Daily Archives: December 13, 2007

Northern Florida Anglicans forestall effort by the Episcopal Diocese to evict them

Reed Dearing of Macclenny put senior St. Peter’s warden Sue Krall, also of Macclenny, on notice that it must vacate the property after services on Sunday. Mr. Dearing, a former local credit union executive and longtime Jacksonville area banker, said he would collect the keys and conduct an inventory ”” and that he was acting on authority of Bishop Johnson Howard.

“We obviously declined the ”˜request’ to take leave of the property at this time and in fact asked the Sheriff’s Office to watch the church building and prevent anyone from unlawfully entering without our permission,” said Ms. Krall in a memo this week to church members.

She characterized the “18-hour notice to depart” by Mr. Dearing as “less than gracious and certainly not in the spirit of working with fellow Christians…”

Ms. Krall termed Mr. Dearing’s ultimatum a surprise in light of a recent meeting with the diocese chancellor during which St. Peter’s sought 3-6 months for “a more planned, organized and reasonable departure.”

Mr. Dearing, for his part, backed off after St. Peter’s deacon Mike Webb requested time to re-set another meeting with the bishop’s representative and perhaps Rev. Howard. He was also confronted by Ms. Krall and Lin Taber of Glen St. Mary, whose family has been longtime members and benefactors of the church under both names.

“I was appalled it was carried out the way it was,” said Mr. Taber. “We want a reasonable amount of time and we still hadn’t heard anything official [from the Episcopal diocese] about vacating.”

The Episcopal church is one of the oldest denominations in Baker County, and before the Yellow Fever epidemic in the 1880s had a very prominent presence here. The former St. James was constructed about 50 years ago, though the property was deeded to the church in 1941.

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

Australian Anglican leader condemns Israeli incursion

Australia’s Anglican Primate, Phillip Aspinall, spoke to AM in Jerusalem’s Old City.

PHILLIP ASPINALL: We’ve met with Israeli leaders and we understand their concerns. I mean, where there are acts of violence and terrorism, it does make them want to secure their own lives.

Our concern is that in doing so, they don’t then oppress another group of people and behave in an inhumane way to another group. And I think the wall and some of the restrictions that are imposed on Palestinians do have those inhumane effects.

DAVID HARDAKER: So do you believe the Israeli justification for security is actually fair here?

PHILLIP ASPINALL: I think that’s a very difficult judgement to make. But I think if steps are taken which then lead to great frustration and feelings of being pressured and hemmed in and oppressed on the part of another group of people, that may well have the effect of leading to more anger and more frustration and more violence.

TONY EASTLEY: The leader of the Anglican Church in Australia, Archbishop Phillip Aspinall, ending David Hardaker’s report.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Israel, Middle East

Markets Still Uneasy After Loan Plan for Banks

Economists and market specialists say policy makers are trying to reassure bankers that they will stand firm as the lenders of last resort. The coordinated action is being led by the Fed, which will lend $40 billion this month. The European Central Bank, the Bank of England, the Swiss National Bank and the Bank of Canada will lend $50.2 billion this month and next.

“This is basically a reinsurance policy,” said William H. Gross, chief investment officer of the bond management firm Pimco. Central bankers “are saying, ”˜We will stand behind you.’ “

He added, “Now it’s up to the private market to gain a little confidence and turn a little macho and start performing on its own.”

Fed officials said that the move was an effort to improve financial markets, not a response to problems at specific banks, and that it was in the works well before investors reacted negatively to the Fed’s modest interest rate cut on Tuesday.

“This is not about particular financial institutions with particular problems,” a senior Fed official told reporters. “It is about market functioning.”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Stock Market

Harvard to Aid Students High in Middle Class

Harvard University announced on Monday that it would significantly increase the financial aid it offered to middle-class and upper-middle-class students, seeking to allay concerns that elite colleges are becoming too expensive for even relatively well-off families.

The move, to go into effect in the next school year, appears to make Harvard’s aid to students with household incomes from $120,000 to $180,000 the most generous of any of the country’s prestigious private universities. Harvard will generally charge such students 10 percent of their family household income per year, substantially subsidizing the annual cost of more than $45,600.

Officials said the policy would cut costs by a third to 50 percent for many students and make the real costs of attending Harvard comparable to those at major state universities.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education

Rector Defends Astrology Workshop

The Rev. Peter Strimer, rector of St. Andrew’s Church, said that everyone from all religious backgrounds are welcome at St. Andrew’s, including traditional Anglicans. He said he has previously referred people to Dan Keusal, the licensed counselor and astrologer in private practice who is leading the workshop, with good results. Mr. Keusal holds a degree in theology from the University of Notre Dame and worked for years as a parish and campus minister.

“Of the 35 people signed up for the class, nearly half have not been in our church or any church before,” Fr. Strimer said. “We are using Raymond Brown’s The Birth of the Messiah.” Fr. Strimer described the course as “a fun, captivating approach to the Christmas story” which draws upon Mr. Keusal’s training in Roman Catholicism and astrology.

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

Some Local san Joaquin church members want to "Remain Episcopal"

This group believes the split may actually be a good thing, for group member Michael Gardner breaking away means saying goodbye to archaic thinking. Gardner says, “lets continue what the real tradition of the church not something that is 40 years old and hasn’t grown.” Other members of “Remain Episcopal” say they are offended by the misconceptions put forth by the San Joaquin Diocese. For example, Jan Dunlap, says the diocese often accuses the Episcopal Church of ignoring the Holy Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, which she says just isn’t true. Dunlap reminds the other side that “every episcopalian says the Nicene creed and were not crossing our fingers.”

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

ENS: Continuing Episcopalians making plans to reconstitute Diocese of San Joaquin

Local leaders, along with those from the wider church, are already making plans for the continuation of the Diocese of San Joaquin following a vote to disassociate from the Episcopal Church.
Michael Glass, a San Rafael, California-based attorney who represents congregations and individual Episcopalians who wish to remain in the Episcopal Church, told Episcopal News Service (ENS) December 11 that he, local leaders, Chancellor to the Presiding Bishop David Booth Beers, and leaders from Episcopal dioceses surrounding San Joaquin “are coming together very soon to finalize our coordinated efforts to provide for the leadership needs, the legal and pastoral issues, and the financial concerns of our brothers and sisters in San Joaquin, and to provide for the continuation of the diocese.”

The Rev. Robert Moore will meet with the group as well. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori appointed Moore “to provide an ongoing pastoral presence to the continuing Episcopalians in the Diocese of San Joaquin,” said the Rev. Charles Robertson, canon to the Presiding Bishop.

Moore is the husband of Bishop Suffragan Bavi Edna “Nedi” Rivera of Olympia, the daughter of San Joaquin Bishop John-David Schofield’s predecessor, Bishop Victor Rivera.

“The Presiding Bishop wants the people of San Joaquin to be assured of her prayers and also of her support in the coming days,” Robertson said.

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

Richard Kew: The View from the Bleachers

When you have an opportunity to stand back from what is going on, you are better able to see all the players in action, and it is a little easier to measure their play against a common set of reference points. Quite honestly, it seems to me that denial of the realities is standard at both ends of the spectrum. The voices of those who ally themselves with the “establishment” and the National Church seem as determined to read the situation through their own set of colored lenses as those at the other end of spectrum to put their own spin on the realities. While those who want everyone to kiss and make up are more sentimental than realistic.

If Kevin Martin is correct, and I think he has been fairer in his analysis of what is going on than most, then for those who continue as part of the Episcopal Church a crunch point is fast approaching when declining numbers and funds will no longer be capable of upholding the infrastructure that presently exists. You might have been able to say until now that its only a relatively small number of parishes that are causing all this upset and, by and large, other than them everything is fine and dandy, but it is no longer just parishes heading for the exit. When dioceses start doing the same then you have to change your tune.

But then, those who are conservative, orthodox, or whatever other label you want to give them, have their own blinkers on when it comes to looking at the realities. It might be a wonderful sense of relief for those leaving to get out from under the antagonistic leadership of the Episcopal Church, but it is incredibly hard and grueling work to create a whole new infrastructure in which to be church. Having been at the front end of a number of new ventures in my time, I know from personal experience the grinding agony of having limited financial resources, relatively little land or property, and how incapacitating it can be to do pioneer work after you have got over the euphoria of getting the new ministry (or whatever) up and started. It requires guts and a special mix of gifts to be a pioneer.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, CANA, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Departing Parishes

Melbourne Dean gets key Vatican post

Melbourne’s Anglican dean has been appointed the worldwide church’s top diplomat, representing the Archbishop of Canterbury at the Vatican.

David Richardson, dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, said yesterday his job would be to interpret Anglicans to the Roman Catholic Church and relay what was going on in the Vatican to fellow Anglicans.

He will take up the post next April, at a time when Rome’s enthusiasm for improving ties seems to have cooled. Both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI put most of their ecumenical energy into Eastern Orthodox churches. Benedict said in July that Protestant denominations could not properly call themselves “churches”.

Dean Richardson, 61, said there had been “hesitations in the conversation” between the churches because the American church consecrated a bishop in a gay relationship and because of women priests.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

Roger Cohen: The Euro-American religious divide

Of course, the religious heritage of which Romney spoke is profound. The Puritans’ vision of “a city upon a hill” in America serving as a beacon to humanity was based on a “covenant” with God. As the Bill of Rights was formulated, George Washington issued his Thanksgiving Proclamation alluding to “that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be.”

But if religion informed America’s formation, its distancing from the political sphere was decisive to the republic’s resilience. Indeed, the devastating European experience of religious war and intolerance played an important role in the founders’ thinking. Seen against this backdrop, Romney’s speech and the society it reflects is far more troubling than Europe’s empty cathedrals.

Romney allows no place in the United States for atheists, who do not merit a mention. He opines that “Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom,” yet secular Sweden is free while religious Iran is not.

He shows a Wikipedia-level appreciation of other religions – admiring “the commitment to frequent prayer of the Muslims” and “the ancient traditions of the Jews” – that suggests his innermost conviction of what America’s true religion is. In all, masked beneath professions of tolerance, a faith-first Christian vision emerges.

Romney rejected the “religion of secularism,” of which Europe is on the whole proud. But he should consider that Washington is well worth a Mass. The fires of the Reformation that destroyed St. Andrews Cathedral are fires of faith that endure in different forms. Jefferson’s “wall of separation” must be restored if those who would destroy the West’s Enlightenment values are to be defeated.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Europe, Religion & Culture

"w00t" crowned word of year by U.S. dictionary

“w00t,” an expression of joy coined by online gamers, was crowned word of the year on Tuesday by the publisher of a leading U.S. dictionary.

Massachusetts-based Merriam-Webster Inc. said “w00t” — typically spelled with two zeros — reflects a new direction in the American language led by a generation raised on video games and cell phone text-messaging.

It’s like saying “yay,” the dictionary said.

“It could be after a triumph or for no reason at all,” Merriam-Webster said.

Visitors to Merriam-Webster’s Web site were invited to vote for one of 20 words and phrases culled from the most frequently looked-up words on the site and submitted by readers.

Runner-up was “facebook” as a new verb meaning to add someone to a list of friends on the Web site Facebook.com or to search for people on the social networking site.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Poetry & Literature

Archbishop Rowan Williams: 'I like my job – except the political bits'

Asked about his support for gay clergy, he replied: “I have no problem with gay clergy who aren’t in relationships, although there are savage arguments about the issue you might have heard about. Our jobs mean we have to adhere to the Bible. Gay clergy who don’t act upon their sexual preferences do, clergy in practising homo-sexual relationships don’t. This major question doesn’t have a quick-fix solution and I imagine will be debated for many years to come.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury

CANA split on issue of women priests

But how that passion will relate to women’s rights within the church remains to be seen.

Although Minns told those assembled that “there is no person outside the reach of God’s love,” he also informed them that, “At this time the Church of Nigeria, to which we owe canonical obedience, has no provision for the ordination of women, although there has been acceptance of women in the order of deacons.”

The Episcopal Church has allowed for the ordination of women since its 1976 General Convention but Minns said that CANA, which currently numbers about 60 congregations with over 100 clergy in 20 states with a total average Sunday attendance of approximately 8,600 ”“ larger than 70 percent of the dioceses in the Episcopal Church ”“ is currently split on the issue.

The four new bishops consecrated on Sunday were all male.

“I am fully aware that this is a topic of concern for many clergy and congregations throughout CANA and one that produces intense reactions,” Minns said Thursday.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, CANA

Romney Slams Huckabee's "Attack" On Faith

Republican Mitt Romney retorted to questions about his faith by surging rival Mike Huckabee on Wednesday, declaring that “attacking someone’s religion is really going too far.”

In an article to be published Sunday in The New York Times, Huckabee, an ordained Southern Baptist minister, asks, “Don’t Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?”

Romney, vying to become the first Mormon elected president, declined to answer that question during an interview Wednesday, saying church leaders in Salt Lake City had already addressed the topic.

“But I think attacking someone’s religion is really going too far. It’s just not the American way, and I think people will reject that,” Romney told NBC’s “Today” show.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Religion & Culture, US Presidential Election 2008

Roman Catholic bishops order 'Golden Compass' review off Web site

Days after its publication, a largely positive review of The Golden Compass that appeared in Catholic newspapers across the country was retracted this week by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The bishops, who could not be reached for comment, offered no explanation for the decision. But Catholic groups, including the conservative Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, have urged moviegoers to boycott the film, saying the film and the book on which it is based are anti-Catholic.

“Certainly, there was all kinds of speculation from the day it went up [on the Web site] as to whether or not something like this would happen,” said Jim Lackey, general news editor for the Catholic News Service, a wire service run by the bishops’ conference. He was told Monday to remove the review from the service’s Web site.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Movies & Television, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic