Daily Archives: September 14, 2008

Legal doubt over Presiding Bishop's move to depose Duncan

“I shall present to the House the matter of the certification to me by the Title IV Review Committee that Bishop Robert W Duncan has abandoned the Communion of this Church within the meaning of Canon IV.9,” she wrote.

However, the rules of the House of Bishops forbid modifying the agenda of a special session after the meeting has been announced, placing her plans in legal and canonical limbo. Whether the bishops will challenge her request is unclear, however, as her past legal missteps in the cases of Bishops John-David Schofield and Williams Cox provoked protests from bishops and dioceses distressed over what they perceived was her abuse of office, but no action followed.

On Aug 20 Bishop Schori wrote to the bishops stating “as discussed in our spring meeting and confirmed in our time at Lambeth, we will hold a special meeting of the House of Bishops September 17-19 in Salt Lake City, Utah.” “The main purpose of this meeting,” Bishop Schori wrote, “will be to reflect and deliberate together following the Lambeth Conference.”

In the schedule appended to the letter, two sessions are labelled “Lambeth de-brief”, two “Business meeting”, and one “Theological Education.” No mention is made of Bishop Duncan or any disciplinary action in the formal letter calling the special session.

Following the release of the Presiding Bishop’s letter, a number of bishops contacted her to ascertain whether or not rumours that Bishop Duncan would be brought up on charges before the session were true.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh, TEC Polity & Canons

Anglicans told fulfillment of faith is in Catholic Church

Certainly they disagree with the Anglican Church on a variety of issues.

But many among the two dozen or so Anglicans who are seeking communion with the Roman Catholic Church said they aren’t doing so out of spite or anger. They are looking for a spiritual home.

And in return, they promise to add to the rich tapestry of prayer and worship that is the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.

“It’s the only place we can go,” said Ed Courtway, a member of St. James Anglican Church, where many of the Anglicans belong who began study in the Catholic faith Sept. 7 at St. Therese Little Flower Parish.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, - Anglican: Latest News, Episcopal Church (TEC), Other Churches, Roman Catholic, TEC Conflicts

Men becoming priests at mid-life

In what he calls his past life, the Rev. Geoffrey Horton worked at a Bloomington-Normal insurance company, coached a women’s softball team, owned a home and invested in a 401K.

Although life was good, Horton, 43, felt something was missing. In May, he found his calling as a newly ordained Roman Catholic priest.

“I became a priest for the only reason anyone should ever become a priest, because I felt that’s what God was asking of me,” said Horton, currently assigned at a church in Peoria.

The Rev. Michael Bies heard the same call, but before he did, he worked 20 years as a machinist in his native Chicago and even considered marriage. Ordained about four years ago, Bies, 52, is associate pastor of St. Mary’s Church in Pontiac.

The two Central Illinois men aren’t alone in making such monumental mid-life career changes.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Roman Catholic

Diocese of Rochester Church spat might head to Supreme Court

In a property dispute stemming from a rift with the Episcopal Church of America, the attorney for All Saints Anglican Church urged New York’s Court of Appeals Tuesday to set aside a previous decision from a lower court that essentially allowed the removal of the congregation from its longtime church building at 759 Winona Blvd. in Irondequoit.

It’s a case that might not be settled until it gets to the U.S. Supreme Court.

During court proceedings Tuesday, parish attorney Eugene Van Voorhis argued that secular state law ”” and not ecclesiastical canon ”” should govern the transfer of property in New York.

“All of the funds that bought the church, built the church, bought the land ”” all was donated by parishioners,” Van Voorhis said in court. “This has to do with legal principles … It has nothing to do with doctrinal disputes.”

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

Episcopal leaders to vote on removing bishop

Leaders of the Episcopal Church of America will take a vote this week on whether to remove Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan from ministry.

Duncan notified the Pittsburgh diocese Saturday of the vote, which be taken Thursday during a meeting of the Episcopal House of Bishops in Salt Lake City.

Duncan is charged with abandonment of the Communion of the Church, a charge initiated by five priests and 16 lay people from the Pittsburgh diocese, Duncan said in a letter.

Read it all and do not be confused by the paper’s incorrect and confusing headline.

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

Irwin Stelzer: Gloom deepens as America’s debt piles up

Finally, we know that neither presidential candidate has the vaguest idea how to get the budget under control. Obama’s taxes on wealthier families will surely discourage the investment we need to get the economy rolling again. McCain says he will cut ineffective programmes, but he won’t identify the programmes he would axe.

Ronald Reagan solved that problem by putting in a figure for such cuts, followed by an asterisk, guiding the budget reader to a footnote advising that the programmes to be cut would be named at an unspecified future date. McCain might have to dust off that old dodge, while Obama would have to persuade his Democratic colleagues to reduce entitlement spending. Neither prospect is sufficiently bright to relieve the budgetary gloom that has been deepened by the Freddie and Fannie takeovers.

Nothing in sight is likely to offset the downdraught that is ripping through the economy right now. But if the housing market bottoms out at the end of the year or early in 2009, as Alan Greenspan says he expects and as falling mortgage rates suggest is possible; if the easing of commodity prices enables the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates stimulatingly low; if exports continue to boom despite the strengthening dollar; and if productivity keeps rising, we should see a recovery sometime next year. Then, tax receipts would rise, and the flood of red ink might slow to a trickle.

Without that, we will have to rely on the wisdom of our political class, and its willingness to cut the cost of the entitlments programmes. If you believe such wisdom and courage exist, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I would like to sell to you.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy

In Texas Officials still unsure of death toll, damage costs

From the sea-swamped neighborhoods of Galveston to the pine-covered hills north of Houston, people across Southeast Texas awoke Saturday to a stunning tableau of devastation caused by the passage of Hurricane Ike, the first hurricane in a quarter-century to score a direct hit on the state’s most populous region.

The official insistence that it could have been much worse ”” Ike’s late eastward drift lessened a storm surge that had been predicted as apocalyptic ”” was little consolation to residents whose homes were wrecked by water, falling trees and winds that gusted in places well in excess of 100 mph. Or even to those facing an indefinite stay in a hot, dark home that emerged unscathed.

The full extent of the property damage as well as the human toll was still coming into focus late Saturday. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff could not yet put a dollar amount on damage, except to say that it would likely rival some of the “legendary” damage figures of storms past.

“By any measure, it was a huge storm,” Chertoff said.

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Posted in * General Interest, Weather

Bankers and U.S. map out options in Lehman crisis

As Lehman Brothers raced to find a buyer on Saturday, U.S. government officials and Wall Street chieftains mapped out options to prevent an abrupt collapse of the crippled bank and arrest the downward spiral threatening other financial companies.

Several possibilities began to emerge as top Wall Street executives met under the guidance the Federal Reserve and Treasury Department. One would involve major banks and securities firms providing a financial backstop to facilitate a sale of Lehman. Another option would involve an agreement among Wall Street players to keep trading with Lehman as the bank seeks an orderly liquidation.

Those briefed on the talks said the situation was still fluid and other options could emerge.

Adding urgency to the discussions were growing concerns that other big financial institutions like the insurance giant American International Group and Merrill Lynch might face a similar crisis and also need billions of dollars in capital to strengthen their businesses.

The spreading troubles were the latest sign that even the government’s extraordinary interventions into private enterprise during the last year have not been enough to halt the unraveling of the financial system.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Stock Market

From the Indefatigable Jerry Kramer: A Gulf Update on Ike

Like many of you we’re trying to get word on what’s happening in Southeast Texas. My folks and eldest son along with Stacy’s family are in Galveston and Harris Counties. We still have our home in League City and many, many friends in the area from our old parish. Our prayers are with you all there.

Here in Louisiana we’re seeing damage worse than Gustav and in some cases comparable with Rita. There’s flooding on the North Shore, levees breaching down south; the poor River Parishes were just sorting themselves out after Gustav and then took another huge pounding. We have friends in Baton Rouge still without power. There will be good and timely updates on our diocesan website: www.edola.org. Bishop Jenkins is working overtime to keep us updated and together.

New Orleans made it through, just some heavy wind gusts and rain. We had the day off from school and work on Friday. I’ve talked to quite a few people, however, who are thinking seriously about leaving the area; they’re worn out. Folks here seem to be taking stock of their lives and situations. “Reflective” is not a mood we often encounter here. I’m still shaken by a former staff member’s suicide and was too depressed on Friday to start working on the house and putting my office back together. This morning I went to bring Communion to a parishioner in hospital; this helped me get my bearings. She told me on the way out, “It was so nice to spend time with you and my Jesus.” Reminded me why I felt called to parish ministry in the first place. I’m looking forward to seeing the whole crew at Sunday Services.

For friends in Texas and Western Louisiana, do know of our prayers and let us know what you need when you need it. We’ll be there for you. And remember no matter how bad it looks, God is faithful and holds you in His hands. Blessings,

–The Reverend Jerry and Stacy Kramer, Church of the Annunciation, New Orleans,

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

Bishop, others trying to evaluate Haiti's post-storm situation

(ENS) The Episcopal Diocese of Haiti is trying to evaluate the needs of Haitians in the wake of four storms that have battered Hispaniola in less than a month.

“What has happened is very hard to us,” Bishop Jean Zache Duracin wrote September 10 in response to an email inquiry from ENS. “As you may know, many people died, disappeared [or are] hurt. The whole [of] Haiti has been affected, a country where the socio-economic situation was already bad. Many people have been left homeless, with no food and clothes, etc.”

“Many of our church buildings have been affected. We are now doing an evaluation of what we have lost, but because of problems of communication, that will take some time.”

Duracin, noting that usually in such situations many people wait for the church to respond, wrote that “the church here is making efforts to help. We are preparing to send food and other primary necessity materials to victims, but because of lack of ways of communication our work is very difficult.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Caribbean, Episcopal Church (TEC), Haiti

Chile's precocious teens cast aside sexual taboos

It is just after 5 p.m. in what was once one of Latin America’s most sexually conservative countries, and the youth of Chile are bumping and grinding to a reggaetón beat. At the Bar Urbano disco, boys and girls aged 14 to 18 are stripping off their shirts.

The place is a tangle of lips and tongues and hands. About 800 teenagers sway and bounce to lyrics imploring them to “Poncea! Poncea!”: to make out with as many people as they can.

And make out they do – with stranger after stranger, vying for the honor of being known as the “ponceo,” the one who pairs up the most.

Chile, long considered to have among the most traditional social mores in South America, is crashing headlong against that reputation with its precocious teenagers. Chile’s youth are living in a period of sexual exploration that, academics and government officials say, is like nothing the country has witnessed before.

“Chile’s youth are clearly having sex earlier and testing the borderlines with their sexual conduct,” said Dr. Ramiro Molina, director of the University of Chile’s Center for Adolescent Reproductive Medicine and Development.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Chile, Sexuality, South America, Teens / Youth

Idris Jones, Bishop of Glasgow & Galloway Reflects on Lambeth 2008

The programme was certainly tight and finely controlled. In the event the controversial issues of the Covenant and the Communion, together with issues around human sexuality were left until the last few days. The hope was that the relationships built before we took these issues would help us stick together as we came to confront the differences that still divide the communion. The general opinion was that this did happen. Bishops listened more attentively and heard the different reactions from around the communion and did so in a calm and measured way. That is not to say that no passion was expressed about deeply held convictions.

My experience was to be part of a series of meetings in which it became dear that different situations demanded different responses and there was mutual respect shown for these various positions. They were basically irreconcilable and remained so yet the determination to stay in dialogue and to go on working with these dashing positions was what marked out the potential of our Communion as distinctive.

There is dearly more work to be done but with some hope of a way forward. The fact is that neither of the extreme positions if I can call them that can be expected to give up what they believe God has called them to witness to as part of the life of their Province. There may be a way through but it is not dear yet where it would take us – meanwhile we hold to the position that we are in pending further provision in the Communion to take account of the need for some enlarged thinking. Whether the proposed Pastoral Forum to take over the care of congregations that have chosen to renounce the leadership of their Diocesan Bishop can have any place in this process I personally doubt.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Lambeth 2008, Scottish Episcopal Church

Michael Nazir-Ali: Britons suffer 'cultural amnesia' about Christian art

The Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali said the works of Shakespeare or Milton could not have been written without the English translation of the Bible and the publication of the Book of Common Prayer, while great paintings and pieces of music were inspired by Christianity and made to be showcased in churches and cathedrals.

Yet he claimed many people are now ignorant of the religious background to our culture.

The bishop, a prominent conservative in the Church of England who boycotted this year’s gathering of Anglican Communion leaders in the ongoing row over homosexuality, said the church should do more to ensure schools, television companies and radio channels educate their audiences.

His comments, part of a speech he gave to members of the Prayer Book Society, come after he warned that Britishness itself is being destroyed by the decline of Christian values, creating a “moral vacuum” that is being filled by radical Islam.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Art, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Poetry & Literature, Religion & Culture

David Abshire and Ian Markham: Anglicans Can Find Common Ground at the Cross

Today, we feel that the Episcopal Church is viewed by the public through a blurry lens. Their view is distorted by the prominence given in the media to the dispute over wedge issues like gay bishops and female clergy. Press reports of the Lambeth conference or the General Convention inevitably play up these rifts. One might think that all mainstream Episcopal congregations spend most of their time in church discussing how to advance gay and female clergy. For the mainstream congregations that we are familiar with the reality is completely different. Our services focus on the Gospel and the life and teachings of Jesus. We feel that many breakaway parishes don’t believe this reality, which is an example of the sort of accusation of false motives and hidden agendas that Guinness decries in his Manifesto.

The rift in the global Anglican Communion can and must be repaired through civil dialogue. This dialogue is impossible when parties refuse to show up at the table as happened at Lambeth. The differences among the vast majority are not as great as portrayed. We and other prominent Episcopalians will release a “Statement of Beliefs” that explains exactly what the beliefs of mainstream Episcopalians are. Among these beliefs are, not only that the risen Christ is “the way and the truth and the life,” but also those values that Jesus lived out. He embraced the outcast and downtrodden, believed in inclusion far more than exclusion. He despised most hypocrisy and sanctimony. He believed in equity and justice and Christians making the most of their gifts in service to God. Surely, that represents a common basis for belief far greater than the sum of those points on which we differ.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lambeth 2008, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Conflicts

Jack Miles in Commonweal: Anglican Disunion

During the weeks leading up to the recently concluded Lambeth Conference, an approximately decennial meeting of Anglican primates, the rector of St. Edmund’s Episcopal Church, San Marino, California, to which I belong, saw fit to insert in the weekly worship leaflet a history of the conference in four short installments. Written by the Reverand Christopher L. Webber, a priest of the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut, the capsule history made interesting reading, perhaps especially for this cradle Catholic and former Jesuit.

One learned that the initial impulse for the Lambeth Conference only came in 1867 and then from Canadian Anglicans uneasy over their country’s evolution toward independence from Britain. If Canada became fully independent, would the Church of Canada, against its wishes, be forced to become the Canadian equivalent of the Episcopal Church in the United States? Reluctantly, the archbishop of Canterbury agreed to hold a meeting, but he insisted that it would seek only “brotherly counsel and encouragement.” At the second Lambeth conference, in 1888, a starchy resolution underscored this determination not to slide into a quasi-papacy: “There is no intention whatever on the part of anybody to gather together the bishops of the Anglican Church for the sake of defining any matter of doctrine.” The principle of unity proper to Anglicans was to be mutual forbearance such that “the duly certified action of every national or particular church…should be respected by all the other churches.” The archbishop of York, citing the Acts of the Apostles, reminded the conference tartly that differences among the churches began with Peter and Paul.

During the twentieth century, however, the issues of divorce, remarriage, intermarriage, contraception, and the status of women in the church-all of which fell plausibly within the avowedly pastoral purview of the Lambeth Conference-replaced almost completely such classic doctrinal issues as the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist in determining whether one was or was not a communicant in good standing. Thus, when the 1900 conference ruled that only the “innocent party” to a divorce might be readmitted to Communion after a civil marriage, it did tacitly claim a right to determine who was an Anglican. And since bishops attended the conference only at the invitation of the archbishop of Canterbury, a personal authority seemed to accrue to him to declare whether a given church was legitimately Anglican or not.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis