Monthly Archives: February 2008

”˜It’s a tragedy for the Church’ ”“ Archbishop Venables

What is your response to the recent votes here in Canada, what do you think of these decisions?

It’s very, very, sad that it should come to this, it’s a tragedy for the church, for the church in Canada and for the church throughout the world ”“ but it shows how serious the division is. This has never happened before. It has happened significantly with very large groups in the United States in recent years and recently with a whole diocese moving ”“ and now it’s happening in Canada. It shows how serious this division is and how strong the convictions are which are pulling the church apart.

In your view is this solely about the Canadian churches stand on homosexuality? Does it go beyond that?

No. This is about two versions of Christianity which are in a strong state of difference. You’ve got the original biblical Christianity which the church, the Christian church throughout the world has held to over the past two thousand years and then you’ve got this new liberal post-modern Christianity which has evolved especially in the western world over the last 100 years or so. It’s like two ships that have gradually pulled apart and can longer really sail together and the trouble is it’s pulling the church apart as it does that.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Cono Sur [formerly Southern Cone]

Kenya rivals reach peace agreement

Kenya’s rival leaders broke their tense standoff on Thursday, agreeing to share power in a deal that may end the violence that has engulfed this nation but could be the beginning of a long and difficult political relationship.

The country seemed to let out a collective cheer as Mwai Kibaki, the president, and Raila Odinga, the top opposition leader, sat down at a desk in front of the president’s office, with a bank of television cameras rolling, and signed an agreement that creates a powerful prime minister position for Odinga and splits cabinet posts between the government and the opposition.

The two sides, which have been bitterly at odds for the past two months, will now be fused together in a government of national unity.

But there are still many thorny issues to resolve, starting with how the new government will function with essentially two bosses who have tried unsuccessfully to work together before. The government must also deal with the delicate business of reassigning the choice positions already given to Kibaki’s allies.

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Africa, Kenya

1 in 100 U.S. Adults Behind Bars, New Study Says

For the first time in the nation’s history, more than one in 100 American adults is behind bars, according to a new report.

Nationwide, the prison population grew by 25,000 last year, bringing it to almost 1.6 million. Another 723,000 people are in local jails. The number of American adults is about 230 million, meaning that one in every 99.1 adults is behind bars.

Incarceration rates are even higher for some groups. One in 36 Hispanic adults is behind bars, based on Justice Department figures for 2006. One in 15 black adults is, too, as is one in nine black men between the ages of 20 and 34.

The report, from the Pew Center on the States, also found that only one in 355 white women between the ages of 35 and 39 are behind bars but that one in 100 black women are.

The report’s methodology differed from that used by the Justice Department, which calculates the incarceration rate by using the total population rather than the adult population as the denominator. Using the department’s methodology, about one in 130 Americans is behind bars.

Either way, said Susan Urahn, the center’s managing director, “we aren’t really getting the return in public safety from this level of incarceration.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch

Notable and Quotable

In all my years as a parish priest, I advocated ”” indeed, insisted ”” that “it is desirable that every minister having the cure of souls shall normally administer the sacrament of Holy Baptism on Sundays at public worship when the most number of people come together” (Canon B21: Of Holy Baptism).

Yet now, in retirement, as I approach our parish church, and see the festive gathering ”” I wonder….

Sunday by Sunday, the faith is being sold cheap, and the opportunity for patient and welcoming pastoral teaching before Baptism (as allowed by Canon B22 (4)) is being lost. Elsewhere, evangelists may be dancing to the tune of Fresh Expressions of Church in all sorts of courageous innovations, but these popular Sunday jamborees are invitations to fresh perjury.

Perjury is a punishable offence, and yet we clergy who put the question “Do you turn to Christ?” could be accused of inciting it. It is no wonder that thoughtful members of our congregations become distressed at what they see; for solemn vows are being made, when it is often quite clear from the body language and the tone of the responses that the parents and godparents are doing no more than follow the script that has been put into their hands.

The Rev. Ian Robins in this morning’s Church Times

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Baptism, Church of England (CoE), Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Sacramental Theology, Theology

Wall Street Journal: Borrowers Abandon Mortgages as Prices Drop

Goldman Sachs economists estimate that as much as $3 trillion in mortgages could be underwater by the end of the year, leaving 30% of the country’s outstanding mortgages in negative equity. Since there is roughly $1 trillion in subprime mortgages outstanding, that means a large amount of better-quality mortgages, such as prime and Alt-A — a category between prime and subprime — will be attached to negative equity.

“The focus has been on the [interest rate] resets,” said Goldman Sachs economist Andrew Tilton. “But if you’re in a deep enough negative-equity position, defaulting has its own kind of logic.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market

A One Man headache from Tennessee for MF Global

For nearly two decades Evan Dooley quietly made a living trading commodities like wheat in his home state, Tennessee, far from the hurly-burly of Wall Street.

But on Thursday Mr. Dooley, 40, became the talk of the financial markets when MF Global, the giant commodities brokerage firm, accused him of making unauthorized trades that led to $141.5 million in losses for the firm. Mr. Dooley, the firm said, wagered on wheat futures with money he did not have.

Mr. Dooley, who worked in the firm’s Memphis office, had bought as many as 15,000 wheat futures, the equivalent of about 10 percent of the market for these contracts for any given month, company officials said. MF Global discovered the trades early Wednesday morning and ran up the losses as it desperately unwound the positions in a volatile market.

“This is a very disappointing situation for us,” said Kevin Davis, the chief executive of MF Global, in a conference call with investors and reporters on Thursday. The company’s stock plunged nearly 28 percent.

It was the second high-profile case of a single trader’s bad bets causing losses for a global financial firm. MF Global’s troubles, however, are small compared with the multibillion-dollar hole left in Société Générale after Jérôme Kerviel secretly wagered the bank’s money on stock futures.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Stock Market

Bishop Howe: ”˜Informal’ Briefing for HOB

Bishop Howe said during the meeting Bishop Jefferts Schori invited bishops Howe, MacPherson, Michael G. Smith of North Dakota and James M. Stanton of Dallas to make a brief and “very informal” presentation during the March meeting, but the House of Bishops lacks veto power over it.

“If we do this right, it will strengthen the hands of the Presiding Bishop and the Archbishop of Canterbury,” Bishop Howe said. “This would make the Episcopal Visitor proposal more attractive. No one has requested an Episcopal Visitor yet. This brings together the Presiding Bishops’ initiative and some of what the primates envisioned in the communiqué from Dar es Salaam a year ago.”

Separately, bishops Howe and MacPherson confirmed that participants in the meeting at the Church Center had agreed not to speak to the media. They denied that any of the four diocesan bishops were responsible for an article revealing the plan published by the English Telegraph newspaper. Bishop Howe said he wrote his clergy in order to correct the misconception that this was a secret plan by Archbishop of Canterbury to pander to conservatives.

Bishop Howe also noted that the plan itself is very informal, having been written down as an outline by Bishop Stanton.

Read it all.

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

SreyRam Kuy on the current situation in Medical Care

This demonstrates the urgent need for physicians all over the U.S. to practice leadership in our individual practices, in our hospitals, in our healthcare organizations and in the political process. Physicians hold a trust to protect the health of our patients. We cannot abdicate this sacred trust.

A 2006 poll by the American College of Physician Executives showed that 60% of physicians are considering leaving medicine due to low morale and lack of autonomy and status. We practice medicine in the context of Medicare reimbursements that don’t keep pace with the rate of inflation, a mountain of medical school debt (over $200,000 for some of my colleagues), the constant threat of litigation, and years of delayed gratification. (In my case, 17 years of higher education: four years of college, four years of medical school, seven years of general surgery training and two years of fellowship.) We’re feeling harried, hassled and harassed, and it can be tempting to fall into survival mode, to start thinking, “I worked hard to get here and therefore my self-interests deserve to come first.” We defend this thinking by saying, “No margin, no mission.” If doctors can’t afford to practice medicine, we argue, how can the patient be helped?

Read it all

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine

Dr. J.I. Packer suspended

Words fail me, he was my theology professor in Vancouver B.C. from 1982-1984.

Here is another link:

http://www.anglicanplanet.net/TAPCanada0803b.html

One more link:

More on Abigail and The Hill School

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

Church Speech by Obama Gets IRS Scrutiny

The Internal Revenue Service is investigating the tax-exempt status of the United Church of Christ for allowing presidential candidate Barack Obama to speak at a denomination conference last June. Obama is a member of the UCC through his Chicago church.

Church officials say the speech was not political and they took steps to avoid any appearance of political activity inside the event.

But in its letter to the denomination, the IRS expressed concerns about articles posted on the church’s website and contended that Obama volunteers were promoting his campaign outside the event. Federal law prohibits tax-exempt organizations from engaging in political campaigns.

In recent years, the IRS has conducted several investigations into the political activities of religious groups.

Listen to it all from NPR.

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

Rowan Williams: It's adults, not young people, who are a public menace

The sight of young people gathering on streets and in shopping centres is one of the things that can create alarm or suspicion in adults, who think such groups are going to be abusive or extreme in their behaviour. But today’s report from the Good Childhood inquiry ought to challenge many popular misconceptions about young people and our shared public space.

Set up by the Children’s Society in 2006, the inquiry has so far reported on children’s attitudes to friends, family and learning. What may come as a surprise in today’s findings is that many young people themselves feel that they are not safe or welcome in public places, sometimes because of aggressive gangs colonising these places, but also sometimes because of unfriendly adults. Hanging around in groups is often a way for many youngsters to feel secure, rather than a way of menacing anyone else. And the discouragement of games in public places intensifies the problem.

The inquiry’s earlier reports had few surprises – children value their friends, want stable, loving families with a proper parental presence and expect schools to be supportive and free from bullying.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury

FBI Opens Investigation of Roger Clemens

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports

Talks break down between Anglican Church and breakaway Ontario parishes

The ownership of three breakaway Ontario Anglican churches will be the subject of a courtroom battle Friday after the collapse of negotiations aimed at staving off legal proceedings.

Efforts to settle an ownership dispute between the Niagara Anglican diocese and three dissenting area congregations in southwestern Ontario – Lowville, Oakville and St. Catharines – broke down Thursday following several days of talks.

Cheryl Chang, director of the Anglican Network in Canada, which supports the dissenting parishes, said the two sides found a lot of common ground but couldn’t agree on who should ultimately maintain possession of the church properties.

Read it all.

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

New Primate Elected for Tanzania

The Rt. Rev. Valentino L. Mokiwa, Bishop of Dar es Salaam in the Anglican Church of Tanzania, was elected archbishop of the province Feb. 28 during a special session of the General Synod in Dodoma.

Bishop Mokiwa will be installed in Dodoma on May 25. He succeeds the Most Rev. Donald L. Mtetemela, whose second five-year term concludes in May. Primates in Tanzania are limited to a maximum of two five-year terms under that province’s constitution. Archbishop Mtetemela will continue as Bishop of the Diocese of Ruaha for the next five years, while also serving as chancellor of St. John’s University in Dodoma.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Latest News, Africa

School Board to Pay in Jesus Prayer Suit

A Delaware school district has agreed to revise its policies on religion as part of a settlement with two Jewish families who had sued over the pervasiveness of Christian prayer and other religious activities in the schools.

One family said it was forced to leave its home in Georgetown because of an anti-Semitic backlash.

The settlement, which was approved Tuesday, includes payments to the families that both sides would not disclose. Although the settlement resolves many complaints in the suit, against the Indian River School District, the parties are proceeding with litigation over the school board practice of beginning its sessions with prayer.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs and defendants said their clients were satisfied with the settlement. On local blogs, the anger many people felt toward the families for protesting Christian prayer at school events has flared anew.

Read it all.

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