Daily Archives: November 3, 2009

Diocese of Toronto's Newest church consecrated

For Kristy Weenen and St. Thomas, Brooklin, it was a new beginning.

Ms. Weenen, 17, was baptized during the consecration service for St. Thomas, Brooklin’s new worship space.

“It was like I was being baptized along with the church,” said Ms. Weenen afterwards. “I was being welcomed into the church, and at the same time I was welcoming the church into its new life. It was an amazing experience.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces

A Lengthy TLC Article on Alison Barfoot: Matchmaking for Uganda

Several weeks ago, the Rev. Canon Dr. Alison Barfoot was approached by a rector from the Diocese of South Carolina who wanted to build relationships between his parish and the Church of Uganda. It was the type of meeting ”” a “divine appointment,” she calls it ”” that moves her to awe and joy. When people ask how they can pray for her, she requests divine appointments, health and safety.

Dr. Barfoot, who completed a Doctor in Ministry from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in 1999, is Assistant for International Relations to the Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi, Archbishop of the Church of Uganda.

Why are these meetings important? While in Herndon, Va., for a missions conference sponsored by the Anglican District of Virginia and Anglican Global Missions Partners on Oct. 24, Dr. Barfoot said, “I’m a matchmaker.” While Americans typically use that term for arranging romantic relationships, Dr. Barfoot’s matchmaking is in the service of a larger goal: She wants to deepen relationships among Anglicans with the Church of Uganda.

“The call that God gave to me is to see eastern Africa as a missionary force,” she told conference participants. “A mission force for the unreached ”” that’s my passion.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of Uganda

Episcopal Bishop's tale of remorse leads to change in Africa

The woman who heads the area Anglican diocese has a question nagging at her, a question she spoke about passionately during a recent sermon at St. John’s the Baptist Episcopal Church in the Seacliff area.

That question is whether a 12-year-old Tanzanian boy named Sadiki would still be alive if she had not encountered him one day, in March, in a remote area of that East African country.

Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves told of that brief encounter movingly and with self-reproach.

It is a story that changed her life, the boy’s life and struck a chord with many others, Gray-Reeves said. It is undeniably tragic, yet growth has sprung from it.

The chance meeting with a disfigured child — an epileptic scarred and infected after falling into a cooking fire during a seizure — has led to a campaign by church members in the diocese to provide solar cooking classes, scholarships and other help to the boy’s village.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church of Tanzania, Anglican Provinces, Children, Episcopal Church (TEC), Poverty, TEC Bishops

Durham invitation to Pope Benedict

Durham Cathedral, which would co-host the event with the University, is commonly regarded as the finest Romanesque building in the world and, together with the University-owned Durham Castle and Palace Green, is a recognised UNESCO world heritage site.

At a time of some increased sensitivity in Anglican-Roman Catholic relations, the strong ecumenical character of the invitation is very significant. The invitation is led by Dr Tom Wright both as Lord Bishop of Durham and as the University’s senior representative, and Mrs Maggie Wright, but is counter-signed and fully supported by Bishop Seamus Cunningham of the Catholic Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, the Chapter of Durham Cathedral, the Abbot of Ampleforth Abbey and the President of Ushaw College, the Catholic seminary for the North of England.

Bishop Wright said: “Durham has in recent years become a major global centre for ecumenical work and the close interlinking of Cathedral and University means that Durham is well placed to host an event which is simultaneously academic and ecumenically spiritual.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ecumenical Relations, Education, England / UK, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Cardinal Kasper joins Protestants in planting trees to mark Reformation

A top Vatican official has joined other global Christian leaders in the eastern German town where Martin Luther broke with the papacy, at a tree-planting ceremony that looks to closer ties on the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017.

The ceremony took place in Wittenberg, the German town known as “Lutherstadt”, 492 years after Luther nailed his epoch-changing 95 theses to a church door there, leading to the breach with the 16th-century papacy

“It is possible for us today to together learn from Martin Luther,” said Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity as he planted the first of 500 trees on 1 November in a landscaped Luther Garden, forming part of the celebrations for 2017.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Ecumenical Relations, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

Michael Jensen: A New Anglicanism

More than ever, we need to renew our vision of what it means to be an evangelical Anglican. My conviction is that not only is being evangelical the most authentic way of being Anglican ”“ we’ve been saying that for years – but also that being Anglican is a great way of being evangelical.

How come?

Firstly, because the Anglican formularies (the 39 Articles, the Prayer-Book and the Homilies) subject themselves at every turn to the authority of scripture. Though they provide an extraordinarily rich theological foundation, they also offer themselves to be tested against a scriptural norm.

Second, because Anglicanism has a great sense of what is of primary and what is of secondary importance. Other Protestant denominations have a tendency to make secondary issues ”“ like the manner of baptism or church discipline or church government ”“ a primary distinguishing mark. And they endlessly divide because of it. The Anglican formularies commit us to important things ”“ and allow us freedom under Scripture on the secondaries. What a blessing!

Third, Anglicanism is a great mission strategy. From the beginning, Cranmer and the others knew that they were in a battle for hearts ”“ hearts, like Catherine Parr’s, that needed conversion. Today, the opportunities opening up for mission because of our Anglican networks ”“ in Sydney and elsewhere – are extraordinary.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Evangelicals, Evangelism and Church Growth, Missions, Other Churches, Parish Ministry

Financial Times: Vicars' pensions under threat as church is seduced by equity cult

Young Anglican vicars are facing the prospect of a bleaker retirement after the Church of England’s pension scheme succumbed to the “cult of equity” and sank 100 per cent of its investments into stocks towards the end of the 1990s bull market.

The Church of England’s current pension scheme for the clergy is now considering sharply curtailing the rate at which they accrue benefits. For a young clergyman, aged 30, these benefits could turn out to be less than half of what recent retirees are receiving.

Shaun Farrell, chief executive of the Church of England Pensions Board, said the collapse of share prices had driven a “huge great hole” in the finances of the scheme, which was created in January 1998. But he said the scheme had invested in equities because its pay-out date was a long way off and “equities will give you the highest returns over the long run”.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Economy, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Stock Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Faith McDonnell: The Death of an Archdeacon

Most likely, the militia (and its sponsors) targeted Mabior because he was a prominent, beloved leader in the community. He had recently become archbishop of Twic East diocese, newly formed to accommodate the fast-growing church in Bor county, which is part of Jonglei state in South Sudan.

While the Obama administration has focused on legendary atrocities in Darfur, the western region of Sudan, the UN reports that the rate of violent deaths in South Sudan now surpasses that in Darfur. Lise Grande, UN Deputy Resident Coordinator in Southern Sudan, recently said more than 2,000 people had died and 250,000 had been displaced by inter-ethnic violence across the region.

Witnesses report that Mabior was shot twice in the legs and that his attackers may have also used a military knife called a “sonki.” After the first shots, 30 men and women from the church and town, including tribal chiefs, soldiers, a university student and other youth leaders, and several of the town’s oral historians, covered Mabior with their own bodies. All 30 gave their lives in their effort to protect him. Mabior died two hours later.

In the aftermath of Mabior’s death the Episcopal Church of Sudan is grieving: “Everyone in the diocese of Bor and the diocese of Twic East is painfully shocked and devastated at losing Joseph. Archdeacon Mabior was a father to many and a mentor to many of us who are clergy,” said John Chol Daau, a priest of Bor diocese currently studying at Trinity School for Ministry in Ambridge, Pa., and a former Lost Boy of Sudan who worked closely with Mabior.

After Mabior’s death, Daau phoned Nathaniel Garang, the bishop of Bor. “Son, I lost a strong man, a follower of the living Christ who never hesitated to preach the gospel of Christ to our people,” Garang said as he wept. “He was like my frontline captain as he and I preached the gospel . . . a great intercessor . . . a pastor and a leader . . . full of patience and love . . . very humble. . . . He would always want to care and serve in any circumstance.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Death / Burial / Funerals, Episcopal Church of the Sudan, Parish Ministry

Karzai Is Vague on Confronting Corruption in Afghanistan

President Hamid Karzai, in his first speech since he was declared the winner of the much-disputed presidential election, said Tuesday that he wanted to tackle corruption but made no specific commitments to reorganize his administration.

“Afghanistan has been tarnished by administrative corruption and I will launch a campaign to clean the government of corruption,” he said.

Asked if that might involve changing key ministers and officials, he said, “These problems cannot be solved by changing high-ranking officials. We’ll review the laws and see what problems are in the law and we will draft some new laws.”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Theology, War in Afghanistan

Bishop Gregory Cameron Criticizes Pope's 'bad manners'

Mgr Andrew Faley [director of ecumenism for the Bishops Conference of England and Wales]: ‘Well, I think there is an answer to it and I can understand why Bishop Gregory should say what he has said. However, I can’t really believe that the Archbishop of Canterbury, over the past several years, has not been aware of the disaffection and the unease of several groups of Anglicans within the Anglican Communion concerning particular issues within that Church which have caused them to be increasingly nervous about what it means to be in unity with that church.

‘Now, the Pope is not an ill-mannered man, as far as I’m aware, it’s not so much about ecumenical bad manners as the Pope’s concern for the unity of the church.

‘As Bishop Christopher Hill said in the joint press conference announcing this particular initiative between ”“ or sorry, not initiative, response ”“ between himself and the Archbishop of Canterbury and also Archbishop Nichols of Westminster, and Archbishop McDonald of Southwark, were present, the four of them – he said, look the last thing we want is more churches.

‘This move of the Pope is directly concerned with the unity of the church. That it’s not so much about wanting just to stand back, therefore, and see the Anglican Communion disintegrate into more and more churches. That’s exactly what Gregory doesn’t want. That’s exactly what I don’t want.’

Read it all or better yet listen to the whole podcast from which it is quoting.

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

A Combat Role, and Anguish, Too

Never before has this country seen so many women paralyzed by the psychological scars of combat. As of June 2008, 19,084 female veterans of Iraq or Afghanistan had received diagnoses of mental disorders from the Department of Veterans Affairs, including 8,454 women with a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress ”” and this number does not include troops still enlisted, or those who have never used the V.A. system.

Their mental anguish, from mortar attacks, the deaths of friends, or traumas that are harder to categorize, is a result of a historic shift. In Iraq and Afghanistan, the military has quietly sidestepped regulations that bar women from jobs in ground combat. With commanders needing resources in wars without front lines, women have found themselves fighting on dusty roads and darkened outposts in ways that were never imagined by their parents or publicly authorized by Congress. And they have distinguished themselves in the field.

Psychologically, it seems, they are emerging as equals. Officials with the Department of Defense said that initial studies of male and female veterans with similar time outside the relative security of bases in Iraq showed that mental health issues arose in roughly the same proportion for members of each sex, though research continues.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Iraq War, Military / Armed Forces, War in Afghanistan, Women

Robert Samuelson: Could America go broke?

The idea that the government of a major advanced country would default on its debt — that is, tell lenders that it won’t repay them all they’re owed — was, until recently, a preposterous proposition. Argentina and Russia have stiffed their creditors, but surely the likes of the United States, Japan or Britain wouldn’t. Well, it’s still a very, very long shot, but it’s no longer entirely unimaginable. Governments of rich countries are borrowing so much that it’s conceivable that one day the twin assumptions underlying their burgeoning debt (that lenders will continue to lend and that governments will continue to pay) might collapse. What happens then?

The question is so unfamiliar that the past provides few clues to the future. Psychology is crucial. To take a parallel example: the dollar. The fear is that foreigners (and Americans, too) will lose confidence in its value and dump it for yen, euros, gold or oil. If too many investors do that, a self-fulfilling stampede could trigger sell-offs in U.S. stocks and bonds. People have predicted such a crisis for decades. It hasn’t happened yet. The currency’s decline has been orderly, because the dollar retains a bedrock confidence based on America’s political stability, openness, wealth and low inflation. But something could shatter that confidence — tomorrow or 10 years from tomorrow.

The same logic applies to exploding government debt….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Globalization

John Allen: The Next Generation of Roman Catholic leaders

Toward the end [of my talk] , I reflected on the next generation of Catholic leaders. Most empirical data has pegged this cohort of young priests, religious and lay activists as more “conservative,” and there’s a good deal of truth to that claim. In general, they’re more attracted to traditional modes of devotion and prayer, less resistant to ecclesiastical authority, and less inclined to challenge church teaching and discipline.

Yet, I argued, slapping the label “conservative” on all this is potentially misleading, because it assumes an ideological frame of reference, as if younger Catholics are picking one side or the other in the church’s version of the culture wars. My sense is that these young people are not so much reacting to (or against) anything in the church, but rather secular culture. In a nutshell, they’re seeking identity and stability in a world that seems to offer neither.

Proof of the point comes when you drill with these young Catholics. You’ll find they often hold views on a wide variety of issues — such as the environment, war and peace, the defense of the poor and of immigrants, and the death penalty — which don’t really fit the ideological stereotype.

These observations are hardly unique to me, of course, but I included them because I wanted to issue a plea to Catholics my age and older.

This new generation seems ideally positioned to address the lamentable tendency in American Catholic life to drive a wedge between the church’s pro-life message and its peace-and-justice commitments. More generally, they can help us find the sane middle between two extremes: What George Weigel correctly calls “Catholicism lite,” meaning a form of the faith sold out to secularism; and what I’ve termed “Taliban Catholicism,” meaning an angry expression of Catholicism that knows only how to excoriate and condemn. Both are real dangers, and the next generation seems well-equipped to steer a middle course, embracing a robust sense of Catholic identity without carrying a chip on their shoulder.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Young Adults

Karzai win complicates White House strategy for Afghanistan

Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s election by default Monday confirms at least a week earlier than expected that the Obama administration will continue for the foreseeable future to have the same mercurial partner in Afghanistan.

Karzai was expected to win the Nov. 7 runoff election easily and continue in the role he has held for nearly eight years, just as President Obama enters the final stage of deciding whether to escalate U.S. involvement in the war.

But the departure of Karzai’s chief rival, former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah, deprives him of a genuine win at the polls and potentially undermines the Obama administration’s goal of building a legitimate government in Kabul.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, War in Afghanistan

Giles Fraser on the Church of England: Compromise can't always keep people together

…the Anglican experiment is far from over. For in a world of mounting religious tension, now more than ever we need the witness of precisely the sort peace treaty attempted by the Church of England.

Not, of course, that we as a church have been very good at resolving our differences over women bishops. Which gets us to the core of the problem. What happens when principles clash?

This isn’t a churchy problem to be waved away by those not involved. For what’s at stake here is how we live alongside those with whom we fundamentally disagree. The Anglican answer has always made peaceful co-existence the priority. And that can mean compromising one’s principles in the name of a greater good. And yet, of course, compromise has a limit – especially when the issue is regarded by many as a fundamental question of justice. So here then is the tragedy: even in a church of natural compromisers, compromise can’t always keep people together.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Identity, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Parish Ministry