Daily Archives: July 3, 2008

Diocese, Episcopal Church file complaint against Groton Connecticut parish

The Episcopal Church has entered into a suit in support of the Diocese of Connecticut against the former rector and vestry members of Bishop Seabury Episcopal Church in Groton, Connecticut. The motion was granted by Connecticut’s New London Judicial District Court on June 24. The Diocese of Connecticut filed a similar suit April 30 in the same court.

Both complaints ask that the court prevent the defendants, who have left the Episcopal Church, from retaining church property. Additional plaintiffs are Bishop Seabury Church and its priest-in-charge, the Rev. Canon David Cannon.

Since becoming a parish in 1955, Bishop Seabury Church — which is named for the first Episcopal bishop and Groton native Samuel Seabury (1729-1796) — has been connected to the diocese in various ways, including through participation at annual conventions and receipt of gifts and loans.

Former rector the Rev. Ronald S. Gauss and some former members of the congregation, including vestry members, affiliated with the conservative Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) in November 2007. According to the complaints, Gauss has refused to relinquish control of the church property, including keys to the buildings and parish records to Cannon.

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

An Open Letter on Women in the Episcopate from the Bishop of Guilford

My dilemma, as your diocesan bishop – as one who has worked with this question ecumenically and within the Anglican Communion and the Church of England since 1975 ”“ is that if the answer to the two questions posed by the Manchester Group (should we have diversity of theological view on women’s ordination and should there consequently be special arrangements for those who dissent) is ”˜yes,. I do not believe that just a Code of Practice would enable this to happen. In which case, the question arises as to why we should be offering a discriminatory Code of Practice when it is known, in advance, with some certainty, that this will not provide a distinct enough space for those who cannot accept this development within the Church of England. I do not think that the circle can be squared ”“ or certainly not in this way, and I have worked as Vice Chairman of the Rochester Commission for a number of years and then with the Guildford Group and then with the Bishop of Gloucester on precisely trying to see whether there is an acceptable way forward. My own conviction (at least prior to the General Synod Debate) is that if we do not wish to say ”˜goodbye, it really is time for you to go’ to those who are against, some sort of structural provision will need to be provided in a way which least damages the nature of the Church and least impinges on the general recognition of women’s ministry, including Episcopal ministry.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

Stephen Noll's Workshop on Anglican Ecclesiology from GAFCON

Clergy discipline is of great importance to the morale of the Church. Scripture and the historic church, along with the Anglican Ordinal, have been of one accord in insisting that discipline begins with the household of God, and that church leaders are therefore especially accountable (1 Peter 4:17). I have observed serious breakdowns in this area on both sides of the ocean, but only in the West has this been done shamelessly. In the Episcopal Church, clergy divorce has become rampant in the last 35 years. While the so-called “gay lifestyle” of some clergy in the West grabs the headlines, rampant divorce among clergy, some with several marriages (let’s call this serial polygamy) is probably the more corrosive factor in the decline of those churches. Whatever the precise meaning of a bishop being husband of one wife (1 Timothy 3:2), it seems to me to limit the highest office in the church to those who have not been divorced as Christians.

Article 34 may seem out of place in a section on discipline, as it speaks of the diversity of traditions within the church. It teaches us, on the one hand, to be slow to judge those who practice their religion differently from us. There are many customs ”“ which we term adiaphora ”“ which Christians may follow in good conscience. The Article goes on to state that we must follow our local traditions in cases where they are the law of our church. This Article lays the foundation for obedience to canon law.

Article 33 speaks frankly of excommunicate persons who by open denunciation of the church should be shunned until they repent and are publicly reconciled. This Article complements the disciplinary rubric which allows a priest to refuse Communion to a “notorious evil-liver.” For many Anglicans in the West the whole idea of excommunication seems quaint or even anathema, although the Episcopal Church USA has managed to reinvent it under the twisted rubric of “abandonment of communion,” which is being used to bludgeon the orthodox. In the Church of England, for instance, a priest can be brought up on charges to the bishop if he were to refuse Holy Communion to an openly gay parishioner. Coming from this permissive culture to Africa, I was rather shocked to find there the opposite tendency: large numbers of Ugandan Anglicans absenting themselves from the Eucharist because of irregular marriages which render them excommunicate.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Ecclesiology, GAFCON I 2008, Global South Churches & Primates, Theology

A Louisiana Rector writes a Letter to the Editor Protesting recent Anglican Coverage

(Please note: the article to which this letter is responding may be found here).

The Anglican bishop featured in the article did not have (or seek) permission from the local Anglican bishop as is required to even be present on official church business. His presence violates protocols among Anglican dioceses and bishops, and violates the Windsor agreement in which bishops were asked not to do what this bishop did in visiting this congregation.

The bishop’s comments about the Episcopal Church are also unfortunate and divisive. It is scandalous that an Anglican bishop would foment division in this way.

I believe that your article is unbalanced and misleading in its reporting of the Episcopal Church. While this is likely unintended, nevertheless a reader could easily be confused by its content. Certain teachings presented in the article could be understood by readers to be factual teachings of the Episcopal Church. The article suggests in comments that the Episcopal Church is heretical and disintegrating. On the contrary, the Episcopal Church affirms its faith in the Resurrection and the Deity of Christ, is growing in many areas and is doing much good ministry among the faithful.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Parishes, Theology

As gas prices deter congregants, churches get creative

At St. Stephen Baptist Church in Louisville, the 14,000-member congregation billed itself as a “seven-day-a-week” hub of activity, with choir practices, ministry meetings or small groups scheduled every night.Then Pastor Kevin Cosby noticed a drop-off ”” people simply couldn’t afford the gas to drive to several activities on several different evenings.

So Cosby shuffled the schedule to combine all activities on Wednesday night to give parishioners a “one-stop-shop for your soul.” The church also bought a third 14-passenger bus to shuttle people to and from church.

“We thought it would be a better practice of stewardship,” Cosby said. “The good use and stewardship of resources is how we demonstrate our love for God.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Religion & Culture

Canon Gregory Cameron's Hellins Lecture on Anglicans and the Future of the Communion

The twentieth century saw a sea change in the life of the Anglican Communion between its beginning and its end. The Anglican Communion, which at the fifth Lambeth Conference of 1908 was represented by 223 bishops (all of them Doctors of Divinity and a majority of them from England) organised into 11 Provinces, blossomed into a Communion of some 750 bishops (almost all of them indigenous) at the 1998 Lambeth Conference, representing perhaps 70 million Christians organised into 38 Provinces.

Such growth has been almost entirely in the South, and all the really big Churches are now in the continent of Africa. If we are to believe their own statistics, the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) comprises some 20 million adherents, the Church of Uganda, 10 million, the Church of Kenya, 5 million and Episcopal Church of the Sudan 4.5 million. Besides them, only the Church of England can compete with 26 million baptised, although 25 million of them hardly ever bother to darken the doors of Church on a Sunday. The growth of the Anglican Communion in the twentieth century has been phenomenal. Today it is a truism to say that the average Anglican is a black woman under the age of 30, who earns two dollars a day, has a family of at least three children, has lost two close relatives to AIDs, and who will walk four miles to Church for a three hour service on a Sunday. These are the realities of the Anglican Communion, and probably quite alien to the Diocese of St Asaph.

It should not be surprising therefore to discover that the twenty-first century has brought a growing impatience with the cultural and financial dominance of the NATO aspects of Communion life, and with it, a growing critique of the Churches of the West. Not only are we in the West shrinking in numbers unlike the growing Churches of the South; for many critics, the Churches of the West are losing a sense of their identity as they get lulled into the liberalism and relativism which are presumed to be the hallmarks of the modern Western society.

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Posted in Uncategorized

The ’60s Begin to Fade as Liberal Professors Retire

When Michael Olneck was standing, arms linked with other protesters, singing “We Shall Not Be Moved” in front of Columbia University’s library in 1968, Sara Goldrick-Rab had not yet been born.

When he won tenure at the University of Wisconsin here in 1980, she was 3. And in January, when he retires at 62, Ms. Goldrick-Rab will be just across the hall, working to earn a permanent spot on the same faculty from which he is departing.

Together, these Midwestern academics, one leaving the professoriate and another working her way up, are part of a vast generational change that is likely to profoundly alter the culture at American universities and colleges over the next decade.

Baby boomers, hired in large numbers during a huge expansion in higher education that continued into the ’70s, are being replaced by younger professors who many of the nearly 50 academics interviewed by The New York Times believe are different from their predecessors ”” less ideologically polarized and more politically moderate.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education

Home equity credit line delinquencies hit high

The troubled economy is leaving consumers with increasingly tough decisions about which debts to pay first, and in some cases, which to pay at all. In the latest indication of these pressures, late payments on home-equity lines of credit rose to an 11-year high in the first quarter of 2008, according to the American Bankers Association.

“It’s not a surprise at all that delinquencies are at an 11-year high,” says Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Economic Advisors. “The consumer is getting hit from all directions.”

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

FiF NA deputation reflects on GAFCON

FiF NA’s pilgrims see GAFCON as not unlike the Fort Worth Congress of 1989, where there was an international presence and a clear sense of the consensus which brought us together, issuing in a call for the lead bishops to establish a structure that could further the cause. What was different here is the fact that several of the Primates who matter have already acted, and the great energy and urgency apparent both in the conference as a whole and in its leadership. What was begun here will not drag on. Its effect can already be seen in the strong reaction of the Episcopal establishment. And the BBC has announced that it will air a documentary film on GAFCON on the eve of the Lambeth Conference.

We did not meet to talk about something we hope will happen someday. We met to talk about something that is already happening, and to plan its direction for the future.

The Lambeth Conference of 1998 called on the Communion to reach out to those who are Anglicans, but outside the Communion. FiF NA was the first body in North America still tied to the Anglican Communion to recognize churches of the Continuum as fellow-Anglicans, and enter into full communion with them.

Your delegation rejoices in GAFCON’S decision to ask its Primates’ Council “to authenticate and recognize confessing Anglican jurisdictions, clergy, and congregations”. While not all Continuing bodies are interested in a relationship with the Communion, GAFCON is the first on-the-ground effort within the Communion to reintegrate those which do. About two-thirds of Continuers were represented at GAFCON.

GAFCON’s final statement endorsed FiF NA’s vision for a new province in North America, and identified the CCP as the vehicle for carrying it out. The GAFCON movement recognizes the ordination of women as one of the issues which divides it, as it does the CCP, and is committed to seek the mind of Christ together on these issues.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, GAFCON I 2008, Global South Churches & Primates

An Editorial from the local paper: Put the squeeze on Mugabe

The United Nations Security Council must decide what to do about Robert Mugabe’s theft of the Zimbabwe presidential election last week. It should begin with the international arms embargo called for Saturday by President George W. Bush, who announced that he will impose strong unilateral sanctions “against this illegitimate government of Zimbabwe and those who support it.” The Security Council should also take up stronger economic sanctions along the lines of a U.S. draft resolution.

Strong international support for tougher sanctions on Mr. Mugabe and his followers could help motivate the African Union (AU) to move beyond its unsatisfactory call on Tuesday for a government of national unity.

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, Africa, Zimbabwe

Zenit: An Interview With the Neocatechumenate Initiator

Q: Why is baptismal catechesis the key to evangelize modern man?

Arguello: Because baptism opens to us the door of the Church, participation in divine nature. As St. Paul says, “For the love of Christ impels us, once we have come to the conviction that one died for all; therefore, all have died. He indeed died for all, so that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.”

The problem of the man of today is that, because of original sin, he lives everything for himself; he has placed himself at the center of the universe, substituting God as the center of his person, and does not realize that he lives enslaved, condemned to live for himself. This causes profound suffering, because the truth is something else; because God is total love, total giving to the other that he has shown in Christ; man suffers because he doesn’t love like Christ.

In countries where transcendence has been denied for years, where God has been denied, as in the former Communist countries, the rate of suicides is very high, because happiness is to live in the truth, and truth is love. And this original sin can only be erased through baptism.

That is why it is important to call men back to the faith, through preaching, the proclamation of the kerygma, the proclamation of Christ dead and risen. When Peter makes this proclamation on the day of Pentecost, the people are moved and ask him what they should do. Peter replies: “Be baptized and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

The first baptismal fonts were pools — the Council talks again of immersion — to which the neophyte descended by steps. This first form of baptism represents perfectly what this sacrament means: death of the old man and resurrection to new life, to man regenerated by the Holy Spirit, who can love and give himself. That is why the crucified Christ is the true image of the free man.

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Baptism, Other Churches, Roman Catholic, Sacramental Theology, Theology

McCain, Obama quietly take opposing stands on California's same-sex marriage ban measure

Presidential candidates can command instant national attention when they want it. But John McCain and Barack Obama each took a hushed approach to letting the world know where they stand on the California ballot measure to ban same-sex marriage.

The muted announcements — McCain supports the proposed ban, Obama opposes it — will have little if any bearing on the presidential contest in a state that strongly favors Democrats.

Beyond California, though, the ramifications are serious — especially for McCain. Advisors hope his support for the November measure will help appease socially conservative evangelicals long wary of the Arizona senator.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Sexuality, US Presidential Election 2008

Daivd Leonhardt: Dispelling the Myths of Summer About the Economy

Strangely enough, though, layoffs have very little to do with the economy’s problems. Since 1992, the Labor Department has been tracking something called “gross job losses,” which is the number of positions eliminated at a given office or job site. In 2007, these losses were at nearly their lowest point on record, just above the 2006 level. That’s right ”” last year, companies eliminated significantly fewer jobs than they did in any year of the fabulous late 1990s boom.

Unfortunately, gross job gains ”” the new jobs created ”” have fallen more sharply than job losses. Companies have gone on a “hiring strike,” notes Ed McKelvey, a Goldman Sachs economist. Existing firms aren’t expanding much, and not enough new firms are starting. The country is suffering from an innovation deficit.

Layoffs will almost certainly increase in coming months, and the pain, both financial and psychological, that comes with any individual layoff tends to be severe. The victims of these layoffs deserve help, in the form of extended unemployment benefits. But the long-term solution can’t revolve around efforts to slow globalization, technological change and other forms of economic churn. We need more churn, not less.

If you want to understand the causes of the innovation deficit, I’d recommend adding one serious book to your summer reading list: “The Race Between Education and Technology,” by Claudia Goldin and Lawrence Katz, two labor economists.

They argue that the American prosperity of the 20th century sprang largely from the country’s longtime lead in educational attainment, a lead that has all but vanished. Future prosperity won’t be based on saving yesterday’s high-wage jobs, as Mr. Katz told me. It has to start with smarter, more strategic investments in education, physical infrastructure and other things that can create the high-wage jobs of tomorrow.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy

The Canadian Primate responds to the GAFCON statement

The Gospel of God in Christ is faithfully proclaimed by Canadian Anglicans today just as it has been by generations who have gone before us. I believe it is important to state this truth in response to the recent statement from the GAFCON gathering in Jerusalem, which suggests otherwise.

The GAFCON statement is based on a premise that there is “acceptance and promotion within the provinces of the Anglican Communion of a different gospel which is contrary to the apostolic gospel.” The statement specifically accuses Anglican churches in the Canada and the United States of proclaiming this “false gospel that has paralysed the Communion.” I challenge and repudiate this charge.

In my first year as Primate, I have visited many parishes across the country, attended synods and participated in gatherings of clergy and laity who care deeply for the church, its unity and witness. What I see is a faithful proclamation of the apostolic gospel in liturgy and loving service to those in need and in advocacy for justice and peace for all people.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, GAFCON I 2008, Global South Churches & Primates

(London) Times Editorial: Crossroads for Anglicans

Rarely has an archbishop been so tested. Only days before he attends the General Synod in York, Dr Rowan Williams has received a letter from more than 1,300 clergy, including 11 serving bishops, threatening to defect from the Church of England if women are consecrated bishops. The letter comes hard on the heels of an equally minatory ultimatum issued in Jerusalem last week by more than 250 bishops from across the Anglican Communion excoriating the Archbishop of Canterbury for his lack of moral leadership and calling on traditionalists to “sideline” him.

That is not all. In a challenge to his authority as primus inter pares, some 800 Church of England clergy and lay leaders took the first step on Tuesday to forming a “Church within a Church”. Led by three overseas bishops, the group met in a London evangelical church to assert their opposition to the ordination of [noncelibate] gay people as well as an anathema on liberal theology that they said was undermining the Church.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), GAFCON I 2008, Global South Churches & Primates