Daily Archives: March 12, 2011

In Wyoming, St. Peter's Anglican Church welcomes a new rector

St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Cheyenne welcomed its new rector, Pastor Mike Glor, this week after a national search for the position.

Glor recently moved to Wyoming from Pennsylvania after finishing his seminary courses last year.

Prior to accepting the job at St. Peter’s, Glor worked as a program manager for a government contractor in Washington, D.C.

He said he felt a calling to ministry after working there for several years.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA)

(Telegraph) Andrew Wright: Religious education has direct relevance to British society

We are in the midst of a fundamental sea change in Western culture: the battle lines have been drawn, and the outcome remains unclear.

The traditional strategy of liberal democracies has been to seek to regulate religious debate by treating faith as a private activity carried out by consenting adults behind closed doors.

Recent terrorist attacks carried out in the name of religion have forced politicians to recognise that for the vast majority of religious believers ”“ not just the religious extremists ”“ authentic faith must impact on every aspect of their lives and cannot be consigned to the private sphere.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Education, England / UK, Globalization, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

(USCCB) Anglican-Catholic Dialogue Looks at Moral Discernment, Homosexuality

Anglican and Catholic ecumenical leaders examined moral discernment and homosexuality at their current round of dialogue where they explore the positions of the Catholic and Episcopalian churches on theological issues.

The meeting of the Anglican-Roman Catholic Theological Consultation in the USA (ARC-USA) held the sixth meeting of its current dialogue in Berkeley, California, February 28-March 1. Bishop Ronald P. Herzog of the Catholic Diocese Alexandria, Louisiana and Bishop John Bauerschmidt of the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee chaired the meeting.

Dialogue members continued to study the theme of the current round, “Ecclesiology and Moral Discernment: Common Ground and Divergences,” and considered a preliminary draft of some sections of a statement on this theme that they expect to adopt. Members also heard a paper by Rev. Matthew S. C. Olver summarizing the discussions so far in this round and outlining areas of disagreement and convergence.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Ecumenical Relations, Ethics / Moral Theology, Other Churches, Roman Catholic, Theology

The Archbishop of Canterbury's letter to the Primates of the Anglican Communion

Addressed to: Primates of the Anglican Communion and Moderators of the United Churches

My dear friends,

As we begin our pilgrimage towards the celebration of Our Lord’s death and resurrection, I send my greetings to you all, and my prayers that this season will bring us closer to the reality of Christ’s love and self-giving for us, so that His Spirit will move more powerfully among us to enable us to share that love with the world.

In the forefront of all our concerns at this moment is the situation of our brothers and sisters who are living with the daily threat of violent persecution or in unstable environments. Our thoughts are specially with the leaders and people of the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East, faced with massive instability and uncertainty, and with many disturbing signs of what may come ”“ and we remember also our Bishop in Jerusalem, still waiting for the clarification of his right of residence. We also think with anguish of the sufferings and anxieties of the Church in Pakistan, in the context of the brutal killings that have occurred in recent months and weeks. The continuing attacks on Christian communities in parts of Nigeria are a matter of deep concern, and I was grateful to be able to speak directly with the Primate recently about the need for Christians worldwide to keep this issue in the eyes of their own governments. In Zimbabwe, our Anglican Church is still subjected to constant attack because of its brave stand for justice. In Southern Sudan, after a referendum more peaceful than most people dared to hope, the Church faces the huge challenge of helping to shape a new nation while maintaining a united witness in Sudan as a whole. Current developments in the Abyei area make it clear that the risk of further conflict and displacement of populations is far from being a thing of the past. The same challenge of witnessing to a unity beyond political boundaries inspires the continuing courageous ministry of the Church in Korea.
It is as though we are all being reminded of the true cost of discipleship. Nothing could be more important for us to reflect on during Lent ”“ particularly those of us who live in relatively comfortable circumstances. And in the midst of all this, we also give thanks for our brothers and sisters who continue to serve sacrificially when natural disaster strikes, showing how the love of God in Christ can inspire faithful and costly care for a whole community. Our prayers are particularly with our friends in Christchurch, New Zealand, in the wake of the earthquake that claimed so many lives and destroyed the beautiful Anglican cathedral along with many other churches. There, as in Haiti and Pakistan last year, the Church has demonstrated beyond any doubt that it is an effective, compassionate presence for the healing of a devastated community. As I write, news has just come of an appalling earthquake in Japan ”“ our prayers go out for all those communities affected.

We look out at a landscape that is in many ways sombre. But what is as miraculous as ever is the fidelity of believers in the middle of it all. Christians in Pakistan or Egypt still obstinately go on loving their neighbours and their enemies and refusing to copy the ways of the world. There is no greater proof of the power and reality of Christ’s resurrection than this. The life of the One who was rejected and tortured to death is the same life that lives now in Christians; as St Paul says (Rom.6.9), Death has no more power over Christ ”“ and we who share his life through baptism are delivered from the deathly power of hatred and revenge.

These events also remind us of the importance of our worldwide fellowship. Whatever the wounds in that fellowship ”“ and they are still deep in many ways ”“ there should be no doubt of the willingness of all in our Communion to stand together in prayer and solidarity when confronted by attacks on the gospel and its witnesses, or by human suffering and loss. The recent launch of the global Anglican Alliance for Development, Relief and Advocacy, enthusiastically supported through the entire Communion, under the inspiring leadership of Sally Keeble, has been a sign of that continuing readiness to stand together and work together for the most vulnerable, in the name of the Lord ”“ and, very significantly, to support our local churches in holistic mission and to help them to continue as credible and effective partners for both governmental and non-governmental organisations ”“ since in so many areas only the churches can be trustworthy agents of change. For all this we can rightly give thanks. And I hope and trust that our celebration of the resurrection this year will be also a celebration of the ways we share the new life of Christ through this solidarity and mutual love.

The recent Primates’ Meeting in Dublin did not set out to offer a solution to the ongoing challenges of mutual understanding and of the limits of our diversity in the Communion. But it is important to note carefully what it did set out to do and what it achieved. In recent years, many have appealed to the Primates to resolve the problems of the Communion by taking decisive action to enforce discipline on this or that Province. In approaching the Dublin Meeting, we believed that it was essential to clarify how the Primates themselves understood the nature of their office and authority. It has always been clear that not all have the same view ”“ not because of different theological convictions alone, but also because of the different legal and canonical roles they occupy as Primates. Some have a good deal of individual authority; others have their powers very closely limited by their own canons. It would therefore be difficult if the Meeting collectively gave powers to Primates that were greater than their own canons allowed them individually, as was noted at the 2008 Lambeth Conference (Lambeth Indaba 2008 #151).

The unanimous judgement of those who were present was that the Meeting should not see itself as a ”˜supreme court’, with canonical powers, but that it should nevertheless be profoundly and regularly concerned with looking for ways of securing unity and building relationships of trust. And one reason for the fact that it did not offer any new schemes for this was that those present were still committed to the Covenant process and had no desire to interrupt the significant discussions of this that are currently going on (as many of you will know, several Provinces have already adopted the Covenant and others are very close to finalising their decision).

The Primates were strongly focused on the situation of churches under threat, and this was reflected in the statements they issued. But it is also important to recognise that the Primates made no change to their existing commitments to both the Covenant process and the moratoria requests. The purpose of the Dublin meeting was, as I have said, not to offer fresh solutions but to clarify what we believed about our shared purpose and identity as a Primates’ Meeting. I think that this clarity was achieved, and achieved in an atmosphere of very demanding and searching conversation, which intensified our sense of commitment to each other and the Communion. We were painfully aware of those who did not feel able to be with us, and held them in prayer each day, seeking to remind ourselves of the concerns that they would have wanted to put on the table. We were all agreed that the Meeting inevitably represented ”˜unfinished business’, and were all committed to pursuing the conversations needed to consolidate our fellowship. We shall continue to seek ways of meeting at every level that will prevent our being isolated from each other in suspicion and hostility.

Which brings me back to my starting point. The cost of discipleship is most dramatically manifest in the sufferings that our persecuted brothers and sisters are enduring. But it is also to be experienced in the ways in which we try to support each other in the Communion, despite all our differences. And I would dare to say too that it is part of what God calls us to in not only ”˜bearing one another’s burdens’ but bearing with one another and continually seeking ways to be reconciled ”“ which also means seeking to see ourselves more clearly and more penitently, and asking God to show us how we must change in order for there to be unity and united witness in the Church. Without praying together about this, we are less likely to discover what is possible and more likely to make scapegoats of each other. On a recent diocesan visit in England, I was told of the monthly prayer vigil that is held in the diocese to bring together those who are passionate supporters of the ordination of women as bishops and those who are wholeheartedly opposed. For much of the time when such matters are under discussion, people on both sides are going to be most aware of the pain, the possibility of ”˜failure’, the hurt of those we love. But in the sheer fact of praying intently together, we are at the very least reminded of the utter transcendence of God, who brings new possibilities to birth out of the heart of death, fear and loss.

I wish you all every blessing in the renewed discovery of the power of God who raised Jesus from the dead. May His Spirit transform us day by day into the likeness of Christ.

(Signed) Rowan Cantuar

Posted in Uncategorized

A Livestream of An Eagle on her Eggs

Check it out–wonderful to see (Hat tip: BRLM).

Posted in * General Interest, Animals

Diocese of Fort Worth Statement on Upcoming Property Inspections

When the Diocese realigned in November 2008, a small minority of our members elected to leave their churches to worship elsewhere. The following April, the Diocese was sued on behalf of those people, and two years later we are still in the midst of what will be a precedent-setting case to defend our property under Texas law.

In the weeks since our last court hearing, on Feb. 8, our lawyers have been conferring and negotiating with the plaintiffs’ attorneys over the terms surrounding Judge John Chupp’s Jan. 21 ruling, which favored the plaintiffs. Since the Jan. 21 ruling did not dispose of the case, the parties are engaged in a process of “discovery” which permits them to obtain and examine one another’s records. Some of the documents requested by the plaintiffs previously have been delivered to them for inspection, and other documents currently are being prepared.

In addition, lawyers for the parishes and missions of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth and lawyers representing the minority breakaway faction (affiliated with the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America) are making arrangements for the inspection, requested by attorneys and representatives of the minority faction, of all our property, including the Diocesan Center, Camp Crucis, and all our churches. This inspection is being arranged pursuant to a Request for Entry Upon Property filed by the minority faction pursuant to Rule 196.7(a)(1) of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.
This rule provides that any party to a lawsuit may request and obtain entry upon the property of another party to the lawsuit “to inspect, measure, survey, photograph, test, or sample the property or any designated object or operation thereon.” The Rule is customarily and routinely invoked whenever there is litigation between competing parties with respect to which party has a right to title or possession of property. This is nothing to be alarmed about, though the other side is attempting to use it for propaganda purposes, to promote the impression that they have prevailed in the litigation, when, in fact, it is far from over.

Previous rulings by the Trial Court in the litigation pending in Tarrant County ”“ including the interlocutory Declaratory Judgment ”“ have no effect on the right of the minority faction to inspect the properties. According to Rule 197(a), the right of a party to inspect property in the possession of the other party exists until “the earlier of 30 days before the end of the discovery period or 30 days before trial.”

The motivation that underlies the minority faction’s decision to incur the thousands of dollars in expense for the inspection of the property in the Diocese is unknown to the attorneys and officers of the Diocese. Unfortunately, however, the Diocese will incur substantial expense, because the inspections by the minority faction must be supervised by the attorneys representing the Diocese and its parishes and missions.

Attorneys representing both sides of the dispute are attempting to schedule the inspections so as to minimize disruption of regularly scheduled activities and events sponsored by the Diocese and its parishes and missions.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), Housing/Real Estate Market, Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth

Nicholas Kristof and Timur Kuran: Questions from my Islam Column

A few days ago I stirred a hornets’ nest with a column [the post immediately preceding this one on the blog] looking at why the Middle East lags economically and politically behind the rest of the world. The column was based on a terrific new book, “The Long Divergence: How Islamic Law Held Back the Middle East,” which was written by a Duke University scholar, Timur Kuran, who is an expert on the economic history of the region.

It’s difficult to address the issues comprehensively in 780 words (the length of a column), so I’ve asked Professor Kuran to expand a bit and address three common points raised by readers. The first question raised by many readers is about women: isn’t one major factor in the Middle East’s long stagnation the fact that it underutilized the female half of its population? If you’re only playing with half a deck, is it any wonder you lag? The second common question was about Western colonialism ”” many Arab readers thought that was far more important a factor in inhibiting Muslim countries than my column suggested, so I’ve asked Professur Kuran to address that. And, finally, many readers were left profoundly uncomfortable with the exercise itself ”” asking “Is Islam the Problem?” Is this a dangerous, unhelpful line of inquiry that ultimately creates polarization and cross-cultural antagonisms?

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Economy, History, Islam, Middle East, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

Nicholas Kristof: Is Islam the Problem?

Many Arabs have an alternative theory about the reason for the region’s backwardness: Western colonialism. But that seems equally specious and has the sequencing wrong. “For all its discontents, the Middle East’s colonial period brought fundamental transformation, not stagnation; rising literacy and education, not spreading ignorance; and enrichment at unprecedented rates, not immiserization,” writes Timur Kuran, a Duke University economic historian, in a meticulously researched new book, “The Long Divergence: How Islamic Law Held Back the Middle East.”

Professor Kuran’s book offers the best explanation yet for why the Middle East has lagged. After poring over ancient business records, Professor Kuran persuasively argues that what held the Middle East back wasn’t Islam as such, or colonialism, but rather various secondary Islamic legal practices that are no longer relevant today.

It’s a sophisticated argument that a column can’t do justice to, but for example, one impediment was inheritance law.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Economy, History, Islam, Middle East, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

(BBC) Huge blast at Japan nuclear power plant

A massive explosion has rocked a Japanese nuclear power plant after Friday’s devastating earthquake.

A huge pall of smoke was seen coming from the plant at Fukushima and several workers were injured.

Japanese officials say the container housing the reactor was not damaged and that radiation levels have now fallen.

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Asia, Japan

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Gregory the Great

Almighty and merciful God, who didst raise up Gregory of Rome to be a servant of the servants of God, and didst inspire him to send missionaries to preach the Gospel to the English people: Preserve in thy Church the catholic and apostolic faith they taught, that thy people, being fruitful in every good work, may receive the crown of glory that fadeth not away; 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

Save us, O God, from the false piety that parades itself in the eyes of men and is not genuine in thy sight; and so sanctify us by thy Spirit that both in heart and life we may serve thee acceptably, to the honour of thy holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Frank Colquhoun

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Lent, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness;
to the end that [my] glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.

–Psalm 30:11-12 (KJV)

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(First Things) Timothy George: Reading the Bible with the Reformers

For the reformers the Bible was a treasure trove of divine wisdom to be heard, read, marked, learned, and inwardly digested, as the Book of Common Prayer’s collect for the second Sunday in Advent puts it, to the end that “we may embrace, and ever hold fast, the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou has given us in our Savior Jesus Christ.” In his commentary on Hebrews 4:12, “The Word of God is living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword,” John Calvin declared, “Whenever the Lord accosts us by His Word, He is dealing seriously with us to affect all our inner senses. There is, therefore, no part of our soul which should not be influenced.” The study of the Bible was meant to be transformative at the most basic level of the human person, leading to communion with God. The spiritual power of the Bible emerges for Christians from the fact that the “Word of God” is not just a matter of words. Jesus Christ is the substantial Word, the eternal Logos who was made flesh”” verbum incarnatum””for us and for our salvation. Thus the “Word of God” involved the spoken word; the preaching of the gospel is a sacramental event, a means of grace. As Heinrich Bullinger put it boldly in the Second Helvetic Confession (1566): “The preaching of the Word of God is the Word of God.”

Whether read, preached, or heard, it was the Bible that stood at the center of the age of the Reformation, a time of transition, vitality, and change. In 1522, looking back on the recent and dramatic events of the previous years, Martin Luther saw God’s Word as the agent of change. “I opposed indulgences and all papists,” he observed, “but never by force. I simply taught, preached, and wrote God’s Word; otherwise I did nothing. And then while I slept or drank Wittenberg beer with my Philip and my Amsdorf, the Word so greatly weakened the papacy that never a prince or emperor did such damage to it. I did nothing. The Word did it all.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Theology, Theology: Scripture

In W. Michigan St. Luke's Episcopal Church priest, accused of shoving elderly parishioner, resigns

The Rev. Jay R. Lawlor resigned Wednesday as pastor at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, three days after an elderly parishioner filed a police report accused him of assault, according to a letter received today by church members.

The letter from Bishop Robert Gepert, who heads the Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan, said the church is launching its own investigation into the incident, which allegedly involved Lawlor shoving Marcia Morrison, 76.

Morrison was not injured, but told police she was emotionally traumatized.

“Regardless of what happened, and without laying blame, it does not reflect well on the whole community,” said Gepert’s letter. “As a result, I am obligated to initiate an investigation under Title IV of the Episcopal Church Canons. It also means I will begin searching for a priest-in-charge.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, TEC Parishes

(RNS) Minister Seeks Models of Manhood on the Big Screen

The aroma of freshly popped popcorn and the crack of soda cans opening while the “Gladiator” soundtrack blares through the speakers are a signal that it’s guys night out at Cornerstone Church.

Tonight’s feature is “Open Range,” a Western that pits those who believe in free access to water and grass for everyone’s cattle against “barbed wire” land barons, who used the fencing to block cattlemen from moving their herds.

But “Open Range” isn’t just a drama about late-19th century range wars, said Kevin Miles, founder and director of the Caledonia-based Go the Distance Ministries and sponsor of the movie series.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Men, Movies & Television, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture