Saturday, March 24, 2007

He went out, not knowing whither he went." Hebrews 11:8

In the Old Testament, personal relationship with God showed itself in separation, and this is symbolized in the life of Abraham by his separation from his country and from his kith and kin. Today the separation is more of a mental and moral separation from the way that those who are dearest to us look at things, that is, if they have not a personal relationship with God. Jesus Christ emphasized this (see Luke 14:26).

Faith never knows where it is being led, but it loves and knows the One Who is leading. It is a life of Faith, not of intellect and reason, but a life of knowing Who makes us "go." The root of faith is the knowledge of a Person, and one of the biggest snares is the idea that God is sure to lead us to success.

The final stage in the life of faith is attainment of character. There are many passing transfigurations of character; when we pray we feel the blessing of God enwrapping us and for the time being we are changed, then we get back to the ordinary days and ways and the glory vanishes. The life of faith is not a life of mounting up with wings, but a life of walking and not fainting. It is not a question of sanctification; but of something infinitely further on than sanctification, of faith that has been tried and proved and has stood the test. Abraham is not a type of sanctification, but a type of the life of faith, a tried faith built on a real God. "Abraham believed God." ...Oswald Chambers
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3 of 26 Anglican Bishops Turned out for Vote on Bill Which Severely Restricts Christianity
By Hilary White

Friday March 23, 2007

LONDON, March 23, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) - 23 of the 26 Anglican bishop members of the House of Lords absented themselves from Wednesday's vote on the Sexual Orientation Regulations, a result that has earned them the wrath of the Christian laity of the Church of England. The bishops of Southwell and Nottingham, Winchester and of York attended.

Early this week, Anthony Archer, a Synod member of the Crown Nominations Committee, addressed a letter to the bishops saying that their relevance as members of government was at stake in the vote.

Yesterday Archer told a Church of England newspaper that the bishops by their absence had done nothing to help justify their continued presence in the House of Lords.

Since the establishment of the protestant Church of England as Britain's official state religion, bishops of that church have enjoyed the privilege of holding seats in the Upper Chamber. But as Britain becomes increasingly secularized and anti-Christian trends are rising, many are re-examining the relevance of their presence as bishops in a body of government.
the rest

Episcopal Head Supports Bishops' Resolutions
By Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter
Fri, Mar. 23 2007

Following resolutions passed by Episcopal bishops that indicated rejection of several demands by the global Anglican family, the Episcopal head highlighted the urgency for a meeting with Anglican leaders worldwide.

"I think that the bishops of the Episcopal Church very much want Rowan Williams and the members of the Primates' Standing Committee to hear directly from us about our concern for all members of this church, those we agree with theologically and those with whom we disagree, gay and lesbian members of our church and those who find it difficult to countenance blessing unions or ordaining gay and lesbian people," said U.S. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori at a news conference on Wednesday, according to the Episcopal News Service.

"I think there is some belief in this House [of Bishops] that other parts of the communion do not understand us very well," she said, adding that other Primates (Anglican leaders) should also be invited to hear concerns from the Episcopal Church.
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Is the Uproar Against General Pace the Beginning of a Religious Persecution?
March 22, 2007

In a March 12 interview with the Chicago Tribune, General Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made this statement: “I believe homosexual acts between two individuals are immoral and that we should not condone immoral acts. I do not believe the United States is well served by a policy that says it is OK to be immoral in any way.”

Liberal Media Turn the Statement into a National Debate

A media upoar ensued against the general, the first Marine to serve as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. One would think the distinguished and highly decorated military commander had said something absurd, or worse yet, something immoral! Nevertheless, his statement was perfectly consistent with Christian morals, common sense and current military policy.

Quickly whipping the waters of “public opinion” into a maelstrom, liberal media pressured several presidential candidates and other officials to define themselves on the issue: Are homosexual acts immoral? Some sided with General Pace, others hid behind a neutral position, while yet others publicly chastised him and affirmed homosexuality is not immoral.
the rest

IRD: The Episcopal Church's Decisions Will Determine Its View of Marriage
WASHINGTON, Mar. 23

"While the Episcopal Church's rite for the sacrament of Holy Matrimony - in which marriage is called a 'bond and covenant [between a man and a woman that] was established by God in creation' - has not changed, some members of the laity and clergy are determined to modify it." --IRD Anglican Action Director Ralph Webb

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Bishops disappointed with resolutions
Request rejected for foreign oversight on homosexual policies

Saturday, March 24, 2007
By MICHAEL MILLER
of the Journal Star

PEORIA - Central Illinois' two Episcopal bishops said they were disappointed by statements coming from the denomination's House of Bishops this week.

"Mind of the House" resolutions were approved Tuesday in response to a communique issued last month by the leaders of the worldwide Anglican Communion. One point of the communique asked the U.S. province to allow foreign oversight for some dioceses and parishes that disagree with the denomination's teaching and policy on non-celibate homosexuals.

This week's resolutions, though they do not have legislative power, rejected that request, saying such oversight by non-U.S. provinces "would be injurious to the Episcopal Church."
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Many roads lead to the One in southern India
Guy Liardet
March 24, 2007

Given the many Roman coins and Greek amphorae found in the region, it seems rather likely that St (“Doubting”) Thomas did in fact ride the steady monsoon wind to southern India some 15 years after the Crucifixion, founding several churches in Kerala state and meeting his end at spear-point while praying atop St Thomas Mount, in Madras.

If true, this is an important attestation of Jesus’s inspirational powers, for, with the exception of glimpses in Acts and Paul’s letters (notably the interestingly equivocal Galatians ii) the doings of the Twelve (or Eleven) rather disappear after AD 30.

Christianity flourishes in southern India. In Madras, St Mary’s, the oldest surviving British church, is faded Raj with memorials to long forgotten native regiments. But at the vermilion Sacred Heart, Pondicherry, the Tamil-speaking priest daily gives his capacity congregation a hard time. After the service, Bible-class children hand in their written work. The church of the Immaculate Conception is magnificent in white and gold.
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Poor Anglican churches may lack money to split
Episcopal church supplies funding — and headaches to worldwide church network

By Laurie Goodstein and Neela Banerjee, New York Times
03/24/2007

As leaders of the Anglican Communion hold meeting after meeting to debate severing ties with the Episcopal Church in the United States for consecrating an openly gay bishop, one of the unspoken complications is just who has been paying the bills.

The truth is, the Episcopal Church bankrolls much of the Communion's operations. And a cutoff of that money, while unlikely at this time, could deal the Communion a devastating blow.

The Episcopal Church's 2.3 million members make up a small fraction of the 77 million members in the Anglican Communion, the world's third-largest affiliation of Christian churches.

Nevertheless, the Episcopal Church finances at least a third of the Communion's annual operations.

Episcopalians give tens of millions more each year to support aid and development programs in the Communion's poorer provinces in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. At least $18 million annually flows from Episcopal Church headquarters in New York, and millions more are sent directly from American dioceses and parishes that support Anglican churches, schools, clinics, and missionaries.
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Episcopal split related to core beliefs
By Warren Musselman

Saturday March 24, 2007

There are key points that need to be made, which were not included in the article that appeared in the Press & Sun-Bulletin on March 19 regarding the parishes of Good Shepherd in Binghamton and St. Andrew's in Vestal.

First, both orthodox and liberal Episcopal Churches have seen their membership dwindle since the General Convention 2003. The implicit suggestion in the article, that it is just orthodox parishes, is incorrect. Good Shepherd, in fact, has grown in attendance and membership since 2003, not shrunk as your articles suggested. Loss of members is accelerating, with orthodox parishes showing smaller losses on average and in some cases, like Good Shepherd, even showing growth.

According to the Episcopal Church's own statistics, the net loss of members was 8,200 in 2002, 35,988 members in 2003, 36,414 in 2004 and 42,443 in 2005. Though more recent official Episcopal Church numbers are not available, some estimates for 2006 are in the ball park of 70,000.

Secondly, the issue of same-sex blessings and the consecration of an openly non-celibate gay bishop, to be sure, are critical issues. However, both are symptoms of a much deeper problem, one that has been growing for a few decades.


Don't miss this! the rest

Friday, March 23, 2007

There is a season of establishing, settling and testing, during which we must "stay put" until the new relationship gets so fixed as to become a permanent habit. It is just the same as when the surgeon sets the broken arm. He puts it in splints to keep it from vibration. So God has His spiritual splints that He wants to put upon His children and keep them quiet and unmoved until they pass the first stage of faith. It is not always easy work for us, "but the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ, after that ye have suffered awhile, stablish, strengthen, settle you. ...A. B. Simpson photo

20070321 Pastor Benedict

Courtesy of AnglicanTV
Watertown, CT

Saw This One Coming
Government's Interest in Order and Morality

By Chuck Colson
Christian Post Guest Columnist
Thu, Mar. 22 2007

Sometimes I know how Ian Malcolm, the mathematician in Jurassic Park, felt. His warnings about the folly of the park’s creators were vindicated by the sight of a T-Rex eating an SUV. Then, all Malcolm could say was “I hate being right all the time.”

Well, I’m not right all of the time. I do know what it’s like, however, to hate being right.

The BBC recently ran a story about a German couple named Patrick and Susan. The couple has been living together unmarried for the past six years and has four children. In a continent full of unmarried couples with children, this particular pair stands out—because they are brother and sister.

As a young child, Patrick was given up for adoption. He finally met his mother and the rest of his biological family, including Susan, seven years ago. After their mother died, the two became, in the BBC’s words, “lovers.”

When German authorities learned about the “relationship,” they placed three of their children—two of whom have disabilities—in foster care and charged Patrick with incest. Patrick has already served two years and faces more jail time.
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"Rights Talk" Collides with Right and Wrong
Friday, March 23, 2007
Albert Mohler

Harvard law professor Mary Ann Glendon warned years ago that a contagion of "rights talk" was ruining our ability to conduct a serious moral discussion. When every major issue is reduced to "rights," the moral considerations go into a melt-down. When rights inevitably conflict and collide, there is no way to resolve the problem.

A clear example of this is found in developments at the Commission on the Status of Women, an organization of the United Nations. As Douglas A. Sylva reports in The Weekly Standard, an effort to save baby girls "ran afoul of dominant feminist orthodoxy."
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Passion Takes It Higher
The most influential annual gathering of young evangelicals plans to go global.

Collin Hansen
3/23/2007

On New Year's Eve, Atlanta's Philips Arena throbbed with the music of Widespread Panic. A few days later, the faint smell of marijuana still lingered as a different crowd gathered for its fourth day of loud, demonstrative worship. At center stage, Matt Redman struck up a new song for the nearly 20,000 college students who packed the arena. At least 3,000 more students in an adjacent venue watched the same image of Redman that Philips Arena projected on 12 screens. But this concert wasn't about Redman. Unlike other concerts, this event also projected lyrics. The words guided an animated throng to behold something bigger than the musicians on stage, something bigger than themselves.
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Ephraim Radner: What Way Ahead?
March 22nd, 2007

To a certain kind of faithful Episcopalian, things may indeed look bleak. The recent House of Bishops meeting in Texas seems to put a seal of finality to the fraying hopes many of us had for the renewal of our common life. To be realistic, however, is not to lose hope; rather, it is see more clearly where our true hope must lie.

As for reality: There is clearly no real place left for conservative Christians within TEC’s official structures. It is obvious to me that, not only are the vast majority of the denomination’s leaders personally hostile to conservative commitments, but they have reached a point where they are quite open and brazen in their exclusion of conservative presence and influence within the councils of TEC. It is increasingly less likely that appointments of conservatives are made to diocesan, provincial, and national committees (the only way, for a long time now, that such a presence has even been possible); and it is certainly no longer likely that conservatives will be voted, by diocesan or national conventions, onto decision-making councils. Most of our seminaries apply, openly or surreptitiously, the gay-test (and probably do so in both directions, depending on the school). God forbid one should actually have a paper trail that marks one’s views. When conservatives are appointed to Communion committees and councils, they are subjected from within TEC to howls of protest and to negative campaigns, engaged in not simply by concerned individuals, but by bishops and diocesan representatives.


the rest at titusonenine

Federal Judge Strikes Down Law Protecting Children from Porn as Violating Free Speech
By Peter J. Smith
PHILADELPHIA,

March 22, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A US district court judge stuck down a 1998 law passed by Congress against Internet pornography that made it a crime for commercial website operators to let children under 18 view pornographic materials.

Senior U.S. District Judge Lowell Reed Jr., who presided over the four-week trial last fall, ruled in favor of the American Civil Liberties Union that the 1998 Child Online Protection Act (COPA) violated a constitutional right to free speech.

The judge ruled that while the law intends to protect children from commercial pornography, parents can protect their children through software filters and other less restrictive means that do not impinge upon the rights of others to unrestricted access to pornography.
the rest

A new cause at Harvard: Opposing casual sex
Campus group urges abstinence, saying too many act mindlessly

By JESSE HARLAN ALDERMAN
Associated Press

CAMBRIDGE, MASS. — Sometime between the founding of a student-run porn magazine and the day the campus health center advertised "Free Lube," Harvard University seniors Sarah Kinsella and Justin Murray decided to fight back against what they see as too much mindless sex at the Ivy League school.

They founded a student group called True Love Revolution to promote abstinence on campus. The group was created earlier this school year, has more than 90 members on its Facebook.com page and drew about half that many to an ice cream social.

Harvard treats sex — or "hooking up" — so casually that "sometimes I wonder if sex is even a remotely serious thing," said Kinsella, who is dating Murray.

Other schools around the country have small groups devoted to abstinence. On most campuses, they are religious organizations. Princeton and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have Anscombe Societies, secular organizations named after an English philosopher and Roman Catholic. True Love Revolution is secular as well.
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Birth Control Prices Soar on Campuses

Judge overturns US web porn law
Thursday, 22 March 2007

US federal judge has overturned a law designed to protect children from viewing internet pornography, saying it violated the right of free speech.

The law made it illegal for websites to provide children access to "harmful" material, but it was never enforced.

Judge Lowell Reed of Philadelphia said other means of protection, such as software filters, were more effective.

Opponents criticised the ruling, saying parents should not have to shoulder the burden of restricting adult material.
the rest

Resolutions Arose From Bishops’ Concern Over Pastoral Council Nominations
03/22/2007

The House of Bishops’ rejection of a pastoral council is not The Episcopal Church’s final word on the primates’ communiqué, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said during a telephone conference call with reporters on March 21.

The conference occurred during an afternoon break on the final day of the spring House of Bishops’ meeting at Camp Allen near Navasota, Texas.

“This was merely a recommendation for Executive Council to reject it,” she said. The church’s formal response would not come until September, after a series of town-hall style meetings and consultation across The Episcopal Church, she said.
the rest

20070321 Pastor Allyn Lent 2

Courtesy of AnglicanTV
Watertown, CT

Thursday, March 22, 2007

When we look out towards this love that moves the stars and stirs in the child's heart and claims our total allegiance, and remember that this alone is Reality and we are only real so far as we conform to its demands, we see our human situation from a fresh angle; and we perceive that it is both more humble and dependent, and more splendid, than we had dreamed. We are surrounded and penetrated by great spiritual forces of which we hardly know anything. Yet the outward events of our life cannot be understood, except in their relation to that unseen and intensely living world, the Infinite Charity which penetrates and supports us, the God whom we resist and yet for whom we thirst; who is ever at work, transforming the self-centred desire of the natural creature into the wide spreading, outpouring love of the citizen of Heaven. ... Evelyn Underhill photo

Richard Kew - "Independence or Tyranny?"
So we now have hanging on the tree the full fruit of what we saw developing in the Eighties and Nineties.
From the TOWARDS2015 mailing list,
3/21/2007

Dear Friends,

I have been ordained more than thirty-eight years, and have served as a faithful priest of the Episcopal Church for nearly thirty-one of them. During that time I have had wonderful opportunities to be a servant of Jesus Christ, but I have also received all the usual insults that get thrown at folks who share my theological, biblical, and ethical presuppositions, despite the fact that these are rooted and grounded in the rich soil of historic Anglicanism.

Given what I have known about the individuals who have made many of these accusations, I have always had a shrewd suspicion on these occasions that there is a strong degree of projection in play here.

I am in New Orleans at the moment with members of my congregation doing something that is inspiring, uplifting, and intensely satisfying at a time when much of church life leaves a sour taste in your mouth. Yet even we cannot ignore the offering coming from the House of Bishops, this latest bounty which, if I understand it correctly from my limited perusal is the majority of that little club saying, despite syrupy words, that they really don't care one whit if they remain part of the Anglican Communion or not.
the rest at Stand Firm

Minister beaten for praying for the sick
Authorities ignore complaint, so doctors refuse to treat victim

March 22, 2007

A pastor from Good Shepherd Community Church who traveled to a nearby region to pray for the sick was beaten by an anti-Christian mob, and since police then refused to accept his complaint, the area's doctors would not treat him, according to a new report from Voice of the Martyrs about persecuted Christians.

The attack happened to Pastor Reginald Howell, who had traveled from his home region in
India to the nearby city of Hanumangarh in Rajasthan. Voice of the Martyrs sources there reported that he was visiting Christians in the area as well as praying for the sick.

Then the attackers found him.
the rest

Bishop: Episcopal Church Walking Away from the Christian Faith
By Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter
Thu, Mar. 22 2007

The tossed election of a conservative bishop to the Diocese of South Carolina makes it clearer that the Episcopal Church is walking away from the Anglican Communion and the Christian faith, said a former bishop of the diocese.

The Episcopal Church invalidated the Very Rev. Mark Lawrence's election last week, outraging conservative Episcopal leaders who say the priest clearly meets the standards for church leadership. The decision also drew out sympathy from those who opposed Lawrence's election as many called it a "tragedy" for him and the church.

"I respect him for doing the canonical thing, but I think he should go ahead and be consecrated anyway," the Rt. Rev. Dr. C. Fitzsimons Allison, the retired 12th bishop of South Carolina, told VirtueOnline, a voice for global Orthodox Anglicanism. "I was surprised that it was that close. [U.S. Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts] Schori and David Booth Beers (Chancellor to the presiding bishop) are so embarrassing to The Episcopal Church and worldwide Anglican Communion."
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ENS: Presiding Bishop's homily at House of Bishops' closing Eucharist
The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church

I look around here and see lots of folks with glasses. And some of us who don't obviously wear them have contacts or have had our eyes adjusted surgically. Most of us have had our eyes change over the years.

When I first learned to fly, my vision tested as 20/10 in one eye and 20/15 in the other. I could see farther and more accurately at a distance than the norm. But in the last few years I've been wrestling with the changes 35 years have made in my eyes. I can see just fine up close - to read or have an intimate conversation - but I can no longer see the nuance of emotion on a face at 50 feet. I have to use other lenses to do that, and it can be both frustrating and annoying. That shift in focus doesn't happen automatically anymore - it takes conscious effort, and outside assistance.
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Bill to Ban Regular Light Bulbs Introduced in House
By Nathan Burchfiel
CNSNews.com Staff Writer
March 21, 2007

(CNSNews.com) - A Democratic lawmaker has introduced a bill that would ban the sale of traditional incandescent light bulbs - which are less energy-efficient, prompting claims that they contribute to "global warming" - one day after a colleague told a press conference that legislating a ban would be a "last choice."


As Cybercast News Service reported last week, Rep. Don Manzullo (R-Ill.) and Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) held a news conference Wednesday calling for more efficient lighting options, and Manzullo said "the last thing we want to do is force legislation down people's throats."

One day later, Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) introduced legislation that would set target dates for certain types of light bulbs to be prohibited for sale in the United States.Harman calls the bill "an important first step toward making every household, business and public building in America more energy-efficient."
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Gay Rights Regulations Passed, Christians Protest
New gay rights regulations have been passed in the House of Lords despite widespread protests from Christians and members of other faith communities.

by Maria Mackay
Posted: Thursday, March 22, 2007

An eleventh-hour attempt from a Conservative peer to overturn controversial gay rights regulations was last night defeated in the House of Lords.

The motion put forward by Baroness O’Cathain in objection to the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations was defeated by 168 to 122 votes.

As the debate was taking place, around 1,000 Christians gathered outside the Houses of Parliament to take part in a prayer vigil organised by Christian Concern for Our Nation against the regulations.

Andrea Minichiello Williams, Public Policy Officer at the Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship, said the passing of the regulations marked “the imposition of a new morality”.
the rest

Unorthodox Pair Converts Judas Tale Into a Page-Turner
By Sarah Delaney
Special to The Washington Post
Wednesday, March 21, 2007

ROME, March 20 -- A very odd couple has teamed up to spread the word of the Gospel -- in this case, the Gospel of Judas, in a fictional but, according to the authors, theologically plausible explanation of why Christianity's most maligned personality did what he did.

They hope it will inspire people to pay more attention to the Bible.

Lord Jeffrey Archer, author of best-selling thrillers, former member of the British Parliament and convicted perjurer, has written "The Gospel According to Judas" with the academic help of the Rev. Francis J. Moloney, a world-class biblical scholar and former theological adviser to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI.
the rest

On Hit Lists, Anger Finds an Outlet
By SUSAN SAULNY
Published: March 22, 2007

TWO teenagers in Jonesboro, Ark., were overheard at a party last month bragging about a “hit list” and their plans to take a gun to school and use it on their enemies.

The plans circulated through the high school and made their way to the sheriff. The boys, 16 and 17, were arrested two weeks ago and charged with making “terroristic threats” and possessing a stolen pistol.

No hit list was found, but in other cases at schools across the country, hit lists have fallen out of lockers, been scrawled on bathroom walls and have made the rounds like hot gossip among teenagers in Web videos and on blogs.
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Iceland faces 'green' energy dilemma
By Richard Hollingham
BBC Radio 4's Crossing Continents

Iceland is keen to make a profit out of its abundant, renewable energy sources but critics are asking if it is worth the loss of so much pristine wilderness.

Even in the bitter wind and driving snow, the view is like nothing else on Earth.
No trees, no grass, no colour.

It's small wonder astronauts came here to train for their missions to the Moon.
the rest photo

Illinois bill would allow civil unions of gay couples
Thursday, March 22, 2007
By JOHN O'CONNOR
AP Political Writer
SPRINGFIELD, Ill.

Gay Illinois couples would be allowed to enter civil unions with the same legal rights as marriage under legislation approved Wednesday by an Illinois House committee.

If the measure becomes law, Illinois would become only the fifth state to offer civil unions, which would give couples rights to estate benefits, child custody or adoption, property ownership and others now enjoyed by married couples. Massachusetts is the only state that allows gay marriage.
the rest

Sweden takes step toward allowing gay marriage

Growth of Christianity Has Re-shaped Religious Landscape in China
by Jennifer Gold
Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The growth of Christianity among intellectuals has fundamentally “reshaped the religious landscape in China”, says a leading Chinese academic and editor of what’s described as the country's “most authoritative” journal on religion.

Edmond Tang, from the University of Birmingham, is editor of the new-look China Study Journal which will be launched by Churches Together in Britain & Ireland (CTBI) on Monday 26 March. “Today it is an open secret that Christian fellowships – a new kind of 'house church', run by Chinese professors and students, are active in most Chinese universities. More than 30 academic faculties and research centres are devoted to the study of a once maligned religion.
The question is why.”

However, Tang added: “It is not enough today just to document what is happening on the ground. It is equally important, if not more so, to know what people are thinking religiously, and how that relates to the moral and spiritual questions that are debated by the educated Chinese. This is where the real heartbeat of a new China can be found.”
the rest

U.S. bishops say no to Anglican demand
By Alan Cooperman
The Washington Post
Published March 22, 2007

The nation's Episcopal bishops have rejected a key demand from the larger Anglican Communion, saying Wednesday that a plan to place discontented U.S. parishes under international leadership could do permanent harm to the American church.

The rejection increases the likelihood that Anglican leaders will seek to demote or expel the 2.3 million-member Episcopal Church from the 77 million-member, worldwide family of churches descended from the Church of England.
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LA Times: Episcopal-Anglican rift deepens

Houston chronicle: Episcopal bishops spurn demands from Anglicans

BBC: US bishops no to Anglican demand

Anglicans closer to schism as US bishops reject gay ultimatum
Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent
March 22, 2007

The Anglican Church took another step towards its apparently inevitable schism when US Episcopal bishops rejected the ultimatum from primates of the Anglican Communion to fall into line over homosexuals.

The bishops of the Episcopal Church accused Anglican primates of trying to drag their Church back into “a time of colonialism”. They said late on Tuesday night that they would resist the primates’ demand that they set up a new pastoral scheme with a “primatial vicar” to make a traditionalist enclave for antigay conservatives who reject the oversight of liberal bishops. They said that the scheme “violated” their canons, or Church law.

Christian gays in Britain yesterday welcomed the US decision and accused the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, who chaired last month’s primates’ meeting in Tanzania, of trying to “sell them down the river” and of pandering to “forces of the extreme Right”.
the rest

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Someone gave me a bit of brick and a little slab of marble from Rome. It was wonderful to touch one of them and think, Perhaps the Apostle Paul or one of the martyrs touched this as they passed. But how much more wonderful is it to think that we have, for our own use, the very same sword our Lord used when the Devil attacked Him. [Brooke Foss] Westcott says "The Word of God" in Ephesians 6:17 means "a definite utterance of God". We know these "definite utterances" - we have the same Book that He had, and we can do as He did. So let us learn the "definite utterances" that they may be ready in our minds; ready for use at the moment of need - our sword which never grows dull and rusty, but is always keen and bright. So once more I say, let us not expect defeat but victory. Let us take fast hold and keep fast hold of our sword, and we shall win in any assault of the enemy. ...Amy Carmichael photo

Organ Harvesting Before "Brain-Death" Increasingly Common, Concerned Doctors Warn
Warning that changing definition of death will eventually lead to organ harvesting from disabled

By Gudrun Schultz
WASHINGTON, D.C.,

March 21, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Organ harvesting from patients before brain-death has been declared is a rapidly increasing trend in U. S. hospitals, the Washington Post reported March 18, alarming doctors and ethicists about the dubious ethics behind the practice.

Instead of waiting until brain function ceases and the patient is declared "brain-dead" by medical officials (itself a questionable practice since there is no universally-accepted definition of brain-death) surgeons have begun following an approach known as "donation after cardiac death." Organs are harvested once the heart has stopped beating and several minutes have passed without the heart spontaneously re-starting.

"The person is not dead yet," said Jerry A. Menikoff, an associate professorof law, ethics and medicine at the University of Kansas. "They are going tobe dead, but we should be honest and say that we're starting to remove theorgans a few minutes before they meet the legal definition of death."
the rest

Episcopal Bishops Reject Ultimatum
Thursday March 22, 2007

AP Religion Writer

NEW YORK (AP) - Episcopal bishops risked losing their place in the global Anglican family Wednesday by affirming their support for gays and rejecting a key demand that they give up some authority to theological conservatives outside the U.S. church.

In strong and direct language, the Episcopal House of Bishops said it views the Gospel as teaching that ``all God's children, including gay and lesbian persons, are full and equal participants'' in the church. The bishops also said they would not agree to an Anglican plan for leaders outside the U.S. denomination to oversee the small number of conservative American dioceses that disagree.

``We cannot accept what would be injurious to the church and could well lead to its permanent division,'' the bishops said in a resolution from a private meeting in Texas.

``If that means that others reject us and communion with us, as some have already done, we must with great regret and sorrow accept their decision.''
the rest

Lenient sentence for those who beheaded three Christian girls
3/31/2007

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Central Jakarta District Court Wednesday sentenced a Muslim militant to 20 years in prison for masterminding the gruesome murder of three Christian schoolgirls in the Central Sulawesi's town of Poso in 2005. The two men who killed the three girls and beheaded them were sentenced instead to 14 years in prison. Given the fact that all three Islamists could have received the death sentence the court’s decision is very lenient. The Indonesian press noted that the sentences corresponded to the demands of the prosecution.

Hasanuddin, who is linked to the terrorist network Jemaah Islamiyah, was found guilty of organising the crime, buying the machetes used in the beheading, and writing the notes left near the bodies threatening additional murders.

According to the prosecutor Payaman SH, Hasanuddin had asked his men to get “at least a hundred Christian heads in Poso” as compensation for the Muslims who died in the violent sectarian clashes that had occurred between 1999 and 2001 in Poso itself. Clashes between Muslims and Christians had left more than a thousand dead and driven even more out of their homes. What triggered the violence has not been fully elucidated.
the rest

Episcopalians Discuss Response to Communiqué
By Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter
Wed, Mar. 21 2007

The Episcopal Church's House of Bishops adopted on Tuesday three resolutions, one of which called for an urgent meeting with the head of the Anglican Communion.

At an annual spring retreat meeting at Camp Allen in Navasota, Texas, the House of Bishops has been considering its response to the recent communiqué adopted by Anglican heads worldwide that urged the Episcopal Church to respond to a moratorium on ordaining homosexuals and blessing same-sex unions.

Months away from issuing a response by the Sept. 30 deadline, the Episcopal House of Bishops affirmed in its first resolution its desire that the Episcopal Church – the U.S. Anglican wing – remain a part of the councils of the Anglican Communion.

"We affirm once again the deep longing of our hearts for The Episcopal Church to continue as a part of the Anglican Communion," the House of Bishops stated, according to the Episcopal News Service.

At the same time, it also reaffirmed that, "We proclaim the Gospel that in Christ all God's children, including gay and lesbian persons, are full and equal participants in the life of Christ's Church."
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AAC Statement on the Episcopal House of Bishops’ March 2007 Meeting
March 21, 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact:Jenny Abel
770-414-1515

The American Anglican Council (AAC) commends The Episcopal Church (TEC) House of Bishops for clearly responding to the Anglican primates’ February 2007 Communiqué at its Camp Allen, Texas, meeting this week. However, the AAC is strongly opposed to the three “Mind of the House” resolutions adopted yesterday that expressly reject the pastoral scheme outlined by the primates’ recent Dar es Salaam Communiqué – a plan laid out to protect those in the church unable to accept the direct ministry of their Episcopal bishop or the presiding bishop due to theological differences.

The bishops did not address the key issues on which the primates have requested a response—namely, whether TEC will abide by the Communion’s standard of teaching on human sexuality (as expressed in Lambeth Resolution 1.10) by giving its assurance that it will not permit rites for same-sex blessings or consent to bishops living in same-sex unions.


the rest at the AAC blog

Retired Bishop William Cox to be Tried by Ecclesiastical Court
03/21/2007

A panel of bishops will proceed with an ecclesiastical trial of the Rt. Rev. William J. Cox, retired Bishop Suffragan of Maryland, on charges that he illegally performed sacramental acts without the permission of the local Episcopal bishop. News of the trial was announced during the March 16-21 meeting of the House of Bishops.

In June 2005, Bishop Cox, 86, ordained two priests and a deacon at Christ Church in Overland Park, Kan., after he was asked by the Primate of Uganda. The following month, Bishop Cox returned to Christ Church and led a service of confirmation.

In April 2005, Christ Church agreed to pay the Diocese of Kansas $1 million over the next 10 years as part of a separation agreement which allowed the congregation to retain its property, and for the clergy to be relieved of their canonical obligations to The Episcopal Church. Christ Church and its clergy subsequently affiliated with the Province of Uganda.
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Speaking in Tongues: Alternative Voices in Faith
By VICKI MABREY and ROXANNA SHERWOOD

March 20, 2007— Speaking in tongues is a controversial practice to many Christians, but others consider it a gift from God.

And many people who attend the Freedom Valley Worship Center in Gettysburg, Pa., pray for that gift.

"For me, it is almost as if I am able to tap into God's heart and what he wants," said Amber Crone, a member of the church. "I don't really know what I am saying, but I know it is what God wants me to say and speak. It is more of an enlightenment — you can feel him all around you, and you can feel him speaking through the words that you are saying."
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NYT: Episcopals Rebuff Demands on Stance on Gays
By LAURIE GOODSTEIN
Published: March 21, 2007

Responding to an ultimatum from the leaders of the worldwide Anglican Communion, bishops of the
Episcopal Church have rejected a key demand to create a parallel leadership structure to serve the conservative minority of Episcopalians who oppose their church’s liberal stand on homosexuality.

The bishops, meeting at a retreat center outside of Houston, said they were aware that their decision could lead to the exclusion of the Episcopal Church from the Anglican Communion, an international confederation of churches tied to the Church of England.

The bishops have a “deep longing” to remain part of the Communion, they said, but they are unwilling to compromise the Episcopal Church’s autonomy and its commitment to full equality for all people, including gay men and lesbians.

In a strongly worded statement issued Tuesday night, the bishops said the Communion’s attempt to impose a parallel authority structure “violates our founding principles as the Episcopal Church following our own liberation from colonialism.” The bishops inserted a gentle reminder that the Episcopal Church long ago declared itself independent from the Church of England.
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Episcopal bishops reject ultimatum from Anglican leaders
March 21, 2007

NEW YORK (AP) -- Episcopal bishops meeting privately in Texas have rejected demands from the world's Anglicans that they provide an alternate leader for conservatives who oppose ordaining gays -- a move that brings the church to the brink of expulsion from the Anglican Communion.

direct language yet defending their support for gay relationships, the bishops said that accepting a second leader for traditionalists would violate Episcopal church law and the founding principles of the church.

"We cannot accept what would be injurious to the church and could well lead to its permanent division," the bishops said in the resolution.
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ACNS: ECUSA Bishops request meeting with Archbishop of Canterbury, Primates' Standing Committee
21 MARCH 2007

Three 'mind of the house' resolutions adopted

Responding to the recent Anglican Primates' Communiqué, the Episcopal Church's House of Bishops, meeting March 20 in Navasota, Texas, expressed “an urgent need for us to meet face to face with the Archbishop of Canterbury and the members of the Primates' Standing Committee.”

The request came as the second of three “mind of the house” resolutions adopted by the bishops on March 20. The resolutions (full texts
here) were debated during the business session scheduled during the House of Bishops' annual spring retreat meeting.

In the afternoon's first resolution, addressed to the Episcopal Church's Executive Council, the House of Bishops “affirms its desire that The Episcopal Church remain a part of the councils of the Anglican Communion” and "pledges itself to continue to work to find ways of meeting the pastoral concerns of the Primates that are compatible with our own polity and canons.”

Stating that "the meaning of the Preamble to the Constitution of The Episcopal Church is determined solely by the General Convention," the resolution also declares that "the House of Bishops believes the Pastoral Scheme of the Dar es Salaam Communiqué of February 19, 2007 would be injurious to the polity of the Episcopal Church and urges that the Executive Council decline to participate in it."
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20070321_at_lbenedict_lent_1a.MP4

Courtesy of AnglicanTV

Matt Kennedy: The House Takes a Stand
March 21, 2007

"This is perhaps the most admirable and honorable official statement yet from an Episcopalian body. The bishops are bold and forthright. They are to be commended. They have taken their stand. The ideologues have overcome the institutionalists."


Commentary at Stand Firm

Ruth Gledhill weblog: TEC rejects forces of 'colonialism'
March 21, 2007

The Rev Richard Kirker, pictured here, is an Anglican deacon refused ordination to the priesthood because of his openly gay lifestyle. He was subjected to an impromptu exorcism by an African bishop at the last Lambeth Conference. Yet until now he has shown remarkable Christian restraint in his public pronouncements on Rowan Williams, once considered a friend of his movement. Just how serious things have become with the US rejection of the Primates' demands became clear today. Responding for the UK's Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, Kirker said: 'At last some sanity is breaking into the debate. There is an obvious realisation that the consequences of this pandering to the Puritans means an increasing hostility towards lesbian and gay people so clearly demonstrated by the Archbishop of Nigeria who is fiercely promoting anti-gay legislation in his country contrary to Scripture and all the decisions of Anglicanism over the last 30 years. The Archbishop of Canterbury has much to answer for. His decision to sell us down the river in the short term to buy time has back-fired – the Americans are having none of it and we hope he will now come to see his strategy has failed. If the Americans are expelled from the Anglican Communion this will encourage those already bent on our destruction to persecute lesbian and gay people even more. Forces of the extreme American right are playing a significant role in the decisions of the Anglican Communion at the behest of Dr Williams – we see this as a dangerous sign of things to come.'

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Bishop of Indianapolis Inhibits Two Priests
Source:
Indiana Anglican

Statement by the Reverend Dr. Thomas Gregory Tirman concerning the serving of the Notice of Inhibition against him and Deacon Chuck Conover by Catherine Waynick, Bishop of Indianapolis

St. Patrick of Ireland 2007

Dear Friends,

We received word today via separate, but identical, certified letters (other than our names), that the Reverend Charles (Chuck) Conover and I have been inhibited by Catherine Waynick, Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of Indianapolis effective yesterday March 16, 2007.

We wish to acknowledge the receipt of these letters, and express our thankfulness to her and the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Indianapolis for them both. And though we are quite flattered by the attention, we do wish to point out that both Deacon Conover and I retired from our active ministries in the Episcopal Church, very publicly on December 31, 2006. We are now clergy in the Diocese of Bolivia.

It should be said that our decisions to retire from the Episcopal Church did not come without a lot of thought and prayer either. Though only 45, I was a life-long member, and Deacon Conover came to the Episcopal Church close to 50 years ago. We both have been ordained a long time too. I was ordained in 1989, and Chuck in 1992.

the rest at the AAC blog

Breaking from Camp Allen: House of Bishops Reject Key Tanzania Communique

Recommendations

Mind of the House of Bishops Resolution Addressed to the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church

Resolved, the House of Bishops affirms its desire that The Episcopal Church remain a part of the councils of the Anglican Communion; and

Resolved, the meaning of the Preamble to the Constitution of The Episcopal Church is determined solely by the General Convention of The Episcopal Church; and

Resolved, the House of Bishops believes the proposed Pastoral Scheme of the Dar es Salaam Communiqué of February 19, 2007 would be injurious to The Episcopal Church and urges that the Executive Council decline to participate in it; and

Resolved, the House of Bishops pledges itself to continue to work to find ways of meeting the pastoral concerns of the primates that are compatible with our own polity and canons.

Adopted March 20, 2007
The House of Bishops
The Episcopal Church
Spring Meeting 2007
Camp Allen Conference Center
Navasota, Texas

Much more at Stand Firm

Comments at titusonenine

The Living Church

Episcopal rejection of demands looks likely
By Rebecca Trounson, Times Staff Writer
March 21, 2007

Bishops of the Episcopal Church on Tuesday requested an urgent meeting with the spiritual head of their denomination, the worldwide Anglican Communion, and appeared to take the first steps toward rejecting several demands made of the American church at a recent gathering of the communion's leadership in Tanzania.

In February, Anglican leaders gave the U.S. branch of the communion until Sept. 30 to state explicitly that it would bar official blessings for same-sex couples and stop consecrating gay bishops. They also called for the creation of a council to oversee a number of conservative American dioceses that have rebelled against the U.S. church's relatively liberal views on homosexuality and biblical teachings.

But the Episcopal bishops, holding a retreat near Houston this week, released a statement late Tuesday saying that establishment of the outside council would be "injurious" to the church and urging its executive council to refuse it. They called the plan "spiritually unsound" and said it could lead to permanent division of the U.S. church.
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Schism looms over Episcopal Church
March 21, 2007
By Isaac Wolf
Staff writer

Fighting isn't in their nature.

But now, as members of the Episcopal Church in the United States gird for a possible schism with the international Anglican Church, they're wondering how to move forward.

"The Episcopal Church has a very long history of agreeing not to agree with itself but still staying together," said the Rev. Debra Bullock, of the Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration in Palos Park.

"Once they leave, it really shuts the door on a conversation."
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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The believer's death with Christ upon His Cross therefore means being crucified to the world in all its aspects. Not to be a miserable, joyless person, but one filled with the joy and glory of another world. It is not the "cross" that makes us miserable, but the absence of it. It is a delivering Cross - a Cross that liberates you to have the very foretaste of heaven in you, as already sharers of the power of the age to come.... Glory to God for the Cross that severs us from the world, and the world- spirit, and makes a way for us into another world where all is peace and joy and love. ...Jessie Penn-Lewis photo

Study: U.S. Unchurched Population Nears 100 Million
By Audrey Barrick
Christian Post Reporter
Tue, Mar. 20 2007

Over the past decade, the unchurched population has remained stable at one third of the American population, the latest Barna Group survey showed.

The Barna study found that 33 percent of adults are classified as unchurched – people who have not attended a religious service of any type during the past six months. The statistic has remained relatively the same since 1994 when 36 percent were reported to be unchurched.

Still, the unchurched population in numbers is staggering. An estimated 73 million adults are presently unchurched. The number nears 100 million when teens and children are added to the population segment. That also includes an estimated 13 to 15 million born-again adults and children. On its own, the unchurched population of the United States would be the eleventh most-populated nation on earth, the Barna Group noted.

Some people groups are notorious church avoiders, the study found.
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House of Bishops Begins Discussion of Primates' Communiqué
03/19/2007

The primates’ Feb. 19
communiqué and its Sept. 30 deadline for a response from the House of Bishops have been topics of discussion from the outset of the House of Bishops’ March 16-21 meeting at the Camp Allen Conference Center near Houston. This is the first time the bishops have gathered since Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori was elected during General Convention last June.

The communiqué was also addressed by Bishop Jefferts Schori in plenary during a question-and-answer session on the primates’ meeting. While no
response to the communiqué is planned for this meeting, sources present told The Living Church a number of bishops believe the request is improper. Several bishops have argued that the primates do not have the authority to dictate a specific course of action, nor can the bishops bind The Episcopal Church to its recommendations. Objections have also been raised to the use of 1998 Lambeth resolution 1.10 on human sexuality being made a benchmark for the Communion. the rest

Movie review: Into Great Silence

The Carthusian Order of Catholic monks has existed for 1,000 years in the Alps of Grenoble, France. In 1984, German filmmaker Philip Gröning wrote for permission to film in their charterhouse, the Grande Chartreuse. Sixteen years later, they allowed him in. Gröning lived by their sides for six months, photographing an experience that brought him "Into Great Silence."

Laura: This lulling and contemplative work burrows into the spirituality of these men, who live and work together but maintain silence and life in a cell. Rather than provide any history, or state the rules of Carthusian existence, Gröning captures the images and sounds of their daily rituals throughout the seasons until the viewer is entranced by the beauty of the everyday.

At 160 minutes, the film might sound like a chore to sit through, but even though Gröning's work is far from traditional, it has a pace and a rhythm. We see exterior shots of the magnificent buildings, sometimes shot with time lapse photography that turns the sky into water or animates the stars. We arrangements of commonplace articles in still lifes, often enlivened by shafts of light and we follow individual monks - a tailor - a gardener - as they go about their business (one still shot of a barber monk strongly suggests Vermeer). The peeling of bells shatters the silence to call the men together for their morning and evening prayers and Gregorian chanting. Every so often, a biblical piece is emblazoned on the screen, sometimes followed by unblinking head shots in groups of three of individual monks.

Sound is ever important, for in the quiet we hear the fall of snow, an almost constant birdsong, the drip of alpine water, the crystalline chiming of cow bells. Amusingly, the monks themselves make jarring sounds, clumping about in heavy footwear in the vast, echoey living space.

Perhaps most amazing is that Gröning is able to capture individual personalities. These guys have outings where they talk and joke and play in the snow. An early scene, where two new recruits are brought into the fold, shows each inhabitant greet them - some are jovial, others severe, none the same.An old, blind monk describes very simply the joy of giving oneself over to God. Gröning finds Him in his filmstock, from the geometrical patterns caused by rain landing on a watery surface to some tree branches dancing in the wind. He grants us understanding of a little chosen lifestyle.
link
Other reviews at
Rotten Tomatoes

Ex-Gay Backs Mohler: Homosexuality is a Sin
By Audrey Barrick
Christian Post Reporter
Tue, Mar. 20 2007

In response to an evangelical leader's controversial article on the possibility of a biological marker on homosexuality, one ex-gay argues that homosexuality is already a changeable trait.

"The fact is homosexuality - having no scientific, biological basis whatsoever - is already a changeable trait without a patch or injection, one that I have personally received 14 years ago: Jesus Christ," said Stephen Bennett, founder of the pro-family Stephen Bennett Ministries, in a released statement.

Bennett was responding to a recent blog post written by the Rev. R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, that was blasted by both Christians and homosexual advocates. The March 2 post that suggested homosexuality may be genetic in origin was seen as a challenge to conservative Christian belief that homosexuality is a matter of choice that can be overcome. And while opposed to genetic manipulations of all kinds, Mohler said if a hormone therapy were developed for fetuses that would help them be born straight rather than gay, he would support its use, according to Time magazine.

Bennett attributed the media storm over the blog post, which he says is based on pure speculation, questionable research and science fiction, to the premise that the reader could walk away with: "if someone is born a certain way, who are we to 'play God' and change nature?"
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Schools in England to Ban Muslim Veils
Schools across England have been given the go-ahead to ban pupils from wearing full-face veils, following new uniform guidelines soon to be released.
by Daniel Blake
Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Schools across England have been given the go-ahead to ban pupils from wearing full-face veils, following new uniform guidelines soon to be released.

The ban will be authorised on security, safety and learning grounds.

The news follows February’s High Court judgement to uphold a Buckinghamshire school’s decision that a 12-year-old girl would not be allowed to wear her niqab.

The guidelines explain that it is important to accommodate religious clothing in schools, but that it is essential for teachers and pupils to make proper eye contact.
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Museum of Abortion and Contraception Makes Debut in Austria
By Peter J. Smith
VIENNA, March 19, 2007

(LifeSiteNews.com) – A new museum dedicated to abortion and contraception opened this week in Vienna, cataloguing a history of human effort through the ages devoted to suppressing or destroying the next generation of human life in the womb.

According to Deutsch-Welle, abortionist Dr. Christian Fiala, chairman of the International Association of Abortion and Contraception Specialists, conceived the idea of building a museum dedicated to the history of his profession in the city where he has directed an abortion/family planning clinic for the previous 10 years.

Fiala’s museum is divided into two separate rooms that are linked together just like contraception and abortion. In order to get to the abortion room, visitors must first pass through the contraception room, where they can see exhibits such as the first birth control pill juxtaposed with old-fashioned condoms made of pig bladders. If the contraception exhibit fails to satisfy, visitors may choose to enter into the abortion room by passing through a doorway of hanging pregnancy test kits from the 1960s.
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Money Looms in Episcopalian Rift With Anglicans
LAURIE GOODSTEIN AND NEELA BANERJEE
March 20, 2007

As leaders of the Anglican Communion hold meeting after meeting to debate severing ties with the Episcopal Church in the United States for consecrating an openly gay bishop, one of the unspoken complications is just who has been paying the bills.

The truth is, the Episcopal Church bankrolls much of the Communion’s operations. And a cutoff of that money, while unlikely at this time, could deal the Communion a devastating blow.

The Episcopal Church’s 2.3 million members make up a small fraction of the 77 million members in the Anglican Communion, the world’s third-largest affiliation of Christian churches. Nevertheless, the Episcopal Church finances at least a third of the Communion’s annual operations.
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ENS: Katherine Grieb for the House of Bishops
Monday, March 19, 2007

[Episcopal News Service] Thank you for the invitation to be with you today. My task is to speak about the process by which the Proposed Anglican Covenant came into being and to contribute one interpretation of where the text is going, that, along with other interpretations, will assist you in your deliberations on behalf of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion as a whole. As a member of the Covenant Design Group, along with my colleague Ephraim Radner, I attended its first meeting in Nassau in mid-January. Ephraim and I have divergent views about the covenant process as of this point in time. I will agree that the covenant process has become considerably clearer as a result of the recent Primates' Communiqué. I'm saying, in a nutshell, that the best source for understanding the logic of the proposed Anglican Covenant and the best evidence for how it is likely to be interpreted in the future is the recent Communiqué of the Primates.
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Monday, March 19, 2007

This way of seeing our Father in everything makes life one long thanksgiving and gives a rest of heart, and, more than that, a gayety of spirit, that is unspeakable. Some one says, "God's will on earth is always joy, always tranquility." And since He must have His own way concerning His children, into what wonderful green pastures of inward rest, and beside what blessedly still waters of inward refreshment is the soul led that learns this secret. If the will of God is our will, and if He always has His way, then we always have our way also, and we reign in a perpetual kingdom. He who sides with God cannot fail to win in every encounter; and, whether the result shall be joy or sorrow, failure or success, death or life, we may, under all circumstances, join in the Apostle's shout of victory, "Thanks be unto God which always causeth us to triumph in Christ!" ...Hannah Whitall Smith photo

Brazilian Priests Could Face Jail-time for Saying that Homosexuality is A Sin
If new legislation passes, even seminaries would not be allowed to disqualify active homosexuals

By Meg Jalsevac
BRAZIL, March 19, 2007

(LifeSiteNews.com) – Brazil’s Senate is currently engaged in a debate over proposed legislation that would criminalize anything deemed a condemnation of homosexuality. The new legislation, labeled the ‘homophobia law’ would demand jail time for violations of the law and would not provide for any religious exception.

The proposed legislation has already passed through the House and was debated last Thursday in the Senate. The Senate members refused to vote on the matter, in part due to the number of civilians who contacted government officials to voice their concerns about the proposed law. Instead, a study group was established to further investigate and acquire professional input on the issue.

The legislation includes wording that would prevent any type of supposed discrimination due to sexual orientation. According to ZENIT, priests who preached against homosexuality could face 3 to 5 years in jail and seminaries would not be permitted to reject applicants based on their sexual orientation.
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Bishop Howard Rejects Panel of Reference Plan in Florida
03/19/2007

The Rt. Rev. Samuel Johnson Howard, Bishop of Florida, has rejected a “good neighbor” episcopal ministry plan proposed by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Panel of Reference. The report, which required almost two years of “hard and painstaking work,” was in response to an appeal made by the rector and vestry of Church of the Redeemer in Jacksonville.

The report, which was released to the public on March 16, called for Church of the Redeemer to return to the oversight of Bishop Howard and to active participation in the fiscal and corporate life of the diocese. In return, Bishop Howard was asked to lift canonical sanctions against the clergy, end litigation, and permit alternate episcopal oversight for the parish from a neighboring Episcopal bishop acceptable to both the parish and the diocese.

As a sign of good faith in the panel recommendations, a scheduled court appearance before a judge could be cancelled, said the Most Rev. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury. He proposed the idea in a letter to both Bishop Howard and the Rev. Neil Lebhar, rector of Redeemer.
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ENS: Bishops approach Communique, Covenant with prayer, reflection
Environmental sustainability, development goals central to weekend study
Monday, March 19, 2007

[Episcopal News Service] A weekend of prayer, reflection, and study of environmental sustainability and God's mission has engaged the Episcopal Church's House of Bishops as its members have prepared to respond to the Primates' Communique and the proposed Anglican Covenant.

The Covenant is the topic of March 19 discussions following a plenary presentation by two members of the document's international drafting committee, the Rev. Dr. A. Katherine Grieb, associate professor of New Testament at the Virginia Theological Seminary, and the Rev. Dr. Ephraim Radner, a theologian who is rector of Ascension Church, Pueblo, Colorado. Radner is also a senior fellow of the Anglican Communion Institute, "a trans-national evangelical organization."

The day's agenda follows both Sunday sabbath time and Saturday lectures and workshops focused on theological, scientific, and practical aspects of environmental sustainability as one of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Peace and justice work framed by the MDGs is the first of five 2007-2009 churchwide mission priorities designated by the General Convention.
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A Letter to the Presiding Bishop and President of the House of Deputies from Calvary Church Pittsburgh

The following letter was sent on behalf of the Calvary Church vestry to express concerns about the recommendations made by the Primates of the Anglican Communion in the Communique of February 19, 2007. The letter reflects a thoughtful and thorough discussion by the vestry and asks these two leaders to resist inappropriate concessions which are in direct opposition to the theology and history of the Episcopal Church in the United States.

letter at titusonenine

Are Anglicans facing a great schism?
REGINALD STACKHOUSE
From Monday's Globe and Mail
19/03/07

Will Canada's Anglicans split if their governing body opts for blessing same-sex unions?
If these nearly one million church members are true to the history of their centuries-old communion, they will agree to disagree -- but they will not fragment. The past, however, does not always shape the future.

Through the ages, no part of Christianity has shown more flexibility in retaining unity amid diversity in doctrine, ceremony and lifestyle. Yet no challenge to that comprehension has been stronger than the reaction to recent proposals about same-sex unions.

For the Canadian church to come down on one side of the issue can therefore strain its relationships not only with Anglicans in other parts of the world -- especially sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean -- but also within its own membership.
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