Daily Archives: July 10, 2008

Some Data on the Relative Number of Bishops per Province

On several of the threads related to the Lambeth conference in the past 48 hours there has been discussion of a remark made by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori about the disproportionate numbers of American bishops attending the Lambeth conference. In this article she is quoted as follows:

ENS: What kind of presence will the Episcopal Church have at the Lambeth Conference?

KJS: The bishops of the Episcopal Church will represent about one-quarter of all bishops in attendance. One of our tasks is not to overwhelm the gathering just by our sheer numbers.

That has stirred up curiosity and discussion. One commenter did some quick calculations as to relative ratio of bishops / members. We decided to take that research a bit further and turn it into a spreadsheet. It’s very revealing.

TEC and Canada together comprise 3.6% of the membership of the 20 largest provinces of the Anglican Communion, and yet combined they have 27.5% of the total 682 bishops among these top 20 Provinces. We elves are working compiling a detailed statistical overview of all Anglican Communion provinces. Look for more data from us about Provinces, relative size, relative growth and their representation at Lambeth in coming days.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, Anglican Provinces, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lambeth 2008, TEC Bishops, TEC Data

Steve Banner: Local Fort Worth area program to explore faith issues

That the Episcopal Church is facing a likely split in the United States stirs little interest in most people.

But it should. It’s not about politics. It is about disagreements over basic issues of faith and message that should concern all who consider themselves believers.

The Episcopal Church is the name given to the American branch ”” or province ”” of the worldwide Anglican Communion based in Canterbury, England.

And there are many individual parishes and dioceses within the U.S. in serious disagreement with the directions taken in recent years by the church’s General Convention that constitute notable departures from the biblical principles upon which the Anglican Church was founded.

The issues are revisionist views on the nature and divinity of Christ and on the Bible as the final authority and unchangeable standard for Christian faith and the literary source of all things necessary for salvation.

Read it all.

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

David Williamson: How globalisation is making Anglican schisms easier

Extraordinary dramas in Anglicanism are but a part of a greater transformation wrought by globalisation.

There have been grand tensions and international debates within religions and denominations in the past, such as the split between Roman Catholicism and the Eastern Orthodox churches in the 11th century.

But never before has communication between factions been so simple and fast. Tracts and polemics are no longer taken by brave riders on horseback along mountain passes populated by barbarian bandits. Instead, an outraged bishop in San Francisco or Kigali can simply post a screed on a blog, which will be read by an audience of millions in hours.

This has created the incredible situation where individual parishes unhappy with local leadership start to wonder, “Why don’t we switch allegiance to that compelling chap on a different continent?”

The answer to that, until a decade a ago, would have been that such an arrangement is logistically impossible. But the neo-miracles of email, podcasting, FedEx and the proliferation of airlines has made this so much easier.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, - Anglican: Commentary, Globalization

Time Magazine: Could the Pope Aid an Anglican Split?

he scene on Monday at the Synod of the Church of England was wild. The Archbishop of Canterbury cradled his head in his hands; his presumptive successor, the Archbishop of York, appeared to be tearing at his head; and a lower-ranking prelate was reduced to public tears.

The cause of this drama was a series of votes, over the vehement objections of traditionalists, allowing the church to name female bishops. To rub it in further, the Synod of the Church of England slapped down a counterproposal that would have allowed conservative parishes to avoid answering to female bishops and submit to an independent authority of special (that is, male) “superbishops” instead. Faced with this crushing denial, a sizeable chunk of traditionalist priests and bishops could well leave their church. On Wednesday, one bishop announced his intent to take his flock with him.

Does this sound familiar? A non-English spectator might be tempted to think that the agony was another chapter in the battle between theological conservatives and liberals that currently threatens the unity of both the global Anglican Communion and the U.S. Episcopal Church. (The Church of England is the flagship of the Communion and the Episcopal Church is a member.) In fact, on its face, the Church of England’s crisis is only distantly related to the global or American scene. However, it might draw in a very powerful observer from outside the Communion who could make things very interesting: Pope Benedict XVI.

Both the special nature of the English crisis and the Pope’s possible involvement hinge on the fact that most of the English dissidents this week are not the evangelical, Bible-thumping members of the Communion whose fury at the American ordination of an openly gay bishop has led to talks of schism this summer. Rather they are members of a faction, heavy on liturgy and ritual, that abhors evangelicalism but considers itself very close to the Catholicism from which the Anglican Church originally sprang.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

Bishop Andrew Burnham: ”˜Anglo-Catholics must now decide’

…the decision of the Church of England to proceed to the ordination of women bishops without providing adequately for traditionalists renders the claims of the Church of England to be part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church shaky or simply untenable.

Codes of practice are shifting sands. The sacramental life of the Church must be built on rock.

How could we trust a code of practice to deliver a workable ecclesiology if every suggestion we have made for our inclusion has been turned down flat?

How could we trust a code of practice when those who are offering it include those who have done most to undermine and seek to revoke the code of practice in force for these last 14 years?

The synodical process for traditional Anglo-Catholics is over. Some will try to draw new lines in the sand. But what the General Synod of the Church of England demonstrated on 7/7 (2008) is that, as on 11/11 (1992), it has decided that it is unilaterally competent to alter Holy Order. At one stage in the late 1990s it even had a go at changing the Creed. Here at work is a democratic Magisterium which at York this week showed that it values the advice of archbishops and bishops’ prolocutors less than it does the outcome of a show of hands.

Read it all.

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

Fortune: The Fannie and Freddie doomsday scenario

Here’s a scary, and relevant, question to ponder as the housing market continues to slide: What would it take for the government to step in and help Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and how would a rescue affect you, the taxpayer?

A Lehman analyst’s note on Monday sent shares of both companies plunging. Though they’ve recovered some, the fall, and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s downbeat outlook for housing issued Tuesday, is forcing investors to consider what would happen if a bailout is needed….

The doomsday scenario could cost taxpayers more than $1 trillion, says the S&P report. The report went so far as to say that a government bailout of Fannie or Freddie could force the agency to lower its rating on the creditworthiness of the United States.

Read it all.

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

Iran reports missile test, drawing rebuke

Iranian Revolutionary Guards practicing war-game maneuvers test-fired nine missiles on Wednesday, including at least one the government in Tehran describes as having the range to reach Israel.

The tests drew sharp American criticism and came a day after the Iranians had threatened to retaliate against Israel and the United States if attacked.

State-run media said the missiles were long- and medium-range weapons, and included the Shahab-3, which Tehran maintains is able to hit targets up to 1,250 miles away from its firing position. Parts of western Iran are within 650 miles of Tel Aviv.

The tests, shown on Iranian television, coincide with increasingly tense exchanges with the West over Tehran’s nuclear program, which Iran says is for civilian purposes but which many Western governments suspect is aimed at building nuclear weapons. Iran’s military display came just a day after the United States and the Czech Republic signed an accord to allow the Pentagon to deploy part of its contentious antiballistic missile shield, which Washington maintains is designed to protect in part against Iranian missiles.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Iran, Middle East

Andrew Carey on the recent General Synod Vote: Walking on Broken Glass

What should have been a joyous new beginning for women’s ministry at General Synod on Monday, has been spoiled. Most women I know will not welcome the fact that progress towards ordaining them to the episcopate has been soured by the prospect of an exodus of many traditionalists from the Church of England amid an atmosphere of bitter recrimination.

The choice facing Synod was simple and straightforward. It was to pass legislation with structural provision for traditionalists or not. A code of practice was neither here nor there, because it clearly failed to meet the needs of those for whom it was designed. I am reminded in this of The Episcopal Church’s offer of ‘Delegated Episcopal Oversight’ to traditionalists. This provision was counted a success because it was so rarely used precisely because it was designed only to preserve the rights of diocesan bishops and not to meet the needs of parishes alienated from those very same bishops. It seems that exactly the same ‘winner-takes-all’ attitude has begun to prevail in the Church of England. As I listened to the debate, I sensed a new mood abroad in the Church of England as Synod members coldly and systematically voted down any amendments conceding crumbs to the Anglo-catholics. The Bishop of Winchester described the outcome as ‘mean-spirited’, Andrew Dow referred to a ‘scorched earth policy’.

Let’s make no mistake about it, Monday’s night Synod opens up the possibility of a very serious exodus from the Church of England. The loss of large numbers of Catholics will not leave us with a ‘Reformed’ church, a mouthwatering prospect for earlier generations of evangelicals, but will leave us with yet another liberal protestant denomination. Far from being a national church with coverage throughout the entire country, we will end up with little or no presence in many communities where traditional catholics have ministered so courageously.

Read it all.

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

England, Scotland and Wales to host bishops on the road to Lambeth

(ACNS) Before the bishops arrive in Canterbury for the 2008 Lambeth Conference, hundreds of them will enjoy a taste of another part of Britain.

Through the “Hospitality Initiative,” every bishop and spouse invited to the Lambeth Conference has also been invited to be the guest of an Anglican diocese in England, Wales, or Scotland. The response has been enormous, with hundreds accepting the invitation. They will spend five days in one of 57 dioceses stretching from Truro in the south to Moray, Ross and Caithness in the north and St David’s in the west.

“It’s a tremendous opportunity to offer the gift of hospitality to representatives of our sister churches around the world,” says the Revd Mark Rodel, who is organising the Hospitality Initiative in the Diocese of Portsmouth, which will be hosting 11 bishops and their spouses from Ghana and the United States.

Through the initiative, the visiting bishops will have a chance to experience firsthand how the church lives out its mission in another part of the worldwide Anglican Communion. It will also provide a unique opportunity for those in the host dioceses to encounter church leaders from another part of global Anglican family.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Lambeth 2008

France At Forefront Of Free, Innovative Cancer Care

Everyone in France gets health insurance. When someone has a difficult disease, such as cancer, the national health system steps in and pays for 100 percent of the care.

Unlike in the United States, insurance in France is not linked to employment, nor is there a lifetime limit on how much treatment a long-term survivor like Hubert can get.

The guarantee of health insurance is the first reason why cancer experts around the world look to France as a model for cancer treatment and care. Another is that cancer care is well organized at the national and hospital levels. To treat patients, a hospital or clinic has to prove it meets national standards for high-level care. It must treat a minimum number of patients a year, and it must use a team of doctors, nurses and others to provide coordinated care.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Europe, France, Health & Medicine

A Pastoral Letter from the Bishop of London in regard to recent and coming Events

You will be aware by now that the General Synod has voted for the legislative process to begin which will open the way to the consecration of women bishops, possibly as early as 2012. The majorities for this change were substantial in all three houses of bishops, clergy and laity. For many this will be a cause for rejoicing. As Paul says in Romans XII: 15, we are to “rejoice with them that rejoice and weep with them that weep”. The question remains of how to honour the promises made when women were ordained to the priesthood that those who could not accept the decision of General Synod as one authorised by scripture and tradition would continue to have a secure and honoured place in the life of our church. It was clear from the debate on Monday that there are profound doubts about whether a national code of practice could provide such a “secure and honoured place”.

I believe that the London Plan has provided a secure framework within which we have not only been able to live together in one church for more than ten years but we have been able in unity to address the agenda which God has put before us as a Christian community called to serve him at the beginning of the 21st century.

Read the whole thing.

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

The Bishop of El Camino Real writes about Guidelines for Same Sex Couples and Liturgy

After reflecting with our Standing Committee, other California bishops, the chair of the Massachusetts task force on same”gender marriage and Bishop Tom Shaw, also of Massachusetts, here are the guidelines ”“ for now. You may have a same”gender civil marriage and blessing in your church provided an Episcopal priest does not officiate at the marriage itself or sign the marriage license and the Book of Common Prayer is not used. For example, you may have a civil ceremony conducted by someone other than an Episcopal clergyperson, followed by a blessing of that union (which could surely include a Eucharist) by an Episcopal priest. Various liturgies have been used around the diocese for blessings; a practice which was approved by the 2004 El Camino Real diocesan convention. These guidelines are not a tremendous change from our previous guidelines, but rather an addition that helps us live into a new reality. As the national church proceeds toward full sacramental inclusion, so shall our diocese. As with all couples, your discernment and discretion is integral to the process of determining the suitability of blessing the marriage. My consent, per the instruction of the 2004 resolution, is still required.

Please know that I have decided upon the new guidelines in light of the current climate in our diocese and the national church as a whole, and looking ahead to the upcoming Lambeth Conference. They will be too liberal for some and not permissive enough for others. I welcome your feedback as we move through these historic times. Also, as a means of encouraging ongoing conversation and exploration, I am appointing a Task Force on Marriage and Family in our diocese.

Read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops

Episcopal Bishops Receive Media Handling Tips for the Lambeth Conference

Americans will represent nearly 25 percent of about 650 Anglican bishops scheduled to attend the conference, which starts next week in Canterbury, England.

In responding to questions from the media, Episcopal bishops are being encouraged to respond in a way that emphasizes two main themes:

Ӣ When Anglicans work together through the power of the Holy Spirit, we change the world; and
Ӣ At the Lambeth Conference, the bishops of the Anglican Communion review our deep unity in Christ.

The method can be illustrated with a triangular diagram, according to a handout developed by Auburn Media, part of Auburn Theological Seminary. The handout was part of a packet sent to Episcopal bishops recently by Bishop Clay Matthews of the Presiding Bishop’s Office of Pastoral Development.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lambeth 2008, TEC Bishops

A Message from Bishop Edwin Barnes President of The Church Union

From here:

Until July 2008 it was possible for members of the Church of England to claim to be part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. By the vote in General Synod on 7/7/08 that possibility was removed. Now catholic Anglicans are looking to the future without any real chance of remaining members of the Church of England.

Fifteen years ago, we were told we had an honoured place in that church, and that there would be no discrimination against any of us who believed in conscience that women could not be priests. Now, the majority in General Synod have reneged on those promises. They have sought to cover their naked ambition with the fig-leaf of a ‘code of practice’ but we are not deceived. The code of practice of the House of Bishops which accompanied the Act of Synod in 1993 has been either ignored or positively undermined by those in authority. The even-handedness which was promised us has been replaced by a determined and successful effort to ensure that no-one who believed women’s ordination might be against the will of God would gain any sort of senior office in the church.

For myself, this clear decision that the majority wants to be rid of us comes as a great relief. We can now begin to plan for a future which will not involve us in compromise. Our Fathers in God (the Provincial Episcopal Visitors, and the few remaining orthodox bishops such as Fulham, Chichester and a handful of others) will do their best to encourage us and keep us together, so that we can hold together. We believe our friends in the Roman Communion will do all they can to help us. Meanwhile, we must pray for one another and support one another – and pray for those who despitefully use us and want us gone. It is a sad time for the Church of England; but not for the Church of God. Great is the truth, and will prevail. God bless and sustain you – and in this interim the Church Union will do all it can to help you.

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

InclusiveChurch: The vote for women bishops

From here:

Inclusive Church is delighted that General Synod voted by a large majority to move to the consecration of women as bishops.

Canon Giles Goddard, Chair of IC, said “It is a time for rejoicing. We have reached another milestone in the long process of removing the barriers to inclusion in the Church of England. The gospel is a gospel of welcome and this decision will make us more able to be welcoming in our churches. ”

Inclusive Church includes many catholics, liberals and evangelicals among our supporters, who have recognised that a national code of practice is the best way forward. Through a code of practice, the concerns of those who do not yet accept the ministry of women can be recognised, but there will not be “no go areas” for women. It has worked in other provinces and no doubt it will work in England.

Although the response of some of our ecumenical partners has been negative, we have no doubt that many members of other churches will welcome the decision.

We pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as the Church of England continues to try to fulfil its role as the Established Church. There is still a great deal of work to do to complete the process. We look forward to working with our partners and, we hope, with those who are opposed to the decision. We hope that helpful past dialogues can be revitalised to make sure that the legislation and the code of practice are as effective as they can be.

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