Daily Archives: January 25, 2009

The Diocese of Virginia Council's Resolution results

Find them all here. Of special interest is this one:

R-4a: Blessedness of Covenanted Relationships
Adopted as amended.

Resolved, that the Diocese of Virginia recognizes our responsibility to respond to the pastoral needs of our faithful gay and lesbian members in a spirit of love, compassion and respect, and in so doing seek to fulfill our baptismal commitment to respect the dignity of every human being; and, be it further

Resolved, that accordingly the 214th Annual Council of the Diocese of Virginia affirms the inherent integrity and blessedness of committed Christian relationships between two adult persons, when those relationships are “characterized by fidelity, monogamy, mutual affection and respect, careful, honest communication, and the holy love which enables those in such relationships to see in each other the image of God” (Resolution 2000-D039 of the 73rd General Convention of the Episcopal Church).

Submitted by:
The Rev. James A. Papile
The Rev. Jacqueline C. Thomson
The Rev. Denise A. Trogdon
The Rev. A. Patrick L. Prest
John Schwarz, Lay Delegate, St. Anne’s, Reston
Carol Grish, President, Region V
Thomas J. Smith, Lay Delegate, St. Anne’s, Reston
Charles Sowell, Lay Delegate, St. Anne’s, Reston
Martha Furniss, Lay Delegate, St. Anne’s, Reston
Terry Long, Lay Delegate, Holy Comforter, Richmond

Endorsed by:
Region V
The Vestry of St. Anne’s Episcopal Church, Reston
The Vestry of the Church of the Holy Comforter, Richmond
The Vestry of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Richmond

Also, please see BabyBlue’s comments here.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils

The Diocese of Virginia's Windsor Dialogue Commission Report

Read it all (43 page pdf).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils, Windsor Report / Process

Bishop Shannon Johnston's Report to the Annual Council of the Diocese of Virginia

In this jurisdiction, last fall I accepted the recommendation given to me that I grant the status of postulancy for Holy Orders to a person who is in a committed same-sex relationship. That recommendation came to me from the respective local discernment committee, the Diocesan Committee on the Priesthood and the other evaluative processes we require. I accepted this recommendation in my personal conviction (echoed by several canon law and General Convention veterans across the country with whom I spoke) that this conforms both to the language and the intent of the Canons, guaranteeing equal accessto the processes of discernment for all ministries in the Church, whether lay or ordained.

Just as pointedly, that very same canon clearly states that no “right” to ordination is established by that provision. Accordingly, I informed everyone concerned that as things stand now in the House of Bishops and in our discussions throughout the Communion, I do not feel free at this time to ordain persons who are in same-sex relationships. In the interests of disclosure and clarity, personally I hold this necessity rather uncomfortably. However, significant parts of our larger Church, both left and right, are not ministering through these issues with much charity or restraint, and so I think it is extremely important for the bishops to respect what is in place right now (this includes my continuing support for the Windsor Report and its resulting processes). It is my hope that from this position we will be better able to take a responsible lead and continue to make progress in building up the common life of the whole Church. Nonetheless, I support discernment on anyone’s part as to just how the Holy Spirit is moving in their lives””no exceptions. This postulant has my personal commitment to do all I can to support that discernment.

Some of that landscape changed, however, when only recently I received and read the report from our Windsor Continuation Commission. That group, with Bishop Lee’s approval and direction, has established a formalized listening process as a pilot project to aid the whole of our diocese in discernment through the issues of human sexuality and the witness of the Church.

Given this, I have decided not to move forward with this postulant in the ordination process until this diocesan effort is conducted and the results are collected and given to me so as to become part of my own eventual discernment as bishop. I do remind you, however, that such results are not “binding” on the diocesan bishop, and so this process is not some sort of vote that will decide the matter in one way or another.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils

Bishop Peter Lee's Pastoral Address of the 214th Annual Council

A major obligation of leadership is to recognize changed circumstances and to respond imaginatively and realistically to those circumstances. All of us recognize that we live at a time of economic recession. That reality is reflected in the significant number of congregations in our diocese that have reduced their pledge to what we do together in the diocesan budget. As diocesan bishop, it is my responsibility to face those changed circumstances and to respond accordingly. The position I hold is a significant part of our budget. I have decided, therefore, to resign as Diocesan Bishop effective October 1, 2009. That means that my absence for the last quarter of this calendar year will provide a 25% reduction in the cost of the position of diocesan bishop and will bring some relief to the stress on our budget. My resignation will occur several months earlier than I had originally anticipated but I believe it is an appropriate and necessary response to the realities we face. I am exploring the possibility of ministry in some other form after I leave Virginia as I begin my transition towards retirement.

While Bishop Johnston will become the Diocesan Bishop on October 1, 2009, his liturgical investiture as the 13th diocesan bishop will occur at the 215th Annual Council at the end of January 2010, when the Presiding Bishop will be present.

I cannot refer to these plans to leave the Diocese of Virginia without placing them in the context of thanksgiving for you, the clergy and the lay leadership of the Diocese of Virginia. I thank God daily for you and I am grateful for the privilege of serving among you.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils

A.S. Haley with some Comments on the Presiding Bishop and Bishop Henry Scriven

In a display of now unparalleled and unprecedented lawlessness for an ordained bishop, the Primate of All the Episcopal Church (USA) has thrown down the gauntlet to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Anglican Communion as a whole. She has declared that on the basis of a letter written to her by the Rt. Rev. Henry Scriven, the former Assistant Bishop of Pittsburgh, on October 16, 2008, she has “accepted [his] renunciation of the Ordained Ministry of this Church . . . [and that he] is, therefore, removed from the Ordained Ministry of this Church and released from the obligations of all Ministerial offices, and is deprived of the right to exercise the gifts and spiritual authority as a Minister of God’s Word and Sacraments conferred on him in Ordinations.”

What makes this move on the Primate’s part so outlandish is that Bishop Scriven has not been canonically resident in the Diocese of Pittsburgh in the Episcopal Church (USA) since October 4, 2008, when the Diocese voted by a sizeable majority to withdraw from ECUSA and affiliate temporarily with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. Details are not clear at this writing, but if events happened as they should have, Bishop Scriven would have received at that point a license from the Most Reverend Gregory Venables. (It is not known whether Bishop Duncan gave Letters Dimissory to Bishop Scriven before the former’s “deposition” by the ECUSA House of Bishops on September 18, 2008.) At any rate, Bishop Scriven became for the time being a member of the House of Bishops of the Province of the Southern Cone, and in that capacity continued to assist in the Diocese of Pittsburgh through December 2008. He conducted, for example, an ordination of the Rev. Aaron Carpenter at St. Philip’s Church in Moon Township, Pittsburgh, on December 9.

Read it all.

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

Washington Post: Longtime Bishop Who Presided Over Virginia Rift to Step Down

The Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee, who has been bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia for 24 years, announced yesterday that he will step down Oct. 1 to make way for a successor who was named in 2007.

The diocese, which covers northern and eastern Virginia and includes 80,000 members, is one of the largest in the Episcopal Church, the U.S.-based branch of the global Anglican Communion.

Starting this fall the diocese will be overseen by the Rt. Rev. Shannon Johnston, 50, an Alabama native who has worked in dioceses in the South and is known for his work in prison, music and HIV/AIDS ministries.

Read it all.

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

Washington Post: Downturn Accelerates As It Circles The Globe

The world economy is deteriorating more quickly than leading economists predicted only weeks ago, with Britain yesterday becoming the latest nation to surprise analysts with the depth of its economic pain.

Britain posted its worst quarterly contraction since 1980 on the heels of sharper than expected slowdowns reported from Germany to China to South Korea. The grim data, analysts said, underscores how the burst of the biggest credit bubble in history is seeping into the real economies around the world, silencing construction cranes, bankrupting businesses and throwing millions of people out of work.

“In just the past few days, we’ve had a big downward revision, we’re seeing that an even bigger deceleration is on the way than we thought,” said Simon Johnson, former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund and a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Globalization, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Obama Plans Fast Action to Tighten Financial Rules

The Obama administration plans to move quickly to tighten the nation’s financial regulatory system.

Officials say they will make wide-ranging changes, including stricter federal rules for hedge funds, credit rating agencies and mortgage brokers, and greater oversight of the complex financial instruments that contributed to the economic crisis.

Broad new outlines of the administration’s agenda have begun to emerge in recent interviews with officials, in confirmation proceedings of senior appointees and in a recent report by an international committee led by Paul A. Volcker, a senior member of President Obama’s economic team.

A theme of that report, that many major companies and financial instruments now mostly unsupervised must be swept back under a larger regulatory umbrella, has been embraced as a guiding principle by the administration, officials said.

Some of these actions will require legislation, while others should be achievable through regulations adopted by several federal agencies.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Credit Markets, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Law & Legal Issues, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Stock Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

The Tablet: US Roman Catholic bishops pledge to fight Obama on life issues

America’s newly inaugurated president was told this week that the Catholic Church will fight his plans to make abortion more readily available, and will oppose any easing of current regulations restricting embryonic stem cell research.

The warning was contained in two letters from US bishops delivered to Barack Obama, the first dated 13 January and released on 15 January, and the second, more strongly worded, dated 16 January and released on 19 January, the eve of Mr Obama’s swearing-in. The bishops said they wanted to work constructively with the new administration, but issued a tough challenge on life issues.

“We will work to protect the lives of the most vulnerable and voiceless members of the human family, especially unborn children and those who are disabled or terminally ill,” the bishops said in the first letter signed by the president of the bishops’ conference, Cardinal Francis George, the Archbishop of Chicago.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Life Ethics, Office of the President, Other Churches, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Roman Catholic

Samuel Freedman: Long Afterlife for a Short-Lived Jewish Monthly

Not such a long time ago, in a galaxy not so far away, specifically in the downtown Manhattan of 1980 with its punk clubs and squeegee men and loose-joint dealers and $150-a-month sublets, a moment of literary and journalistic kismet was occurring in a factory loft halfway between the East Village and Chelsea.

The loft held the mismatched desks, layout tables and glaring overhead lights that constituted the office of New Jewish Times, a new and precarious monthly magazine. As for the staff, it was a miscellany of gifted malcontents and sundry outsiders ”” Soviet émigrés, children of survivors, yeshiva rebels, CBGB regulars, “a bunch of slobs with overheated opinions,” in the recollection of one alumnus.

With their very first issue, those opinionated slobs declared their independence from the norms of Jewish journalism, whether sober journals like Commentary and Dissent or the boosterish newspapers sponsored by local Jewish federations. The entire cover consisted of an illustration of a mushroom cloud with the deadpan headline asking, “Next Year in Jerusalem?”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, History, Judaism, Media, Other Faiths

A Mayor’s Lie Throws a City Into Turmoil

He was railing about Sam Adams, who three weeks ago became Portland’s first openly gay mayor, thanks, in part, to people like Mr. Wood, a 46-year-old environmental lawyer who voted for Mr. Adams last year.

In a city that likes to be liberal, Mr. Adams’s homosexuality was rarely an issue in his campaign for mayor. (One city commissioner said it was more of an asset than a liability.) Mr. Adams, who won 59 percent of the vote, has been admired for his youthful energy and plans to expand and promote Portland’s progressive and green identity.

Now, however, Mr. Wood is among a loud new constituency saying that the mayor’s tenure should end immediately. A state investigation is pending. Newspapers and the local police union have called for him to step down, while some elected officials and other community leaders have urged him to stay in office. Debate has erupted in the city’s gay population.

Mr. Adams, 45, has considered resigning, even though supporters who have spoken with him recently say they believe he will decide to keep his office.

The developments stem from the mayor’s admission this week that in 2005, when he was a city commissioner, he had a sexual relationship with an 18-year-old male intern at the State Legislature and that he had lied repeatedly about the relationship when he ran for mayor. His admission followed new scrutiny of the relationship by an alternative newspaper, Willamette Week. The mayor has not returned to City Hall since the admission, on Tuesday.

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to at KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Sexuality, State Government, Theology

A Son, A Soldier: 'Bearing Arms' In Life And War

Benjamin Busch is a man with many dimensions ”” and multiple resumes. One charts his service in the U.S. Marine Corps, from Infantry Officers School in Quantico in 1993, to commander of Delta Company, serving in Iraq, and his promotion to lieutenant colonel in 2007.

Then, there’s his other resume ”” as a technical adviser, director and actor, from Party of Five to The Wire to the new TV show The Beast, which stars Patrick Swayze.

He’ll need to start a third resume soon, for his writing. He’s a contributor to Harper’s magazine. The February issue includes his essay “Bearing Arms: The Serious Boy at War.”

Listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Military / Armed Forces

Religion and Ethics Weekly: Religion and the Obama Inauguration

[KIM] LAWTON: Not everyone was happy about all the religion that was tied to the inauguration. A group of atheists launched an ultimately unsuccessful court battle to try and stop the official inaugural prayers. But as a recent poll for RELIGION & ETHICS NEWSWEEKLY found, the majority of all Americans say they believe God has uniquely blessed this nation, and many expect that God should be acknowledged at big national events.

Religious groups sponsored a host of unofficial events this week as well. Prominent black leaders celebrated at the African-American Church Inaugural Ball. Many saw Obama’s election as a direct result of the black church organizing first started by Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. VINCENT HARDING (Veterans of Hope Project): There would be no point in trying to really speak to the beauty and the strength and the meaning of Barack’s inauguration without finding some way to speak to the strength and the beauty and the meaning of black religion as it inspired the people who opened the way for Obama.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Religion & Culture

First Embryonic Stem-Cell Trial Gets Approval From the FDA

In a watershed moment for one of the most contentious areas of science and American politics, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared the way for the first-ever human trial of a medical treatment derived from embryonic stem cells.

Geron Corp., a Menlo Park, Calif., biotechnology company, is expected to announce Friday that it received a green light from the agency to mount a study of its stem-cell treatment for spinal cord injuries in up to 10 patients. The announcement caps more than a decade of advances in the company’s labs and comes on the cusp of a widely expected shift in U.S. policy toward support of embryonic stem-cell research after years of official opposition.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine, Life Ethics, Science & Technology