Daily Archives: November 18, 2007

NY Times–My Genome, Myself: Seeking Clues in DNA

The exploration of the human genome has long been relegated to elite scientists in research laboratories. But that is about to change. An infant industry is capitalizing on the plunging cost of genetic testing technology to offer any individual unprecedented ”” and unmediated ”” entree to their own DNA.

For as little as $1,000 and a saliva sample, customers will be able to learn what is known so far about how the billions of bits in their biological code shape who they are. Three companies have already announced plans to market such services, one yesterday.

Offered the chance to be among the early testers, I agreed, but not without reservations. What if I learned I was likely to die young? Or that I might have passed on a rogue gene to my daughter? And more pragmatically, what if an insurance company or an employer used such information against me in the future?

Read it all from the front page of yesterday’s paper.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine, Life Ethics, Science & Technology

Toronto Star: Niagara Anglicans okay 'local option' on same sex unions

A seismic shift in the way Canadian Anglicans are treating same-sex blessings has made its way to the Diocese of Niagara.

In a historic weekend vote, Anglicans in the diocese moved overwhelmingly to adopt the so-called local option, allowing clergy “whose conscience permits” to bless the marriages of gays and lesbians.

The Right Rev. Ralph Spence said he will allow same-sex blessings in the Niagara diocese, which includes Hamilton, Burlington and Guelph as well as the Niagara Region, once a protocol has been worked out.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces

Fort Worth Episcopal diocese takes step to cut ties

Delegates to the Fort Worth Episcopal Diocese’s annual convention took the first step Saturday to cut ties to the Episcopal Church, a move driven in part by the diocese’s opposition to the ordination of women and gay men and the blessing of same-sex unions.

More than 200 clergy and lay delegates voted at the Will Rogers Memorial Center, with an overwhelming majority rejecting on first reading an amendment assenting to the authority of the Episcopal Church.

The church’s 2.1 million members constitute the U.S. body of the Anglican Communion, but the national church has taken more liberal stances than the worldwide communion in the past 30 years.

Delegates also adopted on first reading an amendment affirming membership with the Anglican Communion, which has 75 million members.

They rejected on first reading an amendment stating that church and mission property within the 24-county diocese are held in trust for the Episcopal Church. Fort Worth Bishop Jack Iker and his followers say property owned by parishes and missions is held in trust for the diocese through a corporation.

Read it all.

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

Notable and Quotable

I always feel like …[we are] on the front lines, and we’re in combat, and we’re receiving fire and returning fire. And we’re running out of bullets, and we’re running out of guns, and we’re running out of food, and we’re running out of water. And supply lines had better advance.

You need to guess the context and identity of the speaker before you look.

Posted in * General Interest, Notable & Quotable

Andrew Brown: Rowan Williams is Falling off the fence

If you balance your episcopal throne on the fence, you will look rather silly when the fence is knocked down. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams looks silly all right as he contemplates the collapse of the boundaries that structured the Anglican communion, the group of notionally 80 million (actually, perhaps 50 million) Christians that he notionally leads and actually just exhorts, like a rugby referee without a whistle whom the scrum ignores. But looking silly is not his most serious problem.

Two statements by conservative primates in Africa and South America have made it clear that they mean to continue with the policy of planting and extending their churches in the US. The Americans, meanwhile, though they are for the moment prepared not to elect any more open, practising gays as bishops, certainly don’t think they were wrong to do so before and reserve the right to do so in the future.

Read it all.

I will consider posting comments on this article submitted by email only to Kendall’s E-mail: KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Dennett Buettner Responds to Jerry Bowyers

From here:

Jerry Bowyer thinks conservative Episcopalians in Pittsburgh are disobeying God by taking steps to leave the national Episcopal Church. Mr. Bowyer’s commentary last Sunday ( “The Pittsburgh Schism,” Forum) suffers from selective amnesia of certain facts salient to the position of the Diocese of Pittsburgh majority.
Mr. Bowyer misses the point repeatedly made by Bishop Robert Duncan. The Diocese of Pittsburgh is going nowhere. We are, have been and will remain a constituent member of the worldwide Anglican Communion, a church that is not hierarchical “all the way up.” Clergy do vow obedience to their bishop; bishops, however, make no such pledge to other bishops but instead are to be in free and affectionate communion with each other and their people. More than half of Anglican bishops worldwide have declared themselves to be in broken or impaired relationship with the Episcopal Church. It is the Episcopal Church, not the Diocese of Pittsburgh, that is schismatic.
In further accusing conservatives of litigiousness contrary to the biblical injunction against suing in the secular courts, Mr. Bowyer conveniently overlooks the reality that of the two contestants in any litigation, only one appears voluntarily. The Diocese of Pittsburgh, for instance, is involved in litigation over its property — brought, against its will, by one of its liberal member parishes. It is those initiating litigation, not conservative Episcopalians, who are disobeying the biblical commandment.
Mr. Bowyer would do well to inform himself more thoroughly concerning the merits before using his public persona to attempt to discredit a movement with which he says he largely agrees.


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

Hockey Knight in Canada

The man is a real hero.

Update: There is more here also.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports

Barbara Held: A Positive Outlook Is Overrated

Many Americans insist that everyone have a positive attitude, even when the going gets rough. From the self-help bookshelves to the Complaint-Free World Movement, the power of positive thinking is touted now more than ever as the way to be happy, healthy, wealthy and wise.

The problem is that this demand for good cheer brings with it a one-two punch for those of us who cannot cope in that way: First you feel bad about whatever’s getting you down, then you feel guilty or defective if you can’t smile and look on the bright side. And I’m not even sure there always is a bright side to look on.

I believe that there is no one right way to cope with all of the pain of living. As an academic psychologist, I know that people have different temperaments, and if we are prevented from coping in our own way, be it “positive” or “negative,” we function less well.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Psychology

In Arizona Former Episcopalians form Anglican church

Marie Manor was a “cradle” Episcopalian. The Scottsdale woman was born into an Episcopal family, but she said today’s Episcopal Church is not the one she was raised in, that it has moved away from historical truths about the authority of Holy Scripture and the divinity of Christ. So, she and her family have defected.

They are part of about 175 who left en masse from Christ Church of the Ascension Episcopal Church in Paradise Valley and last month started Christ Church Anglican, which now meets in a rented church building in Phoenix. They formed their first vestry, or 12-member church board, Tuesday night.

They represent about 40 percent of the average weekly attendance of about 420 at the historic Paradise Valley church where the late U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater had donated the land for the church, regularly worshipped and where his remains are buried, said Jane Allred, who handles the new church’s communications. Bishop Kirk Smith, head of the Episcopal Diocese of Arizona, disputes those numbers, saying it was a “small group of about 75 people out of a 1,000-member parish” who left in what he calls a “drastic step.”

Allred sticks to her numbers and said other Episcopalians from Phoenix and Scottsdale churches, plus some Lutherans and Catholics, have joined since their first service on Oct. 7.

The 2.1 million-member mainline denomination has seen a wave of departures for Anglican communities, citing actions by the House of Bishops to allow gay Episcopal bishops and same-sex union blessings. They say the American church contrasts with other parts of the global Anglican Communion, where, they say, tradition and adherence to Scripture remain strong. The Episcopal Church has experienced a 9 percent loss in membership since 1996.

Read it all.

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

Floyd Norris: As Bank Profits Grew, Warning Signs Went Unheeded

We should have known something was strange. The banks were doing a lot better than they should have been doing.

When the history of the financial excesses of this decade is written, that will be a verdict of financial historians. There were signs that banks were either lying about their results or were taking large risks that were not fully disclosed, but investors were oblivious.

What were the signs? Consider how banks make money. They pay low rates on short-term deposits and charge higher rates on long-term loans. So they love what are known as positively sloped yield curves. And they like to see big credit spreads, where risky borrowers are charged much more than safe ones. Put them together, and banks should clean up.

By that light, nothing was going right in 2006 and early this year. The yield curve was inverted, or at best flat. And credit spreads were at historic lows. Risky loans, whether to subprime mortgage borrowers or junk-rated corporations, were readily available at rates that seemed to assume there was only the slightest risk of default.

And yet the bank stocks were buoyant, and so were reported profits.

“We should have been suspicious from the get-go,” said Robert A. Barbera, the chief economist of ITG. “There was financial alchemy at work.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy

Results of Today's Fort Worth Convention

Via email from a participant:

I’m not sure where I can post this, but here are the results of the various votes at Convention today, where I was a delegate: we basically approved all the constitutional amendments put forward by the Diocese (its Committee on Constitution and Canons), by a majority of about 80% in each case. In more

Article 1, Authority of Gen Con, amendment to repeal to qualification to the accession clause, was defeated by 83% of clergy, 80% of lay delegates (71 and 99 votes respectively).

Article 14, Title to Church Property, amendment to say all property is held in trust for TEC, defeated by 88% of clergy, 87% lay (75,107).

Preamble, removal of reference to TEC and geographical boundaries, adopted by 83% clergy, 79% lay (71, 97 votes).

Article 1, Anglican Identity, instead of accession to TEC, approved by 83% clergy, 77% lay (69, 95 votes).

Art. 12, Delegates to Extra-Diocesan Conventions or Synods, approved by 83% clergy, 80% lay (69, 98 votes).

Art. 18, Canons, removing “consistent with Constitution and Canons of TEC”, approved by 83% clergy, 78% lay (69, 96 votes).

We also approved by 88% clergy, 82% lay to amend our Canon 32, Controversy between rector and vestry, to add controversies between a parish and the diocese, to provide an amicable way for a parish to leave the diocese.

We also approved a resolution to express our thanks for the welcome extended by Southern Cone, and asking our Bishop and Standing Committee to create a report on the implications and means of accepting such an invitation. And a resolution thanking the Panel of Reference for its report about the permissive rather than mandatory nature of ordination of women.

Update: An ENS report is here.

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

Niagara diocese approves blessings for noncelibate gay couples; bishop assents

The southern Ontario diocese of Niagara, meeting at its annual synod, on Nov. 17 voted to allow civilly-married gay couples, “where at least one party is baptized,” to receive a church blessing.

Bishop Ralph Spence, who had refused to implement a similar vote three years ago, this time gave his assent, making Niagara the third diocese since the June General Synod convention to accept same-sex blessings.

Of the 294 clergy and lay delegates, 239 voted yes, 53 said no and two abstained. In 2003, out of 319 delegates, 213 voted yes and 106 said no.

Read it all.

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

A Big Weekend for Sports in the LowCountry

First, the local high school football team, which some of you may remember started their season with a big loss televised on ESPN, won huge in the playoffs and is headed to the state semifinals. Second, the College of Charleston basketball team overcame a 25 point first half deficit to Temple to win and achieve the biggest comeback in C of C history.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports

Congratulations to the Bowdoin Women's Field Hockey Team

The Bowdoin College field hockey team completed the seventh perfect season in Division III history, capturing the school’s first-ever NCAA Championship with an 4-3 victory over Middlebury on Saturday at Ursinus College.

Wow. Great stuff.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports

The Niagara Discussion and Vote on the Same Sex Union Resolution

Request by three members to vote by clergy and laity – granted
Vote on Motion CLERGY:
In favour: 82
Vote on Motion: LAITY
In favour: 157
Abstained: 2
Motion carried – by 81% of combined houses 18% opposed.
Bishop Comments: He and Michael will discuss this with the primate later today. Implementation will be looked at in the days ahead.

Read it all.

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