Daily Archives: January 27, 2009

LA Times: Scrambling to preserve Holocaust memories

Fifteen years ago, nearly 52,000 Holocaust survivors and witnesses began sharing their stories with a group that would come to be known as the USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education. The testimonies, averaging about two hours each, were documented on videotape, a format whose quality deteriorates over time.

And that’s why the foundation, intent on preserving its Holocaust material for future generations, has launched a $10-million initiative to turn 105,000 hours of videotaped testimony into a vast digital archive.

The switch, foundation leaders say, cannot come a moment too soon — with the videotapes expected to start decaying within five years and aging Holocaust survivors dying off.

A particularly appropriate story to post on this day. Read it all.

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

ACI: Misuse of the Canons & Abuse of Power by the Presiding Bishop: A Statement on Bishop Scriven

Notwithstanding these facts, on January 15, 2009, the Presiding Bishop purported to accept Bishop Scriven’s renunciation of his ministry “of this Church” and claimed to remove him from all ministry conferred in his “Ordinations.” Canon III.12.7, the canon under which the Presiding Bishop claimed to be acting, plainly applies only to a “Bishop of this Church.” The only way Bishop Scriven could have been a bishop of TEC on January 15 is if the deposition of Bishop Duncan were invalid. In such a case, Bishop Duncan would have continued to serve uninterrupted as Bishop of Pittsburgh and Bishop Scriven’s tenure as Assistant Bishop would not have ended by operation of Canon III.12.5(e). We doubt, however, that this is the theory under which the Presiding Bishop is operating.

Moreover, in addition to constituting an abuse of the canons, the Presiding Bishop’s action has profound consequences for TEC’s status as a constituent member of the Anglican Communion and its communion with the Church of England. The Declaration of Removal and Release states categorically that Bishop Scriven “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.” Those ordinations occurred, of course, in the Church of England. On its face, this declaration appears to prohibit a bishop in good standing in the Church of England from acting sacramentally in TEC. Since the use of Canon III.12.7 carries with it a certification that the bishop is not in violation of the constitution and canons and is not taken for causes that affect moral character, Bishop Scriven in this regard stands in no different position than any other bishop in the Church of England. If Bishop Scriven is so barred, is not the Archbishop of Canterbury barred as well?

Defenders of the Presiding Bishop’s course of conduct attempt to soften the impact of these actions by claiming that all that is being done by these acceptances of “renunciation” is the removal of a license to act in TEC. But this is clearly erroneous.

Read it all.

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

Churches help 'transitioners' hunt for jobs

One look at the headlines, and today’s job hunters don’t figure they have a prayer of finding work.

That may be why some are seeking advice from career coaches in unlikely places: local churches and synagogues.

Religious institutions in lower Fairfield County have been organizing networking meetings for job-hunters to discuss leads and strategies. Many of the attendees are not members of the religious institutions. In most cases, they are welcome, and there is no charge.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Parish Ministry, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Canadian Primate speaks out against Gaza City bombing

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, has issued a joint statement with the Rev. David Giuliano, Moderator of the United Church of Canada, calling for an independent investigation into the Israeli bombing of the Shaja’ih Family Healthcare Centre in Gaza City on Jan. 10, 2009.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Middle East, The Palestinian/Israeli Struggle, War in Gaza December 2008--

All Souls Anglican Church in Florida looks for permanent home

Members of All Souls Anglican Church had to walk away from their home in 2007, after the Episcopal Diocese said they could no longer worship there.

Now the diocese is walking away from the empty 5.3-acre All Souls campus in Mandarin, putting it up for sale for $2.8 million. But the former occupants say “no thanks” to coming back as they hone in on a new, permanent home nearby.

Meeting every Sunday since mid-July 2007 in the Mandarin Middle School auditorium, the congregation uses a storefront at 3750 San Jose Place for office space and a local Baptist church for youth programs. That could change in the next year as the church looks into the purchase of a 5-acre site on Hood Road, said the Rev. Gene Strickland.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Proposed Formation of a new North American Province, Common Cause Partnership, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Florida, TEC Departing Parishes

USA Today: Corporate cluelessness

Maybe the government bailouts for money-hemorrhaging companies should come with little laminated cards detailing codes of conduct for executives. You’d think these rules would be obvious. Judging from the news, they’re not.

Here’s a start: Sell the corporate jets. Don’t spend a fortune to redecorate your office. Skip the executive bonuses, especially if your firm is losing billions. And when news of those losses is about to come out, don’t be on vacation at your ski home in Vail.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Theology

Nicolas Sarkozy: Europe's strength will be tested in the coming months

I’m convinced that the world needs an independent, united, imaginative and strong Europe, which is the friend of the whole world in the sense of being ready to talk to the whole world. A Europe which, I hope, will at last give itself the institutions it needs: a president elected for two and a half years. This depends on our Irish friends. I want to pay tribute to the courage of Prime Minister Brian Cowen, who has announced a referendum for 2009. We will support them. Ireland has to understand that Europe needs her and that she needs Europe. This will enable us to have a Europe which can speak with one voice ”“ as it has to in the gas crisis where I would call on everyone to have a modicum of common sense.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Economy, Europe, France, Politics in General

A profile of Andrew White: Wanted by God, but wanted by killers too

He drives to church in an armourplated car, escorted by 25 members of the Iraqi Army. As he preaches, he and his congregation are protected by soldiers cradling machineguns. Each week, familiar faces disappear ”” kidnapped, abducted or blown up by a suicide bomber. And each week politicians, generals, Muslim clerics and desperate mothers stream in to St George’s Anglican church to beg the help of an English vicar in ending violence, promoting dialogue and negotiating the release of hostages. For Canon Andrew White, fighting for peace has an all too literal meaning. His parish is the most murderous in the world: Baghdad.

He knows that he could be killed any day, but insists that the thought has never once troubled him. He takes few unnecessary risks, however. As the violence steadily grew worse in 2005, 11 of his church staff were kidnapped, shot or simply disappeared. Reluctantly, at the British Ambassador’s urging, he left his riverside house and moved into the fortified green zone and a trailer in an underground car park. It became too dangerous even to officiate at St George’s: services were held either in the Prime Minister’s office (a tribute to the esteem in which a Shia Muslim held this English Anglican) or that of an Iraqi friend. Baptisms were often conducted with a red plastic washing-up bowl.

He is simply an amazing and courageous man. I hope all blog readers have seen the 60 minutes piece on him. Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Latest News, Iraq War, Middle East, Parish Ministry

In Virginia a Tiny church with big Aspirations and Affiliations

The path taken by Epiphany’s tiny congregation mirrors that of the Episcopal church at large over the last few years ”“”“ splintering, adapting and reinventing itself. “It’s like a Reformation. Many have left at great cost, leaving buildings, incomes and pensions,” says congregant Leslie Frye, wife of Canon Ralph Frye.

Their reasons are to maintain a closer adherence to the Scriptures than the established Episcopal church.

“It’s difficult when higher-ups are not hewing to the Bible,” says Leslie Hanna, one of Epiphany’s original members.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, --Proposed Formation of a new North American Province, Common Cause Partnership, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Conflicts

Canadian Politicians warned to heed 'moral values'

In an open letter to Canada’s first ministers, a coalition of Canadian churches and religious groups is warning that economic stimulus without attention to “moral values” is doomed to failure.

“We know this crisis is at the top of your agendas,” reads the letter, to be released today.

“Yet we are deeply troubled by the lack of attention to the moral values needed to guide us out of crisis, toward a more sustainable future.”

The letter, coming the day before the federal budget is unveiled, calls on Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the provincial premiers and territorial leaders to aim higher than they have in the past, and to see the current economic crisis as an opportunity to address past inequities.

“Now is the time to change our course, dramatically.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Canada, Economy, Religion & Culture

Northern Michigan Bishop Nominee Has Background in Buddhism

The Rev. Kevin Thew Forrester, rector of St. Paul’s, Marquette, and St. John’s, Negaunee, was put forward by the diocesan search team to stand for election as bishop/ministry developer under the “mutual ministry model” used by the small, rural diocese on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. A priest of the diocese since 2001, Fr. Forrester also serves as ministry development coordinator and newspaper editor for Northern Michigan.

In recent years, he also was a practicing Buddhist, according to the former Bishop of Northern Michigan, the late Rt. Rev. James Kelsey.

In his Oct 15, 2004 address to the diocese’s annual convention, Bishop Kelsey took note of some of the milestones among the lives of members of the diocese. After recognizing recent university graduations, the bishop said Fr. Forrester “received Buddhist ”˜lay ordination’,” and was “walking the path of Christianity and Zen Buddhism together.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Buddhism, Episcopal Church (TEC), Other Faiths, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Northern Michigan, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils, Theology

Archbishop Hiltz to update other primates on state of Canadian church

The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has asked the primates (national archbishops) of five provinces, including the Anglican Church of Canada, to reflect on the impact that the current Anglican conflict over sexuality has had on the mission and priorities of their churches.

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, said that he and the primates of the U.S. Episcopal Church, Uganda, Pakistan, and South Africa, have been invited to offer their reflections during the primates’ meeting scheduled Feb. 1 to 5 in Alexandria, Egypt.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Primates, Anglican Provinces

Third Bishop Quits Anglican Church of Canada

The Rt. Rev. Ronald Ferris, Bishop of the northern Ontario Diocese of Algoma in the Anglican Church of Canada from 1995 to 2008 and the Diocese of Yukon from 1981 to 1995, has left the Anglican Church of Canada and transferred his canonical residence to the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone, based in Argentina.

Bishop Ferris is the third bishop within the past 14 months to leave the Anglican Church of Canada for the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC), part of the Common Cause Partnership seeking status as a new Anglican province in North America. In a statement released Jan. 23, Bishop Ferris said in his new position he will focus on church planting in the Lower Mainland region of southwest British Columbia. He will assist the Rt. Rev. Donald Harvey, moderator of the ANiC.

Read it all and there is a lot more there also.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Cono Sur [formerly Southern Cone], Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology

The Archbishop of Canterbury's Hulsean Sermon–'Seeing the Question: Revelation and Self-Knowledge'

So it is that for the Christian, what is recognised as revelation is necessarily, inseparably, a moment of drastic change in perception of oneself; the story I usually tell myself about who and what I am is shattered and I have to discover different ways of thinking, speaking and imagining. For the Christian mystical tradition, this is only the beginning of a continuing process of loss and recreation, night and dawn. But it is at the heart of all Christian thinking simply because this is the way in which the New Testament itself presents revelation. The woman at the well of Sychar describes her strange interlocutor as a man who told her everything she ever did, and it is on this basis that she concludes that he may be the Anointed. And the conversion of Saul of Tarsus, which this day in the Church’s calendar commemorates, is emphatically not just about acquiring the awareness of new information but about the discovery of a new and shocking identity. Who is Saul? Not the model servant of the Lord but the persecutor of the Lord. So who is Jesus? The one who lives and suffers in his friends. And so in turn comes the discovery which Saul spent the rest of his life struggling to express: the humanity of Jesus of Nazareth is not simply that of an individual in the past but lives and suffers and transmits grace now in the lives of those who have committed themselves to him.

The revelation of Christ’s divinity enters the world of human language and interaction through this renewal and reversal of identity. I am not who I thought I was; I have been told who I am, ‘everything I have ever done’, in the sense that I must revisit and see afresh all my memories, knowing that my self-awareness cannot overtake the knowledge of who I am that belongs to the revealer. What begins to come into focus as we acclimatise ourselves to the presence of Jesus in human history is the sense that we may be comprehensively wrong about who we are ”“ and yet that there is a just and loving knowledge of who we are that is ‘held’ by the transcendent seer. And it is when we grasp just how comprehensive this is that we understand why it is the presence of nothing less than the transcendent that we identify in Jesus. If I can never ‘catch up’ with this seeing, this knowing, which claims to search out where I cannot go even within myself, there is no end in Jesus’ presence to the recognition of a mystery in me that is beyond my reach ”“ and so too of a mystery in every human subject, which is one of the ways in which Christian ethics begins.

Augustine famously said of God that he was ‘more intimate to me than I myself’; and this is not an extravagant statement of devotion but a sober definition of the nature of revelation.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Theology

Thomas Friedman: Our Last Chance for a Middle East Solution is Close to Eluding Us

We’re getting perilously close to closing the window on a two-state solution, because the two chief window-closers ”” Hamas in Gaza and the fanatical Jewish settlers in the West Bank ”” have been in the driver’s seats. Hamas is busy making a two-state solution inconceivable, while the settlers have steadily worked to make it impossible.

If Hamas continues to obtain and use longer- and longer-range rockets, there is no way any Israeli government can or will tolerate independent Palestinian control of the West Bank, because a rocket from there can easily close the Tel Aviv airport and shut down Israel’s economy.

And if the Jewish settlers continue with their “natural growth” to devour the West Bank, it will also be effectively off the table. No Israeli government has mustered the will to take down even the “illegal,” unauthorized settlements, despite promises to the U.S. to do so, so it’s getting hard to see how the “legal” settlements will ever be removed. What is needed from Israel’s Feb. 10 elections is a centrist, national unity government that can resist the blackmail of the settlers, and the rightist parties that protect them, to still implement a two-state solution.

Because without a stable two-state solution, what you will have is an Israel hiding behind a high wall, defending itself from a Hamas-run failed state in Gaza, a Hezbollah-run failed state in south Lebanon and a Fatah-run failed state in Ramallah. Have a nice day.

So if you believe in the necessity of a Palestinian state or you love Israel, you’d better start paying attention. This is not a test. We’re at a hinge of history.

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Middle East, The Palestinian/Israeli Struggle, War in Gaza December 2008--