Daily Archives: September 10, 2009

Souped-Up Hubble Makes A Comeback

New images from the recently refurbished Hubble Space Telescope show that the 19-year-old observatory is now more powerful than ever.

WOW. Simply astounding pictures–look at them all and read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Science & Technology

Albany Episcopal Leader hears tense crowd

“I realize emotions are high, feelings are high,” said Love, standing at the edge of the altar in St. Paul’s Church for nearly two hours.

The Episcopal Church is split by the ongoing debate over the ordination of gay and lesbians and the blessing of sex same unions.

“We are a divided church. There’s no question we are a divided church,” said Sheridan Biggs of St. Paul’s Church in Schenectady, who indicated his uneasiness with the direction at the national level to support ordination and the blessing.

“What state we are in when we get through this, only God knows that,” said Love, who is counted among the Episcopal Church’s conservative bishops. He urged Biggs to stay in the church.

Read it all.

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

Dan Sullivan RIP

The Rev. Daniel Kilmer Sullivan, 81, of Bear Creek, Pa., retired rector of the Episcopal Church of the Good Samaritan in Paoli, died Sept. 3 of a staph infection at Lawrence and Memorial Hospital in New London, Conn., where he had been visiting relatives.

For 23 years, Father Sullivan served Good Samaritan parishioners, who affectionately called him “Father Dan.”

When he announced his retirement in 1995, colleagues described Father Sullivan to a reporter as a charismatic minister who transformed a struggling church into a vibrant parish.

One of the great heroes of this very difficult time in the Episcopal Church. Read it all–KSH.

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

Highlightling a Great Local Ministry: The Coastal Crisis Chaplaincy

From a letter to the editor in today’s local paper:

On behalf of the Coastal Crisis Chaplaincy, we would like to congratulate Mayor Keith Summey and North Charleston on the city’s beautiful new building. It is a fitting home for a growing, prosperous city.

We are delighted to be moving into space provided by the city in this wonderful facility. Our new home will not only allow us to use our resources to better serve the community, it will also allow us to be in a prime location near I-26 and I-526 and, therefore, to provide even faster response to citizens and emergency personnel when unexpected tragedies occur.

For 19 years our landlords have been Sandra Lempesis and the Detreville Law Firm, and we will miss seeing them every day.

The public will have no problem reaching us during our transition from one address to the other. Michael Leibowitz and Call Experts will answer emergency calls to 843-724-1212 and ensure that they are delivered promptly to a chaplain, as they have done since 1990.

The Coastal Crisis Chaplaincy is eager to continue providing counseling and support to people during crisis situations. Many thanks to the city of North Charleston for providing us with our new home.

Rev. Rob Dewey

Senior Chaplain

Emily Burrous

Board President

Coastal Crisis Chaplaincy

North Charleston

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

GOP caucus to Mark Sanford: Resign

Sixty-one state House Republicans signed their names Wednesday to a letter asking Gov. Mark Sanford to resign.

Whether those fellow party members are willing to vote to impeach him is another matter.

Majority Leader Kenny Bingham, a Cayce Republican, said once Sanford steps aside, the state can begin healing.

“Your actions have been destructive to our state’s image on a worldwide stage and are harming the stability of our state on many levels,” Bingham wrote to Sanford on behalf of the caucus leadership.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Politics in General, State Government

Wash Post Editorial: Mr. Obama's Prescriptions

But he chose again to duck the biggest dispute of all: whether the new insurance exchange must contain a government-run “public option.” Mr. Obama once again outlined the arguments for a public plan and once again said it was not essential. Perhaps the president’s advisers made the right political calculation in determining that Wednesday night was not the time to embrace a particular alternative, such as nonprofit cooperatives or a trigger under which a plan would be created only if private insurers do not reduce premium costs to a certain level. But this laissez-faire strategy guarantees that the rather peripheral debate over the public option will continue to dominate the health-care discussion.

Mr. Obama sketched out a measure that would cost $900 billion over the next decade — about three-fourths the size that the administration initially envisioned but still containing the basic elements of universal coverage. The money would come from an amalgam of savings in federal health spending programs and a new tax on insurance companies that offer plans costing more than a set amount. This is an ungainly and inefficient, but politically safe, way to approach the goal of limiting the amount of health benefits that can be offered tax-free.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Health & Medicine, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama

The Hill: Obama speech to Congress unlikely to be game changer

President Barack Obama’s address to Congress on healthcare reform was short on specifics and long on ideas he and his advisers had already floated this year.

The historic speech left some liberals wanting more details and conservatives emboldened to torpedo the president’s top domestic priority.

The big question of the night was how Obama was going to address the public health insurance option, but he largely repeated what he has said for weeks: He supports it, but will sign a bill that does not have it.

Read it all, and, yes, Joe Wilson should apologize–that was uncalled for.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Health & Medicine, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate

ENS: Episcopal Bishops Working for a Just World to lobby for health-care reform

A group of Episcopal bishops plan to travel to Washington, D.C., the week of September 14 to lobby on Capitol Hill in support of health-care reform.

The group, “Bishops Working for a Just World,” seeks universal heath-care coverage and solutions to domestic and global poverty and the environmental crisis. Bishops make annual trips to the nation’s capital to advocate for specific legislation or changes to legislation.

“The issues that we lobby are the issues voted on by General Convention,” said Diocese of Newark Bishop Mark Beckwith.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Episcopal Church (TEC), Health & Medicine, TEC Bishops

AP: Diagnoses vary on Obama health-care speech

While some were moved to tears by the president’s soaring rhetoric, others were moved not at all. Where some saw a new clarity, others saw more vagueness. And while some praised him for reaching out to Republicans, there were those who felt he was overreaching in some ways and not reaching far enough in others.

Americans listened intently to President Barack Obama’s much-anticipated speech on health care reform Wednesday night, and not surprisingly, their reviews varied. Few said they had changed their minds.

Matt Petrovick set his treadmill at a leisurely 2.8 mph pace so he could pay full attention to the television on the wall in front of him. He’s not sure the president’s words boosted his heart rate, but the speech certainly got him going.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Health & Medicine, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate

Peter Cook Writes His Parish in Louisiana

Clarification is Always Good–But Where Does That Leave Us?

Everyone’s attention was certainly grasped the other week when the vestry issued its “Declaration of Intent”, wrote a letter to every parishioner, and then issued a press release for The American Press. At least everyone is talking about St. Michael’s. First let’s be clear on what the vestry did NOT say.

St. Michael’s vestry is not leaving the diocese. Your vestry has initiated no plans to leave The Episcopal Church. We stand fully behind Bishop MacPherson who has simply said that in his opinion The Episcopal Church is like a train that will soon be fully off the tracks. This present week he has gathered 6 other orthodox Communion Partner bishops to visit with Dr. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, in efforts to have him intervene in the crisis that not simply affects our Episcopal Church, but has torn the whole Anglican Communion apart. What is that crisis? It stems from the American church’s belief that it is free to redraft 2000 years of accepted Christian teaching on a whole variety of subjects, unilaterally, and without regard for what the rest of Christendom thinks.

Whether we like it or not Episcopalians are only Episcopalians because our constitution demands that we remain in communion with The Archbishop of Canterbury and in communion with the wider Anglican family. That includes Anglicans in South America, Uganda, Nigeria, South East Asia ”“ all those places to which American Episcopalian missionaries took the gospel, along with Europeans, in the C19. These , our missionary children, are now asking Christians in America and in Britain why it is that we no longer believe the same Bible that we brought to them nearly 200 years ago.

At St. Michael’s we still believe in that same Bible, and in those same Christian teachings, and we try to preach and teach it week in and week out. That is why I want to commend to you our Fall study in the 39 articles of our Prayer Book. These doctrinal teachings are what gave birth to good Old Henry VIII’s Church of England in the 1500’s. These are the same articles of religion that expressed our Anglican Prayer Book teachings in a way that still keep open the doors of understanding between Anglicans and Roman Catholics, and which sought to avoid the narrower form of Protestantism sometimes found in those puritan traditions that gave birth to our Presbyterian and our Baptist brethren.

There is carefulness of thinking, and moderation, and sheer class about how our Prayer Book Articles of Reigion give understanding to our faith. And in this confused C21, where so many of our young people are growing up without the slightest understanding of why we as parents keep trying to get them to attend church we need to get to grips with our faith. If you can’t sign up for either of our Wednesday study sessions, or our Sunday Adult Education session, make sure you give us your email address or download the study notes we will be putting out on our church website. stmichaelslc.com . Thank you for reading this.

–The Rev. Dr. Peter Cook is rector, St. Michael and All Angels, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Parishes

A Great piece on One Veteran Helping Other veterans to Continue Serving

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

Watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Military / Armed Forces

Afghans blame troops for death of translator during rescue and leaving body

Afghan journalists expressed their anger today at the death of a colleague killed during an operation to rescue a New York Times reporter kidnapped by the Taleban. They also complained about the decison by British commandos to leave the man’s body behind.

Sultan Munadi was captured on Saturday while acting as interpreter for the British journalist Stephen Farrell, formerly of The Times. The two men were seized during a reporting trip to a site near Kunduz where up to 125 Afghans were killed during a Nato air strike to destroy two hijacked fuel tankers.

The kidnapping was kept out of the news as negotiators tried to win the men’s release but UK commanders decided to mount an armed operation in the early hours of yesterday during which Mr Munadi and a British soldier serving the Special Forces Support Group were killed.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, War in Afghanistan

LA Times: Obama avoids the details on divisive issues to keep his healthcare goals on track

President Obama’s spirited defense Wednesday night of his broad healthcare goals avoided making concrete commitments on some of the most contentious issues, reflecting a guiding principle of his legislative strategy: to put off the most controversial decisions until the very last moment.

It is a strategy born of political reality. At this stage of the process, when neither the House nor the Senate has even begun a floor debate, lining up firmly on one side or the other of the hot-button issues invites gridlock or even defeat.

And so, though some liberal Democrats have threatened to revolt if Obama does not insist on a new government insurance option — the so-called public plan — the president told the joint session of Congress that he would consider other approaches to making coverage affordable for the uninsured.

“The public plan is only a means to that end,” he said, “and we should be open to other ideas that accomplish our ultimate goal.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Health & Medicine, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate

The White House has released excerpts of President Obama's address to Congress tonight

I am not the first President to take up this cause, but I am determined to be the last. It has now been nearly a century since Theodore Roosevelt first called for health care reform. And ever since, nearly every President and Congress, whether Democrat or Republican, has attempted to meet this challenge in some way. A bill for comprehensive health reform was first introduced by John Dingell Sr. in 1943. Sixty-five years later, his son continues to introduce that same bill at the beginning of each session.

Our collective failure to meet this challenge ”“ year after year, decade after decade ”“ has led us to a breaking point. Everyone understands the extraordinary hardships that are placed on the uninsured, who live every day just one accident or illness away from bankruptcy. These are not primarily people on welfare. These are middle-class Americans. Some can’t get insurance on the job. Others are self-employed, and can’t afford it, since buying insurance on your own costs you three times as much as the coverage you get from your employer. Many other Americans who are willing and able to pay are still denied insurance due to previous illnesses or conditions that insurance companies decide are too risky or expensive to cover.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Health & Medicine, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate

Living Church: Cuba Again Fails to Elect Episcopal Bishop

Requiring a two-thirds majority when electing a bishop has sometimes short-circuited episcopal elections in North America. For the Episcopal Church of Cuba, that high electoral standard has helped prevent a new bishop’s election for 20 years.

On Sept. 5, a special synod of the diocese failed to elect a new bishop from among three candidates, including the Rev. Jose Angel Gutierrez, rector of San Lucas, Ciego de Avila, and the Rev. Emilio Martin, rector of San Francisco de Asis, Cardenas. Frs. Gutierrez and Martin were both on the ballot when Cuba tried to elect a bishop in June.

Read it all

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Caribbean, Cuba, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops