Daily Archives: June 14, 2007

The Episcopal Church's Commitment to Common Life in the Anglican Communion


I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all. Ephesians 4:1-6

Conversations among Anglican sisters and brothers during the past several years have raised important questions of Anglican identity and authority. These questions speak to the nature of relationships among us.

We understand the requests made by the Primates from Dar es Salaam in February, 2007 as a good-faith contribution to that on-going conversation. Still, the requests of the Primates are of a nature that can only properly be dealt with by our General Convention. Neither the Executive Council, the Presiding Bishop, nor the House of Bishops can give binding interpretations of General Convention resolutions nor make an “unequivocal common commitment” to denying future decisions by dioceses or General Convention. We question the authority of the Primates to impose deadlines and demands upon any of the churches of the Anglican Communion or to prescribe the relationships within any of the other instruments of our common life, including the Anglican Consultative Council.

Assertions of authority met by counter-assertions of polity are not likely to lead to the reconciliation we seek. As important as we hold our polity, the questions before us now are fundamentally relational. Our salvation is not in law but in the grace of God in Jesus Christ our Savior; so too with our relationships as Anglicans.

One part of this grace is that we, all of us, are bound together irrevocably into the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit through the waters of Baptism. We are, whether we wish it or not, God’s gift to each other. It is our bounden duty to respond to God’s grace, a grace that we believe warrants gratitude and respect and that must be reflected in a deep and abiding honesty with one another in the context of living relationships.

We strongly affirm this Church’s desire to be in the fullest possible relationship with our Anglican sisters and brothers, but in truth the only thing we really have to offer in that relationship is who we are ”“ a community of committed Christians seeking God’s will for our common life. At various times in our history, we have struggled to embrace people who have historically been marginalized. We still struggle with those concerns, sometimes in new forms. Today this struggle has come to include the place of gay and lesbian people and their vocations in the life of the Church.

We cannot tell our brothers and sisters with certainty what the future holds or where the Holy Spirit will guide this Church. We can say with certainty that we have heard what some of our sisters and brothers have said about our actions with the utmost seriousness. We have attempted to respond to those concerns sensitively and positively. The sincerity of The Episcopal Church’s responses to matters before the Anglican Communion, particularly the responses of the General Convention 2006, have been attested to by the Report of the Communion Sub-Group of the Joint Standing Committee of the Primates’ Meeting and the Anglican Consultative Council.

We can promise that our engagement with the churches of the Anglican Communion and our deep and sincere listening will continue. The truth spoken in love by our sisters and brothers in Christ, and particularly the truth lived out in our relationships with Anglicans throughout the world, will be very much on our minds and held at the center of our hearts. The advice of the larger community will continue to find reflection in the actions we take.

We have received from the House of Bishops of our Church a request to decline to participate in the proposed Pastoral Scheme; with an explanation for the reasons our bishops believe that the scheme is ill-advised. We agree with the bishops’ assessment including the conclusion that to participate in the scheme would violate our Constitution and Canons. We thus decline to participate in the Pastoral Scheme and respectfully ask our Presiding Bishop not to take any of the actions asked of her by this scheme. We affirm the pledge of the bishops to “continue to work to find ways of meeting the pastoral concerns of the Primates that are compatible with our own polity and canons.”

At the 75th General Convention, The Episcopal Church reaffirmed its abiding commitment to the Anglican Communion (A159). As a demonstration of our commitment to mutual responsibility and interdependence in the Anglican Communion, The Episcopal Church supports the process of the development of an Anglican Covenant, and through the Executive Council is responding to the proposed draft now before the Anglican Communion (A166).

It is our most earnest hope that we continue to walk with our Anglican brothers and sisters in the journey we share together in God’s mission. We believe The Episcopal Church can only offer who we are, with openness, honesty, integrity, and faithfulness, and our commitment never to choose to walk apart.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Identity, Anglican Primates, Episcopal Church (TEC), Primates Mtg Dar es Salaam, Feb 2007

From the Living Church: Draft Report’s Release Surprises Executive Council Member

Read it all.

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

Executive Council Press Conference Live

The link is here.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Resources & Links, Episcopal Church (TEC), Resources: Audio-Visual

Pope: Church History a Lesson in Awe

From Zenit:

Benedict XVI says contemplating the history of the Church should lead the faithful to be awed by God’s great work of salvation.

The Pope said this today when dedicating his reflection at the general audience to Eusebius of Caesarea, the first to write a history of the Church.

Eusebius was born around the year 260 and lived during the first years of peace for the Church under Constantine. He was one of the main protagonists at the ecumenical Council of Nicaea in 325.

The Holy Father explained: “Eusebius [”¦] sought to reflect upon and take stock of the three centuries of Christianity, three centuries lived under persecution. He consulted, for the most part, the original Christian and pagan sources that had been preserved in the great library of Caesarea.

“He was the first to write a history of the Church, and to this day his work is still foundational, mainly due to the sources Eusebius puts forever at our disposal. His ‘History’ preserved from sure oblivion numerous events, people and literary works of the ancient Church. His work is therefore a primary source for knowing the first centuries of Christianity.”

The Pontiff showed that Eusebius covered various topics in his 10-volume “Ecclesiastical History”: “apostolic succession, as the structure of the Church, the spreading of the Message, errors, persecutions by pagans, and the great testimonies which constitute the shining light of this ‘History.’ Amid it all, shine the mercy and goodness of the Savior.”

Read the whole thing.

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

Executive Council Rejects Primates’ Pastoral Plan; Insists on Diocesan Accession Clause

From The Living Church:

In other news, council approved a resolution declaring “null and void” attempts by a number of dioceses to revise their constitution to qualify their accession to the Constitution and Canons of the General Convention.

“Any amendment to a diocesan constitution that purports in any way to limit or lessen an unqualified accession to the constitution of The Episcopal Church is null and void, and be it further resolved that the amendments passed to the constitutions of the dioceses of Pittsburgh, Fort Worth, Quincy and San Joaquin, which purport to limit or lessen the unqualified accession to the constitution of The Episcopal Church are accordingly null and void and the constitutions of those dioceses shall be as they were as if such amendments had not been passed,” council stated in Resolution NAC-023.

After the resolution was approved, the Rt. Rev. Stacy Sauls, Bishop of Lexington, said Episcopalians had all agreed to live by certain principles and rules and that council believed it would be “helpful to have an authoritative statement [on the matter] with respect to any litigation that might occur in the future.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Episcopal Church (TEC), Primates Mtg Dar es Salaam, Feb 2007, TEC Conflicts, TEC Polity & Canons

Hamas Takes Over Securities headquarters amidst an upsurge in Fighting

from the Jerusalem Post:

At least 25 Palestinians were killed and 80 were wounded as Hamas fighters overran two of Fatah’s most important security installations in the Gaza Strip on Thursday. Witnesses said the victors dragged vanquished gunmen from the building and shot them to death gangland-style in the street in front of their families.

The headquarters of the General Security Service, commanded by Ramallah-based General Tawfik Tirawi, fell to Hamas gunmen. Hamas said documents it found there prove that the Fatah-affiliated security apparatus has close ties with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Hamas said it would show the documents on television in the coming hours.

Elsewhere, the capture of the Preventive Security headquarters was a major step forward in Hamas’s attempts to complete its takeover of all of Gaza. Hamas followed up that victory by demanding Fatah surrender another key security installation.

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Middle East

One View of Life in the Diocese of Newark These Days

from the Anglican Watchman of Newark:

Christ Church, East Orange seems to be OK–at least for now. But just a few miles away lie the corpses of what, just a year or two ago, were three integrated, black majority parishes, who favored traditional worship.

The first to go was St. Mark’s in West Orange. One of the oldest parishes in the diocese, St. Mark’s had a large building badly in need of repair, but with an endowment that would cover the expenses. Because they were only allowed to draw on the income, the parish went to court in order to change the terms. In the meantime, the diocese loaned the parish money for repairs, but at some point, it tired of the arrangement, closed the parish, sold the building (built 1827) –and of course, pocketed the remaining endowment.

Less than two years later, the Diocese closed two mostly black High Church parishes. All Saints was in Orange, one mile east of St. Mark’s, while Trinity Montclair was just over 3 miles to the west. All Saints was shut down in October 2006; Trinity followed in February 2007. The diocese could, logically, have merged these two similar parishes. Had it thought ahead (and had that endowment not been so tempting!) three parishes could have been merged. The sanctuary at St. Mark’s was more than big enough, and the proceeds from selling the other buildings would have paid for a lot of repairs.

Read it all.

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

From AP: Sony in talks with Church of England

Sony’s video game unit said Wednesday it is talking with the Church of England about a complaint that a famous cathedral is the scene of a violent shooting game for the new PlayStation 3 console.

Sony Computer Entertainment spokeswoman Nanako Kato declined to give details of the talks and said more time may be needed for an agreement because the problem was complex.

“This is a sensitive topic,” Kato said. “Many historical buildings are used in entertainment such as movies, including Godzilla and the Tokyo Tower and King Kong in Manhattan.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Religion & Culture

In Massachusetts, Pressure mounts in gay marriage debate

From Southcoast Today:

With the vote too close to call, Gov. Deval Patrick and national Democratic leaders were pressuring lawmakers to defeat a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage when the state Legislature meets in Constitutional Convention today.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy called wavering legislators in the past several days. And former Gov. William F. Weld asked state House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi for a list of lawmakers he could call to urge them to oppose the amendment.

Evelyn Reilly of the Massachusetts Family Institute complained of “unprecedented pressure” from the governor and national political leaders. But she was confident the amendment would pass today and go to the statewide ballot in November 2008.

Both Speaker DiMasi and Senate President Therese Murray, who presides over the convention, oppose the amendment.

Political insiders openly speculated that Sen. Murray would postpone the vote if there were not enough votes to defeat the amendment. Gov. Patrick said last week the convention could be put off if there are not enough votes to defeat it.

Opponents of gay marriage were undaunted.

“I think there is a very strong likelihood that there will be a vote, and that our votes will hold,” Ms. Reilly said outside the House chamber. “These legislators have already withstood tremendous pressure. We don’t think that they are going to fade.”

Arline Isaacson, the co-chairwoman of the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus, said gay marriage supporters had to pick up at least four to five votes to defeat the amendment. She planned to work through the evening.

“We’re not there yet,” she said, ducking into a side entrance of the Statehouse.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family

The Guardian: China overtaking US for fast internet access as Africa gets left behind

Almost 300 million people worldwide are now accessing the internet using fast broadband connections, fuelling the growth of social networking services such as MySpace and generating thousands of hours of video through websites such as YouTube.

There are more than 1.1 billion of the world’s estimated 6.6 billion people online and almost a third of them are now accessing the internet on high-speed lines. According to the internet consultancy Point Topic, 298 million people had broadband at the end of March and that is already estimated to have shot over 300 million. The statistics, however, paint a picture of a divided digital world.

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Globalization

World oil supplies are set to run out faster than expected, warn scientists

From The Independent:

Scientists have criticised a major review of the world’s remaining oil reserves, warning that the end of oil is coming sooner than governments and oil companies are prepared to admit.

BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy, published yesterday, appears to show that the world still has enough “proven” reserves to provide 40 years of consumption at current rates. The assessment, based on officially reported figures, has once again pushed back the estimate of when the world will run dry.

However, scientists led by the London-based Oil Depletion Analysis Centre, say that global production of oil is set to peak in the next four years before entering a steepening decline which will have massive consequences for the world economy and the way that we live our lives.

According to “peak oil” theory our consumption of oil will catch, then outstrip our discovery of new reserves and we will begin to deplete known reserves.

Colin Campbell, the head of the depletion centre, said: “It’s quite a simple theory and one that any beer drinker understands. The glass starts full and ends empty and the faster you drink it the quicker it’s gone.”

Dr Campbell, is a former chief geologist and vice-president at a string of oil majors including BP, Shell, Fina, Exxon and ChevronTexaco. He explains that the peak of regular oil – the cheap and easy to extract stuff – has already come and gone in 2005. Even when you factor in the more difficult to extract heavy oil, deep sea reserves, polar regions and liquid taken from gas, the peak will come as soon as 2011, he says.

This scenario is flatly denied by BP, whose chief economist Peter Davies has dismissed the arguments of “peak oil” theorists.

“We don’t believe there is an absolute resource constraint. When peak oil comes, it is just as likely to come from consumption peaking, perhaps because of climate change policies as from production peaking.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Climate Change, Weather, Energy, Natural Resources

The Bishop of Fort Worth welcomes announcement of Atwood consecration

From a diocesan press release:

I am delighted with the news today from the Primate of Kenya that my good friend and colleague, Canon Bill Atwood, is to be consecrated as a missionary bishop and will be ministering to those here in the States who have been alienated from The Episcopal Church in recent years. He has the heart of an evangelist and has been the key, pivotal figure in the realignment of worldwide Anglicanism.

The rejection of the Dar es Salaam proposed pastoral scheme by the TEC House of Bishops will lead to further extraordinary efforts such as this to extend episcopal care to faithful Anglicans who believe they have no alternative but to separate from the church they have loved and served for so many years.

God bless Bishop-elect Atwood and this exciting new ministry.

The Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker
Bishop of Fort Worth

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

Bishop Michael Ingham addresses Executive Council

From the Walking with Integrity Blog:

[Bishop] Ingham also discussed the pending General Synod He said that that resolutions regarding the blessing of same-gender relationships are likely to consume a majority of the synod’s time””as it did during the Episcopal Church’s 2006 General Convention in Columbus””causing other important resolutions to be tabled. Earlier in the day, during a report to the Standing Committee for International Concerns, Ingham expressed his belief that the majority of lay and clergy delegates to General Synod are in favor of same-gender blessings but that the majority of bishop are not””meaning that same-gender blessings are unlikely to be authorized.

Read the whole piece.

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

From ENS: Executive Council set to discuss communiqué, Anglican covenant responses

A task group of the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council will propose June 14 that Council tell the Anglican Communion that no governing body other than General Convention can interpret Convention resolutions or agree to deny “future decisions by dioceses or General Convention.”

A draft of the statement, titled “The Episcopal Church’s Commitment to Common Life in Anglican Communion,” says it “strongly affirm[s] this Church’s desire to be in the fullest possible relationship with our Anglican sisters and brothers.”

The draft would have the Council decline to participate in a so-called Pastoral Scheme proposed by the Primates of the Anglican Communion for dealing with some disaffected Episcopal Church dioceses. In March the House of Bishops said the plan “would be injurious to The Episcopal Church” and urged the Council to decline to participate.

The draft of the statement was released to Council members and staff the afternoon of June 13 at the Council’s meeting in Parsippany, New Jersey. The draft, and three proposed accompanying resolutions, will be discussed by the entire Council June 14.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Latest News, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Primates, Episcopal Church (TEC), Primates Mtg Dar es Salaam, Feb 2007

From Fulcrum: Graham Kings on Lambeth Invitations and Rowan Williams

1. Rowan Williams, it seems to me, has left himself room to disinvite people who have been invited or to lower the level of his invitation to them to eg observer status. He presides over the Primates’ Meeting and, quite rightly, seems to be waiting for the Primates’ Meeting date of 30 September 2007 before assuming he has heard officially and definitively from the bishops of TEC and from TEC.

2. I also was surprised that his invitations to Lambeth 2008 were issued before his study leave and holiday 3 month period – June, July and August. However, on reflection, it may well be a good move. We shall see. The TEC bishops know now that they may forfeit their full invitation and still have to respond by 30 September.

3. He has described the consecration of Gene Robinson as ‘bizarre’ (in the Time magazine article).


This is very strong language and follows his ecclesiology of ‘interdependence’ trumping ‘autonomy’ on such an issue. So we are not left wondering what he thinks about that consecration, which has been a focus of disunity. So Gene Robinson is not invited.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Lambeth 2008

Integrity gives an Update from Executive Council

The Rev. Dr. Ian Douglas, a member of the subcommittee, added that only a small minority of responses were completely for the covenant as proposed or against any form of covenant. Most responses were nuanced””stating conditions under which a covenant might be acceptable or unacceptable.

The Rev. Dr. Lee Alison Crawford, another member of the subcommittee, said that many respondents offered thanks for the opportunity to comment on the covenant.

The Rev. Canon Mark Harris concluded that the subcommittee had reached consensus on three recommendations to the entire Executive Council”¦

1. That a hard copy of all responses be forwarded to the Anglican Communion Office and the Covenant Design Group.
2. That Executive Council appoint a writing group to draft a collective response to the proposed covenant for approval by Executive Council during its October 2007 meeting.
3. That the writing group communicate with the House of Bishop Theology Committee.

Read it all.

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

Network welcomes Kenya’s decision to care for U.S. Anglicans

from the Anglican Communion Network website

The leadership of the Anglican Communion Network welcomed news that the Anglican Province of Kenya has elected The Rev. Canon Bill Atwood Suffragan Bishop of the All Saints Cathedral Diocese in Nairobi. Among other duties, Bishop-elect Atwood will be initially supporting Kenyan clergy and congregations in North America. He joins Bishop Bill Cox of the Southern Cone as another domestic bishop cooperating in ministry with the Network, which has strong links with many international congregations under overseas jurisdiction through its International Conference. The Network welcomes Archbishop Nzimbi’s actions which also support its “Biblical, Missionary and Uniting” work.

“Anglicans around the world continue to make clear their support for Christ-centered Anglicanism in America in both their words and their actions. We are deeply thankful for this step by the Anglican Church of Kenya. As Archbishop Nzimbi said in his announcement, Canon Atwood’s election and consecration is ”˜part of a broader and coordinated plan with other provinces,’ to provide unity and pastoral care for those who have left or been forced out of The Episcopal Church,” said Bishop Robert Duncan, moderator of the Network.

The Anglican Communion Network remains committed to its International Conference representing parishes in relationship with the provinces of Kenya, Uganda, Southern Cone, and Central Africa as it also remains committed to working with its partners in CANA, AMiA and the broader Common Cause Partnerships. Following its mission to be a uniting force in the ongoing Anglican realignment, the Network continues to build relationships among all faithful Anglicans, those that have left the Episcopal Church and those within.

The full text is here (including Abp. Nzimbi’s letter)

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Latest News, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Organizations, Anglican Communion Network, Episcopal Church (TEC)

From The Economist: New model police

WILLIAM BRATTON, the chief of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), likes to say that “cops count”. They certainly seem to count when Mr Bratton is in charge of them. New York’s crime rate withered when he ran its police force in the mid-1990s, and Los Angeles has become more law-abiding ever since he arrived in 2002. Burglaries are down by a fifth, murders by a third and serious assaults by more than half. The setting for innumerable hard-boiled detective novels and violent television dramas is now safer than Salt Lake City in Utah.

Yet Los Angeles’s good fortune is not replicated everywhere. Compared to ten years ago, when crime was in remission across America, the current diagnosis is complex and worrying. Figures released this week by the FBI show that, while property crimes continue to fall, the number of violent crimes has begun to drift upwards. In some places it has soared. Oakland, in northern California, had 145 murders last year””more than half again as many as in 2005. No fewer than 406 people died in Philadelphia, putting the murder rate back where it had been in the bad old days of the early 1990s.

The most consistent and striking trend of the past few years is a benign one. America’s three biggest cities are becoming safer. Robberies in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York have tumbled in the past few years, defying the national trend (see chart). Indeed, the big cities are now holding down increases in overall crime rates. Between 2000 and 2006, for example, the number of murders in America went up by 7%. Were it not for Chicago, Los Angeles and New York, all of which notched many fewer, the increase would have been 11%.

This is especially surprising given the big cities’ recent woes.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch