Daily Archives: January 30, 2014

Church of Uganda: Statement from Archbishop Ntagali

Received by email and now online 30th January 2014
Archbishop Stanley Ntagali Comments on Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill, the Church of England’s “Pilling Report,” and the Open Letter from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York
The Church of Uganda is encouraged by the work of Uganda’s Parliament in amending the Anti-Homosexuality Bill to remove the death penalty, to reduce sentencing guidelines through a principle of proportionality, and to remove the clause on reporting homosexual behaviour, as we had recommended in our 2010 position statement on the Bill. This frees our clergy and church leaders to fulfill the 2008 resolution of our House of Bishops to “offer counseling, healing and prayer for people with homosexual disorientation, especially in our schools and other institutions of learning. The Church is a safe place for individuals, who are confused about their sexuality or struggling with sexual brokenness, to seek help and healing.”

Accordingly, we are grateful for the reminder of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to fulfill such commitments as stated in the 2005 Communique of the Primates Meeting held in Dromantine, Northern Ireland.

We would further like to remind them, as they lead their own church through the “facilitated conversations” recommended by the Pilling Report, that the teaching of the Anglican Communion from the 1998 Lambeth Conference, from Resolution 1.10, still stands. It states that “homosexual practice is incompatible with Scripture,” and the conference “cannot advise the legitimising or blessing of same sex unions nor ordaining those involved in same gender unions.”

It was the Episcopal Church USA (TEC) and the Anglican Church of Canada’s violations of Lambeth 1.10 which caused the Church of Uganda to break communion with those Provinces more than ten years ago. We sincerely hope the Archbishops and governing bodies of the Church of England will step back from the path they have set themselves on so the Church of Uganda will be able to maintain communion with our own Mother Church.

Furthermore, as our new Archbishop of Canterbury looks toward future Primates Meetings and a possible 2018 Lambeth Conference of Bishops, we would also like to remind him of the 2007 Primates Communique from Dar es Salaam, which says that there are:

“consequences for the full participation of the Church in the life of the Communion” for TEC and those Provinces which cannot
1. “Make an unequivocal common covenant that the Bishops will not authorize any Rite of Blessing for same-sex unions in their dioceses or through” their governing body;
2. “Confirm”¦that a candidate for episcopal orders living in a same-sex union shall not receive the necessary consent.”

It is clear that the Episcopal Church in the USA and the Anglican Church of Canada have not upheld these commitments, and so we do pray for the Archbishop of Canterbury as he considers whether or not to extend invitations to their Primates for the next Primates Meeting or to their Bishops for the 2018 Lambeth Conference. To withhold these invitations would be a clear signal of his intention to lead and uphold the fullness of the 1998 Lambeth Resolution 1.10.

The Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali


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

BBC Magazine–US marijuana laws: Will records be wiped clean?

Moves across the US to legalise marijuana have been greeted by reformers as heralding the end of the “war on drugs”. But what happens to people convicted of offences that no longer exist? And will the records of those arrested now be wiped clean?

This is a big year for American pot smokers. Business has been brisk at shops in Colorado where, for the first time, people can buy marijuana to smoke purely for pleasure. Stores in Washington state are set to open in a few months and others may follow, as authorities eye a new source of tax dollars from a policy that now has broad popular support.

Yet as the momentum for reform has gathered pace, one issue has largely been brushed aside – the fate of those arrested in the past.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Drugs/Drug Addiction, History, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, State Government

(TECOPA) TEC Office of Communication: 2013 by the numbers

For the Episcopal Church Office of Communication, 2013 was a remarkable year.

“The year 2013 showed continued dramatic growth in audiences for all of our digital publications, our website and our social media outlets,” noted Anne Rudig, Director of Communication. Our internal and external media relations efforts yielded some significant placements and much expanded activity.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Episcopal Church (TEC), Media, Religion & Culture, TEC Data

Ian Paul (Former Dean of Studies, Saint John's Nttngham) Why the bishops have done the right thing

Why do I think College of Bishops have made the right decision? Well, most obviously because their response to Pilling is exactly the one I said in November was needed. The reason for this is more and more evident in public responses, particularly on social media, from all sides of the debate.

On the one hand, many ”˜conservatives’ say that there is nothing to be done, and no need any further discussion. I don’t think this takes into account sufficiently the need for the Church of England to develop more credible pastoral response, taking into account what Justin Welby described as the revolution in attitudes within society on this issue.

On the other hand, many ”˜revisionists’ agree there is no need for further discussion, but for exactly the opposite reason. It is clear what God is doing in society, and the Church needs to catch up without any further delay. You can see this very clearly in the fulminating responses to yesterday’s announcement on the Thinking Anglicans website (was there ever more irony in a website name?).

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology

Andrew Symes–The College of Bishops’ Statement on the Pilling Report: a Response

On one hand, it’s disappointing both to conservatives and liberals that the Bishops can only state the obvious ”“ that people are divided over the issue of homosexuality ”“ and cannot give any clear lead on what the church should be teaching. On the other hand, it is encouraging that the diversity is recognized; that capitulation to Western cultural norms is not seen as inevitable; that the viewpoint of majority global Anglicanism is taken into account, and above all, that
the Church of England’s pastoral and liturgical practice remains unchanged during this process of facilitated conversation”¦No change to the Church of England’s teaching on marriage is proposed or envisaged.

This presumably means that Pilling’s most contentious proposal, namely that blessings of gay couples in church should commence at the same time as facilitated conversations, has been decisively rejected. It also appears not to leave the door ajar for the acceptance of gay marriage.

There was fear among conservatives that those of their number among the Bishops would be marginalized, especially in the wake of the Bishop of Fulham’s endorsement of Pilling. However it seems clear that some kind of stand – which may have been costly ”“ must have been made to ensure a collegiate pulling back from the brink. For that we can be grateful.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology

(Telegraph) C of E Bishops–we agree on one thing ”“ that we can't agree on homosexuality

The Church of England’s bishops have finally reached agreement on homosexuality ”“ by saying that they might never be able to agree.

They emerged from a frank, day-long meeting behind closed doors, discussing their response to radical proposals to offer wedding-style blessing services for gay couples, and admitted they are deeply divided over the issues and are likely to remain so for years to come.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

A BBC article on the letter from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have written to the presidents of Nigeria and Uganda, after being asked about laws there penalising gay people.

The letter said homosexual people were loved and valued by God and should not be victimised or diminished.

Nigeria and Uganda have both passed legislation targeting people with same-sex attraction.

The letter is also addressed to all primates (heads of national Churches) in the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Africa, Anglican Primates, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Law & Legal Issues, Nigeria, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Psychology, Sexuality, Theology, Uganda

Archbps recall commitment to pastoral care and friendship for all, regardless of sexual orientation

In their letter, the Archbishops recalled the words of the communiqué issued in 2005 after a meeting of Primates from across the Communion in Dromantine.

The text of the joint letter is as follows:

“Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ

In recent days, questions have been asked about the Church of England’s attitude to new legislation in several countries that penalises people with same-sex attraction. In answer to these questions, we have recalled the common mind of the Primates of the Anglican Communion, as expressed in the Dromantine Communiqué of 2005.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Primates, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Nigeria, Uganda

J John–The Enduring Relevance of C. S. Lewis

C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), who lectured in English literature at Oxford for most of his life, was a prolific writer in many areas and a man who powerfully and eloquently defended Christianity. Half a century after his death many of his books remain bestsellers: one, Mere Christianity, sells a quarter of a million copies a year.

Why have Lewis’s books endured? There are several reasons. For a start, he was a brilliant writer who used English to maximum effect. He was also an enormously intelligent and creative man capable of analysing problems from different angles, courageous enough to tackle difficult topics (for example, two of his books are called Miracles and The Problem of Pain) and creative enough to branch out into children’s fantasy (the Narnia Chronicles). Yet although these are all important in explaining the lasting popularity of C. S. Lewis, I think there are other factors and they are all to do with how he saw the world.

First, Lewis was always intensely aware of the past. There is a tendency in our culture to dismiss dead authors as ‘irrelevant’. Such views were alien to Lewis, a remarkably well-read man, even by the standards of his contemporaries at Oxford and Cambridge.

Read it all (I see it is also in this week’s Church of England Newspaper on page 7).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Apologetics, Books, Children, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Ministry of the Laity, Parish Ministry, Theology

(RNS) Ruling may force Ireland to revamp Roman Catholic school monopoly

On Tuesday (Jan. 28), the European Court of Human Rights found the government was liable in a case in which a principal sexually abused a student, then 9 years old, when she attended a state-funded Catholic school in the 1970s. An Irish court had rejected her claims on the grounds that the school wasn’t public, but the European court decided the government had failed in its duty to protect children.

The ruling touched on an issue that has taken on greater urgency in recent years as sexual abuse scandals have rocked the church and more nonreligious people have immigrated to the staunchly Catholic country: Who should run Ireland’s schools?

The Catholic Church runs 90 percent of primary schools in Ireland. The rest are mainly Protestant, and about 4 percent are managed by the nonprofit Educate Together, which is nonsectarian.

The arrangement is unsettling to some parents who have little choice in where to send their children.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Education, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Foreign Relations, Ireland, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

David Brooks-the Silent Majority in Faith Communities in America: marked by empathy and moral demand

There must be something legalistic in the human makeup, because cold, rigid, unambiguous, unparadoxical belief is common, especially considering how fervently the Scriptures oppose it.

And yet there is a silent majority who experience a faith that is attractively marked by combinations of fervor and doubt, clarity and confusion, empathy and moral demand.

For example, Audrey Assad is a Catholic songwriter with a crystalline voice and a sober intensity to her stage presence. (You can see her perform her song “I Shall Not Want” on YouTube.) She writes the sort of emotionally drenched music that helps people who are in crisis. A surprising number of women tell her they listened to her music while in labor.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Church History, History, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology

Beer, Brats and Ice Fishing for the Biggest Catch in Minnesota

Every year Minnesota hosts the world’s largest ice fishing competition, offering the chance to win a pick-up truck… when it comes to winter, Minnesota people pretty much think the west of us are wimps. With a daytime high of two degree this past Saturday, almost 10,000 people showed up for the annual Brainerd (Minnesotae) event.

Watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Rural/Town Life, Sports

Praise to Begin the Day

O Thou in whom all things live, who commandest us to seek thee, and art ever ready to be found: To know thee is life, to serve thee is freedom, to praise thee is our souls’ joy. We bless thee and adore thee, we worship thee and magnify thee, we give thanks to thee for thy great glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Saint Augustine

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

For it is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins. Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings thou hast not desired, but a body hast thou prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings thou hast taken no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Lo, I have come to do thy will, O God,’ as it is written of me in the roll of the book.” When he said above, “Thou hast neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), then he added, “Lo, I have come to do thy will.” He abolishes the first in order to establish the second. 10 And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

–Hebrews 10:4-10

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Provost Doug McConnell's chapel message at Fuller Theoligcal Seminary

His message was simple, but powerful: Jesus first.

As students at Fuller Seminary go through their education and discover new favorite theologians, favorite professors, favorite pastors, or favorite authors, Provost Doug McConnell cautioned them to never forget who is first.

Preaching from 1 Corinthians 1:10-18 in which the Apostle Paul warns against divisions in the church, McConnell said that it is natural for people to make affinities to certain things. Many tribes and nations have totems that symbolize characteristics that are important to their culture, he said.

Read it all and note the option to watch the whole address.

Posted in Christology, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

(WwM) Sri Lanka’s Christians protest after January attacks

More than 2,000 Christians gathered in Colombo on Sunday (January 26) to protest against a perceived lack of religious freedom in Sri Lanka, following recent attacks on Christian places of worship by Buddhist extremists.

Two churches and a Christian prayer centre were attacked on Jan. 12 by Buddhist mobs claiming they were illegal and aiming to take Buddhists away from their religion.

The prayer centre, belonging to the Church of the Foursquare Gospel in Pitipana, near Colombo, was set alight on the same day as attacks on the Assemblies of God Church and Calvary Free Church in the southern coastal town of Hikkaduwa.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Buddhism, Inter-Faith Relations, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Sri Lanka, Violence

(JS) Presbyterians seek unity ”” or amicable split ”” on clergy in same sex partnerships

Oostburg’s pastor, the Rev. Brian Jacobson, said he feels a sense of hopefulness about the process.

“It feels like a genuine attempt ”” in Christian language ”” to make room for the spirit,” Jacobson said. “It feels to me like this could be a way forward that would honor both sides.”

First Presbyterian is seeking to affiliate with ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians, a theologically conservative denomination that formed after the 2011 vote.

Since then, about 260 congregations have left the 2.8 million-member Presbyterian Church USA, said the Rev. Gradye Parsons, who serves as the stated clerk of the church’s general assembly in Louisville. Similar schisms have erupted in the Episcopal Church and Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Presbyterian, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Theology