Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Good Shepherd and the Diocese of Central New York: Resolution and Correspondence, July 2006

From Stand Firm, next in the series by Fr. Matt Kennedy on his church's talks with Bishop Adams of Central New York:

The following three documents from the Church of the Good Shepherd were produced in July 2006 in response to General Convention. On July 5th, 2006 the wardens and vestry unanimously passed the following resolution:
Whereas The Episcopal Church has failed to comply with the Windsor Recommendations as requested by the Primates, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Anglican Consultative Council and;

Whereas the position of The Episcopal Church with regard to human sexuality clearly violates the plain reading of Scripture, be it;

Resolved that the Vestry, Wardens, and Rector of the Church of the Good Shepherd intend to remain constituent members of the Anglican Communion and in full submission to the Word of God and be it;

Resolved that the Vestry, Wardens, and Rector of the Church of the Good Shepherd, disassociate from the decisions of 74th and the 75th General Conventions of the Episcopal Church and commit to full compliance with all the requests of the Windsor Report as accepted and amended by the Primates of the Anglican Communion and the Archbishop of Canterbury at the Dromantine Conference and be it;

Resolved that the Vestry, Wardens, and Rector of the Church of the Good Shepherd, on behalf of the Church of the Good Shepherd, intend to seek affiliation with and submit to full episcopal oversight from an orthodox Anglican province in communion with the See of Canterbury subsequent to adequate communication with members of the congregation.

The next day we sent this letter to the entire parish. Here is an excerpt:
...That is the core issue. The current teachings of the Episcopal Church with regard to the authority of the bible and human sexuality lead people deeper into darkness and further from the light of Christ.

For that reason and for the spiritual safety of our families, the vestry and I do not believe that we can participate any longer. It is our intention to seek affiliation with another faithful Anglican body.

There will be two parish gatherings: one on Wednesday evening the 12th of July at 6:30pm and one on Sunday morning, the 16th of July, between services. These meetings are designed to inform and to listen. Your questions and comments are welcome and encouraged. All members of the Church of the Good Shepherd are welcome.

God has prepared us over the last three years for these crucial days in the life of this parish. . .

Read it all.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

"Burning Bridges"

From Dan Martins at his blog, Confessions of a Carioca [boldface mine]:

. . . The acrid odor you are smelling is the aroma of bridges being burned. As I have already noted more than duly in this space, the executive leadership of the Episcopal Church has tragically chosen an ideological purge over not only canon law and not only common sense but even over their own long term self-interest. They want a Diocese of San Joaquin that is a showcase for the brand of liberal puritanism that has become the order of the day, and they're not interested in the care and feeding of any conservative POWs. (Some had raised a white flag, but were quickly chased off to Argentina, which welcomed them with open arms.)

But the bridges are being torched from both ends. Some seventeen months ago, when I was still resident in San Joaquin, I proposed an "amendment to the amendment" of our constitution that, even as it helped set the pins for an potential departure from TEC (as it indeed eventually did), would have at least acknowledged that the diocese's ongoing life, whatever shape that might take, would be in organic continuity with the life and history of the Episcopal Church. My amendment went down like the Hindenburg, so toxic was the expression "Episcopal Church" in the family system of the diocese by that point. I have a strong enough ego to still contend that the convention, in rejecting my proposal, was acting against its own enlightened self-interest. At any rate, the perception of toxicity has only grown since that time. The breach that has occurred, even though Bishop Schofield proclaims it extraordinary and temporary, will never, I am convinced, be healed in my lifetime. . .

Read it all. And further comment from Northern Plains Anglicans:
. . . The Episcopal Church, in its crazed effort to get rid of clergy and people who live under the authority of the Bible and traditional Christian interpretation of its teachings, is spending well over $1,000,000 this year alone to sue dissenting congregations.

What you are not being told is that many of these congregations have offered to pay for their freedom - to negotiate a fair market purchase of their properties and to provide other financial considerations to the Episcopal Church in order to join Biblically faithful Anglican bodies.

Stop and think about that - what your church gives to your diocese, your diocese turns around and gives a good chunk to the Episcopal Church, which is using this money to sue congregations, clergy and lay people. Is this why you give?. . .

H/t to Northern Plains Anglicans.

AnglicanTV live streaming from the Diocese of San Joaquin

From Kevin Kallsen at AnglicanTV:

Please stay tuned and remember all times are Pacific. At 2:00 pm I will be live streaming a Personal Seminar with Archbishop Gregory Venables. He will be speaking from St James Anglican Cathedral in San Joaquin. This will be a two hour event. Then at 7:00 pm I will be broadcasting a Festal Eucharist with Archbishop Venables and Bishop David Schofield.



Phil Snyder on the Presiding Bishop's visit to Dallas

From The Deacon's Slant [boldface mine]:

I've returned and reflected a bit on the clergy Q&A with our Presiding Bishop. Here are my impressions of that meeting. Because I have not run this by anyone else, I will only name myself and Bishop Shori.

There was a mixture of reasserter clergy and reappraising clergy - including some from Fort Worth and NW Texas. Oddly enough, the majority of rappraising clergy sat on the right and the reasserters sat on the left. This is not a word for word or blow by blow recounting. It is only the highlites from the meeting.

We started off with prayers. The Presiding Bishop then opened with the story of Jesus' baptism. She said that Jesus rose from the water and heard "You are my beloved. With you I am well pleased." (Note, she did not use the word "Son" as in "You are my beloved Son." Jesus then went to the wilderness to be tested. She said that she felt these to events recapitulated the first two ceation stories where God creates man and it is "Very Good" and then the second story with its tale of broken relationships. We then spent 5 minutes in silent reflection on hearing God say to us "you are my beloved. With you I am well pleased."

After that, we shared in pairs or groups of three about our experience. We then shared (as desired) with the whole group. I shared that I heard God call me His beloved and that He loved me just as I am, but that He loved me too much to leave me that way. "Follow Me" He said "and I will make you Righteous - I will Justify You for your life is not your own. You do not know yourself. Only I know you and your life lies hid with Christ in God."One person shared that being God's beloved involved some ethical changes. We need to know that we are God's beloved, but we also need to know that being the beloved involves living a certain way.

After a few more people sharing, the floor opened up to questions. One person asked about how we could rectify hearing that we (and everyone else) were God's beloved while at the same time bringing lawsuits against them. Bishop Shori mentioned her fiduciary responsibility because the property was given for the Episcopal Church. The questioner then asked about our responsibility to keep the faith and that the church buildings were given first to further the Gospel and we, as the Episcopal Church, have changed that. She indicated that she felt that all people on this issue honestly believe that they are following and proclaiming the Gospel.

Another friend of mine asked about how she decided what was holy living (living as God's beloved). She turned the question back on him and he pointed this out, but went on to talk of the importance of Holy Scripture to determining what is holy living. She said that we are not a "Sola Scriptura" church. For her Scripture is the primary source of our authority. A couple other questions were asked, then I asked my question.

First I thanked her for saying that Scripture was the primary source of authority. I said that we bless marriages, not because they are pretty or fun or we like marriages or married people, but because of four reasons:

1. God ordained marriage in Creation
2. Jesus adorned marriage at Cana
3. Paul indicates marriage represents Christ and the Church
4. Holy Scripture commends it to be honored by all people.

I asked here where, in Holy Scripture, any of those is true for blessing same sex unions. She (predictibly) asked me how I read the story of David and Jonathon and the healing of the Centurion's servant (she used the Greek word). . .

Read it all.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Catholic radio station to kick Protestants off the air

From The Lead at the Episcopal Cafe [boldface mine]:

The Hartford Courant reports that WJMJ-FM, a station owned by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford, will end the ecumenical format of its programming and use the station to reach out mainly to Roman Catholics.

The station has included many home-grown programs that reflect the religious diversity of the area. The Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut has broadcast Sundays at 6 hosted by Fr. Christopher Rose for 24 years.

There appears to be a difference between how the Archdiocese wants to communicate the change and how the station management understands the upcoming changes.

The Archdiocesan communications officer, Fr. John Gatzak, said in a phone interview with the newspaper that "the identity of the station will be Catholic, yes, but that does not mean we will not reach out to other Christian denominations to invite them to participate."

On the other hand, the station's general manager, John Ellinger, told the Courant that he believed that the archdiocese's plan was to take every Protestant show off the air by May. . .
Read it all. It's a little unclear if anyone knows exactly what's really going on, but all I can think is that maybe the Roman Catholics are starting to shake the dust from their feet as far as giving ECUSA a platform.

Hey, we could have fun with this! 'Ubuntu': Logo design contest seeks to convey General Convention theme

From EpiscopalLife Online:

Requesting entries by June 30, organizers have launched a church-wide contest for logo designs conveying the 2009 General Convention theme of "ubuntu" (pronounced oo-boon-too), a Zulu or Xhosa word that describes humaneness encompassing a sense of caring, sharing and being in harmony with all of creation. . .

Sponsored by General Convention's Joint Standing Commission on Planning and Arrangements, the contest offers a $5,000 first-prize contribution to an organization addressing one or more of the Millennium Development Goals [but of course]. Contest rules are here.

Read it all, and start cogitating!

Ohio: Bay Presbyterian negotiating exodus from denomination

I think the conservative Presbyterians had better watch out - check out what I've boldfaced in this article from The Plain Dealer (Ohio):

The largest Presbyterian church in Northeast Ohio is offering a $550,000 buyout to its denomination so it can move to a more-conservative church body.

Bay Presbyterian Church in Bay Village wants to become part of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, joining other congregations upset with what they consider liberal theological trends and growing acceptance of gay and lesbian clergy in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

Unlike the Episcopal Diocese of Ohio, which this year sued several local churches seeking to leave the denomination that approved a gay bishop, the Presbytery of the Western Reserve is negotiating with Bay Presbyterian. Bay spokesman John Fuller said the church has more than 2,000 members, representing about 14 percent of the total membership of nearly 14,000 in the Western Reserve area.

The presbytery negotiating team initially asked for $3 million to be paid over 10 years as compensation for the loss of giving and membership with Bay's departure. The Rev. Elizabeth Hendricks, general presbyter, said Friday the group is still discussing a revised offer.

Bay officials, who want to keep the building and land, said that the presbytery negotiating team is insisting on more than $1 million but that the church's final offer is $550,000 over 10 years.

The presbytery is scheduled to act on the church's offer at its May 28 meeting.

Both sides are hoping for a resolution.

"We would like to avoid the civil court process if at all possible," Hendricks said. "All of us think it is not what the Bible instructed us to do, at least not as a first resort."

Fuller said the church has not decided on other options. "We're just trusting we will be dismissed," he said. . .

"At least not as a first resort" - be afraid, be very afraid!

Read it all.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

AnglicanTV interview with Bishop Terence Kelshaw

I interviewed Bishop Terence Kelshaw, retired bishop of the Rio Grande and now Bishop in Residence for St. James Anglican under Uganda, for AnglicanTV last week. Bishop Kelshaw talked about a wide range of issues, including the politicization of the Episcopal Church, the proposed Anglican Covenant, Lambeth 1998 and 2008, the Anglican Communion Network, GAFCON, Bishop Kelshaw’s role in the trial of Bishop Righter, the current House of Bishops, etc. Enjoy!




Don't forget that Kevin is still fundraising for his trip to GAFCON!

Friday, April 25, 2008

"The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already"

And from the Apostle Paul writing to the Corinthians:

If any of you has a dispute with another, dare he take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the saints? Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, appoint as judges even men of little account in the church![a] I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? But instead, one brother goes to law against another—and this in front of unbelievers!

The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers.

Episcopal church sues deposed San Joaquin bishop

From the Associated Press via the San Diego Union-Tribune [boldface mine]:

The Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin is suing a deposed bishop who led a secession last year prompted by the church's ordination of women and gays.

The diocese said in its lawsuit, filed Thursday in Fresno County Superior Court, that John-David Schofield breached his duties to the church and demanded he vacate his offices and turn over diocesan property and financial accounts.

National church leaders removed Schofield as the head of the Fresno-based diocese after he led parishioners to align themselves with the conservative Province of the Southern Cone, an Argentina-based member of the worldwide Anglican Communion.
Last month, Jerry Lamb, a bishop loyal to the U.S. church, was elected to head the San Joaquin diocese. Schofield, however, maintains he is an Anglican bishop of the Diocese of San Joaquin under the worldwide church.

The U.S. Episcopal Church is also part of the 77 million-member Anglican Communion, a global fellowship of churches that trace their roots to the Church of England, but the national denomination has faced increasing scrutiny for its liberal-leaning stance. Most Anglicans are traditionalists who believe Scripture bars gay relationships.

Lamb said in a statement Friday that there was no other viable way to recover church property but to seek court intervention. . .

Read it all.

Dioceses of Eau Claire and Fond du Lac to explore ‘junctioning’

From the Living Church [boldface mine]:

Two Wisconsin dioceses are in conversation about sharing a single bishop, according to Bishop Russell Jacobus of Fond du Lac, who reports in his monthly newspaper column that the Eau Claire standing committee had invited him to serve as an assisting bishop.

“Several times in the past 14 years we have had conversations with the dioceses of Wisconsin about becoming one diocese,” Bishop Jacobus wrote. “These conversations never progressed very far. In the past months, representatives of Fond du Lac and Eau Claire have met to discuss the possibility of our two dioceses coming together (called ‘junctioning’). One result of this discussion was planning a joint conference on mission and evangelism. These conversations continue, especially now that Eau Claire is without a diocesan bishop. All of these conversations are broad in scope. No decision has been made. Should the concept of junctioning the two dioceses have clear mission benefits, we will certainly have discussion with the people of both dioceses.”

In March, Bishop Keith Whitmore of Eau Claire resigned and accepted an invitation to become an assistant bishop in the Diocese of Atlanta. With 23 congregations and less than 2,000 communicants, Eau Claire is one of The Episcopal Church’s smallest dioceses. . .

Read it all.

Archbishop’s letter to Lambeth bishops still not sent

From the Living Church:

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams discussed his hopes and called on all Anglicans to pray for the Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops in a seven-and-a-half minute video published on the internet on April 23. . .

A spokesman for Archbishop Williams told The Living Church the internet video presentation was “not related” to his forthcoming letter to the bishops of the Communion. In that letter, the archbishop is reported to ask that they predicate their attendance at the Lambeth Conference upon their willingness to accept the Windsor Report and Anglican Covenant processes.

The video presentation, titled “Better bishops for the sake of a better church,” was a pastoral didactic tool, the spokesman. The presentation broadcast on the internet video service, outlines the archbishop’s hopes for the conference. . .

The letters affirming support for Windsor and the covenant processes had not yet been mailed, but would go out presently, the spokesman said.

Read it all.

Anglican Communion Network diocesan bishops meet

From the Anglican Communion Network:

Bishop Robert Duncan, moderator of the Anglican Communion Network, has released a short statement at the conclusion of the meeting of Network diocesan bishops in Chicago on April 24.
“The diocesan bishop of every Network diocese, as well as a dean representing all the Network convocations, met together in Chicago on April 24. It was an extraordinarily productive meeting. As has happened so many times before in the Network’s five year history, deepened understanding and deeper unity, despite remarkably different contexts and strategies regarding the Episcopal Church, were the fruit of the meeting. The Network’s vision of a biblical, missionary and united Anglicanism was again affirmed and embraced,” stated Bishop Duncan.

AAC weekly message from Bishop David Anderson

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

Beloved in Christ,

The troubles in the American Episcopal (TEC) world continue unabated, like an aircraft that has gone into a death spiral and can't pull out. One of the major TEC seminaries, Seabury-Western, has given termination notices to its entire faculty. Although it was known that Seabury-Western was having financial difficulties, this announcement came as something of a surprise. Physically closing the doors and turning out the lights can't be too far away. Meanwhile the two orthodox Anglican/Episcopal seminaries, Nashotah House and Trinity, continue to prosper. Is it too much to say that the hand of God's blessing rests on those who teach and live the true Gospel of Jesus Christ?

TEC Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori snubbed the Pope, turning down an invitation in order to attend to second or third-level appointments. I'm afraid that she may miss the second coming, if only because it didn't get on her calendar far enough in advance, and she has "see me" appearances already scheduled in Florida or Utah.

Under the Schori public mantra, we are about at the end of the churches leaving - most of those so disposed to leave have done so. In fact, she is terribly out of touch with the real world; churches are leaving on a weekly basis. Now it is true that as long as one or two people don't leave with the rest of the parish, and the bishop can hold onto the name and the building (four walls and a janitor) then TEC will claim that they haven't lost the congregation. The truth is that a viable church has been lost to the diocese, and down the street in a school cafeteria or gymnasium a new orthodox Anglican Church has been formed with most of the former Episcopalians, now under the care of an overseas Anglican province. This week one of the churches departing TEC was Church of the Good Shepherd in Tomball, Texas. The building was left behind, but the congregation will move to a junior high school nearby for this Sunday. Pray for them on this first Sunday "out." It kind of gives "coming out" a new and more acceptable meaning than that to which we have been accustomed.

When the Pope spoke in New York and Presiding Bishop Schori was so very busy elsewhere, she had Bishop Mark Sisk stand in for her. Although the Pope's words were clearly applicable to TEC, Sisk claimed that the Pope's observations were "respectful of our legitimate disagreement." I read the remarks and I saw no such sentiment. The problem with using refined and diplomatic language when speaking to revisionist TEC bishops is that they will purposefully dodge the clear meaning.

We have read that the membership in the Anglican Church of Nigeria, using their highly successful 1+1+3 program, has increased in the last three years from 18 million 25 million. This growth has enabled the Province to tell the respective dioceses to stop sending assessments, as they are no longer needed, and to spend their resources on evangelism locally. The churches are encouraged to have fundraising projects, for which the members donate time, to assist in achieving financial independence. Additionally, the Province of Nigeria has been able to raise enough money internally to provide the means for the Nigerian bishops attend the GAFCON Jerusalem Pilgrimage.

If the Anglican Communion is supposed to have 77 million members, but of England's 25 million only 1.6 million can be found, and of TEC's 2.4 million only 1.6 can be found, then just between those two provinces 24.2 million needs to be subtracted from the 77 million. That leaves a number 52.8 as a more realistic number. If you add back in the new Nigerian increase of 7 million new members, that bumps the total up to 59.8 million. Of that number Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya total 40-45 million or between 66.9% and 75.2% of the Anglican Communion. Dr. Williams, are you listening? I imagine not, since he is more concerned with reinforcing Archbishop Fred Hiltz in his protests about Archbishop Gregory Venables visiting Canada without permission of the Anglican Church of Canada. These Archbishops, when they give up on the Gospel of Christ, first begin to explain things in such a fuzzy way you can't understand them... then as the disease of revisionism progresses they become clearer, but also more alarming in their heresy. When they lose the power of the Gospel, they grasp for the coercive power of Canon Law. They believe that they have an invisible but real spiritual "force field" around their boundary, and no uninvited prelate can come in.

All I can say, from Star Trek days, is "beam me up, Scotty!" Revisionist Anglicanism is so unlike real Anglicanism that they are in fact two different religions entirely, just with interchangeable vestments. They can't keep the Roman Catholic bishop out of their province, they can't keep the Eastern Orthodox bishop out of their province, and they certainly won't keep the orthodox Anglican bishops and archbishops from visiting their own flocks, no matter how many fictional boundaries they have to step on, across, or over. We wish Archbishop Greg a wonderful visit to his Canadian flocks.

Blessings and peace in Christ Jesus,
The Rt. Rev. David C. Anderson
President and CEO, The American Anglican Council

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Why I left the Episcopal Church by Dr Moheb Ghali

From Anglican Mainstream [boldface mine]:

WHY I LEFT THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH
Dr. Moheb Ghali

Occasionally I am asked why I found it necessary, after four decades of committed service, to leave the Episcopal Church. My answer is: I had to choose whom to believe. On many issues central to my faith what Jesus and the Apostles say and what the leaders of the Episcopal Church say are incompatible. I chose to believe in what Jesus and the Apostles say, and that made it necessary to leave the Episcopal Church.

What more needs to be said? I agree with Dr. Ghali completely.
The Bishops of the Church, who are the Ecclesiastical Authorities in their dioceses, the successors to the Apostles and the guardians of faith, speak for the Church on matters of faith and doctrine (see: examination of Bishop-elect at Consecration on authority to interpret the Gospel; Canon 12.3(b) on authority to issue pastoral letters on points of doctrine, discipline or worship; Lambeth 1948 on the locus of the dispersed authority being the episcopate; and Archbishop of Canterbury’s October 14, 2007 letter to Bishop Howe on the organ of union with the wider Church being the Bishop and the Diocese). Their public statements interpreting the Gospel and doctrine, unless repudiated by Church councils, may be taken as representing the Church’s positions. In what follows I compare examples of the positions expressed by Episcopal Bishops, theologians and other Church leaders on ten issues, positions that have not been repudiated by councils of the Episcopal Church, with the positions found in Scripture. I use statements by Presiding Bishops, both current and former, with greater frequency as I consider the public views of the presiding officer of the House of Bishops to be representatives of views of the majority of its members. . .

Read it all and read it well.

Quincy: Episcopal bishop will sing 'Dreamcoat' selections

Okay, who's going to be there and has a video camera or even a video phone so that we can all see this performance? From the PJStar.com:

PEORIA - The spiritual leader of the Episcopal Diocese of Quincy will sing songs from "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" at Saturday's Diocesan Woman Annual Nexus at St. Paul's Cathedral, 3601 N. North St.

Bishop Keith Ackerman will perform selections from the Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice musical with the Diocesan Choir. He previously performed "Joseph" in a dinner theater format in the early 1990s. . .

Read it all.

Shoe Thursday: Sporty edition

So is it a shoe that mimics the sports look, or is it made out of Legos?

Hard to say, but it costs over $4,000.

Balenciaga Sportiletto

To the People of the Church of the Good Shepherd, 2006

Interesting start to what will be an on-going series on Stand Firm. From Matt Kennedy at Stand Firm in comment 5:

. . . This is the first installment of what will be a weekly parish-eye re-telling of the events leading up to a lawsuit. The story will be largely told through primary documents and letters to give readers a sense of just how things unfolded and began to unravel. We are doing this in hopes of letting people see what it is like on the ground, not just at Good Shepherd, but at parishes throughout North America in revisionst dioceses. This story will be about a particular parish, but it will also, hopefully, serve as somewhat representative of the experience of the many other parishes that have also had to face litigation and possible property loss.

And the first posting is Matt's letter to his congregation from 2006 [boldface mine]:
To the People of the Church of the Good Shepherd, May 2006

May 18th, 2006

Dear Good Shepherd,

Good Morning...As many of you know, the vestry met with Bishop Adams yesterday. We had a very productive discussion about a number of issues. Our differences are real. They petain to primary or "essential" matters of faith. In this case, as has been said many times before, the essential matter is the authority of the Word of God. Fidelity and compromise simply cannot coexist when it comes to essential matters. To compromise an essential principle of faith is to compromise Christian integrity.

The good news is that both your leaders on vestry and bishop Adams understand and respect this. Good Shepherd cannot compromise the clear teaching of the scriptures or participate in a body that we believe is leading people caught up in sexual sin further into the darkness and away from Christ and bishop Adams a feels just as firmly determined that monogamous homosexual behavior should be blessed by the church.

We both recognized yesterday that maintaining our Christian integrity, sadly, may very well mean that we walk apart from each other after General Convention.

In all likelihood, to be as realistic with you as possible, it is looking that way. That came through fairly clearly yesterday.

But one of the very productive and beneficial aspects of the meeting was that no matter what takes place, there is a strong mutual commitment to seek an amicable, peaceful, and loving resolution. If we walk apart, there is a commitment on our part and on the part of bishop Adams to do so in Christian love and respect.

This is a wonderful blessing enjoyed by very few churches and dioceses in our position. It speaks well of the bishop and of your vestry.

You should be very proud of your vestry by the way. They handled themselves with great respect and love toward the bishop and yet they did so with a calm and firm commitment to remain faithful to the gospel. It was a truly moving thing to watch these Christian men and women firmly bear witness to their faith with gentle humility.

Nobody knows what will happen in June. But I do know that God is most definitely guiding our steps and that so long as we remain faithful what lies before us is far greater and far better than what lies behind. . .

Read it all. Can't wait to see the trajectory of events that led from this letter to the current lawsuit by the diocese.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

AnglicanTV update and challenge!

More info on fundraising for GAFCON from Kevin at AnglicanTV:

The plane tickets have gone up $200 dollars in two days. At this current rate of fund raising I will not be able to attend GAFCON. I am looking for ideas -- perhaps your church, ministry, or business would like to advertise on AnglicaTV or your church may have unused missionary money they would like to donate to AnglicanTV. Please forward your own ideas to anglicantv@gmail.com. . .

And from the comments:
I would like to challenge other clergymen and members of CANA and Common Cause to match or exceed my $100.00 contribution to enable Kevin to get to GAFCON. We can all talk the talk, words are cheap!

# Posted By Rev'd Richard M. Bruton 4/22/08 5:56 PM

Check it out, and take the challenge!

"Skulduggery in San Joaquin?"

From the Anglican Curmudgeon, what's going on in San Joaquin? [boldface mine]

Something mysterious (well, not really---but read on) has happened with regard to the corporate entity recognized under California law as the religious corporation sole associated with the Diocese of San Joaquin. Under California law, a "corporation sole" is a special kind of corporation---with just one shareholder, one officer and one director, who are all one and the same person---that can be formed by "a bishop . . . of any religious denomination, society, or church, for the purpose of administering and managing the affairs, property, and temporalities thereof." (Calif. Corp. Code section 10002.)

There has been a corporation sole for the Diocese of San Joaquin in California ever since 1911. Each time a new bishop is elected, there is an amendment to the articles filed by the new bishop, naming him as the successor to the position. When the Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield was elected Bishop in 1988, the articles were amended (albeit in 1992); and preceding the first convention vote in December 2006 to change the Diocesan Constitution, the articles of the corporation sole were amended in March 2006 to change the method of electing his successor. (That amendment caused four other Episcopal Bishops in California to issue an ultimatum to Bishop Schofield that they would file a presentment against him unless he rescinded the changes---the documents may be seen here.) On January 22, 2008, Bishop Schofield filed another amendment to the articles, changing the name of the corporation from "The Protestant Episcopal Bishop of San Joaquin, a Corporation Sole" to "The Anglican Bishop of San Joaquin, a Corporation Sole."

Now, quietly and without any fanfare, the Secretary of State's Web site lists the corporation again under a new name as of April 8, 2008: the name has changed back to "The Protestant Episcopal Bishop of San Joaquin, a Corporation Sole". Further research with this filing shows that it lists the sole member of the corporation as the Rt. Rev. Jerry A. Lamb, in Stockton, California, and that its agent for service of process is attorney Michael Glass of San Rafael, California.

Without its amounting exactly to "a shot heard round the world," it thus appears that an opening salvo in that new, non-Pauline but chiefly Episcopal sport---of suing each other in secular courts---has been fired. In order to file the amendment with the Secretary of State, the law requires that:
The chief officer of the corporation shall sign and verify a statement setting forth the provision of the amendment and stating that it has been duly authorized by the religious organization governed by the corporation.

(Section 10010; emphasis added.) In other words, the Rt. Rev. Jerry Lamb has sworn to the Secretary of State that only he has the right to govern the Diocese of San Joaquin, and that there is also only one such Diocese---namely, the one that elected him a provisional bishop on March 29, 2008. Where does this leave the unincorporated Diocese of San Joaquin that has withdrawn from The Episcopal Church? As far as the official record appears at this moment, the amendments which made Bishop Schofield the bishop of that Diocese are no longer in effect, since they have been changed by Bishop Lamb, who swears he has the authority to make those changes.

We must realize that the Secretary of State is just a middleman here, responsible for filing and indexing duly notarized documents---indeed, if they are presented in the appropriate form, the Secretary cannot refuse to file them. By this same token, Bishop Schofield could file new amendment papers tomorrow changing the name back again, and there could ensue a meaningless paper war. Which just means that this will have to be sorted out in the courts. . .

Read it all.

A New Day Dawning for faithful Anglicans, says Quincy Bishop

From VirtueOnline, a write-up by Bishop Keith Ackerman, Diocese of Quincy, on the Forward in Faith conference this summer:

Among the normally quiet and liturgical Anglicans of the United States and Canada, a Second Reformation continues to take shape. A new Anglican province is emerging as faithful Anglicans are working together. While form and structure takes time, members of the Common Cause Partnership (CCP) are acting in cooperation to live out the Gospel commission and in fellowship with the mainstream of the worldwide Anglican Churches. Forward in Faith NA welcomes all of its Common Cause Partners to the 2008 Assembly in the suburb of Saint Louis.

On Wednesday, June 11th, representatives will gather from across the USA and Canada for three days at Our Lady of the Snows retreat center in Belleville, Illinois, for renewed Christian witness and mission in this new climate of cooperation. The featured speakers will be the Reverend Canon Keith Roderick addressing the Imperiled Christians of the Middle East and Carrie Boren on Evangelism.

The Assembly will hear from world church leaders, and leaders from many parts of the Anglican Church in the USA and Canada. The annual gathering will include noted preachers Right Rev. Donald Parsons, and Rev. Dr. Arnold Klukas, both of whom are professors at Nashotah House Theological Seminary in Wisconsin; the Right Rev. John Broadhurst from the UK will give an update on the English front; and education sessions by Lay Teachers Sister Mary Charles, All Saints' Sisters of the Poor, and Mr. John Witt, a former city attorney of San Diego.

The three day Assembly will focus on moving "forward together in mission: celebrating Common Cause" cooperation in working for the renewal of Christian witness to Gospel of Jesus Christ and upholding the Faith and Order of the Undivided Church. . .

Check it out for contact info.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Yale threatens to ban Shvarts’ art project from show

Follow-up on this story from the Yale Daily News [boldface mine]:

The University will not allow Aliza Shvarts ’08 to display her controversial senior art project at its scheduled opening Tuesday unless she confesses in writing that the exhibition is a work of fiction, Yale officials said Sunday.

The University, meanwhile, acknowledged that it has disciplined two faculty members for their role in allowing Shvarts to proceed with a project that she claimed included nine months of repeated artificial inseminations followed by self-induced miscarriages.

As news of Shvarts’ project swept across the Web last week and attracted the ire of students and private citizens alike, Shvarts and the University engaged in a match of he-said/she-said: Shvarts stood by her project as she described it earlier last week in a news release, while the University — claiming Shvarts had privately denied actually committing the acts in question — dismissed it as a hoax that amounted to nothing more than “performance art.”. . .

Two days later, [Yale College Dean Peter] Salovey and [School of Art Dean Robert] Storr announced that an investigation had found “serious errors in judgement” on the part of two unnamed individuals — ostensibly her thesis adviser, School of Art lecturer Pia Lindman, and School of Art Director of Undergraduate Studies Henk van Assen — who had been involved in her project before it incited mass condemnation across campus and across the country and that “appropriate action” had been taken against them. . .

In interviews last week, Shvarts said that Lindman and van Assen had both supported her project before it became the object of public dismay. The Davenport College senior defended her project as “University-sanctioned” because it had received their approval.

“I started out with the University on board with what I was doing, and because of the media frenzy they’ve been trying to dissociate with me,” she said at the time. “Ultimately, I want to get back to a point where they renew their support, because ultimately this was something they supported.”. . .

In his statement Sunday night, Salovey called on Shvarts to produce a written confession admitting that her project did not actually include the graphic acts that she had first described. He added that Shvarts will not be allowed to install her project unless she admits she did not try to inseminate herself and induce miscarriages and promises that no human blood will be displayed in her exhibit. . .

But if the art opening does not continue, the University is likely to face criticism that it has restricted freedom of expression.

In his statement, Storr emphasized that the University “has a profound commitment to freedom of expression” and that he, personally, supports the legality of abortion.

“That said, Yale does not encourage or condone projects that would involve unknown health risks to the student,” Storr said. “Nor does it believe that open discourse and inquiry can exist in an educational and creative community when an individual exercises these rights but evades full intellectual accountability for the strong response he or she may provoke.”

Of course, no mention of the health risks to the baby.
Read it all. And read the comments as well. One example of the Yale student perspective:
aliza = galileo

salovey = grand inquisitioner

And this comment compares writing a novel to having an abortion:
It's very easy to make a commitment to freedom of artistic expression when the art doesn't offend, provoke, or challenge. But while hanging non-controversial projects in the gallery may show the university's ability to instruct in aesthetic and technique, it is not a test of Yale's commitment to freedom of artistic expression. That test only comes when they have the choice between supporting a controversial artist, or bowing to the voices of the crowd. I am disappointed that the administration appears to be saying "We will support the rights of our artists to express themselves, unless..."

Shvarts's piece follows a long tradition of provocative art that causes many to react with disgust. The Tragedy of Medea causes people to react with disgust. The plays of Chris Durang cause people to react with disgust. The novels of Thomas Hardy cause people to react with disgust. Disgust, offense, and revulsion are not sufficient reasons to stifle artistic expression and I would have expected better from Yale than to join a mob in the doing of its work.

It's enough to have me send my child to community college - I think he'd get a better education and hopefully meet more thoughtful people.

I did, however, like this comment:
Here's my submission of performance art. It's titled "He tried".

In act one, I attend grade school, study hard, get good grades, attend a state college, get more good grades,and get a degree.

In act two, I get a job at which I am particularly well suited. I go to this job every day, pay my taxes, and obey the law. I get married and after seeing my wife suffering several miscarriages and a stillborn baby, we have a beautiful daughter - the normal way. We raise her to love others and be thankful for her great gifts.

In act three, I finish my working days, see my daughter become a well-adjusted, non-whining woman. I finally fall into declining health and die. On my tombstone are two words: He tried.

This is my performance art... and it is strong.

Now, that is a grateful heart.
H/t to the Volokh Conspiracy.

Rule Britannia no more: St. George's parade scrapped

From the Daily Star (U.K.):

A MARCH to celebrate St George’s Day has been axed – because the authorities fear it could spark race riots.

About 1,500 children were due to take part in a parade to commemorate the patron saint of England on Wednesday.

But council bosses in Bradford, West Yorks, have ditched the event over concerns it could upset the Asian community, many of them Muslim.

They feared a repeat of riots that hit the city in 2001, when an Asian man was stabbed by National Front supporters and 300 police were injured. Officials suggested making the route shorter to avoid areas where the riots took place. . .

Read it all.
H/t to Gateway Pundit.

AnglicanTV: Financial ASAP request for GAFCON

From Kevin Kallsen at AnglicanTV:

AnglicanTV needs your financial help ASAP. We have just received an official invitation to GAFCON hosted in Jerusalem June 22-29. In order to go I need to raise $1800 for the plan ticket and $1800 for the conference fee which includes food, travel, hotel, and several tours in the Holy Land I can tape and post on AnglicanTV. I am the only video Christian Press with an invitation and I can't imagine missing the biggest Anglican news story this decade because I could not raise enough money to go. The reason I list this as an ASAP request is that the US dollar is declining in valude and each day I delay in my purchase the more I will need to raise. Click here for information on sending a donation by check or

Consider contributing today!

The MCJ: Prattling

From the Midwest Conservative Journal:

"That’s still one of our central tenets," Jefferts Schori said. "We see sexual issues in the same light but the particular context may require a different focus."

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the single most dishonest words Katharine Jefferts Schori has ever uttered. No, Kate. We don't. . .

Please, READ IT ALL!

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, ask Archbishop Gregory Venables to cancel his visit

From the Anglican Church of Canada (Archbishop Hiltz wrote the letter after consulting with the Canadian House of Bishops):

April 21,2008

The Most Revd Gregory James Venables
Rioja 2995,1636 Olivos,
Province of Buenos Aires,
B1636DMG , Argentina

My Brother in Christ:

In this Easter Season I greet you in the name of our risen Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

It has come to my attention that you will be participating in the Anglican Network in Canada conference, "Compelled by Christ's Love" taking place in Vancouver, B.C., April 25-26,2008. Your visit to Canada is without any reference to or consent from my office or that of the Bishop of the Diocese of New Westminster. This represents a breach in what is considered normative in protocol among Primates and Bishops throughout the Communion.

I brought this matter before the House of Bishops meeting in Niagara Falls, Ont., last week. While we recognized that your motivation may be pastoral, there was a strong consensus that your visit at this time will further harm the strained relations between the Anglican Church of Canada and the Anglican Network in Canada.

The Bishops believe that we have made adequate and appropriate provision for the pastoral care and Episcopal support of all members of the Anglican Church of Canada, including those who find themselves in conscientious disagreement with the view of their Bishop and Synod over matters of human sexuality. This provision known as Shared Episcopal Ministry was approved by the House of Bishops in November 2004 and commended, in September 2006, by an international Panel of Reference appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury. With this provision in place we believe there is no need for pastoral interventions by Primates or Bishops from jurisdictions outside of the Anglican Church of Canada. In fact such interventions are inappropriate. The Archbishop of Canterbury in a recent letter to me which was made public said he cannot "support or sanction" such actions. . .

Read it all.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sunday Night Proverbs

By wisdom the LORD laid the earth's foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place; by his knowledge the deeps were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew.

My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck.

Proverbs 3:19-22

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Abuses of the abandonment canons (II)

From the Anglican Curmudgeon (A. S. Haley) [boldface mine]:

. . . Two major differences mark today's situation as apart from those in 1873 or 1976: first, the Episcopal Church's doctrinal position was not out of step with that of the larger Anglican Communion in either 1873 or in 1976 (the Anglican Consultative Council had allowed provinces to proceed with the ordination of women in 1971); and second, the ordination vows in 1873 and 1976 had not yet been changed as described in the previous post---where the vow "to banish and drive away from the Church all erroneous and strange doctrines contrary to God's Word" was discarded in 1979 in favor of one to "conform to the doctrine, discipline and worship of The Episcopal Church". What has happened is that today's clergy find themselves ensnared between the Scylla of swearing allegiance to "the doctrine, discipline and worship of The Episcopal Church" and the Charybdis of swearing to uphold the "doctrine, discipline and worship of Christ as this Church has received them". No priest can be true to his ordination vows unless the "doctrine, discipline and worship" are the same in both cases, and the problem is that there are many today who hold sincerely that they are not the same.

It makes very poor sense, then, to exploit this gap by claiming a violation of "the doctrine, discipline or worship of this Church" when one is merely following one's conscience to try to make it possible to adhere to "the doctrine, discipline and worship of Christ as this Church has received them", if necessary under the authority of a different diocesan. There is only one remedy for cases of abandonment: deposition, and that is simply an inappropriate remedy when a member of the clergy wishes to remain within the churches of the Anglican Communion. Deposition revokes the authority of a priest, bishop or deacon to minister at services in The Episcopal Church. The Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church, however, contemplate that any clergy ordained within the Anglican Communion may be licensed by suitable local authority to minister within the Episcopal Church, and such license is not possible when one has been deposed from that very church. Thus by deposing its clergy who wish to stay within the Anglican Communion, TEC is doing permanent harm to its polity by creating a different class of Anglican clergy: those who may minister within any church in the Communion with the exception of within TEC itself.

There is further the point that disagreement over doctrine does not necessarily imply "abandonment"---especially where, again, the disagreeing member of the clergy still is doing his or her conscientious best to remain within the Anglican Communion. A far wiser and more experienced canon lawyer than yours truly warned very presciently about the chilling consequences of equating disagreement with abandonment. . .

Read it all, and check out Abuses of the abandonment canons (I) here.
H/t to TitusOneNine.

Friday, April 18, 2008

What dog breed are you?

My results:

What dog breed are you? I'm a Golden Retriever! Find out at Dogster.com

H/t to Dan Martins.

Weekly message from Bishop David Anderson

The weekly message from the American Anglican Council, via email [boldface mine]:

Beloved in Christ,

First of all, we at the AAC extend our heartfelt sympathy to those whose children perished in the dormitory fire near Kampala, Uganda this week. May the Lord comfort your souls. If this fire was indeed set deliberately, we pray that the perpetrators will be identified soon. BBC coverage of the story may be found here.

In the US this week, a question on many orthodox Episcopalian minds has to do with Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori's inhibition of retired Bishop MacBurney (80 years of age) while he was dealing with the imminent death of his son. She was advised of the difficulty of the moment by the Bishop of Quincy, Keith Ackerman, but apparently cared not. Now MacBurney's son has died and with funeral plans in place, Schori has suddenly written him to lift the inhibition (temporarily and in a limited manner) so that he can function in the services for his son.

What caused her post facto swelling of concern and pastoral care? If it was really derivative of her caring, why did she not wait two or three weeks and then inhibit him? What was the hurry, given that she knew of his situation? One would suspect that others, perhaps farther up the ecclesial ladder, gave her counsel. It seems that Jefferts Schori's continuing difficulty is that she can't get it right the first time.

Jefferts Schori recently polled the TEC bishops to see if they might agree to hold a May meeting of the Episcopal Church House of Bishops. This is code for "can we gather and depose Bishop Duncan just like we did Cox and Schofield?" The answer was apparently unenthusiastic. Whether this was attributable to reconsideration of the improperly done executions at the last meeting or busy calendars before the Lambeth Conference isn't known.

The Presiding Bishop's office seems to be applying pressure on local dioceses to ramp up the aggression on orthodox churches, especially those that have left TEC. Apparently, even where conversations have been underway towards negotiating a settlement, the "new sheriff in town" wants those negotiations ended, preferring the approach of a proverbial law firm "Dewey, Suem & Howe." TEC has now launched litigation against Church of the Good Shepherd in Binghamton, NY, and their well-known rector, Fr. Matt Kennedy, who is one of the founders of the Stand Firm blog and a member of the AAC Board of Trustees.

In Connecticut, the stand-in, bishop James Curry, acting while diocesan bishop Andrew Smith is on sabbatical, launched an attack on a parish in Groton which is named for Bishop Samuel Seabury. Although the parish voted 100% to leave TEC and the diocese of CT and relocate to the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), and although the congregation of some 800 active members and their priest of 35 years, Fr. Ron Gauss, are still using the church building, Bishop Curry has appointed a priest-in-charge, and has demanded the keys to the church and the records. Sounds like "here's your hat, and don't let the door hit you on your way out." Fr. Ron and the parish refused those demands, and fully intend to continue worshipping in the church which they built and paid for.

We are waiting to see if Lambeth Palace sends a letter to Bishop Schofield telling him that his previous invitation to Lambeth is withdrawn. It would not be surprising, since Lambeth Palace and the Anglican Communion Office follow the lead of the Episcopal Church's handling of depositions, ignoring any counter arguments or claims. We observed the unfair and improper manner in which Lambeth Palace and the Anglican Communion Office dealt with Bishop Robinson Cavalcanti of Recife and his diocese when he moved from Brazil to the Southern Cone. We would be surprised if they handled the San Joaquin issue any differently. We would NOT be surprised if Jefferts Schori doesn't, perchance, show up in England in the immediate neighborhood of the General Synod held prior to Lambeth. This would, of course, provide an opportunity for her to bring greetings, etc., all unplanned, as it were. This is also why there needs to be a re-arrangement of the polity of the Anglican Communion, such that the piping of TEC does not call the tune in London.

Blessings and peace in Christ Jesus,
The Rt. Rev. David C. Anderson
President and CEO, American Anglican Council

Ugandan police arrest 10 over fatal school fire

An update on the Buddo Girls’ School fire in Uganda. From the International Herald Tribune:

A police spokesman says 10 people have been arrested in connection with a fire that killed at least 19 Ugandan school girls.

Judith Nabakooba says the dormitory matron and school guards at Budo school were among those arrested in the investigation into Monday's fire. She did not speculate on motives but said Friday that police were offering US$3,000 for information.

Earlier, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said there were "signs that there was negligence by the school administration."

Thousands of people attended a prayer service for the dead girls in the capital Friday, where Anglican Bishop Samuel Balagadde Sekadde spoke of 10-year-old Yvonne Namaganda, who rescued six of her classmates before being overcome by fumes when she returned help a seventh.

Read it all.

Book of prayers by Anglican women and girls to focus on MDGs

Quick, call Christopher Johnson! It's the MDGs [peace be upon them] now in prayer book form.

From EpiscopalLife Online [boldface mine]:

While worldwide attention is focused on discord and divisions within the Anglican Communion, Anglican women and girls are uniting to make their voices heard on issues of poverty and women's empowerment, express the power and depth of their faith, and to reveal their connections across cultural and economic differences, by contributing to a new book of women's prayers, with a foreword to be written by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.

Following on the popularity of Women's Uncommon Prayers: Our Lives Revealed, Nurtured, Celebrated, this all-new collection of prayers, with its multicultural global reach, will be organized according to themes of the Millennium Development Goals. Prayers will show the connections between the global concerns of women and girls and their personal lives. . .

Other general editors for the project are Abagail Nelson, vice president for programs at Episcopal Relief and Development; the Rev. K. Jeanne Person, co-author of Where You Go, I Shall: Gleanings from the Stories of Biblical Widows; and Dr. Jenny Te Paa, Ahorangi (Dean) of Te Rau Kahikatea, the College of St. John the Evangelist in Auckland, New Zealand, and a well-known leader in the Anglican Communion.

An international editorial board of clergy and lay women and girls, representing national and cultural heritages within the Anglican Communion, will review prayers for inclusion in the book. Among those serving on the editorial board is Phoebe Griswold, founder of Anglican Women's Empowerment (AWE) and wife of Frank Griswold, former presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church.

The new book will debut in May 2009.

Editors say that the book will reveal how Anglican women are envisioning a way forward for the welfare of creation, including within the Anglican Communion itself. "At a time when a small cabal of male leaders are insisting on dividing the Anglican Communion over issues of human sexuality," said Dr Te Paa, "Anglican women are offering a way forward. We are committed to prayer, to the unity of the Anglican Communion around Christ's table, and to a common mission that leads to the full flourishing of all people."

Each chapter of the book will focus on one of the eight Millennium Development Goals. The MDGs, which were agreed to by all member states of the United Nations, form a blueprint for radically improving the lives of the world's poor. . .

Read it all.

New ultimatum to Lambeth bishops

From George Conger [boldface mine]:

Bishops attending the Lambeth Conference will be asked to affirm their willingness to abide by the recommendations of the Windsor Report and work towards the creation of an Anglican Communion Covenant.

A spokesman for the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams told The Church of England Newspaper that letters affirming support for Windsor and the Covenant process had not yet been mailed, but would go out presently.

Bishops attending Lambeth must have a “willingness to work with those aspects of the [Lambeth] Conference’s agenda that relate to implementing the recommendations of [the Windsor Report], including the development of a Covenant,” Dr. Williams wrote in his Dec. 14 Advent pastoral letter.

The Windsor Report calls for a ban on gay bishops and blessings and discouraged violating the diocesan boundaries of bishops in opposing theological camps. Affirming the recommendations of the Windsor Report may cause difficulty for US Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and other progressive American, Canadian, Brazilian and British bishops who have given either their formal or informal support to moves to normalize homosexuality within the life of the church. It also closes the door on full participation in the conference of the Bishop of New Hampshire, the Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson.

Overseas primates who have backed the violation of diocesan boundaries by African-consecrated American missionary bishops, could also fall afoul of Dr. Williams’ dictate. However, as the principle provinces backing overseas missionary bishops-Nigeria, Rwanda and Uganda-will not be at Lambeth, the warning is a “moot point”, one overseas primate told The Church of England Newspaper. . .

Read it all.
H/t to Brad Drell.

Yale: For senior, abortion a medium for art, political discourse *Updated and Bumped*

UPDATE: More confusion.

First a statement from Yale saying it was all a hoax:

Statement by Helaine S. Klasky — Yale University, Spokesperson
New Haven, Conn. — April 17, 2008

Ms. Shvarts is engaged in performance art. Her art project includes visual representations, a press release and other narrative materials. She stated to three senior Yale University officials today, including two deans, that she did not impregnate herself and that she did not induce any miscarriages. The entire project is an art piece, a creative fiction designed to draw attention to the ambiguity surrounding form and function of a woman’s body.

She is an artist and has the right to express herself through performance art.

Had these acts been real, they would have violated basic ethical standards and raised serious mental and physical health concerns.

Then a rebuttal by the "artist":
But Shvarts stood by her project, calling the University’s statement “ultimately inaccurate.”. . .

But Shvarts reiterated Thursday that she repeatedly use a needleless syringe to insert semen into herself. At the end of her menstrual cycle, she took abortifacient herbs to induce bleeding, she said. She said she does not know whether or not she was ever pregnant.

“No one can say with 100-percent certainty that anything in the piece did or did not happen,” Shvarts said, “because the nature of the piece is that it did not consist of certainties.”

This afternoon, Shvarts showed the News footage from tapes she plans to play at the exhibit. The tapes depict Shvarts — sometimes naked, sometimes clothed — alone in a shower stall bleeding into a cup.

Pia Lindman, Shvarts’s thesis adviser, and Davenport College Dean Craig Harwood could not be reached for comment Thursday. Art Director of Undergraduate Studies Henk van Assen deferred comment to the Yale Office of Public Affairs. . .

So it's hard to know at this point who is telling the truth and who isn't. But it's obvious Shvart has bought into the mindset that says there is no absolute Truth.

I think this commentary by Warner Todd Huston on LifeNews.com probably states it best [boldface mine]:
. . . What is really the truth with this so-called "art" project, though, is that Shvarts has pulled the wool over the eyes of the Yale Daily News, the willing dupes who claim to be her professors, and anyone reading this story on Drudge and believing she really induced her own miscarriages. It's all a hoax.

Or, if not an outright hoax, it’s a misleading tale of a girl who hasn't a clue about how one becomes pregnant, what the fake drugs she took are really capable of doing, and the psychological pain of a real miscarriage.

It's also proof that our sources of news rarely if ever employ any common sense in how they write up the news. A tiny bit of logic put to this story of "self-induced miscarriages" would reveal it to be all stuff and nonsense.

But, no, what we get instead is the story reported as if it is fact and not the cynical efforts of a kid that just wants her 15 minutes of fame. It is also proof that the liberal side of the abortion debate leads the ideological mindset of the news. . .

Seems very grave and serious, doesn't it? This girl put her body through the repeated physical abuse of impregnation and miscarriage for her "art." If this were true, it would have been quite a physical ordeal.

In fact, if it had really happened, I'd imagine that she might possibly have put her health, or at least her future ability to become pregnant, at risk. But, in truth she was likely never pregnant, she never had any "miscarriages" and there was nothing but common menstrual fluids resulting.

What was her "process?" How did she create these so-called miscarriages?

She asked boys she knew to donate sperm (she claims she also asked them to have tests for sexually transmitted diseases), she supposedly implanted that sperm into herself, and then she took these claimed herbal concoctions misleadingly called "abortifacient drugs" to end the pregnancy with forced miscarriage.

The main question is, was she ever pregnant? I have to say most likely no.

The "turkey baster" method of implanting semen for impregnation is very ineffective, though known to be successful. Sperm does not live for too long once it hits the open air, so implantation would had to have occurred quickly after the issuing of the fluids. So, to assume that this girl had actually impregnated herself is not a good bet. . .

Read it all. As for me, I think Aliza needs our prayers and, hoax or not, this is the product of a very immature and possibly disturbed mind. (And I keep thinking of the boys she said donated sperm. If this is true, did they know what she planned to do with it? And what is their culpability?)

Original: This story in the Yale Daily News appears to be true. If it's not, it's a sick joke. If it is true, it is so incredibly sad. Prayers are desperately needed for this student, the other Yale students that are affected by this, and of course, the babies.

You are so young in college - you think you're an adult and so hip, but you aren't and you won't realize that until years later. Often, you have no idea about the bigger issues of life, even if you do spend all night discussing them in the abstract with your classmates.

We know that Christ can forgive and offer peace, and I pray that this girl has her heart softened so that she can ask for that forgiveness.

From the Yale Daily News:
Art major Aliza Shvarts '08 wants to make a statement.

Beginning next Tuesday, Shvarts will be displaying her senior art project, a documentation of a nine-month process during which she artificially inseminated herself "as often as possible" while periodically taking abortifacient drugs to induce miscarriages. Her exhibition will feature video recordings of these forced miscarriages as well as preserved collections of the blood from the process.

The goal in creating the art exhibition, Shvarts said, was to spark conversation and debate on the relationship between art and the human body. But her project has already provoked more than just debate, inciting, for instance, outcry at a forum for fellow senior art majors held last week. And when told about Shvarts' project, students on both ends of the abortion debate have expressed shock . saying the project does everything from violate moral code to trivialize abortion.

But Shvarts insists her concept was not designed for "shock value."

"I hope it inspires some sort of discourse," Shvarts said. "Sure, some people will be upset with the message and will not agree with it, but it's not the intention of the piece to scandalize anyone."

The "fabricators," or donors, of the sperm were not paid for their services, but Shvarts required them to periodically take tests for sexually transmitted diseases. She said she was not concerned about any medical effects the forced miscarriages may have had on her body. The abortifacient drugs she took were legal and herbal, she said, and she did not feel the need to consult a doctor about her repeated miscarriages.

Shvarts declined to specify the number of sperm donors she used, as well as the number of times she inseminated herself. . .

"I believe strongly that art should be a medium for politics and ideologies, not just a commodity," Shvarts said. "I think that I'm creating a project that lives up to the standard of what art is supposed to be."

The display of Schvarts' project will feature a large cube suspended from the ceiling of a room in the gallery of Green Hall. Schvarts will wrap hundreds of feet of plastic sheeting around this cube; lined between layers of the sheeting will be the blood from Schvarts' self-induced miscarriages mixed with Vaseline in order to prevent the blood from drying and to extend the blood throughout the plastic sheeting.

Schvarts will then project recorded videos onto the four sides of the cube. These videos, captured on a VHS camcorder, will show her experiencing miscarriages in her bathrooom tub, she said. Similar videos will be projected onto the walls of the room. . .

Read it all.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Shoe Thursday: Just for me!

Shoes courtesy of Franco Sarto.

Franco Sarto Nail
Franco Sarto Condor
Franco Sarto Abide
Franco Sarto Opera

Pope resolution passes after "life" language removed

From the The Crypt at Politico.com [boldface mine]:

While Pope Benedict XVI's historic visit to Washington received wall to wall coverage, Sen. Barbara Boxer briefly held up a Senate resolution welcoming the pontiff because she objected to language about how the pope values "each and every human life."

The measure later cleared the Senate Thursday afternoon after the sponsor of the resolution, Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), dropped the reference to "human life" because some Democrats saw it as a reference to abortion. According to Republican aides, Brownback, a devout Catholic, did not want a high profile fight over the resolution, which was adopted on a voice vote. In fact, Brownback blackberried his staff from the Pope's mass at Nationals Park to direct them to drop the references to human life.

A copy of the original resolution can be found here. The new resolution, with the human life language and references to religious expression in public buildings removed, is here.

"There was some politics involved here, and the objectionable language has been withdrawn," a senior Democratic Senate aide said.

Three Senate Republican aides involved in the issue say that Boxer objected to the "life" language, which Democrats see as an implicit reference to the Catholic church's opposition to abortion. Senate Democratic leadership offices declined to comment but referred questions to Boxer's office, which has not responded to Politico's inquiries this morning. . .

Read it all.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Grief engulfs Ugandan school

Here's a list of news sources for information on the fire at the Buddo Girls’ School (part of the Church of Uganda) in Kampala, Uganda. From initial reports, the fire does appear to have been deliberately set.

Florida: U.S. Episcopal Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori visits Bethesda-by-the-Sea parish in Palm Beach

From the Palm Beach Daily News [boldface mine]:

. . . But tellingly, The Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori defines herself as a peacemaker.

As presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States since June 2006, she has had to put her diplomatic skills to the test time and again.

The election in 2003 of the Rev. Gene Robinson — an openly gay, non-celibate man — as bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire provided impetus for revolt by conservatives within the church. Some have left the church, with some congregations aligning themselves with bishops in other parts of the Anglican Communion outside the United States.

In a news conference Tuesday before leading a Holy Eucharist service at The Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea, Jefferts Schori said those opposing Robinson's elevation represent a small minority of the church's 2.1 million members.

Hey, at least they're starting to revise the 2.4 million number we see all the time.
"The reality is there is a small segment of the Episcopal Church that is very upset about issues of sexuality," Jefferts Schori said. "But it's small. It's very noisy.

"My sense is the vast majority in the middle of the spectrum in the Episcopal Church may or may not agree with the decisions of the general convention about issues of human sexuality, but they see other things are far more important to their identity as Episcopalians, to their mission in ministry as Episcopalians in the world. And they are going to live with it and keep moving.". . .

For most members of the church, there are far more pressing issues, Jefferts Schori said.

The moral issues of the day include "how we deal with the other, however we define that. Our current state of war. Conditions of poverty in this country and around the world. How we treat the Earth," Jefferts Schori said. "And all those things are interrelated.". . .

I'm sorry, but I have no idea what she is talking about when she talks about "the other" - does she just mean other people, that may or may not be like me? If so, just say so - I feel like I'm reading Joseph Conrad's The Secret Sharer and "the other" is my doppelgänger.
Asked whether people are resistant to what could be called a progressive agenda, the bishop said she wouldn't put a label on the church's charitable works.

"It's about loving our neighbors. It's taken us 3,000 years, and we are still not doing a perfect job of it," she said.

Where is she getting 3,000 years? What does that number represent?
With membership at many mainline denominations dropping in recent years, Jefferts Schori said the church needs to find new ways to meet the spiritual needs of society at large.

Some churches are emphasizing traditional services and seeing an increase in young members as a result, she said. Others are creating their own music for worship.

"Spiritual hunger in people is never going to go away," the bishop said. "It only deepens in times that are as stressful as these.". . .

Read it all.

Abortion-rights lawmakers to receive Communion

Every church has its problems. From the AP via Breitbart.com:

WASHINGTON (AP) - Catholic members of Congress who publicly support the right to abortion will trek to Nationals Park Thursday for a Mass celebrated by a pope who has said such lawmakers should not receive Communion.

Leading these lawmakers, some of whom have repeatedly complained about remarks by Pope Benedict XVI and a few bishops on the subject, will be House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the government's highest-ranking Catholic and a supporter of abortion rights. Nowhere in her remarks or her actions this week has she referred to strains with the new pontiff.

Instead, she bent to kiss his ring at the White House Wednesday as Benedict arrived in a blaze of pageantry, and later she spoke glowingly on the House floor about his commitment to truth, justice and freedom. A week before he arrived, the House passed a resolution welcoming him to Washington.

And yes, her spokesman said, she intends to receive Communion from one of the 300 priests and lay ministers who will offer it to the gathered flock of 45,000.

Benedict's stance on abortion and Communion has been painful for elected officials who inhabit the troubled zone where Catholicism and their political beliefs intersect.

Pelosi was one of 48 Catholic lawmakers—some who support and some who oppose abortion rights—who signed a letter in 2004 complaining about statements by "some members of the Catholic hierarchy.". . .

None of the Catholic lawmakers interviewed Wednesday said they hesitated to attend Thursday's celebration of Mass. This event, they said, is about bigger themes and values, such as hope and compassion. . .

But not life, apparently.
During the 2004 U.S. presidential election, Benedict, who was at that time Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, said the sacrament could be withheld under some circumstances.

Last May, when a reporter pressed Benedict on whether he agreed that Catholic politicians who had recently legalized abortion in Mexico City should be considered excommunicated, his response was, "Yes."

Benedict's spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, later said the pope was not setting a new policy and did not intend to formally excommunicate anyone. But Lombardi added that politicians who vote in favor of abortion should refrain from receiving Holy Communion.

Not this time.


"There's a time for celebrating who we are as Catholics, and this is one of those times," said Rep. Jose Serrano, D-N.Y. . .

Read it all.

California: Just a rumor, but. . .

I hate to link to The Huffington Post, so I won't, you can go there yourself if you want to see this - it's Ryan J. Davis' column under Politics dealing with the current case before the California Supreme Court on marriage:

. . . "After oral arguments in the case, it appears very likely that the majority of judges on California's highest court will rule against the current meaning of marriage, opening up God's ordained institution to same-sex couples," [the Family Research Council] said in a March fundraising email.

Sources wishing to remain anonymous in the California Court System indicate that the court, which has until June 2, 2008 to issue it's marriage ruling, is considering issuing it on Friday, May 23, 2008, with the decision being written by Chief Justice Ronald George. The Court is readying itself for a backlash that may follow the rumored and bold decision. There is talk that the Court will not simply strike down Proposition 22, but will move the State of California toward full marriage, if not even granting full marriage rights for gays and lesbians outright. . .

Prayer request: Fire at Uganda Anglican girls school

From the Anglican Communion Network:

Bishop Robert Duncan requests prayers for the Anglican Province of Uganda. He received word this morning that there was a fire last night at the Buddo Girls’ School in Kampala where 19 girls and two adults died. The fire appears to have been deliberately set. Mama Phoebe (wife of Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi) is presently in Virginia. They will be leaving tonight from D.C. with a 12 hour layover in London. Please pray for the families of the victims, for Mama Phoebe and the Rev. Helen, for Archbishop Henry and for all those involved.

A number of Anglican Communion Network parishes, under the care of Bishop John Guernsey, are members of the Anglican Church in the Province of Uganda.

H/t to Prayer for Common Cause.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Virginia: Church’s Court Blow

From George Conger:

An American state court has handed the Episcopal Church a major defeat in its battle for control of the property of breakaway congregations in Virginia, rejecting its argument that there was no “division” in the Episcopal Church.

In an 88 page opinion released on April 3, Fairfax County Judge Randy Bellows held that a Nineteenth century law governing the disposition of church property in the event of a church schism applied to the dispute between the Diocese of Virginia and CANA—the American jurisdiction of the Church of Nigeria.

The Episcopal Church and Diocese of Virginia last year brought suit against 11 congregations of the Anglican District of Virginia seeking control of the breakaway parish properties, including the diocese’s two largest congregations—Truro Parish and the Falls Church in suburban Washington.

Judge Bellows rejected the Episcopal Church’s contention that the CANA secessions were a local matter. He held “it blinks at reality to characterize the ongoing division within the diocese, [the Episcopal Church], and the Anglican Communion as anything but a division of the first magnitude.”

“The rapidity with which [The Episcopal Church's] problems became that of the Anglican Communion, and the consequent impact-in some cases the extraordinary impact-on its provinces around the world,” he said. . .

Read it all.

Slow blogging

Family in town, blogging light!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sunday Psalms

Psalm 131

My heart is not proud, O LORD, my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me.
But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother,
like a weaned child is my soul within me.

O Israel, put your hope in the LORD both now and forevermore.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Pope Benedict XVI biographer: Nazi genocide shaped his pro-life views

From LifeNews.com:

An author writing a new biography on Pope Benedict XVI says genocide during the Nazi regime in World War II played a key role in shaping the pro-life views of the Catholic leader. Author Brennan Pursell relates the story in his upcoming book Benedict of Bavaria.

Pursell learned of the tragic story while compiling material for the book.

He found out that, as a 14-year-old boy, Joseph Ratzinger had a cousin born with Down Syndrome who was just a couple years younger.

In 1941, German "therapists" arrived at the boy's home and took him away -- possibly telling his parents of the new governmental regulations against mentally disabled children living at home.

Despite pleas from the boy's family, German officials took him away and he very likely became a victim of the genocide that claimed hundreds of thousands of lives during the war.

"This was Joseph Ratzinger's first experience of a murderous philosophy that asserts that some people are disposable," Pursell explains.

Because of the terrible incident, Pope Benedicts presents a consistently pro-life worldview that opposes abortion as well as euthanasia and assisted suicide. . .

Read it all.