Daily Archives: February 19, 2010

Tamar Snyder–Married Orthodox Jews report high levels of contentment

According to the Aleinu Marital Satisfaction Survey””an anonymous online study conducted by the Orthodox Union in conjunction with a program of Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles and the Rabbinical Council of California””72% of Orthodox men and 74% of Orthodox women rated their marriages as excellent or very good. By contrast, only 63% of men and 60% of women in the public at large told the General Social Survey, conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, that they were very happy in their marriages.

The Aleinu results are consistent with previous research indicating that couples who participate regularly in religious activities report greater marital contentment and are less likely to divorce. Still, I was surprised. While there are no official statistics, there exists an overwhelming perception in the Orthodox community that divorce rates have gone up, particularly among younger couples. The undertaking of the Aleinu survey attests to some level of worry on the part of Orthodox leaders that the sacred bonds of marriage have been weakened.

To its credit, the Orthodox Union, at a press conference last month, highlighted the top stressors to Orthodox marriages. Lack of communication, not enough time together, and conflicts with in-laws””common complaints of couples religious and not””are on the list. But also on it are special challenges, at least some of which will be familiar to people of other faiths and traditions that favor private schooling, early marriage and large families.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Judaism, Marriage & Family, Other Faiths, Psychology

Damian Thompson–It does not matter if the Ordinariate is small at first

On Monday, Anglo-Catholics across England will be holding a day of prayer to help their bishops, clergy and laity decide how to respond to the Pope’s provision of a self-governing Ordinariate for former Anglicans.

Many members of our Church will be praying with them; in Oxford, Anglicans are joining the members of the Oratory for a Holy Hour in front of the Blessed Sacrament.

There is a lot to pray about, and a lot to pray for. Anglo-Catholics interested in the Holy Father’s offer will be praying for gifts of discernment not only for themselves but for their fellow Anglican Catholics and Catholic Anglicans. (The two terms are not quite interchangeable, which gives you some idea of the complexity of the situation.)

But I’m guessing that top of the list of requests to the Almighty will be for the Catholic Church, in consultation with the Anglo-Catholic leaders, to get it right.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ecumenical Relations, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

Theo Hobson–An illiberal establishment

What does the Church of England think about the fact that it is established? How does it go about defending the indefensible? The growing consensus among Anglican leaders is that this seeming anachronism is a crucial defence against an aggressive secularism, a guarantee that Christianity exists in that inescapable cliche of religious discourse, “the public square”. The Bishop of Durham gave his version of this line in a lecture last week (pdf).

He began by reflecting on the crisis of our democratic system. For politics to regain health, we need to rethink the role of religion in public life. The key problem is that “we have done our best to banish God from the public square”. Hardline secularists have had too much sway ”“ “and, absurdly, there are some Christians who have gone along for the ride, still believing the old fable that God and government don’t mix.” Since the Enlightenment, secular democratic ideology has edged God out of the political sphere, he says, and only a weak form of religion, deism, was permitted.

Read the whole thing.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Church/State Matters, England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture

Papal push could advance Catholic-Orthodox dialogue, bishop says

Although the 1995 encyclical “Ut Unum Sint” by Pope John Paul II helped with Catholic-Orthodox relations, more progress could be made with a nudge from the man currently occupying the chair of Peter, according to an Orthodox bishop who has been part of Catholic-Orthodox dialogues for more than a decade.

“Ut Unum Sint” “was certainly helpful,” said Metropolitan Kallistos. “As an Orthodox, I was surprised and moved at Pope John Paul II when he openly asked for the help of others to understand his role and his primacy as bishop of Rome to the universal church.”

The retired British-born Greek Orthodox metropolitan, raised an Anglican, spent much of his ministry teaching at Oxford University.

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Ecclesiology, Ecumenical Relations, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Theology

In Western Canada New uses are pondered for Anglican properties

What do the Conservatory of Music, Belfry Theatre, Ballet Victoria and the Canadian College of Performing Arts all have in common? They’re all located in former churches.

And in a year or two, 10 more Greater Victoria church properties could be sold or leased, holding opportunity for creative new uses.

Elsewhere, former churches have become galleries, single-family homes, condos, museums, coffee houses, clubs and lecture halls. An old Ottawa church is now a bed and breakfast. A rock group in Montreal turned a church into a recording studio, while another was reincarnated as a pub called L’Anglican.

Read it all.

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

Excited throng to welcome new Anglican bishop down under

Wollongong Bishop-elect Peter Hayward will adopt one of Australia’s biggest Anglican flocks at a packed consecration ceremony in Sydney, church authorities say.

Reverend Canon Peter Lindsay Hayward will become the next Bishop of Wollongong at a consecration ceremony at St Andrew’s Cathedral on April 13.

More than 600 invitations to the ceremony have been sent out.

Read it all.

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

A Good Calculated Risk Graphic of the recent Housing Starts Data in Historical Perspective

Take a look.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

An interview with the Reverend Tim Vivian vicar at Grace Episcopal of Bakersfield California

MT: I’d like to talk to you a little about Grace Episcopal in particular. Can you give me an overview of the place of Grace Episcopal in the Anglican Communion? How does the relationship between the members of the Communion work in practicality?

TV: The Anglican Communion, coming as it did out of the Reformation, is what I call ecclesiastically schizophrenic. Basically we’re Catholic (just not Roman Catholic) but, with our Reformed fear of papal authority we’re very decentralized. Grace is a mission (meaning the Bishop is the rector, head, of the parish) in the Diocese of San Joaquin which in turn is part of the Episcopal Church. Each national church (e.g., Canada, Nigeria) is autonomous, within a loose confederation headed by the Archbishop of Canterbury who, however, has more of a bully-pulpit authority rather than a legislative one.

MT: What are the primary doctrines of Grace Episcopal? How are these connected to the broader Episcopal Church? Are there differences or are the doctrines consistent?

TV: Grace was founded as, and is, a welcoming and inclusive parish, which means, especially in Bako, that we fully welcome LGBT folk. We were also founded as an outreach parish, reaching out in love to others rather than focusing overmuch on ourselves. The two main tenets that separate Grace and the Episcopal Church (TEC) from the schismatics is that we embrace our LGBT sisters and brothers and we ordain women.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Anglican Identity, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Conflicts, TEC Departing Parishes, TEC Parishes, Theology

The Bishop Suffragan's Remarks to the 179th Alabama Diocesan Convention

You and I are no strangers to fear, frustration, confusion or embarrassment. We know that fear can leave us unable to move, that frustration and confusion can blind us and make us lose our way, and that shame will eat us up. It’s hard for us to make progress when we feel like the wind’s been taken out of our sails, when it seems like we don’t know who we are anymore, when all we want to do is hide.

Yes, I am talking about the Church; thank you for wondering. Yes, I am talking about our beloved Episcopal Church, embroiled in and paralyzed by the Great Controversy of the Day. Most of us are confused, all of us are frustrated, many of us are afraid, some are even embarrassed. How can we sing the Lord’s song, how can we share the great Good News of the love of God in Jesus Christ, when we are confused, frustrated, fearful or ashamed? Nobody likes to be embarrassed.

Maybe one place to find an answer is in the story of Nicodemus, who came to Jesus by night, and then found that it wasn’t about what he had to lose, but what he had to gain. Our hope, the hope we share with one another in a wide variety of theological assumptions and preferences, is that we are most fully who we are when we come together in God’s call to us in Christ.

We are not called to uncomplicated certainty; we are not called to hold opinions because they are shared by all or because they protect the status quo. You and I are called to truth, even when it’s complicated, even when it’s inconvenient, even when our neighbors don’t understand or approve. Because what Nicodemus saw and heard in Jesus is also offered to us and through us: love without conditions, redemption beyond our deserving, the invitation to put ourselves aside in His love and service ”“ Amazing Grace.

Read it all.

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

Julia Duin–New Lutheran denomination now has a name

We’ve been waiting several months now for this new “reconfiguration of Lutheranism in North America” promised us by Lutheran CORE, which is overseeing the formation of an alternative to members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The ELCA, as you may remember from last August, voted back then to allow gay clergy and opened the doors to same-sex unions further down the road.

Today, on the anniversary of Martin Luther’s death (in 1546), CORE has announced the denomination-to-be will be called the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). More concrete deliberations will happen during Lutheran CORE’s 2010 convocation Aug. 26-27 in Columbus, Ohio, so for now the proposal is on the table for discussion.

Read it all.

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

An Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles news Release on the Consent Process for recent elections

The Rev. Canon Diane Jardine Bruce has received the necessary consents to her election as seventh bishop suffragan of the Diocese of Los Angeles, officials have confirmed.

Meanwhile, Standing Committees and bishops with jurisdiction continue to provide their consents to the election of the Rev. Canon Mary Douglas Glasspool as the diocese’s eighth bishop suffragan.

The Standing Committee of the Diocese of Los Angeles — offering its weekly update of consents received from counterpart Standing Committees in 109 other dioceses of the Episcopal Church — said on Feb. 17 that in the past 43 days, of the 56 total votes needed, Bruce has received 56, and Glasspool, 45.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, Windsor Report / Process

In Uganda Archbishop Henry Orombi commissions a resource centre

Anglican Archbishop Henry Orombi has commissioned a multi-million-shilling resource centre belonging to Kitgum Diocese.

The resource centre consists of a conference hall with a seating capacity of 150, a reception area, kitchens and 17 rooms.

Read it all.

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

A.S. Haley–A Vestry Member in Fort Worth Responds to recent TEC-led arguments

It is Mr. [Simon] Sarmiento who misled the members of General Synod, not Ms. Ashworth. Notice first of all that he evaded Ms. Ashworth’s point. She asserted that the Church’s lawsuits named individual vestry members as defendants, and he responded that such defendants are “generally covered” by insurance. (That has not been my experience in any church litigation with which I have been associated; only the largest Episcopal parishes can afford to budget for such insurance.) He does not deny that individual vestry members are named, but claims that no damages are sought against them.

This is, as I say, highly misleading. Any individual named in a lawsuit can be held liable for costs if he or she ends up losing; such costs in protracted cases (such as the Dennis Canon ones usually are) can run into the many thousands of dollars. And for an example where ECUSA sought $500,000 plus additional damages from a church’s law firm, one needs look no further than this earlier post. (The pseudo-diocese of San Joaquin has carried on the tradition by naming the individual vestry members and rector of St. John’s Anglican parish in Turlock as defendants in its latest lawsuit. The plaintiff Bishop Lamb made a point of telling his flock that it “is not a suit against any individuals.” But the story about the suit linked earlier has a copy of the complaint which you may download, and see for yourself that the defendants named [scroll down to page 5] include the rector and nine vestry members, who are sued “as individuals”. Those individuals still need to pay an attorney to defend them [no insurance is applicable], and there is always, as I say, individual liability for court costs if they lose [see paragraph H. of the prayer for relief on page 24 of the complaint (page 28 of the document)].)

But now we have a different kind of response to ECUSA’s bullying tactics — one might even say that ECUSA has sued one vestry member too many. For one such vestry member whom the Church named in a lawsuit to recover a parish’s property in San Angelo, Texas is also an attorney: his name is Mark Brown. And in his capacity as an attorney, Mark Brown has filed an amicus brief in the writ proceeding currently pending before the Court of Appeals in Fort Worth.

It is a brilliant brief, and may do far more damage to ECUSA’s claims in that case than ECUSA has been able to do to Mr. Brown.

Read it carefully and make sure to download and read the whole document by Mark Brown also.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth

In Canada Anglicans examine training to bridge divisions

The Anglican Church in Canada is updating how it trains priests so they can minister to everyone from Bay Street stockbrokers to Baffin Island Inuit.

Ottawa Bishop John Chapman, who is leading the initiative, believes a savvier clergy would help bridge the church’s current bitter divisions over issues such as gay priests.

“The genius of the Anglican Church has been its capacity to live in difference,” Chapman said in an interview.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

L.A. council agrees to 3,000 more job cuts by July 1

Under the threat of a credit rating downgrade, the Los Angeles City Council on Thursday instructed agency heads to eliminate 3,000 additional city jobs “by any means necessary, including layoffs” by July 1.

The reduction ”” aimed in part a wresting further concessions from the city’s unions ”” would be in addition to 1,000 job cuts already in the works. Those alone are expected to lead to 250 to 350 workers receiving pink slips, officials said.

The council vote comes a day after Moody’s Investment Services, one of the nation’s top financial credit rating agencies, issued a negative outlook for Los Angeles because of the city’s struggles with a $212-million deficit. It also comes a week after Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa called for an additional 1,200 and 2,000 job cuts ”” or wage reductions for city workers ”” to help balance the city’s books.

Read it all.

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