Daily Archives: October 27, 2009

Ottawa Anglican church to bless same-sex marriages

Anglican Bishop John Chapman is allowing an Ottawa church to offer blessings for same-sex couples who are already civilly married.

“My intention is to embrace a liturgical process that will not discriminate between members of the church on the basis of sexual orientation,” Chapman told a congregation Thursday night at the beginning of the diocese’s annual synod. “This will be Ottawa’s offering to the ongoing discernment that is happening throughout the Anglican Church of Canada.”

St. John the Evangelist, at the corner of Somerset and Elgin streets, will be the only Anglican church in Ottawa offering the blessing as long as one person in the couple is baptized. The church, considered one of the more progressive Anglican churches with a strong connection to the gay community, asked the diocese in 2002 for permission to offer same-sex blessings.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Religious Intelligence: Rebuff for Vatican offer to Anglicans

A mass exodus of overseas Anglo-Catholics in response to last week’s announcement of a proposed Anglican enclave within the Roman Catholic Church is unlikely, a review of the Communion by The Church of England Newspaper finds.

While overseas leaders acknowledge that individual Anglicans may take advantage of the provisions of the proposed Apostolic Constitution for the creation of “Personal Ordinariates for Anglicans entering the Catholic Church,” no diocese or province is set to quit the Anglican Communion for Rome.

In jurisdictions where traditional Anglo-Catholics predominate: the Provinces of Central Africa, Tanzania, West Africa, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, the West Indies; the Australian dioceses of The Murray and Ballarat and the US dioceses of Fort Worth, Quincy and San Joaquin—individuals may take up the Vatican’s offer, but no institution is likely to follow. Nor is the offer likely to divide North American conservatives into rival Anglo-Catholic and Evangelical camps, its leaders tell CEN.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

WSJ front page–Job Market Frozen by Health Care Debate

The economy remains unsteady 22 months after the recession began, with banks restricting credit and consumers hunkering down. For these small businesses, and many others across the country, there’s an additional dark cloud: uncertainty created by Washington’s bid to reorganize a wide swath of the U.S. economy.

The economic contraction is of course the prime force driving companies to lay off workers. But a health-care overhaul grinding through Congress could bring unknown new obligations to insure employees. Bush-era tax cuts are set to end next year, and their fate is unclear. Legislation aimed at tackling climate change might raise businesses’ energy costs. Meanwhile, a bill aimed at increasing transportation spending is stalled.

Many companies say they have responded by freezing hiring, cutting benefits and delaying expansion plans. With at least 60% of job growth historically coming out of the small-business sector, according to the government’s Small Business Administration, that kind of inertia could impede an economic recovery.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

David Lewis Stokes: On the pope’s outreach to Episcopalians

The basic issue has never been women priests nor even the ordination of practicing homosexuals. These two issues, as serious and divisive as they may be, are simply the more newsworthy symptoms of a pathology that has gone in and out of remission for some 400 years, and that was fated to return with a fatal virulence upon the demise of British culture.

The basic issue that has eroded the Anglican Communion is what has been eating away at its foundations for 400 years: how ecclesiastical authority is to be understood. Since the 16th Century, two very different understandings of authority have engaged in a tug-of-war within the Church of England and the larger Anglican Communion.

One understanding is that the church is determined and shaped by Catholic tradition. Anglicans committed to this understanding of authority have sought to be faithful to that which has been believed by Christians everywhere and at all times. And while these Anglicans would admit that a correct discernment of Catholic tradition is often difficult, they have always considered their church bound by this tradition.

The second understanding of authority, while often respectful of Catholic tradition, proceeds from the Protestant principle of private judgment. This understanding may (and often does) appeal to Scripture and the Holy Spirit. And as long as it was rooted in a coherent culture, this understanding seemed to possess a theological coherence of sorts. But when it is torn from the soil of a coherent culture, as has occurred over the last century, the roots of this understanding are seen to be what they always were: the occasional opinions of whatever happened to be the prevailing majority.

Please read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Episcopal Church (TEC), Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

An Interview With Msgr. Stetson of the Pastoral Provision

ZENIT: What will happen to the Anglican Use parishes that have been in operation for years?

Msgr. Stetson: At the moment the so-called Anglican Use parishes in the United States are personal parishes of the diocese where they are located, which retain elements of the Anglican tradition, especially the liturgy.

There is no canonical relationship between them or with the Ecclesiastical Delegate of the Pastoral Provision.

Presumably, if an ordinariate is established in the United States, the parishes will pass to the jurisdiction of the new ordinariate and come under the jurisdiction of the prelate of the ordinariate.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, - Anglican: Latest News, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

Post-Gazette: Hopes rising for unifying Orthodoxy's U.S. churches

America’s Orthodox Christians, divided for decades among about 10 churches based on Greek or Serb or other ancestry, soon may be moving toward the formation of a united American Orthodox church.

Many of them have dreamed of that for decades, especially as conversions to Orthodoxy have skyrocketed. But most church patriarchs have squelched such talk.

Now it appears that the patriarchs are not only supporting but demanding some sort of unity. To explore what this may mean for believers in the United States, the independent, pan-Orthodox group Orthodox Christian Laity will gather for three days, starting Thursday, at Antiochian Village in Ligonier.

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Orthodox Church, Other Churches

Sr. Edith Bogue: Religion and the Supreme Court

This may be the source of Justice [Samuel] Alito’s frustration. Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Lutheran, and Jewish justices sat with him on the bench. Their governing religious bodies have been active on a variety of legal issues ”“ and yet their affiliation with these “mainstream” denominations is normalized.

There is a perception that somehow, one’s religious belief ”“ whatever it is ”“ can be tucked away so that it has no influence on one’s thinking. Yet the foundational values from which one operates ”“ be they secular humanist or religious ”“ will inevitably have an effect on one’s thinking. It’s surprising that the press has only thought about this with regard to the Catholic justices.

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

A Statement from the Bishop of Chichester, the Right Revd. John Hind

In the light of that I stated that in the event of union with the Roman Catholic Church I would be willing to receive re-ordination into the Roman Catholic priesthood but that I would not be willing to deny the priesthood I have exercised hitherto.

This is clearly a contentious and complex issue and one where it is easy to misunderstand the nuances of the debate. I think I made my position clear in my address at the Forward in Faith assembly. The text is available below and a podcast may be found on the Forward in Faith website.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

Dean Nelson: 'Holy' moments surround us

Throughout civilization, people have looked for ways to experience the sacred and holy. Christians go to church no matter how boring it is, Hindus plunge into the Ganges River no matter how foul it is, Muslims make pilgrimages to Mecca no matter how far and crowded it is. “So it is that monks kneel and chant, that Jews eat a Passover meal, that Polynesians dance, and Quakers sit still,” writes Joseph Martos in Doors to the Sacred. “In themselves they are just locations, activities, things. … In this case they are all sacraments, symbols of something else which is mysterious and hidden, sacred and holy.”

Haven’t we all been part of conversations where they somehow take on a deeper dimension, even though it’s just two people talking? It’s as if the two (or more) people tapped into something much bigger than themselves. It happened toward the end of the movie Away We Go, where the couple (played by John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph) expecting a baby makes promises to each other. But because of the camera angle from above, it is clear that they are making those promises to the universe as well. It’s both private and cosmic. Watching it, I thought of the sacrament of confession. And haven’t we all had meals with friends or family where there was another level to that experience, and we didn’t want to leave the table because of that additional Presence? I’ve had Eucharistic moments at picnic tables, restaurants, kitchens and the beach.

As we become aware of that additional dimension, those moments take on the quality of the holy.

Read it all.

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

St. George’s Anglican Church and the Tree

Surrounded by glass and steel government buildings, some of them bombed-out shells from long ago, St. George’s Church in downtown Baghdad has always seemed like something of an oasis.

Ever since the United States started using high explosives diplomacy with Iraq, the little Anglican church has had one close call after another.

Built in 1936 by the British military during their occupation of Iraq, the church lost some of its famous stained-glass windows when the United States military bombed a nearby building in 1992, and more were destroyed during the invasion in 2003, leaving only three examples remaining. They were mementos of British regiments stationed there.

Sunday the last three stained glass windows were blown out by the suicide bomb blasts that destroyed three Iraqi government buildings nearby, according to the church’s lay pastor, Faiz Georges.

Read it all (the pictures are wonderful).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Iraq War, Parish Ministry, The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East, Violence

A Statement by Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali

From here:

Bishop Michael is not becoming a Roman Catholic. He intends to continue as a bishop in the Church of England and to encourage orthodox people, evangelical and catholic, in the world-wide Anglican Communion. As a long standing member of both ARCIC (Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission) and IARCCUM (International Anglican Roman Catholic Commission on Unity and Mission), he prays for principled unity based on the Bible and theological agreement between the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches. He believes that such unity may be achieved through continuing dialogue.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

In California 3 Valley Presbyterian churches part ways

Three Valley Presbyterian churches have finalized their divorce from the nation’s largest Presbyterian denomination, citing differences over the Bible’s supreme authority and the possible ordination of gays.

But unlike the split within the Valley’s Episcopal diocese, which turned into a bitter court fight, the three congregations are leaving on friendly terms. They have retained their church properties and have agreed to fulfill financial pledges for ministries run by the church they’re leaving.

“The relationships we share with these three congregations, as brothers and sisters in Christ, are more important than property,” said the Rev. Rick Irish, interim leader of the Presbytery of San Joaquin, which governs Valley congregations within Presbyterian Church (USA). “Therefore, we didn’t make property an issue.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Presbyterian, TEC Conflicts, Theology

Pennsylvania Episcopal church considers future after Anglican provision announcement

Following a Mass devoted to church unity, Rev. Aaron R. Bayles, the assistant pastor, reported that the majority of parishioners would be “on board” with the development.

He said he himself was exultant when he heard the news because he had always hoped for the unification of Anglican, Eastern Orthodox and Catholic Christianity. The new provision for Anglicans may be “a step in that direction,” he commented.

For 17 years the parish has refused to allow the local Episcopal bishop to come for a pastoral visit or confirmation. It also stopped paying its annual financial assessment to the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania. The diocese sued to take over the Church of the Good Shepherd’s building in 2009. It is a replica of a 14th-century English country parish that was built in 1894. The property is estimated at $7 million in value.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Continuum, Episcopal Church (TEC), Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pennsylvania

"Sully" Sullenberger (Lehrer News Hour): Lifetime of Preparation Led to 'Miracle'

JEFFREY BROWN: One of the themes that comes through is this idea of being prepared, preparation that helped you at that moment. And it comes through in a way that suggests why you don’t really like the idea of being thought of as a hero.

Explain that.

CAPTAIN CHESLEY “SULLY” SULLENBERGER III: Well, I think, like many people who have found themselves in such an extraordinary circumstance, they really do feel like their entire lives has been a preparation for that moment.

And I think that’s especially true in my case, because I remember vividly as a child knowing that I needed to be prepared for whatever might come. And my mother was a first-grade teacher. And, from her, I got a great lifelong gift of learning.

One of the things I teach my children is that I have always invested in myself, and I have never stopped learning, never stopped growing.

Here is your quiz question before you click. How much time–exactly to the second–did he have between the moment the birds hit the engines and when he landed the plane in the Hudson river? Now go with your guess and read or watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Pastoral Theology, Theology, Travel

A Great Piece About Dentists and Their Coworkers Changing Children's Lives

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

Watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Children, Health & Medicine