Daily Archives: June 13, 2007

From The Seeker: Gospel of global warming

Before industry lobbyists descended on Capitol Hill this week to sway the debate on an epic energy bill, religious leaders had their turn to let senators know where God stands on reducing emissions that contribute to global warming. But they couldn’t agree.

According to the seven religious leaders speaking to the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, different verses of the Bible support different arguments.

Last week, evangelical, Jewish, mainline Protestant and Roman Catholic leaders quoted scripture from the same Bible to support their positions on climate change. While all could agree that caring for God’s creation and eradicating poverty should be priorities, not everyone agreed that renewable energy policies aimed at reducing emissions of greenhouse gases would also help the world’s poor.

Some evangelical Christians joined Katharine Jefferts Schori, the Episcopal Church’s presiding bishop and a former oceanographer, in saying science has sufficiently proved that global warming is caused by human activity and echoed a call from scientists for a cap on carbon dioxide emissions.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Climate Change, Weather, Religion & Culture

A statement from Archbishop Peter J. Akinola on the Province of Kenya Announcement

From here:

I have received news of the proposed consecration of Canon Bill Atwood as Suffragan Bishop of All Saints Cathedral Diocese, Nairobi, in the Anglican Church of Kenya, to serve Kenyan related congregations in North America. Canon Atwood has worked tirelessly throughout the Communion for the sake of the Gospel and is well known to many of us in the Church of Nigeria.

This action demonstrates a growing recognition by Anglican provinces in Africa that the situation in North America continues to deteriorate because of the intransigence of the leadership of The Episcopal Church. This was made most evident by the response of their House of Bishops to the carefully crafted Primates’ Dar es Salaam Communiqué. We cannot sit quietly by while those who continue steadfastly in the ”˜faith once delivered to the saints’ are denied adequate pastoral care and made the targets of pernicious lawsuits.

We look forward to working with Archbishop Nzimbi, Bishop-elect Atwood and this new pastoral initiative from the Anglican Church of Kenya. We pledge our ongoing prayers and enthusiastic support and cooperation through CANA ”“ a missionary initiative of the Church of Nigeria already established in North America.

It should be noted that there are now more than 250 congregations in North America related to Global South provinces through a growing number of missionary and pastoral initiatives.

Our heartfelt desire continues to be that the Anglican Communion will find a way to move forward together. This can only happen, however, with a Common Faith lived out within the context of an agreed Communion discipline. We continue to pray that The Episcopal Church will heed the call to repentance and make a positive response to the request of the Primates’ in Dar es Salaam.

We continue to offer our prayers for all leaders in the Communion during these challenging times.


+Peter Abuja

June 13, 2007

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Primates, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria, Episcopal Church (TEC), Global South Churches & Primates, TEC Conflicts

US News and World Report: Mixed Views on the Death Penalty

No modern debate in America is as muddled by facts as that of the death penalty.

For a long time, the contentious issue of deterrence””whether the threat of capital punishment prevented homicides””was at the center of the debate, serving as a core justification for proponents. Meanwhile, the opposition cited a mounting body of evidence that debunked the claim.

New data this week is not likely to do much to clear things up. A poll from the Death Penalty Information Center, a clearinghouse for data on executions and public opinion on capital punishment, found that only 38 percent of respondents believed that the death penalty deters would-be murderers. The poll, conducted in March, surveyed 1,000 adults and has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.

Meanwhile, a widely discussed Associated Press article on Monday drew attention to a series of published studies by economists that report statistical evidence in favor of deterrence.

“I don’t think we’re close” to a consensus, said DPIC Executive Director Richard Dieter. “I’ve been reading the studies for years, and they go both ways. They’re getting to a high level of expertise in terms of criticizing one other.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Capital Punishment

Statement from the Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi

From the Anglican Church of Uganda:

Statement from the Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi,
Archbishop of the Church of Uganda

The Church of Uganda welcomes the announcement of the consecration of The Revd Canon Dr. Bill Atwood as Suffragan Bishop of All Saints Cathedral Diocese in the Anglican Church of Kenya. Canon Atwood is a long time friend and partner of the Church of Uganda. In these difficult days in the Communion, we recognize that measures must be taken to provide for the care of those orthodox Anglicans in America who remain faithful to the Bible.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Latest News, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Primates, Anglican Provinces, Church of Uganda, Episcopal Church (TEC)

Newark Diocese Addresses Executive Council, Moves Forward on Same-Sex Blessing

From The Living Church:

The Executive Council agenda for the June 11-14 meeting in Parsippany, N.J., includes a response to the primates’ pastoral scheme. But members of a task force in the Diocese of Newark, where the council is meeting, are firm that a moratorium on same-sex blessings–something also proposed in the primates’ Feb. 19 communiqué–is not a consideration for them.

The state of New Jersey recently legalized civil unions for same-gender couples and a diocesan task force is preparing recommended liturgies for consideration later this year at the diocese’s annual convention. At last year’s annual convention, deputies called for the creation of the task force. The Rt. Rev. Mark Beckwith, who was consecrated Bishop of Newark on Jan. 27, previously made appointments to the task force and released guidelines for any liturgical services conducted in the diocese during the interim period.

Members of the diocesan deputation to General Convention made a presentation to council members during a private dinner for council and staff on June 12. Members of the diocesan task force on civil unions, consisting of five clergy, five lay members and Bishop Beckwith, have invited clergy to share questions and concerns. A June 20 meeting at St. Peter’s, Essex Fells, will be the fourth time the task force will have met.

“Bishop Beckwith has already made up his mind that civil unions would be performed,” said task force member Barbara Conroy in an interview with The Living Church. “He just wanted more input as to how the policy would be implemented.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Latest News, Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Kentucky Religious heads want continued ecumenism

From the Louisville Courier Journal:

Louisville religious and political leaders welcomed the Most Rev. Joseph Kurtz as archbishop and said they hoped he will continue in the same manner of Thomas Kelly, who led the archdiocese for the past 25 years.

Bishop Edwin F. Gulick Jr., of the Episcopal Diocese of Kentucky, welcomed Kurtz to Louisville and called it “exciting” that Kurtz, who headed the Diocese of Knoxville, Tenn., has worked closely with Kelly in the past.

“This bodes well for the archdiocese, and I look forward to getting to know him as a friend and colleague,” Gulick said.

“I trust that Archbishop Kelly’s ministry in ecumenism, which is one of the hallmarks of his life and ministry, will continue to flourish under the new archbishop’s leadership,” Gulick said

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Ecumenical Relations

New blow for Anglican Communion unity hopes

From Religious Intelligence:

THE ANGLICAN Communion moved closer to a split today when the Anglican Church of Kenya announced plans to consecrate an American priest to look after congregations in the USA.

The move will create a third ”˜missionary’ group of disaffected Anglicans in the US and was made without reference to Lambeth Palace.

But observers are speculating that the decision by Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi is part of a wider move to create an alternative Anglican worldwide structure.

So far there are two networks operating in America, the Anglican Mission in America, with their bishop Chuck Murphy, and CANA (Convocation of Anglicans in North America), with their bishop Martyn Minns. The new group, to be known as the North American Anglican Coalition, with their bishop Bill Atwood, would lead to a grouping with the oversight of over 200 congregations.

The latest development follows increasing anger in conservative circles over the liberal direction of the Episcopal Church. The executive council of the Church, which is its governing body between meetings of General Convention, is meeting this week in New Jersey to consider its response to the Primates’ communiqué in Tanzania earlier this year. That gave the Episcopal Church a deadline of September 30 to comply.

However, the latest news from Kenya may only serve to strengthen the US leadership in their stance. Earlier this week the bishop at the centre of the row, Gene Robinson, announced plans to allow his clergy to carry out same-sex blessings. And the Executive Council heard from Nigerian gay rights activist Davis Mac-Illya, who heads up his country’s branch of Changing Attitude deliver an attack on Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola for backing anti-gay legislation there.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Latest News, Anglican Church of Kenya, Anglican Provinces, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts

New Anglican Blog links on the sidebar

We’ve added a handful of new Anglican links added to sidebar. We’ll add non-Anglican links in a few days. Feel free to keep recommendations coming. A list of the new links added follows below.

We’ve added the following links to the Anglican Blog section of the sidebar. Note that we’ve made a separate section for international Anglican bloggers and that at least for now, we are not categorizing those bloggers as reasserters or reappraisers.

US: Reasserters


All Too Common:

Northwest Anglican

Quo Vadis

US: Reappraisers

Fr. Gawain (“John Wilkins”)

And to the list of overseas Anglican blogs:

Anglicans All, from New Zealand:

Anselmic’s place (a T19 reader and Anglican vicar in the Philippines)

David Ould (didn’t realize he still had a blog. Glad he wrote us)

Dave Walker (Cartoon Church)

Do let us know of Anglican blogs we’ve missed. Kendall makes the final call on these and there are some blogs he is choosing not to promote. But we’d love to know about blogs we may have overlooked. So, if there is a blog you read which you don’t see, please let us know.

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

Financial Times: CBS blames sexism for bad ratings

Leslie Moonves, CBS chief executive, on Tuesday suggested that sexist attitudes were partly to blame for the faltering performance of Katie Couric, the news anchor he recruited to the network with a $15m annual pay package.

“I’m sort of surprised by the vitriol against her. The number of people who don’t want news from a woman was startling,” Mr Moonves said of the audience’s reaction to Ms Couric, who this month brought ratings for the CBS Evening News to a 20-year low.

He reiterated, however, that he was committed to Ms Couric and that he believed her programme would succeed in spite of its last place standing behind rivals ABC and NBC….

In the absence of specific research, some analysts took issue with that argument. “People get news from women all the time ”“ on local news, on morning shows. I’m sceptical of his discovery of sexism,” said Andrew Tyndall, whose Tyndall Report monitors newscasts. He and others have criticised the style of Ms Couric’s newscast, which emphasised soft features over hard news ”“ something CBS seemed to acknowledge this year when it replaced the producer.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Media

Living Church: Kenyan Primate to Consecrate Former Episcopalian as U.S. Bishop

The Most Rev. Benjamin Nzimbi, Primate of Kenya, has announced he will consecrate the Rev. Canon Bill Atwood as a suffragan bishop to oversee the U.S.-based congregations of the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK).

The Aug. 30 consecration of Canon Atwood as “Suffragan Bishop of All Saints’ Cathedral Diocese, Nairobi” is “part of a broader and coordinated plan with other provinces,” Archbishop Nzimbi said on June 12, to “support the international interests of the Anglican Church of Kenya, including support of Kenyan clergy and congregations in North America.”

An undisclosed number of Global South primates are expected to participate in Canon Atwood’s consecration in Nairobi and are expected to work with the Kenyan Church in forming a “North American Anglican Coalition.”

The coalition will “provide a safe haven for those who maintain historic Anglican faith and practice, and offer a way to live and work together in the furtherance of the gospel,” the statement said.

Read it all.

Update: The Telegraph also has an article. Readers are cautioned not to leap to conclusions, to think for themselves, to sift through the evidence, and to consider multiple sources when a situation like this “breaks”–KSH.

A further Update: the following is in the morning email:



Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ.

God in His mercy has granted us a great salvation in Jesus Christ in the power of the Spirit. The foundations of that faith have been celebrated and shared through many centuries and cultures. In particular, we rejoice in the godly Christian heritage of this faith that we have received in the Anglican Communion.

Now, the fabric of the Anglican Communion has been torn by the actions of The Episcopal Church. The damage has been exacerbated by the failure of the House of Bishops there to provide for the care called for in the Windsor Report and to reject the Pastoral Council offered through the Primates in their Communiqué from Dar es Salaam.

Tragically, the Episcopal Church has refused to provide adequate care for the faithful who continue steadfastly in “the faith once delivered to the saints.” Following months of consultation with other provinces, the Anglican Church of Kenya is taking steps to provide for the care of churches under our charge.

As a part of a broader and coordinated plan with other provinces, the ACK will consecrate The Revd Canon Dr. Bill Atwood as Suffragan bishop of All Saints Cathedral Diocese, Nairobi of the ACK to support the international interests of the Anglican Church of Kenya, including support of Kenyan clergy and congregations in North America.

Our goal is to collaborate with faithful Anglicans (including those in North America who are related with other provinces). A North American Anglican Coalition can provide a safe haven for those who maintain historic Anglican faith and practice, and offer a way to live and work together in the furtherance of the Gospel.

Yours sincerely,
The Most Rev. Rev. Benjamin Nzimbi

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Latest News, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Primates, Anglican Church of Kenya, Anglican Provinces, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts

Manhattan Episcopal church sues utility for $1M over damaged pipe organ

A historic church has sued a local utility for $1 million, claiming that its 89-year-old pipe organ, one of the largest in the Western Hemisphere, was damaged by steam escaping from beneath the adjacent street and sidewalk.

St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Manhattan says in court papers that it told Consolidated Edison on June 30, 2004, about an “extraordinary amount of steam” coming from the street into the church.

Soon after, court papers say, the Aeolian-Skinner organ began to malfunction. The problems were caused by moisture being drawn into the organ’s pipe system through its blowers and pumps in the church’s basement next to the main steam room, the court papers say.

“The moist, humid and damp air had a negative effect on the components within the organ and caused deformation, deterioration, sticking, improper sealing, opening and closing of the organ components and a general, overall breakdown of the organ system,” the papers say.

Despite being notified, the utility failed to take any corrective action until five weeks later, when it repaired faulty components of its steam system, which were causing steam to enter the church on Park Avenue between East 50th and East 51st streets, the papers say.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Parishes

Foreclosures Leap in May

Foreclosure filings in May jumped 19 percent from April and surged nearly 90 percent from a year ago, an industry data firm said Tuesday.

RealtyTrac Inc. said foreclosure filings, which include default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions, spiked to 176,137 in May from about 92,746 in May 2006.

The national foreclosure rate in May was one filing for every 656 U.S. households.

“After a barely perceptible dip in April, foreclosure activity roared back with a vengeance in May,” said RealtyTrac Chief Executive James J. Saccacio. “Such strong activity in the midst of the typical spring buying season could foreshadow even higher foreclosure levels later in the year.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics

Faith Groups Rally as Poverty Issue Gains Momentum

Leaders and members from a broad array of faith traditions gathered at Washington National Cathedral this week for a colorful convocation dedicated to reducing hunger and poverty throughout the world.

Nearly 1,000 worshippers from 45 states sang and prayed under the cathedral’s soaring arches as Catholic, Jewish, Protestant and Muslim leaders took to the pulpit and urged an abiding commitment to bring “bread to those who are hungry, and hunger for justice to those who have bread.”

Drawing deeply on the Gospel of Luke, the Rev. William J. Shaw, president of the National Baptist Convention USA, challenged: “Who will bring the poor in this nation and around the world to the attention of … the people of plenty?”

Organized by Bread for the World, a Christian anti-hunger lobby, the interfaith service Monday (June 11) was part of a four-day gathering devoted to harvesting grass-roots activism in the nation’s capital. On Tuesday, nearly 700 Bread for the World organizers fanned out across Capitol Hill to urge lawmakers not to slight the poor in the pending Farm Bill and other legislation, according to spokeswoman Jennifer Coulter Stapleton.

Read it all.

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

Diana Butler Bass studies what makes some churches thrive

Diana Butler Bass knows all the gloomy statistics about declining mainline Protestant churches but believes in their future. She studies mainline churches that are thriving to see what sets them apart from those that are dying.

Her findings contradict some popular theories about church growth, and she is sharing them at a three-day conference at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in East Liberty.

Successful congregations cultivate spiritual practices in daily life, promote tradition without using it as a fence to keep people out and offer a quest for wisdom, not pat answers, she said.

“When all three of those things are knit together, I call it the architecture of vitality,” said Dr. Bass, currently senior fellow at the Cathedral College of the Episcopal Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.

From 2002 to 2006 she studied congregations that were experiencing renewal in the Episcopal Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, United Methodist Church, Presbyterian Church (USA), Disciples of Christ and United Church of Christ. They ranged from 35 to 3,500 members and covered all demographics and most would not describe themselves as evangelical.

Americans are looking for new ways to experience religious community. Thriving congregations have been able to change the way they do ministry to create those communities, she said. Those that keep offering conventional church programs from the 1950s wither and die.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry

The Guidebook for Taking a Life

This jihad etiquette is not written down, and for good reason. It varies as much in interpretation and practice as extremist groups vary in their goals. But the rules have some general themes that underlie actions ranging from the recent rash of suicide bombings in Algeria and Somalia, to the surge in beheadings and bombings by separatist Muslims in Thailand.

Some of these rules have deep roots in the Middle East, where, for example, the Egyptian Islamic scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi has argued it is fine to kill Israeli citizens because their compulsory military service means they are not truly civilians.

The war in Iraq is reshaping the etiquette, too. Suicide bombers from radical Sunni and Shiite Muslim groups have long been called martyrs, a locution that avoids the Koran’s ban on killing oneself in favor of the honor it accords death in battle against infidels. Now some Sunni militants are urging the killing of Shiites, alleging that they are not true Muslims. If there seems to be no published playbook, there are informal rules, and these were gathered by interviewing militants and their leaders, Islamic clerics and scholars in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and England, along with government intelligence officials in the Middle East, Europe and the United States.

Islamic militants who embrace violence may account for a minuscule fraction of Muslims in the world, but they lay claim to the breadth of Islamic teachings in their efforts to justify their actions. “No jihadi will do any action until he is certain this action is morally acceptable,” says Dr. Mohammad al-Massari, a Saudi dissident who runs a leading jihad Internet forum, Tajdeed.net, in London, where he now lives.

Here are six of the more striking jihadi tenets, as militant Islamists describe them…..

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Islam, Other Faiths

George Weigel: The Pope on Abortion, Politicians, and Communion

First, it is the settled conviction of the Catholic Church that a legislator’s facilitating abortion through a vote to legalize or fund the procedure puts that legislator outside the communion of the Church. The Pope seems content to leave it to moral theologians to determine precisely how this form of cooperation with grave evil touches on legislators (as distinguished, say, from abortionists). But that a public official’s act in facilitating the “killing of an innocent human baby” is “incompatible with being in communion with the body of Christ” is not in doubt. And if one’s communion with the body of Christ that is the Church is radically ruptured, then one must not present onself for Holy Communion — for that is to add a lie to the original offense against justice, the taking of an innocent human life.

Second, Benedict’s answer indicates that he will support the actions of those bishops who deem it a pastoral necessity to order that politicians in this position of estrangement from the Church not be given Holy Communion. Anyone who expects Pope Benedict to distance himself from the American bishops who have taken this stand is likely to be disappointed.

And third, the Pope’s answer suggests that he is prepared to leave the pastoral judgment on these cases to the discretion of the local bishops, who are presumably better-informed about the circumstances than he is: and by “circumstances,” I do not mean “balancing” serious (and, some would argue, canonically required) sanctions against wayward politicians with other prudential considerations, but the specific circumstances of Legislator X. All of which is to say that Pope Benedict seems unlikely to issue a universal edict on the subject.

This may well be good ecclesiology and prudent pastoral practice, but it is very difficult to communicate without appearing to vacillate.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Life Ethics, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Carolyn J Sharp Responds to the Proposed Anglican Draft Covenant

The genius of Anglicanism is its gracious comprehensiveness in allowing for pluriform, contextually responsive theologies and hermeneutics throughout the global Church. Our heritage and our Christian witness are enriched by the presence of evangelicals, conservatives, moderates, and progressives in our midst, engaging in spirited dialogue that respects the culture and insights of each believer and each local church. The Baptismal Covenant, the Creeds, and the Eucharistic liturgies we use have all been developed with extraordinary care over the centuries and are sufficient as the “fundamentals” that bind us together officially. To suggest that we need another covenantal authority beyond those is not only to innovate in an undesirable way regarding the central characteristic of Anglicanism. It is also to dishonor, however unwittingly, those ancient and great instruments of unity.

Historical precedents in adiaphora””such as the Church’s positions on various social questions and liturgical options over the centuries””should be mulled with respect, but they should never be bowed to as if they were idols. The truth of this claim should be transparently obvious just on the face of it, but I would add a particular reason in light of our current debates: the voices of women, the poor, and openly gay persons have been suppressed in the councils and other judicatory bodies of the Church since its inception. I am astonished whenever anyone, progressive or conservative, suggests that the fact that the Church has “always” done something or “always” said something means that the Church has necessarily been correct on the matter. It is abundantly clear that the Church has made disastrous missteps in its history””the Crusades, colonialism, and chattel slavery are only three examples out of many that could be cited. Creating a covenant that enshrines any historical status quo as such would be a dangerous and harmful move in our polity.

It is politically naïve and theologically suspect to suggest, as some have, that having an Anglican Covenant will keep us in conversation on divisive issues. Our commitment to our Lord Jesus Christ should already keep us in loving and patient conversation on every issue of importance to the Church and the world. Those for whom our unity in Christ is not sufficient reason to remain in dialogue will not be one iota more inclined to listen to Christians with whom they disagree if we establish a new and weak political instrument.

It has also been suggested that a Covenant could serve a spiritual-formation purpose as a rule of discipline that fosters virtue in the life of the Church. To propose that a juridical instrument could serve that purpose effectively is to gravely misunderstand what polity is for and how spiritual formation in community may be nurtured. In my view, that suggestion also subtly denigrates the rich traditions of spiritual formation on which Anglicans already draw.

The concern of some that global mission and relief work will be fatally compromised if we do not have a Covenant is understandable, but in that case, the terms of the issue are being illogically framed. Service delivery systems are already in place within the Anglican Communion and outside of it. Those who are committed to relief of the poor and to mission work will continue to minister in those arenas, and where collaborative relationships have (already) broken down, new relationships with other partners can be forged. The problem should be understood for what it is: the unconscionable refusal of some Global South primates to accept resources from provinces that do not hew to their own particular patriarchal, misogynistic, and homophobic views. If relief work suffers in the short term””which will be a tragedy””it will be because of the intransigence of those primates, not because of the absence of an Anglican Covenant or the failure of the Episcopal Church to yield to pressure on one or another matter of our local polity.

There can be no question that the proposed Covenant will be used in pragmatic terms to derail local autonomy, threatening discipline or exclusion of those whose Christian witness does not conform to androcentric and heteronormative values (which are by no means as obviously “scriptural” as their adherents claim). The causes of our current divisions are many and complex. As all agree, a fundamental disjuncture has to do with divergent ways of conceiving Scriptural authority in different cultural contexts. The uneven deployment of economic resources globally and reactions against Christian and secular Western colonialism are also in play here. I see little reason to expect that the innovation of a potentially punitive instrument of extra-provincial polity will help us to address these challenges more effectively. To the contrary, such a Covenant would likely only exacerbate the bitter struggles for power that we are currently experiencing.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Covenant, Episcopal Church (TEC)