Tuesday, July 29, 2008

AnglicanTV: Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks

I have heard wonderful things about this presentation by Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth. What a delight to see that Kevin captured it for us all.

From AnglicanTV

No, I didn't feel a thing. . .

For those interested in the earthquake earlier this morning, I did not feel or see a thing, my son (who was downstairs) saw a table move slightly, and my husband at work south of us felt a tremor and the top floor of his building swayed a little.

Other than that, not much.

Communion Partners could prove Anglican Communion’s undoing

From Anglican Mainstream, an analysis by David Virtue:

Buried deep in the Windsor Continuation report is this paragraph, overlooked by most, but of infinite importance, "We are encouraged by the planned setting up of the Communion Partners initiative in the Episcopal Church as a means of sustaining those who feel at odds with developments taking place in their own province but who wish to be loyal to, and to maintain, their fellowship within TEC and within the Anglican Communion."

This confirms VOL’s belief that the Archbishop of Canterbury IS in fact seeking compliant "Communion Partners" from the Global South in order to do an end run around the GAFCON Primates Council in an effort to isolate mainstream evangelical and Anglo-Catholics who number 40 million of the 55 million church-going Anglicans throughout the world.

VOL has learned that Rowan Williams is under a lot of pressure from an orthodox Church of England bishop to make this plan work. Williams reportedly said that if Jefferts Schori signs off on it, is a done deal. Jefferts Schori will only sign this document if the "Communion Partners" clause is part of the deal so she can sell it to her HoB who will not politely accept the tripartite moratoria.

Politics is everywhere.

GAFCON pilgrims should take note. Rowan Williams doesn’t like you. While he would like you back at the Lambeth table, it will only be on his terms, not yours. This is his show, not the Anglican Communion’s or The Episcopal Church’s. But beware, his sympathies and loyalties lie with Katharine Jefferts Schori and the rest of the liberal Anglican West, not with Peter Akinola and the true Global South. If "Communion Partners" is a done deal, then GAFCON leaders should know that what is in de facto a schism in the Anglican Communion is in fact de jure.

Read it all.

Monday, July 28, 2008

"Wikipedia is the love child of the Encyclopedia Brittanica and ComicCon."

From the comments at Gawker.

Just remember, Roger L. Simon says it best [boldface mine]:

. . . This is disgraceful behavior on the part of Wikipedia, which is demonstrating bias that errs on the side of laughable. But we should be grateful. This censorship reminds us never to trust anyone. [Including this blog?-ed. Definitely.] Especially do not trust those whose expertise pretends to be encyclopedic. No one’s is, not even an organization that pretends to use the wisdom of crowds in the manner of Wikipedia. Too often we reference Wikipedia as if it were authoritative. It isn’t. Not even faintly.

The Internet - a wonder and a curse!

Cherie Wetzel and her Monday Lambeth report

From Cherie Wetzel at Anglicans United [boldface mine]:

The 5:00 press conference on the Third stage of the Windsor Continuation Group was preceded by an Episcopal News Service impromptu conference on the lawn outside “the Missing Link” building.

TEC bishops Catherine Roskam, Suffragan, New York and Kirk Smith, Arizona, spoke first about the theme of the day: the Bishop and Interfaith dialogue. Both noted that they have a new respect for the bishops here who live in multi-cultural and multi-faith worlds and really need to dialogue so that all may live peaceably together and get along. Both described their efforts at dialogue as much less serious business.

Moving on to the third session today from the Windsor Continuation Group, both said that they would prefer to see the statements made in a positive and much less negative wording. Bishop Smith said that affirming their relationships as bishops in a positive way would be more acceptable; because it sounds like if you don’t accept this thesis and/or the Covenant, you can’t be part of the group.

Bishop Roskam stated, “We agree on so much. Let what we agree on develop a covenant, not just the problems we don’t agree on. In ’98 at Lambeth, we invited the Communion to take seriously the Christianity of gay and lesbian people. This Lambeth has welcomed the LGTB (Lesbian, Gay Transgendered and bi-sexual) people.”. . .

Read it all.

The secret of Anglicanism

From Damian Thompson at the Telegraph:

If nothing else, Lambeth has produced the authoritative definition of modern Anglicanism. It comes from the Rt Rev David Rossdale, Bishop of Grimsby – in a Faithbook blog post, I'm proud to report.

"We have been a Church which has been held together by belief, as contained in the historic creeds, and not by agreeing to particular statements about that faith."


Read it all (and discuss).

From the other side: Jim Naughton at The Lead

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

Be afraid: some of our bishops think the pastoral forum proposal has a head of steam, that it is what Rowan Williams wants and that he has established the credibility at this conference to get it. They don’t go as far as I am about to, but the implication of their thinking is that the Episcopal Church should prepare to distance itself in some way from the Anglican Communion, or accept some sort of reduced status so as not to a) implode; b) compromise one of the few things that makes us attractive to our rapidly secularizing culture; c) betray our consciences on the issue of full inclusion.

Be not afraid: others folks I have talked to say that we should be glad to have had a look at the Windsor Continuation Group’s work in process because it provides an opportunity to make our views known; that the fact that the recommendation for a pastoral forum won’t be voted on by this conference is a good thing; that the fact that the report will be presented to the Anglican Consultative Council for final action is also a good thing because the ACC is the most widely representative of the so-called instruments of union.

Our bishops will talk this over tomorrow at a provincial meeting. . .

Read it all. (But my favorite line is: "compromise one of the few things that makes us attractive to our rapidly secularizing culture" - what a gulf between us!)

Sarah Hey: Audio interview with Bishop Jack Iker

From Stand Firm, Sarah Hey interviews Bishop Iker:

I spoke with Bishop Iker after the hearing that covered the third report of the Windsor Continuation Group and he was gracious enough to give an audio interview.

He commented to me that there were a number of TEC bishops who spoke at the hearing who were quite distraught over the recommendations of the report. Bishop Andrus stood and said something like "I'm not going to lie to you, we have numerous same-sex blessings occurring in my diocese all the time, and have for years." Bishop Chane stood and commented that he had about 30 same-sex-partnered clergy in his diocese.

To hear the interview, go here.

Windsor Continuation Group: Captain Yips is not impressed

From Captain Yips Secret Journal:

. . . Waiting . . .

Update: It's out, and it doesn't sizzle, it fizzles. It goes further down the road of making border crossing the equivalent of the EO's LGBT obsessions, and it seems (at first reading) to intend to subject small church plants like mine, a community never part of the EO at all, to either some remote new commission, or eventually to the Diocese of Chicago. That won't fly barring a complete change of heart here. Granting the EO an inviolable and exclusive Anglican Franchise is a sure way to prevent reform. This won't work, and they know it won't work. More later, probably.

Read it all, and you can check out the Windsor Continuation Group report part 3 here.

AnglicanTV Livestream

Kevin is now in Lambeth and videos are forthcoming. Keep checking in at AnglicanTV.

Today's (Monday) schedule:

(All times England -- 5 hours ahead of Eastern Standard).
5:00pm Press Conference
7:30pm Plenary Session open to the press

Free live streaming by Ustream

"That authority lies with our General Convention": Now, who didn't see that coming?

Okay, Jim Naughton is not an "official" spokesman for ECUSA, but doesn't this sound just like what we will be hearing soon "officially"?

From The Lead at the Episcopal Cafe:

Live, breaking: a pastoral forum

. . . I've talked to several Episcopal Church leaders who favor the full inclusion of GLBT people in the Anglican Communion. None find the proposal acceptable. One said "the train is coming" and it means to run us over. Another said that the report is unlikely to bear fruit, and that the bishops must speak against it in the indaba groups.

It's worth pointing out, as always, that the bishops of the Episcopal Church do not have the authority to assent on the Church's behalf, to this proposal--not that that is likely. That authority lies with our General Convention. . .

Read it all.

Go, Kevin!

From Kevin at AnglicanTV:

Lambeth 9:45 Press Conference

About now I would be uploading the video footage from the morning press conference -- but sadly I am not allowed to video tape the press conferences.

"Oh -- excuse me Mister Kallsen these morning press conferences are off the record and we don't allow videotaping."

I replied: "Really, so of the forty press people in this room none are allowed to write, use their computers, or record the audio? -- I will go around the room with you and let each of them know"

No answer.

"Do you know what off the record is?"

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Lambeth prayer requests

From the Rev. Todd Wetzel at Canterbury:

To inform your prayers, here are four things we believe need serious prayer:

1) Spiritual warfare is real and it is intense. Please pray for spiritual protection over Canterbury, Kent University and especially over the orthodox bishops, that they might be bold and courageous in spite of mounting opposition.

2) The drain on one’s emotions is real. We are in an intense environment and it sucks the life out of you. Even when not much appears to be happening, you feel tired.

3) The intellect is on overload. This is a rich environment of thought and an environment beset by controversy. So far, no matter how hard the wheels spin, no solutions have been found. The sense of frustration at least at the leadership level, is very real. Patience is wearing thin.

4) Physically, at least for those from the west, we’ve all done more walking than ever required to do at home. While this is healthy, it does wear on the body. The cobblestone streets, though charming, make walking semi-perilous.

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Just because . . . I memorized most of this in college - I can't remember why now (I always liked the lines, "Do I dare to eat a peach?" and "In a minute there is time/For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.").

S’io credesse che mia risposta fosse
A persona che mai tornasse al mondo,
Questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse.
Ma perciocche giammai di questo fondo
Non torno vivo alcun, s’i’odo il vero,
Senza tema d’infamia ti rispondo.

LET us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherised upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question …
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.

And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair—
[They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”]
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin—
[They will say: “But how his arms and legs are thin!”]
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

For I have known them all already, known them all:—
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
So how should I presume?

And I have known the eyes already, known them all—
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?
And how should I presume?

And I have known the arms already, known them all—
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
[But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!]
It is perfume from a dress
That makes me so digress?
Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
And should I then presume?
And how should I begin?
. . . . .
Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows?…

I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.
. . . . .
And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!
Smoothed by long fingers,
Asleep … tired … or it malingers,
Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.
Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?
But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head [grown slightly bald] brought in upon a platter,
I am no prophet—and here’s no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.

And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it toward some overwhelming question,
To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”—
If one, settling a pillow by her head,
Should say: “That is not what I meant at all.
That is not it, at all.”

And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while,
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor—
And this, and so much more?—
It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:
Would it have been worth while
If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,
And turning toward the window, should say:
“That is not it at all,
That is not what I meant, at all.”
. . . . .
No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool.

I grow old … I grow old …
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

T.S. Eliot

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Uh oh . . . it ain't over til it's over

From the Anglican Journal:

. . . Bishop [Katharine] Jefferts Schori [of The Episcopal Church] said the conference has enabled her and other American bishops to deepen relationships and explain actions by the Episcopal Church on various issues. “Face to face conversation is the way to go. It’s the way Jesus worked; Jesus didn’t use the Internet. He met 12 people face to face, he taught, he lived and ate with them,” she said.

She said discussions around sexuality are still “at an early stage” in the conference. “We’ve not focused on those issues yet, either in Bible study or indaba groups; that’s scheduled for next week.”. . .

Read it all.

Grace abound

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

II Corinthians 9:8

Hie thee hence!

Stand Firm masthead
Well, I could just post entry after entry from Stand Firm, since they are covering everything and seem to be everywhere (are we sure just Matt and Sarah went?? Has anyone actually seen Jackie or Greg or David recently??), but since all of that posting is time consuming and redundant, I'll just say - go over there to check everything out.

They have the latest and the greatest and are posting even as we speak.

UK: Church of England church closures accelerate

From the Telegraph (U.K.):

More than 260 churches belonging to the Church of England have ceased to be used for regular worship in the past decade, according to new figures.

The figures, released by the Government in response to a Parliamentary question, show that 29 Anglican churches closed last year, the highest figure since 2004.

Earlier this year, this newspaper disclosed that churches of all denominations were closing at a rate of two a week.

The number of churches is forecast to fall from 48,500 now to 39,200 by 2030. Church leaders have warned that the crisis threatens to devastate parishes and deprive communities of important focal points.

Responding to these concerns, The Sunday Telegraph's Save Britain's Churches campaign is calling for measures to keep churches at the heart of community life, including funding for repairs and grants to help them adapt to community use. . .

Andrew Edwards, the chief executive of the National Churches Trust, said that churches should open themselves up to community use, but they should retain an element of public worship and "remain doing what they were built to do".

Read it all.
H/t to Virtue Online.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Episcopal Church talking points memo

From Cherie Wetzel at Anglicans United [boldface mine]:

. . . How is your indaba group? “Well, the funny thing is,” began one bishop, “The Americans here have this cheat sheet that they use in our group. It has statements on it that justify their decisions in the last two conventions that led to the consecration of Gene Robinson and same-sex marriage. It is a prioritized list of talking points and the one in our group reads off this thing every day.

It was as if someone dropped a bomb in the room. Was I surprised that my church would utilize a tactic of this nature to persuade the rest of the Communion? No, I was not. Was I surprised that one of those same bishops would bring the document and read from it in a forum such as the Indaba group? No, I was not. Was I surprised by the strong counter reaction of the other bishops in the room, who considered this to be almost treachery? Yes. . .

Given a few minutes on the Internet I found a story by Ruth Gledhill, intrepid reporter from the London Times, whose pieces I frequently use on the website. Her story is equally revealing. Titled, “Rival Strategies Revealed,” the story gave links to the document in .pdf format.

First thing this morning, I emailed the press folks from TEC and asked for confirmation that this document does exist and then requested a copy of the document. Neva Rae Fox, who is part of the Presiding Bishop’s office responded that the document does exist and that we can discuss it later in the press room. OK, no copy. . .

As a body, the Episcopal Church is not to be congratulated for coming here with a primary political agenda of convincing the rest of the Communion and utilizing the talking point concept that any political campaign issues on a daily basis, geared to that day’s audience. . .

I would stress to add that not all of our bishops are using this paper and not all are dim enough to bring it to their indaba group and read aloud from it. Some have actually come with the intention of cooperating with the Archbishop, listening to their fellow bishops and then begging God to speak clearly and concisely to each and every one here. . .

And here is the memo, posted also at The Times (you might be able to see it better there):
TEC Lambeth talking points page 1
TEC Lambeth talking points page 2
TEC Lambeth talking points page 3
Check it out.

Archbishop of Canterbury seeks Lambeth compliant partners from Global South *UPDATED and BUMPED*

Update: So maybe I'm not totally off base in my thoughts below - Matt Kennedy agrees with me (does that give me any street cred?):

. . . There have been two meetings of the Global South, Common Cause, and Communion Partner bishops. I am not breaking news. These meetings have been reported elsewhere. The hope has been to mend fences and begin formulating a common strategy that includes both and inside and an outside track.

The fact is that while orthodox bishops were quite divided coming into Lambeth, the most noticeable shift during Lambeth has been in the direction of reconciliation and unity within the orthodox ranks. Communion conservatives and federal conservatives both on the primatial and episcopal level seem to have realized that though their consciences may lead them in different directions, recrimination serves no one’s best interest. . .

Original post: From Virtue Online, some analysis [boldface mine]:
A rival Global South movement is being set up here in Canterbury in an attempt to divide and conquer the Global South movement by encouraging a Lambeth compliant "Communion Partners" movement in an effort to isolate mainstream evangelical and Anglo-Catholics who number 40 million of the 55 million church-going Anglicans throughout the world.

Between 150 and 200 bishops from 17 provinces of the Anglican Communion met last Tuesday at the Kent University campus, with a number of North Americans who included Common Cause Moderator Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh.

Among the speakers were bishops Michael Scott-Joynt (Winchester), Tom Wright (Durham) and Bob Duncan (Pittsburgh) moderation of Common Cause Partnerships. The Rt. Rev. Ian Ernest chair of CAPA spoke and Presiding Bishop Mouneer Anis addressed the gathering and spoke of the 2009 Global South Conference. They are to meet again, thought this is not certain, a source told VOL.

Senior members of the Global South Primates who were not there included Archbishops Peter Akinola, (Nigeria), Emmanuel Kolini (Rwanda), Benjamin Nzimbi (Kenya) and Henry Luke Orombi (Uganda), majority representatives of the Global South.

The design of this Lambeth Global South group of primates and bishops, which comes with the full support of Dr. Williams, is to blunt the Global South group of Primates that met in Jerusalem recently which includes Archbishops Peter Akinola, Peter Jensen, Gregory Venables, Emmanuel Kolini, Benjamin Nzimbi and Henry Luke Orombi and Valentine Mokiwa (Tanzania).

The list of 17 provinces includes Hong Kong, South Korea, North India, West Africa, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Southeast Asia, Myanmar (Burma) Papua New Guinea, Jerusalem/ Middle- East, South India, Burundi, the Southern Cone, West Indies, Central Africa and the Philippines.

Together they represent approximately 6 million Anglicans. Deeply involved in this group is said to be Archbishop John Chew of Singapore, Secretary of the Global South Group and Bishop Mouneer of Egypt who is treasurer whose chairman is Archbishop Peter Akinola. Ironically the Assistant Bishop of Singapore, the Rt. Rev. Rennis Ponniah is not present at Lambeth. . .

The formation of a new Lambeth Global South movement in Canterbury would be designed to reinforce Williams' leadership of the Anglican Communion and thus would give support to his policy of non-action in the face of the actions of the U.S. Episcopal Church. Archbishop Williams' underlying strategy is to produce an inclusive church that will sideline evangelicals of the Global South who reject the theological and moral relativism that has emerged in Global Anglicanism.

Chris Smith, the Archbishop of Canterbury's aide de camp is reported to have met with Archbishop John Chew of Southeast Asia and Presiding Bishop Mouneer Anis of Jerusalem and the Middle East -- leaders of center right Communion Partners group, and Presiding Bishop Gregory Venables of the Southern Cone - a member of the more traditionalist GAFCON primates' council. The Bishop of Durham and other English bishops also met with the primates to formalize a way forward for conservatives amidst the chaos of the Anglican Communion the unfolding train wreck of the Lambeth Conference.

The two conservative factions currently disagree on the best way of responding to the crisis of doctrine and discipline within the Anglican Communion. The GAFCON wing led by seven primates and comprising over 60 percent of the Communion's members, are seeking to reform the Anglican Communion and affirm that Anglican doctrine rather than recognition by the Archbishop of Canterbury is the basis of Anglican identity.

The difference between the "Communion Partner" primates and the GAFCOIN primates can best be summed up in the words of Chew when he spoke to the Church Times, "Whether you like it or not, Canterbury has got to take the lead, and we pray for him and wish him well. Archbishop Chew said that he expressed strong support for the recent Sudan statement. . .

Read it all. I don't know if I agree with this analysis. I think both angles can be worked, one inside and one outside the "official" meetings, like Lambeth. While it's true, there are two "reasserter" camps, I think they have a lot more in common with each other than with the "reappraiser" faction. But individual personalities can always get in the way (and David Virtue has been doing this a lot longer than most of us, so. . . )

I do think that it has been most effective this Lambeth that there be a group that did not come, representing some of the fastest-growing areas, like Nigeria and Uganda, and a group that did show up, like the Southern Cone. Only by the absence of some has the gravity and depth of the situation been realized by Canterbury and others. And by having some there able to represent and articulate the concerns of those absent, all those at Lambeth have been able to hear that witness.

Weekly American Anglican Council message from Bishop Anderson

The weekly American Anglican Council message from Bishop David Anderson via email [boldface mine]:

Dearly Beloved in Christ,

At the AAC, we learned long ago that since the media can help or hurt you, treat them humanely, the way you would wish to be treated. When an event occurs, certainly those present take away their own impressions, but for the vast majority who will only read about it or see it on the TV, the media interprets the event. Why would anyone go out of their way to make life miserable for the media? Although GAFCON in Jerusalem wasn't perfect from a media standpoint, there was a sincere attempt to get the media what they needed: access inside during plenary sessions, interviews with bishops, press conferences, etc. In retrospect, could it have been done better? Absolutely, but there was a genuine attempt to do the right thing for the media.

Contrasted with that philosophy is the view that the media is your enemy and you must a) keep them out, b) choose between good and bad media for access, and c) have everyone so disciplined that their talking points are recited no matter what the question. One has to pity the media, seeing how they are being treated at Lambeth, but then again, it doesn't sound like the bishops themselves are being all that well taken care of, either. The secrecy thing is either hilarious or pathetic: is not everyone there under godly authority? Are some there in defiance of their House of Bishops or their Primate? Are they making a "prophetic statement" by being there anyway? Yet their "prophetic statement" must be kept secret.

Since we know that the Church of England still claims that they have a membership of 25 million souls, and attendance records indicate that in fact they only have 1.6 million, their accuracy with mathematics doesn't seem stellar. Their membership disparity is the spiritual or ecclesial equivalent to the sub-prime loan crisis affecting so many in the USA housing market. Book value of loans doesn't mean much when the money isn't there, and the book value in souls of the Church of England is like a sub-prime loan, overstated, overvalued and under-performing. As the banks have a steep write down on loans, an honest church would acknowledge a steep write down on membership. This of course applies to other parts of the Anglican Communion as well, for example, the American Episcopal Church.

While we are speaking of banks missing money and churches missing people, it is interesting to note that the Lambeth Conference organizers are missing some of both. With a track record of overstating membership, the CofE Lambeth organizers appear to also be overstating the attendance at the Lambeth Conference. Various onsite estimates question the 670 number given by officials, and suggestions of 550 up to 600 are being mentioned by some media sources.

Missing bishops isn't the only thing bothering the Lambeth Conference and Dr. Rowan Williams - there is the lack of money in pounds sterling. In planning a event as large as this, care has to be taken or the event can get away from you and put you in serious debt. Whoever was in charge of this department was apparently busy elsewhere, for Lambeth is between 1 million and 2 million pounds (approximately 2-4 million USD) short. Now, as soon as the Conference closes up shop and everyone departs, the vendors will want to be paid. It is a bit awkward to be short, not just a quid or two, but 2 million. If the bailiff shows up at Lambeth Palace, will the guard open the gate? If he does, will there be a garage sale to raise the funds? If so, there are several pieces in the large waiting rooms that caught my eye, and I might like to bid on them.

Who has that kind of money to bail Dr. Williams out? Who has that much money who would wish to bail Dr. Williams out? TEC? They are still a bit testy over Bishop Gene Robinson's exclusion, and who could forget his exclusion, given his daily pandering to those outside the fence of steel, wanting everyone to see him and know how pained he is at being rejected. Robinson is quoted as saying he is infuriated at being kept out. No, I don't think that TEC is likely to drop a million dollars or more, and if they did, and if Rowan accepted it, he would truly look like a bought man. He won't want to do that; that might be worse than the bailiff coming by. Though, and this is worth thinking about, if TEC did give Lambeth Conference two to four million dollars, it would be that much less money Katharine Jefferts Schori could use to sue devout Christian Anglicans in the United States. So...Katharine, go for it - give him the money, pretend Lambeth is a MDG, and let Dr. Williams worry about his credibility.

Speaking of Bishop Robinson, one has to admire and salute the Sudanese bishops and primate who made such a clear, concise, loving and bold call to Robinson, TEC and the Communion. Their call to Robinson to resign and for all of the TECies to go home and repent was earth-shaking. Bravo!

Dr. Williams has himself called the Lambeth Conference's legitimacy into question, but blamed those who are staying away. One of the three English bishops refusing to come to Lambeth, Peter Broadbent, has invited Williams to put that point to him in person. If Lambeth is itself called into question does that not by inference affect its convener as well? One of the principal rights that the Archbishop of Canterbury has is as a convener of the Church and Communion, and both GAFCON and the large absence of bishops at Lambeth have seriously called into question whether Dr. Williams is still THE convener any longer. He didn't convene GAFCON and it was a huge success, and Lambeth, which he did convene, has come up short of both bishops and money, and seems to be breaking down into contention. Dr. Williams, taking yet another shot at GAFCON, has said, "I think people will have to make the judgment as to whether those provinces who are not here have a coherent alternative to what the Communion as gathered here is saying and wanting to do." Actually, I think people will certainly be making a judgment as to whether the life, vitality and can-do attitude of GAFCON doesn't look a whole lot more inviting and exciting than muddling on with more committees and commissions which meet and talk and write reports.

Ending this week's update on a very positive note, the Common Cause Partnership (CCP) leaders issued a statement today welcoming the Jerusalem Declaration and the statement on the Global Anglican Future, pledging to move forward with the work of Anglican unity in North America.

Drawing from the GAFCON statement where it says that it is now time for the federation currently known as the Common Cause Partnership to be recognized by the Primates Council, the CCP gave notice that they will respond to this invitation. "The intention of the Executive Committee is to petition the Primates' Council for recognition of the CCP as the North American Province of GAFCON on the basis of the Common Cause Partnership Articles, Theological Statement, and Covenant Declaration, and to ask that the CCP Moderator be seated in the Primates' Council."

I can only wonder what this next week will bring. To God be the Glory.

Blessings and Peace in Jesus Christ,

The Rt. Rev. David C. Anderson, Sr.
President and CEO, American Anglican Council

This is the way the world ends. . . (Paralysed force, gesture without motion)

With apologies to Mr. Eliot:

Not with a bang, but with conversation

Lambeth: Is Inquisition on the cards?

From George Conger:

Canterbury: A “bombshell” report is expected to be delivered to bishops attending the 14th Lambeth Conference on July 28 that is expected to call for the Episcopal Church to abandon its push for gay bishops and blessings.

The request is expected to come in the third presentation of the Windsor Continuation Group (WCG) to the bishops at Lambeth and follows a call for the creation of an Anglican Holy Office to police the boundaries of the faith.

Backed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Anglican “Faith and Order Commission” will be a fifth instrument of unity for the Anglican Communion.

Plans for were disclosed on July 23 during the second of three briefings on the work of the Windsor Continuation Group (WCG) chaired by the former Presiding Bishop of Jerusalem and the Middle East, Bishop Clive Handford.

In its briefing paper to the bishops, the WCG commended the creation of an “Anglican Communion Faith and Order Commission that could give guidance on the ecclesiological issues raised by our current ‘crisis’.”

The Anglican Inquisition proposal came in the last sentence of the briefing paper delivered by Bishop Handford to the bishops. “One person said it would be a good thing and welcomed it,” Bishop Handford explained, but noted there was little substantive discussion of the proposal by the bishops.

Created by Dr. Rowan Williams to advise him on “matters arising from the Windsor Report,” the WCG has prepared three briefings for the bishops that asks “Where we are now”, “Where we should be?”, and “How do we get from here to there.”

The first two briefings addressed the “severity of the situation” within the Communion, focusing on the “inconsistency between the stated intent and the reality” of the steps taken by the Episcopal Church to conform to the primates’ request.”

“The implications of requests and responses are either not fully thought through or they are disregarded. The consequences of actions have not always been adequately addressed,” they said. . .

The state of the Episcopal Church was one of “turmoil” the briefing said, with parishes and dioceses seceding to join other provinces, and “litigation and interventions” becoming “locked into a vicious spiral.”

In discussion following the first presentation, 21 bishops spoke, of whom 17 were white Western bishops.
Bishop Keith Ackerman of Quincy (Illinois) spoke of the difficulties faced by traditionalists in the United States, while Bishop Peter Beckwith of Springfield (Illinois) enumerated the innovations of doctrine and discipline that have occurred in the Episcopal Church in recent years.

However, the majority of speakers at the closed-door session came from the Episcopal Church’s liberal wing, and argued the American church was being unfairly caricatured. Bishop James Mathes of San Diego complained of cross-border interventions into his diocese by overseas primates, while other bishops suggested the wider Communion did not understand the unique circumstances of the United States.

On July 25, the Bishop of Washington, the Rt Rev John B Chane dismissed comments made by the Primate of the West Indies, Archbishop Drexel Gomez that the American church was unravelling. Archbishop Gomez’s observations were “dishonest”, Bishop Chane told his American counterparts. . .

Read it all.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Update from AnglicanTV

From Kevin at AnglicanTV:

Because AnglicanTV is considered hostile press by TEC and the Church of England, I am not likely to be videotaping many press conferences or plenary meetings. The vast majority of my video taping will be in interview format.

I won't arrive in Canterbury until Friday, so I have some time to schedule interviews before I arrive. So far I have around a dozen interviews with different Bishops and Archbishops scheduled -- however I would love to open up my schedule to your ideas.

If there is someone you want me to interview while I am at Canterbury please post it in to comments below. If you have the contact information for the "victim", please forward that to anglicantv@gmail.com (don't put contact info in the comments post please).

Bishop Ackerman, Diocese of Quincy, says cancel The Episcopal Church General Convention 2009

From Hans Zeiger in Canterbury for Virtue Online:

A leading orthodox bishop of The Episcopal Church has proposed canceling the 2009 Episcopal Church General Convention in order to fund the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Following the Thursday march on London by over 600 Anglican bishops and their spouses in support of the MDGs, the Rt. Rev. Keith Ackerman, Bishop of Quincy, said that "there should be no General Convention this year, and all the money for the convention should be sent to fund the goals."

Ackerman furthermore called for The Episcopal Church to "cancel all meetings that require face to face and conduct nothing but video conferencing." He said that the American wing of the Anglican Communion should "donate its money to churches that would be positively affected."

Though leaders of The Episcopal Church have stated their commitment to the MDGs and made their biggest stand yet in London on Thursday, Ackerman has doubts that The Episcopal Church has yet made a true commitment.

"If the church is absolutely, totally committed to these goals, there are three things it needs to do," Ackerman said.

"First, place the goals in the context of the Gospel itself.

"Second, leaders must make the necessary changes in their own personal lifestyle so that they can make their own commitment to model what God wants done.

"Third, the church must corporately find a way to fund this."

In response to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori's invitation to African bishops to join her for drinks at a Canterbury reception (despite the Sudanese bishops' abstinence from alcohol), Ackerman offered a specific MDG funding proposal. "Do not invite the Sudanese to a reception. Cancel the reception and give the money to the Sudanese church."

Check it out. And here is an interview I did with Bishop Ackerman in March of last year for AnglicanTV. He is such a gentle soul, but so strong in the faith.

In another nutshell: Bishop Larry Benfield, Diocese of Arkansas

From Bishop Larry Benfield, Diocese of Arkansas [boldface mine]:

I was impressed with the quality of almost all the comments. People had put serious thought into what they said, and the comment of the day for me was one about how the Trinity itself (which is the heart of our theology, after all) is able to live simultaneously in conflict and love. The example given was that of the Son in the Garden of Gethsemane and his prayer to the Father. Surely the Anglican Communion can learn to live with this same sort of loving disagreement, the speaker reminded us.

Did I miss something here? There was and is no disagreement, no conflict among the Persons of the Trinity. Jesus was always in the Father's Will. He did not argue or refuse. He asked (as we should when we pray) "if it be possible" that the cup should pass from Him "nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt." And when it did not, He obeyed.

And I haven't even been to seminary!

For those who may have forgotten their Bible verses, Matthew 26:36-45 is one place to start:
Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.

And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.

And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.

And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy. And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.

Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.

In a nutshell. . .

We were able to clarify that neither he nor anyone else gets disciplined in our church for beliefs. . .

Bishop Leo Frade, Diocese of Southeast Florida

Wow, just wow.

H/t to Stand Firm.

Shoe Thursday: Indaba edition

God is Good. All the Time.

Just when I realized I had no idea for any shoe posting (and I haven't done one in a while), just when I was bored with summer shoes (after a while, most sandals start looking alike), just when I had finished searching for English shoes to do something on Lambeth (but could find nothing particularly different or interesting), The Manolo comes through for me once again:

Dear Manolo,

I’ve noticed that this summer there’s a real trend for ethnic themed shoes, mostly African motifs, but some also some Native American and Latin elements. Can you recommend something that’s in keeping with this trend but will still look good when it’s over?


Manolo says, the Manolo loves the current incarnation of the periodic mania for the ethnic themed clothing. This time around, the trend has been expressed in luxurious and mostly subtle ways, with beautiful shoes that feature snakeskin and feathers in African patterns, and sandals with native American leather fringes.

Of course, as always, one must be careful when adopting ethnic motifs for use in personal styling. The danger is that you may go too far and become the caricature.

Indeed, one minute you are admiring the leathery fringes on the high street shoe, and the next you are dressing head-to-toe in buckskin and trade beads, and calling yourself Kicking Horse Woman.

However, for the hot semi-ethnic sandals, the Manolo has been especially impressed this year by the Sigerson Morrison, who have produced the stunning series of shoes, flats and heels, with the woven black-and-white pattern.

Here is the wedge heel version which will satisfy your demands for tendy ethnicity and yet survive the season’s inevitable demise.

Sigerson Morrison 7953

I think we should all pitch in and get Sarah Hey, BabyBlue, and Ruth Gledhill each a pair (I'm not sure about Riazat Butt since I've just started reading her, but . . . maybe). They're just $549US - which should make them about ₤2 (so maybe Ruth and Riazat can buy their own).

What do you think? Huuuummmm. . .?

Archbishop Drexel Gomez on ECUSA

From Jim Naughton at The Lead at the Episcopal Cafe:

Some of the blogging bishops whom the CafĂ© is following have written about yesterday’s hearings on the “impressions” handed out by the Windsor Continuation Group. A few things I haven’t heard said:. . .
Bishop John Chane questioned whether the Primates had claimed too much power in the current controversy. He was followed to the microphone by Archbishop Drexel Gomez of the West Indies, the primate who chairs the Covenant Design group. Gomez blamed the continuing crisis on the Episcopal Church for not assenting to the creation of a church within a church, led by the so-called Windsor bishops. This recommendation, which called upon the Episcopal Church to surrender some of its authority to a panel of foreign primates was made by the Primates. However, according to Gomez, a Primate, it was not an indication that the Primates, whose authority extends only to the borders of their own provinces, were exercising undue influence.

Read it all.

Archbishop Peter Akinola must serve full term

From George Conger:

The Nigerian House of Bishops has declined to accept Archbishop Peter Akinola’ request to retire in January when he turns 65, asking that he complete his full ten year term through the end of 2010.

Elected Primate of the largest province of the Anglican Communion in 2000 following the retirement of Archbishop Abiodun Adetiloye, Archbishop Akinola has emerged as a figure of consequence and controversy within the Anglican Communion.

Pilloried by the left in the US and UK, Archbishop Akinola has been demonized for his stance on the morality of homosexual conduct and his call for the reform of the Anglican Communion. Speaking in heavily accented African-English, Archbishop Akinola is a times misunderstood by the Western media. . .

In a statement released on July 14 by the Church of Nigerian News, the Provincial Dean, Archbishop Maxwell Anikwenwa said the bishops had vetoed the retirement request as a consequence of the the decisions taken at the Gafcon meeting to establish a primates council to oversee the renewal of the Anglican Communion. . .

While he may serve only a single ten year term as primate, Archbishop Akinola may continue in office as Bishop of Abuja until he turns 70 years of age in 2014, when he must retire under Nigerian canon law.

Read it all.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A journey. . .

Joy, which was the small publicity of the pagan, is the gigantic secret of the Christian. And as I close this chaotic volume I open again the strange small book from which all Christianity came; and I am again haunted by a kind of confirmation. The tremendous figure which fills the Gospels towers in this respect, as in every other, above all the thinkers who ever thought themselves tall. His pathos was natural, almost casual. The Stoics, ancient and modern, were proud of concealing their tears. He never concealed His tears; He showed them plainly on His open face at any daily sight, such as the far sight of His native city. Yet He concealed something. Solemn supermen and imperial diplomatists are proud of restraining their anger. He never restrained His anger. He flung furniture down the front steps of the Temple, and asked men how they expected to escape the damnation of Hell. Yet He restrained something. I say it with reverence; there was in that shattering personality a thread that must be called shyness. There was something that He hid from all men when He went up a mountain to pray. There was something that He covered constantly by abrupt silence or impetuous isolation. There was some one thing that was too great for God to show us when He walked upon our earth; and I have sometimes fancied that it was His mirth.

G. K. Chesterton
Orthodoxy, Chapter IX

The Rev. Terry L. Martin named Program Officer for Evangelism

From EpiscopalLife Online:

The Rev. Terry L. Martin has been appointed Program Officer for Evangelism at the Episcopal Church Center, beginning August 13.

Martin was previously vicar of Holy Spirit Church, Tuckerton, New Jersey. He has also served congregations in Wisconsin, California, and South Carolina.

He is best known as “Father Jake,” the pen name he used on his popular blog, “Father Jake Stops the World.” After five years of writing daily about church life, Martin decided it was time to close down that site and shift his focus. He has started a new blog, “Father T Listens to the World: Seeking God Around the Globe.”

“The new site is quite different,” said Martin. “This is not a site for debate about church politics; rather, we will listen to faith stories from around the world.“

Martin believes that to be effective evangelists, Episcopalians have to practice the art of listening. “We look for the ways that God is already moving in people’s lives. We begin by listening; listening to the stories of others, sharing our own stories, and watching for the places that God’s story intersects them both.”. . .

Read it all.

Retraction on Bishop Cyril Okorocha, Owerii, Nigeria

From Cherie Wetzel at Anglicans United:

The Rev. Dr. Chris Sugden of Anglican-Mainstream has confirmed for our group through contact with Canon Jeremy Cresswell, that Bishop Cyril Okorocha, diocese of Owerii, Nigeria, has not been in Surrey and did not confirm that he was coming to the Lambeth Conference.

Also false are the rumors that his wife was threatened at home in Nigeria and he returned home to protect her.

Anglicans United regrets the report of this rumor and hopes that Bisop Okorocha will not be damaged by my incorrect statement.

The Lambeth Conference office continues to insist that they have received a fax from a Nigerian bishop who is in Surrey and intends to attend this conference. They have failed to provide any proof to substantiate this claim and said bishop has not come to Canterbury as of today.

It appears to me to be an intentional statement by the Communion office to insist that every Province is represented here after all. To clarify, there are no bishops here from Uganda or Nigeria.

Check it out. And check here for a history of this confusing story.

Lambeth voices: Bishop Peter Beckwith of Springfield, Illinois

The Times (U.K.) has "asked a selection of Anglican bishops attending the Lambeth Conference, a once-a-decade gathering of the Anglican episcopate, to share their views on the meeting as it progresses." One of those bishops today is Bishop Peter Beckwith of Springfield [boldface mine]:

In my Bible study group I apologised for the behaviour of our province that has brought us to the brink of schism. Two hundred and seventy bishops are not here because they refuse to sit down with people who refuse to repent. Gene Robinson is a nice guy, but his lifestyle is not appropriate for a leader of the Church. Sure he’s a bishop, we ordained him. But that says something about our integrity. On the second day of our retreat, I had the feeling we were on the edge of a 10-storey building and the Archbishop of Canterbury was trying to talk us down without a safety net. He’s a wonderful guy, with a lot of integrity but he assumes everyone else has integrity too. The Episcopal Church is not representing the scriptural authority of Christ. In the Episcopal Church, the biggest lie of all is that sexual morality doesn’t matter, or that it’s changing, that God is doing a new thing. Yet prophetic voices in our history have always taken us back to basics. It will be very interesting to see how things develop here. Will enough be done to preserve the integrity of the Communion? We won’t hold together if we continue like this. It will end with a lot of fragments if this conference isn’t able to give a strong confident way forward. In the meeting with the Southern Cone, they were concerned to send a strong signal from this gathering that the Anglican Communion is going to stand for Orthodoxy. It was said in that meeting that the Western Church says things that are not Anglican and not Christian. But, as the Archbishop of Sudan has said, we can’t predict the future. We have to wait and see. The proof will be in the pudding. The time for procrastination and equivocation is over.

Read it all.

Prayer needed for Jennifer Leber's hospitalization (Uganda)

Jennifer Leber in Uganda
Well, all I can say is God works in mysterious ways. Just yesterday, I posted this on the mission work of Phil and Jennifer Leber (whom I had never heard of before I saw their website and learned of their work in Uganda), only today to have this arrive in my email:

Prayer Needed for Jennifer Leber's Hospitalization

Just got this today.

Jennifer is one of our missionaries and has been the "right hand" person for Mama Phoebe while she is in the states. Please hold Jennifer before our Lord for complete healing.

Phil and Jennifer Leber <leber@ugandamission.org> wrote:
Prayer for Jennifer

July, 2008

Jennifer was admitted to Nairobi Hospital early last week with a serious pulmonary infection. The initial x-ray was so clouded with infection that it hid the specific culprit for some days. With a follow-up x-ray, the doctor realized she has pneumonia in the lower left lobe and will in the hospital probably until Tuesday. She has been on intravenous antibiotics, steroids and oxygen, and only now does the combination seem to be working. She was receiving 80mg intravenous steroids and several intravenous antibiotics, as well as supplemental oxygen. Her white blood cell count was 23,000 when admitted (7,000 is normal).

Today, she is doing better. Her white blood cell count is down to 11,000 and her blood oxygen content is up to 90% from a low of 79% late last week. Please pray for her full recovery and for God to give the doctor wisdom in her treatment. Needless to say this has been a week of grief and emotional exhaustion.

So, please, prayers for Jennifer, Phil, her doctors, and those she has touched with her work in Uganda.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Lambeth Diary: Church suffering 'spiritual Alzheimers' says Rome

Well, this should go over well. From Ruth Gledhill:

Cardinal Ivan Dias, Prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for Evangelisation, has just addressed the Lambeth Conference bishops. This cardinal is understood to be one of those favouring a positive reception for disaffected Anglicans. This is what he told the 650 bishops: 'Much is spoken today of diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. By analogy, their symptoms can, at times, be found even in our own Christian communities. For example, when we live myopically in the fleeting present, oblivious of our past heritage and apostolic traditions, we could well be suffering from spiritual Alzheimer's. And when we behave in a disorderly manner, going whimsically our own way without any co-ordination with the head or the other members of our community, it could be ecclesial Parkinson's.'. . .

Read it all.

"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works"

Just in case we get too caught up in what's happening on the Anglican political front in Lambeth, a reminder from Phil and Jennifer Leber posting on Clear River Missions on where we should be putting our energy [boldface mine]:

This month [May 2008] we celebrate our 10th anniversary serving in Uganda. It has been one of the most challenging, rewarding and life-changing decades of our lives. We know with certainty that God has called us to be faithful in serving the people of Uganda. Even though we have sometimes felt we are not "spiritual enough" to be missionaries, and have battled feelings of discouragement, we have also learned the importance of being faithful to do the work God has called us to do. We have seen His miracles of provision, His healing touch and His power to transform hearts. We pray that the seeds we plant will reap a harvest that will remain long after we leave Uganda.

We thank God for you and remember you often in our prayers. We greatly appreciate the love and support that our Uganda Mission family has shown us. In answer to your many prayers, closed doors have been opened, finances have been provided, and lives have been changed. We understand more than ever the need for an army of intercessors to be behind us. You will touch Uganda with the hidden work of prayer even though you may never meet the people for whom you are praying. . .

Lango Diocese

Thanks to the generosity of a grant by the Church of Apostles, our home church in Virginia, 46 clergy in Northern Uganda received new bicycles. This is the area that has suffered from the 20-year war inflicted by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) where thousands of children were abducted to be child soldiers and sex slaves. The clergy told stories of the difficulty to spread the Gospel because of the many hours they had to walk to visit their parishes. Each pastor is responsible for as many as twenty parishes spread over many of miles of difficult travel. Most pastors would get to meetings late or not at all because of the great distances they had to walk to get there. Many said it was hard for them to fellowship with the community effectively because of the distances they must walk.

With their new bicycles, these pastors can now reach the surrounding villages to share the love of Christ and encourage people to come to church. One pastor said that he was planning to buy a bicycle this year and had saved to make the purchase, but God did a miracle with the gift of the bicycle. Now the money could be used to take care of his family. Another said that he would be able to transport his family to the clinic and school more efficiently than before. A pastor who serves several IDP camps with twenty thousand or more people said that he was not able to visit them often because of the great distance between them, but now he can go to see the people regularly to encourage them to go to church. His new bicycle makes it possible for him to reach out to these people who are thirsty for God's Word. It is such a blessing to put a smile on the faces of so many. . .

Read it all, and check out the Leber's own web page, Mission to Uganda.

Sarah and Matt's excellent adventure, day 1

They made it! Sarah Hey and Matt Kennedy are at Lambeth, duly credentialed and read to go (once they recover from jet lag).

Matt writes:

. . . I reintroduced myself to a orthodox bishop from the Episcopal Church I met in Jerusalem. I asked how things were going. He shook his head and said that the Americans were being "obnoxious" and unbearable, trying to run the show. I asked whether there'd been any resistance. "Oh yes" he said, "people are not taking it lying down". There is a lot going on "behind the scenes" he said. I don't know whether he meant that there is resistance from within the group of American bishops or resistance from without. Looking back on it, I think he mean eternal resistance because he went on to speak admiringly of the Sudanese statement released yesterday. . .

Read it all.

Archbishop of Sudan press briefing

The Most Rev. Daniel Deng Bul, Archbishop of Juba and Primate of the Sudan
From Cherie Wetzel for Anglican Mainstream:

We have just had a briefing with the Archbishop of the Sudan, the Most Reverend Dr. Daniel Deng Bul. He informed the press room this morning that he would come and speak with us, since the Anglican Communion News Bureau running this conference, would not schedule a time for him to address the press.

The archbishop is young – I would guess that he is in his 40’s. He is very articulate and has an earned Ph.D. By his own admission, he has been an Anglican since he was a very small child.

His words are responses to questions asked. I think the questions are self-evident.

“Gene Robinson should resign for the sake of the Church and the entire Anglican Communion. We are pleading with them (the others at this conference) for the Anglican World, to not throw that away.

“We do not want to throw any people away, either. But we are here to determine how to remain united. That begins with forgiving one another for errors made. Gene Robinson is an error. The American church has not admitted they are wrong and we cannot forgive them until they do.

“I do not see a way out of these problems with the Indaba groups. The main issues have not been touched.

“300 bishops are not here because of Gene Robinson. Can he not resign to allow them to come? Why has he not done that?

“He is a human being and we are not throwing him away but the norms of the Anglican Communion have been violated. The question is not if Gene Robinson comes but what are we being challenged to do by GAFCON?”

“Let the Anglican world be united and be a normal, respected Christian body.”

“We have not punished the American church yet. We are asking them to repent. I am talking about the institutional church in America, no specific bishops. I am here to speak within the House. I cannot be silent on this issue; I must speak to the House for the reality I know with my people. I should not hesitate to be here since I have been an Anglican since I was a child.

When asked what would happen to the Communion if Robinson did not resign, the archbishop continued, “I cannot predict what will happen if he will not resign.”. . .

“This issue of homosexuality in the Anglican Communion has a very serious effect in my country. We are called ‘infidels’ by the Moslems. That means that they will do whatever they can against us to keep us from damaging the people of our country. They challenge our people to convert to Islam and leave the infidel Anglican Church. When our people refuse, sometimes they are killed. These people are very evil and mutilate and harm our people. I am begging the Communion on this issue so no more of my people will be killed.

“My people have been suffering for 21 years of war. Their only hope is in the Church. It is the center of life of my people. No matter what problem we have, no material goods, no health supplies or medicine; no jobs or income; no availability of food. The inflation rate makes our money almost worthless and we have done this for 21 years. The Church is the center of our life together.

“The culture does not change the Bible; the Bible changes the culture. Cultures that do not approve of the Bible are left out of the Church’s life; people who do not believe in the Bible are left out of our churches. The American church is saying that God made a mistake. He made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Adam.

“We will not talk to Gene Robinson or listen to him or his testimony. He has to confess, receive forgiveness and leave. Then we will talk. You cannot bring the listening to gay people to our Communion. People who do not believe in the Bible are left out of our churches, not invited in to tell us why they don’t believe. . .

Read it all.

Bishop Okorocha of Nigeria Redux

From Cherie Wetzel at Anglicans United [boldface mine]:

. . . We learned at Press Briefing this morning that the conference would not confirm the attendance of any person. They won’t even confirm the numbers of bishops here or the spouses. I have tried to find my bishop, the Rt. Rev. James Stanton, and they will not tell me where he is staying. Today I requested a media interview with him to try and find him. Lets just say that the press is not impressed with the attitude and level of candidness given by the Anglican Communion press office.

This was an issue because the one Nigerian bishop who was in attendance at Lambeth – yes, he defied Abp. Peter’s order and came – left yesterday after his wife received death threats at home. The Rt. Rev. Cyril Okorocha of Owerri was staying in Surrey with Canon Jeremy Cresswell. He came specifically, “To plead with the Communion to protest the liberalization of the western Church, particularly the provinces in America and Canada”, according to a press release by Victoria Combe, The Tablet, this morning.

The release of the Sudanese statement yesterday in opposition to the promotion of homosexuality and refusal to abide by the Bible has caused a ripple in this pressroom. The Archbishop of the Sudan is meeting with press this afternoon in a “non-scheduled” meeting. I will be there! All of this and it is only noon. Things are definitely picking up here.

Read it all. The situation with Bishop Okorocha of Nigeria is very confusing. Ruth Gledhill had him registered but never arriving, David Virtue had him never registered, and now Cherie Wetzel has him registered and arrived, but now left. So which is it?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Lambeth: Sudanese Episcopal Church rejects homosexual practice

From Virtue Online:

The Archbishop and Primate of the Province of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan has issued a statement at the Lambeth Conference condemning homosexual practice as contrary to biblical teaching and saying the consecration of an openly homosexual American bishop has caused divisions within the Anglican Communion and harmed the Church's witness in Africa.

The Most Rev. Dr. Daniel Deng Bul made the statement available through intermediaries to VirtueOnline. In a clear and concise statement said that human sexuality is God's gift to human beings and can only be expressed within a life-long commitment of marriage between one man and one woman.

"We require all those in the ministry of the Church to live according to this standard and cannot accept church leaders whose practice is contrary to this," said the Archbishop.

"We reject homosexual practice as contrary to biblical teaching and can accept no place for it within ECS. We strongly oppose developments within the Anglican Church in USA and Canada in consecrating a practicing homosexual as bishop and in approving a rite for the blessing of same-sex relationships. This has not only caused deep divisions within the Anglican Communion but it has seriously harmed the Church's witness in Africa and elsewhere, opening the church to ridicule and damaging its credibility in a multi-religious environment."

The Archbishop said the unity of the Anglican Communion is of profound importance as an expression of our unity within the Body of Christ. "It is not something we can treat lightly or allow to be fractured easily. Our unity expresses the essential truth of the Gospel that in Christ we are united across different tribes, cultures and nationalities.

"We have come to attend the Lambeth Conference, despite the decision of others to stay away, to appeal to the whole Anglican Communion to uphold our unity and to take the necessary steps to safeguard the precious unity of the Church.

"Out of love for our brothers and sisters in Christ, we appeal to the Anglican Church in the USA and Canada to demonstrate real commitment to the requests arising from the Windsor process. In particular: To refrain from ordaining practicing homosexuals to bishops or priests; To refrain from approving rites of blessing for same-sex relationships; To cease court actions with immediate effect; To comply with Resolution 1:10 of the 1998 Lambeth conference; To respect the authority of the Bible.". . .

Read it all.
And as David had written yesterday, this was expected by him (if not appreciated by ECUSA):
The Episcopal Church is doing its best to shore up as much support as it can from Africa. To that end it has been squiring around (and paying for) the Sudanese delegation in the hope of obtaining a bigger and better foothold in that country and on the African continent. Word has it that when they were sent to Wales, before the opening of Lambeth, the bishops were put up in the private homes of homosexuals. A number went with Mrs. Jefferets Schori to Salisbury.

BUT their strategy has apparently failed. VOL has learned that tomorrow (Monday) the Sudanese will issue a statement at Lambeth publicly condemning homosexuality as incompatible with Scripture and communion breaking. Score one for the Global South. The liberals should be careful how they go here at Lambeth. The one sleeper group that no one has talked about is the CAPA (African) bishops. Even though Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda are not represented here, there is a sizeable contingent of orthodox Africans. If they feel manipulated or pushed, then watch out, they might just have a word or two to say to Rowan and the much bally-hoed Indaba enterprise might just fall apart.

American bishops meet, ‘infuriated’ Robinson excluded

From the Living Church:

Despite a personal plea from Bishop Gene Robinson, the bishops of The Episcopal Church adhered to the rules of the Lambeth Conference, which have prohibited the Bishop of New Hampshire from formal participation in the decennial event at Canterbury.

Bishop Robinson said the news was “infuriating,” and that he learned on Saturday he would not be allowed to participate during time set aside Monday afternoon for meetings of bishops from the provinces.

“Well, I guess it makes sense that he wouldn’t be allowed to participate since he isn’t invited to the conference,” said the Rt. Rev. Gordon Scruton, Bishop of Western Massachusetts, during an Episcopal News Service media briefing Sunday evening.

Bishop Robinson wrote about his exclusion on an internet journal he is maintaining during the conference.

“If nothing can be done to change this decision, it will be a particularly painful blow,” he wrote on Saturday. “At our House of Bishops meeting in March, I pleaded with the House not to let Lambeth separate us. For me to be excluded from my own House of Bishops seems especially cruel and unnecessary.”

There was substantive discussion of Bishop Robinson’s exclusion from the provincial meeting when the American bishops gathered, with some pushing for a public statement or resolution to be issued. But a more cautious approach prevailed, according to several who were present. Bishop Neil Alexander of Atlanta addressed the issue during the ENS media briefing Monday night.

“This was not a meeting of the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church,” he said. “It was intended as an informal time together.” He added that his understanding was that the purpose of the provincial meetings was to provide a chance to reflect on the events of the conference to date.

During a media briefing Monday afternoon, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams was asked why Bishop Robinson did not receive an invitation when his consecrators did.

“The problem that we face within the Anglican Communion is that bishops gathering for the Lambeth Conference represent not only their diocese, but their participation in the fellowship of worldwide Anglican Christians,” Archbishop Williams said. “Where there are bishops whose participation in that worldwide fellowship is for one reason or another questionable, that’s the reason for questioning their participation here.

“I think the difficulty that I faced and some others faced was of those who consecrated Gene Robinson, some or a number later expressed a wish that they hadn’t,” Archbishop Williams said. “Some are retired and of course a great many American bishops have come into office since then. The American House of Bishops corporately asked for forgiveness for offense caused last year. Now you’ll remember that I circulated to all the provinces last year with a request as to whether people thought this was a satisfactory response to the concerns expressed, and you’ll be aware that the Joint Standing Committee and 50-percent-plus or more of the provinces said, ‘Well, that’s probably all right.’ Now that was my basis for saying I don’t think I want to go down the list of consecrators and say yes, no or possibly and the House of Bishops said something corporately which not everyone thought was adequate, but many did.”. . .

Read it all.

Tom Hanks and Opie Banned From Vatican

From the New York Daily News:

Still smarting over "The Da Vinci Code," the Vatican has banned filming of the controversial follow-up flick "Angels & Demons" in Rome churches.

The Catholic church barred Tom Hanks and producer-director Ron Howard from shooting scenes in two historic cathedrals after branding author Dan Brown's works anti-Catholic blasphemy.

"Normally we read the script, but this time it was not necessary," said Msgr. Marco Fibbi, spokesman for the diocese of Rome. "The name 'Dan Brown' was enough."

The crew wanted to film in the churches of Santa Maria del Popolo and Santa Maria della Vittoria, two architectural jewels in the heart of Rome crammed with Renaissance art and sculpture.

Archbishop Velasio De Paolis called it a no-brainer to ban the film, accusing Brown of turning "the Gospels upside down."

"It would be unacceptable to transform churches into film sets so that his blasphemous novels can be made into mendacious films," the archbishop told The Times of London. . .

Read it all.
H/t to The Lair of the Catholic Cavemen.

Bishop Okorocha of Nigeria: Registered for Lambeth or not?

From Virtue Online:

. . . In-house media are trying to put as much spin as they can on who is and is not here. If there is even one representative from an African province, they herald it as a victory. One Kenyan and suddenly the whole of Kenya is here. "Nigerian bishop flees!" screamed a headline in the "London Times". It was reported that the only Nigerian bishop to register for Lambeth, Cyril Okorocha, Bishop of Owerri, has fled Britain and gone back home for fear of 'reprisals', acording to a "Times" source. Not true. He never registered at all. He never even made it to Canterbury. He attended his son's graduation in Manchester, the ostensible reason for his being in the country in the first place. He also attended a few local events in the parish of Oxshott in Surrey, which was hosting him. The Archbishop of Nigeria has made it abundantly clear that Lambeth is off limits and that anyone attending from Nigeria would be subject to discipline. Okorocha has no love of Lambeth or the Anglican Communion Office. He is an evangelical who had the pain of working for John Peterson in the ACC and was in charge of evangelism when Peterson was running the Anglican Communion office. Peterson fired him so he went back to Nigeria where they made him a bishop. . .

And from Ruth Gledhill:
The only Nigerian bishop to register for Lambeth, Cyril Okorocha, Bishop of Owerri, has fled Britain and gone back home for fear of 'reprisals', a source has told The Times. It appears he never even made it to Canterbury. He attended his son's graduation in Manchester, the ostensible reason for his being in the country in the first place, and a few local events in the parish of Oxshott in Surrey which was hosting him. A source tells me that his departure was prompted by an "element" of concern for his wife back home, and of what the Archbishop of Nigeria Peter Akinola's response might be to his being here. Bishop Okorocha is a nice man, an evangelical with a good heart who used to be on the staff of George Carey at Lambeth and who believes in the unity of the Church. It was brave of him to come over and sadly, probably necessary for him to return. . .

So which is it? Was Bishop Okorocha registered for Lambeth or not? The only reason to want a straight answer is to see who is vetting their sources for info and who is just taking the latest rumor de jour and passing it on.

Britain's pathway to euthanasia - NHS protocols for dehydrating disabled patients to death

From LifeSiteNews.com [boldface mine]:

A British "end of life" care protocol approved for use by the National Health Service (NHS), has created a systematic, and legal, method of euthanising elderly and disabled patients, even while "mercy killing" remains officially illegal, says a prominent expert in elder care. The "Liverpool Care Pathway" will be used to eliminate patients deemed to be "blocking beds" in the increasingly financially strapped public health system.

For years, Dr. Adrian Treloar, a psycho-geriatrician and senior lecturer at the Greenwich Hospital and Guys', King's and St. Thomas's Hospitals in London, has been sounding the warning that the NHS has an unofficial system in place to authorise the killing of vulnerable disabled patients with an unwritten policy of "involuntary euthanasia" by deep sedation and dehydration.

On April 26, 2008, Dr. Treloar wrote a letter to the British Medical Journal, saying that the protocol known as the "Liverpool Care Pathway" for dying patients, is a blueprint for systematic euthanasia of disabled patients. The Liverpool Care Pathway, which allows for "continuous deep sedation" for patients judged to be incurable, was developed between the Royal Liverpool hospital and Marie Curie cancer hospices in order to standardise the medical approach to dying that could then be used as a template nationally. Combined with withdrawal of fluids, deep sedation leads quickly to death.

In 1999, the NHS dismissed Dr. Treloar's warnings as "ludicrous." But media coverage of families resorting to lawyers to stop the killing of their relatives has made it increasingly difficult for health officials to deny that there is an accepted euthanasia procedure in place. Dr. Treloar maintains that the motivation for killing patients judged to be incurable is not the relief of extreme suffering but the enormous pressure on the socialised health care system to make hospital beds available and the "triaging" of costly tax-sponsored medical care.

Since that time, the government passed legislation in 2005 - the Mental Capacity Act - that, following existing guidelines from the British Medical Association, allows doctors to withhold all "treatment," including food and water, from patients who are judged to be incapable of making decisions for themselves. Under this law, doctors, and not the family and not the patient, have the last say in whether a patient is judged mentally capable. Once this judgement has been made, withdrawal of fluids can be ordered on the grounds that it is in the patient's "best interests" to die. If families try to intervene to save their loved ones lives, social services and police can be, and have been, called to intervene. . .

Read it all. And thank God for people like Dr. Adrian Treloar.
H/t to Stand Firm.