Daily Archives: December 19, 2009

Lutheran Tensions Rise because of decision to Allow Clergy in Non-celibate Same sex Unions

Several disaffected members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) say the decision made at the church’s national convention in Minneapolis in August could prompt a major exodus from one of America’s biggest Protestant denominations.

“I wouldn’t even begin to tell you how many thousands [of calls] I’ve gotten,” said Paull Spring, chairman of Lutheran Coalition for Renewal, or CORE, a national coalition based on traditional values. His group said last month that it cannot remain inside the 4.7-million-member ELCA and will form a new synod.

He is not alone.

“I am receiving every single week dozens of phone calls, e-mails, from pastors of the largest Lutheran churches in ELCA,” said the Rev. Walter Kallestad, senior pastor of Community Church of Joy in Glendale, Ariz., who left the synod after having been “rostered” as a minister with the ELCA for 31 years. “I’ve answered hundreds … from congregations looking to transition out of the ELCA.”

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Lutheran, Other Churches, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths)

Times: 'Lukewarm' climate change deal in Copenhagen

The UN climate conference in Copenhagen today approved a deal to tackle global warming proposed by world leaders, after an accord Barack Obama brokered with China, India, Brazil and South Africa.

But the UN Secretary General today admitted the non-binding agreement at the conclusion of the conference was not “everything everyone had hoped for”, as he confirmed a deal had finally been done.

Delegates have agreed to “take note” of the American-led Copenhagen Accord, despite criticism that there are no long-term targets to cut emissions and it is not a legally-binding treaty.

Obama had brokered the agreement with China, India, Brazil and South Africa to tackle global warming, which included a reference to keeping the global temperature rise to just 2C – but the plan does not specify greenhouse gas cuts needed to achieve the 2C goal.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Climate Change, Weather, Denmark, Energy, Natural Resources, Europe, Globalization, Politics in General

Senator Ben Nelson announces support for health-care bill

Sen. Ben Nelson (Neb.), the final Democratic holdout on health care, announced to his caucus Saturday morning that he would support the Senate reform bill, clearing the way for final passage by Christmas.

“We’re there,” said Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), as he headed into a special meeting to outline the deal.

Democratic leaders spent days trying to hammer out a deal with Nelson, and worked late Friday night with him on abortion coverage language that had proved the major stumbling block. Nelson also secured other favors for his home state.

Under the new abortion provisions, states can opt out of allowing plans to cover abortion in insurance exchanges the bill would set up to serve individuals who don’t have employer coverage. Plus, enrollees in plans that do cover abortion procedures would pay for the coverage with separate checks – one for abortion, one for rest of health-care services.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, Senate

Telegraph: Archbishop of Canterbury welcomes 'controversial' Anglican Covenant

Dr Williams also admitted that parts of the long-awaited Anglican Covenant which deal with sanctions against churches that break traditions or established boundaries are “controversial”.

But he insisted it would not be used to punish either conservatives or liberals in the bitter dispute over sexuality within the 80 million-strong worldwide church.

If the provinces sign up to the document, whose final draft has been published online, they agree not to carry out any contentious actions such as putting their clergy in another country without its agreement, electing openly homosexual priests or blessing same-sex unions in church.

The Covenant allows a body called the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion to resolve disputes and to suspend the membership of provinces that break the rules from gatherings of worldwide leaders such as the Lambeth Conference.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Covenant, Archbishop of Canterbury

Documentation Reminder from Yesterday: Proposed Anglican Covenant Sections Compared

Check it out.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Covenant

A Recent Statement from the Episcopal Bishop of Los Angeles

(Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ):

As we approach the nativity of Christ, we need to remember the admonition of the angels to the shepherds: “Be not afraid.”

The Episcopal Church, a member of the Anglican Communion, for more than the past 30 years has been working on gradual, full incorporation of gay and lesbian people. We have worked to be people of gracious restraint for all these years and have now come to a place in our lives that is normal evolutionary change which compels us to move from tolerance to full inclusion.

As with racial and cultural divides, we can look to the great words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who calls us not to fall prey to the insidious drug of gradualism. Indeed, as he said in his speech titled “I Have a Dream”: “This is no time … to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism …. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.”

We must move forward and respect the dignity of all human beings which is called for in our Baptismal Covenant and canons.

The Diocese of Los Angeles has acted in good faith and is moving forward in supporting the full inclusion and full humanity of all people in the Church. Thus, we celebrate the elections of Diane Jardine Bruce and Mary Douglas Glasspool as our next Bishops Suffragan called to share in the work of a strong episcopal team serving this Diocese and all of God’s people.

–(The Rt. Rev.) J. Jon Bruno is Bishop of Los Angeles

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles

Low targets, goals dropped: Copenhagen ends in failure

The UN climate summit reached a weak outline of a global agreement last night in Copenhagen, falling far short of what Britain and many poor countries were seeking and leaving months of tough negotiations to come.

After eight draft texts and all-day talks between 115 world leaders, it was left to Barack Obama and Wen Jiabao, the Chinese premier, to broker a political agreement. The so-called Copenhagen accord “recognises” the scientific case for keeping temperature rises to no more than 2C but did not contain commitments to emissions reductions to achieve that goal.

American officials spun the deal as a “meaningful agreement”, but even Obama said: “This progress is not enough.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Climate Change, Weather, Denmark, Energy, Natural Resources, Europe, Globalization