Daily Archives: August 3, 2009

The Presiding Bishop Writes the House of Bishops

To the House of Bishops:

I am immensely grateful to all of you for the way in which we conducted ourselves at General Convention. There was enormous pastoral sensitivity and real caring for those with different opinions, and I firmly hope that kind of compassion continues to be boldly expressed. When we are in deeply faithful relationship as brothers and sisters in Christ we can indeed move mountains, as Sandra Montes reminded us in Montaña ”“ “si tuvieras fe como un grano de mostaza, tú le dirías a la montaña, muévete, esa montaña se moverᔝ (if you have faith like a mustard seed, you will say to the mountain, “move” and it will move).

I appreciated the conversation we had about property issues over two-plus afternoons, yet we weren’t able to hear from all, and I don’t think we finished. There is indeed more to be said, and a little more than an hour simply wasn’t adequate to the task. The Council of Advice engaged me in a lengthy phone conference shortly before General Convention, and did reach a reasonable consensus, so I know it’s possible. We can take this up again in March if you wish.

I will continue to uphold two basic principles in the work some of us face in dealing with former Episcopalians who claim rights to church property or assets. Our participation in God’s mission as leaders and stewards of The Episcopal Church means that we expect a reasonable and fair financial arrangement in any property settlement, and that we do not make settlements that encourage religious bodies who seek to replace The Episcopal Church.
Pragmatically, the latter means property settlements need to include a clause that forbids, for a period of at least five years, the presence of bishops on the property who are not members of this House, unless they are invited by the diocesan bishop for purposes which do not subvert mission and ministry in the name of this Church.

I understand that other bishops, such as Anglican bishops in good standing (but not any who is involved in provincial border crossing) might be welcomed to preach, preside, confirm, or even ordain, but that diocesan permission cannot encourage anything that purports to set up or participate in another jurisdiction. It is my fervent hope that five years on, we will all be in a much more clearly defined position.

I continue to pray that those who have departed can gain clarity about their own identity. If and when they engage a positive missional stance that doesn’t seek to replace The Episcopal Church, I do believe we can enter into ecumenical agreements that will make some of the foregoing moot.

Clarity continues to emerge in the legal realm. I note that in every case which has concluded, The Episcopal Church has prevailed. Nevertheless, this has been difficult and painful work, often excruciatingly so. I give thanks for the faithful work several of you have had to do in stewarding the legacy of The Episcopal Church.

With continued gratitude for your ministry, I remain

Your servant in Christ,

–(The Most Rev.) Katharine Jefferts Schori is Presiding Bishop

Update: South Carolina General Convention Deputy Steve Wood has comments on this here

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Presiding Bishop, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts

Dean Sam Candler on General Convention 2009

My own review of the Episcopal Church after General Convention 2009 is that we have reiterated, and claimed our dependence upon, local initiatives for ministry in this church. On the controversial sexuality issues of the day, the Episcopal Church recognized pastoral generosity at the local level. On matters relating to the wider Anglican Communion, the Episcopal Church has urged local parishes, and dioceses and individuals, to develop personal and missional relationships themselves. I especially appreciated this Convention’s work on ecumenical and inter-religious relationships; again, our Episcopal Church recognized that good and healthy ecumenical relationships occur most authentically at the local level. We entered into full relationship with the Moravian Church; we took more definite steps toward theological discussion with our neighbors in the Presbyterian and Methodist churches.

Perhaps the most dramatic decision of General Convention was the Episcopal Church budget for the next three years. Surely everyone recognizes that the global economic recalibration has affected even our local parishes, and certainly our larger offices. The Episcopal Church passed a budget which eliminated some major staff positions at the national level; the budget assumes that some of those offices will no longer exist. There was understandable lament at those decisions.

On the other hand, that very budget was also part of a de-centralization theme, a theme of local initiative, which lay in the background of almost every General Convention action this summer.

Read it all.

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

Another Little Noticed Resolution of General Convention 2009

* FINAL VERSION – Not Completed
Resolution: D089
Title: Invitation to Receive Holy Communion
Topic: Doctrine
Committee: 13 – Prayer Book, Liturgy and Church Music
House of Initial Action: Bishops
Proposer: The Very Rev. Ernesto R. Medina

Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That the 76th General Convention direct the Standing Commission on Constitution and Canons to review and provide a recommendation to resolve the conflict between Article X of the Constitution, specifically, the invitation offered in the Book of Common Prayer “The Gifts of God for the People of God” and Canon I.17.7, restricting communion to only the baptized; and be it further

Resolved, That the Standing Commission on Constitution and Canons consult with other appropriate Standing Commissions, as needed; and be it further

Resolved, That the Standing Commission report back to the 77th General Convention.

EXPLANATION

There appears to be a conflict between the Constitution of the Episcopal Church and the Canons of the Episcopal Church with respect to who is able to receive Holy Communion.

Constitution – Article X
The Book of Common Prayer, as now established or hereafter amended by the authority of this Church, shall be in use in all the Dioceses of this Church. BCP clearly states in the invitation to receive Communion “The Gifts of God for the People of God.” The question we ask is “who is the People of God?”

Canon 17 – Section 7

No unbaptized person shall be eligible to receive Holy Communion in this Church.

We are asking the Standing Commission on Constitutions and Canons to help resolve this conflict.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Baptism, Episcopal Church (TEC), Eucharist, General Convention, Sacramental Theology, Theology

The Bishop of North Dakota–Transitioning Towards Two-Track Anglicanism

The General Convention of The Episcopal Church and the Archbishop of Canterbury are moving in different directions. How’s that for the understatement of the year?…

Where does this leave those of us who have been resolute in our commitment to remain both as dioceses, clergy and people of The Episcopal Chuch, and covenanted members of the global Anglican Communion as well? This includes, but is not limited to, those identified as “Communion Partners.”

The Constitution & Canons of The Episcopal Church are clear. In the Preamble, we claim for ourselves constituent membership in the “Anglican Communion, a Fellowship within the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, of those duly constituted Dioceses, Provinces, and regional Churches in communion with the See of Canterbury”¦” (emphasis added). What happens if we are no longer in communion with the See of Canterbury? By our own definition we would cease to be part of the Anglican Communion.

It has become clear to me in discussions with Episcopalians inside and outside the Diocese that not everyone has the same appreciation or understanding of the importance of remaining “in communion with the See of Canterbury.” (A woman at coffee hour one Sunday remarked: “We always thought Anglicans were nice people, but we never thought of ourselves as Anglicans.”) I, on the other hand, have always used the terms “Episcopal” and “Anglican” synonymously. In fact, I was able to join The Episcopal Church precisely because it is part of the worldwide Anglican Communion, thereby demonstrating its catholicity as a church of the redeemed “from every family, language, people, and nation”¦” (Revelation 5:9), and not existing in isolation as a small protestant denomination in the United States. This precious fellowship with the Archbishop of Canterbury and, through him and the bishops in fellowship with him, with millions of saints around the globe is essential to my understanding of what it means to be part of the Church catholic. It is this gift of “communion” that the Anglican Communion Covenant seeks to preserve and foster.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Covenant, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, TEC Bishops

2 Obama officials: No guarantee taxes won't go up

President Barack Obama’s treasury secretary said Sunday he cannot rule out higher taxes to help tame an exploding budget deficit, and his chief economic adviser would not dismiss raising them on middle-class Americans as part of a health care overhaul.

As the White House sought to balance campaign rhetoric with governing, officials appeared willing to extend unemployment benefits. With former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan saying he is “pretty sure we’ve already seen the bottom” of the recession, Obama aides sought to defend the economic stimulus and calm a jittery public.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and National Economic Council Director Larry Summers both sidestepped questions on Obama’s intentions about taxes. Geithner said the White House was not ready to rule out a tax hike to lower the federal deficit; Summers said Obama’s proposed health care overhaul needs funding from somewhere.

“There is a lot that can happen over time,” Summers said, adding that the administration believes “it is never a good idea to absolutely rule things out, no matter what.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Budget, Economy, Health & Medicine, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Taxes, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

Giles Fraser: Less tightly-knit communities have their positive sides

In response to Archbishop Nichols’ comments on social networking and youth, an interesting take on “thick” and “thin” communities. Listen to it all (approx. 2 3/4 minutes).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Blogging & the Internet, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Science & Technology, Teens / Youth

Elliott Abrams: Why Israel Is Nervous

Iran is the major security issue facing Israel, which sees itself confronting an extremist regime seeking nuclear weapons and stating openly that Israel should be wiped off the map. Israel believes the military option has to be on the table and credible if diplomacy and sanctions are to have any chance, and many Israelis believe a military strike on Iran may in the end be unavoidable. The Obama administration, on the other hand, talks of outstretched hands; on July 15, even after Iran’s election, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said “we understand the importance of offering to engage Iran”¦.direct talks provide the best vehicle”¦.We remain ready to engage with Iran.”

To the Israelis this seems unrealistic, even naïve, while to U.S. officials an Israeli attack on Iran is a nightmare that would upset Obama’s outreach to the Muslim world. The remarkable events in Iran have slowed down U.S. engagement, but not the Iranian nuclear program. If the current dissent in Iran leads to regime change, or if new United Nations sanctions force Iran to abandon its nuclear weapons program, this source of U.S.-Israel tension will disappear. But it is more likely that Iran will forge ahead toward building a weapon, and U.S.-Israel tension will grow as Israel watches the clock tick and sees its options narrowed to two: live with an Iranian bomb, or strike Iran soon to delay its program long enough for real political change to come to that country.

Israel believes the only thing worse than bombing Iran is Iran’s having the Bomb, but the evidence suggests this is not the Obama view.

Read it all from the weekend Wall Street Journal.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Iran, Israel, Middle East, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama

Living Church: Woman in Same-Sex Relationship Among Minnesota Nominees

Ms. [Bonnie] Perry directly addressed the question of her sexuality at two points in her responses to the diocese’s nominating committee. In a one-page autobiography, she referred to the relationship by writing, “The Rev. Susan Harlow, my partner now of 22 years, and I moved to Chicago in 1992.”

In response to a question about individual and diocesan discernment regarding the next bishop, Ms. Perry mentioned that she stood for election in the Diocese of California in 2006 but has declined other opportunities since then.

“Until yours, I have not read a compelling diocesan theology,” she wrote. “I am also aware in the current worldwide Anglican climate it may be very difficult for me, an out, partnered lesbian, to be elected and/or to receive consents. … I am entering this discernment process now because I was invited and because your vision of a spiritually transformed, culturally appropriate, networked diocese has made me cry with hope for what could be.”

In response to a question that mentions the diocese’s wish to support gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons, the other two nominees affirmed that wish.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts

Telegraph: Facebook and MySpace can lead children to commit suicide, warns Archbishop Nichols

In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, the Archbishop of Westminster also voiced his concerns about the loss of loyalty and the rise of individualism in British society which he said threatened to undermine communities. He picked out footballers for acting like “mercenaries” and expressed his fears over moves to relax laws on assisted suicide.

He said that relationships are already being weakened by the decline in face-to-face meetings and conversations over the phone.

“I think there’s a worry that an excessive use or an almost exclusive use of text and emails means that as a society we’re losing some of the ability to build interpersonal communication that’s necessary for living together and building a community.

“We’re losing social skills, the human interaction skills, how to read a person’s mood, to read their body language, how to be patient until the moment is right to make or press a point.

“Too much exclusive use of electronic information dehumanises what is a very, very important part of community life and living together.”

The archbishop blamed social network sites for leaving children with impoverished friendships.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Blogging & the Internet, England / UK, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Science & Technology, Teens / Youth

Bishop Paul Marshall: Don't confuse being valuable with being right

Have you ever tried to discuss an idea and, when mentioning that you disagree with what someone has proposed, you are told that they are a good person? This emotional blackmail is meant to end the discussion rather than risk a conversation.

All religious groups I know about seem to have many people who are afraid of conflict. They cannot distinguish between disagreement and condemnation.

Afraid to say ”no,” they live with things they cannot agree with or do jobs they do not really want to do. One day they explode. Then the situation often cannot be repaired, and the group has a problem that may take years to overcome, if it can be overcome.

Because people are afraid of conflict, religious institutions and community groups often tolerate behavior that would be unacceptable at any other level of society.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Religion & Culture, TEC Bishops

Anglican Arrival: First priest for young Texas congregation sets tone of acceptance

Sunday morning was a milestone for a tiny Lubbock Anglican congregation.

It’s been nearly 20 months since Lubbock’s St. James Anglican church formed in the wake of a national controversy stemming from the role of homosexuals in the Episcopal church.

And Sunday marked the first day the church’s pulpit had a leader – a priest from Hays, Kan., who hopes to lead his congregation closer to God and to be accepting of all people while maintaining their admittedly conservative beliefs.

“This is a huge day for us,” said Jo Vaughan, a founding member of the congregation, which meets Sunday mornings in a 90-seat theater at the Science Spectrum Museum.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Conflicts

Reuters: LA Episcopal leaders nominate two non-celibate gays as bishops

Episcopal Church leaders in Los Angeles on Sunday nominated an openly gay priest and an openly lesbian priest as bishops in a move sure to ratchet up tensions in the global Anglican Communion.

The move follows an announcement on Saturday by the Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota of three candidates identified to become the Bishop of Minnesota, including a partnered lesbian priest in Chicago.

The nominations come just weeks after the 2 million-member Episcopal Church, the U.S. branch of Anglicanism, lifted a de facto ban on the consecration of gay bishops.

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

A Profile of Parish Minister Stan Burdock, Trinity Class of 1987

(Astute blog readers may note that Stan is my classmate from seminary. I am overjoyed to be able to say he is my friend. I still have a wonderful memory of his smiling face at our wedding in 1987, which seems like a long time ago in a land far away–KSH)

At the age of 19, through the example and sharing of a Christian friend, I asked Jesus to take over my life. While I knew the Lord forgave me, I continued to strive for personal perfection and holiness apart from God’s grace. I pursued the “call” off and on through my graduation from college in 1972, then living as a Capuchin (Franciscan) brother for two years.

What I discovered was my inability to live the Christian life. I was overwhelmed by my own rebellion against God. I was self-will run riot. While I “appeared” to be an active and “together” follower of Jesus, I knew better. My “insides” didn’t match up with what I appeared to be. I became quite accomplished at comparing what was going on inside of me with the public persona of other believers. I left the Franciscan community after my second year, and gave up on any thought of serving as a pastor.

Then in 1982, several folks from my home congregation, including the pastor, urged me to consider studying for the pastorate. I wanted no part of it. I knew what a hypocrite I was. I recall telling my pastor that I “wasn’t equipped to serve as a pastor.” Father George replied: “God doesn’t call the equipped. He equips the called.”

I didn’t want to pursue the “call,” knowing my own inadequacies. After wrestling in prayer with the Lord for the better part of a year, I agreed to pursue the “call.” With the agreement and support of my wife, children and local church, I applied to our bishop to begin seminary. There are heel marks to this very spot! I didn’t decide to be a spiritual leader, the Lord chose this for me.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Conflicts

Harriet Baber: Churchgoers don't care about the Anglican Schism

Laypeople who see church as nothing more than a local congregation, which maintains a building, provides Sunday services and rites of passage, and functions as a venue for community activities are not short-sighted. They are right. The institutional church has nothing else of interest to offer its members or anyone else that isn’t provided by secular organisations.

Even after exploring the Anglican communion’s website I fail to see what bad consequences would ensue if it fractured into two or 200 pieces.

I’m not sure what a schism in the Anglican communion will mean for me as an Episcopalian. Will I still be officially entitled to receive communion in the CofE or Anglican churches elsewhere? It hardly matters since Anglican churches don’t issue communion tickets or check credentials, and I don’t see any other way that the schism could affect me.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, Parish Ministry

Guardian: Who cares about the Anglican schism?

Read it all and consider commenting.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, - Anglican: Latest News, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Conflicts