Daily Archives: November 8, 2009

Pittsburgh Anglican Diocese to expand, cut costs

Due to at least a temporary loss of endowment, the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh has slashed its budget, but still plans to launch 70 new churches over five years.

It received five mission congregations at its convention yesterday in Sewickley. It also received four parishes from outside its original boundaries. All nine were already counted among its 58 churches.

The Anglican diocese is appealing a Common Pleas Court decision awarding its endowment to the 28-parish Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh. The two split last year when a majority at the diocesan convention voted to secede from the Episcopal Church, which they believed had failed to uphold biblical doctrine on matters from salvation to sexuality. The Anglican diocese billed this as its 144th convention, and there were references to the Episcopalians as “the rogue diocese.”

But others can’t be blamed for any past failure of missionary initiative, said the Rev. Mary Hays, canon to the ordinary, as she urged the diocese to start 70 new churches.

Read it all.

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

LA Times: Runaway Toyota cases ignored

More than 1,000 Toyota and Lexus owners have reported since 2001 that their vehicles suddenly accelerated on their own, in many cases slamming into trees, parked cars and brick walls, among other obstacles, a Times review of federal records has found.

The crashes resulted in at least 19 deaths and scores of injuries over the last decade, records show. Federal regulators say that is far more than any other automaker has experienced.

Owner complaints helped trigger at least eight investigations into sudden acceleration in Toyota and Lexus vehicles by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the last seven years. Toyota Motor Corp. recalled fewer than 85,000 vehicles in response to two of those probes, and the federal agency closed six other cases without finding a defect.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, The U.S. Government, Travel

ABC News Nightline: Are Toyota's Accelerators Out of Control?

This is a must watch.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, The U.S. Government, Travel

With victory in House, health care reform moves to Senate

The House of Representatives passed a sweeping health care bill Saturday night with a tight vote of 220-215, making it the biggest expansion of health care coverage since Medicare was created more than 40 years ago.

The Affordable Health Care for America Act, or H.R. 3962, restricts insurance companies from denying coverage to anyone with a pre-existing condition or charging higher premiums based on gender or medical history. It also provides federal subsidies to those who cannot afford it and guarantees coverage for 96 percent of Americans, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

However, turning the bill into law remains uncertain.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Health & Medicine, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate

Jeremy Bonner Reports on the ACNA Affiliated Diocese of Pittsburgh Convention

Back in October, I was struck by the presence of Don Green of Christian Associates of Southwestern Pennsylvania (the local ecumenical association) at the TEC diocesan convention and yet today here he was again, with the timely reminder that the past year had not been an easy journey for us or “our sisters and brothers” in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh. He commended the fact that the Archbishop continued to attend ecumenical gatherings and contribute to the work of finding ways to give public witness to a common faith. He noted the pending admission of the Church in God in Christ and the Mennonites to Christian Associates next year and the work of the Allegheny Jail Ministry, which had cut recidivism rates from 65% to 16%.

Three resolutions now stood before convention and in the first I took direct personal interest. Entitled “The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh ”“ Who We are in Christ,” it affirmed the Jerusalem Declaration as a summary of the essentials of our faith and pledged submission to the leadership of the GAFCON membership “as we look to our future as an orthodox and missionary movement in world Anglicanism.” On seeing the text, I was struck by the omission of any reference to the Anglican Covenant and so drafted an amendment that read as follows:

And be it further resolved that, in harmony with the resolution of the ACNA Provincial Council of June 22, 2009, we express our continued willingness to subscribe to the un-amended Ridley Cambridge Draft of the Anglican Covenant.

In retrospect, it may be that I overestimated the potential for opposition (especially as the sponsor Geoff Chapman afterwards told me that he would have accepted it as a friendly amendment), but so much of what I have read of late has been phrased as if the Jamaica debacle ended any meaningful possibility of change, so I pitched my advocacy in terms of catholic responsibility and the possibility that the Archbishop who is ultimately responsible for implementing the Covenant may not be the present incumbent. Archbishop Duncan then stated that he had been responsible for the provincial council resolution and that ”“ since the amendment referred to the original Ridley Cambridge Draft (with its disciplinary language) – he would “enthusiastically” support it. In response to a request from the floor for the context of the draft, he gave a very polished account of how events since 2003 had led to the Covenant, noting further that it had originally been conceived among the proposals in “To Mend the Net.” The resolution passed unanimously.

Read it all.

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

GP Taylor: No hope, no love, no grace… why I have lost faith in the sinking Church of England

The leadership of the Catholic Church doesn’t seem to be afraid to stand up for important moral issues. A secular Press often ridicules these beliefs, but the Catholics have the courage not to back down.

In this rising and damaging age of secularism, this country needs a strong moral compass to be a guide through some very troubled waters. The politicians are not the answer as we have seen with their morally bankrupt attitude to expenses.

I, for one, see a need for the Church to again be prophetic to the nation and not be afraid to stand up for what it believes. Heartbreakingly, I am no longer sure the Church of England can do this.

Like so many other Anglicans, I am at that place where I feel I must desert a sinking ship. The iceberg of secularism has struck and even the dance band is now singing the Magnificat.

Read it all.

Update: More there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Other Churches, Poetry & Literature, Roman Catholic

US Treasury Secretary Talks To Sky News

He comes out solidly against the dumb transaction tax idea. Well worth the time. Watch it all (about 6 1/3 minutes)–KSH.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Finance and CB Ministers, Saint Andrews, Scotland, November 2009, G20, Stock Market, Taxes, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Britain and U.S. Clash at G-20 on Tax to Insure Against Crises

The United States and Britain voiced disagreement Saturday over a proposal that would impose a new tax on financial transactions to support future bank rescues.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown of Britain, leading a meeting here of finance ministers from the Group of 20 rich and developing countries, said such a tax on banks should be considered as a way to take the burden off taxpayers during periods of financial crisis. His comments pre-empted the International Monetary Fund, which is set to present a range of options next spring to ensure financial stability.

But the proposal was met with little enthusiasm by the United States Treasury secretary, Timothy F. Geithner, who told Sky News in an interview that he would not support a tax on everyday financial transactions.

What a disappointment Gorden Brown is turning out to be. This is a very bad idea that he has come out behind, and his timing could not be worse. Fortunately, even the Russian finance minister spoke against it. In any event, read it all–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Finance and CB Ministers, Saint Andrews, Scotland, November 2009, G20, Globalization, Stock Market, Taxes, The U.S. Government, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner

The Bishop of Southern Ohio's Diocesan Convention Address

Finally, after much prayer and consultation, I have decided that the time has come for Southern Ohio to adjust its policy regarding the blessing of same-sex unions. As you all know, in the forums that preceded my election as your diocesan bishop, I was very clear that I thought the church should bless the godly, faithful and life-long union of two persons of the same sex. Moreover, my views on this matter have been expressed in two published books. So my own views will not be a surprise to anyone. At the same time, as I also stated in the forums, I do not wish to act in isolation from the Episcopal Church. So since I became a bishop I have upheld the policy I inherited, which did not permit the blessing of same-sex unions under any circumstances. It is my view that the recent General Convention resolutions D025 and C056 have altered the terrain, by reasserting the possibility of godly unions between persons of the same sex, and by inviting bishops who have jurisdiction in states that have offered some form of civil union to gay and lesbian couples to exercise “pastoral generosity” in offering the church’s public ministrations to such couples. In so doing, the Episcopal Church has effectively acknowledged that the godly union of two persons of the same sex ”“ by which I mean the union of two persons who have vowed lifelong fidelity to one another, and accept accountability to the faith community as a faithful household ”“ can be blessed by the church. I am convinced that in fairness to our fellow Episcopalians who have entered into such unions or who desire to do so, we must move deliberately toward the implementation of a policy that will permit and govern the blessings of such unions in Southern Ohio. On this basis, I am lifting the prohibition on the blessing of same-sex unions in this diocese, effective Easter 2010.

I am aware that there are some in this diocese who will be unhappy with this change in policy, and that there are clergy who cannot in good conscience officiate at such blessings. It is important to underscore that no priest within the Diocese will be under any obligation ”“ now or at any time ”“ to perform such blessings, and the position of those who wish not to perform any such blessings will be respected and honored. I wish to do whatever I can to allay any fears on this score.

Although it will take some time to work out all the details of this policy, here are a few parameters which I will be imposing from the outset. No blessing of a same-sex union shall occur without my written permission. I will consider each request individually and will require 60 days notice in each case. I expect that at least one of the two persons seeking a blessing within this church will be a confirmed or received Episcopalian in good standing, and that adequate counseling with the officiating priest (or an agreed-upon substitute) will be required prior to the blessing. I acknowledge that these requirements may seem discriminatory to some. They are however necessary at the present time, in order that I may exercise pastoral oversight as we venture into this new territory for the diocese. Similarly, I will be expecting parish priests who wish to perform such blessings to engage in significant conversation with the congregation or congregations they serve before they move in this direction. In asking for this, I do not intend in any way to suggest that the appropriate exercise of the priesthood is subject to any other oversight than that of the bishop’s, but to ensure this policy be a matter of open conversation, and that all local voices be heard.

Read it all (pdf).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts

Proposed Resolutions for the Diocese of Southern Ohio's Convention Today

Check them out (pages 16-18).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils