Daily Archives: July 21, 2007

Cormac Murphy-O’Connor on Church, State and Europe

Today Americans still readily embrace both religious faith and patriotism, a striking paradox in a land where Church and State are deliberately separated. We have much to learn from the people of the United States. Their search for a better life and their optimism are linked with their religious faith. From their first day at school, American children learn to salute the flag and declare their Americanness. They say: “God bless America,” and then happily add: “I’m a Baptist, or a Jew, a Catholic or a Muslim.” To them, it seems, being a good Catholic, a good Jew, a good Baptist or a good Muslim fits in perfectly with being a good American. Americans always look with hopeful eyes to the future. Problems can be solved, people can be saved and God will continue to bless his people. Since the days of the Pilgrim Fathers, Americans have seen themselves as a chosen people, called to share in God’s work in history.

The contrast with Europe is striking. In the first place, Europeans have misgivings about patriotism because of the extreme nationalism that blighted Europe throughout the past century. The European Union is a conscious attempt to transcend national loyalties and to foster a new “European” identity based on common values. But Europe’s slow and painful birth has involved an attempt to brush under the carpet the continent’s Christian heritage. Whether it is motivated by overt hostility to religion or by a desire to find a lowest common denominator, such denial of the obvious is unhealthy and dishonest.

Europe’s mood is pessimistic. This is surprising, as the institutions that were created postwar to keep the peace in Europe ”“ the EU itself, Nato, and the European Convention on Human Rights under the Council of Europe ”“ have been remarkably successful in this perennially troubled continent. Part of the problem may be that the role of religion is not usually acknowledged. The American example suggests that seeing Christianity as part of the European vision, rather than ignoring it, could only enhance the construction of a common European civilisation.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Europe, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Religion and Ethics Weekly: Green House Nursing Homes

FAW: In big nursing homes the annual staff turnover rate ranges averages around 76 percent. But in the last three years the St. John’s homes have lost only three people, in part, says Green House guide Nancy Fee, who mentors, trains and supports the staff, because caregivers here are responsible for running the homes.

NANCY FEE (Green House Guide): We have empowered them to make decisions within their household. And so they take the responsibility of planning their menus, ordering their food, deciding what, what do the elders want.

FAW: Caregivers prepare the meals which are served whenever the elders want to eat. No pre-assigned routines, no kitchen shutting down at set times. For 85-year old Phyllis Southard that means getting the food she likes.

PHYLLIS SOUTHARD(Green House Resident): My specialty has been eggs with a little bit of cheese on it ”” a slice of cheese. And that’s good.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine

Miami Condo Glut Pushes Florida's Economy to Brink of Recession

In the middle of the biggest glut of condominiums in more than 30 years, Miami developers keep on building.

The oversupply will force prices down as much as 30 percent, the worst decline since the 1970s, and help push Florida’s economy into recession as early as October, said Mark Zandi, chief economist at West Chester, Pennsylvania-based Moody’s Economy.com, who owns a home in Vero Beach, Florida.

“Florida is the epicenter for all the problems that exist in the housing industry,” said Lewis Goodkin, president of Goodkin Consulting Corp. and a property adviser in Miami for the past 30 years, who also foresees a recession. “The problems we have now are unprecedented and a lot of people will get burnt.”

Thirty-seven new high-rise condos and 20,000 new units are being built in Miami’s 1,040-acre downtown, where sales fell almost 50 percent in May, according to the Florida Association of Realtors. The new units will join the 22,924 existing condos in Miami-Dade County that were for sale in April, according to Jack McCabe, chief executive officer of McCabe Research & Consulting LLC in Deerfield Beach, Florida. That’s the most unsold units since McCabe began tracking sales in 2002.

“Have you been to Miami lately?” Florida Governor Charlie Crist said at a homebuilders’ conference last week in Orlando. “It’s like we have a new state bird: the building crane.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy

Fr. Lawrence Remains Only South Carolina Bishop Nominee

For anyone who missed this earlier as all the news, articles and comments on the blog went whizzing by.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts

Trinity Wall Street to convene partnership of Anglican bishops

Trinity Wall Street is convening a group of bishops from Anglican Communion provinces in Africa and their companions in the Episcopal Church “for a consultation to strengthen relationships, develop mission partnerships, and to discover new opportunities to bear witness to the Gospel,” according to a Trinity news release.

Hosted by Iglesia Episcopal Reformada de España, “Walking to Emmaus: Discovering New Mission Perspectives in Changing Times” will be held in El Escorial, Spain July 21 through July 26.

The consultation will be rooted in prayer and breaking bread together; using different liturgies from the provinces of the Anglican Communion to enrich the experience of the participants, the release said.

“Mission flourishes best through collaboration,” said the Rev. Canon James G. Callaway, Jr., deputy for faith formation and development at Trinity Church. “This gathering provides an opportunity for people of shared faith and mutual responsibility to come together to further develop partnerships that address important needs in the world.”

The Rev. Dr. James H. Cooper, the rector of Trinity Church-St. Paul’s Chapel, noted that Trinity Church is an “active partner in the global south, especially strengthening the church in Africa by facilitating the ability of its leaders to take control of factors that influence their lives.”

Read it all. There is a little more about this meeting here. Now, inquiring minds wish to know a lot more about this gathering: who planned it, what is the agenda, who made the invitations and how, who is actually coming, etc.–KSH.

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

St. Mary's rector is off to India as the husband of a U.S. diplomat

Some things you should know about Father Major:

He was once pulled off a plane in Minneapolis as a suspected terrorist and questioned for three hours. Turns out an air marshal got suspicious when he peeked at Father Major’s laptop and saw he was writing about Afghanistan and God. Imagine how friendly all the other passengers were to him when they were finally able to get back on the plane. They, too, were detained, he explained, because “I could have had an accomplice.”

Despite the British accent, he was born and raised in New Zealand. He can do a passable accent from there but says it hurts after awhile.

He is a rugby player.

He once lived in a 15th century palazzo — with a ballroom — in Florence, but gave it up to move to Iowa. It was love, not corn, that propelled him: His wife was teaching at Iowa State and her bi-continental commute was getting to be too much. “It makes me one of the great romantic heroes,” he noted.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Parishes

Episcopal News Service tries to Counterspin the Global South Steering Committee Statement

Read it all. This is sad but also very predictable. What is particularly lamentable is how blatantly American-centric this piece is, with so little attention to what has been occurring and why.

For example, there is no mention of most of the central argument of the Primates Tanzania Communique.

One would have thought that might have mattered since the communique said in part:

21. However, secondly, we believe that there remains a lack of clarity about the stance of The Episcopal Church, especially its position on the authorisation of Rites of Blessing for persons living in same-sex unions. There appears to us to be an inconsistency between the position of General Convention and local pastoral provision. We recognise that the General Convention made no explicit resolution about such Rites and in fact declined to pursue resolutions which, if passed, could have led to the development and authorisation of them. However, we understand that local pastoral provision is made in some places for such blessings. It is the ambiguous stance of The Episcopal Church which causes concern among us.
22. The standard of teaching stated in Resolution 1.10 of the Lambeth Conference 1998 asserted that the Conference “cannot advise the legitimising or blessing of same sex unions”. The primates stated in their pastoral letter of May 2003,
“The Archbishop of Canterbury spoke for us all when he said that it is through liturgy that we express what we believe, and that there is no theological consensus about same sex unions. Therefore, we as a body cannot support the authorisation of such rites.”.
23. Further, some of us believe that Resolution B033 of the 75th General Convention8 does not in fact give the assurances requested in the Windsor Report.
24. The response of The Episcopal Church to the requests made at Dromantine has not persuaded this meeting that we are yet in a position to recognise that The Episcopal Church has mended its broken relationships.

What the communique went on to say was that “interventions” would need to continue unless certain conditions were met, and given the House of Bishops’ aggressive rejection of the pastoral scheme proposal and failure to provide any adequate alternative that will actually deal with the real need involved that did not happen. There are also same sex blessings in various dioceses which continue to occur with official knowledge and in a number of cases sanction, in spite of now nearly incessantly pleas from other Anglicans throughout the globe that they cease.

So the Episcopal Church still has not done what it has been asked to do by the Anglican leadership, and what is occurring is entirely in accord with the Tanzania communique. None of this is mentioned by the official TEC house organ, and the sound of one hand clapping continues–alas–KSH.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * By Kendall, Anglican Primates, Episcopal Church (TEC), Global South Churches & Primates, Primates Mtg Dar es Salaam, Feb 2007, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts

William McKeachie: The Re-Election of Mark Lawrence…and Beyond

The recent, splendid Living Church article by my friend Kenneth Aldrich ”“ “Confessions of an Episcopal Fundamentalist” ”“ has provided timely food for thought and prayer,if not indeed something very close to manna from heaven, for Episcopalians committed to the “fundamentals” of orthodox Christianity, and in particular for those on that Anglican front-line which is what the Diocese of South Carolina seems to have become!

In my own preaching and teaching at the Cathedral in Charleston I have used Father Aldrich’s article, as well as the recent widely controversial edict of Pope Benedict XVI (nothing new there and therefore nothing for us to get bent out of shape about!), to undergird my conviction that the way forward for us in this Diocese and at this Cathedral should be to focus on two ecclesiological bottom-lines.

The first, always, is the trustworthiness of the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as God’s Word Written, in terms of which the identity and integrity of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church is constituted by the Spirit of Christ Himself. The second, for Anglicans, must be the apostolic witness and continuity of this Church Catholic, embodied and passed along by bishops who commit themselves to be faithful guardians of “the faith once delivered to the saints” as contained in the Bible and expressed in the Creeds of the Church’s conciliar tradition. To put it in the words of one of the first Reformation-era Anglican bishops, John Jewell: “We have planted no new religion but only have preserved the old that was undoubtedly founded and used by the apostles of Christ and other holy fathers of the primitive church.”

Our current priority must be praying and working towards getting Mark Lawrence re-elected and consecrated as such a bishop, with (God willing) his service of consecration and “seating” in this Cathedral next January.

In the meantime, as we witness the tragic, if gradual, break up of the Episcopal Church as we have known it, we can console ourselves that, on the one hand, Jesus promised that “the gates of hell shall not prevail” against His Church but, on the other hand, He said nothing about the putative claims of modern denominations as such or their “autonomy” (nationally or provincially) ”“ which are, after all, nothing but modern institutional fictions.

Anglican Christianity is surely in the process of re-aligning itself around relationships of apostolic faithfulness, integrity, and collegiality among and between bishops and dioceses committed not to humanly institutionalized structures (which in the long course of church history wax and wane) but to the divinely constituted One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ.

As one of my own mentors in cathedral ministry, a British Dean put it: “Hold fast to Christ, and for the rest remain uncommitted.” May it ever be so for the Diocese, Bishop, and Cathedral of South Carolina ”“ and indeed, as a matter of fervent prayer on behalf of all of us, for the See of Canterbury itself and its occupant, that the re-alignment of Anglicanism should not lose that historic rootedness through so many centuries of church history.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts

The full judgment of the employment tribunal in Hereford

Read it all; there has been a lot of press coverage of this story during the current week and many links can be found here.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE)

Bishop praises ”˜Gospel according to Potter’

THE Anglican communion should learn lessons from Harry Potter, a senior religious figure urged yesterday.

The Bishop of St Davids, Carl Cooper, said the Christian virtues of humility, respect and love portrayed in the stories about the teenage wizard should be replicated within the church.

But the religious world last night remained divided about the influence of the hugely popular series of books and films, with one Welsh evangelist describing them as a “doorway to the occult”.

The seventh and final book in the Potter saga ”“ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows ”“ will be released tomorrow, with anticipation around the world reaching fever pitch among the character’s army of followers. To make the most of demand, Asda will be selling it for £5 a copy, the retailer said last night.

Read it all.


WARNING! There are spoilers in the comments!
I think most folks have been careful to note any spoilers in advance. But for those who’ve not yet read the book who are trying to remain unaware of the ending, read the latter comments below only at your own risk! –elfgirl

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Poetry & Literature, Religion & Culture