Daily Archives: November 1, 2007

Craig Burlington: A Reflection in a Hard Time

Well, I say what about the absolutely amazing good thing God has done in New Hampshire and is doing in the Episcopal Church as we take stands to totally legitimize gay people, lifting the shame of centuries of oppressive views toward those who are a bit different from the norm of society. I just don’t get it. Why can’t we get over this terrible injustice right in our own faces? Why can’t people of the same sex love each other and be faithful and true to each other””upheld by church and society””just like the majority?

It would be great to have public leaders not only prize the unity of the church but also prize the movement toward lifting the oppression of gays that KILLS people in Africa, just as it does and has in America and all over the world. I say Jesus would prize this movement toward healing and “seeing things from a different angle.” All the parables turn people’s assumptions upside down so to see new grace in unexpected places. Who would sanction more “Matthew Shepherds”?

Every time a leader speaks in a conservative way, for the cause of unity, without also acknowledging the need to move away from the long held prejudices and stereotypes that kill people, another sword pierces the heart of all of us who are gay or who know and love someone who is gay. Lord, how long?

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

Some Christian pastors embrace Scientology

Some Christian congregations, particularly in lower income, urban areas, are turning to an unlikely source for help — the Church of Scientology.

Scientologists do not worship God, much less Jesus Christ. The church has seen plenty of controversy and critics consider it a cult. So why are observant Christians embracing some of its teachings?

Two pastors who spoke recently with CNN explained that when it comes to religion, they still preach the core beliefs of Christianity. But when it comes to practicing what they preach in a modern world, borrowing from Scientology helps.

The Rev. Charles Kennedy, of the Glorious Church of God in Christ, a Pentecostal church in Tampa, Florida, and the Rev. James McLaughlin, of the Wayman Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Houston, Texas, are among the theological hybrids.

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Posted in Uncategorized

Quincy diocese still considering split

A story appearing on the Religious Intelligence Web site on Monday said the west-central Illinois diocese’s “enthusiasm for an immediate break” was “dampened by a report from a diocesan task force” on insurance concerns.

However, the Rev. John Spencer, diocesan press officer, said there was no task force. Rather, diocesan financial officers have been looking at health and liability insurance alternatives for more than a year for financial reasons, Spencer said. Their findings were discussed at the synod.

If the diocese does decide to break away from The Episcopal Church, it would need to have an insurance alternative ready, Spencer said.

The main reason the diocese didn’t take definitive action at its annual synod on Oct. 19-20 was to wait until other dioceses, which are also considering leaving The Episcopal Church, make its decisions in coming weeks, Spencer said.

“We really are serious about the fact that we’re trying to move in concert with several other dioceses, not just be mavericks,” he said.

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

Life at Saint Boniface's in Sarasota These days

From here:

I am pleased to announce that the Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, Bishop of New Hampshire, has accepted my invitation to be our guest and speaker January 16-20, 2008. I am especially grateful to Assistant Rector Wes Wasdyke for helping invite Bishop Robinson. Wes is canonically resident in the Dioces eof New Hampshire where he served the church and medical communities for many years.

Bishop Robinson is an astute speaker and spiritual leader with a passion for shared ministry and well known for his pastoral support of clergy and congregations in New Hampshire. While he is the focus of much attention in the Anglican Communion, his visit to us is a personal one where he will be able to share his own journey of faith and encourage each of us in ours.

As is always the case in the visit of a bishop from another jurisdiction, Bishop Smith was consulted, and has given permission for Bishop Robinson to be our speaker in residence. Bishop Smith has encouraged us by describing this visit as an important part of the listening process which is key to the Windsor and Lambeth recommendations for the Anglican Communion.

The Boniface Speaker series was created to bring the brightest and best in religion to this parish and community. Among our other speakers in recent years we have welcomed The Rev. Frank Wade, Chancellor David Booth Beers, Professor Kathy Grieb, Bishop Johannes Seoka, and Brother Robert Hugh. The speaker in residence program includes times to preach and teach both parishioners and diocesan clergy, to speak to the public, and to enjoy some sabbath time in our beautiful area.

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

Hal Lane–Cohabitation Confusion: What does the Bible say?

The New Testament also forbids sexual relations outside marriage. Hebrews 13:4 commands everyone to honor the institution of marriage. In 1 Timothy 4:3, Paul warned that a sign of the end times would be an abandonment of the divine institution of marriage.

Despite the arguments of some, the odds of a successful marriage do not increase because a couple lives together before marriage. In fact, studies reveal the opposite is true.

Where do professing Christian couples find justification for living together without marriage? Their own desires and an immoral culture provide support, but God’s Word is neither vague nor confusing on this point: A personal commitment between a man and woman is not the moral equivalent of a biblical marriage.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Sexuality, Theology

Justices Stay Execution, a Signal to Lower Courts

Moments before a Mississippi prisoner was scheduled to die by lethal injection, the Supreme Court granted him a stay of execution on Tuesday evening and thus gave a nearly indisputable indication that a majority intends to block all executions until the court decides a lethal injection case from Kentucky next spring.

There were two dissenters, Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel A. Alito Jr., but neither they nor the majority gave reasons for their positions. Because only five votes are required for a stay of execution, it is not clear whether all the remaining seven justices supported it.

The stay will remain in effect until the full court reviews an appeal filed Monday by lawyers for the inmate, Earl W. Berry, who is on death row for killing a woman 20 years ago.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Capital Punishment, Law & Legal Issues

Jeremy Bonner: Thoughts on the 143th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh

At the same time, I can’t help thinking of friends from Montana whom I first met at Hope and a Future in 2005. Then members of an Episcopal parish, they now belong to Christ Church Anglican in Butte, a mission of Uganda. They saw the writing on the wall and left without their property to begin the work of converting the world in another place. I ask myself, how catholic it is for those of us in hitherto ”˜safe’ jurisdictions to praise them for their faith, yet offer them nothing in the way of institutional support. A few years ago it was accepted that an ACN bishop who offered pastoral care to such a group was likely to find himself facing a presentment for boundary crossing; hence, the African ”˜incursions.’ It does not seem right that we should continue to stand apart from them indefinitely. The International Convocation was a good beginning, but it left such parishes isolated from their brethren still within The Episcopal Church. So on Friday, I expect to vote in favor of the proposed changes to constitution and canons, but I will do it without the conviction that I would wish at such a time as this. Not because I feel it is disloyal to my commitment to The Episcopal Church, for loyalty must be to doctrine as well as discipline, but because, in so doing, I have taken it upon myself to advance a course that will move American Anglicanism away from the catholic model that defined The Episcopal Church from the struggles of the 1870s to the struggles of the 1970s.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils

Foreclosure activity up 30% in Q3 according to RealtyTrac US foreclosure market report

RealtyTrac made public its Q3 2007 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report, which shows a total of 635,159 foreclosure filings — default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions — were reported on 446,726 properties nationwide during the Q3, a 30% increase from the previous quarter and nearly a doubling of the rate from 3Q06. The report also shows a foreclosure rate of one foreclosure filing for every 196 U.S. households for the quarter.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy

Karen Heller: Virtue vs. vice

Books on faith, on God, on the absence of God, on morality and immorality arrive monthly, not so much articles of faith as a library of books on them or a lack thereof.

Virtue and vice have always duked it out for supremacy. Now two volumes arrive simultaneously to spread the word, good and bad….

[Alan] Jacobs never joins a temple, a minyan, a discussion group. (He does have a list of advisers as spiritual Phone-a-Friend Lifelines.) He robs himself of religion’s great gift of community. In a city teeming with Jewish residents, Jacobs tries to become literally observant in isolation, like a hermit, which makes the whole thing appear like a stunt, a stunt with a sizable book contract.

Jacobs’ strategy is about act and word, as if he were cramming for his God boards. “In the final stretch, I’ve been frantically trying to read every single book on religion, trying to interview every religious leader, trying to figure out how to obey every rule. What if I miss an insight?”

Year is rarely about belief. What is religion if not that? So what if you avoid winking (“He who winks his eyes plans perverse things”; Proverbs 16:30) if you never spiritually or historically bother to investigate the Bible’s relevance.

So, which is better, virtue or vice, Year or Vice? Jacobs is more ambitious, though sorely misdirected. Both men are agile writers and, at times, truly funny. They’re sit-down comics. [Peter] Sagal’s Vice is fun, though hardly comprehensive. Then again, there are enough potential vices to fill an encyclopedia. What Sagal fails to do, when lying and venality are epidemic, and consumption (if that is a vice) is synonymous with identity, is differentiate vice, sin and crime, what society will tolerate and what it will not. Now, that would make some book.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

N.Y. Students Stage Walk-Out, Protest Rats

Hundreds of students walked out of a Rockland County High School Wednesday, voicing their concern about vermin, filling the school’s athletic field and banging on the fence that surrounds it in protest.

Students at Clarkstown North High School claim the “three R’s” have been supplemented with two more: roaches and rats. Some held signs reading, “”Clean North” and “Rams not roaches,” according to the Journal News.

Cases of rat sightings have been widespread of late. According to football player Steven Jean-Baptiste, when he took his shoe out from his locker, three big roaches crawled out.

Another student used a camera phone to snap a picture of a rodent outside the high school door.

The district, located just north of New York City, removed three dead rats, including a decomposing one that was crawling with maggots, at the high school’s annex building, officials said.

Wednesday, hundreds of kids cut class to protest the grotesque conditions.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education

Modern slavery attacked

”˜Some 27,000,000 people are enslaved today,’ states Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu after a recent visit to the West Indies.

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

Presiding Bishop Warns Network Bishops About Disaffiliation

Letter from the Presiding Bishop to Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan

The Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan
Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA

Dear Bob,

There have been numerous public references in recent weeks regarding resolutions to be introduced at your forthcoming diocesan convention. Those resolutions, if adopted, would amend several of your diocesan canons and begin the process of amending one or more provisions of your diocesan Constitution. I have reviewed a number of these proposed resolutions, and it is evident to me that they would violate the Constitutional requirement that the Diocese conform to the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church. It is apparent from your pre-convention report that you endorse these proposed changes. I am also aware of other of your statements and actions in recent months that demonstrate an intention to lead your diocese into a position that would purportedly permit it to depart from The Episcopal Church. All these efforts, in my view, display a fundamental misunderstanding of the relationship between The Episcopal Church and its dioceses. Our Constitution explicitly provides that a diocese must accede to the Constitution and Canons of the Church.

I call upon you to recede from this direction and to lead your diocese on a new course that recognizes the interdependent and hierarchical relationship between the national Church and its dioceses and parishes. That relationship is at the heart of our mission, as expressed in our polity. Specifically, I sincerely hope that you will change your position and urge your diocese at its forthcoming convention not to adopt the resolutions that you have until now supported.

If your course does not change, I shall regrettably be compelled to see that appropriate canonical steps are promptly taken to consider whether you have abandoned the Communion of this Church — by actions and substantive statements, however they may be phrased — and whether you have committed canonical offences that warrant disciplinary action.

It grieves me that any bishop of this Church would seek to lead any of its members out of it. I would remind you of my open offer of an Episcopal Visitor if you wish to receive pastoral care from another bishop. I continue to pray for reconciliation of this situation, and I remain

Your servant in Christ,

Katharine Jefferts Schori

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

Pennsylvania bishop inhibited from ordained ministry

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori on October 31 inhibited Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania Bishop Charles Bennison from all ordained ministry pending a judgment of the Court for the Trial of a Bishop.
The Title IV Review Committee issued a presentment for conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy against Bennison on October 28.

The two counts of the presentment center on accusations that Bennison, when he was rector of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Upland, California, did not respond properly after learning sometime in 1973 that his brother, John, who worked as a lay youth minister in the parish, was having an affair with a 14-year-old member of the youth group. John Bennison was also married at the time, according to the presentment.

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

The Full Text of Bishop Sandy Millar's Sermon at the Installation of the Rev. Tory Baucum

I don’t need to remind you that there is a war on for the very soul of the Church. But your courage, if I may say this, humbly, and your steadfastness in the face of a new and speciously sophisticated manifestation of evil has won you many admirers all over the world.
And now I want to suggest to you ”“ it’s time to GO FOR IT. To put up your sails for the wind of the Spirit is blowing. Look after each other, look after Tory and Elizabeth, that family; and Tory and Elizabeth, look after them.

The wind is blowing, and the Lord’s promise is as real today as ever it was. As far as you can, put the unpleasant things behind you. The Lord is doing a NEW THING do you not see it? There are thousands out there waiting to hear that God loves them. There is a task to be done before the Lord returns. There are millions of people to be touched with that sense of joy and peace and purpose and grace and forgiveness and love which you carry as the messengers for God. But it starts, it continues and it ends with Peter’s cry from the heart ”˜Lord, you know everything’ ”˜You know that I love you’. And Jesus’ kind reply ”˜Feed my sheep’.

Let’s have a moment of quiet if we may and I would love to encourage any of you and each of you in your own way with the Lord to re-dedicate yourselves. Don’t get distracted now, time is short. Re-dedicate yourselves if you’d like to and I’m going to end with a little prayer in which you could do that. Re-dedicate yourselves to the service of God, to the welfare of the Church for whom Jesus is coming back and the glory of God’s name in this place.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, CANA, Church of England (CoE), Church of Uganda, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics

Robin Courtney: Has the Great Commission Gone out of Fashion?

I suspect the best course for our little institution within Christendom is to allow it to implode, which seems to be the course of the recent past and present. If we fall apart, then we can be reformed and changed. To put a theological spin on it, if we die, then we can be resurrected. Perhaps in such a setting our focus would be more upon the message of the gospel than the survival of an institution and power games among varying factions.

What would happen if we had to sell our church real estate and meet in our homes? What would happen if we spent all of our endowments? Suppose the average Sunday attendance continues to decline to one or two people? Can we imagine meeting on Sunday with others and talking about God’s presence and activity in our lives over the past week, rather than about sex? Is it possible to attend church on Sundays and not leave frustrated?

Perhaps The Episcopal Church is due for some time in Babylon. It will be good for us, just as it was for ancient Judaism. Then we can remember the gospel message over the institution. Sunday attendance will remain a problem, but perhaps as a matter of pews that overflow instead of being empty. Then visitors might just stay.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, TEC Conflicts