Daily Archives: November 7, 2009

The Bishop of Fort Worth's Diocesan Convention Address

Since this past April, the threat of a lawsuit has been hanging over us, seeking to distract us from our mission and make us anxious about the future. As you know, the small minority who separated from us in order to remain in the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America has not been content with our willingness to give them their buildings and property ”“ they want ours as well! It has been and will continue to be a huge distraction and a great drain on time, energy and resources. I have tried to keep all of you informed, while at the same time not being preoccupied with the litigation, as it has developed. Our focus must be on the mission of the Church, not the lawsuit. Sad to say, there is no end in sight. Once there is a decision by the court, whichever side loses will surely file an appeal, with the likelihood of another appeal after that. So we are talking years, not months, before this whole matter is resolved. I can assure you that we are being very well represented by our attorneys, and I ask that you continue to pray for them as they go about their work, especially our lead attorney, Shelby Sharpe. I am certain that he would want me to remind you, however, that our hope and trust is in God alone, not our legal team. We are engaged in spiritual warfare, as well as a legal battle. I would also remind you that no diocesan funds or parish assessments are going toward our legal expenses. Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous benefactor, all of our legal fees are being paid by special gifts. For this, we are sincerely and deeply grateful, and we say a word of heartfelt thanks at this time.

As the lawsuit makes its way through the courts, we must continue to focus on the mission of the church, to go make disciples of all nations and to minister in the name of Christ to all who are in need. We are called to be a missionary and evangelistic church, as well as a ministering and serving church. But the work of the church is always hampered and weakened by divisions among us. So now more than ever, we must work and pray for the unity of the Church of God. Christ wills for his disciples to be one, and we must do all we can to heal the brokenness in the Body of Christ. It is not enough to simply maintain the historic biblical faith for ourselves, our children, and our grandchildren. We must also share it with others, in order to bring the whole world to Christ. And this work must be done in concert with others, never alone. So let us work and pray for a deeper unity in Christ for all believers, for the sake of mission, that the world may believe.

Read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

The Episcopal Church in 2009 – A Primer for Those in the Pews

Worth rereading if you have already seen it, and important for those who have not

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

Episcopalians pick five strategic goals for future

Survey respondents were asked to “imagine the year as 2019, and [that] the Episcopal Church is even more vital and thriving than it is today” and then rank a list of 11 goals in order of their importance in reaching that vision.

The five areas called “very important” by a clear majority of respondents were, in descending order: reaching youth and young adults; evangelism/proclaiming the good news of Christ; worship, music and liturgy; leadership; and strengthening congregations.

The six least important areas, in descending order were: multicultural inclusion; advocacy and social justice; stewardship; clarity of denominational mission; planting new churches and communities of faith; and church administration, coordination and structure.

Read it all.

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

WSJ: Executives Express Caution About Hiring

A September survey of executives from large firms by the Business Roundtable found 13% expected to increase employment in the next six months, an improvement from 6% a quarter earlier. But 40% planned to cut payrolls.

Some companies are moving from mass layoffs to a mix of hiring and firing. Boeing Co., the Chicago-based aircraft maker, is carrying out 10,000 planned layoffs. But it announced last week it also is building a new factory in North Charleston, S.C., where it could employ as many as 3,800 workers assembling 787 Dreamliner airplanes. But the plant won’t open before July 2011.

Airlines too eport glimmers of evidence the plunge in passenger demand is over. But executives have said they see few signs travelers are coming back or are willing to pay more for tickets. So the airlines are continuing to trim jobs and drop money-losing routes, which means fewer jobs.

The months ahead could lead to a turbulent reshuffling of the work force from sectors that are still contracting, such as airlines and manufacturing, into growth sectors such as technology.

Read the whole article.

Posted in Uncategorized

CalculatedRisk on Yesterday's Employment Report

The monthly BLS report provides data on workers unemployed for 27 or more weeks, and here is a graph …

Unemployed Over 26 Weeks–The blue line is the number of workers unemployed for 27 weeks or more. The red line is the same data as a percent of the civilian workforce.

According to the BLS, there are a record 5.6 million workers who have been unemployed for more than 26 weeks (and still want a job). This is a record 3.6% of the civilian workforce. (note: records started in 1948)

Read it all

Posted in Uncategorized

WSJ Front Page: Grim Milestone as Jobless Rate Tops 10%

The unemployment rate last month soared above 10% for the first time since the early 1980s, a milestone likely to weigh on consumer confidence and stir new efforts in Washington to spur job creation.

Some 558,000 people joined the ranks of the jobless in October, sending the rate to 10.2% and the tally of officially unemployed Americans to 15.7 million, the Labor Department said. The 10% figure could overshadow last week’s news that the economy began growing again this summer after a long contraction.

“Ten percent is a terribly important number,” Democratic pollster Peter Hart said. “It is not only the 10.2% of the people who are unemployed, it is the number of people who are reliant on that 10%. It’s probably the other 20% who say, ‘I’m worried, I’m uncertain, I’m afraid about this, I worry about my job.'”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Irish Times: A love of reconciliation

The tragedy is that the church which is called to be the model of reconciliation is often its contradiction because of a preoccupation with internal matters.

We see this in the debate within churches about the role of women in ministry. While there has been a general acceptance within Anglicanism of women’s ordination, there are those who feel in conscience that they cannot accept this break with tradition and especially if it means the ordination of women bishops.

In response to the situation, Pope Benedict XVI recently approved a canonical structure which will allow former Anglicans to enter full communion with the Roman Catholic Church while preserving elements of their Anglican heritage.

But the suggestion that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, was only informed of this proposal at the last minute has caused disquiet in Anglican circles and beyond. Archbishop George Carey, his predecessor, was “appalled” that Archbishop Williams was informed only shortly before it was announced: “I think in this day and age, it was inexcusable to do this without consultation.” The Catholic theologian Father Hans Küng described the offer as a “tragedy, a non-ecumenical piracy of priests.” These are difficult times for ecumenism.

Read it all.

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

Jeff Walton: Religious Groups at Center of Maine Marriage Vote

[Episcopal Bishop Stephen] Lane said that after Gov. Baldacci signed the same-sex marriage law earlier this year, the bishop began to work on a set of guidelines for Maine Episcopal clergy to use with legal same-gender marriage. Due to the law’s repeal, these guidelines will not be distributed.

“However, I will continue to work with a small group to consider the ways we may support the faithful, monogamous relationships of faithful gay and lesbian Episcopalians,” Lane added. “Yesterday was a set back to be sure, but we will continue to strive for justice and peace among all people. We are in this for the long haul.”

About 37 percent of Maine’s 1.3 million population is Roman Catholic, according to the Association of Religion Data Archives. Episcopalians represent 8 percent of the population, however 2008 diocesan attendance figures reveal that less than 5,000 of those parishioners are in church each week.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Sexuality, State Government, TEC Bishops

Belleville minister: Former church wants to 'destroy' him

The Rev. Dale Coleman, who has quietly led St. George’s Episcopal Church in Belleville for two years, believes there are people at his former church in New Mexico “who want to destroy me.”

He said that a vendetta has followed him to Belleville that started over ideological differences involving homosexuals in the church but escalated into a series of personal attacks that he still faces in court, including that the married minister improperly spent church money on a girlfriend.

Coleman opened himself up to scrutiny by his former church by filing a lawsuit to force the church to pay $40,000 left unpaid on a $115,000 severance agreement.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

Todd Wetzel Remembers Bishop John Burt

Bishop Burt was a low churchman, with considerable respect for the breadth of the Episcopal Church’s ecclesiology. He knew the Diocese of Ohio well, working hard to visit every parish every year ”” often three parishes each Sunday. Ohio is a geographically large diocese: from the industrial center in the East to the farmlands of the West; from the wealth of the north to the poverty of Appalachia in the south. He knew it well and traveled it often. He knew each parish and respected the integrity of its history. Anglo-Catholic parishes got Anglo-Catholic clergy; conservative parishes got conservative clergy. Low churches got low churchmen. Nearly all the parishes sought and respected his opinion about who should be interviewed and who should not. More often than not, his opinion prevailed and a good match resulted. When the relationships failed between clergy and parishes, Bishop Burt did his best to protect both parties.

He had a talent for building a collegial group of clergy. Diocesan conventions were among the high points of the year, as was the Boar’s Head and Yule Log Festival at Trinity Cathedral between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Bishop Burt loved this day involving hundreds in costume. He especially delighted in serving the huge mincemeat pie that had been processed in the pageant and presented before the high altar marking the Christmas season. Our whole family participated in this annual event.

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

Presiding Bishop to visit St. Stephen’s Pro-Cathedral in Pennsylvania

For what may be the first time in nearly two centuries, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church will visit St. Stephen’s Pro-Cathedral Wednesday, spending time at outreach ministries in the afternoon and giving a sermon at an evening service followed by a brief reception and a question-and-answer session.

“We have gone through our archives, and this is the fist time we can find that a presiding bishop has visited St. Stephen’s in about 190 years,” said St. Stephen’s pastor, the Rev. Daniel Gunn. “The last one here was Bishop William White, who consecrated the first St. Stephen’s.” According to the Episcopal Church Web site, White was the first Presiding Bishop, in 1789.

The presiding bishop is “chief pastor” for the Episcopal Church’s 110 dioceses in 16 countries, elected to a nine-year term by the bishops and lay and clergy deputies, according Bill Lewellis, communications minister for the Diocese of Bethlehem, which includes St. Stephen’s. Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori was elected in 2006, the first woman to hold the office, and this is her first visit to this diocese, Lewellis said. She will also be in Bethlehem Monday, Lebanon Tuesday and Scranton Thursday.

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

Post-Gazette: New Anglicans taking their travails in stride

The new Anglican diocese and its 58 parishes are affiliated with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone in South America and the new Anglican Church in North America. Before the split, some of the 28 parishes in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh sued the Anglican diocese, saying that church law requires property of departing parishes to remain with the denomination. Last month’s court decision dealt only with assets of the central diocese, such as endowment funds, not with parish buildings.

Last night the convention seemed to be taking the litigation in stride. The Rev. Mary Hays drew peals of laughter from the 335 clergy and laity when she preached on a passage from Isaiah that says, “He who has no money, come buy and eat.”

“Hey, you who have no money, do you think Isaiah knew that our funds would be frozen?” she asked.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh

New York Times: Questions for Robert Duncan

We should point out that you were deposed from ministry of the Episcopal Church by the presiding bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori, after you threatened to have your diocese in Pittsburgh secede.

That was a year ago, but what’s interesting is that virtually no one in the Anglican world accepted that sentence. Within two weeks of being deposed, I was received at Lambeth Palace in London by the archbishop of Canterbury, who continues to consider me a bishop.

Bishop Schori heads the Episcopal Church in this country, and you opposed her election in 2006?

She was the least qualified, the least experienced, of the candidates, but I hoped that what she would bring if she were elected was the kind of grace that women often bring. She turned out to be far harder, far less willing to bend or compromise, than any of the men.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh

Innocent Bystanders: The Employment Picture and the Current Administration's Stimulus Defense

The President and his economic team have claimed that the plan is working as intended, that they’re on track to save the original goal of 3.6 million jobs, but somehow, despite practically drowning in success, we’re going to have to live with high unemployment for years to come. Oh, and that everything is still Bush’s fault.

These claims have been debunked by a variety of sources, including the AP (and here), the Chicago Tribune, the Denver Post, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, and blogs such as Political Math (H/T d3ft punk).

But forget the quantitative treatment for a moment and consider what the Obama team’s graph said on a qualitative level. The graph says that within a couple of quarters, the stimulus package will stop the increase in unemployment and reverse the employment trend. That was the real mission of the stimulus. Stop job loss. Get the private sector hiring again.

So no matter how convoluted and fanciful the “jobs created or saved” numbers get, we just have to remember what the point used to be, and realize how far short we’ve fallen. And whose fault that really is.

Read it all and look carefully at those graphs.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The Fiscal Stimulus Package of 2009

Ft. Hood Investigators Focus on Motive

As military and law-enforcement investigators waited to interview Major Hasan, a contradictory portrait of him emerged. Neighbors described him as a man who dressed alternately in a military uniform and flowing white robes, and who gave a copy of the Koran to his next-door neighbor a day before the shooting.

Reports from the shooting suggested that soldiers may have heard him shout something like “Allahu Akbar” ”” Arabic for “God is great!” ”” just before he fired two automatic handguns. He was shown on a security video tape from a local convenience store wearing white robes just hours before the shooting. And family members said that he had complained about being harassed expressly because he was a Muslim, and that he had expressed deep concerns about deploying.

Acquaintances said Major Hasan was upset about his future deployment in a war zone, and heatedly opposed United States foreign policy in discussions with fellow soldiers. Earlier this year law-enforcement officers monitoring Islamic Web sites identified a man of the same name as a blogger who posted comments on suicide bombings in which he equated such acts to those by soldiers who use their own bodies to shield fellow soldiers from exploding shrapnel.

Read the whole thing.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Islam, Military / Armed Forces, Other Faiths, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Violence