Daily Archives: October 22, 2007

From the Diocese of New Westminster: The dangers of an Anglican Covenant

Will the Anglican Communion be joined together or rent asunder? That was the question that the Rev. Dr. Richard Leggett offered to a group gathered at St. Faiths.

The reason for these discussions is that the current solution to global Anglicanisms difficulties is to craft a covenant document which would make room for what many call a two-tiered membership, with some who are full members and some in association but not fully entitled because of differences in their practice of worship or discipleship.

In this model, the Anglican Church of Canada, the Episcopal Church USA, the Anglican Church of New Zealand, the Anglican Church of South Africa, and possibly the Church of England, would be second-tier Anglicans primarily, but not only, because of the blessing of same-sex couples.

Leggett, a professor at Vancouver School of Theology, said that in 1886 questions in the Episcopal Church (USA) led to an agreement on essential elements of Anglican communion, and these were slightly revised (with broader, less restrictive, wording) at the Lambeth Conference (1888), and known afterwards as the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Provinces

From the Do Not Take Yourself Too Seriously department

Watch this video from Youtube.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy

George Carey visits Rhode Island Parish

He said yesterday that the continuing conflict over Bishop Robinson’s ordination and concerning same-sex relationships could seriously weaken all the churches in the communion, not only those in Africa and other parts of the developing world that view the ordination as a violation of the Gospel but those U.S. churches that supported the New Hampshire ordination.

“I know there are some clergy who say they don’t care whether the Anglican Communion stays together or not. But they should care,” he said.

“If the Anglican Communion separates, or if the Lambeth Conference [the once-every-10-year gathering of the world’s Anglican bishops, slated for next year] doesn’t happen or happens with a reduced number of bishops,” he said, there will be “a chasm between the developing world, where Christianity is strong and growing, and us on the Western side. That growing church will be weakened because they will not have access to our strength, and West will be weakened because we will not have the exciting stories of their faith and what God is doing.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Latest News, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Parishes

Nigeria: Anglican Crises More About Leadership, Doctrine, Not Homosexuality- African Bishops

“Homosexuality is not our headache,” Archbishop Akinola said. “Everything that has to be said has been said. We are not going back to it.”

Affirming that unity in the communion was of course crucial, Archbishop Akinola pointed out that every organization has got its own problems.

“When we resolve our problem, we’ll let the world know through the media,” he said.

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

Dinesh D'Souza: A Christian foundation

We seem to be witnessing an aggressive attempt by leading atheists to portray religion in general, and Christianity in particular, as the bane of civilization. Finding the idea of God incompatible with science and reason, these atheists also fault Christianity with fostering a breed of fanaticism comparable to Islamic radicalism. The proposed solution: a completely secular society, liberated from Christian symbols and beliefs.

This critique, which comes from best-selling atheist books, academic tracts and a sophisticated network of atheist organizations and media, can be disputed on its own terms. What it misses, however, is the larger story of how Christianity has shaped the core institutions and values of the USA and the West. Christianity is responsible even for secular institutions such as democracy and science. It has fostered in our civilization values such as respect for human dignity, human rights and human equality that even secular people cherish.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Church-State Issues, Religion & Culture

NY Times Magazine: The Future Is Drying Up

Scientists sometimes refer to the effect a hotter world will have on this country’s fresh water as the other water problem, because global warming more commonly evokes the specter of rising oceans submerging our great coastal cities. By comparison, the steady decrease in mountain snowpack ”” the loss of the deep accumulation of high-altitude winter snow that melts each spring to provide the American West with most of its water ”” seems to be a more modest worry. But not all researchers agree with this ranking of dangers. Last May, for instance, Steven Chu, a Nobel laureate and the director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, one of the United States government’s pre-eminent research facilities, remarked that diminished supplies of fresh water might prove a far more serious problem than slowly rising seas. When I met with Chu last summer in Berkeley, the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada, which provides most of the water for Northern California, was at its lowest level in 20 years. Chu noted that even the most optimistic climate models for the second half of this century suggest that 30 to 70 percent of the snowpack will disappear. “There’s a two-thirds chance there will be a disaster,” Chu said, “and that’s in the best scenario.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Climate Change, Weather

Peter Mullen: Wealth creation can atone for the sins of Mammon

Our church of St Michael’s, Cornhill, is just up the road from the Bank of England, and every year when we host the City New Year service, the church is packed full of bankers, brokers and liverymen lustily singing the old warhorse hymns Jerusalem and I Vow to Thee my Country. The service also uses great chunks from the King James Bible (1611) and The Book of Common Prayer (1662). In short, it is everything the liberal modernisers and social-gospellers in the Church of England loathe.

Each year we welcome a visiting preacher and recently a prominent prelate came and admonished us as follows: “Money is important but it isn’t everything.” On our way across to Drapers’ Hall for the customary reception, the preacher asked me quietly how I thought his sermon had gone down with the City types. I said: “They loved the joke you started with, but I saw their heads go down when you said that bit about money not being the be-all and end-all. They know that only too well. Those movers and shakers spend only about two per cent of their money on wining and dining; and they spend hours in tedious meetings deciding how they’re going to give the rest of it away to needy causes.”

I don’t know why so many churchmen are so antipathetic to wealth creation, so down on capitalism. They should be reminded of Prime Minister Thatcher’s memorable address when she said that the Good Samaritan would have been useless unless he’d had some money to pay the innkeeper to look after the one who fell among thieves. Modern churchmen give the impression that they think it is the money-makers who are the thieves.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Religion & Culture

Financial Times: US loan default problems widen

Poor quarterly results from banks across the US over the past two weeks suggest credit problems once confined to high-risk mortgage borrowers are spreading across the consumer landscape, posing new risks to the economy and weighing heavily on the markets.

US banks have raised reserves for loan losses by at least $6bn over the second quarter and by even larger amounts from last year, indicating financial executives believe consumers will be increasingly unable to make payments on a variety of loans.

Banks are adding to reserves not just for defaults on mortgages, but also on home equity loans, car loans and credit cards.

“What started out merely as a subprime problem has expanded more broadly in the mortgage space and problems are getting worse at a faster pace than many had expected,” said Michael Mayo, Deutsche Bank analyst.

“On top of this, there is an uptick in auto loan problems, which may or may not be seasonal, and there is more body language from the banks that the state of the consumer was somewhat less strong [than thought].”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy

Nigel Taber-Hamilton: Rowan Williams and the end of the Anglican Communion as we know it

At 5:15 p.m. I was reading the House of Bishops and Deputies List ”“ a list-serv for members of those two General Convention houses ”“ when I came across a copy of a letter dated October 14, 2007 from Williams to Bishop John Howe of the conservative Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida. This letter was read to the Standing Committee of that diocese last Thursday (October 18), and released this afternoon.

The letter was staggering in its misunderstanding of the polity of the Anglican Communion and the Episcopal Church and shockingly naive in its understanding of where most Episcopalians stand with regard to any interference in our own affairs by foreign Prelates.

Perhaps more significantly, though, it is the betrayal of beliefs that Williams held dear for so long ”“ right up, in fact, to the point where he became Archbishop of Canterbury, when ”“ he says ”“ unity became his ministry.

It is now clear that Williams is willing to abandon any individual and even whole Provinces of the Anglican Communion in the cause of “unity”.

I say “unity” in inverted commas because it is not really unity at all, but the bowing of a misguided, naive, and incompetent leader to what one person has described as the “Bullydox” of the Communion: those very narrow “Neo-Puritan” conservatives who wish to reinterpret Anglicanism to be something that is not the “large tent” we are all so familiar with but a prison wherein they alone guard and define what is “acceptable” for others to believe.

It is also clear that, having squeezed our House of Bishops in such a way that a significant part of our own Province has expressed outrage at their apparent abandonment by their own bishops, the Archbishop of Canterbury has pulled the rug from under our Bishops’ feet and invited acts of disobedience by dissidents in any Province of the Communion who disagree with any internal issue of that Province.

In so doing the Archbishop of Canterbury has opened a Pandora’s Box of problems that will almost certainly destroy the Anglican Communion as we know it.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, Theology

Christian Century: Episcopal alternative formed; Africans urge Lambeth be postponed

Duncan said that the Diocese of Pittsburgh is scheduled to vote in early November on the first step in severing ties with the Episcopal Church.

The loose federation, with its own College of Bishops, hopes to garner favor domestically and abroad by using an “if we build it, they will come” strategy, according to Peter Frank, a spokesperson for Duncan. However, issues such as the ordination of women””some of the groups ordain women, some do not””remain to be decided, according to the Common Cause Council.

Bishop Martyn Minns, who heads the Nigerian-related Convocation of Anglicans in North America, told a telephone news conference September 26 that the participants “have different styles and approaches, but not differences” in doctrine.

The African “mission” links to dissident Episcopalians have been called “incursions” by the archbishop of Canterbury, but Minns, the former rector of Truro Church in Fairfax, Virginia, disagreed. “These are replies to the cries of help from this country.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Latest News, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Common Cause Partnership, Episcopal Church (TEC), Sept07 HoB Meeting, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts

Archbishop Chrysostomos meets Primate of All England

The Archbishop of Canterbury has invited Archbishop Chrysostomos II to visit Britain. The head of the Greek Orthodox Church of Cyprus Archbishop Chrysostomos II and the Archbishop of Canterbury, metropolitan of the province of Canterbury, Primate of All England and head of the worldwide Anglican Communion Rowan D. Williams, met in Naples, where they participate at the international meeting between leaders of the world’s main religions.

During the meeting Chrysostomos II has asked for the contribution of the Anglican Primate as regards the promotion of the issue of the destruction of cultural and religious heritage of Cyprus in the Turkish occupied north of the island.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Archbishop of Canterbury, Orthodox Church, Other Churches

Canadian Anglican same-sex debate not revolt: cleric

Alan Perry, a priest at St. Barnabas Anglican Church in Montreal, says that to the outsider, it would seem the local synods are thumbing their noses at the mother Church.

But Rev. Perry, an expert on canon law, said there is a certain logic to what is going on.

“This is the Anglican Church at work in all its messiness,” he said in a recent interview.

The general synod, he said, was asked to “affirm” that the dioceses have the authority to allow same-sex blessings.

“The defeat of the motion did not enact the opposite,” Rev. Perry said. “There was no motion that said the general synod has the authority. There was no motion saying the dioceses do not have the authority. There was no motion to grant or deny authority to the dioceses. None of that happened. So what you’ve got is a legal vacuum.”

Last month, Rev. Perry wrote a piece for the Montreal Anglican, a monthly diocesan newspaper, on the issue. “General Synod has certainly left matters a little untidy, but the one thing it has decidedly not done is to defeat a local option of the blessing of same-sex unions. Words matter.”

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

Giles Fraser: The truth must out

There can be no compromises when it comes to protecting children in church. Too often, however, the church has scandalously backed away from the sort of complete transparency that alone is needed in order to restore trust.

Unless the church does everything in its power to keep its children safe it betrays a sacred trust and winds up complicit in the very evil it has pledged to destroy. So why do churches always seem to be getting it wrong?

Partly it’s a fear of the press. Faced with the prospect of headlines linking the church and child abuse, the temptations to batten down the hatches and sort things out “in-house” are overwhelming. But if the Church of England has anything to learn from the scandals that have rocked the Roman church it is that one mustn’t try and confine the scandal of child abuse to the confessional. The truth will out. And, for the protection of future children, the truth must out.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE)

ACI: A Statement Regarding Upholding the Ministry of Faithful Bishops

The Archbishop of Canterbury has recently written Bishop Howe of Central Florida, in a letter now made public, concerned that traditionalist parishes ought to see the Diocese, in distinction to ”˜the National” or “provincial Church,’ as the main unit of Christian faith and teaching, in sacramental unity with the Anglican Communion through his own office. (This view has been generally accepted as a definition of fundamental Anglican polity and has been explicitly assumed in all of the recent Anglican-Roman Catholic Agreed Statements.) The Primates have also recognized bishops like Howe who uphold the Camp Allen principles. In a climate where the ”˜National Church’ may seek to arrogate to itself more authority than the Archbishop of Canterbury believes is proper, individual Dioceses appear vulnerable to many – especially when alternatives present themselves in the name of offering a more secure reality, outside of TEC altogether.

One of the useful aspects of the Network was its granting to ”˜traditionalists’ a measure of identification, still inside TEC, but laterally with other Dioceses, as the main unit of Christian faith and teaching, to pursue the Archbishop’s stated concern. Bishops like Howe, Stanton, Salmon and others availed themselves of this for this reason, and also because it was consistent with what the Archbishop here writes. In the meantime, however, the Network as originally intended has collapsed, and in its place or alongside it a new reality has emerged in the form of a Common Cause College, whose mechanisms for ”˜unity in faith’ are different to what the Archbishop describes. This has made the plight of Bishop Howe and others more complicated, precisely as parishes seek to leave and find places in this College or somewhere else.

What is necessary, then, is for the diocesan unit, in conjunction with other dioceses who affirm the Communion’s teaching and discipline as Windsor and the Camp Allen principles outline them, to find the place that the Network sought to provide, and to build on what the Archbishop is here underscoring. At a time when the individual bishops of TEC struggle to affirm requests made of them by the Primates, and when some openly reject even the generous assessment made by the JSC, it is all the more imperative for Camp Allen Bishops and their Dioceses to stand in the place the Archbishop has argued is the most secure place, whilst the evaluation of TEC is still being processed.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, Theology

Nelson Schwartz: One World, Taking Risks Together

HUGE financial losses in the United States spark fears in Europe. A credit crisis ensues. Soon the fear spreads to Wall Street, where the biggest banks fight off rumors of insolvency amid a broader economic panic, and Washington is forced to step in. The market swoons. If this sounds familiar, it should. Except we’re not talking about the subprime mortgage crisis, or the deal brokered by the Treasury Department last week with three American banking giants to cough up $75 billion for a fund aimed at stabilizing the global credit market, or Friday’s 366-point drop in the stock market.

In fact, it’s a brief history of the Panic of 1907, which culminated exactly 100 years ago today.

Back then, losses stemming from the San Francisco earthquake the year before hammered British insurers and eventually forced government officials on this side of the Atlantic and none other than J. P. Morgan himself to come to the rescue. On the night of Oct. 21, 1907, the legendary tycoon summoned the country’s leading financiers to his Murray Hill mansion to help finance a bailout.

“This is where the trouble stops,” Mr. Morgan famously declared. He succeeded. By early 1908, the panic had passed.

Today, it’s J. P. Morgan again ”” the firm, not the man ”” along with Citigroup and Bank of America that are trying to fix things, with prodding from Henry M. Paulson Jr., the secretary of the Treasury, and, as the former head of Goldman Sachs, something of a latter-day tycoon.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Globalization

Amanda Robb: Abstinence 1, S-Chip 0

In addition to provoking shame about a nearly universal activity, abstinence-only sex education is ineffective and dangerous. Last April, a 10-year study found that students who took abstinence-only courses were no more likely to abstain from sex than other students. Previous studies revealed that abstinence-only students avoid using contraception.

Programs in public schools teach patently false information like “the chances of getting pregnant with a condom are one out of six” and H.I.V. “may be in your body for a long time (from a few months to as long as 10 years or more) before it can be detected.”

The results are tragic. The United States has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in the developed world (about the same as Ukraine’s), and the highest abortion rate in the Western world. Sexually transmitted infections like syphilis and gonorrhea are on the rise for the first time since the 1980s, and chlamydia is being diagnosed twice as often as it was a decade ago.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sexuality, Teens / Youth

GodTube Offers Internet Alternative

On YouTube, the wildly popular video-sharing site, the most-watched video clips include David Letterman’s public evisceration of Paris Hilton, music videos by Rihanna and Soulja Boy, and, of course, a young man’s heartfelt plea to “leave Britney alone.”

But YouTube’s ocean of clips ”” some of them trivial, offensive or just bizarre ”” now find themselves competing with a Web site from a higher authority ”” GodTube.

GodTube, the Christian response to YouTube, is the fastest-growing Web site on the Internet, and the site’s top videos reveal a community that couldn’t be more different than YouTube’s.

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

Archbishop Rowan Williams' Letter to Bishop John Howe

Circulating all over various email lists and therefore in the public domain–KSH.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I have had several inquiries about the letter from Archbishop Williams that I quoted from in today’s Pastoral Letter. I wrote to him a week ago Saturday, October 13, apprizing him of Thursday’s meeting with Rectors and Senior Wardens, and I told him that what I believe is needed is for him to clearly differentiate between those Bishops and Dioceses that are Windsor-compliant and those that are not. Within less than twelve hours he wrote back the letter from which I quoted. I am printing it in full below my signature box. Since he has given permission to share it I do so as well, but I think you should probably share it in its entirety.

Warmest regards in our Lord,

The Right Rev. John W. Howe
Episcopal Bishop of Central Florida

14 October 2007
Dear John

I’ve just received your message, which weighs very heavily on my heart, as it must – though far more so – on yours. At this stage, I can say only two things. The first is that I have committed myself very clearly to awaiting the views of the Primates before making any statement purporting to settle the question of The Episcopal Church’s status, and I can’t easily short-circuit that procedure. The second is that your Rectors need to recognize that this process is currently in train and that a separatist decision from them at this point would be irresponsible and potentially confusing. However, without forestalling what the Primates might say, I would repeat what I’ve said several times before – that any Diocese compliant with Windsor remains clearly in communion with Canterbury and the mainstream of the Communion, whatever may be the longer-term result for others in The Episcopal Church. The organ of
union with the wider Church is the Bishop and the Diocese rather than the Provincial structure as such. Those who are rushing into separatist solutions are, I think, weakening that basic conviction of Catholic theology and in a sense treating the provincial structure of The Episcopal Church as if it were the most important thing – which is why I continue to hope and pray for the strengthening of the bonds of mutual support among those Episcopal Church Bishops who want to be clearly loyal to Windsor. Action that fragments their Dioceses will not help the consolidation of that all-important critical mass of ordinary faithful Anglicans in The Episcopal Church for whose nurture I am so much concerned.

Breaking this up in favour of taking refuge in foreign jurisdictions complicates and embitters the future for this vision.

Do feel free to pass on these observations to your priests. I should feel a great deal happier, I must say, if those who are most eloquent for a traditionalist view in the United States showed a fuller understanding of the need to regard the Bishop and the Diocese as the primary locus of ecclesial identity rather than the abstract reality of the ‘national church’. I think that if
more thought in these terms there might be more understanding of why priests in a diocese such as yours ought to maintain their loyalty to their sacramental communion with you as Bishop. But at the emotional level I can understand something of the frustration they doubtless experience, just as you must.

With continuing prayers and love,


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury

Anglican Gay Row Intensifies with Second Canadian Blessings Request

The Montreal branch of the Anglican Church of Canada has urged its bishop to allow clergy to bless same-sex unions, becoming the second in the church body to make the request.

Days after the Diocese of Ottawa voted to ask its bishop to allow clergy to bless “duly solemnized and registered civil marriages between same-sex couples,” the Montreal Diocese approved a similar motion on Friday, raising another red flag to conservative branches in the global Anglican Communion.

Some Anglicans in the diocese may not be happy with the decision, said Montreal bishop Barry Clarke, who concurred with the vote.

“But at least we can say we are out there and we can say that’s where we stand,” he said, according to the Anglican Journal.

Friday’s vote does not immediately change the policies and practice of the diocese. Clarke is scheduled to bring up the results of the vote at an Oct. 25-30 meeting in London, Ontario, with the Canadian house of bishops. There, Clarke will consult other bishops and consider the wider concerns of church members in the wider Anglican family, according to Clarke.

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