Daily Archives: January 30, 2008

Bishop Howe: Church Litigation a Travesty

At the conclusion of the diocesan convention Jan. 25-26 at St. James’ Church, Ormond Beach, Bishop Howe told a reporter for The Living Church that though exhausted, he was pleased with the negotiations.

“We are on the best of terms with all those leaving,” he said. “And we are committed to rebuilding where there have been losses.”

In his address to convention, Bishop Howe said the last three months had been the worst period of his life. However, amicable solutions had been reached with the members of the eight congregations who sought to withdraw from the diocese.

“There are those who simply have to leave The Episcopal Church for conscience sake,” he said. “I understand that. I don’t agree, but I don’t believe we should punish them. We shouldn’t sue them. We shouldn’t depose the clergy. Our brokenness is a tragedy. The litigation that is going on in so many places is a travesty. And although some seem to be trying to do so, I don’t think you can hold a church together by taking everybody you disagree with to court.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Central Florida, TEC Departing Parishes

John Edwards Dropping out of the Presidential Race

Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

Economy Nearly Stalled in 4th Quarter; Suffers Worst Year Since 2002

The economy nearly stalled in the fourth quarter with a growth rate of just 0.6 percent, capping its worst year since 2002.

The Commerce Department’s report on the gross domestic product, released Wednesday, showed an economy that had deteriorated considerably during the October-to-December quarter as worsening problems in the housing market and harder-to-get credit made individuals and businesses more cautious in their spending. Fears of a recession have grown.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy

The Latest TEC Numbers

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Data, TEC Parishes

The Letter from some Pittsburgh Clergy Referred to in the Previous Posting


We are rectors and clergy in good standing of the Diocese of Pittsburgh who believe the
best way forward for renewal and reformation of the Episcopal Church is support for the
Windsor Report and its recommendations. While we understand the need of many of our
brothers and sisters to leave the Episcopal Church, we have determined to remain within,
and not re-align out of, the Episcopal Church. We intend to “keep alert and always
persevere in supplication for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:6).

Dated this 29th day of January, 2008:

The Rev. Nancy Chalfant-Walker
Priest-in-Charge, St Stephen’s Wilkinsburg

The Rev. Dr. Jay Geisler
Rector, St. Stephen’s, McKeesport

The Rev Dr. Daniel Hall
Episcopal Priest Associate, First Lutheran

The Rev. Norman Koehler
Priest, Chaplain

The Rev. Jeffrey Murph
Rector, St Thomas, Oakmont

The Rev. Scott Quinn The Rev. Dr. Don Youse
Rector, The Church of the Nativity

The Rev. Dr. Bruce Robison
Rector, St. Andrew’s, Highland Park

The Rev. Canon James Shoucair
Rector, Christ Church, North Hills

The Rev. Dr. James Simons
St Michael’s, Ligonier

The Rev. Dr. Stephen Smalley
St. Barnabas’, Brackenridge

The Rev. Philip Wainwright
Rector, St. Peter’s, Brentwood

The Rev. Dr. Don Youse
Priest-in-charge, Emmanuel, North Side

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

In Pittsburgh Diocese Letter shows rift among Episcopal conservatives

In the first public sign of disagreement among theologically conservative clergy in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh over the leadership of Bishop Robert W. Duncan Jr., 12 such rectors and priests told him this week they disapprove of his effort to remove the diocese from the Episcopal Church and will, instead, remain with the denomination.

The 12, including the president of the diocese’s clergy association and its longest-tenured rector, mailed a signed, one-paragraph letter yesterday to the diocese’s 66 churches saying that while they supported the “reformation of the Episcopal Church … we have determined to remain within, and not realign out of” it.

Three members of the group, including the Rev. Scott Quinn of the Church of the Nativity in Crafton and the Rev. Jay Geisler of St. Stephen’s in McKeesport, met Monday with Bishop Duncan at his Downtown office for about an hour to tell him they were going public.

The group does not support ordination of openly gay clergy or conducting same-sex blessings, the so-called “innovations” at the forefront of denominational disputes since 2003. However, members said they do not believe it is necessary to leave the Episcopal Church, the American arm of the worldwide Anglican Communion, to make that point.

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

Giuliani Prepares to Exit, Back McCain

Rudy Giuliani, who bet his presidential hopes on Florida only to come in third, prepared to quit the race Tuesday and endorse his friendliest rival, John McCain.

The former New York mayor stopped short of announcing he was stepping down, but delivered a valedictory speech that was more farewell than fight-on.

Giuliani finished a distant third to winner McCain and second-place finisher Mitt Romney. Republican officials said Giuliani would endorse McCain on Wednesday in California. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in advance of the public announcement.

“The responsibility of leadership doesn’t end with a single campaign, it goes on and you continue to fight for it,” Giuliani said, as supporters with tight smiles crowded behind him. “We ran a campaign that was uplifting.”

Asked directly if he was dropping out of the race, Giuliani said only: “I’m going to California.”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

Missouri Roman Catholic Bishops to pols: Curb your anti-immigration talk

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Politics in General, Roman Catholic, US Presidential Election 2008

John McCain’s Florida Primary Victory Speech

My friends, in one week we will have as close to a national primary as we have ever had in this country. I intend to win it, and be the nominee of our party. And I intend to do that by making it clear what I stand for. I stand for the principles and policies that first attracted me to the Republican Party when I heard, in whispered conversations and tap codes, about the then Governor of California, who stood by me and my comrades, and who was making quite a reputation for standing by his convictions no matter the changing winds of political thought and popular culture. When I left the Navy and entered public life, I enlisted as a foot soldier in the political revolution he began. And I am as proud to be a Reagan conservative today, as I was then. I trust in the courage, good sense, resourcefulness and decency of the American people, who deserve a government that trusts in their qualities as well, and doesn’t abrogate to its elf the responsibilities to do for the people what the people can and want to do for themselves.

We Republicans have always known that the first responsibility of government is to keep this country safe from all enemies foreign and domestic, and the American people unburdened by the heavy hand of government that spends too much of their money on things they neither want nor need, while failing to do as well as we should the things none of us can do individually. Government must defend our nation’s security wisely and effectively, because the cost of our defense is so dear to us, measured in losses so hard to bear, and in the heartbreak of so many families. Government must respect our values because they are the true source of our strength; and enforce the rule, which distinguishes successful democracies from failed societies, and is the first defense of freedom. And the judges we appoint to federal benches must understand that is their only responsibility, and leave to elected officials their responsibility to make the laws that they enforce. We believe government should do only those things we cannot do individually, to tax us no more than necessary, and spend no more than necessary, and then get out of the way of the most industrious, ingenious and optimistic people in the history of the world so that they can build an even greater country than the one they inherited.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

McCain Defeats Romney in Florida Vote

Senator John McCain edged out Mitt Romney to win the delegate-rich Florida primary on Tuesday night, solidifying his transformation from left-for-dead candidate to a front-runner and dealing a devastating blow to the presidential hopes of Rudolph W. Giuliani, whose distant finish here threatened to doom his candidacy.

Republican officials said Tuesday night that Mr. Giuliani was likely to endorse the Arizona senator, possibly as early as Wednesday in California.

Mr. McCain’s narrow victory showed he could win in a state where only Republicans were allowed to vote ”” not just in states like New Hampshire and South Carolina, where his earlier victories were fueled in part by independent voters. And in Florida, even a slim victory is sweet: the state awards its 57 delegates, the most of any contest yet, on a winner-take-all basis.

With more than 90 percent of the precincts reporting, Mr. McCain had 36 percent of the vote, Mr. Romney 31 percent, Mr. Giuliani 15 percent and Mike Huckabee 13 percent.

“We have a ways to go, but we’re getting close,” Mr. McCain said to supporters gathered here. He described himself as a “Republican conservative,” though he drew strong support in Florida from moderate and socially liberal voters.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

Digging out of credit card debt

Before you watch it all guess how many credit cards the average American has

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy

Love and marriage don’t have to go together, say British majority

Living together is just as good as being married, even when it comes to bringing up children, British people now believe.

Fewer than a fifth of people think there is much difference between being married or living together and more than half (53 per cent) say that weddings are more about celebration than life-long commitment.

A comprehensive study of public opinion found that only 28 per cent think married couples make better parents than unmarried pairs and there is broad support for step-families, who are widely seen to be doing a good job. More than three quarters of the public believe that a mother and a stepfather could bring up a child just as well as two biological parents.

The research also discovered that most people think divorce is a normal part of life, with two thirds saying that it can be “a positive step towards a new life”. Even when children are involved divorce is no longer seen as a disaster, with 78 per cent of the public saying the end of a marriage in itself does not harm children, although conflict between parents does.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Marriage & Family

House Passes $146 Billion Economic Aid Package

The House voted overwhelmingly Tuesday afternoon to approve a $146 billion fiscal stimulus package, hoping to quickly seal a fast-paced deal with the Bush administration. But Senate Democrats forged ahead with their own, more expensive plan despite a rising chorus of warnings from the White House and Speaker Nancy Pelosi that they risk delaying much-needed help for the economy and could plunge the nation too far in debt.

The House vote was 385 to 35, with 169 Republicans joining 216 Democrats voting “yes.” Voting against the package were 10 Democrats and 25 Republicans.

The Senate plan, put forward by Senator Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana, the Finance Committee chairman, would cost $160.5 billion in 2008. After 10 years, the total cost would be somewhat lower at $151 billion, compared with $117 billion a year for the House plan. Both proposals include individual tax rebates and business tax incentives, and one-time payments for those who do not pay income taxes. The Senate plan also includes an extension of unemployment benefits.

House leaders complained that while their plan would deny tax rebates to the wealthiest earners, the Senate package would not have any caps, meaning that lawmakers themselves would qualify for payments.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Politics in General

President Bush Urges Economic Action, Iraq Patience

President Bush, standing before Congress one last time, urged the nation Monday night to persevere against gnawing fears of recession and stay patient with the long, grinding war in Iraq. He pressed Congress to quickly pass a plan to rescue the economy.

“We can all see that growth is slowing,” Bush said in a blunt acknowledgment of rising food and gas prices, increasing unemployment and turmoil in the housing and financial markets.

He cautioned against accelerating U.S. troop withdrawals from Iraq, saying that would jeopardize progress achieved over the last year.

“We have unfinished business before us, and the American people expect us to get it done,” Bush declared. It was his final State of the Union address and he faced a hostile, Democratic-led Congress eager for the end of his term next January.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Politics in General

From The National Post: The trouble with Mary

Jordan Peterson has an easy way to prove to most everyone they are a person of faith. It is not faith as one normally thinks of it at this time of year — that the Son of God was born to a virgin Jewish woman in a stable in a not-so-great part of Bethlehem about 2,000 years ago — but there is a connection.

“I presume that you assume that the future is real,” said Prof. Peterson, who teaches psychology at the University of Toronto and has studied the impact of belief on society. “The future is an immaterial entity. It’s composed entirely of possibility. So your belief in it is an axiom of faith.”

Across town, Archbishop Thomas Collins, whose responsibility is the region’s 1.7 million Catholics, said he believes in quarks, the little particles that are one of the two most fundamental components of the physical universe. Archbishop Collins has never seen a quark and nor has anyone else. They are, he said, like so many other things we take on faith, beyond our human comprehension.

“In this world there’s a lot more than can be caught in the coarse net of secular and rational reasoning,” said Archbishop Collins. “The imperfect instrument of the human reason is profoundly valuable, but it cannot capture everything. And the Virgin Birth is certainly something that doesn’t fit into it. Mysteries and miracles are simply things that boggle the mind. But they are real and they are profound.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Canada, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

The Bishop of Tennessee's Diocesan Convention Address

Finally, I want to say something about the peculiar point in our life as Episcopalians and Anglicans that we presently inhabit. I believe the Windsor Report offers us the way forward as we work to repair the common life of the Anglican Communion. At our 2007 Convention, clergy and delegates resolved that “the findings and recommendations of the Windsor Report represent the best way forward for the Episcopal Church USA and the Anglican Communion”. In addition, the Diocese re-affirmed a commitment to being a “full and active part of the Anglican Communion, in unity with the See of Canterbury, and the Episcopal Church USA; forgoing our own local desires for the sake of the greater Anglican Communion; and a conciliar approach to decision-making in the life of the Church and the Anglican Communion by working with and heeding the collective wishes of the Communion before making unilateral decisions”. These graceful words of connection I have made my own on a number of occasions, and I do so again today.

As Bishop of Tennessee, I am committed to the so-called Camp Allen principles of compliance with the recommendations of the Windsor Report, principles that the Archbishop of Canterbury identified in his recent “Advent Letter” as making obvious “that such dioceses and bishops cannot be regarded as deficient in recognizable faithfulness to the common deposit and the common language and practice of the Communion”. I hope that you know that I am committed to a traditional understanding of Christian marriage, and that that I believe the Church’s traditional teaching on sex and sexual relationships. I have been saying this consistently and publicly, I believe, since the year 2000, when it suddenly seemed necessary (at least to me) to say so. I will follow through with the discharge of my responsibilities as bishop, but you should also know that I am not planning on taking my beliefs and commitments and using them as a weapon against anyone, a tool in some war of separation that I do not believe will serve the Gospel or the Church.

I reaffirm these commitments in regard to the Windsor Report that I have made on a number of occasions before. I plan to attend the Lambeth Conference, one of the four “Instruments of Unity” that we have as a Communion. I believe that we are called to life together, as a Communion and as a Diocese, to unity in the midst of difference. Can we model in the Diocese of Tennessee a life together, where we can recognize the life of the Risen Christ present within each other, even when we disagree about important and even fundamental things? There are other voices that have put before us a different view of the situation, in which the church is defined by separation from those with whom we disagree. These voices identify the errors of others and then continue on a separate way. I believe that the end result of this process is the end of the church as a community of faith, faith that overcomes difference in the Risen Lord. We need to seek a common mind in the Church, that’s absolutely correct; there is no virtue in difference for difference’s sake when we can seek agreement, especially about fundamental things that might now divide us. But in order to seek a common mind we are going to have to show up in the same place and share the same life. That’s the life I’m committed to. It is the way of death and resurrection, the pattern we have learned from Christ; it is the way of bearing one another’s burdens, though I am acutely aware that the burden I bear may be small in comparison to that of others; it is the way of self-giving, of sacrificial offering, so that others may live. It is not the easy way, but I think it is the Gospel way, in this time and place, for us now in the Diocese of Tennessee.

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

Mark Lawrence's Remarks to South Carolina's Diocesan Convention

Watch and listen to it all.

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

Jerry Weinberger: Rebels with Causes

Like Hitchens and Paine, Franklin was an egalitarian freethinker with no scruples against free men’s fighting to secure liberty””their own and that of others. As Franklin said in Plain Truth, written in 1746 against Quaker pacifists and others unwilling to arm against French and Spanish privateers threatening Philadelphia: “One sword often keeps another in its scabbard . . . and the way to secure peace is to be prepared for war.” And Franklin was delighted that England won the Seven Years’ War. But like Hitchens and unlike Paine, Franklin was a cautious revolutionary, and after the American Revolution could still regret that the costly war had not been avoided. It’s impossible, of course, to know whether a 300-year-old Franklin would have favored the war in Iraq. He might have. But he definitely would have thought that, as with all matters of war and liberty and revolution, it would not be an easy call.

He certainly would have listened to and taken seriously what Hitchens has had to say about the current conflict. Old Ben would know that for Hitchens, moralist though he may be, one can’t be a true foe of despotism if one’s judgment is deranged by anger and absolutist indignation. Beyond that question, Franklin would like this delightful book because its message is that, of the two modern revolutions that Paine said having a share in was “living to some purpose,” the one that got most things right””with one notable and tragic exception””was the first.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A.