Daily Archives: June 29, 2007

The Anglican Communion Network welcomes Bill Murdoch's Election as a Kenyan Bishop

The Anglican Communion Network welcomed news today that the Anglican Province of Kenya has elected the Rev. William Murdoch suffragan bishop of All Saints Cathedral Diocese in Nairobi. Bishop-elect Murdoch will join Bishop-elect Bill Atwood in supporting Kenyan clergy and congregations in the United States. As he takes on this new responsibility, Murdoch will continue to serve the Network as dean of the New England Convocation.

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

Peggy Noonan–On Letting Go: How we become American

From today’s WSJ:

Happy Fourth of July. To mark this Wednesday’s holiday, I share a small moment that happened a year ago in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. I was at a wake for an old family friend named Anthony Coppola, a retired security guard who’d been my uncle Johnny’s best friend from childhood. All the old neighborhood people were there from Clinton Avenue and from other streets in Brooklyn, and Anthony’s sisters Tessie and Angie and Gloria invited a priest in to say some prayers. About a hundred of us sat in chairs in a little side chapel in the funeral home.

The priest, a jolly young man with a full face and thick black hair, said he was new in the parish, from South America. He made a humorous, offhand reference to the fact that he was talking to longtime Americans who’d been here for ages. This made the friends and family of Anthony Coppola look at each other and smile. We were Italian, Irish, everything else. Our parents had been the first Americans born here, or our grandparents had. We had all grown up with two things, a burly conviction that we were American and an inner knowledge that we were also something else. I think we experienced this as a plus, a double gift, though I don’t remember anyone saying that. When Anthony’s mother or her friend, my grandmother, talked about Italy or Ireland, they called it “the old country.” Which suggested there was a new one, and that we were new in it.

But this young priest, this new immigrant, he looked at us and thought we were from the Mayflower. As far as he was concerned–as far as he could tell–we were old Yankee stock. We were the establishment. As the pitcher in “Bang the Drum Slowly” says, “This handed me a laugh.”

This is the way it goes in America. You start as the Outsider and wind up the Insider, or at least being viewed as such by the newest Outsiders. We are a nation of still-startling social fluidity. Anyone can become “American,” but they have to want to first.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch

Listening Process facilitator meets with Integrity, other groups

From ENS:

A group brought together by Integrity USA, the church’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) affinity group, spent June 27-28 telling the facilitator of the Anglican Communion’s Listening Process about their experience of being homosexual or transgender, or having a family member or friend who is.
The group met at the General Theological Seminary with the Rev. Canon Phil Groves.

The Primates Meeting at Dromantine, Ireland, in February 2005 asked the Anglican Consultative Council “to take positive steps to initiate the listening and study process” which has been the subject of resolutions at Lambeth Conferences since at least 1978 (Lambeth 1978, Resolution 10).

The Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon, secretary general of the Anglican Communion, appointed Groves as the facilitator of the Listening Process in November 2005. His task, as defined in a portion of the 1998 Lambeth Conference Resolution 1.10, is to establish “a means of monitoring the work done on the subject of human sexuality in the Communion” and to help the communion listen to the experiences of homosexual persons.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

In Virginia Anglicans allege ”˜intimidation’ in attempt to name defendants

“It’s just harassment of defendants, that’s all it is,” Jim Oakes, vice chair of the Anglican District of Virginia, the umbrella group for the churches, said of the most recent motion. “It’s frankly intimidating to soccer moms and people who aren’t used to encountering our legal system.”

Patrick Getlein, a spokesman for the diocese, calls the motion to name the congregates “a procedural matter.” When the lawsuit was first filed, the names of some of the vestry members were unknown. Hence, the diocese left them as “John Doe” and “Jane Roe.”

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The official response of the Anglican Diocese of Virginia may be found here.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Virginia

School debt forces new clergy to sacrifice even more

A 2005 study by Auburn Theological Seminary in New York shows that between 1991 and 2001, the average student loan debt for new pastors more than doubled to $25,018, from $11,043. If the trend continues, by 2011 about 84 percent of seminary students will have to borrow to finance their education, with an average loan burden of more than $54,000, the Auburn study showed.

In its own survey of seminarian students last year, the Episcopal Church found that students halfway through their training already had amassed an average of $42,874 in debts ”” on track to graduate owing well over $50,000. Meanwhile, the median compensation package for new Episcopal clergy hovers at $44,500 per year, a starting salary that’s considerably higher than in many other denominations.

“Financial planners say that if you graduate from school with a $36,000 debt, you should have an income of $60,000 in order to handle your finances and move forward,” said John Mittman, executive director of the Society for the Increase of the Ministry, an Episcopal office that has been studying seminarian debt.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Parish Ministry, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

Massachusetts Episcopal Diocese sues Attleboro Parish

The Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, faced with the prospect of conservatives bolting the denomination over its support for gay rights, is taking a newly tough stance against would-be schismatics, filing suit to freeze the bank account of a breakaway group in Attleboro.

The diocese, which filed the suit Tuesday in Bristol Superior Court in Taunton, is alleging that in the months leading up to a split in Attleboro, the parishioners secreted away about $200,000 that rightfully belongs to the Episcopal Church.

“It’s our contention that property and assets were taken,” said the Rev. Gregory A. Jacobs, staff officer for urban congregations and ministry development in the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts. “It’s not an insignificant amount of money, and without that money it’s difficult for this congregation to plan for its financial future.”

The breakaway parishioners, who have formed a new congregation affiliated with the Anglican Church of Rwanda, declined through their attorney to respond yesterday, but the two sides are already scheduled to meet in court next week.

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

David C. Steinmetz: New atheists, ancient argument

Ever the pugnacious contrarian, [Christopher] Hitchens is witty, combative, sarcastic, intelligent and generally outrageous. He loves to rip out the shirttails of the pious (whatever their religion) and set fire to them.

[Richard] Dawkins is a somewhat different animal. He was raised as a rather conventional Anglican, but abandoned his faith at 16, when he was persuaded that evolution, and not divine providence, accounted for the rich diversity of the natural world. If purely natural processes provided satisfying explanations for the world as it is, then belief in God became for Dawkins a redundant luxury.

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

Notable and Quotable

“”¦’I am a nut about community, and what is missing in the Church for me is any realness between people. So many communities want pseudo-community and are not willing to do the work to have real community. They don’t want authenticity and reality. They want to hear a sermon that is going to make them feel better, but they don’t want to get real with each other and hear each other’s pain and talk about that kind of this. They don’t want to talk about the real stuff of life. That is very sad. Jesus said, ”˜I have come that they may have life and have it more abundantly.’ Many churches I go to are not very [alive] places. You get the feeling that, beneath the smile and the singing and the clapping, there is no real life underneath.’ ”¦”

M. Scott Peck as quoted by Arthur Thomas (via Prodigal Kiwi’s Blog)

Posted in * General Interest, Notable & Quotable

Bishops discuss fallout from same-sex vote at General Synod

They also reviewed their statement from their most recent meeting, last April, which said that the bishops “hope” that the sacraments of baptism, communion and confirmation would not be denied due to sexual orientation. Several bishops said they received criticism over the use of the word “hope” and the word should be stronger. However, they decided not to begin editing their statement and agreed each bishop could issue statements to their clergy that more strongly-worded. Some bishops have already done so.

The statement also urged bishops “to develop the most generous pastoral response possible (to same-sex couples) within the current teaching of the church” then cited such examples as celebrating a eucharist with a civilly-married gay couple; they may not perform a nuptial blessing.

“I have no problem with a ”˜generous pastoral response’ but I don’t and cannot accept homosexual behavior,” said suffragan bishop Larry Robertson of the Arctic. “What got missed is people who are same-sex attracted but choose not to pursue it. They feel totally left out and misunderstood,” said Archbishop Terrence Buckle of the Yukon.

However, Bishop Burton said that “part of what bishops do” is “respond pastorally to different situations.”

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

Jane Shilling: It’s criminal the way they pick on the middle class

”Why Middle England is the new criminal class,” read the headline in The Times above a report of Law Abiding Majority?, a study by two Keele University academics. Having questioned 1,807 25 to 65-year-olds in England and Wales, the report’s authors, Dr Stephen Farrall and Professor Suzanne Karstedt, concluded that there is no such thing. Sixty-one percent of their sample admitted committing at least one of a number of “crimes and unfair practices” against business, government or their employers. The misdemeanours included paying cleaners or tradesmen in cash, pilfering office stationery, padding insurance claims, asking friends in bureaucratic jobs to bend the rules, not paying the TV licence, keeping quiet about faults when selling secondhand goods and not protesting when given the wrong change in shops.

“Contempt for the law,” concluded Professor Karstedt, “is as widespread in the centre of society as it is assumed to be rampant at the margins. Antisocial behaviour by the few is mirrored by anticivil behaviour by the many. Neither greed nor need can explain why respectable citizens cheat . . . and do not hesitate to discuss their exploits in pubs.”

Of course, it is melancholy to discover that so many of us are allowing our lower nature to get the upper hand….

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, England / UK

London car bomb 'packed with nails and gas'

A massive terror attack that could have caused “significant” loss of life was averted this morning when a car bomb packed with nails, gas canisters and containers of petrol apparently failed to detonate outside a London nightclub.

Police were called to Tiger Tiger nightclub in the West End when smoke was seen coming from the inside of a Mercedes car parked outside. A man was seen running from the vehicle.

Inside officers discovered a “significant quantity” of petrol, nails and gas cylinders. They used a remote-controlled device to check the vehicle before bomb squad officers made it safe.

If the bomb had exploded, police said that the shrapnel would have killed or injured anyone within a wide area. The bomb itself could have caused a fireball as big as a house followed by a large shock wave.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Terrorism

3 former leaders of ex-gay ministry apologize

Three former leaders of Exodus International, often described as the nation’s largest ex-gay ministry, publicly apologized Wednesday for the harm they said their efforts had caused many gays and lesbians who believed the group’s message that sexual orientation could be changed through prayer.

Speaking at a Hollywood news conference, the former leaders of the interdenominational Christian organization said they had acted sincerely in their years of work with Exodus. But they said they had all, over time, become disillusioned with the group’s ideas and concerned about what they described as the wrenching human toll of such gay conversion efforts.

The news event, in a courtyard outside an office of the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center, was timed to coincide with the opening of Exodus’ annual conference, which is being held this week at Concordia University in Irvine. A competing “ex-gay survivor” convention is to begin Friday at UC Irvine.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sexuality

Formerly Gay Christian Discusses His 'Exodus'

Exodus International held its annual meeting Tuesday. Alan Chambers, head of the organization, describes his “choice to come out of homosexuality,” and his life as a husband and father.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sexuality

Being a living goddess has its advantages for 10-year-old girl

Even by the standards of the luminaries who sweep through Washington, the little girl in front of Lafayette Elementary School almost six miles north of the White House was special.

Politicians, power brokers and the occasional celebrities who come through town hope to be respected and maybe, in a childlike place in their grown-up hearts, genuinely liked. Sajani Shakya, 10, is worshipped.

In Nepal, Sajani is a living goddess, one of about a dozen such goddesses in her homeland who are considered earthly manifestations of the Hindu goddess Kali.

Sajani arrived in Washington on June 11 to help promote a British documentary about the living goddesses of the Katmandu Valley and to see a bit of the United States. She is the first of the Nepalese living goddesses to come to the U.S. because the girls live mostly in seclusion.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Religion & Culture

AP:Catholics begin campaign on marriage

U.S. Roman Catholic bishops began a campaign Wednesday to strengthen the institution of marriage by encouraging spouses to perform simple day-to-day gestures for one another.

The campaign, a series of radio and television spots, is part of a broader effort to bring a greater Catholic voice to the debate over the meaning of marriage.

The spots show ordinary people in parks and other public places answering the question “What have you done for your marriage today?” The answers ”” waking up early with the baby, organizing a date night ”” are meant to promote small acts of kindness as medicine for making marriages last a lifetime.

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

BabyBlue: Diocese of Virginia Standing Committee Rejects Proposed Anglican Covenant

The Standing Committee of the Diocese of Virginia has released a “response” regarding the proposed Anglican Covenant – and it’s a doozy. Indeed, it is illuminating. BabyBlue posts her commentary interspersed with the text. Read it all.

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

Micah Challenge Calls On New British Prime Minister to Reduce Poverty

The anti-poverty coalition Micah Challenge has called on Britain’s new prime minister to take a stand to stamp out global poverty.

Former Chancellor Gordon Brown takes over today as 52nd prime minister of the United Kingdom. His predecessor, Tony Blair, recently pledged “complete support” for aims of the Micah Challenge to hold governments accountable for cutting poverty in half by 2015, and leaders of the Micah Challenge are now calling on Brown to do the same.

“Gordon Brown has a great track record for getting the British Government and the international community to honor the promises they have made to the world’s poorest people,” Andy Clasper, executive director of Micah Challenge UK, said in a statement. “Now Micah Challenge is challenging him to keep up the good work and make a positive difference to the world’s poor during his time as prime minister.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Religion & Culture

Senate Blocks Immigration Bill

The Senate drove a stake Thursday through President Bush’s plan to legalize millions of unlawful immigrants, likely postponing major action on immigration until after the 2008 elections.

After the stinging political setback, Bush sounded resigned to defeat.

“Legal immigration is one of the top concerns of the American people, and Congress’ failure to act on it is a disappointment,” he said after an appearance in Newport, R.I. “A lot of us worked hard to see if we couldn’t find common ground. It didn’t work.”

The bill’s Senate supporters fell 14 votes short of the 60 needed to limit debate and clear the way for final passage of the legislation, which critics assailed as offering amnesty to illegal immigrants. The vote was 46 to 53 in favor of limiting the debate.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics

Wider Use of Latin Mass Likely, Vatican Officials Say

From the New York Times:

Pope Benedict XVI has signed a document that would allow more churches to adopt the old Latin Mass that largely faded from use during the 1960s, when the groundbreaking Second Vatican Council opened the door to worship in the local vernacular, Vatican officials say.

The revival of what is known as the Tridentine Mass has long been promoted by Roman Catholic traditionalists, who say it is more moving, contemplative and historically authentic than the modern Mass.

But Pope Benedict has been hearing resistance from cardinals and bishops, many of them in Europe, who argue that the change would divide the church by promulgating two very different official rites.

They say that it could create rifts in smaller parishes that cannot agree which Mass to use, and that it would burden already overburdened members of the clergy, many of whom do not know Latin and were never trained to perform the older rite’s more complex choreography.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Other Churches, Roman Catholic