Daily Archives: August 15, 2009

Andrew Carey: Bad hair days for the Anglican Reappraisers

It’s been a week full of bad hair days for Anglican liberals. Their worst nightmare came to pass. Not one but two of Anglicanism’s world-renowned theologians made statements that had liberals fulminating, frothing and spitting in rage.

Firstly, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s surprisingly strong reaction to The Episcopal Church’s General Convention dealt a final blow to the bizarre pretence by the American leadership that their controversial resolutions were merely descriptive. Dr Williams realized that ”˜pastoral generosity’ amounted to a green light for same-sex blessings, and that the reference to ”˜no’ extra-canonical restraints on Episcopal elections was a turning away from an already very weak moratorium on the consecration of practising homosexuals.

Furthermore, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s clear recognition that the Episcopal Church was walking even further apart from the Anglican Communion was followed by strong language of a twin-track communion ”” with the Episcopal Church on the outside track.
Many liberals can scarcely conceal their sense of betrayal at the Archbishop of Canterbury’s defence of the ecumenical, traditional and biblical consensus on human sexuality. They thought he was one of them when he was appointed. After seeing off Carey, they were certain that good old Rowan would support a gradual overturning of Christian teaching on marriage and sexuality. Instead, he has supported Lambeth Resolution 1.10 as the ”˜mind of the Communion’ at every stage. Perhaps he is now more aware than ever that the novel, liberal teaching on homosexuality would represent a massive departure from universal Christian norms and our ecumenical partners?

And then the worst nightmare came, the New Testament theologian, NT Wright, added his voice to the Archbishop’s censure of The Episcopal Church. Let’s not forget that this is a theologian who demolishes weak, tendentious and dishonest theologies for breakfast while the rest of us are blearily chewing our Weetabix. The Bishop of Durham both supported the Archbishop of Canterbury’s analysis but also called for immediate action to twin-track the Communion now. Don’t wait for the Covenant and the endless delaying tactics of The Episcopal Church, he warned, the Communion can be restructured tomorrow allowing a substantial and faithful remnant within The Episcopal Church to rally around the Anaheim statement with its declaration of loyalty to the Communion.

He was described as ”˜megalomaniacal’ by Colin Coward of Changing Attitude for this contribution to the debate. But an even clearer sign that the archiepiscopal broadside had rattled the liberals was the knee-jerk statement by 13 liberal organizations, including Inclusive Church.

The statement’s muttering about strengthening bonds of affection “with those ”¦ who share our commitment to the full inclusion of all of God’s faithful”, together with their criticism of a “two-track communion” amounted to a declaration of guerrilla warfare in the Church of England.

The initial thinking is not just to strengthen ties with liberals in North America, but to encourage the creation of an Episcopal chaplaincy in England along the lines of the Convocation of American Churches in Europe.

But they are also intent on planting more facts on the ground. It has worked in North America, so why not here? The first initiative is a survey of gay and lesbian clergy in the Church of England in an attempt to demonstrate that far from being anomalous these relationships and civil partnerships are widely accepted. This might amount to a massive exercise in ”˜outing’ clergy, but it could, in fact, be groups like Inclusive Church who are exaggerating the numbers of practising homosexuals
in ministry. The other declaration in the statement is that they will “continue to work towards liturgical and sacramental recognition of the God-given love which enables many LGBT couples to thrive”. This is another aspect of planting facts on the ground, with the stepping up of same-sex blessings despite the fact that these are not permitted in the Church of England.

In other words, lawlessness on the part of those who claim to uphold the law of the Church of England and who have criticized evangelicals and others for undermining canon law.

Why the liberals are less of a threat than they think

So should we be concerned about this new ”˜militancy’ on the part of liberal Anglicans? Not really. Firstly, the numbers involved are very small. Many of these 13 organizations amount to little more than a man and his dog. There are also duplicated memberships. Furthermore, for a campaign to come to anything it has to be a genuine cause and you have to be principled in support of your cause.

Liberals have been a victim of their own success, they are ensconced comfortably in the Church of England, they’ve dominated the hierarchy for decades and they’ve had it too comfortable. Furthermore, they now preside over mostly moribund churches and they don’t believe anything terribly much. If you’re really going to make a difference you have to believe in it as though it’s a matter of life and death, even eternal life and death.

–This article appears in the Church of England Newspaper, August 14, 2009 edition, on page 15

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

New minister at Trumbull Connecticut Episcopal Church

[Elsa] Worth didn’t have the resources for the long-term studies required in the medical field, so it was on to massage therapy.

“When I was a massage therapist I was interested in holistic health,” she said. But gradually she realized that’s not what she wanted to focus on either. “Rather than start with physical health first, I was more interested in spiritual health,” she said.

And that led her to Andover Newton Theological School, where she finally felt that she had found her path. She was ordained in 1996 as a Unitarian Universalist minister, part of the church that she started attending in her 20s.

But somewhere along the way, Worth felt drawn to the Episcopal church. She said she was attracted to its traditional approach, which includes communion every week, and the church’s liturgy.

The Diocese of Massachusetts wasn’t taking new postulants, but she had the opportunity to transfer in 2000 when she moved back to New Hampshire. She worked as a hospital chaplain while otherwise staying home to care for her sons. Worth was ordained in 2007 by Bishop Gene Robinson, who made headlines as the first openly gay man in the Episcopalian hierarchy.

Despite what may seem to be a disjointed career path, Worth sees a commonality among her diverse callings. “It seems my whole life has been about healing and feeding, in one way or another,” she said. She also is a take-charge person. “I’m very entrepreneurial,” she said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

Peggy Noonan: From 'Yes, We Can' to 'No! Don't!'

Looking back, a key domestic moment in this presidency occurred only eight days after his inauguration, when Mr. Obama won House passage of his stimulus bill. It was a bad bill””off point, porky and philosophically incoherent. He won 244-188, a rousing victory for a new president. But he won without a single Republican vote. That was the moment the new division took hold. The Democrats of the House pushed it through, and not one Republican, even those from swing districts, even those eager to work with the administration, could support it.

This, of course, was politics as usual. But in 2008 people voted against politics as usual.

It was a real lost opportunity. It marked the moment congressional Republicans felt free to be in full opposition. It gave congressional Democrats the impression that they were in full control, that no one could stop their train. And it was the moment the president, looking at the lay of the land, seemed to reveal he would not govern in a vaguely center-left way, as a unifying figure even if a beset one being beaten ’round the head by the left, but in a left way, without the modifying “center.” Or at least as one who happily cedes to the left in Congress each day.

Things got all too vividly divided. It was a harbinger of the health-care debate.

I always now think of a good president as sitting at the big desk and reaching out with his long arms and holding on to the left, and holding on to the right, and trying mightily to hold it together, letting neither spin out of control, holding on for dear life. I wish we were seeing that. I don’t think we are.

Read it all

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Health & Medicine, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, The Fiscal Stimulus Package of 2009

The Independent: The brutal truth about America’s healthcare

They came in their thousands, queuing through the night to secure one of the coveted wristbands offering entry into a strange parallel universe where medical care is a free and basic right and not an expensive luxury. Some of these Americans had walked miles simply to have their blood pressure checked, some had slept in their cars in the hope of getting an eye-test or a mammogram, others had brought their children for immunisations that could end up saving their life.

In the week that Britain’s National Health Service was held aloft by Republicans as an “evil and Orwellian” example of everything that is wrong with free healthcare, these extraordinary scenes in Inglewood, California yesterday provided a sobering reminder of exactly why President Barack Obama is trying to reform the US system.

The LA Forum, the arena that once hosted sell-out Madonna concerts, has been transformed ”“ for eight days only ”“ into a vast field hospital. In America, the offer of free healthcare is so rare, that news of the magical medical kingdom spread rapidly and long lines of prospective patients snaked around the venue for the chance of getting everyday treatments that many British people take for granted.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine

David Anderson Chimes In

My hope and prayer is that those orthodox Anglicans within TEC and those orthodox Anglicans who have departed to the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) will be able to work charitably together for the good of the global communion. The orthodoxy of the entire Anglican Communion is now at stake. TEC is pressing its false gospel overseas, and trying to keep the Archbishop of Canterbury in a state of paralysis. It is time for all the orthodox Anglicans in North America, Canadians and Americans together, to work with the orthodox Anglicans represented by the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA) Primates’ Council, and with Dr. Williams if he is willing, to build a stronger, more cohesive, orthodox Anglican Communion that will be able to challenge the culture, the religion-of-the-day, and indeed Islam itself with the pure and convincing Gospel of Jesus Christ. May the Lord help us to discover our fellowship in that common goal.

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

Savannah Morning News: Judge hears arguments in Christ Church case

“I think the questions he asked showed the complexities of this case are not lost on him,” said Neil Creasy, an attorney for Christ Church. “I think it went pretty well.”

Diocesean bishop, the Right Rev. Henry I. Louttit, said Karpf asked “penetrating questions” of both sides, according to spokesman the Rev. James Parker.

Read it all.

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

Diocese tells party priest Rev. Gregory Malia to straighten up or get lost

Episcopal church officials on Friday gave the bar-hopping, big-spending Rev. Gregory Malia six months to straighten up and fly right or face the consequences – defrocking. The Diocese of Bethlehem, Pa., also barred Malia, 43, from using ecclesiastical titles or holding himself out as a priest until his case is settled.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

An ENS Article on The Bishop of South Carolina's Address

You may find it here.

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

WTOC: Battle over Christ Church now in hands of judge

There’s a lot at stake for one Savannah congregation. Nearly two years ago many members of Christ Church pulled away from the Episcopal Church.

Ever since there’s been a fight over who the actual church building belongs to, the congregation or the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia.

Today both sides headed to court where a judge will now decide. The hearing was held in Chatham County Superior Court Judge Michael Karpf’s courtroom. Close to 100 people packed the room, all very passionate about this issue.

Judge Karpf made it very clear from the start of court Friday afternoon that this is a very complex issue and it will take time for him to make his ruling.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Georgia

Phil Ashey: Update on court proceedings today for Christ Church Savannah

Without going into every detail, today’s hearing was on a motion for summary judgment by plaintiffs (TEC and the Diocese) asking for immediate possession of all real and personal property of Christ Church and an accounting. The arguments centered on the disposition of church property cases by “neutral principles of law” as decided by the United States Supreme Court in Jones v. Wolf. TEC and the Diocese interpret Jones v. Wolf to read that in such a “neutral principles” case, where the governing documents of a hierarchical church are clear, they are decisive. Hence the 1979 Dennis Canon-which unilaterally imposed a trust interest in favor of TEC in the property of each local church-trumps all other principles and the property belongs to the Diocese and/or TEC.

Not so fast, said the Judge. Is this Dennis Canon “severable” from the rest of the TEC canons-including matters of doctrine into which the courts cannot inquire? Does the Dennis Canon trump Diocesan canons that cut in favor of Christ Church? In response to TEC’s argument that the Dennis Canon is merely a codification of a “common understanding and practice” that the property of the local church is held in trust for the denomination, Judge Karpf asked if a “mere understanding” not expressly within the governing documents is a neutral principle? What if the rules of procedure governing the passage of a canon by General Convention were violated? What about the unilateral nature of the Dennis Canon and the lack of notice to the local congregation?

Now it was Christ Church’s turn to argue against plaintiffs motion for summary judgment and in support of their cross motion for summary judgment against TEC and the Diocese. Counsel for Christ Church argued that the plaintiff’s interpretation of “neutral principles” in Jones v Wolf was seriously flawed, and that their arguments ignored both Georgia law and the unique nature of the 1789 Georgia legislature’s grant of property to Christ Church prior to the very existence of the Diocese of Georgia.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Georgia

The Bishop of Upper South Carolina responds to the Bishop of South Carolina's Address

Jonathan Myrick Daniels, Priest, Martyr
August 14, 2009

A Pastoral Word

My Sisters and Brothers:

As you may know, yesterday the Rt. Rev. Mark Lawrence, Bishop of our neighboring Diocese of South Carolina, called a meeting of his clergy to discuss the future of the diocese in the light of resolutions D025 and C056, passed at General Convention 2009. [D025, affirming, in accord with the canons, the openness of the ordination process, and C056, calling for collection, over the next triennium, of resources for blessing same-sex unions and for “generous pastoral response to meet the needs of members of this Church,” “particularly in dioceses within civil jurisdictions where same-gender marriage, civil unions, or domestic partnerships are legal.”]

Because of the historical and social ties between our two dioceses, what happens in one diocese affects the life of the other; and because recent secular news reporting on the Episcopal Church has been filled with inaccuracies and misleading phrases, I want to provide for your firsthand information Bishop Lawrence’s complete statement to his clergy. I also refer once more to my website comments on General Convention as a reminder of my own position on these issues.

Follow this link for my comments, and this one for Bishop Lawrence’s statement.

In closing, let me say that my most immediate concern about all this is for you, my clergy, and what you may face this coming Sunday morning. Holding a faithfully comprehensive middle ground on such intense issues is difficult and costly; yet, it is the ground that I believe must be tended and done so with great care. I am grateful to you, the clergy of Upper South Carolina, for being such good partners in tending this ground with me; and I am mindful that a number of you may be confronted next Sunday morning by the legitimately confused and/or the highly agitated. My concern is that I do not want you to feel as if you are on your own.

So, even though I am away from the Diocese at this time, I nonetheless send you my deepest care and affection and a blessing, hoping that this message is a tangible reminder that we are in this together and that our God is the God of deliverance and new life. Please join me, as I know you do, in praying that we may use our firmly rooted trust in God to be courageously open to receiving the Holy One’s gracious life and will.

–(The Rt. Rev.) Dorsey Henderson is Bishop of Upper South Carolina

Posted in Uncategorized

Living Church: Predecessor Gives Bishop Mark Lawrence’s Critique Highest Marks

“No living bishop that I know, in my opinion, is capable of having the faith, the scholarship, the courage, the wisdom to put out this paper,” Bishop Allison said. His remarks, and a sustained ovation that followed, are available in an audio file on the Rev. Canon Kendall Harmon’s weblog, TitusOneNine.
Bishop Allison “got a huge ovation, and it was the crescendo of the day,” said Canon Harmon, who is the diocese’s canon theologian. He said Bishop Allison’s praise for Bishop Lawrence is noteworthy because of Bishop Allison’s involvement in the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) and the Anglican Mission in the Americas (AMiA). Both of those bodies have broken all ties to The Episcopal Church, which is more than Bishop Lawrence and the standing committee have recommended.
Canon Harmon believes the bishop is helping move the diocese from a passive and parish-based identity toward a collegial and collaborative practice.
“To turn a diocese, unlike a parish, is like turning an ocean liner,” Canon Harmon said. “It’s a herculean task.”

Read it all.

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

Religious Intelligence: Episcopal Church convinces few that it is not breaking moratoria

The Episcopal Church’s protestation that it has not ended the ban on gay bishops or blessings has not found support outside its borders.

After strong international reaction against the decisions of the recent General Convention, US Church leaders moved quickly to claim that the Church had not changed its position.

But critics said that this was the inevitable outcome when the Episcopal Church opened the discernment process for new bishops to gay clergy and permitted dioceses to compile and develop rites for the blessings of same-sex unions None of the American church’s allies among the 38 provinces of the Anglican Communion have publicly spoken up in support of Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori’s claims that nothing has changed, while several sharp statements have been released by overseas provinces and dioceses charging that the Episcopal Church had walked away from the Anglican Communion.

On July 18 Bishop Jefferts Schori stated that “in 2009” there are “more and deeper relationships with parts of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion than five or 10 years ago.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Anglican Provinces, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, Presiding Bishop, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), The Anglican Church in South East Asia

AP: Lutherans prepare for big decision on partnered gay clergy

Last month in Anaheim, Calif., the Episcopal General Convention declared gays and lesbians in committed relationships eligible for “any ordained ministry.” The move came despite Anglican world leaders’ calls for a clear moratorium on consecrating another gay bishop.

The divide in the Episcopal Church in the last few years has led to the formation of the more conservative Anglican Church in North America, which claims 100,000 members.

Headed into next week’s convention, ELCA leaders on both sides of the issue wonder if a similar split could be in store for them.

“I’m not going to predict that,” said Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson, the national leader of the Chicago-based denomination. “I’m also not going to deny that I have concerns about the implications about whatever we do, for our life together coming out of it.”

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Lutheran, Other Churches, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths)