Daily Archives: December 22, 2007

On a Personal Note

I am on my way to Lake George to go and get my Dad, Stuart Harmon, and then bring him back to South Carolina tomorrow. My brother Randy and his wife Barbara are driving down tomorrow to join us all in Summerville for Christmas–KSH.

Update: my first flight is delayed (say you are surprised).

Posted in * By Kendall

ACI–The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Advent Letter of 2007 and Its Communion Signifiance

The Archbishop himself acknowledges the need to find a way for those within TEC who support the direction marked out by the Windsor Report to differentiate themselves from the present leadership of their church. At present both they and the Communion are faced with a bad choice, namely, between the forces represented by the National Headquarters of TEC and those represented by Common Cause Partners. The clear implication of the Advent Letter and the Dar es Salaam Communiqué is that a solution to the issue of differentiation internal to TEC is the proper way forward. It is urgent that an American solution to an American problem be found. It is our hope that the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Presiding Bishops of TEC and the leaders of the Windsor Bishops will devote their energies to this issue and find a mutually acceptable solution with all deliberate speed. We fear that if no such action is taken both TEC and the Communion as a whole will be faced with a battle between opposing forces that may well simply tear fabric of our communion apart.

The Anglican Communion Institute is frequently criticized for providing no ”˜practical solution’ for those struggling at this time. We take this opportunity””in the context of an Advent Pastoral that seriously confronts the problems with TEC as a recognizable family member in Communion””to underscore that work continues unabated on our part to see to the emergence of a meaningful, Communion aligned, Windsor alliance of Anglican Bishops in Communion. We believe the Advent Pastoral underscores the necessity of such work and the hopefulness that should attend it. We pledge our continued work to this end, in cooperation with others, and contend that a recognizable Communion presence is indeed available for encouragement in connection with the wider Anglican family, especially at this present moment when TEC as a whole is undergoing such a tremendous challenge of identity and Communion forbearance.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Identity, Anglican Primates, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Primates Mtg Dar es Salaam, Feb 2007, TEC Conflicts, Theology

Why the Church in Wales should support the Anglican covenant

An interesting read.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Provinces, Church of Wales

An Episcopal Church Advertisement Running in this Season in the LA Times

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

Bob Herbert: Nightmare Before Christmas

Christmastime is bonus time on Wall Street, and the Gucci set has been blessed with another record harvest.

Forget the turbulence in the financial markets and the subprime debacle. Forget the dark clouds of a possible recession. Bloomberg News tells us that the top securities firms are handing out nearly $38 billion in seasonal bonuses, the highest total ever.

But there’s a reason to temper the celebration, if only out of respect for an old friend who’s not doing too well. Even as the Wall Streeters are high-fiving and ordering up record shipments of Champagne and caviar, the American dream is on life-support.

I had a conversation the other day with Andrew Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union. He mentioned a poll of working families that had shown that their belief in that mythical dream that has sustained so many generations for so long is fading faster than sunlight on a December afternoon.

The poll, conducted by Lake Research Partners for the Change to Win labor federation, found that only 16 percent of respondents believed that their children’s generation would be better off financially than their own. While some respondents believed that the next generation would fare roughly the same as this one, nearly 50 percent held the exceedingly gloomy view that today’s children would be “worse off” when the time comes for them to enter the world of work and raise their own families.

That absence of optimism is positively un-American.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, Psychology

The AP Top ten News Stories for 2007

Take a guess at what you think they are before you look.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Media

Fliers Fed Up? Airline Employees Feel the Same

And you thought the passengers were mad.

Airline employees are fed up, too ”” with pay cuts, increased workloads and management’s miserly ways, which leave workers to explain to often-enraged passengers why flying has become such a miserable experience.

A rich record of the employee discontent emerges from regular question-and-answer sessions held at US Airways, which is both the worst-performing big airline in the country and a company that encourages its 36,000 workers to direct tough questions at its chief executive, W. Douglas Parker.

“Doug, I watched you on CNBC today,” said one e-mail message from a worker, sent on Oct. 25. “And I hate to tell you but the interiors of our plans [sic] smell bad and they are filthy. As an employee I am embarrassed to admit working for US Airways. When are you going to quit talking and do something about it?”

The rancor is not any worse at US Airways than at most other big carriers. What is different is that Mr. Parker, 46, subscribes to the let-it-all-hang-out school of employee relations. He says management learns a lot about how the airline is actually performing through an uncensored give-and-take ”” and he willingly provided transcripts of the Q. and A. sessions.

The brawling dialogue does, however, suggest that airline service might get worse before it gets better. The current US Airways is a result of the most recent big airline merger, with America West Airlines in 2005. Mr. Parker tried unsuccessfully to acquire Delta Air Lines a year ago. Now, other airlines are mulling mergers as a way of cutting costs to offset high fuel expenses. Such deals could start a broader service decline.

In recent months, US Airways had the worst record for on-time flights and misplaced bags among the major airlines and it piled up the most customer complaints at the Transportation Department.

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

Tony Blair joins the Roman Catholic Church

Mr Blair was received into full communion with the Catholic Church during Mass at Archbishop’s House, Westminster, on Friday.

Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, who is the head of Catholics in England and Wales, said: “I am very glad to welcome Tony Blair into the Catholic Church.

“For a long time he has been a regular worshipper at Mass with his family and in recent months he has been following a programme of formation to prepare for his reception into full communion.

“My prayers are with him, his wife and family at this joyful moment in their journey of faith together.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, leader of the Anglican church, wished the former prime minister well in his spiritual journey.

He said: “Tony Blair has my prayers and good wishes as he takes this step in his Christian pilgrimage.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Huckabee's Faith-Based Views Find Critics, Fans in Both Parties

When the idea for a proclamation declaring Christian Heritage Week came up in 1994, Jim Guy Tucker, the Democratic governor of Arkansas, would not sign it. His aides said he did not think it was appropriate to honor a particular faith.

But when Tucker went out of town for a week and Republican Lt. Gov. Mike Huckabee became the acting chief executive, the Baptist minister enthusiastically signed the proclamation, declaring at a later celebration that he was taking a stand against “Christophobia.”

“It’s a new word. I just made it up,” Huckabee said, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. “Some people talk about homophobia; I’ve been hearing Christophobia.”

Other executives have signed similar proclamations, but in Huckabee’s case his aggressive, in-your-face efforts for the symbolic cause exemplify the central role his religious beliefs played in setting policy in Arkansas, first as lieutenant governor and then as governor.

Huckabee’s moral certainty revealed a public official quite different from the affable, folksy campaigner who describes himself as a conservative, but one who is “not angry about it.” His decisions have opened him to criticism from the left and the right, as liberals and conservatives have complained that his religious devotion has clouded good judgment.

His detractors point to a governor who became indignant at criticism of his personal behavior, particularly after it was disclosed that he had accepted tens of thousands of dollars in gifts from supporters. And they say his views resulted in petty conflicts over matters such as Christian Heritage Week or his refusal to sign a disaster relief bill until legislators removed the words “acts of God” to describe tornadoes because Huckabee argued that God was protecting people from tornadoes, not causing them.

To his admirers, both liberal and conservative, his religious views have been an asset. Supporters have seen Huckabee’s strong opposition to abortion, his push to get health insurance for lower-income children and an unsuccessful initiative to allow the children of illegal immigrants to get college tuition breaks as expressions of the compassion he has drawn from his faith.

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

Canadian Anglican Bishops meet with clergy to discuss network

Since the Anglican Network in Canada held a conference in late November to announce a new church structure for parishes conservative on the subject of homosexuality, several bishops have called clergy in for clarification of their intentions, but no priests have been disciplined.

Three dioceses ”“ Ottawa, Montreal and Hamilton, Ont.-based Niagara ”“ last fall voted to permit church blessing ceremonies for same-sex couples, moves that some Anglicans oppose.

At the conference, held Nov. 22-23, leaders of the network announced that the Anglican church in South America, called the Province of the Southern Cone, would accept as members parishes that wish to leave the Anglican Church of Canada. The network moderator, Bishop Don Harvey, announced that Canon Charles Masters had been named archdeacon of the network and Rev. George Sinclair prolocutor.

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

The Bishop of San Joaquin Writes The Presiding Bishop

Received via email:

Dear Bishop Schori,

Thank you for your letter of December 14, 2007 asking for clarification of my status. Much has happened in the past few weeks that have a bearing on that status. I am proud of the people of the Diocese of San Joaquin. Last year when the vote was taken to change the Constitution, that first vote was not only required by Canons but, in essence, was a “straw vote”. Little was at stake, for truly no action had ”“or could”“ be taken.

This year the delegates to the Annual Convention came fully cognizant of what has taken place in Virginia and Southern California where litigation has been pursued vigorously against those who oppose the innovations of The Episcopal Church and who, consequently, have stood up for their faith and remain protective of the property they have built, purchased and maintained with no help either from The Episcopal Church on a national level nor ”“in most instances”“ from the local diocese either.

The people of The Diocese of San Joaquin came to the Convention fully aware that years of meetings with the leaders of The Episcopal Church have accomplished little or nothing.

They came fully aware, too, that at the meeting of the House of Bishops in New Orleans this past September a last minute attempt to provide some semblance of oversight was proposed. The sad thing was that those most affected by the innovations of The Episcopal Church had no part in this proposal and to this very day have never seen what such a plan involves. It is true that the vote on Saturday December 8 protest, but it was much more than this. To understand December 8th’s vote as a protest only would be to misunderstand the courage of the people within the Diocese of San Joaquin.

They were saying that no matter what the consequences, they take a stand for a clear reading of Scripture, the faith that The Episcopal Church first received – but from which it has departed – and for Catholic Order within the Anglican Communion. Truly, the vote was for their bishop and diocese to remain in the Anglican Communion with the fullness of the heritage we have received as a part of that worldwide body. Once again, it was much more than this.

It was an expression of profound gratitude to the Global South who have expressed support in many ways and more specifically to the Primate of the Southern Cone, his House of Bishops and their Provincial Synod for their understanding of our plight – along with that of many others within The Episcopal Church – and their willingness to offer a place of refuge.

Their offer, as you know, was conditional until such time as The Episcopal Church repents of those decisions and actions that have caused a rift in the wider Anglican Communion.

Furthermore, I understood the Convention’s actions as a request that I provide episcopal oversight of the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin under the Province of the Southern Cone of South America. Accepting such an invitation to be a part of the Southern Cone’s House of Bishops may not necessarily define my relationship with The Episcopal Church particularly since this may only be a temporary arrangement. This is true in light of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Advent Letter in which he proposes facilitated conversations not only between us but among others in the Anglican Communion.

The purpose of December 8th’s vote, then, was not to change anything within the Diocese but quite to the contrary. With the status of The Episcopal Church’s member-ship in the Anglican Communion looking more and more precarious, the people of San Joaquin simply wanted to remain what we have always been, namely Anglican.

On the very day your letter arrived asking for clarification, the Advent Letter of the Archbishop of Canterbury was received. In it he pointed out clearly the distress in many parts of the Anglican Communion caused by the unilateral actions of The Episcopal Church.

In his own words he fully understands that “A scheme has been outlined for the pastoral care of those who do not accept the majority view in TEC, but the detail of any consultation or involvement with other provinces as to how this might best work remains to be filled out and what has been proposed does not so far seem to have commanded the full confidence of those most affected.” He continues: “Furthermore, serious concerns remain about the risks of spiralling disputes before the secular courts, although the Dar- es-Salaam communique expressed profound disquietude on this matter, addressed to all parties.”

Giving thought to the future, the Archbishop makes reference to the upcoming Lambeth Conference during which he trusts: “Whatever happens, we are bound to seek the fruitful ways of carrying forward liaison with provinces whose policies cause scandal or difficulty to others.”

Ultimately, then, it is the Archbishop’s proposal for a course of action in the months ahead that may affect my status. Since everything that the Diocese of San Joaquin has done, it has done with an eye toward remaining Anglican and in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury, his proposal should naturally take precedence.

As he says, “I wish to pursue some professionally facilitated conversations between the leadership of The Episcopal Church and those with whom they are most in dispute, internally and externally, to see if we can generate any better level of mutual understanding. Such meetings will not seek any predetermined outcome but will attempt to ease tensions and clarify options. They may also clarify ideas about the future pattern of liaison between TEC and other parts of the Communion. I have already identified resources and people who will assist in this.”

Despite the dismal failure of meetings with the leadership of The Episcopal Church over the past two decades, I will remain open to the Archbishop’s proposal and not close the door on anything that the Holy Spirit may accomplish through these efforts. It may well be that in these facilitated conversations my own status and even that of The Episcopal Church vis-à-vis its membership in the Anglican Communion will be clarified. This, then, is both my hope and my prayer.

Sincerely,

–(The Rt. Rev.) John-David Schofield is Bishop of San Joaquin

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

Sydney Morning Herald: Prayers for peace and a life lived like God

THE Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Peter Jensen, has exhorted Australians to follow up action on climate change and indigenous child welfare with prayer and says Australia’s leaders, including the Prime Minister, are accountable to the electorate, but more so to God.

Following the change of government last month, Dr Jensen said it would be wrong to think that government rested solely on the shoulders of Kevin Rudd and his ministerial cabinet. Under God, the new Labor Government had a responsibility to look outward and help its overseas neighbours in peace and war.

“What I once told John Howard is true of Kevin Rudd also: we all have a higher authority to which we are accountable and, ultimately, God has placed the government of us all on the shoulders of Jesus, the one the prophet Isaiah spoke about,” Dr Jensen said in his traditional Christmas message.

“That is a radical change of perspective. If we imagine ourselves as independent human beings who do not need God, the world will prove us wrong. Climate change, for example. It is right we take action but our own actions must be accompanied by prayer to the God who sends the thunder and the rain.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Religion & Culture

NBC News: Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture

Christmas sermons hold messages of hope, peace

The Rev. Phillip Wainwright begins early each December to put together his Christmas sermon to deliver to congregants at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Brentwood. He said he gets his outline ready “before things go wild” later in the month. Still, he often adds some final touches on his message in these busy days leading up to Christmas Day.

Father Wainwright is one of a number of pastors of South churches who this week are polishing their sermons. Though the topics vary, all revolve around the hope of “Peace on Earth , good will toward men” for their congregations and, of course, the world.

For many, Christmas services are an opportunity to connect with people who don’t come to church on a regular basis.

“My Christmas sermons tend to be devotional and not as intellectual. Every third or fourth year, I try to challenge those who are not there very much,” Father Wainwright said.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics

Washington Post: Signs of Season Include Legal Spats Over Church-State Issues

It’s the holidays, a busy time for Santa and shoppers.

And lawyers.

Attorneys who specialize in religious expression say they get a spike in calls in November and December, with people calling about everything from public school choirs singing religious songs to Nativity scenes on government property. Some are for, some are against, and some are public officials trying to find out how to avoid being sued.

While the Supreme Court has handed down multiple rulings about religious expression, including several about holiday displays, each case turns on the details, which means fertile ground for competing legal opinions and disagreement.

Exactly how prominent was the Nativity scene on the town green? Was it the only holiday display there? Were the students handing out Christmas cards at school standing where other students couldn’t avoid passing?

The questions are endless, and so are the tensions.

In tiny Exmore, on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, officials are ignoring a demand that they remove or alter a plastic Nativity scene in front of Town Hall.

“Spines have stiffened,” said Herbert Gilsdorf, town manager in Exmore, population 1,500.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Religion & Culture