Daily Archives: October 5, 2009

Saint James Press Release: The Battle with TEC in Court Continues

St. James’ Senior Pastor, the Rev. Richard Crocker, said, “While it is obviously disappointing, we always felt the court might prefer to wait until the trial proceedings were final. Our battle is far from over. We look forward to having the trial court rule on a written promise from the Episcopal Church in 1991 that they would never lay claim on our property. Our members have engaged in much prayer in order to discern God’s will for our congregation and what His call might be for us. We believe God has asked us to stand steadfast for His Gospel as well as to remain steadfast on this legal battlefield.”

Following is a statement by John Eastman, counsel of record on The Supreme Court petition:

“The Supreme Court normally considers only cases that are final, so it is not surprising that the Court decided to wait until further developments in this case are completed. There are some exceptions to the finality rule that we believe would have permitted review now, but the Court’s decision today does not foreclose review down the road once a full trial of the matter and subsequent appeals in the California Courts have run their course.”
In its June 24, 2009 petition for a writ of certiorari, St. James Church asked The Supreme Court to consider whether the California Supreme Court’s interpretation of a California statute, as giving special power to certain religious denominations to take property they do not own, unconstitutionally establishes certain forms of religion and infringes upon the freedom of local church congregations to exercise their religion without having their property taken by an affiliated denomination.

The Episcopal lawsuits against St. James stemmed from a decision by the members of St. James Church in August 2004 to align themselves with another branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion, and end the church’s affiliation with the Episcopal Church over core theological differences involving the authority of Holy Scripture and the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles sued St. James Church, All Saints Church, Long Beach, CA, and St. David’s Church, No. Hollywood, CA, and over two dozen volunteer board members in September 2004. Subsequently, TEC intervened into the lawsuits against the three local church corporations. Since that time, the case has progressed from the Orange County Superior Court to the California Supreme Court, which decided how such church property disputes would be resolved in California. After a lengthy appeal from an early victory attacking the Episcopal complaints, the case was recently remanded to the Orange County Superior Court for St. James to answer, engage in discovery, and trial.

Eric C. Sohlgren, lead counsel for St. James in the California courts, said, “St. James has followed a steady course since this lawsuit was first filed against them and its church volunteers over five years ago. The reason is that the principles at stake go to the very heart of what Americans hold dear ”“ the right to own property without outside interference and the right to freely exercise one’s religion regardless of belief or faith group. The Episcopal Church hasn’t contributed a dime toward the purchase or maintenance of St. James’ properties or buildings, and they’ve stood on the sidelines while watching the people of St. James carry all of the burdens and benefits of property ownership for decades. In our diverse and freedom-loving land, no one should have their property confiscated over religious belief.”

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

Oliver Thomas on Church/State Issues: And the wall … comes tumbling down

…this fall, the court is poised to further limit our ability to hold elected officials accountable to this most basic provision of our Constitution. On Wednesday, the justices will hear arguments in Salazar v. Buono, a California case involving the erection of an 8-foot, free-standing Christian cross on what was previously federal park land in the Mojave National Preserve. I say “previously” because after the display was successfully challenged in court, our sly U.S. Congress simply deeded the small parcel of affected land to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, who apparently share Congress’ sentiment about such public displays of religiosity. Now, the nation’s high court will decide whether Congress can get away with such shenanigans.

So what? Why should Americans care about such cases? After all, the vast majority of us are Christians of some stripe. Yes, we are, but our government isn’t. The framers of our Constitution ”” many having witnessed the dangers of mixing church and state firsthand ”” gave us a decidedly secular state. The only references to religion in our nation’s charter are to (a) forbid its establishment by the government, (b) protect its free exercise by individual citizens and (c) prohibit it as a test for public office.

Nonetheless, popular culture has taken its toll. Listen to enough politicians and televangelists complain that the United States has betrayed its godly heritage, and folks start believing them. Just two years ago, the Freedom Forum’s State of the First Amendment Survey found that 55% of Americans believe that the Constitution establishes Christianity as the national religion!

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Church/State Matters, Law & Legal Issues

Human Development Report 2009 – HDI rankings

Please guess where your home country falls before you look.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Globalization

Christ the King: A New Anglican Church in Albuquerque

A recent press release concerning the church said: “The new church will emphasize thoughtful and biblically-centered preaching and teaching and weekly Eucharist/Communion, along with classic Christian spiritual formation, pastoral care, and mission and outreach””all in the historically beautiful, rich, and compelling Anglican liturgical tradition.”

There will be two services on Sunday mornings: a traditional service at 8:00 a.m. and a more contemporary service at 10:30 a.m. with worship music led by artist-in-residence, Fernando Ortega, and Christian education for all ages.

Both Christ the King Anglican and ACNA have a bright future, sharing an overt yearning to reach their communities with the love of Christ.

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

A.S. Haley: Supreme Court Denies (for now) St. James Petition for Review

Today we learned that the United States Supreme Court declined to grant review at this time of the Episcopal Church Cases as decided on an interim appeal by the Supreme Court of California. (The list of petitions denied goes on for some 84 pages, so there is no need to believe St. James was singled out. The Court receives almost 8,000 petitions in the course of one term, and grants review only in about one percent of them.) The denial of review means that the California court’s decision will stand for the time being as the law of the case, which will now work its way toward a trial sometime next year. (If they remain true to form, however, the plaintiffs, the Diocese of Los Angeles and the Episcopal Church (USA), can be expected to file a motion for partial summary judgment in an attempt largely to circumvent a trial.)

The denial does not mean necessarily that the United States Supreme Court will never have anything to say about the case. The decision by the California Supreme Court, as I say, was an interim one. The trial court had struck the complaint of the Diocese, and had dismissed the separate complaint of the Church for failure to state a claim upon which any legal relief could be granted. The Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed those two decisions, and the California Supreme Court affirmed the reversals, but partly on different grounds. The effect of the reversals was to send the cases back to the trial court in Orange County, so that the defendant parishes, which in 2004 had voted to leave the Diocese, could answer the complaints and the cases could move forward from there.

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

Raleigh, N.C., News and Observer: Faithful fight high interest

Jesse Blocher, a doctoral student in finance at UNC-Chapel Hill, has worked with Durham CAN in the past on improving school facilities but said he can’t support the usury campaign.

“We as the church would better spend our time trying to help people get out of debt rather than trying to take on Bank of America,” he said.

Mount Level is offering financial counseling as part of the campaign, but Broadway said the main purpose is to influence banks and legislators.

Blocher said banks won’t lend unless they can make a profit above what they charge each other in interest. A cap on interest rates would simply price higher-risk borrowers, who tend to be poor, out of the credit-card market, he said.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Personal Finance, Religion & Culture, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Episcopal Diocese of Chicago to Refocus Ordination Program

The Episcopal Diocese of Chicago will take a “sabbath time” in 2010 from receiving new people who feel called to holy orders. The Rt. Rev Jeffrey D. Lee, Bishop of Chicago since February 2008, said he noticed early in his work that the diocese’s Commission on Ministry was exceptionally busy.

“We have 40-plus people at various stages of the process. That’s a lot of folks,” Bishop Lee told The Living Church.

The sabbath time will not interrupt the progress of anyone already accepted into the diocese’s discernment program.

The bishop has asked the Rev. Sam Portaro, former chaplain at the University of Chicago, to serve as a coach to the Commission on Ministry during the sabbath year. The program was last revised in the mid-1990s, the bishop said.

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

In South Africa New Anglican diocese inaugurated

Cape Town Archbishop Thabo Makgoba inaugurated a new Anglican diocese at a ceremony in Queenstown at the weekend.

The new diocese has been named Ukhahlamba Diocese, and lies north of Grahamstown.

Diocesan spokesperson Maggy Clarke said it was named after the Drakensburg mountain range.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Anglican Provinces

NPR: The Island Of Bar Codes

Islands are often the playgrounds of imaginary scientists, from Dr. Moreau to the researchers on the TV show Lost. But this place is real: an island where every single plant species has had its DNA analyzed and cataloged.

Plummers Island is just on the edge of the Potomac River and holds the distinction of being “the most studied island in North America.”

That’s according to John Kress, a botanist at the Smithsonian Institution. “There’s been more biologists out here looking at everything from worms to flowers to birds, mammals, snails … than any other spot on the East Coast,” he says.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Animals, Science & Technology

Pittsburgh Episcopalians interested in reunion with diocese based in Erie

One Episcopal diocese once served western Pennsylvania.

Then, growth in church membership led to a division in the early 1900s into two dioceses: Erie and Pittsburgh.

Now, with numbers declining, some members of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh are interested in studying a reunion with its northern neighbor, known today as the Episcopal Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania.

But the Erie-based diocese isn’t in any rush to rejoin with Pittsburgh.

“It’s something we might be willing to discuss in this diocese eventually,” said the Right Rev. Sean W. Rowe, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania.

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

Notable and Quotable

We should be thankful for our tears: They prepare us for a clearer vision of God.

–William A. Ward, quoted by yours truly at the beginning of yesterday’s sermon

Posted in Pastoral Theology, Theology

In Kansas an Episcopal Rector returns to church he once launched

“From age 15 to about age 30, I was involved in charismatic churches,” Zimmerman says. “So I did that for a while, but then that kind of played out for me, and I wanted to see how to keep going deeper, and I remembered the Episcopal church and its rhythm of prayer.”

That aspect connected to the same side of his personality that had found an academic interest in ancient history.

“In ancient history, we studied … all this ritual about life, and I was involved in churches that had no ritual. They actively avoided rituals. And then I stopped and realized that we had dating rituals, we have mourning rituals, we have eating rituals, we have all these rituals, why in the world wouldn’t we have religious rituals, because they help keep you grounded and centered,” Zimmerman says. “I remembered the Episcopal church was full of ritual, so I came back to the Episcopal church.”

The church he came back to was Lawrence’s Trinity Episcopal, which was the only one in town at the time. It took nearly a decade for Zimmerman to go from returning to the Episcopal denomination to wanting to be a part of it as a priest.

“It was always kind of on my mind, even as a teenager. I never could see how that would happen. I always say, ”˜God wouldn’t subject the church to me in my 20s.’ I just don’t know if I would have been a very good asset,” he says, laughing. “I took the Jonah route ”” I fled the call and took the scenic route to ordination rather than straight through. Which I’m glad about ”” I wouldn’t have wanted to have tried (this) in my late 20s. It wouldn’t have worked for me.”

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

Financial Times: Afghan war divides Congress and a nation

Hunkered down in the White House this week, top US officials thrashed out options for Afghanistan in a dispute that has split the administration and could decide the future of the fight against al-Qaeda and President Barack Obama’s hopes of a second term.

The likely outcome of that debate ”“ which has pitted General Stanley McCrystal, the administration’s handpicked commander in Afghanistan, against war sceptics in Congress and at the highest levels of government ”“ is coming into view.

Officials, diplomats and analysts say Mr Obama will probably authorise more troops, though not perhaps the 30,000-40,000 sought by his generals, that a substantial proportion are likely to be trainers as well as combat forces and that, because of other demands on the US military, the extra boots on the ground will not arrive until next year ”“ and only over time.

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, War in Afghanistan

In Charleston, S. C., an East Side Haven with the help of 4 parishes and the Episcopal diocese

On Oct. 12, the Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, will consecrate St. John’s Chapel. Built on Hanover Street on the East Side in 1839 for $4,000, St. John’s was Charleston’s second “free church” after St. Stephen’s on Anson Street. Worshippers, a mix of black and white, did not have to pay rent to sit in the pews.

The resurrection of the chapel, which has been dormant for much of the past half-century, was made possible by the determination and financial support of the diocese, which contributed about $900,000, and four thriving Episcopal parishes: St. Michael’s downtown, St. Andrew’s in Mount Pleasant, the Church of the Holy Cross on Sullivan’s Island and the Church of the Cross in Bluffton, which provided about $300,000. (The total cost of the project is about $2 million, according to church officials.)

The theme of St. John’s is “to bring uncomplicated worship to the East Side community,” and the focus is ministerial, the Rev. Dallas H. Wilson Jr. said.

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

New Dean for Koforidua St. Peter’s Anglican Cathedra in Ghana

The Very Reverend Father Seth Yaw Amoako-Adu, a graduate of University of Hull, United Kingdom, was on Sunday installed as the third Dean of the Saint Peter’s Anglican Cathedral at a special service at Koforidua.

The installation service was celebrated by Rt. Rev. Francis Benjamin Quashie, Bishop of the Koforidua Diocese of the Anglican Church.

Very Rev. Amoako-Adu was ordained into the priesthood in 1987 at Obo Kwahu St. Paul’s Anglican Church and had served various congregations of the Anglican Church in Ghana, the Cameroon where he rose to the rank of an Archdeacon, and the United Kingdom.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of Central Africa