Monthly Archives: January 2009

A.S. Haley: Episcopal Church Asked to Pay for San Joaquin Lawsuit

The litigation in San Joaquin has entered a new phase with the filing of a cross-complaint against the Episcopal Church (USA) by the parties it initially sued last April. The cross-complaint, brought by Bishop Schofield and two diocesan investment entities which he heads (the Episcopal Foundation and the Diocesan Investment Trust), seeks an award against ECUSA for the amount of attorneys’ fees those defendants are being called upon to expend in defending the suit instigated by Bishop Jerry A. Lamb and a group calling itself the “Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin”, and joined in by ECUSA.

The cross-complaint states two claims for relief. The first asserts that ECUSA in effect put Bishop Lamb and his followers up to bringing the lawsuit that was filed in Fresno County Superior Court on April 24, 2008, by making false representations to them that they could be plaintiffs because they were now a genuine diocese of the Episcopal Church who had met in a legitimate “special convention” the previous month and elected a bishop. The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, convened the special convention herself, and proposed the Rt. Rev. Jerry A. Lamb, the resigned (retired) bishop of the Diocese of Northern California, to be its “provisional bishop”. After it concurred, the convention proceeded to adopt resolutions authorizing him to claim ownership of the corporation sole that holds title to diocesan real property, and to file the present lawsuit against Bishop Schofield and the investment entities, which manage the funds belonging to the diocese.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

Andrew Carey: A dangerous move by the Americans

Defenders of the Presiding Bishop claim that by her actions she has merely deprived him of a licence in the Episcopal Church. But surely the whole point is that after the deposition of Bob Duncan last September, Bishop Scriven’s ”˜licence’ was revoked. No, in fact it looks like Presiding Bishop Schori is attempting something much more sweeping here.

The Anglican Communion Institute again comments: “The Presiding Bishop’s action has profound consequences for TEC’s status as a constituent member of the Anglican Communion and its communion with the Church of England.” Her Declaration of Removal touches upon the ”˜ordinations’ conferred on him by the Church of England, not by The Episcopal Church, and therefore she is going down a very dangerous road by pretending to have the authority to pronounce on them. Furthermore, by prohibiting a bishop in good standing within the Church of England from ministering in The Episcopal Church, Presiding Bishop Schori is opening up the way for a diplomatic row.

Bishop Scriven, no doubt, will be laughing about this bizarre overstep by the Presiding Bishop, but the ramifications of this move should be examined further by English canon lawyers. It seems that The Episcopal Church is claiming to have an authority that it does not. And that, after all, is the root of the problem in the Anglican Communion.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh, TEC Polity & Canons

Obama pledges mortgage help with new financial plan

President Barack Obama promised on Saturday to help lower Americans’ mortgage costs with a new plan, coming soon, that would revive the financial system and “get credit flowing again.”

Obama, who has made fighting the country’s economic and financial crises the top priority of his young administration, called on the U.S. Senate to approve an economic stimulus bill that the House of Representatives passed this week.

But as economic conditions get worse the president said new strategies were coming to address the country’s ills.

“Soon my Treasury secretary, Tim Geithner, will announce a new strategy for reviving our financial system that gets credit flowing to businesses and families,” Obama, a Democrat, said in his weekly radio address.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The Fiscal Stimulus Package of 2009

In the South Carolina Lowcountry, More find themselves in Financial Vise

Water pipes will burst and fires will ravage homes. Which is why Brad Hager thought his job as a damage assessor at an insurance company was secure, even in a nasty recession.

But executives at his small company decided to cut back as a precaution, leaving Hager unemployed and worried about making mortgage payments on the Summerville home where he and his wife, Melissa, are raising two young girls and a teen-age foster son.

The Hagers had prepared to wait out the tough economic times. Brad, a painter who saw business slow last summer, took the job at the insurance firm after intentionally seeking out an industry he thought was recession-proof.

“This is all so surreal. I still don’t believe it,” said Melissa while attending a recent foreclosure prevention seminar in North Charleston. “If it’s happening to us, it’s really bad.”

Read it all from the front page of the local paper.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Notable and Quotable

At a dinner with business and political officials to examine the U.S. financial meltdown, Morgan Stanley’s chairman for Asia, Stephen Roach, responded to the question, “How could bankers be so stupid?” by posing his own questions: “How could regulators be so stupid? How could borrowers be so stupid? How could politicians be so stupid? C’mon guys, how could all you been so stupid?”

–From “Sign of the Times: CEOs Play ‘Refugees’ at Davos” in Friday’s Wall Street Journal, page A6

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Nationwide strike delays traffic, chokes public services, disrupts classes across France

A nationwide strike Thursday by French public and private sector workers fearful about the global economic crisis shut down rail and subway lines, choked public services and left millions of schoolchildren without their teachers across the country.

In Paris, commuters braved freezing temperatures and biked, walked and even took boats to work. But a 2007 law ensuring minimal transport service meant that some subways, buses and suburban rail lines were operating ”” and they were stuffed full of passengers.

Railway workers led the walkout that the French already are calling “Black Thursday.” Commuters, however, appeared resigned to the year’s first big strike.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Economy, Europe, France, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General

Europe Basks as U.S.-Style Capitalism Draws Fire

For years, Europe’s more-regulated model of capitalism has been maligned by many economists as a study in second-rate market economics. Now, as world leaders seek a way out of the crisis — and aim to avoid repeating it — U.S.-style capitalism is under siege and the European model is getting another look.

America may be stealing a glance across the Atlantic. In Washington, the Senate is gearing up for a debate next week on its version of the $819 billion economic stimulus package the House passed Wednesday.

“President Obama,” Mr. Barroso said, “is moving toward a European-style model.” Mr. Barroso, who runs the executive arm of the 27-nation European Union, cited the new administration’s aim to boost health-care coverage, access to student loans and public-infrastructure spending as examples of the U.S’s emerging European tilt.

Read it all from yesterday’s Wall Street Journal.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, Europe, Politics in General, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

An ABC News Nightline Profile of Mark Driscoll

The facilities may be cutting edge and the topics might appear liberal but [Mark] Driscoll points out that his beliefs are strict. He is a Calvinist, and believes that people’s fates are predetermined.

“I believe that Jesus is God, I believe the Bible is true, I believe people are really going to hell,” he said. “Those things in our culture are seen as crazy.

“If you are not a Christian then you do not have eternal life,” he implored in a sermon, although it’s not all fire and brimstone.

From his home office, filled with an impressive library, he showed some of his most cherished possessions, including a game-used Reggie Jackson baseball bat and a hand-written letter from Charles Haddon Spurgeon in 1873.

“He’s kind of one of my heroes,” Driscoll said of the influential British Reformed Baptist preacher known as the “Prince of Preachers.”

“He had the first mega-church in the history of the world. Five thousand people.”

Another one I caught when running this week. You may remember that Mr. Driscoll was recently featured in the New York Times magazine (that blog thread is there). I recommend the video version but if you do not have the capability to view it, then do read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Parish Ministry

U.S. Eyes Two-Part Bailout for Banks

The central question facing policy makers: How does the government help banks exorcise their bad bets? For many of these assets, there is no current market price. If the government buys the assets for more than they are ultimately worth, taxpayers will take the hit. If the government pays too little, banks will have to record losses on other similar assets, exacerbating the problem.

Read it all from the front page of today’s Wall Street Journal.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Credit Markets, Economy, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The Fiscal Stimulus Package of 2009, The September 2008 Proposed Henry Paulson 700 Billion Bailout Package

David Brooks on the Fiscal Stimulus Bill: a sprawling, undisciplined smorgasbord

Throughout 2008, Larry Summers, the Harvard economist, built the case for a big but surgical stimulus package. Summers warned that a “poorly provided fiscal stimulus can have worse side effects than the disease that is to be cured.” So his proposal had three clear guidelines.

First, the stimulus should be timely. The money should go out “almost immediately.” Second, it should be targeted. It should help low- and middle-income people. Third, it should be temporary. Stimulus measures should not raise the deficits “beyond a short horizon of a year or at most two.”

Summers was proposing bold action, but his concept came with safeguards: focus on the task at hand, prevent the usual Washington splurge and limit long-term fiscal damage.

Now Barack Obama is president, and Summers has become a top economic adviser. Yet the stimulus approach that has emerged on Capitol Hill abandoned the Summers parameters.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The Fiscal Stimulus Package of 2009

Church of England attacks Government Gambling Law

Desperate poor people will be fleeced by new gambling laws aimed at recovering the Government’s own losses, says the Church’s Mission and Public Affairs Council (MPA).

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Second Consultation proposes to double the stakes and prizes for fruit machines and even larger increases for ‘crane-grab’ machines. Together with the Methodist Church, the Quakers, the Salvation Army and the Evangelical Alliance, the MPA has criticised the Government for giving in to industry pressure, instead of defending desperately poor people.

In the MPA’s response to the consultation, it said: “While it is tempting to justify socially harmful policies by pointing to their economic benefits, it is wrong that people who are liable to engage in problem gambling should be made to pay the price of protecting businesses from financial pressures.”

An insider at the department confirmed that after the first consultation on the gambling regulations “the majority of respondents were from the gambling industry.”

Read it all.

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

Paul Richardson: The Church and the Recession

In his Smith Institute lecture Archbishop John Sentamu detected a loss of nerve in the Church of England. I believe it is not so much loss of nerve as faulty analysis that bedevils the church’s role in public life at the moment. However the archbishop is right to argue that communities, including faith communities, have a major role to play in promoting fraternity and delivering many important services. To the dismay of secularists, Obama has argued strongly for this.

But if the churches are going to run services then should insist on two conditions. In the first place, they should resist any attempt to make them compromise on those beliefs and values that are the very factors that make them effective.

In the second place they should link their contribution to a campaign for greater devolution to local communities across the board that would see charities or companies, for example, rather than local authorities, running schools. The kind of radical agenda being proposed by Alan Milburn with community groups running parks, housing estates and childcare centres, is the kind of policy to which the churches should be giving their backing.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Economy, England / UK, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Muslim population 'rising 10 times faster than rest of society' in Britain

The Muslim population in Britain has grown by more than 500,000 to 2.4 million in just four years, according to official research collated for The Times.

The population multiplied 10 times faster than the rest of society, the research by the Office for National Statistics reveals. In the same period the number of Christians in the country fell by more than 2 million.

Experts said that the increase was attributable to immigration, a higher birthrate and conversions to Islam during the period of 2004-2008, when the data was gathered. They said that it also suggested a growing willingness among believers to describe themselves as Muslims because the western reaction to war and terrorism had strengthened their sense of identity.

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Islam, Other Faiths

Edward Oakes: Surveying the Damage Schismatics Do

On the 21st of this month, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops at the Holy See, issued a decree in the name of Pope Benedict XVI lifting the excommunication imposed on Bishops Bernard Fellay, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Richard Williamson and Alfonso de Galarreta, which they had incurred when, on June 30, 1988, they let themselves be ordained as schismatic bishops by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in Écône, Switzerland.

Lefebvre, although himself a voting participant at the Second Vatican Council from 1962 to 1965, had come to believe that Vatican II had deviated so fundamentally from the received tradition of the Catholic faith as to be heretical. At first, his movement — although often disobedient — was only a form of protest inside the precincts of the Catholic Church. As long as he did not ordain bishops, his protest would remain an intra-Catholic affair, and it would probably have died out after his death. Fearing just such an eventuality, he finally went ahead and ordained, without permission, the four men named above, who by that act incurred automatic excommunication along, of course, with Archbishop Lefebvre himself (he died an excommunicate on March 25, 1991). At that moment, protest became schism.

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Ecclesiology, Other Churches, Roman Catholic, Theology

Church Times: ”˜Really weird’, but Henry Scriven bears no ill will on orders

Bishop Scriven remained as a bishop in good standing in the Episcopal Church after Pittsburgh diocese realigned with the Southern Cone in November last year. He believed the diocese had democratically made its decision and ”” in a response to the Church Times which came too late for publication ”” described the Convention’s vote as conducted “in a very fair and grace-filled way”. He made himself available as a bishop to all congregations who invited him, regardless of how they had voted.

He said at that time: “We still pray sincerely that further lawsuits can be avoided, and I certainly intend to maintain all my close friendships with the vast majority of those who have chosen not to stay with the diocese.”

Bishop Scriven described the letter he received in November releasing him from his orders as “really weird”. He retained it but did not respond to it. The promised certificate releasing Bishop Scriven from his orders did not reach him personally, “though, to be fair, she might have tried as I was wandering round the world,” he said on Wednesday.

The correspondence is now in the public domain. “I had no desire to publish these letters until the thing was announced but was then very happy for them to be released,” Bishop Scriven said. “Hers was a very gracious letter but I was kind of boggled by the language really….”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh, TEC Polity & Canons

Times: Religion helps shape public policy says Government minister Stephen Timms

Religion is important in shaping public policy and religious groups are helping build “a new politics based on hope” according to Government minister Stephen Timms.

Mr Timms, financial secretary to the Treasury and Labour’s vice-chair for faith groups, said the faith communities had always been the “natural allies” of progressive politics.

Sounding the final death knell for Alistair Campbell’s statement that Labour does not “do God”, Mr Timms made it clear that he did not believe religion is dying out and said faith groups have a lot to offer government.

He was speaking on the day that new research from Christian charity Tearfund showed churchgoing making “significant” increases after years of decline.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

ENS: Executive Council begins three-day meeting

The Episcopal Church’s 2010-2012 budget and a response to the St. Andrew’s Draft of the proposed Anglican Covenant topped the agenda January 29 as the church’s Executive Council convened a three day meeting in Stockton, California.

The meeting is taking place in the seat of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, a move made by the council to show its support for the diocese’s efforts at reorganization since the former leadership and a majority of its members joined the Argentina-based Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. Council members are scheduled to spend time on January 30 hearing about the progress made by the diocese.

Council began its meeting January 29 with an organizational plenary session, followed by private conversation. Council members, Episcopal Church Center staff and visitors celebrated Eucharist at midday. Members also devoted another hour to Council’s on-going effort to participate in the church’s anti-racism training effort.

Read it all.

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

Catholic Online: Traditional Anglican Communion set to Enter Catholic Church?

Catholic Online promised to up date our readers on this extraordinary story. So, we now pass this on: The National Catholic Register cites a “Vatican Source” as saying that “nothing’s been decided” by the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Reports abound that the Congregation has recommended the creation of a personal prelature as the vehicle through which to receive the members of the Traditional Anglican Communion into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church. The Register contends that an official at the Congregation spoke with their correspondent Edward Pentin today saying,“It’s something that has appeared on the blogosphere and then been reiterated, but the truth is nothing’s been decided.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, - Anglican: Latest News, Ecumenical Relations, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

Church Times: Primates to meet in Egypt behind closed doors

THE PRIMATES of the Anglican Commun­ion will meet in Egypt from Sunday to Thurs­day, behind closed doors. They will use a format largely modelled on the Lambeth Conference.

It will be the first time that the Archbishops who were at Lambeth will be together with those who boycotted the event, although some acceptances had still not been received this week. On Wednesday, the secretary of the Primates’ Meeting, Canon Kenneth Kearon, put that down to “personal dis­organ­isation” on the part of some.

The draft agenda is largely an extension of the Lambeth agenda. It has been put together by the Archbishop of Canterbury and Canon Kearon, but is deliberately undetailed, and has a “degree of elasticity”. Worship, Bible study, and group discussions will have a high prior­ity. The same question as the bishops dis­cussed at Lambeth will be asked here: what impact has the sexuality debate in the Anglican Com­munion had on the mission of the individual provinces?

Five Primates have been invited to lead the debate on this.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates

Mississippi most religious, Vermont least, survey says

Want to be almost certain you’ll have religious neighbors? Move to Mississippi. Prefer to be in the least religious state? Venture to Vermont.

A new Gallup Poll, based on more than 350,000 interviews, finds that the Magnolia State is the one where the most people ”” 85% ”” say yes when asked “Is religion an important part of your daily life?”

Less than half of Vermonters, meanwhile ”” 42% ”” answered that same question in the affirmative.

Read it all.

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

From the Did you Know Department?

WHITTIER, CALIF.The Southern California woman who gave birth to octuplets this week has six other children and never expected to have eight more when she took fertility treatment, her mother said Thursday

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children

RNS: Anglicans Set to Consider Rival North American Church

Conservative Anglicans say they do not expect their new North American church to receive official approval from Anglican archbishops who will convene next week (Feb. 1-5) in Alexandria, Egypt.

“We do expect that our situation will be discussed,” said the Rev.
Peter Frank, a spokesman for the newly established Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). “At the same time, it would be very surprising if there was some kind of quick, game-changing action.”

After years of disagreeing with the liberal majorities in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada, conservatives broke off and formed a rival church last December. Conservatives hope the fledgling province will ultimately be recognized as the official Anglican franchise in North America.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Proposed Formation of a new North American Province, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Primates, Anglican Provinces, Common Cause Partnership, Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Conflicts

Leaders Say Obama Has Tapped Pastor for Outreach Office

President Obama plans to name Joshua DuBois, a 26-year-old Pentecostal pastor and political strategist who handled religious outreach for the Obama campaign, to direct a revamped office of faith-based initiatives, according to religious leaders who have been informed about the choice.

The office, created by President George W. Bush by executive order at the start of his first term, is likely to have an even broader mandate in the Obama White House, said the religious leaders, who requested anonymity because the appointment has yet to be announced.

The White House declined to comment.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Religion & Culture

ACI: Is The Renunciation of Orders Routine?

Defenders of the Presiding Bishop are scrambling to re-interpret her extraordinary action of depriving a bishop of the Church of England of the gifts and authority conferred in his ordination and removing him from the ordained ministry of The Episcopal Church. For example, the group supporting the Presiding Bishop in Pittsburgh stated that “[t]his is a routine way of permitting Bishop Scriven to continue his ministry.” In the strange world of TEC, renunciation of orders has become a routine way of continuing one’s ministry.

But it is not routine. Indeed, it has not been used for those transferring from TEC to another province in the Anglican Communion until the Presiding Bishop began what resembles a scorched-earth approach to her opponents within TEC. Not surprisingly, in the past such matters have been handled by letter. One can see the evolution of the Presiding Bishop’s “routine” policy in the treatment of Bishop David Bena, who was transferred by letter by his diocesan bishop to the Church of Nigeria in February 2007. A month later, the Presiding Bishop wrote Bishop Bena and informed him that “by this action you are no longer a member of the House of Bishops” and that she had informed the Secretary of the House to remove him from the list of members. That was all that needed to be done. A year later, however, as her current strategy emerged, she suddenly declared in January 2008 that she had accepted Bishop Bena’s renunciation of orders using the canon she now uses against Bishop Scriven. In other words, if this is now sadly routine, it has only become routine in the past year.

Not only is this not routine, it was not necessary.

“This action reflects profound confusion” say the authors. Is there a better phrase to describe the common life of TEC at present? Doctrinal and Structural incoherence abound. Read it all–KSH

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh, TEC Polity & Canons

Mandatory Furlough for state employees in California

State workers will be taking two days off a month without pay after a judge sides with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

A Sacramento County judge ruled Schwarzenegger had the authority to put furloughs in place.

State employee unions call the decision “devastating.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Politics in General, State Government, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

A South Carolina Bill Says Women must wait a day before an abortion

Women seeking an abortion in South Carolina would have to wait at least 24 hours after their ultrasound under a bill given initial approval Wednesday by a House subcommittee.

The measure would increase the waiting time from an hour to a day.

Proponents said it would bring South Carolina in line with other states that have waiting periods and give women time to reflect on the decision. Critics said requiring two trips creates a burden, especially for poor, rural women.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Children, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics

John Allen on Pope Benedict XVI's decision to reinstate Bishop Richard Williamson

But on the other hand, you know, this certainly is a serious crisis in Jewish-Catholic relations. And I think it will probably leave behind a residue of ambivalence and doubt about where exactly the pope comes down that will not be easy to erase.

Probably the next major test of what the future of the relationship will be will come in May when Benedict XVI is scheduled to visit Israel. I think, in some ways, this will be analogous to the trip he took in late November and early December 2006, which — to Turkey, which came three months after he had given a very controversial lecture in which he quoted a 14th-century Byzantine emperor to the effect that Muhammad, the founder of Islam, had brought things only evil and inhuman. That set off a firestorm of protest in the Islamic world.

Benedict’s trip to Turkey gave him an opportunity to exercise some damage control. And by all accounts, he did that quite artfully.

Clearly, assuming it goes ahead, his trip to Israel this May will be another chapter in his attempt to heal what is right now a very badly fractured relationship with another religious community, in this case, Judaism.

Caught this on today’s run from last night’s Lehrer News Hour. John Allen is one of the really good religion reporters out there. Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Inter-Faith Relations, Israel, Judaism, Middle East, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

Gore Urges Senate To Avoid Kyoto-Type Failure

When Vice President Al Gore returned from Kyoto, Japan, with a climate treaty in 1997, it was already a dead letter. The Senate, which ratifies treaties, strongly opposed the deal even before Gore signed it.

On Wednesday, Gore returned to the Senate to offer advice about how to arrive at a different outcome as a new climate treaty is negotiated this year in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The federal calendar is packed with pressing business in 2009. One of the toughest deadlines is to lay the groundwork for the international climate talks in Copenhagen.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Energy, Natural Resources, Globalization, Politics in General

The Academy of Preachers: Preaching made better

“I believe that more American people hear a sermon in a given week than any other single extracurricular activity,” said Dwight Moody, executive director of the program. “People who are sitting in the pews are wanting better preachers.”

Moody, a former dean of the chapel at Georgetown College, teamed with St. Matthews Baptist Church in Louisville to run the program, which includes the retreat this month, a “preaching camp” this summer and a “festival of preaching” — both of which are expected to draw dozens of young people.

In between those events, participants will be communicating online and required to recruit a “preaching mentor” to guide their development.

Moody hopes the program — drawing mainly from Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee and other nearby states — will be duplicated in other regions.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics

Philly Fed: Activity Declined in Every State in December

A visual reminder of how tough it is out there.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--