Daily Archives: June 23, 2007

A Halifax Daily News Article on the New Canadian Primate-Elect

[Bishop Fred] Hiltz was coy with reporters yesterday – including journalists from overseas who are covering the Synod – about his personal views on same-sex unions.

“I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to simply declare my position and thereby pre-empt the outcome of the (weekend) discussion,” he said.

But Hiltz made no secret of his irritation toward fellow bishops in African countries or “provinces,” who have imposed themselves in the affairs of the Anglican Church of Canada and the Episcopal Church by assuming “oversight” of conservative North American congregations who were unhappy with the liberal views of their own bishops.

Bishops of one country “interfering in the affairs of another,” said Hiltz, “is not on.”

Speaking to delegates soon after his election, Hiltz said whatever pressures he faces during his tenure, he will work hard to keep Anglicans together in “one great company of disciples.

“I love this church. I’ll always love it,” he said. “I will try to the best of my abilities to be a Primate that drives the church together, to keep people at the table and not to isolate them … to ensure that we remain together in Christ.”

Read it all

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Primates, Anglican Provinces, Canadian General Synod 2007

A CNN Video report on the Tensions on Same Sex Blessings in the Diocese of LA

Watch it all (hat tip: DT).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Conflicts

Steve Schuh: In Canada Status quo heightens 'Crisis of Conscience'

As gay-supportive Anglicans hold their breath for General Synod decisions in June – allowing local option for the blessing of same-sex unions and taking the first steps toward inclusive marriage – some Anglican clergy are already counting the cost of the Church’s failure to move forward more quickly. They foretell the consequences should Synod decide for the status quo, or worse.

In Saskatoon in January, the Rev Shawn Sanford Beck advised his bishop that he is no longer willing to restrict his pastoral ministry to conform to an “unjust law” and that he would, if asked, bless same-sex unions and officiate at same-sex marriages. “I will no longer discriminate against homosexual people when it comes to the exercise of my priestly duties,” the priest stated in an open letter.

Unlike recent cases in which a priest and archbishop quietly participated in same-sex marriage services and later had their license to marry temporarily suspended, Rev. Sanford Beck faced a more severe penalty for stating his intention publicly.

Saskatoon Bishop Rodney Andrews urged the priest to reconsider or lose his license to minister, not just to marry. Not willing to withdraw, Shawn lost his license and then his job as director of a downtown ministry serving aboriginal people. He cannot perform priestly duties without special permission, including within his role as chaplain to Integrity Saskatoon.

Shawn is undeterred, saying that he and his young family accept the consequences of his statement. “As a priest and leader in the church, my complicity in upholding our current law makes me at least partially responsible for the ongoing suffering of LGBTT Christians, and I can no longer take part in that. If my current action helps render visible that which has been made invisible, then I will be happy to bear the consequences. I too will stand ‘outside the gate’ where so many other queer Christians have been sent.”

Read the whole piece

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

Canadian General Synod Order of the Day for Saturday

Read it all. Many of us are watching the debate live here. The matter currently under debate is a slightly amended form of this resolution:

Subject: St. Michael Report
Moved by: The Ven. Dennis Drainville, Diocese of Quebec

Seconded By: Mrs. Barbara Burrows¸ Diocese of Edmonton

Note: The mover and the seconder must be members of the General Synod and be present in the House when the resolution is before the synod for debate.

BE IT RESOLVED:

That this General Synod accept the conclusion of the Primate’s Theological Commission’s St. Michael Report that the blessing of same-sex unions is a matter of doctrine, but is not core doctrine in the sense of being credal.

Update: The motion carries.

Another update: Peter has a description of the debate here.

Yet another update: The final amended language is apparently this:

BE IT RESOLVED:

That this General Synod accept the conclusion of the Primate’s Theological Commission’s St. Michael Report that the blessing of same-sex unions is a matter of doctrine, but is not core doctrine in the sense of being credal, and that it should not be a communion-breaking issue.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canadian General Synod 2007

A CTV Video Report on the Upcoming Canadian Anglican Vote on Blessing Non-Celibate Same Sex Unions

Watch it all.

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

Diocese of Quincy gears up for fight with The Episcopal Church

[Jan] Nunley said [David Booth] Beers, who declined to be interviewed, wasn’t threatening legal action. But Wicks Stephens, chancellor of the Pittsburgh-based Anglican Communion Network, of which Quincy is a member, isn’t convinced.

“What we’re seeing is an attempt on the part of The Episcopal Church, and now acting through the executive council, to simply issue intimidating language and threats in areas in which they have no authority,” Stephens said. “They’re after us because we reserve the right not to follow their unbiblical actions.”

Nor was the Rev. John Spencer, the president of Quincy’s standing committee, persuaded by Nunley’s reassurance.

“It’s just one more example of the sort of placating talk that we hear from the national leadership,” said Spencer, vicar of St. Francis Church in Dunlap. “They continually talk about reconciliation and trying to build bridges and so forth, but in my opinion this was another example of a heavy-handed tactic. ‘Submit or there will be legal consequences for you.’ ”

The church’s demands – or suggestions or threats, depending on whom you’re talking to – startedabout a year ago, Spencer said.

He said Beers sent a letter to Quincy and other dioceses telling them that if certain parts of their constitutions weren’t changed promptly, the presiding bishop would have to decide what action to take.

“It was sort of a veiled threat,” Spencer said. “It was a clear statement that we needed to change the constitution in order to conform to the language that they said it needed to have.”

Read it all.

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

Alf McCreary: Little civility in the US on gay marriage debate

During the demonstration in Boston, I spoke to an opponent of ‘gay marriage’ who told me that he despaired of having his point of view heard because the opposition from the homosexual community was so well-organised.

Certainly, that particular Boston lobby, including many people from a wide variety of churches, was skilled in changing the minds of a small number of politicians whose vote swung the verdict in favour of ‘gay marriage’.

In the same week that the Boston vote took place, I read in the New York Times that the American Episcopal Church was maintaining its determined stance on same-sex relationships and was arguing that the Anglican Primates had no right to impose their views on a member-church of the Anglican Communion.

The current, and apparently unstoppable, move towards schism within worldwide Anglicanism was triggered by the decision of the USA members to approve the appointment of the openly homosexual Bishop Gene Robinson, despite the pleas of the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams and other senior colleagues not to do so.

By going ahead in the way they did, the Americans showed once again a theological imperialism that is so repugnant.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Notable and Quotable

Funny how the people complaining about the media are those whose interests are at risk because of revelations in the media that did not come out in the typical top-down-the institution-controls-the-flow-and content-of-information manner.

Do bloggers sometime reveal too much information? Yes. Is some of it untimely? Yes. But are all institutions better for the greater transparency from, particularly the newer forms of, media? Yes.

I would say that given the responses of Kenya, Nigeria, and Uganda to the Lambeth invitations, the multiplicity of lawsuits and depositions and departures in the United States, not to mention Canada, that the alleged crisis in the Anglican Communion is far from overblown. Rather, these scholars and bishops ought to get out more, read the blogs, subscribe to a newspaper. They will discover that their first premise is definitely out of touch with reality.

If their first premise is out of touch with reality, then what of their other conclusions?

This seems to me to be reminiscent of Winnie the Pooh commenting, “Tut, tut, it looks like rain.”

Canon Neal Michell of Dallas in a comment on Ruth Gledhill’s blog

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Covenant, Episcopal Church (TEC), Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Conflicts

From Reuters: Canadian Anglicans eye split over same-sex unions

Bonnie Crawford-Bewley points to a photo pinned to a tack board to help explain why she cares deeply about a vote by the Anglican Church of Canada this weekend on blessing gay unions.

Both Crawford-Bewley and her wife Michelle are beaming in the family snapshot, taken after their daughter Tiana, 8, was baptized by Crawford-Bewley’s father, a retired Anglican priest.

The couple had their relationship blessed in a non-Anglican church 17 years ago, but Crawford-Bewley said she is still bothered that her beloved Anglican Church is torn over whether to bless same-sex unions.

“Marriage is an important institution, and the church not being willing to bless our union and not being willing to marry us is very much making us second-class citizens,” said Crawford-Bewley, 45.

“It’s that constantly being told ‘You’re not good enough’ that needs to stop,” she said in an interview on the sidelines of the Canadian church’s general synod, its highest decision-making body.

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

John Oakes on the New Canadian Anglican Primate-Elect

Unlike Bishop Matthews, Bishop Hiltz was not known for his theological conservativism prior to his election. At a time of such obvious doctrinal (and electoral) division, a major challenge for the new Primate could thus be the extent to which he will prove practically willing and able to reach out to all parts of the church, including conservatives, in keeping with Synod’s theme of “drawing the circle wide.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canadian General Synod 2007

New primate keeps mum about blessings vote

Secular and church media, both from Canada and overseas, tried to pin the primate-elect down on where he stood on the controversial issue which is scheduled to be debated ”“ and perhaps decided ”“ by General Synod on June 23.

But Bishop Hiltz would only voice his support for the “synodical process,” or the church’s legal procedures, adding that he believed that the church needed to follow its processes and listen to the recommendations both of the Canadian church’s St. Michael Report (which examined the issue of whether same-sex blessings were a matter of doctrine) and the international Windsor Report, which recommended ways of keeping the Anglican Communion together in spite of deep divisions.

“We need, as a church, to look at all the dimensions,” said Bishop Hiltz, naming Scriptural study and matters of pastoral care as examples. “I have personal views, but I am conscious of the office I hold as a bishop and as a primate-elect. I don’t think it’s appropriate to declare my position ”¦ The conversation must go forward in the way that the church has decided it should go forward.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Primates, Anglican Provinces, Canadian General Synod 2007

Ben May: The noble calling of firefighters

The recent tragic loss of nine Charleston firefighters on Monday reminds us of the front-line heroes who live and work among us everyday. As a former firefighter and fire commissioner, I have been privileged to observe and learn about the reasons that motivate a person to become a firefighter.

The poet, Khalil Gibran once wrote, ‘Work is love made visible.’ If ever there were a better definition of a firefighter’s work, this is it. We can observe the truth of this quote weekly on the nightly news.

While we know what firefighters do in situations like the one that occurred in Charleston and during some of the natural disasters we experienced several years ago, what do they really do most of the time and why do they do it?

First, let’s set the scene. Very few people know that the U.S. has the worst record in the civilized world for destruction of life and property by fire. Most of these fires do not occur in large buildings or in catastrophic events, but in single-family homes. Fire departments answer around one million calls annually. A fire occurs in the U.S. about every 18 seconds.

The average number of people who die each year in fires in the U.S. is about 3,500. A person dies in a fire in the U.S. every hour. To gain some perspective of the problem, imagine two fully loaded 747 planes crashing in a mid-air collision every month, year in and year out. This has been our average annual record for more than 20 years. This, of course, does not count the more than 18,000 people who were maimed or horribly disfigured last year and the direct destruction of property valued at more than $16 billion. We lose about 100 firefighters a year, as well. This kind of loss simply does not occur in most countries in Western Europe or Japan.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina

An Important Read: J. I. Packer's Response to the St. Michael Report

The first limitation is an inadequate concept of what in the past has been called heresy (a word not used here), that is, a denial of core doctrine that breaks the church’s prior unity in faith. The Report equates core doctrine with what is affirmed in Anglican foundation documents and argues that blessing same-sex unions, whatever else it is, is not a violation of core doctrine, but is an adiaphoron, a secondary matter, which does not warrant any breach of church communion. But the reasoning on which this conclusion is based is not the whole story, though it is indeed part of it. However, a sounder, profounder concept of what in the past has been called heresy is: any belief or practice that negates any part of the New Testament gospel of Jesus Christ, understood as the divinely revealed truth that shows our sinful race the way of salvation from sin and sin’s consequences. This concept covers not only doctrines of the Creeds and Anglican foundation documents, but also the practice of faith in Christ, repentance, obedience, life in the Spirit, and personal holiness, according to the Scriptures.

Paul in 1 Corinthians 6 lists behavioral habits that, if not repented of and forsaken, keep people out of God’s kingdom, and male homosexuality is explicitly included in the list (vss. 9-11). Paul goes on to celebrate the power of the Holy Spirit sanctifying persons at Corinth who had previously lived in the ways he has mentioned. It seems undeniable that he would have viewed blessing same-sex unions as sanctifying sin, and thus as a denial of an essential ingredient in the gospel, namely repentance of all one’s sins and forsaking of them. And the gospel as such is surely the church’s core doctrine.

The gravity of the homosexual lifestyle as Paul views it warrants the description of it when found in the church as practical heresy; which raises the question, whether the suspending of full communion pro tem is not warranted and indeed needed as a disciplinary measure, aimed at bringing offenders to repentance. The Report fails to face this issue of conscience and wisdom, which arises from straightforward biblical exegesis and for some is very real and pressing.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canadian General Synod 2007, Ethics / Moral Theology, Theology

Anglican Journal Daily #3

Read it all and make sure to note the letter to the editor on the same subject as the previous blog post.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canadian General Synod 2007

LeAnne Larmondin of Anglican Journal Is Concerned by closed-door meetings

Read it all. This was already available in an earlier linked version of Anglican Journal Daily but I wanted to make sure (ahem, ahem) that you saw it. I agree with her 100%–KSH.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canadian General Synod 2007