Daily Archives: January 30, 2009

Church Times: ”˜Really weird’, but Henry Scriven bears no ill will on orders

Bishop Scriven remained as a bishop in good standing in the Episcopal Church after Pittsburgh diocese realigned with the Southern Cone in November last year. He believed the diocese had democratically made its decision and ”” in a response to the Church Times which came too late for publication ”” described the Convention’s vote as conducted “in a very fair and grace-filled way”. He made himself available as a bishop to all congregations who invited him, regardless of how they had voted.

He said at that time: “We still pray sincerely that further lawsuits can be avoided, and I certainly intend to maintain all my close friendships with the vast majority of those who have chosen not to stay with the diocese.”

Bishop Scriven described the letter he received in November releasing him from his orders as “really weird”. He retained it but did not respond to it. The promised certificate releasing Bishop Scriven from his orders did not reach him personally, “though, to be fair, she might have tried as I was wandering round the world,” he said on Wednesday.

The correspondence is now in the public domain. “I had no desire to publish these letters until the thing was announced but was then very happy for them to be released,” Bishop Scriven said. “Hers was a very gracious letter but I was kind of boggled by the language really….”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh, TEC Polity & Canons

Times: Religion helps shape public policy says Government minister Stephen Timms

Religion is important in shaping public policy and religious groups are helping build “a new politics based on hope” according to Government minister Stephen Timms.

Mr Timms, financial secretary to the Treasury and Labour’s vice-chair for faith groups, said the faith communities had always been the “natural allies” of progressive politics.

Sounding the final death knell for Alistair Campbell’s statement that Labour does not “do God”, Mr Timms made it clear that he did not believe religion is dying out and said faith groups have a lot to offer government.

He was speaking on the day that new research from Christian charity Tearfund showed churchgoing making “significant” increases after years of decline.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

ENS: Executive Council begins three-day meeting

The Episcopal Church’s 2010-2012 budget and a response to the St. Andrew’s Draft of the proposed Anglican Covenant topped the agenda January 29 as the church’s Executive Council convened a three day meeting in Stockton, California.

The meeting is taking place in the seat of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, a move made by the council to show its support for the diocese’s efforts at reorganization since the former leadership and a majority of its members joined the Argentina-based Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. Council members are scheduled to spend time on January 30 hearing about the progress made by the diocese.

Council began its meeting January 29 with an organizational plenary session, followed by private conversation. Council members, Episcopal Church Center staff and visitors celebrated Eucharist at midday. Members also devoted another hour to Council’s on-going effort to participate in the church’s anti-racism training effort.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC)

Catholic Online: Traditional Anglican Communion set to Enter Catholic Church?

Catholic Online promised to up date our readers on this extraordinary story. So, we now pass this on: The National Catholic Register cites a “Vatican Source” as saying that “nothing’s been decided” by the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Reports abound that the Congregation has recommended the creation of a personal prelature as the vehicle through which to receive the members of the Traditional Anglican Communion into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church. The Register contends that an official at the Congregation spoke with their correspondent Edward Pentin today saying,“It’s something that has appeared on the blogosphere and then been reiterated, but the truth is nothing’s been decided.”

Read it all.

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

Church Times: Primates to meet in Egypt behind closed doors

THE PRIMATES of the Anglican Commun­ion will meet in Egypt from Sunday to Thurs­day, behind closed doors. They will use a format largely modelled on the Lambeth Conference.

It will be the first time that the Archbishops who were at Lambeth will be together with those who boycotted the event, although some acceptances had still not been received this week. On Wednesday, the secretary of the Primates’ Meeting, Canon Kenneth Kearon, put that down to “personal dis­organ­isation” on the part of some.

The draft agenda is largely an extension of the Lambeth agenda. It has been put together by the Archbishop of Canterbury and Canon Kearon, but is deliberately undetailed, and has a “degree of elasticity”. Worship, Bible study, and group discussions will have a high prior­ity. The same question as the bishops dis­cussed at Lambeth will be asked here: what impact has the sexuality debate in the Anglican Com­munion had on the mission of the individual provinces?

Five Primates have been invited to lead the debate on this.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates

Mississippi most religious, Vermont least, survey says

Want to be almost certain you’ll have religious neighbors? Move to Mississippi. Prefer to be in the least religious state? Venture to Vermont.

A new Gallup Poll, based on more than 350,000 interviews, finds that the Magnolia State is the one where the most people ”” 85% ”” say yes when asked “Is religion an important part of your daily life?”

Less than half of Vermonters, meanwhile ”” 42% ”” answered that same question in the affirmative.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Religion & Culture

From the Did you Know Department?

WHITTIER, CALIF.The Southern California woman who gave birth to octuplets this week has six other children and never expected to have eight more when she took fertility treatment, her mother said Thursday

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children

RNS: Anglicans Set to Consider Rival North American Church

Conservative Anglicans say they do not expect their new North American church to receive official approval from Anglican archbishops who will convene next week (Feb. 1-5) in Alexandria, Egypt.

“We do expect that our situation will be discussed,” said the Rev.
Peter Frank, a spokesman for the newly established Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). “At the same time, it would be very surprising if there was some kind of quick, game-changing action.”

After years of disagreeing with the liberal majorities in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada, conservatives broke off and formed a rival church last December. Conservatives hope the fledgling province will ultimately be recognized as the official Anglican franchise in North America.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Proposed Formation of a new North American Province, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Primates, Anglican Provinces, Common Cause Partnership, Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Conflicts

Leaders Say Obama Has Tapped Pastor for Outreach Office

President Obama plans to name Joshua DuBois, a 26-year-old Pentecostal pastor and political strategist who handled religious outreach for the Obama campaign, to direct a revamped office of faith-based initiatives, according to religious leaders who have been informed about the choice.

The office, created by President George W. Bush by executive order at the start of his first term, is likely to have an even broader mandate in the Obama White House, said the religious leaders, who requested anonymity because the appointment has yet to be announced.

The White House declined to comment.

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

ACI: Is The Renunciation of Orders Routine?

Defenders of the Presiding Bishop are scrambling to re-interpret her extraordinary action of depriving a bishop of the Church of England of the gifts and authority conferred in his ordination and removing him from the ordained ministry of The Episcopal Church. For example, the group supporting the Presiding Bishop in Pittsburgh stated that “[t]his is a routine way of permitting Bishop Scriven to continue his ministry.” In the strange world of TEC, renunciation of orders has become a routine way of continuing one’s ministry.

But it is not routine. Indeed, it has not been used for those transferring from TEC to another province in the Anglican Communion until the Presiding Bishop began what resembles a scorched-earth approach to her opponents within TEC. Not surprisingly, in the past such matters have been handled by letter. One can see the evolution of the Presiding Bishop’s “routine” policy in the treatment of Bishop David Bena, who was transferred by letter by his diocesan bishop to the Church of Nigeria in February 2007. A month later, the Presiding Bishop wrote Bishop Bena and informed him that “by this action you are no longer a member of the House of Bishops” and that she had informed the Secretary of the House to remove him from the list of members. That was all that needed to be done. A year later, however, as her current strategy emerged, she suddenly declared in January 2008 that she had accepted Bishop Bena’s renunciation of orders using the canon she now uses against Bishop Scriven. In other words, if this is now sadly routine, it has only become routine in the past year.

Not only is this not routine, it was not necessary.

“This action reflects profound confusion” say the authors. Is there a better phrase to describe the common life of TEC at present? Doctrinal and Structural incoherence abound. Read it all–KSH

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh, TEC Polity & Canons

Mandatory Furlough for state employees in California

State workers will be taking two days off a month without pay after a judge sides with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

A Sacramento County judge ruled Schwarzenegger had the authority to put furloughs in place.

State employee unions call the decision “devastating.”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Politics in General, State Government, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

A South Carolina Bill Says Women must wait a day before an abortion

Women seeking an abortion in South Carolina would have to wait at least 24 hours after their ultrasound under a bill given initial approval Wednesday by a House subcommittee.

The measure would increase the waiting time from an hour to a day.

Proponents said it would bring South Carolina in line with other states that have waiting periods and give women time to reflect on the decision. Critics said requiring two trips creates a burden, especially for poor, rural women.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Children, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics

John Allen on Pope Benedict XVI's decision to reinstate Bishop Richard Williamson

But on the other hand, you know, this certainly is a serious crisis in Jewish-Catholic relations. And I think it will probably leave behind a residue of ambivalence and doubt about where exactly the pope comes down that will not be easy to erase.

Probably the next major test of what the future of the relationship will be will come in May when Benedict XVI is scheduled to visit Israel. I think, in some ways, this will be analogous to the trip he took in late November and early December 2006, which — to Turkey, which came three months after he had given a very controversial lecture in which he quoted a 14th-century Byzantine emperor to the effect that Muhammad, the founder of Islam, had brought things only evil and inhuman. That set off a firestorm of protest in the Islamic world.

Benedict’s trip to Turkey gave him an opportunity to exercise some damage control. And by all accounts, he did that quite artfully.

Clearly, assuming it goes ahead, his trip to Israel this May will be another chapter in his attempt to heal what is right now a very badly fractured relationship with another religious community, in this case, Judaism.

Caught this on today’s run from last night’s Lehrer News Hour. John Allen is one of the really good religion reporters out there. Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Inter-Faith Relations, Israel, Judaism, Middle East, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

Gore Urges Senate To Avoid Kyoto-Type Failure

When Vice President Al Gore returned from Kyoto, Japan, with a climate treaty in 1997, it was already a dead letter. The Senate, which ratifies treaties, strongly opposed the deal even before Gore signed it.

On Wednesday, Gore returned to the Senate to offer advice about how to arrive at a different outcome as a new climate treaty is negotiated this year in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The federal calendar is packed with pressing business in 2009. One of the toughest deadlines is to lay the groundwork for the international climate talks in Copenhagen.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Energy, Natural Resources, Globalization, Politics in General

The Academy of Preachers: Preaching made better

“I believe that more American people hear a sermon in a given week than any other single extracurricular activity,” said Dwight Moody, executive director of the program. “People who are sitting in the pews are wanting better preachers.”

Moody, a former dean of the chapel at Georgetown College, teamed with St. Matthews Baptist Church in Louisville to run the program, which includes the retreat this month, a “preaching camp” this summer and a “festival of preaching” — both of which are expected to draw dozens of young people.

In between those events, participants will be communicating online and required to recruit a “preaching mentor” to guide their development.

Moody hopes the program — drawing mainly from Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee and other nearby states — will be duplicated in other regions.

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