Daily Archives: July 18, 2008

William Witt: Questions Search Committees Should Consider asking Rector Candidates

1. Who is Jesus? What does it mean to say “Jesus saves”? How do you interpret John 14:6?

2. Why is it important to believe in the doctrine of the Trinity? Why is it important that Jesus rose from the dead? If the bones of Jesus were found in a grave in Palestine, would that make any difference to Christian faith?

3. What is the central message of the gospel?

4. What is justification? Sanctification? How are they related?

5. What does God contribute to salvation, and what do we contribute? How are they related?

6. How do you understand divine sovereignty and providence? Can anything happen outside God’s will? Can human beings thwart God’s will?

7. Why do Christians pray if God already knows everything that will happen and exercises divine providence over the world?

8. For whom did Jesus die? If Jesus died for everyone, why isn’t everyone saved? Why do you think some people believe in Christ, and some don’t?

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Parish Ministry

Jim Simons Writes his Parish about recent Anglican Developments

I know that there are those among us who feel differently. Some think that realignment would be a good idea and want to follow the Bishop. There are others who do not want to follow the Bishop or the Episcopal Church but would rather take a third option and walk away from the property and start over again. As I stated above, I think the best course of action is for us to stay together at least for the short term. If the realignment passes, we will then see how a continuing diocese is reorganized and whether we can in good conscience remain in the Episcopal Church. I believe we can.
I know that there will be some for whom this is untenable, who feel that the Episcopal Church is no longer a place they want to be. I want you to know that I understand this and that my desire for everyone is that they be in a place where they can be nourished spiritually. If some are feeling called to another course of action it is my hope that they will do so in a way that honors the deep and abiding relationships that we have formed here over the decades.

This Sunday the Gospel lesson is Matthew 13:24-43. In that parable a man sows good seed in a field. When the wheat begins to mature, it is discovered that weeds are growing among it. The servants ask the master if they should remove the weeds. The master says no because doing so would uproot some of the wheat which then will be lost as well. He tells them to let the wheat and the weeds grow together. Jesus then goes on to say that the wheat represents the faithful and the weeds are the children of the evil one. The point of the parable is that it is God’s responsibility, not ours, to separate wheat and weeds. We are to be faithful in our growth towards God and in maturing into the men and women he created us to be. God will deal with the unfaithful.

Are there weeds in the Episcopal Church? Most certainly, but there is also much wheat. Is it difficult to live in a weedy environment? Yes, but for decades St. Michael’s has been, a place of healthy spiritual growth, a place where the wheat thrives, and a parish which bears witness to the rest of the Kingdom to what the Gospel can do.

Read it all.

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

Naomi Schafer Riley–Evangelicals Haven't Embraced the Democrats' Agenda

A few weeks ago, John McCain met with the Rev. Billy Graham in what was widely seen as an effort to step up his outreach to religious people. And little wonder: The conventional wisdom has decreed that the senator, who is generally reticent about his own faith, needs to do something drastic to shore up his appeal among religious voters. But it is not only Republicans who feel the need to court the “value voter” bloc. Ever since John Kerry’s loss in 2004, the Democratic Party has been trying to “broaden the agenda” of religious folks, pushing global warming, Iraq withdrawal and income inequality as issues of “faith.” To push such matters, Howard Dean, the man who left his own church over a bike path, started the Faith in Action initiative at the Democratic National Committee.

Has it worked? Are religious voters feeling the stirrings of a new, leftward-leaning faith agenda? Not really, according to a recent study out from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. “The connection between religious intensity and political attitudes appears to be especially strong when it comes to issues such as abortion and homosexuality,” the researchers report. Almost three-quarters of the evangelicals who attend church weekly — the majority of evangelicals and the religious group that is most responsible for Mr. Bush’s victories — believe abortion should be illegal in most or all cases. An even higher percentage say that homosexuality should be discouraged by society as a way of life.

Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention is not surprised. Evangelicals, he says, are not about to “exchange global warming for the sanctity of life or traditional marriage.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, US Presidential Election 2008

Allison Lawrence of South Carolina Writes a Brief Note from Lambeth to the Diocese

I finally have my computer up and running! No easy accomplishment! We are settled into our dorm rooms and we each (Mark and I that is) have private bathrooms. We are very fortunate. Actually it all evens out as those who have to share showers and toilets (8 rooms in total) are much closer to the happenings.

For me so far, the experience seems surreal! I am overwhelmed at the nationalties and languages, the customs and costumes. So many from all over…From Africa, India, The Phillipines, Hong Kong, The Middle East, Canada, New Zealand, The Solomon Islands, Brazil, Chile, Dubai….these are just a few whom I have already met in less than 24 hours.

I would say that there is an air of apprehensive hopefulness, that is to say many seem patently aware of the importance of this meeting of the Anglican Communion and the far reaching effect it may have on our common future.

On a lighter note I walked to the town of Canterbury today with some new Bishop wife friends. We looked around the shops then had a lovely Devon Cream Tea (approx. 100,000 calories!). Tonight The Archbishop of Canterbury’s wife, Dr.Jane Williams, is launching her new book! It should be fun…

That’s all the time I have for now. I think of “all y’all” often and am unspeakably grateful to be a part of our great diocese. I am equally grateful for your love and prayers.

Yours in Christ,

Allison

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

A Church Times Editorial: Bishops should do their duty

AND SO it begins. The 2008 Lambeth Conference starts, appropriately enough, with a three-day retreat in Canterbury, before the big opening service in the cathedral on Sunday morning. On the assumption that the bishops who registered (and have been paid for) have actually turned up, the organisers ought to be quietly pleased. They have collected together well over the quorum needed to claim still to be the voice of the episcopate of the Anglican Communion.

A key constituency, though, is the conservative one. The loss of so many Nigerians, Ugandans, and Rwandans is critical. Given that the Lambeth Conference is not a church council with the authority to legislate for the Communion, one of its most important functions is to enable bishops to inform themselves of other models of the Church. The gay debate of the past five years has suffered from too much niche internet activity, whereby each side has logged on merely to those sites with which they agree. As a consequence, the personal encounters that would formerly have taken place through letters or telephone conversations have been lacking. This has made a face-to-face meeting all the more desirable.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Lambeth 2008

Anglican Journal: Lambeth prays for those present and those absent

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has expressed optimism about the Lambeth Conference saying that the three-day retreat for Anglican bishops that began on July 16, at the historic Canterbury Cathedral had been “a great start.”

Archbishop Williams made the remark during a very brief interview with the Anglican Journal at the reception last night for the book launch of Marriage, Mitres and Myself, authored by his wife, Jane, with contributions from other bishops’ spouses.

More than 600 bishops have been divided into Bible Study groups as part of the retreat and Canterbury Cathedral, which attracts thousands of pilgrims and tourists worldwide, has been closed to visitors during the three-day retreat to accommodate them.

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Lambeth 2008

In California Episcopal Church under fire for parolee priest

James Tramel went from convicted murderer to priest while in prison, a transformation that the Episcopal Church used to successfully lobby for his parole and celebrate him before politicians and the press.

But the church is now grappling with the sexual abuse of a parishioner under his care. Tramel has been suspended for sexual misconduct, temporarily stripped of his priestly authority and left searching for a new job.

The San Francisco-based Episcopal Diocese of California now faces questions of whether, in its haste to proclaim Tramel’s story, it redeemed and promoted him too quickly.

Convicted of second-degree murder in a 1985 slaying, Tramel went to seminary and was ordained a priest while incarcerated in a state prison in Solano County. After he was paroled early in 2006, at the urging of the Episcopal bishop of California, Tramel was quickly placed at the helm of the historic Trinity Episcopal Church in San Francisco.

It’s there that the victim said Tramel, who is married and has a young child, took advantage of her during counseling sessions.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry

Telegraph: Archbishop of Canterbury faces calls to stop American clergy being transferred

The Archbishop of Canterbury will be told this week to stop conservative clergy leaving their national churches and becoming bishops in other countries.

Dr Rowan Williams is to be lobbied by liberals who are dominating the ten-yearly Lambeth Conference, because more than 200 traditionalist bishops have boycotted the gathering as a result of divisions on gay clergy and women bishops.

He will be told that the process of conservative American clergy opting out of their national body and becoming bishops in African and South American churches goes against tradition and must be stopped.

Dr Williams will also be urged to prevent orthodox Anglicans, who believe the Bible teaches that homosexuality is wrong, from setting up a new province in North America to rival the Episcopal Church of the USA, which triggered the current crisis by electing the first openly gay bishop in the worldwide Communion.

Read it all. So, let us get this straight. None of these transfers to other Provinces in the Anglican Communion would be occurring if the Episcopal Church had not done in 2003 what the Anglican Communion in many different ways asked the Episcopal Church not to do. And, of course, what they did was against tradition.

Also, during the 2003 debate, any outside urging or attempted persusasion, or, even more strongly, intervention by Anglican authorities was seen to be an inappropriate transgression of provincial “autonomy.”

Now, however, that something is happening that the Episcopal Church leadership does not like, what is said leadership doing? Appealing to tradition, and asking for outside influence and intervention from Anglican Communion authorities. Got it? Pot, please meet kettle–KSH.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, CANA, Church of Nigeria, Church of Rwanda, Church of Uganda, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lambeth 2008, Presiding Bishop, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Conflicts, TEC Departing Parishes

Nassau Guardian: Archbishop Gomez off to 'family reunion'

Archbishop of the Province of the West Indies and Diocesan Bishop of The Bahamas, Drexel Gomez, has left The Bahamas to attend the 2008 Lambeth Conference, a once-a-decade summit of the world’s Anglican bishops which, will be a tense, closely watched family reunion in Canterbury, England.

During the conference, which got underway on Wednesday, July 16 with sessions through Sunday, August 3, the Anglican church’s future as it relates to homosexuality will be discussed.

The Anglican Communion has been splintering since 2003, when the Episcopal Church consecrated the first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.

However, to forestall conflict, the organizers of this year’s Lambeth Conference have planned for no resolutions and no votes. Instead, the bishops will meet in small groups, on the theory that they will overcome their divisions by building personal relationships.

The program at the Lambeth Conference has seen the topic moved off Robinson and toward repairing the frayed relationships among bishops. They will spend their days in small group Bible study and discussions on evangelism and the humanitarian work of Anglicans worldwide. Sexuality is the main topic on just one day of the summit.

No resolutions will, reportedly, be adopted as they were at Lambeth a decade ago, when bishops voted that gay relationships were incompatible with Scripture. Instead, the conference will issue “reflections” by the meeting’s end.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Global South Churches & Primates, Lambeth 2008, West Indies

Archbishop Myers praises growth of Anglican Use liturgy

John J. Myers, the Archbishop of Newark and Ecclesiastical Delegate for the Pastoral Provision, addressed the Anglican Use Conference in San Antonio on July 11. Describing his “awestruck” reaction to his first Anglican Use liturgy, he spoke of the efforts underway to expand the Anglican Use and the Pastoral Provision to “continuing Anglican communities.”

Controversies within the Anglican Communion and the Episcopal Church have encouraged Episcopalian bishops, clergy, and laity to seek reconciliation with the Roman Catholic Church. Last September Jeffrey Steenson, the Episcopal Bishop of Rio Grande, New Mexico, resigned his office to become a Catholic.

Archbishop Myers in his lecture noted that modern ecumenical dialogue between Catholics and Anglicans had been inaugurated during the historic meeting of Pope Paul VI and Michael Ramsey, the Archbishop of Canterbury on March 23, 1966. Dialogue since that event has been “quite promising at times” and he said that it continues “because the Catholic Church believes that the Anglican Communion holds a special place in relationship to her.”

“Even though the relationship and dialogue seem strained at times we are obliged to continue to pray and work for unity, to ”˜press toward the mark,’ so that the prayer of our Blessed Lord may be realized that all who profess faith in Him may be one,” he continued.

Read it all

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, - Anglican: Latest News, Ecumenical Relations, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

Notable and Quotable

“I’m told by people in Africa that you don’t just do indaba groups for two hours, you stick with it for days, and we’ve got two hours each day on a different topic, and with 40 people in a group, two hours, how much is that? You do the maths.”

–The Rt. Rev. Dr. Tom Wright, Bishop of Durham, in this morning’s Church of England Newspaper

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Lambeth 2008

Living Church: Encouragement for Fort Worth Laity

…[Dr. Michael] Howell presented a detailed account of the actions of The Episcopal Church that have precipitated a worldwide crisis and the response of the four governing instruments of Anglican Communion.

“The Dar es Salaam Communiqué called the Episcopal Church’s response to Windsor Report inadequate,” Howell said. “It asked for responses from the House of Bishops, but the bishops refused [the Primatial Scheme and call for a moratorium on same-sex blessings]. Then in New Orleans the Archbishop of Canterbury inserted a new process involving the Joint Standing Committee. He refused to call a Primates Meeting and deferred the discussion until the Lambeth Conference, which now is organized so that no resolutions will emerge.” The result of all this, Howell said, is that “GAFCON bishops have lost faith in the structures of the Communion.”

Before the concluding question-and-answer period, three members of the Remain Faithful executive board made brief presentations based on sections of the group’s 25-page position paper, Evidence that Demands a Decision, published in June. Cora Werley, a member of Trinity Church, Fort Worth, discussed revisionist understandings of Jesus Christ and Holy Scripture. David Weaver, a member of St. Alban’s, Arlington, spoke about the polity and origins of The Episcopal Church and the ancient understanding of the diocese as the “organ of union” in the church. Jo Ann Patton, a member of St. Andrew’s, Fort Worth, spoke of the pattern of innovation in The Episcopal Church, seen in its handling of women’s ordination and human sexuality issues, that begins with a violation of canons and progresses to permissiveness and then required practice.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), GAFCON I 2008, Global South Churches & Primates, Sept07 HoB Meeting, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts

Leander Harding: Bishop John Chane and Imperial Pluralism

John Chane charges the traditionalists with the crime of certainty. This is a commonplace. It is a corollary of the reigning intellectual culture among the intellectual elites of the West. It is a consequence of the dogmas of post-modernism. It is based on the conviction that there is very little that can be known with certainty, perhaps just a very few “facts” of science, perhaps not even them. The dogma at work here is the ironic post-modern dogma of the certainty of uncertainty. Consequently according to this post-modern dogma, to claim certainty in the area of beliefs and values is immoral and especially so given the huge variety of religious and philosophical options. The high dudgeon of the well educated university grad schooled in the dogmas of post-modernism is reserved for anyone who has the audacity to claim certainty in the area of religion, morals and beliefs. This is seen by people such as John Chane as an example of immorality and trying to force your beliefs on others. People who are morally and religiously certain create alarm. They are in Bishop Chane’s words, dangerous.

This protest against certainty claims the moral high ground and sounds on the surface as though it is based on a generous tolerance. This supposed moral protest in the name of tolerance needs to be unmasked as exactly the opposite, the dismissive and marginalizing rhetoric of the powerful who seek to protect their own agenda from critique on the grounds of any transcendent authority. It is precisely an attempt to force your beliefs on others before any argument is engaged by virtue of the way in which the rules of discussion are established. It is saying, in effect, ” before we talk you must agree that your beliefs and values are the sort of thing that I say they are and I say they can never be more than one opinion among others. If we are to talk, you must give up all your truth claims before you come to the table. With regard to the rules of the table, I will be the final referee.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Global South Churches & Primates, Lambeth 2008, TEC Bishops, Theology

'Sergeant's Heaven' helps families cope with loss

A nice story from NBC news of the very tough subject of the death of a young child–watch it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry

Church Times-Archbishop Rowan Williams, Defiant amid the doubters

Dr Williams is careful to convey that he takes the concerns of those who attended GAFCON seriously. Our conversation is peppered with references to these “serious concerns”; but GAFCON’s Jerusalem Declaration, and its inherent attack on his authority, is clearly a significant source of his frustration.

And it may be this emotion that leads him to dwell on the potential for division within the GAFCON movement. “It is not as if it is a single-issue thing. There are motivations and perspectives even there, which pull in slightly different directions, and, I think, depend on different visions in the Church.

“Someone like the Archbishop of Sydney, whom I greatly respect as a theologian, has a very clearly worked out theology of the Church, which is much more federal and locally independent. I am not sure that would be exactly the theology you would find in some of the traditionalist American bishops. I will watch to see how some of the theological discussions evolve.”

He insists that, despite the Jerusalem Declaration, the Anglican Communion will still continue in some form, albeit weakened. “The kind of fellowship we will have may be different, less immediate. That is hard. That is a loss, and there will always be a sense of loss and not feeling all right. But the reality is: we are where we are. We may be less obviously at one for a few years, but that doesn’t let us off the obligation to keep listening to each other.,,,”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, GAFCON I 2008, Global South Churches & Primates, Lambeth 2008, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)