Daily Archives: November 19, 2013
ot faith? Peter Boghossian says get rid of it.
Boghossian is a philosophy instructor and author of a wildly popular new book, “A Manual for Creating Atheists,” that seeks to equip nonbelievers like him with the skills to convince believers to abandon their faith.
And while the book is sure to upset many religious people and even some atheists, it may signal a change in the way atheists engage believers. Unlike previous best-selling atheists Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens, Boghossian wants his readers to refrain from high-decible attacks against God and, instead, home in on faith.
The Rev. Billy Graham has been worried about the state of America’s soul for a long, long time.
So it isn’t surprising that ”” when preaching what could be his final sermon ”” the 95-year-old evangelist looked straight into the camera and talked about sin and tears, repentance and salvation.
And the cross.
Anglican schools are not the preserve of “white, middle class pupils” and should be allowed to expand to take in more children, according to the Church’s head of education.
New figures published by the Church of England suggest that its schools take as many pupils from poor backgrounds and ethnic minorities as the national average.
The Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd John Pritchard, who is chairman of the Church’s Board of Education, insisted Anglican schools “fully reflect the society in which we live”.
With speculation growing about the contents of the Pilling Report, to be considered by the House of Bishops next month and the need to prepare for same-sex marriages, it looks like we are heading into stormy waters in the Church of England. Last week I was asked for my thoughts on bishops’ regulations relating to same-sex marriage published by the Diocese of Guildford. Reading through them and discussing them with a few people has highlighted a number of key questions for me that I suspect we are going to have to wrestle with in coming months.
My first question was why such guidance was being offered. As the regulations note, we are unlikely to see the first same-sex marriages until the summer. By then there will be the Pilling Report and its reception and likely a statement from the House of Bishops on same-sex marriage as there was on civil partnerships. Why offer guidance now for one diocese? Is this “local option” and “facts on the ground” with bishops issuing their own regulations before serious discussion among the bishops? How many other dioceses are doing this already? Might the guidance itself be a sign of what may be delivered by the Pilling Report….
The Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Revd James Langstaff, is to be the next Bishop to Her Majesty’s Prisons, the senior church advocate for Christian values in the criminal justice system in England and Wales. He will succeed the Rt Revd James Jones, who retired as Bishop of Liverpool in August.
The church makes a major contribution to public debate on criminal justice and the Bishop to Prisons speaks on criminal justice issues in the House of Lords.
After the jurors were seated, [Retired Bishop Alfred] Gwinn explained to them that both sides of the trials had agreed to two facts. First, [the Rev. Frank] Schaefer had performed a same-sex ceremony that involved his son and partner in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on April 28, 2007. Second, Schaefer signed a certificate of marriage that stated he “solemnized the marriage” and that he was ordained United Methodist clergy of The United Methodist Church.
Schaefer declared “not guilty” to both of the charges he faces, which fall under the 2004 Book of Discipline. He is accused of violating these two parts of Paragraph 2702.1:
(b) practices declared by The United Methodist Church to be incompatible with Christian teachings,15 including but not limited to: being a self-avowed practicing homosexual; or conducting ceremonies which celebrate homosexual unions; or performing same-sex wedding ceremonies;**
(d) disobedience to the order and discipline of The United Methodist Church;
A United Methodist pastor was convicted Monday of breaking church law by officiating his son’s same-sex wedding and could be defrocked after a high-profile trial that has rekindled debate over the denomination’s policy on gay marriage.
The Methodist church put the Rev. Frank Schaefer on trial in southeastern Pennsylvania, accusing him of breaking his pastoral vows by presiding over the 2007 ceremony in Massachusetts.
The 13-member jury convicted Schaefer on two charges: That he officiated a gay wedding, and that he showed “disobedience to the order and discipline of the United Methodist Church.”
The Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria, Anglican Church, Most Reverend Nicholas D. Okoh, on Monday, condemned killings of Christians in some parts of the country.
Most Reverend Okoh, who disclosed this while delivering his welcome address at the 2013 Divine Commonwealth Conference of the Anglican Church, however, thanked God for bringing the participants to the event safely.
Filmmaker Ken Burns, author David McCullough, actors Sam Waterston, Matthew Broderick, Stephen Lang, and Medal of Honor recipient Paul W. Bucha recite one of the most famous speeches in American history.
Musical Score by Academy Award-winning composer John Williams….
Listen to it all–still amazing, still so important; KSH (Hat tip: Jeff Miller).
Almighty God, by whose grace thy servant Elizabeth of Hungary recognized and honored Jesus in the poor of this world: Grant that we, following her example, may with love and gladness serve those in any need or trouble, in the name and for the sake of Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
O God, so rule and govern our hearts and minds by thy Holy Spirit, that being ever mindful of the end of all things, and the day of thy just judgment, we may be stirred up to holiness of living here, and dwell with thee forever hereafter; through Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband; and I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.” And he who sat upon the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the fountain of the water of life without payment. He who conquers shall have this heritage, and I will be his God and he shall be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, as for murderers, fornicators, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their lot shall be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death.”
I can confirm that the Pilling Report will be a document which will offer findings and recommendations from the members of the group for the Church of England to consider. It will not be a new policy statement from the Church of England. That will be made quite clear when the Report is published.
It is premature at this stage to speculate about any decision making process at the end of the period of discussion and reflection initiated by the report’s publication. Who has the authority nationally to determine any particular issue in the Church of England always depends on the nature of the decision. Clearly if there were any question of looking again at the motion passed by the Synod in 1987 that would be a matter for the Synod.
The Pilling Group has now completed its work. Its report will be published soon. It will be for the House of Bishops and the Business Committee to consider how best the report might be handled synodically given the motions already awaiting debate. Both bodies meet next month.
Rod Thomas explains his thinking going in to the Nov. 2013 General Synod
Posted on 18 November 2013
The approach taken by the Legislative Steering Group was to tie its discussions fairly tightly to the terms of last July’s General Synod motion. This meant that some issues which have always been regarded as important by those arguing for better ”˜provision’ were not covered (eg issues of jurisdiction). Nevertheless, within those confines, members of the Group were listening to each other carefully and seeking to respond positively. The end result was a balanced package of proposals which show more sensitivity to the needs of those who cannot accept the ministry of women bishops than those in the previous draft Measure. However, key issues remain unresolved. These include the issue of jurisdiction, the rights of individuals, difficulties over enforcement, and the nature of the oath of canonical obedience. While we are prepared to see the proposals going forward for further Synodical consideration, as the most practicable way forward in our present circumstances, it is important to be clear that if major concerns remain at final approval, we will not support them. We will continue to engage positively in Synodical discussions in order to achieve an outcome that is fair to all.
[A useful guide to what is going on procedurally]
Women in the Episcopate
Women in the episcopate will be discussed in three stages: the first part on Tuesday when there will be a brief presentation on the report from the Steering Committee for the draft legislation on Women in the Episcopate to set the scene for discussion in small groups later in the morning. The second and third parts of the package will be discussed on Wednesday: the Steering Committee’s report GS 1924 which describes the package of proposals prepared by the Committee in accordance with the mandate approved in the July Synod, based upon the five guiding principles the House of Bishops Report GS 1886, paragraph 12. Synod will then be invited to give first consideration to the draft Measure and draft Amending Canon prepared by the Committee. With the agreement of the Business Committee, the Chair of the Steering Committee will move under Standing Order 57 that the legislation should be committed for revision in full Synod.
Tentative dates for completion of the process are:
– February 2014: Women in the Episcopate legislation ”“ Revision Stage; Women in the Episcopate legislation, consideration of the draft House of Bishops declaration and draft dispute resolution procedure.
– July 2014: Depending on timing and outcome of Article 8 reference to dioceses, consideration of the Women in the Episcopate legislation
In the gloom of a hilltop cave in Nigeria where she was held captive, Hajja had a knife pressed to her throat by a man who gave her a choice – convert to Islam or die.
Two gunmen from Boko Haram had seized the Christian teenager in July as she picked corn near her village in the Gwoza hills, a remote part of northeastern Nigeria where a six-month-old government offensive is struggling to contain an insurgency by the al Qaeda-linked Islamist group.
In a new development, Boko Haram is abducting Christian women whom it converts to Islam on pain of death and then forces into “marriage” with fighters – a tactic that recalls Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army in the jungles of Uganda.
No one much cares what the Church of England says about sex. That includes most churchgoers. But those who play a part in deciding its line on such things mind more than enough to make up for the rest. All the same, after a mere 20 years, sometime on Wednesday afternoon, the Church of England will almost certainly set in motion the process for appointing women bishops.
In less than a year in office, the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has defused an existential crisis. It is a notable success, but it is unlikely that the conservative wing of the church will abandon its opposition to modernisation merely because it has been defeated. In their long defence of the last bastion, traditionalist groups have developed a political expertise that Bismarck would have admired. But they have also got too sharp for their own good. In defence of their version of doctrinal purity, this time last year they overplayed their hand. They narrowly defeated a tortuous compromise that would have left women as second-rank bishops with only limited authority, and thus provoked a crisis on such a scale that it seemed parliament might step in and force the church into submission. The proposals that synod will consider on Wednesday are the direct result of a really nasty shock to the system that no one is quite ready to risk again.
..So, what do we see?
1.Essentially a single-clause Measure. The draft Measure contains a principal clause making it legal for the Synod to legislate by canon to enable women to be ordained as bishops and priests
The Canons of the Church of England will, however, now contain a new Canon C 29. This places a new duty on the House of Bishops to make Regulations (to be approved by a two-thirds majority of each House of General Synod) for “the resolution of disputes arising from the arrangements for which the House of Bishops’ declaration on the Ministry of Bishops and Priests makes provision”. This assumes, therefore, that the House of Bishops will have made such a declaration.
4.Annexed to the full report of the steering committee are:
â– a draft declaration on the Ministry of Bishops and Priests that the House of Bishops could make; and
â– a set of draft regulations for a system for resolving disputes, introducing an “Independent Reviewer” ”“ rather like an ombudsman.
The draft declaration sets down a process whereby the ministry of women priests and bishops may be declined. The only body competent to make such a request would be a PCC (cathedrals would not be able to decline the ministry of women priests or bishops). A PCC (and there is provision to make sure that it is a majority vote of the PCC and that the meeting is properly constituted) may pass a resolution requesting alternative episcopal and priestly ministry. The Bishop is then required to arrange such ministry. If there is a dispute as to whether and how that ministry is arranged the PCC will be able to ask for a review of arrangements by the newly created “Independent Reviewer”. This person will act rather like an ombudsman in the public sector: he or she will be empowered to investigate (and to initiate investigations on his or her own authority) and to recommend courses of action that are then sent to the parties concerned and published.
And what do we not see?
The report makes clear that there are different reasons that will prompt a PCC to request “arrangements”. Paragraph 22 of the draft declaration states that the House of Bishops “will provide guidance for bishops and parishes” to help bishops, patrons and PCCs hold conversations to “achieve an outcome that does not conflict with the nature of the conviction on this issue underlying the PCC’s resolution”.
It is not clear what form this guidance will take. There is an aspiration for consistent practice throughout the country (paras 16 and 27) but there is no mention of the scope or limits of such “theological conviction”.
To take some examples of issues that will need clarification:
â– would a parish be able to insist on oversight from a male bishop who shared its stance on male headship?
â– would a parish be able to reject the ministry of a priest or bishop who did not accept the ministry of women?
â– would a PCC be able to insist on limiting sacramental ministry in that parish to male priests ordained by male bishops, or, to go one step further, ordained by male bishops in whose consecration female bishops had not taken part?
â– if it is practically impossible to provide ministry that takes into account all the convictions of a particular parish, what will be the threshold at which the Independent Reviewer would reasonably entertain a grievance?…….
Members of a Roman Catholic order are to take up residence in Lambeth Palace in a move not seen since the Reformation, the Church of England has announced.
The four members of Chemin Neuf, an order founded in France, a married Anglican couple, a Lutheran training for the ministry and a Roman Catholic sister ”“ will live at Lambeth Palace (above), the London home of the Archbishop of Canterbury, from January.
The group will work on ecumenical and international affairs and will share in the ”˜daily round’ of prayer at Lambeth Palace, it was announced.
The Anglican church’s first female bishop has described the announcement of her historical appointment as “messy” after it was brought forth at the same time a royal commission focused on her new diocese.
The Reverend Dr Sarah Macneil, 58, was elected unanimously as the 11th bishop of the Anglican diocese of Grafton.
Her appointment was announced at church services on Sunday, a day before the Anglican church and Grafton diocese appeared before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.