Daily Archives: May 4, 2009

ACC draft resolution seeks for answer in 5 years time

“The Communion is close to the point of breaking up”, Archbishop Drexel Gomez told ACC-14 in Kingston Jamaica this morning “If we cannot state clearly and simply what holds us together, and speak clearly at this meeting, then I fear there will be clear breaks in the Communion in the period following this meeting. Many of our Churches are asking to know where they stand ”“ what can be relied on as central to the Anglican Communion; and how can disputes be settled without the wrangle and confusion that we have seen for the last seven years or more.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Consultative Council, Anglican Covenant

No need for ”˜flying bishop’ in Wales, says Archbishop

There is no need for a “Flying Bishop” for Welsh traditionalists, the Archbishop of Wales told members of the church’s Governing Body last week, as the pastoral care offered by the current bishop’s bench is sufficient to meet the needs of all Welsh Anglicans.

Responding to a question from a member of the Governing Body during is April 22 session in Llandudno, Dr. Barry Morgan said the bishops were offering “pastoral and sacramental care to every member of the Church in Wales, without exception.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of Wales

Anglican Consultative Council Refuses to Seat Ugandan Delegate

(Church of Uganda News)

On the first day of the ACC-14 meeting, the Joint Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council made an unconstitutional decision to refuse to seat the clergy delegate from the Church of Uganda. The Church of Uganda is entitled to three delegates ”“ a Bishop, priest, and lay person.

In an e-mail dated 24th April, Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon, Secretary General of the Anglican Consultative Council, wrote the Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi, Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, saying, “I’m grateful for the nomination of Rev. Philip Ashey as ACC Delegate”¦and I look forward to welcoming him to ACC.”

Rev. Philip Ashey is a priest of Ruwenzori Diocese in the Church of Uganda, living and working in Atlanta, USA.
During the first press briefing, Venerable Paul Feheley, the ACC’s Spokesperson, stated that each province appoints its own delegates to the ACC, as written in the constitution of the ACC.

In a surprising move, the Joint Standing Committee, meeting on 1st May, exceeded the limits of their authority, reversed Canon Kearon’s decision of 24th April, and determined that Rev. Ashey was not “qualified” to serve as a delegate, citing section 4(e) of the Constitution of the ACC. Their reason? Rev. Ashey is an American who was received into the Church of Uganda in 2005.

In a 2nd May letter appealing to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop Orombi wrote,

“The appointment of delegates to the ACC from a Province is purely an internal matter and is not subject to review by any body within the ACC, including the Joint Standing Committee. That the Joint Standing Committee would assume such authority is a gross violation of our constitutional relationships, not to mention a further tearing of our bonds of affection. Our reasons for appointing one of our American priests to represent us as our clergy delegate are our reasons, and are not for the Joint Standing Committee to question. Section 4(e) does not give the Joint Standing Committee or the ACC the right to interfere in the appointing body’s determination of the “qualification” of a delegate. For the Joint Standing Committee to assume this power is nothing short of an imperialistic and colonial decision that violates the integrity of the Church of Uganda.”

When asked why he didn’t send a Ugandan priest to represent the Church of Uganda, Archbishop Orombi replied, “We had a last minute vacancy for our clergy delegate and couldn’t organize travel and visas for one of our Ugandan clergy to go. When we learned that our priest, Rev. Philip Ashey could go to Jamaica, we asked him to represent us.”

Orombi continued, “The appointment of Rev. Philip Ashey to fill a vacancy at the last minute provides the Church of Uganda with a strong voice of a priest in good standing in the Diocese of Ruwenzori. It is also a voice for the almost 100,000 orthodox Anglicans in North America who have been persecuted by TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada, who will not be represented by their delegations to ACC-14, and who will not otherwise have voice or seat at the table of the ACC. It is important for the Communion to be reminded that there is a serious tear in the fabric of our communion; all is not well and there continues to be an urgent need to address the ongoing crisis before us.”

When asked why he was not present for the meeting, Archbishop Orombi said, “I am speaking at the New Wine conference in the north of England at the same time the ACC is meeting. This speaking engagement has been in my diary for a long time. It was an unavoidable conflict. I regret that my alternate to the Primates Standing Committee, Archbishop Justice Akrofi of West Africa, was also not able to attend.”

The Church of Uganda’s Bishop delegate was not able to attend the meeting because of a conflict with a previously scheduled trip to the UK.

The Church of Uganda will be represented only by its lay delegate, who protested the decision of the Joint Standing Committee to refuse to seat Uganda’s clergy delegate. Her protest was, nonetheless, overridden by other interests on the Joint Standing Committee.

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The Northern Michigan Standing Committee Comments on the Consent Process

When the Episcopal Ministry Support Team was affirmed and Kevin Thew Forrester was elected bishop of our diocese at the Special Convention in February, it seemed to many to be the end of the process, the culmination of many months of hard work by the Episcopal Ministry Discernment Team, and the joyful beginning of the next phase of life in our diocese. In reality it was only the beginning of a process in the Episcopal Church that surrounds the election of a bishop. Following the election, when all the documentation certifying the election was sent to the national church, along with the reports from the required physical and psychological examinations of the bishop-elect, the “consent” process began. Before the ordination of a bishop-elect can occur, a majority of the bishops with jurisdiction over dioceses and a majority of the Standing Committees of the dioceses of the Episcopal Church must give their consent to the ordination. In past years this was a relatively easy process whose positive outcome was assumed, but not so in recent years. Once the proper documents have been received in the Presiding Bishop’s office the requests for consents are sent out. For the bishops these consents are requested by the Presiding Bishop, and her office receives the responses. For the Standing Committees these requests are sent out by the Standing Committee of the electing diocese, and responses are returned there. Each group, the bishops and the Standing Committees, has 120 days to return the forms, indicating that they give consent to the ordination or that they refuse to give consent.

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

Religion and Ethics Weekly: The Moral Debate About Torture

Dr. JEAN BETHKE ELSHTAIN (Professor of Social and Political Ethics, University of Chicago Divinity School and Georgetown University): Well, the underlying principle for me is what I would call an “ethic of responsibility.” That’s an ethic that is especially important when we’re talking about statesmen and stateswomen who often have the lives of thousands in their hands, quite literally.

ABERNETHY: So they have a different rule, a different ethic, a different moral standard than somebody would if he’s just acting as an individual?

Dr. ELSHTAIN: Not entirely different. We don’t want a huge chasm to emerge. But I would say that there are extraordinary circumstances when harrowing judgments must be made by those we tax with the responsibility of keeping us safe, and at those times there may be a “lesser evil” kind of calculation to be made.

Dr. [SHAUN] CASEY: We have about a 60-year tradition of international law and domestic law that regulates the behavior of those who, in fact, are called to be our political leaders and there is a consistent prohibition of the use of torture. In fact, the United States has been a leading catalyst in that international movement, so I agree with that. But I think we have some rules that are in place that prohibit torture.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Ethics / Moral Theology, Military / Armed Forces, Terrorism, Theology

Anglican Journal–”˜Worship: Jamaica-style’ reflects celebration and message of hope

Delegates of the 14th Anglican Consultative Council Sunday joined thousands of Jamaican Anglicans in a service that showcased this island nation’s prodigious musical gifts and liturgical expressions, including pulsating reggae music made popular worldwide by its most famous son, Bob Marley.

“It was a great service. I just wish I had more room to dance,” said Bishop Sue Moxley of the diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, who is one of the Anglican Church of Canada’s three delegates to the ACC meeting here. “I loved the music and it all flowed together without any people quite obviously running around and getting all anxious about whether it was going to happen or not.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Consultative Council, Liturgy, Music, Worship

Chris Sugden and Robert Lundy: Report from ACC-14: Day Two – Opening Festival Service

Archbishop Williams’ sermon, delivered with energy and passion, was drawn from Acts 4:23-37; 1 John 3:1-8 and St John 10:1-16. He focused on the statement that “there was not a needy person among them”. He nicely focused on the charge to the church to address human needs, which encompass needs far beyond “bread alone”. But finally all those needs were to be met as “The Holy Spirit comes in as our actions are caught up in the action of God in Jesus Christ. To give ourselves means letting go of what makes us feel safe”. Again there was a focus on the horizontal element of the challenge to us which seemed to fail to draw on the excellent material in John 10 on the role of the shepherd who is also the gate through whom the sheep go in and out and find pasture and life. This theme was suggested in a well known Caribbean hymn in the service: “I for Jesus, you for Jesus, all for Jesus/ fall for Jesus, come to Jesus/ Jesus come for one, he come for all” and in a haunting song “Jesus set me for all eternity/ when his wounded hands touched me”. An African participant remarked that had a member of their church been preaching, there would have been an emphasis on the challenge to commit our lives to Christ followed by an altar call. After all, 10,000 people had come to hear the preacher, whose sermon was live on television also.

The service “set” was magnificent and specially lit – a large cross framed by stained glass windows fronted by two classical columns and a profusion of wonderful flowers. It is only to be hoped that some of it can be brought to the conference meeting room in the hotel which completely lacks any imagination, being just a dais against a grey backdrop of partition walls under reduced lighting. Grey about sums it up for Saturday evening’s opening meeting – a series of greetings, introductions and information. No wonder the Presiding Bishop of the United States concentrated on her embroidery. The highlight was however a fascinating video of the life of the Diocese of Jamaica.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Consultative Council

The Economist: The pandemic threat

So how scared should we be?

As far as this epidemic is concerned, it’s too early to tell. One unknown is how widespread the virus is in Mexico. If it is ubiquitous, and had not been noticed earlier because it emerged during the normal flu season, then this epidemic may turn out to be insignificant, at least to start with. No flu death is welcome, but in this case the new disease might not increase the immediate burden greatly. But if the new strain is relatively rare, or what is being seen now is a more dangerous mutation of what had once been a mild virus, then the proportion of infected people dying may already be high. The death-toll, then, will rise sharply as the disease spreads.

Either way, the authorities were right to hit red alert. Influenza pandemics seem to strike every few decades and to kill by the million””at least 1m in 1968; perhaps 100m in the “Spanish” flu of 1918-19. And even those that start mild can turn dangerous. That is because new viral diseases generally happen when a virus mutates in a way that allows it to jump species, and then continues to evolve to exploit its new host. If that evolution makes the virus more virulent, so much the worse for the host. HIV, the AIDS-causing virus, lived happily and benignly in chimpanzees before it became a scourge of people. In Mexico, the early indications are that two pig viruses that can infect people but rarely pass from person to person recombined with each other to create a virus which does so easily.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Globalization, Health & Medicine

ACC-14 Opening Plenary

The Anglican Consultative Council (ACC-14) began on May 2,2009 in Kingston Jamaica. A quiet morning session was led by the Archbishop of Canterbury, which concluded with a noonday Eucharist. The delegates next met in discernment groups to begin their discussions about the issues before the council. In the opening plenary session three bishops- the Dean of the Province Bishop Errol Brookes, the Diocesan Bishop Alfred Reid and Bishop of the host city Robert Thompson extended a warm welcome to the delegates.

The ACC has both a chair (Bishop John Paterson) and a president (The Archbishop of Canterbury) and their opening remarks are presented in this podcast.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Consultative Council, Archbishop of Canterbury

Henry G. Brinton: Learning from Calvin on fiscal idolatry, diplomacy and democracy

I think we all know what a false god the stock market has turned out to be. Not that investments are always a bad thing, but the market should never be confused with God. “Every one of us is,” warned Calvin, “even from his mother’s womb, a master craftsman of idols.”

But Calvin was not opposed to capitalism. He eliminated the medieval prohibition against interest and allowed people to earn a fair return on their investments. By calling for Christians to live frugal, disciplined and simple lives, he helped foster savings ”” a message that is once again resonating today.

In addition, he encouraged people to seek the public good in their economic lives, not just private gains. “For Calvin the greatest theft is perpetrated by legal contracts and transactions, not by explicitly criminal behavior,” says Randall Zachman, professor of Reformation Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Calvin thought that “it is the duty of every citizen to speak out when they see that unjust laws are causing their neighbors to be oppressed and robbed ‘legally.’ ”

Clearly, Calvin would not have been opposed to increased regulation of the banks and brokerage firms that have caused financial ruin for so many.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Other Churches, Politics in General, Presbyterian, Stock Market, Theology

Washington Post: U.S. Options in Pakistan Limited

As Taliban forces edged to within 60 miles of Islamabad late last month, the Obama administration urgently asked for new intelligence assessments of whether Pakistan’s government would survive. In briefings last week, senior officials said, President Obama and his National Security Council were told that neither a Taliban takeover nor a military coup was imminent and that the Pakistani nuclear arsenal was safe.

Beyond the immediate future, however, the intelligence was far from reassuring. Security was deteriorating rapidly, particularly in the mountains along the Afghan border that harbor al-Qaeda and the Taliban, intelligence chiefs reported, and there were signs that those groups were working with indigenous extremists in Pakistan’s populous Punjabi heartland.

The Pakistani government was mired in political bickering. The army, still fixated on its historical adversary India, remained ill-equipped and unwilling to throw its full weight into the counterinsurgency fight.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Foreign Relations, Military / Armed Forces, Office of the President, Pakistan, Politics in General, President Barack Obama

Pakistan battles Taliban; pact hangs in balance

Pakistani forces battled Taliban fighters on Monday as the militants denounced the army and government as U.S. stooges and said a peace pact would end unless the government halted its offensive.

The February pact and spreading Taliban influence have raised alarm in the United States about the ability of nuclear-armed Pakistan — which has a vital role in efforts to stabilize Afghanistan — to stand up to the militants.

Last month, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accused Islamabad of abdicating to the Taliban while President Barack Obama expressed grave concern the government was “very fragile” and unable to deliver basic services.

Obama will present his strategy for defeating al Qaeda to Pakistan and Afghanistan leaders on Wednesday amid growing U.S. concern it is losing the Afghan war.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Foreign Relations, Office of the President, Pakistan, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Terrorism, War in Afghanistan

Rodney Clapp: Blest be the ties that bind

This much is certain: American Christians would profit from taking church commitment at least as seriously as we take marital commitment. One pastor of my acquaintance includes an interesting exercise in premarital counseling. She has the couple plan each other’s funeral. She finds that this makes the spouses-to-be think about what kind of person their lover may be years or decades later. And then the two start talking about how they might best take care of each other and their marriage right now. By asking how their marriage may end, they discover how it may best begin and be sustained to its end.

Something of the same quality pertains to one’s marriage or commitment to a church. Maybe churches (and their ministries) really are about nothing more important than marrying and burying. Maybe marrying and burying are more closely connected than we think.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Proposed Formation of a new North American Province, America/U.S.A., Common Cause Partnership, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Religion & Culture, TEC Conflicts, Theology

In Bellingham Washington St. Paul's marks 125 years of church life

In 1883, a few local women asked the Episcopal bishop in Tacoma to send someone to help organize a church on Bellingham Bay.

That August, the bishop sent the Rev. Reuben Denton Nevius, a veritable Johnny Appleseed of Episcopal churches in the Northwest.

A month later, 29 women formed a guild to raise money for a church. They sought donations from businesses and organized concerts, festivals and plays.

“It’s how they raised a lot of their money,” said Roger Emerson of Bow, a newer member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church who is helping to research its history.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Parishes

Confirmed cases of H1N1 virus approach 1,000

The World Health Organization cautioned that the swine flu outbreak could gain momentum in the months ahead, despite claims by the health secretary of Mexico — the epicenter of the outbreak — that the virus “is in its declining phase.”

As of early Monday, Mexican health officials reported 568 cases and 22 fatalities linked to the flu. WHO says it has confirmed 506 cases and 19 deaths in Mexico.

The world has 985 confirmed cases of the virus, known to scientists H1N1 virus, in a total of 20 countries, WHO said Monday.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine