Daily Archives: June 15, 2007

The Living Church: Executive Council Defends Membership in Abortion Rights Group

The chair of Executive Council’s National Concerns Committee has written to the Bishop of Mississippi informing him that while The Episcopal Church does not support every action of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC), Executive Council has no intention of withdrawing its membership.

The Rt. Rev. Duncan M. Gray, III wrote council April 13 noting that at the most recent annual meeting of the Diocese of Mississippi, clergy and lay delegates had approved a resolution objecting to the decision by Executive Council in January 2006 to join RCRC on behalf of The Episcopal Church.

“Its position of advocacy, both in terms of legislative initiatives, and organized opposition to specific Supreme Court nominees, unnecessarily disrupts our Church’s carefully balanced and nuanced position on abortion as articulated by General Convention,” Bishop Gray stated.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Life Ethics

From the Globe and Mail: Bless same-sex unions, retired archbishops urge

As Canada’s Anglican Church prepares for its historic ”“ and possibly schismatic ”“ decision on blessing homosexual unions, six of its most senior clerics Thursday called for a yes vote that would show “justice, compassion and hope for all God’s people.”

The declaration from the half-dozen retired archbishops from across the country reveals a sharp division in the church’s hierarchy.

While the archbishops said that blessing the unions of same-sex couples does not touch on the church’s “core doctrine,” last month the national House of Bishops issued a pastoral statement saying that the “doctrine and discipline of our church does not clearly permit [same-sex blessings].”

The vote will be taken at the church’s general synod, or parliament, meeting next week in Winnipeg.

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)

Jeff Jacoby: A political grenade

THOSE OF US who have lived with the Bay State’s marriage war for years can lose sight of how extreme we appear to much of the rest of the country.

This afternoon, the Legislature shot down the proposed constitutional amendment that would have banned same-sex marriage. A few minutes after the vote, I was on the air discussing it with Dennis Prager, a nationally syndicated radio host based in Los Angeles. Citizen initiatives and referendums are nothing new to Californians, who vote on ballot issues all the time, but Prager wanted me to shed some light on the convoluted process a citizen-proposed constitutional amendment in Massachusetts must go through before it reaches the voters.

So I explained that even though 170,000 Bay State voters had signed petitions to put a marriage amendment on the ballot, it first had to undergo a vote in two consecutive sessions of the Legislature, and win support from at least 25 percent of the lawmakers each time. Since it had failed to do that, the amendment was now dead.

Read it all.

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

Mollie Zeigler Hemingway: The Decline of the Sabbath

From the Wall Street Journal:

For many Americans, Sunday is unlike any other day of the week. They spend its luxurious hours curled up in bed with the paper, meeting friends for brunch, working off hangovers, watching golf, running errands and preparing themselves for the workweek ahead. But Sunday is also, for many, the Sabbath–a special day for religious reasons. Not that you would notice.

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy,” we are told in Exodus. Of all the gifts Jews gave the world, that of a weekly day of rest is certainly one to be cherished. And yet the Sabbath is now marked more by its neglect than its keeping. Or so says Christopher Ringwald in his new book “A Day Apart.”

Mr. Ringwald notes that in the late 18th century, states banned entertainment, hunting or unnecessary travel on Sundays. The Second Great Awakening in the early 1800s spread Sabbath-keeping to the frontiers. Church membership doubled, Sunday schools proliferated and long sermons dominated the morning. It was unthinkable that the general store would remain open on the Sabbath. “Nothing strikes a foreigner on his arrival in America more forcibly than the regard paid to the Sabbath,” Alexis de Tocqueville wrote in 1840. “Not only have all ceased to work, but they appear to have ceased to exist.” The so-called blue laws that were a part of American culture–closing down bars and preventing the sale of liquor on Sunday–were commonplace well into the 20th century.

But the Sabbath today is at odds with commercial culture. To generalize shamelessly from personal experience: My brother-in-law, who manages a national retail store in Colorado, works on Sundays, following church. He was shocked recently to find out he is now required to open the store on Easter Sunday. Easter used to be the one Sunday each year when retail stores closed. No longer.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Religion & Culture

Cherie Wetzel's Reports from Executive Council

Here is an excerpt from one:

Our problem is coming from American. Now Akinola is walking with someone named Martyn Minns but we know that Akinola is a puppet for Minns. Most of what Akinola says and his press releases are written
by Minns and coming from America. We want to attend the Lambeth Conference to make the presence of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people in Nigeria known. TEC can help us with that. Now we need your help, your spiritual help and your financial help.”

The question was asked, “If we speak out and come to your aid, we risk loosing our place in the Communion. That means you will loose our voice on your behalf. What do you say about that?” He replied, “That is a sort of black mail. If you are quiet and TEC doesn’t come to help us, we do not stand a chance.”

A second question came about his plans for the future. He replied, “I was frightened and had to leave Nigeria… I went to a conference in England and then demonstrated in Geneva. I don’t want to live in Europe. What I am doing is for my people in Nigeria. The Nigerian government is still pursuing me and they want to kill me. Colin (Changing Attitudes, England) gave me money to go to Dar es Salaam and I tried to confront Akinola. He said he was ill. ”

Several gay activists in the room started commenting, saying that Nigeria’s behavior towards gays violates international and human rights treaties and that Nigeria routinely kills gays.

The time allotted ended and Davis was embraced and encouraged as a hero. Both committees had confidential meetings. As of tonight, there is no decision on whether he will be allowed to address the full Council. He is still here. Davis plans to return to Togo in East Africa soon.

I have not had the opportunity to full research his claims….

Read it all and the other two as well.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria, Episcopal Church (TEC)

Canadian Anglicans prepare to gather in Winnipeg for crucial General Synod

From the ACC News:

More than 400 people including delegates, partners and staff will gather in Winnipeg next week for the Anglican Church of Canada’s 38th General Synod — a crucial assembly that will elect a new national leader or Primate and once again tackle the difficult and divisive issue of the blessing of same-gender relationships.

The General Synod meets every three years and consists of bishops, clergy and lay people elected as delegates locally in each of the church’s 30 dioceses. It is the Anglican church’s chief governing body, dealing with everything from changes to church laws and practices to finances and the membership of committees that oversee church programs in years when General Synod does not meet.

The synod is being held at the Marlborough Hotel in downtown Winnipeg, with the diocese of Rupert’s Land acting as host.

The seven-day synod will be chaired by Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, the current Primate, who has announced his retirement, effective June 22. On that day, clergy and lay delegates will elect a new Primate. Church practice is that Canadian Anglican Bishops nominate candidates for the primacy but do not participate in the actual election.

At their spring meeting, the bishops nominated bishops Bruce Howe of Huron, Fred Hiltz of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, George Bruce of Ontario and Victoria Matthews of Edmonton as candidates for the primacy. It is possible for electors to ask the bishops for more nominees after the electoral process has begun.

The new Primate will be formally installed in office at a special service the evening of Monday, June 25.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canadian General Synod 2007

Bishop Wallace Benn welcomes consecration of Dr Atwood

From here:

“I am delighted to hear of the proposed consecration of Canon Dr Bill Atwood by the Primate of Kenya which seems to be an entirely reasonable response to the current wayward reaction of TEC from the standard of teaching of the Anglican Communion. I wish him well and God’s richest blessing on his ministry.”

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

A Look Back to May 2007: Who'll be asked to the Lambeth Conference?

From the diocese of new Westminster:

The Anglican Communion described in 1930 at the Lambeth Conference: “…a fellowship, within the one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, of those duly constituted dioceses, provinces or regional Churches in communion with the See [Diocese] of Canterbury…”

In other words, “dioceses, provinces, or regional Churches” are in the Anglican Communion if they are “duly constituted” and Canterbury wants to be in communion with them.

In practice, how you can tell whether you’re still on the good side of the See of Canterbury seems to work out as being invited by the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Lambeth Conference.

It’s up to the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Rowan Williams, to decide who to invite. Up till now at least, the Archbishops of Canterbury have invited everyone, except in very rare instances of competing bishops in the same geographical area.

There’s nothing said about heads of the various national Anglican Churches, the Primates, helping the Archbishop of Canterbury decide who’s to come – although the present Archbishop of Canterbury in some statements seems to have suggested he might seek advice.

To turn to history, it was North Americans who got us into this strange situation in the first place.

It was an American bishop from Vermont who originally had the idea of a Lambeth Conference. But it was Canadian Bishops, who in 1865 urgently asked for the then 144 bishops in the Anglican Communion to meet at Lambeth in 1867.

Read it all. Please note that the author fails to give adequate attention to the way in which the controversy focused on how to work with and understand Holy Scripture. As Bishop Colenso wrote:

the Pentateuch, as a whole, cannot personally have been written by Moses, or by anyone acquainted personally with the facts which it professes to describe, and, further, that the (so-called) Mosaic narrative, by whomsoever written, and though imparting to us, as I fully believe it does, revelations of the Divine Will and Character, cannot be regarded as historically true.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Lambeth 2008, Theology, Theology: Scripture

NY Times: Anglican Demand for Change Is Rebuffed by Episcopalians

The executive council of the Episcopal Church announced yesterday that it would not comply with demands from leaders of the global Anglican Communion to retract the church’s liberal position on homosexuality and create alternative supervision for disaffected conservative Episcopalians.

The announcement came a day after the Anglican archbishop of Kenya said he would consecrate an American bishop in Texas to minister to alienated Episcopalians in the United States. In May, the archbishop of Nigeria installed a bishop in Virginia, a step considered by many to be outside the bounds of Anglicanism’s traditional lines of authority.

The churches in the Anglican Communion, which trace their heritage to the Church of England, have been brought to the brink of schism over the issue of homosexuality. The executive council’s action makes clear that the Episcopal Church, Anglicanism’s American branch, does not intend to back down.

Leaders of the Anglican Communion’s geographical provinces, known as primates, issued an ultimatum to the Episcopal Church in February demanding that it stop blessing same-sex unions and agree not to consecrate another openly gay bishop. The primates gave the Episcopal Church until Sept. 30 to comply.

Read it all.

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

A Statement from Archbishop Gregory Venables on the news about Canon Bill Atwood

I am extremely pleased that the Anglican Church of Kenya has named Canon Bill Atwood as a Bishop Suffragan. Bill has served as my chaplain and is therefore well known to me both as a colleague and a good friend. He is a Christian priest of character and faithful service. In the painful circumstances of the Anglican Communion I deeply appreciate the bonds which link many primates together. I welcome the prospect of congregations under my care and protection working more closely with those of Kenya and other provinces. In the absence of even a tiny indication of willingness from the Episcopal Church to address the crisis, those who wish to remain orthodox within the US cannot be abandoned. Collaboration among Provinces working in the States and the Network is helping build a unified future for those who share the historic Biblical faith.

–The Most Rev. Gregory Venables is Primate of the Southern Cone

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Primates, Anglican Church of Kenya, Anglican Provinces, Cono Sur [formerly Southern Cone], Episcopal Church (TEC), Global South Churches & Primates, TEC Conflicts

Executive Council tries to place more pressure on dioceses loyal to Anglican Communion Teaching

From ENS:

Episcopal Church dioceses that change their constitutions in an attempt to bypass the Church’s Constitution and Canons were warned by the Executive Council June 14 that their actions are “null and void.”

The Council passed Resolution NAC023, reminding dioceses that they are required to “accede” to the Constitution and Canons, and declaring that any diocesan action that removes that accession from its constitution is “null and void.” That declaration, the resolution said, means that their constitutions “shall be as they were as if such amendments had not been passed.”

The action came on the last day of its four-day meeting at the Sheraton hotel in Parsippany, New Jersey. The Council spent June 11, 13, and 14 in New Jersey, and on June 12 traveled to the Episcopal Church Center at 815 Second Ave. in New York City. Earlier in the day, the Council issued its reply to the communiqué issued by the Anglican Primates at the end of their February meeting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. ENS coverage of that statement and a link to the statement itself is available here.

At the close of the meeting, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori congratulated the Council for engaging a variety of issues “faithfully and with clarity,” recognizing the diversity of opinion that exists within the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. She also noted that Council learned that there are sometimes other ways to cope with tough issues rather than legislation that can result in winners-and-losers situations. She observed that during the Parsippany meeting, members worked pastorally behind the scenes to achieve consensus on some issues.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Polity & Canons

From AP: Episcopal panel rejects Anglican demand

A key Episcopal panel defied conservatives Thursday, saying that Episcopal leaders should not cede authority to overseas Anglicans who want the church to halt its march toward full acceptance of gays.

The Episcopal Executive Council said that Anglican leaders, called primates, cannot make decisions for the American denomination, which is the Anglican body in the United States.

“We question the authority of the primates to impose deadlines and demands upon any of the churches of the Anglican Communion,” the council said in a statement, after a meeting in Parsippany, N.J.

The worldwide Anglican Communion has moved toward the brink of splitting apart since the Episcopal Church consecrated its first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, in 2003.

In February, Anglican leaders demanded that Episcopalians allow a panel ”” that would include Anglican conservatives from other countries ”” to oversee conservative Episcopal parishes in the U.S. Episcopalians also were given until Sept. 30 to unequivocally pledge not to consecrate another openly gay bishop or authorize official prayers for same-sex couples.

The Executive Council did not speak directly to the other demands in its statement Thursday, but said it has struggled “to embrace people who have historically been marginalized.”

Read the whole article.

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

Billy Graham's wife Ruth dies

Ruth Graham, who surrendered dreams of missionary work in Tibet to marry a suitor who became the world’s most renowned evangelist, died Thursday. She was 87.

Graham died at 5:05 p.m. at her home at Little Piney Cove, surrounded by her husband and all five children, said a statement released by Larry Ross, Billy Graham’s spokesman.

“Ruth was my life partner, and we were called by God as a team,” Billy Graham said in a statement. “No one else could have borne the load that she carried. She was a vital and integral part of our ministry, and my work through the years would have been impossible without her encouragement and support.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Death / Burial / Funerals, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Parish Ministry

Billy Graham At Comatose Wife's Bedside

The Lord be with them.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Death / Burial / Funerals, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Parish Ministry

Thane Rosenbaum: Losing Count

From the New York Times:

THE Holocaust has always been marked by numbers. There was the numbering of arms in death camps and the staggering death toll where the words six million became both a body count and a synonym for an unspeakable crime. After the Holocaust, Germany performed the necessary long division in paying token reparations to survivors. More recently, Swiss banks and European insurance companies have concealed bank account and policy numbers belonging to dead Jews.

Only with the Holocaust have dehumanization and death been as much a moral mystery as a tragic game of arithmetic. And the numbers continue, although now largely in reverse.

After 60 years, Holocaust survivors are inching toward extinction. According to Ira Sheskin, director of the Jewish Demography Project at the University of Miami, fewer than 900,000 remain, residing primarily in the United States, Israel and the former Soviet Union. Most are in their 80s and 90s. Unless immediate measures are taken, many of those who survived the Nazi evil will soon die without a proper measure of dignity.

According to Dr. Sheskin’s data, more than 87,000 American Holocaust survivors ”” roughly half the American total ”” qualify as poor, meaning they have annual incomes below $15,000. The United Jewish Communities, the umbrella organization of the American Jewish Federations, determined that 25 percent of the American survivors live at or below the official federal poverty line. (The poverty figure in New York City is even higher.) Many are without sufficient food, shelter, heat, health care, medicine, dentures, eyeglasses, even hearing aids.

Conditions worldwide are similar. It’s a sad twist that the teenagers who mastered the art of survival so long ago have been forced, in their old age, to call on their survival instincts once again.

It doesn’t have to be this way….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Judaism, Other Faiths