Daily Archives: May 30, 2009

RNS: 'Father Oprah' leaves for Episcopal Church; plans to marry

The celebrity Miami priest known as “Father Oprah” converted from Catholicism to the Episcopal Church on Thursday (May 28), weeks after pictures surfaced of the cleric canoodling with his girlfriend on a Florida beach.

The Rev. Alberto Cutie and his girlfriend were received into the Episcopal Church at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Miami on Thursday, according to the Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida.

Unlike Catholic clerics, Episcopal priests are allowed to marry, and Cutie, 40, plans to wed his girlfriend and pursue ordination in the Episcopal Church, according to the diocese.

The diocese said Thursday’s ceremony culminates a “two year discernment process” for Cutie, indicating that he had considered converting long before photos revealing his relationship with the woman were published by Spanish-language media earlier this month.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Ecumenical Relations, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Roman Catholic, Theology

Still Working, but Making Do With Less

The Ferrells have cut back on dance lessons for their twin daughters. Vaccinations for the family’s two cats and two dogs are out. Haircuts have become a luxury.

And before heading out recently to the discount grocery store that has become the family’s new lifeline, Sharon Ferrell checked her bank account balance one more time, dialing the toll-free number from memory.

“Your available balance for withdrawal is, $490.40,” the disembodied electronic voice informed her.

At the store, with that number firmly in mind, she punched the price of each item into a calculator as she dropped it into her cart, making sure she stayed under her limit. It was all part of a new regimen of fiscal restraint for the Ferrells, begun in January, when state workers, including Mrs. Ferrell’s husband, Jeff, were forced to accept two-day-a-month furloughs.

For millions of families, this is the recession: not a layoff, or a drastic reduction in income, but a pay cut that has forced them to thrash through daily calculations similar to the Ferrells’.

Read the whole piece from the front page of Friday’s New York Times.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Marriage & Family, Personal Finance, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Frank Lampard blasts Chelsea to FA Cup glory

Congratulations to Chelsea who were the better team today–I enjoyed watch it. Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports

News from the Diocese of New Westminster on Day 4 of the B.C. Court Proceedings

After the blessing was approved, the dissident group tried to find a Canadian bishop who would take them in. Bishop of the Yukon Terrance O. Buckle offered episcopal oversight, but Bishop Michael Ingham refused to cede jurisdiction to him.

[David] Short said the conservatives were unwilling to settle for an alternative bishop who didn’t have full power to do all the things a diocesan bishop can do, such as appoint clergy. They didn’t want “a kind of suffragan [assisting] bishop.” Bishop Buckle would appoint appropriate priests.

“The point is you wanted a conservative bishop who held your views,” said the defense lawyer.

“We wanted a bishop who would hold to the doctrine of the Church,” replied Short.

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Law & Legal Issues, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

ANIC: Day 4 ”“ Trial of ANiC Parishes v Diocese of New Westminster

…[David Short] described the difference between “communion” – the spiritual and personal reality that exists when we put our faith in Christ and are united with God and with all those who believe the same faith – and “Communion” – which relates to the structures that have evolved to promote and protect our faith. He discussed how the Solemn Declaration of 1893 and the Windsor Report reflect that understanding.

He explained how, when he arrived in Vancouver to attend Regent College in 1991, he found St John’s to be of the same character as Anglican churches in Sydney, “liturgically centrist, broadly speaking”¦ evangelical” and with a number of ministries both in and outside the parish.

He discussed his involvement with the synods, clergy conferences and as regional dean for several years, as well as reaction to Bishop Ingham’s book, Mansions of the Spirit and the pastoral issues it raised in the congregation. He said the vote of the diocesan Synod in 2001 “shocked” him after the clear position taken by the House of Bishops in 1997 and the Lambeth Conference in1998. After the 2001 vote, a number of conservative clergy in the diocese met with Bishop Ingham to indicate the depth of their concern and that this was a “no go area” for them. Just before the 2002 Synod, he delivered a legal opinion to Bishop Ingham that said because the issue of same-sex blessings is an issue of doctrine, it was only within the jurisdiction of the General Synod and any motion would be ultra vires (beyond the authority of the diocesan synod).

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Law & Legal Issues

The Economist: Clever boxing has saved the Church of Scotland from schism for the moment

There is something about gender and sexuality that seems to split asunder one church after another these days. Last year the Church of England and the worldwide Anglican Communion failed to resolve profound differences over whether gays and women should be made bishops. This month the Catholic church in Ireland has been pilloried for years of mistreatment, including sexual abuse, of children in its care. This week, less dramatically, it was only some deft manoeuvring that kept the Church of Scotland in one piece.

The Kirk’s general assembly, the annual gathering of ministers and lay folk who dictate policy for the church as a whole, decided by 326 votes to 267 that an Aberdeen congregation had broken no rules in choosing the Rev Scott Rennie, a divorced father who lives with his male partner, to be their pastor. But it also said that no more gays should be ordained for two years, while a church commission ponders whether the practice ought in fact to be allowed. Mr Rennie claims that there are already “tens” of ministers who dare not admit openly to being gay.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Other Churches, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths)

With bankruptcy looming, a new GM begins to emerge

With an almost certain bankruptcy filing days away, General Motors is beginning its reinvention, planning to retool one factory to make its smallest vehicles ever in the U.S. and rid itself of the biggest.

As GM’s board began two days of meetings Friday to make a final decision on the company’s fate, GM was also closing in on a sale of its European Opel unit, and its main union overwhelmingly approved dramatic labor cost cuts. A deal to sell its rugged but inefficient Hummer brand also appeared on the horizon.

The moves provided more clues about what a restructured GM might look like ahead of the expected Chapter 11 filing Monday. Taxpayers will eventually own nearly three-quarters of a leaner GM, with a total government commitment of nearly $50 billion.

GM has yet to confirm it will seek bankruptcy protection but scheduled a news conference for Monday in New York.

With the government’s backing and nearly $20 billion in U.S. loans so far, the company has made more dramatic changes in just a few days than it has in decades.

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The Possibility of a Bailout for the U.S. Auto Industry

Notable and Quotable

Where his radical contemporaries anticipated a day of renewal after a night of destruction, Dostoevsky could spot nothing but darkness in the nihilistic dawn. He dealt with the subject in Demons in the early 1870s, but the book did little to calm his fears about the damaging power of persistent unbelief. As a result, he came to the writing of The Brothers Karamazov still filled with anxiety concerning the destructive power of nihilism over Russian culture and the Russian family. Dostoevsky took the collapse of the family system in particular to be the symptom of a deeper catastrophic loss of established values that had resulted from the sudden decline, among the educated, of faith in God and in Jesus Christ. In The Brothers Karamazov, the novelist set out to reaffirm explicitly Christian values by demonstrating “their linkage to the supernatural presuppositions of the Christian faith, which for Dostoevsky offered their only secure support.”

— Roger Lundin, Believing Again: Doubt and Faith in a Secular Age (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2009), p. 155

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Poetry & Literature, Religion & Culture, Russia

South Carolina Supreme Court Order to buy time for families struggling to Keep Homes

John Rao, an attorney who studies state foreclosure procedures for the Washington, D.C.-based National Consumer Law Center, said this court order is the first of its kind. Some states like California have required foreclosing attorneys to include a statement saying whether the homeowner has been contacted about a loan modification, but the South Carolina order requires attorneys to say why the property isn’t eligible.

“Simply contacting a homeowner is easy to do,” Rao explained. “I think what’s more important is that before they process the foreclosure, a court can look at the file and see exactly why they aren’t eligible, so there’s some transparency.”

The order actually originated from a quirky state law that prompted Fannie Mae, a government-controlled mortgage company, to ask the state Supreme Court for a 90-day delay in foreclosure proceedings for homes it guarantees. Several South Carolina consumer groups filed a response to that request, alerting the court of this backlog in homeowner requests.

Lil Ann Gray of the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs, which wrote to the court on behalf of struggling homeowners, applauded the court order.

Read it all from the front page of the local paper.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Law & Legal Issues, Personal Finance, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Hamish McRae: The cost of the US government's borrowing could be the recovery

Another, more helpful way of looking at what is happening is to see it as a change in perception of where risk lies. Of course, there is risk in equities ”“ how could there not be with the prospect of the once-mighty General Motors filing for bankruptcy? But there is also risk in bonds, including dollar bonds issued by AAA governments. So, as you can see in the graphs, the dollar/sterling rate has come sharply back, reflecting a change in the relative perception of risk between the two countries. More significant still has been the rise in the interest rate on 10-year bonds issued by the US, the UK and eurozone governments. As you can see, the interest rate on 10-year US bonds spun down from about 4 per cent in the middle of last year, to close to 2 per cent at the turn of the year. Now it is heading back to 4 per cent again. Those are astounding swings. If you have bought at the right moment last summer, and then sold at the right moment, you could just about have doubled your money. December buyers would now be facing a large loss.

Now look ahead. What will happen over the next decade, particularly in the US? Tax revenues have collapsed, while spending has soared, as the third graph shows. The US federal government is raising only about 55 cents in taxation for every dollar it spends. The rest has to be borrowed, either from foreign countries such as China and Japan, or by artificially creating the stuff by borrowing from the US Federal Reserve system. In the latter case the debt is being “monetised”, the practice that normally happens only in wartime or in Latin America and which threatens massive inflation (the US mechanism for monetising debt is slightly different from our own “quantitative easing”, but the effect is pretty much the same).

This cannot go on, as President Barack Obama acknowledges. “We are,” as he puts it, “out of money.” So what will happen?

It is very hard to know because there are no obvious precedents.

Read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Budget, Credit Markets, Economy, Federal Reserve, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, The United States Currency (Dollar etc)

ENS: In Forth Worth, TEC affiliated Bishop asks clergy to verify decision

Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth provisional Bishop Edwin F. Gulick Jr. has asked 72 members of the diocesan clergy to meet with him to verify their decision to leave the Episcopal Church with former bishop Jack Iker.

“It is not my intention in writing you this letter to trespass upon your conscience in this matter or to offer any new arguments or words of persuasion,” wrote Gulick, who is also bishop of the Diocese of Kentucky, in a May 26 letter. “However, before I begin to exercise certain canonical responsibilities regarding the status of those who have left the Episcopal Church, I feel compelled to offer to meet with you, if you wish, for a conversation related to your own discernment and decision.”

The clergy and Iker aligned themselves with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone by way of a series of votes at a November 15 diocesan convention. Six days later Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori inhibited Iker from exercising his ordained ministry and on December 5 announced that she had accepted what she said was Iker’s renunciation of his Episcopal Church ordination. Iker has denied that he renounced his orders.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Cono Sur [formerly Southern Cone], Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth

Follow up on the ACI Email Controversy: Louie Crew and Bishop Howe go Back and Forth

Worth the time.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, Windsor Report / Process

The Los Angeles Bishop and Standing Committee Vote no on Northern Michigan

Check it out.

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

Arizona Churches strategize to lessen parishioners' financial woes

W. Nicholas Knisely arrived in Phoenix three years ago to serve as dean of Trinity Cathedral downtown.

“I came from Pennsylvania,” he says. “The housing market was just starting to go bust. I thought, ‘Well, I know what to do.’ ”

So he has tightened the belt of the Episcopal church. Although Trinity Cathedral isn’t hurting, the coffer’s growth has stagnated.

The church now relies more on its congregation. Members are doing paint jobs that in the past would have been done by professionals. The same goes with mechanical repairs.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Parishes, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--