Daily Archives: September 18, 2015

(The Tablet) Mgr Mark Langham–Too early to call time on the Anglican Communion

The current Archbishop seems to have decided that a new approach is called for. There is a mood of crisis. He has postponed indefinitely the Lambeth Conference due to be held in 2018, and last December stated that the worldwide Anglican Communion possibly “will not hold together”.

But we should beware seeing him as wringing his hands in desperation; he is far from saying that it is all up for Anglicanism. Archbishop Welby’s experience in conflict resolution calls for a more hands-on approach: speaking directly to disaffected parties rather than proposing abstract solutions. He has set himself the task of meeting every Anglican Primate personally, and his call to the Anglican Primates to meet in Lambeth next year should be seen in this context.
It is indeed difficult to imagine a solution to the present crisis, when, for example, Nigerian bishops declare themselves to be out of communion with their American brethren. To our Catholic ears, the language used by the Archbishop’s staff of “moving into separate bedrooms” sounds an effective end of communion, a formalising of a rift ”“ and for Roman Catholics, such an arrangement would indeed signal a serious breach of communion.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, - Anglican: Commentary, --Justin Welby, Anglican Primates, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Roman Catholic, Theology

(WSJ) John Miller–Pope Francis, Annulment+Seeing How a Marriage Wasn’t Meant to Be

The [proposed new] process will be shorter, simpler and, if possible, free. The pope said he wished that “the heart of the faithful” awaiting clarification might not “be oppressed for a long time by the darkness of doubt.” Many oppose loosening requirements: Cardinal Raymond Burke has warned of a “false mercy” if the determination process isn’t rigorous.

My wife and I met in 2005 and dated for 18 months before marrying in a Brussels church in 2007. I reasoned that a sacramental endorsement would heal some of our serious problems. I was wrong, and we separated in 2010. A year later I moved to Pittsburgh. Why would I rehash all that by getting an annulment? My ex-wife and I have no children, and we have remained friends.
Annulments, I thought, were for extreme cases””bigamy or incest, for instance. My marriage was a failure but it wasn’t a sham, and I didn’t want to pretend that it never happened, which an annulment seemed to imply. And who likes recounting blunt truths about past immaturity and impulsiveness? It would also be complicated. I live in Pittsburgh and my ex-wife is in Brussels. Then there was the cost, as much as $1,000.

And yet: A Catholic marriage ceremony is solemn, extraordinary and majestic. I made a fundamental promise””to love and be with somebody until one of us died. My word mattered, and my commitment was etched on the church’s books.

So this spring I ordered the paperwork. I wrote up our story, and chose four witnesses: my two best men, one of my sisters and the priest who married us. The request was accepted. A marriage tribunal invited me to testify. On a sunny day in June, I drove a rental car from my parents’ house in Brussels to the grand 18th-century diocesan headquarters in Namur….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Pope Francis, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

Philip Johanson–Does C of E require radical emergency surgery or should it bea slow death?

There is no doubt that the Church of England is in crisis. Its worshipping life and influence are shrinking, and if it continues in its present trajectory within a generation it will be too small credibly to maintain its position as the National Church.

Indeed William Fittall, the Secretary General of the General Synod has written: “Recognition that the Church of England’s capacity to proclaim the faith afresh in each generation will be decisively eroded unless the trend towards older and smaller worshipping communities is reversed.”

It would be very interesting to know how many members of General Synod come from those older and smaller worshipping communities and how many come from growing churches. One suspects more come from the former than the latter, which begs the question if the Synod in a position to give a lead.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Justin Welby, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Christology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Evangelism and Church Growth, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Seminary / Theological Education, Soteriology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Irish Times) Anglicanism in crisis: Canterbury’s risky move

The Archbishop of Canterbury is proposing to restructure the Anglican Communion, turning the third largest global family of churches into a much looser federation or grouping. The Archbishop of Armagh, Dr Richard Clarke, and 37 other Anglican primates from around the world have been invited to Canterbury next January to discuss Archbishop Justin Welby’s proposals. In the new scheme of things, Anglican churches, including the Church of Ireland and the Church of England, could be linked to Canterbury without necessarily being linked to each other.

With 80 million members, Anglicans form the third largest Christian body, after the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches. Archbishop Welby’s predecessor, Rowan Williams, became disheartened in his fraught efforts to hold Anglicans together, and they collapsed when they were rejected by the dioceses in his own Church of England. Over the past two decades, it has become more and more difficult to hold Anglicanism together. The main dividing issues are sexuality and the authority of bishops and the Bible, and, to a lesser extent, the ordination of women.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Justin Welby, Anglican Primates, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Theology

A BBC Today Programme Segment on the proposed Anglican Primates meeting

The Archbishop of Canterbury has called a special conference for January for all 38 of the Anglican Communion’s Primates to talk about some of the key issues dividing the Anglican world. Bishop of Manchester, David Walker and Andrew Symes, executive secretary of Anglican Mainstream in the UK, talk to us about the key issues in dispute.

Listen to it all (starts 02:37 in).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Justin Welby, Anglican Primates, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(NYT) Meeting of Anglican Leaders Could Lead to a Looser Federation

The presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori, will soon be replaced by Bishop Michael B. Curry, who was elected this summer and will be installed in the next few months. A spokeswoman for the church, which has 2.1 million members, said Bishop Curry planned to attend the meeting.

Archbishop Foley Beach, the leader of the Anglican Church in North America, which counts 112,000 members in Canada, the United States and Mexico, said Wednesday that he had received a call from Archbishop Welby inviting him to the meeting, and that he planned to go if conservative primates in other countries also attended.

“The challenges facing the Anglican Communion over the last couple of decades are no secret,” the Rev. Dr. Beach said, “and it is time to face them.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, --Justin Welby, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Anglican Primates, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology

(Church Times) Crunch time for the Communion as Welby summons Primates to Canterbury summit

The statement talks about “space”: “The difference between our societies and cultures, as well as the speed of cultural change in much of the global north, tempts us to divide as Christians. . . A 21st-century Anglican family must have space for deep disagreement, and even mutual criticism, so long as we are faithful to the revelation of Jesus Christ, together.”

The invitation represents a desire by the Archbishop to take a tougher line on division and “start treating people like adults” and “stop messing around with internal rows”, a source said. It is understood that Archbishop Welby spoke to all of the Primates by phone during the summer, and that only three expressed doubts about attending.

One item on the agenda will be the next Lambeth Conference. It is thought to be too late to arrange something in 2018, but the Archbishop is said by a source to be determined that another will take place, perhaps in 2020 ”” even if those attending could only fill a telephone box.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Justin Welby, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Anglican Primates, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Global South Churches & Primates, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology

GAFCON calls for ”˜truth on the table’ in the Anglican Communion in called Primates Meeting

It is on this basis that the GAFCON Primates will prayerfully consider their response to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s letter. They recognize that the crisis in the Communion is not primarily a problem of relationships and cultural context, but of false teaching which continues without repentance or discipline.

Consistent with this position, they have previously advised the Archbishop of Canterbury that they would not attend any meeting at which The Episcopal Church of the United States or the Anglican Church of Canada were represented, nor would they attend any meeting from which the Anglican Church in North America was excluded.

It is therefore of some encouragement that the Archbishop of Canterbury has opened the door of this meeting to the Primate of the Anglican Church in North America, Archbishop Foley Beach. He has already been recognized as a fellow primate of the Anglican Communion by Primates representing GAFCON and the Anglican Global South at his installation in Atlanta last October and he is a full member of the GAFCON Primates Council.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Justin Welby, Anglican Primates, Archbishop of Canterbury, Global South Churches & Primates

An EB Pusey Sermon for his Feast Day–"Patience and Confidence the Strength of the Church" (1837)

The general conduct of our Church has been true to her first principles, to render to Caesar the things that were Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s; to do nothing against the command of God, but to suffer every thing which the Caesar may require. It was thus that the seven Bishops mainly checked James’s tyranny, refusing to do, but submitting to suffer, what was unlawful; it was thus that even in the Great Rebellion men cheerfully took the spoiling of their goods; it was thus that in events familiar to us, the members of this place, at different periods, suffered what was un lawful, rather than compromise their principles;–and we cherish their memories.

The two events, for which we keep this day as an annual thanksgiving to God, together, strikingly illustrate these principles. 1. That we may safely leave things to God. 2. That there is great risk, that man, by any impatience of his, will mar the blessing which God designs for His Church.
In the plot, from which this day is named, God had permitted things to come to the uttermost; every preparation was made, every scruple removed; a Roman priest had solemnly given the answer, that, for so great a benefit to the Church, their own people too might be sacrificed; the innocent might be slain, so that the guilty majority escaped not. The secret was entrusted to but few, was guarded by the most solemn oaths and by the participation of the Holy Eucharist, had been kept for a year and a half although all of the Roman Communion in England knew that some great plot was being carried on, and were praying for its success; inferior plots had been forbidden by Rome, lest they should mar this great one; no suspicion had been excited, and there was nothing left to excite suspicion, when God employed means, in man’s sight, the [28/29] most unlikely. He awoke, at the last, one lurking feeling of pity for one person in the breast of but one, so that a dark hint was given to that one: and He caused him who gave it, to miscalculate the character of his own brother-in-law, or entrust him with more than he was aware; then He placed fear in that other’s breast, so that, through another and distant fear, he shewed the letter which contained this dark hint; then, when the councillors despised the anonymous hint, as an idle tale, He enlightened the mind of the monarch, to discover the dark saying, which to us it seems strange that any beforehand should have unravelled; and when even then the councillors had surveyed the very spot, and discovered nothing, He caused the monarch to persevere, undeterred, until He had brought the whole to light. Yet to see more of this mystery of God’s Providence, and how He weaves together the intricate web of human affairs, and places long before the hidden springs of things, we must think also, how He ordered that one of these few conspirators should be intermarried with one of the few Roman peers, and so desired to save him; and by the conspiracy from which God had shielded the monarch’s early life, He quickened his sense of the present danger; so that while men were marrying, and giving in marriage, and strengthening themselves by alliances, God was preparing the means whereby this kingdom should be saved against the will of those so employed; and while men were plotting against a sacred life, God was laying up in the monarch’s soul the thought, which Himself should hereafter kindle to save it. Verily, “a man’s heart deviseth his way, but the Lord directeth his steps.” “The ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and He pondereth all his goings; own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins.” The words of the Psalmist, selected for this day’s service, find a striking completion in this history. “God hid him from the secret counsel of the wicked, from the insurrection of the workers of iniquity–they encourage themselves in an evil matter; they commune of laying snares privily; they say, Who shall see them? they search out iniquities; they accomplish a diligent search; the inward thought of every one of them, and the heart, is deep: but God shall shoot at them with an arrow; suddenly shall they be wounded; so they shall make their own tongue to fall upon themselves.”

But it yet more illustrates the teaching, and is an argument of encouragement to our Church, how God in two neighbouring countries permitted similar plots to be accomplished.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Ecclesiology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Edward Bouverie Pusey

Grant unto us, O God, that in all time of our testing we may know thy presence and obey thy will; that, following the example of thy servant Edward Bouverie Pusey, we may with integrity and courage accomplish what thou givest us to do, and endure what thou givest us to bear; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day from John R. W. Stott

O God, our heavenly Father, who so loved the world that thou didst give thine only Son to die upon the cross: Pour thy love into our hearts, we humbly beseech thee; that we loving thee above all things, may give up ourselves, our time, our money, our talents, to thy service; for the sake of him who loved us and gave himself for us, Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Now Ahazi′ah fell through the lattice in his upper chamber in Samar′ia, and lay sick; so he sent messengers, telling them, “Go, inquire of Ba′al-ze′bub, the god of Ekron, whether I shall recover from this sickness.” But the angel of the Lord said to Eli′jah the Tishbite, “Arise, go up to meet the messengers of the king of Samar′ia, and say to them, ‘Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going to inquire of Ba′al-ze′bub, the god of Ekron?’ Now therefore thus says the Lord, ‘You shall not come down from the bed to which you have gone, but you shall surely die.’” So Eli′jah went.

The messengers returned to the king, and he said to them, “Why have you returned?” And they said to him, “There came a man to meet us, and said to us, ‘Go back to the king who sent you, and say to him, Thus says the Lord, Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are sending to inquire of Ba′al-ze′bub, the god of Ekron? Therefore you shall not come down from the bed to which you have gone, but shall surely die.’” He said to them, “What kind of man was he who came to meet you and told you these things?” They answered him, “He wore a garment of haircloth, with a girdle of leather about his loins.” And he said, “It is Eli′jah the Tishbite.”

Then the king sent to him a captain of fifty men with his fifty. He went up to Eli′jah, who was sitting on the top of a hill, and said to him, “O man of God, the king says, ‘Come down.’” But Eli′jah answered the captain of fifty, “If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty.” Then fire came down from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty.

Again the king sent to him another captain of fifty men with his fifty. And he went up and said to him, “O man of God, this is the king’s order, ‘Come down quickly!’” But Eli′jah answered them, “If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty.” Then the fire of God came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty.

Again the king sent the captain of a third fifty with his fifty. And the third captain of fifty went up, and came and fell on his knees before Eli′jah, and entreated him, “O man of God, I pray you, let my life, and the life of these fifty servants of yours, be precious in your sight. Lo, fire came down from heaven, and consumed the two former captains of fifty men with their fifties; but now let my life be precious in your sight.” Then the angel of the Lord said to Eli′jah, “Go down with him; do not be afraid of him.” So he arose and went down with him to the king, and said to him, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Because you have sent messengers to inquire of Ba′al-ze′bub, the god of Ekron,—is it because there is no God in Israel to inquire of his word?—therefore you shall not come down from the bed to which you have gone, but you shall surely die.’”

So he died according to the word of the Lord which Eli′jah had spoken. Jeho′ram, his brother, became king in his stead in the second year of Jeho′ram the son of Jehosh′aphat, king of Judah, because Ahazi′ah had no son.

–2 Kings 1:2-17

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Nessun Dorma – Jonas Kaufmann

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Music

Archbp Josiah Fearon on the call for a special Primates' Meeting in January 2016

“This is a most welcome development. The Anglican Communion must now allow the Holy Spirit to intervene in the differences that divide us. We at the Anglican Communion Office are positioned to assist in fostering a desirable outcome,” Archbishop Josiah said.

The Secretary General also affirmed Archbishop Justin’s intention to extend an invitation to Archbishop Foley Beach of the Anglican Church in North America to be present for part of the Primates’ meeting. “This is an opportunity to listen to useful ideas from this group on how we continue as a Communion in light of the search and openness to the leading of the Holy Spirit,” he said.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, --Justin Welby, Anglican Primates, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Theology, Theology: Scripture