Daily Archives: January 24, 2008

Now the MDG Liturgy

Adapted from a template prepared by Mike Angell of the Office of Young Adult and Higher Education Ministries at the Episcopal Church Center in New York, the liturgy takes the worshipper through eight stations of the MDGs, each signifying one of the goals of the 2000 UN programme to eradicate poverty in the developing world.

The service begins with an explanation of the meaning of the MDGs and the statement that “Today, we will pray and experience the MDGs as Stations as we commit ourselves to living out the Baptismal Covenant by working to achieve the MDGs. We see ourselves and the Church as on a pilgrimage in the world, journeying with each other toward the justice of the Reign of God as manifest in the goals.”

Pilgrims then recite the Baptismal covenant found in the American Book of Common Prayer and then move through each of the eight stations as leaders give reflections how the worshipper might help: eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, achieve universal primary education, promote gender equality and empower women, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases, ensure environmental sustainability, and create a global partnership for development.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Liturgy, Music, Worship

In Somerset Vicar Training to be a White Witch Resigns

A VICAR from Yatton who decided to take a course in becoming a white witch has resigned from his day job.

The Weston & Somerset Mercury revealed last week how Reverend Chris Horseman of Westaway Park, has begun his training to become a white witch, whose supposed magic is designed to do good or counteract evil.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Parish Ministry

Paul Bagshaw: Lambeth Conference in no sense a law making body

In relation to doctrine the Lambeth Conference (and, in England, the development of synodical government) were alternative to legal proceedings. All the experience of nineteenth century legal approaches to doctrine was that such methods failed. There is no reason to think that twenty-first century lawyers will be better judges of doctrine than nineteenth-century lawyers. There is no reason to think that twenty-first century bishops will be any more careful of claims of justice than were nineteenth-century bishops. And the first case in which the Primates find against the promoters will result in the court being blamed for its perverse finding and sections of the church refusing its jurisdiction. Stalemate.

Conferences and synods developed (in part) in order to talk and to keep talking and to enable argument and disagreement to continue within manageable bounds. Discourse, not law, is what keeps a communion together, keeps doctrinal debate in play, and enable both the reassertion of orthodoxy and adaptation to novel circumstances to proceed with the assent and through the reception of the majority.

It won’t please everyone. But, believe me, legal or semi-legal approaches to belief and faith will affront far, far more people.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Lambeth 2008

Notable and Quotable

“I am sorry, but I have a hard time buying the fact that a trader was able to set up a ‘secret trade’ of €4.9 billion without anybody finding out.”

Ion-Marc Valahu, head of trading at Amas Bank, Switzerland as quoted by Reuters; please note that Societe Generale was recently given the Equity Derivatives House of the Year award

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Economy, Europe, Stock Market

Ex-Treasury Secretary Assesses Recession Risk

Q. So if we are headed into a downturn ”” you hear the word recession batted about almost every day now ”” how severe might it actually be?

A. I think people need to be careful about the language that they use. I think almost all economists agree that the economy is slowing down. Where people differ is whether that’s going to remain a slowdown but something short of the kind of more serious slowdown that’s often characterized as a recession, or whether we really do get into serious difficulty. And I think it is impossible to have a judgment that you’re going to have a very high level of confidence in, but I think what one can say with a fair measure of confidence is that the risk has increased.

And it’s gotten to the level which calls for policymakers to be very active in all of the various ways they can be to try to address these risks and minimize the probability of serious difficulty ”” or if we have it, minimize the severity and length of that difficulty. And that means the [Federal] Reserve Board and it also means the administration and Congress [will need to act] in a whole host of areas including, but not limited to, the stimulus that’s now being discussed.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy

Bishop Keith Ackerman responds to inhibition of Bishop Schofield

From here:

We note with great sadness the retaliatory canonical actions of certain members of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, a Province of the Anglican Communion, against a Bishop of another Province of the Anglican Communion, the Right Reverend John David Schofield, Bishop of San Joaquin. We applaud, Bishop Schofield’s Primate, (since December 8, 2007) the Most Reverend Gregory Venables, for coming to the defense of one of his bishops.

We further must call into question the use of the particular Canon pertaining to the abandonment of the Communion inasmuch as the American Province is not a Communion. That particular designation is reserved for the worldwide expression of Anglicanism. In an age when Christianity must be increasingly serious in its endeavors to proclaim the received Gospel of Jesus Christ and to take seriously the Great Commission to “go and make disciples of all nations,” by baptizing, teaching, and obeying all that our Savior has commanded, we are distressed by litigious behavior that inhibits mission ministry.

Forward in Faith North America has endeavored to provide a safe place for orthodox Christians, and has sought a variety of measures, such as Alternative Primatial Oversight, as a means of preserving the “Faith once delivered to the saints.”

We commend Bishop Schofield, as one of the founding members of Forward in Faith North America.

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

In South Carolina John Edwards campaign Close to do or die

On the issues, John Edwards says he should have the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination wrapped up.

For starters, the U.S. economy is on shakier ground now than it was four years ago when Edwards ran for president, decrying job losses due, he said, to the North American Free Trade Agreement.

“We’ve all seen what happens with these trade deals,” he said recently.

But a clearly frustrated Edwards, the Seneca native who is running third in his native state, said his message has been lost in the media glare given two “celebrity candidates.”

More attention is focused on whether he’ll quit after Saturday’s Democratic primary than on what he’s saying.

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

Next on the worry list: Shaky insurers of bonds

Late last year, Dinallo encouraged Berkshire Hathaway, the company controlled by Warren E. Buffett, to enter the bond insurance business. At the time, Buffett said he did not want to invest in existing guarantors because of their financial problems, and he started his own firm instead.

Since then, the troubles have worsened. Last week, Fitch Ratings downgraded Ambac’s credit ratings to double-A, from triple-A. MBIA still has a triple-A rating from the three agencies; the others are Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s Investors Service.

While $15 billion might seem like a large amount of money for banks to commit to bond guarantors at a time when many investors have lost faith in them, Haines said it would be smaller than the billions the banks might have to write down if the companies lost their top ratings or incurred major losses.

“It’s a calculated kind of risk,” he said.

A spokesman for Ambac did not return calls seeking comment. A spokeswoman for MBIA declined to comment.

Analysts say it is unclear how much money would be needed to capitalize the companies adequately. The ratings agencies have changed their requirements several times already as they update their assumptions of defaults and losses on mortgage securities.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy

Diabetes costs USA more than wars, disasters, study says

Uncontrolled diabetes wreaks havoc on the body, often leading to kidney failure, blindness and death. A new study shows that the nation’s unchecked diabetes epidemic exacts a heavy financial toll as well: $174 billion a year. That’s about as much as the conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and the global war on terrorism combined. It’s more than the $150 billion in damage caused by Hurricane Katrina.

The incidence of diabetes has ballooned ”” there are 1 million new cases a year ”” as more Americans become overweight or obese, according to the study, released Wednesday by the American Diabetes Association. The cost of diabetes ”” both in direct medical care and lost productivity ”” has swelled 32% since 2002, the report shows.

Diabetes killed more than 284,000 Americans last year, according to the diabetes association.

Diabetes costs the nation nearly as much as cancer, whose costs in 2006 totaled $206.3 billion, although cancer kills twice as many people, according to the American Cancer Society.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine

Church-movie partnership: A leap of faith

Religion and Hollywood normally don’t sound like mix well — but a Baptist church in Shreveport hopes it will be a good fit.

And Summer Grove Baptist — which built its sanctuary out of an old shopping mall — doesn’t always go by the book.

The church is thinking about selling part of its property to a new film institute and studio. They would exist side-by-side — with the film studio making “family friendly” films with a Christian message.

The congregation votes on the idea next Sunday.

Summer Grove, which moved into the old South Park Mall three years ago, is considering a proposal by the Louisiana Film Institute and Fountain Bridge Studios to buy part of the mall. It’s talking about paying the church approximately $2 million a year over 30 years.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Baptists, Movies & Television, Other Churches, Religion & Culture

Prayer is at the Heart of the Church Says Pope Benedict XVI

The octave of prayer began in 1908, at the behest of Father Paul Wattson, an Anglican from the United States and founder of the Society of the Atonement, which later became the Franciscan Sisters and Friars of the Atonement.

He set the dates of the annual prayer octave for Jan. 18, which was at the time the feast of the Chair of St. Peter, and Jan. 25, feast of the Conversion of St. Paul.

“One hundred years after the first call to pray together for unity,” continued the Holy Father, “this Week of Prayer has now become a consolidated tradition.”

“Prayer is at the very heart of all Church life,” continued Benedict XVI, commenting on the decree of the Second Vatican Council on Church unity, “Unitatis Redintegratio.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Spirituality/Prayer

Norman Podhoretz: Stopping Iran

It is not short but is an important read.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Iran, Middle East

Poll: Giuliani slips to third in Florida

Rudy Giuliani has hit the skids in a Florida freefall that could shatter his presidential campaign and leave a two-man Republican contest in the state between John McCain and Mitt Romney, a Miami Herald poll shows.

Despite hovering over Florida voters for weeks, Giuliani is tied for third place with the scarcely visible Mike Huckabee in a statewide poll of 800 likely voters.

With his poll numbers slipping back home in the Northeast, Giuliani’s campaign will implode if he can’t turn it around in the six days left before Florida’s Jan. 29 vote, the final gateway before a blitz of primaries around the nation that could sew up the race.

”He may be running for president, but with these numbers he wouldn’t be elected governor of Florida,” said Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway, whose firm conducted the survey with Democratic pollsters Schroth, Eldon & Associates for The Herald, The St. Petersburg Times and Bay News 9. Alluding to the timeworn song, Conway added: “If he can’t make it there in Florida, he can’t make it anywhere.”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

Ephraim Radner–The Qtn of Discipline for Bishop Duncan in a Time of Confusion and Discernment

VII. Seventh, there are difficult and maddeningly slow formal attempts unfolding, yet unfolding nonetheless, within the Anglican Communion as a whole to begin to identify a means of getting through this adjudicatory impasse. It involves a host of synods, including the Lambeth Conference, and a proposed “covenant”, among other things. Since no one has offered an agreeable alternative to these unfolding attempts, they remain the primary means, indeed the only means available to all parties in the dispute to move forward. They are, furthermore, in keeping with the long traditions of catholic order and deserve a presumptive respect. Yet because they are both slow, still imperfectly defined, and legally of untested strength, the ultimate usefulness of these unfolding attempts must depend on a host of other Christian realities that – most would agree – actually define the Church of Jesus Christ far more essentially, primarily, and profoundly than do simply the Constitution and Canons of this or that province or diocese (indeed, that latter are, in a Christian sense, legitimate only to the degree that they embody these prior realities). These realities touch upon the gifts and fruit of the Holy Spirit and the powers thereof that permit a clear following of the Lord Jesus Christ’s own straightforward calling to specific forms of relational behavior. They touch upon matters of humility, patience, longsuffering, honesty and transparency, self-control, and much more. That is, both the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion of which it is still a part and which it has, rightly or wrongly, so disturbed through its executive actions, have been thrown upon a complete dependence upon these gifts and fruit, in a way that must transcend, even while respecting for the sake of the world’s order, particular rules and regulations.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh, TEC Polity & Canons, Windsor Report / Process

David Leonhardt: Worries That the Good Times Were Mostly a Mirage

So, how bad could this get?

Until a few months ago, it was accepted wisdom that the American economy functioned far more smoothly than in the past. Economic expansions lasted longer, and recessions were both shorter and milder. Inflation had been tamed. The spreading of financial risk, across institutions and around the world, had reduced the odds of a crisis.

Back in 2004, Ben Bernanke, then a Federal Reserve governor, borrowed a phrase from an academic research paper to give these happy developments a name: “the great moderation.”

These days, though, the great moderation isn’t looking quite so great ”” or so moderate.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Stock Market

Notable and Quotable (III)

The temptation to form premature theories upon insufficient data is the bane of our profession. –Sherlock Holmes

Posted in * General Interest, Notable & Quotable