Daily Archives: September 24, 2010

South Carolina Bishop Mark Lawrence Responds to Request for Investigation

f) With the support of the Ecclesiastical Authority a special Diocesan Convention held in October 2009 modified the declaration of conformity, signed by ordinands to the Priesthood or Deaconate, as specified in the Book of Common Prayer and the TEC Constitution”¦.

This is just a wrong understanding of what the Diocesan Convention approved. There has been no modification of the Declaration of Conformity. The ordinands sign only the Declaration as it appears in the Constitution & Canons of TEC and the Book of Common Prayer. The statement referenced is read as clarification of the teaching of this Church for the edification of the faithful in the midst of the many controversies today. I would ask those in the Forum which of the expressions of our heritage they find so offensive””what is expressed in the Creeds, the Thirty-Nine Articles, the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral or the theology of the historic prayer books?
(For an intriguing discussion of this matter I suggest members of the Episcopal Forum or other interested persons read a scholarly article in the Journal of Episcopal Canon Law by Jonathan Michael Gray, an assistant Professor of Church History at the Virginia Seminary http://www.vts.edu/canonlaw )

g) With the support of the Bishop, the Standing Committee of the Diocese proposed six Resolutions for the Reconvened Convention to be held on October 15, 2010”¦..

In March we recessed the Diocesan Convention with the constitutional question still pending: The ability of a diocese to govern its common life in a manner that is obedient to the teaching of Holy Scripture (to which every ordained person in this Church has given his or her verbal and written assent), the received heritage of The Episcopal Church, and in accordance with the Constitution of TEC. This has remained unresolved or, more accurately stated, entirely unaddressed by the Presiding Bishop; therein leaving in question our ability to pursue our mission, free from unauthorized intrusions.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Anglican Identity, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Polity & Canons

Naomi Riley (WSJ): A Biblical Mandate to help Children, especially those in Foster Care

Last Saturday at Grace Chapel in Denver, Focus on the Family (in collaboration with the Colorado Department of Human Services) hosted an information session for parents interested in adopting children out of the foster-care system. More than 150 families were represented and 55 of those have already begun the process. It was a successful and fitting end for the summer of 2010, which turned into a season of adoption for evangelicals.

In May, megachurch pastor Rick Warren held a “civil forum” on the subject. An audience of 800 attended and thousands more watched the webcast from their homes. “Orphans and vulnerable children are not a cause,” said Warren. “They are a biblical and social mandate we can’t ignore. A country half the size of the U.S””that’s how many orphans there are in the world. We’re not talking about a small problem.”

Adoption was the cover story of Christianity Today in July. It included a feature by Russell Moore, dean of the School of Theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, in which he described in heart-wrenching terms the circumstances of his own adoption of two brothers from a Russian orphanage.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Theology

RNS: Embattled Philadelphia Episcopal bishop says he won't resign

The embattled Episcopal bishop of Philadelphia is defiantly refusing to resign, saying his three years of “suffering” through various church trials has “strengthened” his ability to lead his diocese.

Bishop Charles Bennison was removed from ministry in 2007 after being charged with “conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy.” He was found guilty in 2008 for failing to investigate or discipline his younger brother and former fellow priest John Bennison for an affair with an underage parishioner in the 1970s.

He was reinstated as bishop in August after a church appeals court ruled the statute of limitations on the charge had expired.

Read it all.

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

Fort Worth's [Bishop Kevin] Vann put on Vatican panel working with Anglicans

The Vatican announced Thursday that Bishop Kevin Vann, leader of the Fort Worth Catholic Diocese, has been named to a committee that will lay the groundwork for the incorporation of U.S. Anglican groups into the Roman Catholic Church.

But the announcement received a muted response from the group of churches led by Bishop Jack Iker, which split from the national Episcopal Church last year over issues including same-sex unions and gay bishops. That group calls itself the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, as does the group of Episcopal churches that remained with the national Episcopal Church.

“As you know, the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth has cordial relations with Bishop Vann and members of his diocese, but today’s announcement doesn’t have an impact on those ongoing talks about the sharing of resources and fellowship,” said Suzanne Gill, spokeswoman for the Iker-led churches. “And it certainly does not portend any formal linkage of the two dioceses.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Anglican Provinces, Cono Sur [formerly Southern Cone], Ecumenical Relations, Episcopal Church (TEC), Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, TEC Bishops

(NY Times) Muslims Report Rising Discrimination at Work

At a time of growing tensions involving Muslims in the United States, a record number of Muslim workers are complaining of employment discrimination, from co-workers calling them “terrorist” or “Osama” to employers barring them from wearing head scarves or taking prayer breaks.

Such complaints were increasing even before frictions erupted over the planned Islamic center in Lower Manhattan, with Muslim workers filing a record 803 such claims in the year ended Sept. 30, 2009. That was up 20 percent from the previous year and up nearly 60 percent from 2005, according to federal data.

The number of complaints filed since then will not be announced until January, but Islamic groups say they have received a surge in complaints recently, suggesting that 2010’s figure will set another record.

The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has found enough merit in some of the complaints that it has filed several prominent lawsuits on behalf of Muslim workers.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, Islam, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

NY Times Letters–Ways to Measure Student Learning

Here is one:

“Scientifically Tested Tests,” by Susan Engel (Op-Ed, Sept. 20), is a breath of fresh air. We have better, more humanistic and authentic ways to judge students’ learning rather than succumbing to “laboring once again in the shadow of standardized tests.”

Prospective teachers coming out of many teacher education programs are familiar with the range of assessments in students’ learning. The larger pragmatic ”” and moral ”” issue is: Even when they know what works well for student learning and assessment, what do they do in the face of the tremendous pressure to teach to the test?

Especially with our current economic woes, it is tough for me to tell them to give up their jobs and take the moral high road.

We have created a culture of fear, and we wind up schooling ”” standardizing ”” students, not truly educating them.

If we want an educated American citizenry, we need to summon our collective moral courage, if not outrage, in the face of the dubious value of standardized testing.

John Gabriel,Chicago

Read them all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education

ENS–Pennsylvania Bishop declines request to resign

Saying he has “always been, innocent of the charges against me,” Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania Bishop Charles Bennison announced late Sept. 22 that he would not honor his colleagues’ request that he resign his position.

Bennison, via a statement e-mailed to Episcopal News Service by his publicist, said that he hoped “the suffering I have endured during the past three years has strengthened me and will enable me to work for reconciliation within the diocese.”

The House of Bishops announced their request at the end of their Sept. 16-21 fall gathering in Phoenix, Arizona. In a lengthy and strongly worded “mind of the house” resolution, they said they were “profoundly troubled by the outcome of the disciplinary action” against Bennison, and had concluded that his “capacity to exercise the ministry of pastoral oversight is irretrievably damaged.”

Read it all and make sure to follow the link to Bishop Bennison’s whole response.

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

(Washington Post) FCC order on airwaves is victory for tech giants

The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday approved the use of unlicensed airwaves in what it hopes will be a new market for high-speed Internet connections for smartphones, tablets and computers.

The order, approved unanimously by the five-member commission, is a win for high-tech giants Dell, Microsoft and Google, which have lobbied for the use of the airwaves known as “white spaces.” Those are parts of the broadcast spectrum that sit between television channels, and are valued as a potential home for amped-up versions of WiFi networks with longer ranges and stronger connections that can penetrate walls.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Politics in General, Science & Technology, The U.S. Government

(WSJ) Roger Scruton–Memo to [Stephen] Hawking: There's Still Room for God

If Mr. Hawking is right, the answer to the question “What created the universe?” is “The laws of physics.” But what created the laws of physics? How is it that these strange and powerful laws, and these laws alone, apply to the world?

There are those who will say that the question has no answer ””that it lies at or beyond the limits of human thought. And there are those who will say that the question has an answer, but that it is answered not by reason but by faith.

I say that perhaps, in the end, they are the same position. That is what Kant believed. You find out the limits of scientific understanding, he said. And beyond those limits lies the realm of morality, commitment and trust.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

BBC–UN holds key meeting on food price concerns

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is holding an extraordinary meeting in Rome sparked by global fears about high food prices.

Friday’s meeting will include Russian grain executives. Moscow banned exports after its harvest was hit by drought.

Flooding in Pakistan and China has added to pressure on the market.

Price rises have already sparked riots in Mozambique and are prompting fears of a massive price spike similar to that of 2007-8.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Economy, Globalization, Politics in General

Church Times–Don’t abandon MDGs in hard times, Archbishop Rowan Williams urges

The Archbishop of Canterbury has urged world leaders not to use the current economic crisis as a pretext to scale down efforts to fulfil the Millen­nium Development Goals (MDGs).

Speaking in a video message, recorded to coincide with this week’s United Nations (UN) summit on the MDGs in New York, Dr Williams said that, although progress had been made in some areas ”” for example, reducing the spread of diseases such as malaria and HIV ”” “we are all bound to be painfully con­scious that there is a very long way to go” in achieving the goals.

“This is not just about ideals in a vacuum: this is about the lives of millions of billions of people; and our call is still to make a real difference to them.

“It’s quite easy, especially in the light of the last couple of years, to think that we haven’t really got the resources for this after all.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Economy, Globalization, Health & Medicine, Poverty, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

CEN–Fears of shock cuts to hospital chaplains

Hospital chaplains are facing disproportionately harsh cuts by Trusts despite Government cautions, according to Unite the Union.As anecdotal evidence emerges of chaplains being culled in growing numbers, Unite has launched a survey to reveal how bad the situation is. The professional officer ”¨in the Unite Health Sector responsible for healthcare chaplains, Carol English, said: “In a lot of Trusts we’ve seen a third [of chaplains] going, it’s worse in England.

“Although we know staff are going across the whole of the NHS, the healthcare chaplains are being disproportionately targeted. They’re a soft target, the talking professions as I call them; so councillors, psychotherapists, healthcare chaplains, people like that. A lot of NHS employers will see them as easy to get rid of.”

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Economy, England / UK, Health & Medicine, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Lord God Almighty, shaper and ruler of all thy creatures: We pray thee of thy great mercy to guide us to thy will, to make our minds steadfast, to strengthen us against temptation, to put far from us all unrighteousness. Shield us against our foes, seen and unseen; teach us that we may inwardly love thee before all things with a clean mind and a clean body. For thou art our Maker and Redeemer, our help and our comfort, our trust and our hope, now and for evermore.

–King Alfred

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

…a man named Deme’trius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Ar’temis, brought no little business to the craftsmen. These he gathered together, with the workmen of like occupation, and said, “Men, you know that from this business we have our wealth. And you see and hear that not only at Ephesus but almost throughout all Asia this Paul has persuaded and turned away a considerable company of people, saying that gods made with hands are not gods.”

–Acts 19:24-26

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

US Walks Out on Ahmadinejad Speech

The U.S. and other western delegations walked out of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s U.N. speech Thursday after he said “most people around the world” believe the United States government was responsible for the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.

Mr. Ahmadinejad told world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly that it was mostly U.S. government officials who believed a terrorist group was behind the suicide hijacking attacks that brought down New York’s World Trade Center and hit the Pentagon.

Another theory, he said, was that people “within the U.S. government” orchestrated the attacks to reverse the declining American economy and to save what he called Israel’s “Zionist regime.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Foreign Relations, Iran, Middle East