Daily Archives: October 11, 2009

Parish power could block women bishops as church promises law to appease traditionalists

The Church of England has risked starting another damaging row over women bishops.

Leaders have promised revised Church laws to ensure that traditionalists will never have to be led by a woman if they do not want to be.

Last night’s announcement is seen as a move to appease those worshippers who will not accept female clerics.

But it is certain to anger liberals who believe it will mean women bishops being denied equal status with male prelates.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Women

Reuters: Anglicans, in row, may cut women bishops' powers

The Church of England could restrict the powers of some women bishops under a plan designed to end a rift between traditionalists who want to keep the all-male senior clergy, and liberals demanding equality.

The proposal has reignited the long-running debate over a supposed ecclesiastical “stained-glass ceiling” that stops women from attaining the most senior roles in the church.

Along with homosexual bishops and same-sex marriages, the ordination of women is among the most divisive issues facing the Anglican Communion, which has 77 million members worldwide.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Women

A Statement by Forward in Faith in response to news from the Revision Committee

From here:

Forward in Faith regrets that a majority of the Revision Committee has not supported the proposal for new dioceses put forward by the Catholic Group in General Synod to make provision for those conscientiously opposed to the consecration of women as bishops. We continue to believe that new dioceses would be both a better and a fairer way forward for all in the Church of England.

Nevertheless, we believe that the Revision Committee’s proposal to make provision for the statutory transfer of jurisdiction to complementary bishops could be the basis for a way forward. However, we will need to evaluate the full details of the proposals carefully when they become available in order to assess them properly.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Women

Full Statement of the Revision Committee on Women in the Episcopate in the C of E

The Revision Committee established by the General Synod to consider the draft legislation on enabling women to become bishops in the Church of England today completed the first phase of its work. The Committee has further meetings planned between now and December and is aiming to complete its task by Christmas so that its report can be debated in full Synod in February and the draft legislation begin its Revision Stage in full Synod.

The Committee received nearly 300 submissions, including more than 100 from members of General Synod. Many of these offered alternatives to the proposal in the draft legislation to make provision by way of statutory code of practice for those unable on grounds of theological conviction to receive the episcopal and/or priestly ministry of women.

In the seven meetings that it has held so far, the Committee has considered each of these alternatives: additional dioceses; the vesting by statute of certain functions in bishops with a special responsibility for those with conscientious difficulties; the creation of a recognised society for those with conscientious difficulties; and the adoption of the simplest possible legislation without a statutory code of practice.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Women

21st Century Babies–The Gift of Life, and Its Price

Scary. Like aliens. That is how Kerry Mastera remembers her twins, Max and Wes, in the traumatic days after they were born nine weeks early. Machines forced air into the infants’ lungs, pushing their tiny chests up and down in artificial heaves. Tubes delivered nourishment. They were so small her husband’s wedding band fit around an entire baby foot.

Having a family had been an elusive goal for Jeff and Kerry Mastera, a blur of more than two years, dozens of doctor visits and four tries with a procedure called intrauterine insemination, all failures. In one year, the Masteras spent 23 percent of their income on fertility treatments.

The couple had nearly given up, but last year they decided to try once more, this time through in-vitro fertilization. Pregnancy quickly followed, as did the Mastera boys, who arrived at the Swedish Medical Center in Denver on Feb. 16 at 3 pounds, 1 ounce apiece. Kept alive in a neonatal intensive care unit, Max remained in the hospital 43 days; Wes came home in 51.

By the time it was over, medical bills for the boys exceeded $1.2 million.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Health & Medicine, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Science & Technology

A Dogged Taliban Chief Rebounds, Vexing the U.S.

In late 2001, Mullah Muhammad Omar’s prospects seemed utterly bleak. The ill-educated, one-eyed leader of the Taliban had fled on a motorbike after his fighters were swiftly routed by the Americans invading Afghanistan.

Much of the world celebrated his ouster, and Afghans cheered the return of girls’ education, music and ordinary pleasures outlawed by the grim fundamentalist government.

Eight years later, Mullah Omar leads an insurgency that has gained steady ground in much of Afghanistan against much better equipped American and NATO forces. Far from a historical footnote, he represents a vexing security challenge for the Obama administration, one that has consumed the president’s advisers, divided Democrats and left many Americans frustrated.

“This is an amazing story,” said Bruce Riedel, a former Central Intelligence Agency officer who coordinated the Obama administration’s initial review of Afghanistan policy in the spring. “He’s a semiliterate individual who has met with no more than a handful of non-Muslims in his entire life. And he’s staged one of the most remarkable military comebacks in modern history.”

Read the whole thing.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, War in Afghanistan

Irwin Stelzer in the (London) Sunday Times: U.S. Economic clouds part but underlying problems remain

Unfortunately, even if things are improving ”” and I prefer V for victory to W for worry ”” the fundamental cause of recent financial problems remains unaddressed. Low interest rates fuelled unsustainable debt. Those low rates were the result of China’s need to make money from the pile of dollars it earns from its exports. It did this by buying Treasury IOUs, keeping their price up and their rates down. China’s exports, in turn, were fuelled by its undervalued currency. That policy remains unchanged. So do trade imbalances. Which means the dollar probably has further to fall if imports to America are to become more expensive, and exports of American products more competitive.

There is no indication that the administration finds a dollar decline undesirable, if it is gradual, despite Geithner’s strong-dollar statement. It is the possibility of a dollar collapse that worries some at the White House. The same fear among investors has triggered a flight to gold. Such a development would force up interest rates, aborting the recovery. Obama has no desire to face the electorate in 2012 with high inflation and interest rates soaring, a real possibility if he adds to the downward pressure on the dollar by increasing the red ink already pouring over the nation’s ledgers, as frightened congressional Democrats are demanding.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Budget, China, Economy, Globalization, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, The United States Currency (Dollar etc), Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner

Religious groups put their faith in U2

Greg Garrett, the author, teaches English at Baylor University and writing at an Episcopal seminary. He was writing for a music magazine and interviewed the band in their early years.

Garrett says he left his faith behind for many years, but was always a U2 fan. A person can listen to their music and its messages without caring about the spiritual context from which it came, he said by phone.

“You can say, ‘They are a perfectly good rock band and work for peace and justice, and I can get on board with that, but don’t talk to me about Christianity,’ ” he said. “But to leave those things out is to ignore where their passion for peace and justice come from.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Music, Religion & Culture

In South Dakota Today an Episcopal service to feature new leaders

Calvary Episcopal Cathedral in Sioux Falls will celebrate new beginnings with two incoming leaders today when the Rev. Ward Simpson, new dean of the cathedral, and the Rev. John Tarrant, bishop-elect of the Diocese of South Dakota, lead worship together.

Tarrant, elected May 9 by the state’s Episcopalians, will lead Holy Eucharist, and Simpson will preach on his first Sunday as leader of the congregation.

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

Local Paper: Differing viewpoints in the Diocese of South Carolina

Barbara Mann, treasurer and board member of the Episcopal Forum of South Carolina, said the Episcopal Church has not contradicted its canons or changed the definition of marriage or rejected the lordship of Christ.

And she took issue with the claim that “withdrawing from all bodies of The Episcopal Church,” as stated in the diocese resolution, did not signify a separation.

“The resolution means basically withdrawing from the Episcopal Church,” she said. “The General Convention is the main body of the Episcopal Church.”

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

Bishop Mark Lawrence Engages in Questions and Answers with the Local paper

Q: You (and others) have said that the national church is walking apart, that it’s abandoned in part or whole its doctrines, canons and traditional practices and therefore has relinquished its authority over the Diocese of South Carolina, which remains true to the original canons. And you have said you are ready to re-engage with the national church if it repudiates its recent actions and returns to the Anglican fold. Do you think there is any chance the national church will do so? If yes, why have you called for a withdrawal from it?

A: Actually, the term “walking apart” was used by the Archbishop of Canterbury and many others around the world. What I have said is the authority of national entities in The Episcopal Church has a limited and defined role within a diocese. But ”¦ relinquished its authority? No, I never said that. What I have said is that the Constitution and Canons are what gives the General Convention its authority. When it passes resolutions contrary to those canons or without changing them, it has entered into a theatre of the absurd. Into an irrational way of legislating — that is what General Convention did when it gave bishops permission to allow same-sex marriages without changing the canons that define marriage as between a man and a woman. Along with being unscriptural and confusing to the laity, it is a dysfunctional way to run a church.

Whether The Episcopal Church will repudiate its recent actions is doubtful at best — but this is not about reading tea leaves. God has called me as a bishop of the church to proclaim the gospel in season and out of season, regardless of what others will or will not do. This includes protecting the faithful from false teachings.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Anthropology, Christology, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology

Roderick Strange: Christ’s startling challenge to the rich young man

The meeting between Jesus and the rich young man is one of the most startling, challenging, and misunderstood in the Gospels. It startles us because of Jesus’s blunt declaration. According to St Mark, He tells the young man, “There is one thing you lack. Go and sell everything you own and then come, follow me.” St Matthew’s version is still stronger. Jesus tells him: “If you would be perfect, go and sell, come and follow.” If that is perfection, how can the rest of us rise to the challenge? We should desire perfection, but how many of us can go and sell, come and follow? The challenge is impracticable and impossible. So are we destined to be only second-class citizens in the Kingdom of God? Is perfection the preserve of those few who abandon everything to live lives of poverty, chastity and contemplation, in monasteries and convents? Or have we misunderstood something?

Perhaps we have….

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Christology, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Roman Catholic, Stewardship, Theology, Theology: Scripture

The Bishop of Virginia Writes his Diocese

Dear Diocesan Family,

A panel of the Virginia Supreme Court will hear our petition for appeal on October 21 and, while it is unfortunate that these legal proceedings were necessary, I trust that this hearing will bring us one step closer to resolution.

I am proud that the Diocese of Virginia and the Episcopal Church have chosen the path consistently to defend loyal Episcopalians, and to safeguard and to protect the Church’s legacy and the Church from unwarranted governmental and legislative interference. It is with the same determination to stand by the people, traditions and legacy of our diocese that I look toward our appeal.
For nearly 225 years, the Episcopal Church has had the freedom to govern itself according to its beliefs. But that freedom is under direct attack here in our diocese in the form of a Virginia law that allows the government to interfere with the faith, polity and structure of our Church and other hierarchical churches in the Commonwealth.

I believe that this law is unconstitutional and that there is too much at stake to let it remain in effect. The legal struggle to secure our right to organize as we choose and safeguard our churches from those seeking to seize them has not been easy. This journey has been a long one, but now more than ever we must all gather around those who need us most at this difficult time.

Loyal Episcopalians have been exiled from their Episcopal homes for too long and I ask you to keep all of them in your prayers. This includes St. Stephen’s, Heathsville; St. Margaret’s, Woodbridge; Epiphany, Oak Hill; and The Falls Church, Falls Church. These parishioners have been denied the ability to worship as they wish at the very same churches where they were married, where they baptized their children and where they buried their loved ones. I view this next hearing with great hope for the day when I will join these faith-filled Episcopalians as they return to their church homes to celebrate and worship together.

Faithfully yours,

–(The Rt. Rev.) Shannon S. Johnston, Bishop of Virginia

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