Daily Archives: March 27, 2012

Pittsburgh Area Anglican church in Peters hands over property, debt to Episcopal Diocese

The congregation of St. David’s Anglican Church in Peters will hand over its property, its name and its debt of nearly $1 million to the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh and start over in a former Catholic church in Canonsburg.

The move is the latest in a property dispute between the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh and the rival Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh. The diocese split in 2008, with a majority leaving the Episcopal Church for the theologically conservative Anglican Church in North America.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), Housing/Real Estate Market, Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh, The Banking System/Sector

Justices signal possible trouble ahead for health insurance mandate

Even before the Obama administration’s top lawyer could get three minutes into his defense of the mandate, the justices accused the government of pushing for excessive authority to require Americans to buy anything.

“Are there any limits,” asked Justice Anthony Kennedy, one of three conservative justices who are seen as critical to the fate of the unprecedented insurance mandate.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr.suggested the government might require Americans to buy cell phones to be ready for emergencies. And Justice Antonin Scalia asked if the government might require Americans to buy broccoli or automobiles.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues

ACNA Assembly 2012 – Youth

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NPR Morning Piece on Today's Supreme Court Arguments on the Health Care Law

The challengers contend that Congress, in order to pay for near-universal health care coverage, has for the first time required individual citizens to buy a commercial product they may not want.

“The reason we want people who are young and relatively healthy to buy health insurance is not because we are terribly concerned that those people are going to get unhealthy and end up in the emergency room,” says Paul Clement, who is representing the states. “What we really want is those people to be part of the risk pool and contribute their premiums so that we can afford to pay for the health care for the other folks.”

The government counters that health care is different because everybody will receive medical care at some point.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues

The Full Text of Pope Benedict XVI's Homily at Mass in Santiago de Cuba

First of all, let us see what the Incarnation means. In the Gospel of Saint Luke we heard the words of the angel to Mary: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God” (Lk 1:35). In Mary, the Son of God is made man, fulfilling in this way the prophecy of Isaiah: “Behold, a young woman shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel, which means ”˜God-with-us’” (Is 7:14). Jesus, the Word made flesh, is truly God-with-us, who has come to live among us and to share our human condition. The Apostle Saint John expresses it in the following way: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (Jn 1:14). The expression, “became flesh” points to our human reality in most concrete and tangible way. In Christ, God has truly come into the world, he has entered into our history, he has set his dwelling among us, thus fulfilling the deepest desire of human beings that the world may truly become a home worthy of humanity. On the other hand, when God is put aside, the world becomes an inhospitable place for man, and frustrates creation’s true vocation to be a space for the covenant, for the “Yes” to the love between God and humanity who responds to him. Mary did so as the first fruit of believers with her unreserved “Yes” to the Lord.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Caribbean, Cuba, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI, Preaching / Homiletics, Roman Catholic

Joel Scandrett Announced as Interim Director of new Webber Center at Trinity School for Ministry

“This is a very exciting moment for Trinity,” remarked the Very Rev. Dr. Justyn Terry, Dean and President of Trinity School for Ministry. “The vision of the Robert E. Webber Center is a very good fit for our own identity as a global center for Christian formation. We are pleased to come alongside the Center and to engage in this pioneering work.”

“I have been delighted that Trinity School for Ministry has recognized the many points of contact between the work of the late Robert Webber and Trinity’s mission” stated David Neff, Editor in Chief of Christianity Today and co-founder of the Robert E. Webber Center. “The new Robert E. Webber Center at Trinity School for Ministry will be a place where Dr. Webber’s theological and social insights can be brought to bear on the ministry challenges of 2012 and beyond. I’m also thrilled that Joel Scandrett has agreed to take on responsibility for directing the renewed Webber Center through its early years. Joel’s experience in teaching and his ministry in a renewed Anglican context complement his personal history with Robert Webber to make him an ideal choice for this initiative.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

(Zenit) Father John Flynn–Debate Continues Over Same-Sex 'Marriage'

“The essential question is not whether we are going to introduce same-sex civil marriage but how,” said British Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone to the Independent newspaper on March 15.

In Denmark last week the government presented a bill in parliament to legalize same-sex marriage and which, if passed as is expected, will enable homosexual couples to marry in the state Evangelical Lutheran Church, the AFP news agency reported March 15.

The denial of same-sex marriage in European countries is not, however, a breach of anti-discrimination laws, the European Court of Human Rights recently ruled.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Sexuality, Theology

Pittsburgh Episcopal Diocese hears from candidates for bishop

Five candidates visited the 11-county diocese last week. They have diverse convictions on some issues that led to the split. But all pledged to avoid imposing their own agenda on the 32 parishes, which range theologically from evangelical to moderately liberal. All have experience with mediation or reconciliation among feuding Episcopalians. All have led the revival of tiny parishes similar to many here.

And all intend to spend more time in parishes than in an office.

“The next bishop will have to be a missionary bishop, not an administrator,” said the Rev. R. Stanley Runnels, 60, rector of St. Paul’s Church in Kansas City, Mo., in a view expressed by all candidates.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, TEC Bishops, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils, TEC Parishes

Bryan Owen Offers a Helpful Summary of some response to the Communion of the Unbaptized Proposal

Now that the Anglican Covenant is dead in the water, those who seek to revise what it means to be the Church have no need to worry about the process set out in the fourth section of that document (assuming that they would have needed to worry if the Covenant was adopted anyway). Regardless, the drive for CWOB is a manifestation of commitment to an “autonomous ecclesiology” rather than “communion ecclesiology.”

Read it all and yes, follow all the links.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anthropology, Baptism, Episcopal Church (TEC), Eucharist, General Convention, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Sacramental Theology, Soteriology, TEC Parishes, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Some Details on the Proposed Same Sex Union Rites from the recent House of Bishops meeting

The agenda for the afternoon was a report from five bishops who have been involved in the development of a rite for the blessing of same-sex relationships, with accompanying supporting materials. There was actually a read-through of the liturgy, with two bishops taking the lines of those committing themselves to one another. After a few “clarifying questions” in plenary (some of which did not actually meet that description), we had a period of discussion at our tables, and then were sent to breakout rooms where larger groups (about three tables worth) engaged in Indaba-style dialogue.

No one should be surprised that I am among those opposed to the entire project, on principle. I will vote against it, whatever form the rite takes in the end. For that reason, I’m not in a position to offer feedback on its details, fine-tuning language, etc. So I have the luxury of observing, as it were, from a distance. And what I see is a developing struggle between hard-core ideological liberals for whom anything but “full marriage equality” will still be a denial of justice, and institutional liberals who would like there to be some authorized rite for same-sex blessings but are not really interested in it looking anything like marriage. The rite that is being proposed is, in my estimation, marriage by another name, despite the protestations of its authors that it’s simply a “blessing” liturgy. It’s doesn’t use the word “marriage,” but it borrows heavily from the vocabulary and structure of the marriage liturgy. And can anyone question what the headline will be in the secular media the day after we pass the authorizing resolution?

The silver lining in all this is that the proposal is for this rite to be new resource entitled Liturgical Resources One–that is, not appended to any currently extant liturgical book, thus placing it under the authority of the Bishop Diocesan as to whether it may be used.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anthropology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, General Convention, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Inside Higher Ed.) Thomas Howard and Karl Giberson–An Evangelical Renaissance in Academe?

This spring semester, California’s Biola University, among the nation’s largest evangelical institutions, opens the doors of its ambitious new Center for Christian Thought. Resembling institutions such as Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study, Biola’s center seeks to bring a mix of senior and postdoctoral fellows to campus to collaborate with internal fellows and faculty.

The center is unusual in operating from a distinctly Christian vantage point. The mission statement is forthright: “The Center offers scholars from a variety of Christian perspectives a unique opportunity to work collaboratively on a selected theme…. Ultimately, the collaborative work will result in scholarly and popular-level materials, providing the broader culture with thoughtful Christian perspectives on current events, ethical concerns, and social trends.”

If the idea of Christian perspectives raises your eyebrows, it might be time to brush up on Augustine, Aquinas, Dante, Pascal, Kierkegaard, Dostoyevsky, Karl Barth, Martin Luther King, Edith Stein, Reinhold Niebuhr, and many others….

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Education, Evangelicals, History, Other Churches, Religion & Culture

A.S. Haley–Fort Worth Diocese Completes Briefing in Texas Supreme Court

….because ECUSA’s governing documents do not attempt to place any restrictions on property owned or controlled by member dioceses, but only on the properties of parishes and missions, its claims to the diocesan properties are bogus, and require no “deference” whatsoever.

Texas is thus appearing as though it could be the first jurisdiction in the United States to issue a definitive ruling on the ability of Episcopal Church (USA) member dioceses to leave that organization with their property and bank accounts intact. Of course, the fact that the Episcopal Church did nothing to stop the Confederate dioceses from withdrawing en masse after the outbreak of the Civil War, and waited patiently for them to return afterward without ever going to court over the matter, speaks volumes.

The Episcopal Church (USA)’s priorities have changed markedly in 150 years — and not for the better. That it would consume its ever-dwindling resources over such a dispute is nothing to be emulated, or admired. (Thankfully, PCUSA thus far has had to deal only with the withdrawal of individual parishes, and not regional presbyteries or synods.) Instead of chasing after dioceses no longer willing to participate in its apostasy and decline, ECUSA should concentrate on getting its own house in order.

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

(Telegraph) Twitter users invited to help choose the new Archbishop of Canterbury

Having wrestled with the best way to choose a new leader, the Church of England has decided to use the social networking site Twitter. It will also seek the views of people of all faiths and none, from the Chief Rabbi to Professor Richard Dawkins.

For the first time in history, the long and usually private process will begin with a widespread public consultation, to be finished by the end of May.

The Crown Nominations Commission, which must present the Prime Minister with two possible successors to Dr Rowan Williams, will also ask for contributions from “senior figures in other faiths, the secular world and the life of the nation”.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Blogging & the Internet, Church of England (CoE)

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Charles Henry Brent

Heavenly Father, whose Son did pray that we all might be one: deliver us, we beseech thee, from arrogance and prejudice, and give us wisdom and forbearance, that, following thy servant Charles Henry Brent, we may be united in one family with all who confess the Name of thy Son Jesus Christ: who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Missions, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Lord Jesus Christ, who didst stretch out thine arms of love upon the hard wood of the Cross, that all men everywhere might come within the reach of thy saving embrace: So clothe us with thy Spirit that we, reaching forth our hands in love, may bring those who do not know thee to the knowledge and love of thee; for the honor of thy Name.

–Charles Henry Brent (1862–1929)

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