Daily Archives: June 16, 2008

Bishop Duncan Appoints Vicar for Western Anglicans (CCP)

Bishop Robert Duncan, Moderator of The Common Cause Partnership (CCP), appointed a “Collegiate Vicar” for The Association of Western Anglican Congregations. The decision was announced to the Western Anglicans House of Delegates meeting in Newport Beach today. As the Collegiate Vicar, The Rev. Bill Thompson, Rector of All Saints Anglican Church in Long Beach, California, will serve as an ambassadorial link between Western Anglicans ”” a cluster of 21 orthodox Anglican congregations in Southern California and Arizona ”” and the Common Cause Partnership (CCP).

“The appointment of the Collegiate Vicar is a wonderful step in the process of unifying orthodox Anglican believers in North America,” said Ron Speers, Western Anglicans President. “We are modeling at the grass roots what CCP is doing at the national and international level.” Thus far Western Anglican member congregations have canonical ties to the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone of South America, The Anglican Province of Uganda, and The Reformed Episcopal Church. All Common Cause Partners churches in the region, whatever their jurisdiction, are invited to participate.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Communion Network

A Pastoral Letter from the Episcopal Bishop of Iowa

We gather today in difficult circumstances. We are mindful of the young men lost last week to the tornado in Little Sioux City and the heroics of their friends that saved lives. We may have spent hours on the sandbag lines, saving our city downtown, or seeing our efforts less successful. We have homes suddenly caught in the middle of rivers turned lakes. Our farmers are faced with an uncertain crop and livelihood from their mud-filled, lake like fields. Our houses have taken on a distinctive odor as we continue to bale out our basements or worse.

One month ago we were grateful for the gift of water (as every baptismal liturgy helps us recall). We were celebrating Waters of Hope, and now our new web-site for blogging our stories is simply “Iowa Waters”. What needs to be said or done at this time?

First of all, we continue to wrap each other and our communities in prayer. We share this as every moment together with God. There was a photo in the Des Moines Register of a man sitting on his favorite bench yet knee deep in water and clearly out in a large patch of flood water. He was catching his breath and perhaps a moment of reflection. If praying, he could not have offered it in a more appropriate place. Prayer lifts our eyes above ourselves and it takes place in the midst of the storm, not only in quiet moments.

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

Daryl Fenton: Getting ready for GAFCON

Those of us from the Network attending this historic event are grateful for their prayers. Out of a total of more than 1,000 bishops, priests, deacons and laity who have registered for GAFCON, just over 130 will be from North America. Of the more than 280 bishops registered to attend, 19 are affiliated with Common Cause.

We are a small contingent going to what is likely the most important Anglican event in decades. We are not running the show or driving the agenda. This meeting is not about North America or our problems. It is about expanding a faithful, orthodox Anglican witness worldwide. It is also about working together to sail through the storms assailing the western colonial model that has characterized the Anglican Communion for the past century.

The storms are here and, frankly, the traditional structures of the Anglican Communion don’t appear ready to deal with them. Archbishop Williams is clearly steering the Lambeth Conference away from any sort of accounting for The Episcopal Church and Anglican Church of Canada’s increasingly brazen flouting of orthodox faith and the decisions of the last Lambeth Conference. The Anglican Covenant becomes weaker with every revision. We hear reports that the earliest we could expect to see any covenant in place would be sometime around the 2018 Lambeth Conference.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Global South Churches & Primates, Middle East

Daniel Gilgoff: Why the Christian right fears Obama

…he has shown unusual potential for appealing to the rank-and-file evangelicals and other religious voters who usually back the Christian right’s Republican allies.

That’s largely because Obama isn’t afraid to discuss faith’s role in his life, including his come-to-Jesus experience. Speaking of the influence that the now well-known Rev. Jeremiah Wright had on him, Obama told a church audience last year: “He introduced me to someone named Jesus Christ. I learned that my sins could be redeemed. I learned that those things I was too weak to accomplish myself, He would accomplish with me if I placed my trust in Him.”

Such talk is more reminiscent of George W. Bush than of recent Democratic presidential nominees. “To a lot of people, Sen. Obama is an unknown suit that talks the ‘evangelical talk’ without actually saying anything on his opinions or his track record,” says Tom McClusky, the Family Research Council’s chief lobbyist. “In the general election, Sen. Obama speaking ‘religion’ is going to sound more familiar and natural than Sen. (John) McCain.”

And ”” to evangelicals, at least ”” more familiar than Hillary Clinton, whose mainline Methodist background helps explain her preference for discussing the importance of doing good works over her personal relationship with Jesus. “Clinton does not compete with the religious right because her message is one not of hope and of healing, but of meeting the pragmatic concerns of economic advantage,” says Douglas Kmiec, a conservative Catholic legal scholar and former adviser to presidential candidate Mitt Romney. (Kmiec has since endorsed Obama.)

“Obama has the capacity to win the soul of the working person,” Kmiec says, “whereas Mrs. Clinton speaks to the pocketbook and the here and now.”

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

USA Today: Tim Russert's Death shows massive heart attack isn't easy to predict

For all their differences, NBC newsman Tim Russert and famed marathoner Jim Fixx, author of the 1977 best-seller The Complete Book of Running, have two things in common: Each died of a massive heart attack while still in his 50s.

Neither one saw it coming.

Russert, 58, died Friday while recording voice-overs for Meet the Press, anchored, as usual, to a desk. Fixx, 52, died on July 20, 1984 after a daily run in rural Hardwick, Vt.

Such cases provide tragic proof that though you can lower your risk of sudden death, you can’t always prevent it, says Robert Califf, vice chancellor of clinical research at Duke University in Durham, N.C.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine

(London) Times: Traditionalists spurn Lambeth Conference in favour of Jordan

More than 200 Anglican bishops from conservative dioceses around the world are to boycott next month’s Lambeth Conference and attend a rival Global Anglican Future Conference in Jordan this week instead.

Entire provinces, such as Nigeria, Uganda and R wanda, are attending the alternative gathering, styled Gafcon, instead of Lambeth because of their emphasis on a Bible-based Christianity that rules out many of the liberal developments in the Western Church, such as the increasing acceptance of homosexuality.

Two Church of England bishops, Wallace Benn, of Lewes, and Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, of Rochester, will be carrying the standard for the Church of England, and conservatives from the United States and Australia will also be in Amman.

Although organisers say their goal is not to set up a rival Anglican structure, in a statement at the weekend the Church of Uganda admitted that the aim of Gafcon was “to prepare for an Anglican future in which the gospel is uncompromised and Christ-centred mission is a top priority”.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Latest News, Global South Churches & Primates, Middle East

The Bishop of Winchester expresses concern over first church gay marriage

The Bishop of Winchester has today voiced his concerns over the first gay “marriage” to be held in an Anglican church.

Rt Reverend Michael Scott-Joynt was speaking after it was revealed that Reverend Peter Cowell and the Rev Dr David Lord exchanged vows at St Bartholomew the Great in the City of London.

He said: “Strictly speaking it is not a marriage, but he marriage 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.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Sexuality

Reform U.K. Makes a Statement on the "Gay Wedding"

News of the service of blessing for the union of two male clergy at St Bartholomew’s church in the City Of London last month has brought to a head the issue of whether or not the Church of England intends to remain faithful to the Bible’s revelation.

The Church of England now faces the same sort of division as the Episcopal Church of the USA. Our only hope of preventing this is for bishops to exercise swift and clear discipline. Unless this happens, the floodgates of indiscipline will open. There is no longer any room for carefully constructed statements designed to hold everyone together in an uneasy truce. Schism in the church is being caused not by orthodox believers but by clergy pursuing a liberal agenda.

The issue is clear: will a church which is formally committed to the Bible’s teaching on marriage now exert discipline in order to support its belief on what mainstream credal and apostolic Christianity holds to be a fundamental of the faith? This “service of blessing” has brought the issue to a head on the eve of the departure of many orthodox church leaders in England for the Global Anglican Future Conference and Pilgrimage (GAFCON). Faithful Anglican leaders both at GAFCON and Lambeth will now be looking to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London to take decisive action. We urge them to do this before GAFCON convenes in order to prevent a further loss of confidence in the Archbishop’s willingness to tackle the issue and to demonstrate their communion with the Global South. The choice they must make is whether or not they want to keep true to the doctrine of the Church of England (as defined in the Worship and Doctrine Measure 1974 (Sections 5.1 and Canon A5)) and secure discipline. A failure to secure such doctrinal discipline will lead globally to a ghettoization of a declining revisionist “Canterbury Communion”. Those seeking to be true to the doctrine of the Church of England will necessarily have to realign themselves with those Anglicans, at home or abroad, who can affirm with integrity Canon A5.

For the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London the choice, therefore, is between being faithful to the Bible’s teaching or acquiescing in the promotion of the liberal sexual agenda. They cannot do both. Words are no longer enough. It is only clear action that will now speak to the worldwide Anglican Communion as well as to orthodox Anglican and other church leaders in this country.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Sexuality

A BBC Radio Four Today Programme Audio Report on the C of E struggle this week

The Church of England is facing a turbulent General Synod after two gay priests were married at the weekend. The issue of the ordination of women bishops will also cause dispute. Paul Eddy, a lay member of the General Synod explains the disputes.

The audio link is here and the segment is 2 hours and 42 minutes in.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

(London) Times: Anglican church in meltdown over gays and women

The Church of England has been plunged into fresh turmoil by the “marriage” of two gay clergymen and threats of an exodus of priests opposed to the consecration of women bishops.

The Times has learnt that up to 500 Anglo-Catholic priests are ready to resign after failing to secure the concessions that they had sought over women bishops.

Church of England bishops have rejected plans for legal safeguards for those who had hoped for the introduction of extra-geographical dioceses as havens for traditionalists. Instead, plans to consecrate women bishops will be put to a vote at the General Synod in York next month, with the safeguards for opponents enshrined in a voluntary code.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

New Zealand priest in gay marriage row gives up licence

The New Zealand priest whose gay wedding ceremony has fuelled a row that threatens to split the Anglican Church in Britain has surrendered his own licence to officiate.

The Reverend David Lord ”“ a former Hamilton emergency room doctor ordained as a deacon in December 2005 ”“ angered conservative Christians by exchanging rings and vows with his partner in a church ceremony for his civil partnership in London last month.

But Dr Lord, who tied the knot with English clergyman Peter Cowell, a hospital chaplain, “felt it appropriate to lay down his clergy licence”, according to a statement jointly released with the Bishop of Waikato, Rt Rev David Moxon.

His decision will bar him from officiating as a priest.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Telegraph: Controversial vicar investigated after Anglican church's first gay 'wedding'

A vicar accused of conducting a gay ‘wedding’ at his historic church is a controversial figure who has previously married his former mistress to another man, it has emerged.

Dr Martin Dudley performed a ceremony for two homosexual priests at the church where he is the rector, St Bartholomew the Great in the heart of the City of London.

The 12th century church, which once featured in the romantic comedy Four Weddings and a Funeral, was the setting for a traditional liturgy from the Book of Common Prayer, with confetti and exchange of rings.

But it is not the first time Dr Dudley, 54, a one-time contender for the position of Mayor of London, has performed a controversial ceremony.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Press Association: Anglican church's first gay 'wedding'

The first gay “marriage” to be held in an Anglican church has reignited controversy over homosexual clergy and same sex civil partnerships.

The Reverend Peter Cowell and the Rev Dr David Lord exchanged vows at St Bartholomew the Great in the City of London last month.

Church of England guidelines say gay clergy can enter a civil partnership if they provide reassurance that they will abstain from sex.

Couples who ask a priest to bless their union must be dealt with “pastorally and sensitively” on an individual basis.

This is the first time a full ceremony has been held for a same sex couple.
Reverend Martin Dudley, who led the ceremony, said he disagrees with the official guidance.

He added: “I was asked by a friend and colleague to bless their civil partnership. I said ‘of course I will’.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Gene Robinson to preach and preside at St Mary's Cathedral, Glasgow- August 3rd 2008

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lambeth 2008, Same-sex blessings, Scottish Episcopal Church, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Conflicts

Georgia group aims to coax more seminarians to pulpit

They come from a host of Christian denominations, but one thing unites them: they are part of a shrinking number of theology students nationally who are interested in taking over a pulpit rather than doing something else with their degrees.

About 100 seminarians from over two dozen denominations, from Baptists and Roman Catholics to Unitarian Universalists, are attending a weeklong conference aimed at reversing a trend of young people shying away from the gaps in churches nationwide left by retiring Baby Boomer ministers.

The conference by the Atlanta-based Fund for Theological Education will also bring in 50 undergraduates from colleges nationwide who are thinking of attending seminary and then going into ministry as a profession.

“The image of being a church leader is very boring,” said 25-year-old conference attendee John Helmstadter, a student at Yale Divinity School. “It doesn’t seem like a vibrant sector. It excites me to be a part of the revival of the church.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology