Directions are here–we are thrilled to have him at the parish at which I serve. Sunday School at 9:30, worship at 10:30.
Daily Archives: January 27, 2008
Sixty-five parishioners from St. Paul’s Parish in Bakersfield made the trip to Charleston, S.C. Bakersfield residents Denise Irvin, Randal Messick, Fr. John Wilcox and Garrett Ming participated in the service. This attendance is a strong indication of the spiritual leadership of Lawrence and his adherence to Christian orthodoxy and biblical faithfulness.
The cathedral’s capacity of 1,100 was quickly exceeded, so streaming video was provided at two nearby churches. Twenty-five bishops from the United States, England, Dominican Republic, Tanzania and Canada were present Saturday. Also present was Edward Little, the former rector of All Saints in Bakersfield, who is now Bishop of Northern Indiana.
Georgia Camp Bell, formerly of Bakersfield, was one of the presenters. The daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Donald Camp of Bakersfield, she now lives in Charleston. Irvin, a long-time parishioner, presented Lawrence his gold bishop’s ring.
“It was a very moving experience. It helps each of us say this is a new beginning for St. Paul’s,” she commented.
Messick, a professor in theatre at Bakersfield College, read the epistle. He, too, considered the experience to be very moving.
“Fr. Mark has had a major influence on my Christian faith,” he said. “The strong responses today by those present in the liturgy and singing translates to a very strong commitment by the body of Christ and to its continuity.”
Calling for economic evangelism and political advocacy, the Most Rev. Katherine Jefferts Schori, elected leader of the nation’s 2.7 million Episcopal Church members, roused an audience of her denomination’s regional leaders in Roanoke on Saturday.
“Pester your legislators” to be more aggressive in battling poverty and hunger across the globe, urged Jefferts Schori. “Annoy them.”
The 53-year-old former oceanographer, who is said by religious scholars to be the only female top-ranked official of a major denomination — except for Queen Elizabeth II, whose crown makes her head of the Church of England — spoke with the conviction of a street preacher.
“When I was a kid I remember being taught that the world’s food problems would be solved by protein from the ocean. T’aint going to happen,” said Jefferts Schori, who before being ordained a priest in 1994 had a career in science that included a stint with the National Marine Fisheries Service.
As the Episcopalians’ Presiding Bishop, essentially their chief pastor, the New York City-based leader has been outspoken about her belief that science and religion can comfortably coexist.
Barack Obama left the Democratic field in his red clay dust Saturday, easily winning South Carolina’s first-in-the-South Democratic presidential primary.
In an election tainted by bickering and complaints about the focus on race and gender, black voters proved decisive for the U.S. Senator from Illinois.
According to exit polls, African-Americans accounted for more than half of Democratic voters, with four of every five of those voters, men and women, choosing Obama.
After spending much of the week fending off jabs from the Hillary Clinton campaign, Obama again tried to rise above the fray in his victory speech.
“It’s not about rich versus poor; young versus old; black versus white,” Obama said. “This election is about past versus future.
“Out of many we are one. While we breathe, we hope,” he said, referencing the state motto and his own campaign slogan.
Just call him Bishop Lawrence, finally.
Mark Joseph Lawrence endured two elections in a year’s span and waited patiently for confirmation that he would be the 14th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina. His election was approved in October, and on Saturday, he was consecrated in a liturgical ceremony at the Cathedral Church of St. Luke and St. Paul in downtown Charleston.
Hundreds of people came to witness Lawrence’s big day ”” distinguished guests from near and far, including Benjamin Kwashi, Archbishop of Jos, Nigeria; Anthony Burton, Bishop of Saskatchewan, Canada; Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon; and Charleston Mayor Joe Riley, who proclaimed the day after the new bishop during the service.
Lawrence’s consecration comes amid recent theological disagreement within the Episcopal Church, which is the American affiliate of the global Anglican Communion, the roots of which trace back to the Church of England.
Q. You’ve said that the “WWJD: What Would Jesus Do?” model is too simplistic. How would those people who get out of the stands proceed? What I want to say is that we have to listen to Jesus’ teaching. If “What Would Jesus Do?” means “How can we live our lives in a way that’s pleasing to Jesus?” then I think that’s a great question.
The problem is, we have to account for the differences between the first century and the 21st century. So if Jesus went from one place to another, he would walk and take a donkey. We take a bus or a plane, maybe.
Then we have to deal with other differences in context. For example, Jesus lived in a monarchy; we live in a democracy. So, Jesus never voted. But I think if he were here, he would vote. And Jesus never really talked about elections, because there weren’t any. But if he were here today, he might talk about that.
Q. You want a deeper reading of the Gospels…
Exactly. One of our problems is that some people don’t take the Bible seriously. They just dismiss it. And then other people claim to take the Bible seriously, but they read it in a very simplistic way. I think what we need to do is have people read the Bible with maturity and depth. And take it seriously.
It is hard to put into words my level of agreement with that last section which I put in bold. Read it all.
At a festive service at the Cathedral of Saint Luke and Saint Paul in Charleston today, Mark Joseph Lawrence was consecrated the 14th Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina. “We thank you and Allison for your strength and perseverance,” said Alden Hathaway, retired Bishop of Pittsburgh and preacher for the service, “you inspire us and give us hope.” Joined by their five children and six grandchildren, the Lawrences were greeted with a thunderous and lengthy standing ovation by the diocese who had elected Mark twice over the last two years.
Asked what most struck him by the service today, the Rev. Dow Sanderson, rector of Church of the Holy Communion in Charleston, said: “I was most encouraged by the joyful optimism of the people who were there, the belief that there is a glorious gospel to proclaim and that we have a faithful bishop who is going to stand fast in spite of the circumstances in order to enable us to proclaim it word and deed.”
The biggest damage is to Mrs Clinton’s claim that she will be an effective chief executive. Mr Clinton’s frenetic role in the campaign surely prefigures the role he will play in the White House, advising here, meddling there, and using the access to top-secret information that his position as an ex-president affords him to second-guess the most sensitive decisions. Who will hold Mr Clinton accountable for his actions? How will the White House function with an ex-president and a vice-president vying for influence? (One insider once termed the “three-headed” relationship between the Clintons and Al Gore a “rolling disaster”.) The Clintonians like to describe their bosses as complementary figures who act as “force multipliers”. But in the 1990s what actually got multiplied was confusion.
All this will be material for the Republican attack machine. By most reckonings the Republicans should be doomed. But the Clintons’ tactics are alienating blacks and young people. The Clintons are in the process of doing the impossible: making the 2008 election a referendum on them, rather than on the Republicans. And the Republicans are inching towards nominating their one candidate, Mr McCain, who has broad popular appeal. If what ought to be a stroll in the park in November becomes a real fight, then the Democrats will know who to blame.
A wild week for financial markets highlighted many concerns about the health of the U.S. economy. But how serious is the issue? One long-term issue: Mortgage debt and credit-card debt have roughly doubled since 2000. New York Times columnist Joe Nocera and Scott Simon discuss some of the issues behind recent market volatility.
It’s not easy being the Episcopal bishop of Newark, where a third of diocesan churches have money problems, membership is declining, and the monster shadow of Jack Spongs 24-year tenure always hangs over you.
For Mark Beckwith, who on Monday celebrates his one-year anniversary as the dioceses 10th bishop, the financial troubles are likely to be around for a while. But tonight, at the annual diocesan convention at the Hilton Hotel in Parsippany, he signaled he would not recommend consolidating or closing urban churches, a prospect that has worried some in recent years.
Fifty years ago, he said in his address, Newark had 17 Episcopal churches. Today it has three. Jersey City had 12 in 1958, and three now. Paterson had five, and two now.
“I suppose an argument could be made that our three largest diocesan cities were over-churched 50 years ago, but I wouldn’t make that case now,” said Beckwith, 56. “We have had enough church consolidation in our cities.”
Retired Army Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey currently is an adjunct professor of international affairs at the U.S. Military Academy (West Point). In December, he visited Iraq and Kuwait and was briefed by military commanders, including Adm. William Fallon (Commander Central Command), Gen. David Petraeus (Commanding General Multi-National Corps Iraq), and dozens of other flag officers and senior U.S. embassy officials in Baghdad. He also conferred with Iraqi army and police officers. He visited army training centers, markets, and other sites, including in Baghdad and Ramadi.
The purpose of his visit was to assess current “strategic and operational security operations in Iraq.” After returning to the U.S., he filed an “after action report,” dated Dec. 18, 2007, to the head of the academy’s department of social sciences. A copy of this report was forwarded to me by a flag officer and friend. What follows is a brief summary of what Gen. McCaffrey wrote:
–The struggle for stability in the Iraqi civil war has entered a new phase with dramatically reduced levels of civilian sectarian violence, political assassinations, abductions, and small arms/indirect fire and improvised explosive device attacks on U.S. and Iraqi police and army forces.
–The senior leaders of AQI [al-Qaida in Iraq] have become walking dead men because of the enormous number of civilian intelligence tips coming directly to U.S. forces.
–The Iraqi security forces are now beginning to take a major and independently successful role in the war. … The previously grossly ineffective and corrupt Iraqi police has been forcefully re-trained and re-equipped.
The video was compelling; I tried to find a way to link to the video and failed. In the meantime, read it all (and if any blog readers can find the direct video link let me know).
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori on January 25 wrote to inform each member of the standing committee elected at the last convention of the Fresno-based Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin that she does not recognize them as the standing committee of that diocese. She also assured continuing Episcopalians of financial and legal support in reconstituting the diocese.
Jefferts Schori, in a letter delivered January 26 to the committee’s eight members, cited their unanimous vote to disaffiliate with The Episcopal Church (TEC) and their “attempt to organize as the standing committee of an entity that identifies itself as an Anglican Diocese of the Province of the Southern Cone,” actions which violate church canons.
“In light of your recent actions, I find that you have been and are unable to well and faithfully fulfill your duties as members of the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin under Canon I.17.8,” she wrote. Canon I.17.8 provides that anyone accepting an office in the church “shall well and faithfully perform the duties of that office in accordance with the Constitution and Canons of this Church and of the Diocese in which the office is being exercised.”
“Accordingly, with this letter I inform you that I do not recognize you as the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin,” she wrote. “I regret the decisions that you have made to attempt to take the Diocese out of The Episcopal Church and the necessary consequences of these actions.”
A Democratic lawmaker in New Mexico wants to tax televisions and video games to raise funds to fight childhood obesity and improve education in the state, officials said Friday.
“I have asked our legislative council service to prepare the “Leave No Child Inside” bill and am hopeful that it will be ready for me to introduce on Monday,” educator-turned-lawmaker Gail Chasey told AFP.
“Leave No Child Inside” — a play on the federal education initiative “No Child Left Behind” — is backed by grassroots environmental group, the Sierra Club.
“The bill proposes levying a one-percent excise tax on the purchase of TVs, video games and video game equipment and would create the ‘Leave No Child Inside’ fund to receive those revenues,” Michael Casaus of the Sierra Club told AFP.
The author and sponsors of the bill, who include dozens of other organizations besides the Sierra Club, according to Casaus, expect to raise four million dollars (three million euros) a year through the tax.
The items that would be taxed have been carefully chosen because of their links to obesity and poor school performance, the Sierra Club says, citing medical studies.
Around one-quarter of New Mexico’s children are obese or overweight, and just over half finish high school, said Casaus.
Today Christians celebrate the Feast of the Conversion of St Paul. It is an unusual feast, for it is not an anniversary of the death, or martyrdom, of a saint but a commemoration of a “turning around” of one of the great teachers and thinkers of the Christian world.
St Luke records in the Acts of the Apostles how Saul, the strictest of Pharisees, was journeying to Damascus to persecute and put to death Christians, the followers of a new way, which he regarded as heretical. They had to be stamped out because they were leading the people of God astray. Suddenly, on the Damascus road, a blinding light from Heaven overwhelmed Saul, the blinding light which in the Jewish tradition was the shekinah, the dazzling glory of God. He falls to the ground and asks “who are you Lord?” To which the answer comes: “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.” There, at the very centre of the glory of God, is the One whose followers Saul had come to Damascus to root out. Blinded and overwhelmed by this experience, Saul is led stumbling into Damascus. There, a Christian disciple, Ananias, comes in obedience to find the persecutor, and lays hands on him that Saul may receive his sight again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.
A national Episcopal leader visited Bakersfield Thursday, heard believers’ concerns about the San Joaquin Diocese’s recent secession from the church and appointed a local clergyman as a temporary missionary priest to serve Bakersfield area believers.
He also said the national church considers the diocese’s Dec. 8 decision to place itself under overseas Anglican rule illegal.
The Rev. Canon Robert Moore, of Seattle, who was appointed by the Episcopal Church’s presiding bishop, the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, as an “interim pastoral presence” in the San Joaquin Valley, spent the day in the greater Bakersfield area as part of a five-day “listening tour” that will culminate in a valley-wide conference in Hanford on Saturday.
At a Thursday night gathering of 60 to 70 believers and clergy at First Congregational Church and hosted by Remain Episcopal in the Diocese of San Joaquin, a faith community opposed to the split, Moore received hearty applause when he announced he had appointed the Rev. Tim Vivian, a Bakersfield resident, to a “temporary pastoral position as missionary priest under my direct supervision, which puts him within the jurisdiction of the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church.”
“My purpose is … to be pastorally supportive of these congregations and missions,” said [John] Guernsey, who hails from Falls Church, Va. “I’m coming to Midland to talk about the worth of sharing our faith. That’s what I’ll be preaching about.”
Leadership at Christ Church is looking forward with excitement to the visit.
“We’re thrilled that he has found time for us and our other two West Texas Anglican congregations so soon,” said the Rev. Tom Finnie, Christ Church rector. “We respect the fact that he is busy and cherish the time he is giving us.”
It’s evident that as the bishop for the American churches, he will have a growing task ahead of him. Soft-spoken and with a bookish look, the Yale graduate has seen the number of churches allied with Uganda skyrocket before, during and after his consecration.
In June 2007, the Ugandan church reported 26 American congregations. In September, the number had risen to 33. Now, the total is 44, Guernsey said.
There are many other American Anglican churches that have sought shelter and affiliation with other foreign churches, many in Africa and South America. Guernsey estimates that number to be more than 300.
Though it’s not the main purpose for his visit — “This is not a political trip at all,” he said — Guernsey is currently working toward a larger goal.
If all goes well, a new nationwide Anglican church composed of those that broke with the U.S. Episcopal Church will be formed, and all of the dissenting churches allied overseas will be released to the new structure.
“The congregations are eager to put the difficulties and church conflicts behind them,” he said.
Now that [Mark] Lawrence’s calling into a higher level of responsibility has become a reality for him — a bishop is to be “the shepherd of the shepherds of God” and “the chief shepherd of the diocese,” he said — Lawrence is a very busy man.
“The closest I can compare what I’m going through right now is trying to learn a new language in an intensive program,” he said. “There are so many dimensions to the ministry and work of a bishop that I’m immersed in learning all the dimensions.”
Since relocating to South Carolina near the start of this year, he has been learning all he can from retiring bishop the Rt. Rev. Edward L. Salmon Jr., who served in that capacity for 18 years and will be one of Lawrence’s consecrating bishops. Lawrence will have to oversee at least 70 missions and parishes and about 30,000 diocesan members. He will be responsible for the confirmation of new believers and the ordination and appointment of deacons and priests in parishes within the diocese.
He will also have to sit on the boards of two seminaries, several colleges and a slew of other institutions to which the South Carolina Diocese is connected.