Daily Archives: August 20, 2008

Bishop Duncan Shares Concerns on Windsor Continuation Group

A letter by Bishop Robert Duncan, moderator of the Common Cause Partnership, to Bishop Gary Lillibridge of the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas has been made public. In that letter, dated August 11, Bishop Duncan put in writing concerns of the dioceses of Pittsburgh, Fort Worth, Quincy and other members of the Common Cause Partnership caused by the suggestions of the Windsor Continuation Group for dealing with divisions in the Anglican Communion. Bishop Duncan had initially shared these concerns with those present at the Lambeth Conference of Bishops.

The August 11 letter was forwarded with permission by Bishop Lillibridge to members of the Windsor Continuation Group and subsequently leaked to liberal activists and published online and via email on August 18.

“I am happy to publicly acknowledge this letter and my description of the concerns we in the Common Cause Partnership have about the proposals of the Windsor Continuation Group. Nonetheless, it is disturbing to discover that at least one member of the Windsor Continuation Group, a body that is supposed to be working for reconciliation in the Anglican Communion, so quickly leaked private correspondence in an attempt to gain some passing political advantage,” said Bishop Duncan.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lambeth 2008, TEC Conflicts, Windsor Report / Process

Drew Downs: Culture warriors and the Anglican Church

The Times also writes: “And tensions between the West and Islam underlie the complaint by African bishops that an endorsement of homosexuality by Western churches puts Christians at a disadvantage with Muslims — and at risk of physical violence — in areas where the two faiths compete for adherents.”

A “disadvantage”? Exclusion is a far worse disadvantage for Anglicans. Risk of violence is another thing, however. Still, I am curious if this violence is truly based on homosexuality in the United States. After all, if African bishops and local Muslims are on the same side of the dispute, how can there be disagreement, let alone fighting? Perhaps agreements by some bishops (such as Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola) to support violence against homosexuals and their supporters by joining with local Muslims in oppression should be given more examination in the “culture war.”

The Times’ use of language that styles African bishops and their American supporters as culture warriors victimized by liberal encroachment neither accurately describes the situation in the Anglican Communion nor benefits the healthy exchange of ideas. The so-called culture war is not a response to victimization but an excuse to exclude, deride and criminalize those who are different. Why don’t we start to discuss “traditional notions of faith and family” as describing compassionate action and loving, committed relationships? Those are truly Biblical notions.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Global South Churches & Primates, Lambeth 2008, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

As Oil Giants Lose Influence, Supply Drops

Oil production has begun falling at all of the major Western oil companies, and they are finding it harder than ever to find new prospects even though they are awash in profits and eager to expand.

Part of the reason is political. From the Caspian Sea to South America, Western oil companies are being squeezed out of resource-rich provinces. They are being forced to renegotiate contracts on less-favorable terms and are fighting losing battles with assertive state-owned oil companies.

And much of their production is in mature regions that are declining, like the North Sea.

The reality, experts say, is that the oil giants that once dominated the global market have lost much of their influence ”” and with it, their ability to increase supplies.

“This is an industry in crisis,” said Amy Myers Jaffe, the associate director of Rice University’s energy program in Houston. “It’s a crisis of leadership, a crisis of strategy and a crisis of what the future looks like for the supermajors,” a term often applied to the biggest oil companies. “They are like a deer caught in headlights. They know they have to move, but they can’t decide where to go.”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources

Obama's VP pick remains mystery despite more clues

Days, perhaps hours, before an expected announcement of his running mate, Barack Obama offered some clues Tuesday as to what he’s looking for, suggesting that his pick might be an independent-minded person with a strong populist streak.

“I won’t hand over my energy policy to my vice president without knowing necessarily what he’s doing,” the presumptive Democratic nominee said.

Obama dropped the masculine pronoun several times in an answer to a supporter’s question here about his plans for his running mate. It was not clear whether it was a generic “he,” or a signal that New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius are no longer under consideration.

Obama’s campaign has kept deliberations over the campaign’s next big decision under tight wraps, but time is growing short: The vice presidential candidate is scheduled to address the Democratic National Convention a week from today.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

Church of Nigeria–Good leadership hinges on moral tenets

Leadership at all levels in the Country, including the Church, has been challenged to stand out in condemnation of the quest for materialism and ill-gotten wealth prevalent in the society. Delegates to the 11th Annual Men’s Conference, Diocese of Egbu, Christian Fathers’ Association, (CFA) made the call in a 11point communiqué at the end of the conference held recently at Holy Trinity Church, Nekede in Owerri West Local Government Council. It urged the leaders not only to express disapproval of such vices but also to strive and toe the line of moral rectitude and proper Christian living.

Conference delegates who also expressed dismay over the problem of homosexuality in Christendom, contrary to biblical teachings and practices, associated itself with the philosophy of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) held recently in Jerusalem. It commended the vision of the Primates Council of GAFCON and called on all Christians, irrespective of their denominations, to uphold the teachings of the Bible.

It noted with regret that such unbiblical and false gospel has paralyzed the Anglican Communion world-wide and called on all GAFCON Bishops and Churches to remain resolute in ensuring that the Communion was reformed around the biblical gospel and mandate to go into the world and present Christ to the nations.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria

Notable and Quotable

We read in the gospel that when the Lord was teaching his disciples and urged them to share in his passion by the mystery of eating his body, some said: This is a hard saying, and from that time they no longer followed him. When he asked the disciples whether they also wished to go away, they replied: Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.

I assure you, my brothers, that even to this day it is clear to some that the words which Jesus speaks are spirit and life, and for this reason they follow him. To others these words seem hard, and so they look elsewhere for some pathetic consolation. Yet wisdom cries out in the streets, in the broad and spacious way that leads to death, to call back those who take this path.

–Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153)

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

The Feast Day of Bernard of Clairvaux

O God, by whose grace thy servant Bernard of Clairvaux, enkindled with the fire of thy love, became a burning and a shining light in thy Church: Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline, and may ever walk before thee as children of light; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, liveth and reigneth, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A CNS article on Roman Catholic Anglican Relations After Lambeth 2008

The suggestions included the development of a formal covenant agreement by which individual Anglican provinces would promise to act in union with the Anglican Communion as a whole on fundamental matters of faith and morals; the establishment of a “faith and order commission” that would provide guidance on matters of doctrine and morality; and the establishment of a “pastoral council” to address conflicts between provinces.

The outcome of the July 16-August 3 Lambeth Conference “in many respects was positive”, …[Canadian Monsignor Donald] Bolen said.

“A sense of direction emerged which was largely, but not universally agreed, and which should translate into greater cohesion within the Anglican Communion, giving it stronger boundaries and a stronger sense of identity.”

In addition, he said, the Catholic participants at Lambeth were encouraged by the “strong support” shown for the call for moratoriums on blessing same-sex unions, on ordaining openly gay bishops and on violating the structure of the Anglican Communion by naming bishops outside one’s own jurisdiction.

The practice has occurred when conservative Anglican provinces have named bishops for traditionalist Anglicans in the United States, where the US Episcopal Church has shown greater openness to homosexuals and has ordained women priests and bishops.

Because the Anglican Communion has no strong central authority like the Pope, because the Lambeth Conference does not have legislative powers and because the jurisdictional authority of the Anglican archbishop of Canterbury is limited, “at best the conference indicates a direction,” Msgr Bolen said.

“We went into the Lambeth Conference in a wait-and-see mode and we came out of it with some encouragement, but still waiting,” he said.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Ecumenical Relations, Lambeth 2008, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

Virginia Anglican Churches Praise Fairfax Judge Ruling on Contracts Clause

The 11 Virginia Anglican congregations sued by The Episcopal Church (TEC) and the Diocese of Virginia responded to the Fairfax County Circuit Court ruling issued today concerning the Contracts Clause and the assertion by TEC and the Diocese that the 11 Anglican congregations waived their right to invoke the Virginia Division Statute.

Judge Randy Bellows ruled that TEC and the Diocese failed to timely assert their claim that the 11 Anglican congregations contracted around or waived their right to invoke the Division Statute. In addition, the judged ruled that the Division Statute does not violate the contracts clause provisions of the U.S. and Virginia Constitutions as applied to these properties. The rulings can be found at…[the link provided below this blog entry]. Today’s rulings mean that there are only a small number of issues remaining to be decided at the October trial, and the 11 Anglican congregations are hopeful that they can be resolved quickly.

“We are pleased that Judge Bellows ruled in our favor on these questions. He ruled very clearly that our congregations are able to rely on the Virginia Division Statute in order to keep our church property. We have maintained all along that our churches’ own trustees hold title for the benefit of their congregations. TEC and the Diocese have never owned any of the properties and their names do not appear on deeds to the property. The Virginia Supreme Court has consistently stated that Virginia does not recognize denominational trusts of the sort asserted by TEC and the Diocese,” said Jim Oakes, vice-chairman of the Anglican District of Virginia. All 11 churches are members of ADV.

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Please take the time to read through all of the legal documents which may be found here.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Virginia

Gene Robinson tells of support, resistance at Lambeth

On Tuesday, Robinson conducted a visitation of Trinity Episcopal Church in Meredith, including officiating a confirmation and reception service for five local people, including four youths.

Robinson recently returned from the Lambeth Conference in Canterbury, England, an assembly of Anglican bishops that takes place once every 10 years.

“I think it accomplished what it set out to do, which was to build relationships.” he said, listening to such talks as the “Bishop of Havarti tell about what it is like in Zimbabwe. Just the chance to hear what that’s like is just amazing.”

The presence of Robinson, the church’s first openly gay bishop, at the conference was itself the result of struggle and determination. He was not formally invited to this year’s conference by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the head of the Anglican Church, though he still attended.

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I will consider posting comments on this article which are submitted first by email to: KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com

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

Episcopal Church Sent Most Bishops to Lambeth

The Episcopal Church provided the largest block of bishops at the Lambeth Conference, sending 104 of the 469 diocesan bishops present during the conference of Anglican bishops in Canterbury.

Details on who and how many of the Anglican Communion’s 880 active bishops attended the Lambeth Conference have not been made public. However, the Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon, secretary general of the Anglican Consultative Council, reported the conference “involved the participation of some 680 bishops and 3,000 participants.”

There were 617 Anglican bishops registered for the conference, according to Lambeth Conference documentation obtained by The Living Church. Approximately 600 Anglican bishops were present for the group photo. Of the 617, 469 were diocesan bishops and the remaining 140 were suffragan, assisting and assistant bishops, as well as eight bishops without territorial sees.

The largest number of absentees was from Africa, with 209 of the continent’s 324 diocesan bishops missing. There were 115 diocesan and 12 suffragan bishops from African dioceses.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lambeth 2008, TEC Bishops

An article on Orangeburg, South Carolina's Church of the Redeemer's contemporary worship services

Worshipping “outside the box” best describes what Orangeburg’s Church of the Redeemer will do weekly beginning Sunday.

The church will attempt to reach out to newcomers and parish members with a contemporary service that will incorporate prayer, scriptural readings and praise music to worship the Lord. The service, titled “Vesper Light: A Celebration of Praise, Prayer and Worship,” will take place at 6 p.m. every Sunday in the church’s Parish Hall.

“Church of the Redeemer has always been a pretty traditional Episcopal church,” said the Rev. Dr. Frank Larisey, Church of the Redeemer’s rector. He said the church’s worship services resemble the strict liturgy of the Catholic Church while its theology is a combination of both Catholicism and Protestantism. “Our worship has always been traditional, old-fashioned, using Elizabethan, or Shakespearean, English.”

Larisey, who has served at the church for three years, said the new alternative services will be based in traditions older than those influencing the church’s Sunday morning services. He said the basis for the evening services can be traced to early Christians and found on page 400 in the Episcopal Church’s “Book of Common Prayer,” under the entry titled “An Order for Celebrating the Holy Eucharist.”

“They didn’t have anything that was written down,” Larisey said of the early church. “They had the Old Testament, the Psalms, old letters of Paul, the Gospel according to Matthew … and they probably didn’t have all of them — they had some of them. (But) they came together to praise God. They just praised him. They had songs, hymns and spiritual songs … reading from letters … preached, and then they prayed. … Then they shared the Last Supper … and before they left, they prayed for one another’s spiritual needs.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, TEC Parishes

CNN Analysis: Is McCain finding his way on faith?

On a rainy evening in December in the upstate South Carolina town of Greer, as his once-languishing campaign was clawing its way back into contention, John McCain hosted a town hall meeting at a diner called Pete’s Drive-In.

He talked about the issues that usually stir his passions — a commitment to service, winning the war in Iraq, fighting pork-barrel spending — before taking questions from a small audience of Republican primary voters.

As the event neared its conclusion, a man in the back of the restaurant raised his hand and broached a topic not often heard at the VFW and American Legion halls where McCain preferred to campaign.

“I was wondering if you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and savior,” the voter said.

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

Lawrence Downes: A story of war and remembrance

Dr. Harry Abe has swallowed an ocean of pain. At first this is hard to detect, then impossible not to. On a recent Sunday afternoon at his immaculate Long Island townhouse, papered with photos of grandchildren, Abe, 91, was the picture of a gentle family doctor, comfortably retired.

Talk with him a while, though, and the decades fall away. An astounding story emerges. Pick a beginning: 1916, when he is born in Seattle to immigrant Japanese parents. Or 1939, when he graduates from Oregon State University and hopes to head straight to medical school. But schools in those days have strict quotas for the Japanese, and no room for Harry Abe. He bides his time, living with his family while studying for a master’s degree and working in a grocery store.

Then comes Pearl Harbor. Tens of thousands of Japanese immigrants and their U.S.-born children are classified as “enemy aliens.” In 1942, on the order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, they are forced into prison camps. Harry’s parents and siblings are sent to Minidoka, in Idaho. Harry volunteers for the Army….

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military

LA Times: Leah Daughtry is on a mission to narrow the 'God gap' in politics

Leah Daughtry is preparing to pray.

Hands clasped, elbows on the table, the Pentecostal minister leans toward the conference phone and speaks. “We’ve confirmed all the readings except the Buddhist person,” she says.

Daughtry is planning the interfaith celebration of song and prayer that will kick off the Democratic National Convention. Still needed are a Muslim, a Jew, a Catholic and a white evangelical to close. Then another wrinkle: Staffers say the Buddhist may have to yield to a congresswoman angling for a spot onstage. “More women is never a bad thing,” Daughtry allows, quickly moving on.

As a fifth-generation minister and veteran political planner, Daughtry seems perfectly suited for the administrative and ecumenical task posed by the gathering and its Noah’s Ark of speakers. But her work goes far beyond that one event and even her duties as chief executive of the Denver convention, which opens Sunday.

Daughtry, who keeps an altar at home and devotes a predawn hour a day to prayer and Bible study, is on a mission to narrow the “God gap” between Democrats and Republicans by winning over religious voters who have flocked to the GOP over the last 20 years.

“There are millions of Americans across this country for whom faith is important,” says Daughtry, who leads an unprecedented party effort targeting the devout. “And whether they vote on the basis of their faith, or whether they vote about issues that are somehow connected to their faith, we should be reaching out to them.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Other Churches, Pentecostal, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, US Presidential Election 2008