Daily Archives: October 26, 2010

ENS–Executive Council passes reduced 2011 budget

…[Council member Katie Sherrod] said that her “deeper concern” is a “growing sense” that “some bishops are dangerously close to saying to the clergy and deputies, ‘We have no need of you.'”

Jefferts Schori said that she was not aware of bishops who want to do away with the House of Deputies, adding that she was “sorry to hear that.”

She said she was trying to point to the tension between bishops “who ideally in vocation are called to care for the whole and deputies who are elected by individual dioceses who represent the interests of those dioceses.” When a murmuring of “no” arose, the presiding bishop said “just a minute, let me finish,” explaining that she meant that dioceses elect deputies from out of the context of the diocese’s stance on the issues facing the church.

“I’m not impugning the understanding of individual deputies that they are called to serve the whole church,” she said. “What I am simply saying is that deputies in their election are called by particular dioceses. That’s not a perfect distinction, but generally it’s a tension and I hope I was careful to say that I don’t think we should resolve that tension.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Executive Council, House of Deputies President, Presiding Bishop

U.S. slips to historic low in global corruption index

The United States has dropped out of the “top 20” in a global league table of least corrupt nations, tarnished by financial scandals and the influence of money in politics, Transparency International said on Tuesday.

Somalia was judged the most corrupt country, followed by Myanmar and Afghanistan at joint second-worst and then by Iraq, in the Berlin-based watchdog TI’s annual corruption perceptions index (CPI).

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Theology

Diocese of Maryland Episcopal parish votes to join Roman Catholic Church

Mount Calvary Episcopal Church in Baltimore on Sunday became the first congregation in Maryland to vote to break ties with the Episcopal Church and take steps to join the Roman Catholic Church.

The small Anglo Catholic parish at Madison Avenue and Eutaw Street was feeling increasingly alienated from the Episcopal Church as it accepted priests who did not believe in what most of the congregation saw as the foundations of the faith, according to Warren Tanghe, a former Episcopal priest who is now attending St. Mary’s Seminary in Roland Park and preparing for ordination in the Catholic church. Tanghe knows members of the parish, where he has assisted in the past, and said they also were uncomfortable when the church began ordaining women, gays and lesbians.

The Episcopal Diocese of Maryland issued a statement Monday about the vote, but both the bishop and the rector, the Rev. Jason Catania, declined to be interviewed. A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Sean Caine, said the Catholic Church would welcome the congregation.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Ecumenical Relations, Episcopal Church (TEC), Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, TEC Conflicts, TEC Departing Parishes, TEC Parishes

(SMH) Peter Hartcher–China is on wrong side of history

The Australian Parliament had been scheduled yesterday to debate a resolution calling on China to free the Nobel peace prize winner Liu Xiaobo.

Liu, 54, was sentenced in December to 11 years in jail. His crime? To co-write Charter 08, a manifesto calling on the Chinese government to give real force to China’s constitution. This would separate the ruling party from the state, allow a truly independent judiciary and create a real parliamentary democracy.

The peaceful pursuit of these rights – rights enjoyed by the citizens of every other big power and grandly proclaimed in the constitution – was judged by China’s courts to be an “incitement to subvert state power”.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Australia / NZ, China, Europe, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Sweden

South Carolina Governor Candidates' Debate: Haley, Sheheen share priorities, but spar over fixes

Democrat Vincent Sheheen said Monday that the state must invest more in college and early childhood education as the economy improves, while Republican Nikki Haley said the state must ask businesses and faith-based groups to do more in the schools, from providing preschool to stocking public libraries.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * South Carolina, America/U.S.A., Economy, Education, Politics in General, State Government

Christine A. Scheller–How Far Should Forgiveness Go?

“Forgiving love is a possibility only for those who know that they are not good, who feel themselves in need of divine mercy, who live in a dimension deeper and higher than that of moral idealism, feel themselves as well as their fellow men convicted of sin by a holy God and know that the differences between the good man and the bad man are insignificant in his sight.”
””Reinhold Niebuhr, An Interpretation of Christian Ethics

I wish I could believe every one of these words from Reinhold Niebuhr. Instinctually, I don’t, wishing instead for Dante’s hell for certain kinds of sinners””like corrupt pastors who egregiously violate their calling and never repent. In my unregenerate opinion, I believe these types of sinners should be relegated to the eighth and ninth circles of Dante’s Inferno.

I’ve read numerous books on forgiveness. Some of them lead me to conclude that the authors have never known the kind of spiritual betrayal some Christians, including myself, have known. If they did, they could never write the pabulum they are selling.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

(Mail Online) Suicide law in UK 'would lead to 1000 deaths a year' Read more: http://www.dailymail.

More than a thousand Britons will die by doctor-assisted suicide each year if a U.S. law is imported, a think-tank will tell MPs and peers today.

Safeguards to limit the law to those patients who are terminally ill will also become meaningless as some doctors began to interpret the rules liberally in practice, the Living and Dying Well report says.

In Oregon, the first U.S. state to legalise assisted suicide, this has apparently led to ”˜doctor-shopping’ for physicians who will overlook criteria such as being terminally ill, mentally competent and making a choice to die free from coercion.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Life Ethics, Parish Ministry, Theology

BBC–Iran loads fuel into the Bushehr nuclear reactor

Iran has begun loading fuel into the core of its first nuclear power plant, state television has reported.

It marks a key stage in the firing-up of the Bushehr plant, which is set to produce electricity from 2011.

Russia will operate the facility in southern Iran, supplying its nuclear fuel and taking away the nuclear waste.

Iran’s separate uranium enrichment programme has alarmed Western nations, who distrust Iran’s claims it is solely for peaceful purposes.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Iran, Middle East

Bob Griffith–Our Anglican troubles… continued

All these machinations we are hearing from the leadership of the Episcopal Church in the U.S.A. concerning steps being taken by the Archbishop of Canterbury (ABC) and the governing structures of the Anglican Communion because we snub our nose and refuse to abide by a couple requests made of us by those bodies, increasingly smacks of people who are used to getting their way, but no longer can.

Now, honestly, I have to admit that abiding by these two requests will impact my life, but only minimally. What I have to acknowledge is that I don’t always get my way, I don’t have a “right” to anything within the Church or the Body of Christ, and that I consider myself to be part of a Church that is Catholic – all of these things cause me to recognize, acknowledge, and abide by things I don’t like, think is fair, or consider to be right. It isn’t all about me or my group. By saying that, I do not even consider that I stop advocating for myself, my group, what I think to be God’s will, what I believe to be right for the good order, safety, and benefit of all, and an advocate for those who are terribly abused by other Anglicans around the world and demand that they stop their abuse.

Soon, “imperialist” America will have to deal with the rest of the world standing up to us. How will we as a people and as a nation act when this really starts to happen in earnest? Will we join the rest of the world as equal partners or… will we continue to act like imperialists and attempt to force our will on the world or… will we retreat into isolationism?

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Instruments of Unity, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Windsor Report / Process

John Bell–Taking a sabbatical is a very biblical practice

One good legacy of the British Empire in Hong Kong is that even yet on Sundays the streets of the city from morning to night with hardworked Filipino maids who go to church and then spend the rest of the day sitting on blankets and cooking food for their friends.

But the Sabbath was also meant for the earth itself. Long before crop rotation and fallow years became British farming practice, people of faith were giving fields a year off so that the ground might recover its natural nutrients and be liberated from constant exploitation.

Perhaps the Sabbath is one of the most inclusive gifts which the Judeo-Christian tradition has to offer secular society. Everything needs a rest, especially people and places which are expected to be always on call. And I suspect that if Jesus (who regarded the Sabbath as a liberation) were around today he would endorse the good ecological practice of giving a sabbatical to the land… and he would perhaps encourage a Sabbath away from fast food, face-book, email and any other accoutrement to which we – if only we would admit it – are enslaved.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Alfred the Great

O Sovereign Lord, who didst bring thy servant Alfred to a troubled throne that he might establish peace in a ravaged land and revive learning and the arts among the people: Awake in us also, we beseech thee, a keen desire to increase our understanding while we are in this world, and an eager longing to reach that endless life where all will be made clear; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, who hast willed that the gate of mercy should stand open to the faithful: Look on us, and have mercy upon us, we beseech thee; that we who by thy grace are following the path of thy will may continue in the same all the days of our life; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Leonine Sacramentary

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

As he said this, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts that you sucked!” But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”

–Luke 11:27-28

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Archbishop Rowan Williams marvels at unusual ”˜Christian diversity' in Kerala

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, on Sunday laid out the road map for the growth of the South Kerala Diocese of the Church of South India (CSI), emphasising the need to be selfless in its service to society.

Delivering his message on the occasion of the golden jubilee celebrations of the South Kerala Diocese of the CSI here, the Archbishop wanted the Church to be a questioning church and a praying church, one which has learnt to trust in God.

He marvelled at the “unusual Christian diversity” in Kerala and said he was convinced that this was based on deep trust and relationship.

“Kerala is a land of great religious diversity, but not of conflict. In the last few centuries, it has been a land of unusual Christian diversity. But my stay here in the last few days has shown that it is based on deep trust and relationship. Within the spectrum of Christian differences, the South Kerala Diocese has a special place,” he said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Archbishop of Canterbury, Asia, India

ENS–A message from Executive Council to the Episcopal Church

A member of Council stated her desire to seek clarity from the Presiding Bishop about her remarks on Sunday on church governance. She noted that the Presiding Bishop’s remarks were taken by some to diminish the role of deputies in the widest governance of the church. The Presiding Bishop explained that she was not questioning the need for the House of Deputies nor diminishing their governance role, and that she views the natural tension between the two houses as healthy and necessary. She said that her larger concern was that leaders in the church ”“ bishops, clergy and laity ”“ not be afraid of exploring ways to respond to changing circumstances in a nimble way, that we “choose life” and find ways to insure that our governance enables that, and does not get in the way of it.

Out of that conversation came a renewed commitment to talk openly with one another, to challenge one another, and to trust that we all ”“ whatever our roles — are acting out of good motives.

We then heard a report from the Joint Standing Committee for Finances for Mission (FFM) about issues related to the budget. Committee Chair Del Glover explained that FFM’s work is to make sure we have the resources to do mission, and that the more clarity we have on mission, the better decisions we can make. Council adopted the budget.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Executive Council, House of Deputies President, Presiding Bishop

Resolutions for the 173rd Diocesan Convention of Indianapolis

Read it all.

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

The Bishop of Indianapolis' Diocesan Convention Address

Another challenge on the horizon is demographic in nature. The Diocese of Indianapolis is typical of TEC, (and the other mainlines churches) in that most of our members belong to large parishes, while most of our parishes have fewer than 100 people worshiping on an average Sunday. In some dioceses these parishes need to look for part-time clergy, and a growing number of new priests need to be tentmakers ”“ earning some part of their living in secular work. Clergy are not as mobile as in the past, and often cannot move to new positions unless there is work available for a spouse or partner as well. As this trend continues, dioceses and seminaries will need to collaborate in providing a variety of ways to educate and form all our members for ministries.

TEC has been struggling over forty years to live out our conviction that the mission of the church depends on all our members; as the catechism says, “the ministers of the church are lay persons, bishops, priests, and deacons.” Each order of ministry has its designated area of responsibility ”“ but there is a good deal of overlap, which is probably a good thing. Unless we are all working together to proclaim the Good News, to make the kingdom Jesus preached a reality, the mission of the church cannot be fully realized.

We have given a good deal of energy and attention to describing and defining the ministries of bishops and priests ”“ after all, much of our ministry is so public ”“ so ”˜up front’ and visible. We have done less well in acknowledging lay persons as the ”˜front line’ in proclaiming Christ and his kingdom in the world, and deacons as the iconic connection between our worship and our daily lives. It’s a special joy to celebrate the ordination of a deacon at our convention Eucharist, affirming the vital role of deacons among us.

Read it all.

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

BBC–The high price of bullying in the US

A global report on school violence identifies bullying as the biggest problem in US school playgrounds.

Slut. Fat. Gay. Those are some common words – weapons – America’s youth uses to target each other in bullying.

A global report released on Monday by children’s development organisation Plan International gauges the economic impact of school violence, which it categorised as corporal punishment, sexual abuse and bullying.

The US pays a high price for its youth violence, both in and out of schools. Plan estimated the total cost of all forms of youth violence at $158bn (£100bn).

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Education, Psychology, Teens / Youth