Daily Archives: October 12, 2011

S.C. Bishop and Clergy of the Diocese Meet on "Serious Charges" Made Against Bishop Lawrence

In an atmosphere of prayerful solemnity, the Bishop and Clergy of the Diocese of South Carolina gathered at Saint James Church, James Island, S.C. for more than two hours on Tuesday, October 12. In focus were the “serious charges” that have been made against Bishop Mark Lawrence and the diocese under the new Title IV canons.

Bishop Lawrence began by restating the diocesan vision of “Making Biblical Anglicans for a Global Age” and then traced the history of the current controversy in The Episcopal Church and the many obstacles they presented to pursuing our diocesan vision. He ended with the two recent diocesan conventions in which the diocese refused to be coerced into the Episcopal Church’s embrace of the new title IV canons which violate both due process and the Episcopal Church’s own constitution. Of further concern with the current allegations is that evidently this process doesn’t allow the accused to know who his accusers are.

Lawyer Alan Runyan then made a presentation based on his best understanding of what canonical process seemed to be being used by those in national leadership. It would appear they are proceeding under the abandonment canon with its fast track. Based on what has happened in other dioceses, a deposition of the bishop would be followed by attacks on diocese and the parishes. The picture painted was an ugly one of expensive litigation, confrontation and acrimony in which all involved significantly lost.

It was stressed that individual clergy, vestry, and parishes needed to be informed about the allegations, the purported process, and the implications at every conceivable level: financial, personal, legal and spiritual. All the clergy were encouraged to share their concerns with the bishop or the ordained members of the diocesan Standing Committee.

Two themes underlay the whole discussion. First, the Episcopal Church is in a constitutional crisis in which its own polity is being radically altered in violation of its history and founding documents, yet with no structural provision for a means of resolution when just such foundational disagreements occur. That such a deep dispute has arisen with one of the Episcopal Church’s founding dioceses only adds to the unfortunate environment into which all have been plunged. The Reverend Jeffrey Miller, past President of the Standing Committee stated during the gathering, “The question is not whether we can stay; it is whether they will let us stay and follow what we believe.”

Second, the deeper fracture is about a departure of the Episcopal Church’s leadership from Christian doctrine. Bishop C. FitzSimons Allison (XII Bishop of South Carolina) rose to express his concern with these theological innovations and to voice support for Lawrence. While these include a changed understanding of sexual ethics and Christian marriage, it goes much further to the matter of Scriptural interpretation and authority and the uniqueness and universality of Jesus Christ. These recent actions mark yet another hindrance to the Diocese of South Carolina’s duty to be faithful to the truth of exactly that gospel and its proclamation to the world.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina, TEC Polity & Canons

U.S. strives to get Internet savvy

Best Buy and Microsoft are among companies partnering with the Federal Communications Commission on a plan to help the 100 million Americans without high-speed Internet service.

The initiative, to be announced today by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, aims to assist the broadband-challenged — many of whom are poor, unemployed or live in rural areas — from falling behind in today’s tech-centric economy. Plans include offering Internet skills classes and job certification programs online and on-site at Best Buy stores, libraries and schools.

U.S. broadband adoption (68%) currently falls far below that of countries such as Singapore and South Korea (each at 90%), Genachowski notes. “If we can take the broadband adoption rate to 100%, that will help boost our economy and our leadership position in the global economy,” he says.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Blogging & the Internet, Education, Science & Technology

BBC–Life in Uganda, where in one place child sacrifice is a business

The villages and farming communities that surround Uganda’s capital, Kampala, are gripped by fear.

Schoolchildren are closely watched by teachers and parents as they make their way home from school. In playgrounds and on the roadside are posters warning of the danger of abduction by witch doctors for the purpose of child sacrifice.

The ritual, which some believe brings wealth and good health, was almost unheard of in the country until about three years ago, but it has re-emerged, seemingly alongside a boom in the country’s economy.

I happened to catch this on the BBC World News this morning. Be warned the content is disturbing–read it all; KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Children, Economy, Uganda, Violence

In Nebraska, the Presiding Bishop applauds Tri-Faith Initiative

Bishop [Jefferts] Schori, in her fourth year of a nine-year term, said the Episcopal Church is eager to see the project move forward near 132nd Street and West Center Road.

“The Tri-Faith Initiative … is really one of the leading examples in the Episcopal church of what’s possible in terms of Abrahamic reconciliation and understanding,” the bishop said. “It’s a story that I tell frequently because people don’t know that something like this is possible, and here it is in Omaha, in the center of the United States. It’s a witness and an example to the rest of the nation and to the rest of world. There is nothing like this in New York City, Washington, D.C., or Chicago. There are small initiatives that are usually bilateral ”” Jews and Episcopalians … but this is the only intentional community that involves all three.”

Read it all.

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

Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town Condemns "Thuggery" Against Zimbabwean Church

The Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, the Most Revd Dr Thabo Makgoba, said today that the dispute within the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe was “a result not of schism but of thuggery.”

In a statement issued after visiting Zimbabwe with Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury at the weekend, Archbishop Makgoba said members of a pro-Mugabe breakaway faction of the church under deposed bishop Nolbert Kunonga were being “helped to steal church property without recourse.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Anglican Provinces, Foreign Relations, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, South Africa, Violence, Zimbabwe

L.A. Archbishop calls on Catholic health care professionals to defend human dignity

The greatest challenge faced by Catholic health care workers is a “growing secularism,” said Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez.

“This growing secularism endangers our religious freedom,” he said Oct. 8, giving the keynote address that concluded the Oct. 6-8 Catholic Medical Association’s annual conference.

The archbishop pointed to the federal Department of Health and Human Services’ mandate that health insurance plans cover contraception and sterilization.

“When we stop acknowledging our Creator, we stop acknowledging who we are,” Archbishop Gomez said. “Without God we lose our ethics and the reason for human rights.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Life Ethics, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

(RNS) Charges Dropped Against Clergy Who Prayed in Capitol

A city court on Tuesday (Oct. 11) dropped charges against a group of religious and civic leaders who were arrested in July during a prayer vigil for the poor in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda.
The vigil, held at the height of the summer’s debt ceiling debate, aimed to stop Congress from cutting funding to programs that benefit the most needy in the U.S. and abroad.

“We are guilty of one charge: the promotion of social righteousness,” said the Rev. J. Herbert Nelson, director of public witness for the Presbyterian Church (USA).

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, House of Representatives, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Senate, Spirituality/Prayer

States Adding Drug Test as Hurdle for Welfare

As more Americans turn to government programs for refuge from a merciless economy, a growing number are encountering a new price of admission to the social safety net: a urine sample.

Policy makers in three dozen states this year proposed drug testing for people receiving benefits like welfare, unemployment assistance, job training, food stamps and public housing. Such laws, which proponents say ensure that tax dollars are not being misused and critics say reinforce stereotypes about the poor, have passed in states including Arizona, Indiana and Missouri.

In Florida, people receiving cash assistance through welfare have had to pay for their own drug tests since July, and enrollment has shrunk to its lowest levels since the start of the recession.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Economy, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, State Government, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(BBC) UK unemployment total reaches 17-year high

UK unemployment rose by 114,000 between June and August to 2.57 million, a 17-year high, according to official figures.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the unemployment rate also increased to 8.1%.

The unemployment total for 16-24 year olds hit a record high of 991,000 in the quarter, a jobless rate of 21.3%.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * South Carolina, Economy, England / UK, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(AP) Diocese of SC clergy discuss allegations against bishop

Clergy of the Diocese of South Carolina gathered Tuesday behind closed doors to pray and discuss an investigation by the national Episcopal Church into allegations that their bishop has abandoned the faith, as the denomination continues to wrangle over the ordination of gays and the recognition of same-sex unions.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina, TEC Polity & Canons

A.S. Haley on Bishop Henderson's Statement regarding procedure in the Bishop Mark Lawrence Matter

The abandonment canon was originally enacted to cover the clear case where a bishop converts to another faith without bothering to resign his see first (an act which also requires consent from the House of Bishops). Its expedited procedures assumed that (a) there could be no argument over what acts constituted the “abandonment” — hence the lack of provision for any hearing, or trial; and (b) the abandoning bishop would in all likelihood not contest the fact of his having left the Church. Neither of those circumstances applies in Bishop Lawrence’s case.

But now Bishop Henderson has made it official: despite all the fanfare about the supposedly “more humane” character of the new disciplinary canons, when it comes to “abandonment”, it is business as usual in the Episcopal Church (USA). If the Disciplinary Board certifies the flimsy acts spelled out in the document published on South Carolina’s website as constituting “abandonment”, it will have acted even worse (if that is possible) than did the old Title IV Review Committee in the case of Bishop Duncan. And for the second time in its history, the Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops will have decided to remove one of its own members, a sitting and functioning bishop, from his diocese without any overt act on his part of renunciation or departure — indeed, in spite of all his protestations to the contrary.

And so now, the question arises: why did it take so long for the Disciplinary Board to get involved? Why was not the September 2010 letter from the Episcopal Forum, with its nearly identical charges, not referred to the old Title IV Review Committee at the time?

Read it all.

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

Anglican Communion Institute on the Continuing S.C. Story–Title IV: Abandonment Without Offense?

Bishop Dorsey Henderson, President of the Disciplinary Board for Bishops, has responded to questions concerning the canonical process underway involving Bishop Mark Lawrence. We appreciate his clarification on a matter of great interest to the church.

Many in the church had assumed that the Lawrence matter was being processed by the normal intake procedures specified under the new Title IV. Included among these were bishops sympathetic to the national church who assumed that this was the beginning of an extended procedure involving the Reference Panel, subsequent Conference and Hearing Panels, and the normal process of notice and opportunity to be heard inherent in the trial process. We were dubious of that assumption ourselves, but that was one of the questions we raised in our earlier piece on this matter. We are grateful for an answer.

It is now clear that there will be no such process. The matter will be considered by the Disciplinary Board for Bishops, meeting as a whole, which will vote whether to certify Bishop Lawrence for abandonment. If it were to certify that Bishop Lawrence has abandoned the church, his ministry would be restricted immediately (what formerly was called inhibition) and the matter would be sent straight to the House of Bishops at its next meeting (following a period of at least sixty days). If the Disciplinary Board votes by the end of this year, that meeting would be the March meeting of the House of Bishops at which Bishop Lawrence would be deposed if the House so votes by a majority vote.

Read it all.

Update: Since I have a lot of email questions on where to find the “new” Title IV canons, one place is here.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, - Anglican: Analysis, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Presiding Bishop, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina, TEC Polity & Canons

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Lord Jesus Christ, who for our sake didst endure the cross, and hast bidden us to follow thee: Take away from us all fear, all coldness of heart, all unwillingness to suffer; that we, glorying in thy cross, may glory also that thou hast called us to bear it with thee; for thy name’s sake.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s will. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. 32 So every one who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.

–Matthew 10:29-33

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Living Church) Bishop Henderson Explains His Understanding of the Disciplinary Board’s Duty

A question has arisen about the process for administration of the so-called “abandonment” canon (Title IV.16) especially as it applies to bishops. Although it has come in a couple of forms, the question might be expressed in this way: “Who initiates action when information arises which indicates that abandonment of The Episcopal Church may have occurred?”

In accordance with the canon, such proceedings are begun at the initiative of the Disciplinary Board itself (although this has not happened within memory, if ever), or when information is received by the Disciplinary Board from any credible source with standing to raise the issue. Perhaps the following is helpful.

Title IV.16 is entitled “Of Abandonment of The Episcopal Church,” and sub-section (A) is the portion thereof which relates to bishops. It designates that conduct which constitutes abandonment and specifies the process for administration of the canon when such conduct happens, or is alleged to have happened.

Read it all.

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