Daily Archives: November 13, 2007

Chris Seitz: The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion: An Appraisal at a Time of Waiting

In the case of TEC, moreover, the issue is complicated by a polity that seeks to frustrate the maintenance of any stance which views women’s ordination in strict terms of reception, not done-and-dusted acceptance: that is, as an innovation being tested and received – or not. Because TEC has rejected this understanding, and because a PEV (provisional Episcopal visitor) scheme was not adopted, the traditional position has been maintained not across the geographical spectrum (as in the UK; or as in the Communion at large), but in specific dioceses of TEC: dioceses which now feel they have nowhere to go but into zones of special integrity and survivalism – and into the company, though they may not say it too loudly, of those who are chiefly friends of expedience and not of core ”˜catholic’ principle.

I mention this because in TEC, while there may be a general spirit abroad for carving out a special province in the light of theological innovations by ”˜the revisionist majority,’ the number of bishops actually seeking such a solution are relatively few at present (perhaps the three hard-pressed anglo-catholic dioceses; and Pittsburgh). This is because hope still exists on the part of a number of bishops, and of a large number of parishes outside their dioceses, that another way forward is possible. This may be due to not liking what they are seeing-legally, emotionally, morally, practically-when dioceses seek to move out of TEC or otherwise form a new province or structure; it may be for lack of having a clear sense of what to do, for godly or for less salutary reasons; it may have to do with belief in a communion accountability that simply will take more time, at a time when time feels short all the same.

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

C of E Church roofs protected from thieves

The Church of England is striking back against an “epidemic” of thefts from churches by “DNA-proofing” their roofs.

An “explosion” in the number of thefts ”“ from 80 in 2005 to 1,800 already this year ”“ has forced insurers, which have already paid out £6 million this year, into drastic action.

Churches are seen as an ideal target for thieves because of the high copper and lead content in their roofs.

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

Bishops Benitez and Wantland: How Can We Call It Robbery?

It is our contention that reasonable and godly Christian people, through deliberation, and perhaps through a mediation process, can arrive at reasonable solutions that are equitable to all parties, such as possibly leasing, or even selling the property to the congregation that is becoming a part of a different Anglican jurisdiction. Such financial payments, whether through paying on a lease or a mortgage, could at least partly make up for the lost income incurred by the diocese in the departure of most or many in the congregations.

Certainly such a process has to be preferable to what is happening now. What is the merit in TEC and its dioceses, by litigation, driving congregations completely off the properties in which they have at least some interest, requiring them to purchase other properties, and to build anew, with TEC, as it did in 2006, according to the treasurer, spending $900,000 more than was budgeted for such litigation? This does not take into account the resources that the dioceses are expending for this litigation ”” funds that were given by faithful church members for the doing of the business of the church, the winning of more people to Christ, and the planting of new churches.

How does it further the kingdom of God to relegate the smaller remnant congregations that are left after the majority are gone and have vacated the church to those all but empty church buildings? These churches were built for much larger congregations, and the remnant will struggle to maintain them without the ongoing support of their dioceses. And how does it further the kingdom for the dioceses, even if they win all of their litigation, to gain back all but empty church buildings for them to maintain, for the new, smaller congregations? They might even be faced in the future with a financial requirement that they sell the property to someone else.

And who is to blame? One side says it is the other side that has departed from some of the historic teachings of the apostolic Church and the authority of holy scripture. The other side declares that it is those who are walking out of TEC who are to blame. To argue this way is like two young boys arguing after a fight over who started it.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Law & Legal Issues

Irwin M. Stelzer: Economists talk recession

ADD $100 OIL to billions in bank write-offs and it should come as no surprise that the word “recession” is being heard with increased frequency. As is the view that circumstances have combined to neuter the Fed, making it powerless to use its monetary policy weapon to prevent a downturn.

It’s not the write-offs so much as the inability of the chiefs of the major banks to come close to estimating the magnitude of the problem. In “Evita” Juan Peron complains that “The knives are out, would-be presidents are all about.” That about describes what is going on in the board rooms of major financial institutions. Stan O’Neill might have survived at Merrill Lynch, and Charles O. (Chuck) Prince III at Citigroup, if their first public estimates of the extent of their firms’ exposure to losses from subprime and related lending had been correct. Or almost correct. It turns out that original reports were massive understatements, leading the boards of these institutions to doubt that the CEOs were in control of events, and the markets to believe that enough shoes to fill Imelda Marcos’ closets have yet to drop. Morgan Stanley is less exposed–estimates are in the $6 billion range, which is small by the standards of Merrill’s $8 billion and Citigroup’s $11 billion (going on $13 billion according to CreditSights Inc.), but enough so that CEO John Mack might just be wondering if he will be able to negotiate a golden goodbye as generous as those pocketed by O’Neill and Prince.

Julian Jessup, chief international economist at Capital Economics expects to see more heads roll. “It looks like it will require a change of management for banks to come clean and admit the full scale of their losses,” he said.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy

Colorado Diocese turns up heat in lawsuit over schism

The Episcopal Diocese of Colorado moved Friday to sue individual parishioners who support the breakaway congregation at Grace Church and St. Stephen’s Parish in Colorado Springs, according to documents filed in El Paso District Court.

The petition asks the court to add 18 people to the diocese’s existing countersuit, which is seeking monetary damages as well as repossession of the church.

The targeted members include everyone on the parish’s governing board as well as the church’s main spokesman, Alan Crippen, and its rector of 20 years, the Rev. Don Armstrong.

The diocese’s action is part of a lawsuit already under way to determine the rightful owner of the historic, multimillion-dollar church property located in the central part of the city.

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

C of E Clerics get classes in conflict management

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

Richmond Times-Dispatch: Episcopal property case goes to trial today

A judge in Fairfax County will hear evidence starting today in the church-property dispute between the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia and a group of congregations that left to affiliate with the Anglican Church of Nigeria.

The case involves 11 Northern Virginia congregations in which the majority of members voted to break with the Episcopal Church — the U.S.-based wing of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

The votes occurred because of disagreements about what one of the group’s leaders called the Episcopal Church’s “blatant rejection of the authority of Scripture.” The consecration of an openly gay bishop in New Hampshire in 2003 brought the disagreements to a boiling point.

“That made us take a look at what was going on — and we were appalled,” said Jim Oakes, vice-chairman of the Anglican District of Virginia, which formed to unite the breakaway congregations and others with similar beliefs. “What that told us was we couldn’t even agree on the ground rules for discussing the issue.”

The Anglican District of Virginia belongs to a larger organization called the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, which describes itself as a missionary branch of the Church of Nigeria.

After the votes, the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Virginia filed suit to retain the property occupied by the departing congregations. Their stance is that “Episcopal Church property, while held by local trustees, is held in trust for the benefit of the Episcopal Church, the Diocese of Virginia and Episcopalians throughout the generations,” according to a statement from the diocese.

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

Fr. David Handy – "Five Reasons Why a New Reformation is Necessary"

His five arguments are:

–Present Anglican polity has severe design flaws.
–Our doctrinal boundaries are too vague.
–Current “Instruments of Communion” are not up to current challenges.
–Liturgical chaos prevents unity.
–Doctrine trumps polity and Scripture trumps tradition, not vice versa.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, Anglican Identity, Episcopal Church (TEC), Instruments of Unity, TEC Conflicts

Gary Hamel: What Does the Future of Management Look Like to You?

Here are some representative answers to our question. You can also add your own thoughts here.

“Centralized management structure will seem most antiquated as the speed of business will continue to accelerate companies that thrive will be unencumbered with the command/control ways of the past.”

“The need for large, expensive & highly trained information technology departments will have disappeared because reliable, robust & highly configurable solutions will be available via the Internet.”

“Structural characteristics—already we are seeing the dissolution of almost any defined form (certainly any fixed form) reflected in network analyses that illuminate the real, or necessary, paths of process flows and communications, and the essential ongoing art of ad hoc organization.”

“Hierarchies with people called superiors will be perceived as antiquated given that most of the connections that are important to business (ie customer contact…) are in the hands of what we today imply are inferiors!”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy

Sign Of Times: NJ School Cameras Fed Live To Cops

Surveillance cameras rolling inside our local schools is nothing new, but what’s taking place inside Demarest’s public schools is truly cutting edge: a live feed from more than two dozen cameras with a direct connection to the police.

It’s an expensive, but effective tool that could be a sign of the times with an increase in school shootings over the years.

The system, which cost about $28,000, can even track movement in a crowded room.

“When they arrive, they can pull up the school’s live feed and do a sweep instantly,” Demarest Police Chief James Powderley tells CBS 2.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education

A 60 Minutes Report on the Millenials

Morley Safer reports on the new generation of “millennials.” They are in their late teens to early twenties and could be ill prepared for a demanding workplace.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Young Adults

Financial Times: Credit crisis spreading to commercial mortgage market

Citing data from Commercial Mortgage Alert, a trade publication, the FT reports that issuance of US commercial-mortgage-backed securities fell to $6.3B in October, down 84% from a record $38.5B in March. The paper adds the sharp contraction is particularly of concern when considering that these securities have provided an estimated 40%-60% of funding for new commercial property purchases in recent years. According to the article, Moody’s index of commercial real estate prices is expected to reveal that prices leveled off or even fell in September, after rising 14% in the 12 months through August. In addition, the FT points out that RBS Greenwich Capital is predicting that US commercial property prices will fall 10%-15% next year. The article goes on to note that the upheaval in the credit markets is also raising the cost of commercial mortgage borrowing, as the spread on AAA-rated CMBS has more than doubled since June, reaching its highest level since Oct-98.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy

A Letter from Bishop Jack Iker to the Presiding Bishop

It is highly inappropriate for you to attempt to interfere in the internal life of this diocese as we prayerfully prepare to gather in Convention. The threatening tone of your open letter makes no attempt to promote reconciliation, mediation, or even dialogue about our profound theological differences. Instead, it appears designed to intimidate our delegates and me, in an attempt to deter us from taking any action that opposes the direction in which you are leading our Church. It is deeply troubling that you would have me prevent the clergy and laity of this diocese from openly discussing our future place in the life of the wider Anglican Communion, as we debate a variety of proposals. As you well know, the polity of this Church requires the full participation of the clergy and lay orders, not just bishops, in the decision making process. It grieves me that as the Presiding Bishop you would misuse your office in an attempt to intimidate and manipulate this diocese.

While I do not wish to meet antagonism with antagonism, I must remind you that 25 years ago this month, the newly formed Diocese of Fort Worth voluntarily voted to enter into union with the General Convention of the Episcopal Church. If circumstances warrant it, we can likewise, by voluntary vote, terminate that relationship. Your aggressive, dictatorial posturing has no place in that decision. Sadly, however, your missive will now be one of the factors that our Convention will consider as we determine the future course of this diocese for the next 25 years and beyond, under God’s grace and guidance.

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

From NBC: A Veteran finally goes to College in his 90's

Nov. 11: Some 70 years after he first joined the Army — and after fighting in Vietnam and Korea — Harold Dinzes is fulfilling his dream and going to college. NBC’s Contessa Brewer reports.

See the link under “A Veteran Student” on the top right.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Military / Armed Forces

Telegraph: Women priests and their continuing battle

When the Rev Dr Jennifer Cooper was ordained at Bristol Cathedral a month ago, it was a moment of uncomplicated joy. “I was overwhelmed to be surrounded by so many people, sharing in this very powerful moment,” she says. “I was finally going to fulfil my calling.”

On the surface, few ceremonies could offer more hope to a Church of England fighting for survival than an ordination. It is a sign of new life, at a time when Sunday attendance threatens to dip below a million.

And, since the ordination of women was approved exactly 15 years ago tomorrow, their presence is now taken for granted: more than 2,000 out of 9,500 Anglican clergy are women, as are almost half of trainee priests. And yet no issue has divided the Church so violently in recent times as that of women priests.

From the moment it became a reality, after a vote of the General Synod in November 1992, there was talk of schism and threats of an exodus to Rome. “This is the death of the Church,” concluded one opponent. “You can no more ordain a woman than a pork pie,” suggested another.

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