Saturday, March 17, 2007

When circumstances seem impossible, when all signs of grace in you seem at their lowest ebb, when temptation is fiercest, when love and joy and hope seem well-nigh extinguished in your heart, then rest, without feeling and without emotion, in the Father's faithfulness. ...D. Tryon photo

Strong condemnation of euthanasia case in Spain
According to the president of the State Federation of Pro-Life Associations, Alicia Latorre, this case could become a rallying cry for opening the doors to euthanasia in Spain.
Saturday, March 17, 2007

Diverse civil organizations and leaders are deploring the death of Inmaculada Echevarria, a Spanish woman who suffered from progressive muscular dystrophy and whose respirator was removed by doctors, calling it a case of euthanasia that has no legal or moral basis.

According to the president of the State Federation of Pro-Life Associations, Alicia Latorre, this case could become “a rallying cry for opening the doors to euthanasia” in Spain.

Natalia Lopez Moratalla, doctor in Biology and professor of biochemistry, said the case of Echevarria is “euthanasia pure and simple.” At the same time, the Spanish Forum for the Family stressed that suffering and terminal illnesses should be addressed with “palliative care and humane medicine.”
the rest

Bill requires women to see ultrasound before abortion
March 17, 2007

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Women seeking abortions in South Carolina would be required to view an ultrasound image of their fetus before the procedure under a proposal gaining support from lawmakers. If enacted, it would be the first law of its kind in the nation.

Some states make ultrasound images available to women before an abortion, but South Carolina would be alone in mandating that women see the pictures.

Proponents say women would change their minds after seeing an ultrasound and choose instead to keep the child or offer it for adoption.
the rest

Apostle to the Irish
The Real Saint Patrick
By Chuck Colson
Sat, Mar. 17 2007

If you ask people who Saint Patrick was, you're likely to hear that he was an Irishman who chased the snakes out of Ireland.

It may surprise you to learn that the real Saint Patrick was not actually Irish—yet his robust faith changed the Emerald Isle forever.

Patrick was born in Roman Britain to a middle-class family in about A.D. 390. When Patrick was a teenager, marauding Irish raiders attacked his home. Patrick was captured, taken to Ireland, and sold to an Irish king, who put him to work as a shepherd.

In his excellent book, How the Irish Saved Civilization, Thomas Cahill describes the life Patrick lived. Cahill writes, "The work of such slave-shepherds was bitterly isolated, months at a time spent alone in the hills."

Patrick had been raised in a Christian home, but he didn't really believe in God. But now—hungry, lonely, frightened, and bitterly cold—Patrick began seeking out a relationship with his heavenly Father. As he wrote in his Confession, "I would pray constantly during the daylight hours" and "the love of God . . . surrounded me more and more."
the rest

New Church of Ireland Primate Preaches Reconciliation at Enthronement
The new Church of Ireland Primate was enthroned in Armagh on Friday with a call to members of the Church to follow the example of Christ in forgiveness and reconciliation.
by Maria Mackay
Posted: Saturday, March 17, 2007

The new Church of Ireland Primate was enthroned in Armagh on Friday with a call to members of the Church to follow the example of Christ in forgiveness and reconciliation.

Archbishop Alan Harper underlined in his enthronement sermon at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Armagh the need for lasting peace in Northern Ireland, with a reminder to Christians that their lives would be measured according to how well they lived out Jesus’ teaching to love our enemies.

As Easter approaches, Archbishop Harper preached the culmination of reconciliation and forgiveness in the cross, and the unconditional love of the father in the Parable of the Prodigal Son.
the rest

Democrats Slip Benefits for Planned Parenthood into Iraq War Funding Bill
By John-Henry Westen

WASHINGTON, March 16, 2007

( - Apparently the Democrats consider an emergency war funding bill to be an appropriate place to include funding for so-called "emergency contraception" for Planned Parenthood. On Thursday, the Appropriations Committee in the House of Representatives was scheduled to take up a $124.1 billion Supplemental Appropriations bill to fund the war in Iraq.

Into this emergency bill Democrats have buried a provision in the bill on page 155 which specifically mentions Planned Parenthood. The bill includes technical corrections to the Deficit Reduction Act (DRA) regarding Medicaid. "These corrections: … clarify current law that planned parenthood clinics and certain university clinics can continue to receive nominal drug prices"

The provision, while not giving Planned Parenthood federal funds, would have allowed drug companies to give Planned Parenthood cheaper rates on drugs, without changing drug company profits, thus allowing greater profit to Planned Parenthood. the rest

Gay issues in Anglican church: Bishops may be praying for unity
March 17, 2007

When the 296 U.S. bishops of the Episcopal Church retreat this weekend for four days of reflection, their prayers may address questions that threaten to rip their church from its historic roots in the 77-million member worldwide Anglican Communion.

Conservative Anglicans in the USA and abroad demand that by Sept. 30 the Episcopal Church stop blessing same-sex unions, cease approving any actively gay bishops and adopt a view of the Bible as the literal authority for morality.
the rest

Friday, March 16, 2007

For the power Thou hast given me
to lay hold of things unseen:
For the strong sense I have that this is not my home:
For my restless heart which nothing finite can satisfy:
I give Thee thanks, O God.
For the invasion of my soul by Thy Holy Spirit:
For all human love and goodness that speak to me of Thee:
For the fullness of Thy glory outpoured in Jesus Christ
I give Thee thanks, O God.
John Baillie photo

Grace Episcopal faces new loss: funds

March 15, 2007

Grace Episcopal Church, still reeling from the suspension of its prominent rector, is facing another crisis: a substantial dip in revenue.

According to the Grace vestry’s senior warden, Jon Wroblewski, the church is looking at a $300,000 shortfall of its projected $1.8 million 2007 budget, if current giving rates continue. Though he says the church has “recovered a bit” lately, the vestry sent a letter to parishioners this week saying some had “intentionally chosen to suspend their financial giving” after the Rev. Donald Armstrong was suspended.

“In order to fulfill our responsibilities to this Parish, either those Parishioners will need to resume their financial giving, or we’ll be forced to continue cutting back on our ministries,” the letter reads. “We are leaving the outcome up to God and His will.”

The letter underscores the divisions that have sprouted at Grace since Bishop Robert O’Neill, head of the state’s Episcopal diocese, suspended Armstrong under suspicion of misusing church funds. Armstrong recently hired Colorado Springs attorney Dennis Hartley and faces a potential showdown with the diocese in Ecclesiastical court. the rest

AAC Statement on the Denial of Consent for South Carolina Bishop-elect Mark Lawrence
AAC Press Release
March 16, 2007

The American Anglican Council (AAC) received yesterday’s news that the Rev. Mark Lawrence has been denied consent to become the next bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina with grave disappointment and renewed concern for the U.S. Episcopal Church. According to a diocesan press release, Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church (TEC), declared the election “null and void” due to “canonical deficiencies” – namely, that some of the written permissions by standing committees were offered electronically – even though the number of standing committees giving consent would otherwise have been sufficient.

The AAC joins the president of the Standing Committee of the Diocese of South Carolina, the Rev. J. Haden McCormick, in praying that “this tragic outcome will be a wake up call to both clergy and lay through out TEC as to the conditions in our church.”
the rest

Melissa - HomeSchooled Teen in Germany Begs for Help to Go Home to Family
By John-Henry Westen
NUREMBERG, March 15, 2007

( - In a hand-written letter secretly passed by her to members of the International Human Rights Group (IHRG) in Germany, Melissa Busekros the 15-year-old who was removed from her family by police for having been homeschooled, begged for assistance to return to her parents.

In the letter, dated March 12, 2007, Melissa relates, "I was taken away from my family on the first February 2007 and brought with more than 15 police men to the psychiatry in Nuremberg."

She explains, "There I was 2 weeks, I was brought there because I was homeschooled 2 ½ years. Now I am in a foster-family and I am allowed to see my parents only a week." the rest

Abduction of boys and girls by Islamists in northern state increasingly common.

SOKOTO, Nigeria, March 14 (Compass Direct News) – Beginning in November of last year, 13-year-old Victor Udo Usen, a member of the Christ Apostolic Church in this northern Nigeria city, went missing.

On February 20, news that young Victor was spotted in a Muslim neighbor’s house jolted his family. A young Christian girl had raced to the Usens’ home in the Mabera area of Sokoto city with the news.

Victor’s mother, Esther Udo Usen, told Compass that she ran to the house where her son had been seen. She met him, however, even as he was making frantic efforts to escape from the house where he has been held incommunicado for six months.

“I quickly held his hands and dragged him along with me towards our house,” she said. “But within a twinkle of an eye, I heard shouts of ‘Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar [God is great]!’ I was shocked as I saw a large number of Muslims rushing towards us.”
the rest

Christians Who Won't Toe the Line
By E. J. Dionne Jr.
Friday, March 16, 2007

Evangelical Protestantism in the United States is going through a New Reformation that is disentangling a great religious movement from a partisan political machine. This historic change will require liberals and conservatives alike to abandon their sometimes narrow views of who evangelicals are.

The reformers won an important
victory this month when the board of the National Association of Evangelicals faced down right-wing partisans and reaffirmed its view that solving global warming was an important moral cause. In so doing, it also expressed confidence in the Rev. Rich Cizik, the NAE's vice president for governmental affairs. the rest

Global Ultimatum
The larger meaning of Anglican leaders' demand that the Episcopal Church change its ways.
Timothy C. Morgan in Tanzania and Zanzibar

For Henry Luke Orombi, Anglican archbishop of Uganda, the topic for his chapel sermon on Friday, February 16, was an obvious choice. That is the day when Anglicans worldwide remember Janani Luwum, honored as a modern martyr.

But this time, the commemoration of the Ugandan archbishop who confronted Idi Amin became the prelude to a fateful turning point for global Anglicanism.

Once every three years, the top leaders of the world's 78 million Anglicans, called primates, gather for consultation and study. In mid-February, 35 of the 38 primates assembled for the first time on African soil amid threat of Anglican schism over homosexuality. In 2003, an openly gay priest, V. Gene Robinson, became the Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire, throwing Anglicans into a historic struggle between left-leaning revisionists and conservatives.
the rest

Unsettled Times For Episcopalians
By Jeff Wright
The Register-Guard
Friday, March 16, 2007

Worldwide Anglican leaders' views on human sexuality are of more than passing interest to an Episcopal church in south Eugene, where the priest is gay and the board president is a lesbian who hopes to be ordained.

At an Episcopal church in west Eugene, meanwhile, a priest likens the issue to "the elephant in the living room" - a subject that few are eager to discuss after a similar debate four years ago spurred an exodus of about 20 families.

As in other Protestant denominations, the country's 2.3 million Episcopalians have long wrestled with the topic of homosexuality - and have landed somewhere in the middle. The church welcomes gays and lesbians into the pew and pulpit, but has no formal liturgy allowing for the blessing of same-sex couples.
the rest

East Coast Braces for Late-Season Winter Blast
Friday, March 16, 2007

A storm spawned in the South could mean some big snow problems for the Northeast Friday.
The massive storm could also bring heavy rain and sleet to some areas before it moves off.

The storm system is pulling cold air from Canada, creating the recipe for a major winter storm from the northern Appalachians to New England, said a National Weather Service spokesman. Some places could get a foot of heavy wet snow, which could be bad news in terms of broken power lines and fallen tree limbs.
the rest

Radar loop

US Dopplar radar

Troop surge
The growth of Christianity in China is swift and bigger than we thought

Marvin Olasky

We've looked in this issue at what's happening in some large cities. It's been nine months since I visited China and reported to you the wildfire growth of Christianity in the largest country in the world—and that growth seems to be continuing: One Beijing official recently estimated that the number of Chinese Christians has reached 125 million.

Compare that enormous surge with the number of arrests of Christians last year for religious reasons—600, according to the U.S.-based religious-rights group China Aid Association—and it seems as if Chinese Communists are trying to stop a charging water buffalo with a pea-shooter.
the rest

Colleges told to take a stronger stand against drinking and drugs
Mar. 15, 2007
By Mara Rose Williams
McClatchy Newspapers

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A report on college student alcohol and drug abuse released Thursday calls on administrators to take a stronger stance against drinking and drug use on campuses.
The report, "Wasting the Best and the Brightest: Substance Abuse at America's Colleges," lays out a 10-point plan of action administrators can follow to prevent and reduce student substance abuse.

The report by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, at Columbia University, says excessive drinking in college is not a rite of passage but rather a culture that has been allowed on many campuses.

It suggests that alcohol-free and drug-free campuses should be the rule, not the exception, and that universities do such things as set substance abuse policies with real consequences for violators and ban smoking and drinking.
the rest

UK: Outrage Expressed at Gay Book Scheme for 4 to 11 Year-Olds
Books that introduce homosexuality to children aged as young as 4 are being launched in a selection of UK schools, under a pilot scheme that has sparked outrage from a number of religious groups.
by Daniel Blake
Posted: Friday, March 16, 2007

Books that introduce homosexuality to children aged as young as 4 are being launched in a selection of UK schools, under a pilot scheme that has sparked outrage from a number of religious groups.

The concept has infuriated religious groups, echoing the uproar of the '80s when a similar scheme caught the imagination of the tabloid press.

“The most important thing these books do is reflect reality for young children,” say Elizabeth Atkinson, director of the ‘No Outsiders’ project by Sunderland and Exeter universities and London’s Institute of Education. “My background is in children's literature and I know how powerful it is in shaping social values and emotional development. What books do not say is as important as what they do.”
the rest

Many Alzheimer's caregivers seek help in God
About a third of those who take care of loved ones with the disease feel 'more religious' because of their experiences, a new national study says.

By Tami Abdollah
March 14, 2007

Each morning Frances Chavis sneaks out of her house for 6 a.m. prayer, hoping to get back before her husband wakes up.

Chavis, whose husband Lemuel, 72, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2003, spends her days as a "shadow" — watching over her husband and the house, making sure everything is done correctly — and, when she can, she naps.

And every morning, after about two hours in church in the Crenshaw area, she returns to her home with the motivation and strength to go on."I have to realize that when it's too hard for me," Chavis says, "it's just right for God."
the rest

Shas Proposes Expanded Bill to Outlaw Missionary Activity
by Hana Levi Julian
March 16, '07

( A record number of Jews converting to Islam last year prompted the Shas Knesset faction Tuesday to propose a bill that would jail missionaries who proselytize to individuals in Israel.

Hareidi-religious Sephardic party spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef urged Shas faction leader MK Yaakov Margi to propose the expansion of the current law against missionary activity after learning that a record number of Jews converted to Islam last year.
the rest

Worshipping near home
By Natasha Altamirano
March 16, 2007

The small Episcopal congregation gathered for worship Sunday morning in a sunlit loft of a Presbyterian church across the street from the historic Falls Church, the Episcopal group's former home.

The liturgy of the newly reconstituted Falls Church Episcopal, a tiny minority of congregants who voted to stay with the Episcopal Church, was punctuated by uplifting hymns, as the Rev. Michael Pipkin reminded the 50 or so worshippers that Lent, the 40-day season of penance and self-reflection before Easter, is a time to prepare for Jesus Christ's return.

Lent is a period of spiritual discipline to strengthen one's relationship with God, which Episcopal leaders say is necessary now as the American church faces one of the most difficult periods in its history.

"The world does not revolve around us and our sins," said Mr. Pipkin, who has been providing temporary leadership for some 150 Episcopalians who want to remain with the Episcopal Church. "God knows them all, and yet God chooses to be with us."
the rest

Emergency contraception measure becomes law
Hospitals must give rape victims info about drug

By April M. Washington,
Rocky Mountain News
March 16, 2007

A bill requiring hospitals to give rape victims information about emergency contraception - a measure that's been killed four times since 2003 - became law Thursday.

"A lot of people put a lot of effort and energy into this bill," Gov. Bill Ritter said as he signed it.

"It says that if you're a health care provider in the state and you're confronted with a sexual assault victim, you must provide her with information about emergency contraception. We believe this is an important step."

The measure was among four bills signed into law by Ritter. The other three addressed the needs of higher education.
the rest

ENS: Lawrence invited to participate in second search process
By Jerry Hames

Thursday, March 15, 2007

[Episcopal News Service] Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has declared "null and void" the election of the Very Rev. Mark Lawrence to be the 14th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina.

The announcement was first made in a letter written by the Rev. J. Haden McCormick, president of the Standing Committee of the Diocese of South Carolina, and posted to the diocesan website late in the afternoon of March 15.

"Although more than a majority of dioceses had voted to consent to Fr. Mark's election, there were canonical deficiencies in the written responses sent to us," McCormick wrote. "Several dioceses, both on and off American soil, thought that electronic permission was sufficient as had been their past accepted practice. The canons which apply are III.11.4(b), pp. 101-102 in the newly published 2006 Constitutions and Canons that require the prescribed testimonial to the consent be signed by a majority of each standing committee."

"I spoke to Father McCormick today, informing him that consent to the election of the Rev. Mark Lawrence has not been achieved," wrote Jefferts Schori in an email from Camp Allen in Texas.

A formal letter to the diocese, she said, will go out March 16.
the rest

Conservative Episcopal Bishop Rejected

Top Episcopal bishop tosses S.C. election

Thursday, March 15, 2007

BREAKING: Consents for New South Carolina Bishop's Election Ruled Insufficient

I received a phone call late this afternoon from the Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori giving notification that she was declaring null and void the election of The Very Rev. Mark Lawrence to be bishop of The Diocese of South Carolina. Although more than a majority of dioceses had voted to consent to Fr. Mark’s election, there were canonical deficiencies in the written responses sent to us. Several dioceses, both on and off American soil, thought that electronic permission was sufficient as had been their past accepted practice. The canons which apply are III.11.4(b), pp. 101-102 in the newly published 2006 Constitutions and Canons that require the prescribed testimonial to the consent be signed by a majority of each standing committee.

I have also notified Fr. Mark of her decision. We offer our deepest condolences to Fr. Mark and his wife Allison who have navigated this time of process with class, dignity and courage. I know that it is toughest on Allison who has had to watch her beloved spouse suffer so many indignities. We hope that they will agree to continue to be a part of the Diocese of South Carolina’s pursuit of securing our next Diocesan. Fr. Lawrence has modeled exemplary patience and calmness by enduring a level of scrutiny and persecution that is without precedent in The Episcopal Church (TEC).
the rest

comments at titusonenine

Gay Episcopal Bishop Says 'Unprecedented' Demands Will Dominate Meeting
Daniel Burke

WASHINGTON (RNS) On his way to a crucial meeting of Episcopal bishops, the openly gay bishop whose election set off a row in the global Anglican Communion said church governance, not gay rights, may dominate the agenda.

Episcopal bishops will meet behind closed doors Friday through March 21 in Navasota, Texas. They are expected to discuss recent demands by Anglican primates, or top bishops, that the American church promise by Sept. 30 to stop electing gay bishops and authorizing blessing rites for same-sex unions.

The primates also said the Anglican Communion, of which the Episcopal Church is the U.S. branch, should set up a new system to deal with breakaway conservatives. The new system would include a council of foreign Anglican and American leaders and a "primatial vicar" to take the place of Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori in ministering to dissident conservatives.
the rest

ALBANY: New Bishop Is Committed To Anglican Communion Evangelism, Church Planting, Healing Ministries will be his Diocesan Priorities
An Exclusive Interview with the Bishop of Albany, the Rt. Rev. William Love

By David W. Virtue

The great hymns of the church play gently in the background. "Fr. Bill," as he is affectionately known, is focused, concerned, prayerful and mindful that his life has just taken a major U turn. At 49, and one of the youngest bishops of the Episcopal House of Bishops, he has moved from a small town parish of less than 100 souls, high in the Adirondack Mountains, to a major metropolis, becoming bishop of a diocese that must change and grow and to a denomination that is coming apart at the seams. He is a popular son of the diocese and easily won over the laity on the first vote. It took four votes for the clergy to give him the nod.

Bishop Love lives up to his name. He is a humble, loving, pastoral soul; deeply concerned for every life he touches. His gentleness, though, should not be mistaken for weakness. He is thoroughly orthodox in faith and morals. He is a Nashotah House graduate, and sees himself as Anglo-Catholic (liturgically), Evangelical (gospel driven), and Charismatic - the gifts of the Spirit including healing are a big part of the diocese's outreach ministry.
the rest at Virtueonline

Episcopal bishops to mull Anglican protest on gays
U.S. church leaders to talk over ultimatum in Texas

By James Dowd
March 15, 2007

The Episcopal Church has been put on notice by the worldwide Anglican Communion -- restrict the role of non-celibate gays or else -- but American bishops aren't likely to resolve the issue at their national meeting that starts Friday.

"I hope we're not at an either/or place, but we have to get clearer about our identity as a body of Christians bearing witness to God's love," Bishop Don Johnson of the Episcopal Diocese of West Tennessee said before he left Memphis.

Bishops from the nation's 111 dioceses will gather in Texas for a four-day meeting to discuss global concerns about the U.S. church's policies on sexuality.
the rest

My Homosexual Agenda is Jesus, Bishop Declares
Monisha Bansal
Staff Writer

( - An openly homosexual Episcopal bishop from New Hampshire Wednesday asserted that the "500-year experiment in Anglicanism is being tested right now." The election and consecration of Bishop Gene Robinson in 2003 prompted some Episcopal parishes in the U.S. to leave the worldwide Anglican Church.

During a panel discussion hosted Wednesday by the Washington Region for Justice and Inclusion in Washington, D.C., Robinson said "you see a mainline denomination risking its life for some people on the margins."

"It is my great privilege to be a small part of that," he added.
the rest

Christian conservatives growing up

Wed, Mar. 14, 2007
Tribune Media Services

Conservative evangelical Christian voters have come a long way in a short time. From their nearly unanimous condemnation of Bill Clinton for his extramarital affairs, a growing number of these “pro-family” voters appear ready to accept several Republican presidential candidates who do not share their ideal of marriage and faith.

Among those seriously under consideration by these church-going folks is former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who has been married three times and who had an affair with the woman now his wife when he was married to wife number two. The second wife, Donna Hanover, once recorded a political commercial for Giuliani, touting his virtues as a husband. She called him “honest and very kind” and “this is the kind of man I wanted to be the father of my children” and said “Rudy is such a great Dad.” It’s on YouTube. In recent days we’ve learned from his son Andrew that he and his father are estranged, but that they’re working on it. Andrew says he got his values from his mother.
the rest

Photocopiers Seen as Next Identity-Theft Weak Point
Thursday, March 15, 2007

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Consumers are bombarded with warnings about
identity theft.
Publicized threats range from mailbox thieves and lost laptops to the higher-tech methods of e-mail
scams and corporate data invasions.

That's because most digital copiers manufactured in the past five years have
disk drives — the same kind of data-storage mechanism found in computers — to reproduce documents.

As a result, the seemingly innocuous machines that are commonly used to spit out copies of tax returns for millions of Americans can retain the data being scanned.

If the data on the copier's disk aren't protected with
encryption or an overwrite mechanism, and if someone with malicious motives gets access to the machine, industry experts say sensitive information from original documents could get into the wrong hands. the rest

Assisted Suicides at All Time High New Oregon Figures Show
by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 14, 2007
Salem, OR

( -- The number of Oregon residents using the state's assisted suicide law to kill themselves is on the rise. New figures from the state's health department show more people in Oregon died under the assisted suicide law in 2006 than any year previously.

The Department of Human Services of Oregon, in its annual report, reveals that 46 Oregonians, most of them suffering from cancer, kill themselves after getting a prescription for a lethal amount of drugs from their physician.

The number is up eight from the 38 people took their lives under the assisted suicide law in 2005 and higher than in other years.
the rest

Florida: Gay adoption push renewed
March 15, 2007

TALLAHASSEE - Florida's three-decades-old ban on allowing gays to adopt children is under attack once again.

But the ban has powerful allies, including Gov. Charlie Crist and Sen. Ronda Storms of Brandon, who ran for office on a pledge to prevent gays from being foster parents.

Florida is one of three states, with Mississippi and Utah, that prohibits gays from adopting.

Some state lawmakers, backed by human rights and gay rights groups, want to allow gay foster parents to adopt children if a judge rules it's in the child's best interest or if a gay adult were the legal guardian of a child whose biological parents had died.
the rest

Malls' night restrictions on teens paying off
By Judy Keen
March 15, 2007

CHICAGO — A growing number of shopping malls are turning away teenagers during evening hours unless they're accompanied by adults.

Restrictions at some malls apply every night, others on Fridays and Saturdays. Hours and ages vary. The rules are meant to reduce fighting and ensure that adults and families don't avoid malls where rowdy teenagers take over stores, corridors and food courts.

The Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn., was the first U.S. mall to create an "escort policy" in 1996, says the International Council of Shopping Centers. The idea has caught on: 39 malls now have limits on teenagers. Fifteen implemented such policies in the past two years and dozens more are considering them.
the rest

Zimbabwe Bishop Warned

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and the Primate of Central Africa, the Most Rev. Bernard Malango, have pressed the Bishop of Harare to distance himself from the regime of Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe.

Following a March 7 meeting with the Rt. Rev. Nolbert Kunonga in Johannesburg, the two archbishops released a
statement of “deep concern” over the state of church and civil society in Zimbabwe, and an oblique warning for the controversial bishop to mend his ways. the rest

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Psalm 133: When Brothers Dwell in Unity
A Song of Ascents. Of David.

Behold, how good and pleasant it is
when brothers dwell in unity!
It is like the precious oil on the head,
running down on the beard,
on the beard of Aaron,
running down on the collar of his robes!
It is like the dew of Hermon,
which falls on the mountains of Zion!
For there the Lord has commanded the blessing,
life forevermore.

Here we have two lovely illustrations of unity among brethren. It is like ointment descending from the head of the high priest to the skirts of his garment; and it is like the dew descending, in refreshing power, from Hermon's snowy top.

How truly delightful! And yet they are but figures used to set forth the divine idea of unity among brethren. But how is the unity to be promoted? By living sufficiently near to our great priestly Head to catch the fragrant ointment as it descends from Him — to be living so near the Man in the glory as that the refreshing dew of His grace may drop upon our souls, thus rendering us fragrant and fruitful to His praise.

This is the way to dwell in unity with our brethren. It is one thing to talk about unity, and another thing altogether to dwell in it. We may profess to hold "the unity of the body," and "the unity of the Spirit" — most precious and glorious truths surely — and all the while be really full of selfish strife, party spirit, and sectarian feeling, all of which are entirely destructive of practical unity. If brethren are to dwell together in unity, they must be receiving the ointment from the Head, the refreshing showers from the true Hermon. They must live in the very presence of Christ, so that all their points and angles may be moulded off, all their selfishness judged and subdued, all their own peculiar notions set aside, all their cues and crotchets flung to the winds. Thus there will be largeness of heart, breadth of mind, and depth of sympathy. Thus we shall learn to bear and forbear. It will not then be loving those who think with us and feel with us as to some pet theory or other. It will be loving and embracing "all who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity."
C. H. Mackintosh Mount Hermon

First Things: Prosing About the Web
By Joseph Bottum
Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Writing on the Web good not is. Too fast, it move. Too quick, it change. And telegraphed its punches are.

Of course, that’s the nature of the beast.
Be angry at the sun for setting if these things anger you. Every morning, I read the newspaper editorials linked on Real Clear Politics, the magazine pieces linked on Arts & Letters Daily, and then I start on the blogs—and the blogs and the blogs and the blogs. Some are thoughtful, some are clever, some are informative, and some are wide-ranging. Mostly they serve as filters—as if to say: We too have been browsing around the Web, and we’re better at it than you are, and here are the interesting things we’ve found, with a pithy comment to mark each one.

Fair enough. To ask for extended passages of fine prose in such things is like asking for a complete explanation of Georgetown’s use of
the Princeton Offense in the thirty seconds of college-basketball highlights on the evening news. Or an accurate description of the pope’s new apostolic exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis in a daily newspaper.

But sometimes the eye wants a little more—a sweep of prose, a few fun paragraphs in a row, a more-than-pithy passage. Why is it any surprise that the Web doesn’t provide many examples? You’d need to find writers who could do it at thousands of words every week. The shock is that there are any at all.
the rest

Interesting blog: Manolo, the great shoe blogger

ACNS: Archbishops of Canterbury and York online reflection - 'Slavery still with us'
14 MARCH 2007

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have today published an innovative online reflection on the nature of the Slave Trade in readiness for the Church of England’s Walk of Witness to take place in London on Saturday March 24.

The joint reflection has been posted on youtube and is also available on this site. It was filmed at the site of the Slave Market in Zanzibar, now the island’s Anglican Cathedral, during the recent Anglican Primates Meeting. The Archbishops were shown two small preserved slave pits, where up to 175 men, women and children were held in appalling conditions, chained and in darkness, often without food and water. Archbishop Sentamu spent some time at a memorial to the slaves which features some of the original chains used when the market was operating. the rest

ENS: TEAM: Presiding Bishop tells conference to carry out prophetic witness
By Mary Frances Schjonberg
Wednesday, March 14, 2007

[Episcopal News Service] At the March 14 closing session of the Towards Effective Anglican Mission (TEAM) conference, which has described itself, in part, as an international conference on prophetic witness, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori told the participants that they stand in a long line of Jewish and Christian -- including Anglican -- prophets.

A prophet, she said, is ''literally, one who speaks for God -- one like Isaiah or Jeremiah who dares to critique the evils of human systems and also dares to speak a vision for what God believes things should look like -- the godly characteristics to which a human society could and should aspire.''

''The opportunity that is the Anglican Communion is a gift given for a reason, and that reason is the healing of God's creation,'' Jefferts Schori told the conference gathered for its final meal together at the Birchwood Conference Centre in Boksburg, near the Johannesburg airport.

''The bonds of affection born and nurtured here in Boksburg are going to continue to transform this larger world for a very long time to come. Because we know our neighbor, and have heard the cries of our brothers and sisters in Burundi or Sudan or South Africa or Nigeria, we can tell that story, and help others in our own contexts to hear those cries in the wilderness. Because we know our neighbor, we have heard the cries of those made captive to consumerist societies, particularly in the wilderness of the developed world and we can tell that story,'' she said. ''We are invited into the prophetic work of claiming our oneness in God, and striving to make God's vision for our oneness more effectively real and complete in this world.''
the rest

Group Launches Post-Abortion E-Cards
Wednesday, March 14, 2007

A nonprofit organization has unveiled a series of electronic greeting cards that concerned friends and relatives can send to a woman after she chooses to have an abortion.

Like Exhale's confidential talk line for women who have had abortions, the six e-cards available on the group's Web site were designed to be nonpartisan and encompass the range of someone's potential responses to going through an abortion.

"Women having abortions are calling our line because often they don't have someone to talk to — it's a stigmatized issue," said Aspen Baker, founder and executive director of Oakland-based Exhale.
the rest

Four Christians Missing In Sri Lanka As Fighting Intensifies
Tuesday, 13 March 2007
By BosNewsLife News Center

COLOMBO, SRI LANKA (BosNewsLife)-- There was mounting concern Tuesday, March 13, about the whereabouts of an evangelical Sri Lankan pastor, his two sons, and another Christian young man who disappeared this month amid intense fighting between Sri Lanka's government forces and the independence seeking Tamil Tiger rebels, Christians said.

Pastor Victor E.M.S. Yogarajan, 51, of the Gospel Missionary Church in the northern city of Vavuniya, his two sons, Daniel, 22, and David, 20 and fellow Christian Joseph Suganthakumar, 20, dissapeared March. 2, said the National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka (NCEASL) in a statement.
the rest

'Destroy the Christian Religion'
Campaign against Christians presses problem with refugee resettlement.
Sheryl Henderson Blunt

A campaign to wipe out Christians and ethnic minority groups in Myanmar is creating a refugee crisis and new challenges for the U.S. government.

According to a leaked document obtained by Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), Myanmar's military regime has embarked on a plan to rid the country of Christians through force and persuasion.

"The Christian religion is very gentle—identify and utilize its weakness," explains the plan, titled "Program to Destroy the Christian Religion in Burma."
the rest

U.S. Anglican Churches Call for Property Lawsuit Dismissal
Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter
Wed, Mar. 14 2007

Breakaway Anglican churches sued by the Diocese of Virginia filed their official response on Monday over disputes on property rights.

Ten of the 11 churches involved in the lawsuit asked the court to dismiss the Diocese's suits for failure to state any claims on which relief could be granted.

"The individual defendants sued by the Diocese serve as officers, directors or trustees without compensation and thus are immune altogether from suit by Virginia statute or cannot be properly sued as a matter of Virginia corporation law," stated the churches in the Anglican District of Virginia in their response.

The churches, which broke from the Episcopal Church in overwhelming votes in December, argued that Virginia law does not recognize denominational trusts in their property and thus the Diocese cannot base claim to church property on an assertion of trust-based rights. Based on that claim, since the Diocese does not own the church properties, its claims of conversion, trespass, alienation or accounting "must fail," the response stated.
the rest

Danbury woman breaks barrier in Episcopal church
March 14, 2007

DANBURY, Conn. -- The Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut has chosen a Danbury woman to be its first female bishop.

Laura Ahrens, 44, rector of St. James Episcopal Church in Danbury, was elected assistant bishop, or suffragan bishop, by more than 500 lay people and clergy during a special vote Christ Church Cathedral in Hartford over the weekend.

The Episcopal Church began allowing women to serve as priests in 1976.

Ahrens became a priest 16 years ago."It's obviously a great moment for women," Ahrens said Tuesday.
the rest

China to expand "Great Internet Firewall"
Mar 13 2007

China will tighten controls on Internet blogs and webcasts in a response to new technologies that have allowed cyber citizens to avoid government censorship efforts, state press reported Tuesday.
Following a call from President Hu Jintao in January to "purify" the Internet, the ruling Communist Party will introduce new regulations targeting blogs and webcasts, one of the nation's chief censors was cited as saying.

"Advanced network technologies such as blogging and webcasting have been mounting new challenges to the government's ability to supervise the Internet," Press and Publication Administration head Long Xinmin said, according to Xinhua news agency.

Long said the government was in the middle of drafting the new regulations.

No specific details of the new rules were reported, but Long said they would lead to "a more healthy and active Internet environment," according to Xinhua.
the rest

China's religious circle prays for unbiased coverage of foreign media

"The New Family Trump Card" -- Family Time vs. Church Time
Albert Mohler
Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Is "family time" encroaching on "church time?"
Leadership, a publication in the Christianity Today family of magazines, surveyed 490 pastors last year, asking them about church life and family. A major theme -- parents are taking their kids to soccer games rather than to church.

The soccer games are only an illustration, of course, but team sports loom larger and larger in the lives of many kids and families, often leaving little time for anything else.
the rest

SBC seminary board members to meet with colleague who advocates 'private prayer language'
Allie Martin
March 13, 2007

A controversy involving an outspoken board member of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary could soon be resolved. Board members at the Southern Baptist seminary will meet with Pastor Dwight McKissic, who says it is wrong to prohibit a private prayer language.
Hear This Report advertisement

The controversy began last summer, when Dr. Dwight McKissic, pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, and then a new board member at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS), preached a chapel sermon advocating use of a private prayer language, a practice sometimes referred to as speaking or praying "in tongues." Last fall, the SWBTS board approved a resolution stating that neither the seminary board, staff nor faculty would endorse that practice. the rest

NY: State Supreme Court upholds Westchester's recognition of gay marriage
March 13, 2007

Westchester County Executive Andrew Spano's executive order recognizing gay marriages performed outside New York does not violate the state Constitution, a state Supreme Court justice ruled yesterday.

Supreme Court Justice Joan Lefkowitz's decision, which advocates said will have implications beyond whether local gay couples can get family discounts at county parks, also said Spano's executive order does not conflict with a recent ruling by the state's high court prohibiting the marriages here.
the rest

CWA: School Tells Kids to Hide Pro-‘Gay’ Propaganda From Parents

Washington, D.C. — In a shocking and brazen act of governmental abuse of parental rights, Deerfield High School (DHS) in Deerfield, Illinois, has required fourteen-year-old freshmen to attend a “Straight Gay Alliance Network” (GSA) panel discussion led by “gay” and “lesbian” upperclassmen during a “freshman advisory” class which secretively featured inappropriate discussions of a sexual nature in promotion of high-risk homosexual behaviors.

Not only has DHS required that its young and impressionable freshmen be exposed to radical homosexual propaganda, the school has further required that students sign a “confidentiality agreement” promising not to tell anyone – including their own parents – about the discussion.

Matt Barber, Policy Director for Cultural Issues with Concerned Women for America (CWA), said of the scandal: “This is unbelievable. It’s not enough that students at Deerfield High are being exposed to improper and offensive material relative to unhealthy and high-risk homosexual behaviors, but they’ve essentially been told by teachers to lie to their parents about it.
the rest

Gay sex immoral says US general
March 14, 2007

US service staff can be dismissed if they reveal themselves as gayGay rights groups in the US have complained after the country's top military commander said he believed homosexual acts were "immoral".

Marine General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he backed the Pentagon's "don't ask, don't tell" policy regarding homosexuality.

The policy bans homosexual acts between members of the military.

A gay rights group called the comments "a slap in the face to gay men and women serving with honour and bravery".
the rest

Pope stands ground on abortion, gay 'marriage'
By Martine Nouaille
March 14, 2007

(AP) VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI yesterday set out "nonnegotiable values" as he urged Catholic lawmakers to oppose laws favoring divorce, abortion, homosexual "marriage" and euthanasia. In a long-awaited text, the pope exhorted "Catholic politicians and legislators ... to introduce and support laws inspired by values grounded in human nature."

"These values are not negotiable," he wrote, listing "respect for human life, its defense from conception to natural death [and] the family built upon marriage between a man and a woman."

Benedict's first such apostolic exhortation dashed any hope for a relaxation of the requirement of celibacy for Roman Catholic priests, and comes as draft legislation before Italy's parliament proposes to give legal status to unmarried couples, including homosexuals.
the rest

Episcopal leaders in Utah speak up for gays
Position paper targets directives made by Anglican Communion

Carrie A. Moore
Deseret Morning News
March 14, 2007

Taking a public stand against the 77 million-member worldwide Anglican Communion's recent push to limit the role of gays and lesbians in the church, representatives of the Episcopal Diocese of Utah spoke out Tuesday in a document directed at fellow church leaders and the media.

The eight-page position paper, signed by the Right Rev. Carolyn Tanner Irish and several local Episcopal deputies, was designed to "respond critically and constructively" to recent restrictions on ordaining gay bishops and blessing same-sex unions.

Those restrictions were formulated during a meeting in Tanzania last month of top Anglican leaders — called primates — from around the world in response to the U.S.-based Episcopal Church's push for greater acceptance of gays and lesbians in leadership and in "committed relationships."
the rest

Canadian Synod Plans Decisive Vote on Blessings

The Anglican Church of Canada will hold an up or down vote on same-sex blessings when its General Synod meets June 19-25 in Winnipeg.

Meeting March 9-11 in Mississauga, Ontario, the Council of General Synod approved the request. General Synod is the highest legislative assembly in the Canadian church; Council of General Synod is the governing body when General Synod is not in session.

“Another three years does us no good whatever because in the eyes of the Communion, we will have crossed the Rubicon and whatever damage has been done will have been done,” said Canada's primate, the Most Rev. Andrew Hutchison.
the rest

Mass. Episcopal priests protest gay marriage ban
Wed Mar 14, 2007

BOSTON (Reuters) - Five Episcopal priests in Massachusetts have vowed to stop performing all wedding ceremonies until the Anglican Church allows them to bless same-sex marriages, calling their protest a "holy fast."

"Gays and lesbians are part of Christ's body, the church. They are the church, as much, if not more, as I am as a straight white man," Rev. Robert Hirschfeld, rector of Grace Episcopal Church in the western Massachusetts town of Amherst, told his congregation on Sunday.
A copy of his sermon was sent to Reuters on Tuesday.

"We are called, I believe, to join the fast that our homosexual brothers and sisters in Christ have had to observe all their lives," Hirschfeld said. Four other priests "have expressed agreement with this fast," he said.
the rest

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Deadline for South Carolina Consecration Expires

The deadline for receiving consent to the consecration of the Very Rev. Mark Lawrence as Bishop of South Carolina expired at midnight on March 13, but whether the diocese has received approval to proceed with the consecration may not be known for several more weeks.

Before the South Carolina consecration can occur, Fr. Lawrence must receive consent from a majority of bishops and standing committees, according to the Canons and Constitution of the General Convention.

The 56 affirmative votes necessary from bishops was received several weeks ago. Early in the afternoon on March 12, the Rev. J. Haden McCormick, president of the South Carolina standing committee, reported having received unofficial positive votes from 55 standing committees, one less than necessary for the consecration to proceed.
the rest

Rep. Stark Applauded for Atheist Outlook
March 13, 2007

WASHINGTON (AP) - The American Humanist Association applauded Rep. Pete Stark for publicly acknowledging he does not believe in a supreme being. The declaration, it said, makes him the highest-ranking elected official - and first congressman - to proclaim to be an atheist.
The organization took out an ad in Tuesday's Washington Post, congratulating the California Democrat for his stance.

"With Stark's courageous public announcement of his nontheism, it is our hope that he will become an inspiration for others who have hidden their conclusions for far too long," executive director Roy Speckhardt said in a statement.

Stark's beliefs garnered attention after the Secular Coalition for America offered a $1,000 prize to the person who could identify the "highest level atheist, agnostic, humanist or any other kind of nontheist currently holding elected public office in the United States."
the rest

Ireland's Evangelical Moment
Mary Cagney

Less than 20 years ago, more than eight of ten people in Ireland attended Catholic Mass at least weekly. Today, fewer than half do. The erosion of Ireland's traditional Catholic identity may be largely due to secularization, but it's an opportunity for evangelicals, whom the Irish have historically shunned as foreign.

In fact, much of evangelicalism's growth in the country is foreign—but not British. Ireland's steadily growing economy has attracted immigrants from China and Nigeria, and now about one-third of Ireland's evangelicals are immigrants. Churches have adapted with PowerPoint slides that translate Bible verses into multiple languages.

the rest photo

Defrocked Gay Pastor Appeals Lutheran Church Decision
By Giovanna Dell\'Orto
Associated Press Writer
Tue, Mar. 13 2007

ATLANTA (AP) - The pastor of Atlanta's oldest Lutheran church has appealed the decision by an Evangelical Lutheran Church in America disciplinary committee to defrock him because he's in a same-sex relationship.

The Rev. Bradley Schmeling, who was ordered last month to leave the pulpit of St. John's Lutheran Church on Aug. 15, has appealed that decision in an effort to prompt the church to change its rules on gay clergy, his spokeswoman said in a statement Monday.

The appeals committee, which consists of 12 lay and clergy members, will take at least two months to reach a decision, said ELCA spokesman John Brooks. He said Bishop Ronald Warren of the ECLA's Southeastern Synod also had appealed a portion of the ruling deemed unfavorable to the synod, and that appeal would also be heard by the appeals committee.
the rest

Pope Says Catholic Politicians Must Back Church’s Doctrine
March 13, 2007

BOLOGNA, Italy, March 13 —
Pope Benedict XVI strongly reasserted Tuesday the church’s opposition to abortion, euthanasia and gay marriage, saying that Roman Catholic politicians were “especially” obligated to defend the church’s stance in their public duties.

“These values are nonnegotiable,” the pope wrote in a 130-page “apostolic exhortation” issued in Rome that represents a distillation of opinion from a worldwide meeting of bishops at the
Vatican in 2005.

“Consequently, Catholic politicians and legislators, conscious of their grave responsibility before society, must feel particularly bound, on the basis of a properly formed conscience, to introduce laws inspired by values grounded in human nature,” the pope wrote.
the rest

In all moods and in all seasons pour out the soul in prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, and if the Spirit groans in intercession do not be afraid of the agony of prayer. There are blessings of the Kingdom that are only yielded to the violence of the vehement soul. ...Bruce Wilkinson

Daring to be a Different Church
By Patrick Gahan

“Do you want to burn out or rust out?” she asked without a hint of humor. I was visiting a septuagenarian friend one afternoon several years ago, when she asked how my work was going. A catalog of my trials, woes, and disappointments issued from my lips until she cut me off mid-sentence with her scathing query.

The prospect of “rusting out” has again crossed my mind these last months, and not just for myself. The clergy and lay leaders of The Episcopal Church have been dodging bullets fired along the battle lines of our raging culture wars, waving a white flag of truce between the mordant parties of our increasingly polarized national church, stoking fires amidst the sizeable army of the self-satisfied and complacent, and have, no doubt, felt the waters rising up to their neck and the rust setting in. Some days the prospect of leaving the ministry to become a local bread deliverer or an exotic dancer on the senior circuit does not seem so bad.
the rest

Nobody here but believers
By Suzanne Fields
March 12, 2007

There are no atheists in foxholes, as any dogface soldier could tell you, and neither are there any atheists in presidential politics. Looking death in the face, whether in a foxhole or at the polls, makes a believer of almost everyone. You could ask almost any Democrat. Democratic office-seekers are walking the sawdust trail to the mourner's bench, drenching their campaigns in religiosity if not necessarily authentic religion. Be prepared to hear a lot more about the "Religious Left."

Hillary Clinton has come a long way from her days as first lady, when she held seances with the long-dead Eleanor Roosevelt and praised the squishy "politics of meaning." She speaks now of her personal faith as a way of connecting with "values" voters. John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, might not recognize her "do-good" social gospel nostrums to erase poverty, her call for an energy policy to prevent tinkering with "God's creation," but she invokes her Methodist upbringing in nearly every speech. She concluded a sermon at a Baptist church in Selma, Ala., commemorating the Voting Rights Act with a quotation from the Apostle Paul's letter to the Galatians: "Let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due seasons we shall reap if we do not lose heart."
the rest

Praise The Lord! Introducing The Solar Powered Bible
Mar 12, 2007
By Michael dEstries

"...and on the fourth day, the Lord created the Sun and Moon." For the environmentalist that is also a budding evangelist (or vice-versa), I present to you the Solar Powered Talking-Bible. Yes, now your daily spiritual infusion can be powered by the heavens above.

From the Old Testament to the New, this talking marvel of modern technology will run for a good 14 hours on a single charge. Skip chapters at the touch of a button, pause and reflect on your favorite passages, or move back and forth in 15-second intervals.
the rest

Abortion Linked to Higher Rates of Child Abuse, Study Finds
March 13, 2007

( - A history of abortion is associated with more frequent acts of physical aggression toward subsequent children, according to a new study published in the Internet Journal of Pediatrics and Neonatology.The findings were drawn from an analysis of data on 237 low-income women in Baltimore who had physically mistreated or neglected at least one of their children or allowed someone else to do so. Researchers controlled for a history of miscarriage or stillbirth, as well as for family history, aggression by the woman's partner and other key factors.

While all the women in the study had some connection with child maltreatment or neglect, the authors found that those who reported a history of abortion reported significantly more frequent acts of physical violence, such as slapping, hitting or beating, directed at their children.

the rest

A. N. Wilson Gets It Too -- No Resurrection, No Christianity
Albert Mohler
March 13, 2007

A. N. Wilson is a prominent British man of letters. Once headed for the Anglican priesthood, he later experienced what has been called a "deconversion" from Christianity. A skilled historian, his book God's Funeral: The Decline of Faith in Western Civilization, traces the Western world's slide into secularism.

He understands, at least, what he now rejects. He recently responded to the "Lost Family Tomb of Jesus" controversy in the
Sunday Herald Sun [Australia] and made two crucial points. In the first place, Wilson stressed the fact that if it were proved that Jesus Christ did not rise from the dead, Christianity must necessarily fall. His second point is as accurate and important as his first -- there is no form of proof adequate to the challenge of proving that Jesus Christ was not raised from the dead. the rest

Vatican plans new TV network
Tue Mar 13, 2007
By Eric J. Lyman

ROME (Hollywood Reporter) - Days after Pope Benedict XVI criticized the media for its "destructive" influence, the Vatican on Monday announced plans to launch its first television network by the end of the year.

H2O will broadcast news and original entertainment programming worldwide in seven languages, according to a statement. Additional details were sketchy.

Over the years, the Vatican has been quick to adopt new technologies in its efforts to communicate with the world's more than 1 billion Catholics. In 1996, the Vatican introduced its Web portal nearly three years before the Italian state unveiled its own Web site. And it has embraced digital and satellite technology.
the rest

International Community Must Support Poor Countries, says Archbishop
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has said during an ongoing visit to Angola that the international community must support poor countries in their efforts to develop.
by Maria Mackay
Posted: Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has said during an ongoing visit to Angola that the international community must support poor countries in their efforts to develop.

In a sermon preached to over 2000 Anglicans in a basketball stadium in Angola’s capital Luanda, Archbishop Williams promised to speak out for struggling countries on his return to the UK.

Dr Williams criticised wealthy countries for doing too little to help impoverished countries.

“Sometimes the international community can forget a country whose circumstances are too difficult,” he said. “Sometimes it is as if wealthy countries say to poor countries, ‘When you are a success, then we will help you.’ One of the things that the church must say is that the help and the love must come first, not the success.
the rest

From ACNS: 2000 Greet the Archbishop of Canterbury in Angola

Episcopal minister halts all weddings
Protest is aimed at same-sex ban

By Associated Press
March 13, 2007

AMHERST -- An Episcopal minister will stop performing all wedding ceremonies to protest the denomination's prohibition of same-sex unions.

"We are called to join the fast that our homosexual brothers and sisters in Christ have had to observe all their lives," said the Rev. Robert Hirschfeld, rector of Grace Episcopal Church.

Several members of the congregation say they support Hirschfeld's move, which he announced in his Sunday sermon. Others said they were concerned the move might add to the polarization of an issue that has divided Episcopals.
the rest

Monday, March 12, 2007

Who is it that is your Shepherd? The Lord!
Oh, my friends, what a wonderful announcement! The Lord God of heaven and earth, and Almighty Creator of all things, He who holds the universe in His hand as though it were a very little thing. He is your Shepherd, and has charged Himself with the care and keeping of His sheep. If your hearts could really take in this thought you would never have a fear or a care again; for with such a Shepherd how could it be possible for you to ever to want any good thing? ...Hannah Whitall Smith art