Daily Archives: July 8, 2012

(Western NC) Bishop Porter Taylor offers some Thoughts on General Con. 2012

The word here is change. The Deputies voted to allow the next Presiding Bishop to remain a Diocesan Bishop. The Bishops voted to fund a significant Development Office. We also are exploring moving the diocesan contribution to The Episcopal Church to 15%. And of course, we are waiting to hear about the Budget and reforming General Convention and a new structure for our Church.

As I have worked on the Education Committee, I once again remember that our Church has many perspectives. The Education Standing Commission presented resolutions to replace Confirmation with Baptism as rite for full initiation into Church leadership. However, most of the Deputies and Bishops did not agree. I am disappointed but not surprised. Change is long and when I think I know where the Holy Spirit is headed, I am most often wrong.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Gen. Con. 2012, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, TEC Bishops

Roger Federer wins 7th Wimbledon Title

Andy Murray fought valiantly, but Roger was just too good.

Love the twins blowing Daddy kisses from the gallery.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Men, Sports

Twitter faithful include tweeters of faith

Twitter gives the impression of being obsessed with mindless trivia, from Justin Bieber’s latest heartfelt tweet to LeBron James’ reflections on winning the NBA championship.

But Atlanta-based Twitter executive Claire Diaz-Ortiz learned something surprising from an examination of the most popular tweets: Spiritual tweets were whooping up on the mundane.

“We came upon data that religious leaders were completely punching above their weight on Twitter,” she said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Religion & Culture

(Diocese of Texas) William Treadwell on Communion w/o Baptism: Pastoral Theology vs. Doctrine

I am reminded of what I was taught by the Rev. Dr. Marion Hatchett: “never break a rubric unintentionally”. I think most priest have given communion to an unbaptized person. Hospitality and compassion may require it. But the doctrine of Baptism remains.

A personal example may be helpful. When I was ordained a priest, my father, an ordained Baptist minister, preached at my ordination. When the time came for the ordination, the Episcopal clergy gathered around to lay hands on my head along with the Bishop. My father remained in his seat, because there is no agreement between the Episcopal and Baptist churches on ordination. Just before the Bishop said the words of ordination he stopped, removed his hands from my head, and motioned for my father to come over and lay his hands on my head as well. This was contrary to the teaching of both the Episcopal and Baptist churches. This was poor doctrinal theology, but it was perfect pastoral theology. Bishop Patterson was a good bishop, and my dad was a good Baptist pastor. And yet, the doctrine remains.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, --Gen. Con. 2012, Baptism, Episcopal Church (TEC), Eucharist, General Convention, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Sacramental Theology, Theology

(Reuters) U.S. Episcopalians move closer to allowing transgender ministers

The U.S. Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops on Saturday approved a proposal that, if it survives a final vote, would give transgender men and women the right to become ministers in the church.

The House of Bishops voted at the church’s General Convention to include “gender identity and expression” in its “non-discrimination canons,” meaning sexual orientation, including that of people who have undergone sex-change operations, cannot be used to exclude candidates to ministry.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Gen. Con. 2012, Anthropology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Executive Council, General Convention, TEC Bishops, Theology

(Diocese of Mississippi) David Johnson offers some Thoughts on Yesterday at General Convention

The hearing on same gender unions will likely be the largest hearing of this convention. However, I would say that the subject has not been much on the forefront at this convention. More attention has been focused on structure and the wider church’s budget.

We also expect committee action on the Anglican Covenant. Many observers expect the recommendation from that committee to be acceptance of the Preamble and first three sections while demurring on the fourth section (which deals with discipline). Some of the air was released from this balloon by the English church’s refusal to embrace the proposed covenant.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Gen. Con. 2012, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

Both Transgender Resolutions Pass House of Bishops, Both South Carolina Bishops Speak Against

(ENS)–My headline, not theirs–KSH.

Bishop Andrew Waldo of the Diocese of Upper South Carolina opposed D019, seeking clarification of “gender expression ”¦ to get a sense of how the people in my diocese who have a poor understanding of what transgender means.

“I believe we need to have more discussion in the church, in our congregations, in order to be able to speak in a way that is theologically sound, that gives a deeper understanding of what it means to be a transgender person,” he said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, --Gen. Con. 2012, Anthropology, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, TEC Bishops, Theology

(ENS) General Convention PBLCM Committee hears testimony on same-gender blessings liturgies

Nearly 40 people testified July 7 on General Convention Resolution A049 to Authorize Liturgical Resources for Blessing Same-Gender Relationships.

Those testifying alternated between proponents and opponents of the resolution, but supporters outnumbered opponents, at least six of whom came from the Diocese of Central Florida.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Gen. Con. 2012, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Important Food for Thought from Terry Pratchett for General Convention 2012

Be careful. People like to be told what they already know. Remember that. They get uncomfortable when you tell them new things. New things”¦well, new things aren’t what they expect. They like to know that, say, a dog will bite a man. That is what dogs do. They don’t want to know that man bites a dog, because the world is not supposed to happen like that. In short, what people think they want is news, but what they really crave is olds”¦Not news but olds, telling people that what they think they already know is true.”

–Terry Pratchett, The Truth (HarperTorch, 2001), p. 79 (his emphasis)

Posted in Uncategorized

Bishop Dan Martins–The Third Legislative Day at General Convention 2012

We had long debate, with several attempts to amend, of a resolution that seeks to increase the pressure on dioceses (like Springfield) that pay less than the full asking from the national church. Eventually, with a push from the Presiding Bishop, it got re-referred to committee for further work.

We passed, on second reading, a constitutional amendment that will remove the House of Deputies from the consent process for bishops elected within 120 of General Convention, and send everything to the Standing Committees. This is now in the hands of the Deputies.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Gen. Con. 2012, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

Cherie Wetzel–Snippets from General Convention 2012

Interesting facts from the Commission on Structure hearing this morning. 84 out of 111 dioceses have operating budgets of less than $2,000,000. That amount has to fund all of the diocesan staff positions, serve for debt reduction and maintenance on all diocesan property and accommodate all diocesan functions and expenses. That means that 3/4 of the bishops deal with diocesan budgets smaller than several of the larger Episcopal churches in Dallas.

Compare that to the $8.7 million it will cost this year to maintain and service debt reduction on the national headquarters at 815 Second Avenue in New York City. In the first meaningful vote of this Convention, the House of Deputies yesterday voted to sell 815. When this vote was announced at the press briefing, there was an audible gasp in the room. This Convention is not “business as usual.” The outstanding loan on 815 is $37 million and I would guess that the penthouse apartment with terraces and views of the United Nations building will sell for $18 million alone. Anyone need prime office space in New York City? Call me! I can make a good deal for you.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Gen. Con. 2012, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

Another Resolution on the Anglican Covenant–C015

Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That the 77th General Convention call for and encourage further study and reflection on the proposed Anglican Covenant (the fourth draft) during the next Triennium.

Read it all. Did you see who proposed it?

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Gen. Con. 2012, Anglican Covenant, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

(Arkansas) Lowell Grisham Updates some Reflections on Yesterday at General Convention 2012

Today, the committee chairs were invited to lunch together to visit a bit about how the flow of legislation is going. It is going pretty well, except… It seems that some bishops have prevailed in omitting the funding for a number of basic functions — things like what happened to the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, having their program funding cut to zero by the House of Bishops. It seems like immature and passive aggressive behavior to me. Part of what that means that we have to send three members of our committee, who will miss our major hearing tonight, to testify before the Program, Budget and Finance Committee so that we will be able include the funding for the SCLM in the budget. There is something very strange afoot. It’s okay with me to talk about wanting to restructure the church and to set up some deliberative ways to discuss that, but it’s almost childish to de-fund major Commissions without notice. That seems dysfunctional at best; like sabotage at worst.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Gen. Con. 2012, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

L.A. Episcopal bishop talks about recovery from cancer

Episcopal Bishop J. Jon Bruno, the head of the six-county Los Angeles diocese, generated applause, laughter and whistles this week when a telephone call was broadcast during a bishop’s convention in Indianapolis.

In early May, Bruno announced in an open letter that he had been diagnosed with leukemia and was undergoing aggressive treatment, but on Thursday, he told the bishops that he was “doing fabulous,” according to the Episcopal News.

“We’ve gone from what one doctor said was a hopeless case to a complete remission,” he told the bishops. “I’ve been cleared of leukemia.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Health & Medicine, TEC Bishops

A Rape Survivor Now Ministers Body and Soul

[After the rape]…Church brought no relief. It made everything worse. Church, at least in the wake of tragedy, was the empty predictability of confession recited in unison, hymns sung by rote, sermons about the glorious soul and the sinful body and magical forgiveness. A favorite verse from Romans in her copy of the Good News Bible now sounded like a lie: “We know that in all things God works for good with those who love him.”

Only at home, alone with the secret of her rape, could Ms. [Marcia] Shoop find something to grasp for survival. “I felt Jesus so close,” she recalled in a recent interview. “It wasn’t the same Jesus I saw at church. It was this tiny, audible whisper that said, ”˜I know what happened. I understand.’ And it kept me alive, that frayed little thread.”

By now, more than a quarter of a century later, that thread has led Ms. Shoop, 43, to become a Presbyterian minister herself, one who has developed religious teachings aimed at repairing the rift between mind and body, soul and spirit. Born out of a survivor’s struggle, they form her variation on the broader field of “incarnational theology,” which focuses on the living, breathing, physical Jesus.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Violence

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, who in thy fatherly love hast called us that we should inherit a blessing: Give to us also, we pray thee, the blessing of wholesome speech and loving deed; that following always that which is good, we may do and suffer all that thou willest; in the name and strength of Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord.

–L. E. H. Stephens-Hodge

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

And God did extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs or aprons were carried away from his body to the sick, and diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them. Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to pronounce the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.” Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, mastered all of them, and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. And this became known to all residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks; and fear fell upon them all; and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled. Many also of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. And a number of those who practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all; and they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord grew and prevailed mightily.

–Acts 19:11-20

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

North Carolina Bishop Michael Curry preaches at General Convention 2012 Eucharist

We need some crazy Christians. Sane, sanitized Christianity is killing us. That may have worked once upon a time, but it won’t carry the Gospel anymore. We need some crazy Christians like Mary Magdalene and Harriet Beecher Stowe. Christians crazy enough to believe that God is real and that Jesus lives. Crazy enough to follow the radical way of the Gospel. Crazy enough to believe that the love of God is greater than all the powers of evil and death. Crazy enough to believe, as Dr. King often said, that though “the moral arc of the universe is long, it bends toward justice.” We need some Christians crazy enough to believe that children don’t have to go to bed hungry; that the world doesn’t have to be the way it often seems to be; that there is a way to lay down our swords and shields, down by the riverside; that as the slaves used to sing, “There’s plenty good room in my Father’s kingdom,” because every human being has been created in the image of God, and we are all equally children of God and meant to be treated as such.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Gen. Con. 2012, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, TEC Bishops

(Diocese of Maine) Rita Redfield on General Convention 2012

Sometimes we go kicking and screaming into new ways of being church. The Episcopal Church is noted for, when in doubt, forming a committee. I think God has won some progress with us this time. Even thought it is early in Convention it would appear that the gathered deputies want to move the church forward and are wiling to take risks and make some decisions. One example of this was the vote yesterday in the House of Deputies to sell the Church Center in New York.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Gen. Con. 2012, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

Full Text of Letter from Eight bishops to TEC House of Bishops Refuting disloyalty allegation

6 July 2012

The Most Reverend Katharine Jefforts Schori
Presiding Bishop
The Episcopal Church
815 Second Avenue
New York, NY 10017

Dear Presiding Bishop:

We write to address allegations that have been made against us””both those made by Bishops Ohl and Buchanan in their letter of yesterday and unknown others made in Title IV disciplinary complaints that we have not seen. Bishops Ohl and Buchanan have asked that the record be set straight. That is our intention in this letter.
No charge is more serious to us than the one that we have acted against our own Church””in other words, that we have been disloyal. We assure each of you that we have acted out of a profound loyalty to this Church we love. We knew our decision to file an amicus brief in Texas and affidavits in Illinois authenticating our earlier statement on Church polity would be controversial. We took these actions, however, precisely because we thought it our duty to do so in order to uphold the doctrine, discipline and worship of The Episcopal Church as we all have pledged to do. We hope that if you agree with us about nothing else, you will recognize that upholding the constitutional polity of the Church as we understand it is not disloyalty. Because our views have been mischaracterized, we welcome this opportunity to clarify what we believe and what we have said in our legal submissions. Our primary concern is that the polity that has defined this Church for two centuries is being transformed due to momentary legal
objectives in the secular courts. We do not question these objectives. We only believe that the constitutional polity of the Church””the discipline we pledge to uphold””should not be sacrificed in pursuit of these goals.

We can summarize what we were taught years ago and still believe about our governance as

”¢ The Episcopal Church is a hierarchical church and the hierarchical authority for matters within a diocese is the Ecclesiastical Authority of the diocese, which according to our Constitution is the diocesan bishop. Ours is not a Metropolitical church, but a church with a dispersed hierarchy. We did not invent this understanding of our governance. It has a long and venerable pedigree. For example, in “The Church’s Teaching” series volume on polity, Canon Powel Mills Dawley of General Seminary (working with a committee of church leaders under the auspices of the Church Center) concluded that:

“the dioceses possess an independence far greater than that characteristic of most other Churches with episcopal polity”¦.Diocesan participation in any national program or effort, for example, must be voluntarily given; it cannot be forced. Again, while the bishop’s exercise of independent power within the diocese is restricted by the share in church government possessed by the Diocesan Convention or the Standing Committee, his independence in respect to the rest of the Church is almost complete.”

”¢ As noted, we are not a metropolitical church. Our Constitution has no “Supremacy Clause”; it specifies no office or body with supremacy or hierarchical authority over the Ecclesiastical Authority of the diocese for matters within a diocese. And as bishops, we take no vow of obedience to any other office or body. Priests and deacons pledge conformity to the doctrine, discipline and worship of the Church and obedience to the diocesan bishop. Bishops only give the Declaration of Conformity. This was a matter of extreme importance to our founders. Church of England bishops give an oath of “Due Obedience” in which they “profess and promise all due reverence and obedience to the Archbishop and to the Metropolitical Church of Canterbury [York] and to their Successors.” Our founders very intentionally rejected such an oath for The Episcopal Church. We pledge obedience neither to an archbishop nor to a metropolitical church. We pledge to uphold the doctrine, discipline and worship of the Church, but each diocesan bishop is the Ecclesiastical Authority in the diocese.

Ӣ Under the First Amendment, secular courts may not make extensive and searching inquiries into, and thereby interfere with, church doctrine or polity in order to decide secular legal cases. This is standard Supreme Court jurisprudence.

If you do not immediately agree with all these points, we invite you to read our Bishops’ Statement on the Polity of The Episcopal Church, which we published in April 2009. It is a comprehensive examination of these issues. This puts succinctly what we have said in our court submissions. We made these submissions, however, only after we became concerned that the courts were misinterpreting””and thereby forever changing””our constitutional polity based on what we believed was erroneous information about our history and governance.

We began this letter by reiterating, however briefly, what we did say because most of the objections seem to be directed at things we did not say. Turning now to the specific charges made by Bishops Ohl and Buchanan, we can only say that none of them accurately describes what we actually said in our submissions.

1. We do not represent or argue that “dioceses can unilaterally leave.” We stated explicitly on the first page of our amicus brief that “the amici oppose the decision by the appellants (“Diocese of Fort Worth”) to leave The Episcopal Church, but in its ruling against them the court has misunderstood, and thereby damaged, the constitutional structure of The Episcopal Church.” We do not address in the brief whether withdrawal is permitted under the Constitution. Indeed, some in our number have at great cost ruled such proposals out of order in their own dioceses. Our legal submissions are concerned only with the nature of authority in our Church; we do not address the exercise of that authority by Bishop Iker or any other bishop.

2. We do not “deny the Dennis Canon.” In fact, we do not address property issues at all. The Dennis Canon and property trusts are not even mentioned in our amicus brief. The Episcopal Church parties in the Texas litigation have presented extensive argumentation to the Texas Supreme Court that they are entitled to the disputed property even under neutral principles of law. We do not address this issue at all, but our legal analysis that secular courts must use neutral principles of law if they cannot readily identify the nature of a church’s hierarchical authority can hardly be prejudicial to the Episcopal Church parties when they argue themselves that they win under such a standard.

3. We neither deny that this Church can “recognize its own bishops” nor claim that Bishop Iker is still the bishop of the diocese recognized by our Church. In fact, we explicitly state in the amicus brief that “The Episcopal Church clearly has the constitutional right to select a new bishop.” We recognize Bishops Ohl and Buchanan as the bishops of the TEC-recognized dioceses. Indeed, one of our number participated in the installation of Bishop Ohl’s predecessor. We acknowledge that Bishop Iker was the Ecclesiastical Authority of the diocese until the vote to withdraw, which is the crucial time period in this dispute, but that is undeniable. We conclude that if the court applies a deference to hierarchy standard””an issue on which we explicitly take no position””the Ecclesiastical Authority at the time of the vote to withdraw was Bishop Iker. We consider that conclusion inescapable given our polity. To the extent that this is a question of nomenclature, the Texas Court has previously ruled that Bishop Ohl and his diocese are not yet entitled to claim the name of “The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth” pending the final result of this litigation. Thus, Bishop Iker and his diocese continue to use this name. This ruling, however, plays no role in our analysis. It is not our concern.

4. Strangest of all is the claim that we have violated episcopal jurisdiction. We have performed no episcopal acts in another diocese. All we have done is exercise our civic””not ecclesiastical””rights to petition the government. To our knowledge, no one has ever before suggested that petitioning the legislatures or courts in Washington or state capitols””our brief was filed in Austin, not Fort Worth””requires the consent of the local bishop. To the extent that the claim really is that our submission might have an effect inanother diocese, we would reply that we are simply responding to submissions by others that will themselves have what we believe to be very profound and harmful effects on all our dioceses, not only in Texas but across the Church. And we note that we are not the first bishops of our Church to file an amicus brief this year with the Texas Supreme Court. Others filed a brief in another property dispute involving Bishop Ohl’s former diocese. Clearly, it is the views we express, not the act of filing a brief, to which objection is taken.

This brings us back to where we started. We are convinced that the venerable polity of our Church is under threat due to the temporary exigencies of secular litigation. However much we may understand and sympathize with these objectives, we consider it our greater duty to uphold our constitutional polity. Whether or not you agree with our interpretation””and we all must acknowledge that our polity is in some ways obscure””we hope you will recognize that we are doing our duty to uphold the good order of the Church as we perceive it and that it is no small part of the burden of that duty to know that others take offense from our actions.


–The Rt. Rev. Peter H. Beckwith
–The Rt. Rev. John W. Howe
–The Rt. Rev. Paul E. Lambert
–The Rt. Rev. William H. Love
–The Rt. Rev. D. Bruce MacPherson
–The Rt. Rev. Daniel H. Martins
–The Rt. Rev. Edward L. Salmon
–The Rt. Rev. James M. Stanton

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Gen. Con. 2012, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Polity & Canons

Resolutions D002 and D019 Pass the House of Bishops

Remember you can find the text of all resolutions there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Gen. Con. 2012, Anthropology, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, TEC Bishops, Theology

(Living Church) [on the House of Bishops Yesterday] New Seats, Hot Seats

On the second legislative day of General Convention the House of Bishops consented to the election of eight new bishops after struggling in private with complaints brought against nine of its own.

Meeting in “private conversation” before the start of the public part of the afternoon session, bishops discussed recent complaints against the Rt. Revs. Maurice M. Benitez, retired Bishop of Texas; John W. Howe, retired bishop of Central Florida; Paul E. Lambert, Bishop Suffragan of Dallas; Bishop William H. Love, Bishop of Albany; D. Bruce MacPherson, Bishop of Western Louisiana; Daniel H. Martins, Bishop of Springfield; and James M. Stanton, Bishop of Dallas.

“It was a frank discussion,” Bishop Stanton said after the session.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Gen. Con. 2012, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, TEC Bishops

"Right now the House of Deputies is making Congress look good"


–From Keithy79 on Twitter

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Gen. Con. 2012, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention