Daily Archives: July 7, 2009

Trace Haythorn, Ian Markham: Theology suffers a funding crisis

A few statistics tell the story.

A majority of seminary students now carry educational debt, and they’re borrowing larger amounts than in the past. Graduates confirm that their debt affects their career choices, holds them back from purchasing homes, prevents them from saving for their children’s education, limits their retirement savings, delays health care and creates distress.

Christian Century magazine recently reported that “churches are paying their clergy proportionately lower salaries today then they did a generation ago, making it more difficult for ministerial candidates to justify the high cost of a graduate degree.”

Fewer than 7 percent of clergy in most Protestant and Catholic denominations today are under age 35.

Read the whole piece.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lutheran, Methodist, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Presbyterian, Seminary / Theological Education, Stewardship, Theology, United Church of Christ

ENS: Program, Budget and Finance committee faces realities of current economic climate

During the July 6 gathering PB&F members said that Episcopalians have told them they expect the General Convention, the church’s triennial policy-making gathering, to pass a three-year budget that reflects the realities of the economy they live with each day. The members also said they sense a commitment to mission and openness to creative responses to the crisis.

“What I am hearing is that we’d better be realistic about our income projections,” said Diocese of New Jersey Bishop and PB&F member George Councell, who predicted his diocese’s income will be 25 percent less in 2010.

“To continue to go on as if nothing’s changed will send a completely wrong message to everyone,” agreed Diocese of West Virginia Bishop Mike Klusmeyer.

The Rev. Canon John Floberg (North Dakota) said Episcopalians in his diocese are “wondering how we make it through these tougher economic times as a whole church without losing the least and the marginalized.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Fond Du Lac 'Juncture' with Eau Claire part of ongoing Episcopal discussion

Discussions will continue this week at the general convention in Anaheim, Calif., about the possibility of joining together the dioceses of Eau Claire and Fond du Lac.

Fond du Lac Bishop Russell Jacobus said although the local membership may have concerns about the future of St. Paul’s Cathedral if a new diocese is formed, the cathedral would remain a center of local religious activity.

“Both St. Paul’s and Christ Church in Eau Claire are seats for the bishop’s throne. I would not want to give up either,” Jacobus said.

Eau Claire’s diocese has been without a bishop since April 2008. Jacobus has performed some Episcopal functions in the diocese, including an ordination and confirmations.

“They could elect another bishop, which they can’t afford, or junction with another diocese. They are in the process of discerning what to do,” he said.

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

Southern Cone province growing, says Bishop

La Iglesia Anglicana del Cono Sur has grown by “leaps and bounds” over the past decade the Bishop of Bolivia, the Rt Rev Frank Lyons told delegates to the founding convocation of the ACNA in Fort Worth last week, with many dioceses doubling in size.

Bishop Lyons reported that at the March 28 meeting of the South American House of Bishops in Asuncion, the province authorized the creation of four auxiliary bishops for the Diocese of Chile, three auxiliary bishops for the Diocese of Peru, one suffragan bishop for the Diocese of Uruguay, and one suffragan bishop for the Diocese of Northern Argentina.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, ACNA Inaugural Assembly June 2009, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Anglican Provinces, Cono Sur [formerly Southern Cone]

Lent and Beyond: General Convention Menu

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

Area pastors say Mark Sanford may have to resign

Kendall Harmon, canon theologian for the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, said it’s “part of our duty as Christians” to forgive Sanford. But it will be a particularly difficult process for those who saw him as a presidential hopeful, he said.

“I feel like there was a lot of hope in him, so I think the disillusionment is that much greater,” he said.

But people should reserve judgment, because there “but for the grace of God go all the rest of us,” Harmon said.

“The story of David and Bathsheba is in the Bible for a reason,” he said, a reference to the story of an adulterous relationship between the king of Israel and the wife of a soldier. “People’s naivety about their vulnerability to these kinds of problems boggles my mind.”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, State Government, Theology

South Carolina Deputy Lydia Evans: Ubuntu

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

South Carolina Deputy Steve Wood on General Convention Day One

Walking around the lobby I saw several old friends. The Rev’d Mark Goodman, former rector of Trinity Myrtle Beach, is here with his family. The Rev’d Kevin Martin and his wife, Sharon, are here. Kevin was one the key staff members at Episcopal Renewal Ministries (”ERM”) back when Chuck Irish was the director (mid 80’s ”“ mid 90’s). A little while later I ran into The Rev’d Tony Clark. Tony, the current Dean of the Cathedral in Orlando, was a year behind me at seminary. I’ll be curious to see how many old friends I’ll see since most of them have left the Episcopal Church over the past few years.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

The Draft Schedule for the Episcopal Church's General Convention 2009

We will have a lot of coverage on this, so the schedule will be something to keep bookmarked.

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

Her.Meneutics: Women's Ordination: A Crack in the Cathedral?

Last week more than 800 men and women gathered in Bedford, Texas, to elect an archbishop and ratify a constitution for the ACNA, a new alliance for churches that have left the Episcopal Church. Led by Robert Duncan, bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, the ACNA comprises more than 700 theologically conservative churches with about 70,000 parishioners.

There were many central theological beliefs that last week’s attendees could agree on in their constitution and canon laws, including the full inspiration of the Bible, the centrality of baptism and Communion to church life, and the authority of the historic church creeds. But for the time being, ACNA leaders have not reached full agreement on female priests. At this time, each jurisdiction is free to decide whether or not to ordain women, but jurisdictions cannot force others to either accept women’s ordination or to stop practicing it. Women bishops are forbidden.

“For those who believe the ordination of women to be a grave error, and for those who believe it scripturally justifiable . . . we should be in mission together until God sorts us out,” said Duncan in last week’s opening address. “It is not perfect, but it is enough.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, ACNA Inaugural Assembly June 2009, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Women

Tulsa World: Oklahomans Returning to the Anglican fold

The 750 churches in the newly formed Anglican Church in North America were once among the most charismatic churches in the Episcopal fold, said the Rev. Briane Turley, rector of Tulsa’s Church of the Holy Spirit Anglican.

Turley’s church is one of two Tulsa-area congregations in the new denomination.

Most of the congregations left the Episcopal Church over concerns that it was drifting from its biblical foundation.

“Most of the largest Episcopal churches have joined us,” he said.

Turley said that the largest Episcopal churches have tended to be evangelical and charismatic at their core.

“We’ve tended to attract the most evangelical, and the most Anglo-Catholic congregations,” he said, churches that adhere to the biblical record and also to traditional, liturgical forms of worship.

“It has to do with a thirst for the transcendent Christ, for knowing him, having entered into a deeper relationship with him,” he said.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, ACNA Inaugural Assembly June 2009, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Christology, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Departing Parishes, Theology

Modesto Bee: 2 Congregations Go Their Separate Ways

Last week, the Anglican congregation at St. Paul’s handed over the keys to its $2.3 million facility to Episcopal Bishop Jerry Lamb. The congregation became one of the first in the nation to voluntarily give its property to the Episcopal Church before a lawsuit was filed.

It’s a miniature portrait of a conflict going on across the country over the interpretation of Scripture, such as whether Jesus is the only way to salvation, as Anglicans believe, and if same-sex marriages should be allowed, as Episcopalians favor.

But Sunday, both sides seemed content.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

Richard Berner: America's Fiscal Train Wreck

America’s long-awaited fiscal train wreck is now underway. Depending on policy actions taken now and over the next few years, federal deficits will likely average as much as 6% of GDP through 2019, contributing to a jump in debt held by the public to as high as 82% of GDP by then – a doubling over the next decade. Worse, barring aggressive policy actions, deficits and debt will rise even more sharply thereafter as entitlement spending accelerates relative to GDP. Keeping entitlement promises would require unsustainable borrowing, taxes or both, severely testing the credibility of our policies and hurting our long-term ability to finance investment and sustain growth. And soaring debt will force up real interest rates, reducing capital and productivity and boosting debt service. Not only will those factors steadily lower our standard of living, but they will imperil economic and financial stability.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Budget, Economy, Politics in General, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

France, Unlike U.S., Is Deep Into Stimulus Projects

“America is six months behind; it has wasted a lot of time,” said Patrick Devedjian, the minister in charge of the French relance, or stimulus. By the time Washington gets around to doling out most of its money, Mr. Devedjian sniffed, “the crisis could be over.”

Gallic pride aside, Mr. Devedjian has a point. While he plans to spend 75 percent of France’s stimulus money this year, the White House is giving itself until fall 2010 to lay out that big a share of the American expenditure. And many experts predict that Washington will fall short of that goal.

As it turns out, France’s more centralized, state-directed economy ”” so often criticized in good times for smothering entrepreneurship and holding back growth ”” is proving remarkably effective at deploying funds quickly and efficiently in bad times.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Economy, Europe, France, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The Fiscal Stimulus Package of 2009

Theo Hobson: Anglican schism? Bring it on

It is good news that those Anglican parishes that are strongly opposed to homosexuality are forming a new movement. The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA) was launched last year as a pressure group within the international Anglican communion, but only now is it trying to exert grassroots influence, raising awareness for its cause on the parish level. If it is successful, then it will be easy to identify the sexual politics of your local parish church. It will be impossible to deny that there is a church within the church, that division has become schism.

This is good news because honesty is better than dishonesty. The fact is that conservative evangelicals profess a different version of Christianity from other Anglicans. There are admittedly other divisions within Anglicanism, but this is the really big one. If opposition to homosexuality is a basic component of your idea of Christian truth, then you ought to be clear about this, and not cohabit with those who fudge the issue, or openly express disdain for your position.

Over the past 20 years or so we have seen huge amounts of dishonesty and evasion on this. The church’s leadership has been trying to build a home on the fence. The liberals and the conservatives must both be accommodated, it has said: as long as both sides are still part of the same communion, then there is hope of reconciliation. A pious sentiment, surely? Well, the piety is laced with self-serving evasion and hypocrisy.

The fault lies with the liberals….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)