Daily Archives: August 14, 2009

Bishop FitzSimons Allison Audio–His Speech toward the very end of Yesterday's Clergy Day

Click here to listen to audio clip (Hat tip: JB).

What he says at the beginning, because the audio is not entirely clear, is that he promised his wife Martha that he would not say anything at the clergy day. That is followed by a lot of laughter when he explains he is now breaking that promise.

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

Patrick Reilly: Look Who's Discriminating Now

Last week, thanks to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal government took a giant leap toward encroaching on the religious liberty of Catholics. Reuben Daniels Jr., director of the EEOC District Office in Charlotte, N.C, ruled that a small Catholic college discriminated against female employees by refusing to cover prescription contraceptives in its health insurance plan. With health-care reform looming before the country, this ruling is a bad omen for people of faith.

In 2007, eight faculty members filed a complaint against Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, N.C., claiming that the school’s decision to exclude prescription contraceptives from its health-care plan was discriminatory against women. “As a Roman Catholic institution, Belmont Abbey College is not able to and will not offer nor subsidize medical services that contradict the clear teaching of the Catholic Church,” said the college’s president, William Thierfelder, at the time.

In March the commission informed the college that the investigation of its employee health insurance plan had been closed with no finding of wrongdoing. Inexplicably, the case was reopened, and now the college is charged with violating federal law. If Belmont Abbey doesn’t back down, the EEOC will recommend court remedies.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture

Michael Nation on General Convention 2009: The Mad Hatter's Tea Party

The General Convention met in the home of Mickey Mouse and some have come back trying to take the rest of us spinning on the Mad Hatter’s Tea Ride. It strains credulity that there are Bishops and Deputies returning from GC 2009 acting as if or outright saying or naively hoping that nothing changed in Anaheim. Life for the Anglican Communion as we knew it changed here:

That the 76th General Convention affirm that God has called and may call such individuals, to any ordained ministry in The Episcopal Church, and that God’s call to the ordained ministry in The Episcopal Church is a mystery which the Church attempts to discern for all people through our discernment processes acting in accordance with the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church. (2009 GC Res. D025)

No General Convention did not overturn B033; it passed a resolution which superseded it. It superseded B033 in that resolve just referenced. Up until that point the resolution could have been characterized as simply descriptive. The aforementioned resolve is not descriptive of a conversation but states a settled theological position, “God has called and may call.”

It is ironic that the resolution refers to the discernment process. No person gay or otherwise would be recommended for ordination if a Vestry, Rector, Standing Committee, and Commission of Ministry all said that they didn’t sense a calling. And yet here we are passing a resolution which as we all painfully know [because it is referring to someone in a non-celibate partnership] that the Communion, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Orthodox Churches as well as most of the Protestant denominations don’t agree and will never agree.

Read it all.

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

For sale: Eternity with Marilyn Monroe

Richard Poncher’s eternal sleep will soon be disrupted.

The onetime Beverly Hills resident, who died 23 years ago at the age of 81, will be moving out of the crypt above Marilyn Monroe’s resting spot at the Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park cemetery. Poncher’s wife intends to sell the crypt, said to have once been owned by Monroe’s former husband, Yankee great Joe DiMaggio.

So although the plaque on Poncher’s crypt reads: “To the man who gave us everything and more,” his wife, Elsie, is hoping that he has just a little more to give. She wants to use the money to help pay off the $1.6-million mortgage on her 1 3/4 acre Beverly Hills home.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Death / Burial / Funerals, Movies & Television, Parish Ministry

Kendall Harmon: Significant Subsurface Deterioration in the Episcopal Church

One of the many contentions of this blog over the years is that The Episcopal Church is in significant trouble as an institution. While I believe this is primarily because of theological factors, no monocausal explanation is sufficient to describe what is occurring. What remains disturbing, however, is the degree of denial by the National Episcopal leadership about the scale of this problem.

I think a lot of TEC statistics overstate the strength of TEC on the ground. For example, people in parish ministry know well that the real membership of a parish is roughly twice the Average Sunday Attendance.

So you know something is fishy when TEC claims some 2.2 million members, and average Sunday attendance is now under 800,000 (768,476 according to the national church office).

One goldmine for this data is the research and statistics page kept by Kirk Hadaway’s office at the national church.

As an example of the scale of the problem this morning, consider one diocese, Lexington. If you look at baptized membership, Lexington shrank from 8949 in 1997 to 8002 in 2007. That is a decline of 10.6%. Now, however, consider the more meaningful number, Average Sunday Attendance. In this category, Lexington fell from 3905 to 2973 in the period from 1997-2007. That is a decline of 24%.

It is part of a significant national trend, and it is a major issue–KSH.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Data, TEC Parishes

Looking Back at Woodstock

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

They are still married–how wonderful.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., History, Music

National Council of Churches calls on Kenyan Government to resign

Kenya’s coalition government has lost the confidence of its people and must go, the National Council of Churches of Kenya said on July 31 after the government reneged on its pledge to bring to justice those responsible for the 2007 post-election violence that led to the deaths of 1,500 people and the displacement of 300,000 others.

In a statement published on its website and distributed to the media by the group’s chairman, the Rev Canon Peter Karanja, the NCCK said the government’s decision to drop a special tribunal to “try the suspected perpetrators of the post-election violence is the greatest betrayal of the people of Kenya.”

President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga had “failed to protect justice” and “in the face of such betrayal, Kenyans must resoundingly put across a strong message that the moral authority of the grand coalition government to govern has been grossly undermined.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Kenya, Religion & Culture

Bishop Mark MacDonald: ”˜We’re going to see great things happen’

“Today we’re in a very different place and today is a day of opportunity,” Bishop MacDonald told First Nations, Metis and Inuit Anglicans gathered at the 6th Indigenous Sacred Circle here.

While some might predict the collapse of the church in indigenous communities across Canada, said Bishop MacDonald, “I would like to predict that we’re going to see great things happen.”

History has shown that the greatest revival of the church in other parts of the world took place when missionaries left and native congregations took up the responsibilities of being church, Bishop MacDonald said in his keynote speech. He noted that American and European missionaries predicted the “total collapse” of churches in Asia and Africa when they left in the 70s due to lack of funds. What took place instead, he said, was “the greatest revival and greatest turning to Christ in any period since the time of the apostles.”

Read it all.

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

Local Newspaper Coverage–South Carolina Bishop: Our doctrines are being deconstructed

The bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, increasingly disenchanted with the direction of the national Episcopal Church, on Thursday called a convention to discuss the future of the conservative diocese.

“Frankly, I don’t know how to say this in any other way but to tell you that this is a call to action; of mobilization of clergy, parishes and laity,” the…[Rt.] Rev. Mark Lawrence said in a speech released after he delivered it to clergy representing 75 parishes in the lower and eastern part of the state. He made the address at St. James Church on James Island.

Read it all.

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

A.S. Haley: A Brave Start in South Carolina

In a post last Sunday, I offered a “Modest Proposal” for orthodox dioceses to go forward within the Episcopal Church (USA). The gist of my proposal was that the orthodox plow ahead, keeping true to their own traditional path, and simply ignore the bureaucracy at 815 and elsewhere — because the bottom line is that they can do nothing to a diocese that stays in the Church. Neither 815 nor General Convention nor the Presiding Bishop has any power to compel a Diocese within the Church to do anything. And if enough orthodox dioceses were to come together in a mutual protection plan, even threatened depositions could be effectively countered to the point where ECUSA would sink in a morass of litigation.

Now it appears that the Diocese of South Carolina might be embarking on the first steps toward such a brave strategy. Bishop Mark Lawrence addressed his assembled clergy today, and included the following statement of intention:

The Standing Committee and bishop will be proposing a resolution to come before the special convention that this diocese begin withdrawing from all bodies of governance of TEC that have assented to actions contrary to Holy Scripture; the doctrine, discipline and worship of Christ as this church has received them; the resolutions of Lambeth which have expressed the mind of the Communion; the Book of Common Prayer (p.422-423) and the Constitution & Canons of TEC (Canon 18:1.2.b) until such bodies show a willingness to repent of such actions. Let no one think this is a denial of the vows a priest or bishop makes to participate in the councils of governance. This is not a flight into isolation; nor is it an abandonment of duty, but the protest of conscience. . . .

Some have already questioned whether this means that the Diocese of South Carolina will be following the path of the Dioceses of San Joaquin, Pittsburgh, Fort Worth and Quincy. After all, one of the bodies that has given its assent to actions contrary to Holy Scripture is General Convention itself, and would not a withdrawal from General Convention be a withdrawal from the Episcopal Church (USA)?

Not necessarily. I do not claim to be privy to South Carolina’s intentions and strategies, but like the next Episcopalian, I can read Bishop Lawrence’s statement in context. Had he meant to propose a resolution to withdraw from ECUSA, he could have said so; but he did not. He spoke of beginning to withdraw….

Read it all.

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

Appointment of new Director for Unity, Faith and Order announced

The Secretary General, Canon Kenneth Kearon, has announced the appointment of Canon Dr Alyson Barnett-Cowan as Director for Unity, Faith and Order at the Anglican Communion Office. The post is a new one in the Communion, and arose after some restructuring following the election of Canon Gregory Cameron, formally Director of Ecumenical Affairs and Deputy Secretary General, as Bishop of St Asaph in the Church in Wales.

Canon Barnett-Cowan is currently Director of Faith, Worship and Ministry of the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada, a post she has held since 1995. She has wide experience of the life of the Anglican Communion, having been a member of the Lambeth Commission on Communion (2003-4) and of the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Ecumenical Relations (2000-2008). She is currently a consultant to the Anglican-Lutheran International Commission, and has been a member of the Plenary Commission, Faith and Order at the World Council of Churches.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Latest News

Renouncing Doctrine of Discovery is "basic justice," says bishop

The Anglican Church of Canada’s top aboriginal bishop says formally renouncing the Doctrine of Discovery ”” the historic legal claim underlying the conquest of the New World by Anglo-Italian sailor John Cabot and other early European explorers ”” “is a matter of basic justice” for the First Nations dispossessed by the arbitrary regal pronouncement.

National Indigenous Bishop Mark MacDonald, a U.S.-born cleric who was trained in Canada before becoming the Anglican Church’s principal voice on native issues in 2007, was responding to news the U.S. arm of the church has renounced the doctrine and asked Queen Elizabeth ”” the titular head of the global Anglican community ”” to “disavow and repudiate” it publicly.

Read it all.

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

Living Church: S.C. Bishop Proposes Diocese Withdraw from TEC Governing Bodies

The Diocese of South Carolina needs to distance itself from the governing bodies of The Episcopal Church, its bishop said Thursday in an address to clergy meeting at St. James’ Church, James Island, Charleston, S.C.

The Rt. Rev. Mark Lawrence, bishop since January 2008, did not urge the diocese to break all ties with The Episcopal Church.

Bishop Lawrence and the standing committee have called for a special convention on Oct. 24 to vote on proposals that Bishop Lawrence presented during the meeting. He and the standing committee discussed these proposals during a marathon meeting on July 28.

Read it all.

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