Daily Archives: March 28, 2009

Living Church: Blue Book Report Warns of Long Term Episcopal Church Decline

More than five years later, tensions caused by the consecration of a partnered homosexual man as Bishop Coadjutor of New Hampshire continue to affect half of all Episcopal churches, according to census information compiled in the Blue Book prepared for the 76th General Convention, to be held July 8-17 in Anaheim, Calif.

The report, based on results from 783 completed surveys, is a sober snapshot of an aging denomination, struggling with unresolved conflict and in danger of long-term decline. It was written by the House of Deputies Committee on the State of the Church and included in the Blue Book report published in advance of Convention.

“In prior years the Committee on the State of the Church often heard the criticism that our church seemed unwilling to recognize the presence of a major source of internal controversy that some argued was having an impact on our common life, as reflected in declining membership and attendance statistics,” the Blue Book Report states. “The metaphor most often used was that we ”˜failed to acknowledge the elephant in the room’, referring to what many viewed as the momentous decision by the 74th General Convention (2003) to consent to the consecration of the Bishop of New Hampshire.”

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

ENS: Program, Budget & Finance committee begins work on 2010-2012 plan

Crafting a three-year budget more than a year in advance of its starting date is never an easy task, but the Episcopal Church’s Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance (PB&F) acknowledged this week that the work is even tougher given the world’s economic crisis.

The committee met March 24-27 at the Maritime Institute’s Conference Center to begin work on the church’s 2010-2012 triennial budget, which it will present for the 76th General Convention’s approval this summer in Anaheim, California. Speaking to the timeframe involved in the effort, Episcopal Church Treasurer Kurt Barnes pointed out that work on the budget began six months ago and that Executive Council approved a draft version two months ago.

“The world has changed a couple of times” during that period, he said. The budget will not be complete until General Convention approves it, a vote now scheduled for July 16. The budget takes effect January 1, 2010.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, Stewardship

Bishop of Rochester to resign a decade early

One of the Church of England’s most outspoken bishops has announced that he is to resign a decade early to devote the rest of his life to work with Christians in Islamic areas.

The Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, the Church’s only Asian bishop, who is just 59 and could have stayed at Rochester until his 70th birthday, intends to use his expertise as an Islamic scholar to work in Pakistan where he was born and in the Middle East to build bridges between Christians and Muslims.

A conservative evangelical, he will step down in September after nearly 15 years in the diocese.

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

Thousands flee Fargo ahead of menacing floodwaters

Thousands of shivering, tired residents got out while they could and others prayed that miles of sandbagged levees would hold Friday as the surging Red River threatened to unleash the biggest flood North Dakota’s largest city has ever seen.

The agonizing decision to stay or go came as the final hours ticked down before an expected crest Saturday evening, when the ice-laden river could climb as high as 43 feet, nearly 3 feet higher than the record set 112 years ago.

“It’s to the point now where I think we’ve done everything we can,” said resident Dave Davis, whose neighborhood was filled with backhoes and tractors building an earthen levee. “The only thing now is divine intervention.”

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Posted in * General Interest, Weather

ACNS: The Increasingly Desperate Situation of the People Trapped in Vanni

As religious leaders, we are extremely concerned about the deteriorating plight of the civilians who are still trapped in the Vanni. Endless debates about the actual numbers trapped or who is primarily to be blamed for their plight are not the most urgent needs at this stage. The immediate and absolutely urgent need is to recognize that this is a very critical humanitarian crisis faced by fellow Sri Lankans. The needs of food, water, health, sanitation, shelter and, above all, physical security of these our sisters and brothers and children need to be addressed without delay. From all independent reports available, the plight of these trapped civilians has become absolutely desperate. These are people who over the past several years have lived under severe deprivations and restrictions and have in recent months been displaced several times over. We urge that all sides recognize the helplessness and powerlessness of these desperate Sri Lankans to change their circumstances or voice their fears and concerns. We earnestly appeal to all concerned to set aside debates on secondary issues and take immediate steps to alleviate their suffering.

We are grateful that a seven mile long strip has been declared by the Government of Sri Lanka as “no-fire” zone. We trust that negotiations can be facilitated to ensure that there is bilateral agreement for this “no-fire” zone and for the avoidance of the use of heavy artillery and multi-barrel shelling in the areas where civilians reside. We are also thankful that arrangements have been made for the sick and the injured to be transported by ship to Trincomalee for treatment. But in the prevailing desperate plight of civilians in the Vanni, we appeal to all parties, in the name of our religions and in the name of our common humanity, to have the humility and the courage to agree to the following…

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Latest News, Asia

Muslim Priest and Buddhist Bishop-Elect Are Raising Questions About Syncretism

Jesus saves, the Episcopal Church teaches, but a growing number of its clergy and leaders believe other faiths may lead to salvation as well. Long divided and distracted by questions of sexual ethics, the Episcopal Church (along with most mainline Protestant communities) are facing a cultural and theological shift towards religious pluralism””the belief that there are diverse paths to God.

The debate is not just academic. In two current cases, Episcopal clergy are under scrutiny for practicing and promoting other religions. On February 12 a devotee of Zen Buddhism was elected bishop of the Episcopal Church’s Northern Michigan diocese. Meanwhile, a Seattle-area priest has been given until March 30 to decide whether she is a Muslim or a Christian as her bishop will not permit her to profess both faiths.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Christology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Northern Michigan, Theology

The 21st Bank Failure this year

Take a look.

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

The Bishop of New Jersey preaches at the Consecration of the Bishop of WNY

A brother in sacred song as well as in Pastoral efficiency, with Presbyters like Herbert, Keble, and Croswell; be still a brother in that heavenly gift as well as in Episcopal Authority, as you take your seat with Ambrose, Gregory Nazianzen, Ken and Doane. Win souls to Jesus by every power that God has given you, and through every avenue that He has opened to the hearts of man.

The bearer of an honored name, you will to-day consecrate anew to the Triune God the treasures of your intellect and heart, in all their varied richness, and pour them out afresh at the foot of the Cross. For the hill of Ecclesiastical eminence like Calvary of old, is crowned with THE CROSS; and they who, in God’s providence, ascend through the grades of the Christian Ministry to the highest point of Churchly authority, will find themselves lifted up, not for self exaltation but for self crucifixion. “As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you””“these words embrace, within their mysterious scope, suffering and sacrifice, as well as authority and dignity. A Bishop’s true crozier is the Cross; his Mitre the crown of thorns: his Ring the stigmata of self sacrifice; and his message of peace and good will the end as well as the beginning of his Holy Ministry.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, TEC Bishops

A Downturn Wraps a City in Hesitance

Over the last four decades, Powell’s Books has swelled into the largest bookstore in North America ”” a capacious monument to reading that occupies a full square block of this often-drizzly city. But this year, growth has given way to anxiety.

Michael Powell, the store’s owner, recently dropped plans for a $5 million expansion. An architect had already prepared the drawings. His bankers had signaled that financing was available. But the project no longer looked prudent, Mr. Powell concluded ”” not with sales down nearly 5 percent, stock markets extinguishing savings, home prices plunging and jobs disappearing.

“It’s going to take a period of time to recover,” Mr. Powell said. “Whether it’s 2 years or 10 years I don’t know, but I don’t think it’s going to be quick. People are nervous.”

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