Daily Archives: December 13, 2011

A S.C. Layman who worked as a College President Writes Bishop Daniel and the Province IV Bishops

Please note that what follows is the cover letter written to Bishop Daniel first, and this is then followed by the full letter to all the bishops–KSH.

Dear Bishop Daniel:

As a lay person and retired college president (3 church-related liberal arts colleges over 24 years), I read with care your letter representing the Bishops of Province IV. After spending time in prayer, I have written an open letter to the Bishops of Province IV. I am hopeful that you will forward this letter to the other Bishops as an example of one lay person’s assessment of what is happening in and to our Diocese of South Carolina. I know that Bishop Lawrence is deeply sensitive to the impact of what is happening in The Episcopal Church on the laity of our diocese.

Just as faculty members and deans debate intellectual issues in higher education with a fervor that might ignore the needs of students, I worry that clergy and bishops debate theological issues with a fervor that might ignore the needs of parishioners. I hope that as you meet with Bishop Lawrence that you will hold in your thoughts and heart that there are people in every pew in every Episcopal church in our country and world who are hurting, confused, frightened, and desperate for a message of hope, love and reconciliation.

You and all the Bishops in Province IV, including Bishop Lawrence, will be in my and many laypersons’ minds, hearts, and prayers this coming week.

Shalom,
Peter

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————
Proactive Transition Management
A strategic plan is worthless ”“ unless there first is a strategic vision. John Naisbett
The ability to embrace new ideas, routinely challenge old ones, and live with paradox will be the effective leader’s premier trait. Tom Peters

December 7, 2011

An Open Letter to the Bishops of Province 4

Dear Bishops:

I am puzzled intellectually, offended emotionally, and disappointed spiritually in your letter to Bishop Lawrence requesting a meeting based on the fact that you “determined that it is our duty as bishops of this province to address these concerns in direct communication with you, as Jesus exhorts his followers in Matthew’s Gospel (18:15-20), and in accord with our ordination vows regarding the unity and governance of the church.”

Matthew 18:15-20 NIV
15 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ”˜every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector. 18 “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. 19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

I am puzzled intellectually because you did the exact opposite of Jesus’ advice as recorded in the Gospel of Matthew. You did not send one Bishop to talk to our Bishop. You did not send two or three Bishops. You sent a message from all the Bishops of Province 4 and published the letter on the Internet for all to see. While I have not attended seminary (I’m a retired college president from three church-related liberal arts colleges over 24 years), I did review several writers about this passage from Ignatius (c 110) to Chrysostom (c 380) to Augustine to Matthew Henry to B.W. Johnson and to David Lose and Karl Jacobson who preached on this text on September 4, 2011 when this passage was the Gospel Lesson in the Lectionary. Throughout my reading, the central meaning of Jesus’ parable, to seek reconciliation and unity, seems to have escaped you. Why did you choose this Scripture passage to set the context of your letter? What were you hoping to accomplish? Why did you violate the very passage you quoted by going viral with your letter on the Internet? I am puzzled.

I am also offended emotionally. Violating Jesus’ advice and going viral is offensive to those of us who see our Bishop as a man of great faith and integrity. The tone of your letter, while claiming to be collegial is every bit as confrontational and accusatory in the same passive-aggressive manner as the Pharisees who tried to build a case against Jesus. By going viral, you have tried to put Bishop Lawrence in a box and that is disingenuous on your part. Fortunately, Bishop Lawrence is a Godly man whose deep and abiding commitment to Jesus Christ as Savior and Redeemer, as described in the Bible and affirmed in the canons, rituals, and prayer book of the Anglican Communion will give him the insight tempered with humility and love to address your questions. Matthew Henry captured my sentiments beautifully when he wrote on Matthew 18:15-20, “When we come together, to worship God in a dependence upon the Spirit and grace of Christ as Mediator for assistance, and upon his merit and righteousness as Mediator for acceptance, having an actual regard to him as our Way to the Father, and our Advocate with the Father, then we are met together in his name.”

Finally, I am disappointed spiritually. Four years ago, when my wife and I moved to Georgetown, South Carolina, we joined Prince George Winyah Episcopal Church. Our faith has grown exponentially with a priest who is a marvelous teacher and preacher and with a congregation devoted to the Word and eager to grow in grace and love. While we may not agree on every issue facing Prince George or The Episcopal Church, we feel the presence of the Holy Spirit in the midst of our congregation and we are growing closer to Jesus every day. Knowing Bishop Lawrence’s fervent desire for our Diocese to have just a small space to stand on our orthodox principles and interpretation of the life, ministry, and word of Jesus Christ, I am spiritually disappointed that The Episcopal Church seems to lack the largess, love, and commitment to true unity in diversity to allow us to remain both true to a Biblically-based orthodox faith and to communion with Province 4 and The Episcopal Church USA. Why are you so intent to punish brothers and sisters who are proclaiming the “Good News” of a Savior who died for our sins on a cross so that all might be victorious over death? Why do you want to characterize as “sin” our Bishop’s attempt to protect this orthodox faith in a world that is becoming increasingly and disturbingly secular and even anti-Christian? Why will you not provide a place in TEC for a Diocese that appears to be so consistent in its orthodoxy faith and practice with the rest of the Anglican Communion?

As you approach your visit with our Bishop, I and many others in our Diocese of South Carolina, will be praying for you and for Bishop Lawrence. We will be praying that you come in a spirit of love, seeking understanding of our deep and abiding orthodox faith, looking for reconciliation, affirmation and unity amidst diversity. For you will indeed be gathered in His name. To that end, I close with comments made as recently as this fall by David Lose at Luther Seminary when addressing Matthew 18:15-20.

“Authentic community is hard to come by. It’s work. But it’s worth it. Because when you find it, it’s like discovering a little bit of heaven on earth; that is, it’s like experiencing the reality of God’s communal fellowship and existence in your midst. And, as Jesus promises, when you gather in this way — with honesty and integrity, even when it’s hard — amazing things can happen because Jesus is with you, right there, in your very midst, forming and being formed by your communal sharing.” David Lose

Welcome to South Carolina. May God’s blessings of faith and intellect be among you. May Christ’s love and reconciliation abide with you.

Sincerely,

Peter T. Mitchell

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

Homeless kids at 'absurdly high number' in USA

One in 45 children in the USA — 1.6 million children — were living on the street, in homeless shelters or motels, or doubled up with other families last year, according to the National Center on Family Homelessness.

The numbers represent a 33% increase from 2007, when there were 1.2 million homeless children, according to a report the center is releasing today.

“This is an absurdly high number,” says Ellen Bassuk, president of the center. “What we have new in 2010 is the effects of a man-made disaster caused by the economic recession. ”¦ We are seeing extreme budget cuts, foreclosures and a lack of affordable housing.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Children, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Marriage & Family, Poverty, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Grace Episcopal Church in New Orleans to Close, Though Perhaps it is not Permanent

Grace Episcopal Church, a fixture on Canal Street in Mid-City for nearly 60 years, will close next month, Episcopal Bishop Morris Thompson said Monday.

The Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana hopes the closure is not permanent. It may be able to reopen the church in a year or so after rethinking its mission and gathering new resources, Thompson said.

Thompson said he informed Grace’s small congregation of his decision Dec. 4. He said there were fewer 15 people in the pews at one of the two services that morning.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Hurricane Katrina, Parish Ministry, TEC Parishes

New Church of England ethical investment policies: pornography and high interest rate lending

Two new ethical investment policies have been adopted by the Church of England national investing bodies following advice from the Church’s Ethical Investment Advisory Group (EIAG).

The national investing bodies’ new policy maintains the toughest possible exclusion of companies involved in the production or distribution of pornography that their ethical investment research provider is able to implement….

The new policy on high interest rate lending builds on the previous policy under which companies involved in weekly collected home credit (‘doorstep lending’) were excluded from investment.

The new policy extends the investment exclusion to cover other forms of specialised high interest rate lending, in particular payday and pawnbroker loans.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, Stock Market, Theology

Pope Benedict XVI Appeals for Vigilance of the Heart this Advent

In particular this Sunday’s liturgy, called “Gaudete,” invites us to joy, to a vigilance that is not sorrowful but joyful. “Gaudete in Domino semper,” St. Paul writes: “Rejoice in the Lord” (Philippians 4:4). True joy does not come from diversions, intended in the word’s etymological sense: “di-vertere,” being drawn away from life and from its responsibilities. True joy is linked to something much more profound. Naturally, in the daily round, which is often frenetic, it is important to find moments for rest, for relaxation, but true joy is connected with our relationship to God. Those who have met Jesus in their lives experience a serenity and a joy in their hearts that no one and no situation can take away.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Advent, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

Recent House of Lords speeches on the subject of Christians in the Middle East

The Most Revd and Rt Hon Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, initiated a debate in the House of Lords on Friday ( 9 December) on the situation of Christians in the Middle East.

The Archbishop was joined by around 80 peers, who stayed to listen to the whole debate with around 30 members discussing the situation facing the Christian population in the Middle East. The opening and closing remarks from the Archbishop can be found below along with contributions made by the Rt Revd Michael Langrish, Bishop of Exeter, the Rt Revd Christopher Hill, Bishop of Guildford, and the Rt Revd John Hind, Bishop of Chichester.

Follow the links and read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Middle East, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(HolyPost Blog) Ottawa Imam says Honour killings have no place in Islam

The imam of the Ottawa Mosque has condemned so-called honour killing, saying the practice speaks to a perverse sense of honour that is alien to Islam, and has no place in society.

Samy Metwally said Friday that it doesn’t make sense to think or believe that any religion will condone killing people to preserve family honour.

“What’s called honour killing is not part of Islamic teaching or tradition, and in fact there is no honour in this killing at all,” Metwally told the Citizen.

“It has nothing to do with religion and it has no backup either from the texts of the Koran or from the behaviour, sayings or deeds of the Prophet Muhammad, who is the model for Muslims.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Canada, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Violence

IAS Commission on Unity, Faith and Order Communique

In preparation for the forthcoming meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC-15) in 2012, the Commission devoted its third meeting to consolidating its work in the five areas initially identified as falling within its remit in 2009.
These areas of work involve:

–reflecting critically on the Instruments of Communion and the relationships among them. Our discussions continue to develop the potential of these in the wider contexts of Anglican and ecumenical ecclesiological reflection;
–studying the definition and recognition of churches;
–providing a variety of materials to assist in the reception of the Anglican Communion Covenant. The guide which we produced during the past year is being augmented by a short video presentation which will be made available from the Anglican Communion website…

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Reports & Communiques

(Kansas City Star) Helen Gray–2012 doomsayers step into high gear

If some interpretations of the Mayan calendar are correct, we’ll all be gone next year.

While every other doomsday prediction has (obviously) come and gone, some people think that the Maya knew something others didn’t and that the world will indeed come to an end on Dec. 21, 2012.

Opportunists already are trying to cash in with 2012 survival kits, T-shirts reading “Doomsday 2012” and a “Complete Idiots Guide to 2012.”

A website, december212012.com, devoted to the prediction, says, “Although this date may not necessarily mark the end of the world, it is widely believed that it may indeed mark the end of the world as we know it. ”¦

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Eschatology, History, Other Faiths, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology

Archbishop of York Calls for Action on Funding of Care for Older People: A New Social Covenant

Writing an open letter to the Prime Minister and his fellow Taxpayers in England, the Archbishop has asked the Government to consider a new social covenant to protect the most vulnerable in society.

The Archbishop of York’s said: “A failing of today’s society is to set the old over and against the young, in a state of mutual incomprehension. In fact, the old need the young and the young, the old. An integration of the generations is critical to a mutually supportive society. The value we are seen to place on their wisdom and the concern we show for their care are important litmus tests of whether we can build a caring as well as a confident society in the 21st century.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(BBC Video) First Hindu chaplain in US military is 'groundbreaking

Until recently, the 1,000 or so Hindus serving in the US military – and their families – lacked a military confidant who understood their religion and culture.

But now Captain Pratima Dharm has been appointed as the US military’s first Hindu chaplain.

Watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, Hinduism, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

(Yorkshire Post) Tom Richmond: An Archbishop with nothing positive to say

Another week and yet another attack on social policy by the Archbishop of Canterbury on the summer riots and why, in his opinion, there will be “more outbreaks of future anarchy” unless the Government reaches out to the young.

I know the primary function of the Church of England’s senior cleric is to criticise the government of the day ”“ Robert Runcie and George Carey were no different ”“ but such interventions are becoming futile when the CoE has so little positive to say.

According to Rowan Williams, the disorder was linked to “massive economic hopelessness” and rising levels of youth unemployment will only inflame tensions still further.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Economy, England / UK, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

Rowan Williams–The Future of Interfaith Dialogue: an Anglican Theological Perspective

This last point suggests a further implication of the basic argument. The Anglican legacy includes a tradition of working with the grain of a culture: it begins in the unashamed attempt to devise a form for Catholic ecclesial life that is thoroughly ”˜native’ to the realms governed by the Tudor dynasty. Hooker is consistently concerned to defend an ecclesiastical polity that is bound up with the laws and customs of this particular society. This can be ”“ and often has been ”“ an excuse for the odd cultural fundamentalism which assumes that communicating Christianity means communicating (or imposing) certain cultural habits; it is the familiar caricature of Anglicanism abroad which has produced replicas of Gothic churches in tropical climates and a musical repertoire mostly focused upon translations of Victorian hymns. But the principle with which Hooker worked is logically one that allows cultural diversity and flexibility. At least some Anglican missions took this fully on board ”“ notably in the Pacific, when we think of the work of Selwyn and Patteson. And, to push it a little further and to link it with the reflections of Vincent Donovan in his classic, Christianity Rediscovered, this means that we should be careful of trying to control too tightly the forms that arise in response to the sharing of the Gospel.

Thus, even if a dialogue has within it a hope and prayer that it may open the door to some kind of explicit acknowledgement of Christ, it must recognize that this will not dissolve all the ”˜otherness’ that a dialogue will have involved. Just as we wait to hear what Christ has to say to us in the voice of the dialogue partner who has no explicit vocabulary for speaking of the relation that already exists with this Christ, so we wait to see what particular effect, within this thought world, this set of customs, words about Christ may have. And whatever the outcome in respect of this, the readiness to hear and learn from the ”˜stranger’s’ hidden relation to Christ must be always to the fore. I don’t think this is an appeal to an anonymous Christianity in the other: it is rather an appeal to the hidden Christ active in the other, the eternal Word who cannot but be acting in union with the historical Jesus.

To repeat the Christological point: although the Word is never without Jesus, and the Word’s acts in human history (and indeed in the universe) will be inseparable from the agency of Jesus as a human being, it would be a mistake to say that what we can say about the human Jesus exhausts what we can say about the Word.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Archbishop of Canterbury, Inter-Faith Relations, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Heavenly Father, whose most dearly beloved Son has come once to save the world, and will come again to judge the world: Help us, we pray thee, to watch like servants who wait for the coming of their lord. May we abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost; and, having this hope, may we purify ourselves by thy grace, even as Christ is pure. Grant this, O Father, for his sake and for the glory of thy holy name.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Advent, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

“And to the angel of the church in La-odice’a write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation. “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing; not knowing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.

–Revelation 3:14-17

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture