Daily Archives: February 16, 2008

Democrats Look to Avoid Convention Rift

Former Vice President Al Gore and a number of other senior Democrats plan to remain neutral for now in the presidential race in part to keep open the option to broker a peaceful resolution to what they fear could be a bitterly divided convention, party officials and aides said Friday.

Democratic Party officials said that in the past week Mr. Gore and other leading Democrats had held private talks as worry mounted that the close race between Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton could be decided by a group of 795 party insiders known as superdelegates.

The signs that party elders are weighing whether and how to intervene reflects the extraordinary nature of the contest now and the concern among some Democrats that they not risk an internal battle that could harm the party in the general election.

But they also provided an early glimpse at the complex set of tradeoffs facing party leaders, from their desire to make their own influence felt to their worries about offending the candidates and particular constituencies ”” not to mention the long, sometimes troubled relationship between Mr. Gore and the Clintons.

The issues party leaders are grappling with, they said, include how to avoid the perception of a back-room deal that thwarts the will of millions of voters who have cast ballots in primaries and caucuses. That perception could cripple the eventual Democratic nominee’s chances of winning the presidency in November, they said.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

In the Diocese of Wakefield Mystery worshippers to test out churches

THEY have supermarkets everywhere quaking in their boots as they scrutinise every aspect of their service.

But now the dreaded mystery shoppers can be seen walking down different aisles; those of local churches.

As part of a scheme being launched in churches across the Wakefield Anglican diocese mystery worshippers will be dropping in to gauge the standard of warmth, welcome and fellowship.

It will be modelled on the mystery shopper schemes used by researchers to assess the service offered by hotels, shops and other retailers.

The mystery worshippers will focus on how welcoming the churches are, with a checklist including how comfortable newcomers are made to feel they, whether coffee and biscuits are served and the level of friendliness before and after the service.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE)

In Canada Five Anglican parishes set to separate from Church

At least five more Anglican churches — three in British Columbia and two in Ontario — are likely to separate from the national Church over the divisive issue of same-sex blessings by the end of the month. Another four will also vote on similar motions this month.

They will be following St. John’s, the country’s largest Anglican parish, which voted this week to leave the Anglican Church of Canada. The Vancouver parish chose to put itself under the authority of conservative Gregory Venables, the Archbishop of the Southern Cone, which encompasses parts of South America.

Rev. Andrew Hewlett, minister at St. Mary of the Incarnation near Victoria, which will vote tomorrow, received a letter from the bishop of his diocese, James Cowan, that said anyone “found to be acquiescing in or to be actively promoting such a separation” could face “immediate termination of employment without notice or severance.”

He said the vote will go ahead despite the threat because it is the will of his congregation that it happen. He expects the motion to leave the Canadian Church will pass.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Two Sides Testify on Same-Sex Marriage in Maryland

Supporters and opponents of same-sex marriage clashed before a Maryland Senate committee yesterday, with traditionalists invoking religious convictions and gay rights advocates describing their cause as a civil rights struggle.

The lengthy hearing, which drew dozens of speakers on both sides of the most divisive social issue the General Assembly will take up this year, was headlined by Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler (D), who became Maryland’s first elected statewide official to endorse legislation allowing same-sex marriage.

Gansler’s office had successfully defended the state against a lawsuit by gay couples who sought to overturn a law prohibiting same-sex marriage. But yesterday, the former prosecutor from Montgomery County called same-sex marriage a “moral imperative” and a “basic matter of fairness.”

“This bill is fundamentally about equality,” Gansler told the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. “It would be wrong for me to have this job knowing there’s something so wrong in our society and just ignore it.” He said qualms about same-sex unions seem to be limited to older people: “For the younger generation, this is a non-issue.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Sexuality

Anglican Planet: Canada's largest Anglican congregation leaves ACC

On its website the Diocese reports considerable shrinkage: “In the history of our diocese, 124 parishes have been established, and 47 have been merged or closed.”

[Leslie] Bentley said, “There can be no good reason for the Diocese to take over the parish to protect [theologically] liberal members as there are six liberal parishes within a ten-minute drive of St John’s, which leads me to believe that the Diocese is only interested in protecting St John’s building and property. They either want the money or they just want us out.”

No diocesan money was used to start the parish; the Diocese only gave permission for it to be founded. The church was independently incorporated in the Diocese in 1932. This year the church exceeded its budget by $28,000. Bentley claimed that not only has Bishop Ingham “abandoned” St John’s for the past six years, but the Anglican Church of Canada has been “completely mute” as well. She said if Bishop Ingham locks them out “We’ll meet on the grass.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces

Municipalities Feel Pinch as Another Debt Market Falters

The credit crisis paining Wall Street is reaching out across the nation, afflicting municipalities, hospitals and cultural touchstones like the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

In recent days another large but obscure corner of the financial world has come under acute stress. Alarmed by the running turmoil in the debt markets, investors have refused to buy certain securities that not long ago many regarded as equivalent to cash.

Even though the securities are long term, banks hold auctions periodically to set the interest rates. During the last three days, almost 1,000 of these auctions failed because there were not enough buyers. The banks that marketed the instruments, known as auction-rate securities, also declined to buy.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey now finds itself paying a rate of 20 percent on $100 million of its debt, almost quadruple its costs a week ago. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is now paying 15 percent on auction securities. It is unclear how long such high rates will persist, or when the market for these instruments will revive, if at all.

“What is going on here is a credit crunch,” said G. David MacEwen, chief investment officer for fixed income at American Century Investment, the big mutual fund company. “And the cost of the credit and the availability of credit even for good borrowers has clearly taken a big hit.”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy

Second church in Diocese of New Westminster Set to Respond to Leadership's Intransigence

Members of an Anglican church in Abbotsford are expected to become the second local congregation in a week to split from Vancouver-area Bishop Michael Ingham over his support for same-sex blessings.

And two more Anglican churches — St. Matthias/ St. Luke and The Church of the Good Shepherd — in Vancouver are poised to fill out similar ballots later this month as orthodox followers openly challenge Ingham’s liberal vision for the church.

“We are prepared to act on our faith,” said Rev. Trevor Walters of St. Matthew’s Anglican parish in Abbotsford, whose members will cast their votes Sunday.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Three-way split in San Joaquin

The dispute over the secession of the Diocese of San Joaquin has led to the formation of three de facto ecclesiastical authorities for the California diocese: one loyal to Bishop John-David Schofield, one loyal to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, and a third to the diocese’s Standing Committee.

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

Nasir Saeed: Disenfranchised in Pakistan

It is interesting to note that Bhutto always had the support of most Christians, despite our tribulations under her father, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. Christians hoped that she would truly be a moderate force for democracy, but even before her assassination, she betrayed those hopes.

Christians who supported PPP and other secular political parties comforted themselves that it was the first joint election after the abolishment of the separate electorate system, in which religious minority candidates competed ”” almost always unsuccessfully ”” against Muslim candidates. Political parties, we thought, should be given time for adjustment. We have been proven wrong.

This regrettable and discriminatory attitude is not new to me; I am not shocked, but disappointed. Christians have been considered second-class citizens since 1949, when the democratic dictatorship imposed Objective Resolution ”” nicknamed Pakistan’s Magna Carta ”” and declared that Pakistan would be modeled on Islamic ideology. Ever since then, the situation has gotten progressively worse, with almost all consequent rulers contributing to this situation.

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto nationalized schools and colleges in 1972, taking the top schools out of the church’s control. When General Zia-ul-Haq’s regime decided to return the schools and colleges to their owners two administrations later, Christians were refused entry to Christian schools and colleges, while the privileged were admitted.

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Other Churches, Pakistan

GAFCON Response to Evangelical English Bishops

We think it is important to let you know our reasons for not acceding to your request, and also to make them public since your letter is public. We have a number of concerns.

First, the Lambeth Conference is not a two hour seminar discussing a contentious issue. It is three weeks in which we bishops and our wives are called to share together our lives, our prayer, our bible study, our meals, our worship and the Lord’s Supper, to be a family together.

You will know that some of us have not been able to take communion with the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church since February 2005, – a period of about three years. The reason is that TEC took an action to consecrate Gene Robinson as Bishop in 2003 contrary to the resolution of the Lambeth Conference, an action of which they have not repented. The consecrators of Gene Robinson have all been invited to Lambeth, contrary to the statement of the Windsor Report (para 134) that members of the Episcopal Church should “consider in all conscience whether they should withdraw themselves from representative functions in the Anglican Communion”.

You will know that some of those who objected to this consecration in the United States and have made arrangements for orthodox oversight from other provinces including ours have been charged with abandonment of communion. Their congregations have either forfeited or are being sued for their properties by the very bishops with whom you wish us to share Christian family fellowship for three weeks.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Global South Churches & Primates, Lambeth 2008

It doesn't get much better than this

If you haven’t made a 100 things I would like to do before I pass from this world to the next list, do make one and make sure seeing this musical one time is on there–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Music, Theatre/Drama/Plays

A Nifty ABC News Nightline report on a Policeman and a Policewoman who are Married

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Posted in Uncategorized