Daily Archives: June 28, 2007
Thus even whilst affirming the blessing of same-sex unions not to be “in conflict with the core doctrine” of the church, in the very narrow sense of being “credal,” Synod effectively left open and committed the church to further study of the more specific and arguably most central theological question, i.e., “whether the blessing of same-sex unions is a faithful, Spirit-led development of Christian doctrine.” At the same time, having declined to “walk apart” from Anglican Communion standards, to use a key term in the Windsor Report, by endorsing such blessings, Synod also requested further exploration of the implications of moving forward with them and/or with same-sex marriage for the Anglican Church of Canada and its relationship with the Communion. Finally, in view of the vote against same-sex blessings, neither Resolution A224 nor C003 affirmed any further pastoral provision for gay and lesbian Anglicans beyond what is already permitted by “the current teaching of the church” (C003) or consistent with previous standards and statements (A224).
Two key questions obviously remained in light of Synod’s passage of such a complex range of resolutions and decisions: 1), whether the Diocese of New Westminster would move from its existing partial moratorium on authorizing same-sex blessings in any further parishes to imposing a full moratorium throughout the diocese; 2), how the wider Anglican Communion would respond to Synod’s deliberations. Both were clearly yet to be resolved at the time of writing. But well-placed commentators saw strong reason to believe that the outcome of General Synod 2007 would not be anything like as unfavourable for the Anglican Church of Canada’s standing in the wider Communion that many had feared and/or prognosticated.
The weekly noontime Eucharist service at St. James Church drew a crowd three times the usual size on Wednesday, when about 30 parishioners prayed for support and guidance after a court revoked their rights to the church’s Newport Beach property.
“Typically we meet in the side chapel, but more people came today to be together, to meet God, and to receive encouragement and support during this challenging time,” said St. James’ pastor of discipleship Cathie Young, who delivered Wednesday’s sermon.
“My message today was: God has been faithful, God is faithful and God will be faithful ”” an important idea to hold on to in the midst of this disappointment.”
Eric Sohlgren, lead attorney for St. James, said that the church is “seriously considering” appealing the case to the California Supreme Court after Tuesday’s appellate court decision which upheld the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles’ claims to the church’s property.
A Superior Court jury decided a Monterey Episcopal church and priest must pay $149,500 for defaming a parishioner in what was described as church gossip run amok.
Rayn Random, 73, sued the Rev. William Martin and St. John’s Episcopal Church in Monterey for telling other church members she pursued him sexually and that she was really a man with fake breasts.
“I’m so glad it’s over. It’s been a long four and a half years,” Random said after Wednesday’s verdict.
The concept of agreeing to disagree fails to do justice to the nature of the commitments and convictions that command our loyalty and obedience and bind us together. What we disagree about is not what has brought us together. We have not come together because we have diverse views on things. Diversity of opinions is not what people have committed themselves to. This is a via negativa ”“ we do not agree on this, we do not agree on that.
The focus of the paper by Colin Slee and his colleagues is on agreement and disagreement. “The Covenant is an attempt to impose agreement where this did not exist before”. “A true family cannot exist without disagreements”. “The Anglican tradition of living with difference”. This is typical of the current approach to religion in a secularist context. It is argued that since there are disagreements on some matters, it follows that there is no standard of truth, no body of authoritative teaching at: all that is left is the expression of various views, agreements and disagreements.
But this is surely too sweeping. Because some matters are contested it does not imply that all are. And if some are, and some are not, a method is needed to establish where the mere existence of dissenting views means there is no body of authoritative. Take, for example, the incarnation of the Son of God, or the Trinity: there may be people, very distinguished people, in the Anglican Communion who at one time or another have expressed deep reservations about some fundamental matters of those doctrines. But those doctrines remain authentic Anglican doctrine, even though some have dissented from them.
We know you have asked the Diocesan Task Force “to find some ways to maintain the essential unity of the body by identifying practical means by which different groups can hold and exercise their convictions with integrity without needing either to act out or to split off completely and to identify some way in which the two polarizing elements of the diocese can continue to work together.” While the goal of the Task Force is noble, we do not see any solution to the dilemma facing either group, short of a miracle. The dilemma is not based on issues of sexuality. Rather, the primary source of our differences is two interpretations of scripture and of the Gospel itself.
CLC stands committed to the primates’ CommuniquÃ© and to whatever Primate endorsed alternate national pastoral scheme may be developed””with or without the cooperation of the House of Bishops. Further, we are committed to work cooperatively with you through any practical matters if such a scheme is determined in a manner that reflects a Christian witness.
The same schools of thought will tussle again over the same and related questions in preparation for next year’s Lambeth Conference, to which all the bishops of the church are invited. Liberal Anglicans can be pleased that the great majority of lay and clerical synod delegates supported their views, blocked only by bishops on one point. Conservatives can be pleased that the Canadian church kept its practice more or less in line with that of the worldwide church. Since both sides have reasons for encouragement, mass defections seem unlikely.
The Episcopal Church, the U.S. branch of Anglicanism, has suffered mass defections because conservative parishes, finding no acceptance of their views at the top levels of the church, have withdrawn from the national church and put themselves under the authority of conservative bishops from Uganda and Nigeria. The factional struggles within the Canadian church have so far come nowhere near the level of rage seen in the Episcopal church.
Time may be on the side of the liberals in the Canadian church. The bishops, by a small majority, clung to the orthodox policy which the clergy and laity were willing to change. Bishops are, however, drawn from the ranks of clergy and they may not forever resist the pressure for change coming from below. Their duties make them more sensitive to the worldwide church, but they have not yet shown the Anglican rank and file why African prelates deserve more consideration than Canadian reformers.
But we are asked to go further. “You are the Christ”, Peter says in Matthew, yes; but the Christ who is the “Son of the living God” (Mt. 16:16). We must choose Jesus, who is promised in Scripture and described and yearned after in Scripture, as the very Son of God ”“ as the very the power of the living God’s life embodied. Which is why we must choose the “Body of Christ” itself as our own life. The body, that is, “which is the church”, “the fullness of him who fills all in all” (Eph. 1:22f.). We must choose the Body, this Body, as being Jesus himself, and as Jesus himself chooses it: “For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body” and so “gave himself up for her” (Eph. 5:29f., 25).
Such a choice for the Body of Christ ”“ for you are the Son of the living God! ”“ cuts against many grains. There are those in our churches ready to give up on the Communion, or on this or that part of the Communion, or this or that part of a diocese or parish. They come from the left and the right of the spectrum. They will not subject themselves to the Body’s needs or demands or burdens. But that, my friends, is not a choice for Christ Jesus, “King Jesus”, Jesus the living God in the flesh. For in choosing Jesus as the Christ, we choose to give ourselves to the church. Hence I do not leave. I too must join myself to the Centurion, who explains his faith to Jesus by sahing, “For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” (Lk. 7:8f.). So I must subject myself to the Body of Jesus, here, where I am. That is the second thing I would say about our church’s future: unless we subject ourselves to the whole Church, and the church at hand, we have no blessing. How we do this in particular instances is a challenge. But it is the criterion of our decisions, make no mistake about it.
If Marc Freedman is right, the American workplace will soon undergo its largest transformation since the women’s movement. The agents of this change? The many baby boomers who plan to delay their retirement for an “encore career.”
Mr. Freedman, a social entrepreneur and CEO of Civic Ventures, a think tank, sees a new stage of life beginning where midlife careers end. As legions of older workers seek new challenges ”“ or continue their current work ”“ this burgeoning movement will give them a combination of continued income, greater impact, and added purpose.
Purpose is a word that figures prominently in Freedman’s vocabulary. He has even established a major award by that name, the Purpose Prize ”“ a three-year, $9 million program honoring social innovators over the age of 60 who are working to solve critical social problems. These range from global warming to infant mortality, from hunger to high dropout rates for Hispanic students.
This week Freedman announced the 15 finalists in his second annual Purpose Prize. The five top winners, to be announced in September, will each receive $100,000; the others $10,000 each. In addition to reshaping their own lives, the recipients are having positive effects on their communities.
Although anti-Americanism is still extensive, the image of other world powers is falling as well, a new global opinion survey finds.
“There’s not much comfort with the global powers-that-be,” Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center, tells Robert Siegel.
Each year since 2002, Pew Research Center has conducted worldwide polling to gauge attitudes about the United States, other countries and issues of global concern. The results of the 2007 Pew Global Attitudes survey are based on 45,000 in-depth interviews conducted in 47 countries.
In the current survey, favorable ratings of America are lower in 26 of 33 countries for which trends are available. The image of China, too, is slipping among most advanced nations, while the survey found a mixed review of Russia.
The fate of U.S. immigration legislation was cast into doubt when at least six senators who helped revive the proposed overhaul said they either oppose or are leaning against a move to permit a vote on final passage.
The measure is in more jeopardy “than I thought a few hours ago,” said Senator Christopher Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat.
The supporters’ strategy of disposing of amendments that threatened the legislation’s bipartisan support hit a procedural snag late in the day, adding to the uncertainty. The Senate refused to set aside an amendment by Montana Democrats Max Baucus and Jon Tester that would dilute requirements employers verify the identity of new workers.
Under Senate rules, Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, now can’t move to consider other provisions without getting the consent of all 100 senators.
“I think this hurts” the measure, said Texas Republican John Cornyn, an opponent.
In response to the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Honourable Rowan Williams, inviting the bishops to the Lambeth Conference 2008, the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church of Rwanda, who met in Kigali on 19 June 2007, resolved not to attend the Lambeth Conference for the following reasons:
1. Our Primates represent the bishops, clergy and laity from their Provinces. Therefore what they decide as representatives cannot be taken lightly when it engages the faith of the churches they represent. The invitations to Lambeth 2008 have been issued in complete disregard of our conscientious commitment to the apostolic faith once delivered.
2. The manner in which the invitations to the bishops of Rwanda were issued is divisive as some of our bishops were not invited. The bishops that provide oversight to the Anglican Mission (AMiA) are not “Anglican Mission bishops,” but rather bishops of the Province of Rwanda given the responsibility to lead Rwanda’s missionary outreach to North America. We are a united body and will not participate in a conference which would divide our number.
3. The invitations to Lambeth 2008 not only contravene the Lambeth 1998 Resolution 1.10 but also the positions taken in the communiquÃ©s that have been agreed upon in previous Primates’ meetings and in the “Road To Lambeth” document prepared for and accepted by the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA) bishops.
The following are issues of great concern:
1. This Lambeth 1998 Resolution has not been respected by the Episcopal Church of America (TEC), the Anglican Church of Canada, and other like-minded Provinces, which are now violating the resolution as well as holy orders by making the decision to ordain and to consecrate practicing homosexuals.
2. The leadership of Canterbury has ignored and constantly taken lightly the resolutions from the Primates’ meetings and the statement in the “Road to Lambeth” document prepared for, and accepted by, CAPA which agreed that the crisis of faith in the Anglican Communion needed to be resolved before Lambeth 2008.
3. From his actions and decision to invite TEC, a province which is violating holy orders, biblical teaching and the tradition of the church, and his decision not to invite the bishops of AMiA and CANA, the Archbishop of Canterbury has shown that he has now taken sides because the Primates have asked TEC for repentance in order to be in communion with them. In several meetings and in its response to “The Road to Lambeth”, TEC has continually rebelled against the position and counsel of the Primates.
4. In a letter sent to Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini on 18 June 2007, the Archbishop of Canterbury wrote, “You should know that I have not invited the bishops of AMiA and CANA. This is not a question of asking anyone to disassociate themselves at this stage from what have been described as the missionary initiatives of your Provinces”¦. I appreciate that you may not be happy with these decisions, but I feel that as we approach a critical juncture of the life of the Communion, I must act in accordance to the clear guidance of the instruments of the Communion”¦.” We would like to know if there are instruments in the Communion more important than the Primates and Provinces themselves. The Archbishop of Canterbury also refers to the consecration of the AMiA and CANA bishops as irregular. We would like to know why their consecrations are considered irregular when the actions of TEC are not considered irregular. We feel that the words of the Archbishop are tantamount to a threat, and we cannot accept this.
Therefore, in view of the above, in good conscience, the bishops of the Province of the Episcopal Church of Rwanda have resolved not to attend the Lambeth Conference 2008 unless the previously stipulated requirement of repentance on the part of the TEC and other like-minded Provinces is met, and invitations are extended to our entire House of Bishops.
One, entitled “Bishop says diocese will study General Synod decisions” begins thus:
Leaders of the Diocese of New Westminster will have to study this week’s resolutions of the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada, and determine what the implications are for the diocese, Bishop Michael Ingham said Monday (June 25).
On Sunday the General Synod, which includes all the Canadian Church’s bishops and about 250 clergy and lay delegates from 30 dioceses, failed to agree with a resolution that would have had the General Synod “affirm” the authority and jurisdiction of diocesan synods and bishops to authorize the blessing of committed same sex unions.
The vote was extremely close, with the clergy and laity approving the motion, but the Church’s 40 bishops turning it down by 2 votes – 21 to 19.
However earlier in the Synod, a motion passed which resolved that the blessing of same-sex unions is “not in conflict with the core doctrine (in the sense of being creedal) of the Anglican Church of Canada.”
Some theologians and Canon lawyers at the Synod suggested that the effect of the two resolutions would not mean the diocese’s current practice has to stop.
Read it all.
The second, entitled “New Westminster Anglicans to continue blessing gay unions,” starst this way:
Canada’s first Anglican diocese to bless gay unions has withdrawn its request to be exempt from the national church’s rules forbidding priests from performing same-sex ceremonies.
For the time being, however, it’s “status quo,” bishop Michael Ingham said Monday of the situation for B.C.’s New Westminster diocese.
Anglican churches in the diocese will keep sanctifying civil unions for same-gender couples in committed relationships. But “I have to go back to Vancouver and think about what it means to the diocese,” Ingham said, adding he would listen to church community members and then make a statement “in a few weeks.”
In a move that surprised church delegates heading into the general synod on Monday, Ingham backed off from asking the national church to allow the New Westminster diocese to let its priests continue blessing same-sex unions.
From the Times Literary Supplement:
Marriage has served a crucial function in human society: it has been the means by which the male half of the species has been hooked into providing substantial amounts of goods and services to the offspring they engender, a duty from which their close relatives, the male chimps and gorillas, have been exempt. Human males have been burdened with this duty as a result of human cleverness. As we started wearing clothing, building shelters, using difficult-to-manufacture tools, herding animals, and moving into colder climates, human children needed more than they could get from just their mothers. The institution of marriage responded to this need with a pledge by a man to make contributions on a long-term basis to a woman and her children. In return he got her domestic services, plus a promise of exclusive sexual access, which gave him assurance that he had sired her children.
There has always been more to marriage than material provision to offspring. There’s nurturance, companionship, stability, passing down of property, family alliances, home cooking. And, of course, there’s love. Ay, there’s the rub ”“ love is notoriously changeable. The increased freedom in the modern world to follow one’s heart wherever it leads has led some to an avoidance of new commitments and many to exits from previous ones.
Here are the answers to the T19 trivia quiz we posted this morning about the blog stats for the first month (and a few days) since we launched the new blog on May 22.
New blog: During the first 36 days
–648 entries. (about 18 per day)
–7400 comments (about 11 per post, or 205 per day)
The old CaNNet version of the blog first 36 days: (Jan / Feb 2004 — note this was the second edition of Titusonenine. Kendall began blogging in March 2003 on Blogspot)
— 328 posts (9 per day)
— 2108 comments (6 per post, or 58 per day)
So, the new blog stats are about double that of the old CaNNet version of the blog at its launch.
Old blog: most comments in first month =76
Ann Van Dervoort: ALL WILL BE WELL after General Convention
New blog: most comments in first month = 138
A Seattle Episcopal Priest says: “I am both Muslim and Christian”
And there you have it. It’s good to see the new blog off to a good start. Thanks to all who have helped to get it running (esp. Greg), and offered feedback and encouragement, and to all who participate in the discussions here.
From the London Times:
Jews and Unitarians are to be excluded from the main body set up to lobby the Government on behalf of Britain’s religious communities, The Times has learned.
The Chief Rabbi’s United Synagogue, the country’s leading Orthodox Jewish body, and the Unitarians, spiritual home to Tim Berners-Lee, founder of the world wide web, are to be excluded from membership in a proposal to be debated at a meeting this afternoon.
The Churches Main Committee, which lobbies the Government on legislation in all areas except faith and education, is also to exclude the Christian Scientists and the Seventh Day Adventists in a reform of its structure proposed in a review chaired by Tory MP Peter Bottomley.
Steve Dick, Unitarian chief executive, said: “We are deeply disappointed. It seems to be a very retrograde step. This is surely not the way for religions to address the 21st century. It speaks almost of a desperation, which seems sadly to be reflected in some of the other aspects of what is happening with our Anglican brothers and sisters, where they are tearing themselves apart over sexuality.
This is a provocative book on charitable giving in the United States and a variety of other countries. Approximately 75 percent of U.S. households make charitable contributions each year. They give away 3.5 percent of their $51,500 average annual income, with one-third of the giving going to religious causes. But there is much hidden behind these averages.
Arthur Brooks’s findings, some of which are counterintuitive, are based on extensive statistics. Brooks, professor of public administration at Syracuse University, is surprised by the findings and appears to have altered his political perspective from liberal to conservative as a result of his explorations. There is much to be gleaned from this book, but some cautions are in order.
His thesis is that acts of charity are fostered primarily by conservative political and religious commitments and cultivated within a strong family context, and that such acts result in happiness, good health and more income for the giver. People who are skeptical about the government redistributing income also tend to give more. In contrast, the people who give and volunteer the least are more likely to be secular liberals from less stable families who support government redistribution programs. However, Brooks makes it clear that there are many exceptions to these tendencies.
A decision to leave the Province 3 regional ministry jurisdiction of The Episcopal Church cannot be made unilaterally, according to the Rt. Rev. Robert Ihloff, retired Bishop of Maryland and president of Province 3. Bishop Ihloff wrote all ordained clergy canonically resident in the Diocese of Pittsburgh on June 22.
“We need you,” he wrote. “We need your voices, insights, your convictions, and your Christian fellowship. If the officers or ministry coordinators of Province 3 can assist you, answer questions, or simply be in dialogue with you, we welcome that opportunity. Meanwhile we remain in contact with a number of leaders in the Diocese of Pittsburgh and remember you all daily in prayer.”
Last November delegates to Pittsburgh’s diocesan convention voted to withdraw from active life in Province 3 ministry. Article VII of the constitution states that “no diocese shall be included in a province without its own consent.” But the Rev. Barbara J. Seras, province coordinator, said the provincial leadership has received a definitive ruling from David Booth Beers, the Presiding Bishop’s chancellor, that General Convention must approve any changes in provincial membership.
In one of the few business items during the annual provincial synod in Martinsburg, W.Va., on May 22, delegates debated, without coming to any conclusions, how to respond to the withdrawal from the province by Pittsburgh’s leadership.