Daily Archives: June 20, 2007

Neal O. Michell: Happy Talk

From The Living Church:

What’s wrong with this picture? What is wrong with this picture is that it is not the complete picture.

Max DePree, author of Leadership Jazz and Leadership is an Art, says that the first task of the leader is to define reality. The problem with this quote from our Presiding Bishop””and she has said much the same thing in several venues””is that although there are places of health and vitality in The Episcopal Church, this assessment amounts to no more than happy talk.

What is “happy talk”? John Kotter, professor of leadership at Harvard Business School, says that too much happy talk from senior leaders can lull everyone into a sense of complacency. Mr. Kotter states that the failure of leaders to establish a (healthy) sense of urgency is one of several reasons that organizations fail.

A survey of The Episcopal Church taken a couple of years ago, “Faith Communities Today,” asked congregations to complete a survey which asked questions similar to those found on the parochial reports. When the compilers of the survey compared the completed surveys with those of that congregation’s parochial reports, it was determined that the survey results contradicted the parochial report data. Only those churches that were growing 10 percent or more per year “told the truth.” The vast majority of churches reported that they were doing better than their parochial reports indicated. Happy talk.

The task of the leader of an organization in a time of crisis is two-fold: to be a non-anxious presence, and to develop a sense of urgency. A look at the baptized membership and average Sunday attendance in The Episcopal Church indicates that we are a denomination in decline….

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop, TEC Data

From IRD: The Episcopal Church's Second Strike

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Episcopal Church (TEC), Primates Mtg Dar es Salaam, Feb 2007, TEC Conflicts

Andrew Goddard's talk at Canadian General Synod

Watch it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

Episcopal minister leads mission to establish church in Southeast Florida

From the Palm Beach Post:

The Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida recognized the growth of the western communities and anticipated the establishment of the Callery-Judge Grove community, so it committed her to the area to establish a ministry.

She is living in a home bought by the church that also serves as her office and meeting space for the congregation.

A group she calls The 15:58 is helping her to get a church established in the community. “They are named after Corinthians 15:58,” Ostlund said. “Basically, the Scripture says that if you keep working, your work will pay off.”

Even though the county voted against the development of Callery-Judge Grove, their future in the area is uncertain, but their faith remains strong.

“It’s in God’s hands,” Ostlund said. “We don’t know what will unfold, but we’re still planning on launching the church next February.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Parishes

Charleston, S.C. Fire Chief Rusty Thomas Talks about the Brave Nine

Watch it all. Photos of the nine are here. You need to take the time to follow all the coverage at www.charleston.net.

Posted in * South Carolina

Johann Hari: The tricky question of Gordon Brown's God

From the Independent:

Our next Prime Minister also identified with the rebellious, privilege-hating grassroots of the Church of Scotland. In 1843, the Church split when ordinary churchgoers insisted on their right to pick their own ministers, rather than have the aristocracy hand-pick one for them. As Brown summarised it happily: “They refused to be bound by the Lords.” This blunt egalitarian persisted into Brown’s youth.

But how does this affect his practical politics? The best hint can be found in Brown’s little-noticed endorsement in 2005 of a book called God’s Politics: Why the American Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get it by the theologian Jim Wallis. The author damns the right for focusing “on sexual and cultural issues while ignoring the weightier matters of justice.” So the book is an attack on Falwellian poison – but also on what it calls “secular fundamentalism.” Secularists, Wallis writes, “mistakenly dismiss spirituality as irrelevant to social change.” Wallis believes religion should be a presence perpetually motivating people to pursue “justice” for the poor.

He argues for a revived “prophetic religion”, adding quickly: “Prophecy is not about future telling, but articulating moral truth. The prophets diagnose the present and point the way to a just solution.” He argues that when societies were fairly equal, as revealed by Biblical archaeology, the Prophets did not emerge, because “they had nothing to say.” Brown is, he claims, “listening to the message of the Biblical prophets” when he brilliantly slashes Africa’s debts, doubles aid, and increases tax credits for poor kids here at home. (He is presumably defying it when he permits the super-rich to continue jaunting about all-but-untaxed). Wallis’s favourite Biblical tradition is the Jubilee Year, where periodically the debts of the poor were cancelled, slaves were set free, and land was redistributed more fairly.

All this puts left-wing atheists like me in a quandary. I think faith is a dangerous form of bad thinking – it is believing something, without evidence or reason to back it up. Where does that end?

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Religion & Culture

7 in 10 Americans Say Economy Is 'Getting Worse'

From Editor and Publisher:

A new Gallup Poll will only reinforce those who claim that while the rich get richer most Americans don’t feel they are sharing in the growth in our economy. The stock market may be climbing and the unemployment remains relatively low, but 7 in 10 Americans believe the economy is getting worse — the most negative reading in nearly six years.

Only one in three Americans rate the economy today as either excellent or good, while the percentage saying the economy is getting better fell from 28% to 23% in one month.

Gallup adds: “For the first time this year, a majority of Americans are negative about the employment market, saying it is a bad time to find a quality job.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics

Archbishop Donald Wuerl paves his own path

From the Washington Times:

Almost a year into his job as the spiritual leader of the Washington area’s 560,000 Catholics, Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl has set a personal agenda and style that are worlds apart from those of his more flamboyant predecessor.

Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, now retired, was known for his extroverted persona, hobnobbing with politicians and worldwide travels. His successor prefers to stay closer to home.

“I am not making the politics of the country my focus,” Archbishop Wuerl said in an interview with The Washington Times. “My focus is pastoral and spiritual as bishop.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

Primatial address at the opening of Canadian General Synod

Certainly one of the most difficult items for our discernment will be the question of how to proceed on the issue of same-gender relationships. Related to it are other questions. One is the deeper question of how Anglicans receive and understand Scriptures in the light of modern scholarship and contemporary experience. Another is how our decisions will impact our sister churches in the Anglican Communion. And beside that is a question as to the nature of the Communion, and the appropriate relationship between provincial autonomy and global interdependence.

Another way of putting that is, how do we wish authority to be exercised or limited within our family of churches? And perhaps most important, how will our decisions witness to the Good News of God in Jesus Christ for our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters within the Church and outside it. There are of course many other questions to consider in the hard work of discernment over this issue. We are taught that the first principle of moral theology is obedience to conscience, and I ask each of you to embrace that principle, and with it the ethic of respect for the conscience of those who disagree with your own. The second principle of moral theology is to inform your conscience to bring it, if possible, into line with the teaching of the Church. And here careful listening using the Anglican approach of Scripture, Tradition and Reason will be helpful.

At the end of the day, when decisions are made, they will not be unanimous. Differences will remain, but the unanimous opinion of the Theological Commission (and of many other sources) is that the question of same-gender blessings should not be a communion breaking issue. So the alternative to that is that in keeping with a long Anglican tradition, we make room at the table for those whose views we do not share. For the table is the Lord’s and not our own. And it is He who invites us to share the life that is offered there for the sins of the whole world.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Primates, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Magazine Researches Gender Gaps at Colleges

More women apply to college than men so colleges with selective admissions hope to maintain gender balance by admitting fewer women that men. While just a few decades ago women were not even allowed to enter the nation’s most prestigious universities, now collective success of women nationwide may be making women victims of their own success.

Alex Kingsbury of U.S. News & World Report talks to Anthony Brooks about the magazine’s research into gender gaps in college admissions.

Listen to it all from NOR’s Day to Day program.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education

The Case For and Against the of Blessing Homosexual Unions in the Anglican Church of Canada

John Thorp’s case for is here and Robert Gagnon’s rebuttal is there.

This is a serious debate among our friends just to the North, take the time to read both pieces and pray for General Synod. Thanks–KSH.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canadian General Synod 2007, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

One Local Initiative in Response to Yesterday's tragic lose of S.C. Firefighters

The Youth Group of Holy Trinity Church (Episcopal) on Folly Road in West Ashley is holding a fundraising car wash to aid the families of the nine firefighters who lost their lives on Monday night. The Harborview Car Wash, next to the Piggly Wiggly on Harborview Road, James Island, has donated the use of it’s facilities and the young people and other church members and friends will provide the labor. The car wash will be held from 3:00 to 7:00 on Wednesday, June 27, with donations accepted per wash. For more information, contact Holy Trinity Church at 556-2560 or Dorothy Porcher Holland at 766-PRAY.

Posted in * South Carolina

Second Lawsuit Filed Against St. John's Anglican Church by Diocese of San Diego

(Press release)

Statement in Response to Second Lawsuit Filed
By The Episcopal Diocese of San Diego Against St. John’s Anglican Church

Fallbrook, Calif. ”“ June 19, 2007 ”“ Having lost a lawsuit filed against St. John’s Anglican Church and its volunteer board members last year, we are deeply disappointed that the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego and its Bishop, James R. Mathes, have been caught up in the national tidal wave of lawsuits being filed by The Episcopal Church against local church congregations that have realigned with other Provinces of the Worldwide Anglican Communion, and instead have filed another senseless and intolerant lawsuit against St. John’s in an attempt to confiscate all of its church property, including the sanctuary, Bibles, hymnals and office files.

The diocese had filed suit against Father Donald Kroeger, nine church volunteers, and St. John’s in late 2006 in an attempt to wrestle away its property. The San Diego Superior Court rejected this claim, and entered judgment in favor of the St. John’s defendants.

“It is absolutely stunning that the Court ruled in our favor in November 2006, and now James Mathes is leading the charge to sue us again trying to confiscate our property,” said Father Donald Kroeger, head priest and rector of St. John’s Anglican Church. “We had hoped the diocese would respect the decision of the Court and the biblical prohibitions about suing other believers, but apparently we were mistaken.”

Since ending its affiliation with The Episcopal Church in July 2006 to remain steadfast and loyal in their commitment to the Holy Scripture and the historic teachings of Christianity, St. John’s membership and ministries have flourished.

St. John’s will continue to worship at its present location and facilities in Fallbrook.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: San Diego

From ENS: Executive Council resolution on constitutions generates mixed reactions

On June 15, the Executive Council, the governing body between General Conventions, passed Resolution NAC023 which noted that Article V, Section 1 of the Constitution of The Episcopal Church requires each diocese’s constitution to state “an unqualified access to the Constitution and Canons of this Church.”

“Any amendment to a diocesan constitution that purports in any way to limit or lessen an unqualified accession to the constitution of The Episcopal Church is null and void,” the resolution continued, adding that “the amendments passed to the constitutions of the dioceses of Pittsburgh, Fort Worth, Quincy and San Joaquin, which purport to limit or lessen the unqualified accession to the constitution of The Episcopal Church are accordingly null and void and the constitutions of those dioceses shall be as they were as if such amendments had not been passed.”

The chancellors of the four dioceses said June 18, in a statement on the Diocese of Pittsburgh’s website, that they “reserve the right not to accede to [the Episcopal Church’s] unbiblical actions.”

“The Executive Council does not have the authority to make decisions or pass resolutions of this type on behalf of [the Episcopal Church],” their statement said. “Furthermore, the Executive Council does not have the right to interfere in internal diocesan constitutional processes … The Executive Council’s declaration is contrary to the law and to the historic Anglican faith.”

Via Media USA, an alliance of Episcopal laity and clergy formed in 2004 to offer a counterpoint to efforts to “realign” the Episcopal Church along more conservative lines, said June 18 that it was “pleased that the Executive Council, in its resolution NAC023, has made clear what we have understood for a long time to be the case.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Polity & Canons

The Presiding Bishop Visits Western Kansas

from the Hays Daily News:

In an unprecedented visit, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church visited Hays on Monday night.

Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori visited St. Michael’s Episcopal Church as part of a marathon three-day, 15-town tour of western Kansas.
“It’s a real honor for us,” said the Rev. Craig Brown, pastor of St. Michael Episcopal Church. “It’s been a long time since a presiding bishop has come to western Kansas. To my knowledge, we have not had the presiding bishop come to St. Michael’s specifically.”

Jefferts Schori made the visit at the invitation of Bishop James Adams, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Kansas.
The trip included dinner and a conversation Monday night, and a stop at St. Andrew, north of Hays, this morning.

Read it all.

Update: More from AP here.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop