Daily Archives: August 6, 2008

USA Today: Muslim census a difficult count

A new census of Muslim congregations is reviving controversies over how many Muslims are in the USA, how they are counted and why it matters.

For minority religious groups, particularly Muslims and Jews, higher numbers can mean enhanced social and political clout in the U.S. public square.

On the campaign trail, will a politician stop by a synagogue or a mosque? When members of Congress vote on Middle Eastern policy, which home state constituency has more influence? When the school board sets next year’s vacation calendar, whose holy days are recognized?

“Numbers are a major factor in being marginalized or being recognized by decision-makers in public policy,” says Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council for American-Islamic Relations, a civil rights and advocacy group and a sponsor of this second mosque census.

Read it all

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

Concord Monitor: Robinson remains at the eye of the storm

Robinson’s presence outside the Canterbury meeting didn’t lead to violence. Inside the tent, Williams didn’t challenge the 650 church leaders to vote on any resolutions involving homosexuality, averting a meltdown – for now – but also forestalling a true attempt to wrestle with a problem that seems nearly unsolvable:

Will the liberals acquiesce to Williams’s urging that they reject gay clergy? What if they don’t? Can Anglican leaders persuade the conservatives to stick around? What if they can’t? Will Robinson continue to be treated as a second-class bishop?

Among the Anglicans interviewed by reporters outside the Lambeth conference in recent days were several who expressed frustration with the focus on Robinson and the issue of homosexuality. They said they wished their church leaders could simply settle it once and for all and move on to issues of war and global poverty and environmental degradation.

Chances are, Archbishop Williams would second that sentiment. But the Lambeth Conference brought Anglicans no closer to that day.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lambeth 2008, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts

Some of Life in the Diocese of Eastern Michigan These Days

A lot of material of interest here, including this:

A.)Stewardship Conference

Bishop Ousley reported to the Standing Committee that all clergy and senior wardens had received from him a communication regarding stewardship and evangelism in an attempt to get the diocese to take these subjects seriously. Our track record is poor, our attendance and membership having declined 31% since 1994….

Or this:

E.)Future of the Church

When questioned about the future of the church Bishop Ousley responded that he foresees turmoil for a number of years. Denominationalism is breaking down. In the ensuing discussion Rev. Downie stated that we are reaping the fruits of failure in formation.

However of greatest interest was this revealing section:

C.)Bishop Duncan of Pittsburgh

In response to a question from the Standing Committee, Bishop Ousley stated that the sixty days of notification has expired and the House of Bishops can vote to depose Bishop Duncan of the Diocese of Pittsburgh at any time. The House of Bishops has been polled regarding Bishop Duncan’s deposition and Bishop Ousley noted that he responded with no preference as to whether the House of Bishops holds a special meeting or takes up the deposition at the next regular meeting. Bishop Duncan will be deposed but it appears that the House of Bishops will wait until their next regular meeting which is scheduled to take place after the Lambeth Conference.

Read it all.

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

Irish Times: Anglicanism divided

The communion’s strength has always been its capacity to fudge difference in the interest of cohesion; to place human relationship before rigidity.

This does not mean Anglicanism is out of the woods on human sexuality issues. The risk of schism remains.

But what it succeeded in doing at Lambeth was to secure more – and very necessary – time. It also allowed those present to gain a deeper understanding of where others are coming from on same-sex issues.

The scale of the differences between liberal and conservative elements within the communion is demonstrated by the fact that approximately a quarter of the communion’s bishops were absent from the conference – in protest at the handling of these same-sex issues by Dr Williams and others.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of Ireland, England / UK, Lambeth 2008

Bishop Keith Whitmore from Atlanta offers some brief Lambeth 2008 reflections

The final day of the conference and we all anxiously look forward to heading home. One last Bible study. We will miss our time together and appreciate the new friendships. The Archbishop concludes the afternoon with his third address. Though not all are pleased, we manage to survive without any resolutions. Thanks to the hard work of a small but industrious group of listeners and writers, including the leadership of your very own bishop, Neil Alexander, we are given a set of reflections which sums up the conversations of the past three weeks. I think we have had a break through, a serious time together without winners and losers, only brothers and sisters in Christ. In his closing sermon at the Cathedral, the Archbishop challenged us to take our reflections home and put some flesh on them as in “The Word became flesh.” He called us to make this a living document; to continue to work with the same collegiality that marked this conference. Pray God will give us the will and the ability to carry that out.

Read it all.

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

Western Canadian Bishop says diocese must "consider deeply" its response to the Lambeth Conference

On the one hand, most of the bishops’ time was taken up with discussion in what were called “Indaba” discussion groups of about 40 bishops each in which the focus was listening and mutual understanding. “It was a great success,” he said.

But there were also presentations made by the Windsor Continuation Group, a committee of three Primates, two other bishops, and a retired Dean, which the Archbishop of Canterbury set up and charged with finding a “way forward” for the Communion based on the 2004 Windsor Report.

Bishop Ingham said he felt the Windsor Continuation Group demonstrated “rigidity and a lack of wisdom.”

“The primary mindset of the Windsor Group is conformity or exclusion. As yet they display no capacity for creating space, only for taking it away.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Lambeth 2008, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Donard M Collins offers his Thoughts on Irish Bishops and Lambeth

In the light of recent comments made by Archbishop Alan Harpur, there is a need for a fresh Biblical integrity within the Anglican Irish House of Bishops.

The Primate’s remarks inferred that, in certain circumstances, homosexual behaviour should be viewed as a ”˜natural’ (acceptable?) pattern of human behaviour.

Such an assertion is at odds with Scripture, common sense living and historic Christian practice.

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

The BBC's Robert Piggott on Lambeth 2008: Daring the Extremes to Leave

The Archbishop of the West Indies, Drexel Gomez, is chairman of the committee working on the covenant.

He claims that although the bishops in Canterbury did not want to adopt a Roman Catholic-style hierarchy, they did now accept the need for some mechanism to hold the Communion together.

“I’ve spoken to several bishops who were opposed to it, and who are now willing to give it a try”, he said.

In the past the centre ground of Anglicanism has seemed paralysed, unable to act decisively for fear of losing the liberal Americans and their allies altogether.

But the aim of the new strategy appears to be to isolate the radical liberal and conservative wings of Anglicanism, and create a new, more organised and directed, Communion with or without them.

The Rev Dr Graham Kings, of the moderate evangelical group Fulcrum, said the strategy was one of “intensification”.

The new Communion would be more active, have a corporate presence around the world, more high-level meetings, and possibly regional representatives among the archbishops.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lambeth 2008, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, Windsor Report / Process

News about Pennsylvania Episcopal Bishop Bennison?

Anyone? I cannot get the link on the Evening Bulletin in Pennsylvania to work, and cannot find the article on their website.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pennsylvania, TEC Polity & Canons

A.S. Haley Documents the Rash of Lawsuits by TEC Dioceses Against Parishes

At Lambeth, TEC’s bishops were (whether deliberately, or negligently—it makes no difference) giving out wrong information about the lawsuits they are involved in with their own parishes. The Bishop of Lichfield, the Rt. Rev. Jonathan Gledhill, in the Province of Canterbury, reports on his Weblog about the meeting of his indaba group on August 2 (Day 18 of the Lambeth Conference):

In the discussion afterwards we are told that the US House of Bishops has regretted for the hurt it has caused and its lack of consultation and has issued a public apology – though no one has the exact wording. We are also told that the Canadians have voted against same-sex blessings – though two dioceses are pressing their bishops to change that. We are told that in the lawsuits in America between parishes and their dioceses it is the dioceses who are the defendants and the conservative parishes who are the accusers.

Since it is well known to many individual Episcopalians who have been involved in the many lawsuits instigated and still pending at all levels here that the statement I have put into boldface type above is simply not the case, it did not take long for a blog reader familiar with the details in Virginia to inform the good Bishop of the facts on the ground there. The Rev. Canon Kendall Harmon put the information up on his site at TitusOneNine, and it elicited this comment from a reader:

In the interest of being scrupulously fair: this just refers to the Virginia situation, is it possible there are other parishes/dioceses where the reasserters are suing?

Well, let us be scrupulously fair, and see just what the facts are. The Episcopal Church and/or one of its Dioceses played the role of plaintiff—the party who initiates a case in court, by filing a complaint—in bringing the pending or former lawsuits I have listed below over Church property and assets in the courts of the United States. This list makes no claim to be complete; it comprises just the ones I have read about (I have listed them alphabetically by State, and not chronologically):

Read it all and, yes, do take the time to look up the references.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lambeth 2008, Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Departing Parishes, TEC Polity & Canons

Alan Jacobs responds to Peter Ould

I have a number of qualms about the validity of Ould’s reading of the Councils’ “principle of diocesan integrity.” First of all, his reading would have required Christians under the authority of Arian or Donatist leaders to remain under that authority ”” that is, under the authority of the very people whose vies the Councils were summoned in order to denounce. It is not likely that Augustine or Jerome would have endorsed the principle that Ould articulates here.

But let me address this issue more directly. I left the Episcopal Church and joined a new Anglican church largely because I did not want to have my son instructed in beliefs I do not share. Consider this: the man who is now the rector at the parish I left ”” a wonderfully kind and generous man, by the way ”” preached, on Easter Sunday no less, that it does not matter whether Jesus was or was not raised physically from the dead. Now, I happen to think that it matters very much whether Jesus was or was not raised from the dead, and unless I am tragically mistaken, St. Paul did too (see 1 Corinthians 15). I am glad that my son, instead of hearing this sermon, heard a sermon from Father Martin Johnson that joyfully and boldly proclaimed the fact of the Resurrection.

What does Peter Ould have to say to me? He does not believe that All Souls’ Church should exist, at least in its current form, so what options does he think were legitimate and appropriate ones for us? Is it his view that we we obliged to remain at our former church and allow our son to receive false teaching ”” and not just from the pulpit ”” which we could then, presumably, correct once we got home? Or would we be allowed to form a new church as long as it had no bishop other than TEC’s ”” an independent church, say? How about becoming Baptists or Presbyterians or Methodists? If Ould’s concern is the maintaining of catholicity, and catholicity requires bishops whose territories are geographically distinct, then attending any of those non-Anglican churches would violate catholicity just as much as attending a church affiliated with the Southern Cone would.

As far as I can tell, then, Ould is saying that the only way for my wife and me to avoid sin in this matter is to allow ourselves and our son to be instructed in heresy.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Ecclesiology, Theology

Sermon given by the Archbishop of Canterbury at the Concluding Eucharist of the Lambeth Conference

So the Gospel is written so that we may recognize that (as the hymn has it) ”˜this is our story, this is our song’. Just as when Peter begins to speak of Jesus ministering, loving, dying, rising, the excitement of recognition is too much to contain, and the Holy Spirit floods and invades. And what of us, as heirs of the apostolic witness, how do we begin to tell a story that makes things happen? Because that’s our charge, that’s our task, and we have to tell the story of Jesus in such a way that all those who listen say to themselves, ”˜Yes: this is my story and I never knew it. This is the world in which I belong; this is my inheritance, though I have never lived there.’

So we seek to speak in words that evoke that kind of recognition, knowing that””in the phrases of the Old Testament lesson this evening”””˜The word is not far from any of us.’ And if we tell truthfully and joyfully the story of Jesus, then the Word of God embodied in that story and in that person, will indeed not be far from any of our hearers.

In these last two weeks we’ve often spoken, both in the bishops’ and in the spouses’ conference, about telling our stories. It’s almost a cliché, isn’t it? In a good and properly organized Christian meeting we tell our stories. And that is right and proper, because one of the most significant things any believer can ever do is to say, ”˜Come, and I will tell you what he has done for my soul.’ But as we listen to one another’s stories, I hope and pray that i we have also heard and recognized the one story that makes a difference, the one story that changes the world, that changes how we see ourselves and God and everything. And if that has been part of our experience in this conference, then perhaps we can go back to our local apostolic ministries””and I should add that I mean lay and ordained apostolic ministries here””to tell the story of this meeting, this Lambeth Conference, in such a way that it becomes itself a story that makes things happen. We can ask God to strengthen us and enable us, so to talk about what we’ve received here that something shifts and grows and deepens in the Christian communities to which we belong. We can try to tell the story of the Lambeth ’08 Conference so that something happens, so that Christ comes alive in others.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury

Cubs Win!

They are still playing well, especially in that four game sweep of the Brewers in Milwaukee recently.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports

Bishop Curry of North Carolina reflects on his Lambeth experience

But we did listen to each other, and we learned from each other. What I’m beginning to call internet inspired stereotypes, have been, in some cases, challenged, and maybe even in a few, overcome. We who are Bishops in the Episcopal Church, I think, sought to faithfully tell the stories of the people we are blessed to serve among. I remain passionately committed to our being a church that is, as our Lord Jesus Christ said, quoting the ancient prophets, “a house of prayer for all people.”

After attending this Lambeth Conference, I am more convinced than ever of the wisdom of the words of then Archbishop Robin Eames, who said that the Windsor Report was the beginning of a process intended to seek genuine healing and reconciliation among us as the Anglican Family of Jesus. In the weeks to come Bishop Gregg, and I will share our experiences with Bishop Marble,who attended the 1998 Lambeth Conference. The three of us look forward to further dialogue with bishops from across the Communion and many other lay and clergy voices, as we all consider how this conference fits into the great scheme of things. The September issue of the Disciple will share some of our more in depth reflections. Our website (www.episdionc.org) contains links to accurate sources of information.

Read it all.

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

The Bishop of North Dakota Chimes In

I write this note as I am preparing to return home from the Lambeth Conference. This experience has been one of the most exhaustingly wonderful experiences of my life. It will take days and weeks to fully emotionally unpack and intellectually process all I have seen and heard during these days. You can be sure you will be hearing more from me about them in the months ahead. Let me begin by sharing some initial observations.

There has been released a 43-page document entitled, “Lambeth Indaba: Capturing Conversations and Reflections from the Lambeth Conference 2008.” The Indaba groups of 40 bishops were designed for “purposeful conversation.” http://www.lambethconference.org/reflections/document.cfm
At the outset the Archbishop of Canterbury had made it known, unlike Lambeth Conferences in the past, which no resolutions would be debated or definitive decisions made. Rather, this was to be a time of sharing where each participant’s voice could be heard.

Each Indaba sent a “Listener” and “Reporter” to share insights from each of the sixteen groups. The Listeners then committed to writing what they heard. A word of caution: this is not an “official” document, but rather a report of our conversations. In my opinion, some parts are well written and thought out. Others, however, read more like minutes of a brainstorming session.

Read it all.

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