to abort, were fed misinformation by the medical profession, were caught between a financial rock and a hard place with people telling them it was the easy way out - and have discovered the road afterward is anything but easy, the grief is unimaginable and unrecognised; and most knew those cells were a baby. No-one offered to help them look after the baby once it was born, or find housing when their family kicked them out, or paid rent, or....

I recommend everyone who writes about abortion read Melissa Tankard Reist's book [from David - author's name is Melinda Tankard Reist], Giving Sorrow Words. It is exceptionally well written, not a word out of place. It records some 18 women's personal stories (of 200 sent to the author) and a brilliant introduction and insightful afterword which draw together the issues influencing the situation for so many women.

So, Compassion, please, dear brothers and sisters. Let's try and say the sorts of things about abortion that would help, not hinder, our sisters speak up and find some healing from the burden they silently bear.

Here at the White Horse Inn we thoroughly agree. The people that we need to save our anger for are those that persuade women that it’s ok to abort their children. They are the ones, whether they be employed by abortion businesses or are notables in the Church, who need to repent. . .

Read it all and you can order Reist's book from a link on David's site.

Also, consider supporting your local pregnancy crisis center. The ones I'm familiar with do help girls and women find the support they need to "help them look after the baby once it was born, or find housing when their family kicked them out, or paid rent," and they do it with true Christian love.

Secret plan to avoid church split

From the Telegraph (U.K.) [boldface mine]:

The Archbishop of Canterbury is backing secret plans to create a "parallel" Church for American conservatives to avert fresh splits over homosexuality.

Dr Rowan Williams has held confidential talks with senior American bishops and theologians who oppose the pro-gay policies of their liberal leaders.

A handful of hardline American dioceses are already defecting from the Episcopal Church, the American branch of Anglicanism, and transferring their loyalties to a conservative archbishop in South America.

Dr Williams is desperate to minimise further damage in the run up to the once-a-decade Lambeth Conference this summer which could be boycotted by more than a fifth of the world's bishops.

His recent comments backing aspects of sharia law have heightened tensions by further alienating Africans who are struggling with militant Islam in their dioceses.

According to insiders, Dr Williams has given his blessing to the plans to create an enclave for up to 20 conservative American bishops that would insulate them from their liberal colleagues.

The scheme would allow them to remain technically within the Episcopal Church but under the care of like-minded archbishops from abroad.

The Primate of the West Indies, Archbishop Drexel Gomez, a moderate conservative, has agreed to participate, and other primates could be recruited.

However, the initiative is likely to infuriate liberal leaders of the Episcopal Church, who will see it as an attempt to undermine their authority and interfere in their affairs.

Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori, the head of the Episcopal Church, has been cracking down on any diocese or parish that seeks to leave, and numerous legal actions are under way. . .

However, she met a group of conservative bishops and theologians in New York last week after hearing that Dr Williams was sympathetic to the new proposals. . .

With several hundred of the world's 880 bishops expected to boycott the Lambeth Conference in Canterbury, a schism is looking inevitable unless Dr Williams can paper over the cracks.

Lambeth Palace declined to comment.

Read it all.

AAC weekly update from Bishop Anderson

The AAC weekly update from Bishop David Anderson, via email [boldface mine]:

Beloved in Christ,

One of our lead stories this week centers on the agreement of the Rev. Brian Cox to cooperate with the Episcopal Church in their attempt to wrest control of the Diocese of San Joaquin back from Bishop John-David Schofield and the parishes that have chosen to realign with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. There is a particular disappointment among the orthodox that this former brother in arms would agree to such a collaboration. The American Anglican Council would urge Fr. Cox and any others who are being asked to participate in such endeavors to turn aside. History judges the collaborationists harshly, and his interests in bringing so-called reconciliation to the areas encompassing San Joaquin is ill-advised and focused on the wrong people. Bishop Schofield addresses the points in his own words quite adequately.

On the opposite coast of the United States, the TEC diocese of North Carolina passed the following resolution:


Resolved by the 192nd Annual Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, that the Diocese continue to demonstrate its commitment to radical hospitality and, that in accordance with the House of Bishops' Statement, Fall 2007, we "proclaim the Gospel that in Christ all God's children, including gay and lesbian persons, are full and equal participants in the life of Christ's Church" by:

1) Urging the Archbishop of Canterbury to extend to the duly elected and consecrated Bishop of New Hampshire an invitation to full participation in the Lambeth Conference of 2008;

2) Encouraging our Deputies to the 2009 General Convention to ensure compliance with Title III. Canon I. Section 2, which supports the full and equal participation of all persons regardless of sexual orientation in all aspects of the Church's ministries, lay and ordained;

3) Encouraging the General Convention to call for the development of public liturgies for the blessing of same sex unions.

As one orthodox North Carolina representative protested, "This extraordinary document encapsulates the agenda of the lesbian and gay communities. ‘ALL PERSONS REGARDLESS OF SEXUAL ORIENTATION’ would certainly appear to include those whose sexual orientation compels them to seek heterosexual sex, homosexual sex, sex with boys, girls, young children, or even animals. There are absolutely no exclusions or limits listed."

He then goes on to rightly ask, "Has our religion truly come to the point where there are no personal moral constraints whatsoever, and the only good is what lesbians and gays deem it to be?" Aside from continuing to push for Bishop Gene Robinson to be invited officially to the Lambeth 2008 Conference, full enfranchisement of all sexual behaviors, and public liturgies for same sex unions, the telling line of the resolution is the title itself.

Because most of TEC’s upper leadership on down to many, many parish rectors and staff priests no longer believe that the Holy Scriptures are, in the words of 1 Timothy 3:16, "God breathed", that is inspired by the Holy Spirit, those leaders believe that the Word of God can be reshaped and re-understood in light of our current culture. The Episcopal Church has no lamp to light their way. The sinful behavior of sexual relations outside of traditional marriage and relations involving same gender partners is nothing but the beginning of a strange journey into a different, non-Christian religion having some of the outward form of the former but a corrupted content that does not lead to eternal life with the Creator.

If the homosexual relationships are just the beginning, what is to follow? All the historic perversions of what God created and called good are following closely. Bisexual behavior, behavior with underage individuals, cross dressing and gender switching are included in the Diocese of North Carolina's resolution: "the inclusion of all persons regardless of sexual orientation as full and equal participants in the life of Christ's church." Sexual orientation is a catch-all phrase, leaving the door open for the rest of the crowd to follow along.

I can only ask, "Is this a church you want your children and grandchildren to be exposed to?" In this regard, I call your attention to the included New York Times story about pedophilia in a New Haven, Connecticut Episcopal Church and how accommodating the church was to that horrible behavior. Other articles elsewhere in the news pick up on the Diocese of Minnesota's employment of a sexual predator and the cover up they have used (see the story here, the diocesan response here, and one priest's reaction to the diocesan response).

Elsewhere in the news we are shocked to see that TEC’s Executive Council has reassigned investment income from trust funds to be used for activities (which would include litigation) inside the dioceses of TEC which have or are planning to depart. In their own words, the Executive Council says, "We will hold clergy leaders accountable to their vows to uphold the doctrine, discipline and worship of this Church, and lay leadership accountable to the fiduciary responsibilities of the offices they hold. Up to $500,000 of income from trust funds will be made available in the calendar year 2008 to support the mission work of the Diocese of San Joaquin and similarly situated dioceses." Because the references are directly to holding clergy and lay leaders accountable for their vows and fiduciary responsibility and since, as of now, there are few ways to hold the laity responsible except through civil litigation, we see this as an allocation of funds that could go to genuine mission work elsewhere being used to sustain the litigation and punishment of clergy and laity within departing dioceses.

Several questions need to be asked. What are the trust funds’ designations for the funds being raided of their income? Are there restrictions, or are the income proceeds free to be raided? With all of the talk in TEC about Millennium Development Goals, how can TEC justify spending half a million dollars on litigation to punish clergy and laity who only want to depart with what they and their ancestors paid for? Since the Seabury-Western Theological Seminary (a TEC seminary) is having to close its doors due to finances, could not the $500,000 help the seminary stay afloat, or is it more important to sue people than to train people for ministry? Inquiring minds would like to know. As much as the Episcopal Church constantly emphasizes the vow of clergy to conform to the doctrine, discipline and worship of the Church (TEC), what is overlooked is that imbedded in that ordination vow is the adjoining statement by the priest,"...I solemnly declare that I do believe the Holy Scripture of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God, and to contain all things necessary to salvation..."

How is it that in their accusations against the orthodox, TEC leadership can forget "the Holy Scripture of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God, and to contain all things necessary to salvation" and only remember the "doctrine, discipline, and worship" part? Is not the doctrine, discipline and worship fully dependent on the prior statement being true, not only for the ordinand, but for the bishop doing the laying on of hands?

I suppose the partial good news is the American Anglican Council and several orthodox retired TEC bishops asked for full disclosure of where the litigation money has come from, and we got a partial answer: in 2008 some of it will come from invaded trust funds’ income. We still want to know where the rest of the litigation money is coming from to pay David Booth Beers and his law firm to sue orthodox Anglicans. We know the Diocese of Virginia has already spent about $1 million and has taken out another $1 million line of credit to sue the Northern Virginia churches. They could spend more than that in the appeals process. The Diocese of Virginia borrowed the money, has spent it, will have to pay it back, and now it needs more money to sue. Virginia will learn that the devil has an unquenchable appetite, not only for the souls of the revisionists, but for their money as well.

Finally we note that some correspondence is suggesting that the Archbishop of Canterbury should step down to save the Communion. Suggestions such as these, while very much to the point following the "Sharia law" outrage, to name only one, miss the point that Dr. Williams serves at the pleasure of the Queen of England, and not at anyone else’s. Only if and when the Queen herself becomes concerned enough about the honor and stability of the Church and the office of the Archbishop, will anything happen. The AAC will thus note the problems, but will not suggest what actions the Archbishop should take career-wise.

Blessings and Peace in Christ Jesus,

The Rt. Rev. David C. Anderson, Sr.
President & CEO of the AAC

"Episcopal Life" newspaper to function without editor

From The Lead at the the Episcopal Cafe:

Episcopal Life, the Episcopal Church's monthly newspaper, which circulates 250,000 copies, is going to attempt to operate without an editor, a decision that was apparently reached without consulting the paper's board of governors, its numerous diocesan printing partners, or anyone who has ever edited a newspaper.

Jim DeLa, director of communications in the Diocese of Southwest Florida, and President of Episcopal Communicators, is urging reconsideration, and wrote this letter to his membership.
Dear Communicators:

Through sources that shall remain confidential, I’ve learned there will be no search for a new editor for Episcopal Life. A memo from Linda Watt, the COO of the church, informed the Episcopal Life Board of Governors in a memo, which they were planning to make public today.

It is shocking and incomprehensible to think that the 815 management team believes Episcopal Life can be edited effectively by committee as it has been since Jerry Hames’ retirement. The quality of editing and reporting has slipped below what we should expect from our national newspaper. The Board of Governors, whose job it is to serve as advisors and ombudsmen for the paper, was never consulted before the decision was made.

At a time when we need more voices and perspectives on the issues of the day, it is disappointing to see that the management of the Episcopal Church is doing all it can to limit that conversation and dilute what was once a journalistic endeavor to be proud of.

I encourage everyone with similar concerns to write to Ms. Watt at mailto:lwatt@episcopalchurch.organd voice them to her.

Jim DeLa
Episcopal Communicators

The memo announcing the decision was forwarded to the paper's board of governor's last night by an administrative assistant at Episcopal Church Center. It was the first time that most of the board learned that suspending the search for an editor was a possibility. . .

And [boldface mine]
From Linda E. Watt, Chief Operating Officer

The work of Episcopal Life Media is currently influenced by three factors:

-- optimal balancing of reporting online and in print, a challenge now engaged by all major newspapers, and also an essential consideration for effective stewardship of contributed church funds;

-- mid-February discussions by Executive Council’s Administration and Finance Committee, and Council's approval of a 2008 budget requiring streamlining of ELM operations;

-- the need to provide The Episcopal Church comprehensive and cost-effective coverage of the Lambeth Conference this summer.

Assessing these factors, and affirming the excellent work now being done by the ELM editorial team, I have asked that the search for a monthly newspaper editor be suspended at this time. We are pleased to announce the management configuration of ELM, a group of talented professionals who are dedicated to ELM's continued excellence.

-- The News Unit is to be managed by Matthew Davies, editor of Episcopal Life Online.

-- The Features Unit is to be managed by the Rev. Lisa Hamilton, who recently joined the ELM team as correspondent with many years' journalistic experience, notably with Trinity Church, Wall Street.

-- The Video/Multicast Unit continues to be managed by Mike Collins; also assisting in the editorial and multicast work is ELM’s executive editor, the Rev. Jan Nunley.

-- The Print Production Unit is staffed by art director Molly Ruttan Moffat.

-- The Business Unit is managed by Lawrence Moore, who currently oversees advertising, circulation, marketing, and printing partnerships.

-- The Operations Unit, including personnel and fiscal coordination, is managed by Bernice David, current operations director for ELM and Episcopal Books and Resources.

These managers will continue to serve collaboratively with the supervision of the current director of Episcopal Life Media and Episcopal Church communication, Robert Williams, who leads the department and works in ongoing consultation with the ELM board of governors. . .

Read it all, but it sounds like budget cuts to me.