Daily Archives: November 9, 2008

Today's Post-Gazette: Episcopal bishop Duncan stressing ministry

Now that his diocese is no longer torn by internal strife, Bishop Robert Duncan of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh (Anglican) called on parishes to engage in bold, new missions.

“Sometimes we have to stop and heal wounds, but that is not our corporate task now,” he told several hundred people yesterday at the Anglican convention in Trinity Cathedral, Downtown. “Every one of our people is called to ministry.”

On Oct. 4 the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh voted to secede from the Episcopal Church, which it believed no longer upheld classic Christianity. The majority of 74 parishes joined an Anglican province based in Argentina, amid hope that the global Anglican Communion — of which the Episcopal Church is the U.S. province — will create a second North American province for theological conservatives.

Read it all.

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

Billy Graham And The Lives God Touched

The Rev. Billy Graham has not preached in front of an audience since 2005, but there are countless people around the world with stories of how they have come to find God through his words. Now, some of those stories have been collected by grandsons Basyle and Aram Tchividjian.

Listen to it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Other Churches

Yesterday's Post-Gazette: Duncan elected bishop of breakaway Episcopalians

Amid loud cheers for the man who had been deposed as their bishop just 50 days earlier, Bishop Robert Duncan was unanimously elected yesterday to lead the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh (Anglican).

“I guess this makes me the eighth bishop of Pittsburgh as well as being the seventh,” he said, joking about making buttons that say, “He’s baaack.”

Turning more serious, he continued, “It’s by our grace and our charity that we need to be known and to move on in mission. We don’t have any time to sit and recover from all that we’ve been through. It’s time to get on with what the Lord is asking us to do.”

He was the only candidate, receiving all 100 lay votes and all but one disqualified ballot from 79 clergy.

“It’s not often you get to vote for the same bishop twice,” said an elated Rev. Ann Paton, associate rector of the Church of the Ascension, Oakland.

Read it all.

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

Diocese of Quincy Realigns With South American Province

(A press release received via email).

The Annual Synod of the Diocese of Quincy’s meeting November 7-8 in Quincy, Illinois, has voted by strong margins to realign itself with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, breaking its ties with The Episcopal Church in the US. On two key votes more than ¾ of the clergy and lay deputies voted in favor of the realignment.

The move came after several years of prayer and discernment about the diocese’s relationship with The Episcopal Church. Many in the Quincy Diocese, both clergy and lay people, have been at odds with the national leadership and other dioceses over the authority of the Bible, church order and discipline, and the church’s moral standards and teaching on Christian marriage.

On the vote to disaffiliate from the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, 75% of the clergy and 82% of the lay deputies voted in favor. On the subsequent vote to realign the diocese with the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone the vote in favor was 92% in the clergy order and 87% in the lay order.

“This decision was not made lightly,” said Fr. John Spencer, press officer for the diocese. “We have talked and prayed about this for a very long time. But we take our relationship to the Anglican Communion very seriously. Since 2003, over half the Provinces of the Anglican Communion have been in a state of broken Communion with The Episcopal Church. By realigning with the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone, we are now back in full communion with the majority of over 75 million Anglicans around the world.”

Canon Ed den Blaauwen, incoming President of the Standing Committee, said the focus of the diocese will remain on mission. “Our churches and our diocese will continue in mission and ministry locally and around the world. We feel much at home under the oversight of Archbishop Gregory Venables, Primate of the Southern Cone, who has warmly welcomed us into affiliation with that Province,” den Blaauwen said. “We are once again back in full fellowship with our brother and sister Anglicans.”

Shortly after the votes were taken, Canon den Blaauwen, who acted as chairman for the Synod, read a letter from Archbishop Venables welcoming Quincy as a member of the Province of the Southern Cone.

Bishop Keith Ackerman who retired from leadership of the diocese on November 1, spoke to the gathering Friday afternoon just before the synod convened. Quoting the Epistle of Jude, he encouraged them to remain faithful to the Gospel of Christ and the historic faith of the Christian Church as they considered the momentous decisions before them.

“While the votes show there was very strong support for this decision,” Fr. Spencer said, “we realize this was not a unanimous decision.” By a separate action, the synod made provision for a nine months grace period during which a congregation or member of the clergy might consider withdrawing from the diocese in order to stay in the Episcopal Church. “It is a matter of allowing everyone to follow their consciences in these very difficult times, without recrimination,” Spencer said.

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

Pelosi, Reid Urge Paulson to Extend Aid to Carmakers

Democratic congressional leaders urged Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to use the $700 billion rescue bill passed last month to provide temporary aid to the U.S. auto industry.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid sent a letter to Paulson today saying the rescue bill gives him “broad discretion to purchase, or make commitments to purchase, financial instruments you determine necessary to restore financial-market stability.”

Pelosi was among the lawmakers who met two days ago with the chief executives of General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC. The three companies are seeking $50 billion in federal loans to help them weather the worst auto market in 25 years, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Politics in General

Religion and Ethics Weekly: 2008 Election Wrap-Up

[Bob] ABERNETHY: A lot of us have been trying to find words to describe the meaning of Tuesday’s election. What does it mean to you?

[Maryland] Bishop [Eugene] SUTTON: Well, words are difficult to describe significant moments. More than words on our lips, I think we have to see what’s happening on people’s faces and bodies. What it means to me was that I was crying on Tuesday night. My wife and I, sitting there and watching the screen, tears coming down our faces, tears coming down the faces of people such as a woman on my staff who said that she voted this morning, and this older African-American woman just stopped and cried. We see it in the dancing, the crying in that crowd and people all over the world. The words will come later, but right now the meaning of it was something touched deep in their heart after that election.

Ms. [Kim] LAWTON: It seemed to have touched a deep place not just for African Americans but people of many races as well. I mean, have you see that?

Bishop SUTTON: Yes. Yes, it’s a moment in our nation, but also in the world — a moment, I believe, of redemption, and I like to use that word, meaning opening a door for a new possibility rather than closing the doors of what has happened in the past, and we know about the past history of our nation, of oppression, and of closing doors and building walls. So this was a redemptive moment, I think. I think for people in my generation and older, we look at this as a redemption of the past, all of the work that our forefathers and mothers put in to make sure that we could see a day of a truly multiracial society, where barriers of race and gender and misunderstanding are broken down. That was our redemption. But for my sons and daughter, and for people in the younger generation, it’s a redemption, yes, but of the future. They’re looking forward. They’re looking ahead.’

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Episcopal Church (TEC), Religion & Culture, TEC Bishops, US Presidential Election 2008

The Economist–America's election: Great expectations

With such a great victory come unreasonably great expectations. Many of Mr Obama’s more ardent supporters will be let down””and in some cases they deserve to be. For those who voted for him with their eyes wide open to his limitations, everything now depends on how he governs. Abroad, this 21st-century president will have to grapple with the sort of great-power rivalries last seen in the 19th century (see article). At home, he must try to unite his country, tackling its economic ills while avoiding the pitfalls of one-party rule. Rhetoric and symbolism will still be useful in this; but now is the turn of detail and dedication.

Mr Obama begins with several advantages. At 47, he is too young to have been involved in the bitter cultural wars about Vietnam. And by winning support from a big majority of independents, and even from a fair few Republicans, he makes it possible to imagine a return to a more reflective time when political opponents were not regarded as traitors and collaboration was something to be admired.

Oddly, he may be helped by the fact that, in the end, his victory was slightly disappointing. He won around 52% of the popular vote, more than Mr Bush in 2000 and 2004, but not a remarkable number; this was no Roosevelt or Reagan landslide. And though Mr Obama helped his party cement its grip on Congress, gaining around 20 seats in the House of Representatives and five in the Senate, the haul in the latter chamber falls four short of the 60 needed to break filibusters and pass controversial legislation without Republican support (though recounts may add another seat, or even two). Given how much more money Mr Obama raised, the destruction of the Republican brand under Mr Bush and the effects of the worst financial crisis for 70 years, the fact that 46% of people voted against the Democrat is a reminder of just what a conservative place America still is. Mr Obama is the first northern liberal to be elected president since John Kennedy; he must not forget how far from the political centre of the country that puts him.

Read it all. It is nice to see some in the media describe the outcome correctly. We have already posted about the numbers earlier, but this is best seen as a decisive electoral victory and a modestly solid victory in the popular vote. A landslide–as it was termed many times in the last week–it is not–KSH.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

Nick Carr: Who killed the blogosphere?

Blogging seems to have entered its midlife crisis, with much existential gnashing-of-teeth about the state and fate of a literary form that once seemed new and fresh and now seems familiar and tired. And there’s good reason for the teeth-gnashing. While there continue to be many blogs, including a lot of very good ones, it seems to me that one would be hard pressed to make the case that there’s still a “blogosphere.” That vast, free-wheeling, and surprisingly intimate forum where individual writers shared their observations, thoughts, and arguments outside the bounds of the traditional media is gone. Almost all of the popular blogs today are commercial ventures with teams of writers, aggressive ad-sales operations, bloated sites, and strategies of self-linking. Some are good, some are boring, but to argue that they’re part of a “blogosphere” that is distinguishable from the “mainstream media” seems more and more like an act of nostalgia, if not self-delusion.

And that’s why there’s so much angst today among the blogging set. As The Economist observes in its new issue, “Blogging has entered the mainstream, which – as with every new medium in history – looks to its pioneers suspiciously like death.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Media

A Century of Sisterhood

Watch it all. Somehow the real heroine of this story sounds like their mother–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Aging / the Elderly

Citing Rising Workload, Public Lawyers Reject Cases

Public defenders’ offices in at least seven states are refusing to take on new cases or have sued to limit them, citing overwhelming workloads that they say undermine the constitutional right to counsel for the poor.

Public defenders are notoriously overworked, and their turnover is high and their pay low. But now, in the most open revolt by public defenders in memory, the government appointed lawyers say budget cuts and rising caseloads have pushed them to the breaking point.

In September, a Florida judge ruled that the public defenders’ office in Miami-Dade County could refuse to represent many of those arrested on lesser felony charges so its lawyers could provide a better defense for other clients. Over the last three years, the average number of felony cases handled by each lawyer in a year has climbed to close to 500, from 367, officials said, and caseloads for lawyers assigned to misdemeanor cases has risen to 2,225, from 1,380.

“Right now a lot of public defenders are starting to stand up and say, ”˜No more. We can’t ethically handle this many cases,’ ” said David Carroll, director of research for the National Legal Aid and Defender Association.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Law & Legal Issues

Robert Duncan deposition 'will not be recognised by African Churches'

The deposition of the Bishop of Pittsburgh was a “totalitarian” abuse of power and will not be recognized by the church in Africa, the chairman of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA) has declared.

On Nov 1, CAPA chairman Archbishop Ian Ernest, Primate of the Church of the Indian Ocean and Bishop of Mauritius, wrote to Bishop Robert Duncan on behalf of the African provinces and stated the African archbishops “continue to recognize you as a bishop in good standing in the Anglican Communion.”

“Your commitment to orthodox Christian doctrine grounded in the Holy Scriptures is after all the mark of your identity as a true believer in the Anglican tradition,” Archbishop Ernest said. “Your grace, patience and forbearance in the face of opposition to your holy calling is an example to us all.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Global South Churches & Primates, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh

Mark DiCamillo–Polling on Proposition 8 – California's Marriage Amendment Vote

When comparing the findings from The Field Poll’s final pre-election survey of likely voters (n-966) to the Edison Media Research exit poll in California, the biggest differences relate to the turnout and preferences of frequent church-goers and Catholics. The Field Poll, completed one week before the election, had Catholics voting at about their registered voter population size (24% of the electorate) with voting preferences similar to those of the overall electorate, with 44% on the Yes side. However the network exit poll shows that they accounted for 30% of the CA electorate and had 64% of them voting Yes. Regular churchgoers showed a similar movement toward the Yes side. The pre-election Field Poll showed 72% of these voters voting Yes, while the exit poll showed that 84% of them voted Yes.

The same kind of phenomenon occurred when the first same-sex marriage ban was voted in California in the March 2000 election (Prop. 22), although because of the size of its victory( 61% Yes vs. 39% No) it didn’t matter much back then. In that year The Field Poll’s final pre-election poll, also completed about one week prior to the election, had 50% of Catholics on the Yes side, and accounting for 24% of the vote. Yet, the network exit poll conducted that year by Voter News Service showed them to account for 26% of the electorate with 62% voting Yes.

My take is that polling on issues like same-sex marriage that have a direct bearing on religious doctrine can be affected in a big way in the final weekend by last minute appeals by the clergy and religious organizations.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sexuality