Saturday, September 22, 2007

"Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am."
John 13:13

To have a master and to be mastered is not the same thing. To have a master means that there is one who knows me better than I know myself, one who is closer than a friend, one who fathoms the remotest abyss of my heart and satisfies it, one who has brought me into the secure sense that he has met and solved every perplexity and problem of my mind. To have a master is this and nothing less - "One is your Master, even Christ."

Our Lord never enforces obedience; He does not take means to make me do what He wants. At certain times I wish God would master me and make me do the thing, but He will not; in other moods I wish He would leave me alone, but He does not.

"Ye call me Master and Lord" - but is He? Master and Lord have little place in our vocabulary, we prefer the words Saviour, Sanctifier, Healer. The only word to describe mastership in experience is love and we know very little about love as God reveals it. This is proved by the way we use the word obey. In the Bible obedience is based on the relationship of equals, that of a son with his father. Our Lord was not God's servant, He was His Son. "Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience . . ." If our idea is that we are being mastered, it is a proof that we have no master; if that is our attitude to Jesus, we are far away from the relationship He wants. He wants us in the relationship in which He is easily Master without our conscious knowledge of it, all we know is that we are His to obey. ...Oswald Chambers

Anglican Communion remains divided on gay issues
By Neela Banerjee
September 22, 2007

NEW ORLEANS: Talks between Episcopal Church bishops in the United States and top-ranking representatives of the rest of the worldwide Anglican Communion ended with few signs that the bishops would change the U.S. church's liberal stance on homosexuality.

At the top of the agenda of the U.S. bishops' semiannual meeting here was a directive from the communion's primates asking the U.S. church to stop consecrating openly gay and lesbian bishops and to ban the blessing of same-sex unions, or risk a diminished status in the communion, the world's third-largest Christian denomination.
the rest

Pot-bellied Jesus ad irks Church
By Frances Harrison
BBC religious affairs reporter
Friday, 21 September 2007

Catholic bishops in Belgium have protested against a TV ad depicting Jesus as a pot-bellied hippy picking up half-naked women in a nightclub.

The advertisement is being aired on the country's main TV channel to promote youth channel Plug TV.

The Catholic Church says this sort of portrayal of Jesus is disrespectful to believers and that it is wrong to use him for advertising.
the rest

Authorities Threaten to Deport Homeschooling Missionaries
September 19, 2007

German officials appear to be more determined than ever to rid their country of influences that may contribute to the rise of what they call Parallelgesellschaften, parallel societies. Never mind that Germany has hundreds of thousands of genuinely truant youth hanging around street corners; school officials have determined that parents diligently educating their children at home are a greater danger to German society. Now it would seem that German officials are not content to go after their own citizens, but are also targeting American missionaries who homeschool.

Mr. Clint Robinson, his wife Susan and their three children came to Germany March 2, 2007. They had sold their possessions and left the United States to serve the Lord as missionaries. Initially, they were to work with the Bachmans, fellow American missionaries who have been working in Germany for nearly 20 years, and who had found a rental apartment for them.
the rest

Matt Kennedy+: How the House of Bishops Could Save the Anglican Communion
September 22, 2007

Where does this leave us? In an interesting position I would think. Division seems even more inevitable than compromise. If the Episcopal Church does not pull back from the brink and, subsequently, Lambeth invitations are not withdrawn from Episcopal bishops and, further, if invitations are not issued to Nigerian, Ugandan, Rwandan, and Kenyan bishops, then there is, seemingly, an insurmountable impasse. The Windsor “Process” will be at an end. While the Church of Nigeria and some others will not, probably, declare independence from Canterbury, they will not meet. They will proceed as if Canterbury did not exist and as if the Episcopal Church is no longer a member of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. All of this, I think, will be perfectly justified and yet terrible. But there is, to my mind, only one last and quite improbable scenario that might prevent this outcome.

the rest at Stand Firm

LA Times: Archbishop: No 'ultimatum' over gay Episcopal clergy
The Anglican church wasn't issuing demands when it set a deadline for U.S. leaders to renounce their position, its leader says in advocating compromise.

From the Associated Press
September 22, 2007

NEW ORLEANS -- -- The archbishop of Canterbury indicated Friday that the Episcopal Church wasn't on the brink of losing its place in the world Anglican fellowship, despite the uproar over Episcopal support for gay clergy.

Anglican leaders, called primates, had set a Sept. 30 deadline for the Americans to pledge unequivocally not to consecrate another gay bishop or approve an official prayer service for same-sex couples. Episcopal bishops have dedicated their meeting here to crafting a response.
the rest

Confessing to 'sins' is booming in America
By Tom Leonard in New York

Americans are flocking to confess their sins as Protestant churches have joined their Catholic counterparts in modernising the sacrament of penance.

Thousands of people are attending confession at weekends and just as many are posting their repentance on videos that are played back to congregations or shared on websites such as YouTube.

New technology is fuelling the boom, but so is clever marketing by Churches that are portraying confession as a form of self-improvement — always popular with Americans — rather than some sort of punishment.
the rest

'Tsunami' Hits Presbyterians; Dramatic Changes Ahead
Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter
Fri, Sep. 21 2007

Top officials of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) have come to the conclusion that they cannot continue "doing church" the way they have been.

Churches within the PC(USA), the nation's largest Presbyterian body, have "hit the wall" and "come to the end of the string," seeking new directions amid a growing exodus from the denomination.

"It is as if a tsunami of change has hit us," said Joan Gray, moderator of the General Assembly during a Sept. 17-21 GAC (General Assembly Council) meeting in Louisville, Ky., according to the Presbyterian News Service. "I recently spent time in the Midwest, and these areas are drying up. The people are not there any more. In
Detroit, 3,000 people a day are leaving to emigrate elsewhere. That is just the tip of the iceberg.”

The PC(USA) has suffered continual losses in membership and now claims a little less than 2.3 million. More dissident Presbyterians and some historic congregations have voted to split from the PC(USA), citing that the denomination is not consistent with written theology in such areas as the singular saving Lordship of Jesus Christ and homosexual ordination.
the rest photo

TLC: Multiple Resolutions Await Bishops on Monday

At least five “mind of the house” resolutions have been submitted for plenary discussion by the House of Bishops before their meeting concludes Sept. 25. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori had previously requested that all resolutions for consideration be submitted no later than Sept. 20, the meeting’s opening day.

Copies of the proposed resolutions, along with other reports and documents, have been made available near the entrance to the New Orleans conference room where the bishops are meeting. Some of the resolutions bear the signed endorsement of more than one bishop; however no formal discussion of resolutions is scheduled before Monday.

The Rt. Rev. Henry N. Parsley, Bishop of Alabama, has submitted draft language of a response to all of the requests the primates made of the House of Bishops in the Feb. 19 communiqué from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. In it, Bishop Parsley notes that General Convention has already responded affirmatively to the questions for clarification on same-sex blessings and homosexual bishops in monogamous relationships. He recommends that the matter be referred to the Anglican Consultative Council.
the rest

UK: Clinics to grow human eggs
By Rebecca Smith, Medical Editor

A major advance in fertility treatment is signalled today as doctors unveil details of a technique that will allow human eggs to be grown in the laboratory from ovarian tissue samples.

The procedure, which is being pioneered by two British fertility clinics, involves taking a piece of ovary tissue from a woman and "banking" it in a laboratory until she is ready to start a family.

It would allow career women, or those waiting to meet the right partner, to delay motherhood for years.
the rest photo

Illinois: Internal bickering leaves Q-C Anglican churches in turmoil
By Leon Lagerstam
September 21, 2007

ROCK ISLAND -- The Rev. Steven McClaskey really didn't want to retire right now from his pastoral post at Trinity Church in Rock Island.

Yet, he also didn't want to risk losing his pension, which advisers and he felt was endangered, by the continued dispute between Episcopal Church leaders and the worldwide Anglican Communion.

The two sides have been at odds since the 2003 consecration of the Rev. Gene Robinson, a non-celibate homosexual, as a New Hampshire bishop. The crisis escalated in 2006 when Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori was named as the church's presiding bishop.

Anglican archbishops issued a Sept. 30 deadline for Episcopal Church leaders to give "unequivocal assurances" that they will stop advocating teaching and practices "incompatible with Holy Scripture;" and would not consent any longer to consecrating bishops living in a same-sex relationship or blessing same-sex unions.
the rest

TitusOneNine: Roundup of Blog commentaries: The reappraisers
Posted September 21, 2007

Excerpt: "Ok, it gets even more interesting. The reappraising bloggers are one thing. After all, most blogs aren't meant to be comprehensive news sources. Bloggers cover what interests them, what they have something to say about. So maybe they choose to ignore +Mouneer. I can live with that. But ENS?

ENS has 4 stories posted under today's date, Sept. 21.

Archbishop of Canterbury 'encouraged' by bishops' meetings By Pat McCaughan, Sep 21, 2007

Raise prophetic voices against poverty, Paul Farmer tells bishops By Mary Frances Schjonberg, Sep 21, 2007

Archbishop Rowan Williams' opening remarks at September 21 news conference Sep 21, 2007

Archbishop of Canterbury gets a taste of New Orleans By Mary Frances Schjonberg, Sep 21, 2007

Anyone want to guess how many times the names Mouneer Anis or even Australian Primate Aspinall appear in these 4 articles? If you guessed ZERO, you get the gold ring! Nope. Not one mention of either Primate. No mention of +Morgan who supports TEC's agenda. No mention of any of the Joint Standing Committee or their remarks that I can find at ENS today.
the rest

Friday, September 21, 2007

Consider Jesus. As you are crucified, watch Him handle His crucifixion. Your Lord bequeathed to you an example of the high art of being crucified. Behold how He reacted to betrayal, to lies, to false witnesses. Jesus Christ absorbed these pains, even as they added the shamefulness of being crucified in public. Humiliated, degraded, defamed, tortured and then murdered. That day he raised acceptance of the cross into an art form. He learned to accept all things from the hand of His Father. ...Gene Edwards image

Theologian predicts Episcopal bishops will seek compromise
Jim Brown
September 21, 2007

A conservative Anglican theologian believes the Episcopal Church will attempt to formulate a compromise that falls short of demands put forth by world Anglican leaders.

Episcopal bishops are currently meeting in New Orleans to decide whether to obey an order from the international leadership of the Anglican Communion that calls for an end to the consecration of homosexual bishops and blessings of "same-sex unions". The Episcopal Church has until September 30 to comply with the order, or risk losing its membership in the world-wide Anglican Communion.

Dr. Kendall Harmon, Canon Theologian for the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, says it is very unlikely the Episcopal Church will agree with what Anglican leaders are asking. He says the denomination is in denial about its drift from Biblical truth.
the rest

Iranians Flocking to Christian Television
By Sze Leng Chan
Christian Post Correspondent
Fri, Sep. 21 2007

A Christian satellite TV network has reported “spectacular church growth” in
Iran and noted the importance of media in strengthening the churches there as well as in reaching out to Muslims.

SAT-7 is “receiving a lot of reports on people watching this channel more than almost any other channel in Iran,” Debbie Brink, the network’s executive director, reported recently to Mission Network News (MNN).

She said SAT-7 had deliberately chosen not to tackle political issues and focuses instead on the message of hope and peace.

"I think we attract viewers in these times, because they're looking for an alternative message. They're tired of all the conflict and the war, and they do see opportunities for learning more about God's love, His forgiveness, reconciliation and peace," she stated.
the rest

Archbishop addresses religious fissure
Cathy Lynn Grossman, USA TODAY

The Anglican Communion, torn by disputes over theology and church authority, must push for compromise or it would be "an admission of defeat," says Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, head of the world's third largest Christian denomination.

Williams spoke at a news conference Friday in New Orleans, following two days of meetings with 160 bishops of the Episcopal Church, the U.S. branch of Anglicanism. The Episcopal Church ignited a firestorm within the Anglican Communion in 2003 when it ratified the election of an openly gay bishop.
the rest

TLC: Concluding His Visit, Archbishop Seeks to Lower Expectations

Concluding his visit with the House of Bishops, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams sought to diminish expectations and the implication that there are consequences for The Episcopal Church for failing to provide the assurances sought by the Anglican Communion’s primates last February.

Archbishop Williams spoke at a press conference Friday as he wrapped up a day and a half of private conversation in New Orleans with the House of Bishops and representatives from the joint steering committee of the primates and the Anglican Consultative Council,

“Despite what has been claimed, there is no ‘ultimatum’ involved,” Archbishop Williams said, reciting from memory a written statement distributed to reporters. “The primates asked for a response by September 30 simply because we were aware that this was the meeting of the house likely to be formulating such a response. The ACC and Primates Joint Standing Committee will be reading and digesting what the bishops have to say, and will let me know their thoughts on it early next week. After this I shall be sharing what they say, along with my own assessments, with the primates and others, inviting their advice in the next couple of weeks.”
the rest

U.S. Episcopals to respond on gay issue next week
Fri 21 Sep 2007
By Bruce Nichols and Ed Stoddard

NEW ORLEANS, Sept 21 (Reuters) - The spiritual head of the U.S. Episcopal Church said on Friday its leaders would likely respond in full next week to a request by the broader Anglican communion that it stop ordaining openly gay bishops and outlaw the blessing of same-sex marriages.

The issue threatens to split the 77 million member global Anglican communion, a prospect which prompted the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to say on Friday: "God forbid."

The 2.4 million member Episcopal church is the U.S. branch of the worldwide Anglican church and the U.S. bishops are in the second of six days of meetings with the thorny question of gay issues high on their agenda.
the rest

AnglicanTV: Bloggers Round Table
September 21, 2007

At 7 pm CST StandFirm and AnglicanTV will be hosting a Round Table Discussion.

It will be streamed live with chat here.

Ruth Gledhill weblog: Peter Akinola 'blows the fourth trumpet'
September 21, 2007

I feel like running a caption competition for this picture. We'll send a bottle of champagne to the best suggestion. This is of course the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, in the US.

At a press conference this evening, Dr Williams said the Lambeth Conference is 'necessary' and that smaller provinces should not be held hostage by the larger ones. He also said there was no ultimatum, and no demands or deadline being put to TEC at this meeting. The Episcopal Church has posted a video of his earlier sermon. See below for full transcript of interview with Peter Akinola about this and next week's meeting of the US bishops. the rest

An exercise in despair
September 22, 2007

Society is at breaking point, according to the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Lambeth Palace is just across the River Thames from the Palace of Westminster but it couldn't be more different. Even during recess the House of Commons is frenetic; behind the wooden gates of the Archbishop of Canterbury's residence all is calm.

Not for long. As politics concentrates increasingly on moral questions, so the church has become ever more political. Rowan Williams met the new British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, last week for the first time and he clearly intends to get more involved in national debate. "Politics is so much about human issues now," he says.
the rest

Archbishop accused of 'dehumanizing gays'
-Gene Robinson
By Jonathan Petre, Religion Correspondent

The Archbishop of Canterbury's hopes of averting schism in the worldwide Anglican Church are foundering after he was accused of dehumanizing gays by the openly homosexual bishop Gene Robinson.

Dr Rowan Williams is holding two days of crisis talks in New Orleans in an eleventh-hour effort to persuade the bishops of the American branch of Anglicanism to reverse their pro-gay agenda.

But insiders said that a number of the liberal bishops were in no mood to capitulate, and any compromise that they might eventually accept was unlikely to placate conservatives who want them ousted.
the rest

BabyBlue Online: From the Bishop of Egypt's Address to the House of Bishops "For the first time in centuries, the fabric of our Communion is torn ..."

Here is an excerpt from the "Address of Bishop Mouneer Anis, Bishop of the Episcopal/Anglican Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal/Anglican province of Jerusalem and the Middle East to the House of Bishops in New Orleans. Please note that I've typed this in real time.

...My friends, you may believe you have discovered a very difficult truth from that of the majority in the Anglican Communion. It not just about sexuality, but about your views of Christ, the Gospel and the authority of the Bible. Please forgive me when I relay that some say you are a different church, others even think that you are a different religion.

I understand that it is difficult for you in your context to accept the standard teaching of the Anglican Communion. This is why you refused to accept Lambeth Conference Resolution 1.10. You also ignored all the warnings of the Primates in 2003, 2004, and 2005. Your response to the Windsor Report is seen by the Primates as not clear. You cannot say you value being a member of the Anglican Communion while you ignore the interdependence of the member churches. The interdependence is what differentiates us from the other congregational churches. I would like to remind you and myself with the famous resolution 49 of the Lambeth Conference of 1930 which declares "the Anglican Communion is a fellowship of churches that ... are bound together not be a central legislative and executive authority, but by mutual loyalty sustained through the common counsel of the bishops in conference." With respect, I have to say that those who would prefer to speak of laws and procedures, constitutions and canons, committees and process: you are missing the point! It is our mutual loyalty and fellowship, submitting to one another in the common cause of Jesus Christ that makes us of one Church on faith and one Lord.

the rest-don't miss this!

Also Matt Kennedy+ at Stand Firm

AnglicanTV: New Orleans HOB Friday Press Conference
September 21, 2007

Today's news conference with Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will be held following the conclusion of discussions with the House of Bishops scheduled for approximately 12:30 pm.

Also in the news conference will be Bishop Charles Jenkins of the Diocese of Louisiana, Bishop Duncan Gray of Mississippi, and Bishop Suffragan Catherine Roskam of New York.


Bishop's Fight Underscores Global Divisions In The Anglican Church
By: Bradley Vasoli, The Bulletin

Bishop David L. Moyer persists in his ongoing local battle against the relaxation of Church tradition, both inside and outside the courtroom.

Moyer, rector of the Church of the Good Shepherd in Rosemont, expects to begin proceedings in a Montgomery County civil court next month to determine whether his technical removal from the priesthood on Sept. 4, 2002 without a church trial can legally stand. The coming court battle underscores his lifelong toils for the preservation of longstanding Anglo-Catholic tenets.

That those tenets merited such a dogged defense first became apparent to Moyer as he began his studies at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill., in 1972. Many teachers and students of church doctrine were, to put it mildly, not so doctrinaire.

the rest

HoB news links: here

Anglican bishop to speak at first service
By Elisabeth Mistretta Daily Herald Staff

His churches represent more than a quarter of believers worldwide.

And so his fellow Anglicans will come to Wheaton Sunday to hear the Rev. Peter Akinola, primate of the Anglican Church of Nigeria, discuss his religious philosophy.

Akinola will serve as guest speaker during the first Midwest Anglican Awakening worship service at Wheaton College's Edman Memorial Chapel. The event will draw members from 20 Anglican churches and aims to celebrate solidarity.
the rest

Millions stranded by monsoon floods in India, Bangladesh
21 September, 2007

Bangladesh (MNN) ― The death toll from flooding this year in Bangladesh tops 1,000.

Floods that swept across low-lying Bangladesh for nearly a month are receding, but thousands of people are still living in makeshift homes.

Two and a half million others have also been displaced or marooned by rising river waters.
The additional loss of over two million acres of crop land means that those affected by the monsoon rains will reach upwards of 20 million people.
the rest

Agnostic state lawmaker sues God, gets a response
Associated Press
Sept. 20, 2007

LINCOLN, Neb. — A legislator who filed a lawsuit against God has gotten something he might not have expected: a response.

One of two court filings from "God" came Wednesday under otherworldly circumstances, according to John Friend, clerk of the Douglas County District Court in Omaha.

"This one miraculously appeared on the counter. It just all of a sudden was here — poof!" Friend said.
the rest

UK Christians Worry About Implications of New Equality Laws
By Kevin McCandless Correspondent
September 21, 2007

( - Christian groups here are warning that proposed new equality laws could wreak havoc on British churches and lead to the further secularization of society.

As part of its efforts to streamline decades' worth of anti-discrimination law, the British government is currently drawing up a new Single Equality Bill, which is expected to come before parliament soon.

Having studied draft proposals released earlier this year, the (Anglican/Episcopalian) Church of England said in a formal response that the new laws could be twisted and turned against religious charities that operate in the public sector.
the rest

Critics Right and Left Protest Book Removals
Published: September 21, 2007

The federal Bureau of Prisons is under pressure from members of Congress and religious groups to reverse its decision to purge the shelves of prison chapel libraries of all religious books and materials that are not on the bureau’s lists of approved resources.

Outrage over the bureau’s decision has come from both conservatives and liberals, who say it is inappropriate to limit inmates to a religious reading list determined by the government.

The Republican Study Committee, a caucus of some of the most conservative
Republicans in the House of Representatives, sent a letter on Wednesday to the bureau’s director, Harley G. Lappin, saying, “We must ensure that in America the federal government is not the undue arbiter of what may or may not be read by our citizens.” the rest

Pope backs Beijing's new state-approved bishop
Fri Sep 21, 2007

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict has given his backing to Beijing's new state-approved Catholic bishop, the official Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano said on Friday, hours after Li Shan was installed in the Chinese capital.

The Holy See has had no diplomatic ties with Beijing since 1951 and China's estimated 8 to 12 million Catholics are divided between a state-sanctioned church and an underground church wary of government ties.
the rest

News from HOB meeting in New Orleans
(I will be adding links from time to time-PD)

Stand Firm:

A Resolution Submitted by Bishop Dean E. Wolfe, Diocese of Kansas

Bishop Henry N. Parsley (Alabama): Mind of the House Resolution

Mind Of The House Resolution Submitted By Bishop Pierre Whalon

Resolution offered by Bruce MacPherson, Russell Jacobus, Geralyn Wolf, and C. Franklin Brookhart

Resolution Offered by Windsor Bishops (+Jenkins Resolution)

TLC: Details Sketchy on Episcopal Visitor Proposal

Boston Globe: Episcopal bishops, archbishop seek a middle ground

Archbishop of Canterbury in Closed-Door Talks with Episcopals

Anglicans seeking ‘middle way’ in homosexual debate

ENS:Archbishop of Canterbury gets a taste of New Orleans

Direction for prayer: Lent and Beyond

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Prayer of Abandonment

Father, I abandon myself into your hands;
do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you:
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me,
and in all Your creatures -
I wish no more than this, O Lord.

Into your hands I commend my soul;
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you Lord,
and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands,
without reserve,
and with boundless confidence,

For you are my Father.
--Charles de Foucauld (1858-1916) art

Albany: Bishop Love's Letter to the Diocese
September 20, 2007

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I arrived in New Orleans yesterday for the House of Bishops Meeting which officially began this morning and will end on Tuesday night, Sept. 25th. I ask each of you to enter into a period of prayer and fasting, keeping not only me, but the entire House of Bishops in your prayers, as well as ++Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, and the visiting members of the Primate's Standing Committee. We are truly at a critical time in the life of the Episcopal Church and the wider Anglican Communion. This is NOT "just one more meeting." I sincerely believe that the decisions made by the House of Bishops at this meeting will be a key factor in determining the future of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.

I invite you to join me in praying that the Holy Spirit will come mightily upon this House, touching and transforming the hearts and souls and minds of every Bishop here, helping us to discern and carry out the will of God. May His will and only His will be done. Just as Paul encountered the risen Lord on the road to Damascus, may we too have a Damascus road experience in which we, the House of Bishops, are convicted of that which is not of God, repenting and asking His forgiveness of our sins, and then be given the grace to be faithful and obedient in exercising our ministry as bishops in God's holy Church, keeping Jesus Christ at the center of all that we do.

Archbishop Rowan Williams will be with us through tomorrow afternoon. I pray the Holy Spirit will speak clearly to and through him as he addressed the House of Bishops. May we be open to what he has to say.

While we will be addressing a variety of issues throughout the meeting, one of the most important things we will deal with is our official response to the Primate's Communiqué to the House of Bishops regarding the Windsor Report. As most of you are well aware, there is much division within the Church regarding what our response should be. Again, it is my prayer that God's will be done. Thank you for yours prayers and your faithfulness.

In Christ Jesus,


Depriving women of their right to know
Thursday, September 20, 2007

LAST WEEK, the New Jersey Supreme Court decided that patients are not entitled to truthful answers when they ask doctors direct questions about medical procedures.

When Rosa Acuna learned she was six weeks to eight weeks pregnant, she asked if she was carrying a baby at that stage. Her doctor replied that her fetus was "not a living human being," but rather "just tissue at this time." As a result, Rosa agreed to an abortion.

'She suffered emotional distress upon discovering later that the abortion had indeed killed an existing human being. While expressing sympathy for Rosa's "deep pain," the court dismissed her claim against the doctor.

The court conceded that doctors must disclose all information that a reasonably prudent patient would find material before deciding to undergo a medical procedure. What could be more material than the one direct question the patient finds important enough to ask?
the rest

Pro-gay agenda pushes Church closer to schism
Ruth Gledhill
September 21, 2007

The most powerful leader of evangelical Anglicans worldwide has issued a last-minute plea to the US Episcopal bishops over their pro-gay liberal agenda, to save the Church from schism.

The Archbishop and Primate of Nigeria, Dr Peter Akinola, was speaking to The Times as the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, met US bishops in New Orleans in a last-ditch attempt to avert a split.

Dr Akinola, who heads the Global South group of Anglican provinces from Asia, Africa and Latin America, said the Anglican Church worldwide was in a state of “broken communion”.

He said the crisis arose from the “intransigence and obstinacy” of The Episcopal Church in the US, which had pursued a liberal line on same-sex blessings and the consecration in 2003 of the openly gay bishop Gene Robinson. “They were warned not to do this,” he said. “Now province after province has declared a state of broken communion with them.”
the rest

AnglicanTV live streaming:
New Orleans HOB Thursday Press Conference

Listening for the Whisper
How to break the addiction to spectacle.

Mark Galli

We love the wind, the earthquake, and the fire. As the football season gets underway, we are reminded of our fascination with such signs and wonders, with spectacle. Watching a game in a massive stadium pulsating with the energy of 100,000 fans makes us feel alive. We may decry the hype surrounding football—especially the Super Bowl—but nonetheless we find ourselves drawn to the bright fireworks, nervous camera work, gigantic specimens of athleticism, sexy cheerleaders, roaring crowds, and excited announcers whose voices suggest that what is going on down on the field is history-making stuff.

Naturally enough, we try to bring earthquake, wind, and fire to church. God is the god of life, after all. We should feel it, no? This, of course, is one of the draws of megachurches, which, because of their size, can do mega-things. Bumper-to-bumper cars streaming into the parking lot. People eight or ten abreast rushing to get a good seat. The voices of thousands raised in song. Lights, video, booming bass and pounding drums, projection screens making it all literally bigger than life—it all adds up to a powerful spectacle.
the rest-excellent! photo

Judge OKs 'Hitler youth' buttons
By DAVID PORTER, Associated Press Writer

NEWARK, N.J. - Two students in northern New Jersey can wear buttons featuring a picture of Hitler youth to protest a school uniform policy, a federal judge ruled Thursday.

U.S. District Judge Joseph A. Greenaway Jr. sided with the parents of the students, who had been threatened with suspension last fall for wearing the buttons. However, the judge added in his ruling that the boys will not be allowed to distribute the buttons at school.
the rest

Presiding bishop asks church to set aside 'abundant disdain' for differences
By Russell Working Tribune staff reporter
September 20, 2007

NEW ORLEANS - In a morning Eucharist for U.S. Episcopal bishops gathered here, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori called for church leaders to set aside an "abundant disdain" for those who hold different opinions.

But as the church faces a deadline from international the worldwide bishops to respond to a call to stop ordaining gay and lesbian bishops, mutual respect may not be enough to ward off a split with the rest of the worldwide Anglican Communion, of which the Episcopal Church is a part.

"This is obviously a tremendously important meeting," said Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh, who is moderator of the conservative Anglican Communion Network. "I wish my hopes were higher.
the rest

Anglican Church in crisis talks to avert schism
By Jonathan Petre, Religion Correspondent, in New Orleans

The fate of the world's third largest Christian Church is hanging in the balance after the Archbishop of Canterbury began crisis talks American liberals in a last-ditch effort to avert schism.

Dr Rowan Williams has two days to persuade the American House of Bishops in New Orleans to row back on its pro-gay agenda or face the biggest crisis in Anglican history.

He is under huge pressure from conservative leaders to oust the Americans if they refuse to agree to halt the consecration of gay bishops and the blessing of same-sex "marriages".

The Archbishop has told friends of his fears that the 77 million strong Anglican Communion could split into bitterly antagonistic rival Churches if he fails to hammer out a compromise over the next few days.
the rest

TLC: Bishops, Archbishop of Canterbury Begin Private Sessions

When Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams meets with the House of Bishops beginning this morning in New Orleans, he will have at least three questions. The responses to those questions will likely be of historical significance to the Anglican Communion.

A senior member of Archbishop Williams’ staff confirmed as accurate comments contained in a
letter to his diocese by the Rt. Rev. Duncan M. Gray III, Bishop of Mississippi. Bishop Gray wrote that the archbishop will seek clarification of the meaning and intent on three subjects, including Resolution B033 approved during the 75th General Convention in 2006. The resolution “call[s] upon standing committees and bishops with jurisdiction to exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion.” the rest

Ottawa synod to consider blessing same-sex couples
Sep 19, 2007

The diocese of Ottawa’s regularly scheduled synod will decide Oct. 12-13 whether to request its bishop to grant permission for clergy to bless same-sex relationships.

It is the first diocese to consider the matter since the triennial General Synod, the Anglican Church of Canada’s national governing body, agreed in June that same-sex blessings are “not in conflict” with core church doctrine, but declined by a slim margin to affirm the authority of dioceses to offer them.

The Ottawa motion, moved by Ron Chaplin, a member of the diocese’s branch of Integrity, a support group for gay Anglicans, and Canon Garth Bulmer, rector of St. John the Evangelist, reads: “Be it resolved that this synod requests that the bishop grant permission for clergy, whose conscience permits, to bless duly solemnized and registered civil marriages between same-sex couples, where one party is baptized; and that he authorizes an appropriate rite and guidelines for its use in supportive parishes.”
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ENS: Eight bishops agree to serve as 'episcopal visitors'
By Bob Williams
September 20, 2007

[Episcopal News Service] Eight bishops have accepted Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori's invitation to serve as "episcopal visitors" to dioceses that have requested this provision.
At her request, the Presiding Bishop's canon, the Rev. Dr. Charles Robertson, advised Episcopal News Service of this measure the evening of September 19. The announcement preceded the opening plenary session of the House of Bishops' September 20-25 meeting in New Orleans.

Robertson said Jefferts Schori expected to announce the names of the eight bishops during that session, which is devoted to the bishops' private conversation with Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, and is closed to the public and media.

Jefferts Schori has conferred with Williams about the invitations, which she extended after a process of consultation with bishops in the Episcopal Church, Robertson said.

"All eight are true bridge-builders who empathize with the concerns and needs of dioceses that are struggling with the issues of the current time," Robertson said, adding that "while all are sympathetic to to these concerns, each is clear that the Presiding Bishop's ultimate goal is
reconciliation." the rest

Added: TLC: Eight Agree to Serve as Episcopal Visitors

Syracuse: Roberts stresses independent judges
Posted by
John O'Brien
September 19, 2007

The words of the First Amendment alone won't guarantee anyone the rights to free speech, the country's top judge said this afternoon at Syracuse University.

Those protections are only as strong as the independence of the judges sworn to protect the Constitution, said Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. in a speech at SU's Hendricks Chapel.

Roberts made his remarks at the keynote address of the dedication of the third building in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications complex. The First Amendement is etched in glass in 6-foot letters on the outside of the building.
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NYT: Majority of Marriages End Before 25 Years, Census Finds
September 19, 2007

Don’t stock up on silver anniversary cards. More than half the Americans who might have celebrated their 25th wedding anniversaries since 2000 were either divorced, separated or widowed, according to a census survey released today.

For the first time at least since World War II, married people had a less than even chance of still being married 25 years later.

The latest survey by the
Census Bureau confirmed that most Americans eventually marry, but they are marrying later and are less likely to be wed only once. Those trends continued, although the proportion who have ever been divorced, about one in five, remained constant. the rest

Kendall Harmon: Honesty or Obfuscation in New Orleans?
Posted by Kendall Harmon
September 20, 2007

If you read the Bible carefully, you may observe that the prophets reserve some of their strongest condemnations for lack of honesty—before God and before others. These people honor me with their lips, Isaiah says, but their hearts are far from me. The God of reality wants his people to face the reality about God, our world and ourselves, and we do nearly everything in our power to avoid it.

All this brings us to the central question facing the House of Bishops meeting this week in New Orleans: Is the leadership of the Episcopal Church going to be honest about what they really believe and are doing or will they hide behind an institutional and verbal smokescreen?

Again and again in Minneapolis in 2003 we heard that God is doing a new thing and that the gospel of justice demanded that we must change our teaching to say that persons in non-celibate same sex unions are appropriate models for Christian leadership. But now that the Archbishop of Canterbury is coming to town and there might be serious consequences, a number of bishops are coming to the meeting like Monty Hall seeking to play "Let's Make a Deal!!" Instead of owning the new theology they have embraced, they are going to hide behind words and phrases which say one thing while a number of them believe and do something else.

the rest at TitusOneNine

Job Bias Bill Privileges Gays Over Faithful, Warn Christians
Nathan Black
Gospel Herald Contributor
Wed, Sep, 19 2007

WASHINGTON – As a bill banning job discrimination against gay, lesbian and transgender workers moves closer to a House vote, conservative groups are alerting Christians to take action against what they say would create a crisis for faithful Americans.

Gay rights advocates expect the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) to win House approval in coming weeks but are unable to predict how the narrowly divided Senate will vote.

"We know it's going to be very close," said Matt Barber, policy director for cultural issues for Concerned Women for America, according to The Associated Press.

Barber argues that while ENDA proponents say the bill is a mere extension of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, banning employment discrimination based upon "sexual orientation," the legislation would "actually violate the Civil Rights Act by codifying the very thing it purports to prevent - workplace discrimination."
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Two Powerful Anglican Leaders in Town Amid High Tension
By Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter
Thu, Sep. 20 2007

Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola, a fierce critic of The Episcopal Church, has been invited by conservative Anglican congregations in the United States to celebrate with them the Holy Eucharist this week.

Sunday at Edman Chapel at Wheaton
College, responding to an invitation by congregations in Illinois that are affiliated with the Anglican Mission in the Americas (AMiA) - a splinter group of conservative Anglicans and offshoot of the Anglican Church of Rwanda.

The visit comes as a surprise to the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago, the Rt. Rev. William Persell, who said that Akinola did not contact him about his coming.

"Amidst the highly charged political rhetoric in our nation and around the world concerning events of the Anglican Communion, I want you to know that the Diocese of Chicago has no connection with the visit of Archbishop Akinola," said Persell in a letter to Chicago's diocesan clergy last week.
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BBC: US Anglicans discuss gay clergy

LA Times: Episcopal bishops meet to discuss future

USA Today: Anglicans meet amid growing discord

Anglican gay-bishop stance is put to the test in Chicago
By Manya A. Brachear and Margaret Ramirez

Tribune religion reporters
September 20, 2007

As Episcopal bishops begin historic talks with their spiritual leader Thursday on whether the worldwide Anglican Church can overcome differences about homosexuality, many point to Chicago as proof that minds are already made up.

Though Anglican leaders have urged the U.S. church to stop electing gay bishops who are in committed relationships, a lesbian priest is among five finalists for bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago. Meanwhile, dissidents in the diocese will turn out Sunday in suburban Wheaton to hear Archbishop Peter Akinola, conservative leader of Nigeria's Anglican Church and the fiercest critic of the Episcopal Church's stance on gays.
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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Ruth Gledhill's weblog: An end to 'godliness' at Oxford
September 19, 2007

As we report today, Sir Colin Lucas' review of the seven permanent private halls at Oxford is about to be published in the university's Gazette. And it is not good news in the long run for religion at Oxford, least of all for evangelical Christianity. Whatever the strength of the Global South on the world Anglican stage, the review signals that England's intellectual elite are firmly on the side of the Archbishop of Canterbury, or at least Rowan Williams as he was when he was Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity at Oxford. We've obtained a copy of the review. Its most important recommendations are that Wycliffe and St Stephen's are to lose their school-leaver undergraduates, which the review admits will have a 'critical' effect on the student body in the theology faculty but which also has huge symbolic significance as well. All seven colleges - two Anglican, one Baptist and four Roman Catholic - are to have their licences reviewed and ultimately removed if they do not fall in line with Oxford's tradition of a liberal education. Richard Dawkins and all who wish to see an end to theology at Oxford will be quite satisfied I think. For a hint of how this will end, see the Philosophy blog. This picture shows the Lollards' John Badby being burnt at the stake. Lollardy grew out of the teachings of John Wycliffe.

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ENS: CHICAGO: Persell criticizes Akinola's anticipated visit
By Mary Frances Schjonberg
September 18, 2007

[Episcopal News Service] Bishop William Persell of the
Episcopal Diocese of Chicago has told diocesan clergy that Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola "did not extend the normal courtesy of contacting me about his visit" within the diocese.

Anglican Mission in the Americas (AMiA) congregations in Illinois have invited Akinola, primate of the Anglican Church of Nigeria, to celebrate the Holy Eucharist with them on September 23 at Edman Chapel at Wheaton College.

The AMiA describes itself as "a missionary movement of Rwanda committed to reaching the unchurched in North America."

In a September 14 letter to Chicago's diocesan clergy, Persell said he had no knowledge about whether Akinola had been in communication with Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori or Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams about the visit. "Amidst the highly charged political rhetoric in our nation and around the world concerning events of the Anglican Communion, I want you to know that the Diocese of Chicago has no connection with the visit of Archbishop Akinola," Persell said.
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New liturgical position
September 03, 2007

Have you ever been a Sunday morning quarterback during Mass where you critique and liturgical abuses or experimental oddities that you have observed. You just wish at times that somebody would step in and do something about what your are observing.Well we have some good news for you! Francis Cardinal Arinze the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments has introduced a new program that will surely have an effect.

The recently created position of Liturgical Referee has been instituted to help to bring uniformity to the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Liturgical Referees will travel around the world randomly attending Masses. Liturgical Referees will stand, mostly quietly, to the side of the sanctuary during Mass and call out signals if he observes any liturgical penalties according to the GIRM and other liturgical documents. Only in the case of penalties that would make the Mass itself invalid will the Liturgical Referee blow his whistle and when necessary call for any replays to correct any mistake made. Penalty markers may be thrown during the Mass to alert the celebrant to any problems that might need immediate correction.
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Church of England Newspaper: Three questions for the USA
posted by Kendall Harmon/September 19, 2007
By George Conger

THE ARCHBISHOP of Canterbury has set three questions for the American Church to answer at this week’s meeting of the US House of Bishops in New Orleans. Failure to pass the test, which will be graded by the primates of the Anglican Communion, may result in the de facto expulsion of the Episcopal Church from the Anglican Communion. While no legal mechanism exists to expel a member church from the Communion, should the Episcopal Church deign not to comply with the unanimous request of the Primates, the current structure of the Communion would not likely stand the stress, and crack up.

the rest at TitusOneNine

Archbishop of Wales rejects church peace plan
Sep 19 2007
by David Williamson, Western Mail

Bible isn’t a rule book and can’t be taken at face value, says Morgan

THE Archbishop of Wales yesterday won the applause of gay rights activists and dismayed conservatives when he rejected a plan intended to stop the Anglican communion splitting.

Today he and Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams are flying to New Orleans where they will meet American bishops at the heart of the controversy over homosexuality.
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Hundreds ill after Peru 'toxic meteor crash'
By Sally Peck

Hundreds of people have suffered headaches, nausea, and respiratory problems after an object from space - believed to be a meteorite - crashed in southern Peru.

Eyewitnesses watched a fiery ball fall from the sky and smash into the remote Andean plain near the Bolivian border on Saturday, local media reported.

When villagers went to investigate, they encountered fetid, noxious gases, according to local health officials.

Jorge Lopez, director of the health department in the southern state of Puno, 800 miles south of Lima, said at least 200 people had become ill after inhaling "toxic" fumes emanating from the resulting crater.
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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

And of Benjamin he said, The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by him; and the Lord shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between his shoulders. Deuteronomy 33:12

Yes, there is no safety like that which comes of dwelling near to God. For His best beloved the Lord can find no surer or safer place. O Lord, let me always abide under Thy shadow, close to Thy wounded side. Nearer and nearer would I come to Thee, my Lord; and when once specially near Thee, I would abide there forever.

What a covering is that which the Lord gives to His chosen! Not a fair roof shall cover him, nor a bomb-proof casement, nor even an angel's wing, but Jehovah Himself. Nothing can come at us when we are thus covered. This covering the Lord will grant us all the day long, however long the day. Lord, let me abide this day consciously beneath this canopy of love, this pavilion of sovereign power.

Does the third clause mean that the Lord in His temple would dwell among the mountains of Benjamin or that the Lord would be where Benjamin's burden should be placed, or does it mean that we are borne upon the shoulders of the Eternal? In any case, the Lord is the support and strength of His saints. Lord, let me ever enjoy Thy help, and then my arms will be sufficient for me.

...CH Spurgeon image

Clergy to help people die
They will not administer drugs but will monitor as fatal medication works
By Judy Lin - Bee Capitol Bureau
Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A slim book chronicling a New York clergyman's pioneering and covert mission to help women get abortions has sat on Barbara Coombs Lee's bookshelf for 15 years, always an inspiring tale about the struggle for choice.

Now Coombs Lee, an activist in the end-of-life movement, is taking a page from the Rev. Howard Moody by launching a free program to help terminally ill people end their own lives.

Under the "End-of-Life Consultation" program, California residents will be able to call a toll-free number -- (800) 247-7421 -- where they will be screened before they can get advice on accessing hospice care and pain treatment. The goal of the program is to work within the law to help people die. Volunteers, including clergy, will neither provide nor administer fatal drugs, but they will monitor the patient as the self-administered medication works.
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Williams in showdown with US church over gay bishops
Stephen Bates, religious affairs correspondent
September 19, 2007
The Guardian

Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, will demand concessions from the bishops of the US Episcopal Church tomorrow at a crisis meeting aimed at staving off the most damaging split in the churchs modern history, over the issue of homosexuality.

They will be asked to give guarantees that they will not allow the election of any more openly gay bishops or authorise public blessing services for same-sex couples and will create a structure for separate episcopal oversight for conservative congregations who disagree with the churchs liberal leadership.
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Episcopalian church beginning to divide
Most prominent dividing line is whether the Church should ordain gay priests or bless gay unions

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

David Wardell no longer cares what the American Episcopalian bishops do when they meet in New Orleans today.

The bishops are facing a deadline from world church leaders to back off approving gay bishops or blessing gay unions, or else face possible breaks in communion with the larger church.

That no longer bothers Wardell and more than 100 other former members of Saint Andrew's in the Pines in Peachtree City because they left the Episcopalian church in February and aligned themselves with a Nigerian bishop. Their new congregation is called All Saints Anglican Church.

Three other metro Atlanta congregations operate under the authority of a Bolivian bishop.
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Christians help with assessment of an Ebola outbreak in Congo
18 September, 2007

Congo-Kinshasa (MNN) ― The World Health Organization (WHO) confirms an Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Measures are being taken to contain the spread of the deadly virus. Already, more than 150 people have died in the central province of Kasai Occidental.
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Nebraska legislator sues God
By Associated Press
September 18, 2007

LINCOLN, Neb. — The defendant in a state senator's lawsuit is accused of causing untold death and horror and threatening to cause more still. He can be sued in Douglas County, the legislator claims, because He's everywhere.

State Sen. Ernie Chambers sued God last week. Angered by another lawsuit he considers frivolous, Chambers says he's trying to make the point that anybody can file a lawsuit against anybody.

Chambers says in his lawsuit that God has made terroristic threats against the senator and his constituents, inspired fear and caused "widespread death, destruction and terrorization of millions upon millions of the Earth's inhabitants."
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Changing Sexual Orientation Is Possible, New Research Says
By Randy Hall Staff Writer/Editor
September 17, 2007

( - The results of a three-year study challenge the idea that homosexuals cannot change their sexual orientation and that attempts to do so are harmful. But an opponent of "ex-gays" dismissed the findings as the result of "a deceptive sham" perpetrated by "right-wing therapists."

While writing their book, "Ex-Gays? A Longitudinal Study of Religiously Mediated Change in Sexual Orientation," researchers Stanton Jones of Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill., and Mark Yarhouse of Regent University in Virginia Beach, Va., chronicled the experiences of 98 people who contacted Christian ministries in an attempt to become heterosexuals.
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TLC: Joint ACC, Primates Committee to Meet
Sept. 24

The Joint Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) and the Primates will meet Monday, Sept. 24, in New Orleans, a spokesman for the ACC has announced.

On Thursday and Friday, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and the members of the joint standing committee will attend the first two days of the House of Bishops’ meeting at a New Orleans hotel for 10 hours of closed conversation.

Archbishop of Wales Barry Morgan, a member of the committee, said the meeting would be an opportunity for “us to meet the U.S. bishops, listen to them, observe and help formulate advice to give to the primates. We want to find a way around differences of opinion within the church over homosexuality to keep the Communion together.”
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Tension as Episcopal bishops meet
Starting Thursday in New Orleans, they'll discuss communion demands over gay issues.

Jane Lampman
Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
from the September 19, 2007 edition

For four years, the US Episcopal Church has faced rising discontent within the worldwide Anglican Communion over its stance on approving gay bishops and other issues, threatening a schism.

Those same issues could now exacerbate a split within the US church, potentially tearing apart some congregations in a denomination that historically has prided itself on "unity in diversity." Much is riding on high-level meetings in New Orleans beginning Thursday.

Many are calling it "a watershed moment," as the bishops decide how to respond to requests from global Anglican leaders for "unequivocal assurances" that they will not approve another gay bishop and won't authorize or permit blessing of same-sex unions.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori last week played down the crisis in a video for church members, saying that "talk of schism is excessive." The communion has "never been without conflict," she said. "It's a sign we are engaged in challenging issues that are necessary to our growth."
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ENS: NIGERIA: Bishops urge postponing Lambeth Conference, call for special Primates' Meeting
By Matthew Davies,
September 14, 2007

[Episcopal News Service] In a September 13 open letter to Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the Anglican Church of Nigeria's House of Bishops has urged postponement of the
2008 Lambeth Conference of Bishops, and called for a special session of the Primates' Meeting "as a matter of utmost urgency."

The bishops also expressed support for the proposed
Anglican covenant, calling it "one way for us to uphold our common heritage of faith while at the same time holding each other accountable to those teachings that have defined our life together and also guide us into the future."

Postponing current plans for the Lambeth Conference, the bishops said, would "allow the current tensions to subside and leave room for the hard work of reconciliation that is a prerequisite for the fellowship we all desire." It would also be important for those invited to the Lambeth Conference to have already endorsed the Anglican covenant, they said, so that they "are able to come together as witnesses to our common faith."
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