Daily Archives: April 11, 2008

Jillian Melchior: They Plight Their Troth — and Mean It

To Israel Wayne, marriage “was equivalent to the prospect of living as a missionary in some foreign land where you know you may end up a martyr,” he said. “You can accept it and believe it, but it’s hard to be enthusiastic about it.” Yet within two weeks of his mother suggesting a wife to him over lunch in Michigan, Mr. Wayne would engage himself to Brooke Tingom, an Arizona woman he had barely seen face to face. Their wedding took place about five months later, on Jan. 23, 1999. The Waynes have been happily married ever since and now have five children.

“In seeking to live every area of life fully trusting the Lord, we could not help but see that He desired us to trust him even in the area of marriage,” Mr. Wayne said. “We honor and respect our parents and their wisdom . . . . They’ve experienced more life than we have; they may have insights that are helpful to us.”

The process that the Waynes chose, called betrothal, requires a man and woman to make a binding commitment to marry before beginning any romantic — much less physical — relationship. Generally, the couple’s parents are responsible for arranging the match.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture

German Church owns up to slave labour past

THE ROMAN Catholic Church in Germany has released a report detailing its use of slave labour during the Nazi era. The report commissioned in 2000 by the German Catholic Bishops’ Conference found that during the war church institutions employed 4,829 civilians and 1,075 prisoners of war as slave labourers.

The Archbishop of Mainz, Cardinal Karl Lehmann said the 700-page history entitled “Forced Labour in the Catholic Church 1939-1945″ found that 776 church hospitals, homes, monasteries, farms and gardens were provided with slave labour imported from Russia, Poland and the Ukraine by the Nazi regime.

“The comparatively small number of labourers, many of whom spent barely a year working in Catholic institutions, doesn’t even amount to a thousandth of the estimated total of 13 million forced labourers employed throughout the Reich,” Cardinal Lehmann said at a press conference broadcast on German television on April 8.

“But it remains an historical burden which will continue to challenge our church in the future. There is no collective guilt, but as Christians and as a church we are aware of the responsibility that results from the burden of the past,” the former president of the German Catholic Bishops Conference said.

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

Sydney Morning Herald: Australian Anglicans appoint first woman bishop

One of Australia’s first Anglican women priests has shattered the stained glass ceiling to become the nation’s first woman bishop.

Perth Archdeacon Kay Goldsworthy, 51, was named as an assistant bishop, to be consecrated on May 22.

But if she visits Sydney, which remains opposed to women bishops, she will only be formally acknowledged as a deacon and unable to exercise her ministry as a priest or bishop.

The unanimous decision to appoint Archdeacon Goldsworthy was made by Perth Archbishop Roger Herft and his diocesan council Thursday night following an agreement reached this week between Australia’s Anglican bishops on a protocol to handle opponents of women bishops.

Read it all.

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

Church Times: Welsh take stock after women-bishops Bill fails

THE question of women bishops will inevitably come back, the Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, said, after the prospect of women bishops in the Church in Wales received an indefinite setback on Wednesday of last week.

The House of Clergy in the Governing Body lacked a two-thirds majority in their favour. The House of Bishops was unanimously in favour of the Bill to enable women to be ordained as bishops, and the Laity voted for it 52-19, but in the House of Clergy the voting was 27 for and 18 against, which was just 60 per cent in favour.

The Bill had been published in July 2007, and a select committee had been established to consider amendments from the dioceses, of which 12 had been included in their report to the Governing Body meeting in Lampeter last week. At the start of the debate, however, all but the select committee’s own two amendments had been withdrawn.

As the Bill was defeated in only one House, it could come back at any time, Dr Morgan said, “but there is no point in bringing it back to the Governing Body in two or three years just for it to be defeated again; so we need to take stock.”

Read it all.

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

Washington Post: Behavioral Study on Students Stirs Debate

For public schools in the No Child Left Behind era, it has become routine to analyze test scores and other academic indicators by race and ethnicity. But the Fairfax County School Board, to promote character education, has discovered the pitfalls of applying the same analytical techniques to measures of student behavior, especially when the findings imply disparities in behavior among racial, ethnic and other groups.

The county School Board, which oversees one of the country’s largest and most diverse suburban school systems, is scheduled to vote tonight on whether to accept a staff report that concludes, in part, that black and Hispanic students and special education students received lower marks than white and Asian American students for demonstration of “sound moral character and ethical judgment.”

Such findings have prompted a debate on the potential bias in how teachers evaluate student behavior and how the school system analyzes and presents information about race. Board member Martina A. “Tina” Hone (At Large), who is African American, called the school system’s decision to break down data by race “potentially damaging and hurtful.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education, Race/Race Relations

Equestrians’ Deaths Spread Unease in Sport

A failed jump by one of the world’s finest riders and a spate of deaths have unnerved the equestrian community.

Darren Chiacchia, 43, who helped the United States Olympic team win a bronze medal at the Athens Games and was considered a favorite for this year’s team, was training a horse on an intermediate course in Tallahassee, Fla., last month when the stallion crashed over a fence, crushing ”” and nearly killing ”” its celebrated rider.

Mr. Chiacchia spent a week in a coma and is now recovering at a rehabilitation facility near his home in Buffalo. Meanwhile, the sport he devoted his life to faces an identity crisis. Considered alongside the deaths of 12 riders worldwide over the past year and a half, his crash has reignited a fierce debate over whether the risks involved with the equestrian discipline known as eventing ”” an arduous three-phase competition ”” have become too great.

Top competitors and coaches argue that the sport’s growing popularity has attracted inexperienced riders who take too many risks, and amateur riders complain that courses are being designed beyond their skill level in order to challenge elite riders. There is also frustration that the governing bodies for eventing have not mandated the safety improvements they identified after another cluster of deaths nine years ago.

As many of you know, our youngest daughter is now eventing with horses, so this is of more than passing interest here–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports

NPR Letters in Response to the Restaurant Noise Story

From here:

[This past Wednesday] We heard a feature about noisy restaurants. Food critic Tom Sietsema of The Washington Post surveyed a number of hotspots in the Washington area. He told me some of them topped 90 decibels, that’s like standing next to a lawnmower.

[ROBERT] SIEGEL: Thank you for doing this story, writes Ann Rabelfetcher(ph) of Atlanta. I wish you all restaurant reviewers would include noise levels in their coverage. The woman who said she liked noisy restaurants embodied the reason we detest them, quote, “I can bring my kid into there, he might be screaming and banging on the glasses or whatever, and no one notices.” Oh good, I’m so happy for pay for that ambiance.

[MICHELE] NORRIS: Jennifer Woods(ph) of Frankfort, Illinois, adds this: Your guest failed to mention what I think is another major reason for noisy restaurants. Most of them play music or television too loudly, so even if there are only a few diners, right away the conversation level has to overcome the entertainment. I once asked for the music to be turned off. The response from the waiter: Oh, we couldn’t do that; silence is oppressive.

Love that last line–the emphasis is mine–KSH..

Posted in * General Interest

From NPR: Noisy Restaurants Draw Complaints from Diners

Complaints have been on the rise in recent years about the volume level in restaurants. Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema took a noise monitor to some of the hottest eateries in the nation’s capital.

Listen to it all from NPR.

Posted in * General Interest

Spy photos reveal 'secret launch site' for Iran's long-range missiles

The secret site where Iran is suspected of developing long-range ballistic missiles capable of reaching targets in Europe has been uncovered by new satellite photographs.

The imagery has pinpointed the facility from where the Iranians launched their Kavoshgar 1 “research rocket” on February 4, claiming that it was in connection with their space programme.

Analysis of the photographs taken by the Digital Globe QuickBird satellite four days after the launch has revealed a number of intriguing features that indicate to experts that it is the same site where Iran is focusing its efforts on developing a ballistic missile with a range of about 6,000km (4,000 miles).

A previously unknown missile location, the site, about 230km southeast of Tehran, and the link with Iran’s long-range programme, was revealed by Jane’s Intelligence Review after a study of the imagery by a former Iraq weapons inspector. A close examination of the photographs has indicated that the Iranians are following the same path as North Korea, pursuing a space programme that enables Tehran to acquire expertise in long-range missile technology.

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Iran, Middle East

Losing Love in Baghdad

Hard but important to watch.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Iraq War

A Hospital Worker helps in ways medicine can't

Watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine

UK loses interest in marriage

The declining interest in marriage, revealed in official figures last week, has been blamed on economic pressure by leading Christian marriage experts.

Financial worries are a particular concern, with fewer and fewer young couples even able to afford a wedding after battling rising house prices and student loans.

Their comments come after the figures released by the Office of National Statistics revealed marriage rates in England and Wales for 2006 are the lowest since records began in 1862.

Speaking to The Church of England Newspaper Carol Davies of the Anglican marriage support group Family Life and Marriage Education Network (FLAME) said she was very concerned about the financial pressures. “People have said that couples don’t get married because they can’t afford the increasing wedding costs but now they also have the situation of rising house prices,” she said. “Getting your foot on the housing market is now nigh on impossible.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Marriage & Family

Living Church: The Presiding Bishop Presses Efforts to Remove More Bishops

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori continued preparations for a vote to depose Bishop Robert Duncan at a special House of Bishops’ meeting before the Lambeth Conference this July. E-mail messages were sent April 8 to all members of the House of Bishops entitled to vote.

A disciplinary “Review Committee” of bishops found sufficient evidence to conclude that Bishop Duncan had abandoned communion , a charge he has formally denied. Bishop Duncan has never been inhibited, a canonical objection raised by John Lewis, a lawyer retained by Bishop Duncan.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, David Booth Beers, chancellor to the Presiding Bishop, recently sent an e-mail to about two dozen Pittsburgh Episcopalians explaining that Bishop Jefferts Schori was not “seeking approval to proceed; rather, she seeks the mind of the House as to when to proceed” with a vote to remove Bishop Duncan. Shortly after the March 12 conclusion of the House of Bishops’ spring retreat, Bishop Jefferts Schori called a Sept. 17-19 meeting in Salt Lake City.

Read it all.

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

Congregation of Episcopal church in Cloudcroft New Mexico leaves diocese

The clergy and congregation of the Episcopal mission Church of Ascension in Cloudcroft have split from the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande and joined the Anglican Province of Uganda.

The diocese said this week its trustees and standing committee were told of the decision last week.

Read it all.

Update: A Diocesan press release on this matter is here.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of Uganda, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Rio Grande, TEC Departing Parishes