Saturday, January 13, 2007

When God gets us alone by affliction, heartbreak, or temptation, by disappointment, sickness, or by thwarted affection, by a broken friendship, or by a new friendship - when He gets us absolutely alone, and we are dumbfounded, and cannot ask one question, then He begins to expound. Watch Jesus Christ's training of the twelve. It was the disciples, not the crowd outside, who were perplexed. They constantly asked Him questions, and He constantly expounded things to them; but they only understood after they had received the Holy Spirit (see John 14:26).

If you are going on with God, the only thing that is clear to you, and the only thing God intends to be clear, is the way He deals with your own soul. Your brother's sorrows and perplexities are an absolute confusion to you. We imagine we understand where the other person is, until God gives us a dose of the plague of our own hearts. There are whole tracts of stubbornness and ignorance to be revealed by the Holy Spirit in each one of us, and it can only be done when Jesus gets us alone. Are we alone with Him now, or are we taken up with little fussy notions, fussy comradeships in God's service, fussy ideas about our bodies? Jesus can expound nothing until we get through all the noisy questions of the head and are alone with Him. ...Oswald Chambers

America's Secular Jihadists
By Chuck Colson

Just a few months ago, I thought it was insulting to be called a “theocrat.” I was wrong. “Theocrat” is almost a compliment compared to what the Left is calling Christians now.

According to a New York Times review, we Christians are fascists—that’s what the Nazis were. And if we’re not stopped, we’ll try to take over America. It’s an illustration of how vicious the invective has become against faithful Christians.

“Of course there are Christian fascists in America,” writes Rick Perlstein in the New York Times Sunday Book Review. How else, for example, to explain the cadres who took former Chief Justice Roy Moore’s Ten Commandments monument on tour?

Perlstein was reviewing the latest in the recent crop of hate books about the Christian faith, this one titled, American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America, written by Chris Hedges. He details all the wacky killings, like the Aryan brotherhood over the last twenty-five years, and then concludes by saying that Christians are about to do the same thing. Talk about guilt by association.

The really dangerous thing here is that, by writing this kind of stuff, they are likely to embolden some nut to start shooting pastors and Christian leaders.
the rest

S.C. legislation would require an ultrasound before abortion
Associated Press Writer
Jan 12

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- Pregnant women seeking an abortion in South Carolina would first have to look at ultrasound images of their fetus under legislation introduced this week.

The bill's sponsors believe the requirement would lead to fewer abortions, with more women opting for adoption or keeping their child.

"In having an ultrasound, someone who's considering an abortion can see it's not just a blob of tissue, that it is a human life," said Sen. Larry Grooms, R-Bonneau. "Once their decision is fully understood, they're more likely to choose life."

Pro-choice activists criticize the measure as restricting women's reproductive rights.
the rest

Speaker Pelosi to Monitor Your Church
By Jay Sekulow
Friday, January 12, 2007

Nancy Pelosi hasn’t been Speaker of the House for two weeks yet and there is already proposed legislation which would be the most significant encroachment ever into the affairs and ability of churches and other organizations to communicate. Under the guise of lobbying reform, Speaker Pelosi and others have proposed legislation greatly expanding the scope of lobbying regulation which would have a significant impact on churches, pastors, religious denominations, public interest organizations, civic organizations and other nonprofit groups. Even private individuals who voluntarily pay for media to distribute important messages to the general public on political matters would be impacted.

So draconian is the proposed Lobbying Reform Bill that it would actually impose registration and reporting requirements on churches and other nonprofit organizations. This is because the definition of “lobbyist” and “lobbying firms” includes specifically grassroots-organizing efforts. Under this broad-based regulatory scheme that Nancy Pelosi is advocating, many churches, especially larger churches with TV and radio ministries, would be subject to registration as a lobbying organization. Failure to comply with these lobbying requirements could result in fines and even criminal sanctions. Churches and their pastors who address the social issues of the day and encourage members and non-members alike to mobilize for action, including communications with Congress, would be required to make certain initial and quarterly disclosures to the
United States Congress about their activities. the rest

Patience is a virtue when seeking the big religion story
By Terry Mattingly, On Religion
Saturday, January 13, 2007

Journalists may not know the precise meaning of the word "theodicy," but, year after year, they know a good "theodicy" story when they see one.

The American Heritage Dictionary defines this term as a "vindication of God's goodness and justice in the face of the existence of evil."

Wikipedia calls it a "branch of theology ... that attempts to reconcile the existence of evil in the world with the assumption of a benevolent God."

There were three "theodicy" events in 2005, so the Religion Newswriters Association combined them into one item in its top-10 story list. What linked Hurricane Katrina, the Southeast Asia tsunami and another earthquake in Pakistan? Each time, journalists asked the timeless question: What role did God play in these disasters?
the rest

Akinola the face of change in Anglican church
January 13,2007

Peter Akinola, Anglican Archbishop of Nigeria, is either a visionary leader or the devil incarnate.A slight, bespectacled man, Archbishop Akinola, 63, from a third-world country struggling with a range of social, economic, and political crises that are almost debilitating, Akinola still has managed to turn the Anglican world upside down; so much so that Time magazine this week listed him among the 100 most influential figures in the world.

The archbishop?s influence is felt in a number of ways. He's first and foremost the spiritual leader of the 17-million strong Nigerian Anglican Church.

From his powerful, national position, Akinola is on the front line of issues with international repercussions, including AIDS, poverty and Christian/Muslim relations.

Akinola also chairs the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa, which represents the 37 million Anglicans throughout the continent, and from that position has publicly addressed a number of hot-button issues, especially homosexuality.
the rest

A Bright Comet is coming - Right now!

If you have watched the
morning or evening sky these days, you may have spotted a bright object with a prominent tail - comet McNaught (C/2006 P1)! It was discovered on August 7th, 2006 by the hugely successful comet discoverer Rob McNaught (Siding Spring Survey). At time of discovery, the comet was a very faint object, but the predicted perihelion distance (closest distance to the sun) of just 0.17 astronomical units indicated that the object had the potential to become very bright indeed.

Nobody really knows just what this comet will look like at its closest point to the Sun... and that is where SOHO comes in! As you are probably aware, the LASCO instrument on-board SOHO has the ability to watch comets as they get extremely close to the Sun. Fortunately for us, comet McNaught is passing right through the LASCO C3 field of view - the spectacle has just started (January 12, 02:18 UT)!

story and photo at SOHO

The Economist: Second thoughts about the Promised Land
Jews all around the world are gradually ceasing to regard Israel as a focal point. As a result, many are re-examining what it means to be Jewish.
Jan 11th 2007

“THE choice for our people, Mr President, is between statehood and extermination.” Thus wrote Chaim Weizmann, head of the World Zionist Organisation, to Harry Truman, president of America, on April 9th 1948. Five weeks later Weizmann was elected president of the newly declared Jewish state. Truman granted recognition within hours.

Weizmann's words were only partly true. European Jewry faced extinction at the hands of the Nazis, but Jews who had fled eastern Europe's pogroms for America two generations earlier already felt safe and established there. Still, even for them, Israel became the centre of the Jewish world—not merely as a place to run to if things got bad, but as part of what they were. If their grandparents' Judaism was about religion, learning and community, theirs meant something else: being a nation that had lost a third of its people but gained a homeland.
the rest

Southern Baptists Not Convinced By New Baptist Voice
Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter
Sat, Jan. 13 2007

Baptist leaders claiming to represent 20 million Baptists in North America are hailing a new push spurred by former presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton to create a new Baptist voice.

On the sidelines, however, are the conservative Baptists who weren't formally invited to "celebrate" the new covenant earlier this week but were still welcomed to join.

But not many Southern Baptists want to hop on board."They have no confessional statement," said Russell Moore, senior vice president for Academic Administration at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., according to Family News in Focus. "They're really united around what they don’t believe and what they don’t believe is essentially everything the Southern Baptist Convention does believe.”

The Southern Baptist Convention withdrew its membership from the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) in an overwhelming vote in 2004. Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Paige Patterson had noted a "continual leftward drift in the BWA" at the time of the vote.
the rest

FDA Investigates Texas Embryo Business
By Elizabeth White
Associated Press Writer
Sat, Jan. 13 2007

SAN ANTONIO (AP) - Federal officials are investigating a business that produces batches of ready-made embryos and lets prospective parents select one based on the donors' looks, ethnicity, education and other factors.

A consumer safety officer from the Food and Drug Administration was at Jennalee Ryan's house Friday during an Associated Press interview with the woman who runs the Abraham Center of Life. The officer would not comment.An FDA spokeswoman in Dallas confirmed that the agency is investigating but would not elaborate. It was unclear what laws or regulations were the focus of the investigation.
the rest

Actor Sylvester Stallone Returns to Christian Faith, Includes Conversion in New Movie
By Gudrun Schultz

LOS ANGELES, California, January 12, 2006 ( - Sylvester Stallone, of “Rocky” and “Rambo” fame, has come back to his Christian roots, in a conversion experience that he says has released him from the pressures of the world.

“The more I go to church,” Stallone said, reported Focus on the Family’s CitizenLink, “and the more I turn myself over to the process of believing in Jesus and listening to His Word and having Him guide my hand, I feel as though the pressure is off me now.”

Stallone’s new movie, Rocky Balboa, is the latest and final chapter in the ‘Rocky’ series, reflecting the star’s conviction that life is about following Christ, not battling it out alone.

“It’s like [Rocky] was being chosen, Jesus was over him, and he was going to be the fellow that would live through the example of Christ,” Stallone said In a conference call with pastors and religious leaders late last fall. “He’s very, very forgiving. There’s no bitterness in him. He always turns the other cheek. And it’s like his whole life was about service.”
the rest

Deadly Storms Batter Europe
Two people have been left dead as storms continue to batter Europe - and the death toll is set to rise.
by Maria Mackay
Saturday, January 13, 2007

At least two people have been killed and more are feared dead as a result of atrocious weather conditions which continue to batter Britain and other parts of Europe.
the rest

Tsunami fears ease hours after strong quake
January 13, 2007

HONOLULU, Hawaii (CNN) -- Tsunami alerts issued for the Pacific Basin due to a massive underwater earthquake were lifted hours later Saturday when only minor surges resulted.

The alerts had been issued for Japan and a broad area surrounding the Pacific Ocean -- including Hawaii and Alaska -- after the quake hit east of the Kuril Islands.

The temblor had a preliminary magnitude of 8.2, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center bulletin said.
the rest

ADF: U.S. Supreme Court should deny review of attempt to legalize polygamy
Polygamists hope to use Lawrence v. Texas decision to expand protections for “intimate relationships”
Friday, January 12, 2007

WASHINGTON — Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund filed a friend-of-the-court brief today with the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of the Family Research Council, arguing that the court’s 2003 decision in Lawrence v. Texas does not support a constitutional right to polygamous relationships.

“Marriage is a revered social institution that is regulated by the state for the public good. It is properly protected from the ill effects of polygamy,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Chris Stovall. “However, when the Supreme Court ruled in Lawrence v. Texas that sodomy was constitutionally protected, it opened up a Pandora’s Box for other groups to hope that the ruling might be expanded to legalize other forms of relationships, including polygamy. Fortunately, courts have consistently limited the Lawrence decision to issues of criminal punishment for private, consensual sexual conduct between adults.”
the rest

Friday, January 12, 2007

Lent and Beyond: Anglican Primates Prayer Brochure
(Resource Compilation) Available

Link for Word Document
Link for Adobe PDF format

The brochure contains:1) A brief overview of the importance of the Primates Meeting2) A list of all the Anglican Primates and Provinces3) A compilation of various prayers that may be useful in praying for the Primates4) A short list of suggested resources
We would also be glad to send this out by e-mail. Contact us at AnglicanPrayer(at)gmail(dot)comWe welcome feedback!

And don’t forget: In addition to this downloadable brochure, we will continue to post daily prayers and resources here to facilitate prayers for the each of the Primates and other Anglican leaders. You can sign up to commit to praying for a specific Primate here.

Prayer is the one prime, eternal condition by which the Father is pledged to put the Son in possession of the world. Christ prays through His people. Had there been importunate, universal, and continuous prayer by God's people, long ere this the earth had been possessed for Christ. ...EM Bounds

Northern California Bishop Warned: Statements Could be Libelous

The Rt. Rev. Barry Beisner, Bishop of Northern California, has been informed that public statements he and his predecessor have made about the Rev. David H. Miller might be determined libelious and defamatory by a court of law.

On Dec. 17, Fr. Miller, rector of St. John’s, Petaluma, informed Bishop Beisner and his predecessor, the Rt. Rev. Jerry Lamb, that the parish had voted to disaffiliate from the diocese and come under the oversight of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. In the letter, Fr. Miller asked that a letter dimissory be sent to Archbishop Gregory Venables.

In response Bishop Lamb, who retired Dec. 31, issued a
public statement Dec. 27 in which he said “I have chosen to view [the Rev.] David Miller’s a request to renounce orders in this church.” the rest at The Living Church

Milwaukee Bishop Exonerated

The Rt. Rev. Steven A. Miller, Bishop of Milwaukee, has been cleared of charges that he mishandled a formal complaint made by several parishioners against the Rev. Martha Ann Englert, rector of Grace Church, Madison.

A formal complaint was filed against Bishop Miller last June. Fourteen lay Episcopalians and two clergy alleged in their complaint to Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold that Bishop Miller improperly influenced the diocesan review committee in order to ensure that the complaint against Ms. Englert would result in a presentment, the ecclesiastical equivalent of an indictment by a grand jury.
the rest at The Living Church

AAC President Transfers Canonical Residency to Anglican Church of Nigeria
AAC Press Release
January 12, 2007

The Rev. Canon David C. Anderson, President and CEO of the American Anglican Council, recently announced that he has transferred his canonical residency from The Episcopal Church (TEC) of the United States to the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), the U.S. missionary branch of the Anglican Church of Nigeria. The switch, which places Canon Anderson under the oversight of Bishop Martyn Minns, was made Nov. 1, 2006.

A lifelong Episcopalian, Canon Anderson served approximately 35 years in ordained ministry in TEC, including service in the dioceses of Washington, D.C.; Montana; Wyoming; South Dakota; Los Angeles; and Springfield. He retired in 2002 from St. James Church, Newport Beach, Calif., where he served for 16 years as the parish’s rector.

Canon Anderson’s decision to move to CANA stems from the growing severity of the theological crisis in The Episcopal Church nationally, which has become, in many places, hostile toward biblical orthodoxy and apostate in belief and practice. In addition to orthodox clergy, hundreds of churches and more than a third of the denomination’s members have been driven from the church over the past four decades as the church has persisted in its refusal to repent and return to the faith once delivered.

“For nearly 20 years, I worked to reform and renew the Episcopal Church,” Canon Anderson said. “Since my retirement from active parish ministry and during my work over the past six years with the AAC, I have watched with sadness as the orthodox church of my childhood has disappeared from the landscape.
the rest

Church of Scotland: Animal-Human Hybrid Embryos Unethical and Unnecessary
The Church of Scotland has welcomed the decision by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) to have a full public debate and consultation on the possibility of licensing research on human-animal hybrid embryos
by Maria Mackay
Posted: Friday, January 12, 2007

The Church of Scotland has welcomed the decision by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) to have a full public debate and consultation on the possibility of licensing research on human-animal hybrid embryos.

The Church’s General Assembly is not opposed to all research involving embryonic stem cells, but its has expressed firm opposition to research involving the creation of human-animal ‘hybrid’ cloned embryos.

“Christian teaching on compassion for the sick welcomes and indeed stimulates scientific research in medicine, but always within moral limits. Some experiments, no matter how medically useful, would be unethical. Research with animal-human cloned embryos would breach moral norms,” said the Church of Scotland in a statement released Thursday.
the rest

Ruth Gledhill weblog: Scientology on the march
Friday, 12 January 2007

Evening Standard's Jason Beattie is reporting tonight that the Labour Party has received thousands of pounds in donations from a charity linked to Scientology. The charity, the Association for Better Living and Education, based at the church's hq in Sussex, was given permission by the National Executive Committee to take a stall at the party's annual conference in Manchester. Stalls can cost up to £13,500. The stand was part of the religion's continuing attempts to promote its drug rehabilitation programme Narconon and its criminal rehab programme Criminon. The church recently opened a new centre in London where one exhibit on display claimed “the Holocaust was conceived andpropagated by psychiatry”. the rest

Scientology arrives in Berlin
BBC Online 12 January 2007
The Church of Scientology is opening a new centre in the German capital Berlin, amid a heated debate about its aims. Critics have accused the organisation of exploiting followers for money.

N.J. clergy can reject uniting gay couples despite law
Associated Press
Jan. 12, 2007

MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. — Clergy in New Jersey cannot be required to unite gay couples in civil unions, the state attorney general said in a decision that quieted the fears of some religious groups opposed to same-sex ceremonies.

Attorney General Stuart Rabner's legal opinion, sent Thursday to the state registrar of vital statistics, came less than a month after the state became the third to approve civil unions for gay couples.

The unions offer the legal benefits of marriage, but not the title. Couples may begin applying for licenses in New Jersey on Feb. 19 and can be united 72 hours later.

Under the law, all the same people who perform marriages — among them clergy, judges, mayors and other local officials — can preside over civil union ceremonies.

Some opponents worried that gay rights might sue to force clergy to perform the ceremonies.
the rest

Federal judge clears use of religion in care for veterans

Associated Press Writer
Friday, January 12, 2007

MADISON, Wis. — The Department of Veterans Affairs’ increasing use of religion in treating ailing veterans does not violate the separation of church and state, a federal judge has ruled.

U.S. District Judge John Shabaz dismissed a lawsuit by the Madison-based Freedom From Religion Foundation and defended the agency’s practices in his decision Monday, saying religion can help patients heal and is legal when done on a voluntary basis.

The foundation, a group of atheists and agnostics which has challenged the Bush administration’s mix of government and religion, said it was the first time a judge upheld the constitutionality of the VA’s use of religion in treating millions of veterans. The ruling averts a trial that was scheduled to begin later this month.

The group’s president, Annie Laurie Gaylor, said Tuesday it would appeal the ruling.
the rest

Episcopal Church takes on dioceses dispute
By Natasha Altamirano

January 12, 2007

The Episcopal Church plans to intervene in a property dispute involving two Northern Virginia parishes that voted to leave the American denomination last month, officials with the departing congregations said.

The intervention would mark a dramatic shift in the relationship between the national church and individual dioceses.

Truro Church in Fairfax and the Falls Church are among nine parishes in Virginia that voted to leave the Episcopal Church last month over issues of biblical authority and sexuality. The departing congregations make up about 10 percent of the Virginia diocese's estimated 90,000 members.

Truro and the Falls Church are fighting for an estimated $27 million to $37 million in property.

"The prior presiding bishop took the position that property disputes are in the purview of the diocese," said Jim Oakes, senior warden at Truro. "The current presiding bishop seems to be taking a different position."

Bob Williams, communications director for the Episcopal Church, said there's more at stake than land.

"The leadership of the Episcopal Church has a moral ... responsibility to guard that property for the use of future generations," he said.
the rest

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Our wickedness shall not overpower the unspeakable goodness and mercy of God; our dullness shall not overpower God's wisdom, nor our infirmity God's omnipotence.
...John of Kronstadt photo

Davis Mac-Iyalla Director of Changing Attitude Nigeria receives death threat
Thursday, 11 January 2007
by Colin Coward

Davis Mac-Iyalla, Director of Changing Attitude Nigeria, received a hand-written letter delivered on 9 January 2006 to the location where he is resident. The letter concludes with the threat to bathe Davis Mac-Iyalla with acid unless he repents and is a final warning. Mr Mac-Iyalla has already received four email threats, apparently from the same source. The full text of the letter is printed below.

The letter was delivered during the night and found on Wednesday morning. The letter notes that Mr Mac-Iyalla has not paid heed to the numerous warnings and threats already issued. The writer or writers have decided it is time to carry on with their action to redeem the image of African Christian and moral values because Mr Mac-Iyalla’s very existence poses great danger to the youth of the Nigerian Church. His total repentance and confession is demanded.

An email received before Christmas warned Mr Mac_Iyalla the he would be used as a scapegoat to deter and teach others a bitter lesson unless they separate themselves from such evil people.

The letter is anonymous, but ends with the title ‘Save Africa against same sex relationship’. The emails were identified as coming from Femi Afolabi,

There is no evidence that the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) is directly involved in the threats to Mr Mac-Iyalla’s life. However, whoever the individual or individuals are, they have the resources to investigate the location of Mr Mac-Iyalla (which has never been made public) and have travelled to deliver the letter and by implication, to be physically present and able to carry out their threat. They see themselves as emissaries expressing the views of the Church and carrying out action appropriate to a gay member of the Anglican Church of Nigeria. the rest

Found at Thinking Anglicans

After Earlier Recess, Troubled Convention Adjourns in Pennsylvania

Faced with a revenue shortfall and dissatisfaction with Bishop Charles E. Bennison, Jr., delegates to the continuation of the annual convention in the Diocese of Pennsylvania trimmed 19 percent from the 2007 operating budget and moved to prevent the diocesan council from working in opposition to the will of convention in the future.

The meeting Jan. 6 at Philadelphia Cathedral completed work
begun Nov. 11. A densely packed agenda and unscheduled debate over a call for the resignation of Bishop Bennison prevented convention from completing its work that day.

Bishop Bennison has been increasingly criticized over his spending priorities, his willingness to share relevant financial records with the diocesan standing committee and for his role in a possible cover up of sexual misconduct charges when he was serving as rector of a California parish during the 1970s and his brother, John (who has admitted guilt), was serving under him as an assistant.
the rest at The Living Church

Removal of priest protested
Parishioners 'upset' by action of Episcopal diocese, attorney says
By Jean Torkelson, Rocky Mountain News
January 11, 2007

The attorney for Episcopal priest Don Armstrong plans to raise concerns with the diocese over harsh restrictions imposed on his client while it investigates an allegation of possible misapplication of funds.

"Persons in the parish are extremely upset about the action taken here," said Denver attorney Daniel Sears, adding that he will raise the concerns "at a time we deem appropriate."

He said that many parishioners of Armstrong's 2,400-member Colorado Springs church have contacted him to protest their rector's removal, which was announced during church services on New Year's Eve.

Armstrong, 57, is an outspoken conservative and critic of positions taken in recent years by the Episcopal Church, most notably giving homosexual unions parity with traditional marriage.

He has been forbidden by Bishop Rob O'Neill to appear as a priest or conduct worship services. In addition, he can't speak about the case or have contact with anyone at Grace and St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, the parish he has led for 19 years and made a national center for the conservative Anglican movement.
the rest

PRESS RELEASE: Orthodox Anglican Church Launches in Central Indiana
January 10, 2007

Two Episcopal clergy retire in order to staff the orthodox Anglican Congregation in Central Indiana

St. Michael the Archangel Anglican Church officially launched on January 1, 2007. The Church will focus upon the formation and development of orthodox Anglican Congregations, as well as cell groups, in central Indiana. Close to 100 people attended the inaugural service on Sunday, January 7, 2007!

St. Michael the Archangel is a missionary Church covered under the authority of the Anglican Diocese of Bolivia. The Reverend Dr. Tom Tirman, Priest, and the Reverend Chuck Conover, Deacon, officially retired from active ministry in the Episcopal Church on December 31, 2006.

Fr. Tirman was the Rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Anderson, Indiana in the Diocese of Indianapolis. Dcn. Conover was also on staff at Trinity. Prior to that Fr. Tirman was the priest at the Episcopal Church in Noblesville, Indiana.

Fr. Tirman and Deacon Conover requested acceptance as clergy in the Diocese of Bolivia from the Right Reverend Frank Lyons, Bishop of Bolivia and were accepted as clergy in the Diocese of Bolivia on January 1st. The Diocese of Bolivia is a part of the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone, the Most Reverend Gregory Venables, Archbishop, and currently has over 30 congregations here in the United States.
the rest

African Anglicans to snub pro-gay rights U.S. bishop
By Rebecca Harrison
Thursday, January 11, 2007

JOHANNSEBURG (Reuters) - Africa's leading Anglican archbishops plan to snub their pro-gay rights U.S. counterpart at a key summit next month as a bitter battle over homosexuality intensifies in a world church on the brink of schism.

Several African leaders have blasted Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, the first woman to head the U.S. Episcopal Church, for backing gay clergy and same-sex unions. They have urged Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams not to invite her to a global meeting of Anglican primates in Tanzania.

Williams, who admitted this week he was losing control over the divisive debate, insisted Jefferts Schori meet her critics "face to face" but sought to appease traditionalists by inviting conservative U.S. church leaders too.

The archbishops from Africa, home to more than half of the world's 77 million Anglicans, say they will stop short of an all-out boycott but cannot meet with Jefferts Schori.

Kenyan Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi said he found it "difficult to share a meeting with somebody who is ... fighting what we believe Scripture is saying.
the rest

Episcopal Rifts: 'Issue is Orthodoxy, Not Homosexuality'
Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter
Thu, Jan. 11 2007

Widening rifts in the Episcopal Church are making headlines across the media and the seemingly ceaseless talks over a possible schism in the church have pushed Christians to "set the record straight" in defense of severed ties.

"When even President Gerald Ford's funeral at Washington National Cathedral is not exempt from comment about the crisis in the Episcopal Church, we believe it is time to set the record straight as to why our church and so many others around the country have severed ties with the Episcopal Church," stated the Rev. John Yates and Os Guinness of The Falls Church in The Washington Post. The Falls Church is one of the largest Virginia churches that voted last month to leave the Episcopal Church.

Even prominent evangelical leader Chuck Colson stepped into the argument to point out a "much broader" issue than the matter of homosexuality.

Since the 2003 consecration of openly gay bishop V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, conservative Episcopal parishes began to sever ties with the Episcopal Church. Divisions escalated with the latest bunch of Virginia congregations, including two of the most historic and largest churches in the diocese, which voted in December to leave the church and place themselves under the leadership of Anglican Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria.
the rest

Episcopal or Anglican? Something schismatic this way comes
By Ross Mackenzie
Thursday, January 11, 2007

The conflict unfolding in the Episcopal Church in
Virginia typifies not only the bitter disputes plaguing Protestant denominations nationwide but also the mean ideological struggles in key sectors of the culture generally.

Aside from religion, those sectors are
entertainment, politics, the academy and the press. Under various banners bearing the words conservative or liberal, battles — verily, whole wars — grind on. And the liberals tend to hold the clear advantage, as they long have.

Perhaps in the entertainment industry they are most clearly dominant: Few males in Hollywood, and practically no females, boast their conservative views of things. Not far behind is the mainstream press, which voted 92 percent for George McGovern 35 years ago and hasn’t changed much despite the challenge of talk-radio, talk-television and the Internet.

In the academy — notably in law, economics and political philosophy — conservatives have notched important gains, but the combatants fight ever on. And in politics, ideology’s ground-zero, conservatives carried the field for a generation, but now Joans of Arc Pelosi and Clinton are leading the left out of exile — pushing conservatives into what could be a long, dark night.

Which leaves religion, typified by the Episcopalians. The four most establishment denominations — Presbyterian, Episcopalian, Methodist and Lutheran — all have squabbled internally for years over liturgies, hymnals, ordination, scripture, church doctrine and the like.
the rest

Scholars to debate if Jesus existed
Group to discuss, test truth of Bible
Jennifer Green, The Ottawa Citizen
Published: Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Internationally recognized biblical scholars are set to launch The Jesus Project, a new endeavour to examine the historical existence of Christ.

The project is intended to pick up where the controversial Jesus Seminar left off in its research into the veracity of Jesus's words and deeds in the Bible.

The seminar has lost momentum in recent years, but in its heyday, about 200 scholars met regularly to discuss whether Jesus really behaved as the Bible says he did.

The scholars voted using a system of beads -- red for accurate, pink for probable, grey for possible but unreliable, and black for improbable -- and found 82 per cent of Jesus's sayings, and 84 per cent of his deeds were unreliable to improbable.

Conservative Christians and many scholars of all stripes were outraged. Some theologians believed the seminar drove a wedge further between faith and reason, while others in more liberal churches said their faith was, in fact, bolstered by the research.

Now, the Jesus Project "will take off where the Jesus seminar left off," says Nathan Bupp, spokesman for the Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion, the group sponsoring the conference at the University of California this month. "It will breathe new fire into it. We will not close the door on free inquiry."
the rest

British Christian Attorneys Protest U.K.'s Homosexual Rights Legislation
By Ed Thomas

January 11, 2007

(AgapePress) - A recent nighttime demonstration outside Great Britain's Parliament highlighted the types of grassroots efforts that British businessmen and Christians must now use to protest homosexual rights laws passed in the United Kingdom last year.

These laws, which include banning discrimination in selling goods and services to homosexuals, were implemented in Northern Ireland, Wales, and England in early 2006, despite heavy opposition. Religious leaders in the U.K. say the legislation is forcing them to act against their biblical beliefs.

According to Reuters news reports, a recent attempt to block the laws in Northern Ireland failed overwhelmingly by a vote in Parliament's House of Lords. Faith groups at the recent nighttime rally at Parliament also sent a petition protesting the legislation to England's Queen Elizabeth II.

the rest

We Deserve Better Than Embryonic Stem Cell Research Fraud
By Judie Brown
Jan 11, 2007

Excerpt: "Yet anyone who would take the time to review the record would immediately notice that the best and most promising research being done today uses either the patient's own stem cells, cord blood stem cells or no stem cells of any kind. There is nothing to indicate that human embryonic stem cell research is effectively producing any promising results.

State after state is authorizing huge expenditures of taxpayer dollars so that they can remain in the race. Huge biotech companies are investing millions in the research, and now Congress wants to expand that funding base to include millions of federal tax dollars as well. For what? I ask you.
In Toronto Canada researchers have discovered a cure for diabetes in mice. Not a single stem cell of any kind was used in the initial research, yet few have heard about the work of Fr. Hans Michael Dosch and Dr. Michael Dalter whose injection of the active ingredient in hot chili peppers into the pancreatic sensory nerves of mice produced the amazing discovery. Yet not a single human embryo was killed."
the rest

Comet McNaught: Just passing, the best comet for 32 years
11th January 2007

In the days ahead, Comet McNaught will pass the sun (temporarily disappearing in the glare) and emerge in good position for southern hemisphere viewing later this month. Meanwhile, solar heating will continue to puff up the comet, causing it to brighten even more. It could become one of the brightest comets in centuries, visible even in daylit skies.
spaceweather more photos

New comet

A newfound comet has backyard skywatchers buzzing about its incredible brightness even though it is a challenge to spot.

Comet McNaught, named for Australian astronomer Robert McNaught who found it last year, is about to circle the Sun. It sets right after the Sun, making it visible in the West [sky map] for only a few minutes in twilight.
the rest

TV violence found to be more frequent, graphic
By Kara Rowland

January 11, 2007

America's children are being exposed to more dead bodies, fistfights and perverts than ever before, according to an analysis of violence on prime-time television released yesterday by the Parents Television Council.

Violent content from 8 to 11 p.m. on weekdays jumped 75 percent from 1998 to 2006, largely because of popular crime-solving shows and medical dramas such as "Law and Order" and "CSI," the Los Angeles nonprofit concluded in its report, titled "Dying to Entertain."

For its second such study, the group pored through 1,187.5 hours of prime-time entertainment programs on major broadcast networks from the first two weeks of the November, February and May sweeps periods during the 2003-04, 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons. The analysis excluded movies, news programs and sports events.
the rest

Ice church pulls a crowd
BBC Online

11 January 2007

Priests in Romania have been conducting services in the country's first ice church. The chapel, built in mountains 2000m above sea level, has attracted several tourists.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

When once we get intimate with Jesus we are never lonely, we never need sympathy, we can pour out all the time without being pathetic. The saint who is intimate with Jesus will never leave impressions of himself, but only the impression that Jesus is having unhindered way, because the last abyss of his nature has been satisfied by Jesus. The only impression left by such a life is that of the strong calm sanity that Our Lord gives to those who are intimate with Him. ...Oswald Chambers photo

Presiding Bishop: "The church in most places is healthy and vital"

The presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, visited Arkansas, presiding over the consecration of the Right Rev. Larry Benfield as bishop of Arkansas on Saturday. She also preached in Pine Bluff at a joint service Sunday uniting two parishes -- one conservative and one liberal. Laura Lynn Brown of the (Little Rock) Arkansas Democrat-Gazette interviewed Jefferts Schori.

While the media focuses on the denomination's declining attendance (down 8.3 percent between 2001 and 2005), Jefferts-Schori said they're not telling the whole story.

"The church in most places is healthy and vital and doing good and creative ministry. And that’s not the kind of story that sells newspapers. But it’s real. The church is thriving in so many places. And yes, there’s some conflict, but it’s a very tiny piece of the whole," she said.

In the interview, Jefferts Schori also said she can "affirm" Jesus' statement: "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." But she does so with caveats.
"I certainly don’t disagree with that statement that Jesus is the way and the truth and the life.

But the way it’s used is as a truth serum, or a touchstone: If you cannot repeat this statement, then you’re not a faithful Christian or person of faith. I think Jesus as way – that’s certainly what it means to be on a spiritual journey. It means to be in search of relationship with God. We understand Jesus as truth in the sense of being the wholeness of human expression. What does it mean to be wholly and fully and completely a human being? Jesus as life, again, an example of abundant life. We understand him as bringer of abundant life but also as exemplar. What does it mean to be both fully human and fully divine? Here we have the evidence in human form. So I’m impatient with the narrow understanding, but certainly welcoming of the broader understanding."

the rest at Bible Belt Blogger

Muslim sitcom debuts in Canada
By Lee Carter BBC News, Toronto

I'm with a group of surprised camels, a 300lb chicken shwarma and a bemused comedy writer in a wintry, wet Toronto square.

We're here for the launch of CBC's new sitcom Little Mosque on the Prairie, which depicts a Muslim community trying to assimilate in a small prairie town.

It has little in common with the sugary, 1970s American pioneer family drama Little House On The Prairie, jokingly appropriated in the show's title. By contrast, Little Mosque addresses head-on post- 9/11 fears and prejudices.

It's generating lots of publicity in Canada, with or without the camels, largely for breaking new ground as the first Muslim comedy to air on mainstream North American television.
the rest

Shocking Decline in Canadian Birthrate: found at Lifesite News

Advocacy Groups Report Escalating Christian Persecution in China, India
By Allie Martin
January 10, 2007

(AgapePress) - Persecution continues to increase against Christians throughout India and in Communist China. Representatives of organizations that minister to and advocate for believers in those countries say government authorities in both nations are severely oppressing Christians and limiting their religious freedom.

Late last month, Hindu extremists torched a church in the Indian state of Orissa after members had decorated and prepared the sanctuary for Christmas services. The Global Council of Indian Christians is investigating the church burning. And in another recent incident of anti-Christian violence, ten Indian Christian missionaries along with a pastor were beaten and arrested for singing Christmas carols.
the rest

France 'no longer a Catholic country'
By Henry Samuel in Paris

Barely half the French population describe themselves as Catholic, according to a poll released yesterday, sparking a leading religious publication to declare France "no longer a Catholic country".

A poll published in Le Monde des Religions yesterday showed the number of self-declared French Catholics had dropped from 80 per cent in the early 1990s and 67 per cent in 2000 and to 51 per cent today.

The number of atheists has risen sharply to 31 per cent from 23 per cent in 1994.
the rest

Bigotry or Obedience?
By Chuck Colson

The Media and the Episcopal Church

As you have, no doubt, read in the newspaper or seen on television, the Episcopal Church in the United States seems to be breaking up. Just last month, several prominent Virginia parishes voted to leave the church.

Why? Well, the media would have you believe that the sole issue driving the split is homosexuality, or even more narrowly, the ordination of a homosexual bishop in New Hampshire: “There they go again, those anti-gay bigots.”

But the issues behind the Episcopal Church’s disintegration are much broader and deeper than just the matter of sexual behavior. They have to do with acceptance of scriptural authority. But characteristically, sexuality is the aspect of the matter on which the media has chosen to focus.
On Christmas Day, for example, the New York Times ran a front-page attack on Anglican Bishop Peter Akinola. Bishop Akinola is a Nigerian bishop under whom many former Episcopal churches are now uniting. The Times made its agenda clear in the article’s subhead, which referred to Bishop Akinola as “an anti-gay Nigerian.”

Let’s face it: This is not front-page news because the New York Times editors are concerned about church splits. I doubt they would have covered Martin Luther if the Reformation were going on today. This is front-page news because the Times can use it to make Christians look bigoted. Why else would they lead off the article with a description of how Bishop Akinola was once taken aback to find that he had just shaken hands with a homosexual? As one who has ministered to homosexual prisoners and AIDS victims for twenty-five years, I do not endorse his reaction, but it sounds like naïveté and inexperience.

What I do take issue with is the Times and other critics telling us we are bigots. I have been in those prisons and seen our people ministering to AIDS victims over the years. I don’t see these critics there. I see our people doing this day in and day out.
the rest

We didn't leave the Episcopal Church; rather, it left us
By John Yates and Os Guinness

WASHINGTON - When even former President Ford's funeral at Washington National Cathedral is not exempt from comment about the crisis in the Episcopal Church, we believe it is time to set the record straight as to why our church and so many others around the country have severed ties with the Episcopal Church. Fundamental to a liberal view of freedom is the right of a person or group to define themselves, to speak for themselves and to not be dehumanized by the definitions and distortions of others. This right we request even of those who differ from us.

The core issue in why we left is not women's leadership. It is not ``Episcopalians against equality,'' as the headline on a recent Washington Post opinion piece by Harold Meyerson put it. It is not a ``leftward'' drift in the church. It is not even primarily ethical -- though the ordination of a practicing homosexual as bishop was the flash point that showed how far the repudiation of Christian orthodoxy had gone.
the rest

Diocese of Virginia: Thirty-day Standstill Agreement Not Renewed

The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia announced today that it will not renew the 30 day standstill agreement with the clergy and members of congregations who voted to leave the Episcopal Church to associate with the Anglican Church of Nigeria. The terms of the agreement were set to automatically renew unless one party notified the others seven days prior to the expiration of the agreement. The Diocese notified these congregations today of its decision not to renew the agreement, which is set to expire on January 17.

The leadership of the Diocese of Virginia – Bishop Peter James Lee, the Standing Committee and the Executive Board – will meet after the expiration of the standstill agreement to determine their next course of action. Specifically, the Standing Committee must decide the status of the clergy of the departed congregations. In turn, the Executive Board must consider whether the property of these Episcopal churches has been abandoned.

The standstill remains in effect until January 17 and the Diocese will continue to honor its terms and take no legal or canonical actions prior to its expiration. Bishop Lee and other leaders of the Diocese continue to consider the full range of pastoral responsibilities to those faithful Episcopalians in the congregations who chose to remain loyal to the Diocese and The Episcopal Church.

More from Virginia: John Yates Writes his parish

Dear Friends,

I have just today learned that representatives of the Bishop of Virginia have notified us that the diocese and the national church are no longerinterested in pursuing the friendly negotiations that we had agreed to earlier and that we can expect them to pursue litigation for our property as soon as the “30 day stand still ” agreement expires (Jan 17). They have reached this decision in spite of their earlier support of the “protocol” for departing congregations and in spite of our preliminary meeting less then two weeks ago with the “property committee” set up by Bishop Lee for these negotiations. Apparently now he and the leaders of the Episcopal Church have changed their mind.
the rest at titusonenine

Letter from the Senior Warden of Truro Church

Dear members of the Truro family,

We have been informed today that the Diocese of Virginia intends to initiate legal action against us upon the expiration of our “standstill agreement” with them. We have also been informed that the national church intends to participate in this legal action with them. They are apparently intending to take this action despite the earlier assurances that we received from them that they desired to settle our differences amicably, despite their earlier support of the “protocol for departing congregations,” and despite our preliminary meeting less than two weeks ago with the “property committee” set up by Bishop Lee for these negotiations.
the rest at babyblueonline

Diocese Won't Extend Pledge Not to Sue
Announcement Dims Hopes for Amicable Deal Over Property in Breakaway Parishes
By Michelle Boorstein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Hopes for a peaceful settlement between the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia and nine breakaway congregations suffered a blow yesterday when the diocese announced it would not renew a mutual promise to avoid litigation over property.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Lent and Beyond is calling us all to daily prayer for the Primates and Provinces of the Anglican Communion. Please consider being a part of this prayer campaign!

Excerpt: "We would like to ensure prayer cover for every primate and province. You can find a
post with the names and short bios from the official Anglican Communion website here. Please review the list and then leave a comment below as to whom you will commit to praying for. (You don’t need to leave your real name. We would love it however if each commenter would give a general idea of your diocese or location.) We hope many will commit to daily prayer for a given Primate and Province! After a few days we will be posting an update of which Primates are still needing prayer commitments."

Scripture calls us to pray for many things: for all saints ; for all men; for kings and all rulers; for all who are in adversity; for the sending forth of labourers; for those who labour in the gospel; for all converts; for believers who have fallen into sin; for one another in our immediate circles. ...Andrew Murray

Breaking: Archbishop of Canterbury announces Covenant Design Group members
Found at Stand Firm

The Archbishop of Canterbury today announced the members of the Covenant Design Group that he has appointed in response to a request of the Joint Standing Committee of the primates’ Meeting and of the Anglican Consultative Council.The group will meet under the chairmanship of the Primate of the West Indies, Archbishop Drexel Gomez, and includes experts in canon law, the nature and mission of of the church and ecumenical relations from around the Communion. In addition to a small core group, the Archbishop is also appointing a wider circle of corresponding members, who will be assisting the Group’s work.

the rest

Monday, January 08, 2007

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

Hear the Silent Message in Unanswered Prayer
Whitney Hopler Contributing Writer
Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Pete Greig's new book, God On Mute: Engaging the Silence of Unanswered Prayer, (Regal Books, 2007).

You’ve prayed repeatedly for God to intervene in a situation close to your heart – but all your requests have been met with silence. You’ve prayed with great passion and faith – yet still, God doesn’t answer. Do unanswered prayers mean that God doesn’t care, or worse, that He’s not even there? When you’re heartbroken over His silence, it can seem that way.

But God has a message to send you through the silence. Here’s how you can hear Him, even when He doesn’t answer your prayers:

* Be honest. Admit your disappointment, frustration, confusion, doubt, sorrow, anger, and any other feelings you have about the fact that you haven’t yet received answers to your prayers. Don’t be afraid to express yourself completely to God, without shame or pretense. Pray about every concern you have. Ask God hard questions. the rest-Excellent!

Tens of Thousands Search for God at Rejesus Website Over Christmas
Thousands have entered and visited the website throughout December, making it one of the most successful months for the site which aims to allow non-churchgoers to find out more about Jesus.
by Daniel Blake
Monday, January 8, 2007

Thousands have entered and visited the website throughout December, making it one of the most successful months for the site, which aims to allow non-churchgoers to find out more about Jesus.

Almost 82,000 people visited the website during December, with 2,412 of these going online to search about Jesus on Christmas Day. A rejesus release has said, “As well as being able to explore Christmas, sing karaoke carols, say a prayer and look at the Nativity, surfers were able to click on how they were feeling. The most popular Christmas feeling – perhaps surprisingly - was “seeking God” and the other top feelings people selected were feeling ‘sad’ and feeling ‘tired’.”

During the first three days of January, with almost 10,000 people visiting the site, figures show that people are now feeling firstly “tired”, then “seeking God”, followed by feeling “sad”, “a failure” and “worried” (in order according to number of hits).
the rest

Leading Abortion Activist Will Help John Edwards' Presidential Campaign
by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 8, 2007

Washington, DC ( -- One of the top abortion activists in the United States has signed on to assist former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards as he undertakes a second campaign for president. Kate Michelman, who was the president of NARAL for almost 20 years, will serve as a senior campaign advisor.

Edwards campaigned for the Democratic nomination in 2004 and ran a better race than political observers expected. He wound up the vice presidential nominee running alongside pro-abortion Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry.

Michelman endorsed Kerry's candidacy and was spotlighted in an infamous photo at a pro-abortion rally hugging the candidate.

In her role with the Edwards campaign, Michelman will conduct outreach to women voters.
the rest

Cd. Mahony's fishy fish lure
Barbara Kralis
January 4, 2007

One of the chief symbols of the early Church is the fish symbol, the Symbolum maius. The Sacred and essential characteristic of the Christian fish symbol passes throughout time unchanged and preserved in Sacred Tradition. The holy, ancient, outward symbol represents our Lord and the Eucharist, in association with the loaves of bread and the fishes. The fish symbol was derived from the Greek word for fish, Ιχθυς [or ichthus], and became a holy acrostic for "Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour."

Contrary to Sacred Tradition,
Cardinal Roger Mahony's Archdiocese of Los Angeles 'Ministry with Lesbian and Gay Catholics' [MLGC], under his Episcopal authority, has robbed this ancient symbol of its sacredness, mutating and deforming the Christian Eucharistic fish symbol into a profane external sign of the homosexual subculture.

Cardinal Mahony instructs his nearly 5 million Catholic members to "see in the [gay] fish pin a sign of recognition of our lesbian and gay sisters and brothers." Is Cardinal Mahony trying to hook his already desensitized laity with this fishy bait?

The Cardinal is perversely distorting a once holy and revered symbol used not only by the early Christians but today's Christians as well. Through the gift of the same Sacred Tradition the Apostles received from Christ, the early Christians recognized one another in the image of the fish during the persecution of their Church.

Most harmful are the Cardinal's attempts to further confuse his priests, religious, and laity by 'normalizing' the homosexual idioms 'lesbian' and 'gay' using the 'gay' Rainbow colored fish.
the rest

An African archbishop finds common ground in Virginia
Christian Science Monitor
By Sarah Simpson, Contributor to The Christian Science Monitor
January 08, 2007

It's not by might or by power, [as a priest] you have no police to arrest anybody you have no army with their weapons to fight anybody - all you have is to talk Anglican Archbishop of Nigeria Peter Akinola says it's no accident that he, an African, has become the outspoken leader of Anglican traditionalists worldwide. God has always looked to Africa to save his church, he says.

When Christ sought safety from Herod, he found it in Egypt, in Africa, and when he was completely worn out, an African carried his cross, according to Akinola.

"God is consistent: He has always used Africans to build his church, to save his church from error. Right from the very beginning," says Mr. Akinola, dressed in the traditional garb of his Yoruba ethnic group, a large wooden cross hanging from his neck. "Africans are always there to do it!"

Best known for his vocal opposition to homosexuality, Akinola has found support among US Anglicans, or Episcopalians, who opposed the 2003 consecration of a gay bishop and the church's move to allow dioceses to bless same-sex unions.
the rest

Fracture in the church
Heathsville body divided as many shift to Anglicans
Jan 8, 2007

Heathsville now has two St. Stephen's churches. One is Anglican, the other Episcopal.

The two were one church until last month, when 75 percent of St. Stephen's congregation voted to leave the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Virginia to affiliate with Nigeria's Anglican Church. That group has changed its name to St. Stephen's Church (Anglican).

Those who wanted to remain Episcopalians have reorganized as St. Stephen's Episcopal Church.
In the past year, 13 churches have severed ties with the Episcopal Church and the Virginia diocese. The remaining Episcopalians at St. Stephen's are the first to reorganize as a congregation and elect a vestry.

Differences over the role of gays and lesbians in church leadership and the authority of the Bible have prompted some congregations to pull out of the denomination.

"It's beyond belief when the Episcopal Church cannot confirm that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven," said Ward LeHardy, a member of the vestry of St. Stephen's Church (Anglican).
the rest

By Larry Fugate
Monday, January 8, 2007


"Schori is the first woman to head any national church within the Anglican Communion.The heart of the church’s mission “is to love each other and that means caring for your neighbors,” she said, and arguing about finer points of church doctrine is not on the list of the denomination’s goals.

One questioner at Grace drew laughter when she asked Schori what was the one question raised most often when she addresses Episcopal organizations.Anglican Communion “is alive and well,” Jefferts Schori said in response. She also acknowledged that several primates have indicated they did not want to be seated at the same table with her when the church leaders meet later this year.

Evangelism, justice and peace are common goals among Episcopalians, she said, encouraging members to explain their views to others.

“We are about embracing the world and saying ‘y’all come,’ ” she added. She encouraged church members “to listen to people who are hungry.”

Evangelism means many things in words and music, observing that it is difficult to attract young people to Episcopal churches when “you speak in Victorian English.” She cited a successful youth program in one metropolitan area that attracts young people with hip-hop.

Conservatives have also been upset because she voted for the ordination of an openly gay bishop of New Hampshire in 2003 and they worry about the reaction to her election from churches that do not accept women as bishops.

Schori has already faced a number of Episcopal congregations and dioceses rejecting her authority as church leader.

While several congregations that have voted to leave the Episcopal Church, Schori emphasized the diocese will maintain control of their buildings and other assets, noting the physical property is a legacy of the church, not a congregation.

“Our focus needs to be on feeding people who go to bed hungry at night, on providing education to the young, on healing people with AIDS, on addressing tuberculosis and malaria. That ought to be the primary focus,” she said

.Other issues dividing the church include the recognition of gay and lesbian marriages and intelligent design versus evolution.

A former oceanographer, she views religion and science “as partners.”

One woman told Schori she wanted to worship as she “saw fit.”

“You are not alone,” Schori assured her." the rest

Jesus feels for thee;
Jesus consoles thee;
Jesus will help thee.

No monarch in his impregnable fortress is more secure than the cony in his rocky burrow. The Master of ten thousand chariots is not one whit better protected than the little dweller in the mountain's cleft. In Jesus the weak are strong, and the defenceless safe; they could not be more strong if they were giants, or more safe if they were in heaven. Faith gives to men on earth the protection of the God of heaven. More they cannot need, and need not wish. The conies cannot build a castle, but they avail themselves of what is there already: I cannot make myself a refuge, but Jesus has provided it, His Father has given it, His Spirit has revealed it, and lo, again tonight I enter it, and am safe from every foe. ...Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Please pray for the people of St. Andrew's Church, Syracuse NY as we seek to remain faithful to God's will for us! Photo of St. Andrew's by Raymond Dague

National Episcopal Church Seeks to Join Lawsuit to Seize Syracuse Parish
Monday, January 8, 2007

Contact: Raymond J. Dague

Lawyers for The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society of the Episcopal Church (often abbreviated ECUSA) served legal papers last Friday morning asking a state supreme court judge to allow them to intervene in an ongoing lawsuit seeking to seize St. Andrews Church in Syracuse, New York. The move came six months after the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York filed the lawsuit against St. Andrews to take the property from those who have worshiped in the local congregation since 1903.

St. Andrews and its priest, Fr. Robert Hackendorf, have successfully resisted the attempt by the diocese to take the parish through legal action, both last July and again last September. In September, the judge dismissed the part of the lawsuit where the diocese was suing individual members of the parish vestry, and also denied a request for a preliminary injunction against the local church. The lawsuit against the parish and the rector was allowed to continue. It is this lawsuit which the larger church corporation now seeks to join.

This move by ECUSA is the first such action against a local parish since the newly elected Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori took office in November of 2006. Early last year a similar attempt by ECUSA to intervene and assert claims against three parishes in the Los Angeles Diocese was dismissed by the trial court judge. Those cases are now on appeal.

Shortly before Bishop Schori took office last fall, David Beers, the principal lawyer for the presiding bishop, issued a stream of increasingly tough rhetoric directed at local parishes which resisted the move of the larger church body to ordain a homosexual bishop. This is the first time since the Los Angeles cases where ECUSA has resorted to suing local parishes.

“With more parishes leaving the Episcopal Church, it is widely expected by legal experts on both sides that ECUSA will be filing more lawsuits like this one,” said Raymond Dague, the attorney for St. Andrews. “I expect that they will be no more successful here than they were in the California litigation. Still, this is all very sad, because it reveals how mean-spirited the folks on the other side of this issue can be. This is a long way from how a church should behave.”

Bishop Schori and the parish are on opposite sides of a controversy over homosexual bishops and the authority of Scripture which has for years engulfed the Episcopal Church. St. Andrews adheres to the traditional teaching of the church that sex outside of marriage is prohibited by the Bible, while the Bishop and the leaders of the larger church have been outspoken supporters of the actively homosexual bishop of New Hampshire.

Over the last three and a half years, twenty-two of 38 primates of the World Wide Anglican Communion have declared broken or impaired communion with the Episcopal Church of the United States of America (ECUSA) because of this issue, and the vast majority of the Communion believes ECUSA has abandoned the faith and practice of Anglicanism as well as historic Christian teaching.