Saturday, September 27, 2008

Weekly message from the American Anglican Council, 9/26

Via email from Bishop David Anderson of the American Anglican Council [boldface mine]:

Dearly Beloved,

There are a number of issues to look at this week. In the United States, the financial crisis continues to deepen, with concerns about jobs, homes, and savings being an increasing topic of conversation among ordinary folks. People are not of one mind as to what the solution is, but with the people feeling uncertain, churches and charitable organizations may feel the impact of this insecurity. Another area that individuals, churches and organizations are looking at is the security and strength of their personal bank accounts, and whether the US Government provides insurance for those accounts. Some people and organizations may be thinking they have more insurance for their bank accounts than they really do. Sitting down and talking with your banker about your situation might be a good thing to do fairly soon.

I would urge churches especially to look at their financial assets, talk to their banker, and see if they need to spread their accounts over two or more banks, so that each account is fully FDIC insured. It also calls to mind the fact that we ought not to put our trust in wealth, but in the one who saves us, blesses us, and provides for our needs.

On a happier note, support for Bishop Duncan is pouring in from around the world. Of course, The Episcopal Church doesn't much care whether the Anglican World disapproves of the way she handled the situation, she would say that the rest of the world was just ignorant of the facts as she has determined them, and if they were properly briefed, they would naturally agree with her. Six English bishops have said that they continue to regard Duncan as a bishop in good standing in the Anglican Communion, and this is in addition to messages sent from all corners of the Communion.

Now the countdown is on to the Pittsburgh Diocesan Convention on October 4 - what will happen? Will Katharine Jefferts Schori attempt to intervene in the proceedings, or will she wait until the meeting is concluded to take any actions she may be planning? I suspect a great many would agree with the Rt. Rev. Colin Basley, who wrote a letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury calling for the immediate suspension of the Episcopal Church from any further participation in activities of the Anglican Communion, and calling for recognition of a new orthodox North American Anglican Province named Common Cause Partners Federation.

In many ways, the spiritual/ecclesiastical Anglican Communion meltdown is comparable to the financial meltdown in the US business world. In the latter, people bought sub-prime loans that were in effect bad paper, passed them on to others as if they were the real thing, trust was broken, and lies and deceit led to the economic ruination of many - and it isn't over yet! In the spiritual/ecclesiastical realm, church leaders in North America put together sub-prime, bogus spiritual truths, passed them on to others as if they were the real thing, persecuted those who raised the alarm, and as a result, trust has been broken, lives spiritually ruined, lies and deceit have caused many to leave their churches and reorganize in line with traditional Christian beliefs, and this is leading to the ecclesiastical ruination of many. The problem with spiritual ruination is that you might wind up in hell (yes, that place that TEC leaders don't believe in - or if it does exist, only a few of us will be in it!).

Meanwhile, the bishop of Washington DC, John Chane, has sued the Central Union Mission over their receipt of government funds to provide help for the homeless in the city. The Mission is a Christian organization, and as part of their feeding and assistance program, they require those participating to attend nightly religious services. Why is Bishop Chane attacking those who help the poor and homeless? Could it be because the Central Union Mission has provided space for an Anglican congregation associated with CANA (St. Brendan's in the City), to hold weekly Sunday evening services? The official reason that Bishop Chane claims is that government help to Central Union Mission is supposedly a violation of the US Constitution, since they require attendance at religious services.

In his opinion, the government isn't supposed to give money to churches: separation of church and state and all that, you know. However, Chane is the bishop of the Washington National Cathedral, and one wonders if the Cathedral hasn't accepted money from the government in one form or another, perhaps for major events held there, or for arts programs, or some other types of event. We know that the Washington DC police department has a police radio relay unit at the very top of the main tower of the Cathedral, and one wonders what other joint ventures the Cathedral has had with city or federal government. It may be that Bishop Chane hasn't had time to see the plank in his own eye.

Let us hope and pray that the ministry of Central Union Mission to the hungry and homeless and to those who need to find God in their lives, is able to continue unimpeded by any Chane-sponsored litigation.

Blessings and Peace in Christ Jesus,

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

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