Saturday, October 06, 2007

My presence shall go with thee. Exodus 33:14

We should never leave our prayer closets in the morning without having concentrated our thoughts deeply and intensely on the fact of the actual presence of God there with us, encompassing us, and filling the room as literally as it fills heaven itself. It may not lead to any distinct results at first, but as we make repeated efforts to realize the presence of God it will become increasingly real to us. And, as the habit grows upon us, when alone in a room, or when treading the sward of some natural woodland temple, or when pacing the stony street—in the silence of night, or amid the teeming crowds of daylight—we shall often find ourselves whispering the words, "Thou art near; Thou art here, O Lord." ...FB Meyer

Message from the new chair of the African Archbishops
Saturday October 06th 2007

Archbishop Ian Ernest of the Indian Ocean was elected the new chair of the Council of the Anglican Provinces of Africa, in succession to Archbishop Peter Akinola who completed his four year term. Archbishop Ernest writes:

“I do not bring long years of experience nor the resources of a large Province but what I do bring is a confidence in Jesus Christ who has been my Lord, Savior and Friend since childhood. My family members have all been faithful Anglicans for generations and we know what it is to live by His grace and have seen His hand at work in our lives.”

A Statement from the Most Rev’d Ian Ernest

Urban calling
Green Acres is not always the place for Christians to be

Marvin Olasky

"Early Christians followed Jeremiah and became blessings to their Babylons. The apostle Paul began his major ministry activities in Antioch, then the third-largest city in the Roman Empire. Paul sent his epistles to residents of the largest cities of the Roman Empire: He wrote to the Romans, the Corinthians, the Ephesians. The church grew fast in urban areas, while rural areas were filled with pagans: The word itself comes from the Latin paganus, meaning an old country dweller, one who lives in the countryside, a hick.

Today, sadly, the pattern is reversed: Christians are mostly in the countryside, and city-dwelling pagani dominate journalism, education, the arts, and so on. Today, we need Christians who will follow Jeremiah 29 in being good neighbors to the Babylonians around us. We need Christians who appreciate and learn from urban diversity, seeing people as people, good and bad, but all needing Christ.
the rest image

One defender of human rights receives electric shocks; officials whisk away another.

LOS ANGELES, October 4

(Compass Direct News) – China’s crackdown on religious freedom advocates ahead of the Beijing Olympics extended to two Christian human rights attorneys the past two weekends.

Attorney Li Heping released a statement saying a group of men ordered him to stop practicing law, beat him and struck him with electric batons for nearly five hours on Saturday night (September 29). The previous Saturday (September 22), Christian human rights attorney Gao Zhisheng and his family were reportedly arrested a day after he sent an open letter to the U.S. Congress listing human rights abuses.
the rest

Homes, churches destroyed as 500 people are displaced; government slow to respond.
Nigeria, October 5

(Compass Direct News) – A Muslim rampage last week in this town in the northern state of Kano resulted in the killing of 10 Christians and the destruction of nine churches, according to eyewitnesses.

Another 61 people were injured and more than 500 displaced in the September 28 disturbance, touched off when Muslim students of Government College-Tudun Wada Dankadai, a public high school, claimed that a Christian student had drawn a cartoon of Islam’s prophet, Muhammad, on the wall of the school’s mosque. the rest

Ramadan fast a hot trend
Growing number of secular Muslims fast during Ramadan; Christians alarmed

Yehuda Litani


Live In Fear Or Flee
As Their Numbers Dwindle, Christians In Iraq Feel Increasingly Vulnerable
By James Palmer
Religion News Service
Saturday, October 6, 2007

BAGHDAD -- Nabil Comanny and his family endured the dead bodies left to decompose along the road in their southern Dora neighborhood.

They accepted the criminal gangs that roamed the area, searching for targets to kidnap.

And neither the utility failures nor the mountains of trash in the street could drive them away.

As Christians, the Comannys had learned to keep a low profile. They even stayed in their house after many Muslim neighbors fled the daily chaos when sectarian bloodshed between Shiite and Sunni militants broke out in 2006, making this one of Baghdad's most embattled districts.
the rest

Christian Split in Lebanon Raises Specter of Civil War
Published: October 6, 2007

Lebanon, Oct. 5 — With the Islamist group Hezbollah having brought Lebanese politics to a standstill, the country’s once-dominant Christian community feels under siege and has begun re-establishing militias, training in the hills and stockpiling weapons.

Many Lebanese say another civil war — like the 15-year one that started in 1975 — is imminent and that the most dangerous flash points are within the divided Christian community.

Christian youth are signing up for militant factions in the greatest numbers since the end of the civil war, spray painting nationalist symbols on walls and tattooing them on their skin, and proclaiming their willingness to fight in a new civil war — in particular, against fellow Christians.
the rest

UK: Married parents 'in the minority by 2031'
By Sarah Womack, Social Affairs Correspondent

Married parents could be outnumbered by single mothers and cohabiting couples within a generation, with serious implications for the health and education of children, official figures show.
the rest

New radio show targets nonreligious audience
By Kristi Moore
October 6, 2007

Beginning today, the 14 percent of Americans who label themselves as nonreligious will be able to turn on the radio once a week and hear a show that caters to their specific beliefs — or lack thereof.

The first national broadcast of a Freethought Radio program will be aired over Air America Radio out of Madison, Wis., with such guests as Christopher Hitchens, author of the best-selling book "God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything."
the rest

The CAPA Primates Communique 2007
Posted by Kendall Harmon
The Communiqué
CAPA Primates’ Meeting in Mauritius
5th October 2007

We, the Primates of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA) meeting 3rd to 5th October in Mauritius, Province of the Indian Ocean, issue this Communiqué from our meeting:Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our one and only Saviour.

1. We have been greatly encouraged by our time together with the CAPA Council that has just completed its General Meeting. A separate Communiqué has been issued from these proceedings and we give thanks to God for the dedication of each of the delegates and the many signs of God’s blessing throughout our various provinces.

the rest at TitusOneNine

The CAPA Communique, 2007
Posted by Kendall Harmon
Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa

Tenth CAPA Council Meeting
Mauritius, Indian Ocean, October 2007


Friday, October 05, 2007

But prayer" Acts 12:5

But prayer is the link that connects us with God. This is the bridge that spans every gulf and bears us over every abyss of danger or of need. How significant the picture of the Apostolic Church: Peter in prison, the Jews triumphant, Herod supreme, the arena of martyrdom awaiting the dawning of the morning to drink up the apostle's blood, and everything else against it. "But prayer was made unto God without ceasing." And what was the sequel? The prison open, the apostle free, the Jews baffled, the wicked king eaten of worms, a spectacle of hidden retribution, and the Word of God rolling on in greater victory.

Do we know the power of our supernatural weapon? Do we dare to use it with the authority of a faith that commands as well as asks? God baptize us with holy audacity and Divine confidence! He is not wanting great men, but He is wanting men who will dare to prove the greatness of their God. But God! But prayer! ...A. B. Simpson

I am creating artificial life, declares US gene pioneer
· Scientist has made synthetic chromosome
· Breakthrough could combat global warming
Ed Pilkington in New York
The Guardian
Saturday October 6 2007

Craig Venter, the controversial DNA researcher involved in the race to decipher the human genetic code, has built a synthetic chromosome out of laboratory chemicals and is poised to announce the creation of the first new artificial life form on Earth.The announcement, which is expected within weeks and could come as early as Monday at the annual meeting of his scientific institute in San Diego, California, will herald a giant leap forward in the development of designer genomes. It is certain to provoke heated debate about the ethics of creating new species and could unlock the door to new energy sources and techniques to combat global warming.

Mr Venter told the Guardian he thought this landmark would be "a very important philosophical step in the history of our species. We are going from reading our genetic code to the ability to write it. That gives us the hypothetical ability to do things never contemplated before". the rest

Response to the New Orleans House of Bishops Statement
Written by Anglican Communion Institute

Friday, 05 October 2007

Response to the New Orleans House of Bishops Statement
With brief reflections on the report of the Joint Standing Committee

Introduction and Context
In July 2006, following the response of General Convention to the requests of the Windsor Report, the Archbishop of Canterbury said, "There is no way in which the Anglican Communion can remain unchanged by what is happening at the moment". In February 2007, the Primates at Dar concluded that "the response of The Episcopal Church to the requests made at Dromantine has not persuaded this meeting that we are yet in a position to recognise that The Episcopal Church has mended its broken relationships" and sought a further response with the warning that "if the reassurances requested of the House of Bishops cannot in good conscience be given, the relationship between The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion as a whole remains damaged at best, and this has consequences for the full participation of the Church in the life of the Communion". It is therefore unsurprising that last week, after the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church had met to seek to respond to the Primates, the Secretary General of the Communion wrote that "The Joint Standing Committee is also conscious that the very life of the Communion is standing at a crossroads at present".
the rest

Comments at TitusOneNine

Bible Lesson in Gay Rights
Movie review: For the Bible Tells Me So (2007)

Published: October 5, 2007

Daniel Karslake’s documentary
“For the Bible Tells Me So won’t win any prizes for technique, but innovation surely ranks very low on this filmmaker’s to-do list. Mr. Karslake has said that the movie is mainly intended as a feature-length primer that can be deployed in arguments with homophobes.

Directorially, the movie is unremarkable, with one conspicuous and unfortunate exception: when Mr. Karslake apes the supercharged empathy of an episode of “Dateline” on NBC, right down to the verging-on-schmaltzy music. Otherwise, the interviews with scholars parsing the Old and New Testaments are paired with the expected archival photographs and illustrations of biblical scenes. “For the Bible Tells Me So” is, strictly speaking, an educational film, with the artlessness that that phrase implies.

The movie’s ensemble portrait of parents (many of them ministers) with adult gay or lesbian children strives to demonstrate that homosexuality is a genetic predisposition, not a lifestyle choice, and that those who quote Leviticus to justify their animosity are guilty not just of intolerance but also of selective piety, an inability to understand historical context and poor reading comprehension. (Abomination, for example, does not mean against God, but against a civilization’s cultural norms.)

the rest-NYT photo

Burma's Oppressed Christians Backed Protests
By Patrick Goodenough International Editor
October 05, 2007

( - As the military crackdown in Burma continues to generate debate and concern around the world, away from the headlines ethnic minority Christians also have demonstrated their opposition to the regime in small but significant ways.

The Karen, one of scores of minority groups in Burma, are an indigenous agricultural hill tribe in the country's southeast, near the frontier with Thailand. Karen insurgents have been fighting for autonomy for more than half a century.An estimated 30-40 percent of the Karen are Christians.

Annual State Department reports on human rights and religious freedom regularly cite rights abuses by the military against the Karen and other minorities, both Christian and Muslim, including attempts to promote Buddhism over other religions. About five percent of Burma's 47 million people are Christian, and about four percent Muslim.
the rest

Thomas Nelson Publishes First Green Bible
October 05, 2007
Kimberly Maul

Thomas Nelson will publish the world's first eco-friendly Bible later this month. The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Daily Bible will be certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and production will flow from a FSC-certified forest through a paper manufacturer and printer that have FSC chain-of-custody certification.

"Our team is excited to be taking some important steps forward in protecting the resources God has given us," said Michael S. Hyatt, president and CEO of Thomas Nelson, Inc. "Outside of offering eco-friendly products, we are striving to make efforts to implement 'green' practices in our daily activities and have created an internal environmental task force to see this through."
the rest

Official support for US Bishops, while others doubt
by Pat Ashworth
5 October, 2007

The Joint Standing Committee of the Primates and of the Anglican Consultative Council (JSC) has signalled its approval of the statement released by the US House of Bishops last week (
News, 28 September).

In a 19-page assessment, published on Wednesday, the committee concludes that the Bishops “have met the requirements of the Windsor report . . . and the request of the Primates at Dar es Salaam” for a moratorium on public rites for the blessing of same-sex unions; and has “given the necessary assurances” on the subject of consecrating gay bishops.

On the third request by the Primates — to set up an external system of oversight for disaffected parishes and dioceses — the JSC acknowledges that the proposal infringed the polity of the Episcopal Church in the United States. Nevertheless, the Bishops had begun “initiatives [which] offer a viable basis on which to proceed”.
the rest

TLC: Primate of Uganda: Episcopal Bishops Were Coached

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori’s participation in the evaluation of the House of Bishops’ response to the primates was a “gross conflict of interest,” according to Archbishop Henry Orombi, Primate of Uganda.

The archbishop said the Joint Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates inserted themselves uninvited into a process the primates originally devised.

“Our Dar es Salaam communiqué did not envision interference from the Communion in the American House of Bishops while they were considering our requests,” Archbishop Orombi said in a written statement provided to a reporter for The Living Church. “Yet, members of the Joint Standing Committee met with Presiding Bishop [Jefferts] Schori in the course of the preparation of their House of Bishops’ statement in order to suggest certain words, which, if included in the statement, would assure endorsement by the Joint Standing Committee.”
the rest

A longer life and in better health - marriage really is good for you
Rosemary Bennett, Social Affairs Correspondent
October 5, 2007

Marriage may be out of fashion but it still confers considerable benefits to adults and children, according to a comprehensive study on the state of the family.

The Office for National Statistics has published definitive proof that married couples live longer, enjoy better health and can rely on more home care in old age than their divorced, widowed, single and cohabiting peers. Children who live with their married parents are also healthier, and can expect to stay in full-time education for longer, whatever their economic background.

It has always been thought that marriage had a positive effect on health, but the findings are the most solid evidence yet that, despite rapidly changing social attitudes and an end to the stigma of divorce and lone-parenting, marriage is still good for you.
the rest

Diminishing Europe
The good life in Germany does not include children.
by Steven Ozment

A  saying from the German Middle Ages suggests that a couple who cannot have children may be more burdened than a couple who do have children.

Die Kinder machen Weh und Leid Zerstören offt der Elter Frewd, Kein Kindt/Kein Sorg/klag nit so sehr ob schon dein Weib nicht Kindbar wer. (Children bring grief and woe and often disturb parental peace: 'no child, no worry.' So do not complain so much just because your wife cannot bear a child.)

Historically, couples without children have, indeed, grieved. Although birth control has been practiced since antiquity, barren couples viewed themselves as truly cursed, like Hannah in the Bible (1 Sam. 1). Yet for almost a half-century a great many postwar European families have enthusiastically embraced either a "no-child" or a "no-more-than-one-child" family model.
the rest

Vatican to sponsor football team
Thursday, 4 October 2007

The Vatican wants to bring Christian values to the football pitchThe Vatican is to offer its backing to an Italian third-division football team in a move it says will promote sportsmanship in the professional game.

A sports club affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church is to sponsor AC Ancona, which last played in the top division, Serie A, four years ago.

The Church hopes its venture will highlight ethical conduct in a game many fans feel is dominated by money.
the rest

Thursday, October 04, 2007

You are holy, Lord, the only God,
and Your deeds are wonderful.
You are strong.
You are great.
You are the Most High.
You are Almighty.
You, Holy Father are King of heaven and earth.
You are Three and One, Lord God, all Good.
You are Good, all Good, supreme Good,
Lord God, living and true.
You are love.
You are wisdom.
You are humility.
You are endurance.
You are rest.
You are peace.
You are joy and gladness.
You are justice and moderation.
You are all our riches, and You suffice for us.
You are beauty.
You are gentleness.
You are our protector.
You are our guardian and defender.
You are our courage.
You are our haven and our hope.
You are our faith, our great consolation.
You are our eternal life, Great and Wonderful Lord,
God Almighty, Merciful Saviour. Amen.
...Saint Francis’ Prayer in Praise of God art

No cross-dresser left behind
Pelosi backtracks after homosexual groups cry foul over exclusion of transsexuals from bill barring employment discrimination

October 4, 2007

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has drawn the anger of some homosexual activists by removing "transgenders" from the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a bill that would force employers to hire, retain, and promote homosexual employees even if they find "gay" behavior unsuitable or morally objectionable.

While Pelosi, D-San Francisco, favors the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, she has said she fears that the inclusion of "gender identity" (distinct from sexual orientation) would heighten controversy and threaten passage of the legislation.

The definition of transgender includes cross-dressers, people who have surgically destroyed all or part of their sexual anatomy, and others who are emotionally distressed about their bodily identity.
the rest

Observations of Presiding Bishop Mouneer Anis on the House of Bishops meeting in New Orleans
Thursday October 04th 2007

I am very grateful for the warm welcome from and hospitality of the Presiding Bishop and other Bishops from The Episcopal Church in America (TEC). I was invited to participate in the House of Bishops (HOB) meeting as well as the Joint Standing Committee, as a member of the Primates Standing Committee. It was a wonderful and unique opportunity to be able to listen to the TEC Bishops in New Orleans and learn about the Church in America. I was also very grateful for the opportunity I was given to address the HOB.

During the HOB meetings I observed the following:

Membership in the Anglican Communion

The majority of Bishops are keen to maintain their membership with in the Anglican Communion. ”We need the Anglican Communion, and the Anglican Communion needs us”. Some Bishops also expressed their appreciation of the companionship relations and mission work between TEC Dioceses and other Dioceses within the Anglican Communion.

the rest

Albert Mohler: Is the University Hostile to Christian Professors?
Posted: Thursday, October 04, 2007

The university was the child of the church. The classic ideal of the university emerged from the context of medieval Christianity and the confidence that all truth and every discipline of learning is, in the end, united in Christ -- the wisdom of God.

Fast forward a few centuries and the picture is very different. The modern university has taken on a cultural importance that dwarfs that of the medievals. And these hugely influential institutions are now, in the main, thoroughly secularized.

This does not mean that no Christians are to be found there. It does mean that the culture and worldview of the institutions are thoroughly secular.
the rest

Primates give green light to Episcopal Church
Thursday, 4th October 2007
By: Ed Beavan.

CONSERVATIVE groups have reacted with dismay to a report which affirms the outcome of the make-or-break meeting of the US House of Bishops and the Archbishop of Canterbury in New Orleans last week.

The talks, which were held in a bid to hold the worldwide Communion together, saw the Episcopal Church (TEC) of the USA agree to refrain from consecrating any more gay bishops or authorising public rites for same-sex unions.

And a report by the Joint Standing Committee of Primates and the Anglican Consultative Council, which was released yesterday, says the Anglican Church in the US has given all the ‘necessary assurances’ to remain in the worldwide church, and called for ‘closure’ on the long-rumbling arguments over homosexuality.

In conclusion the JSC report acknowledges that ‘the life of the Anglican Communion has been much damaged in recent years following the tensions raised by the consecration in TEC of a bishop living in a committed same-sex relationship and the authorisation in some dioceses of Rites of Blessing for same-sex unions’.
the rest

African Anglican bishops steer away from gay row
Thu 4 Oct 2007
By Ed Harris

QUATRE BORNES, Mauritius, Oct 4 (Reuters) - African Anglican archbishops ducked homosexuality, the issue dividing the worldwide Communion, on Thursday and instead drew attention to the poorest continent's problems.

Last month Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola, one of the Church's fiercest critics of gay rights, blasted bishops from the U.S. Episcopal Church for "ignoring" pleas to take a clear stand against consecrating gay clergy or blessing gay unions.

Chairing a meeting of African archbishops in Mauritius, Akinola was at pains to avoid the topic.
"I'm trying to avoid dragging us into unnecessary controversy when there are more profitable things to talk about," he told reporters on the sidelines of the meeting.

"This is Africa, and we would rather focus on those important things that affect us Africans."
the rest

Converting Kirk Cameron

"I was rich, I was young, I was famous, I could do anything I wanted with whomever I wanted." - Kirk Cameron


BELLFLOWER, California - At the height of his Hollywood success, former "Growing Pains" sitcom star Kirk Cameron started worrying about something his money couldn't buy: salvation.
He had more than just legions of fanatic fans. He also had stalkers and kidnapping threats, and was sometimes driven to the set in a bulletproof car. It got him thinking about his own mortality. He had it all, but still felt empty.

Kirk Cameron reaches a new audience these days through his Christian radio show, television show, and Web site.

"I was raised not going to church. We never prayed — didn't know how. Are you supposed to close your eyes, keep them open? Look up? Look down? Get on my knees? What do I do?"
the rest

Abortion as a Front Line in the Culture Wars

Published: October 3, 2007

The first thing you should know about the documentary
“Lake of Fire” — an unblinking look at the violent fight over abortion in the United States, including those homegrown religious fundamentalists who kill in the name of God — is that it was made in black and white. This is critical. Because the other thing you should know about this fascinating, discomfiting, at times unpleasant, confused and confusing film is that it sets off extremely graphic images of actual abortions against a notorious photograph of a woman who died after an illegal motel room abortion, visuals that are inflammatory if, for the most part, also germane.

Not everyone will agree about the abortion visuals, including, perhaps, those who worry that such explicit imagery can speak louder than any pro-abortion-rights argument. It’s an understandable concern. Because they are filmed (the dead woman is immortalized in a still photograph), the abortions are unnerving, which is why I suggest that the faint of heart skip the rest of this paragraph. the rest

Common Cause forms a “College of Bishops” in the USA
October 3, 2007
George Conger

Fifty-one bishops, including 13 active and retired bishops of the Episcopal Church meet in Pittsburgh last week to form an Anglican federation in North America independent of the authority of The Episcopal Church.

The Common Cause partnership drew bishops from the conservative wing of the Episcopal Church and nine other jurisdictions, including the American bishops of Rwanda, Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda.

Following three days of closed door meetings, the participants agreed to form a “College of Bishops” which would meet every six months and laid out a timeline that in 15 months could lead to the reunion of the Anglican continuing church groups in North America.

The bishops committed themselves to work together on the local and regional level, to allow clergy from other jurisdictions to be licensed in their churches, and stated their desire to be recognized as a future independent province of the Anglican Communion.
the rest

Unfortunate split
Thursday, October 4, 2007

CHATHAM COUNTY tax documents show the Protestant Episcopal Church owns six local properties. Christ Church is not one of them.

Both the Bull Street church building itself, and the nearby structure that holds the parish house, offices and children's school are owned by the Christ Church wardens and vestry.

That's an important bit of information, considering the local congregation's recent announcement that it intends to separate from the Episcopal Church of the
United States.
Christ Church, the 274-year-old "Mother Church of
Georgia," has had a long-running dispute with church leaders over scriptural issues.

Nationally, much press has been given to arguments over the ordination of women, the blessing of same-sex marriages and the ordination of practicing homosexuals into the ministry.
the rest

comments at Stand Firm

The College Conundrum
By Suzanne Fields
Thursday, October 4, 2007

College just ain't what it used to be. The evidence lies all around. If you're a baby boomer you're going to feel old, very old.

Nicholas Handler, a Yale junior and the winner of an essay contest by the Sunday Magazine of The New York Times, says the contemporary college generation is "post-everything, post-cold war, post-industrial, post-baby boom, post 9/11." He even subscribes to literary critic Frederic Jameson's description of the young as "post-literate." Instead of rebels without a cause, their cause is rebelling against their parents' generation by pointedly not rebelling. The students who protest just to imagine how their parents might have felt are reduced to wearing their parents' old Che Guevara T-shirts.

But the fault, dear Brutus, may not lie with those parents, but the generation's professors, writes Frankie Thomas, a junior at the University of Southern California and a runner-up in the contest. "They made us buy and read $100 textbooks that they had written themselves," she writes. "Their lectures were word-for-word recitations of these very books. And it was excruciatingly clear, from the way they spoke, that these may have been the only books they had ever read." Such are the luxuries of academic tenure. the rest

Church needs to get 'closure' on gay row, says report to Archbishop of Canterbury
Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent of The Times
October 4, 2007

The Anglican Church in the US has given all the "necessary assurances" demanded of it by Archbishops from around the world in the row over homosexuality, according to a report to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams.

In the report, the policy committee at the heart of the Anglican Communion's structures, said the warring parties in the Anglican Church should now "move towards closure" on the issue that has taken the Church to the brink of schism.

The Joint Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion and the Church's primates said in their report, published last night, that it was satisfied by reassurances from the US bishops last week that they would exercise "restraint" in the ordination of any more gay bishops, and would not authorise same-sex blessings.
the rest

NYT: Panel Says Episcopalians Have Met Anglican Directive
October 4, 2007

WASHINGTON, Oct. 3 — In a victory for the Episcopal Church in its effort to remain in the Anglican Communion, a high-ranking Anglican advisory committee said Wednesday that Episcopal bishops had complied with a directive by Anglican leaders on same-sex unions and gay bishops.

The Episcopal Church is the American branch of the 77-million-member Anglican Communion, which has been torn by disputes over the church’s liberal stance on homosexuality.

Earlier this year, the communion’s regional leaders, or primates, issued a directive to the Episcopal Church to curtail the consecration of partnered gay and lesbian bishops and the authorizing of rites of blessing for same-sex unions.
The rest

LA Times: Anglican leaders urge unity

AP: Anglican Panel Praises Episcopalians

TLC: Joint Standing Committee: Bishops 'Clarified All Questions'

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Christian imprisonment in N. Korea worse than thought
3 October, 2007

North Korea (MNN) ― The number of North Koreans who are imprisoned in concentration camps is much greater than previously assumed.

"It is not inconceivable that the number of prisoners has passed the one million mark," reports Simon, director of
Open Doors in North Korea. "Many camps are so large that they are not recognized as camps on satellite photos. They consist of entire villages." For security reasons, Simon doesn't reveal how the research was done. "There are many lives at stake," he stated.

The eight prison camps for political prisoners probably contain between half a million and a million people. In addition, hundreds of thousands of North Koreans are made to work every day in 30 other camps. This is reported by Open Doors on the basis of research conducted inside the country.
the rest

Top 100 Largest, Fastest-Growing Churches
By Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter
Wed, Oct. 03 2007

With the number of megachurches in America growing at an increasingly rapid rate, the largest of them all now have a new label: "gigachurches."

Topping this year's largest churches in the country is Lakewood Church in Houston, with an attendance of 47,000, according to Outreach Magazine's annual 100 list of America's largest and fastest-growing churches. While Lakewood remains on top, 36 of the top 100 draw 10,000-plus people each week (gigachurches). The rest have a weekly attendance of 6,000-plus.

Meanwhile, megachurches (2,000-plus attendees) now number an estimated 1,300. While that's only 0.4 percent of all U.S. Protestant churches, megachurches are growing rapidly as they pioneer new approaches largely to engage the unchurched population.

the rest image

Kitna seeks help from above
By David Fleming ESPN
September 26, 2007


"Kitna is a fanatic for Christ, there's no question. He often prays on his way to the line of scrimmage, to calm himself. But it's clear to teammates that he sees God as more than a lucky rabbit's foot, which is why, while the vast majority of Lions prefer to keep their beliefs private, Kitna's public pronouncements don't grate on them. Posers and prima donnas splinter far more locker rooms than religion. And Kitna walks his talk without sanctimony. He doesn't drink or cuss.

The worst anyone can recall him saying on the field is "fudge." He says he has tithed at least 10 percent of his salary his entire adult life. That includes the time he spent as a teacher after a record-setting career at Central Washington. The donations got bigger when the Seahawks signed him as a free agent in 1996, and they continued to grow after stops in Cincinnati (where he was the league's 2003 Comeback Player of the Year) and, now, Detroit. "It's about production on the field and consistency off it," Kitna says. "What guys really have a problem with is inconsistency -- people who say one thing and do another. Hypocrites. Chameleons. My teammates learn pretty quick that this is who I am, every day and in every situation."
the rest

Catholic-Anglican text encourages realism about divisive issues
By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service
posted Sept. 27

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Anglicans and Roman Catholics should witness to the faith they share and work together to promote Christian values in the world, but they also must be realistic about issues still dividing them, said a recent document by Anglican and Catholic bishops.

"Growing Together in Unity and Mission" was published in mid-September by the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission, made up of bishops from the two communities.

While leaked copies of the completed document were circulating already in February, the official release was delayed until a commentary commissioned by the Vatican and one commissioned by the Anglican Communion were finalized.
the rest

Ruth Gledhill weblog: JSC report to Rowan: TEC gone far enough; serious problems remain
October 03, 2007

The report of the standing committee of the Primates and the Anglican Communion to Rowan Williams is now available. It is affirming of the TEC bishops, but frank about the serious difficulties still to be resolved - the litigation against orthodox parishes, the interventions inside the US from other provinces. Whether the solutions the JSC proposes will be workable remains to be seen. In my view this is a stunningly brave report, and a tribute once again to the almost desperate determination to resolve the issues facing the Anglican Communion without giving rise to schism. Just how serious things remain is evinced by just one small example - the US parish that was home to Methodism's John Wesley is the latest to leave, to Uganda. How symbolic is that? But maybe John Sentamu can bring some resolution. He is in Mauritius, for one night only, talking to CAPA.

the rest

The Report of the Joint Standing Committee to the Archbishop of Canterbury
on the Response of The Episcopal Church to the Questions of the Primates articulated at their meeting in Dar es Salaam and related Pastoral Concerns

The PDF is here.

Comments at Stand Firm

Thousands of protesters and monks missing in secret gulag of the generals
October 3, 2007
Kenneth Denby in Rangoon

With its rusty barbed wire fence, dense tropical foliage and acreage of decaying buildings, the former Government Technology Institute in Rangoon would be a spooky place at the best of times. In the past week, however, if reports circulating in Rangoon are correct, it has been transformed from an abandoned ruin to a place of mass suffering and repression.

According to Western diplomats and at least one Burmese government official, the technical institute has become a temporary concentration camp for 1,700 of the victims of last week’s brutal suppression of the democracy uprising. It provides a partial answer to one of the lingering questions about the Burmese junta’s crackdown: where are the monks, democracy activists and journalists who have been rounded up and spirited away over the past six weeks?

Despite the international attention given to the quashing of the anti-Government marches, the crackdown remains undocumented. Apart from admitting that 13 people have died, a figure regarded by most observers as an underestimate, the authorities have given no details of the numbers of those arrested and detained.
the rest

No money and pressure from Celtic Primates influence ABC’s decision on Primates’ Meeting
Wednesday October 03rd 2007

George Conger writes:

Reactions to the US House of Bishops New Orleans statement amongst the Primates have broken along factional lines, with conservatives denouncing the statement as insubstantial and dishonest, while liberals have praised its candor and modesty.

The divergent views of the adequacy of the US response to the Primates request for clarification of American church practices towards gay bishops and blessings further complicates the Archbishop of Canterbury’s hopes of forestalling a schism within the Communion.

Straightened finances and fears of a boycott by the primates of Wales, Ireland and Scotland to an emergency primates’ meeting to discuss the American response to the primates’ Dar es Salaam communique, has led to Dr. Williams telephoning the Communion’s primates to try to find a common mind.

Whether the primates’ round robin will produce an amicable resolution appears to be further hampered by the different world views of the players in Anglicanism’s great game. Aides to the Archbishop told The Church of England Newspaper during his meeting with the American bishops in New Orleans that Dr. Williams hoped to find the right combination of words that would satisfy the church’s disparate factions.
the rest

Albert Mohler: When Ecology Replaces Theology
Posted: Wednesday, October 03, 2007


An observer of church life today, especially within the shrinking domain of liberal Protestantism, will find plenty of evidence for Furedi's hypothesis. Ecological concerns appear to serve as a replacement for abandoned doctrines and outdated concerns -- such as evangelism.

Furedi finds plenty of support for his argument within contemporary Roman Catholicism, but here is his analysis of the situation within the Church of England:

In 2006, the Church of England launched an eco-crusade entitled 'Shrinking the Footprint'. The Archbishop of Canterbury complained that 'early modern religion contributed to the idea that the fate of nature is for it to be bossed around by a detached sovereign will, whether divine or human'. It seems possible that those misguided early modern religionists received that idea from the Book of Genesis, where God gives Man dominion 'over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth'. Now the head of the Anglican church protests about nature being 'bossed around' not only by Man, but by God. This year, the Church of England launched a booklet of green tips for the faithful entitled How Many Christians Does it Take to Change a Lightbulb? Its eco-commandments include: share cars on the road to church, use virtuous low-energy lightbulbs but cast out junk mail, and do not flush the loo at night.

So is Christ the Savior is fast becoming Christ the environmental activist? Furedi's argument is both insightful and troubling. There can be no doubt that his argument is true with respect to many churches and denominations. And there is a clear warning here. When churches abandon or marginalize the central doctrines of the Christian faith, another religion soon takes its place. That religion might be a religion of therapy, social action, or ecology -- or any number of other substitutes for the Gospel.
the rest

Archbishop's gay plea
Yakub Qureshi

An outspoken clergyman has hit out at opponents of gay tolerance in the Anglican Church.

Carlos Touche-Porter, Archbishop of Mexico, said the church should become more inclusive during a meeting of gay and lesbian Christians in Manchester.

His comments followed a crunch vote in America where US bishops decided to continue appointing openly gay clergy.
the rest

Pentagon observes Muslim holy month
By Sara A. Carter
October 3, 2007

Navy imam Chaplain Abuhena M. Saifulislam lifted his voice to God as he called to prayer more than 100 Department of Defense employees Monday at a celebration of Ramadan at the Pentagon.

“God is most great,” sang the lieutenant commander and Islamic leader, in Arabic, as iftar — the end of the daily fast began.

Uniformed military personnel, civilians and family members faced Mecca and knelt on adorned prayer rugs chanting their prayers in quiet invocation to Allah.
the rest

Top Russian patriarch assails homosexuality
Calls it both sin and an illness

By Stephen Castle, International Herald Tribune
October 3, 2007

STRASBOURG, France - Russia's senior religious leader assailed homosexuality as a sin and an illness yesterday and urged Europe to rediscover its Christian values.

Speaking to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, a body that polices human rights in Europe, Patriarch Alexy II, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, made few concessions to West European attitudes before a planned meeting today with French bishops and President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Though he has traveled before to countries that are predominantly Roman Catholic, this visit is his highest-profile trip to Western Europe and another step toward better relations with the Vatican, from which the Orthodox Church has been estranged for almost a thousand years.
the rest

"Mother church" moves to leave Episcopal denomination
Dana Clark Felty
Wednesday, October 3, 2007

After years of dissent, leaders of Christ Church say the congregation has left the Episcopal Church over a long-standing belief that the denomination has strayed from scripture.

The move sets up the 274-year-old "Mother Church of
Georgia" for a possible legal battle against the Episcopal Church over downtown property valued at just under $3 million.

Bishop Henry I. Louttit issued a response Tuesday, asserting the authority of the diocese over the congregation and its property.

"Christ Church is and will remain a parish of the Episcopal Church in this diocese and will continue to occupy its present facilities," he said.

A spokesman added that the bishop is now planning the next move by the diocese if the Christ Church vestry asserts ownership over the church.
the rest

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Great grief prays with great earnestness. Prayer is not a collection of balanced phrases; it is the pouring out of the soul. What is love if it be not fiery? What are prayers if the heart be not ablaze? They are the battles of the soul. In them men wrestle with principalities and powers...The prayer that prevails is not the work of lips and fingertips. It is the cry of a broken heart and the travail of a stricken soul. ...Samuel Chadwick image

TLC: Primates Asked to Critique Bishops' Response

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has begun soliciting the views of the primates as to whether the Sept. 25
statement from the House of Bishops adequately responds to the primates’ request for clarification on The Episcopal Church’s stance on gay bishops and rites for the blessing of same-sex unions.

Archbishop Williams has begun telephoning and writing the primates, seeking their views. However, his trip to Armenia and Syria, and the opening of the Church of England’s House of Bishops meeting on Oct. 1, has hindered a speedy response to the New Orleans statement.

Public statements from some of the primates indicate a split of opinion along factional lines, with some declaring the statement adequate, while others have dismissed it as dishonest and non-responsive to the primates’ request.
the rest

A New Form of Discrimination
By Chuck Colson

Check Your Faith at the Door

Imagine you own a small business—let’s say a donut shop—and you have an employee who is late for work everyday and is rude to customers. When you fire him, he claims it is really because he is gay—and sues.

Or imagine you run a daycare center in your church basement. One day a homosexual applies for a job. When you turn him down, he says you broke the law.

Today, both of these stories are simply scenarios. But by the end of the week, they could be reality.

Under intense goading from the gay-rights lobby, the House of Representatives is poised to vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, called ENDA. This legislation would add “sexual orientation” to civil rights law. If passed, ENDA would cut deeply into the religious rights and freedoms of all Americans.
the rest

Researchers Explain Why Having Baby Reduces Breast Cancer Chances
by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 2, 2007

Seattle, WA ( -- Researchers at a cancer center in Seattle have confirmed what previous studies have shown: women who bear children have a reduced risk of developing breast cancer. They say fetal cells “transplanted” to the mother before birth are a source of this protective effect -- and something that abortion denies.

Scientists at the University of Washington and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center presented their results in the October 1 issue of Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

They studied a concept called fetal microchimerism, which is the ability of cells from a growing unborn baby to take up long-term residence in the mother's body.
the rest

Nation of Bastards: Essays on the End of Marriage
October 02, 2007

Dr. Douglas Farrow of McGill University & Consultant for the Institute for the Study of Marriage, Law and Culture Has released a new book in paperback entitled Nation of Bastards: Essays on the End of Marriage

"A brilliant exposé of the implications of same-sex marriage - and a compelling analysis of what it will take for society to reclaim the birthright of freedom it has lost in a reckless social experiment."-F. C. Decoste, Professor of Law, University of Alberta

* Is the state the property of the citizenry? Or are citizens, with their cherished personal associations, including marriage, now the property of the state?

* Who "owns" the children, now that natural parenthood had been replaced by legal parenthood?

* Is the family still "the natural and fundamental group unit of society," as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights claims? Or is the concept of the "natural" moribund?
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(AGI) - Oslo

Oct.2 - The bishops of Norway's Lutheran Church have voted in favour of gay pastors, with six votes for and five against. Hence the Norwegian Episcopal Conference has endorsed the fact that gays living an officially registered union may serve as chaplains, deacons, pastors and even bishops. The decision goes against the doctrine that has so far been prevailing in the Church of Norway, which ruled out officially gay people. The final word will be up to the synod of the Lutheran bishops, to meet from 12 to 17 November.

TitusOneNine: Breaking: Christ Church, Savannah, Votes to Place themselves under the Province of Uganda
Posted by Kendall Harmon
October 2, 2007

Read it carefully and read it all.

Update: Here is the press release:

September 30, 2007—Savannah, Georgia: The vestry of historic Christ Church has voted to continue in a province in good standing with the rest of the worldwide Anglican Communion by placing itself under the pastoral care of The Rt. Reverend John Guernsey, Rector of All Saint’s Church in Woodbridge, VA and a bishop of the worldwide Anglican Communion’s Province of Uganda, Africa. The vestry was unanimous in its decision.

The vote follows a period of discernment and prayer that stretches back to 2000. “For seven years we have studied scripture, prayed and engaged in deep and significant conversations within the vestry, the congregation and the diocese,” Senior Warden Steve Dantin said. “It became clear to us that this was the best direction for us to take in order to proclaim the authority of Holy Scripture and the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.”
the rest
pictures by Raymond Dague

Diocese of Central Florida: +Howe: Time to End the Property Discussion
Posted October 2, 2007

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

There has been a great deal of conversation over the past few years about whether or not those who wish to leave The Episcopal Church might "negotiate" with the Diocese of Central Florida to purchase church properties and affiliate with some other Province of the Anglican Communion. It is time to end these discussions. The simple answer is: No.

The Windsor Report and the several Communiques from the Primates of the Communion have said that the incursions by foreign Bishops and Archbishops are illegitimate. The Presiding Bishop has said that The Episcopal Church will not allow the purchase of any property by any group that seeks to affiliate with an offshore Province.

the rest at Stand Firm

Episcopal Church recommends minister be defrocked
By Carol Mcgraw, the Gazette
October 1, 2007

An ecclesiastical court Monday affirmed its conviction of the Rev. Donald Armstrong, who is accused of stealing nearly $400,000 from Grace Church and St. Stephens Parish.

The court, representing the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado, also recommended that Armstrong be defrocked, essentially ending all ties between Armstrong and the church. The decision followed a 30-day comment period after its preliminary decision to convict Armstrong in August.
the rest

Pro-life challenge on campus
By Shelley Widhalm
October 2, 2007

When Serrin Foster, president of Feminists for Life (FFL) in Northwest, lectured on college campuses, she never saw a pregnant woman attending school, a fact that began to bother her.

"I knew people were getting pregnant. Otherwise, there wouldn't be abortion clinics close to campus," Ms. Foster said.

With the start of the College Outreach Program in 1994, Ms. Foster began lecturing about pro-life feminist history, explaining that early-American feminists opposed abortion because of their belief in the rights of all human beings. Ms. Foster considered what FFL, a nonpartisan grass-roots organization that provides resources and support for pregnant women and students, could do beyond lecturing on feminist history.

Two years later, FFL moderated its first Pregnancy Resource Forum at Georgetown University to address ways to improve campus resources for pregnant and parenting students. the rest

Fort Worth Episcopal Diocese proposes break from church
Leaders advise leaving over liberal policies; fight over buildings, property expected

Monday, October 1, 2007
By SAM HODGES / The Dallas Morning News

Leaders of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth have recommended that it leave the more liberal Episcopal Church, the Anglican body of the United States.

The Episcopal Church faces considerable internal division, including revolt by some dioceses and parishes, over allowing an openly gay bishop and not forbidding the blessing of same-sex unions.
The Fort Worth diocese's standing committee – a key panel of clergy and lay leaders – proposed Monday that the diocese withdraw from the Episcopal Church and affiliate with another province of the worldwide Anglican Communion.
the rest

Vt. Bishop voices support for same-sex unions
MARK E. RONDEAU, Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 2

BENNINGTON — The leader of Episcopalians in Vermont stands by his church's progressive treament of gay and lesbian couples in Vermont, despite opposition from conservatives in his denomination and an ambiguous national policy on the blessing of same-sex unions.

Thomas C. Ely, the Episcopal bishop of Vermont, played an active role in the recent meeting of the Episcopal House of Bishops that answered a communiqué by the Anglican Communion objecting to policies regarding gays and lesbians in the American church.
the rest

African Bishops’ Meeting
2 October 2007

As Bishops from the African Anglican churches meet in Mauritius over the next few days we recognise that they have serious and pressing issues to address such as evangelism, poverty, disease and injustice. We pray that God would prosper their efforts to proclaim Christ in Africa and elsewhere, and to transform society for His glory.

We know that many of them are disturbed by the apparent fixation of some in the western churches with promoting homosexual practice and changing the church’s traditional teaching based on Scripture. Yet we hope and pray that out of concern for their brother and sister Anglicans around the world they will find time to do the following:

Declare that the statement of the
US House of Bishops produced last week does not satisfy the modest request of the Anglican Primates meeting earlier in the year, and demonstrates that as a whole they have abandoned orthodox Christianity. the rest

Episcopal head reaffirms inclusive church
by Lillian Kwon, Christian Today US Correspondent
Tuesday, October 2, 2007

As breakaway Anglicans in the United States question the Episcopal Church's alleged rejection of "obvious scriptural teaching", the denomination’s leader has stressed that the Church's members are living as Jesus did.

"What does it mean to follow Jesus? How did Jesus live? With whom did he eat? With whom did he converse?" asked Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori at a public forum at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco on Sunday. the rest

Supreme Court won't enter birth control dispute
Associated Press
Oct. 2, 2007

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court opened its new term today refusing to get involved in two church-state disputes — one over religious organizations paying for workers' birth-control health insurance benefits, the other over an evangelical group's plea to hold religious services at a public library.

The birth-control benefits dispute was triggered by a New York state law that forces religious-based social service agencies to subsidize contraceptives as part of prescription drug coverage they offer employees.

New York is one of 23 states that require employers offering prescription benefits to employees to cover birth control pills as well, the groups say. The state enacted the Women's Health and Wellness Act in 2002 to require health plans to cover contraception and other services aimed at women, including mammography, cervical cancer screenings and bone density exams.
the rest

Egyptian god floats up Thames
Monday, 1 October 2007

A towering golden statue of an Egyptian god has been taken up the Thames standing on the back of a cargo ship.

Tower Bridge was raised to allow the 25ft (7.6m) statue of Anubis to travel to its position in Trafalgar Square.

The installation is to mark the opening of Tutankhamun And The Golden Age Of The Pharaohs at the O2 Bubble.
the rest

Monday, October 01, 2007

You know well enough that our Lord does not look so much at the greatness of our actions, nor even at their difficulty, but at the love with which we do them.” ~ St. Thérèse Lisieux photo

Island ripped apart by massive volcano eruption
1st October 2007

A massive volcano eruption triggered by an earthquake has ripped apart a tiny island in the Red Sea.

Terrified witnesses reported lava spewing hundreds of yards into the air with plumes of volcanic ash also rising from the site.

Officials said today that part of Jazirt Mount al-Tair, which is about 80 miles from Yemen, had collapsed after the eruption at around 5.30pm on Sunday. the rest