Saturday, July 01, 2006

"The voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day."—Genesis 3:8.

MY soul, now that the cool of the day has come, retire awhile and hearken to the voice of thy God. He is always ready to speak with thee when thou art prepared to hear. If there be any slowness to commune it is not on His part, but altogether on thine own, for He stands at the door and knocks, and if His people will but open He rejoices to enter. But in what state is my heart, which is my Lord's garden? May I venture to hope that it is well trimmed and watered, and is bringing forth fruit fit for Him? If not, He will have much to reprove, but still I pray Him to come unto me, for nothing can so certainly bring my heart into a right condition as the presence of the Sun of Righteousness, who brings healing in His wings.

Come, therefore, O Lord, my God, my soul invites Thee earnestly, and waits for Thee eagerly. Come to me, O Jesus, my well-beloved, and plant fresh flowers in my garden, such as I see blooming in such perfection in Thy matchless character! Come, O my Father, who art the Husbandman, and deal with me in Thy tenderness and prudence! Come, O Holy Spirit, and bedew my whole nature, as the herbs are now moistened with the evening dews. O that God would speak to me. Speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth! O that He would walk with me; I am ready to give up my whole heart and mind to Him, and every other thought is hushed. I am only asking what He delights to give. I am sure that He will condescend to have fellowship with me, for He has given me His Holy Spirit to abide with me for ever. Sweet is the cool twilight, when every star seems like the eye of heaven, and the cool wind is as the breath of celestial love. My Father, my elder Brother, my sweet Comforter, speak now in lovingkindness, for Thou hast opened mine ear and I am not rebellious.

CH Spurgeon

Revolt under way within Episcopal church
Sat Jul 1, 2006
By Jim Christie

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Six conservative Episcopalian bishops opposed to the liberal drift in the U.S. branch of the Anglican Communion are asking for a trial separation, a move hinting at an eventual divorce over irreconcilable differences, some analysts say.

The bishops of the dioceses for Pittsburgh, Fort Worth, Texas, South Carolina, Central Florida, Springfield, Illinois, and San Joaquin, California, appealed this past week to Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to be assigned somebody other than Katharine Jefferts Schori as their leader.

Conservative Episcopalians say Schori, presiding bishop-elect of the Episcopal Church, would continue to steer the church away from its traditional teachings. She backs church blessings of gay relationships and voted to confirm Gene Robinson, the Episcopal Church's first openly gay bishop.

The move by the bishops underscores the tension within the 2.4 million-member Episcopal Church USA between its conservative and liberal clergy, a schism rooted in views on scripture and church politics concerning homosexuality.
the rest

Talk of split upsets some Episcopalians
Mark I. Pinsky
July 01, 2006

A group of moderate Episcopalians, upset by the prospect that the Diocese of Central
Florida may split from its U.S. denomination, has called a meeting for later this month to discuss how to deal with the issue.

Leaders of
Episcopal Voices of Central Florida say they want to discuss Thursday's decision by the diocese board to ask the Archbishop of Canterbury, head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, to appoint a foreign leader to oversee its affairs.

'Our concern is what's going to happen to Episcopalians in this diocese -- those people who will choose to remain Episcopalians,' said Donna Bott, the group's moderator. Episcopal Voices is a group of clergy and lay people opposed to a breakup of the denomination, with an e-mail list of several hundred.

The announcement of the meeting, set for July 29 at St. Richard's Episcopal Church in
Winter Park, came a day after the Diocese of Central Florida joined a growing number of dioceses around the country in asking for foreign oversight. the rest

Cardinal fears Church could face court on abortion
June 29, 2006
By Robin Pomeroy

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The
Catholic Church could one day be prosecuted for its right-to-life stance by some countries where abortion is considered a woman's right, a senior Vatican cardinal said in an interview published on Thursday.

Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, head of the Pontifical Council for the Family, criticized several Western countries for allowing abortion and introducing
gay marriage and civil unions.

"I fear that faced with current legislation, speaking in defense of life, of the rights of the family, is becoming in some societies a crime against the state, a form of disobedience of the government, a discrimination against women.

"The Church risks being brought in front of some international court, if the debate gets any more tense, if the most radical opinions are heeded," Lopez Trujillo told Famiglia Cristiana, a Catholic Italian weekly.
the rest

Vatican to open all archives from 1922 to 1939
By Rachel Sanderson
Friday, June 30, 2006 ;

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict has decided to open all Vatican archives from 1922 to 1939, giving new insight into what the Catholic Church knew and did as Europe saw the rise of Nazism in Germany and the Spanish Civil War.

The Vatican said on Friday it would open its central files, known as the Secret Archives, and files of its Secretariat of State for the pontificate of Pope Pius XI on September 18.

In a short announcement, it said the opening would "make available for historical research ... all documentary sources until February 1939 that are stored in different series of the Archives of the Holy See."

"The part of the archives likely to provide new insight is that regarding Spain," said a Vatican source who asked not to be named. The Church was linked to the Nationalist forces of General Francisco Franco in the 1936-1939 civil war.
the rest

Ultra-Orthodox Jews attack Christian tourists in Jerusalem
Jonathan Lis,
Haaretz Correspondent

A group of 50 pro-Israel Christian tourists came under attack Wednesday from some 100 residents of the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Mea She'arim in Jerusalem.

Three of the tourists and a police officer were wounded in the attack. They received treatment at the scene.

The tourists arrived at Mea She'arim wearing orange T-shirts with the words "Love your neighbor as yourself" printed across them.

Faith-based women's group filling arenas
published July 1, 2006

ATLANTA — The arena crowd was on its feet, arms in the air, dancing to the lively beat. Colored lights flashed on the performers, who belted out some of their most popular songs.

But these fans weren’t teenagers and the attraction wasn’t a hot pop act. Two of the four performers, in high-wedge platform sandals and trendy but modest outfits, were obviously pregnant. And many were middle-aged women.

This was the scene at Contagious Joy, an event organized by Women of Faith, a national women’s group that recently stopped at Atlanta’s Philips Arena.

Its purpose: To remind women that God loves them, no matter what.

“We want to encourage women and inspire them,” said Mary Graham, the group’s president. “I would like every woman to leave the arena knowing for sure that she is loved by a God of grace and that she can have a relationship with him in the hardest moments of her life and in the best days of her life.”
the rest

Virginia Episcopal bishop slams Nigerian appointment
By Julia Duin
July 1, 2006

The election of a Virginia clergyman to lead Anglican Nigerian immigrants in the U.S. is being criticized by the Episcopal bishop of Virginia and the archbishop of Canterbury as "an affront" and "neither timely nor constructive."

"This is not a welcome development," said Jonathan Jennings, spokesman for Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, about Wednesday's election of Canon Martyn Minns of Truro Episcopal Church in Fairfax as bishop for the Anglican province of Nigeria.

"It's neither timely nor constructive," he said. "It further complicates an already complex situation."

Mr. Minns, 63, was informed Wednesday morning by Nigerian Archbishop Peter J. Akinola that he had been elected as bishop of the Convocation of Anglican Churches in North America (CANA).

Virginia Bishop Peter J. Lee called the election "an affront" to the autonomy of his diocese over which, according to Episcopal policy, he has complete rule. His comments were contained in a letter to the 90,000-member diocese that was posted Thursday on the diocesan Web site.
the rest

ANALYSIS: A church divided cannot stand -- can it?
By Frank E. Lockwood
June 30, 2006

I am saddened to my very soul that the church I came to Jesus Christ in, when I was 19 years old, no longer exists within this (Episcopal) structure.

Katharine Jefferts Schori, the newly elected leader of the
Episcopal Church, compared the conservative and liberal wings of her denomination to conjoined twins and expressed doubts that they can survive and flourish without each other.

But instead of conjoined twins, they increasingly resemble unhappy spouses. They've grown apart over the years. After three years of marriage counseling, they're barely able to speak to each other. The differences appear irreconcilable.

The kids caught in the crossfire -- members of the 'Can't we all just get along?' majority -- are desperately trying to hold onto both parents, devastated that their family is disintegrating and willing to do almost whatever it takes to keep everybody under the same roof.

A divorce would be costly and take years -- they'd be fighting over thousands of houses of worship, 2.2 million U.S. members and a $3.7 billion endowment.

The Episcopal Church, one of 38 provinces (churches) that trace their roots to the Church of England, is already plotting its legal strategy and bracing for big legal bills. Pity the judge who must sort it all out.

Meanwhile, the exodus has started. This week, one of the largest Episcopal churches in the United States announced that it plans to 'disassociate' itself from the denomination. As of Thursday, five conservative dioceses are appealing for alternative oversight from overseas church leaders.
the rest

Happy Birthday Today to Pat Dague
from Raymond
May the Lord Bless and Keep You
in His Will All the Days of Your Life

Friday, June 30, 2006

No man can be without his god. If he have not the true God to bless and sustain him, he will have some false god to delude and to betray him. The Psalmist knew this, and therefore he joined so closely forgetting the name of our God and holding up our hands to some strange god. For every man has something in which he hopes, on which he leans, to which he retreats and retires, with which he fills up his thoughts in empty spaces of time, when he is alone, when he lies sleepless on his bed, when he is not pressed with other thoughts; to which he betakes himself in sorrow or trouble, as that from which he shall draw comfort and strength -- his fortress, his citadel, his defence; and has not this a good right to be called his god?

Man was made to lean on the Creator; but if not on Him, then he leans on the creature in one shape or another. The ivy cannot grow alone: it must twine round some support or other; if not the goodly oak, then the ragged thorn -- round any dead stick whatever, rather than have no stay or support at all. It is even so with the heart and affections of man; if they do not twine around God, they must twine around some meaner thing.
... Richard Chevenix Trench photo

Diocese of Springfield: requests primatial oversight;
Sixth Diocese to do so after GC2006

"BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Standing Committee of this Diocese requests our Bishop to intentionally and deliberately explore avenues for alternative primatial relationship and, as appropriate, oversight, notwithstanding this Diocese's status as a constituent member of the Episcopal Church."

Approved June 26, 2006

Bishop Peter Beckwith's pastoral letter here (pdf file)

Episcopal rift over gay bishops widens
Friday, June 30, 2006

Two more Episcopal dioceses that consider gay relationships sinful are distancing themselves from the denomination by seeking oversight from fellow Anglicans overseas instead of the American church.

The Dioceses of Springfield, Ill., and Central Florida have joined four other dioceses in rejecting the authority of the Episcopal presiding bishop-elect — a step short of schism — and asking Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to assign them another leader. The other dioceses are Pittsburgh, South Carolina, San Joaquin, Calif., and Fort Worth, Texas.

Springfield Bishop Peter Beckwith said in a statement Friday that his diocese objects to Nevada Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, who will be installed Nov. 4, because she supports ordaining partnered gays and blessing same-sex couples, among other reasons.

The New York-based Episcopal Church, with more than 100 dioceses, is the U.S. branch of the global Anglican Communion, the association of churches that trace their roots to the Church of England.
As the communion's spiritual leader, Williams has been struggling to keep the fellowship unified despite deep differences over the Bible and sexuality.

He said this week that the divisions have become so deep that member churches who support ordaining gays may have to accept a lesser role in the communion to prevent a permanent break.


"Rest Assured that Our Church is Anglican Now"
-- A Pastor's Statement of Heartbreak and Hope
Albert Mohler
Friday, June 30, 2006

Christ Church Episcopal in Plano, Texas -- drawing the largest weekly attendance of any Episcopal church -- announced its decision to leave the Episcopal Church USA [ECUSA] on June 24. The church's decision came just hours after the conclusion of the denomination's General Convention in Columbus, Ohio [see articles below].

As the
Rev. Canon David H. Roseberry and the church's vestry explained, their decision came in light ot the fact that the ECUSA General Convention refused to adopt the two measures demanded by the world-wide Anglican Communion -- an absolute moratorium on the election and consecration of openly-homosexual persons and bishops, and a statement of repentance for having elected and consecrated the Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire.
the rest

Can the Anglican Communion survive?
June 30,2006

Sir, I would like to think that your news story about an Anglican covenant (28 June) will prove premature and that nothing will come of this proposal. For one thing, I wonder whether the Archbishop of Canterbury has the authority to sign away the Church of England’s independence.
Unfortunately, the proposed covenant is only part of a larger package of measures recommended in the Windsor Report. The total package would result in the Anglican Communion changing from an informal association of independent churches to something like the Roman Catholic Church, with the primates forming the equivalent of the College of Cardinals and the Archbishop of Canterbury exercising a papal-like role. Dr Williams specifically charged the commission that produced the report with establishing the circumstances in which he could “exercise an extraordinary episcopé” in the internal affairs of other churches. The Archbishop’s role would recreate a neo-colonial situation that the conservative African churches are least likely to find acceptable.

the rest

Canadian Anglican leader lauds call for compromise on gay marriage

Canadian Anglicans will welcome a formal church structure to deal with the issue of same-sex marriage and female clerics as long as it does not include a "you're with us or against us" clause, Archbishop Andrew Hutchison said this week.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, recently called on the church's 38 leaders, or primates, to find a middle ground on contentious issues and mend the cultural divide between conservative and liberal elements of the church.

The proposal included an option to create two levels of church: full-membership provinces that adhere to the majority view, and lower-level adherents with their own rules.

Archbishop Hutchison, head of the Anglican Church in Canada, said in a telephone interview from England that most of the primates wanted a covenant, but said getting agreement on its wording would take years.
the rest

Area Diocese Rejects New Bishop

Ledger Religion Editor

LAKELAND -- Leaders of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida, which includes parishes in Polk County, have rejected the authority of the newly elected presiding bishop of the denomination, Katharine Jefferts Schori.

The local Episcopal leaders may be poised to join a developing rift in the 2.3 million-member denomination.

At a meeting Thursday, Bishop John Howe, the diocese's administrative board and its standing committee, which offers advice and consent to the bishop, approved an open letter to the diocese repudiating several actions of the church's recent General Convention in Columbus, Ohio.

Besides the election of Schori, the diocesan leaders lamented a failure to agree to moratoria on the consecration of gays as bishops and on the blessing of samesex unions.
the rest

New row looms over US gay bishops

A US Episcopal Church diocese has nominated a gay priest as a candidate for bishop, risking deepening a row with the global Anglican denomination.

The liberal diocese of Newark, New Jersey, named Canon Michael Barlowe as one of four candidates for the post.

A BBC correspondent says the move is a snub to the wider Anglican Church.

A week ago the Episcopal Church agreed to "exercise restraint" in consecrating gay bishops, after a furious row sparked by a previous appointment.

The Anglican Church has been in turmoil since the 2003 election of the gay bishop Gene Robinson in New Hampshire.

The denomination is struggling to prevent a split due to differences over the issue.
the rest

Valley Episcopalians choose to focus on faith over gay issue
June 30, 2006

Episcopalians in the Coachella Valley would prefer to focus on their faith rather than on the issue of gay bishops.

That was the decidedly muted local reaction to a proposal by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams for a two-tier Anglican church based on national church policy regarding gay ordination and the blessing of same-sex unions.

"I don't see a lot of turmoil," said the Rev. Dr. Robert G. Certain, priest at St. Margaret's Episcopal Church in Palm Desert. "We don't focus on these two issues. The two big things we do is education and outreach."

In a letter to bishops released Tuesday, the archbishop envisioned the possibility of an "associate," or nonvoting, membership for national churches that allow gay ordination and same-sex unions.

Lori Meena, a member at St. Margaret's, said she "wishes the issue wasn't an issue."
the rest

Thursday, June 29, 2006

June 29th:
Feast: St. Peter and St. Paul

Ezekiel 34:11-16
Thus says the Lord GOD: I myself will search for my sheep, and will seek them out. As shepherds seek out their flocks when they are among their scattered sheep, so I will seek out my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places to which they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the watercourses, and in all the inhabited parts of the land. I will feed them with good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel shall be their pasture; there they shall lie down in good grazing land, and they shall feed on rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them lie down, says the Lord GOD. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with justice.


An open letter to the people and clergy of Central Florida
June 29, 2006
Feast of Saint Peter and Saint Paul

"The serious consequences of the actions, inactions and errors of the 74th and 75th General Convention have resulted in a constitutional crisis within The Episcopal Church with respect to its stated status as “Constituent Member of the Anglican Communion”. The Episcopal Church has signaled to the faithful within the Episcopal Church a desire to “walk apart” from not only the Anglican Communion but also the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ to which this Diocese has acknowledged its allegiance to be due. We declare that we are a diocese in protest over these errors and the leaders who support them.

It is our firm intent to remain a diocese with constituent member status in the Anglican Communion. Our membership in the Anglican Communion Network has offered us much solace, knowing that we are in communion with the entire Anglican Communion. Now, in the past week, at least four of these dioceses have done what we believe we must also do. We hereby appeal to the Archbishop of Canterbury, the panel of reference, and the Primates of the Anglican Communion for immediate alternative primatial oversight. We understand that none of our actions violate the canons of the Episcopal Church."

the rest

US church leader could not preach here: Jensen
Linda Morris
June 30, 2006

THE liberal teachings of the new female leader of US branch of the Anglican Church would make it difficult for her to preach in Sydney, says the Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Peter Jensen.

Dr Jensen said he was disappointed at the election of Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, not because of her gender but because of her reference to the "Mother Jesus" in a recent sermon.

The medieval devotional term is considered akin to heresy among church traditionalists.

During a media briefing at which Dr Jensen pronounced the Anglican Church "separated" but "not divorced", he said Bishop Schori's sermon indicated a liberal and radical cast of mind.
the rest

Top Nigerian has doubts about Anglican split plan
Thu Jun 29, 2006
By Estelle Shirbon

ABUJA (Reuters) - The Anglican Church of Nigeria, a fierce opponent of gay bishops and same-sex marriage, expressed doubt on Thursday about creating a second-tier membership in the worldwide Anglican Communion to accommodate liberal churches.

Archbishop Peter Akinola, head of the second-largest province after the Church of England, told Reuters he thought Anglican churches should either be in or out of the family.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, spiritual head of the world's 77 million Anglicans, has proposed an associate membership for churches such as the U.S. Episcopal Church that support gay rights reforms.

That came after the Episcopal Church (ECUSA) declined last week to repent for naming an openly gay bishop in 2003. Other member churches, especially in Africa, reject openly gay clergy as un-Biblical and condemn the ECUSA for acting unilaterally.
the rest

World Pride's Jerusalem plans sparks outrage
Some fear gay march could trigger riots
Jun 29, 9:47 AM

Jewish and Muslim religious leaders say that an international Gay Pride gathering set for Aug. 6-12 in Jerusalem could trigger a worldwide Islamic uprising more intense than the riots and bloodshed generated by the cartoons in European newspapers of the profit Mohammed.

Representatives of conservative Christian groups joined Muslim and Orthodox Jewish leaders last week in demanding that organizers of World Pride Jerusalem cancel a series of planned Gay Pride events, including a march through Jerusalem's streets.

"We are faced with the prospect of six days of promiscuity and debauchery unparalleled in the Middle East," said American Rabbi Yehuda Levin at a June 21 news conference in Jerusalem.

Organizers of World Pride Jerusalem call these predictions scare tactics aimed at discouraging people from attending. They point to the domestic Israeli Gay Pride marches that have taken place in Jerusalem during the past four years, with no organized violence or backlash developing from Islamic or other religious groups.

The U.S. State Department has long warned Americans about the risks of travel to the occupied West Bank, which includes Jerusalem. The State Department "urges U.S. citizens to carefully weigh the necessity of their travel to Israel, … and defer unnecessary travel to the West Bank," which includes Jerusalem.
the rest

The Episcopal Church reaffirms evolution education

At its 75th General Convention in June 2006, the Episcopal Church passed a
resolution supporting the teaching of evolution in schools. The resolution, titled "Affirm Creation and Evolution," declared that "evolution is entirely compatible with an authentic and living Christian faith." It also encourages state legislatures and boards of education "to establish standards for science education based on the best available scientific knowledge as accepted by a consensus of the scientific community," and to "seek the assistance of scientists and science educators in understanding what constitutes reliable scientific knowledge."

Also occurring at the convention was the election of new Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, who, as well as being the first woman elected to the position, is a former oceanographer with a strong evolutionary background. According to a
press release from the Episcopal News Services, Schori said at a press conference on June 18, "Evolution most definitely should be taught in school. It's a well-tested premise and the best model that fits the data available. Creationism can't make that claim. I believe in the creeds. They say God created the world, but they don't say how." here

First Things: June 29, 2006
Anthony Sacramone writes:

Rowan Williams, archbishop of Canterbury, has
proposed creating a two-tiered Anglican Communion—one tier of “covenant” churches in communion with Canterbury and another tier of churches only in “association.” The former would be those in agreement on the role of the Bible and tradition in Anglican teaching and ministry. Those in looser association would include presumably the unrepentant and more heterodox Episcopal Church (USA).

“The reason Anglicanism is worth bothering with,” Williams said in a reflection dated June 27, “is because it has tried to find a way of being a church that is neither tightly centralized nor just a loose federation of essentially independent bodies—a church that is seeking to be a coherent family of communities meeting to hear the Bible read, to break bread and share wine as guests of Jesus Christ, and to celebrate a unity in worldwide mission and ministry.”
the rest

W.Va. School Board Sued Over Jesus Artwork
The Associated PressThursday, June 29, 2006

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Two civil liberties groups sued in federal court Wednesday to remove a picture of Jesus that has hung in a high school for more than 30 years.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the West Virginia American Civil Liberties Union say the painting, "Head of Christ," sends the message that Bridgeport High School endorses Christianity as its official religion.

"I frankly cannot understand why this school insists that it is doing nothing wrong," said the Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United. "This is pretty clear constitutional law. Public schools cannot promote specific religious ideas."

A vote by the Harrison County school board on removing the painting ended in a tie this month.
the rest

The view from the garbage
By Ran Shapira

The secrets of life in Second Temple-era Jerusalem can be found in a trash heap. Two discs made of bone, which apparently served as buttons, are among the objects found in the municipal dump that served Jerusalem at the end of the Second Temple era. These buttons were intended to be not only practical, but decorative as well. In addition the dump has yielded a handful of glass fragments, which testify to the use of prestigious objects.

However, the vast majority of finds at the dump were very much everyday objects: fragments of household utensils including cooking pots, storage jars, pottery and lamps, coins of low denominations and a large number of animal bones. The dump is located on the eastern slope of the hill where the City of David is located. It was first unearthed in 1867 by Charles Warren, and many other archaeologists excavated there after him, but they did not realize they were digging through garbage. Only in 1995 did Professor Ronny Reich, of the Zinman Institute of Archaeology at the University of Haifa, and Eli Shukron, of the Antiquities Authority, who directed the dig at the site, realize it was a dump.
the rest

America's Vanishing Protestant Majority: What Does it Mean?
Albert Mohler
This article originally appeared on August 9, 2004. It is reissued in light of the recent actions of the Episcopal Church USA and the Presbyterian Church (USA).

Writing in 1927, French observer Andre Siegfried described Protestantism as America's "only national religion." To miss this, Siegfried advised, is "to view the country from a false angle." Now, less than a century later, a major research report provides proof that Protestantism no longer represents a clear majority of Americans.

Researchers Tom W. Smith and Seokho Kim of the National Opinion Research Center [NORC] at the University of Chicago have released "The Vanishing Protestant Majority," a report documenting the declining membership of Protestant churches in the nation.

The decline of American Protestantism will come as a shock to many observers, whose understanding of American religion was well summarized by sociologist Will Herberg in his classic 1955 study, Protestant-Catholic-Jew. Herberg characterized America at the midpoint of the twentieth century as a population settled into a tripartite religious identification made up of three great "denominations" -- Protestantism, Catholicism, and Judaism. Celebrating this renegotiation of the American religious establishment, Herberg observed: "In net effect, Protestantism today no longer regards itself either as a religious movement sweeping the continent or as a national church representing the religious life of the people; Protestantism understands itself today primarily as one of the three religious communities in which twentieth century America has come to be divided. The 'denominational' system -- the word 'denomination' here referring both to the religious community and to the denomination in its more restricted sense -- has become part of the basic assumptions of Protestants about America, as it has become part of the basic assumptions of all Americans."

the rest-Excellent!

In Essentials, Uncertainty
Presbyterian Church (USA) erodes ban on gay clergy.
by David E. Anderson, RNS, with reporting by CT
posted 06/28/2006

The Presbyterian Church (USA) voted June 20 to allow local and regional bodies to ordain gays to the church's ministries.

After nearly three hours of debate, delegates voted 298 to 221 to approve a complex proposal that allows local congregations and regional bodies known as presbyteries to bypass the church's current ban on "self-avowed practicing" gay clergy.

Current rules from 1996 that require "fidelity in marriage … and chastity in singleness" will remain on the books, but local bodies can now allow exceptions to those standards. Those exceptions will be subject to review by higher bodies.

The proposal came from a task force that has spent four years studying the issue. "This is not an 'anything goes' proposal," said the Rev. Blair Monie, the task force's chairman. The Rev. Stacy Johnson, a member of the task force, said the report was "not about sexuality but about the church" and how it moves forward in the midst of conflict.
the rest

Homosexuality, the Grace of God, and the Ongoing Struggle
Albert Mohler
Posted: Thursday, June 29, 2006

Dr. Thomas R. Schreiner, James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, clarifies the biblical understanding of homosexuality in "A New Testament Perspective on Homosexuality" published in the current issue of Themelios, a journal published by the Religious and Theological Studies Fellowship in Great Britain [article not available online].

In his essay, Schreiner rightly points to the unambiguous opposition to homosexual practice that is found throughout the Bible, but he brings his expertise as a New Testament scholar to some of the most important questions related to homosexuality and the church.

In so doing, he sets the record straight concerning the continuing battle against sin that marks the Christian life. This is intended as a word of grace and warning to those who struggle with homosexual desires. As Schreiner writes:

The tension of Christian experience surfaces here. We are new creations in Christ and liberated from the power of sin, but at the same time, we await the fullness of our redemption. The newness of our redemption in Christ does not mean that we are completely free of sin. Rather, as believers, we continue to battle against, and struggle with sin every day. First Peter 2:11 says, 'Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.' Notice that the passions and desires from the flesh are still powerful in all believers. They are so strong that they war against us.

the rest

Ruth Gledhill weblog: Newark re-enters Anglican fray

I've been getting a little tired of this whole story, and want to start writing again about Hindus, Muslims, Catholics and the Jewish community. But I couldn't resist a brief posting on this new development, chiefly because the partner of the leading nominee to be the next Bishop of Newark, Jack Spong's old haunt in the US, is Father Paul Burrows, a rather impressive graduate of St Stephen's House who trained there when David Hope was principal and who was ordained into Southwark in 1980. I also did a story for Online. Father Paul has many accomplishments, all listed in his biography on the website of the Church of Advent in San Francisco where he is now rector. Father Paul is also now a naturalised US citizen.

Meanwhile, Pittsburgh is seceding from The Episcopal Church in the hope of forming a tenth, Windsor-compliant province and along with San Joaquin has appealed to Rowan Williams for alternative primatial oversight. Canon Martyn Minns of Truro, Virginia has been elected a bishop by Nigeria to offer alternative oversight to conservatives in the US. These developments are detailed by Thinking Anglicans and Anglican Mainstream. And things now look as though they are going to get dirty. The Episcopal Church leadership has indicated that where a seccession takes place, they could declare the diocese vacant and beging the process to elect another bishop. the rest

Buffett gift means millions for abortion
Gates Foundation major backer of Planned Parenthood
Posted: June 28, 2006

Pro-life advocates are concerned about investment guru Warren Buffett's massive donation to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation because of the Microsoft founder's support for abortion.

The Gates Foundation has given the Planned Parenthood Federation of America almost $12.5 million since 1998, including funds to persuade teens to support abortion and to lobby the United Nations to advance pro-abortion proposals, reported

The foundation also has given nearly $21 million to International Planned Parenthood over the last seven years, where funds have been used to promote abortions in third-world nations and to set up pro-abortion family planning centers in South America, Africa and Eastern Europe.
the rest

3 Episcopal dioceses vote to reject bishop's authority
Conservative groups stop short of a complete break with the church
Associated Press
Originally published June 29, 2006

NEW YORK // Three conservative Episcopal dioceses that oppose consecrating gay bishops voted yesterday to reject the authority of the denomination's presiding bishop, but they stopped short of a full break with the Episcopal Church.

In separate meetings, the dioceses of Pittsburgh, South Carolina and San Joaquin, Calif., asked the spiritual head of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, to assign them an alternative leader.

The Diocese of Pittsburgh is home to the Anglican Communion Network, which represents 10 conservative U.S. dioceses and more than 900 parishes within the Episcopal Church that are deciding whether to split from the denomination.

The decision by the three dioceses came on the same day that the liberal Diocese of Newark, N.J., tested the new Episcopal call for restraint on choosing gay bishops by naming a gay priest as one of four nominees to become its next leader.
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Also: Three Episcopal Dioceses Reject Presiding Bishop's Authority
By The Associated Press
Thu, Jun. 29 2006

NEW YORK (AP) – Three conservative Episcopal dioceses that oppose consecrating gay bishops voted Wednesday to reject the authority of the denomination's presiding bishop but stopped short of a full break with the Episcopal Church. here

Girls suspected of being lesbians can sue school
Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 28, 2006

SAN FRANCISCO -- The California Supreme Court today allowed two Riverside County girls to sue a Christian high school that expelled them because the principal believed they were lesbians.
The court unanimously denied review of an appeal by the California Lutheran High School Association, which argued that a religious school has the right to exclude gays and lesbians, regardless of California's anti-discrimination law. Today's action did not resolve that issue but allowed the suit to proceed toward a possible trial.

The girls, both juniors at the school in the town of Wildomar, were expelled in September. According to their lawsuit, which was filed in December, school principal Gregory Bork said he had learned that the students might be involved in a relationship, and coerced one of them into saying she loved the other one.

In a letter to the girls' parents, Bork said the students had violated the school's code of conduct, which prohibits actions "contrary to Christian decency.'' The school is owned by the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, which considers homosexuality sinful.
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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Feast: June 28th

"The Church, though dispersed throughout the whole world, even to the ends of the earth, has received from the apostles and their disciples this faith: God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are in them; and in one Christ Jesus, the Son of God, who became incarnate for our salvation; and in the Holy Spirit, who proclaimed through the prophets the dispensations of God, and the advents, and the birth from a virgin, and the passion, and the resurrection from the dead, and the ascension into heaven in the flesh of the beloved Christ Jesus, our Lord, and His manifestation from heaven in the glory of the Father ‘to gather all things in one,' and to raise up anew all flesh of the whole human race, in order that to Christ Jesus, our Lord, and God, and Savior, and King, according to the will of the invisible Father, ‘every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess; to him, and that He should execute just judgment towards all...'" (Against Heresies X.l)

quote Art and Bio

Diocese of San Joaquin Press Release:
June 28, 2006
Standing Committee Requests "oversight and pastoral care be provided by the Archbishop of Canterbury"

June 24, 2006

We affirm the statement made by the Bishop, Standing Committee, and Deputation of the Diocese of Fort Worth on June 19, 2006 regarding Primatial Oversight. Further, we reaffirm the Anglican Communion Recognition Resolution made by Bishop John-David Schofield and the Diocesan Council of the Diocese of San Joaquin on April 8, 2006:

“BE IT RESOLVED, that the Bishop and Diocesan Council of the Diocese of San Joaquin petition the following: 1) those Primates and Provinces of the Anglican Communion who remain unreservedly committed to classic Anglican formularies, teaching and practice, and 2) The Archbishop of Canterbury along with the Anglican Consultative Council for affirmation of its status as a legitimate Anglican diocese in the USA despite the current role of ECUSA, or what it has done heretofore or may do in the future. This petition envisions the continued recognition of this Diocese as a constituent member of the Anglican Communion by as many Primates and Provinces of the same, and by the Archbishop of Canterbury, who acknowledge the Diocese of San Joaquin without relying on subsidiary recognition from or through ECUSA.”

Based on our April 8th Resolution, we ask that oversight and pastoral care be provided by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

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Statement of the Standing Committee of the Diocese of South Carolina
-requesting primatial oversight
June 28, 2006


"We also have a mandate to reassure the people of the Diocese of South Carolina that the status quo is now impossible. We have watched with great sadness as the Episcopal Church has, year after year, taken actions and adopted teachings which further and further distance it from the Faith of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. We are grieved that relationships have now been so strained that we are no longer in impaired, but rather broken communion. For that reason, we do hereby request of Archbishop Williams that he, in consultation with the Primates of the Communion and the Panel of Reference, speedily provide alternative Primatial oversight for the Diocese of South Carolina. In a spirit of humility, we acknowledge our own imperfection and sin. We renew our commitment to the Great Commission, to the Holy Scriptures, Creeds and Sacraments of the Church Catholic, and to the reconciliation of the Anglican Family of Churches by means of the full implementation of the Windsor Process."

full statement here

Pittsburgh Diocese Asking for Alternative Primatial Oversight
Pittsburgh is joining with other dioceses in asking for 'alternative primatial oversight'
Standing Committee Requests ‘Alternative Primatial Oversight’; Envisions Tenth Province Within Episcopal Church

Members of the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh voted this morning that Pittsburgh join with other dioceses in 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.”

The Standing committee also published its intent (pending ratification by the diocesan convention this November 3-4) to “withdraw its consent, pursuant to Article VII of the Constitution of the Episcopal Church, to be included in the Third Province of the Episcopal Church” envisioning the drawing together of a new Windsor-compliant Tenth Province in the Episcopal Church. Finally, the standing committee committed itself to “work with and care for all the congregations of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh.”

“These decisions are simply in character with those made by our own convention year after year,” said Bishop Duncan. “We are and will remain the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh. We are living within the constitution and canons of the Episcopal Church. But as the presiding bishop-elect, Katharine Jefferts Schori, herself so helpfully stated during the recently completed General Convention, there are really two bodies within our church, each with its own heart and mind. The decisions made today don’t change who we are in the least, but they do make clear here in Pittsburgh and to the rest of the communion with which body in the Episcopal Church we stand,” he added.
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An American Anglican Council Statement Regarding the Nomination of a Non-Celibate Homosexual in the Diocese of Newark
June 28, 2006
For Immediate Release

The Episcopal Diocese of Newark has announced its nominees for diocesan bishop and has included a non-celibate homosexual living with his same-sex partner as one of the candidates.
The Very Rev. Canon Michael Barlowe, Congregational Development Officer for the Diocese of California, notes in his personal profile that, “Paul Burrows has been my partner for 24 years.

Paul is Rector of Church of the Advent in San Francisco, a spiritual director, Benedictine oblate, and naturalized U.S. citizen.”

Canon Barlowe’s manner of life is contradictory to Scripture and the mind of the Anglican Communion (Lambeth 1.10) and illustrates a theology outside the confines of classic Anglicanism.

In the wake of the Episcopal Church’s failure to comply with the Windsor Report at its General Convention 2006, Barlowe’s nomination illustrates clearly that those in the Episcopal Church USA (ECUSA) committed to the revisionist agenda with regard to sexuality are willing to sacrifice membership in the Anglican Communion. We are shocked that just one week after the close of General Convention and one day following release of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s statement on the Communion’s future, the Diocese of Newark has sent a clear and defiant message nationally and internationally that there will be no turning back.

the rest at the AAC blog

Canadians to Create “Fresh” Human Embryos for Research Purposes
By Hilary White
June 27, 2006

( – The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) has announced that it will allow the creation of living human embryos specifically for research purposes.

Although pro-life advocates working to kill the Liberal government’s 2002 Assisted Reproduction Act predicted that embryonic stem cell research with "fresh embryos" would be the next move--although the bill purported to protect against this type of research--they were roundly criticized as “alarmist” during the debates over the bill. Meanwhile, biotech lobbyists have worked steadily to find ways around the legislation or simply to amend it to get what they wanted: “fresh” embryos made to order purely for research purposes. And now they have gotten what they wanted.

The National Post reports that the project has been approved with a $523,000 budget. It will be led by researchers in Toronto and will involve teams in Vancouver and Hamilton. The goal is to cultivate embryonic stem cells both from embryos ‘left over’ and frozen after IVF treatments and to create in vitro embryos specifically to be killed for their cells.
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Methodist Church Votes Down Same-Sex Blessings
The Methodist Church has voted against offering blessings for same-sex civil partnerships, although it will still offer informal private prayers.
Posted: Wednesday, June 28 , 2006

The Methodist Church has voted against formally blessing same-sex civil partnerships during its weeklong Conference in Edinburgh.

The Methodist Conference voted Tuesday on its report on Pilgrimage of Faith, the Church’s ongoing discussion regarding human sexuality.

Although representatives at the Conference voted down blessings for same-sex civil partnerships, ministers in the Church will still be allowed to offer informal private prayers to same-sex couples.

According to observers, the lengthy debate was conducted in an atmosphere of care and respect and was followed by a vote of approval for the statement of good practice issued by the Methodist Council last December.
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Worldwide Anglican Church Prepares for Split
The spiritual head of the Anglican Communion’s 77-million followers, Dr Rowan Williams, has proposed plans to split the worldwide Church.
Posted: Wednesday, June 28 , 2006

The spiritual head of the Anglican Communion’s 77-million followers, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, has admitted that the worldwide Church now faces a very possible split following the bitter row that has engulfed the Communion over the consecration of gay clergy.

A statement issued by his Lambeth Palace office on Tuesday, Dr Williams has outlined proposals that are expected to lead to the exclusion of The Episcopal Church USA (ECUSA) from the Anglican Communion as a consequence of consecrating a gay bishop in 2003, and for continuingly not backing down on the issue.

It revealed that Williams proposes that Churches should be asked to sign a formal covenant, which would allow some to be fuller members of the Anglican Communion than others.

A dual system is proposed, whereby there would be full “constituent” members to the Communion that have conformed to the traditional Biblical views of the Church, but also another section of “associate” members which will incorporate rebel and more liberally-viewed Churches.
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Spain to Grant Rights to Apes
Albert Mohler
Posted: Wednesday, June 28, 2006 The

liberal government of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero is moving to grant certain "rights" to apes. These rights are to include recognition as part of a "community of equals" with humans, according to press reports.

This is a ludicrous proposal, based in the Great Apes Project sponsired by Peter Singer and Paola Cavalieri. Singer, a professor at Princeton University, is infamous for arguing that the lives of some animals are more important and worthy of protection than the lives of some humans, including the mentally impaired and the elderly.

The ridiculous character of the proposal is the notion of a community of equals. The Spanish Parliament includes no apes as members. They are not equals. I would wager that if any of these legislators had to choose between the life of his child and the life of an ape, the decision would be easy. The ape is not a human.
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Diocese of Newark announces candidates for bishop

The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark announces the candidates for the 10th Bishop of Newark as presented by the diocesan Search/Nominating Committee.

The candidates are:

The Very Rev. Canon Michael Barlowe, Congregational Development Officer for the Diocese of California.

The Rev. Mark Beckwith, rector, All Saints Church in Worcester, MA

The Very Rev. Petero Sabune, pastor and Protestant Chaplain, Sing-Sing Correctional Facility and associate at Trinity Church, Ossining New York

The Rev. William “Chip” Stokes, rector, St. Paul’s Church in Delray Beach, FL.

Candidate profiles here (sigh)

comments at titusonenine

Bishop announces what the gay agenda is
June 28, 2006
Vox Populi
By Mike Bates

At the Episcopal Church Convention earlier this month, Bishop Gene Robinson said something astounding. He declared, “The gay agenda is Jesus Christ.”

I’m not surprised the first openly homosexual bishop in the church would say something like that. If the man weren’t looking for attention, we wouldn’t know he’s the first openly homosexual bishop in the church. To me though, the contention is meaningless, something akin to the currently trendy “speaking truth to power.”

The unexpected part is that for years we’ve been told that there’s no such thing as a gay agenda. It was just something made up by conservatives to encourage homophobia.

According to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation’s Media Reference Guide, “Notions of a ‘homosexual agenda’ are rhetorical inventions of anti-gay extremists seeking to create a climate of fear by portraying the pursuit of civil rights for LGBT people as sinister.”
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Gay bishops: Anglicans face split
Wednesday, June 28, 2006

LONDON, England (Reuters) -- The leader of the world's 77 million Anglicans, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, has said the worldwide church may have to split to end a bitter row over the consecration of gay bishops.

In a move that analysts say will effectively exclude Americans from the global Anglican communion, Williams proposed churches should be asked to sign a formal covenant, allowing some to be fuller members of the communion than others.

"Those churches that were prepared to take this on as an expression of their responsibility to each other would limit their local freedoms for the sake of a wider witness: some might not be willing to do this," he said in a lengthy statement issued by his Lambeth Palace office on Tuesday.
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Anglican leader ponders a split
By Julia Duin
June 28, 2006

The Archbishop of Canterbury conceded yesterday for the first time that the worldwide Anglican Communion may have to split.

The six-page letter, "The Challenge and Hope of Being an Anglican Today," was sent yesterday to the archbishops who oversee the world's 38 Anglican provinces in response to last week's Episcopal General Convention in Columbus, Ohio.

Archbishop Rowan Williams said the 70-million-member Anglican Communion may require a "covenant" defining theological orthodoxy on a wide range of matters, including homosexuality. Local parishes that do not agree to it may be relegated to "associate" status, he said.

"We could arrive at a situation where there were 'constituent' churches in covenant in the Anglican Communion and other 'churches in association,' which were still bound by historic and perhaps personal links," he wrote, "but not bound in a single and unrestricted sacramental communion, and not sharing the same constitutional structures."
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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Thank Him; Dwell Acceptably

Surely the righteous shall give thanks unto thy name: the upright shall dwell in thy presence. (Psalm 140:13)

Oh, that my heart may be upright, that I may always be able to bless the name of the Lord! He is so good to those that be good, that I would fain be among them and feel myself full of thankfulness every day. Perhaps, for a moment, the righteous are staggered when their integrity results in severe trial; but assuredly the day shall come when they shall bless their God that they did not yield to evil suggestions and adopt a shifty policy. In the long run true men will thank the God of the right for leading them by a right way. Oh, that I may be among them!

What a promise is implied in this second clause, "The upright shall dwell in thy presence!" They shall stand accepted where others appear only to be condemned. They shall be the courtiers of the great King, indulged with audience whensoever they desire it. They shall be favored ones upon whom Jehovah smiles and with whom He graciously communes. Lord, I covet this high honor, this precious privilege. It will be heaven on earth to me to enjoy it. Make me in all things upright, that I may today and tomorrow and every day stand in Thy heavenly presence. Then will I give thanks unto Thy name evermore. Amen.

CH Spurgeon photo

What Is God Doing?
Richard Kew+

During the last couple of weeks as the General Convention maneuvered the church into deep mud I have been reading Phil Turner and Ephraim Radner's book, The Fate of Communion. In every way this is not an easy read, nor an easy time to readit, but it is the most exhaustive attempt to put the crisis through which we are living in the Episcopal Church into a well-founded theological framework.

I was getting toward the end of the book the other afternoon when I was brought up short when they wrote, A communion-oriented apprach to the temporal assault upon the church in her churches, will move the question, What are we to do? -- the strategic ecclesiological question -- to the question, What is God doing? The first question has no meaning outside the second, and may well simply need to be put aside in its shadow. Here we move into the realm of reflection upon God's providential ordering of the church's life, a form of theological and devotional discipline woefully under-practiced within modern Christian life. The agony of communion itself is apprehended only through such reflection as this (Page 254).

Since reading those words a few days ago they keep returning, demanding reflection and prayer on my part in the light of the depressing outcomes of the General Convention. I was not naive enough to think that GC2006 would, for example, respond to the Windsor Report as the Communion desired, but I had hoped for more hints of level-headedness than actually occurred. The only encouragement I had was reading reports of the Presbyterian General Assembly and realizing that we are not alone in this mess -- although wishing that the Presbyterians were handling it better than we have.

The rest at The Kew Continuum

Bishop Bob Duncan Responds to Archbishop Williams' Statement

Bishop Robert Duncan, moderator of the Anglican Communion Network and bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, welcomed Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams’ recent statement on the future of the Anglican Communion.

“Archbishop Williams has clearly recognized the immediate need to stabilize the Communion according to agreed theological understandings and mutual submission. Further, for the first time, the Archbishop himself is acknowledging that some parts of the communion will not be able to continue in full membership if they insist on maintaining teaching and action outside of the received faith and order. Finally, the Archbishop clearly understands that the fault lines in the communion run not only between provinces, but through them, and that there may well be a need within provinces for an ‘ordered and mutually respectful separation,’ between those who desire to submit to the Communion’s teaching and those who do not,” said Bishop Duncan.

In the United States, for instance, this will surely create a situation where affiliates of the Anglican Communion Network and others who so choose would be able to continue in full communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury and the worldwide church, while the majority of the Episcopal Church would have only “associated” status. “No church can make significant decisions unilaterally and still expect this to make no difference on how it is regarded in the fellowship,” said Archbishop Williams.
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School’s stealth attempt to show sexually explicit film thwarted by ADF
ADF attorney says showing video without parental consent violates North Carolina law
Tuesday, June 27, 2006

RALEIGH, N.C. — School officials in Raleigh have refrained from showing a sexually explicit film to schoolchildren without the knowledge and permission of their parents after involvement from an attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund. The film contains sexually explicit scenes, including ones that feature homosexual behavior. “Schools should be required to follow the law. And the law says schools must notify parents and get their authorization before teaching sexually-oriented material,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Mike Johnson. “School officials may have tried to push this sexually explicit video onto these children without their parents’ knowledge, but so far we’ve been able to hold them accountable to North Carolina statutes protecting families.”

Officials at the Governor’s School in Raleigh advertised the sexually explicit film American History X on its calendar, describing it as an installment of a “Race and Film” series. In spite of repeated assurances by school officials that parents would be notified regarding any sexually-oriented material presented to students, the school did not notify or get permission from parents before attempting to show American History X.
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“Our Mother Jesus"
What has the Episcopal Church become?
By R. Andrew Newman

There remain faithful Christians in the pews of the Episcopal Church, behind the altars, even a handful in miters, but the church itself appears to have left the fold. Does ECUSA remain, in any real sense, a Christian church?

I say this not to shock, not to gloat, not to cast stones, for, in my heart, I suspect I’m as much an Anglican now as before I officially left the denomination nearly eight years ago. It pains me to watch the church morph into something … what, exactly, I’m not sure.

None of this started yesterday; nor in the last decade. And if any doubt remained as to the state of the Church’s soul, if any hope lingered for renewal and reformation within the body, General Convention 2006 should have extinguished hope and doubt alike. The convention, which ended last week in Columbus, Ohio, underscored in the brightest of reds that the Episcopal Church no longer recognizes any authority outside of these triennial conventions.
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Bishops Weigh in On Convention's Actions

Excerpts from the reactions of some diocesan bishops to the 75th General Convention in Columbus, Ohio


Dining Dilemmas
How shall we then eat?
by Cindy Crosby

True confessions: I love McDonald's French fries. They're a guilty pleasure. I also enjoy shopping at Whole Foods, the organic grocery chain in my neighborhood. I feel virtuous loading my cart with brown eggs laid by happy chickens in comfortable nests, or eating beef from free-range cows. When I pull a can of Amy's Organic Soup from the shelves I envision Amy and her grandma in an 18th-century restored farmhouse kitchen chopping tomatoes and adjusting spices.

Whole Foods makes a large dent in my pocketbook that I rationalize by saying I'm supporting family farms and putting my money where my mouth is about agricultural reform and organics. Very righteous of me, I'm sure. But true culinary sainthood arrives when I make a pot of chili with the heirloom tomatoes frozen from my garden last summer, or pull a few green spring onions for a dinner salad. I've even been known to fry up some "dandelion fritters" from our yard, in which the yellow flowers are a star attraction. (We're on shaky terms with some of our suburban neighbors.) This, I think, is eating at its best—fresh, local, and organic.

When I began reading The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan, I realized I had some rethinking to do. In this doorstopper of a book, Pollan, a longtime contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine and now a professor of journalism at University of California in Berkley, traces the path of four meals through their various systems: organic food, alternative food, industrial food (such as fast food), and food we forage for ourselves. Each system exploration results in a meal: cheap fast-food take-out from McDonalds eaten in the car; a pricey repast from Whole Foods consumed at the dinner table; a grilled chicken and a chocolate soufflé made from sustainable farm animals and local ingredients; and a meal he foraged and hunted and ate with some help from friends, right down to mushrooms and wild pig.
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Texas Episcopal Megachurch to Leave Denomination
'... we regret their departure from biblical truth and the historic faith of the Anglican Communion.'
By The Associated Press
Tue, Jun. 27 2006

PLANO, Texas (AP) — Christ Church Episcopal has announced that it will leave the denomination because it can no longer abide by the national church's decisions.

Leaders of the conservative Plano congregation announced their plan Monday, a week after the Episcopal Church elected Nevada Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori as its first female presiding bishop

.Jefferts Schori supported the 2003 consecration of V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, the first openly gay Episcopal bishop. She also supported the creation of locally authorized blessings for gay unions.

"The mission of Christ Church is to make disciples and teach them to obey the commands of Christ," said a statement approved by Christ Church's leaders this weekend. "The direction of the leadership of the Episcopal Church is different and we regret their departure from biblical truth and the historic faith of the Anglican Communion. ... We declare our intention to disassociate from ECUSA as soon as possible."
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Abortion Survivor Counters Tribute to Planned Parenthood
By Dawn Rizzoni Correspondent
June 26, 2006

( - Abortion rights supporters in the Colorado House of Representatives are crying foul after a pro-life legislator introduced an abortion survivor before a celebration honoring Planned Parenthood.

When Republican Ted Harvey, the assistant minority leader in the Colorado House, learned on May 8 of legislation meant to honor Planned Parenthood's Rocky Mountain branch, he says he was disgusted. He labeled Planned Parenthood's record a "90-year legacy of genocide."

Harvey attended a pro-life rally the weekend before the scheduled hearing on the bill and it was there that he met abortion survivor Gianna Jessen. Jessen's biological mother was 17 years old and 7 1/2 months pregnant she went to a Planned Parenthood clinic to have a saline abortion.

The abortion failed and Jessen was born weighing two pounds and afflicted with cerebral palsy as a result of the complicated birth.

Harvey approached Jessen after hearing her story and asked her if she would sing the national anthem in the Colorado House on May 8.
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Huge Asteroid to Fly Past Earth July 3
Joe Rao Skywatching Columnist
26 June 2006

An asteroid possibly as large as a half-mile or more in diameter is rapidly approaching the Earth. There is no need for concern, for no collision is in the offing, but the space rock will make an exceptionally close approach to our planet early on Monday, July 3, passing just beyond the Moon’s average distance from Earth.

Astronomers will attempt to get a more accurate assessment of the asteroid’s size by “pinging” it with radar.

And skywatchers with good telescopes and some experience just might be able to get a glimpse of this cosmic rock as it streaks rapidly past our planet in the wee hours Monday. The closest approach occurs late Sunday for U.S. West Coast skywatchers.
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Worldwide Anglican church facing split over gay bishop
By Ruth Gledhill

The Archbishop of Canterbury has outlined proposals that are expected to lead to the exclusion of The Episcopal Church of the United States from the Anglican Church as a consequence of consecrating a gay bishop.

The US branch of Anglicanism faces losing its status of full membership of the Anglican Church in the wake of its consecration of the openly gay Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire, an act which has propelled the worldwide church to the brink of schism.

The final straw came when The Episcopal Church failed to "repent" of its action at its General Convention in Columbus, Ohio earlier this month, and failed to vote through a moratorium on any more gay consecrations.

Dr Williams is proposing a two-track Anglican Communion, with orthodox churches being accorded full, "constituent" membership and the rebel, pro-gay liberals being consigned to "associate" membership.
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Ruth Gledhill: Anglicans: an ABC of schism

Rowan Williams has at last issued his letter to the primates in the wake of The Episcopal Church general convention. Never again can anyone accuse him of failing to give leadership, or of not speaking plainly. Read the
six-page commination for yourself or listen to the audio. We expected the letter a few days ago but the delay, sources tell me, was due to the Archbishop working hard to get it exactly right. No lawyers were involved, Lambeth Palace is keen to reassure me. The issues of property and money that will arise from this are not even mentioned in passing in the letter. But what will happen to the US funding that keeps the Anglican Communion office afloat, or to all those fantastically valuable properties and portfolios in the hands of the Episcopal Church, is anybody's guess. Lawyers in the US might not have been involved, but they will get rich out of this as the Anglican Church gets poorer, I prophesy. But as Rowan Williams points out, and as I've always known in any case, "The nature of prophetic action is that you do not have a cast-iron guarantee that you’re right."

But all this will be argued over later.

The thrust of the letter, an intense and passionate theological teaching document for any who are prepared to listen, seems to be that episcopalians in the US and anywhere else who are unwilling to sign up to a covenant setting out Anglicanism in its orthodox and traditional, biblical form will be consigned to "associate" status. They will no longer be full Anglicans. Instead, their relationship to Canterbury and the rest will be comparable to that of the Methodists. Ironically, this comes just as the Methodist church is moving closer to full unity with the Anglicans. So will the Anglican Communion lose The Episcopal Church and its allies just as it consecrates women bishops, and the Methodists in this country consecrate bishops, enabling them all to re-unite? And if the Methodists and Anglicans rejoin, will that include the US Methodists? Goodbye TEC, hello Methodists. "Your pain is my gain," as they say.
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