Saturday, November 18, 2006

Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. The sun and moon will grow dark, and the stars will diminish their brightness. The LORD also will roar from Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; the heavens and earth will shake; but the LORD will be a shelter for his people, and the strength of the children of Israel. (Joel 3:14-16)

A word received: Pray for the day of my threshing. Pray that none of the wheat will be lost with the chaff. Pray for my little ones who are being led astray by lies. Pray for my will to be done.

Albany Intercessor art

Trials where the church is judge, jury
Priests and accusers are turning to canonical tribunals to sort out sex abuse allegations taken up by no other court.
By Ellen Barry, Times Staff Writer
November 18, 2006

ERIE, PA. — This is as close to a courtroom as Daniel Donohue can hope to get: a nondescript room in a church office building, where three priests on Friday carried out a legal procedure that dates to the 12th century.

The experience was at once ordinary and archaic. A tape recorder sat next to him, beeping occasionally. Behind him sat the "promoter of justice," the New York Archdiocese's equivalent of a district attorney. When Donohue walked in, he was asked to sign an oath not to discuss the case again.
the rest

Scandal raises questions about 'superstar' pastors
By RACHEL ZOLL
AP Religion Writer
Friday, November 17, 2006

Pastor Ted's influence was felt everywhere in New Life Church: in the videos shown at worship; in the New Life bookstore, which stocked books he recommended. And in the story of the church itself. He started New Life in his basement, building it into a 14,000-member nationally known megachurch. As the Rev. Ted Haggard's fortunes rose, so did the church's.

So when Haggard fell spectacularly from grace in a scandal involving drugs and allegations of gay sex, many wondered if New Life, so tied to his public persona, would crash with him.

The answer has significance far beyond the Haggard tragedy. As evangelical megachurches have sprung up around the country, concerns have grown over whether superstar pastors help or hurt faith communities.

"When you get to these top 25 or 50 of the largest or most influential churches, these pastors are clearly celebrities. They were the founders, they created much of the growth and they are, in some sense, a brand in and of themselves," said Scott Thumma, a professor at Hartford Seminary in Connecticut, who specializes in studying megachurches. "It's just like a business where the name of the founder is, in fact, a trademark."
the rest


Purity of pastors questioned
Christian authors cite studies that many watch porn


story

Excerpt from the sermon that provoked the IRS
The agency still questions a Pasadena church's tax-exempt status after an antiwar speech before the 2004 election that some saw as politicking.
November 18, 2006

So what exactly did a priest say to get a Pasadena church in trouble with the IRS?

The federal agency has launched an investigation into the activities of All Saints Episcopal Church, asking whether a sermon by a former rector before the 2004 presidential campaign constituted campaigning. As tax-exempt organizations, churches are barred from campaigning for candidates.

The sermon, delivered Oct. 31, 2004, by the Rev. George F. Regas, was framed as a debate involving Jesus, President Bush and his Democratic challenger, Sen. John F. Kerry of Massachusetts.

In September, the church announced that it would not comply with an IRS summons demanding that All Saints turn over materials with political references, such as sermons and newsletters, produced during the 2004 election year. The current rector, the Rev. Ed Bacon, did not obey a summons that ordered him to testify before IRS investigators.
the rest

Students sue over Christian rights at colleges
By David Lister and Ruth Gledhill
November 18, 2006

Follow the exploits of four university freshers in their blog

CHRISTIANS on campuses across Britain are preparing to take legal action against university authorities, accusing them of driving their religious beliefs underground, The Times has learnt.

Christian unions claim that they are being singled out as a “soft target” by student associations because they refuse to allow non-Christians to address their meetings or sit on ruling committees.

The dispute follows the associations’ decisions at four universities to ban the unions from official lists of societies or deny them access to facilities or privileges. Christian unions at Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt and Birmingham universities are all taking legal advice after being accused of excluding non-Christians, promoting homophobia and even discriminating against those of transgender sexuality.
the rest

Philanthropy Expert: Conservatives Are More Generous
By Frank Brieaddy

Religion News Service

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Syracuse University professor Arthur C. Brooks is about to become the darling of the religious right in America -- and it's making him nervous.

The child of academics, raised in a liberal household and educated in the liberal arts, Brooks has written a book that concludes religious conservatives donate far more money than secular liberals to all sorts of charitable activities, irrespective of income.

In the book, he cites extensive data analysis to demonstrate that values advocated by conservatives -- from church attendance and two-parent families to the Protestant work ethic and a distaste for government-funded social services -- make conservatives more generous than liberals.

The book, titled "Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism" (Basic Books, $26), is due for release Nov. 24.
the rest

Christians kicked off campus at Brown University
Civil rights group challenging decision to eject Presbyterian fellowship

Posted: November 18, 2006

A
civil rights organization has joined forces with a Christian student group at Brown University in an attempt to find out why the school has banned the Christians from meeting on its campus.

"A
university that respects its students cannot capriciously suspend student groups," said Greg Lukianoff, the president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. "Suspension of any student group is a serious matter and should be accompanied by a serious explanation. Yet Brown has consistently skirted questions about the suspension, calling into question both the university's motives and the legitimacy of the punishment."

the rest

Deeds-Based Evangelism is Focus for Presiding Bishop
11/16/2006

With initiatives to help organize a new
convocation of Anglican provinces in the Americas and more closely monitor property issues within domestic dioceses, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori delegated authority confidently during meetings in Chicago Nov. 12-17 with Executive Council and a number of other organizations that carry out the work of General Convention when it is not in session.

During her opening address to Executive Council, and later during a Nov. 14 homily at the nearby headquarters of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), Bishop Jefferts Schori raised the subject of term limits for bishops and spoke of her vision to make The Episcopal Church more conscious of “deed-based evangelism” opportunities such as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Admitting that the concept of term limits for bishops might be a sticking point for many Episcopalians, Bishop Jefferts Schori said one of the challenges during the negotiations over Called to Common Mission with the ELCA had to do with a different understanding of the sacramental nature of the episcopacy. ELCA bishops are elected for a specific term.

“There would have to be a broad theological discussion and more broadly a sacramental one before The Episcopal Church considers a change like that,” she told The Living Church.
the rest

New allegiances in Africa
U.S. churches have joined forces with dioceses that prohibit homosexuality, female clergy.
Shashank Bengali, McClatchy Newspapers
November 17, 2006
KAMPALA, UGANDA -

Angry over their U.S. church's position on homosexuality, a growing number of Episcopal congregations are seeking spiritual shelter thousands of miles away, in the Anglican churches of Africa.

The Episcopal Church's consecration in 2003 of an openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, created a rift with conservative U.S. Episcopalians that deepened with this year's installation of the church's new top bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori, who supports same-sex marriages and gays in the clergy.
the rest

Called to conservative Episcopal ministry
By NATASHA ALTAMIRANO

Former City Councilman Ronald Shibley was raised as a member of Fredericksburg Baptist Church.

Last weekend, Shibley was ordained--not as a Baptist minister, but as a priest in a conservative Anglican denomination called the United Episcopal Church of North America.

Shibley, who served as councilman from 1980 to '82, began studying Eastern Orthodox theology in the late 1980s and almost converted to that tradition.

He found his true calling in Anglicanism--but not in the Episcopal Church, the American branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion, which has about 2.3 million members.
the rest

Gay Marriage Galvanizes Canada’s Religious Right
By CHRISTOPHER MASON
Published: November 19, 2006

OTTAWA — It was a lonely time here in the capital for the Evangelical Fellowship of
Canada in the early days of the gay marriage debate in 2003.

Of the scattered conservative Christian groups opposed to extending marriage rights to same-sex couples, it was the only one with a full-time office in Ottawa to lobby politicians. “We were the only ones here,” said Janet Epp Buckingham, who was the group’s public policy director then.

But that was before the legislation passed in 2005 allowing gay marriage in Canada. And before the election early this year of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, a Conservative and an evangelical Christian who frequently caps his speeches with “God bless Canada.”

Today across the country, the gay marriage issue and Mr. Harper’s election have galvanized conservative Christian groups to enter politics like never before.
the rest

Friday, November 17, 2006

In the greatest difficulties, in the heaviest trials, in the deepest poverty and necessities, He has never failed me; but because I was enabled by His grace to trust Him He has always appeared for my help. I delight in speaking well of His name. ...George Muller photo

Less a Roman holiday, more an Italian job
Interview with Archbishop Rowan Williams

WHAT would be your definition of a successful visit?

A successful visit would be one in which, first of all, we simply got to know each other a bit; secondly, one which issued in some visible steps forward in the dialogue process, getting ARCIC [the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission] moving on a bit; thirdly, one which established a wide range of relationships with the Roman institutions, not just the Council for Christian Unity, working, for example, on how we collaborate, say, on the development agenda, because in Africa quite frequently the two Churches are working in the same general territory.
It’s going to be a full week in which we meet not just the Unity Council, but the Secretariat of State, the Congregation for Evangelisation, and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Are you aware that Rome is asking questions of you, too?

Yes, very much so. And I don’t know what they think a successful outcome would be. Quite clearly, the Communion will be under the spotlight; but, equally, I think I’d want to come back and say, the Communion is not just what you read on the websites: it’s also what happens in Sudan, in term of collaboration about secondary schools in Juba.
the rest

Wal-Mart Drops Gay Sex How-To Manual for Teens after LifeSiteNews.com Expose
By John-Henry Westen
BENTONVILLE, AR,
November 15, 2006

(LifeSiteNews.com) - A graphic sex-ed manual promoting lesbianism to teenage girls has been dropped by Wal-Mart only days after LifeSiteNews.com published a story exposing Wal-Mart's sale of the controversial book.

Produced by St. Stephens' Community House in Toronto, the book is titled "The Little Black Book for Girlz: A Book on Healthy Sexuality". Parents were outraged when they learned of the book which gives detailed instruction for teens to engage in lesbian sex acts.
the rest

IRD expert comments on Episcopalianism

WASHINGTON, DC, United States (UPI) -- The decision by two of Virginia`s most historic and largest Episcopalian parishes to leave the denomination is drawing comment from observers.

Ralph Webb, director of Anglican Action for the Institute on Religion and Democracy, said Friday that the decisions are the first of many to come.

'Episcopal parishes around the country undoubtedly will soon confront a similar choice -- including other parishes in Virginia undergoing the same discernment process,' he said in a news release.

'Given the seriousness of these deliberations, it is tragic that TEC continues to work against orthodox Anglicans. Just this week at TEC`s Executive Council meeting, the House of Bishops Task Force on Property Disputes reported that it is monitoring `problem dioceses` and contacting parishioners within the 'problem dioceses' who desire to `remain loyal to the Episcopal Church.` The task force also intends to initiate lawsuits against parishes if they believe the situation warrants it.
the rest

Food Permitted, Faith Prohibited in FEMA-Managed Katrina Housing
By Allie Martin
November 16, 2006

(AgapePress) - Officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency have told a Louisiana church that it cannot share the gospel after providing free barbeques to victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Representatives of a management group that operates five FEMA trailer communities near the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport told members of the Calvary Baton Rouge Church that preaching was not allowed on the government properties. The officials are also prohibiting the church from using community facilities for Bible studies even though other groups freely use the facilities. Attendance at the gospel messages that follow the barbeques or at the Bible studies is completely voluntary.

That action has prompted a letter from the
Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) to government officials, demanding an end to the policy. ADF attorney Jeremy Tedesco says actions by the unidentified government officials are unconstitutional. the rest

Gay Penguin Book Shakes Up Ill. School
By JIM SUHR Associated Press Writer

SHILOH, Ill. - A picture book about two male penguins raising a baby penguin is getting a chilly reception among some parents who worry about the book's availability to children - and the reluctance of school administrators to restrict access to it.

The concerns are the latest involving "And Tango Makes Three," the illustrated children's book based on a true story of two male penguins in New York City's Central Park Zoo that adopted a fertilized egg and raised the chick as their own.

Complaining about the book's homosexual undertones, some parents of Shiloh Elementary School students believe the book - available to be checked out of the school's library in this 11,000-resident town 20 miles east of St. Louis - tackles topics their children aren't ready to handle.
the rest

Pre-22-week babies "should not have intensive care"
Wed Nov 15, 2006
By Patricia Reaney

LONDON (Reuters) - Premature babies born before 22 weeks gestation should not be given intensive care treatment to keep them alive, according to a report released on Wednesday.


Despite medical advances in prolonging life, the Nuffield Council on Bioethics said the chances of an infant surviving after less than 22 weeks in the womb are very slim and that they often develop severe disabilities.

In guidelines issued to help doctors and parents make difficult decisions about the care of extremely premature infants, the report recommended parents of babies born after 23 should be consulted and have the final say in whether intensive care is given to their baby.
the rest

Abortion foe to lead on family planning
By Bryan Bender and Alan Wirzbicki, Globe Correspondent
November 17, 2006

WASHINGTON -- President Bush yesterday appointed a Boston-area gynecologist known for his anti abortion work and advocacy for abstinence programs in Massachusetts to oversee the federal government's family planning efforts, sparking praise from conservatives and criticism from abortion-rights activists.

Dr. Eric James Keroack of Marblehead serves as supervising physician for five crisis-pregnancy centers in Massachusetts that seek to persuade what he calls "abortion-vulnerable women" to go through with their pregnancies.
the rest

Vatican stands by celibacy ruling

The Vatican has backed the tradition of celibacy for Catholic priests after a meeting between the Pope and advisers.

The Pope and his cardinals discussed the case of a married African archbishop, excommunicated last year for ordaining other married priests.

"The value of the choice of priestly celibacy... has been reaffirmed," the Vatican said in a statement.

Thousands of the Catholic Church's 400,000 priests worldwide have left in order to marry in recent years.
the rest

Archbishop Williams: ‘Full Support’ for Women’s Ordination
11/16/2006

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has denounced British press reports that he was rethinking the Church of England’s decision to ordain women to the priesthood.

In a Nov. 16 statement a spokesman for the archbishop dismissed as “willfully misleading” reports “that he is doubtful over the ordination of women to the priesthood, has ever felt that the ordination of women priests has been ‘wrong,’ or believes that a revisiting of the question is likely, necessary or desirable.”

“It’s quite mad,” the spokesman said. “He has always been a supporter of women priests.”

In an interview in The Catholic Herald, due out Nov. 17, Archbishop Williams is quoted as stating the turmoil following the decision to ordain women to the priesthood “has tested” his resolve, but he remained convinced it was the proper course of action.
the rest

Thursday, November 16, 2006

'Nativity Story' Talked Up in Hollywood, Religious Circles
By
Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter
Thu, Nov. 16 2006

"The Nativity Story" is the most talked about faith-based film in Hollywood since Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" three years ago.

"With the release of 'The Nativity Story,' Hollywood is finally putting Jesus Christ back into Christmas," said Dr. Ted Baehr, chairman of the Christian Film & Television Commission, in a released statement today.

Catering more towards Christian audiences and other faith groups, Hollywood – which Time magazine dubbed "Holywood" in its latest issue – is getting ready for the nationwide release of a film narrating the birth of Jesus Christ. "The Nativity Story" heads to more than 3,000 theaters on Dec. 1.

Not only is Hollywood pumped up about the Christian film but religious leaders are also giving their thumbs up when they would otherwise be concerned about how Hollywood would communicate a Christian-themed movie.
the rest

Executive Council Proposes Regional Anglican Convocation
11/16/2006

The Episcopal Church's Executive Council has asked Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson to appoint a working group to investigate the possibility of setting up an “Anglican regional convocation of the Americas.”

Meeting in Chicago, the council said that the working group should consult with the Anglican Church of Canada, the Anglican Council of Latin America (CALA), and the Province of the West Indies to explore the convocation concept. The purpose of the group would be to equip member churches for “mutuality and interdependence in God's mission,” the council said.

The Most Rev. Drexel Gomez, Primate of the Church in the Province of the West Indies, last year announced plans for the formation of a Council of Anglican Provinces of the Americas and Caribbean (CAPAC), the leadership of which has been critical of many actions taken by The Episcopal Church.
the rest

Bishops' Task Force Identifies 'Problem' Dioceses
11/16/2006

The House of Bishops’ Task Force on Property Disputes has identified eight “problem dioceses” and will maintain contact persons within those dioceses who wish to “remain loyal to The Episcopal Church,” according to a report presented to The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council.
The Rt. Rev. Stacy Sauls, Bishop of Lexington, presented the written report to the council on Nov. 15.


The eight dioceses that will be monitored are Dallas, Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, Quincy, Rio Grande, San Diego, San Joaquin, and Springfield.The task force began its work in fall 2005.

To date the committee has developed a bank of court filings and research memoranda to aid dioceses with litigation, and identified potential expert witnesses. It also introduced General Convention Resolution B032 stating that none of the Windsor Report-related responses established or contemplated by various dioceses “is intended to affect either the historic separate and independent status of the churches of the Anglican Communion or the legal identity of The Episcopal Church.”
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Narcissism
Jill Woodliff
Found at Lent and Beyond

Dear Heavenly Father,


Our church has dishonored You. You saw us flailing in our sin and You said, “Live!” You picked us up, clothed us with the garment of salvation, and covered us in robes of righteousness. You loved us and blessed us.

Yet we turned our eyes from You,the author of our salvation and perfecter of our righteousness. We turned our eyes from You and gazed upon our own reflection. We trusted in our own beauty rather than in You. Transfixed before a mirror, we saw with a metallic reflection of eyes, and our hearts were hardened.

We laid the garment of salvation and robes of righteousness at the feet of a false gospel that does not offend. We embraced half-truths and diluted that which was pure. We abandoned repentance and mixed the profane into the holy. We put down our cross and blinded ourselves to the difference between the unclean and the clean. We ignored the whole counsel of God and became deaf to His judgment. We smoothed the way to hell.

We trusted the devices and desires of our own hearts, and we are like a wall built with untempered mortar, being rent by a stormy wind. We have been brought down to the ground. We are ashamed. We know that You are God and that we have dishonored You.

Have mercy, Lord. Have mercy.

Remember Your covenant from days gone by, days when we delighted in Your word and in the light of Your face. Shine Your face upon us, Lord, and bring healing to our church. Amen.


Isaiah 61:10, Ezekiel 13:10-16, 16:6, 15, 62; 22:26

Connecticut Six rift in state continues
Posted At : November 16, 2006
Connecticut Six

The long-standing conflict between the state's Episcopal bishop and six conservative parishes, including one in Darien, continued after both sides failed this week to settle a civil appeal filed by the parishes.

On Tuesday, lawyers for both sides participated in a pre-argument conference call with the U.S. Court of Appeals Second Circuit of New York, a mandatory step in civil appeal cases.

"That was unproductive," said attorney Ralph Dupont, who represents the six parishes that are seeking several million dollars in damages. He said the case will proceed to the appellate court, with arguments scheduled to begin early next year. He added that they plan to file a new suit in Connecticut's Superior Court as the federal suit progresses.

The six parishes - known as the Connecticut Six - filed a civil suit in September 2005 against Bishop Andrew Smith, saying he had violated their civil and property rights after they sought to break away from his authority after Smith supported the election of an openly gay bishop.

the rest at Connecticut Six

Pa. church panel drops gay marriage case
By DAN NEPHIN Associated Press Writer
Nov. 16, 2006

PITTSBURGH — Restrained applause broke the silence as Presbyterian leaders announced their decision to dismiss charges against a minister accused of breaking church law by presiding over the marriage of two woman.

Those among the 200 people who crowded into a rented hall Wednesday to support pastor Janet Edwards clearly approved of the decision, but their measured enthusiasm reflected the fact that the larger issue remained unresolved.

The church's Permanent Judicial Commission dropped the charges against Edwards because they were filed several days too late.

"This dismissal constitutes neither a vindication of the accused nor any finding with respect to the subject," said the commission in a statement read by Kears Pollock, the group's vice moderator.
the rest

Matt Kennedy: Do They Really "Take the Bible Seriously Not Literally"?

One of the more common reasons (or flippant excuses) given for ignoring the clear import of those “7 clobber passages” (as one revisionist blogger calls them) that clearly condemn homosexual behavior, is that Episcopalians take the bible “seriously not literally”.

Those who employ the slogan reveal a basic ignorance both of a quite hallowed principle of exegesis and of early Christian history.

The word “literalist” calls to mind mason jars full of rat poison and dancing snake handlers. You generally don’t think of Martin Luther.

Luther was a champion of the literalist principle as were all the magisterial reformers. In fact, any exegete worth his salt is a “literalist” or he has no business in the scriptures.

Well, what is the literal principle? Let’s start with what it is not.
the rest at Stand Firm

Episcopal leaders vote to leave
By Julia Duin
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
November 16, 2006

Leaders of two of Virginia's most historic Episcopal parishes have voted to split from the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Virginia, a move that could spark a legal battle over millions of dollars' worth of property.

The vestry -- or governing board -- of Truro Episcopal Church, an 18th-century church in downtown Fairfax, voted unanimously Saturday to depart from the 2.2-million-member Episcopal Church over questions of biblical authority and the 2003 consecration of New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson, an active homosexual.

Monday night, the vestry of the Falls Church, an equally historic Virginia congregation in the city of Falls Church, voted 15-2, with one abstention, to leave the Episcopal Church, a denomination it has called home for more than 200 years.
the rest

Episcopal delegates to consider alternate leadership
By TERRY LEE GOODRICH
STAR-TELEGRAM STAFF WRITER


ARLINGTON — Delegates in the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth this weekend will consider whether to affirm Fort Worth Bishop Jack Iker’s appeal to give local Episcopal churches separate leadership from Katharine Jefferts Schori, who became the denomination’s national leader this month.

About 250 clergy and lay delegates are expected to attend the diocese convention Friday and Saturday at St. Peter and St. Paul Episcopal Church in Arlington. The Fort Worth diocese has about 20,000 members.

Iker and six other American bishops have appealed to Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, leader of world Anglicanism, to provide an alternative to Schori, who supports gay relationships, diocese spokeswoman Suzanne Gill said. Those who have appealed the leadership reject same-sex unions as incompatible with Scripture.
the rest

Bishop Duncan: What Is God Doing?

Video at AnglicanTV

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

"It now becomes a serious question how far those who abide by the faith once delivered to the saints should fraternize with those who have turned aside to another gospel. Christian love has its claims, and divisions are to be shunned as grievous sins; but how far are we justified in being in confederacy with those who are departing from the truth? It is a difficult question to answer so as to keep the balance of the duties. For the present it behooves believers to be cautious, lest they lend their support and countenance to the betrayers of the Lord. It is one thing to overleap all boundaries of denominational restriction for the truth's sake; this we hope all godly men will do more. It is quite another policy which would urge us to subordinate the maintenance of truth to denominational prosperity and unity. Numbers of easy-minded people wink at error so long as it is committed by a clever man and a good-natured brother, who has so many fine points about him. Let each believer judge for himself; but, for our part, we have put on a few fresh bolts to our door, and we have given orders to keep the chain up; for, under color of begging the friendship of the servant, there are those about who aim at robbing THE MASTER. We fear it is hopeless ever to form a society which can keep out men base enough to profess one thing and believe another; but it might be possible to make an informal alliance among all who hold the Christianity of their fathers. Little as they might be able to do, they could at least protest, and as far as possible free themselves of that complicity which will be involved in a conspiracy of silence."
...CH Spurgeon photo

Archbishop admits doubts over ordination of women
By Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent
November 16, 2006

THE Church of England may have to reconsider the ordination of women priests one day, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, said yesterday.

In an interview to be published tomorrow, Dr Williams admitted that the level of division over women’s ordination had tested his conviction that it was the right thing to do.

There had even been “moments” when he felt that the ordination of women priests had been wrong.

The influx of women priests into the Church of England since they were ordained in 1994 had not “renewed” the Church in any “spectacular ways”, he said. But he admitted that for the moment there was no going back and it was just a question of “containing” the resulting divisions.
the rest


Church could think again over women, says Williams
By Jonathan Petre, Religion Correspondent
16/11/2006

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has reopened the debate on women priests by suggesting that the Anglican Church may one day "think again" about the issue.

Speaking a week before
his first official audience with Pope Benedict XVI in Rome, Dr Williams made clear that he remained a firm supporter of women's ordination and that "practically" he did not see how the Church's position could be reversed.

But in an interview with The Catholic Herald published today, he said he could "just about envisage a situation in which, over a very long period, the Anglican Church thought about it again, but I would need to see what the theological reason for that would be". the rest

BREAKING NEWS - Truro and The Falls Church Vestries recommend severing ties with The Episcopal Church -

"With great sadness and yet firm conviction we took this initial step toward our respective votes.”-Tom Wilson, Senior Warden The Falls Church

Fairfax, VA, Nov. 15 - In a congregational meeting Sunday afternoon, Nov 12, the Vestry of Truro Church, Fairfax, announced to their parish that they unanimously recommend that Truro should sever its ties to The Episcopal Church (TEC) and remain as full members of the Anglican Communion by joining the Anglican District of Virginia Anglicans in the Convocation for Anglicans in North America (CANA).

On the following Monday, Nov. 13, the Vestry of The Falls Church, Falls Church, also voted to recommend that they sever their ties to the Episcopal Church and join the Anglican District of Virginia, CANA.

Both congregations will review the recommendations and vote on the final Vestry resolutions, starting on December 10.
the rest

An Open Letter To Truro Parish


Falls Church, Truro Vestries Recommend Disaffiliation
11/15/2006

The vestries of two historic Virginia churches, Truro Parish, Fairfax, and The Falls Church, Falls Church, earlier this week announced to their congregations that they have voted to recommend disaffiliation from The Episcopal Church.

In both cases the vestries also recommended affiliating with the newly formed Anglican District of Virginia in the Convocation for Anglicans in North America (CANA), a mission of the Church of Nigeria. In July, the Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns, who has been Truro’s rector since 1991, was consecrated missionary bishop for CANA.
The rest at The Living Church

Bishop Bennison Survives Calls for His Resignation
11/15/2006

A coalition of clergy and laity called unsuccessfully for the resignation of the Rt. Rev. Charles E. Bennison, Jr., during the Diocese of Pennsylvania’s convention Nov. 11.

Members of the group stood on nearby street corners and near the entrance to Philadelphia Cathedral to hand out pamphlets and to hold protest signs. The bishop’s opponents, including elected members of the standing committee, accuse him of spending more than $10 million in unrestricted funds “without canonical authority and without the consent of the standing committee.”

During the convention, however, the calls for Bishop Bennison’s resignation focused on how he responded when, as a rector in California more than 30 years ago, he learned that his brother, John, had engaged in sexual relations with a 14-year-old girl. He dismissed his brother as the parish’s youth minister, but did not inform the girl’s parents or police.

One call for the bishop’s resignation occurred during the Holy Eucharist that began the convention. Priests came forward two by two and took turns announcing their parish name after dropping the church’s financial pledge into an offering envelope. As the Rev. Marek Zabriskie announced his parish of St. Thomas’, Whitemarsh, he added that the pledge included “a letter of deep concern about your leadership, Bishop.


the rest at The Living Church

Pope to hold summit on married priests
Mon Nov 13
VATICAN CITY -

Pope Benedict XVI has called a meeting Thursday with top
Vatican officials to discuss lifting the celibacy requirement for priests seeking to marry or who have already married.

Benedict called the summit to examine the implications of the "disobedience" of Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo, the Zambian prelate excommunicated in September for installing four married American men as bishops, the Vatican said Monday.

The Vatican stressed the meeting would not open a general discussion of the celibacy requirement but would only examine requests for dispensation made by priests wishing to marry and requests for readmission made by clergy who had married in recent years.
the rest

Ruth Gledhill Weblog: Pope to throw open the 'Flaminian Gate' to Anglicans

According to
a comment on Titusonenine, the Pope will this week receive on his desk a document that proposes something akin to an Opus Dei-style personal prelature for disgruntled Anglicans of a Catholic bent. This would allow them to be received into the Catholic Church but retain their Anglican identity, with presumably their (or should I say our?) own priests going with them too. William Tighe, who touts this possibility, which is also being debated on ShipofFools, says nothing will be published officially before January. But putting it up here, right now, might liven things up a little in Leeds tonight and tomorrow. It might also give Jonathan Petre and me something to gossip about when we set off for Rome with the Archbishop of Canterbury next week. More news from Rome today is a meeting on the vexed question of priestly celibacy, sparked by the rebel Milingo. The Pope is calling advisers together in the Vatican to decide how to respond after the "married" (in a Unification church ceremony) African "Archbishop" (now excommunicated) ordained some married priests the other day, effectively forming a schismatic Catholic Church. The Pope hates losing any of his flock, as his efforts to bring back the Lefebvrists indicate.

the rest

3 Christian Groups Move To Condemn Gay Sex
By
Alan Cooperman and Peter Whoriskey
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, November 15, 2006

BALTIMORE, Nov. 14 -- Faced with rising public acceptance of same-sex relationships, three U.S. Christian denominations are taking strong measures this week to condemn homosexual acts as sinful.

The nation's Roman Catholic bishops, meeting in Baltimore, declared Tuesday that Catholics who minister to gays must firmly adhere to the church's teaching that same-sex attractions are "disordered." Catholics with "a homosexual inclination" should be encouraged to live in chastity and discouraged from making "general public announcements" about their sexual orientation, the bishops said.
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FALLS CHURCH, VA: Letter to Parish on Vestry Decision. "We will disaffiliate from TEC"

To the family of The Falls Church
November 14, 2006

Dear Friends,I want to inform you of the Vestry decision last night. First let me say how much I appreciated the attitude and tone of mutual love and respect that everyone demonstrated at the parish meeting Sunday afternoon. We all know these are terribly hard decisions, and you showed the love of Christ to one another in our time together. Your thoughtful, wise, and serious comments were very helpful to me and to the vestry in being able to come to a decision last night.

The decision of the vestry, as we met last night, was to recommend to the congregation that The Falls Church disaffiliate with The Episcopal Church and affiliate with the Anglican District of Virginia, an association of Virginia churches who are joining together to realign traditional Anglicans in Virginia. The district is part of CANA (the Convocation of Anglicans in North America), a branch of the Anglican Communion within the Church of Nigeria that has The Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns as its Bishop. The vote was 15 aye, 2 nay, and 1 abstention.

The Vestry and I will be providing you with as much information as we can about the Anglican District of Virginia and CANA in the next few weeks. We will have two congregational informational meetings to explain and discuss these matters, as well as to go over the resolution and ballot, which we expect to use in the congregation-wide vote on this matter.


The rest at Virtueonline

Federal appeals court upholds federal protection for pro-life medical professionals
Victory for pro-life medical groups in abortion group’s attack on Weldon Amendment

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court today upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit brought by a pro-abortion group challenging the “Weldon Amendment.” The Weldon Amendment is a federal statute that prohibits the federal government or state and local governments receiving certain federal aid from discriminating against medical professionals who refuse to perform or refer for abortions.

“Doctors and nurses should not be forced to participate in abortions against their religious beliefs or conscience. Under the banner of ‘choice,’ the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association asserted a supposed right to do this, but the court didn’t buy it,” said Casey Mattox, litigation counsel for CLS’s Center for Law & Religious Freedom. “This decision turns back the effort to enshrine abortion as a right above even the First Amendment.”

NFPRHA challenged the Weldon Amendment just days after it was first signed into law in December 2005. After a federal district court upheld the law, NFPRHA appealed, arguing that the Weldon Amendment was too vague to enforce and that their member organizations had a constitutional right to force medical professionals to provide abortion referrals.
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Stay or go?
Bishop John-David Schofield of the Diocese of San Joaquin has written a letter to his diocese about seceding from the Episcopal Church.

Constitutional amendments are being offered at the Diocese's 47th Annual Convention on December 1-2,2006, which are designed to preserve our place in the Anglican Communion but which will eventually alter our relationship with The Episcopal Church (TEC). The 47th Annual Convention will be a test of where we as a diocese stand. The worldwide Anglican Communion will be watching to see how we vote. Do we recognize Holy Scripture as authoritative? Will we follow the Lord? Will we be leaders to disenfranchised Anglicans across the country? Our actions at the 47th Annual Convention will answer these questions for the entire world. As your Bishop, I ask you prayerfully to consider the information below and to prepare yourselves to vote your faith through your clergy and delegates to the Annual Convention on December 1 - 2, 2006.


The Spiritual Crisis In The Episcopal Church. Much has been said and written about the controversy over the revisionist teachings of TEC. The truth is that TEC (1) denies the unique divinity of Jesus Christ and (2) takes a position on human sexuality which undercuts marriage and is destructive to the family unit designed by God and revealed in Scripture. These are not positions and teachings which are merely "revisionist" or "liberal." These are positions of those who have abandoned the Christian faith. the rest

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

For the first two or three years after my conversion, I used to ask for specific things. Now I ask for God. Supposing there is a tree full of fruits -- you will have to go and buy or beg the fruits from the owner of the tree. Every day you would have to go for one or two fruits. But if you can make the tree your own property, then all the fruits will be your own. In the same way, if God is your own, then all things in Heaven and on earth will be your own, because He is your Father and is everything to you; otherwise you will have to go and ask like a beggar for certain things. When they are used up, you will have to ask again. So ask not for gifts but for the Giver of Gifts: not for life but for the Giver of Life -- then life and the things needed for life will be added unto you. ... Sadhu Sundar Singh photo

San Joaquin Bylaw Changes Carry Risks, Opportunities
11/14/2006

In a message to his diocese as it prepares for its convention, San Joaquin Bishop John-David Schofield urged members to “vote your faith” over constitutional changes that he has largely developed in consultation with his chancellor, chief financial officer and canon to the ordinary. Convention meets Dec. 1-2 at St. James’ Community Center in Fresno.

“If you have been following the news, you know that standing strong for the Lord subjects one to reprisals and persecution from the leadership of [The Episcopal Church],” Bishop Schofield wrote. “I have been repeatedly threatened for my opposition to the heresy of the American Church.”

Bishop Schofield said the threat of legal action to remove him as bishop has prevented release of the information contained in the letter until now. Neither the standing committee nor diocesan council was consulted about the proposed amendments prior to their being filed with the secretary of convention.


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Liberal wing soars on inclusiveness
By Manya A. Brachear
Tribune staff reporter
November 14, 2006

NEWARK, N.J. -- Louie Crew lives with his male partner of 30 years in a suburban South Orange high-rise with a view of nearby Manhattan. But he worships in the heart of Newark's barren downtown in a "smells and bells" mass of the high church tradition.

On a recent Sunday, he stood in Grace Episcopal Church as the priests and acolytes paraded in, sprinkling holy water on the parishioners and perfuming the room with incense.

Crew attends the church because of its traditional style of liturgy, not because the rector happens to be gay. But if that mattered to him, Crew would have plenty of choices.

At least a third of the Newark clergy are gay--the legacy of former Newark Bishop John Shelby Spong. Between 1975 and 1999, Spong created a haven for gay and lesbian clergy, ordaining 35 and taking in dozens more who could not find jobs in other dioceses.
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DePaul U. Blasted for Scheduling Pro-Homosexual Conference
Gathering to Focus on Homosexual-Affirming Teaching, Curriculum
By Jim Brown
November 14, 2006

(AgapePress) - The nation's largest Catholic university is under fire over its plan to host a conference aimed at expanding homosexuality-affirming teaching and curriculum on Catholic university campuses.

Next October DePaul University in Chicago will be hosting a two-day conference for professors and staff who are involved with "lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or queer" issues on Catholic campuses. The first "Out There" conference was held at Santa Clara University in 2005 and reportedly attracted 150 participants from more than 40 colleges and universities.

Patrick Reilly, president of the
Cardinal Newman Society (CNS), a Catholic renewal group, says he is very troubled by the event and its location.

"The approach that these people are taking is to accept -- and in some cases even endorse -- the homosexual lifestyle and build an academic curriculum around the homosexual culture as if it's a distinctive and worthy culture to be studied," notes Reilly. "And that's obviously a serious concern for Catholics."
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Bishops asked to help Christian students
By Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent of The Times

Seventy Church of Engand and Roman Catholic bishops were urged today to intervene to help thousands of Christian students at British universities from having the organisations representing them banned. Among those asked to take action to save Christian Union societies were the Archbishops of Canterbury and Westminster.

The rise of secularism in the UK is among the issues being debated today and tomorrow at the first ever joint meeting of the Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops of England and Wales in Leeds.

Dr Rowan Williams and Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor were to issue a joint statement later today on the importance of working together and how to surmount the differences that remain between the two churches. The 40 Anglican and 30 Catholic bishops began their unprecedented two-day meeting at Hinsley Hall at lunchtime. The bishops prayed and worshipped together and discussed how to heal the historic rift between them.
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A Message from the St Augustine's Seminar, 2006 - Lambeth Conference Press Release No. 4

As agreed by the Seminar on Friday 10 November at Lambeth Palace, London:

At the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury and in the context of prayer and worship, we, the members of the St Augustine's Seminar gathered to prepare an agenda for consideration by the Design Group of the Lambeth Conference. We met in a spirit of openness where the views and opinions of each participant could be sympathetically heard.

In addressing the seminar, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd and Rt Hon Rowan Williams, expressed his hope that the Lambeth Conference would lead to a recovery of structural self confidence in the Anglican Communion to make it a more effective agent of God's mission.

We see the Lambeth Conference 2008 as a great opportunity where bishops of the Anglican Communion gather to celebrate their fellowship in Jesus Christ. We see it as an occasion when the bishops can listen to and discuss the challenges that are facing the Communion. By respectfully listening to each other in the spirit of reconciling love, bishops will be enabled to address controversial issues.

We pray that through the open sharing of their experiences and concerns, the bishops will return to their dioceses better informed and equipped for their role as leaders of the Church for God's mission to the world, and with a clearer understanding of the Communion today.
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Orlando 'Pan-Anglican' Conference Addressing Episcopal Church's Strength After Schism is Rescheduled

WASHINGTON, Nov. 14 /
Christian Newswire/ -- Death or hospitalization of three prime speakers and developing events within the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion have resulted in rescheduling an educational conference on remedying the churches’ schismatic challenges. It was to be in Orlando, Fla., Nov. 20 and 21, but now has been rescheduled to Feb. 28 and Mar. 1, 2007 in Orlando.

The event is the U.S. Pan-Anglican Restoration and Renewal Conference, with a theme of “One Christian Question for Episcopalians.”

Lay Episcopalians for the Anglican Communion, underwriter of the conference, reported that two bishops with primary teaching roles will be hospitalized or in post-surgical care during the conference’s original dates. Bishop Keith L. Ackerman will be in a medical center undergoing diagnostic investigation. Bishop Peter H. Beckwith was hospitalized for back surgery yesterday (Monday). National lay leader Lee A. Buck, the meeting’s honorary chairman and also a principal speaker, died after the conference had been announced.

The new dates afford improved timing, following critical high-level meetings of leading archbishops and bishops in December and next February. Four bishops and 20 other Episcopal and Anglican authorities comprise the faculty of the conference.
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Why Is the MSM Ignoring this Priest Scandal? Could It Be ...?
Posted by
Dave Pierre
on November 13, 2006

The story: A priest works at a Miami high school as a history teacher and assistant chaplain. Nude photographs of him interacting physically with other men are discovered on the Internet. The priest resigns from his job. Graphic Internet photos are readily available for the media.

In light of the recent media frenzy over
Rev. Ted Haggard (5,500 results at Google News), it sounds like everything would be ripe for a story that the media would just love to jump all over. But, curiously, the mainstream media has essentially ignored this story. Why?

The answer may lie in the priest's denomination.
Here's the story. You see, Rev. Parry is not a Catholic priest. He's not even a pastor from one of those conservative Evangelical churches. Rev Parry is a priest of the increasingly liberal Episcopal Church in the USA.

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Catholic Bishops Debate Gay Ministry
By RACHEL ZOLL
ASSOCIATED PRESS

BALTIMORE (AP) - The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is debating how parishes can be welcoming to gays while also upholding the teaching that gay relationships are "disordered."

The proposed guidelines before the bishops Tuesday, called "Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination," condemn discrimination against gays, acknowledge that many try to live faithfully and state that it's not a sin to be attracted to someone of the same gender.

But the document also directs gays to be celibate and reaffirms church opposition to same-sex marriage and adoption by the couples. It also discourages gays from disclosing their sexual orientation outside of a close circle of parish friends and advisers.
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Episcopal rift threatens unity
The issue of gay priests has some dioceses-- including Springfield's--in open revolt as the talk turns to a permanent separation
By Manya A. Brachear
Tribune staff reporter
Published November 14, 2006

Just weeks after leaders of the Episcopal Church urged its members to refrain from confirming any more openly homosexual candidates, the Newark diocese allowed a gay priest to stand for bishop.

At the same June meeting of the 75th Episcopal General Convention, leaders chose the progressive Katharine Jefferts Schori to lead the American church. Soon eight conservative dioceses--including Downstate Springfield--asked to report to a new boss, one whose theology does not support gay clergy.

How can such drastically different points of view coexist in the same church?

"They can't," said Springfield Bishop Peter Beckwith. "We are not in communion with Newark. It's two different faiths."
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Monday, November 13, 2006


The mere act of prayer is abhorrent to the forces of evil, and you will find that there will be all kinds of hindrances (depression, doubt, frustrations and so on). Many of those hindrances will have the smell of sulfur smoke about them. ...Steve Brown photo

Bishop Sees San Joaquin Vote as Referendum on Separation
11/13/2006

In September, San Joaquin Bishop John-David Schofield was
absolved of charges brought by four other California bishops that he had left The Episcopal Church. But his legal reprieve might not last, with delegates to next month’s diocesan convention scheduled to consider even more changes to distance the diocese from The Episcopal Church.

In an interview with
AnglicanTV, Bishop Schofield accepted responsibility for previous constitutional changes that have drawn the attention of the Presiding Bishop’s chancellor, as well as those proposed this year which would remove any language tying the diocese to The Episcopal Church. Bishop Schofield described the proposed changes as a referendum on the nature of the diocese’s relationship with the national church.

“We are saying that if there is a test going on here, it’s not a test for the national church. It’s a test for this diocese,” he said. “Are the members and parishes of this diocese serious enough about the gospel of Jesus Christ that they want to remain apart from a church that no longer holds to those tenets?”
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Anglican, Catholic leaders explain what makes Christianity unique
By Rachelle Linner

11/13/2006
Catholic News Service

Anglican Bishop N.T. Wright of Durham, England, a renowned scripture scholar and professor of New Testament studies, has written an eloquent, nondenominational apologetic perfectly suited for contemporary readers. Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense is informed by Bishop Wright's impeccable scholarship and his lifelong fidelity to the Christian story, but it is neither academic nor pious.

In his clear, almost conversational, style Bishop Wright leisurely examines ideas about God and prayer, the relationship between heaven and earth, and what Christianity is ("something that happened to Jesus of Nazareth") and what it is not ("Jesus offering a wonderful moral example").

The opening chapters, "Echoes of a Voice," act like a prologue. Bishop Wright explores four recurrent themes in human experience that are intimations of God's call: "the longing for justice, the quest for spirituality, the hunger for relationships and the delight in beauty."

In the second section, "Staring at the Sun," Bishop Wright offers a solid, accessible and coherent presentation of Christian salvation history and theological beliefs. He explains the narrative of exile and return that is "the Jewish story, within which Jesus made the sense he did."
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A Neuroscientific Look at Speaking in Tongues

The passionate, sometimes rhythmic, language-like patter that pours forth from religious people who “speak in tongues” reflects a state of mental possession, many of them say. Now they have some neuroscience to back them up.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania took brain images of five women while they spoke in tongues and found that their frontal lobes — the thinking, willful part of the brain through which people control what they do — were relatively quiet, as were the language centers. The regions involved in maintaining self-consciousness were active. The women were not in blind trances, and it was unclear which region was driving the behavior.

The images, appearing in the current issue of the journal Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, pinpoint the most active areas of the brain. The images are the first of their kind taken during this spoken religious practice, which has roots in the Old and New Testaments and in Pentecostal churches established in the early 1900s. The women in the study were healthy, active churchgoers.

“The amazing thing was how the images supported people’s interpretation of what was happening,” said Dr. Andrew B. Newberg, leader of the study team, which included Donna Morgan, Nancy Wintering and Mark Waldman. “The way they describe it, and what they believe, is that God is talking through them,” he said. the rest

'Separated' Anglicans may get alternative bishop
By David F. Dawes

ARCHBISHOP Terry Buckle has offered to appoint an alternative bishop for B.C. Anglican parishes which still refuse to accept Bishop Michael Ingham's approval of the blessing of same-sex unions.

Buckle, who is the chief bishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of British Columbia and the Yukon, stated late last month that he considered a recent Anglican Church decision a "unique opportunity to work towards reconciliation and healing."

Buckle was responding to
a report issued in mid-October by the Anglican Panel of Reference (POR). The report affirmed that "alternate episcopal ministry" should be provided to several parishes in Ingham's Diocese of New Westminster as "a temporary measure." At press time, the diocese had not responded to Buckle's proposal. the rest

Pentecostals Flash Christian Message in Times Square
By
Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter
Mon, Nov. 13 2006

The spectaculars in Times Square will be flashing Christian messages to an anticipated 21 million people in an unprecedented two-week campaign. The Assemblies of God kicked off an outreach today on two prominent jumbotrons in New York's lighted landmark.

Displayed on the ABC jumbotron and the News Astrovision Screen in the nation's largest city will be hundreds of spots with the theme "God Gives Hope" and a flashed prayer phone line for thousands to request prayers and accept Christ as Savior.

"God has given to the Assemblies of God an unprecedented opportunity to take the message of hope to millions in Times Square," said the Rev. Thomas E. Trask, general superintendent of the Pentecostal denomination. "Those who have been involved in planning for this outreach have seen it grow far beyond our dreams or fondest imagination."
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Archbishop: Ministers' PC Christmas cards 'erode Christianity'
11.11.06

Britain's first black Archbishop has attacked Government Ministers for sending non-Christian Christmas cards for fear of offending other religions.

Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu said the "illiberal atheists" were aiding the "systematic erosion" of Christianity in public life.

He hit at policies such as saying "Winterval" for Christmas and changing "happy Christmas" to "season's greetings" on Government cards.

Ugandan-born Dr Sentamu, 56, who became Archbishop last year, told an audience of lay readers in Newcastle upon Tyne that Christians should be more politically active to combat a rising tide of "aggressive secularism" and ensure that their principles were not purged from society.
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Anglicans hit for backing baby euthanasia
November 14, 2006

LONDON: The Church of England's support for euthanasia of severely disabled babies has drawn sharp criticism from the Catholic Church and evangelical Anglicans, who warned yesterday that the position was morally dangerous.

The Bishop of Southwark, Tom Butler, said this week in a submission to an independent inquiry that there may be circumstances when it is morally acceptable to perform a "possibly lethal act".

Going further than any mainstream church leader has before, the bishop said the economic cost of long-term healthcare and education must be considered when deciding whether a child's life should be saved.

But the evangelical wing of the Anglican church warned yesterday that the bishop's views were a move towards euthanasia.
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CAMERA Challenges Episcopal Church on its Portrayal of Arab-Israeli Conflict
November 13, 2006

After preparing an
analysis of the Episcopal Church’s stance on the Arab-Israeli conflict, CAMERA sent letters to Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, incoming Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, and to Rev. Canon Brian Grieves, the church’s Director of the Peace and Justice Ministries. The letters express concern about the one-sided and distorted narrative the Episcopal Church has broadcast about the Arab-Israeli conflict. Although prominent members and bishops within the Church have expressed concern about Church's portrayal of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the national leaders of the denomination have failed to respond.

The text of these letters is displayed below. The first letter was sent to Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori and the second was sent to Rev. Canon Brian Grieves.


Text of letters here

Christian and Muslim Britons say leave Christmas alone
Mon Nov 13, 2006 3
By Paul Majendie

LONDON (Reuters) - Christian and Muslim Britons joined forces on Monday to tell city officials to stop taking the Christianity out of Christmas, warning them that this fuelled right-wing extremism.

They attacked local authorities which used titles like "Winterval" for their Christmas celebrations and avoided using Christian symbols in case they offended minority groups, especially Muslims and Hindus.

The question of how best to integrate Muslims into European society, which has Christian roots but is increasingly secular, has become a burning issue, with Britain playing its part in the debate after years of promoting multiculturalism.

The Christian Muslim Forum, set up by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the spiritual head of the Church of England, complained that taking the Christian message out of Christmas played into the hands of right-wing extremists who then accused Muslims of undermining Britain's Christian culture.
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Outcry as clinic offers 'designer baby' embryo screening for 200 diseases
By JENNY HOPE, Medical Correspondent
13th November 2006

Controversy has erupted over a new technique offered on the NHS which screens embryos for over 200 inherited diseases.

Doctors are heralding the test as 'revolutionary' for the diagnosis of genetic disorders.
But critics warn the ground-breaking technique is another step towards the creation of the 'designer baby'.

They fear extended genetic screening may eventually be used to create babies chosen for physical characteristics, such as blue eyes or blond hair.

Josephine Quintavalle, of Comment on Reproductive Ethics, said: ''We are venturing into the unknown with extended genetic testing because we know so little about this field.

''Who knows what is being discarded and there is always the risk of misdiagnosis.

'It's the whole process that is disturbing and when you have got 200 diseases that can be tested for, it seems inevitable that the next step will be the designer element.'
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Religion Not Source of 'Moral Codes?
by Warner Todd Huston
November 12, 2006

The Times sets their premise quite straightforwardly with their very first sentence in a
recent discussion of a new theory on the source of morals being promulgated by Harvard biologist, Marc D. Hauser.

Who doesn’t know the difference between right and wrong? Yet that essential knowledge, generally assumed to come from parental teaching or religious or legal instruction, could turn out to have a quite different origin.

What follows is several slaps at religion, the Times asserting that religion has nothing to do with morals short of serving as "social enforcers of instinctive moral behavior".
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