Daily Archives: June 15, 2008
Traditionalists in the Anglican Church have been angered after two gay clergymen exchanged vows in a version of a marriage ceremony.
The service, at St Bartholomew the Great Church in the City of London last month, used formal rites.
The Reverend Peter Cowell and the Reverend Dr David Lord were already civil partners.
Critics say the ceremony flouted guidelines, but the vicar who conducted it said church rules were not broken.
The couple are said to have exchanged vows and rings in front of hundreds of guests in the event thought to be the first of its kind in the Anglican Church.
Now, while the activists will emphasize that we should send the toasters and gift cards, the point remains that this was a direct political action. It’s goal is political.
It was timed to coincide just as GAFCON is convening and a month out before Lambeth. Last weekend we had Gene Robinson’s wedding in the Episcopal Church. Looks like the brethren in England did not want to let him hog all the limelight.
But what it means is that the COE activists have borrowed the infamous TEC activists’ playbook of recent years. When there is organized opposition to their marketed strategy of prophetic inclusion, then it’s time for drama. Now that drama is crossing the Atlantic from Minneapolis to London on the eve of the Lambeth Conference.
We remember that Bishop John Spong had a meltdown in a letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury where he accused Rowan Williams of ecclesiastical treason, that Rowan Williams was picked because he endorsed by word and action the inclusion of men marrying men and women marrying women. When Dr. Williams made several key decisions that undermined those activist goals, the street activists in the Episcopal Church were outraged.
They were emboldened when Rowan Williams was appointed the new Archbishop of Canterbury. They threw all caution to the wind and flew forward at an accelerated pace, confident that Canterbury would not blink but look the other way. The Episcopal activists were very worried that their momentum had peaked at Denver’s General Convention and if they did not move fast, they be set back decades. Their base of support was aging – who could guarantee that they would have sufficient numbers in another 20 years to achieve their political goals? It did not look good….
Almighty God, who hast revealed to thy Church thine eternal Being of glorious majesty and perfect love as one God in Trinity of Persons: Give us grace that, like thy bishop Basil of Caesarea, we may continue steadfast in the confession of this faith, and constant in our worship of thee, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; who livest and reignest for ever and ever.
The marriage calls into question the authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury ”“ one of four fundamental points of unity for the worldwide communion ”“ and tears at the very heart of Anglicanism.
Only three years ago, Dr Williams flew to meet the African archbishops to reassure them that the Church’s teaching on sexuality would not be compromised by the introduction of the Civil Partnerships Act. The Church issued guidelines allowing clergy to register their relationships on the condition that they assured their bishop that they would abstain from sex. It said homosexual couples should not be given formal services to celebrate their relationship.
The archbishop stressed that priests who broke these rules would be disciplined. However, a number of clergy have since performed so called “blessing services” for homosexual couples. These are significantly different from wedding services: they involve no wedding rite; there is no exchange of vows, no bridesmaids or pageboys. Most are carried out quietly. Despite being controversial, not one has resulted in disciplinary proceedings.
The fact that one vicar has actually conducted a proper wedding service, using such traditional liturgy and furthermore, between two priests, makes the issue impossible to ignore.
Although some liberal clergy have carried out “blessing ceremonies” for homosexual couples in the past, this is the first time a vicar has performed a “wedding ceremony”, using a traditional marriage liturgy, with readings, hymns and a ÂEucharist.
Both the conservative and liberal wings of the Anglican communion expressed shock last night.
The Most Rev Henry Orombi, the Archbishop of Uganda, said that the ceremony was “blasphemous.” He called on Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, to take decisive action if the Anglican Church were not to “disintegrate”. Archbishop Orombi added: “What really shocks me is that this is happening in the Church of England that first brought the Gospel to us.
“The leadership tried to deny that this would happen, but now the truth is out. Our respect for the Church of England will erode unless we see a return to traditional teaching.”
The Rt Rev Michael Scott-Joynt, the Bishop of Winchester ”“ a powerful conservative figure ”“ said that the service represented a wedding “in all but name”. He said: “Strictly speaking it is not a marriage, but the language is clearly modelled on the marriage service and the occasion is modelled on the marriage service. This clearly flouts Church guidelines and will exacerbate divisions within the Anglican Communion.”
The bishop said that it was up to the Rt Rev Richard Chartres, the Bishop of London, to act, adding that it would become a high-profile test case of Church authority.
The Vatican, which is sending representatives to the July 16-Aug. 4 gathering of the world’s Anglican leadership, will be closely following its deliberations to see what direction it takes on such crucial questions as internal unity, authority, the role of the bishop and Anglican identity.
What has pushed these questions to the forefront is the ordination of openly gay clerics, the blessing of gay unions and the ordination of women bishops in some Anglican provinces.
Those developments have threatened to split the Anglican Communion. For the Vatican, they have raised new questions about the future of the 40-year-old dialogue with the Anglican Church.
“It’s very important for Anglicans to understand the depth of the change in our relationship that, in a sense, is being forced on us by the positions they are taking,” said one Vatican official, who asked not to be named.
In the Vatican’s view, it’s not just a question of ethical and sexual issues. Above all, it is seen as a problem of ecclesiology, as the new tensions in the Anglican Communion have weakened the bonds among the provinces.
The U.S. bishops adopted a statement on embryonic stem cell research this morning, the first time the conference has spoken specifically on the issue. It asserts that harvesting embryos for research amounts to “the deliberate killing of innocent human beings,” and is therefore “a gravely immoral act.”
The statement was prepared by the Committee on Pro-Life Activities, led by Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia. Because Rigali wasn’t in attendance, it was presented by Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas.
The bishops warn that embryonic stem cell research is potentially part of a slippery slope toward other dangerous outcomes, including:
”¢ Human cloning
”¢ Putting women’s health at risk in order to obtain eggs for the production of embryos
”¢ Creating human/animal hybrids that blur the boundaries between species, once again in order to get egg cells
Despite the focus on the housing crisis, gasoline prices and the economy in general, the press has not done a good job capturing the intense economic anxiety ”” and even dread, in some cases ”” that has gripped tens of millions of working Americans, including many who consider themselves solidly middle class.
Working families are not just changing their travel plans and tightening up on purchases at the mall. There is real fear and a great deal of suffering out there.
A man who described himself as a conscientious worker who has always pinched his pennies wrote the following to Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont:
“This winter, after keeping the heat just high enough to keep my pipes from bursting (the bedrooms are not heated and never got above 30 degrees) I began selling off my woodworking tools, snowblower, (pennies on the dollar) and furniture that had been handed down in my family from the early 1800s, just to keep the heat on.
“Today I am sad, broken, and very discouraged. I am thankful that the winter cold is behind us for a while, but now gas prices are rising yet again. I just can’t keep up.”
The onslaught of cellphone calls and e-mail and instant messages is fracturing attention spans and hurting productivity. It is a common complaint. But now the very companies that helped create the flood are trying to mop it up.
Some of the biggest technology firms, including Microsoft, Intel, Google and I.B.M., are banding together to fight information overload. Last week they formed a nonprofit group to study the problem, publicize it and devise ways to help workers ”” theirs and others ”” cope with the digital deluge.
Their effort comes as statistical and anecdotal evidence mounts that the same technology tools that have led to improvements in productivity can be counterproductive if overused.
The big chip maker Intel found in an eight-month internal study that some employees who were encouraged to limit digital interruptions said they were more productive and creative as a result.
Intel and other companies are already experimenting with solutions. Small units at some companies are encouraging workers to check e-mail messages less frequently, to send group messages more judiciously and to avoid letting the drumbeat of digital missives constantly shake up and reorder to-do lists.
A Google software engineer last week introduced E-Mail Addict, an experimental feature for the company’s e-mail service that lets people cut themselves off from their in-boxes for 15 minutes.
I think there are few snap your fingers or wiggle your nose answers to this struggle. What helps me is to schedule when to read email and only to read it during scheduled times. Read the whole article–KSH.