Daily Archives: March 1, 2008
As he battles for the Democratic nomination, Senator Barack Obama is trying to strengthen his support among Jewish voters and in doing so, is navigating one of the more treacherous paths of Democratic politics.
The challenge of meeting the concerns of the Jewish electorate, a cornerstone of the Democratic base, was evident Tuesday when Mr. Obama was asked at the Democratic debate in Cleveland about Louis Farrakhan, the Nation of Islam leader who has endorsed him.
Mr. Obama called Mr. Farrakhan an anti-Semite and denounced his support, but was pressed to go further by his rival, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, an experienced hand at Democratic politics who herself has been on the defensive with Jewish voters after an encounter in 2000 with Suha Arafat, the wife of the Palestinian leader.
Mr. Obama has also faced criticism over remarks he made about the suffering of Palestinians ”” remarks he says were incorrectly reported ”” and about who is advising him on foreign affairs. And he has had to beat back false tales, spread in viral e-mail messages, that he is a Muslim who attended a madrassa in Indonesia as a boy and was sworn into office on the Koran. In fact, he is a Christian who was sworn in on a Bible.
A challenging local economy and financial hardship at several large parishes have led to budget cuts for the Diocese of Arizona.
“We are all aware that 2008 will be an economically challenging time for many people,” said Bishop Kirk Stevan Smith of Arizona in an email message. “I am sure that people’s anxiety about their financial situation may adversely affect their support of their local church, and that in turn, affects the income of the diocese.”
In addition to the challenging economy, Bishop Smith said several large parishes of the diocese have requested a reduction of their assessment.
As Tuesday’s Ohio and Texas primaries are fast appraoching, the Barack Obama contracts have seen a small uptick in price while the Hillary Clinton contracts have slipped slightly. In the Democratic nomination contracts, Obama is trading at 85.5 vs 83.3 on Wednesday. The Clinton contracts last traded at 14.2, down from 16.4. In the Republican nomination contracts, John McCain is now trading at 94.5. None of the other Republican contracts are really worth mentioning at this point, either in terms of price action or volume. In the Individual Winner contracts, Obama last traded at 56.6, McCain at 35.9, and Clinton 9.5. In the Political Party contracts, the Democratic Party is trading at 64.6, the Republican Party at 35.6, and the Field at 1.0.
I am the spokesperson for St. John’s Shaughnessy Anglican Church in Vancouver. Dr. Packer has been an honourary assistant at St. John’s for well over 20 years. We are a church in serious theological dispute with the Diocese of New Westminster which was the first diocese in the worldwide Anglican Communion to write a rite for the blessing of same sex unions and then allow them to happen. This is, of course, only a symptom of the underlying theological dispute which is currently ripping the worldwide communion apart.
Two weeks ago St. John’s voted by a 97.7% margin to accept an offer of temporary emergency episcopal oversight from the Province of the Southern Cone under Archbishop Greg Venables. Dr. Packer strongly supported this move. To see Dr. Packer’s specific views on the situation in the Anglican Church I encourage you to check out a YouTube posting where he discusses the issue with a reporter. You can find it on YouTube by searching for St. John’s Shaughnessy. It is a 10 part video (115 minutes in all) with our rector, David Short, and Dr. Packer giving a very comprehensive explanation of the Anglican Church’s situation right now.
I’d also encourage you to look up The Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC). This the the new structure the orthodox Anglican churches are joining in order that we might remain in full communion with the worldwide church . Currently, The Anglican Church of Canada and the Diocese of New Westminister have been declared to be in imapired or broken communion with about 20 of 38 National Anglican Churches around the world.
As a result of St. John’s vote on Fevruary 13, 2008:
Dr. Packer together with the other clergy at St. John’s have been served with a Notice of Presumption of Abandonment of the Exercise of the Ministry under Canon XIX and the notice is based on the following facts:
1. that he has publicly renounced the doctrine and discipline of the Anglican Church of Canada; and
2. that you have sought or intend to seek admission into another religious body outside the Anglican Church of Canada.
The notice also states that if Dr. Packer does not take advantage of provisions under the Canons to dispute the facts stated above, Dr. Packer’s spiritual authority as a minister of Word and Sacraments conferred in ordination will be revoked on April 21, 2008.
The legal team of ANiC is reviewing and considering the validity and alleged consequences of such Notice of Presumption of Abandonment.”
None, of this in any way affects Dr. Packer’s status or standing at Regent College or any other of the many organizations he represents.
I hope this helps clarify things. Please don’t hesitate to contact me again.
St. John’s Shaughnessy, Vancouver.
An influential group of Muslim theologians at a prominent Islamic seminary in northern India have denounced terrorism, saying it is goes against the teachings of Islam.
The denouncement came during the All India Anti-Terrorism Conference in the state of Uttar Pradesh, home to the 150-year-old Darul Uloom Deoband Islamic seminary.
Opening the conference, the seminary’s vice chancellor, Maulana Margoobur Rahman, called terrorism a thoughtless act that is “un-Islamic” and prohibited by the Quran.
“Islam preaches the tenets of peace, justice and brotherhood. There is no place for terror and violence in Islam,” Rahamn said in his address, which was read by a deputy. “Allah will never have mercy on those elements who think they are serving the faith by perpetrating violence.”
The Standing Committee has been advised by the Episcopal Church Attorney that the Ecclesiastical Trial of the Right Reverend Charles E. Bennison, Jr., on the Presentment dated October 29, 2007 on charges filed by the then Presiding Bishop, Frank Griswold, has been scheduled for June 9, 2008. The trial will be conducted in Philadelphia and will be open to the public. The exact location of the trial has not yet been determined.
A growing number of Episcopalians in the Diocese of San Joaquin are opting to remain within the Episcopal Church (TEC) as the Fresno-based diocese prepares for an anticipated March 29 special convention that would elect a provisional bishop.
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, in a letter to be distributed via a new diocesan newspaper, notes the proposed convention date and reassures the people of the diocese that work is ongoing “to ensure that you and your fellow Episcopalians may continue to bless the communities around you well into the future.”
“I anticipate convening a Special Diocesan Convention on 29 March, at which you will elect new diocesan leaders, and begin to make provision for episcopal leadership for the next year or so,” Jefferts Schori writes. “That gathering will be an opportunity to answer questions you may have, as well as to hear about plans for the renewal of mission and ministry in the Diocese of San Joaquin.”
“I’m not telling you anything you don’t know … already,” said Chris Redfern, chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party. “I would merely agree with all of the observations that have been made.”
As benign and neutral as that statement may sound, it is not good news for Hillary Clinton, for it accentuates Redfern’s conclusion that, while Ohio is Clinton’s to win next Tuesday, “the question is by how much.”
Like other party officials and Democratic strategists, Refern is looking closely at the math and has decided that a victory alone may not be enough for the New York senator. She needs a big victory.
“Pragmatically,” he said, “we all get the fact that it’s about delegates, and to avoid superdelegates, court actions, Michigan and Florida being seated, all that kind of stuff, Senator Clinton I think needs a real boost in Ohio and — not or — Texas going into the next six weeks, if in fact she stays for the next six weeks…. In the starkest of terms, this is pretty simple. She’s got to win by a margin which gets her a boost in delegates.”
A judge in the Ontario Superior Court in Hamilton, Mr. Justice James Ramsay, has ruled today that, for the next couple of weeks, the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC) parishes of St George’s Lowville (Milton, Ontario) and St Hilda’s (Oakville, Ontario) can retain exclusive use of their church facilities. There is another court hearing set for March 20, where the judge will be asked to determine a longer term interim arrangement while the bigger legal issue of who owns the church buildings is sorted out.
“We are deeply grateful to God for allowing us to maintain our ministries and care for our parishioners over the next few weeks without disruption”, said the Rev Canon Charlie Masters, rector of St George’s Lowville. “The last couple of weeks have been very trying. This judgment will be such an encouragement to our parishioners, some of whom were deeply distressed by last Sunday’s sharing arrangement.”
The Rev. Paul Charbonneau, rector of St. Hilda’s added, “We are most relieved that our many outreach services to the community, like our weekly food delivery to needy families and our free lunch program for the local high school students won’t be disrupted for this interim period.”
The court decision allows the ANiC parishes as well as the Diocese of Niagara to carry on their ministries as they always have without unnecessary disruption. A third ANiC parish, Good Shepherd in St. Catharines, was not part of the litigation but we trust the same decision will be applied.
Since ANiC launched its ecclesial structure last November under the jurisdiction of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, it has received two bishops (the Rt. Rev. Donald Harvey and the Rt. Rev. Malcolm Harding) and 15 parishes. Parishes, like St George’s and St Hilda’s (and Church of the Good Shepherd in St. Catharines), that have elected to seek episcopal oversight from Bishop Harvey and ANiC are determined to stay biblically faithful and true to historic Anglican doctrine and teaching and within mainstream Anglicanism. While orthodox Anglicans are in a minority in Canada, they are in the majority worldwide. What is happening in Canada is part of a much bigger controversy in the global Anglican Communion.
Since 2003, the leaders of the global Anglican Communion have repeatedly asked the Anglican Church of Canada to return to faithful Anglican practice and teaching. They have also called upon the Anglican Church of Canada to provide appropriate spiritual care and oversight for parishes like these which remain faithful to established Anglican teaching.
“We sincerely regret that it was necessary to go to court for these congregations to maintain their ministries in the interim” said Cheryl Chang, a director of ANiC who is also a lawyer. “It is our hope and prayer that we can continue amicable discussions toward a resolution of all matters and prevent further court proceedings which hinder the ministry of all those involved.”
Archbishop Gregory Venables, Primate (or leader) of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, has responded to the needs of biblically faithful Canadian Anglicans for spiritual protection and care on an emergency and interim basis ”“ pending a resolution to the crisis in the worldwide Anglican Communion.
Archbishop Venables is well respected as an orthodox leader in the global Anglican Communion. He leads the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone which is one of 38 Provinces that make up the global Anglican Communion. It encompasses much of South America and includes Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay and Argentina.
By the middle of my post-high-school year of yeshiva study in Israel, it was obvious which of my classmates would return home much as they had left and which would return transformed. In the latter group were the boys who had begun to trade evenings at the bars on Jerusalem’s Ben Yehuda Street for the study hall, where they spent hours imbibing rabbinic wisdom. Their hair grew shorter and their sidelocks longer. Baseball caps declaring allegiance to the Yankees and Mets were replaced with velvet yarmulkes. Now they declared allegiance to a higher authority.
Religious transformations like these have become such a phenomenon in the Orthodox Jewish world that they have birthed their own derisive catchphrase. “Flipping Out,” a term first popularized by an Orthodox rock band, is now the title of a book published by Yashar Books in cooperation with New York’s Yeshiva University, the flagship institution of Modern Orthodoxy. Jews who identify themselves as Modern Orthodox keep kosher, observe the sabbath and practice other rituals but are otherwise well integrated into society, living and working among people of other faiths.