Daily Archives: January 13, 2008

In Toronto: Keep the faith or pull the plug?

He’s been called the diocesan hit man. As a joke, of course. Not a great joke. People with the skills of Simon Bell have become necessary in Canada’s major Christian churches.

He determines which congregations can survive, and why, and which ones have slid so far into the abyss of decline that they need to be put out of their misery. His title is congregational development consultant with the Anglican Diocese of Toronto, the largest Anglican jurisdiction in Canada. Churches call him in when they realize they’re in trouble.

He acquired the hit-man sobriquet after his involvement in the protracted – it’s still going on – and unpopular closing of one of Toronto’s most historic and architecturally significant Anglican churches, St. Stephen-in-the-Field at College Street and Bellevue Avenue.

This is what is going on as Canada completes its emergence from Christendom, the cultural hegemony of Christianity that had defined the country since the onset of European settlement.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Parish Ministry

Some Northeast Ohio congregations join Overseas Anglican church

Several Northeast Ohio congregations that are part of a breakaway movement from the U.S. Episcopal Church have joined an American Anglican church body.

St. Barnabas Anglican Church in Bay Village, the Anglican Church of the Good Samaritan in Cleveland, St. Luke’s Anglican Church in Fairlawn, the Church of the Holy Spirit in Akron and St. Anne in the Fields in Madison this week joined the Convocation of Anglicans in North America.

The congregations had been affiliated with the more traditional Diocese of Bolivia. The parishes, other than Good Samartian, which is a new church, broke with the Episcopal Diocese of Ohio in 2005 over disagreements on church teaching, including the decision of the national denomination to ordain an openly gay bishop.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Cono Sur [formerly Southern Cone], Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Departing Parishes

In Kenya Anglican Bishops call for dialogue

The Anglican Church of Kenya has expressed fears of violence during the countrywide mass action called for next week by ODM leaders.

Consequently, the Church appealed to would-be demonstrators to avoid violence and police to shun use of live bullets to avoid loss of lives.

“We are not against the idea of mass action but our fear is that some people may use the event to engage in violence and to loot property,” the ACK Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi, told a press conference at the church headquarters in Nairobi.

“The law enforcers should provide security without excessive force. They should not use live bullets on the people and must avoid being partisan,” said Archbishop Nzimbi who read the statement the bishops had prepared after their two-day meeting.

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Church of Kenya, Anglican Provinces, Kenya, Politics in General

Religion and Ethics Weekly: U.S. Hispanic Catholics

VICTORIA ENCISO (Congregant, Good Shepherd Catholic Church, Chicago): From the moment you wake up, you kneel like a camel, and I wake up like a camel. You know how a camel wakes up, with both knees? I wake up praying.

VALENTE (to Ms. Enciso): So you wake up in the morning and you immediately get down on your knees and pray?

Ms. ENCISO: And I bless my blanket that I have and the house that I have, because if you don’t then what do you have?

VALENTE: The devotional life of Hispanic Catholics takes some dramatic forms. On a frigid December night people from Good Shepherd walk through the streets of Chicago, a procession in honor of the Virgin of Guadalupe. At five o’clock the next morning, their church is packed for the mananitas, an hour of singing praise to the Virgin.

Read the whole article.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Other Churches, Roman Catholic

Some Fear Economic Stimulus Is Already Too Late

As leaders in Washington turn their attention to efforts to avert a looming downturn, many economists suggest that it may already be too late to change the course of the economy over the first half of the year, if not longer.

With a wave of negative signs gathering force, economists, policy makers and investors are debating just how much the economy could be damaged in 2008. Huge and complex, the American economy has in recent years been aided by a global web of finance so elaborate that no one seems capable of fully comprehending it. That makes it all but impossible to predict how much the economy can be expected to fall before it stabilizes.

The answer could be a defining factor in the outcome of the fiercely contested presidential election. Not long ago, the race centered on the war in Iraq.

But now, as candidates fan out across the country, visiting places as varied as the factory towns of Michigan and streets lined with unsold condominiums in Las Vegas, voters are increasingly demanding that they focus on the best way to keep the economy from slipping off the tracks.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market

Governor Mark Sanford: Obama’s symbolism here in South Carolina

I won’t be voting for Barack Obama for president. There are too many vital issues ”” from taxes and spending, to immigration and national security, to traditional values ”” on which we have fundamentally different points of view about the right direction for our country. However, as the presidential campaign trail now makes its turn toward this state, and as South Carolinians make their final decisions on whom to vote for, it’s worth pausing to take notice of something important that the Obama candidacy means for our corner of America.

South Carolinians are rightly proud of our state’s rich heritage and history, dating from the earliest Colonial times and our ancestors’ heroic efforts in the Revolutionary War right up to the present day. I say this because we’re a state that loves history, and one of the nicest parts of my job lies in constantly being exposed to the extraordinary achievements of South Carolinians past and present. In the Obama candidacy, there is a potentially history-making quality that we should reflect on. It is one that is especially relevant on the sensitive topic of race ”” because South Carolina and the South as a whole bear a heavier historical burden than the rest of our country on that front.

As governor, I try to keep that historical burden in mind, because being sensitive to race has both policy and symbolic implications. I strongly believe that policies such as school choice and reforms to allow Medicaid recipients additional health care options will have a disproportionately positive impact on African-Americans in our state. Others disagree, favoring a larger role for government than the private sector, and those legitimate policy disagreements will always be with us in the political arena.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, US Presidential Election 2008

Hillary Clinton gaffe over Martin Luther King may cost votes in South Carolina

Mrs Clinton, trying to make a point about presidential leadership and Mr Obama’s constant references to Dr King, the civil rights icon, said: “Dr King’s dream began to be realised when President Lyndon Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It took a president to get it done.”

Mrs Clinton has since tried to clarify the comment, but the damage was done. Mr Clyburn, who had previously said that he would stay neutral, told The New York Times that he had been “bothered a great deal” by the remarks and was rethinking his position.

Read it all.

Update: There is much more here also.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Race/Race Relations, US Presidential Election 2008

Roderick Strange: Baptism allows us to share fully in the life of Jesus

Years ago I met a Methodist minister who had worked in Africa. He told me that one day some of the villagers where he was working came to him to ask if their children could be baptised. He was taken by surprise. Infant baptism was not a main part of his tradition and had not been something he had yet explained to these new adult Christians. He wondered with a laugh whether Catholics had been snooping. “Who has told you about children being baptised?” he asked them. “No one,” they answered. “But being baptised is such a blessing for us, we want our children to have it too.” Parents instinctively want to share their benefits with their children.

Of course, not everyone sees baptising the young as a benefit. Some would prefer to wait, believing that the choice of religion is something that people should decide for themselves, not have imposed on them when they are young. Others go further and identify it with indoctrination. Children should not be programmed in this way. But is baptism an imposition? Is baptising programming? What is being done when a person is baptised?

Read it all.

Posted in Baptism, Sacramental Theology, Theology

An Update from the Diocese of San Joaquin and Archbishop Greg Venables

As a point of clarification, there is no confusion on the part of the Bishop of San Joaquin or the clergy, people, leadership, and convention of the Diocese of San Joaquin of their status. The claims of the Episcopal Church to have oversight or jurisdiction are not correct. The fact is that neither the Diocese nor Bishop John-David Schofield are part of The Episcopal Church. The Bishop is a member of the House of Bishops of the Southern Cone as of December 8th, 2007. The Diocese is a part of the Southern Cone. Neither the Presiding Bishop or the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church have any further jurisdiction. Bishop Schofield is no longer a member of the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church.

A statement from The Most Reverend Gregory Venables, dated January 11,2008:

“As of December the 8th, 2007 Bishop John-David Schofield is not under the authority or jurisdiction of The Episcopal Church or the Presiding Bishop.He is, therefore, not answerable to their national canon law but is a member of the House of Bishops of the Southern Cone and under our authority.

Un fuerte abrazo.

–The Most Rev. Greg Venables, Archbishop of the Southern Cone

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Cono Sur [formerly Southern Cone], Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

A Statement from the Bishop of Fort Worth on Bishop Schofield’s Inhibition

It comes as no surprise that the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church has initiated canonical actions against the Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield to remove him from office. However, the matter is complicated by the fact that Bishop Schofield and the Diocese of San Joaquin, by constitutional action of their Convention, are no longer a part of The Episcopal Church. They now function under the authority of the Province of the Southern Cone. Disciplinary actions cannot be taken by this Province against a Bishop who is a member of another Province of the Anglican Communion.

The House of Bishops of TEC can indeed prevent Bishop Schofield from functioning as a Bishop in congregations of The Episcopal Church. However, they cannot invalidate his consecration as a Bishop in the Church of God, nor prevent him from functioning as such in congregations that welcome and affirm his ministry as their Bishop.

The Bishop of San Joaquin has my friendship, my support, and my prayers during this time of turmoil in the life of our church.

The Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker
Bishop of Fort Worth
January 12, 2008

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Cono Sur [formerly Southern Cone], Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin