Monthly Archives: May 2007

Former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey Offers his Thoughts

The case for the defence

Sir, Kenneth Kearon suggests (CEN May 25) that the decision not to invite AMiA bishops, or the recently consecrated CANA Bishop, to the Lambeth Conference relates to a precedent I set in 2000. This set my mind flashing back to the circumstances of that period. My opposition to the consecration of the two AMiA Bishops related to the setting up of Episcopal activity in the United States which I regarded as unconstitutional and unnecessary (at least at that period). Although I regarded these bishops (both honourable and good men) as ”˜irregularly’ consecrated, there was no question about the validity of their consecrations.

This, of course, was before 2003 when the Episcopal Church clearly signalled its abandonment of Communion norms, in spite of warnings from the Primates that the consecration of a practising homosexual bishop would ”˜tear the fabric of the Communion’. It is not too much to say that everything has changed in the Anglican Communion as a result of the consecration of Gene Robinson. The Archbishop of Canterbury’s prerogative to invite bishops to the Conference is a lonely, personal and important task. Before each Conference a number of careful decisions have to be taken, with the focus being on the well-being of the Communion. The circumstances facing each Archbishop of Canterbury will vary according to the needs of the hour. For these reasons, I believe, that Dr Rowan Williams should not regard the advice he has evidently received that this matter is ”˜fixed’ as necessarily binding on him in the very different circumstances of 2007. He and all his colleagues will be in my thoughts and prayers.

Lord Carey of Clifton

–This letter appears in the Church of England Newspaper, June 1, 2007 edition, on page 10

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, - Anglican: Latest News, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Archbishop of Canterbury, Lambeth 2008

New York’s Schools for Pregnant Girls Will Close

A dozen girls, some perched awkwardly with their pregnant bellies flush against the desks, were struggling over a high school geometry assignment on a recent afternoon.

No pencils, no textbooks, no Pythagorean theorem. Instead, they sewed quilts.

That is what passes for math in one of New York City’s four high schools for pregnant girls, this one in Harlem. “It ties into geometry,” said Patricia Martin, the principal. “They’re cutting shapes.”

Created in the 1960s, when pregnant girls were such pariahs that they were forced to leave school until their babies were born, the city school system’s four pregnancy schools ”” or P-schools, as they are obliquely referred to ”” have lived on, their population dwindling to just 323 students from 1,500 in the late 1960s.

They have been marked by abysmal test scores, poor attendance and inadequate facilities, and even some of their own administrators say they suspect that most of their students are pushed there by other schools because they are failing academically. In place of proms and computer labs, they have Mother’s Day parties and day care centers with cribs lining the walls.

Now in recognition of their failure, the city plans to shut them down at the end of the school year as part of a sweeping reorganization to be announced today of the alternative school district, which also includes an array of vocational, technical and dropout programs for students who have struggled in traditional settings.

“It’s a separate but unequal program,” acknowledges Cami Anderson, the superintendent whose district includes the Program for Pregnant Students, as it is formally called. “The girls get pushed out of their original high schools, they don’t come to class and they don’t gain ground in terms of credits.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education

Communique from the Anglican – Lutheran International Commission


The Third Anglican ”“ Lutheran International Commission (ALIC) held its second meeting at White Point, Nova Scotia, Canada between 14 and 20 May, 2007, under the chairmanship of the Rt Revd Fred Hiltz, Anglican Bishop of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, and the Revd Dr Thomas Nyiwé, President of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Cameroon.

The Commission has been established by the Anglican Consultative Council and the Lutheran World Federation to continue the dialogue between Anglicans and Lutherans on the worldwide level which has been in progress since 1970. ALIC intends to build upon the work reflected in The Niagara Report (1987), focusing on the mission of the church and the role of the ordained ministry, The Diaconate as an Ecumenical Opportunity (1995), and most recently Growth in Communion (2002), the report of the Anglican ”“ Lutheran International Working Group (ALIWG), which reviewed the extensive regional agreements which have established close relations between Anglican and Lutheran churches in several parts of the world.

The Commission first met in 2006 in Moshi, Tanzania where it set up working groups. At the White Point meeting the working groups continued their work and presented papers on a variety of topics, including the following: the status of Lutheran-Anglican relations in various regions of the world, the state of the question regarding the historic episcopate, emerging opportunities for joint mission and diaconal ministry, the state of interchangeability of ministries throughout the world, cooperation in theological education, a critical analysis of ecclesiology and the language of unity. The Commission also explored ways of developing these themes in its future work.

The Commission welcomed the Lutheran World Federation’s recent Lund statement on “Episcopal Ministry within the Apostolicity of the Church”. It views this statement as a useful reference point for its own ongoing discussions on the ministry of episkopé, and commends it for study in the context of Anglican ”“ Lutheran dialogue.

The Commission also had extensive discussions on the proposed draft for “An Anglican Covenant” and offered a response from the perspective of the document’s potential impact on ecumenical relations between the two communions. This response has been forwarded to the Covenant Design Group. The Commission encourages the Lutheran World Federation to respond to the Covenant draft.

As a result of its deliberations on the ministry of diakonia, the Commission plans to include in its future meetings a block of time devoted to strategies that will help our churches work more closely together in common witness to address issues such as HIV-AIDS and poverty.

The Commission took action to enable the All Africa Anglican ”“ Lutheran Commission (AAALC) to move ahead with its mandate, and anticipates a report from the AAALC at its next meeting.
The meeting was hosted by the Anglican Communion in cooperation with Bishop Fred Hiltz. The Commission was welcomed by Bishop Raymond Schultz, National Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, and received a greeting from the Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, Archbishop Andrew Hutchison. Commission members visited The Little Dutch Church, the oldest standing building of Lutheran origin in Canada and now associated with the Anglican parish of St. George in Halifax, as well as the Cathedral Church of All Saints of Halifax, and historic St. John’s Church in Lunenburg, the centerpiece of the World Historic District of Old Town Lunenburg.

The Commission is planning to meet next year (2008) in Norway. We give thanks to God for the vocation of Anglicans and Lutherans to bear witness to the love of God revealed in Christ in their common service to the world, and we pray that God will bless and guide the life of both Communions in this work.

The members of the Commission are:


The Rt Revd Fred Hiltz, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada (Co-Chair)
The Revd Dr Charlotte Methuen, Hanau, Germany and Oxford, England
The Rt Revd Musonda T S Mwamba, Gaborone, Botswana
The Revd Professor Renta Nishihara, Tokyo, Japan
The Very Revd William H Petersen, Columbus, Ohio, USA
The Revd Dr Cathy Thomson, Brisbane, Australia


The Revd Canon Dr Alyson Barnett-Cowan, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
The Revd Dr Günther Esser, the Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht (unable to attend)


The Revd Canon Dr Gregory Cameron, Anglican Communion Office, London, England


Revd Dr Thomas Nyiwe, Ngaoundere-Adamaoua, Cameroon (Co-Chair)
Professor Dr Kirsten Busch Nielsen, Copenhagen, Denmark
Revd Angel Furlan, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Revd Dr Cameron R Harder, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
Landesbischof Jürgen Johannesdotter, Germany (unable to attend)
Revd Helene Tärneberg Steed, Cork, Republic of Ireland


Professor Dr Kenneth G Appold, Strasbourg, France (Acting Co-Secretary)
Rt Revd Dr Ndanganeni P Phaswana, Soweto, South Africa

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Reports & Communiques, Ecumenical Relations, Lutheran, Other Churches

Terry Mattingly: Fathers and church

When it comes to who fills the pews, every Sunday is Mother’s Day in most mainstream American churches.

And what about Father’s Day? That can be a touchy subject for pastors in an era in which men who religiously avoid church outnumber active churchmen roughly three to one. Worship just doesn’t work for millions of ordinary guys.

“What churches are doing isn’t getting the job done. Mom is having to take the kids to church because Dad doesn’t want to go,” said Marc Carrier, co-author, with his Cynthia, of “The Values-Driven Family.”

“That leaves Mom in charge of the spiritual upbringing of the children, which means faith is a Mom thing and not a Dad thing. … So why is little Johnny — who is 25 and has his first child on the way, whether he’s married or not — never in church? The odds are that his father was never in church.”

Church attendance among men had already fallen to 43 percent in 1992, according to the Barna Group, which specializes in researching trends among Evangelicals. Then that number crashed to 28 percent in 1996, the year before the Promise Keepers movement held its “Stand in the Gap” rally that drew a million or more men to the National Mall — one of the largest gatherings of any kind in American history.

No one involved in national men’s ministries believes that those stats have improved. That’s one reason why a nondenominational coalition wants to hold a “Stand in the Gap 2007” rally on Oct. 6, hoping to gather 250,000 men at the Washington Monument and on the Ellipse, just south of the White House.

The American numbers are sobering, noted Carrier, but they are nowhere near as stunning as another set of statistics in an essay entitled “The Demographic Characteristics of the Linguistic and Religious Groups in Switzerland,” published in 2000 in a volume covering trends in several European nations. The numbers that trouble traditionalists came from a 1994 survey in which the Swiss government tried to determine how religious practices are carried down from generation to generation.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life

Clinton, Obama, Edwards to Debate Faith and Poverty

The three top Democratic presidential candidates will discuss faith, values and poverty and take questions from religious leaders Monday at a forum sponsored by Sojourners/Call to Renewal, the progressive social-justice group.

Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y. and Barack Obama, D-Ill. as well as former North Carolina senator John Edwards will all take part in the forum, to take place at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

The Rev. Jim Wallis, best-selling author and evangelical activist who heads Sojourners/Call to Renewal, said having only three candidates participate allows for “a more thoughtful, more in-depth conversation.”

“This gives us a good long time to really engage with them,” Wallis said. The event will be televised by CNN and is part of Sojourner’s 2007 Pentecost conference, which draws social justice activists from across the country to gather for workshops and to lobby Congress.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

Common Cause Council of Bishops Set for Sept. 25 ”“ 28

[via e-mail]

Bishops from the Anglican Communion Network, the Anglican Mission in the Americas (including the Anglican Coalition in Canada), the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, the Anglican Network in Canada, the Anglican Province of America, Forward in Faith North America and the Reformed Episcopal Church are invited to attend the first-ever Common Cause Council of Bishops in Pittsburgh, PA, September 25-28. Two of the Common Cause Partners, the American Anglican Council and Anglican Essentials Canada, are not ecclesial jurisdictions and do not have bishops. Several other Anglican jurisdictions are currently in the membership process.

Since its formation in 2004, Anglican bodies connected to each other through Common Cause have committed to working together for “a Biblical, missionary and united Anglicanism in North America.” Together, they have crafted a common theological statement and articles of federation. Both are being considered and adopted by each Common Cause Partner.

“By the time we meet, the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church will have given its response to the Anglican Communion as to its decision to ”˜walk apart.’ By contrast, I expect our gathering to signal a new level of ”˜walking together’ both with each other and with the wider Anglican world,” wrote Anglican Communion Network Moderator and Common Cause convener Bishop Robert Duncan. The meeting, said Bishop Duncan, is the result of many years of work toward Anglican unity, work responding to resolutions of both the Lambeth Conference of Bishops and The Episcopal Church’s General Convention.

Bishop Duncan went on to describe the purpose of the gathering as fivefold.

1) to take the Common Cause Partnership to the next level of development in mission together;
2) to showcase ministry initiatives of any of the partners that might be shared with all the partners (e.g., The Anglican Relief and Development Fund);
3) to share understandings of the purpose and role of bishops such that some common guidelines for the making of bishops relative to numbers of communicants and congregations might be developed;
4) to consider whether a permanent Common Cause College of Bishops might be created, in order that ever greater levels of communication, cooperation and collaboration can be built; and
5) to initiate discussion of the creation of an “Anglican Union” among the partners, moving forward the vision of the Primates of the Global South for a new “ecclesiastical structure of the Anglican Communion in the USA.”

“The Council of Bishops lacks the voice of the laity. It is not a full synod of the Common Cause Partners, but it is the next step agreed upon by the Common Cause Roundtable. While it is not the end of our journey, it does continue the trajectory of ever greater unity and ever closer cooperation between those of us who know Jesus as the only Lord. In the challenging weeks and months ahead, let us say our prayers, do the work before us and trust ”˜that things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new,’” said Bishop Duncan.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Latest News, Anglican Communion Network

Fallout after Lambeth Invitations Continues

by George Conger

American partisans of the Anglican Communion’s sex wars were united in their umbrage this week towards the Archbishop of Canterbury over his decision to omit eight bishops from the guest list of the 2008 Lambeth Conference.

While US Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has urged the members of the US House of Bishops to forebear criticism and take a “calm approach” to the news that New Hampshire Bishop Gene Robinson has not been invited, several American bishops have responded sharply to the decision.

Conservative activists were exercised over the decision not to invite CANA Bishop Martyn Minns, AMiA Bishop Chuck Murphy and his suffragans, Alexander (Sandy) Green, Thaddeus Barnum, and T.J. Johnson, and Recife Bishop Robinson Cavalcanti. Conservative Episcopal Church bishops have remained silent, while Bishop Minns and Murphy have released statements criticizing the decision.

However news the invitation to Harare Bishop Nolbert Kunonga is being withheld pending further discussion has been greeted with quiet approval by Central African leaders contacted by The Church of England Newspaper.

In a terse email to the American bishops on May 22, Bishop Jefferts Schori stated she would withhold comment on Dr. Williams’ decision for the moment. “It is possible that aspects of this matter may change in the next 14 months, and the House of Bishops’ September meeting offers us a forum for further discussion,” she said.

However the Bishop of Washington, John Chane wrote his diocese on May 23 saying the decision to omit Robinson had left him “deeply troubled.” The “real issue” was not Robinson, he argued, but “leadership within the Anglican Communion.”

“Until we are able to separate ourselves from our fixation on human sexuality as the root of our divisions and address the dynamics of power and leadership in the Communion, we are doomed to fail in Christ’s call to engage the world in the act of inclusive love and a mission-driven theology that claims justice, the rule of law and the respect for human rights as the core of our work as a Communion,” Bishop Chane said.
The Bishops of Arizona and Ohio, Kirk Smith and Mark Hollingsworth wrote their dioceses as well sounding similar themes. Both conceded Dr. Williams was within his rights not to invite Robinson, but argued the New Hampshire bishop’s “manner of life” was not a cause for scandal. While Robinson’s presence at Lambeth may be “awkward” for some, both believed him to be vessel for “reconciliation and resolution” that would benefit the work of the Conference.

California Bishop Marc Andrus was equally critical writing on his website “The isolation and exile of Bishop Robinson rebukes the bright vision of the unity of the Church, and substitutes the mechanism of the diabolic, the shattering of communion and integrity.”

Bishop Minns told supporters on May 23 Dr. Williams faced an “impossible task” and was “confronted by two irreconcilable truth claims.” However the Lambeth invitation decision had ignored “the underlying issue” elevating “process over principle.”

Plans to recast Lambeth from a gathering of bishops into a graduate seminar were unwise. “The Lambeth Conference has been reduced to a meeting where bishops and their spouses simply gather for group bible study, prayer and shared reflection. These are significant activities but hardly justify the enormous expense of such an extended and world-wide gathering,” he wrote.

Bring the bishops together for study and reflection without a “shared understanding of what the Bible is, who Jesus is and what he has done for us” would not lead to a common voice from the Church on presenting the Gospel to a “hurting world.”

Dr. Williams decision to invite the Episcopal bishops “prior to the release of their final response to the Primates’ concerns and demands for repentance” appeared “preemptive and even dismissive” Bishop Murphy wrote on May 24.

Bishop Murphy, like Bishop Chane saw the decision as a failure of “leadership” by Dr. Williams, but noted the center of gravity within the Communion was moving South. “I expect Archbishop Kolini [of Rwanda] and other Global South leaders will address this matter in a decisive way at their upcoming meetings this fall,” he said.

South American Primate, Archbishop Gregory Venables, told The Daily Telegraph on Monday the situation was a “mess.” “Unless there is a major shift there are going to be significant absences from Lambeth,” he said.

“The fact that Gene Robinson isn’t going to be at Lambeth is important. But the gesture towards the liberal American bishops is far, far more significant,” Archbishop Venables said.

Meanwhile the Archbishop of Uganda, the Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi announced a boycott of the Lambeth Conference in a statement released Wednesday.

The statement referred to last years Counsel of Anglican Provinces in Africa (CAPA) Road to Lambeth Statement which said the Church of Uganda would not attend the conference if “violators of the Lambeth resolution” were invited.

The statement read: “We note that all the American Bishops who consented to, participated in, and have continued to support the consecration as bishop of a man living in a homosexual relationship have been invited to the Lambeth Conference. These are Bishops who have violated the Lambeth Resolution 1.10, which rejects “homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture” and “cannot advise the legitimising or blessing of same sex unions nor ordaining those involved in same gender unions.”

“Accordingly, the House of Bishops of the Church of Uganda stands by its resolve to uphold the Road to Lambeth.”

–This article appears in the Church of England Newspaper, July 1, 2007 edition, page 1

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Latest News, Lambeth 2008

An Inside Look at Zimbabwe's Crisis

Archbishop Pius Ncube, in an interview with the magazine Inside the Vatican, said that President Robert Mugabe has been using the army to inflict brutality for years.

The 60-year-old archbishop, speaking of the years before his episcopal ordination, said: “The 5th Brigade of Mugabe was killing innocent civilians — this amounted to more than 10,000. Some of these people were my relatives.

“Estimates are that between 10,000 and 20,000 innocent civilians had been killed. Some of these people were over 70 and 80 years old, which shows how merciless the dictator Mugabe is.”

In April, the bishops of Zimbabwe published a pastoral letter called “God Hears the Cry of the Oppressed.” The letter pointed to Mugabe as the cause of the country’s crisis.

Archbishop Ncube said: “It was imperative that such a letter be issued. The situation of the people was becoming worse and worse.

He added that after the letter’s publication, the regime increased efforts to frighten priests, though “the intimidation of clergy has been on going for a long time.”

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Africa

S. M. Hutchens: Der Ewige Jude

One of the principal advantages to the progress of evil accomplished by removing the devil, his minions, and their works, from human view, is the consequent inability of the deceived to recognize the historical recurrence of diabolical hatred of Christ. Cultured moderns, including professing Christians who regard themselves as such, do not believe in the devil; authorities like Schleiermacher have given them permission…

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Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Nigel Taber-Hamilton: The Limits of Tolerance

One of the most significant failures of modern progressive Episcopalians is the belief that the application of reason to any given conflict will ultimately prove effective in convincing our opponents of the correctness of our cause.

This is proved false again and again, of course; people are often irrational. But our own innate ”“ sometimes arrogant ”“ belief in the reasonableness of humanity and its susceptibility to what we perceive as rational discourse seems to have the ability to overwhelm the mountains of evidence to the contrary.

This is clearly the case in the current struggle within the Anglican Communion. The majority in the Episcopal Church continues to maintain a tolerant attitude to those within our own province and in Africa who have adopted a stance toward our actions that has profound echoes of the scapegoating and exclusion that the first Puritans practiced.

It should be said that the perception of Episcopalian tolerance by these Puritan heirs is quite different than our own self-understanding. Part of their concern is, I think, that the very beliefs they abhor will be imposed on them, either by canonical action or the pressure of the majority. Calming fears is surely a part of toleration.

Yet those who stand against our vision are driven by a narrow imperial ideology that denies our right simply to exist and seeks to delegitimize our identity as Anglicans. The overall conservative message ”“ certainly presented by the leadership cadre of this group ”“ is “Think as we think, be ”˜our sort of Christian,’ or we will seek to exclude you from the Anglican community of Christians.”

Such rhetoric is not an empty threat. We continue to see well-planned and organized attempts to bring about the replacement of the Episcopal Church as the U.S. embodiment of Anglicanism by such groups as the American Anglican Council, the Anglican Communion Network, Forward in Faith North America, and, most recently, the “Convocation of Anglicans in North America” (Archbishop of Nigeria Peter Akinola’s extra-territorial “Nigerian” mission to the U.S.A.).

And such a strategy is being pursued elsewhere in the Anglican Communion, most notably in Canada, England, and Australia.

Until now we have not prepared well to face this assault. And so we have been blinded to this narrow totalitarian vision seeping into our nation’s and our faith’s ”“ and even our Communion’s ”“ DNA. It is a vision that threatens to destroy our open North American society and emerging Christian identity.

Read it alll.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Identity

Design That Solves Problems for the World’s Poor

A billion customers in the world,” Dr. Paul Polak told a crowd of inventors recently, “are waiting for a $2 pair of eyeglasses, a $10 solar lantern and a $100 house.”

The world’s cleverest designers, said Dr. Polak, a former psychiatrist who now runs an organization helping poor farmers become entrepreneurs, cater to the globe’s richest 10 percent, creating items like wine labels, couture and Maseratis.

“We need a revolution to reverse that silly ratio,” he said.

To that end, the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, which is housed in Andrew Carnegie’s 64-room mansion on Fifth Avenue and offers a $250 red chrome piggy bank in its gift shop, is honoring inventors dedicated to “the other 90 percent,” particularly the billions of people living on less than $2 a day.

Their creations, on display in the museum garden until Sept. 23, have a sort of forehead-thumping “Why didn’t someone think of that before?” quality.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Science & Technology

Episcopal Priest’s sacrifice led to 1889 Flood death

The couple had arrived in the city in March or April of 1885 and, according to reports, found the parish disorganized and the church building in deplorable condition.

“[The] (Rev. Diller) went at once to work, and out of the chaos brought forth and restored a beautiful house of prayer and parish building of excellent design and a united and happy parish,” wrote his bishop, the Rt. Rev. Cortlandt Whitehead of Pittsburgh.

The congregation grew to more than 200 communicants.

Diller also was active in outreach ministry to other small municipalities in the area including a fledgling mission church in Ehrenfeld.

“He was particularly loved and honored among the lowly and the success of his ministry among them was most remarkable,” his bishop wrote.

“Among the coal miners he had made himself the personal friend of all.”

Diller wrote of the young church to his fellow clergyman.

“It would do your heart good to see such a crowd of men, chiefly, all shining with soap and cleanliness that cost miners a great deal, all attentive to my long services and explanations and addresses in a hall without a particle of heat, when it was nearly zero and one’s breath looked more like steam from an engine.

“There were two fatal catastrophes at the mines, besides a couple of other deaths, since I have been going there and they were all so grateful for my simple ministries,” he continued.

“They are so poor that there is no hope of their building a church.”

It was the love of a shepherd for his flock that kept the sincere man of God from instantly accepting the call to a better position.

“I so fear my successor will abandon these dear sheep in the wilderness,” he wrote.

But Diller was exhausted, conducting half a dozen services a week in addition to numerous funerals. He wrote of his frequent illnesses and of the isolation he sometimes felt.

“I am so alone here … 40 miles from the nearest clerical neighbor. And I am so terribly tired …”

But the challenges he faced did not compare with his commitment to his people. And so, a little more than a month before the flood, Diller made his decision.

“O, sir, I do not want to go away; my people are so kind and foolishly fond of me,” he wrote.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry

Connecticut Parish Joins CANA

The ordination of openly gay ministers and the blessing of same-sex unions are merely the “trip-wire issues” for Trinity and the five other Connecticut churches at odds with Bishop Smith and the Episcopal Church, Helmandollar said Wednesday.

“The defining issue for us is the absolute revisionist view of Scripture within the Episcopal Church, the idea that man wrote the Bible, so man can change it, ” Helmandollar said. “You’ll hear such things from the Episcopal Church. We firmly believe we do not have the authority to do that. We firmly believe it is the word of God and it’s not to be changed.”

Trinity and the other five churches sued Smith in federal court two years ago, claiming he violated their civil and property rights when they asked to be placed under the authority of a bishop from another state. The lawsuit said the priests were wrongly charged with being “out of communion” with the bishop, putting their positions in jeopardy, and that they were denied due process.

The lawsuit was dismissed last year by a federal judge and the parishes are appealing.

The six parishes also brought ecclesiastical charges against Smith, accusing him of “apostasy” for voting to approve the election of New Hampshire’s openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson, in 2003. Those charges were dismissed by a review committee on April 11.

Smith could not be reached for comment Wednesday. Karin Hamilton, spokeswoman for the Episcopal Diocese in Connecticut, said Smith was not prepared to speak publicly about Trinity’s defection until he has had an opportunity to talk at length with Helmandollar.

The pressing issue for both the diocese and Trinity, now that the split is formal, is whether the diocese will force church members to worship elsewhere.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Latest News, CANA, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Connecticut, TEC Departing Parishes

S-L-O-W-L-Y Working on the sidebar

UPDATE 3: Check out the new “Blog Admin Stuff” section in the sidebar.
When you roll over each link you get a pop-up description about each post. We are so cool we amaze ourselves sometimes! :coolsmile:

Just a heads up. We’re slowly figuring out Expression Engine templates, tags and modules, and starting to try and setup the sidebar. Feel free to let us know your preferences in the comments.

Note: the May 2007 archive link that is now showing up at the bottom of the sidebar still needs work. It is displaying results from both T19 and Stand Firm. And there is a lot of stuff yet to fix and edit in the Archive Template page. Please ignore the mess for now. Hopefully we can get back to it tomorrow.

Update: We’ve found a way for the category structure to be displayed. You can take a sneak peak here. It is nothing like what the final product will be. (Can you imagine one page with everything Kendall has ever posted by category?! Even after only 1 week, the list is overwhelming. He’s up to about 160 posts already, maybe a bit more.) But it will give readers an idea of how the category structure works and what gets posted where. TONS of work still needed though to turn this into something actually usable.

UPDATE 2: WOOHOO!!! We’ve got category links now working in each post. If you click a category you will see all posts displayed in the category. Sweet!

==> Your feedback on sidebar, categories and other blog design elements is both NEEDED & MUCH APPRECIATED. Thanks to those who are offering input and ideas!

Posted in * Admin, Blog Tips & Features

Diana Butler Bass: Different Bible Translations Guided My Way

On September 24, 1967, my Methodist Sunday school teacher gave me my first Bible, the Revised Standard Edition, as a gift upon entering the third grade. When I was a girl, I carried it out to the woods near my house to read privately and pray ”” enthralled by the Psalms, stories of Old Testament heroes and Jesus’ teachings.

I read it like a book, starting with Genesis and trying to read to the end. Every summer, I attempted to read the whole thing. I cannot even remember how many times I read Genesis and the early bits of Exodus ”” only to stop somewhere around the Ten Commandments and skip around to whatever interested me.

That Bible now sits on a shelf behind my writing desk, its yellowed pages growing brittle. Next to it sit other Bibles I have owned.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Andrew Brown: Stand up for yourself, Rowan

Once before, at the beginning of his term as Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Williams made a decision that exposed him to bullying, when he approved the appointment of Dr Jeffrey John, a celibate gay, as suffragan bishop of Reading. After six weeks of increasing pressure, he cracked and withdrew his approval. The shadow of that failure has lain over everything he has done since. Perhaps he should not have picked the fight at all, but to have started it and then surrendered was the worst of all possible outcomes. Dr Williams caved in over Jeffrey John in July 2003, nearly four years ago; we will find out soon enough if he has learned anything from the experience. If he has not, and if he caves in once more, no one will ever listen to him again. Why should we care what he believes about anything if we know he won’t stand up for it?

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Commentary, Archbishop of Canterbury, England / UK, Lambeth 2008

A BBC Radio Four Sunday Programme Audio Segment on Wycliffe Hall dispute

Here is the BBC blurb:

One of the Church of England’s six evangelical training colleges is at the centre of a dispute over the management style of its new principal. Since Richard Turnbull took over the reins at Wycliffe Hall, more than a third of its staff have resigned. Some also fear he’s wishing to take the college in a more theologically conservative direction. Mike Ford has been trying to sort the wheat from the chaff.

Listen to it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

The Bishop of the Rio Grande Writes his Clergy

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Latest News, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Alternative Primatial Oversight (APO), Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, Windsor Report / Process

Polls: Most believe Bible as God's word

More than three-quarters of Americans believe the Bible is literally the word of God or inspired by the word of God, according to a trio of Gallup surveys, with 19 percent saying the Good Book is a compendium of myth and legend.
The three surveys found that an average 31 percent of the respondents said that “the Bible is absolutely accurate and should be taken literally word for word,” according to Frank Newport, editor in chief of the Gallup Poll.
Forty-seven percent said the Bible was “the inspired word of God,” and 19 percent said it was a book of ancient fables, history and “moral precepts” recorded by man.
The breakdown of beliefs has not changed much recently: The average number of people who take the Bible literally, in fact, has remained steady since 1991.

I confess to struggling with the value of these polls without some agreed definition of terms. Read it all–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

The Economist–Marriage in America: The frayed knot

There is a widening gulf between how the best- and least-educated Americans approach marriage and child-rearing. Among the elite (excluding film stars), the nuclear family is holding up quite well. Only 4% of the children of mothers with college degrees are born out of wedlock. And the divorce rate among college-educated women has plummeted. Of those who first tied the knot between 1975 and 1979, 29% were divorced within ten years. Among those who first married between 1990 and 1994, only 16.5% were.

At the bottom of the education scale, the picture is reversed. Among high-school dropouts, the divorce rate rose from 38% for those who first married in 1975-79 to 46% for those who first married in 1990-94. Among those with a high school diploma but no college, it rose from 35% to 38%. And these figures are only part of the story. Many mothers avoid divorce by never marrying in the first place. The out-of-wedlock birth rate among women who drop out of high school is 15%. Among African-Americans, it is a staggering 67%.

Does this matter? Kay Hymowitz of the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think-tank, says it does. In her book “Marriage and Caste in America”, she argues that the “marriage gap” is the chief source of the country’s notorious and widening inequality. Middle-class kids growing up with two biological parents are “socialised for success”. They do better in school, get better jobs and go on to create intact families of their own. Children of single parents or broken families do worse in school, get worse jobs and go on to have children out of wedlock. This makes it more likely that those born near the top or the bottom will stay where they started. America, argues Ms Hymowitz, is turning into “a nation of separate and unequal families”.

A large majority””92%””of children whose families make more than $75,000 a year live with two parents (including step-parents). At the bottom of the income scale””families earning less than $15,000””only 20% of children live with two parents. One might imagine that this gap arises simply because two breadwinners earn more than one. A single mother would have to be unusually talented and diligent to make as much as $75,000 while also raising children on her own. And it is impossible in America for two full-time, year-round workers to earn less than $15,000 between them, unless they are (illegally) paid less than the minimum wage.

But there is more to it than this. Marriage itself is “a wealth-generating institution”, according to Barbara Dafoe Whitehead and David Popenoe, who run the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University. Those who marry “till death do us part” end up, on average, four times richer than those who never marry.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Marriage & Family

Lambeth Conference won't look like past gatherings, design team member predicts

The Lambeth Conference 2008 will be a significantly different gathering from the 1998 and 1988 sessions of the once-a-decade meeting of the bishops of the Anglican Communion, according to a member of the Conference’s design team.

The design for Lambeth 2008 “is not driven by production of reports and enabling resolutions building out of the reports, and that’s a significant departure from previous designs,” the Rev. Dr. Ian T. Douglas, a member of the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council and of its delegation to the Anglican Consultative Council, told the Episcopal News Service. “The focus here is on transformation, the building of communion and the engagement with each other, the goal of which is to equip the bishops to be more effective and faithful servants to the ‘Missio Dei’ [God’s mission].”

The 2008 Conference has been in the news this week since the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, announced May 22 that a small number of bishops have not been invited to attend.

New Hampshire Bishop Gene Robinson and Martyn Minns — the latter chosen by the Anglican Church of Nigeria to be the “missionary bishop” for its Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) — were among the bishops whom Williams did not invite. Only serving diocesan bishops, suffragans and assistants, as opposed to retired bishops, were invited.

Douglas was first named to the Conference’s eight-person design group when the intention was to have both the Lambeth Conference and an “Anglican Gathering” at the same time in South Africa. Budget issues forced the postponement of the gathering and movement of the Lambeth Conference back to England, Douglas told the Executive Council in November 2006.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Latest News, Lambeth 2008

Connecticut Parish opts for 'traditional beliefs'

Trinity Episcopal Church has declared itself a member of the Anglican Church of Nigeria.
The Rev. Donald Helmandollar, Trinity’s rector, confirmed Tuesday that as of Sunday the parish had joined the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, a self-described mission of the Nigerian church, serving Episcopalians who hold traditional beliefs. It is based in Fairfax, Va.
The action means the parish is no longer a member of the Episcopal Church U.S.A. but is still Anglican, Helmandollar said.
“We have remained with the Anglican Communion. … The Episcopal Church has demonstrated, continues to demonstrate, that they are walking apart from the communion,” he said.
Helmandollar said the congregation voted to make the move because its members see the Episcopal Church abandoning “the orthodox tenets” of Christian belief.
The 2003 approval of Bishop V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, who is gay, has forced the issue for Trinity’s members and other conservatives, he said.
Helmandollar said he sent a letter Tuesday to Bishop Andrew D. Smith, head of the Diocese of Connecticut, informing him of the move. Smith said he had not yet received it and did not want to comment until he had.
The way Helmandollar sees it, Trinity, founded in 1752, is not leaving the Episcopal Church as much as the church has left its scriptural foundations.
“Most of the rest of the Anglican Communion of 77 million folks … the vast majority are staying the course” on sexuality and other beliefs, he said. “They’re not changing.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Latest News, CANA, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Connecticut, TEC Departing Parishes

Under Fire from Church-State Groups, Air Force Retreats from Evangelical Festival

The Air Force denied it was a sponsor of a Memorial Day weekend festival at Stone Mountain, Ga., honoring the military and featuring introduction of a new paperback Bible designed for military personnel published by the Southern Baptist Convention.

Holman Bible Outreach International, a division of LifeWay Christian Resources, announced plans to give away 3,000 copies of its new Holman CSB Military Bible, “designed to meet the specific needs of military personnel and was created a format that is easy to carry,” at the May 26-28 event honoring active duty and veteran U.S. troops and their families.

Featured speakers at the three-day event, expected to draw 100,000 people, included former SBC President Bobby Welch, a decorated Vietnam War veteran and author of You, The Warrior Leader.

LifeWay said it was sponsoring the event with the United States Air Force, Task Force Patriot USA, General Motors and others. The advance press release described the Task Force Patriot Salute to the Troops as “an official U.S. Air Force 60th anniversary event.” At least one military publication, from Robins Air Force Base in Georgia, called it an official Air Force event.

Americans United for Separation on Church and State wrote a letter May 23 saying military involvement in the three-day event violated the Constitution and the military should not endorse or promote a festival arranged by evangelical Christians.

The Air Force responded with a statement saying it was “not a sponsor” of the event and was “not aware until recently of the religious connotations surrounding Task Force Patriot’s participation.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Church-State Issues, Military / Armed Forces, Religion & Culture

Graham's Global Impact Felt at New N.C. Library

Consider it Billy Graham’s last crusade, one that will draw the faithful long after America’s most famous religious figure is gone.

On a wooded site in his hometown–just off Billy Graham Parkway, no less–the Billy Graham Library will be dedicated May 31 at a private ceremony expected to feature former Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Former President Jimmy Carter also is likely to attend.

The ex-presidents are likely to be upstaged, though, by the guest of honor. The 88-year-old evangelist is scheduled to come down from his mountain home in Montreat, N.C., for a rare public appearance to address the crowd of 1,500 invited guests and assorted national media.

If his fragile health allows him to make the trip–he can barely hear or walk and his vision is poor–Graham’s message will echo the one his ministry hopes visitors take from the library: The glory should go to God rather than the lanky farm boy who preached the gospel to hundreds of millions of people around the world.

And yet, once visitors get a look at the old photos and crusade footage that fill the 40,000-square-foot library, it might be a tough sermon to sell. Even for Billy Graham.

“He doesn’t want attention to go to him,” said Graham’s younger sister, Jean Ford, of Charlotte. “And yet it just does.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Other Churches

Daily Blog Tip: Finding the Hot Discussion Topics

As regular readers will know, we elves like lists and data. On Monday, we posted a “Titusonenine Top Ten” list to help those still trying to learn their way around the new blog have an easy way to find the posts that are generating the most comments. (One wag said since this is “T19” it should be a “top nine list!” We might just do that in the future…!)

So, how did we come up with that list? Is it just elfin magic? Or can regular readers quickly see what threads are being hotly discussed? Read on! With the new advanced search features here, you too can be an elf!

Here is how to search the blog for the posts with the most comments yourself, using the Advanced Search feature.

1. Go into Advanced Search (up at the top right near the search box and calendar)
2. For the broadest search possible, enter “the” as your keyword (you can of course limit to some keyword of your choosing, e.g. Anglican).
3. Choose: Search on Titles, Entries and Comments in the pull down menu to make sure you’ll get all posts
4. Choose: Titusonenine in the blog selection menu
5. Choose: Any Category to search on ALL categories. Or limit to the category / categories of your choice. (Yes you can select MULTIPLE categories)
6. Finally, over on the far right choose: “Sort Results By: MOST COMMENTS

This will give you a list of posts with the most comments EVER (assuming you’ve not limited your search by keyword or category).

You could also limit the date range of your search, example “today and newer” or “this week and newer.” Try it out!

Posted in * Admin, Blog Tips & Features

Joanne Kaufman: Miracles of Resurrection

When, more than half a century ago, the homily went into serious overtime at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in West New York, N.J., young Donald Samick found a welcome distraction in the rich colors streaming from the stained-glass windows. “I remember looking up at the windows and thinking how pretty they were,” said Mr. Samick, 64, now the head of J&R Lamb Studios Inc., the oldest continuously operating ecclesiastical art and stained-glass concern in the U.S.

Lamb, which celebrated its 150th birthday last month, has had commissions from every state in the union. These range from the creation of a double lancet stained-glass window for Manhattan’s Marble Collegiate Church and stained-glass windows for various chapels at Camp Lejeune, the North Carolina Marine Corps base, to the restoration of the Robert E. Lee memorial window in Richmond, Va.’s historic St. Paul’s Episcopal Church — made necessary when a sailor on leave and in his cups heaved a rock through it.

In the work room of the studio, a modest two-story structure on a busy suburban street here, an artisan was assembling a stained-glass window for St. Albans Episcopal Church in New Brunswick, N.J., one of a series of four that will replace large sheets of colored glass. At a neighboring work table, an employee examined a window with missing pieces — a memorial tribute to one Helen C. Dickinson Gesner — that had been brought in for evaluation from Christ Church in Ridgewood, N.J.

There’s a 60/40 split between commissions for new windows and restoration projects. While much of the work is ecclesiastical in nature, Lamb does a few domestic jobs — diamond shaped leaded glass, say, for the occasional architect building a Tudor home. A current project is the restoration of a skylight for a house in nearby Hoboken. Whatever the scope and nature of the work, it’s done exclusively by hand with soldering irons and glass cutters, pattern shears and lead knives.

Read it all.

Posted in * General Interest

David Stokes: Of church geniuses and apostles

The American pulpit in most main-line denominations has thus become a platform in large part for personal insight, social criticism or therapeutic technique. The Bible is often referred to, but I know few preachers who would focus on this same text in any rigorous fashion for 10 consecutive minutes. A movie review, that morning’s headline, the winsome personal anecdote ”” these have become the primary homiletics teasers by which preachers seek entrée into the hearts of their flock.

The results of this development? Consider those denominations (especially those rooted in the New England Puritan tradition) for which the sermon has been Sunday’s center of gravity. They have bidden farewell to the world of the Bible, so they cannot but demand of their preachers a weekly genius nigh unto divine.

Likewise, lacking any authoritative “narrative world,” these denominations’ preachers find themselves thrown back on their own creativity (or genius) Sunday after Sunday ”” there being no message to which he or she has to be accountable. To climb up into a pulpit week after week has become much like the tight-rope artist who must amaze a demanding audience with ever more daring routines.

I understand why preachers are increasingly tempted to use another’s words ”” especially given the Internet. Yes, they should tell us when their words are not their own, and, yes, it’s disappointing when they don’t. But their dilemma is as understandable as it is onerous. They must comfort the sick and dying, chair countless committees, raise money without talking about money, affirm the middle-class while trying to be prophets ”” and then stand up every Sunday and try to be creative and inspiring. If we’re going to ask all this of our preachers and be outraged when they “fail” us, let’s at least give them a safety net of compassion.

I would caution those congregations that go seeking a new pastor to grace their pulpits with weekly rhetorical acts of daring-do: Genius has always been rare at the best of times, and perhaps more so nowadays when our words are “processed” and ideas go naked, bereft of a story.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Religion & Culture

Christian Minorities in the Islamic Middle East : Rosie Malek-Yonan on the Assyrians

Stephen Crittenden: The plight of Christian minorities in the Islamic Middle East is one of the 20th century tragedies to which we pay least attention.

From the Copts in Egypt, to the Maronites, the Melkites in Lebanon, Orthodox and Chaldeans, the Christian population of the Middle East is a fraction of what it was, and more vulnerable than ever. Nowhere is the situation worse at the moment than in Iraq. And few groups are more vulnerable than the ancient Assyrian Christian community. In fact, this week the Italian journalist Sandro Magister, has warned of the end of Christianity in Iraq.

In early May in a heavily Christian suburb of Baghdad, a Sunni extremist group began broadcasting a fatwah over the loudspeakers of the neighbourhood mosque: the Assyrian Christian community had to convert to Islam or leave, or die. Their Muslim neighbours were to seize their property. The men were told they had to pay the gizya – the protection money Jews and Christians traditionally had to pay to their Muslim overlords – and families were told they could only stay if they married one of their daughters to a Muslim.

More than 300 Assyrian families have fled, mostly to the north into the Kurdish region of Iraq where they are not welcome either They are sleeping in cemeteries, they have no food, more than 30 of their churches have been bombed, their children are being kidnapped and murdered.

Rosie Malek-Yonan is an Assyrian-American. She is a successful film and television actor who has appeared in many popular shows including Dynasty, Seinfeld, E.R. and Chicago Hope. Her novel, The Crimson Field, is a fictionalised account of the little-known Assyrian genocide that took place at the hands of the Ottoman Turks during World War One at the same time that the better-known Armenian genocide was taking place. She recently directed a documentary film on the same subject. And last year she was invited to give testimony before the US Congress about the plight of Assyrian Christians in Iraq. Rosie Malek-Yonan spoke to me from her home in California.

Rosie Malek-Yonan: The Assyrian people are the indigenous people actually of Mesopotamia, before it even was Iraq. All of that area was Mesopotamia and is the original homeland of the Assyrians. They date back to over 6,000 years and were always concentrated in that region.

Stephen Crittenden: And Christianity was accepted by Assyrians, well virtually in apostolic times, right at the very, very beginning?

Rosie Malek-Yonan: Right. Assyrians were actually the first nation to accept Christianity as an entire nation, not just individuals, but the entire nation, and we built the first church of the east.

Read it all

Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Islam, Middle East, Muslim-Christian relations, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Religious Freedom / Persecution

John Allen: The Pope’s Language Lesson

Benedict, a quintessential realist, will probably be among the few who understand right away that his ruling is not terribly earth-shattering. Sources close to the pope I have spoken to say his modest ambition is that over time, the old Mass will exert a “gravitational pull” on the new one, drawing it toward greater sobriety and reverence.

Perhaps ”” although it’s equally possible that traditionally minded Catholics will now have a broader “opt out” clause, making them less likely to pester priests and bishops about what they see as the defects of the new Mass.

In any event, the real impact of Benedict’s ruling is likely to be measured in small changes over a long arc of time, not in upheavals or revolutions. That reality, however, will do little to lower the rhetorical volume. If only we could convince the activists to slug it out in Latin, leaving the rest of us blissfully oblivious, then we might have something.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

Church of Uganda will uphold Road to Lambeth Statement

(Church of Uganda)

In response to the recent announcement that the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. and Rt. Hon. Rowan Williams, has sent out invitations to the 2008 Lambeth Conference of Bishops, the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, the Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi, made this statement:

On 9th December 2006, the House of Bishops of the Church of Uganda, meeting in Mbale, resolved unanimously to support the CAPA Road to Lambeth statement, which, among other things, states, “We will definitely not attend any Lambeth Conference to which the violators of the Lambeth Resolution are also invited as participants or observers.”

We note that all the American Bishops who consented to, participated in, and have continued to support the consecration as bishop of a man living in a homosexual relationship have been invited to the Lambeth Conference. These are Bishops who have violated the Lambeth Resolution 1.10, which rejects “homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture” and “cannot advise the legitimising or blessing of same sex unions nor ordaining those involved in same gender unions.”

Accordingly, the House of Bishops of the Church of Uganda stands by its resolve to uphold the Road to Lambeth.

The Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Latest News, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Primates, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church of Uganda, Global South Churches & Primates, Lambeth 2008