Daily Archives: March 16, 2012

The Archbishop Of Armagh Pays Tribute to Rowan Williams

Archbishop Rowan Williams is held in high affection across the Anglican Communion and, on behalf of the Church of Ireland, I offer him prayerful good wishes as he decides to step down from the hugely demanding role as Archbishop of Canterbury to take up his new responsibilities ”“ and enter a new phase of his life ”“ as Master of Magdelene College, Cambridge at the end of this year. While the Churches of the Anglican Communion will feel a considerable sense of loss when he departs, as an intellectual, a Christian thinker and a poet, he will bring a rich offering of gifts to this academic position. Happily, in returning to the academic sphere, Archbishop Rowan will continue to be able to contribute extensively to the intellectual life of the Communion for years to come.

The Anglican Communion has faced many deep and complex challenges over the past number of years and Rowan has sought to hold people together in unity consistently, doubtless at some real personal cost. He has brought depth of thinking, humility and sincerity to his leadership which we have valued immensely.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of Ireland

Archbishop of Canterbury's interview with Press Association

PA How would you look back over your 10 years as Archbishop of Canterbury?

RW It’s impossible to register whether it’s been ”˜a success’ or not. I look back on it chiefly as a time of enormous pressure, yes, and plenty of invitations to all sorts of things, to engage in all sorts of contexts ”“ many many opportunities and lots of demands.

I think the two things I look back on with greatest satisfaction are that we’ve managed in the Church of England to launch this very new mission outreach programme Fresh Expressions, and get the Church of England to recognise the possibility of new styles of congregational life and new styles of training for ministers to go with it. I think that’s really begun to build itself in to the life of the Church.
And in the last couple of years we’ve also managed to launch the new Anglican Alliance for Relief and Development worldwide, so that we’ve put together a co-ordinating and umbrella body that helps the various relief agencies that are involved in the life of the Anglican Communion worldwide to work better together. And that so far has been very well received.
So those are, in my mind, some of the big positives of the last 10 years. I look back on those with a lot of gratitude.
And then, simply the opportunity of travelling in the Anglican Communion. I suppose, most poignantly, last year in Zimbabwe. But also visits to Congo and Sudan; visits to Pakistan at a time of some stress and tension there; and, of course, repeated visits to the Middle East over the last 10 years. It’s enormously stretching and inspiring, because you see people really work in the middle of appalling circumstances ”“ heartbreaking in some ways but a great enrichment.

Read it all or watch the video.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury

(Guardian) The religious life of Rowan Williams – in pictures

Check them out.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury

A Statement from the Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop on today's Rowan Williams Announcement

From here:

“I am grateful for Rowan Williams’ service as Archbishop of Canterbury during an exceedingly challenging season. We can all give thanks for his erudition and persistence in seeking reconciliation across a rapidly changing Anglican Communion. His leadership of that reconciling work through Indaba and Ubuntu is bearing remarkable fruit, and I believe this will be his most important legacy. I give thanks that his spiritual and intellectual gifts will continue to bless the larger world, albeit from a different vantage point. May the coming months bring well-deserved peace to him and his family, and may we join in blessing his ministry. ”˜Well done, good and faithful servant!’”

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop

Marina Ottaway–Who Will Write the Egyptian Constitution?

From a purely legal point of view, thus, the process is clear: it is up to the two chambers of parliament to jointly decide on the composition of the Constituent Assembly. Politically, however, there is strong resistance by secular parties to allow the parliament to exercise the power given to it by the constitutional declaration. Secular parties and independents did poorly in the elections, collectively receiving less than 25 percent of the seats. Thus they are demanding that the Constituent Assembly be composed primarily of representatives of organizations outside the parliament””such as religious institutions, universities, and professional syndicates””which in their view represent the Egyptian people better than the elected parliament. Allowing the parliament to elect the Constituent Assembly as it sees fit, many argue, would allow Islamists to dominate the writing of the constitution.

The debate is remarkable for two reasons. First, it shows that Egypt has made no progress on the issue of how and by whom the constitution will be written. The current debates are a reiteration of earlier discussions that place, without coming to a conclusion, since the overthrow of Mubarak. Such debates hampered agreement on a clear transition process early on.

Second, the debates do not touch on the content of the constitution even at this late date….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Egypt, History, Middle East, Politics in General

(RNS) Crystal Cathedral downfall offers cautionary tale

As members of the Schuller family head in new directions — Coleman and brother-in law Jim Penner plan to start a new church this Sunday — the famous glass-walled church offers a cautionary tale of the potential pitfalls facing family-run ministries.

“If you have a family ministry, the health of the relationships within the family is key to whether the governance of the ministry is going to work well or not,” said the Rev. Wes Granberg-Michaelson, a former board member and former general secretary of the Reformed Church in America, the denomination of the Crystal Cathedral.

Read it all.

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

The East Valley Tribune profiles a Mesa, Arizona, Pagan Church

There’s no Sunday school, and meetings are regularly held at Denny’s restaurants, but for members ”” and the federal government ”” Sacred Spiral is very much a church, albeit a Pagan church….

In the years since abandoning the title of coven, [Rosemary] Szymanski, founder and president, has worked with her fellow witches to organize openly and spread knowledge about Paganism.
“Covens are much more secretive,” Szymanski, a witch for 17 years, said. “So in 2007, I banned the coven and created the church.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Wicca / paganism

Magdalene College, Cambridge, Announces Rowan Williams to be their 35th Master

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Archbishop of Canterbury, Education

Prime Minister David Cameron's Statement on Rowan Williams' Decision

From here:

“I would like to thank Rowan Williams for his dedicated service as Archbishop of Canterbury. As a man of great learning and humility he guided the church through times of challenge and change.

“He sought to unite different communities and offer a profoundly humane sense of moral leadership that was respected by people of all faiths and none.

“As Prime Minister, I have been grateful for his support and advice ”“ and for the work he has done around the world, particularly in Africa where he has taken such a close interest in Sudan. I wish Rowan and his family the very best for the future.”

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Archbishop of Canterbury, England / UK, Politics in General

Outline of procedures for the Appointment of an Archbishop of Canterbury

A good resource–read it all.

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

Irish Times article–Archbishop of Canterbury to step down

At times, Dr Williams’ dense academic language has left commentators and journalists struggling to understand him ”” a difficulty highlighted in the row that engulfed him in the early part of 2008 over his remarks about sharia law in a BBC radio interview and in a public lecture.

Dr Williams apologised later for what he famously termed his “unclarity” in a speech to the General Synod, the National Assembly of the Church of England, after an unprecedentedly hostile reaction from many sectors of society.

The row led to calls for him to resign and accusations that he was, however well-loved, essentially an academic who was not suited to the job of leading the Anglican Church.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Archbishop of Canterbury, England / UK, Ireland

([London] Times) Archbishop to resign after war with liberals

The Archbishop was appointed largely because of his liberal credentials but disappointed the liberal wing of the Church by siding with conservatives over the issue of gay priests.
Sources close to Dr Williams said that the final straw was the prospect of defeat over the Anglican Communion Covenant, which was drawn up to find common ground around which the various provinces could unite after the ordination of an openly gay bishop, Gene Robinson, by the US episcopal church.
So far about half of the 43 dioceses in the Church of England have voted on the covenant, with 17 voting against and only ten in favour. It appears likely to be rejected.

Read it all (subscription required).

Update: From the Times’ Religion correspondent Ruth Gledhill on Twitter–“If you want to bet on an outsider with long odds and good chance of being next Archbishop of Canterbury, back John Inge at Worcester.”

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury

(Guardian) Rowan Williams resigns as archbishop of Canterbury

[Rowan Williams’]…time in office has been marked by a slowly growing schism in the worldwide Anglican church which he has failed to heal.

Throughout his time in office he has been attacked by conservatives for his liberal views on homosexuality and by liberals for failing to live up to these principles.

The bookies’ favourite to succeed him is the archbishop of York, John Sentamu.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury

(Telegraph) John Sentamu becomes favourite to succeed Rowan Williams as Archbishop of Canterbury

Dr Sentamu, the sixth of 13 brothers and sisters, and a former barrister and judge, came to the UK in 1974 having fled Uganda where he was a critic of the dictator Idi Amin.
Dubbed by some as ”cleric of the people”, he is known for his high-profile interventions.
In 2007 he cut up his dog collar on live television in a dramatic protest against Robert Mugabe’s rule, vowing never to wear the symbol of his office again until the Zimbabwe president had been removed from power.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England (CoE)

(Financial Times) Archbishop of Canterbury to step down

Lambeth Palace said the Queen, who is the supreme governor of the Church of England, had been informed. A successor has not yet been appointed but the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, could be a candidate, which would make him the first black Archbishop of Canterbury.

Dr Williams has not been afraid to criticise senior politicians arguing that “nobody voted for” the policies of the Conservative-led coalition government.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in Uncategorized

NY Times Article on the Archbishop of Canterbury's Decision

In his decade in office, Dr. Williams has never seemed a confrontational figure, seeking consensus on the most contentious issues coursing through the church at a time when the insitution has also been challenged by some secular Britons seeking the exclusion of faith from public life, akin to the concept of laïcité in France.

Indeed, a recent survey conducted by a secular group found that almost a half of those identifying themselves as Christians had attended no church services over the past year other than those for weddings, funerals and baptisms. Many were not familiar with the Bible, the survey found, and the proportion of Britons identifying themselves as Christians had slipped from around three-quarters to just over a half.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury

(BBC) Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to stand down

Lambeth Palace said the Queen, as Supreme Governor of the Church of England, has been informed.

Dr Williams will continue to carry out all the duties and responsibilities of the Archbishop of Canterbury, both for the Church of England and the Anglican Communion, until the end of the year, Lambeth Palace said.

The Crown Nominations Commission (CNC) will consider “in due course” the selection of a successor.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury

(Independent) Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to step down

Explaining his reasons for leaving, Dr Williams said: “At the end of this year I will have been 10 years in post as Archbishop and just over 20 years as a bishop – that is part of it, feeling that after 10 years it is proper to pray and reflect and review your options.”

He added that there were a number of “watersheds” this year, such as the forthcoming vote by the General Synod, the National Assembly of the Church of England, on whether to give final approval to legislation introducing women bishops.

“A number of what I call watersheds seemed to make this a reasonable moment, at least, to think about moving on,” he said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury

(Lambeth Palace) Statement Regarding Archbishop of Canterbury Stepping Down

Following the announcement this morning that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, will be stepping down from his present office at the end of December, The Archbishop of York has released the following statement:

“It is with great sadness that I received the news that the Archbishop of Canterbury will be stepping down at the end of this year.

Our partnership in the gospel over the past six years has been the most creative period of my ministry. It has been life-giving to have led missions together, gone on retreats and prayed together. In his company I have drunk deeply from the wells of God’s mercy and love and it has all been joyful. He is a real brother to me in Christ

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to step down

Archbishop Rowan Williams has today announced his acceptance of the position of Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge with effect from January 2013. He will therefore be stepping down from the office of Archbishop of Canterbury at the end of December 2012….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury

(BBC) New Anglican diocese of Leeds plan approved

Anglican leaders in Ripon and Leeds have approved plans for a new larger diocese.

The Church of England Dioceses Commission is proposing to abolish the dioceses of Bradford, Wakefield and Ripon and Leeds.

A new single diocese of Leeds, serving West Yorkshire and large parts of North Yorkshire, would be created instead.

Read it all.

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

Dale Van Kley reviews "The Unintended Reformation: How a Religious Revolution Secularized Society"

What has taken the place of religious commitment is the “economy” in the form of an ever greater consumption of the goods that science in the service of technology and industry delivers. Combined with an ever more malleable and mercurial “self” defined in terms of the fulfillment of material desires, the urge for infinite acquisition has become the default religion even of believers. This “religion” prevails even though in acting it out Christians violate their own religion’s claims that self-love and covetousness are close to the essence of sin. The religion is that of Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes,” or, more recently, “Whatever.”

Yet this state of affairs cannot last because neither science nor philosophy can prove the existence of individual rights, the maintenance of which is the liberal state’s only reason for existence. The ecological limits of indefinite production and consumption moreover threaten to topple the very foundations upon which this default religion rests.

This scenario in a few words characterizes the symptoms of liberal Western “civilization” and its discontents as sketched by Brad Gregory in The Unintended Reformation: How a Religious Revolution Secularized Society. Or rather liberal Western civilization and its “contentments.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Books, Church History, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, History, Philosophy, Politics in General, Science & Technology

(The Hill) CBO: Health law could cause as many as 20M to lose coverage

As many as 20 million Americans could lose their employer-provided coverage because of President Obama’s healthcare reform law, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said in a new report Thursday.

The figure represents the worst-case scenario, CBO says, and the law could just as well increase the number of people with employer-based coverage by 3 million in 2019.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

Ross Douthat–Religion and the Social Crisis

….the story of religion in America over the last two generations is a story, not of outright secularization, but of institutional decline. Contemporary Americans are as religiously-minded as ever, but the rise of church-switching and do-it-yourself faith and the steady weakening of the traditional churches and communions has left the country without religious institutions capable of playing the kind of social role that [Yuval] Levin describes…This organizational decline has been most pronounced within what’s often described as liberal Christianity ”” in the churches of the Protestant Mainline, and in the “Spirit of Vatican II” wing of the Catholic Church. But among more self-consciously conservative believers, too, constant church-shopping is commonplace (just ask Marco Rubio), national political causes often excite more interest than local social engagement, and the glue of confessional and denominational traditions is much weaker than in generations past. The vitality of American Christianity today is too often a vitality of individuals rather than institutions, or else of institutions that depend too heavily on a single personality for their strength and survival. We have plenty of celebrity pastors and authors and bloggers and television hosts, but the more corporate and communal forms of faith are growing weaker every day.

I have much more to say about this in the book, but so far as Murray’s argument is concerned, I think that religious institutions are both one of the areas of American life hit hardest by elite self-segregation (you can’t pastor a church in suburban Buffalo from a corner office in Washington D.C.) and one of the few areas where it’s plausible to imagine his call for elites to leave their cocoons and live among the people actually being answered. Institutions are only as strong as their personnel, and the major religious bodies in the United States have struggled mightily since the 1960s to attract large numbers of the best and brightest (and, indeed, large numbers period) to the ministry.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, History, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sociology

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Lord Christ, almighty Saviour, we cry to thee for aid against our strong enemy. O thou who art the Stronger than the strong, deliver us, we pray thee, from the evil one, and take sole possession of our hearts and minds; that filled with thy Spirit we may henceforth devote our lives to thy service, and therein find our perfect freedom; for the honour of thy great name.

–Frank Colquhoun (1909-1997)

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Well, I do not run aimlessly, I do not box as one beating the air; but I pommel my body and subdue it, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

–1 Corinthians 9:24-27

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Stand Firm–Time for a Big, Big Change

The Stand Firm web site is about to undergo the single biggest change in its eight-year history….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet

(BBC) Italy arrests man over Milan synagogue 'plot'

A man aged 20 has been arrested in northern Italy on suspicion of plotting an attack on a synagogue in Milan.

The suspect, described as Moroccan-born, was said to have had details of the synagogue and plans for an attack on his computer.

Police in London said a 40-year-old woman was also arrested on suspicion of collecting information useful to terrorism.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, Italy, Judaism, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Police/Fire, Violence

A Former Tapdancer Called to the Priesthood

Watch it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Roman Catholic, Theatre/Drama/Plays

WCC Commission seeks to re-define mission and evangelism

Some 300 church leaders from various parts worldwide will be gathering in Manila from 22 to 27 March for a pre-assembly of the World Council of Churches’ (WCC) Commission on World Mission and Evangelism.

Hosted by the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP), the gathering is expected to update the WCC’s mission and evangelism statement, which was written in 1982. “The Philippines can help take a look at mission and evangelism from the side of the oppressed and not only from the traditional understanding of conversion,” National Council of Churches in the Philippines general secretary Fr. Rex Reyes told ENInews.

“We can help take a fresh look at what it means to be a church in a context such as we have.” The WCC’s mission and evangelism statement, Reyes noted, was written at a time when globalization, for example, was not a big issue.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Ecumenical Relations, Evangelism and Church Growth, Globalization, Missions, Parish Ministry, Theology