Daily Archives: October 25, 2007

Letter Doesn’t Sway Central Florida Parishes

A letter from Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to Bishop John W. Howe of Central Florida has changed nothing for the rectors and wardens of seven parishes and two church plants in that diocese, said a spokesperson for the group.

“We remain committed to disaffiliation from The Episcopal Church and continue in discussion with Bishop Howe over that process,” said the Rev. Don Curran, rector of Grace Church, Ocala, and president of the standing committee. “We want to handle this as expeditiously as possible, but there is no established deadline.”

Read it all.

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

The Bishop of Kansas' Diocesan Convention Address

You know, I think of myself as a person of deep faith, but truly, honestly, if you would have told me four years ago that we would be where we are today in terms of membership, clarity of mission, finances, enthusiasm, lay and clergy leadership, and yes, joy, I would not have believed you! It appears that the Lord is richly blessing our work and our faithfulness, and we are seeing glimpses of the first fruits of our diligent labor.

We believe our membership is growing. Over the past two years we may have gained more than 500 new members! Now let’s remember that these numbers have been accumulated by human hands, and so it isn’t time to throw the party just yet, but if this is in any way accurate, it means we have grown by as much as a parish the size of St. John’s, Wichita.

This increase in membership remains to be confirmed, and it will have to continue for several more years to be a clear trend, but I believe a sustained focus on membership and growth will result in a sustained increase in membership and growth.

It appears that this growth has happened in both large and small parishes, and it has happened primarily through the efforts of strong local leadership and good old-fashioned “elbow grease”: more contacts, more phone calls, more visits, meaningful worship, effective education for children and youth, a clear commitment to mission and outreach, and clear and intentional programs for incorporating newcomers into the life of the parish family.

Our campus ministries program is booming! You will hear more about it from the missioners themselves, but a key component of our shared ministry has finally fallen into place. Craig Loya and Susan Terry have visited 26 parishes, and we have now have 14 peer ministers working on six campuses ”“ Johnson County Community College, Emporia State, Wichita State and Labette County Community College, along with our ongoing ministries at Kansas State and the University of Kansas.

Conversations have begun with 12 additional parish partners, and there isn’t a parish in this diocese that couldn’t establish a link with a local college, university or community college in the next year.

Our youth ministries program is booming! Our success on college campuses owes a great deal to the work being done at the junior and senior high level by Chad Senuta and a committed cadre of volunteers and young interns. Youth ministry cannot happen without faithful adults who love kids, and in the past year Chad has been working to establish an advocacy program, so that every parish has a least one adult who serves as an advocate for youth, whether that parish has any youth or not. Most of our parishes have responded, but there is still an opportunity for the few churches that still need to appoint a youth advocate.

Our stewardship and planned giving is growing! Char DeWitt and the Stewardship and Development Committee have developed a quality, “turn-key” stewardship program that any parish in the diocese can put to use, and they are in the process of developing an excellent planned giving program of the same quality. Char has conducted more than 15 vestry workshops and has made more than 100 visits with vestries, priests and stewardship chairs.

This is all great work ”“ extraordinary, really ”“ but I have a dream, that what we do here in this moment in time will be truly great. I have a dream that on our watch, during our period of responsibility for this church, we will set a standard that will make future generations look back at our faithfulness with the same respect and awe we now express for the faithfulness of previous generations in this diocese. I dream that we will truly put out into the deep, that we will refuse to settle for a mediocre vision, a pale imitation of the real thing.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils

Graduating into debt

As students pile up ever-increasing education loan tabs, some colleges and universities are starting to question whether they should be counseling these young borrowers — before they end up with debt that will take them decades to work off.

Educational institutions have not seen financial counseling of students as their responsibility, although many students have little understanding of debt and their own personal finances. Most schools focus solely on getting students the funds needed to graduate, skirting discussions about the risks of credit even as a typical debt load soars into the tens of thousands of dollars.

“There has been no discussion about whether this might be to the detriment of the student,” said Mark Oleson, director of the University of Missouri’s Office for Financial Success, which counsels student borrowers. “It has always been assumed that staying in school is all that matters.”

“Education has never been thought off as an investment that involves risk, but it does,” he said. “Just like the stock market.”

Kristen Overmyer, a University of Missouri student in journalism, didn’t take out enough student loans during her freshman year and so turned to credit cards, compounding her debt. She then borrowed $22,000 in 2006 and $23,000 this year from private banks but still needs several more years to complete her degree and anticipates similar loans each year.

“When I started taking out the loans, I didn’t realize what I was getting into,” said Overmyer, who said she hopes to be out of debt by the time she is 40 years old — 19 years from now.

Read it all.

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

Pa. judge nullifies weddings by online ministers

Anna and Casey Pickett fell in love during a college class on Transcendental literature, reveling in the nature-loving rhapsodies of Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson.
It was only natural, then, that when the couple married last July, they would stand beside a rustic lake in Pennsylvania, with the professor whose class brought them together officiating at the ceremony.

Two months later, however, the couple got a call from a county clerk in Pennsylvania, who told them their marriage might not be valid. And years from now, the clerk said, when they bought a house, applied for government benefits or had children, they might have a problem.

“It was a total shock,” said Anna Ruth Pickett, 27, who works in environmental justice for the New York-based Ford Foundation.

The problem: Their professor, T. Scott McMillen, who was not a minister, got ordained online to perform the ceremony. In September, a judge in York County, Pennsylvania, ruled that ministers who do not have a “regularly established church or congregation” cannot perform marriages under state law.

Read it all

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

Americans Turn Negative on Economy, Expect Recession, Poll Says

Almost two-thirds of Americans say a recession is likely in the next year and a majority believes the economy is already faltering, according to a Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times survey.

By 65 percent to 29 percent, Americans say they expect a recession, the poll found. Fifty-one percent say the economy is doing poorly, compared with 46 percent who say it is doing well, the gloomiest view since February 2003.

The negative sentiment on the economy contrasts with a June poll in which 57 percent of respondents said it was doing well. The pessimistic turn comes just before the Federal Reserve meets next week to decide whether to further reduce interest rates to try to head off a possible recession. The poll results square with the Reuters/University of Michigan consumer index, which showed confidence in October at its lowest ebb since August 2006.

“I’m starting to think there’s a good possibility of recession,” said poll respondent Roger Sharp, a retired procurement analyst in Milwaukie, Oregon. “The housing industry is driving the economy down and people are starting to get laid off from jobs that have been around for a long time,” said Sharp, 63, a registered Republican.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy

Documentation of the Audit in the Don Armstrong matter in Colorado

Following the links.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Colorado

Bishop Andrus: Trial Rites ”˜Honor the Spirit’ of Primates’ Requests

“I think the resolution properly augments my pastoral goal of caring alike for all of the people of the diocese, not reinforcing damaging distinctions,” Bishop Andrus said in his address. “I also think, at the same time, that the resolution writers have honored the spirit of the Windsor Report and subsequent requests from the primates of the Communion to not develop ”˜public rites’.”

The resolution on blessings was one of nine adopted by convention. The resolution garnering the most debate was one proffered by the standing committee calling for “the creation of the position of assistant bishop” and authorizing “the Bishop of California to appoint a bishop for that position, whose appointment is subject to the consent of the Standing Committee of the Diocese of California.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils

CEN: Archbishop’s Letter Angers Liberals

The Diocese, not the national church or province, is the primary ecclesial entity within the Anglican Communion, the Archbishop of Canterbury has stated in a letter written to an American bishop.

Dr. Williams’ elucidation of his views on the ecclesiology of the Communion has sparked outrage from liberals in the US, who have condemned the letter as undermining the special “polity” of the Episcopal Church. The letter has also prompted conservatives to rethink plans for secession, as the letter shifts the political dynamic within the American church by undermining the importance of left’s long march through the Church’s central administrative apparatus.

However a spokesman for Dr. Williams told The Church of England Newspaper the letter was not an ex cathedra statement but a pastoral response to a particular local situation that broke no new ground.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Theology

NY Times: Eager to Learn, Newark Teenagers Embrace Lessons in Perseverance

After every cataclysm had struck ”” after his father had died and his mother had fallen ill with heart disease, after one older brother had gone into jail and another into a psychiatric hospital, after exhausting the welcome at a sister’s home and moving into a shelter, after shuttling through 13 schools by the eighth grade ”” after all of that, Bukhari Washington clung to one vision.

Somehow, he would still attend Christ the King Prep.

By last spring, he had been admitted to the school, the first new Catholic high school to open in this epically troubled city in half a century. Come September, he was to enter with the first 100 freshmen. Donors had put forward not only tuition for Bukhari, but also money for his school uniform of blue blazer, pressed trousers and striped tie.

Then, over the summer, came the latest twist. Bukhari’s mother, Yvonne Washington, decided to move to North Carolina. She had found an apartment there and planned to get Bukhari’s older brother out of the hospital to live with them.

From the first mention of the plan to leave New Jersey, Mrs. Washington could see the effect on Bukhari, she recalled in a recent interview. His head drooped. His springy walk slowed to a trudge. When they did their nightly Bible study, together in that spare shelter room, Bukhari brought up the lesson his mother had taught so often out of their favorite psalms, the need for perseverance.

“This is something I want to stick out,” he told her of Christ the King. And if going to the school meant remaining in the shelter, forgoing their own apartment safely away from Newark’s mayhem, then he would do it.

Caught this one on the plane ride back from the Anglican Digest Board meeting last night. What a school! Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education

Anglican Bishop George Browning and Cardinal Pell in bitter row over climate

A BITTER rift over climate change has developed between a senior member of the Anglican Church and Sydney Catholic Archbishop George Pell.

Canberra Bishop George Browning, the Anglican Church’s global environmental chief said Cardinal Pell was out of step with his own church and made no sense on global warming.

Bishop Browning also criticised the Federal Government for its “utter obsession” with growth and warned that climate change refugees would be a bigger problem than terrorists in a century of desperate struggle.

At the national Anglican synod in Canberra yesterday, Bishop Browning attacked the cardinal for saying Jesus said nothing about climate change. “It’s almost unbelievable,” said Bishop Browning, who is the chairman of the Anglican Communion Environmental Network.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Climate Change, Weather, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

Andrew Carey on Rowan Williams Letter to John Howe and Ecclesiology

I think Anglican ecclesiology has probably always been a mess. This is partly a result of the way Anglicanism came about in the 16th century, initially through a break with Rome for the King’s own idiosyncratic reasons. So there’s a sense in which the national identity of the Church came first to Anglicanism in a rather topdown sort of way.

However, what emerged over the ensuing decades, and indeed centuries, was a national and then international church which underwent reformation. This was on a different path from the continental Reformation and Counter Reformation but was heavily influenced by at least the former. However, we can pretend no longer that it was a peaceful reformation that met with little resistance. It had many martyrs and the acts of uniformity were ruthlessly and tyrannically imposed on the English people.

In a recent article for the Church of Ireland Gazette (Anglicanism and Protestantism, October 19) Professor Alister McGrath attacks a sort of wishful thinking that places Anglicanism solely in the Catholic tradition. This type of thinking primarily emerges through the plainly unhistoric way in which Anglicans have imagined themselves to be always in a via media between Protestantism and Catholicism.

Yet as recent historians have pointed out the original English reformation was far more self-consciously about finding a middle way between Zwingli and Luther than between Rome and Geneva. Furthermore, other Protestant churches, not just Anglicanism, retained aspects of Catholic order, high views of the sacraments and even an episcopate while still maintaining a Protestant outlook. Anglicanism can therefore be rightly considered different and unique, like every other single church, but certainly cannot claim to uniquely occupy that mythical via media.

Instead it was a later development, the Oxford Movement, which resulted in Anglicanism tilting itself towards a Catholic ecclesiology. While it is true that there were always tensions between Catholic and Protestant elements in the Church of England these cannot ever be said to have represented a via media, as much as a very broad church. Anglicanism has been captured by this Catholic ecclesiology for the past century or so most notably in the ARCIC process. Furthermore, in the proliferation of Anglican Churches throughout the world, there are indeed many provinces which view themselves solely through a Catholic ecclesiological perspective and others which take a more pragmatic Protestant view of things.

The crucial point of the current debate about the future of Anglicanism during this crisis over human sexuality is that either Anglicanism becomes a family of Protestant churches with varying degrees of relationship between its parts, or it continues on its trajectory towards a more fully Catholic vision of
the church. And it is here that the Archbishop of Canterbury is signalling the direction he favours in a letter to the Bishop of”¦ [Central] Florida, John Howe.

In the letter, he signals a vision of Anglicanism which rejects the Protestant emphasis on national churches, and instead argues that Anglicanism’s catholicity is expressed through its bishops and dioceses. He writes: “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.”

This letter was written in the context of a traditionalist bishop seeking reassurances
from the Archbishop as a number of his ministers contemplate separating from the diocese in order to retain their Anglican identity. In other words, that Anglican identity is to be found through a bishop in communion with Canterbury, rather than establishing new non-geographic episcopates whose relationship to Canterbury is less clear.

This provides one possible way through the current mess in which the American Episcopal Church finds itself, but leaves a huge number of questions up in the air. Should Anglicanism be solely
defined by relationship to Canterbury? What does this emphasis on Bishop and diocese say about Anglican decision making? Only a few years ago, liberal Americans were arguing that the Bishop
and diocese were the basic ecclesiological unit and therefore that was where these controversial decisions on same sex blessings and gay clergy should be taken.

On the other hand, the more Catholic view at that time seemed to suggest that such controversial decisions should be taken at the highest synodical level possible. And for many whose consciences
are troubled by being in relationship with what they regard as an heretical and apostate denomination such as The Episcopal Church, is it going to help to be separately in communion with a Canterbury
which is hedging its bets?

–This article appears in the October 25th , 2007, edition of the Church of England Newspaper on page 14

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Theology

Darryl's Blog: Blind to sinister forces

Not every book on the consumerism and the church includes a chapter on fallen powers. But Paul Metzger’s book Consuming Jesus devotes a healthy section to this topic. Metzger writes, “Sinister forces are at work today, and they have an impact on the church and the broader culture to their very core, which sometimes leads us to lose our wits and discernment.”

We live within a context of consumerism and free-market enterprise. “In a free market church culture,” Metzger writes, “those who cater most to this consumer force thrive best.” Many of our models for church within North American are built around catering to consumer forces. We don’t even question this approach, yet it’s led to class and race divisions, and all kinds of other problems within the church.

Metzger describes how we are blind to a number of diabolical forces that are currently affecting us:

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Religion & Culture

Fort Worth welcomes Archbishop’s view on dioceses

We welcome the comments from the Archbishop of Canterbury, contained in a recent letter to the Bishop of Central Florida, where he reminds us that “the organ of union with the wider Church is the Bishop and the Diocese rather than the Provincial structure as such,” calling this a “basic conviction of Catholic theology.” He goes on to say:

“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’.”

Given the current atmosphere and controversies in the life of the Anglican Communion, it is helpful to be reminded that dioceses, not provincial structures, are the basic unit of the catholic church. As is stated in the clarifying note issued by Lambeth Palace on Oct. 23, “The diocese is more than a ”˜local branch’ of a national organization.” Clearly, provincial alignments are intended for the benefit of the dioceses, and not the reverse.

It is indeed painful when a number of faithful congregations, striving to discern God’s will in these days of controversy and seeking to remain faithful to the teachings of Jesus Christ, arrive at a moment of conviction that compels them to separate from their bishop and diocese. It is also difficult for a faithful diocese to reach the collective decision to separate from its national province. Such congregations and dioceses, however, now feel compelled to take definitive actions to secure their future and to guard the orthodoxy of their faith communities in the decades to come. Affiliation with a heterodox province hampers their mission and witness, just as affiliation with an orthodox province enhances and strengthens it.

As the realignment of the Anglican Communion continues to unfold and take shape in the months ahead, we pray for the continued guidance of the Holy Spirit for all those who seek truth and unity in Jesus Christ, and we urge that such separations as must take place may be accomplished without rancor and litigation.

The Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker The Very Rev. Ryan Reed
Bishop of Fort Worth President, Standing Committee

Posted in Uncategorized

Anglo-Catholic and Evangelical Faculties Agree on Mission, Future Collaboration

NASHOTAH, WI, October 23, 2007 ”“ After two days of worship, dialogue and brainstorming, the faculties of Nashotah House Theological Seminary and Trinity School for Ministry, meeting on the Nashotah House campus this week, announced today their commitment to partner together in common witness to a biblically faithful, traditional Anglicanism, and to welcome opportunities to join in common ministry as they emerge.

“While each seminary has its own unique character and ethos, we are united in our core theological convictions,” said the Very Rev. Robert S. Munday, Dean and President of Nashotah House. “Above all, we are united in our commitment to training biblically faithful leaders for the Church, and in our desire to support a renewed orthodoxy within North American Anglicanism today. These past two days of fellowship have only strengthened those shared commitments.”

“We each belong to our own tradition,” said the Right Rev. John Rodgers, Dean and President of Trinity School for Ministry, which is located near Pittsburgh, PA, “and we each need to be faithful to our own tradition. But it’s growing increasingly clear that the fullness of our faith and our tradition is realized when we come together. We rejoice in each other’s encouragement. And we need to be a caution to each other. We want the diversity and the fellowship of both traditions sharing the same table.”

“These past two days have been a joy for all of us,” said the Rev. Dr. Grant LeMarquand, Trinity’s Academic Dean. “Sharing our own stories, sharing the Eucharist, and considering the needs of the whole Church””this fellowship heartens our hope, our confidence in the future of God’s mission in North America.”

“In the current state of the Episcopal Church, the old disputes between our traditions pale in significance when measured against our common devotion to the great tradition of the Christian faith,” remarked the Rev. Martha Giltinan, Trinity’s Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology. “Both schools are asking themselves what the future of Anglicanism is going to look like. And the return to a biblically faithful, traditional Anglicanism isn’t just about our Bishops coming to agreement. It involves the whole Church–including its organs of theological education.”

The two faculties are contemplating a wide variety of possibilities for future collaboration, including sharing expertise in creating and growing new degree programs, and the mutual stimulation each faculty can provide the other in terms of academic scholarship. “We recognize that each school, because of its particular emphases, teaches subjects that the other doesn’t,” said Bishop Rodgers, “and it’s easy to see how students could profit from being able to take advantage of what both seminaries have to offer.”

The 22 faculty members of both schools will meet again in the Spring of 2008, on the campus of Trinity School for Ministry in Ambridge, PA, to continue their discussion.

Posted in Uncategorized

Michael Medved: Abortion's shades of gray

The battle for the Republican presidential nomination might serve to clear away prevailing confusion and contradictions about public opinion on abortion. Rudy Giuliani seeks the White House by reaching out to that majority of Americans who say they are pro-choice ”” and anti-abortion.

To most pro-lifers, this position represents an absurd contradiction. Along with their militant counterparts on the opposite side of the abortion issue, they’ve reduced the controversy to a simple, black-and-white choice: You’re either “pro-life” or “pro-choice,” with no room for compromise. On that basis, many religious conservatives denounce Giuliani as “pro-abortion” and threaten to withhold support if he heads the GOP ticket.

Unfortunately, anger toward the former mayor distorts his actual position on abortion. Like most Americans, Giuliani takes a mixed, nuanced approach that defies easy categorizations.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Life Ethics, US Presidential Election 2008