Saturday, June 24, 2006

What was our Lord thinking about as He walked along the roads of Galilee, so often alone? What were His thoughts in times of repose during the journeys by boat that He liked making with His disciples after a day's exhausting preaching? What occupied His mind among the hills where He liked to go alone, without even the disciples? The answer, we may think, is easy: He was thinking of men, of sinners and their salvation, and what He had to do to effect that salvation.

But, surprising as it may seem to us, it wasn't with us that Jesus was concerned. The constant object of His meditation, the natural orientation of His heart and mind and soul, the food that constantly nourished Him, was His Father. Louis Everly photo

Matt Kennedy+: House Rules: Why Expulsion is Not Impossible
It's actually pretty easy...
June 24, 6:50 am

There is a rather common assumption out there (supported by quite a lot of official spin) with regard to the power of Anglican Communion that, having been repeated ten thousand times, has begun to congeal into a sort of accepted truth. Take a look at this excerpt from an AP article entitled,
Breaking up still no simple matter for embattled Anglicans.So what's holding up the big crumble? For one, there is no structure within the communion to expel a member church.

Anglican tradition is based on broad-brush inclusion built around common prayer and worship styles. Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan William acts as the spiritual leader, but has no power to punish or make doctrine. "There's no way to really stop someone from being an Anglican," said Paul Handley, editor of the Church Times, a London-based weekly that covers Anglican affairs.

This leaves conservatives facing a decision on whether to walk out on their own. The threats are there, but so are the consequences.Certainly any organization can call itself "Anglican." There is no way to stop it. But that is quite different from actually "being" Anglican.
the rest

Social Conservatives Were Right, Again
Dennis Byrne

The number of the tributes in the mainstream media to dads over the Father's Day weekend was stunning, something that no one would have believed a decade ago.

Even liberal columnists were praising fathers, their own included, when not long ago it was a matter of progressive conviction to either ignore or ridicule the importance of fathers.

Even black columnists recently have been uttering the unthinkable, that the absence of fathers in the lives of African-American children has had a devastating impact of the social, psychological, economic and moral well being of their families. God bless them for having the courage to stand against same charges of racism that rained down on lonely social conservatives who were making the same point years ago.
the rest

Pastor faced charges for evangelism at mall
Roughed up, arrested after 'walking around and talking to people'
Posted: June 24, 2006

Charges were dropped against a Sacramento-area youth pastor who was arrested while sharing his Christian faith one-on-one with shoppers at a mall.

Matthew Snatchko, who regularly takes a small group of youth from his church to the Galleria Mall in Roseville, Calif., said he was interrupted by a security guard May 8 while in the middle of a conversation.

Pointing out no one has ever complained of his activities at the mall, Snatchko told WND the guard demanded he leave because he was "walking around and talking to people."
the rest

Messianic tone of Superman is obvious and calculated
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES - As one of society's most enduring pop-culture icons, Superman has often been observed as more than just a man in tights.

And as the hype machine shifts into high gear for the upcoming release of Superman Returns, some are reading deeply into the film whose hero returns from a deathlike absence to play savior to the world.

"It is so on the nose that anyone who has not caught on that Superman is a Christ figure, you think, 'Who else could it be referring to?' " said Stephen Skelton, who wrote a book examining parallels between Superman and Christ.

In his early 1930s comic-book incarnation, Superman was a hero of the New Deal, aiding the destitute and cleaning up America's slums, said Tom De Haven, author of a book about Superman's status as an American icon and a novel about the hero's high school days.
the rest

Stay Tuned, as 2 Churches Struggle With Gay Clergy
Published: June 24, 2006

The only certain result of the Episcopal and Presbyterian church conventions that ended this week is that the participants will return to fight another day — and at future church conventions — over homosexuality.

For the
Episcopal Church U.S.A. and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), as with other mainline Protestant churches, the summertime convention season has become a painful ritual. In each church, the conservatives and the liberals are bound together like brawling conjoined twins.
The liberals dominate the power centers of the denominations — the national offices and the legislative arms. The conservatives have threatened to walk away, but most have not because they say the church is rightfully, theologically, theirs.

"It's all very well to threaten divorce, but it's another thing to go to the divorce court," said David C. Steinmetz, a professor of the history of Christianity at Duke Divinity School who has spent the last few years on schism watch.
the rest

California Episcopal priest resigns over past sex abuse allegations
June 24, 2006

CLAYTON, Calif. (AP) - Pressed by his bishop and public protests, an Episcopal priest is leaving the clergy over a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl decades ago.

The Rev. John Bennison, 58, of St. John's parish in Clayton near San Francisco, who is married with two children, admitted to the past sexual relationship while serving in the Los Angeles Diocese.

A 1993 church investigation said the relationship lasted four years and was one of several alleged affairs.
the rest

“What new thing is the Spirit doing?”
By StatGuy

Edith Humphrey gives a much-needed word of encouragement in a comment
posted at titusonenine. Her comment deserves wide circulation, I think. She takes a look beyond the depressing sight of the Episcopal Church and focuses on the big picture of Christ's church. (Pardon the typos since this was a comment on someone else’s blog which, as I know only too well, cannot be edited after posting.)

The debate over Arianism brought about clarity for the church with regards to the nature of Christ. Then they had the possibility of an ecumencal council to work things through, and the Creed emerged. Our divisions may prevent that, but we have greater possibilities of communication given the global realities, and we have a great and complex history behind us as the Bride of Christ. Over against the revisionism that plagues the mainline churches, we have seen remarkable things––the rediscovery of liturgy by the “free” and independent churches, a new love for the Great Tradition, the charismatic movement and Opus Dei in the Catholic church, and the rediscovery of evangelism as Orthodoxy moves out of survival mode. What new thing is the Spirit doing? We received a missive from the late Pontiff at Plano/aka Dallas, through the lips of the current Pontiff. Many of us have close ties with Roman Catholic and Orthodox friends. The current question before all of us is that of the nature of the church, the ecclesial question. As we are freed up from sticking our fingers in the dyke of dying denominations, and as mainline Protestantism self-destructs, I pray that the end will not be a Balkanization, but a comunion that seeks to be faithful and that can enter into true, honest, and loving conversation with faithful Catholic and Orthodox brothers and sisters. Let us see what the Spirit will do, and pray that unity will not come only as a reponse to extreme persecution. Ut unum sint––one in undistorted doctrine, full worship and family likeness within one church. God specializes in resurrection.

That is the most inspiring thing I've read arising from General Convention.

Edith Humphrey is currently Associate Professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. She has served as a member of the Primate's Theological Commission, Anglican Church of Canada, and has taught at Regent College. An excerpt from her latest book Ecstasy and Intimacy has been printed in The Anglican Planet.

the rest

Friday, June 23, 2006

Outside of Christ, I am only a sinner,
but in Christ, I am saved.
Outside of Christ, I am empty;
in Christ, I am full.
Outside of Christ, I am weak;
in Christ, I am strong.
Outside of Christ, I cannot;
in Christ, I am more than able.
Outside of Christ, I have been defeated;
in Christ, I am already victorious.
How meaningful are the words, "in Christ."

Watchman Nee

A Pastoral Letter from the Moderator of the Anglican Communion Network
23rd June, A.D. 2006


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

A new day is dawning. It is a new day for all of us who understand ourselves to be faithful and orthodox Anglicans, whether within the Episcopal Church or gone out from it.

It is with sadness, but also with anticipation, that I write to you now that the General Convention of the Episcopal Church has provided the clarity for which we have long prayed. By almost every assessment the General Convention has embraced the course of “walking apart.”

I have often said to you that the decisive moment in contemporary Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion history occurred at General Convention 2003. At that time, in the words of the Primates, the Episcopal Church took action that would “tear the fabric of our Communion at its deepest level.”

Since that time, the tear has widened. While we had hoped that this Church would repent and return to received Faith and Order, General Convention 2006 clearly failed to submit to the call, the spirit or the requirements of the Windsor Report. The middle has collapsed. For that part of the Network working constitutionally within ECUSA as over against the dioceses represented by the thirty progressive bishops who issued their Statement of Conscience, we are two churches under one roof.

Even before the close of Convention, Network and Windsor bishops began disassociating themselves from the inadequate Windsor resolution, and thus far one Network diocese has formally requested alternative primatial oversight.

More initiatives are underway. Pastoral and apostolic care has been promised without regard to geography. All I can tell you is that the shape of this care will depend on a very near-range international meeting. Other actions will follow upon continuing conversations with those at the highest levels of the Anglican Communion. Over the course of the month of July, many of the things we have longed for will, I believe, come to pass or be clearly in view for all.

The Anglican Communion Network has never been more united. We are gaining strength, both domestically and internationally. This is the time for biblically orthodox Anglicans to hang together, supporting one another in solidarity, in prayer and with expectancy.

My prayers are with you all, especially those whose plight is most difficult and whose patience is most worn. Pray for me and for all the leadership in Network, Episcopal Church, and Anglican Communion, and most especially for the Archbishop of Canterbury in this crucial moment in modern Anglican history. Again I say to you that a new day is dawning.

Faithfully in Christ Jesus,
Bob Pittsburgh+
The Rt. Rev. Robert Wm. Duncan
Moderator of the Anglican Communion Network

General Convention pulls back from the brink at the last minute
By Douglas LeBlanc and staff reporters

Douglas LeBlanc at the General Convention in Ohio, US, and staff reporters

DURING the nine legislative days of the Episcopal Church’s General Convention in Ohio, the only one to feature a storm — dark clouds, heavy rain, and rolling thunder included — was Wednesday. The worst of it seemed to arrive about the time that the Presiding Bishop, the Most Revd Frank Griswold, began addressing a last-minute joint-session about the importance of responding in a substantial way to the Windsor report.

Normally Bishop Griswold might make a pithy remark about the drama of the moment, but he was not his usual self on the final day of convention. He was focused, direct, and, when presiding later in the House of Bishops, testy when bishops began trying to revise still another effort at addressing the Windsor report.

"Humility is not an easy virtue, but it is very much required in this season," Bishop Griswold told the more than 800 deputies and more than 100 bishops seated before him. "Humility requires at times a stance of restraint in order that something larger can happen. There are times when what may appear to be a step backward may be called for in order to go forward" .

The step backward, at least for the Episcopal Church’s advocates for gay and lesbian inclusion, was resolution B033, which asked standing committees and diocesan bishops "to exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion".
the rest

1,000 skeletons found in Rome catacombs

ARCHAELOGISTS exploring one of Rome's oldest catacombs have discovered more than 1,000 skeletons dressed in elegant togas.

Experts are thrilled by the find - which dates from about the first century - as it is the first "mass burial" of its kind identified. Mystery surrounds why so many bodies were neatly piled together in the complex network of underground burial chambers, which stretch for miles under the city.

It was the custom then for Rome's upper classes to be burnt not buried, so it is thought the skeletons may be early Christians. Tests are being carried to establish whether they suffered violent death or were victims of an unknown epidemic or natural disaster.

Raffaella Giuliani, chief inspector of the Vatican's Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archaeology, who is overseeing the dig, said: "What we have discovered is very exciting. Usually, two or three bodies were put into holes dug out of the rock in the catacombs. But we have several rooms filled with skeletons.
the rest

Women Bishops Debate Tops Priority for Church of England Synod
As the Church of England looks forward to its General Synod in York next month, the divisive issue of women bishops has come to the forefront of debate, and looks set to dominate discussions during the July gathering.
Posted: Friday, June 23

As the Church of England looks forward to its General Synod in York next month, the divisive issue of women bishops has come to the forefront of debate, and looks set to dominate discussions during the July gathering, report the Church of England newspaper.

Prior to the Synod, a debate is scheduled to take place from which a theological standpoint on the issue of women bishops is hoped to be resolved.The debate will come at a highly sensitive time for the worldwide Anglican Communion, following the controversial election of the Rt Rev Katharine Jefferts Schori as the new leader of the American Episcopal Church earlier this week.
the rest

The Los Angeles Times Takes Sides -- But at Least Gets the Connection Right
Albert Mohler
Posted: Friday, June 23, 2006

The editors of
The Los Angeles Times have evidently decided to opine on matters of theology, offering their insights into the issues of gender and sexuality in recent church debates.

In "
Battling Over Bishops," published in today's edition of the paper, the editors celebrate the election of Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori as the new Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. Fair enough. The paper has the right to publish its opinions on any subject. But the arguments put forth by the editors deserve a close look.

Consider these two paragraphs:

In the religious as in the secular world, opponents of women's rights and opponents of gay rights are often the same people. In many ways the ecclesiastical earthquake of three years ago is a replay of the controversy that followed the Episcopal Church's decision a generation ago to ordain women as priests.Then as now, conservative Episcopalians said that a more inclusive ministry was scripturally unsound. What both controversies have in common is not only a fixation on sex and gender but also the challenge of deciding what religious practices can and should change with the times. How literally should Christians take language in Scripture forbidding a woman to "to usurp authority over the man," or declaring that it's an abomination for a man to "lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman," or saying that a church leader should be "the husband of one wife"? Are such proscriptions spiritual wheat or cultural chaff; an accurate echo of the divine voice or a reflection of merely human customs that can evolve?

the rest

Seven Canadian Women to Wed . . . Themselves
By Hilary White
June 22, 2006

( – The fallout of the dissolution of the legal institution of marriage in Canada is proving the recently established maxim that the modern world is impervious to satire.

While homosexual activists insisted that with the redefinition of marriage to allow them to register their partnerings, the whole affair would be closed, activists defending marriage warned that the redefinition had kicked the supports out from under the institution. Many warned that taking marriage out of its natural context and re-defining it according to the whims of special interest groups would lead inevitably to polygamy being included as a religious rights issue.

Now a group of women in Vancouver are going one better than mere polygamy and are moving into previously unexplored realms of narcissism and marrying themselves. One said, “You can't commit to anyone else unless you're in touch with yourself.”
the rest

An agonized vote to try to unify a church
Episcopalians' decision this week to limit gays' role may not be enough to prevent a split.
By Jane Lampman
Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

The question recurs throughout Christianity's history: How essential is Christian unity, and when, if ever, should denominations or congregations split over differing interpretations of scripture?

Several Protestant denominations are currently grappling with that question, none more fervently than Anglicans and their US arm, the Episcopal Church, which this week held anguished debates over the role of gays in the church. In the end, delegates at the Episcopal general convention in Columbus, Ohio, cast a vote for unity with their Anglican cousins.

But the resolution the Episcopalians endorsed may not be enough to avoid a split internally and with the worldwide church.

In a resolution Wednesday, the delegates called on church leaders to "exercise restraint by not consenting" to the consecration of gay bishops. (They had rejected a similar resolution a day earlier.) The vote was a difficult one for those who want full inclusion of gays in the church, but it still fell short of an Anglican request for a moratorium on gay bishops and on rites for blessing same-sex unions. After the vote, a number of bishops called the action discriminatory.

the rest

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Dear Readers,

Today is the one year anniversary of Transfigurations!

It has been such a blessing and so much fun to have this blog. I have made new friends in cyberspace and sometimes in person. I have been greatly humbled and privileged to meet such holy people committed to the Christian faith, especially in its Anglican expression. I have learned so much, been privy to people’s struggles and triumphs, been awed at how the Holy Spirit weaves it all together. I am a bit more computer savvy than I was a year ago due to my son Ryan. (“Mom, if you just wait, it will usually fix itself!”)

I still haven’t quite figured out why the Lord put on my heart to do this, being the least likely person I know to have a blog, but I discern He would like me to continue for a bit longer.

I pray that God will continue to use this space to His honor and glory, bring clarity, encourage prayer, open eyes and hearts, bring light (Light) into this dark world.

My first post had this Scripture:

Therefore, since we have such a hope, we behave with great boldness, and not like Moses who used to put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from staring at the result of the glory that was made ineffective. But their minds were closed. For to this very day, the same veil remains when they hear the old covenant read. It has not been removed because only in Christ is it taken away. But until this very day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their minds, but when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is present, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled faces reflecting the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another, which is from the Lord, who is the Spirit."
2 Corinthians 3:12-18 net Bible

Thanks and blessings to all the readers who check in from time to time!

Pat Dague

Faithful blogs
Religious journals show spiritual path of everyday life
By Dan McFeely

In the name of the blogger, the Son, the Holy Spirit -- amen.

And amen to religious blogging, say more and more Internet users, especially those who are filling cyberspace with their thoughts on God and their own faith journeys, often mixed with opinions on politics and world events.

Like the prayer journals of yesteryear, religious-minded people are using the Web to pound out short missives to be read by anyone, but primarily young and impressionable Web surfers who turn to the Net for spiritual advice.

It's the kind of youthful audience ministers of various faiths long to connect with. But today's faith-based bloggers are more than just preachers of the word. They are college students, authors, journalists and many ordinary folks seeking to be heard in a noisy online world.

"The blog is a means of connection," said Amy Welborn, a Fort Wayne journalist and author who has written a popular Catholic blog at for the past five years.

the rest

School Could Face Suit for Censoring Christian Grad Speech
Jim Brown

(AgapePress) - A constitutional attorney is denouncing a Las Vegas school district for pulling the plug on a Christian student's commencement speech because it referred to her faith in Jesus Christ. At a recent graduation ceremony, Clark County School District (CCSD) officials cut the microphone on Foothill High School valedictorian Brittany McComb after she began reading a speech that contained Bible verses and references to God.

The district officials claim McComb's speech amounted to religious proselytizing and could have been perceived as school-sponsored, thus making it a violation of the so-called separation of church and state. But Mat Staver, founder and chairman of the Florida-based pro-family legal organization
Liberty Counsel, says the high school valedictorian has every right to take the school district to court over the incident. the rest

Episcopalians Curb Policy on Gays
After rejecting a ban on gay bishops, church leaders put a stumbling block in their way, hoping to pacify the Anglican Communion.
By Stephen Clark, Times Staff Writer
June 22, 2006

In a stunning reversal, Episcopal church leaders seeking common ground with the worldwide Anglican Communion on Wednesday agreed to "exercise restraint" in selecting openly gay bishops.

The decision came just one day after the House of Deputies, one of two legislative bodies for the church, rejected a temporary ban on gay bishops. Although the new policy does not explicitly ban gay bishops, it makes it more difficult for gay clergy to achieve that office.
the rest

Episcopal bishop sticks up for convention's work
By Jean Torkelson, Rocky Mountain News

June 22, 2006

Colorado Bishop Rob O'Neill defended the controversial work of the Episcopal convention that ended Wednesday, saying it reflected the "broad and diverse center of the Episcopal Church."

"While those on either extreme may perceive our responses to be either too much or not enough, they constitute a significant effort to reconcile the differences in our church and in the Anglican Communion," O'Neill said in a statement.

The convention elected a new, pro-gay presiding bishop, Kath-arine Jefferts Schori, whom O'Neill praised earlier this week as "a prayerful and capable leader."

The convention also refused to repudiate resolutions made in 2004 that endorsed actively gay Bishop Gene Robinson and OK'd the development of same-sex blessings.the rest

CAPA Primates Statement in Response to The Episcopal Church’s General Convention

An Open Letter to the Episcopal Church USA

We, the Primates of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA), meeting in Kampala on 21st – 22nd June, have followed with great interest your meeting of the General Convention of the Episcopal Church USA in Columbus. We have been especially concerned by the development of your response to The Windsor Report, which has been reported to us quite extensively. This is something for which we have earnestly prayed. We are, however, saddened that the reports to date of your elections and actions suggest that you are unable to embrace the essential recommendations of the Windsor Report and the 2005 Primates Communiqué necessary for the healing of our divisions. At the same time, we welcome the various expressions of affection for the life and work of the Anglican Communion.

We have been moved by your generosity as you have rededicated yourselves to meet the needs of the poor throughout the world, especially through your commitment to the Millennium Development Goals.

the rest plus comments at titusonenine

Sarah Hey: Little Stone Bridges & Why We Fight for Them

A little something for you to chew on over the next 24 hours -- and perhaps respond to
June 22, 8:20 am

Inevitably in the times surrounding a fierce, heated battle a soldier must think occasionally "What on earth am I doing out here in the middle of nowhere, What on earth am I doing out here in the middle of nowhere, fighting for this silly little piece of land that my unit leader has told me to go out and take? It's not worth the bloodshed, I see no tactical or strategic merit to it, and besides, I could get killed for pretty much no reason other than taking that knoll, or traversing the river, or battling all day across this field. I have much better and even more useful things to do back in my tent."

In our own Episcopal church case, I have frequently imagined that we are out in the middle of some forest, with a little stream or river running through it, and a quaint, slightly crumbling and vine-clinging, little stone bridge crossing the body of water. The bridge is made of grey stone, of course, and it has a beautiful arch in its span. It is old, and its architect had an artist's heart, but it has clearly seen better days. Save for those fighting over it, there aren't a whole lot of people around, either to take note of the melee and carry news back to others, or to take part in the battle. It is unlikely that we will receive reinforcements. But for some very strange reason, a number of us -- a small unit -- are being told to fight for or over this bridge. It is a pitched battle, full of hurled insults and cyber bloodshed, tactical actions, retreats by some [or perhaps calls back to their camp to await further orders], logistics and communications challenges, going awol, unexpected heroism, despair, and much more. We keep waiting for further orders, but so far the same command keeps reaching us -- to hold the bridge. It appears rather unlikely -- we're at hand-to-hand combat at this point.

The rest at Stand Firm-Excellent!

Caution, and joy, at election
Date: June 23

The Bishop of Quincy has called upon American Anglo-Catholics to hold fast and not quit the Church following the election of a woman Presiding Bishop. However, traditionalist dioceses have begun formal application to Lambeth for “immediate” archiepiscopal oversight following the election of the Katherine Jefferts Schori as the 26th Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church. On June 19, Bishop Jack Iker of Forth Worth informed the US Church’s House of Bishops that his diocese had appealed to Lambeth for “immediate alternative Primatial oversight and Pastoral Care following the election of Katharine Jefferts Schori as Presiding Bishop.”

The bishops of San Joaquin and Quincy told The Church of England Newspaper that their dioceses were likely to join Fort Worth in its application as soon as their standing committees had an opportunity to meet. Traditionalist leaders were at immediate loggerheads with the new Presiding Bishop following her statement that opponents of the ordination of women needed education in the “heresy of Donatism”.
the rest

Backdoor claim over civil marriages
Date: June 23

The “back door” endorsement of gay civil marriage by the US House of Bishops at the 75th General Convention has created two mutually incompatible Anglican faiths, the Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali has declared.

“Anglicans are used to fudging things sometimes, but I think this is a matter of such seriousness that fudge won’t do,” Bishop Nazir-Ali told the Daily Telegraph after the Bishops’ vote. “Nobody wants a split, but if you think you have virtually two religions in a single Church something has got to give,” he said on June 18 while visiting the US Church’s triennial convention in Columbus, Ohio. On the June 16 sitting of the House of Bishops of the 75th General Convention, the bishops received a resolution that included a clause asking them to state their opposition to “any state or federal constitutional amendment that prohibits same-sex civil marriage or civil unions.”

the rest

"Mother Jesus?" The New ECUSA Presiding Bishop Wastes No Time Making Waves
Albert Mohler
Posted: Thursday, June 22, 2006 at 5:09 am ET

Here's how Ruth Gledhill of
The Times [London] introduced her report on Wednesday's happenings at the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, USA:

The Episcopal Church in America descended into chaos last night after leading bishops on both the liberal and conservative wings dissassociated themselves from a last-gasp effort to avert a schism with the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Just hours after its newly elected woman head preached a sermon in praise of "our mother Jesus", the Episcopal Church agreed to "exercise restraint" in appointing any more gay bishops after a tense day of debate and argument.

I deal with the ordination issue
below, but Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori's homily deserves its own analysis. the rest

Episcopal Approval of Gay Bishop Resolution Draws Relief, Disappointment
Thursday, Jun. 22, 2006

Posted: 8:46:12AM EST

Conservatives reacted with a mixture of disappointment and relief Wednesday after the U.S. Episcopal Church passed a resolution calling for restraint in consecrating bishops “whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church.”

Both houses of the 75th Episcopal General Convention concurred on the final language of Resolution B033 after Episcopalians voted down a tougher resolution Tuesday which asked diocese to “refrain from” ordaining gay bishops or developing rites for the blessing of same-sex unions. The weaker nonbinding resolution asks church leaders “to exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration of any candidate … whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion.”

Bishop Dorsey Henderson of Upper South Carolina, co-chair of the Special Committee on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, described the resolution as "an appropriate and blessed way forward, strengthening the Episcopal Church, strengthening the Anglican Communion, without closing any doors unnecessarily.” the rest

Anglican Communion Shakes as New ECUSA Presiding Bishop Defends Homosexuality
Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, the first female leader of the US Episcopal Church, has defended homosexuality after announcing her belief that it is not a sin.
Posted: Thursday, June 22 , 2006

Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, the first female leader of the US Episcopal Church, has further extended the rift in the Anglican Communion by controversially defending homosexuality; announcing her personal belief that it is not a sin.

Elected this week as the head of the 2.3 million member church, the 52-year-old Bishop told reporters that she felt homosexuals were created by God to love people of the same sex. The comments are sure to send shock waves across the worldwide Anglican Communion.

She told CNN, “I believe that God creates us with different gifts. Each one of us comes into this world with a different collection of things that challenge us and things that give us joy and allow us to bless the world around us."

Some people come into this world with affections ordered toward other people of the same gender and some people come into this world with affections directed at people of the other gender."

She defended her view claiming the Bible passages relating to homosexuality are written in a different historical context, "The Bible has a great deal to teach us about how to live as human beings. The Bible does not have so much to teach us about what sorts of food to eat, what sorts of clothes to wear -- there are rules in the Bible about those that we don't observe today.
the rest

Episcopals Compromise on Gays Fails To Heal Split
By RACHEL ZOLL - Associated Press
June 22, 2006

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Episcopal delegates asked church leaders yesterday to "exercise restraint" when considering openly gay candidates for bishop, a vote that ended days of painful debate but fell far short of demands to preserve Anglican unity by banning gay bishops.

The measure calls on Episcopal prelates to "exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration" of candidates for bishop "whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church." However it is nonbinding and - in a sign of the deep split over gay clergy - at least one bishop vowed immediately to ignore it.

Yesterday's vote, just hours before the end of a nine-day meeting, pleased neither American conservatives nor advocates for full inclusion of gays.

A statement from conservative bishops was read from the convention floor calling the resolution meaningless and accusing the church of "misleading the rest of the communion by giving a false perception that they intend actually" to comply with Anglican requests.
the rest

Episcopalians pass measure urging 'restraint' on gay bishops
Action leaves both sides disgruntled
By Cathy Lynn Grossman

The Episcopal Church USA, under intense pressure from international Anglican leaders, reversed itself Wednesday and passed a much-disputed resolution urging dioceses to 'exercise restraint' on choosing openly gay bishops.

The vote left the governing meeting of the 2.3-million-member church in disarray.

A day earlier a similar resolution was defeated: Progressives refused to accept any restrictions on the rights and roles of gay and lesbian Episcopalians, and traditionalists insisted on a clear ban on gay bishops and blessings of same-sex unions.

On Wednesday, both sides were still unhappy.
the rest

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

If you look up into His face and say, "Yes, Lord, whatever it costs," at that moment He'll flood your life with His presence and power. Alan Redpath

Bishop James Stanton: GETTING TO WINDSOR?
June 21, 2006

A roller coaster is an apt description of this Convention. There are those tedious “clackety-clack” moments when the train is being dragged up hill. There are those moments of terror and thrill when the train is plunging toward what appears to be certain doom. There is the euphoria of the up surge again. There is the stress as you bank this way and that. At moments you may even be whisked upside down, or drenched when the train splashes its way toward home.

Yesterday, the Convention was rocked when the House of Deputies debated, then turned down resolution A161, which would have urged restraint on the consents to bishops “whose manner of life would lead to further strains on the Communion” and would also have deterred “this General Convention” from developing or authorizing rites for the blessing of same sex unions.

Over the last couple of years, the bishops of the Church and many others have repeatedly pointed out that only the General Convention could speak on how The Episcopal Church would respond to the Windsor Report. Given that the various attempts to amend this resolution were rebuffed, and that a substitute using strictly Windsor language was ruled out of order, this was the only resolution that would address the specific requests of the WR to declare a “moratorium” on either consents or rites. The defeat of the resolution was breathtaking. The Convention had spoken.

the rest

General Convention Actions Inadequate (Bishop's Statement)


We, the undersigned, Bishops of the Episcopal Church make the following statement:
In the wake of the action by this House granting consent to the consecration of Canon V. Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003, many of us in this House made an appeal to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primates of the Anglican Communion “to intervene in the pastoral emergency that has overtaken us.” That appeal was heard and the Archbishop called for an extraordinary meeting of the Primates on 15–16 October, 2003. The Primates spoke forthrightly and unanimously about the consequences that would ensue across the Communion in the event that the consecration went forward, warning that it would “tear the fabric of our Communion at its deepest level.” They also called for the formation, under a mandate given by the Archbishop, of the Lambeth Commission on Communion. This General Convention has now given its response to the recommendations of the work of that Commission, known as the Windsor Report.

Now, once again, we find the need to speak candidly. The responses which the Convention has given to the clear and simple requests of the Lambeth Commission, the clear and simple requests indeed of the Anglican Communion, are clearly and simply inadequate. We reaffirm our conviction that the Windsor Report provides the way forward for the entire Anglican Communion, the ecumenical relationships of the Communion, and the common life of a faithful Episcopal Church. Further, we have agreed to submit ourselves to the Windsor Report’s requirements, both in what it teaches and in the discipline it enjoins. We have not changed in our commitment.

Sadly, because of statements made by members of this House at this Convention, we must question whether this General Convention is misleading the rest of the Communion by giving a false perception that they intend actually to comply with the recommendations of the Windsor Report. We therefore disassociate ourselves from those acts of this Convention that do not fully comply with the Windsor Report.

The rest at the ACN website

Archbishop of Canterbury: statement at the conclusion of deliberations on the Windsor Report and the Anglican Communion at the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church of the United States of America

“I am grateful to the Bishops and Deputies of the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church (USA) for the exceptional seriousness with which they have responded to the request of the Primates of the Anglican Communion that they should address the recommendations of the Windsor Report relating to the tensions arising from the decisions associated with the 74th General Convention in 2003.

“There is much to appreciate in the hard and devoted work done by General Convention, and before that, by the Special Commission on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, in crafting the resolutions. This and the actions taken today show how strong is their concern to seek reconciliation and conversation with the rest of the Communion.

“It is not yet clear how far the resolutions passed this week and today represent the adoption by the Episcopal Church of all the proposals set out in the Windsor Report. The wider Communion will therefore need to reflect carefully on the significance of what has been decided before we respond more fully.

“I am grateful that the JSC of the Primates and ACC has already appointed a small working group to assist this process of reflection and to advise me on these matters in the months leading up to the next Primates’ Meeting.

“I intend to offer fuller comments on the situation in the next few days. The members of Convention and the whole of the Episcopal Church remain very much in our prayers.”


Episcopal Delegates to Adopt Resolution
06.21.2006, 02:07 PM

Episcopal delegates approved a last-ditch attempt by their chief pastor Wednesday to salvage worldwide Anglican unity, voting to adopt a resolution that calls on U.S. church leaders to "exercise restraint" when considering gay candidates for bishop.

The nonbinding measure stops far short of the moratorium on gay bishops that Anglican leaders demanded to calm conservative outrage over the 2003 consecration of Bishop V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, who lives with his longtime male partner.

But it may leave open the chance for discussion between leaders of the Episcopal Church and other members of the Anglican Communion, who are badly at odds over gay clergy. Traditionalists hold that the Bible specifically prohibits gay sex.

The legislation passed in the final hours of an anguished nine-day General Convention. It asks Episcopal leaders to "exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration" of candidates for bishop "whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church."
the rest

Episcopalians defeat bid to nix more gay bishops
By Julia Duin
June 21, 2006

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Episcopalians will continue consecrating homosexual bishops and allowing same-sex unions after its House of Deputies defeated a motion yesterday to stop both in the waning hours of their General Convention.

The 843 clergy and lay delegates defeated Resolution A161, a compromise that would have stopped same-sex "blessings" and the election of homosexual bishops for at least another three years. The resolution also would have apologized to those homosexual Episcopalians "hurt by these decisions."

In votes cast by delegations, Episcopal laity voted 71-38 against A161, and the church's clergy cast 67 "no" votes to 44 yes votes. The Diocese of Washington's lay and clergy delegations, plus the Diocese of Virginia's clergy delegation, all voted against A161. Both Diocese of Maryland delegations voted yes, as did the laity from Virginia.
the rest

It's a girl, and Jesus is her Mother.
Ruth Gledhill Weblog
June 21, 2006

Clearly, things are going to be lively with Bishop Schori in the Chair. In her very first sermon, delivered this morning at GenCon,she has managed to say: "Our mother Jesus gives birth to a new creation and we are his children." She then goes on to say it is time to give up fear. Well if she was looking for a way to provoke fear, she has found it, although it doesn't frighten me. After I stopped laughing, I just began to feel just a little tired. I can already see tomorrow's headlines, and envisage the shape my working life is going to take over the next nine years of her primacy. Sometimes, I just wish The Episcopal Church were not so predictable. What's it going to be this Christmas in America. Christamass? Anglican Mainstream has posted the full sermon. And of course she is within the current doctrine of The Episcopal Church, as my posting on the recent "Pray to Mother Jesus" liturgy demonstrates amply.

James Bone's
report in today's paper has all the details of latest news and I wrote an accompanying commentary, as well as a light-hearted piece for T2. I was particulary proud of this piece, because after 19 years on The Times, I finally managed to get what I think is the longest word in the English language, antidisestablishmentarianism, into the paper. Of course I could only ever have succeeded in that enterprise in an article about Rowan Williams. And can anyone out there send me a picture of one of those pink "it's a girl" buttons? (Photo now up by Michael G Daley of Anglican Essentials.) Meanwhile, Philippe Naughton from Times Online has emailed me saying: 'Please don't accuse me of floccinaucinihilipilification, but didnt you mean disestablishmentarianism?' Oh dear, I think perhaps I did. Proud no more, just fallen....

the rest

COLUMBUS, OH: Episcopalians refuse affirmation of Christ
By Hans Zeiger
VirtueOnline Correspondent

COLUMBUS, OHIO (6/20/06)-The House of Deputies of the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church today overwhelmingly refused to even consider a resolution that affirmed Jesus Christ as the "only name by which any person may be saved."

"This type of language was used in 1920s and 1930s to alienate the type of people who were executed. It was called the Holocaust. I understand the intent, but I ask you to allow the discharge to stay," said the Rev. Eugene C. McDowell, a graduate of Yale Divinity School and Canon Theologian for the Diocese of North Carolina.

The convention's Committee on Evangelism first heard the resolution and discharged it to the chagrin of that committee's chairman, the Rev. Colenzo Hubbard, a noted evangelist and director of Emmanuel Episcopal Center in the Diocese of West Tennessee. The Rev. Hubbard motioned to lift the resolution from the discharge list, but after heated debate, more than seven tenths of the House of Deputies rejected the motion.

Drafted by the Rev. Guido Verbeck, rector of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Western Louisiana, Resolution D058 declared the Episcopal Church's belief in an "unchanging commitment to Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the only name by which any person may be saved," and it acknowledged evangelism as "the solemn responsibility placed upon us to share Christ with all persons when we hear His words, 'I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No-one comes to the Father except through me' (John 14:6)."

the rest at Virtueonline

Presiding Bishop-Elect Schori Calls on "Mother Jesus"

Quote from the Morning Eucharist Sermon on June 21, 2006 (at General Convention 2006) by Presiding Bishop-elect Katharine Jefferts Schori:"Our mother Jesus gives birth to a new creation -- and you and I are His children."

Presiding Bishop-elect Katharine Jefferts Schori preached the homily at the Closing Eucharist June 21 at General Convention in Columbus, Ohio.

The text of Jefferts Schori's homily follows:

Complete text of homily here

I can see clear now the rain has gone

Last night the Presiding Bishop called for a Joint Session this morning. At the Joint Session, Frank Griswold introduced a brand new resolution that The Episcopal Church only "receive and embrace" a "process of healing and reconciliation." No repentance - but not even regret. The resolution just "calls" bishops and standing committees to only "exercise restraint" by not electing and consecrating bishops whose "manner of life" only "presents a challenge to the wider church" and that all we worry about is the "strains" on the communion.

Does this sound like a church who recognizes that what happened in 2003 tore the fabric of the Anglican Communion. Is this a church that regrets its actions and promises not to do it before the communion comes to a consensus on this issue. No. In fact, it was clear from the PB-elect's remarks that whatever restraint is shown will be temporary and that what she calls "pastoral care" will win out over restraint. In fact, she told the House of Deputies that the church is of two minds. The scriptures for today's lectionary are very clear about what God thinks about being double minded.

the rest at Babyblueonline

Text of Griswold's message to the Joint Session is as follows:

"When I became your Presiding Bishop eight and a half years ago, I called the church to the costly discipline of conversation. At that time I pointed out that the word conversation and the word conversion come from the same Latin root. I said that to enter into conversation deeply, and with an undefended heart, opened the way to conversion. By conversion I did not mean one point of view capitulating to another - but rather a new way of seeing one another and recognizing Christ in one another.

The conversion of which I spoke had less to do with a change of mind and more to do with a change of heart.

As part of our response to the Windsor Report, we have passed ResolutionA159 which reaffirms "the abiding commitment of the Episcopal Church to the fellowship of churches that constitute the Anglican Communion and to seek to live into the highest degree of communion possible." We have also passed Resolution A166 supporting the process of developing an Anglican Covenant for the purpose of strengthening our Communion. Wehave thus indicated our desire for continuing conversation.

However, unless there is a clear perception on the part of our Anglican brothers and sisters that they have been taken seriously in their concerns it will be impossible to have any genuine conversation. "

the rest at the AAC blog

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Master is accomplishing the purity of the grain

"For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth."—Amos 9:9.

EVERY sifting comes by divine command and permission. Satan must ask leave before he can lay a finger upon Job. Nay, more, in some sense our siftings are directly the work of heaven, for the text says, "I will sift the house of Israel." Satan, like a drudge, may hold the sieve, hoping to destroy the corn; but the overruling hand of the Master is accomplishing the purity of the grain by the very process which the enemy intended to be destructive. Precious, but much sifted corn of the Lord's floor, be comforted by the blessed fact that the Lord directeth both flail and sieve to His own glory, and to thine eternal profit.

The Lord Jesus will surely use the fan which is in His hand, and will divide the precious from the vile. All are not Israel that are of Israel; the heap on the barn floor is not clean provender, and hence the winnowing process must be performed. In the sieve true weight alone has power. Husks and chaff being devoid of substance must fly before the wind, and only solid corn will remain.

Observe the complete safety of the Lord's wheat; even the least grain has a promise of preservation. God Himself sifts, and therefore it is stern and terrible work; He sifts them in all places, "among all nations"; He sifts them in the most effectual manner, "like as corn is sifted in a sieve"; and yet for all this, not the smallest, lightest, or most shrivelled grain, is permitted to fall to the ground. Every individual believer is precious in the sight of the Lord, a shepherd would not lose one sheep, nor a jeweller one diamond, nor a mother one child, nor a man one limb of his body, nor will the Lord lose one of His redeemed people. However little we may be, if we are the Lord's, we may rejoice that we are preserved in Christ Jesus.

CH Spurgeon

Joint session of Bishops & Deputies Tomorrow

Frank Griswold, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, has called for a Joint Session for Wednesday, June 21 to address the Windsor Report. This would be a historic moment for the church to see if the Episcopal Church is at a place where it can be honest and clear about where the church stands regarding the requests made to it by the Anglican Communion.

Please pray for the Father's will to be done.

Albany Intercessor

On the Lighter Side: NEWS FLASH: Episcopal General Convention, A.D. 2021

LAS VEGAS, June 18, 2021: Holding its 80th General Convention in Las Vegas this week, The Episcopal Church broke new ground by naming as its new Presiding Bishop Muffin, a 26-year old Rhesus Macaque from the Diocese of Los Angeles. Muffin, who holds an honorary Ph.D. in Theology from Yale Divinity School, had previously served as the Bishop of West Hollywood. Muffin is the first non-human primate to be elected as a Primate in the Anglican Communion, which faces schism over the appointment.

In a break with tradition, the installation mass was held immediately following the election in the Madonna Room of Circus Circus. The service featured a magnificent new organ-grinder concerto commissioned especially for the event, as well as a moving liturgical dance by the Folies Bergere showgirls. An ecumenical sermon was delivered by Sri Svanapanda Prabhubada of The Society for Krishna Consciousness, entitled “Jesus Schmesus – The Many Paths to Niceness.” During the offertory, the new bishop herself went up and down the aisles collecting donations in a tin cup. Communion was given using banana slices and mango juice instead of the traditional bread and wine.

Integrity, a group of moderate laity and clergy within The Episcopal Church, released a statement praising the selection of Muffy as a “bold move forward which demonstrates The Episcopal Church’s commitment to inclusivity for all living things.” Integrity spokescreature Shamu expressed hope that a future convention would go beyond “animal chauvinism” to elevate a being from one of the other kingdoms of life to the primacy. Bishop Phyllis Creeper of South Florida, a split-leaf philodendron, is considered a leading candidate for the next Episcopal convention in 2024. One delegate, who asked to remain unnamed, said that he saw no objections to a photosynthesizing leader. “Most of our bishops are vegetation as it is. Putting a plant in the PB’s chair just seems like a logical next step.”

Conservative groups within the church were generally displeased. A number of archconservatives opposed the elevation of a simian to the highest position in the church, claiming that it was in direct opposition to the criteria for bishops established in the so-called “pastoral letters” ostensibly written by Saul of Tarsus. A spokesman for the new bishop dismissed the objections as “the literalistic scriptural interpretations of a fundamentalist fringe.” The American Anglican Council released a statement predicting that the election of Bishop Muffy would likely cause dissension within the greater Anglican Communion. They did note, however, the fact that the new primate, being a vertebrate, actually did have a spine. They expressed hope that this shared anatomical feature between the bishop and conservatives might be the basis for conversations that would prevent schism in the Church, but warned that – if current trends continued – they might eventually be forced to split.

In other Episcopal news, the convention approved a change to church laws removing “Trinity Sunday” from the liturgical calendar as being “too controversial and divisive,” and substituted the feast of St. Darwin. Delegates also approved a resolution to offer monetary reparations for the Church’s complicity in the extinction of a prior species of humans, describing the crime as “genocide against our Neanderthal brothers and sisters.”

The church’s Committee on Evangelization, recognizing the fact that the growing number of ordained Episcopal clergy had now exceeded the average Sunday attendance for the church as a whole, proposed a plan to evangelize robots in hopes of filling the pews sufficiently to give each clergycreature a pulpit in which to preach.The convention will continue for three more days, or until the majority of deputies lose it all at the craps table.

Found at the Waffling Anglican

(hat tip to my rector-Fr. Bob!)

COLUMBUS, OH: The triumph of the New Episcopal Religion
The Episcopal Church chooses to walk apart from the Anglican Communion

News Analysis
By Peter Toon

In one hour of work by the House of Deputies on Tuesday afternoon, there was a double triumph for the New Episcopal Religion, and a double punch in the face of the Anglican Communion of Churches. First of all, two major requests of The Windsor Report were refused.

The Resolution, which urged the cessation of the consecration of actively homosexual persons and of the blessing of same-sex couples, (but which also apologized to the Lesbian and Gay people of the pain they feel) was clearly defeated and thus it was not sent on to the House of Bishops. It is apparently dead - "apparently" because the House of Bishops could possibly revive this matter of the two moratoriums (on bishops and same-sex couples).

In the second place, the House decided to vote in favor of approving the election of Barry L. Beisner as the next Bishop of Northern California. This now goes to the House of Bishops for their approval or rejection. The significance of this approval is immense because, despite "A Minority Report" from the examining Committee recommending rejection because of his complex marital status, the House approved a man for bishop, who is thrice married and twice divorced, and married presently to a divorced woman.

So in the big, wide world, and in the Anglican Communion of Churches, the Episcopal Church will be seen, on this evidence, as the Church which has entered deeply - in fact is "living into" - modern sexuality where there is space for not only serial monogamy but also for same-sex relations. Further, this Church has declared that it is prepared to stay in, what is familiarly called, "the Windsor process," only on its own terms. That is, this province will not walk in line with the other provinces but will walk on the other side of the road and alone, unless the Anglican Church of Canada decides to join it soon.

the rest at Virtueonline

Texas diocese challenges female leader's authority

June 19, 2006 - Solange De SantisStaff writer -->Columbus, OhioLess than 24 hours after the election of the Episcopal Church in the USA’s (ECUSA) first female presiding bishop, the diocese of Fort Worth (Tex.) appealed to the Archbishop of Canterbury for alternative oversight.

Fort Worth is one of three American dioceses that do not ordain women. There are about 100 dioceses in the Episcopal church.

Bishop Jack Iker of Fort Worth told the house of bishops and lay delegate Judy Mayo told the house of deputies (laity and clergy) that the diocese is appealing “to the Archbishop of Canterbury, the primates of the Anglican Communion, and the Panel of Reference for immediate alternative primatial oversight and pastoral care, following the election of Katharine Jefferts Schori as presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church.”
the rest

Richard John Neuhaus on the election of Schori:

The election of Katharine Jefferts Schori as the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church (ECUSA) is an occasion of great sadness for all who care about the unity of Christians. Those who have always been skeptical of the ecumenical effort may well say, “I told you so,” and indulge in a measure of schadenfreude. That is not, I would suggest, a faithfully Catholic response.

The Catholic Church is irrevocably committed to Christian unity understood as full communion in faith, ministry, and sacramental life. That commitment is grounded in the prayer of Our Lord “that they may all be one” (John 17), as magisterially elaborated in the encyclical of John Paul the Great, Ut Unum Sint. The ecumenical vision of the Second Vatican Council has repeatedly been reaffirmed and strengthened by subsequent popes. Going back long before the Council, there was thought to be a special relationship between the Anglican Communion and the Catholic Church. In the theological dialogues following the Council, great hopes were vested in the possibility of ecclesial reconciliation with Anglicanism. Those hopes, some suggest, have now been blasted and are probably beyond repair. At the same time, the actions of the General Convention of the Episcopal Church may mark its definitive break from the worldwide Anglican Communion of more than seventy million members. That would leave the Episcopal Church with its two million members isolated as simply one among many mainline/old-line American denominations.

the rest at First Things

Presbyterians OK Leeway for Ordaining Gays
By RICHARD N. OSTLING AP Religion Writer

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) -- A Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) national assembly voted Tuesday to create some leeway for gay clergy and lay officers to serve local congregations, despite a denominational ban on partnered gay ministers.

A measure approved 298-221 by a Presbyterian national assembly keeps in place a church law that says clergy and lay elders and deacons must limit sexual relations to man-woman marriage.

But the new legislation says local congregations and regional presbyteries can exercise some flexibility when choosing clergy and lay officers of local congregations if sexual orientation or other issues arise.

The decision concluded a hard-fought struggle lasting years between liberals and conservatives in the 2.3-million-member denomination. Conservatives lost two last-ditch efforts to kill or delay the measure.
the rest

Ruth Gledhill weblog:
Episcopal church unravels as Forth Worth appeals for 'alternative oversight'
Tuesday, 20 June 2006

"Division is of the devil" says church leader. Latest on TEC.

"Who is responsible for that which has happened? Without prejudging the conclusions which the Holy Synod will come to, having studied the testimonies collected by the Commission which has been appointed for that purpose, I want to speak of that which is perfectly clear: division stems from the envy of the enemy of the human race, who, finding support in human weakness, seeks new means to wound the Church. Just as unity is from God, division in the Church is invariably from the evil one. At this point, it would be most helpful for each one of us to look into our soul and to ask our conscience: did we give opportunity to the devil (Eph. 4:27)? Did we show impatience, lack of attention, insensitivity, from which the schism gradually developed?" Who is the speaker here? Not an Anglican. For his identiy, see below.

Meanwhile, at Columbus, Ohio the resolution on moratoria has failed and so has an alternative.
Classical Anglican is reporting: "Bonds of affection snapped." Yet the surprising truth seems to be, there might not be schism after all. See the end of this post for the possible reason why.

the rest

'Boston tea party' as US radicals defy Canterbury
From James Bone in Columbus, Ohio
June 21, 2006

The Episcopal Church delivered a resounding rebuff to the Archbishop of Canterbury last night by rejecting calls for a moratorium on the consecration of gay bishops.

The vote increased the likelihood of a schism in the worldwide Anglican communion over the place of homosexuals in the Church.

Traditionalists described the decision by the American church’s three-yearly convention as a clear rebellion against the Anglican hierarchy, which had appealed for a ban on gay bishops after the 2003 consecration of an openly gay bishop in New Hampshire.

Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh, a leader of the traditionalist Anglican Communion Network, compared the decision to America’s revolt against British colonial rule. “We got a Boston Tea Party,” he told The Times.
the rest

Schism threat after failure of middle way
June 21, 2006
Commentary by Ruth Gledhill

THE rejection by The Episcopal Church of calls for moratoria on gay consecrations and same-sex blessings represents a failure to comply with the demands of the Windsor process. This process was set in train by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, in an attempt to resolve the crisis after the consecration of Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire.

Whether the Anglican Communion now descends into a process of formal schism depends entirely on the response of Dr Williams.

The problem at the General Convention was that radical liberals felt that anything seen as a step backwards in their embrace of the gay agenda would be to sacrifice gays and lesbians on the altar of the Anglican Communion. This they were not prepared to do.

Some new administrative structure, free of the bounds of diocese, parish and province, will have to be found to retain even a semblance of unity in the Anglican world. The most likely structure to emerge will be a form of federation, with the Archbishop of Canterbury as the focus of unity.
the rest

Episcopalians Firm on Gay Bishops
Delegates Reject Anglicans' Request for Temporary Ban
By Rachel Zoll
Associated Press
Wednesday, June 21, 2006

COLUMBUS, Ohio, June 20 -- Episcopal delegates snubbed Anglican leaders' request that they temporarily stop electing openly gay bishops, a vote that prompted the church's leader to call a special session in hopes of reaching a compromise to preserve Anglican unity.

The vote Tuesday by the Episcopal House of Deputies came just hours before Presbyterians, at a separate meeting, approved a plan to let local congregations install gay ministers if they wish.

In Columbus, the debate over the proposed moratorium on the election of gay bishops stretched over two days in the House of Deputies, a legislative body of more than 800 clergy and lay leaders.
Top Anglican officials had asked the Episcopalians for a temporary ban to calm the outrage among conservatives over the election three years ago of Bishop V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, who lives with his longtime male partner.
the rest

Pentagon Lists Homosexuality As Disorder
Associated Press Writer
June 19, 2006

WASHINGTON -- A Pentagon document classifies homosexuality as a mental disorder, decades after mental health experts abandoned that position.

The document outlines retirement or other discharge policies for service members with physical disabilities, and in a section on defects lists homosexuality alongside mental retardation and personality disorders.

Critics said the reference underscores the Pentagon's failing policies on gays, and adds to a culture that has created uncertainty and insecurity around the treatment of homosexual service members, leading to anti-gay harassment.

Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Jeremy M. Martin said the policy document is under review.
the rest

Anglicans must split, says bishop

A choice will have to be made, says Bishop Nazir-AliA split in the Anglican Church is inevitable with divisions between liberal and conservative factions "irreconcilable", a senior bishop says.

The Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, told the Daily Telegraph there were "virtually two religions" in the Church.

His comments came as the US Episcopal Church chose a woman as its next leader - the first Anglican Church to do so.

The US Church has also controversially ordained the first openly gay bishop.
the rest

Episcopal Leader Calls for Move Past Gay Debate
As Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori makes clear her priorities, some conservatives see her selection to lead the U.S. church as divisive.
By K. Connie Kang, Times Staff Writer
June 20, 2006

Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori of Nevada, who was elected Sunday as the first woman to lead the U.S. Episcopal Church, says it's time to put away the divisive issue of homosexuality and move on to the urgent mission of ministering to people in need.

"Our primary emphasis needs to be feeding people, educating children and looking for healthcare for everybody," Jefferts Schori, 52, said in a telephone interview Monday from Columbus, Ohio, where representatives of the 2.3-million-member denomination are holding their annual convention.
the rest

Assembly adopts Theological Task Force report
Controversial 'authoritative interpretation' garners 57% support
by Jerry L. Van Marter

BIRMINGHAM, June 20 — By a vote of 298-221 (57% to 43%), the 217th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) today approved an "authoritative interpretation" of the church's Constitution that maintains current ordination standards for church officers but gives ordaining bodies greater leeway in applying those standards to individual candidates for ordination.

"Today we saw the Presbyterian process of doing things at its best," said the Rev. Joan Gray, moderator of the 217th General Assembly, at a press conference following the vote. "We saw people working fairly and treating each other justly."
the rest

Monday, June 19, 2006

Presbyterians Study Gender-Inclusive Terms

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - Delegates of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) are to tackle whether to adopt gender-inclusive language for worship of the divine Trinity along with the traditional "Father, Son and Holy Spirit."

A study panel said the classical language for the Trinity shouldn't be diminished, but advocated "fresh ways to speak of the mystery of the triune God" to "expand the church's vocabulary of praise and wonder."

One reason is that language limited to the Father and Son "has been used to support the idea that God is male and that men are superior to women," the panel said.

Conservatives object that the church should stick close to the way God is named in the Bible.
Among the feminist-inspired, gender-inclusive options:

- "Mother, Child and Womb"
- "Lover, Beloved, Love"
- "Creator, Savior, Sanctifier"
- "Rock, Redeemer, Friend"
- "King of Glory, Prince of Peace, Spirit of Love."

the rest

Episcopal Church USA Elects Female Presiding Bishop
Albert Mohler
Posted: Monday, June 19, 2006 at 3:40 am ET

The anguish of orthodox Anglicans and evangelical Episcopalians intensified Sunday as the ECUSA elected the Right Reverend Katharine Schori, Bishop of Nevada, as the denomination's first woman to serve as Presiding Bishop. The move is being hailed as a victory for the liberal wing of the church, and it comes even as the church is embroiled in yet another controversy over its election of an openly-homosexual bishop in 2003.

As Stephen Bates, religion correspondent for
The Guardian London, reports:

The US Episcopal church stunned Christians across the world last night by unexpectedly electing the first woman primate in the Anglican church. The Rt Rev Katharine Jefferts Schori, 52, Bishop of Nevada - one of the smallest dioceses in the US - for only five years and ordained for only a decade, may well be the highest placed woman priest in church history.
the rest