Monthly Archives: May 2007

Rows of New Markers, and Untold Sacrifice by Civil War Soldiers

Conrad Joachim, a German immigrant, marched off to war from his home on Greenwich Street in Manhattan on May 13, 1862, enlisting as an assistant surgeon in the 15th New York Heavy Artillery. Charles Joachim, whom historians believe to be his son, had already joined the same unit.

Four months later, Conrad was dead; and in another year, so was Charles, at about the age of 20. They were buried in the same grave at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, beneath a marble headstone that is an exquisitely carved open book inscribed with both their names. But the stone slowly sank into the earth as the centuries turned twice, and the cemetery and the city were completed around them.

The Joachim family’s sacrifice may have been forever lost to history if not for a formidable labor of detective work involving hundreds of volunteers and lasting longer than the Civil War itself. Now the Joachims are among more than 1,200 Civil War soldiers with new gravestones at Green-Wood. And today, for the first time, the cemetery is honoring the full known complement of veterans of the country’s deadliest war.

Dozens of veterans’ descendants, some from as far away as Spain, will be joined at 9 a.m. by volunteers and Civil War re-enactors for a public ceremony. There will be a parade, a color guard, a fife and drum corps, crashing salutes from an artillery battery and speeches of welcome and remembrance. Then, descendants and history lovers will read the names of the veterans.

Over five years, the volunteers have scoured not only Green-Wood’s grounds, but also cemetery records, pension and enlistment archives, government databases, regimental histories, published obituaries and death notices. They have also found and interviewed soldiers’ descendants.

The project identified not 200 Civil War veterans ”” as had originally been expected ”” but 2,998. Many gravestones were missing, damaged or obliterated; some, like the Joachims’ marble, had sunk beneath the grass. And so the volunteers filled out more than 1,200 applications for new markers, since the Department of Veterans Affairs supplies them if originals are unreadable or lost.

“This is a work of historical rescue,” said one of the volunteers, Jeffrey Blustein, a medical ethicist at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx. “History isn’t just about the rich and famous, it’s about all the forgotten people, ordinary people who otherwise would never be known.”

Read it all; the accompanying video linked to the right of the article is well worth the time.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Military / Armed Forces

Notable and Quotable (III)

I walk down the garden-paths,
And all the daffodils
Are blowing, and the bright blue squills.
I walk down the patterned garden-paths
In my stiff, brocaded gown.
With my powdered hair and jeweled fan,
I too am a rare
Pattern. As I wander down
The garden-paths.
My dress is richly figured,
And the train
Makes a pink and silver stain
On the gravel, and the thrift
Of the borders.
Just a plate of current fashion,
Tripping by in high-heeled, ribboned shoes.
Not a softness anywhere about me,
Only whalebone and brocade.
And I sink on a seat in the shade
Of a lime tree. For my passion
Wars against the stiff brocade.
The daffodils and squills
Flutter in the breeze
As they please.
And I weep;
For the lime-tree is in blossom
And one small flower has dropped upon my bosom.

And the splashing of waterdrops
In the marble fountain
Comes down the garden-paths.
The dripping never stops.
Underneath my stiffened gown
Is the softness of a woman bathing in a marble basin,
A basin in the midst of hedges grown
So thick, she cannot see her lover hiding,
But she guesses he is near,
And the sliding of the water
Seems the stroking of a dear
Hand upon her.
What is Summer in a fine brocaded gown!
I should like to see it lying in a heap upon the ground.
All the pink and silver crumpled up on the ground.

I would be the pink and silver as I ran along the paths,
And he would stumble after,
Bewildered by my laughter.
I should see the sun flashing from his sword-hilt and the buckles on his shoes.
I would choose
To lead him in a maze along the patterned paths,
A bright and laughing maze for my heavy-booted lover.
Till he caught me in the shade,
And the buttons of his waistcoat bruised my body as he clasped me,
Aching, melting, unafraid.
With the shadows of the leaves and the sundrops,
And the plopping of the waterdrops,
All about us in the open afternoon–
I am very like to swoon
With the weight of this brocade,
For the sun sifts through the shade.

Underneath the fallen blossom
In my bosom,
Is a letter I have hid.
It was brought to me this morning by a rider from the Duke.
“Madam, we regret to inform you that Lord Hartwell
Died in action Thursday se’nnight.”
As I read it in the white, morning sunlight,
The letters squirmed like snakes.
“Any answer, Madam,” said my footman.
“No,” I told him.
“See that the messenger takes some refreshment.
No, no answer.”
And I walked into the garden,
Up and down the patterned paths,
In my stiff, correct brocade.
The blue and yellow flowers stood up proudly in the sun,
Each one.
I stood upright too,
Held rigid to the pattern
By the stiffness of my gown.
Up and down I walked,
Up and down.

In a month he would have been my husband.
In a month, here, underneath this lime,
We would have broke the pattern;
He for me, and I for him,
He as Colonel, I as Lady,
On this shady seat.
He had a whim
That sunlight carried blessing.
And I answered, “It shall be as you have said.”
Now he is dead.

In Summer and in Winter I shall walk
Up and down
The patterned garden-paths
In my stiff, brocaded gown.
The squills and daffodils
Will give place to pillared roses, and to asters, and to snow.
I shall go
Up and down
In my gown.
Gorgeously arrayed,
Boned and stayed.
And the softness of my body will be guarded from embrace
By each button, hook, and lace.
For the man who should loose me is dead,
Fighting with the Duke in Flanders,
In a pattern called a war.
Christ! What are patterns for?

–Amy Lowell (1874 – 1925), Patterns

Posted in * General Interest, Notable & Quotable

Notable and Quotable (II)

O CAPTAIN! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up””for you the flag is flung””for you the bugle trills;
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths””for you the shores a-crowding;
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head;
It is some dream that on the deck,
You’ve fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;
From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won;
Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!
But I, with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

”“Walt Whitman (1819”“1892)

Posted in * General Interest, Notable & Quotable

Notable and Quotable (I)

“”¦that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion ”” that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain”¦”

”“Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, November 19, 1863

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Military / Armed Forces, Notable & Quotable

A Litany from The Book of Worship for United States Forces (1974)

Leader: Let us give thanks to God for the land of our birth with all its chartered liberties. For all the wonder of our country’s story:


Leader: For leaders in nation and state, and for those who in days past and in these present times have labored for the commonwealth:


Leader: For those who in all times and places have been true and brave, and in the world’s common ways have lived upright lives and ministered to their fellows:


Leader: For those who served their country in its hour of need, and especially for those who gave even their lives in that service:


Leader: O almighty God and most merciful Father, as we remember these your servants, remembering with gratitude their courage and strength, we hold before you those who mourn them. Look upon your bereaved servants with your mercy. As this day brings them memories of those they have lost awhile, may it also bring your consolation and the assurance that their loved ones are alive now and forever in your living presence.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Military / Armed Forces

Memorial Day 2007 (2)–In Flanders Fields

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

”“Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)

In thanksgiving for all those who gave their lives for this country in years past, and for those who continue to serve”“KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Military / Armed Forces, Notable & Quotable

Memorial Day 2007 (1)–Fact Sheet: America's Wars

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, Defense, National Security, Military, Military / Armed Forces

A Look Back to 1960

The Rev. Dennis J. Bennett, for one, is sure the explosion is on the way; last week he took up new duties in Seattle at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church as the direct result of his interest in glossolalia. London-born Father Bennett, 42, a graduate of Chicago Theological Seminary (Congregational) who later became an Episcopalian, was assigned to St. Mark’s Church in Van Nuys, Calif, in 1953. Last October he agreed to meet with some members of a fellow minister’s church who had found themselves beginning to speak in tongues. First he was surprised to find that they were neither far-out types nor emotionally unbalanced; then he discovered that he had the “gift” himself and that the experience was “enriching.”

Father Bennett brought the idea into his own parish””and began to run into trouble. Of his 2,000 parishioners, he says, some 700 developed a positive, sympathetic interest”””they included the junior warden and the chairman of the women’s guild. They were about equally divided between men and women, and there was a large number of couples. The group included a Ph.D. and a brain surgeon.” But conservative Episcopalians were shocked. In April the vestry asked Pastor Bennett for his resignation, and Bishop Francis Eric Bloy of Los Angeles sent St. Mark’s a new priest and a pastoral letter banning any more speaking in tongues under church auspices.

Father Bennett has no plans to get glossolalia going again in his new post, a small missionary church, but he “mentions” it privately to people he thinks could benefit. “The gift of tongues is a freeing of the personality in expressing one’s self more profoundly, particularly toward God, even though the symbols are not understood by the speaker. It does not happen in a trance. The person is releasing something deeper than the ordinary symbols of language.”

Doyosi Ki-i-yeno. One evening last week, in an apartment motel in Van Nuys, seven Episcopalians of Father Bennett’s former flock met together to await the coming of the Holy Spirit. Bursts of laughter from a television set across the courtyard invaded the reverent silence, but the two men and five women paid no attention, praying aloud from time to time for individuals in sickness or trouble and for “those who are resisting the out pouring of the Holy Spirit….

California’s Methodist Bishop Gerald Kennedy dismisses the movement. “In the past there have been movements of this sort, but they never did the church any good.” But Seventh Day Baptist Paul Henry, a lawyer of Fontana, Calif., speaks for many of the “spirit-filled” when he says: “It’s only my guess, but I think it may be an outpouring just before the termination of this age.”

Read it all

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Theology, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

Michael Yon: A Memorial Day Message from Anbar Province

Memorial Day weekend is upon us. I am out here in Anbar Province with Task Force 2-7 Infantry. The area around Hit (pronounced “heat”) is so quiet previous units likely would not recognize the still. There was a small IED incident this morning, and the explosion was a direct hit, but the bomb was so small that mechanics had the vehicle back in shape by late afternoon. Calm truly has fallen on this city.

Dishes are appearing on rooftops and people are communicating more freely. During today’s prayers, one mosque announced that divorce is bad and that parents should take care of their children. One mosque cried about Christians and Jews, while yet another announced that Al-Jazeera is lying and people should not watch it.

Long-time readers know that I deliver bad news with the good. I was first to write that parts of Iraq were in civil war back in February 2005, well over a year before mainstream outlets started reporting the same. I was also the first to report, back in 2005, that Mosul was making a turn for the better. Mainstream outlets hardly picked up on that story, however, although the turn was easy to see for anyone who was there. When I returned from Afghanistan in the spring of 2006, after writing about the growing threat of a resurgent Taliban, bankrolled with profits from the heroin trade, I wrote that parts of our own military were censoring media in Iraq. The recent skirmishing over blogging from Iraq supports that contention. These reminders are for new readers who do not believe that a province that most media outlets had put at the top of the “hopelessly lost” column is actually turning a corner for the better.

Although there is sharp fighting in Diyala Province, and Baghdad remains a battleground, and the enemy is trying to undermine security in areas they’d lost interest in, the fact is that the security plan, or so-called “surge,” is showing clear signs of progress. The city of Hit, for instance. Only about a hundred days ago, Hit was a city at war. Today, the buildings are still riddled with bullet holes, but the Iraqi people are opening shops and painting over the scars. They are waving and smiling while hundreds of men are volunteering to join the police.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military, Iraq War, Military / Armed Forces

David Brooks: The Roman Catholic Boom

On the one hand, modern Catholics have retained many of the traditional patterns of their ancestors ”” high marriage rates, high family stability rates, low divorce rates. Catholic investors save a lot and favor low-risk investment portfolios. On the other hand, they have also become more individualistic, more future-oriented and less bound by neighborhood and extended family. They are now much better educated than their parents or grandparents, and much better educated than their family histories would lead you to predict.

More or less successfully, the children of white, ethnic, blue-collar neighborhoods have managed to adapt the Catholic communal heritage to the dynamism of a global economy. If this country was entirely Catholic, we wouldn’t be having a big debate over stagnant wages and low social mobility. The problems would scarcely exist. Populists and various politicians can talk about the prosperity-destroying menace of immigration and foreign trade. But modern Catholics have created a hybrid culture that trumps it.

In fact, if you really wanted to supercharge the nation, you’d fill it with college students who constantly attend church, but who are skeptical of everything they hear there. For there are at least two things we know about flourishing in a modern society.

First, college students who attend religious services regularly do better than those that don’t. As Margarita Mooney, a Princeton sociologist, has demonstrated in her research, they work harder and are more engaged with campus life. Second, students who come from denominations that encourage dissent are more successful, on average, than students from denominations that don’t.

This embodies the social gospel annex to the quasi-religious creed: Always try to be the least believing member of one of the more observant sects. Participate in organized religion, but be a friendly dissident inside. Ensconce yourself in traditional moral practice, but champion piecemeal modernization. Submit to the wisdom of the ages, but with one eye open.

The problem is nobody is ever going to write a book sketching out the full quasi-religious recipe for life. The message “God is Great” appeals to billions. Hitchens rides the best-seller list with “God is Not Great.” Nobody wants to read a book called “God is Right Most of the Time.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

Having Trouble Registering? (Updated)

If you still have trouble registering or logging in after reading this, feel free to write the elves. Please do NOT write Kendall or Greg. Our address:

UPDATE 2: Note for AOL users, Greg gives some tips especially for you all here. But we know many are still having trouble. If you write us elves we can register you.
Let’s take a look at a few things you can do to help complete your registration:
1. Remember that registration requires you to sign up, and confirm your registration with an email that is sent to you by our system.

When you sign up, be sure and double-check the email address you provide. If you provide an incorrect email address, your confirmation message will never reach you.

2. Be sure and check your “junk” mailbox, or your spam filter.

The confirmation emails our system sends out occasionally get stuck in your junk folder or your spam filter. If your confirmation message doesn’t show up within a few minutes of signing up, check these places.

3. If you forget your password, please try the system’s “Forgot password?” link first. It’s found on the login screen, and you can also click here. A message will be sent to you that will enable you to recover your password. Again, check your spam filter or junk folder if you use this option.

4. Remember that if you have a Stand Firm account, you can use it at TitusOneNine, and vice-versa. There is no need to create separate accounts.

Update from the elves: We went through the “pending members” list and tried to send e-mails to about 10 folks whose names we recognized as past T19 commenters who appeared to be stuck in “limbo.” In 4 cases, it appears the e-mail address you’ve left is invalid. In two cases it may just be a typo (gmaill (two ls) instead of gmail; or instead of We’re doing whatever we think of to help folks register, but you MUST have a valid e-mail address. Again, if you need help of any sort re: registration or login, give us a shout:

Posted in * Admin, * Resources & Links, Resources: blogs / websites

Tomás R. Jiménez: Immigrants don't destroy our national identity, they renew it

Some critics of the [currently proposed immigration] legislation are already arguing that inviting millions of immigrants to stay permanently in the U.S. and become citizens will hasten the fading of a cohesive nation. They say that immigrants may become more interwoven into the fabric of the United States, but the ethnic patches to which they bind their identities will remain all too distinguishable from the rest of the American quilt.

How immigrants and their descendants see themselves will change over time, and they will simultaneously transform many aspects of what it means to be an American. This is undoubtedly an uncomfortable process, fraught with tension between newcomers and established Americans that can occasionally become explosive. But the real issue is whether the United States can provide opportunities for upward mobility so that immigrants can, in turn, fortify what is most essential to our nation’s identity.

History is instructive on whether immigrants will create a messy patchwork of ethnicities in the U.S. About a century ago, a tide of Southern and Eastern European immigrants arriving on our shores raised fears similar to those we hear today. Then, as now, Americans worried that the newcomers were destroying American identity. Many were certain that Catholic immigrants would help the pope rule the United States from Rome, and that immigrant anarchists would destroy American democracy. Some eugenicists thought that the dark-skinned immigrants from Southern Europe would contaminate the American gene pool.

None of this came to pass, of course. The pope has no political say in American affairs, the United States is still a capitalist democracy, and there is nothing wrong with the American gene pool. The fact that these fears never materialized is often cited as proof that European-origin immigrants and their descendants successfully assimilated into an American societal monolith.

However, as sociologists Richard Alba and Victor Nee point out, much of the American identity as we know it today was shaped by previous waves of immigrants. For instance, they note that the Christian tradition of the Christmas tree and the leisure Sunday made their way into the American mainstream because German immigrants and their descendants brought these traditions with them. Where religion was concerned, Protestantism was the clear marker of the nonsecular mainstream. But because of the assimilation of millions of Jews and Catholics, we today commonly refer to an American “Judeo-Christian tradition,” a far more encompassing notion of American religious identity than the one envisioned in the past.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Immigration

Heather Abel: Are Doctors Missing Key Diagnoses?

THE YEAR I was diagnosed with celiac disease, I wrote the following on a page of my journal: “Relafen, Famotidine/Pepcid, Lorazepam, Cyclobenzaprine, Vioxx, Vicodin, Soma, that steroid: forgot name, Celebrex, Valium, Prevacid.”

The analgesics were for arrows of pain shooting from the nape of my neck to my fingers. The stomach soothers were for a constant, low-level ache that doctors diagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome. The Valium was for, as one doctor explained, “a certain anxiety you seem to have about your body.” I kept the list in case a doctor might ask me what medicines I had taken.

None ever did, despite the fact that I spent many afternoons waiting in doctors’ offices hoping to learn why I felt so sick. Many times while I sat in the waiting rooms, young, blow-dried women carrying briefcases with poetic names of prescription drugs embossed on them bypassed me and went directly into the doctor’s office. I frequently returned home from my visits with jewelry-sized boxes of the same drugs. “Start with these free samples,” the doctors instructed me. “Try them for four days, and call if you want a refill.”

Later that year, my stomach pain reappeared in greater intensity. During the previous six years, I’d driven myself, screaming, to emergency rooms for treatment, and doctors had sent me home with samples of Prevacid and leaflets on irritable bowel syndrome. But my new doctor decided that my diet of Celebrex had caused an ulcer, so she abruptly took me off the drug and put me on a regimen of antibiotics. When this produced migraines, the doctor prescribed Ultram, which caused, as the side effects warned, dizziness, sleeplessness and anxiety. I was up for three consecutive nights until the doctor gave me Klonopin. It took me years to get off this soothingly addictive drug.

I never had an ulcer. I never had irritable bowel syndrome.

I have celiac disease. I was 30 years old before I knew this ”” and I was lucky. About 97% of people with celiac are undiagnosed.

Jerome Groopman’s widely acclaimed book, “How Doctors Think,” opens with an episode similar to mine. Anne Dodge consults nearly 30 doctors for her increasingly debilitating gastrointestinal symptoms, which include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. She is diagnosed with anorexia and irritable bowel syndrome. After 15 years ”” and severely malnourished ”” Dodge finds a doctor who does something different. He observes her manner and listens to her ”” and diagnoses celiac disease. He saves her life. Groopman concludes that doctors must pay more attention to patient reports and resist the temptation to dismiss poorly understood complaints as psychosomatic.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine

Notable and Quotable

When the Holy Spirit gets hold of us, everything changes . . . our view of life, our value systems, our will toward our neighbor, our aims and goals in life, our perception of the world, our self-image, our “yeses” and our “noes,” our appreciation for things that never caught our attention before . . . absolutely everything. For the Holy Spirit opens to us a vision of what ought to be even though it is not yet; a hope greater than that to which any earthly hope can give words even though it is a hope yet beyond sight; a foresight of eternity even though we are bound to time; a love yet to be realized in its fullness even while it is known in shadowy form in our present estate. It is, as Peter said, quoting the prophet Joel, “when he pours out his Spirit on all flesh your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.” (Acts 2:17, 18)

None of that can quite be put into words, yet it clearly speaks of being in the world in a new and different way; of seeing what is not yet as though it already were and living by that vision; of reaching beyond what can presently be reached as though it were already near enough to be touched; of speaking about things that sound like speaking in tongues while they are already understood in the life, suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord to whom the Spirit is constantly pointing; to whom the Spirit is constantly drawing and binding us; to whom we are constantly praying for the life of the world and our own life; for whom all of creation “waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.” (Rom. 8:19)

Ah, what a vision the Holy Spirit gives us! He who first began the ordering of creation when he separated the light from the darkness and the waters above the earth from the waters under the earth as he “hovered over” that first creation (Genesis 1:2) still hovers over his creation, raising eyes to see what is yet unseen; filling hearts with a visionary hope in the midst of the darkness of this world; causing lives to be lived with boldness and confidence as though they were already beyond the reach of sin; who touches you and me through his revealing word, through water, bread and wine, and calls us ever so gently – although he is not above pressing on us when we resist – to trust the one who speaks in our text as though he were still with us.

We are not left as orphans! The Christ whom the disciples knew remains with us today as the Spirit of truth comes from the Father bearing Christ’s presence among us.

Hubert Beck.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * General Interest, Notable & Quotable, Theology, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

In Edmonton, A Sharp divide on same-sex blessings

[The] Rev. Stephen London is troubled that the Anglican Church of Canada may approve a resolution next month allowing for same-sex blessings.

London stressed that his opposition to a so-called “local option” resolution — allowing each diocese to decide for itself on the issue — is based on his concerns that it will lead to a split within the worldwide Anglican Communion.

“Most of the rest of the Communion has made its mind clear that this is an issue that goes to the heart of our bond together.

“And if it passes, it will break that bond eventually,” said London, who is rector at St. Michael and All Angels Anglican Church in northeast Edmonton.

“It might not be the next day, but probably at the most within a year or two.”

London’s warning was sounded at a local forum to discuss the consequences — nationally and internationally — should the Canadian church approve same-sex blessings.

The forum, and a series of public consultations, are being held throughout the Diocese of Edmonton in the weeks leading up to the church’s General Synod in Winnipeg.

The final consultation will be held at Holy Trinity Anglican Church June 2.

The local option resolution is one of five related to the same-sex issue slated to go before the General Synod in Winnipeg from June 19 to 25.

London is an elected delegate to General Synod, the church’s highest governing body, which meets every three years. He’ll be among about 350 delegates representing bishops, clergy and lay people.

[The] Rev. Dan Ash is also concerned about the upcoming synod, although in his case, he believes greater harm will be done if the church fails to act. Ash favours the church saying “yes” to same-sex blessings.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canadian General Synod 2007, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Nigeria: Anglican Church Tasks Politicians On Poverty

The Diocese of Lagos West Anglican Communion has said that the poverty level in the country is unacceptable and called on political leaders to be God-fearing and build better communities by the provision of social amenities for the people.

The diocese at its Second Session of the Third Synod held at Archbishop Vining Memorial Church Cathedral, Ikeja, condemned ills associated with those in authority today, and criticised “those in, and those who aspire to leadership positions in government and other spheres of endeavour for their personal gains, rather than for service to the people, and called upon such people to have a change of heart.”

In a communiqué issued at the end of the synod, the church urged the incoming government of Alhaji Umar Yar’Adua “to urgently and seriously address the issue of security of life and property. The situation where no one is safe is unacceptable. Government should be more sensitive to the value placed on human life and property.”

The Synod themed: “Church as a Catalyst for Change,” commended the judiciary for its strong and firm decisions in the recent past and urged “the incoming administration to stem the tide of frequent and flagrant disobedience of court orders. It should continue to uphold its role as the last hope of the common man.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria, Religion & Culture

Carolyn Reynier Reflects on Nice's Anglican church

Through marriage, some parishioners are French. Services may be conducted in French or in both languages. The church is now an accepted part of the community. Ecumenical relations with other churches are excellent. “They recognise that we take our faith seriously,” says Canon Letts. “We don’t keep apart, doing our own thing, disregarding their interests.” He hosts a monthly meeting, in French, of clergy from other churches in Nice: Roman Catholic, Russian and Greek Orthodox, Armenian, Église Réformée de France, Lutheran, Salvation Army, Baptist.

The church has two priorities, says Canon Letts: to serve God, and to serve his people. Financially that makes life tricky. The church is self-supporting, receiving “not a cent” from anyone, and pays “horrendous” taxes. It does not make economic sense to give four out of six Sunday collections away, he says, but we do – we believe it is our duty.

Nice tends to attract older Anglophones, so there are few young parishioners. Canon Letts is philosophical: “We may have more young worshippers in Australia, but I gather in England this is the pattern. The church for centuries has lived with these ebbs and flows.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Parish Ministry

Liberty Mupakati–Mugabe, The Anglican Church and the “Illegal Sanctions”

The drive to sanitise the offensive regime of Robert Mugabe has sucked in the Church, with the Anglican Church being the most high profile to have openly expressed views that chime with the daily propaganda that is churned out of the government controlled media. The Pastoral Letter of its Bishops released after the Episcopal Synod in April demonstrates how pliant and subjugated the Anglican Church has become to the regime of Robert Mugabe.

One would be forgiven for thinking this report was authored in the Munhumutapa Building as it bore an uncanny resemblance with, and has all the hallmarks of a George Charamba literary product. It has since emerged that some men of the cloth are dissociating themselves from this ecclesiastical fraud.

Students of African history would recall the assertion about “missionaries being forerunners of colonialism” throughout the length and breadth of the continent. The Nolbert Kunongas, Obadiah Msindos, Trevor Manhanga and other state apologists are craving to fill the void left by the late Border Gezi in delivering the church vote to the regime.

The Anglican Pastoral Report of April confirmed the widely held suspicions of the politicisation of the pulpit. The Anglican Bishops’ report was a PR coup for an embattled Robert Mugabe as it lent ecclesiastical approval to his obnoxious views about “illegal sanctions”. Kunonga and his fellow primates regard themselves as part of the African Church, and feel duty bound to stand “shoulder to shoulder” with this dictatorship.

One would have thought that the Pastoral letter would empathise with the suffering of its congregation and spoken about the causation of such suffering. Instead, the report parroted the official line that the suffering was a consequence of sanctions. There was a glaring lack of understanding of the dynamics at play in the country and clearly one could see nothing but a resonance with the daily propaganda stuff churned out daily in the Herald and other state media.

That the Herald gave the Report a ringing and rapturous endorsement speaks volumes for how grateful the regime was for the support from these men of cloth. It was in stark contrast to the reception that was given to the Pastoral Letter that was released by the Catholic Bishops at Easter.

The Pastoral Letter led to the Catholic Bishops being labelled opponents of the state and would therefore be treated as such, whilst the Anglican Bishops were garlanded and lauded for their patriotism. The Anglican Bishops report demonstrated just how far removed these primates are from the harsh reality that obtain in the country.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces

One Seminarian's Profile

Who influenced/inspired you to priesthood? Please explain.

I was influenced by the spirit of many priests ordained from the Redemptoris Mater Seminaries. I saw in them a freedom and a disposition to leave everything and to go announce the love of God to people everywhere the Church sent them; also their love for the mission was something that always called my attention.

What would you say to a young man who thinks he may have a vocation?

I would tell him that it is a beautiful life. I would also tell him that the most important thing is not whether or not one has grown up inside the Church, practicing the faith, but to remain open to the call of God. I am a witness that God sometimes calls to the priesthood even those who are outside the Church. As the angel said to Mary, “do not be afraid,” because God never asks for something impossible to be done. If He asks for something, surely He will also give the graces necessary to achieve it.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I was not raised in a Catholic family. As a matter of fact I was baptized in the Anglican Church (my grandfather was Anglican). Since my baptism, I have never been in an Anglican church. Through the Neocatechumenal Way, I started going to the Catholic Church with my parents.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Roman Catholic

Declining attendance shuts Eastern Canada Anglican church

Eileen MacKenzie busily polished brass and silver “to make it sparkle a bit” at St. Augustine’s Anglican Church on Saturday.

It helped her and several other congregation members keep their minds off the fact that the church will close its doors today after more than 50 years due to dwindling attendance.

“It probably won’t hit us, the real sadness, until tomorrow when we’re going up to communion for the last time,” said Ms. MacKenzie, who has attended the church since it was built in this Pictou County town in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

Anglicans have been worshipping in Trenton since at least the turn of the century at various locations. The existing building’s cornerstone was dedicated in 1949.

Ms. MacKenzie can remember a time when many of the pews were filled each Sunday, compared with an average of 15 who have attended weekly services in recent years.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Latest News, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces

Colorado Springs Parish votes to break from Episcopal Church

A majority of voting members at Grace Church and St. Stephens Parish in Colorado Springs have declared their willingness to break away from the Episcopal Church to join a conservative Anglican network more in line with their beliefs, according to spokesman Alan Crippen.
The vote, tallied Saturday, showed 93 percent of 370 voting members approved of the plan to leave the Episcopal Church, Crippen said. It capped an ongoing period of uncertainty that began March 26 when parish rector, The Rev. Don Armstrong, and a majority of the church’s governing board, declared they were each individually leaving the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Colorado.

Because the schismatic act was so unusual, the breakaway parish leaders said they would set up a vote to determine what parishioners wanted to do.

Armstrong has been under an ongoing investigation by the diocese of misusing hundreds of thousands of dollars in parish funds. He denies the charge and says is an act of revenge by the diocese and Bishop Rob O’Neill because of his conservative beliefs.

In a second ballot question, 78 percent of the voters declared they wanted the breakaway leadership of Grace Church to continue fighting to hold on to the church property at 601 N. Tejon St. The 135-year-old property, which occupies a city block, is now embroiled in a legal dispute with the Episcopal Church in El Paso County District Court.

Crippen said he believed the “no” votes on both ballot questions came from Grace Church members loyal to the diocese and to Bishop Rob O’Neill, even though the Episcopal loyalists had said all along that they would refuse to legitimize Armstrong’s cause by participating in the vote.

Crippen said the will of the voting majority was indisputable, “and showed clearly a very strong mandate to affirm the vestry decision of March 26 (to leave the Episcopal Church).”

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

The Episcopal Diocese of Colorado's Statement on Yesterday's Parish Vote

The “vote” being taken this week by the secessionist group that now illegally occupies Grace and Saint Stephen’s Church in Colorado Springs has no legal validity or bearing on the current efforts by The Diocese of Colorado to regain rightful control of its property.

Because The Episcopal Church is a hierarchical church, parishes are not established by the vote of a congregation but only by actions taken by a diocesan convention and ecclesiastical authority. Conversely, no vote taken by a congregation or by its vestry can dissolve a parish or change its affiliation to another religious body. For that reason, neither the “vote” taken by the secessionist vestry on March 26 nor the “vote” currently being taken this secessionist group has any legal grounding or effect.

In fact, the secessionist group has not been clear or consistent about what the actions of May 20 and the coming days actually represent. On March 26, the secessionist vestry voted that “Grace Church and St. Stephen’s Parish will leave the Episcopal Church” effective immediately. In a press release that same day, they stated that members of the parish had no choice with regard to this action but would merely “be given the opportunity to affirm” their decision to affiliate with the Church of Nigeria.

The seizing of property rightfully belonging to the Episcopal Church is nothing more than a sadly misguided effort to restore to a position of public trust a priest who is currently under ecclesiastical indictment for the misappropriation of church funds. The diocese has been investigating allegations against the Rev. Donald Armstrong involving serious financial misconduct for more than a year, and in March, the Diocesan Review Committee issued a Presentment of charges ”“ similar to an indictment ”“ against Armstrong on the same day the former vestry of Grace and St. Stephen’s announced their decision to secede.

Last week, the Bishop and Diocese of Colorado filed an answer and counterclaim in response to the complaint filed in El Paso County by a secessionist congregation on Good Friday (April 6). The response asserts that the real property of Grace and St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church belongs to the loyalist Episcopal congregation, and that the secessionist congregation has “wrongfully taken steps to take possession of and exercise control over the Property.” It cites the long history of the parish in the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Colorado, and the established legal precedent that Grace Church and St. Stephen’s holds legal title of record to the property for the mission of, and in trust for the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado and The Episcopal Church.

The parish of Grace and St. Stephen’s is one of 114 congregations in the Diocese of Colorado. Currently, at least 200 ”“ 400 members of that congregation who wish to remain part of the Episcopal Church are worshiping at nearby First Christian Church until they can be restored to their property. The vestry of the Episcopal congregation has encouraged members not to take part in the invalid vote organized by the secessionist group. Prior to the move to secede from the Episcopal Church, Grace and St. Stephen’s had a reported average Sunday attendance of 800 people. St. John’s Cathedral in Denver reports a similar average Sunday attendance.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Colorado, TEC Departing Parishes

A Wonderful Song

She has a magnificent voice.

Posted in * General Interest

The Bishop of Arizona Offers some Thoughts on recent Anglican Events

Certainly the Archbishop is within his rights to invite whomever he pleases. However, I cannot help but express my dismay that he would treat these men in the same way. Whatever you may think of Bishop Robinson, I do not believe that his manner of life has caused division or scandal in the communion, rather it is the actions of those who have used his ordination in an intentional effort to divide both our own Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion who are responsible.

Bishop Robinson’s participation at the Lambeth Conference might be awkward for some of the other participants, but that is hardly new. There are plenty of bishops whom I have a hard time working with, and doubtless they feel the same about me. But I can tell you from my own relationship with Bishop Robinson that he has been exemplary in maintaining an honest and open attitude of trust within his own Diocese, and in the House of Bishops, he as worked tirelessly to be an agent of reconciliation and resolution.

That is not the case with Bishop Minns and his supporters. He has been aided in his efforts to divide the American church by African bishops who have crossed jurisdictional lines in open disregard of the most ancient canons of the church, but also in violation of the Windsor Report itself. They have attempted to steal the rightfully owned buildings and property of Episcopal Congregations in Virginia and elsewhere and have caused untold hardship and division to faithful parishioners.

It also seems to me remarkably odd that the Anglican Communion, which has pledged itself to a “listening process” of the experience of Gay and Lesbian Christians, should exclude from that process one of its leading witnesses.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lambeth 2008, TEC Bishops

Colorado Congregation Votes to Leave the Episcopal Church

(Colorado Springs, Colorado) Grace Church and St. Stephen’s Parish voted to affiliate with the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) in a congregational election that concluded today. Of the 370 votes cast, an overwhelming 342, or 93%, voted for the mother church of Anglicanism in Colorado Springs and one of the oldest Episcopal Churches in Colorado to leave the Episcopal Church over its departure from traditional Christian beliefs and practice.

Last March the vestry, or governing board of the Parish, had voted to join CANA in a provisional affiliation that was ratified by the congregation today. The Parish’s new affiliation with CANA, an American missionary diocese of the Church of Nigeria and the largest Anglican Church in the world, allows Grace Church and St. Stephen’s the freedom to continue its Gospel ministry unmolested by theological innovators and revisionists in the Episcopal Church.

Jon Wroblewski, senior warden of the parish’s vestry said, “The congregation’s decision to join CANA is the most important decision in Grace Church and St. Stephen’s 135 year history. We have decided to remain true to the faith of our ancestors and the founders of this parish even as the Episcopal Church departs from the faith and the Anglican Communion.”

Founded in 1872, Grace Church and St. Stephen’s was the first Anglican Church in Colorado Springs and helped to establish all the other Episcopal Churches in the city including: The Chapel of our Savior, St. Michael’s, and Holy Spirit (now defunct), St. Francis (now defunct), and St. Andrew’s in Manitou Springs. Grace Church and St. Stephen’s pre-dates the existence of the Diocese of Colorado (1887).

According to the parish’s rector, Fr. Donald Armstrong, “The plight of the Episcopal Church truly grieves me. What was once a great church of Gospel proclamation and social influence has now become an irrelevant and insignificant denomination characterized by theological drift and demographic decay. The Episcopal Diocese of Colorado is dying and has lost 60% of its market share of Colorado’s population during the last 60 years. The decision for Grace Church and St. Stephen’s was a simple choice between death with the Episcopal Church or spiritual life and vitality with CANA.”

The significance of Pentecost Sunday is not lost on the leadership of Grace Church and St. Stephen’s and neither is the month of May, 2007. Armstrong said, “Tomorrow is the Feast of Pentecost, the birthday of the Christian church — the day we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit empowering his people to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Similarly, this month marks the 400th year since the founding of Anglicanism in America with the Jamestown settlers in Virginia. On these two anniversaries we are celebrating our heritage as Christians and Anglicans in a re-birth, renewal, realignment, and recommitment to Gospel proclamation in Colorado.”

The flag of the Episcopal Church will no longer be carried in worship services of Grace Church and St. Stephen’s. Instead, a new flag and banner will be carried ”“ The Anglican Communion’s Compass Rose flag symbolizing the parish’s continuing constituent membership in the worldwide Anglican Communion and the CANA Banner as the standard for proclaiming the transforming Gospel to all peoples in North America and beyond.

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

More on Abigail and The Hill School

There are four links featuring Abigail on the left under “Hear students talk about Hill” where you can see and hear her in her element, so to speak. It was a glorious day for graduation.

Posted in * By Kendall

Robert Parham: Seeking Common Ground for Patriots and Peacemakers on Memorial Day

Christians have long divided themselves between patriots and peacemakers, between militarists and humanitarians. Patriots salute uncritically the flag and accept the march to war. Peacemakers recognize the inherent idolatry of unchecked nationalism/militarism and favor efforts to resolve conflict.

The time has come for militia Christi and pax Christi wings of faith to join hands to end the war in Iraq. The nation’s self-interest is in grave risk through the folly of war. The resolution of conflict in Iraqi isn’t happening.

As of Wednesday, U.S. military fatalities in Iraq totaled 83 so far in May, a similar pace as in April, averaging more than three-and-one-half troops killed each day.

The body of one of the three American soldiers missing for a week and a half was found floating in the Euphrates River. On Tuesday, at least 100 Iraqis were killed or found dead.

At the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, President Bush continued to mislead the nation about the war in Iraq, blaming al Qaeda for the violence and ignoring the civil war between Iraqi factions.

Democrats in Congress refused to set a deadline for the withdrawal of troops.

A new poll found 60 percent of Americans believe the nation should have stayed out in Iraq, 72 percent think the nations is “seriously off on the wrong track” and 76 percent say the surge of troops into Iraq has had “no impact” or is “making things worse.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Iraq War, Religion & Culture

Denis Minns: Pentecost is just the start

We need to remember, as we celebrate Whitsun tomorrow, that progress in the Spirit is by fits and starts. The gift of the Holy Spirit is something we need to get used to, and the Holy Spirit needs to get used to us

The description St Luke gives of the Church in Jerusalem after the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost is one that has inspired many subsequent reform movements in the Church, and has been very influential in the foundation of many religious orders. It is not difficult to see why. It tells of the whole group of believers being of one heart and soul, with no one claiming private ownership of any possessions, but holding everything in common, and not a needy person among them (Acts 4:32-35).

Commentators describe this passage as a “summary”, but it is a very curious kind of summary, for no sooner has Luke given it than he appears to contradict it, at every point. First we hear of a married couple who tried to deceive the community by presenting only part of the proceeds of the sale of their property as though it were the whole (Acts 5: 1-11). A little later we are told of dissension that divided this early Christian community, if not along racial lines, then certainly along linguistic ones. The Hellenists (Greek speakers) grumbled against the Hebrews (Hebrew or Aramaic speakers) because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of bread (Acts 6:1-6). Christians are not supposed to grumble, even when they have something to grumble about, as St Paul told the Corinthians in peremptory fashion (1 Corinthians 10:10). But here we find grumbling among those who have just been described as being “of one mind and one heart”. How can these Hellenists have had anything to grumble about if the Jerusalem community held everything in common, and there was not a needy person among them?

The solution the Apostles found to this problem hardly allows them to be seen to best advantage as giving testimony to the Resurrection of the Lord with great power (Acts 4: 33). For whereas Jesus had characteristically attended to the physical and spiritual needs of the people, and had encouraged his disciples to do the same (cf. Mark 6:12-13), here we find the Apostles distinguishing between service to the Word and waiting on tables, and clearly regarding themselves as being too important to be involved in the latter. Nor did their solution address and heal the original division, for the seven they appointed to wait at tables all had Greek names: presumably there were separate soup kitchens for Hellenists and Hebrews thereafter.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Biblical Commentary & Reflection, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Pentecost, Theology, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

Choir Told Not to Sing 'The Lord's Prayer' at Graduation

The Comstock Park High School choir performed “The Lord’s Prayer” six months ago at a benefit for the family of Nick Szymanski, a choir member and deeply religious student who was killed in an accident last October.

In honor of their classmate, the choir decided to sing it again during the school’s May 31 graduation.

But that plan changed Wednesday when choir director Keith VanGoor said school administrators would not allow them to sing the religious song during the graduation at Sunshine Community Church.

“We’re dealing with legal advice. Legal counsel said, `Don’t go there,”‘ explained Dwight Anderson, the superintendent of Comstock Park Public Schools. “I feel bad for the kids because they do a great job with it.”

The choir is feeling pretty bad, too, said member Hilary Shively, a junior. They want to sing the song once again in remembrance of Szymanski.

“It wasn’t meant to be preached religiously towards others, although some may have taken it that way,” Shively said.

“The Supreme Court has ruled that prayer at a graduation ceremony isn’t appropriate,” Anderson said. “I say the Lord’s Prayer every day. I have a strong faith and teach a Bible class at my church. But we are going to abide by the law.”

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Church-State Issues

Vincent Nichols: Pentecostal drama explodes with energy, freedom and joy

Three weeks ago I celebrated Mass in the northern Spanish village of Caleruega, in a tiny chapel marking the birth place of St Dominic. This chapel was built on the site of his parents’ bedroom soon after his death in 1221 and became the crypt of a larger church.

Today, at the centre of the crypt, there is a fountain of flowing water, a symbol of new life. Many pilgrims have come to this fountain over the centuries, especially those seeking fruitfulness and fertility in their lives, and they still do so today, for this is a place of powerful prayer and of the gracious action of God.

This weekend Christian Churches throughout the world will celebrate the Feast of Pentecost, marking the outpouring of the Spirit of God, which flowed not from the birth of a saint but from the death and Resurrection of the Son of God.

The images of Pentecost are full of energy, freedom and joy. The flames of fire, the powerful wind, the soaring dove, the kaleidoscope of languages ”“ all portray the fruitfulness of this gift of the Holy Spirit. At Pentecost the frightened first band of Disciples are transformed into fearless preachers of the Word of God. Our liturgical celebration of the feast gives access to that same gift today.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Pentecost