Daily Archives: April 15, 2010

SMH: Diocese of Sydney Investments Back in the Black

Praise the Lord. The investment arm of the country’s largest Anglican diocese has edged back into the black after a $160 million loss of faith in 2008.

But although a few extra prayers might have worked over the last 12 months, it appears the Sydney diocese’s Endowment Fund is still in financial purgatory. After all, the fund managed by the Glebe Administration Board suffered a decline in the value of its total assets over the year from $310 million to $290 million. Its total assets stood at $634 million two years ago.

But the 60,000-strong flock of the Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, will be relieved to here that parish belt-tightening and a resurgent Australian sharemarket have helped the fund to post a profit of $11 million for the year to December 31.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Credit Markets, Economy, Stock Market

New York Times–New York Archbishop Dolan Praised, Though Tests Await

When the pounds began to show, he turned them into a laugh line. Patting his midsection, he told audiences, “New York has grown on me.” And when the calorie-counting Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg scolded him ”” bluntly advising him to lose weight because “we’d like to keep you around for a while,” in Archbishop Dolan’s telling ”” the prelate burst into laughter and hugged him.

“Call me Timothy,” he said.

But Archbishop Dolan has some less palatable duties ahead of him. The recession has worsened a chronic budget squeeze in the archdiocese, increased demand for its frayed web of social service programs and added urgency to a long-planned realignment of resources.

The parishes and schools of the archdiocese needed an added $30 million infusion from headquarters in fiscal 2009 to meet expenses, officials said.

Whatever else it does, the good will he sows now among the archdiocese’s 2.5 million Catholics will help stem resentments when some of those places are closed, said Msgr. Thomas J. Bergin, a former vicar of archdiocesan education. “People have warmed to him,” he said. “He will need that.”

In interviews, Catholic leaders, scholars and lay people praised the friendly, politically moderate tone that Archbishop Dolan set in his first year….

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

Anglican District of Virginia P.R. on the Va. Supreme Court Hearing

Via email–KSH.

Today, the Virginia Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the church property case appeal made by The Episcopal Church and Diocese of Virginia challenging the ruling of the Fairfax County Circuit Court. The Circuit Court ruled in favor of nine Anglican congregations in Virginia , under the umbrella of the Anglican District of Virginia (ADV), confirming that the Anglican churches could keep their property.

Steffen Johnson, who argued the case on behalf of the Anglican District of Virginia churches, stated, “We are grateful for the opportunity to defend the appeals in the Virginia Supreme Court today. The argument went very well. It was a lively bench with good questions for both sides.
We continue to feel strong about the positions outlined in our briefs and developed in the extensive record in the trial court, and we look forward to the Court’s decision.”“Our church members are standing firm for the Gospel and will remain in prayer as the Virginia Supreme Court considers the oral arguments made today,” said Jim Oakes, chairman of the Anglican District of Virginia. “I am extremely confident in our case that was eloquently presented by our legal counsel. However, it’s unfortunate that this matter is being discussed in a court of law in the first place after our numerous attempts at amicable negotiations. I, like my fellow parishioners, look forward to and pray for a quick end to the litigation so that we can completely focus our time, money and energy on bringing new believers to Christ and helping those in need. Our doors remain open wide to all who wish to worship with us.”

Bishop David Bena, Contact Bishop for the Anglican District of Virginia, added, “Members of the Anglican District of Virginia have been in a period of intensive prayer and fasting leading up to and including today. As an ordained clergyman, I know that this court case is, as it has been from the beginning, in the Lord’s hands and the will of God will determine where ADV congregations worship in His name.”

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

Jeff Walton–Myanmar Archbishop Calls for Revival, Partnership at Anglican Missions Conference

The instruction to priests accompanying fleeing Burmese refugees was simple: go if you must, but do not contact us. Concerned about danger to themselves, the Anglican diocesan officers did not wish to risk the ire of Burma’s military government. An exception could be made if there were deaths, and then the bishop would come to bury the dead.

This play-it-safe approach was typical in the past of the Church of the Province of Myanmar (CPM), also known as Burma, according to the Most Rev. Stephen Than Myint Oo, the current Anglican archbishop there.

“The church in Myanmar needs revival,” Than said. “In the past, we just emphasized what could be done with human means.”

Representing a church that had been effectively walled off from the rest of the world for decades, the Anglican Archbishop of Myanmar spoke this week at the New Wineskins for Global Mission conference in Ridgecrest, North Carolina.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Commentary, Asia, Missions, Myanmar/Burma

BBC–Why the Vatican media strategy is failing

When I asked John L Allen, the American Catholic commentator on the Vatican, why its media strategy was failing, he responded:

“As soon as I see that they have a strategy, I will answer you! The fact is, they don’t have one, and that is where they are going wrong.”

Indeed, the absence of a coherent media strategy is evident, as a variety of Vatican personalities take it upon themselves to respond publicly to the accusations.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Media, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

A Statement from the Va. Standing Comm. Regarding Suffragan Bishop Election in the Diocese of L.A.

From here:

The Standing Committee of the Diocese of Virginia has declined to consent to the election of the Rev. Canon Mary Douglas Glasspool as bishop suffragan of the Diocese of Los Angeles because, in the view of a majority of the Committee, her election is inconsistent with the moratorium agreed to by the General Convention of the Episcopal Church. That majority believes that, at this time, failure by individual dioceses to respect the Church’s agreement to the moratorium would be detrimental to the good order of our Church and bring into question its reliability as an institution. The committee found no other reason to withhold its consent to the election of Canon Glasspool.

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

More on the Virginia Supreme Court Case: Dave Bena Op-ed in the Times-Dispatch

The painful irony is that TEC’s decision to reject the authority of God’s Word has been gravely injurious, and has itself caused the very division that TEC’s leaders claimed they sought to avoid. Once someone rejects Scripture, then they reject Jesus Christ and Christianity as a whole. It’s as simple as that. We could not follow a national body that rejected the very Word of God.

Our Anglican churches (under the umbrella of the Anglican District of Virginia) attempted to resolve matters with the diocese and TEC graciously and out of court, following a process that we spent almost a year developing with diocesan representatives. But the diocese and TEC abruptly broke off discussion of settlement and instead launched a legal confrontation. They sued not only our churches, but also almost 200 individual clergy and volunteer board members.

The diocese and TEC have spent millions of dollars making this legal attack against our churches. And this has forced our churches to devote time, effort, and energy to raise millions of dollars for our legal defense — all of which could and should have been used for spreading the love of God to our communities.

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

Time Magazine on Anne Lamott's latest book: Tough Love

“I write everything as a wake-up call,” she says. “To myself and others, to anyone who may have gotten tired of hitting the snooze button.” Imperfect Birds is a well-informed wake-up call. Lamott is a recovering alcoholic, sober since 1986, and has just ushered her son Sam through his high school years in a bohemian enclave of Marin where drugs are there for the asking. Kids who remind her of Rosie are everywhere she turns. On this Sunday morning, she has just returned from a hike to the ocean, where she watched a search-and-rescue team look for a 17-year-old girl from Mill Valley who disappeared during an overnight party with her friends. Inside St. Andrew, Lamott’s beloved church, she offers prayers for the search. Later that day, the girl is found in the Pacific, dead.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Books, Children, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Marriage & Family, Teens / Youth

Perry Robinson–Why I Am Not An Episcopalian

For readers who do not know, I am a former Episcopalian. My personal history of religious affiliation goes something like the following. I was baptized Catholic but raised in the Episcopal church until my teen years. From then I’d attend the Episcopal church on Sunday and then Calvary Chapel for “Bible study” on Friday evenings with their youth group. This was on account of a number of reasons, not the least of which was that the youth group at the Episcopal church voted that I should leave since I wanted to read the Bible and not have pizza parties and such. The youth directors agreed given that the kinds of questions I was asking really required a “professional” response. This was after I became exasperated with the whole approach of, let’s sit in a circle and go around the room asking what each person thinks such and so verse means “to me.” At the ripe old age of 13 I blurted out, “I don’t care what it means to me, I just want to know what it means!”

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

Dow Theorist Richard Russell Predicts Israel Strike On Iran Nuclear Facilities

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Iran, Israel, Middle East

New Episcopal Bishop of Alaska Elected

From here:

After balloting concluded at the 35th convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Alaska, the eighth bishop of the diocese was elected. The Very Rev. Mark Lattime was elected after delegates from around the state of Alaska prayerfully considered five candidates at their annual convention, held April 8-11, 2010. Ninety-seven delegates met at the Meier Lake Conference Center in Wasilla, Alaska for the electing convention.

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

From the Did You Know Department

From here:

Harv’s Metro Car Wash owner Aaron Zeff was handed a tax bill that was originally four cents but was shocked to see that the bill increased by more than 5,000 times to $202.35, according to CBS News. The tax bill dated back from 2006 and the four cents grew by that much in four years….The Sacramento Bee reports that IRS spokesperson Jesse Walker is not commenting on the case, citing privacy laws.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, Economy, Taxes

BBC–Ben Bernanke cautious on US recovery

The chairman of the US Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, has said that the US still faces “difficult choices” in cutting the country’s deficit.

In prepared comments to Congress’ Joint Economic Committee, he said that action could not be delayed.

Mr Bernanke added that weakness in the construction sector was still weighing on the economy.

His cautious comments about the recovery come despite data showing a 1.6% increase in March retail sales.

“Addressing the country’s fiscal problems will require difficult choices, but postponing them will only make them more difficult,” Mr Bernanke said.

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A.

Loudon Times-Mirror: Church property hearing leaves both sides hopeful

On April 13, the Virginia Supreme Court heard oral arguments for a property case that pitted nine churches in Loudoun and Fairfax counties against the Episcopalian Diocese of Virginia. The final decision will be made June 10 or June 11.

The Church of Our Saviour, on Oatlands Mill Road south of Leesburg, is one of the churches involved.

After the nine churches left the diocese in 2006 to join the Anglican District of Virginia, the diocese argued that the churches had forfeited the right to the properties upon which their church buildings are built. In 2008, the Fairfax County Circuit Court ruled in favor of the breakaway churches, citing section 57-9a of Virginia law.

This statute, known as the division statute, says if there is a split in a church or religious organization, a congregation may decide which branch of the church it will go to, and it may retain its property.

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

Times-Dispatch: Episcopal hierarchy fights to keep church property

Among other things, a lawyer for the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia told the justices that the 2008 ruling relied on an 1867 state law he contends improperly favors church governance by congregation over governance by hierarchy.

At stake, say the churches, is $30 million to $40 million in buildings and other property. The hearing was packed and broadcast via a closed-circuit television to two nearby rooms to accommodate everyone wishing to attend.

After the hearing, Henry D.W. Burt II, the secretary and chief of staff for the diocese, said: “Today was simply the next step in our journey to return faithful Episcopalians to their church homes.”

Steffen N. Johnson, a lawyer for the departed churches, which formed the Anglican District of Virginia, said “the argument went very well. It was a lively bench with good questions for both sides . . . and we look forward to the court’s decision.”

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