Daily Archives: October 16, 2007

Clark West Offers a Proposal for the Anglican Communion

I should be clear that this is, of course, simply my opinion, not that of the diocese of Rochester, its bishop, nor anyone else in an official position. I share it with gratitude to Kendall for his recent words regarding Bishop Gene’s recent “Open Letter to the LGBT Community from Bishop Gene Robinson”, which I will quote for those who did not see them. Canon Harmon wrote about Bishop Robinson’s letter: “I applaud this truthful witness, and what I believe to be an accurate explanation that the bishops were misunderstood. Why can’t we have more people in this church who are willing to tell the truth?–KSH.”

Though I know Kendall’s position is diametrically opposed to Bishop Robinson’s, it is to his credit that he sees that the way forward for all of us, re-appraiser and re-asserter alike, relies on a willingness to stand by our actions with conviction and honesty, and not by trying to satisfy all by political church-craft, which ultimately satisfies no one and is further weakening the ties that will hopefully remain after a blessed ”˜divorce’ takes place.

Of course there will be the complicated issues of the terms of separation (property, etc.), but first both sides must admit that due to their own sense of calling, the ”˜marriage’ is no longer life-sustaining on either side. I for one am ready to admit this to be the case, and my gut tells me that I may not be alone. I pray that honesty and boldness may lead us all into a new birth, where we may no longer be as intimate as we once were, but will be able to once again see each other as beloved children of Christ, regardless of our divisions.

Read it all.

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

CEN Daily: Evangelical Rebuff for US Bishops

The leading evangelical umbrella group in the Church of England has given the thumbs down to the recent statement from the US House of Bishops, and they have invited English dioceses to consider boycotting next year’s Lambeth Conference.

The Church of England Evangelical Council (CEEC) emphasised that they are committed both to the Church of England and the Anglican Communion. However they judged that the recent statement from the House of Bishops meeting in New Orleans fell short of the demands made on it by the Primates.

In a statement they said: “We believe TEC’s response does not meet the requests of the Primates from Dar es Salaam, not merely for clarification but for repentance and turning back from their clear intention to affirm same-sex blessings and the consecration of practicing homosexuals to the episcopate.”

They said that the American bishops had ”˜continued to widen a gap of their own making’. As a result the fabric of the Communion is torn ”˜almost beyond repair’.

While they supported the proposed Anglican Covenant, they said that the reaction from the American bishops showed that ”˜this covenant may not hold’. And they went further. The contents of their statement showed, they claimed, that the US Church ”˜has placed itself outside the faith uniquely revealed in the Holy Scriptures and set forth in the Catholic Creeds’.
In an appeal to English dioceses, they said that those dioceses that are linked with dioceses overseas should consult with their companion dioceses about whether to attend the Lambeth Conference.
A number of dioceses, largely in Africa, have said that they may not attend the 10-yearly meeting of the Anglican bishops. And last week the Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali (pictured) revealed that if current arrangements stand, he might not be able to attend himself.
Sources have told The Church of England Newspaper that representatives from almost all the African Provinces have responded positively to their invitations to Lambeth, with the one exception being Uganda.
In their statement the CEEC said: “We prayerfully counsel Church of England bishops to consider whether in the light of TEC’s response they may wish to absent themselves.”
They added that the inclusive Gospel preached by Jesus was based on repentance, faith and the gift of the Spirit. “In effect TEC’s approach to inclusiveness excludes the majority of Anglicans from other provinces who are faithful to Biblical teaching. We affirm as the will of God the biblical teaching that we are called either to heterosexual marriage or celibacy.”

–This article appeared in the Church of England Newspaper daily edition of October 15, 2007

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Episcopal Church (TEC), Primates Mtg Dar es Salaam, Feb 2007, Same-sex blessings, Sept07 HoB Meeting, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops

Rob Marshall on Anxious School Children in England

The pervasive anxiety affecting primary school children referred to in yesterday’s community soundings report from Cambridge University, is proving to be thought-provoking, even contentious.

There are two main thrusts to the findings: children are anxious about the outside world and they are under pressure to perform in the classroom. The danger here is that education is motivated only by grades and results, rather than generating happiness and creating balanced, tolerant human beings.

I’m chaplain to two very different primary schools in central London. Whilst the parents of some pupils may be anxious, sometimes extremely so (and for a whole variety of reasons), I’m not sure that I detect a pervasive anxiety amongst the majority of children about the state of the world.

Or, at least, no more so than in my own day. I certainly remember suddenly, at 7 or 8, realising that war is terrible, and that your parents one day will actually die and that God must be amazingly powerful… These are common thoughts in the head of an eight-year-old.

Read it all.

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

The Bishop of Indianapolis on the Release of the JSC report

What an amazing turn of events! The overall response of the Joint Committee to the House of Bishops message is positive ”“ yet the Evangelicals in the Church of England demand that the ABC denounce the church in the US over the possibility of consecrating a partnered gay to the episcopate – and our blessing of same sex unions! They threaten to divide the English church over this – just as TEC is threatened.

We simply have to be more vocal about this….the C of E blesses same-sex unions. The partnered homosexual clergy in the C of E are entitled, under British law, to register their relationships in order to gain the legal benefits accorded them. The C or E House of Bishops issued a statement to that effect in November or December of 2005.

Following that C of E HOB statement a condemnatory letter issued from Nigeria – reminding the English church that TEC and others were being ostracized for that sort of thing. But outrage at the C of E does not seem to have any staying power — either in other parts of the Communion or in TEC. When Bishop Mark Sisk and I asked the ABC about same-sex blessings – about what the difference is between what happens in the Cof E and what happens in some places here he answered, “They ( in England) are not public.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Anglican Primates, Episcopal Church (TEC), Primates Mtg Dar es Salaam, Feb 2007, Sept07 HoB Meeting, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts

Dallas News: In evangelical politics, a generation gap

Like most evangelical Christians, Alessandra Gonzalez tends to be conservative and Republican in her politics.

But for the 25-year-old and her peers, that means different things than it does for their elders.

For many conservative evangelical Christians younger than 30, family values mean more than the issues of gay marriage, abortion and prayer in school. Poverty, health care and the environment are also matters of faith.

“There’s an awareness to be more savvy and to say, ‘I can’t be completely captured and represented by someone like Jerry Falwell.’ I don’t think that flies anymore,” said Ms. Gonzalez, a graduate student at Baylor University. “Family really shapes your definition of values more than attending a political rally or being involved politically.”

Evangelical Protestants have been one of the most faithful Republican voting blocs in recent presidential elections, but there are abundant signs the movement is fracturing as the 2008 contest approaches. The younger generation in particular is less wedded to the GOP and to the moral-values agenda espoused by an influential corps of Christian conservative leaders.

“The fact that these younger evangelicals have somewhat more diverse views than their elders means there’s a possible change in their political behavior,” said John Green of the Pew Research Center, who has long studied how religion affects voting habits.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Religion & Culture

Roman Catholics look to ease the moral, religious pain of infertility

The pain of infertility can be especially hard on people of faith because some religious traditions object to a number of medical procedures used to overcome it.

For Catholics, whose church raises the widest array of concerns, it can be especially daunting, said Eileen Kummant, a family practice physician in White Oak who helps Catholics treat infertility without violating church teaching.

Even the most faithful, who often seek her practice because of her values, are tempted to ignore moral concerns when their own efforts to conceive have failed, she said.

“A lot of people are really hurting when they have infertility problems. Sometimes they just don’t want to think about anything that might say they can’t do whatever is necessary to have a baby — especially when it seems that other people have no problem with it,” she said.

“It seems like a hope that they are told they can’t have.”

She will be one of the presenters Saturday at an infertility workshop sponsored by the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh. It will address spiritual, moral, relational and medical aspects of infertility.

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Roman Catholic, Theology

Irish Anglican bishop's wife in shock conversion to Rome

The wife of a Church of Ireland bishop has converted to Catholicism in a move unprecedented in modern Irish church history.

The close-knit Anglican community in the west has been stunned by the shock conversion of the wife of Richard Henderson, Bishop of the United Diocese of Tuam, Killala and Achonry.

African-born Anita Henderson — who is also the daughter of a Church of Ireland clergyman in Cork — was received into the Catholic Church at a Sunday evening prayer service in the private chapel of the Catholic Bishop of Killala, John Fleming.

Mrs Henderson’s devoted husband, their two teenage daughters and their schoolboy son attended the service in Bishop Fleming’s palace overlooking the River Moy in the market town of Ballina.

Mrs Henderson said her decision was “the combination of a long journey of spiritual searching.

“I feel under God that is what I am being called to do,” she said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, - Anglican: Latest News, Anglican Provinces, Church of Ireland, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

A Chancellors report from the Diocese of Fort Worth

In the early 1980s, a decision was made to carve a new Diocese ”“ the Diocese of Fort Worth ”“ from the old Diocese of Dallas. It would include Tarrant County and 23 other western and neighboring counties.

At this same time, there were discussions on how to retitle the property within the new diocese. Prior to this time the property had been held in the name of the Bishop of the Diocese of Dallas or his successor in office. This was traditional in most dioceses of the Episcopal Church and had served well for literally decades. In these new times, however, there were occasions when our bishop would be away from the diocese for extended periods. Therefore, real estate closings had to be continued until such time as the bishop was back in residence. Today fax machines, e-mails and FedEx would help us keep things going but those were not universally available, if at all, in the early 1980s.

A new plan was adopted to retitle the real property of the diocese in the name of a corporation which would be called “Corporation of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth.”

Read it all.

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

Marc Robertson responds to Kevin Clark

I would question whether this picture of Jesus is accurate or balanced on a number of fronts, but the most important aspect to consider is Jesus’ primary role as a moral example. If Jesus came to be an example to humanity, it would appear from Kevin’s own assessment mentioned above that Jesus failed in His mission.

But what if His mission was different?

Maybe what we need is not just an example. If Jesus was only an example, then it all depends on what we do. It is all up to us to “live up to” that incredible example, and that can lead us to frustration, disappointment, even despair.

But what if Jesus was not only an example, but also a sacrifice? And this sacrifice can restore us to God, heal our woundedness, and actually give us a new heart – a heart that can learn to love? If Jesus came to be a sacrifice, then it’s not about what we do, but about what God has already done – what God has done on the cross on Good Friday.

Moreover, it is the bodily resurrection of Jesus from the grave that we celebrate on Easter that confirms God’s authority and power to transform an unloving and broken heart.

Read it all.

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

An Interview with Anglican Archbishop of Sydney Peter Jensen

Tonight, we’re talking to the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen.

The Anglican Church’s highest legal authority, the Appellate Tribunal, has ruled in favour of female bishops ”“ a milestone in the Church’s history and of course its development. But the Sydney diocese, arguably the most powerful and conservative in Australia, which Archbishop Jensen heads, was vehemently opposed to the move.

Archbishop Jensen thinks, as a matter of Biblical principle, ordaining women as bishops is wrong. But why, given the Church has ordained women as priests? And given the Catholic Archbishop, George Pell, has come out in support of the ALP (Australian Labor Party) and its education policy in particular, which party does Archbishop Jensen think will win the election when it’s finally called?
But he’s keen to point out that at one stage it looked like the fight to protect the Franklin River was lost. Twenty-five years later, that river continues to run free.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces

Turkey Takes Step Toward Iraq Operation

The Turkish government will seek parliamentary approval for a military operation against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq, a government spokesman said Monday, taking action on one of two major issues straining relations with Washington.
The government will immediately send a motion to the Parliament in hopes of a vote later this week, government spokesman Cemil Cicek said. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government twice acquired similar authorizations from the Parliament in 2003, but did not act on them.

Cicek insisted the only target was the rebel Kurdistan Workers’ Party, known as the PKK.

“We have always respected the sovereignty of Iraq, which is a friendly and brotherly country to us,” Cicek said. “But the reality that everyone knows is that this terrorist organization, which has bases in the north of Iraq, is attacking the territorial integrity of Turkey and its citizens.”

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

Kevin Clark offers his perpective on the Christ Church Savannah Decision

Is this the same Christ Church that is the 274-year-old “Mother Church of Georgia” and occupies one of Savannah’s most prime, valuable pieces of real estate, directly facing Johnson Square? ( The same square that ironically was the site on Sept. 15 of the 8th annual Savannah Gay Pride Festival.)

Is this the same church proudly named after Jesus Christ, supposedly to honor and glorify the founder of Christianity by exemplifying, illustrating and following his teachings?

Are these “Christians” angry and upset enough to break away because their church is “too liberal” and has been expanding love, inclusion and acceptance to unworthy people?


Somehow, something seems very wrong, very twisted and distorted with this scenario. Indeed, it seems utterly preposterous.

It seems only to painfully prove, once again, that some, if not most, organized religions are confused, fearful and dysfunctional. Their ideas and preachings about God and Jesus are erroneous.

They remain blind to this fact, and see only what they want to see.

They do not see the cruelty, fighting and killing going on everywhere in God’s name. They are not seeing the separation, the divisions, oppression, fear and dysfunction around us.

Worse, some of them are seeing it and playing into it, using it as a means of controlling people.

Read it all.

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

Toronto Star: Ottawa Synod backs gay rights

The Ottawa diocese of the Anglican Church of Canada yesterday approved same-sex marriage blessings in a move sure to inflame a debate over gay rights that has pushed the communion to the brink of schism.

By a margin of 177 to 97, delegates to the diocese’s annual synod in Cornwall approved a motion asking the local bishop to allow clergy “whose conscience permits” to bless same-sex unions.

Conservative church leaders immediately condemned the move.

“It goes to the very opposite direction to what the international church is calling for,” retired Newfoundland bishop Donald Harvey, moderator of the Anglican Network in Canada, told the Star.

The worldwide Anglican Communion has been bitterly divided on the issue of same-sex marriage blessings since the appointment of the openly gay Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire in 2004.

The majority of Anglicans worldwide belong to conservative churches in developing countries, which have been pushing for a more orthodox approach to policy.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Notable and Quotable

I suppose that it is possible, though not likely, that some of you in this church are as impatient as I am.

-I don’t like to wait.

-I am unhappy in lines of traffic.

-I will go without a breakfast biscuit before I will stand in line behind a busload of high school kids who always seem to have just pulled into the McDonald’s parking lot moments before me.

-And you should see the way I purse my lips when everyone else’s coffee arrives at the table except mine.

My affliction is even of the sort that I am impatient with patient people.

Last Saturday, the curate rode with me to the deacons’ ordination. He left in my car, a piece of painted wood, left over from the reredos construction, a bottle of aspirin, and a lemonade can, which spilled microscopic (albeit significant) drops of lemonade on my upholstery. His intention was to remove these things”¦ eventually. My reaction was to make comment”¦ immediately.

Not many days ago, I walked into my parents’ house and saw my father comfortably stretched out on the sofa. His own mantra is that he can do nothing better than anyone, so I knew for a fact that the only muscle in his body that had moved in an hour was the finger on the remote control…. I therefore said to him cheerfully, I see the medication for your restless leg syndrome is working! He did not think that was nearly as funny as I did.

So yes, I am indeed impatient. And being married for 25 years to a dear soul who is quintessentially “Type B” has done nothing to make my spirit more- shall we say- “mellow”.

So imagine my discomfort when I saw the recent title of an article in a theological journal which stated, IMPATIENCE IS SPIRITUAL ARROGANCE.

–The Rev. Dow Sanderson of Holy Communion, Charleston, S.C. in a recent sermon

Posted in Uncategorized

Chicago Tribune: Prayer optional, silence required, lawmakers say

State lawmakers moved Illinois to the forefront of the national school-prayer debate Thursday, requiring public schools to provide students with a brief moment of silence at the start of classes.

The House joined the Senate in voting to override Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s veto of legislation mandating the period for “silent prayer or for silent reflection on the anticipated activities of the day.”

The governor had said he believes in the “power of prayer” but worried the law could erode the barrier between church and state.

“This was never about trying to require prayer in the schools,” said Rep. Will Davis (D-Homewood), a lead sponsor of the new law. “This is a way for teachers and students to [start] their day off in the right way.”

Legal experts said the law, which turns the moment of silence from an option to a requirement, is likely to survive any constitutional challenges. But educators predicted there will be huge problems in enforcing the mandate because teachers and other administrators will have to sort out how to deal with students who ignore it. The law does not contain any penalties for non-compliance.

The law takes effect immediately, and school districts will get a notice from the State Board of Education shortly, a spokesman said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education, Religion & Culture