Friday, February 17, 2006


Only those who try to live near God and have formed the habit of faithfulness to Him in the small things of our daily life, can hope in times of need for that special light which shows us our path. To do as well as we can the job immediately before us, is the way to learn what we ought to do next. ... Evelyn Underhill

None can become fit for the future life, who hath not practiced himself for it now. ... St. Augustine photo

City reverses 'religious art' ban
Painter contributed scenes of everyday life for Black History Month
Posted: February 17, 20065:00 p.m. Eastern

Just hours after being served with a lawsuit, a Florida town today reversed its decision to censor an artist's paintings from a Black History Month display at City Hall because they were deemed religious.

Lloyd Marcus filed the lawsuit this morning in federal district court after the city of Deltona refused to respond to a letter from the public-interest legal group
Liberty Counsel demanding the paintings be reposted.

Letters were sent to Mayor Dennis Mulder and acting City Manager L. Roland Blossom.
The city had allowed its employees and local citizens to display artwork to celebrate Black History Month, but Blossom ordered Marcus' paintings removed because of their religious viewpoint.
The rest

Christians Distribute Gospel of Mark at Winter Olympics
Christians are reaching out to Olympians and visitors with the Gospel of Mark at this year's Winter Olympics in Turin.
Posted: Friday, February 17 , 2006, 10:24 (UK)

Christians in Italy have banded together for a special Winter Olympics outreach initiative to bring hospitality to visitors and Olympians in Turin, the home of one of this year’s first major sporting events.

The “More than Gold” campaign, an initiative of the “Committee 2006”, will see hundreds of free copies of the Gospel of Mark given out to anyone visiting a church in Turin as well to anyone in the areas surrounding the Games, reports Ecumenical News International.

"The Gospel according to Mark is one of the books of the Bible which tells the story of the life, work and teachings of Jesus Christ," said Pastor Luciano Deodato, president of the "Committee 2006" of the Waldensian Church, one of the churches involved in the outreach. "As a concrete sign of warm welcome to our visitors, we've decided to make a gift of that which is precious to us as churches and church people."
the rest

Activists Planning to Stage '06 World 'Gay Pride' Celebration in Jerusalem
By James L. Lambert
February 17, 2006

SAN DIEGO (AgapePress) - Homosexual activists are planning to stage a massive "gay pride" party and parade this summer in Jerusalem. Jerry Falwell says that's a mistake that could backfire on the homosexual community worldwide.

Jerusalem WorldPride 2006, scheduled for August 6-12, 2006, describes itself as "a massive demonstration of LGBT [lesbian, bay, bisexual, transgender] pride and human rights" and an opportunity for the homosexual community to make a "global statement of pride and tolerance."

"The message sent from Jerusalem WP will echo worldwide, redefining LGBT identity, faith, and vision," says the event's website.
the rest

Muslims Are Getting Saved Because of Christian Websites

This is just about one of the coolest news stories I've read this week. Thanks to
Mission Network News for once again putting out such great email and information on their website. If you love missions like I do, then you'll definitely want to bookmark this site and visit every day.

The rest

New Jersey Supreme Court Hears Gay 'Marriage' Case
Friday, Feb. 17, 2006 Posted: 10:27:09AM EST

The New Jersey Supreme Court heard arguments in a case involving seven homosexual couples suing for the right to marry, saying the state’s constitution allows it.

The seven-justice panel in Trenton, the state capital, was asked on Wednesday by the suing couples to overturn a lower court’s decision which ruled that it is up to the state legislature to decide whether gay “marriage” should be allowed.

"It's such a fundamental institution in our society that a change in that law belongs to the elected representatives of the people," said Assistant Attorney General Patrick DeAlmeida, according to Reuters. "There is nothing in the constitution that says four members of this court can make that change."
The rest

Boy Scouts 'a religion'?
Attorneys for group battle agnostics over lease of public land
Posted: February 16, 20061:00 a.m. Eastern
By Rees Lloyd

Arguments in a major Boy Scouts case unfolding in Pasadena, Calif., before a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals – a case that is certain to be headed for the Supreme Court -- centered on the contention that the revered organization is actually a religion and should therefore not be given a lease of public land.

The case was brought by self-declared agnostics Lori and Lynn Barnes-Wallace and Michael and Valerie Breen, along with a son of each, in protest of a lease of parkland in Balboa Park and Fiesta Island by the city of San Diego to the Boy Scouts of America.

The agnostics sued the city on a claim that the lease to the Boy Scouts – out of more than 100 leases, including to the YMCA, a number of Jewish groups, one of which conducts Sabbath services on parkland, and the Girl Scouts – violates the Establishment of Religion Clause of the First Amendment, and that they are suffering "inferior usage" thereby because they don't want to have to apply for permits, or pay usage fees, to the BSA. The case is Barnes-Wallace, et al. v. Boy Scouts of America, Nos. 04-55732, 04-56167.
The rest

Handmade Bible revives a sacred art
Exhibit about 7-year project to be in Buffalo
Marketta Gregory
Staff writer

(February 17, 2006) — For the first time in probably 500 years, a group of Benedictine monks and calligraphers is painstakingly writing out the Bible by hand.A reproduction of part of the book, known as the St. John's Bible, will be on display in Buffalo's St. Joseph Cathedral starting Feb. 26.

"We wanted to take an old art form and give new life to it," said the Rev. Michael Patella, a monk who grew up in Rochester and worked with other academics to figure out which portions of the Bible should be illustrated. The committee chose themes, such as the environment and social justice issues, to highlight with pictures.

"People like to quote the Bible.... Our idea is to see it as more of an organic whole," said Patella, who teaches New Testament scripture at St. John's University in Minnesota. "Matters of social justice and matters of the environment and economics — all of these are religious matters."

The Benedictines at St. John's Abbey and University were looking for a project to mark the year 2000 when calligrapher Donald Jackson mentioned that he wanted to copy the Bible in calligraphy before he died. The university, which is well-known for its manuscript collection, agreed to commission the work on the more than $4 million project, which was funded largely by donations.
The rest

Christians counter homosexual 'Day of Silence
''Truth' event at high schools nationwide responds boldly but 'in love'
Posted: February 17, 20061:00 a.m. Eastern

High-school students nationwide will take part in a "
Day of Truth" to counter homosexual activism and peacefully express a Christian perspective.

During school hours, students will wear "Day of Truth" T-shirts and pass out cards, said the Arizona-based public-interest group
Alliance Defense Fund, which is sponsoring the April 27 event.

Outside of class time, the students will present the following message:

I am speaking the Truth to break the silence. Silence isn't freedom. It's a constraint. Truth tolerates open discussion, because the Truth emerges when healthy discourse is allowed. By proclaiming the Truth in love, hurts will be halted, hearts will be healed, and lives will be saved.

The rest

Abortions at home are safe...?
Feb 16 2006 05:44 PM
By
KateFavazza

So, what did you do this afternoon?"

"You know, the usual: watched some soaps, ate some bon-bons, had an abortion."
Read that again. It may sound ridiculous, but for England, it's very close to the impending reality. The Guardian Unlimited reported today that
abortions at home are safe:

Women who are less than nine weeks pregnant can safely have medical abortions at home, according to the head of a government-backed pilot project.

Abortion services for the 20,000 women who seek a chemically induced abortion every year could be transformed should the Department of Health's official evaluation of the pilot confirm initial findings. But it is also likely to provoke controversy from anti-abortion campaigners who will claim that home abortions would make the procedure easier and therefore lead to more women having terminations.
Story

Probe finds terrorists in U.S. 'training for war'
Neighbors of Muslim encampment fear retaliation if they report to police
Posted: February 17, 20061:00 a.m. Eastern

The Pakistani terrorist group
Jamaat ul Fuqra is using Islamic schools in the United States as training facilities, confirms a joint investigative report by an intelligence think tank and an independent reporter.

A covert visit to an encampment in the Catskill Mountains near Hancock, N.Y., called "Islamberg" found neighboring residents deeply concerned about military-style training taking place there but frustrated by the lack of attention from federal authorities, said the report by the
Northeast Intelligence Network, which worked with an Internet blogger, "CP," to publish an interim report.

The rest

Anti-Semitic slogans scrawled at WWII death camp

Several anti-Semitic graffiti, including one saying "Holocaust is a Jewish Lie," appeared Thursday on the walls of a World War II Nazi death camp in central Serbia.

Jasna Ciric, the head of the Jewish community in Nis, said the graffiti was apparently timed to coincide with the 64th anniversary of the massacre of some 1,100 Jews, Serbs and Gypsies in the camp.

"It's unbelievable that such messages are still alive in the 21st century," Ciric said, adding that about 12,000 people were killed by Nazis in the Bubanj concentration camp during World War II.
Story

Cleric Offers $1 Million to Kill 'Cursed Man'
By RIAZ KHAN
ASSOCIATED PRESS
PESHAWAR, Pakistan

(AP) - A Pakistani cleric announced a $1 million bounty for killing a cartoonist who drew the Prophet Muhammad caricatures, as thousands rallied across the country Friday and authorities arrested scores of protesters.

Police put another Islamist leader under house detention amid fears religious radicals would incite more deadly demonstrations after Friday prayers. Five people have been killed in Pakistan this week during protests, but most demonstrations Friday were peaceful.

In Denmark, where the prophet drawings were first published in September, the government said Friday it had temporarily closed its embassy in Pakistan following the violent protests this week.

Pakistan recalled its ambassador to Denmark for "consultations" about the caricatures, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said.
The rest

Church's Israel policy criticised

A Church of England decision to review its investments in firms whose products are used by Israel in the occupied territories has been criticised.

Britain's most senior Jewish leader said the Synod's vote was "ill-judged" and would "hurt Israel without helping the Palestinians".

Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks told the Jewish Chronicle the move could damage Jewish-Christian relations in the UK.

The Church said the decision was only advice to its ethical advisory group.
The rest

Thursday, February 16, 2006


You will make great progress if you keep yourself free from all temporal cares, for to value anything that is temporal is a great mistake. Consider nothing great, nothing high, nothing pleasing, nothing acceptable, except God Himself or that which is of God. Consider the consolations of creatures as vanity, for the soul that loves God scorns all things that are inferior to Him. God alone, the eternal and infinite, satisfies all, bringing comfort to the soul and true joy to the body. The Imitation of Christ photo

Alpha Pioneer made Assistant Bishop of London
One of the pioneers of the much acclaimed Alpha initiative has been commissioned as Honorary Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of London. The celebratory service was held 9th February at St Paul’s Cathedral.
Posted: Wednesday, February 15 , 2006, 15:39 (UK)

One of the pioneers of the much acclaimed Alpha initiative has been commissioned as Honorary Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of London. The celebratory service was held 9th February at St Paul’s Cathedral.

Dr Richard Chatres, the Bishop of London, led the commissioning with the London Area Bishops and in appointing Bishop Sandy Millar, who was elected by the Church of Uganda to be an Assistant Bishop in the Church of the Province of Uganda.

Permission has been given by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend and Right Honorable Dr Rowan Williams, for Bishop Millar to operate in the province.
The rest

Australia 'will be Muslim in 50 years'
By Mark Chipperfield in Sydney
(Filed: 15/02/2006)

Australia is at risk of aborting itself out of existence and could become a Muslim country "within 50 years" if a controversial, abortion-inducing pill is made available, an Australian MP claimed yesterday.

Danna Vale, a former minister and an MP with the governing Liberal Party, said the drug, known as RU486, could drastically reduce the country's native-born, largely European population.

"I have read comments by a certain imam from the Lakemba mosque [in Sydney] who actually said that Australia is going to be a Muslim nation in 50 years' time," she said.

"I didn't believe him at the time, but when you actually look at the birth rate … we are aborting ourselves almost out of existence by 100,000 abortions a year. You multiply that by 50 years and that's five million potential Australians we won't have here."
Story

Turin Olympics bring a little faith to the field
By David Crary
ASSOCIATED PRESS
February 15, 2006

TURIN, Italy -- In a city famed for a holy relic, religious leaders have mobilized vigorously to provide Olympians with a large corps of chaplains and services at their villages ranging from Orthodox vespers to Islamic prayer to Buddhist meditation.

Although some competitors avail themselves of these offerings, others find their own distinctive ways to fuse faith and sport. U.S. cross-country racer Rebecca Dussault, for example, has inscribed her skis with the name of Pier Giorgio Frassati, a beatified Catholic outdoorsman who roamed the mountains around Turin before his death at age 24 in 1925.

"My faith comes first," Dussault said. "Then I'm a family woman. Then I'm an athlete. That's how I find balance."

Home of the Shroud of Turin, believed by many to be Jesus Christ's burial cloth, the Olympic city has been preparing for the spiritual side of the Games since local religious leaders formed an interfaith committee in 2003. The group now coordinates the work of more than 90 chaplains on call to assist the athletes, and some teams have brought official chaplains of their own.
The rest

Bedrock of a Faith Is Jolted
DNA tests contradict Mormon scripture. The church says the studies are being twisted to attack its beliefs.
By William Lobdell, Times Staff Writer

From the time he was a child in Peru, the Mormon Church instilled in Jose A. Loayza the conviction that he and millions of other Native Americans were descended from a lost tribe of Israel that reached the New World more than 2,000 years ago.

"We were taught all the blessings of that Hebrew lineage belonged to us and that we were special people," said Loayza, now a Salt Lake City attorney. "It not only made me feel special, but it gave me a sense of transcendental identity, an identity with God."

A few years ago, Loayza said, his faith was shaken and his identity stripped away by DNA evidence showing that the ancestors of American natives came from Asia, not the Middle East.

"I've gone through stages," he said. "Absolutely denial. Utter amazement and surprise. Anger and bitterness."

For Mormons, the lack of discernible Hebrew blood in Native Americans is no minor collision between faith and science. It burrows into the historical foundations of the Book of Mormon, a 175-year-old transcription that the church regards as literal and without error.
The rest

Proposed Missouri Cloning "Ban" Would Allow for Human Experimental Cloning
By Mark Adams
MichNews.com
Feb 15, 2006

Missouri voters will soon get to vote on a Constitutional amendment that will allow for human cloning for the purposes of experimentation and death of the embryo. Drafters of the proposed amendment, however, have crafted language that may fool some voters into thinking they are voting for a total ban on human cloning.

The trick of the proposed language is that it would define cloning as only those embryos created through the cloning process that are actually implanted into a woman's uterus. Supporters of the proposed amendment would allow for the cloning of human embryos if they are killed before implantation.
The rest

Study Shows Limited Benefits From Calcium
By JEFF DONN, Associated Press Writer
Thu Feb 16, 3:35 AM ET

BOSTON - The latest news about calcium and vitamin D may not look so encouraging, but most experts say the take-home message is the same: Keep taking your pills.

The biggest study ever to examine the value of the supplements suggests they convey only limited protection against broken bones. They failed to protect against most fractures in the mostly low-risk women, but seemed to offer some benefit against hip breaks among women over 60 and those who took the pills most faithfully.

The outcome could affect an enormous number of people, since an estimated 10 million Americans have break-prone bones thanks to osteoporosis. One of two women will suffer such a fracture in her lifetime.

Doctors, who have long taken the value of these supplements almost as an article of faith, tried to put the findings as positively as possible.

"We still do believe ... that maintaining an adequate calcium intake will lay the foundation for bone health," said lead author Dr. Rebecca Jackson at Ohio State University.
The rest

Bishops to oppose adoption by gays
Exemption bid seen from antibias laws
By Patricia Wen and Frank Phillips, Globe Staff
February 16, 2006

The four Roman Catholic bishops of Massachusetts plan to seek permission from the state to exclude gay couples as adoptive parents, according to two board members of the church's largest social service agency who were briefed on the plan.

This decision to seek an exemption from state anti-discrimination rules pits the bishops against the 42-member board of Catholic Charities of Boston, which is made up of some of Boston's most prominent lay Catholics. The board voted unanimously in December in support of continuing to allow gay couples to adopt children.
Story

Moral police burn Valentine's Day cards in India
Reuters
Tuesday, February 14, 2006; 7:55 AM

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Hardline Hindu groups and radical Muslims burned Valentine's Day greeting cards and held sporadic protests on Tuesday across India against celebrating the festival of love saying it was a Western import that spread immorality.

Saint Valentine's Day has become increasingly popular in India in recent years, a trend led by retailers who do healthy business selling heart-shaped balloons and fluffy teddy bears.
The rest

Dean considers blessing gay couples in civil partnerships
Stephen Bates, religious affairs correspondent
Thursday February 16, 2006
The Guardian

The dean of a Cambridge college has said he will consider offering blessings for same sex couples, in the first breach of the Church of England's ban on clergy offering services after civil partnership ceremonies. The Rev Jeremy Caddick, Dean of Emmanuel College, has written to the Bishop of Ely telling him that the college does not see itself as falling under his jurisdiction.

Mr Caddick's letter says although no requests have yet been made: "We would not wish to close the door to having services for members of the college community who requested them. In a community such as this one, people know there is considerable diversity in human sexual relationships and, in general, see the importance of affirming and celebrating those that are faithful and life affirming."
Story

Iran clamping down on rights of Christians
Date: Feb 17

IRANIAN Christians and converts from a Muslim background are facing increasing persecution and are becoming fearful for their lives, according to observers in the region. In a House of Lords debate on the Middle-East country, the Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, also raised his concerns over their plight.

“Their freedom is in many cases significantly restricted,” he said. “Their properties have been confiscated and they live in constant fear of being reported to the Basiji, or revolutionary guard. Their survival and welfare should be in our minds.” A house church leader, Ghorban Dordi Tourani, was assassinated in November 2005 and Stefan van Velde, a staff worker for Open Doors, fears that more Christians will be murdered for their faith.
The rest

Archbishop urges bishops to give a lead
Date: Feb 17

By Jonathan Wynne-JonesTHE Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, has criticised his colleagues for failing to provide leadership to the Church, which has meant that it has been weakened in its mission to society. In a thinly veiled reference to the war over homosexuality that has torn the Church apart, he said that there was a need to get away from “an all-or-nothing attitude” and to learn how to hold dialogue with opponents.

Presenting the report, Into the New Quinquennium, Dr Sentamu (pictured) delivered a rallying call to General Synod to find a common language. “We can’t go on as we are,” he said, stressing that the Church needs to recover its corporate belonging and identity. “It’s about building truthful relationships with one another. It’s by finding common ground with those with whom we come into contact; avoiding a know-it-all attitude; making others feel accepted.” He said that there needed to be a change in tone: “Our conversation, like our behaviour, should be holy – where we know clearly that we will not agree but are committed to a wider need to keep the conversation going.”
The rest

Large congregations rely on conservative values, strong pastors, study finds
By
JOHN BLAKE
Cox News Service
Wednesday, February 15, 2006

ATLANTA — As megachurches continue to sprout across the country, a new study concludes that many of the common assumptions about these large houses of worship are simply not true.
The study, Megachurches Today 2005, also concludes that they are not a passing religious fancy. The number of congregations of over 2,000 members has increased by nearly 50 percent since 2000.

"I was surprised at just how many megachurches are out there," said Scott Thumma of the Hartford Seminary in Connecticut, who performed a similar study in 2000 before undertaking the current survey.

Georgia has 73 megachurches, behind only California, Texas and Florida.
"I thought I had a halfway decent handle on it," Thumma said. "We had about 850 megachurches in our database when we started but now the list is up to 1,210. Who knows, there could well be up to 1,300."

The conclusions were based on an eight-month survey of 400 megachurches undertaken by the Hartford Institute for Religion Research — a research arm of the seminary — and the Leadership Network, a church growth consulting firm based in Dallas. The findings are based on answers supplied by the churches themselves.

The survey reveals that virtually all megachurches share common traits of a dynamic senior pastor, emphasis on conservative values, and building small groups to offset its size.
The rest

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Beloved, I say, let your fears go, lest they make you fainthearted. Stop inspiring fear in those around you and now take your stand in faith. God has been good and He will continue to manifest His goodness. ... ... . Let us approach these days expecting to see the goodness of the Lord manifest. Let us be strong and of good courage, for the Lord will fight for us if we stand in faith. Francis Frangipane

The Heteroflexible, Pansensual, Bi-Curious Teenager—The Fast Lane in the American High School
Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Teenage sexuality has been a perpetual concern for parents--and for good reason. In our own times, American teenagers have unprecedented opportunities to experiment sexually and they are bombarded with cultural messages that encourage sexual experimentation and promiscuity.
In a very real sense, the chickens have come home to roost as this nation faces the inevitable result of a breakdown in sexual morality.

A shocking portrait of the new shape of teenage sexual activity is provided in a cover story published in the February 6, 2006 edition of New York. In "Love and the Ambisexual, Heteroflexible Teen," Alex Morris introduces us to the "cuddle puddle" of New York City's Stuyvesant High School. Brace yourselves--this is a shocking form of reality therapy.

Morris first introduces his readers to Alair, a sixteen-year-old junior at Stuyvesant High School. Alair is dressed in a tight white tank top that is cut off above the hem in order to expose her midriff. She accessorizes with a black leather belt that features metal chains and studs, and she attracts a great deal of attention as she walks down the halls of her very selective high school.

Albert Mohler: The rest

Los Angeles Diocese Will Fight Parish Departure
02/15/2006

In a letter to the clergy and laity in the Diocese of Los Angeles, Bishop J. Jon Bruno said the claim to church property by the departing congregation of St. Luke’s in the Mountains in La Crescenta, Calif., was “clearly illegal” and it was his “pastoral and fiduciary duty” to pursue the matter.

St. Luke’s announced Feb. 14 that it had left the Episcopal Church and the diocese and that the congregation was now part of the Anglican Province of Uganda. St. Luke’s, which was incorporated in 1940 and claims some 260 members of voting age, is the fourth parish to leave the Diocese of Los Angeles since the conclusion of the 74th General Convention. The rector is the Rev. Ron Jackson, who was ordained an Episcopal priest in 1974. He has served as rector of St. Luke’s since 1992.

In a press release, Fr. Jackson is quoted as saying that the congregation had worked very hard for many years to reconcile its differences with the Episcopal Church and the diocese. “That effort cannot bridge the theological chasm between us or bring the Episcopal Church back into communion with most of the Anglican world that has severed ties with the U.S. church,” he said.

The rest at The Living Church

Network Offers New Structure for Parishes Forced Out

“Representatives of more than seventy of the Anglican Communion Network’s 1000 plus congregations will meet together in Kansas this March,” Bishop Robert Duncan, Moderator of the Network, announced today. “The ten dioceses and six convocations of the Network will shortly be joined by a seventh ‘international’ convocation,” Bishop Duncan said. “These seventy congregations, while no longer a part of ECUSA, have been parishes of the Network from day one.” They are now under the jurisdiction of dioceses in four Anglican Provinces: Uganda, Southern Cone, Kenya and Central Africa.

“These congregations, whose circumstances have changed so drastically, are being invited to transfer from their present convocation into this new seventh convocation,” Bishop Duncan said. “Given their new circumstances and the challenges of oversight and partnership at such distances, it seemed appropriate to reorganize them to function together. The calling of the meeting in Kansas seems an appropriate response to these clergy and congregations that now share so much in common as exiles in their own land.”

The gathering of clergy and wardens from these churches will be held March 22-24 and will be hosted by Christ Church, Overland Park, Kansas, a Network congregation of the Diocese of Kampala, Uganda.
ACN website


Consider Jesus. As you are crucified, watch Him handle His crucifixion. Your Lord bequeathed to you an example of the high art of being crucified. Behold how He reacted to betrayal, to lies, to false witnesses. Jesus Christ absorbed these pains, even as they added the shamefulness of being crucified in public. Humiliated, degraded, defamed, tortured and then murdered. That day he raised acceptance of the cross into an art form. He learned to accept all things from the hand of His Father. Gene Edwards Website

If your reputation is perfectly intact on every front, if you never irritate anyone, if you never make a stir, you might be doing something wrong - or more likely, you're not doing something right. "Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for in the same way their fathers used to treat the false prophets" (Luke 6:26). The Bible has a crystal clear promise: All who live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (2 Tim. 3:12). If we never experience persecution, if we never make a single soul angry (as Christ often did), something is probably wrong. R. Terry

Albany Diocese: Letter from Bishop Bena
From: PRIESTS & DEACONS UPDATE
Date: February 14, 2006 3:42:55 PM EST

Update from Bishop Dave

Greetings, friends,

I decided to write this Update last night, after reading and praying about that awful article in the Albany Times Union. I am not a subscriber or a reader of the T.U., but was alerted to it Sunday morning as I was making a parish visitation. When I finally got home about 9 p.m., I checked the Times Union online, and there it was!

First of all, let me explain that although I am the SUFFRAGAN Bishop and thus serve as Bishop Dan’s assistant, he is not able to fire me if I disagree with him (Suffragans can’t be fired - they are elected by the people and are free to serve until they retire, regardless of whom the Diocesan Bishop is), nor can he really reward me if I do something he likes (the Diocesan Convention sets my salary; and I am too old to appreciate “gold stars” on my homework). So my observations in this Update regarding the T.U. article are from my heart, with no ulterior motives to advance myself in any way.

I am incensed!!!!!! The Times Union article is absolutely the shabbiest piece of so-called reporting I have ever read! It uses innuendo, inaccurate statements, and just plain deception in order to make a frontal attack on the character of Bishop Daniel Herzog. I have known this man for over ten years. For the last six years, I have walked beside him practically every day. He is a holy, honest, and forthright person. He is not a crook! He sometimes speaks with such frankness that people get angry with him. But as far as I have determined, he has always spoken the truth. I have also watched the finances of this diocese for the past six years. There have been no financial improprieties; there are no secret funds; there has been no cooking of the books. As far as I can determine, nothing illegal, immoral or unethical has happened either with diocesan finances or Christ the King Spiritual Life Centerfinances.

Let’s lay aside the reason this article was written for a moment so we can focus on some of the terrible things this article says. The article seems to give the impression that we have spent beaucoup bucks on ”Herzog’s pet project” by selling off valuable diocesan properties. Well, Christ the King SpiritualLife Center is not “Herzog’s pet project.” A Futures Committee was created eight years ago, composed of a cross section of the diocese, to pray about and study the future needs of the diocese. The Committee concluded that our current retreat facilities were not adequate to keep up with the spiritual needs of the diocese. Bishop Dan did not request that we sell off those two retreat properties. The Futures Committee did, and the Trustees, Standing Committee and Diocesan Council all voted to do so, BECAUSE THEY ALL SAW THE NEED WE HAD FOR ONE FACILITY, a facility where people did not have to walk up three flights of stairs to get to their room, a room that had six beds and two bathrooms. Both retreat centers were judged to be inadequate for future needs. Bishop Dan and I worked hard to find a way to expand both facilities and bring them up to Code. Professional advice was that there was not enough acreage. The facility in the Adirondack Preserve had so many building restrictions that it was hopeless to do anything there. The facility down near Cooperstown was too hilly to expand. The Futures Committee kept Diocesan Convention, Trustees, Standing Committee, and Diocesan Council in the decision making process all the way in determining to sell our present facilities and find a location for a new Center.

The property eventually was found, and the decision was made to buy it. The decision was not made by Bishop Dan. It was made by the Trustees, the Standing Committee, and the Diocesan Council - all decision making bodies of the Diocese. Since we bought the property, we have spent about nine point something million on it, and that includes the price of the property. I just read a few months ago that the city of Albany was reconditioning one of its public schools - price? Almost twenty million dollars! If you compare what we have done at Christ the King Spiritual Life Center for less than ten million and what Albany is doing to recondition one school for twenty million, I think you will find that we were extremely frugal in how we spent money, and what we got for the money we spent.

To buy the property and build on it, we sold some properties which were either too small or were not being fruitful. These sales could be considered controversial in that everyone was not on board that they should be sold. But they were not sold by Bishop Dan. They were sold after extensive study by a cross section of the diocese, and the sales approved by the Trustees and Standing Committee. One of our Trustees was able to get us a good Line of Credit with Merrill-Lynch, using diocesan owned unrestricted endowment funds for collateral. We did not use any parish endowment funds, and we did not borrow more than the value of our diocesan owned unrestricted endowment funds. The total of the Line of Credit is 3.85 million dollars, with an extremely low interest rate. Close to a million of that will be paid off next month when we close on the old Beaver Cross. We are now in the process of a major fund campaign to raise the rest of the money needed to pay off the Line of Credit. So far, we have raised one point five million in pledges and gifts, and we are about half way to our goal. Again we have exercised good stewardship in building Christ the King Spiritual Life Center. The construction is not finished. We still need to build another adult lodging facility and some smaller buildings. These will be accomplished when we are financially able to do so.

We have watched our finances like a hawk. A Construction Oversight Committee meets each month to go over the building plans and funding. Watchful eyes make sure money is spent correctly. The Diocesan Council closely watches the Diocesan Budget to make sure we are making the proper use of our funds. The Trustees closely monitor our endowments and the Line of Credit to make sure we are keeping to our fiduciary decisions. An End of Year Report is being sent out to all parishes to let people know about the programs and funding of the Spiritual Life Center. And lastly, we have a top notch auditing firm - UHY - audit our books every year. The audit for 2004 was a clean one, with no reportable findings. The 2005 audit is going on right now, and we expect to once again have a clean audit. The audit reports are open to any member of the diocese and are available by appointment at the diocesan office. Our auditor, Bill Kahn, and his team, are excellent professionals. Bill feels that we are doing a good job. A letter attributing words to him some time ago did not correctly state his position. On reading the letter, he flatly stated that he did not say anything negative about our financial transactions or anything else negative about us. The Diocesan Budget is submitted every year to the Diocesan Convention and a summary statement that the audit is complete is given by the Diocesan Treasurer. BOTTOM LINE: WE HAVE BEEN TRANSPARENT IN THE USE AND MAINTENANCE OF OUR FINANCES.

Now back to the T.U. article. It is extremely inaccurate in just about everything it says. Nigel and Lynn Mumford’s salary is nowhere in the $147 thousand range!!! Both work fulltime, long days, at the Center. Nigel literally travels all over the world, and does not keep the honorariums he receives. He gets $34 thousand a year, plus a housing allowance, medical, and pension. Lynn, in addition to her duty as administrator of the Healing Ministry Center, is also the manager of the Spiritual Life Center Gift Shop. She gets $32 thousand. The $147 thousand number is salaries for the ENTIRE Healing Center – part-time staff psychologist, part-time trainer, maintenance. Nigel’s ministry is touching thousands of people. It IS health related, even though pills are not dispensed. The T.U. article tried to make it look like this healing ministry is some weird magical thing. Unfortunately, the article shows a 1950’s perspective on healing - totally divorcing the physical from the spiritual and complaining that we are really not doing healing there because no medicine is being dispensed. That is an old mentality. Today, most medical schools teach doctors the importance of the spiritual in the healing of persons. One of our deacons has to have surgery at a major medical center in another state this week. The pre-op literature advised patients to bring meditation and healing CD’s with them because of the belief by the Center that the spiritual is very important in the healing process. Nigel provides a ministry and setting where spiritual healing takes place everyday! and in the process, a large number of people have even been healed physically.

We did hire Ron Baker, Matt Baker’s father, to oversee construction. By doing that, we saved thousands of dollars. We did not have to hire a construction firm and give them a percentage to make sure the construction was done. Ron was the construction manager, on a salary rather than on a percentage. He was able to be clerk of the works, contracting out jobs that needed that kind of work, and hiring a small crew to do the construction they were able to do. We estimate that we saved at least a third by doing it that way. And Ron Baker did not work for his son; he worked for the diocese and made a personal report every month to the Construction Oversight Committee. No nepotism or “reverse nepotism.”
Matt Baker has done an outstanding job as Christ the King Center Director. Staying within financial guidelines, he has assembled a positive-oriented, hardworking staff to run the Center. It is a bare-bones staff where everyone wears at least two hats. If you have been at the Center, you know what a great staff we have there.

OK. Now that I got that off my chest, I have to ask why this article was written in the fashion it was - a vicious attack on the bishop and people of the Diocese of Albany. Several people who have an agenda spoke to the editor and told them we would be a great story. These persons obviously did not have the best intentions in mind for our diocese when they did that. I won’t go into personalities, but I will say that they obviously wanted to see Bishop Dan and the diocese embarrassed by this article just before the election of a Coadjutor. Trying to cause fear, shut down financial gifts, and steer the election to someone who is totally unlike Bishop Herzog? Maybe. In the process, several other people were hurt. Mr. Tom Maggs, a fine and honestAlbany businessman, was used horribly. He did in fact resign as a Trustee last autumn over a disagreement with our Diocesan Treasurer. Mr. Maggs thought the Trustees should have oversight of ALL diocesan funds; the Treasurer believed Mr. Maggs was crossing boundaries and that the Diocesan Council should have oversight of diocesan budget funds rather than the Trustees. In the exchange of disagreements, Mr. Maggs resigned and sent an angry private letter to Bishop Herzog and the Trustees expressing his frustration over the disagreement. I am sure he had no intention of his letter being used as a weapon against the diocese. But it was. Dean Gary Kriss sent a letter to the bishops, Trustees, and nominees asking for more transparency as the election approached. We had just finished our End-of-Year Report this past weekend when the T.U. article came out. We were this week going to send Dean Kriss this report with a cover letter to him, thanking him for his concern. And we are right now sending that report out to all parishes. I am sure Dean Kriss did not intend to contribute to an article that would deeply embarrass the Diocese of Albany, but his letter was used to paint a terribly inaccurate view of what we do as a diocese. And that has to have pained Dean Kriss.

But the article happened. I am deeply disappointed in the Times Union editorial staff. Since it happened, all we can do now is try to set the record straight. We hold up Jesus Christ as God in the Flesh and we proclaim the eternal Gospel of Salvation. We are all honest, hardworking people, building a Spiritual Life Center dedicated to Christ, which is already touching people with healing, caring for our children, and training disciples to be solid Christian citizens. This Center will be a training center for generations to come. Come and see this wonderful place. Be our guest and have a tour. Talk to the staff. You will see what a work God is doing among us.
When Joseph (of the coat of many colors fame) was finally vindicated after being sold into slavery and treated harshly, he said to those who were trying to apologize to him, “You meant it for evil, but God used it for good.” My prayer is that even though the Times Union produced an article which wrongly condemned our bishop and diocese, God will use it for good. Will you join in that prayer?

Bishop David Bena

found in comments at titusonenine

A Culture & Family Institute Special Report:
Fairy Tales Don't Come True

2/13/2006
By Linda Harvey

Josh is 13 and, like many kids his age, he's often unhappy. Everything about his life is uncertain. He's only 5 feet 4 inches tall, and many of the girls in his middle-school class are taller. He has no idea how his body will end up. Will he be tall, short, plain, handsome? He's slightly overweight and hasn't found a sport he excels in. He only has two or three close friends. Sometimes his voice changes an entire octave, up or down, at a moment's notice. He's an average student, and he sometimes dreads going to school because it doesn't interest him much.

On top of all this, Josh has troubles at home. His parents don't get along. His father works long hours, and his mother yells a lot. She's stressed out over unpaid bills, problems with his older sister, who sometimes uses drugs, and her own ongoing treatment for depression. They don't have family dinners except around holidays, and they haven't been on a family vacation in two years. Josh can't remember the last time he had a conversation with either parent involving more than two sentences.

In other words, Josh is a lot like many American adolescents. His family has only casual ties to a church, and his parents consider themselves moderate politically, when they have time or interest to think about it.

Josh's standards are being formed largely not by parents of high character, but by the American culture, including television, his public school and the Internet. That's where he developed a keen curiosity about sex, and it's also where he gets his information and values. And his values right now are leaning toward believing he might be a homosexual.

The rest-Excellent! Don't miss this!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

This is Love

Christ is the breathing forth of the heart, life and spirit of God into all the dead race of Adam. He is the seeker, the finder, the restorer of all that, from Cain to the end of time, was lost and dead to the life of God. He is the love that prays for all its murderers; the love that willingly suffers and dies among thieves, that thieves may have a life with him in Paradise; the love that visits publicans, harlots and sinners, and wants and seeks to forgive where most is to be forgiven. William Law Art

St. Luke's of the Mountains Aligns with Worldwide Anglican Communion, Disaffiliates from the Diocese of Los Angeles

La Crescenta, Calif. – Feb. 14, 2006 – St. Luke’s of the Mountains, a biblically orthodox church for over 60 years, affirms its membership in the Anglican Communion and will no longer be affiliated with the Episcopal Church USA or the Diocese of Los Angeles.

St. Luke’s is now under the jurisdictional oversight of the Anglican Province of Uganda in the Diocese of Luweero, which is a member of the mainstream of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Since its founding, the members of St. Luke’s have remained steadfast and loyal in their commitment to the Holy Scripture, the historic teachings of Christianity and the Anglican Communion. However, the Episcopal Church USA has chosen a path that no longer reflects the membership’s steadfast faith.

“St. Luke’s is a biblically orthodox church that accepts Jesus Christ as the Only Lord and Savior, and acknowledges the Bible as the authoritative Word of God,” said Dr. Tim Kelly, a congregational leader. “Our loyalty is to God, not a religious hierarchy. Thus, when the hierarchy strays from the historical faith, it is time for change. We are simply remaining faithful to our historic beliefs and values, by aligning ourselves with the orthodox faithful in the Anglican Communion.”


AAC blog The rest

On Valentine's Day: Consider the True Definition of Love
David Rosales
A Foundation For Living

As everyone is busy buying candy, flowers, and gifts for Valentine's Day, it's sad to note how most of our society does not understand the true definition of love. Sadder still is the fact that most “love” relationships have discarded God's call for commitment through marriage. Today, rather than seeing God's intent for marriage, we see our world redefining the traditional concept of marriage.


What is marriage? Is it merely two adults living under the same roof?

A Christian marriage can be defined as a total commitment of one woman and one man to Jesus Christ and to each other. In the first nine chapters of the book of Genesis, God created three institutions - the church; human government; and marriage.
The rest

Please be in prayer for all those you know who may be struggling with marriage problems, thinking about divorce, dealing with abuse or unfaithfulness, and the children who suffer lasting effects when Mom and Dad divorce. -PD

Blood Relatives Play Second Fiddle to 'Domestic Partners' Under New NY Law
By Jody Brown and Bill Fancher
February 14, 2006

(AgapePress) - Family advocates are saying a new law in the State of New York has damaged the role of the traditional family. At the same time, one pro-homosexual lobby considers it a victory for their specific definition of families.

Earlier this month, New York Governor George Pataki signed into law a measure that gives authority over burial rights to same-sex partners of the deceased -- above the wishes of family and blood relatives. The executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda believes the Republican governor did the right thing.

"For too long in New York, same-sex partners who live together and care for each other have been legal strangers when one of them dies," says Alan Van Capelle. "This is the first time in [state] law [that] same-sex relationships have been given priority over a blood relative. This is victory for our families."
The rest

Clark refuses to hide her faith
By Mark Kiszla
Denver Post Staff Columnist

Bardonecchia, Italy - This is a story about snowboarding, Jesus and a rebel who stood up for what she believed even when her Olympic dream ended in tears.

Kelly Clark won't change your tastes in religion or sports, two devout American passions highly flammable when mixed.

But Clark might make you think again about the definition of a rebel.
Every culture has its protocol, even a culture as radical as snowboarding.
Clark follows her heart, not the rules.

The status quo in boarding is baggy pants, amped athletes and rock music banging so loud at the stadium that eardrums bleed. It's totally awesome.

Hannah Teter, an American who rides in beautiful defiance of gravity and talks like Jeff Spicoli from "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," won gold Monday at the Winter Games, then gave her home state a hippy-dippy shoutout: "I just wanted to totally represent. It's the syrup. Vermont maple syrup."

So imagine the double-takes when, after finishing a disappointing fourth place in the finals, Clark said: "I love Jesus. It's more joyful knowing him than all that snowboarding stuff. And so being able to snowboard for him is amazing."
Story

Longing for love Online
By Suzanne Fields
February 13, 2006

St. Valentine's Day, like a lot of other things, is rooted in love and war, tragedy and comedy. Emperor Claudius II is the man responsible for the February traffic in notes of love and romance. He needed disciplined soldiers to fight his Third Century wars, and reckoned that men unhindered by wives and children would make the best fighters. He outlawed marriage for his men. Valentine, a priest in Rome, didn't think that was right. He secretly tied young lovers in knots.

He was beheaded for his trouble, which got him canonized, and lovers have been losing their heads on St. Valentine's Day ever since. Cupid became the symbol of the holiday, armed with bow and arrow to stitch the hearts of lovers. Cupid shot himself in the foot so that Psyche would fall in love with him, but on the condition that she never look at him. When she opened her eyes, as a woman is wont to do, Cupid, suffering commitment terror, fled. There's a modern moral hidden somewhere in that story.
The rest

Planned Parenthood's new condom art contest
By Amber Dolle
MichNews.com
Feb 14, 2006

WASHINGTON, D.C. "Planned Parenthood continues to deluge the public with its array of over-sexed novelty items," said Jim Sedlak, vice president of American Life League. "Along with the infamous condom key chains, the abortion giant also offers condoms packaged like lollipops and now is sponsoring a condom art contest just to name a few. It's scary to think what will be next."
Planned Parenthood of South Central Michigan's next program for teens is scheduled in Battle Creek on February 15. According to Planned Parenthood, "Project T.R.U.S.T. (Teaching Responsibility & Understanding of Sexuality & Teen Development) peer educators will be holding condom art workshops." The organization then goes on to encourage teenagers to "make a beautiful creation out of condoms, find out all the facts on using condoms correctly, and get a free gift!"
The rest!

Polls Distort U.S. Views on Abortion
Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2006 3:22 p.m. EST

As two vacancies on the Supreme Court opened up last year, a series of polls found that people in the U.S. approve of the Roe v. Wade decision by a significant margin but these polls distort Americans real feelings regarding abortion.

That's the view of Mark Stricherz, a contributing editor to Crisis magazine, who takes an in-depth look behind the polls in an article titled "A Terrible Misunderstanding."

The 1973 Roe v. Wade decision declared that no restrictions can be placed on abortion in the first trimester; in the second trimester, the state can regulate abortion "in ways that are reasonably related to maternal health, but not ban it; and in the third trimester the state can ban abortion except when there is a threat to the mother's life or health.
The rest

Army silences chaplain after prayer criticism
By Julia Duin
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
February 14, 2006

An evangelical chaplain serving in Iraq has been forbidden to preach at chapel services after his comments about military intolerance toward certain Christian expressions got him into hot water with the Army.

Capt. Jonathan Stertzbach, a field artillery chaplain with the Army's 10th Mountain Division in Iraq, was silenced soon after his comments appeared in a Jan. 23 article in The Washington Times.

The chaplain criticized one of his supervisors, Lt. Col. Phillip Wright of Fort Drum in New York, by name and gave details about how chaplains of all faiths were being pressured to offer up only nonsectarian prayers.
The rest

'Don't Ask' Costs More Than Expected
Military's Gay Ban Seen in Budget Terms
By
Josh White
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The financial costs to the U.S. military for discharging and replacing gay service members under the nation's "don't ask, don't tell" policy are nearly twice what the government estimated last year, with taxpayers covering at least $364 million in associated funds over the policy's first decade, according to a University of California report scheduled for release today.

Members of a UC-Santa Barbara group examining the cost of the policy found that a Government Accountability Office study last year underestimated the costs of firing approximately 9,500 service members between 1994 and 2003 for homosexuality. The GAO, which acknowledged difficulties in coming up with its number, estimated a cost of at least $190.5 million for the same time period. The new estimate is 91 percent higher.
Story

Houston Chronicle:Religious Valentines Okay in Katy, Texas, Schools
Katy parents obtain restraining orderIt will let pupils give out religious valentines without interference from the school district
By ERIC HANSON

A group of parents in the Katy Independent School District obtained a restraining order Monday preventing the district from interfering today with pupils handing out valentines with religious themes.

But Katy spokeswoman Kris Taylor said the district has no rules forbidding a child from handing out a religious valentine to another student.

"This restraining order is telling us not to do things we don't do anyway," Taylor said Monday.

The restraining order was the opening move in a lawsuit filed Monday in the 133rd District Court of Harris County claiming Katy ISD teachers and administrators at Pattison Elementary School censored children and discriminated against them for expressing Christian viewpoints.
The rest

Wal-Mart Must Stock Contraception in Mass.
ASSOCIATED PRESS

BOSTON (AP) - The state board that oversees pharmacies voted Tuesday to require Wal-Mart to stock emergency contraception pills at its Massachusetts pharmacies, a spokeswoman at the Department of Public Health said.

The unanimous decision by the Massachusetts Board of Pharmacy comes two weeks after three women sued Wal-Mart in state court for failing to carry the so called "morning after" pill in its Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores in the state.

The women argue state policy requires pharmacies to provide all "commonly prescribed medicines."

The board has sent a letter to Wal-Mart lawyers informing them of the decision, said health department spokeswoman Donna Rheaume. Wal-Mart has until Thursday to provide written compliance.
the rest

Rwanda targets 'noisy' churches

Rwandan police are cracking down on noisy churches, confiscating instruments from 11 congregations around the country in recent days.

Police spokesman Theos Badege told the BBC this was in line with new laws on noise pollution.

Mosques have also been told to lower the level of their loud speakers when calling for prayer, he said.

But some church leaders argue that packed congregations will often mean an increase in volume levels.

The rest

Monday, February 13, 2006




You are but a poor soldier of Christ if you think you can overcome without fighting and suppose you can have the crown without conflict.
John Chrysostom




Be strong! We are not here to play, to dream, to drift,
We have hard work to do, and loads to lift.
Shun not the struggle, face it, 'tis God's gift.

Be strong! Say not the days are evil - who's to blame?
And fold the hands and acquiesce - O shame.
Stand up, speak out, and bravely, in God's name.

Be strong! It matters not how deep-entrenched the wrong,
how hard the battle goes, the day how long,
Faint not, fight on! Tomorrow comes the song.
Mattie Davenport Babcock

Getting Political
Matt Kennedy+

“Politics and church don’t mix.” If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard someone mouth these words I’d have a lot more money than I have now. And, of course, to the extent that politics is dirty, underhanded, deceptive, and cheap, church and politics do not mix.

And yet, so long as fallen human beings are charged with stewardship of the Church, “politics”, the art of creating, moving, or changing corporate consent, will be part of it.

Unfortunately, even in the church politics can be dirty. Take the
hit piece against the orthodox bishop of Albany published Sunday in the Times Union. So very interesting that something this low, skewed, unsubstantiated, and nasty would come out just as Albany is gearing up to elect her coadjutor. The rest


Raymond Dague writes about the Albany Times Union article:

The Albany Times Union recently ran a major exposé-type article of a purported scandal in the Albany diocese. If you read this piece carefully, you will say, as they did in that old Wendy’s commercial years ago, “Where’s the beef?” The piece is presented as sort of a journalistic muckraking scandal, yet when you read it, there is no scandal. The piece could have just as well been entitled “Diocese of Albany Sells Some of its Unneeded Property to Build Retreat Center.” Is it any surprise that a church might do this? I don’t know if the Spiritual Life Center ever had a hard time making payroll, but if it never had such financial stress in its history, it would be extraordinary. All not-for-profits struggle these days to run their operations.

The silliest shot at the Albany SLC is the cheap comments that there is a spiritual healing ministry. Last time I checked the Gospels, Jesus had a healing ministry. So why is it news that His church has a healing ministry in Albany? This is a scandal story without a scandal.

Letters from the Bishop and the Standing Committee of the Diocese of New Hampshire

February 13, 2006

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I am writing to you from an alcohol treatment center where on February 1, with the encouragement and support of my partner, daughters and colleagues, I checked myself in to deal with my increasing dependence on alcohol. Over the 28 days I will be here, I will be dealing with the disease of alcoholism-which, for years, I have thought of as a failure of will or discipline on my part, rather than a disease over which my particular body simply has no control, except to stop drinking altogether.

During my first week here, I have learned so much. The extraordinary experience of community here will inform my ministry for years to come. I eagerly look forward to continuing my recovery in your midst. Once again, God is proving His desire and ability to bring an Easter out of Good Friday. Please keep me in your prayers and know that you are in mine.


Your Brother in Christ,
+Gene

==============================================

February 13, 2006

Dear Colleagues in Ministry,

The Standing Committee of the Diocese of New Hampshire joins its bishop in writing to you about his decision to seek professional treatment for his dealings with alcohol. The Episcopal Church, through its General Convention, has long recognized alcoholism as a treatable human disease, not a failure of character or will.

The members of the Standing Committee fully support and stand with our bishop and his family as he confronts the effects of alcohol on his life, and we commend him for his courageous example to us all, as we pray daily for him and for his ministry among us.

Randolph K. Dales,
President, Standing Committee of New Hampshire


Found at Connecticut Six

Forward in Faith Parishes Affiliate with the ACN En Masse

Forward in Faith North America (FiFNA), the largest organization of Anglo-Catholic parishes in the Episcopal Church, recently voted to affiliate its parishes with the Anglican Communion Network (ACN) en masse. The move, which makes all parishes that are members of FiFNA automatically ACN-affiliated parishes unless they choose otherwise, dramatically increases the size of the Network’s Forward in Faith Convocation of parishes outside of Network-affiliated dioceses.

Parishes and dioceses in the Anglo-catholic tradition have a significant and welcome presence in the Network, said Bishop Robert Duncan, ACN moderator. He noted that the Network-affiliated dioceses of Fort Worth, Quincy and San Joaquin are all FiFNA members.

Following the example of Anglican Communion Archbishops who spoke at the Hope and A Future Conference in November about maintaining communion with each other even though they have different views on the ordination of women to the priesthood and episcopacy, the ACN works to welcome and respect orthodox Anglicans on both sides of this theological question. “What the primates told us is that they have learned to disagree on this issue while continuing in ministry together. We in the Network are committed to the same goal,” said Bishop Duncan.


The rest at the ACN website

Outgoing Episcopal leader urges unity
His leadership wasn't the problem, Bane says; response mixed
BY ALBERTA LINDSEY
TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER
Feb 12, 2006

HAMPTON - Even though he's retiring, the problems in the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia will not be going with him, the Rt. Rev. David C. Bane Jr. told the diocese's annual council meeting.

The diocese had many problems before he became its bishop nine years ago, and many of the problems will remain because they had nothing to do with him or his leadership style. The problems have to do with diocesan leaders, Bane said.

When Bane steps down today as Southern Virginia's bishop, it will be up to the people and clergy of the diocese to put the past behind them and work together for reconciliation, he said.
The rest

“Life Begins At Conception,”
Indiana Law Would Inform Women Seeking Abortion
INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana,
February 13, 2006

(LifeSiteNews.com) – Under a new law proposed in the state of Indiana, women seeking an abortion would hear from their doctors that human life begins at conception, They would also hear that their baby might be able to feel pain.

The law would go farther than almost any other legislation in the country in requiring that women be fully informed about the act of abortion. Only South Dakota has brought in a similar law, which has been blocked by court proceedings.

Current law in Indiana requires doctors to tell women about the age of their baby and its potential viability, and to offer to show an ultrasound of the child. They must also provide information on risks and alternatives to abortion.

Dorothy Timbs, of the National Right to Life Committee, told the Associated Press that many women seeking an abortion are told the fetus is nothing more than "a blob of tissue." She says women need to understand the consequences of an abortion on both the fetus and themselves.

"This is a decision that profoundly affects both forever and is irreversible," she said. "Women deserve this information. The more they have, the better off they are."
the rest

Comparing Islamic Fascists to Christian Conservatives
By Rev. Mark H. Creech
February 13, 2006

(AgapePress) - It has become a world crisis. Cartoons printed by a Danish newspaper depict the Prophet Muhammad in a way that Muslims say is blasphemous. In retaliation, Muslims are violently protesting by burning flags, attacking embassies in Syria, Lebanon, and Iran. Riots have broken out in Beirut, Indonesia, the Palestinian territory, and Afghanistan. Muslim clerics continue to stir the flames of Islamic indignation, calling upon Muhammad's followers to enforce respect for the prophet's name with their own blood. People are being seriously injured and killed.

The media has often compared Christian conservatives in America to violent Islamic radicals. Bob Norman in the New Times Broward-Palm Beach once wrote: "The underbelly of the Christian right is as scary as anything that ever dwelled in a Tora Bora cave." Robyn E. Blumner in the St. Petersburg Times, once compared conservative Christians with the Taliban saying: "The religious right has spent more than 20 years chipping away at the wall of separation between church and state, trying in Taliban-like ways to inject religion into public schools and the operations of government."
The rest

Colorado eyes rival referendums
By Valerie Richardson
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
February 13, 2006

DENVER -- Voters in Colorado could become the first in the nation to have two marriage-related initiatives on the same ballot -- one affirming traditional marriage and the other establishing domestic partnerships for homosexual couples.

A coalition of conservative and religious groups is drumming up support for a constitutional amendment restricting marriage to the union of one man and one woman. At the same time, Democratic state legislators have introduced the Colorado Domestic Partnership Act, which would allow same-sex couples to enjoy many of the benefits of marriage by registering their relationship with county clerks.

Both measures must still clear some hurdles before winning ballot slots for the November elections, but their chances appear strong. The domestic-partnership bill requires only the approval of a simple majority of the Legislature, which is controlled by Democrats.
The rest


Frist sets Marriage Protection Amendment vote for June; says 'values are under attack'
Feb 13, 2006
By StaffBaptist Press

WASHINGTON (BP)--Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said Feb. 10 that he would bring the Marriage Protection Amendment to the floor for debate the week of June 5.

The amendment, Senate Joint Resolution 1, would protect the traditional definition of marriage by preventing federal and state courts from legalizing "gay marriage." It currently has 29 sponsors.

"When America's values are under attack, we need to act," Frist, R.-Tenn., speaking to the Conservative Political Action Conference, said, according to The Washington Post.
The rest

Hundreds of Teenagers Plan to Make Valentine's a 'Day of Purity'
By Stephanie Simon,
Times Staff Writer

High school sophomore Ally Hall plans to exchange cards with her friends on Valentine's Day. But her true tribute to the romance of the season will come today, in the principal's office at Lebanon High School in the small town of Lebanon, Ohio.

Hall has written a brief script to be read over the publicaddress system. Her message: The most romantic way to celebrate Feb. 14 is to honor it as a "Day of Purity," by pledging to remain chaste until marriage.

"People say, 'Don't you get made fun of? Don't your friends think you're weird?' " said Hall, 15. "But if I can stand up for saving sex for marriage, it gives them a choice. They think, 'If she can do it, I can do it too.' "
Story

Two Suspects in Ala. Church Fires
By JAY REEVES
ASSOCIATED PRESS
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) -

Investigators believe a pair of men in their 20s or 30s, likely "bosom buddies," are responsible for a string of church fires in rural Alabama, as authorities confirmed the latest blaze at a Baptist church was the 10th case of arson.

The latest fire severely damaged Beaverton Freewill Baptist Church in northwest Alabama, near the Mississippi line. The white, wood-frame church sat about 150 yards off a two-lane county road and had an alarm system that alerted officials to the blaze.

"It's definitely arson," state fire marshal spokesman Ragan Ingram said Sunday.

the rest