Daily Archives: August 9, 2009

Herb Gunn is concerned about Episcopal Church Communications

When General Convention decided to let plans go forward to switch the Episcopal Church’s monthly newspaper to a quarterly feature-oriented magazine without further study, the decision was about more than the loss of a newspaper. In fact, it never was strictly a debate between parchment and pixels, per se.

Undergirding the discussion about dramatically shifting the communication strategy of the Episcopal Church is the question of editorial integrity — which I quickly grant is neither guaranteed nor necessarily imperiled in any specific vehicle of communication.

With action taken at General Convention, however, the Episcopal Church is embracing a clear priority for branding, marketing, messaging and public relations over news dissemination, and this raises significant questions about the credibility of our story told in a world in which people are letting authenticity guide their religious choices.

How and where do we now tell our stories with revelatory honesty?

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Media

Notable and Quotable

The real problem of the Christian life comes where people do not usually look for it. It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back, in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on, all day. Standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings; coming in out of the wind.

We can only do it for moments at first. But from those moments the new sort of life will be spreading through our system: because now we are letting Him work at the right part of us. It is the difference between paint which is merely laid on the surface, and a dye or stain which soaks right through. He never talked vague, idealistic gas. When He said, ”˜Be perfect,’ He meant it. He meant that we must go in for the full treatment. It is hard; but the sort of compromise we are all hankering after is harder – in fact, it is impossible. It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.

–C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (Macmillan,1943), Chapter Eight

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life

One Diocese of South Carolina Parish's recently Passed Vestry Resolution

From here, a motion passed August 3rd:

Whereas The Episcopal Church in its most recent General Convention has once again exhibited a disregard for Holy Scripture and failed to submit to the Anglican Communion, we the Vestry of Christ St. Paul’s Parish, Yonges Island, SC, hereby request that the Diocese of South Carolina be placed under a spiritual authority which holds to the clear teaching of the Holy Scripture and the Bonds of Affection within the Anglican Communion which will give our Diocese a place to thrive.

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

Denver Post: Buddhism strengthens ties to church

What in the recent past seemed exotic and foreign is now almost routinely folded into “the fold.”

Buddhism is not only accepted as a mainstream American religion, it is a path increasingly trod by faithful Christians and Jews who infuse Eastern spiritual insights and practices such as meditation into their own religions.

When John Weber became a Buddhist at age 19, his devout Methodist parents were not particularly pleased.

In recent years, however, they’ve invited their son, a religious studies expert with Boulder’s Naropa University, to speak at their church about Buddhism.

“That never would have happened before,” Weber said. “They would have been embarrassed.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Buddhism, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

Unionville Maryland church joins ACNA

The Anglican Church in North America unites 700 Anglican parishes in 12 Anglican jurisdictions in North America into a single church, according to an ACNA press release sent out last spring after recognition by the Standing Committee of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion). The jurisdictions coming together include the Anglican Coalition in Canada, the dioceses of Fort Worth, Texas, Pittsburgh, Quincy and San Joaquin, Calif., the Anglican Mission in the Americas, the Anglican Network in Canada, the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, the Reformed Episcopal Church and several missionary initiatives.

By forming the new Anglican Church in North America and seeking recognition from African provinces, the province of the Southern Cone of South America and other Anglican provinces, the ACNA hopes to join the worldwide Anglican Communion, but separately from the Episcopal Church U.S.A.

The Most Rev. Robert William Duncan Jr., former bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh (Episcopal Church U.S.A.), now serves as the first archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America.

In mid-June, at a conference in Texas attended by about 900 church leaders, the ACNA formally adopted a constitution and canons. Zampino attended and when he returned, he said, his small congregation unanimously voted to join the movement, joining an estimated 100,000 church members in the U.S. and Canada.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts

The Local Paper on Rowan Williams and the Anglican Struggles: Defining an archbishop's authority

Unlike officials in the (U.S.) Episcopal Church, who are elected in a democratic process, the Archbishop of Canterbury is appointed to his post by the Crown of England and the prime minister.

Williams, then, can express his concern over the current conflict between the Episcopal Church and other Anglicans, but he cannot demand that doctrinal changes be made, nor can he force Episcopal Church leaders to embrace a new “covenant,” which is still being drafted. That covenant’s purpose is to signal a national church’s intention “to act in a certain level of mutuality with other parts of the Communion.”

Williams is suggesting in his comments that the future of Anglicanism might consist of a “covenanted” population in full communion with Canterbury and a second population of Anglicans who relinquish their voting rights at international church meetings, explained the Rev. Dan Clarke, vicar at the Church of the Holy Communion in Charleston….

The Rev. Canon J. Michael A. Wright, rector of Grace Episcopal Church, said disagreement is not new among Anglicans, and dissenting views should not prevent anyone from being “in full communion.”

“If loyalty is about agreeing, it really has no value,” he said. “It’s clear the church is not of one mind. But why is it we must be of one mind on every issue to have a relationship and be in communion with one another?”

Wright said the archbishop’s comments are valuable and should be taken seriously.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC)

Rupert Cornwell: War hero tackles US over degrading prison conditions

Few United States senators have a more unusual CV than Virginia’s Jim Webb. He’s a Democrat who was once a Republican and served as Navy Secretary under Ronald Reagan. He’s a decorated Vietnam veteran and the highly successful author of Fields of Fire, which is said by many to be the best novel ever written about that war. When he made his senate bid in 2006, his Republican opponent ran adverts criticising some explicit sexy passages in other Webb works. Now he is embarked on perhaps his most improbable mission: the senior senator, from one of the toughest law-and-order states, wants to restore humanity, and proportionality, to the punishment of criminals.

All the focus, right now, is on reforming the US healthcare system. Think prisons, and you think Guantanamo Bay, and the bizarre debate over whether the transfer of its inmates to the mainland would see alleged Islamist terrorists burst out of fearsome maximum-security jails such as Florence, Colorado, and run amok across the Rockies.

When it comes to sending people to jail, America is the undisputed world champion. In 1970, a mere 200,000 people were behind bars. Last year, 2.3 million were held in federal, state and county prisons, more than 1 per cent of all adults in the US and five times the international average. Blacks, predictably, bear the brunt of this compulsion to incarcerate, accounting for 40 per cent of the prison population. This punishment industry gives work to more than two million, more even than the 1.7 million employed in higher education.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Law & Legal Issues, Military / Armed Forces, Politics in General, Senate

Marion Hatchett RIP

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Death / Burial / Funerals, Episcopal Church (TEC), Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry

A fifth of European Union will be Muslim by 2050

Last year, five per cent of the total population of the 27 EU countries was Muslim. But rising levels of immigration from Muslim countries and low birth rates among Europe’s indigenous population mean that, by 2050, the figure will be 20 per cent, according to forecasts.

Data gathered from various sources indicate that Britain, Spain and Holland will have an even higher proportion of Muslims in a shorter amount of time.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

Regulators close 3 banks in Florida., Oregon; this brings the yearly total to 72

Regulators on Friday shut down two banks in Florida and one in Oregon, bringing to 72 the number of federally insured banks to fail this year under the weight of the weak economy and rising loan losses.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was appointed receiver of the banks: First State Bank, of Sarasota, Fla.; Venice, Fla.-based Community National Bank of Sarasota County, and Community First Bank (FRBA) (CFBN), of Prineville, Ore.

First State Bank had total assets of $463 million and deposits totaling $387 million. Community National Bank had $97 million in assets and $93 million in deposits. Community First Bank had $209 million in assets and $182 million in deposits.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Kendall Harmon: Your Prayers Again Requested for the Diocese of South Carolina

On July 18th Bishop Mark Lawrence responded to the 2009 General Convention in a letter which concluded as follows:

There is an increasingly aggressive displacement within this Church of the gospel of Jesus Christ’s transforming power by the “new” gospel of indiscriminate inclusivity which seeks to subsume all in its wake. It is marked by an increased evangelistic zeal and mission that hints at imperialistic plans to spread throughout the Communion. This calls for a bold response. It is of the utmost importance that we find more than just a place to stand. Indeed, it is imperative that we find a place to thrive; a place that is faithful, relational and structural””and so we shall!

Later on July 28th I wrote a blog post asking for prayer for the Diocese of South Carolina and its leadership. A follow up on that meeting appeared here.

I now wish to update those posts and sincerely request your prayers for the Diocese of South Carolina for the upcoming week.

This past Wednesday, August 5th, the same group of people who met with Bishop Lawrence met again (you can find the list of names through the links already provided). Although not quite as long as the first meeting, it went for the whole day (roughly 10:30-6:30). Both of these meetings were to help Bishop Lawrence to prepare for the special clergy day this coming Thursday, August 13th, when he will be given the very challenging task of articulating to the clergy his sense of where the diocese is called to be and live in response to recent developments in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.

I think all of us have a tendency to mistake our place in history, and such things are only properly seen in retrospect (hence my sense of the importance of history and reason for a 19th century post today). But by any reasonable measure this is an important time in this diocese, for her bishop, for her people and for her future. The spiritual warfare is intense. Speaking for myself, the sense of anxiety and expectation in the phone calls and emails that are streaming in is quite high, and I am sure that is true for many other diocesan members as well. While there is a large degree of theological consensus in the diocese, we are now talking about the issue of strategy, and it is in that area where reasserters have had significant differences over the last 7-10 years.

We need your prayers, especially for the Bishop, Mark Lawrence, and for the Standing Committee under the leadership of the Rev. Jeff Miller. Pray that the truth may be spoken in love and that as a diocese we will come together in the direction the Lord wants us to go in. Many thanks–KSH.

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

David Trimble: Something is Afoot in the Diocese of South Carolina

Something is afoot in the Diocese of South Carolina. It is difficult to discern exactly what it will eventually be, except to say that DioSC will respond to what transpired at Gen Con 09. And whatever they do will bear our observation and analysis, and our respect, for it will not be done lightly, and it will be done in a Godly, spiritual manner, with all due consideration for Scriptural guidance.

Read it all.

I am posting this by way of background for the next post, so there will be no comments on this thread–KSH.

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

Kendall Harmon: "It is hard to describe [fully] the degree of incoherence in the Episcopal Church"

Bishop Nick Baines wrote:

“At a purely pragmatic level, TEC should never have proceeded to the consecration of Robinson before having addressed theologically and ecclesiologically the matter of the blessing of same-sex relationships. The fact that they put the cart before the horse has led not only to the problems we now face, but also to an inner incoherence within TEC itself. As an outsider, I wonder why no one had the intelligence to spot this one earlier.”

And I responded:

With respect, this is not true. Indeed I said exactly this at the hearing in a packed house on Friday night in Minneapolis in 2003 BEFORE the General Convention vote on the New Hampshire election:

“As if all this isn’t enough, there are three more matters which make this resolution so crucial. Everyone here knows that the questions raised by THIS resolution are inextricably intertwined with the vote on the New Hampshire election. But the questions raised here tonight are the ones which must be settled BEFORE, as the resolution itself recognizes, the liturgies can be developed and therefore the relationships can be approved. We are in the midst of a debate and we need to decide the debate as a debate to respect the dignity of the people and the process involved.
Let us be quite clear. If Gene Robinson is confirmed by General Convention, it would bring through the back door a practice that the Episcopal Church has never agreed to approve through the front door. If we do that, it will be an end run around the debate before the debate itself has been settled. It will be a process in the name of justice and integrity which has no justice or integrity. (And please just so there is no confusion: this is not a comment on the New Hampshire process, but on the national process. If we are going to change church teaching, then let us be forthright and honest and open and change church teaching and THEN vote on an election in accordance with the change in church teaching).”


It is hard to describe the degree of incoherence in the Episcopal Church to those who are not part of it. Not only was what we did wrong (in the view of many in the Communion) but how we did it was wrong. For those who FAVOR changing the church’s teaching in this area the Episcopal Church have been set back years by how the Episcopal Church went about this decision, and ample warning was given at the time.

This situation continues down to this today. Numerous descriptions of TEC I read in Fulcrum are far out of touch with what is actually happening here. Consider this, we still have not changed our teaching as a church on the matter of same sex blessings, but some 20-25 dioceses at least enourage and/or allow for and in some cases have official liturgies for same sex blessings.

Part of the reason all these blessings need to stop is that if they do not the Episcopal Church will be well on its way to exporting its ecclesiological dysfunction into the rest of the Communion.

–From Monday 28 July 2008

Posted in Uncategorized