Daily Archives: December 22, 2011

A Letter from some (formerly Rwandan) Bishops to the AMiA

Greetings in the name of Christ for whom we wait with joy and anticipation.

We, the undersigned Bishops of the Anglican Mission, write you today at the conclusion of two very important meetings. December 18-19th, we met in Charlotte, NC to seek God’s direction for our Anglican Mission, and on December 20th, a delegation from this Council met with representative bishops from the Anglican Church in North America in Pittsburgh, PA.
Our desire is to share our hearts with you about these meetings and to confirm our support for you and our partnership in the Gospel. May this letter be a word of encouragement to each one of you that Jesus Christ is, even now, lifting a call of peace, reconciliation and vision in our midst!

We want you to know that this Council of Bishops is absolutely united. We have stood together as this whole transitional drama has unfolded and we will continue to stand together through whatever may come until unity and relationships are restored and our mission for the cause of Christ is accomplished.

We apologize for the fallout that you have felt from the collision of what may best be described as two groups of Godly leaders separated by tens of thousands of miles and substantial cultural differences, each seeking to do what they have hoped would bring about a more effective Christian witness in our land. What has happened in the past six months is certainly not reflective of, nor consistent with, the pattern of relationship and mission that has marked our relationship with Rwanda during the previous thirteen years. Nor are the attacks, in particular, against our Chairman, Bishop Chuck Murphy, true in regard to his character or leadership.

In Rwanda there has been significant change in the House of Bishops over the past two years as a result of the election of a new Primate and several new members to that House. It appears to have been their desire to transition our partnership toward a leadership model that would allow this newly constituted House to exercise much greater control over the day-to-day operations and direction of the Anglican Mission, moving in a direction that is inconsistent with anything that had been fully discussed or engaged in over the past thirteen years.

This past summer a process of discernment was initiated by Bishop Murphy with our Council of Bishops regarding next steps in formalizing the structures of the Anglican Mission in a manner consistent with what the Holy Spirit has led us into over the past fourteen years. The structure being considered was a Missionary Society out of the Province of Rwanda (a missionary society is an historically recognized entity within the Church). This conversation was evolving and was involving the HOB of Rwanda, our founding Archbishops, and leadership throughout the Anglican Mission. We believe that it is important for you to know that our founding archbishops, Moses Tay, Yong Ping Chung, and Emmanuel Kolini have all encouraged us to move forward toward a formalized Missionary Society. As such, a Society would build on what God has been doing with us and would also reflect what they have sensed in prayer that the Lord is calling us to do. This fall these two transitions met, and none of us could have anticipated the velocity with which they collided.

For today, we will leave the details of these past nine months to history. Things will all be made clearer as the dust settles, as relationships are restored and truth comes to light, and as we remain focused on our primary mission, starting churches and encouraging those who are doing Kingdom work. Know that we love and cherish our Rwandan friends, and they us. We will not speak further of what has happened save in the pursuit of reconciliation among our Houses. You may be assured that reconciliation remains important to us. We offer our apologies to Rwanda and to you for the missteps that we have made, and seek the forgiveness of our brothers and of Almighty God for those places where we have, by our words and actions, caused pain or confusion.

Already Bishop Murphy and Bishop Terrell Glenn have met following Bishop’s Glenn’s recent resignation from our Council. We are happy to report the good news that reconciliation has been reached between our brothers. For this we have not ceased to thank our Lord.

As we move forward we are deeply grateful for the sacrificial and ongoing leadership that our founding archbishops, Moses Tay, Yong Ping Chung, and Emmanuel Kolini have provided to our Mission. At this moment in our history, we are particularly thankful that they have stepped into an active oversight and leadership position in our Mission and in the formation process of a Missionary Society.

It may be helpful to say that an Anglican Missionary Society, by name, must have a jurisdictional connection within the Anglican Communion. We had hoped that our jurisdictional connection would have been with the Province of Rwanda, but with our resignation as bishops from that Province, we are prayerfully considering other options. Although several options have been considered and have presented themselves to us, in prayer and conversation with many of you, it became clear that a process of discernment should first be engaged with the Anglican Church in North America.

What follows is a joint statement issued by the ACNA/AM task force which came into being yesterday and which will be leading us through this discernment process. Bishop TJ Johnston and Bishop Doc Loomis will be representing the Anglican Mission in these conversations.

On December 20, 2011, Bishops Chuck Murphy, Doc Loomis and John Rodgers and representatives from the Anglican Mission in the Americas participated in a very encouraging conversation during a meeting with Archbishop Robert Duncan, Bishops Leonard Riches and Charlie Masters of the Anglican Church in North America. The joyful result of these conversations was a mutual pledge to wholeheartedly pursue a restoration of the relationship between The Anglican Mission and the Anglican Church in North America. The ACNA and AMiA have appointed four bishops to engage in a determined effort to bring about at the earliest possible time a reunion of The Anglican Mission, a founding partner of the ACNA, to full participation in the life and ministry of the Anglican Church in North America. Both parties recognize that this is the beginning of a process, which will involve a number of strategic decisions as well as the repair and restoration of relationships. We give thanks to God for the ongoing work of His Holy Spirit as He continues to draw us together to form a Biblical, united and missionary Anglican witness to North America.

Finally, during our time in Charlotte, Bishop Murphy and the Council openly engaged a number of important leadership issues and transitions that would be involved in formalizing a Missionary Society. One of the purposes of such a move is to provide a stable, sustainable, and flexible platform for our Mission for decades to come. During this conversation, the Council affirmed Bishop Murphy’s leadership as Chairman, even as all of us, including Bishop Murphy, acknowledged that in this time of transition to a Missionary Society, current positions and leadership roles are likely to change.

We also prayed through and discussed our upcoming Winter Conference, which will be a very important time for us to gather together and seek God’s presence and heart for our Mission. Along with our overseeing archbishops, we invite and encourage all of you to join us in Houston for what will be a defining moment for our Mission.

We implore you to prayerfully consider what we have shared with you. It is our earnest desire that you will trust and join with us as we boldly step forward in our call to press on with the Mission the Lord has laid on our hearts, and to help us work through the process of establishing a Missionary Society that reflects our long held belief that we are a Mission, nothing more, nothing less.

With glad tidings for a blessed Christmas we remain,

Faithfully yours,

(signed)

(The Rt. Rev.) Sandy Greene
(The Rt. Rev.) Doc Loomis
(The Rt. Rev.) Todd Hunter
(The Rt. Rev.) T.J. Johnston
(The Rt. Rev.) Philip Jones
(The Rt. Rev.) John Miller
(The Rt. Rev.) Silas Ng

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, - Anglican: Latest News, Anglican Provinces, Church of Rwanda, Other Churches

Milwaukee Episcopal Diocese wins legal dispute with Departing Anglican church

A Waukesha County judge has ruled in favor of the Episcopal Diocese of Milwaukee in a dispute over church property taken by an Elm Grove congregation when it broke away over theological differences in 2008.

The decision, by Waukesha County Circuit Judge J. Mac Davis, means members of St. Edmund’s Parish who left the Episcopal Church to align with a new, more theologically conservative Anglican province must relinquish all church property and vacate the building at 14625 Watertown Plank Road.

Read it all.

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

(RNS) Atheists Aim to Change Image of Penny-pinching Scrooges

If Dec. 10 had been an average day for Doctors Without Borders, the Swiss charity that sends medical help into crisis areas, its website would have logged 4,000 hits.

Instead, it was bombarded with more than 10 times that amount as atheists from the user-driven news site Reddit.com participated in a fundraiser that has so far raised more than $200,000.

“It’s amazing, what’s going on,” a DWB spokeswoman told the Reuters news agency. “The amount being raised is amazing, definitely.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Atheism, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

59-year-old woman who never held a hockey stick wins a truck with this amazing shot

This is just wonderful–Watch and read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports

(USA Today) Just say no to Christmas?

Susan Lee, a divorced mother of three in New York City, is taking a drastic step this year. “No Christmas for me,” she says. “No gifts, no turkey, no tree, no kidding.”

Lee, 41, a marketing consultant, says she needs a break from the stress and spending that are integral parts of the holiday. Her kids will celebrate a traditional Christmas with their dad, but she’s ignoring all the rituals.
“I start dreading Christmas from the time the decorations go up in the stores,” she says. “It stopped being fun for me, so I’ll find out this year if I can do without it altogether. I think it will be a relief. It already is.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Personal Finance, Religion & Culture

(Washington Post) Elisabeth Cornwell–A very atheist Christmas

Christmas is…a time to remember family and friends who are no longer with us. They stay with us in loving memory, and we celebrate how much richer our lives are because they were a part of us, shaping us, and making us better for knowing them….

Like many of my Christian friends, I am not overly fond of the commercialization of Christmas. I bristle at seeing decorations any time before Thanksgiving and this year I’ve been particularly annoyed with a car advert that has hijacked one of my favorite secular holiday songs. However, I let all that fall away and think about being with my family and spending time laughing, telling stories, and watching the joy of Christmas shine through the eyes of my niece Quincie.

Christmas belongs to anyone who wants it, and just because I gave up believing in a god doesn’t mean I gave up believing in the love and joy of family. I did not give up the joy of celebration with my abandonment of the absurd. So to my religious and non-religious friends, I wish them all a Merry Christmas or a Happy Hanukkah from the heart and I hope they take it with the true spirit with which I give it ”“ that of the spirt of humanity – something we can all celebrate.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Atheism, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

Mark Galli on the AMIA Mess–Why this Anglican sees opportunity in the midst of crisis

unfortunately, there is another issue that has been made public; it is now part of the historical record: Chuck Murphy and eight AMIA bishops have removed themselves from Rwandan oversight, having done so for no particular theological or biblical reason. The issues are both personal and ecstatic. By personal, I mean personality conflicts. By ecstatic, I mean that the only spiritual reason given for the departure was Chuck Murphy’s sense that the Lord had told him personally that he was like Moses leading people out of Egypt: “I must now say ”¦ that I believe that the Lord’s present word to me (and to us) now directs me to look beyond Genesis chapters 39-45, and on into the Book of Exodus”¦. that Africa (Egypt) could no longer be viewed as [AMIA’s] lasting home”¦. Things have now been made very clear to me” [letter of Dec. 5, 2011 to Archbishop Rwaje].

I think it critical in such times that we say what a thing is”“only the truth will set us free. And this thing that happened has a name: schism. All the AMIA bishops who have resigned are schismatics.

This is a hard sentence to write and to read, because these are otherwise godly men, whose leadership we have admired. Some we call friends and colleagues. But there is no other word to describe what they’ve done other than the word schism.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of Rwanda, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Theology

Link for the Pew Forum Report on the Size and Distribution of the World’s Christian Population

The number of Christians around the world has more than tripled in the last 100 years, from about 600 million in 1910 to more than 2 billion in 2010. But the world’s overall population also has risen rapidly, from an estimated 1.8 billion in 1910 to 6.9 billion in 2010. As a result, Christians make up about the same portion of the world’s population today (32%) as they did a century ago (35%).

This apparent stability, however, masks a momentous shift. Although Europe and the Americas still are home to a majority of the world’s Christians (63%), that share is much lower than it was in 1910 (93%). And the proportion of Europeans and Americans who are Christian has dropped from 95% in 1910 to 76% in 2010 in Europe as a whole, and from 96% to 86% in the Americas as a whole. At the same time, Christianity has grown enormously in subSaharan Africa and the Asia-Pacific region, where there were relatively few Christians at the beginning of the 20th century.

Take the time to check it out there is much material to ponder here.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Globalization, Other Churches, Religion & Culture

([London] Times) Bishop of London Richard Chartres–Man cannot live by economics alone

In a time of austerity it is salutary once more to ask: what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? This is not to argue for a “Bible-says-it-all politics”, which has been out of fashion since our disastrous flirtation with it in the English Civil War of the 17th century. It is simply to recognise that all politics rest on assumptions; myths properly understood, not as fairytales but as archetypal stories about the human condition.

Both our economic activity and our political life must have ground beneath them. Human beings are not just blind globs of idling protoplasm but creatures with a name who live in a world of symbols and of dreams, not merely of matter.

If we are not only to survive this period of austerity, but even to learn to flourish in it, then we shall have to relearn a more adequate story of what is precious about human life. The story of the birth of the infant king in a poor family is a good starting place.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Religion & Culture, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Theology

(Globe and Mail) Neil Reynolds–The Anglosphere yet reigns Supreme

If Rome could survive Caligula and Nero, says American geographer Joel Kotkin, the United States can probably survive George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Indeed, he says, the U.S. and its “anglosphere” allies ”“ Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand ”“ will continue to be the primary economic, scientific and cultural force in global commerce well into the 21st century. The economic and political crises of the moment will pass. For the English-speaking world, the best is yet to be.

Author of the 2010 best-selling The Next Hundred Million: America in 2050, Mr. Kotkin is singularly optimistic in his latest assessment of a world in which the anglosphere appears to be in truculent decline. The U.S. and Britain, after all, are experiencing serious crises of confidence. Now, in The New World Order, a study published in November by the London-based Legatum Institute, Mr. Kotkin and nine academic associates conclude that the anglosphere will remain the ascendant player on the world stage for a long time to come….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Australia / NZ, Books, Canada, Economy, England / UK, History, Politics in General

(AP) In Israel, a higher profile for Christmas

The founders of Neve Shaanan, a neighborhood in southern Tel Aviv, planned their streets in the shape of a seven-branched candelabra – a symbol of their Jewish faith. Ninety years later, the streets are full of Christmas decorations, reflecting a flowering of Christianity in Israel’s economic and cultural capital.

Tens of thousands of Christian foreigners, most of them laborers from the Philippines and African asylum seekers, have poured into the neighborhood in recent years. They pray year-round in more than 30 churches hidden in grimy apartment buildings. But in late December, their Christian subculture emerges in full force in the southern streets of Tel Aviv, whose founders called it the “first Hebrew city.”

On the Saturday before Christmas, the center of festivities was the city’s central bus station, a hulking seven-story maze of concrete.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Inter-Faith Relations, Israel, Judaism, Middle East, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

(Former Australian PM) John Howard–Western Civilisation, in Danger from within, must be defended

The western tradition has infused and guided and built this nation, and all of us – whatever the position we hold in life – should take care to fight to retain it.

Eighteen months ago the Institute of Public Affairs in Melbourne – admittedly, an institution on the conservative side of our intellectual and political life – decided to launch a project in defence of western civilisation, and I was paid the honour of being invited along with Cardinal George Pell to a joint presenter at the launch.

The whole purpose, of course, was to remind people in all walks of life – and particularly those who might seek to influence public thought in Australia – that we should not take our inheritance for granted.

His Lordship Bishop Geoffrey Jarrett in his homily made reference to an issue of particular relevance: the attempt to persuade the Australian public to believe that changing the definition of marriage, which has lasted for time immemorial, is not an exercise in human rights and equality, but an exercise in de-authorising the Judeo-Christian influence in our society – and anybody who pretends otherwise is deluding themselves.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Australia / NZ, Education, History, Other Churches, Philosophy, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

(NPR) White House Faces Tough Choice On Iran Sanctions

“Congress’s point of view is that we may be running a risk that this will increase the price of oil but that compared to [the risk of ] Israeli or U.S. military strikes on Iran or a nuclear-armed Iran, the oil market impact of these sanctions will pale in comparison,” says Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

Energy analyst Daniel Yergin, chairman of IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates, says there are no easy answers.

“There are only trade-offs, and many of the trade-offs are difficult ones,” Yergin says.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Energy, Natural Resources, Europe, Foreign Relations, House of Representatives, Iran, Middle East, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God of patience and consolation, grant we beseech thee that with free hearts we may love and serve thee and our brethren; and, having thus the mind of Christ, may begin heaven on earth, and exercise ourselves therein till that day when heaven, where love abideth, shall seem no strange habitation to us; for Jesus Christ’s sake.

–Christina Rossetti (1830–1894)

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be every one who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, and do them.” Now it is evident that no man is justified before God by the law; for “He who through faith is righteous shall live”; but the law does not rest on faith, for “He who does them shall live by them.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us–for it is written, “Cursed be every one who hangs on a tree” — that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

–Galatians 3:10-14

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture