Daily Archives: December 12, 2011

David Anderson–What's Happening with AMiA?

At this point it is hard to know what to make of this – well, let’s call it what it is, a spiritual mess – and to know exactly how to unring the many bells that have now already been rung. I will note for the record that I am a bishop of CANA/Nigeria and of the ACNA, and that as President of the AAC, my organization is comprised of AMiA and non-AMiA members, and I will further note that at GAFCON, MaryAnne and I chose to ride on the bus that had all AMiA (except us) members on board, because we enjoy their company. When AMiA decided to move from ACNA member status to “mission partner” status, I was disappointed in the distancing that I felt.

With all of this said, I first sensed alarm when the letter of the Washington, DC AMiA members was posted publicly, as it gave evidence that all was not well in the Anglican Mission, as it is currently called. Then additional letters, most of which have been posted on Stand Firm in Faith or TitusOneNine websites began to come in, some from Rwanda, and some from Chairman Murphy in response. There has been a communications train wreck unfolding in slow motion. It would seem that Rwanda is not pleased with the new direction that +Chuck Murphy wishes to take the Mission, and in taking it out of Rwanda proper. They told him to stop his action and repent or resign from the AMiA chairmanship.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of Rwanda, Other Churches

Kendall Harmon's Sermon from this past Sunday, Advent III

Listen it all.

Posted in * By Kendall, * Christian Life / Church Life, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Sermons & Teachings

South Carolina Standing Committee Responds to Letter of Province IV Bishops

(Please note that the letter to which this letter below responds may be found there–KSH).

Third, this diocese grows weary of the constant interference in its internal affairs that continues to disrupt our mission. First, there was the non-canonical intrusion by the Presiding Bishop’s office hiring counsel for the episcopal church in this diocese to investigate our parishes, then there was the

assertion by a subcommittee of the executive council that our constitutional and canonical amendments duly considered and passed were somehow not effective, then there were charges brought against our bishop now correctly recognized by the Disciplinary Board of Bishops for what they were at the outset – without merit. Yet, within less than two weeks of that decision, we have yet another attempt without canonical or constitutional support to inject others into the internal affairs of this autonomous diocese.

So, let us be clear. We will not use the coercive force of threatened litigation over property to impose a false and destructive unity upon this Diocese. We cannot sanction the compromise of a full gospel proclamation that is undermined by actions such as the communion of the un-baptized. We cannot sanction the undermining of Christian marriage by the practice of same sex marriage or blessings. In such matters of the internal governance of this Diocese, out of the great depths of our love and concern for our people, we will continue to assert the autonomy that is historically and constitutionally ours and we will do so consistent with our belief that God alone dictates our future.

Bp. Lawrence has communicated to us his intent to meet with you and other attending Province IV bishops next week in the spirit of collegiality invoked in your letter. Given all we have said above, we are concerned about your motives and have expressed these concerns to Bp. Lawrence.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina, TEC Polity & Canons

(New Statesman) Richard Dawkins attacks David Cameron over faith schools

In his leading article in the 19 December issue of the New Statesman, which he has guest-edited, the evolutionary biologist and bestselling author Richard Dawkins launches a scathing attack on David Cameron and his government’s imposition of religious tradition on society in the form of faith schools.

Dawkins’s open letter, addressed to the Prime Minister, leads with a warning that we must not be distracted “from the real domination of our culture and politics that religion gets away with in (tax-free) spades”; indeed, these religious traditions are “enforced by government edict”.

In a direct rebuke to David Cameron’s “government, [which,] like its predecessors, does force religion on our society, in ways whose very familiarity disarms us”, Dawkins lists examples, from bishops in the House of Lords and the fast-tracking of “faith-based charities to tax-free status” to the “most obvious and serious” case of government-imposed religion: faith schools.

Read it all.

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

Economist Bagehot Column–As recession looms, the C of E is active and vocal, but in the wrong way

The evidence that the Church of England is returning to the centre of public life is ambiguous. True, religious music is popular. In some places that shows a yearning for faith. But if cathedrals are increasingly popular, it is in part because they are anonymous, admits a priest: there is no danger of being asked to visit a sick parishioner afterwards. Business is also booming for commercial carol concerts in non-church settings, where a mince pie and nostalgia are as much the lure as harking the singing of herald angels. Across the country, Raymond Gubbay, an impresario behind several shows at the Royal Albert Hall, is putting on 200 such Christmas concerts.

Nor is the St Paul’s Cathedral camp as flattering as it seems. The protesters wanted to surround the London Stock Exchange. Thwarted, they ended up at St Paul’s largely by accident. Headlines about bishops chiding the government are also double-edged. Too often, what is striking is not the daring of Anglican prelates but their lack of self-confidence. Time and again, bishops sound like shop stewards for the welfare state, taking to the airwaves to demand the preservation of specific benefits without mentioning the church, the role of faith or Christianity.

Welfare utopianism is an Anglican tradition….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Religion & Culture

Music for a Monday–The Peanuts Piano Theme

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Music

Chris Bryant: As a vicar I found that most churchgoers are liberals trying to find meaning in life

I spent half the ordination service wondering whether a special knowledge would descend on me the moment the bishop placed his hands on my head. It didn’t.

I was never a great curate, really. Always too insubordinate and rather heterodox in my beliefs. But I enjoyed the amazing privilege of being close to people at some of the most acute moments in their lives. Like the very first lady I visited, who died in my arms, happy that the curate had come. Or the funeral of a disabled teenager who believed equally passionately in social justice and Paul Simon, so we sat in tears at the crematorium listening to all four minutes and 50 seconds of “Bridge over Troubled Water”. Or the joy of visiting the special care baby unit every Wednesday with communion for exhausted, exhilarant mums.

And in the end there is (was?) something profoundly decent about the Church of England, because contrary to rumour, most churchgoers are not self-righteous hypocrites, but liberal-minded people who are looking for a sense of meaning in their lives….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(Anglican Ink) George Conger–Crunching the Numbers from Pawleys Island

This leads to many more questions. Apart from the $6600 expensed for my work from the tithe, did the remaining $1.2 million make it to Rwanda? Is any of it sitting around in US corporations or bank accounts, waiting to be dispersed? Is the money resting in someone’s account? Who selected the programs that were funded by the tithe? Did this process of selection conform to the Rwandan canons? Why was this information not provided to the Rwandans when requested?

When I was interviewed by Bobby Ross Jr from Christianity Today and asked my views of this situation, I said this was a very very sad day for the church. There are a great number of people who are bewildered by the speed in which the AMiA seems to have come apart. The issues are confusing and statements of no friction between the AMiA leadership and Rwanda and that all is well are followed by the call that God is “doing a new thing” and the AMiA is being led out of the Eygpt of Rwanda into the promised land by its Moses — Bishop Murphy.

I do hope this ends quickly and that there can be a reconciliation of the parties concerned. This is a sad, sad story and its telling gives me no joy. However, I will continue to do my job and seek out and report the truth mindful that the pursuit of truth is the highest calling of us all.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of Rwanda, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Stewardship

(AP) Obama, al-Maliki to chart future for U.S., Iraq

With the U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq in its final days, President Obama and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki will meet at the White House Monday to discuss the next phase of the relationship between their countries.

They will have plenty to discuss.

The withdrawal of all American troops on Dec. 31 marks the end of a nearly nine-year war that has been deeply divisive in both the U.S. and Iraq. While Obama and al-Maliki have pledged to maintain strong ties, the contours of the partnership between Washington and Baghdad remain murky, especially with Iran eager to assert influence over neighboring Iraq. And serious questions remain about Iraq’s capacity to stabilize both its politics and security.

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

(WSJ) The Future of U.S. Health Care

Amid enormous pressure to cut costs, improve care and prepare for changes tied to the federal health-care overhaul, major players in the industry are staking out new ground, often blurring the lines between businesses that have traditionally been separate.

Hospitals are bulking up into huge systems, merging with one another and building extensive new doctor work forces. They are exploring insurance-like setups, including direct approaches to employers that cut out the health-plan middleman.

On the other side, insurers are buying health-care providers, or seeking to work with them on new cooperative deals and payment models that share the risks of health coverage. And employers are starting to take a far more active role in their workers’ care….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Law & Legal Issues, Personal Finance

(Her.meneutics) Anna Broadway–The God of Awkward Virgins

If we have committed our lives to God, we have done so because we are persuaded that he is real and good. But daily acting on that trust means repeatedly reminding ourselves of his character, in specific and concrete ways. After all, we have an enemy bent on spurring distrust.

So if you watched The Virgin Diaries this weekend, go read Song of Solomon or Genesis 2 or Exodus or Isaiah or the Gospels. Or ask a friend to tell you about a time God showed up and took care of him or her. Retell some of your own stories. You may even want to revisit physical artifacts of such encounters with his faithfulness, be they a car or a purse, a scar or a book or even a street.

There are too many sneering caricatures of our God out there for us to just passively trust him. Loving God with our whole heart, might, and soul takes deliberate, repeated retelling and richly embodied practices.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Men, Movies & Television, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Sexuality, Theology, Women

John Richardson–Why not civil partnerships in Anglican churches?

For Anglicans, marriage is not a “flexible” institution but a divinely ordered one, which ultimately reflects the relationship between God and his people.

What makes a marriage ”˜marriage’ is two things: covenant and sex.

Where there is no covenant ”” no promise ”˜to have and to hold … till death us do part’ ”” there is either promiscuity (expressed in the prevalence of sex outside marriage) or widespread unfaithfulness (leading to divorce and marital breakdown).

Within the marital covenant, however, sexual activity is properly channelled ”” to bearing children and building love.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Children, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Theology

(Anglican Dio. of Melbourne) Archbishop Peter Jensen asserts commitment to national evangelicalism

The Archbishop said Sydney virtually always had been overwhelmingly evangelical but “we are acutely conscious of the way in which evangelicals elsewhere have struggled to maintain their place”.

“Dioceses which began as evangelical, even more so than Sydney, have been changed, with evangelicals becoming a small and sometime harassed minority,” he said. “I am glad to say that there seems to have been a greater acceptance of evangelicals in some dioceses, although in others it remains a struggle. Our commitment to national evangelicalism is part of a commitment to defend and proclaim the gospel.”

Archbishop Jensen said his diocese’s policy was always to encourage the orthodoxy and mission of the fellowship of Anglican Christians around Australia, rather than to commit all its time and energy to the political and legal processes of General Synod.

Sydney would continue to uphold the significant constitutional autonomy of individual dioceses. And it would pay its share of the money needed, but resist the expansion of the activities of the General Synod and in particular the growth of the activities of the Primate beyond those stipulated in the Constitution.

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

(FT) Gillian Tett–Men, women ”“ and machines

Think about it. If you travel this holiday via airports or train stations, you will invariably be clutching tickets with electronic barcodes, which will be waved at automatic turnstiles or check-in desks ”“ which will duly send signals to other machines. If you buy a holiday gift or groceries, you will wave more barcodes ”“ and probably swipe credit cards too; hence more silent electronic communication.

And as turkeys or toys fly off retail shelves, messages will be sent on electronic systems that will communicate with supply depots, warehouses and transport groups across the world, to create a seamless supply chain. Almost any action you take today, in other words, involves an interconnected digital machine. One might almost call these machines the third great sex: in the labour market now, it is not simply a question of men versus women, but men, women ”“ and machines.

Does this matter? Brian Arthur, an esteemed economist, scientist and visiting scholar at the Palo Alto Research Center, thinks it does….

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Science & Technology

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Christ our God, who wilt come to judge the world in the manhood which thou hast assumed: We pray thee to sanctify us wholly, that in the day of thy coming we may be raised up to live and reign with thee for ever.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

And the LORD answered gracious and comforting words to the angel who talked with me. So the angel who talked with me said to me, ‘Cry out, Thus says the LORD of hosts: I am exceedingly jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion. And I am very angry with the nations that are at ease; for while I was angry but a little they furthered the disaster. Therefore, thus says the LORD, I have returned to Jerusalem with compassion; my house shall be built in it, says the LORD of hosts, and the measuring line shall be stretched out over Jerusalem. Cry again, Thus says the LORD of hosts: My cities shall again overflow with prosperity, and the LORD will again comfort Zion and again choose Jerusalem.'”

–Zechariah 1:13-17

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(LA Times) Police employ Predator drone spy planes on home front

Armed with a search warrant, Nelson County Sheriff Kelly Janke went looking for six missing cows on the Brossart family farm in the early evening of June 23. Three men brandishing rifles chased him off, he said.

Janke knew the gunmen could be anywhere on the 3,000-acre spread in eastern North Dakota. Fearful of an armed standoff, he called in reinforcements from the state Highway Patrol, a regional SWAT team, a bomb squad, ambulances and deputy sheriffs from three other counties.

He also called in a Predator B drone….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Science & Technology

Out of Africa: What AMIA's Exodus from Rwanda Portends for Global Christianity

Divorce is messy, the lessons from a failed marriage often complicated.

Such is the case with this week’s split of the Anglican Mission in the Americas (AMIA) from its majority-world leadership in the Church of Rwanda.
Until the 11-year-old partnership crumbled, it seemed to embody the potential for Global South church leaders to rise up and provide spiritual oversight and direction in the developed world.


“It would be unwise to draw any general conclusions for the future from a dispute which is clearly about particular human relationships,” said Brian Stanley, director of the Centre for the Study of World Christianity at the University of Edinburgh.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of Rwanda, Other Churches

(Weekly Standard) The End of Canterbury

The rise of the African church could have made Canterbury an important player in international relations””not exactly a rival to Rome (Catholicism’s one billion adherents make that unlikely) but at least a second European center with which Africans would have felt a relation and to which they could have looked for intellectual and ecclesial authority.

Instead, hardly anyone notices when the archbishop of Canterbury is about to be replaced and the unity of Anglicanism is about to be shattered. The job of the archbishop of Canterbury has always been something of a high-wire act, delicately balanced between the Protestant impulses of the church on one side and its Catholic impulses on the other side. And, from time to time, various archbishops have lost their balance (notably when John Henry Newman slipped away to Catholicism in the battles over the Oxford Movement in the 1840s).

This time, unfortunately, it is the wire itself that is breaking….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, Archbishop of Canterbury

(Montreal Gazette) In a mall, an oasis of calm

Young clergy and seminarians from the Anglican Diocese of Montreal are creating an oasis of peace for shoppers who want a break from the stress of a hectic mall as the Christmas rush gears up.

In the Promenades de la Cathédrale shopping centre on Ste. Catherine St. W., along the corridor that runs parallel to Union St., is a quiet area where people can unwind, pray, meditate, or have a spiritual conversation over a hot drink.

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

Division over Christchurch's cathedral In New Zealand

According to the sources, [Dean] Beck and [Bishop] Matthews disagreed on the vexed and complex issue of what to do about the severely damaged cathedral, one of New Zealand’s most instantly recognised and loved buildings.

They say Matthews appears to favour demolishing the cathedral and building a new church, either on the same site or elsewhere. Beck, it is said, wants to repair the cathedral and restore it to its former glory.

They also disagree over the distribution of fundraising money ”“ the bishop wanting to scatter the money among all of Christchurch’s parishes. The bishop is said to have taken full control of all decisions, leaving Beck out in the cold.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * General Interest, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Provinces, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Parish Ministry

At Saint Martin's in Charlotte, a service those who hurt from loss

There’s a reason that St. Martin Episcopal Church’s Blue Christmass service comes on the shortest day of the year.

The annual service recognizes that holidays are a difficult time for some, especially those who have lost loved ones.

“It’s the day with the least light,” said the Rev. Murdock Smith, rector of St. Martin’s. “It’s not meant to be saccharine or ‘feel good.’ It’s to recognize this is what life’s about, and you don’t have to face it alone.”

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

(AP) Iran says it will not return US drone, warns of response to ”˜hostile’ act

Iran will not return a U.S. surveillance drone captured by its armed forces, a senior commander of the country’s elite Revolutionary Guard said Sunday.

Gen. Hossein Salami, deputy head of the Guard, said in remarks broadcast on state television that the violation of Iran’s airspace by the U.S. drone was a “hostile act” and warned of a “bigger” response. He did not elaborate on what Tehran might do.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Iran, Middle East, Politics in General