Daily Archives: February 12, 2009

Statement from the President of the House of Deputies on the Primates Communiqué and WCG Report

In stark contrast to the increasingly relational tone reflected in the Primates Communiqué, the Windsor Continuation Group has taken a step backward, issuing a report that yearns for greater ecclesial centralization achieved by concentrating power in the hands of bishops and archbishops, further marginalizing the laity and diminishing the influence of member churches in the common life of our Communion. The authors of the report””two retired primates, a primate, two bishops and a retired Cathedral dean””believe an “ecclesial deficit” exists within Anglicanism and propose to remedy it by strengthening three of the four “Instruments of Communion”, namely the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lambeth Conference and the Primates Meeting. The instrument they have overlooked is the Anglican Consultative Council; the only instrument that includes lay people, priests and deacons and that has a constitution that codifies its membership, procedures and authority. The ACC’s meetings have proven much less susceptible to outside manipulation than those of the Primates Meetings, as the machinations at Dromantine and Dar es Salaam made painfully clear.

Yet the Windsor Continuation Group argues that the Communion must receive statements from the Primates: “with a readiness to undertake reflection and accommodation,” while questioning whether the Anglican Consultative Council can “adequately” exercise the purely consultative function it currently serves. This illustrates a triumph of ecclesial ideology over common sense.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Episcopal Church (TEC), House of Deputies President, Primates Meeting Alexandria Egypt, February 2009, Windsor Report / Process

Diocese of Fond Du Lac Chooses Green Option for Special Convention

Meeting in special convention on Feb. 7, nearly 140 delegates in the Diocese of Fond du Lac ventured into the arena of online meetings in order to complete work on the budget left unfinished during the annual convention last fall.

“Trying something new is always a challenge, but using new technology can be downright scary for some people,” said the Rt. Rev. Russell Jacobus, Bishop of Fond du Lac. “Even so, we’ve had mostly positive response to the online meeting.”

The purpose of the special convention was to consider approval of a 2009 budget. The annual convention failed to approve it because of concerns about mission strategy and youth ministry. After receiving reports from task forces appointed to address those concerns, a line-by-line review of the budget was made by the finance committee. Delegates registered online, participated in practice sessions, and discussed issues during pre-convention meetings, held both in-person and online.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, Energy, Natural Resources, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils

Reuters: Church of England Synod avoids cataclysm over women bishops

So the Church of England opted for safety when it met to discuss the next stage in the ordination of women bishops, avoiding the cataclysmic result of a ”˜no’ vote.

More than 280 members of the General Synod, or governing body, voted in favour of sending draft legislation and a code of practice to a revision committee, ensuring its continued progress.

The church will still take its time over the legislation, with no woman bishop likely to be installed before 2014.

But as Jonathan Gledhill, Bishop of Lichfield, said: “I believe we must go forward today however slowly the progress may be.”

Failure to have voted in favour would not have killed off the prospect of women bishops – as the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said on Tuesday, the issue will not go away – but it could have delayed ordination for many years.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

BBC: Bishops sing 'rain tax' protest

Senior bishops have burst into song in protest at the plans of some English water companies to impose huge bills on churches and other community groups.

The Archbishop of Canterbury was among those who joined in a chorus of “the rains came down and the tax went up” at the Church’s annual general synod.

The synod voted to back campaigners who say the new “rain tax” has seen church drainage bills rise by up to 1,300%.

Water watchdog Ofwat says the charges are environmentally responsible.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

Jordan Hylden–The Anglicans in Egypt: A Deeper Communion

Some, perhaps, hoped that official communion recognition could be bypassed altogether in favor of recognition by the GAFCON council. But the GAFCON primates themselves, in Egypt, have apparently decided that this route is premature. Instead, the primates at Egypt proposed that a professionally mediated discussion be initiated among all the concerned parties, with the goal of finding some sort of “provisional holding arrangement” that could have the blessing of the communion at large.

What of the “federal liberals,” particularly in the Episcopal Church? As has long been clear, it is unlikely that it will sign on for the sort of robust covenant and institutional reform that the emerging consensus is envisioning. The church’s Executive Council recently published its response to the proposed Anglican Covenant, more or less saying that it is not interested in any sort of covenant with consequences. Bonnie Anderson, the president of the church’s House of Deputies, has for her part signaled that at this summer’s General Convention she will push to move away from an earlier resolution that called for restraint on further consecration of gay bishops. Although the American church does not plan on taking up the covenant at its convention this summer, the arrows thus far point towards an effectual rejection of its terms.

Tellingly and worryingly, the Executive Council’s response also asserted that the proposed Covenant may only be adopted or rejected at the provincial level, rather than the diocesan. For many “communion conservatives” who still remain within the Episcopal Church, this will amount to a deep crisis of conscience, since in effect their church seems bent upon forcing them to choose between the Anglican communion and the Episcopal Church.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, Anglican Primates, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Primates Meeting Alexandria Egypt, February 2009, TEC Conflicts, Theology

Is it now time for women to be bishops? Nancy Eckersley and George Austin Offer some Thoughts

The ordination of women bishops has moved a step nearer after the Church of England’s General Synod voted to send draft legislation and a code of practice for further discussion.

But the two-hour debate yesterday once again revealed deep rifts in the church.

Anglicans opposed to women bishops have threatened to leave the church if adequate safeguards are not put in place to cater for them.

The compromise package being proposed is understood to include so-called “complementary bishops” who would minister to parishes which object to women bishops.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

Robert Kuttner: Right stimulus, wrong bailout

Yet even if President Obama gets the stimulus spending just right, the economy could still be sandbagged by a collapsed banking system. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s plan is far too complex, and too much of a gift to Wall Street. Judging by the initial verdict of Tuesday’s financial markets, the plan might well fall of its own weight.

Geithner’s plan basically tries to paper over the fact that several of America’s biggest banks are insolvent in the absence of taxpayer bailouts. It attempts to restart the same system of excessive loan securitization that caused the crash ”” this time with guarantees or loans by the Treasury or Federal Reserve. Many details have not been released, because the Treasury has not figured out how this can work.

The taxpayers have already effectively bought much of the banking system. It would be far cleaner and more efficient for government to acknowledge that, take over the large banks, clean out their balance sheets, and then sell healthy banks back to private industry.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, The 2009 Obama Administration Bank Bailout Plan, The Fiscal Stimulus Package of 2009, The U.S. Government, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner

USA Today: Trillions aimed at recovery

The White House unveiled a sweeping proposal Tuesday to spend as much as $2 trillion in public and private funds to prop up the nation’s financial system as the Senate narrowly approved an $838 billion stimulus intended to jump-start the failing economy.

Even as President Obama and Congress worked to wrestle their way out of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, stock prices plunged on Wall Street. Major indexes skidded by more than 4%, and the Dow Jones industrial average fell 382 points.

“It’s gotten worse,” Obama said in Fort Myers, Fla., the latest stop on a tour around the nation the president hopes will build support for the stimulus. “The situation we face could not be more serious.”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, The Fiscal Stimulus Package of 2009

ACNS: Young Muslims raise funds for Church Gaza appeal

They have raised more than £1,000 for a mobile dental clinic delivering frontline medical aid around the bombed out streets of Gaza. The clinic, which has been funded totally by the Church in Wales since 2000, is part of the work of family health centres in Gaza run by the Near East Council of Churches.

Members of the Young Muslim Community Organisation in Newport, South Wales, held a bazaar to raise money following an appeal by the Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, for urgent aid for the work of the NECC clinics. The appeal was intensified after a direct missile attack destroyed one of the family centres in Shij’ia last month.

Ifthir Ahmed, chair of the YMCO, said the group was pleased to support a Welsh appeal for humanitarian aid.

He said, “We read about the destruction of the family clinic and the invaluable service the mobile dental clinic provides for so many people in the strip. We felt that some of the money we raised had to go to this very noble cause.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of Wales, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Middle East, Other Faiths, War in Gaza December 2008--

Best in Show: Stump’ proves old dogs can learn new tricks

Watch it all, a completely heartwarming way to start the day. I just love the wagging tail–KSH.

Posted in * General Interest

Diligent Use of the Means of Grace

Question 153: What does God require of us, that we may escape his wrath and curse due to us by reason of the transgression of the law?

Answer: That we may escape the wrath and curse of God due to us by reason of the transgression of the law, he requires of us repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ, and the diligent use of the outward means whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of his mediation.

Question 154: What are the outward means whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of his mediation?

Answer: The outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicates to his church the benefits of his mediation, are all his ordinances; especially the Word, sacraments, and prayer; all which are made effectual to the elect for their salvation.

–The Westminster Larger Catechism, and worth keeping min mind I think as Lent approaches in 2009

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Reformed, Sacramental Theology, Theology

Nancy Gibbs: Married to the Job

Back in the rest of the world, companies don’t need to cut benefits if workers do it for them. You can hear it when you talk to working moms, all the old theme songs played at twice the volume. Do I dare ask for flextime? Miss the meeting for the doctor’s appointment? Governor Palin made it sound as if it was all in a day’s work when she talked about juggling BlackBerry and breast pump. But as conditions get worse and 75,000 jobs turn to powder in a day, the strain on survivors can only grow. It doesn’t help that on TV every Tom, Dick and Suze keeps telling us that this is a good time to “dig in and show your boss how good you are. Take on extra projects. Shine at whatever you do.”

A job, like a marriage, has its honeymoon phase, its strengths and strains and things that make us crazy. But now as all our emotions are rewired, we are grateful for what we once just assumed and frightened of things we once ignored. It would be lovely to rely on the wisdom and benevolence of bosses everywhere to realize that when people are frightened about losing their job, loyalty, productivity and morale all plunge. If employers are tempted to exploit such fears, squeeze more work out of fewer people, roll back benefits because there are 100 people lined up for every job, they may find that as in so many things, the short-term fix is long-term dumb.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Marriage & Family, Women

RNS: Age-old Vatican experiments with new technologies

The moment holds a special place in the annals of Vatican history: On the afternoon of Feb. 12, 1931, Pope Pius XI launched Vatican Radio, declaring in an intercontinental transmission: “Listen, O heavens, to that which I say; Listen, O Earth, listen to the words which come from my mouth. … Listen and hear, O peoples of distant lands!”

Technology has aided evangelizing efforts ever since Johannes Gutenberg invented the mechanical printing press, and in the past 30 years the Vatican has added a television station and a Web site. So the Vatican’s recent launch of its own YouTube channel — a site better known for granting web immortality to dancing cats and amateur dance recitals — was not groundbreaking.

“YouTube is a contemporary means of communications, and the church has used whatever means of ommunications are available at the time,” said Monsignor Robert Wister, a church historian at Seton Hall University in South Orange, N.J.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Blogging & the Internet, Other Churches, Roman Catholic, Science & Technology

RI: General Synod vote sees women bishops take a step closer

The Church of England’s General Synod voted to a continue its work towards consecrating women bishops with an accompanying Code of Practice, as it voted on Wednesday to take the relevant Measure to revision in committee.

Despite being an unpopular middle ground at last July’s Synod, the Code of Practice Measure received 281 votes of support, against 114 with 13 registered abstentions. The Draft Amending Canon then received 309 votes of support against 79, with 14 registered abstentions.

This was after the Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Rev Nigel McCulloch, the chair of the Steering Committee for the draft legislation, had assured many of the options remained open. He also made clear the alternative, which would likely see the rescinding of the Act of Synod, would leave opponents of women in the episcopate even more vulnerable.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops