Saturday, December 08, 2007

If we with earnest effort could succeed
To make our life one long, connected prayer,
As lives of some, perhaps, have been and are;
If, never leaving Thee, we have no need
Our wandering spirits back again to lead
Into Thy presence, but continued there
Like angels standing on the highest stair
Of the Sapphire Throne: this were to pray indeed!
Richard C. Trench image

NYT: Episcopal Diocese Votes to Secede
By NEELA BANERJEE
December 9, 2007

FRESNO, Calif., Dec. 8 — The Diocese of San Joaquin voted on Saturday to cut ties with the Episcopal Church, the first time in the church’s history a diocese has done so over theological issues and the biggest leap so far by dissident Episcopalians hoping to form a rival national church in the United States.

Fissures have moved through the Episcopal Church, the American arm of the worldwide Anglican Communion, which has 77 million members, and through the Communion itself since the church ordained
V. Gene Robinson, a gay man in a long-term relationship, as bishop of New Hampshire in 2003. the rest

LaTimes: Episcopal diocese secedes in rift over gays

UK Telegraph: Diocese splits from Church in gay row

BBC: US Church splits over gay rights

Christianity Today: Entire diocese jumps out of Episcopal Church

ENS: San Joaquin votes to leave Episcopal Church, realign with Southern Cone

Comments at TitusOneNine

Diocese of San Joaquin: The Bishop’s Address
48th Diocesan Convention

St. James’ Cathedral, Fresno


December 7, 2007


Thousands of years ago two men stood before Pharaoh and said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Let my people go...’ (
Exodus 5.1) Pharaoh’s response? He increased the work load and took away the resources that the people of Israel had come to depend on.



You know the story as well as I do. And, as one of our young priests reminded me recently, after the plagues, the exodus from Egypt, followed by the great deliverance at the Red Sea, when the Promised Land came into view, Moses sent the heads of each of the twelve tribes to spy out the land. Upon returning to report on what they had seen, they dissuaded the Israelites from entering the Promised Land. “We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes,” they said, “ and we looked the same to them” (
Numbers 13. 33) The people refused to take what God was offering to them. So, the Lord declared: “Forty years – one year for each of the forty days you explored the land – you will suffer for your sins and know what it is like to have me against you.” (Num. 14. 34)



One man had stood alone, Caleb of the Tribe of Judah. It was he who declared: “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” (
Num. 13. 30) The end result was God’s blessing: “Because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.” (Num. 14. 24)



Timing matters. GOD’S timing is essential! Delayed obedience in Scripture is seen as disobedience when opportunities and blessings are lost.

Full address

Christian's Plight
Dec 5, 2007

It's highly doubtful that Dr. Justus Reid Weiner's chilling forecast of the impending demise of Christian communities under Palestinian Authority jurisdiction will generate much outrage or uproar in Christendom.

If, as expected, it fails to do so, it will be more than a shame. At the very least, Weiner's words of warning ought to ring powerful alarm bells among overseas coreligionists of local Christians.

As reported in Tuesday's Jerusalem Post, Weiner - a human rights lawyer and scholar-in-residence at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs - painted a bleak picture of the travails of the PA's fast-dwindling Christian enclaves. He went on to predict that in some 15 years, Muslim harassment and hounding will lead to the disappearance of these communities. Christian presence will shrink to be a smattering of westerners, assorted clerics and church representatives, but grassroots Christian-Arabs will have dispersed. the rest image

Episcopal Church change allows Denise Giardina to be a deacon again
By Bob Schwarz
Staff writer
December 08, 2007

Half a lifetime ago, Denise Giardina graduated from seminary and became a deacon in the Episcopal church.

“I felt a real strong call toward some sort of religious life,” Giardina recalled.

By the time she graduated from Virginia Theological Seminary in 1979, however, she sensed she The Episcopal Church didn’t have a place for deacons who wanted to stay deacons. A deacon was a transitional title seminary graduates had for a year before they were ordained as priests.
the rest

German ministers say Scientology unconstitutional
By Louis Charbonneau
Fri Dec 7

BERLIN (Reuters) - German federal and state interior ministers declared the Church of Scientology unconstitutional on Friday, opening the door for a possible ban on the organization.

Federal Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble and 16 state interior chiefs agreed "that we do not consider Scientology an organization that is compatible with the constitution," Ehrhart Koerting, Berlin's interior minister and chairman of a ministers' conference in Berlin, told reporters.

Germany does not recognize Scientology as a religion. seeing it as a cult masquerading as a church to make money. Scientologists reject this view.
the rest

Afterlife Hard for Once-Grand Church
By KEVIN COYNE
December 9, 2007

AFTER a long time away, the Rev. Robert Castle visited his old church last year — St. John’s Episcopal, the hilltop Gothic with a panoramic view out over the world he did his best to change in the 1960s — and the state of its decline left him thinking of another sublime fortress once also thought to be impregnable.

“It was like the Titanic going down, and it was sad to see,” said Father Castle, who was rector at St. John’s from 1960 to 1968. “It’s been almost 40 years, and my heart still aches over that church.”

Other hearts have also been aching over St. John’s, a grand but moldering granite church in the Bergen Hill neighborhood that is at the center of perhaps the only ecclesiastical preservation battle that features cameo appearances by the Black Panthers and a Hollywood filmmaker.
the rest

Split In Episcopal Church Could Come Today
By Rick Brewer
Record Staff Writer
December 08, 2007

Clerical and lay officials from nearly 50 Episcopal churches throughout the Central Valley, including St. John's and St. Anne's in Stockton, might vote today to split from the Episcopal Church USA and align their churches with more-conservative members of the Worldwide Anglican Communion.

Deacons, priests and several lay people of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin - which includes 47 churches from San Joaquin County in the north to Kern County in the south and the Nevada border in the east - will cast ballots in Fresno over whether to disassociate with the ECUSA because of its liberal theological bent, and issues such as blessing same-sex unions and ordaining openly homosexual priests and bishops.

"Frankly, we as Christians have to come to some conclusion if the Bible is the inspired word of God or if it's just a bunch of campfire stories," said the Rev. Van McCalister, spokesman for the San Joaquin Diocese. "Most of us believe it to be the word of God."
the rest

Episcopalians vote today on split from US

Friday, December 07, 2007

Are Virtual Gifts Worth It?
By MARTHA IRVINE

CHICAGO (AP) — You don't wrap these presents in a box. You can't wear them, play with them or show them off, at least not in the real world.

Even so, virtual gifts — computer-generated items given and displayed online — are quickly becoming must-haves. And increasingly, people are willing to pay cold, hard, real-life cash to purchase them for friends, family and co-workers.

"For the person who gets the gift, it is like a badge of honor," says Dave Coffey, who tracks online trends for Sapient, a Florida-based marketing company.

Coffey's gotten into the act himself, buying a few $1 gifts on Facebook, a social networking Web site. He purchased a pair of virtual shoes for his wife for her birthday, a can of "whoop-ass" for a friend who got a new job, and a virtual beer to pay a bet he lost to his boss.

They are nothing more than cutesy icons posted in a "gifts" section on a person's profile page, the smiley faces of the 21st century. And like that 1970s icon, they have mass appeal. the rest image

Episcopal diocese nears a split with church
The Fresno-based group might decide Saturday to leave the national organization.

By Rebecca Trounson, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
December 7, 2007

The bishop of a Central California diocese that is poised to become the first in the country to secede from the Episcopal Church has brushed aside a warning from the national church's leader and likened the church to an "apostate institution."

Bishop John-David M. Schofield, whose Fresno-based Diocese of San Joaquin is expected to decide Saturday whether to finalize a split with the national church over gay-related issues, complained in a letter released Wednesday that his conservative views had been ignored by church leaders for two decades.
the rest



Carrier Landing home video

Martyn Minns+: Bishop’s Pastoral Call to the CANA Council 2007

Note: the following address was delivered by the Rt. Rev’d Martyn Minns, Missionary Bishop of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), on Thursday, 6 December 2007, at Church of theEpiphany (Herndon VA) to the annual Council of clergy and lay delegates.

Address here

Ex-Episcopal splinter group expanding, official says
Dec 7, 2007
by William C. Flook
The Examiner

WASHINGTON - An umbrella group for about a dozen former Episcopal congregations in Northern Virginia has grown larger as the national church continues to “alienate” its members, a top official with the splinter group said Thursday.

The Convocation of Anglicans in North America, or CANA, has expanded to 60 congregations and more than 100 clergy in 20 states, Missionary Bishop Martyn Minns said during a speech at the Church of the Epiphany in Herndon. CANA, which is affiliated with a conservative archbishop in Nigeria, plans to consecrate four new bishops at the church Sunday.

“We have grown at a remarkable rate,” Minns said. “We have done so in the face of relentless opposition and some of the largest lawsuits ever mounted by the Episcopal Church against its own clergy and congregations.”
the rest

Tracing Business Acumen to Dyslexia
By BRENT BOWERS
December 6, 2007


It has long been known that dyslexics are drawn to running their own businesses, where they can get around their weaknesses in reading and writing and play on their strengths. But a new study of entrepreneurs in the United States suggests that
dyslexia is much more common among small-business owners than even the experts had thought.

The report, compiled by Julie Logan, a professor of entrepreneurship at the Cass Business School in London, found that more than a third of the entrepreneurs she had surveyed — 35 percent — identified themselves as dyslexic. The study also concluded that dyslexics were more likely than nondyslexics to delegate authority, to excel in oral communication and problem solving and were twice as likely to own two or more businesses.
the rest

Episcopal diocese set to vote to depart
By
Julia Duin
December 7, 2007

The 8,500-member Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin in Fresno, Calif., is expected to vote to secede from the Episcopal Church on Saturday, the first diocese in the country to do so in the civil war among Episcopalians over biblical authority and the ordination of an openly homosexual bishop.

Besides San Joaquin, three other dioceses — Pittsburgh; Fort Worth, Texas; and Quincy, Ind. — have all signaled their intent to depart.

In addition, four Episcopal bishops have left the denomination for the Roman Catholic Church, one of whom, the Rt. Rev. Jeffrey Steenson of the Diocese of the Rio Grande in New Mexico, was received into the Catholic faith last weekend at St. Mary Major Church in Rome. Former Boston Archbishop Bernard C. Law conducted the ceremony.
the rest

Peggy Noonan: Mormon in America How Mitt Romney came to give The Speech--and how he did.
Friday, December 7, 2007

Did Mitt Romney have to give a speech on religion? Yes. When you're in a race so close you could lose due to one issue, your Mormonism, you must address the issue of your Mormonism. The only question was timing: now, in the primaries, or later, as the nominee? But could he get to the general without The Speech? Apparently he judged not. (Mr. Romney's campaign must have some interesting internal polling about Republicans on the ground in Iowa and elsewhere.)

But Mr. Romney had other needs, too. His candidacy needed a high-minded kick start. It needed an Act II. He's been around for a year, he's made his first impression, he needed to make it new again. He seized the opportunity to connect his candidacy to something larger and transcendent: the history of religious freedom in America. He made a virtue of necessity.
the rest

Mormon theology is striking in its differences - Los Angeles Times

Text of speech and comments at Stand Firm

Christianity Today: What Evangelicals Heard in Romney's 'Faith in America' Speech

First Things: Mitt Romney on Faith in America

Romney speech labeled 'historic,' 'enduring'



Mitt Romney’s Speech on Faith and the Presidency

Homosexual hate crime bill starved of votes in the House
ASSOCIATED PRESS
December 7, 2007

The Senate has dropped its insistence that Congress pass legislation expanding hate crime laws to include attacks on homosexuals because it became clear the measure wouldn't pass the House, according to congressional aides.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, was widely supported by Democrats and some moderate Senate Republicans. But because it was attached to a major defense policy bill that would have authorized more money for the Iraq war, many anti-war Democrats said they would oppose it.
the rest

Thursday, December 06, 2007

And straightway He constrained His disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side. . ." Mark 6:45-52

We are apt to imagine that if Jesus Christ constrains us, and we obey Him, He will lead us to great success. We must never put our dreams of success as God's purpose for us; His purpose may be exactly the opposite. We have an idea that God is leading us to a particular end, a desired goal; He is not. The question of getting to a particular end is a mere incident. What we call the process, God calls the end.

What is my dream of God's purpose? His purpose is that I depend on Him and on His power now. If I can stay in the middle of the turmoil calm and unperplexed, that is the end of the purpose of God. God is not working towards a particular finish; His end is the process - that I see Him walking on the waves, no shore in sight, no success, no goal, just the absolute certainty that it is all right because I see Him walking on the sea. It is the process, not the end, which is glorifying to God.

God's training is for now, not presently. His purpose is for this minute, not for something in the future. We have nothing to do with the afterwards of obedience; we get wrong when we think of the afterwards. What men call training and preparation, God calls the end.

God's end is to enable me to see that He can walk on the chaos of my life just now. If we have a further end in view, we do not pay sufficient attention to the immediate present: if we realize that obedience is the end, then each moment as it comes is precious.
...Oswald Chambers image
(Thanks Marti!)

Prayer for the San Joaquin Diocesan Convention meeting this weekend

Go to the comment section at Surrounded and sign up!

The Church has not yet touched the fringe of the possibilities of intercessory prayer. Her largest victories will be witnessed when individual Christians everywhere come to recognize their priesthood unto God and day by day give themselves unto prayer. ...John R. Mott

When is a baby a "person?"
Submitted by Fr. Larry
Thu, 12/06/2007

Excerpt: "The definition of when an unborn baby is a person, as given in U.S. Supreme Court jurisprudence is not derived from science, common law or any moral tradition. It is pure fiat. As a result, it is the most arbitrary definition possible. A unborn baby is a person when his or her mother says so. Or, more precisely, a unborn baby is a person unless her mother says "It isn't." How many of us can prove that our mother ever declared our personhood (or that she never declared our non-personhood — just try to prove that universal negative), and that she, herself, was declared a person by her mother, etc. Fortunately for all of us, as of this writing, the Court also recognizes the personhood of those who are alive and outside of their mother's womb. The Court has effectively declared that a woman's womb is a sovereignty unto itself, with powers of life and death greater than those of the U.S. Government, for even the Government cannot arbitrarily deprive anyone of life, liberty or property."

Full commentary image-fetus at 24 weeks

News Corporation buys Web site that offers spiritual hope
Cheryl Heckler

5 December 2007

Oxford, Ohio (ENI). Rupert Murdoch's global media organization News Corporation has announced it has acquired Beliefnet, said to be the largest faith and spirituality information site on the World Wide Web, for an undisclosed sum.

"Beliefnet has garnered respect for its commitment to quality, editorial strength and unbiased approach to faith and spirituality from a broad range of consumers, religious and political leaders, journalists and advertisers," said Dan Fawcett, president of Fox Digital Media, part of News Corporation, in a 4 December statement announcing the acquisition.

He said Fox wants to "leverage these characteristics across a broader media canvas" and "enhance an already terrific product in a rapidly growing market". the rest

Vatican: Michelangelo Sketch Found
Dec 6
By FRANCES D'EMILIO
Associated Press Writer

VATICAN CITY (AP) - A long-missing Michelangelo sketch for the dome of
St. Peter's Basilica, possibly his last design before his death, has been discovered in the basilica's offices, the Vatican newspaper said Thursday.

The sketch, drawn in blood-red chalk for stonecutters who were working on the construction of the basilica, was done by the Renaissance master in the spring of 1563, less than a year before his death, L'Osservatore Romano reported.
the rest

ACNS: Archbishop of Canterbury - why social cohesion needs religion
December 6, 2007
By : Admin

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams has given a wide-ranging lecture today in Singapore, at the Building Bridges Conference. In his lecture Dr Williams discusses the position of the “absolute truths” of faith over and above political power, and how this plays out in a society where several faiths co-exist: “Does disagreement about truth necessarily mean the violent disruption of social co-operation? I shall be arguing that it does not, and that, on the contrary, a robust view of disagreement and debate between religious communities may play a major role in securing certain kinds of social unity or cohesion”.

The Archbishop acknowledges that violence has been part of the history of all religions: “Despite Jesus’ words in John’s gospel (Jn 19.36), Christianity has been promoted and defended at the point of the sword and legally supported by extreme sanctions; despite the Quranic axiom, Islam has been supported in the same way, with extreme penalties for abandoning it and civil disabilities for those outside the faith. There is no religious tradition whose history is exempt from such temptation and such failure”.


the rest including full text of lecture

Crosses to be removed from police chaplain badges
By Karen Dorn Steele
Staff writer
December 5, 2007

Crosses will be removed from badges worn by Spokane Police chaplains under terms of an out-of-court settlement between the city and a former Lutheran pastor-turned-atheist who sued over the government agency’s use of the insignias and Christian prayers.

Additionally, lawyers from the Center for Justice who represented former pastor Ray Ideus will get $1,000.
the rest

British imam's daughter under police protection after converting to Christianity
Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent of The Times
December 5, 2007

A British imam's daughter is living in fear of her life under police protection after she received death threats from her family for converting to Christianity.

The young woman, aged 32, whose father is a Muslim imam in the north of England, has moved house 45 times to escape detection by her family since she became a Christian 15 years ago.

Hannah, who uses a pseudonym to hide her identity, told The Times how she became a Christian after she ran away from home at 16 to escape an arranged marriage.
the rest

Ruth Gledhill's weblog

Boy Scouts Lose Philadelphia Lease in Gay-Rights Fight
By IAN URBINA
December 6, 2007

PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 4 — For three years the Philadelphia council of the
Boy Scouts of America held its ground. It resisted the city’s request to change its discriminatory policy toward gay people despite threats that if it did not do so, the city would evict the group from a municipal building where the Scouts have resided practically rent free since 1928.

Hailed as the birthplace of the Boy Scouts, the Beaux Arts building is the seat of the seventh-largest chapter of the organization and the first of the more than 300 council service centers built by the Scouts around the country over the past century.

But over the years the fight between the city and the Scouts was about more than this grandiose structure in Center City.
the rest

How American Anglicans Think and Act: A Primer for the Global South
Written by Rev. Canon Benjamin B. Twinamaani
Friday, 30 November 2007
© 2007 The Rev. Canon Benjamin Twinamaani

Now that the much anticipated ‘final' meeting of the Episcopal Church House of Bishops in New Orleans has come and passed, and that the final resolutions from that meeting have been received with disappointment by many in the Anglican Communion, it is time to say this piece.

"Your Grace, this is not the best of situations for a church family to be in, but since our American brothers and sisters love freedom so much, as it is part of their heritage that both defines them and by which they define themselves, they will always do exactly what they want to do when and how they want to do it, and this is how they live out the Gospel. This sense of freedom is both their blessing and sometimes their bane, and this is the backdrop against which the rest of us who live out the Gospel from other parts of the Anglican Communion, particularly from the Global South, should understand their choices and actions in such situations."

the rest

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

He shall dwell on high: his place of defense shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure.
Isaiah 33:16

The man to whom God has given grace to be of blameless life dwells in perfect security.

He dwells on high, above the world, Out of gunshot of the enemy, and near to heaven. He has high aims and motives, and he finds high comforts and company. He rejoices in the mountains of eternal love, wherein he has his abode.

He is defended by munitions of stupendous rock. The firmest things in the universe are the promises and purposes of the unchanging God, and these are the safeguard of the obedient believer.

He is provided for by this great promise: "Bread shall be given him." As the enemy cannot climb the fort, nor break down the rampart, so the fortress cannot be captured by siege and famine.

The Lord, who rained manna in the wilderness, will keep His people in good store even when they are surrounded by those who would starve them.

But what if water should fail? That cannot be. "His waters shall be sure." There is a never-failing well within the impregnable fortress. The Lord sees that nothing is wanting. None can touch the citizen of the true Zion. However fierce the enemy, the Lord will preserve His chosen. ...CH Spurgeon image

First Things: A Changed Stem Cell Debate
By Sam Brownback
Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Sometimes political discussions get so bogged down that people’s views get set in stone. With advocates on both sides of a contentious issue preaching to the choir, the hope of actually persuading anyone diminishes as each side’s talking points become more predictable. But sometimes the facts on the ground change in a way that alters a debate overnight.

The recent news that the promise of stem cell research can be pursued without using human embryos has permanently and dramatically changed the stem cell debate. the rest

Trends Analysis: Americans Reformulating Christianity
By Audrey Barrick
Christian Post Reporter
Tue, Dec. 04 2007

As fewer Americans identify themselves with Christianity, research indicates that those who remain Christian are redefining what "Christian" means.

Younger generations are not bound by traditional parameters of the Christian faith and instead are embracing values that are not necessarily based on biblical foundations, according to a recent analysis by The Barna Group.

Although faith is an acceptable attribute and pursuit among most young people, their notions of faith do not align with conventional religious perspectives or behavior, the research group reported on Monday.

Young Americans have adopted values such as goodness, kindness and tolerance, but they remain skeptical of the Bible, church traditions, and rules or behaviors based upon religious teaching.
the rest

Catholic League: There's a Homosexual Crisis in the Priesthood, Never was a "Pedophilia" Crisis
WASHINGTON
December 5, 2007

(LifeSiteNews.com) - The Catholic League has issued a stinging press release pointing out that the mainstream media has perpetuated "the myth that there has been a 'pedophilia' crisis in the Catholic Church." The release concluded, "The fact is that we've had a homosexual crisis in the priesthood all along."
the rest

Stand Firm: +Schofield Responds to Schori
Via email
posted: December 5, 2007


Dear Bishop Schori:

Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ, our one and only Lord and Savior.

I have read your letter of December 3, 2007 and thank you for your prayers. There is a pastoral tone to this letter which is much appreciated. Informing me that you are not writing with any threats is most encouraging also. One would hope that this indicates your serious consideration of the Primates’ specific request that deposition and litigation under the present circumstances be abandoned as unacceptable behavior among Christians.


Please know I do not share your feelings that I am isolated. My understanding of the authority of the Holy Scriptures, as well as Catholic Faith and Order are shared by the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Churches and by some 60 million faithful Anglicans worldwide. It is The Episcopal Church that has isolated itself from the overwhelming majority of Christendom and more specifically from the Anglican Communion by denying Biblical truth and walking apart from the historic Faith and Order. the rest

TLC: Bishop Schofield Responds to Presiding Bishop's Letter

What engineers do when bored



Anne Coletta interviews Bp Martyn Minns
Courtesy of AnglicanTV

US Episcopal Church faces possible major defection
Wed 5 Dec 2007
By Michael Conlon, Religion Writer

CHICAGO, Dec 5 (Reuters) - The U.S. Episcopal Church faces major tumult this week when an entire California diocese with more than 9,000 members decides whether to secede in an unprecedented protest over gay issues.

The Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, based in Fresno and consisting of nearly 50 churches in 14 counties, would be the first diocese to bolt from the U.S. branch of the 77-million-member global Anglican Communion if Saturday's final vote passes.

The U.S. church and Anglicanism generally have been in upheaval since 2003 when the Episcopal Church consecrated Gene Robinson of New Hampshire as the first bishop known to be in an openly gay relationship in more than four centuries of church history.
the rest

The Worst Archbishop
By
Mark D. Tooley
FrontPageMagazine.com
Wednesday, December 05, 2007

According to a recent Times of London headline, the Archbishop of Canterbury has declared the U.S. to be the “worst imperialist.” Rowan Williams is the senior prelate of the Church of England and the spiritual head of 77 million Anglicans worldwide. He apparently thinks the 4 year U.S. presence in Iraq is far more insidious than any of Great Britain’s 3 centuries of imperialism.

Williams’ anti-U.S. interview was not with The Times, but with Emel, a British Islamic “lifestyle” magazine, which fawned over the archbishop’s anti-Americanism. “He is quite extraordinary, even among bishops!” gushed Emel.
the rest

Europe's ageing population concerns church body
by Maria Mackay
Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Conference of European Churches (CEC) has stressed that "every phase of life has its own value" with the release of a new paper on Europe's ageing population.

A generation ago, less than three per cent of Europe's population was over 65 but the numbers are growing and by 2050, the number of over-65s across the continent could be as high as 20 per cent, with only half of the population of working age.

in response to this development, the Executive Committee of the Church and Society Commission of the CEC has adopted a position paper on “Ageing and the Care for the Elderly”.
the rest

NURSES TOLD TO TURN MUSLIMS’ BEDS TO MECCA
TURMOIL: Beds are moved five times a day

Tuesday December 4,2007
By Paul Jeeves

OVERWORKED nurses have been ordered to stop all medical work five times every day to move Muslim patients’ beds so they face towards Mecca.

The lengthy procedure, which also includes providing fresh bathing water, is creating turmoil among overstretched staff on bustling NHS wards.

But despite the havoc, Mid- Yorkshire NHS Trust says the rule must be instigated whenever possible to ensure Muslim patients have “a more comfortable stay in hospital”.
the rest

Study: Abortion Fueling Cancer Epidemic
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
By: Sylvia Hubbard

Having an abortion raises a woman’s risk of breast cancer by at least 30 percent, and is fueling an “epidemic” of the often fatal disease, according to British researchers.

According to a new study published in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, young women who had an abortion before having a child are at the greatest risk for developing breast cancer.

The study’s lead author Patrick Carroll calls abortion the single “best predictor” of breast cancer trends.
the rest

Breast Cancer Awareness Omits Awareness of Abortion-Breast Cancer

Why isn't this study on the pill heeded?

Homosexodus! Students flee forced 'gay' agenda
California parents start reacting to new 'education' requirements

December 4, 2007
By Bob Unruh
© 2007 WorldNetDaily.com

Parents in California have started reacting to the state's newly mandated homosexual indoctrination program by pulling their children out of classes, and state Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell is warning districts they'll lose money if that happens.

A spokeswoman for a ministry called Considering Homeschooling said she already has seen an overwhelming increase in requests for information about homeschooling.
the rest

Study Shows Why the Flu Likes Winter
By GINA KOLATA
December 5, 2007

Researchers in New York believe they have solved one of the great mysteries of the flu: Why does the infection spread primarily in the winter months?

The answer, they say, has to do with the virus itself. It is more stable and stays in the air longer when air is cold and dry, the exact conditions for much of the flu season.

“Influenza virus is more likely to be transmitted during winter on the way to the subway than in a warm room,” said Peter Palese, a flu researcher who is professor and chairman of the microbiology department at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York and the lead author of the flu study.
the rest image

UK 'must celebrate Christianity'
Wednesday, 5 December 2007

MPs debated whether there was "Christianophobia" in the UKThe UK should "celebrate" the role of Christianity in the country's heritage and culture, the government has said.

Community cohesion minister Parmjit Dhanda told MPs the religion had had a "significant impact" in securing people's rights and freedoms.

He was speaking in a Westminster debate over whether there was widespread "Christianophobia" in the UK.
the rest

Rwanda: Fight Homosexuality, Kolini Tells Churches
5 December 2007
Grace Mugabe
Kigali

REMERA - Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini has called on churches in the East African region to fight against homosexuality for the good of the society.

The leader of the Province of the Anglican Church of Rwanda insisted that Anglican churches in East Africa will not mingle with the homosexuals in the affairs of the church for the good of the community.

"We are reformed Anglicans who want to adhere to the original creeds of the Bible, and that's why our church has decided to ignore the 2008 Lambeth Conference because it has not done much to fight homosexuality in the communion," he said on Sunday.
the rest

A Church Is Divided, and Headed for Court
By BRENDA GOODMAN
December 5, 2007

SAVANNAH, Ga. — For 274 years, there has been one Christ Church here, and it is a congregation with a proud history.

Started with a land grant from King George of England and led by famous names like John Wesley and George Whitfield, Christ Church has been the spiritual home of some of this city’s most notable residents, including Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts.

So it was unsettling, to say the least, for some longtime members when Christ Church, which is believed to be the first church established in Georgia, voted recently to part ways with the Episcopal diocese it had been a part of for more than 200 years to join an Anglican diocese in Uganda. the rest image

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

To know God, this is eternal life; this is the purpose for which we are and were created. The destruction of our God-awareness was the master blow struck by Satan in the dark day of our transgression.

To give God back to us was the chief work of Christ in redemption. To impart Himself to us in personal experience is the first purpose of God in salvation. To bring acute God-awareness is the best help the Spirit brings in sanctification. All other steps in grace lead up to this.

Were we allowed but one request, we might gain at a stroke all things else by praying one all-embracing prayer:

Thyself, Lord! Give me Thyself and I can want no more.

...AW Tozer image

Honey Treats Coughs Better Than Drugs
That Spoonful of Honey May Beat Over-the-Counter Remedies

By KATHARINE STOEL GAMMON

ABC News Medical Unit
Dec. 3, 2007

There may be hope for parents looking for alternatives to drug-laden cough syrup to calm their children's coughs -- and help might be as close as that golden nectar in the kitchen. Honey can soothe throats and calm coughs, according to a new study.

The study, published Monday in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, found that children who received a small dose of buckwheat honey before bedtime slept better and coughed less than those who received either a common over-the-counter cough suppressant (dextromethorphan) or nothing at all.

"This is the first time honey has been actually proven as a treatment," says lead study author Dr. Ian Paul, a researcher at Penn State College of Medicine. He adds that honey has been recommended for ages by grandparents in certain cultures.
the rest image

Cardinal Kasper's Ecumenism: Truth Above All

The complete text of the address delivered at the consistory by the president of the pontifical council for Christian unity. Good progress with the Orthodox, bad with the mainline Protestants, so-so with the "evangelicals" and Pentecostals. And meanwhile, with the Muslims...


by Sandro Magister

ROMA, December 4, 2007 – Eight days before it was published on the last day of November, Benedict XVI had announced the release of the encyclical on hope, "Spe Salvi," to the cardinals gathered in Rome from all over the world, at the meeting that opened the consistory.


For many of them, the announcement came as a surprise.

But the topic at the center of the discussion was not that of the encyclical, but the current state of ecumenical relations between the Catholic Church and the other Christian confessions. the rest

Ephraim Radner and David Reed: Canada is not the United States
By Christopher Wells
December 4, 2007

A very important short piece by Radner and Reed (both of Wycliffe College, Toronto) on the current trend toward fragmentation within the Communion, and what may be hoped for from Canadian “conservatives” as distinct from the “morass of American turmoil, whose realignments have, as yet, proved easier to multiply than to order.”

here

TLC: Few Would Recognize Change of Allegiance, PB Warns San Joaquin Bishop
December 4, 2007

On the eve of a historic convention for the Diocese of San Joaquin, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has written to the Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield, Bishop of San Joaquin, encouraging him to return to the councils of The Episcopal Church as a loyal member of the opposition and to diminish expectations for the proposed transfer of allegiance to the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone.

“While you may believe that the Diocese of San Joaquin can be welcomed into another province of the Anglican Communion, I believe you will find that few parts of the Communion will recognize such a proposal,” Bishop Jefferts Schori wrote on Dec. 3.

“Such an action is without precedent, violates longstanding principles of catholic Christianity, and can only harm those faithful Episcopalians who only seek to follow Christ,” she continued. “I urge you to consider whether there might not be a more honorable course for you, personally, than seeking to violate your ordination vows and the Canons of this Church. Together with many in this Church, I would very much value your continued and increased presence at the table – both the table of Jesus Christ and the table of fellowship.”

Bishop Jefferts Schori warned Bishop Schofield that the personal cost to him would also be high.
the rest

Megachurches Targeted for Pro-Gay Campaign
By Nathan Black
Christian Post Reporter
Mon, Dec. 03 2007

Two homosexual groups plan to launch a national campaign targeting the most influential megachurches and its leaders in an attempt to change their views on gays and lesbians.

Soulforce, which promotes "pro-gay" interpretations of Scripture, and COLAGE (Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere) are currently recruiting LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) parents and their children along with other supporters for "The American Family Outing" in 2008. Selected families will visit six major megachurches to "educate" the public on the issue of homosexuality.

"Through our visibility we hope to peacefully challenge the false stereotypes about LGBT people and same-gender families, and educate the public through authentic and personal conversations - real parents sharing their stories and describing the hurtful effects of prejudice and religious condemnation," said a statement describing the national campaign, which will run from Mother's Day weekend in May through Father's Day weekend in June.
the rest

Go to the monasteries for Christmas shopping
Monasteries offer gifts that are apart from the usual Christmas offerings and, maybe, even a window into the eternal.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
By Martin Barillas

Excerpt: "Monasteries produce works that are now available to shoppers around the world. Being that it was in the monasteries that the light of Classical and Christian learning was preserved through diligent inquiry and the copying of books, it stands to reason that monastics have been equally diligent in using the medium of the internet to reach out to the world.

Without changing out of their pajamas, shoppers can click on scores of websites erected by monasteries and other religious groups throughout the world. A quick review shows that they offer books, icons, Christmas cards and ornaments, Nativity scenes, wood carvings, fruitcake, jams and preserves, and even that puppy promised for Yuletide."
the rest

Court Bars State Effort Using Faith in Prisons
By NEELA BANERJEE
December 4, 2007

A federal appeals panel ruled yesterday that a state-financed evangelical Christian program to help prisoners re-enter civilian life fostered religious indoctrination and violated the constitutional separation of church and state.

The decision by a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, in St. Louis, was the latest in a series of rulings over the last year to reinforce laws that bar government money from promoting religion, said Robert Tuttle, a law professor at George Washington University who is an expert on religion-based initiatives.

“The main thing it does is reaffirm the obligation of government not to fund programs that intermingle secular and religious content,” Professor Tuttle said of the new ruling. “The federal government has come to terms with that over the last year. Even when it has won cases, there hasn’t been a single decision that would allow the government to intertwine secular and religious content.”
the rest

German Official Wants Scientology Ban
Dec 3, 2007

BERLIN (AP) - Germany could be asked to ban the U.S.-based Church of Scientology under a Hamburg security official's proposal that contends the group violates human rights.

Hamburg's secretary of the interior, Udo Nagel, plans to seek a nationwide ban of Scientology at this week's meeting of top German security officials, spokeswoman Ulrike Sweden said Monday.

The German government considers Scientology a commercial enterprise that takes advantage of vulnerable people. During the summer, it initially refused to allow the producers of a movie starring Scientology member Tom Cruise as Germany's most famous anti-Hitler plotter to film at the site where the hero was executed, although it did not expressly state Scientology as its reason. the rest image

Pat Robertson Passes CBN Mantle to Son
By
Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter

Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson publicly announced Monday that he has passed on his duty as chief executive officer of the Christian Broadcasting Network to his son, Gordon.

"It was time for me to pass on some of the duties that I have held for almost 50 years," Robertson said on "The 700 Club," the network's flagship show.
the rest

Movie review: The Golden Compass -- A Briefing for Concerned Christians
by Albert Mohler
Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The release of The Golden Compass as a major motion picture represents a new challenge for Christians -- especially parents. The release of a popular film with major actors that presents a message directly subversive of Christianity is something new. It is not likely to be the last.

Having seen the movie at an advance viewing and having read all three books of His Dark Materials, I can assure Christians that we face a real challenge -- one that will require careful thinking and intellectual engagement.

Why is this movie such a challenge?
the rest-excellent! image

Expert: 'Christian groups in PA to disappear'
Dec 4, 2007

The ever-dwindling Christian communities living in Palestinian-run territories in the West Bank and Gaza are likely to dissipate completely within the next 15 years as a result of increasing Muslim persecution and maltreatment, an Israeli scholar said Monday.

"The systematic persecution of Christian Arabs living in Palestinian areas is being met with nearly total silence by the international community, human rights activists, the media and NGOs," said Justus Reid Weiner, an international human rights lawyer in an address at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, where he serves as a scholar in residence.

He cited Muslim harassment and persecution as the main cause of the "acute human rights crisis" facing Christian Arabs, and predicted that unless governments or institutions step in to remedy the situation - such as with job opportunities - there will be no more Christian communities living in the Palestinians territories within 15 years, with only a few Western Christians and top clergymen left in the area.

the rest

Liberia: Episcopal Church Results Nullified For Lack of 2/3 Votes
4 December 2007

The Archbishop of the Province of West Africa of the Episcopal Church, the Most Rev. Dr. Justice Akrofi has nullified the results of the Special Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Liberia held November 17, 2007 convened at the Epiphany Chapel - Cuttington University Suakoko campus, Bong County at which time the Very Rev. Jonathan B.B. Hart was elected Bishop's Co-Adjutor.

In a letter addressed to the Acting Chancellor of the Diocese, Cllr. Elizabeth Nelson, copy of which was circulated to the parishes of the Episcopal Diocese of Liberia, Dr. Akrofi said his offices have nullified the result of the election because none of the contestants received 2/3 or 60% of the votes cast as the Canon laws of the church provided.

the rest

China Ordains New Bishop with Vatican Approval
By Naomi Martig
Hong Kong
04 December 2007

China's state-controlled Catholic Church has appointed a new bishop who has publicly declared his loyalty to the Vatican. However, as Naomi Martig reports from VOA's Asia News Center in Hong Kong, it is yet not clear if the appointment signals an improvement in relations between Beijing and Rome.
the rest

Monday, December 03, 2007

Any one can sing in the sunshine. You and I should sing on when the sun has gone down, or when clouds pour out their rain, for Christ is with us. ...Anonymous image

TLC: Seattle Parish Offers Astrology Workshop
December 3, 2007

A three-session course titled “They Followed a Star: Astrology and Christianity as Allies on the Journey” is being taught at St. Andrew’s Church in Seattle this month. The first session is scheduled to be held tonight.

The course is being taught by Dan Keusal, a licensed counselor and astrologer in private practice in Seattle. Mr. Keusal holds a degree in theology from the University of Notre Dame and worked for years as a parish and campus minister.

In a brief description of the course located on an internet
website he maintains, Mr. Keusal describes his workshop as a way to “look at how astrology can support and deepen our journeys as men and women of faith.” The course was mentioned in the December issue of Episcopal Voice, the newspaper of the Diocese of Olympia and in the calendar section of the diocesan website. The course is also listed on the parish website. the rest

The Big O
The ability to give and take offense is what separates free societies from Sudan.
By Mark Steyn
December 02, 2007

The holiday season is here and that means it’s time to engage in the time-honored Christmas tradition of objecting to every time-honored Christmas tradition. Australia is a gazillion time-zones ahead of the United States — it may even be Boxing Day there already — so they got in first this year with a truly fantastic headline: “Santas Warned ‘Ho Ho Ho’ Offensive To Women.”

Really. As the story continued: “Sydney’s Santa Clauses have instead been instructed to say ‘ha ha ha’ instead, the Daily Telegraph reported. One disgruntled Santa told the newspaper a recruitment firm warned him not to use ‘ho ho ho’ because it could frighten children and was too close to ‘ho’, a U.S. slang term for prostitute.”
the rest



Crown of the High Priest

Temple Institute Announces: High Priest's Crown is Ready!
by Hillel Fendel
23 Kislev 5768, December 3, '07

(IsraelNN.com) The Temple Institute in Jerusalem announces the completion of the Tzitz, the High Priest's headplate - now ready for use in the Holy Temple.

The tzitz is made of pure gold, was fashioned over the course of a more than a year by the craftsmen of the Temple Institute, and is ready to be worn by the High Priest in the rebuilt Holy Temple in Jerusalem.

the rest

Amazon unveils e-book device
$399 Kindle is size of paperback, with access to 90,000 titles

By Wailin Wong
November 22, 2007

CHICAGO - Consumers have mobile phones and digital music players. They write e-mails, surf the Web and watch videos on YouTube. Yet digital publishers and manufacturers are still trying to convince consumers to modernize that most old-fashioned medium: the book.

On Monday, Amazon.com Inc. entered the fray with Kindle, a $399 device that will try to do for books what the iPod did for music: use a new gadget to promote a digital-based industry.
the rest image

The Victorian iPod

Canada: It's D-I-V-O-R-C-E for the Anglicans
The liberals and the conservatives have come to a parting of the ways; all that's left is the division of property
Vancouver Sun
Monday, December 03, 2007

Vancouver's Bishop Michael Ingham has finally admitted that the Anglican Church is in crisis.
Previously, as thriving parishes left one by one -- St. Simon's, Emmanuel, St. Martin's, Christ the Redeemer -- he tried to shrug off each departure as a sort of "extreme decline in attendance."

Now, with many displaced Canadian parishes reassembling under two other Canadian bishops, Ingham is calling it a "schism" -- the religious equivalent of a divorce.
the rest

Church of England releases virtual Christmas cards on Facebook
by Jennifer Gold
Monday, December 3, 2007

This Advent, the Church of England has blessed a selection of virtual Christmas cards to be released on social networking site Facebook.

The Church has given the specially designed cards to Facebook in recognition that social networking websites are increaslingly important in the way people communicate, socialise and express their identity.

The cards are an opportunity for Christians to share their faith this Christmas with fellow Facebookers.
the rest

Albert Mohler: Revising the Revisionists -- New Controversy over "The Gospel of Judas"
Monday, December 03, 2007

Just last year, the National Geographic Society announced the discovery of a third-century Gnostic text called "The Gospel of Judas." The Society timed its announcement to support the commercial success and maximize the media impact of a book and television program dedicated to the text.

There was a great deal of misrepresentation about the discovery in the press, with some academics suggesting that the text had been suppressed by the church because of its supposedly explosive contents. Others went so far as to argue that the "Gospel of Judas" would require a comprehensive revision of the Christian faith.

That was nonsense, of course, but it was the kind of nonsense that garners a great deal of media attention.

The most controversial aspect of this text, at least as claimed by the National Geographic Society and its associates, was the claim that it denied that Judas had betrayed Jesus and instead presented him as a hero.
the rest

Rights for embryos proposed
Abortion foes push state initiatives to bestow 'personhood'

By Judith Graham and Judy Peres Tribune staff reporters
December 3, 2007

DENVER - Opening a new front in their assault on abortion, activists in half a dozen states are preparing ballot referendums that would grant "personhood" and constitutional rights to embryos from the moment of conception.

The drive is under way in Colorado, where activists have begun gathering signatures for an initiative, and Georgia, where the legislature will take up the issue when it reconvenes in January. Abortion opponents in Montana, Oregon, Mississippi and Michigan are among those considering similar measures.
the rest image

In Pa., Scouts Refuse to Lift Ban
Chapter to Ignore City's Order to Alter Policy Excluding Gays

By Dafna Linzer
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, December 3, 2007

The
Boy Scouts in Philadelphia are refusing to break camp.

The city has given the local chapter until today to renounce its policy of excluding gays or forfeit the lease on the grand, Beaux-Arts building it has rented from the city for $1 a year since 1928.

"We're ignoring the deadline," said Mark Chilutti, a member of the Cradle of Liberty Council executive board, which operates the local Scouts chapter. "It was the least bad option we have."
the rest

Teddy row teacher freed from jail
Monday, 3 December 2007

A UK teacher has been released and handed over to British officials in Sudan after being jailed for letting her class name a teddy bear Muhammad.

Gillian Gibbons, 54, from Liverpool, was freed after eight days in custody. She had been given a 15-day jail term.

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir pardoned her after talks with two British Muslim peers.
the rest

Welsh women Bill ‘gives bishops a blank cheque’
by Pat Ashworth
30 November, 2007

ONE HUNDRED CLERICS and ordinands in the Church in Wales have expressed their “concern and dismay” at the wording of the Bill to allow women to join the episcopate.

Women were first ordained as priests in the Church in Wales in 1997. Those who cannot in conscience accept their ministry have had recourse to a Provincial Assistant Bishop, the Rt Revd David Thomas.

The problem is that the new Bill, published in July, contains no equivalent provision, say the protesting clerics, led by the Revd Alan Rabjohns, Vicar of St Saviour’s, Roath, in Cardiff. They express their objections in a letter to the Church Times this week.
the rest

Clergy warning on women bishops

Letter

UK Indian women 'aborting girls'
Monday, 3 December 2007

A study suggests Indian women in the UK are aborting unborn daughters so they can have more boys, the BBC's Asian Network has learned.

The Oxford University study suggests 1,500 girls are "missing" from the birth statistics in England and Wales from 1990 to 2005.

It shows the proportion of boys compared with girls born to Indian-born mothers has increased since the 1970s.
the rest

Fever can unlock autism's grip: study
Mon Dec 3, 2007
By Michael Conlon

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Fever can temporarily unlock autism's grip on children, a finding that could shed light on the roots of the condition and perhaps provide clues for treatment, researchers reported on Monday.

It appears that fever restores nerve cell communications in regions of the autistic brain, restoring a child's ability to interact and socialize during the fever, the study said.

"The results of this study are important because they show us that the autistic brain is plastic, or capable of altering current connections and forming new ones in response to different experiences or conditions," said Dr. Andrew Zimmerman, a pediatric neurologist at Baltimore's Kennedy Krieger Institute, who was one of the study authors.
the rest