Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Ransomed Shall Return-Isaiah 35

1 The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad;
the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus;
2 it shall blossom abundantly
and rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the LORD,
the majesty of our God.

3 Strengthen the weak hands,
and make firm the feeble knees.
4 Say to those who have an anxious heart,
"Be strong; fear not!
Behold, your God
will come with vengeance,
with the recompense of God.
He will come and save you."

5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
6 then shall the lame man leap like a deer,
and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.
For waters break forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert;
7 the burning sand shall become a pool,
and the thirsty ground springs of water;
in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down,
the grass shall become reeds and rushes.

8 And a highway shall be there,
and it shall be called the Way of Holiness;
the unclean shall not pass over it.
It shall belong to those who walk on the way;
even if they are fools, they shall not go astray.
9 No lion shall be there,
nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it;
they shall not be found there,
but the redeemed shall walk there.
10 And the ransomed of the LORD shall return
and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
they shall obtain gladness and joy,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
image ESV

Out of the Abundance
of the Heart
Commentary by Robin G. Jordan
Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Archbishop of Canterbury has released his long-awaited Advent letter. The letter takes a swipe at those provinces and dioceses that have intervened in the United States and those primates who have talked about boycotting the Lambeth Conference. Archbishop Williams seems more concerned about how the interventions has affected the bishops of the Episcopal Church than he is with the state of the Episcopal Church that prompted the interventions or the plight of orthodox Episcopalians in an increasingly apostate and heretical church. He blames the intervening provinces and dioceses for the Episcopal Church’s policy of intimidation, depositions, and litigation against orthodox Episcopalians who would realign themselves with an orthodox part of the Communion. the rest image

Designer baby fear over heart gene test
Mark Henderson, Science Editor
December 15, 2007

A British couple have won the right to test embryos for a gene that leads to high cholesterol levels and an increased risk of heart attacks, The Times has learnt.

The decision by the fertility watchdog will reopen controversy over the ethics of designer babies, as it allows doctors to screen embryos for a condition that is treatable with drugs and can be influenced by lifestyle as well as genes.
the rest image

Film-maker Zeffirelli vows to help Pope with image
Reuters
Saturday, December 15, 2007

ROME (Reuters) - Italian film and opera director Franco Zeffirelli is offering his services to Pope Benedict as an image consultant, saying the German pontiff comes across as cold and needs to review his wardrobe.

Zeffirelli, acclaimed for movies such as "Romeo and Juliet" and "Jesus of Nazareth," said in an interview with la Stampa daily on Saturday the 80-year-old pope did not have "a happy image."
the rest photo

NYT: Anglican Archbishop Faults Factions
By LAURIE GOODSTEIN
Published: December 15, 2007

The archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev.
Rowan Williams, sent a lengthy letter to the members of his warring Anglican Communion on Friday, saying that both sides had violated the Communion’s boundaries and put the church in crisis.

He criticized the American branch, the Episcopal Church, for departing from the Communion’s consensus on Scripture by ordaining an openly gay bishop and blessing same-sex unions, “in the name of the church.” the rest

Anglican Archbishops: no consensus on Episcopal Church
Many leaders remain skeptical of the U.S. organization's promises to stop consecrating gay bishops and authorizing same-sex blessings.

By Rebecca Trounson, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
December 15, 2007

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, in a long-awaited message to the global Anglican Communion he heads, said Friday there was no consensus among Anglican leaders on whether the Episcopal Church had met demands that it stop consecrating openly gay bishops and authorizing same-sex blessings.

In an Advent letter released Friday, Williams said just more than half of the fellowship's top bishops and archbishops had responded positively to recent pledges from the Episcopal Church to roll back its relatively liberal positions on homosexuality and the Bible.
the rest

Stand Firm: Statement from Bishop Jack Iker on Rowan Williams’ Advent Letter

Via email:

The main disconnect for me in the Archbishop's letter is this: On the one hand, in reference to TEC's response to the Windsor Report and the Lambeth Resolutions, he acknowledges that "it is extremely unlikely that further meetings will produce any more substantial consensus than that which is now before us." I believe he is correct. TEC is not going to turn back from its present course. It is not going to abide by the consensus of the Anglican Communion on matters of sexuality.

But on the other hand, he then goes on to call for "professionally facilitated conversations between the leadership of The Episcopal Church and those with whom they are most in dispute" in the hope of somehow gaining "a better level of mutual understanding." This hope is in vain. TEC does not negotiate with those with whom they are in dispute; they litigate. Numerous meetings have produced no acceptable solution for the minority to remain with integrity within TEC.

The best assistance that the Archbishop can offer to address the situation in TEC is to host a mediation that seeks a negotiated settlement for separation, without rancor or litigation.

+JLI

Comments at Stand Firm

Friday, December 14, 2007

There is a time appointed in the history of our world, when that very Jesus who appeared on earth, "a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief," shall reappear with all the circumstances of majesty and power, "King of kings and Lord of lords." We are led to expect a day when Christ shall find a home in the remotest hearts and families, and the earth in all its circumference be covered with the knowledge and the power of the Lord. ... Henry Melvill image

Stand Firm: +Schofield’s Pastoral Letter to be Read Sunday in DioSJ Parishes

Risk Taking Is in His Genes
By MARTIN FACKLER
December 11, 2007

KYOTO, Japan — Inspiration can appear in unexpected places. Dr. Shinya Yamanaka found it while looking through a microscope at a friend’s fertility clinic.

Dr. Yamanaka was an assistant professor of pharmacology doing research involving embryonic stem cells when he made the social call to the clinic about eight years ago. At the friend’s invitation, he looked down the microscope at one of the human embryos stored at the clinic. The glimpse changed his scientific career.

“When I saw the embryo, I suddenly realized there was such a small difference between it and my daughters,” said Dr. Yamanaka, 45, a father of two and now a professor at the Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences at Kyoto University. “I thought, we can’t keep destroying embryos for our research. There must be another way.”

the rest

Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, warns American church leaders to curb their pro-gay agenda
Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent
December 15, 2007

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, asserted his authority over Anglican leaders yesterday in a document sent to all archbishops that said that those who went against the “mind” of the Church risked being excluded from its councils.

The warning, spelt out in his long-awaited Advent Letter to the Church’s 38 Primates and other leaders, could lead to The Episcopal Church of the US and the Anglican Church of Canada forfeiting their seats at the top tables of the Anglican Church if they do not curtail their liberal pro-gay agenda.

The admonition applies equally to conservative bishops and archbishops who have been carrying out “irregular” ordinations. Dr Williams condemns this as illicit interference in other provinces and says these newly ordained conservative bishops will under no circumstances be invited to next year’s Lambeth Conference, the ten-yearly meeting of all Anglican bishops.
the rest

Kendell Harmon's take

AP: Archbishop: No Change Over Gay Bishop

ENS: Communion is 'gift of God,' Canterbury tells Primates in Advent Letter

Archbishop’s call for understanding

Williams condemns breakaway bishops in gay rights row

ADV Congratulates new CANA Bishops
FAIRFAX, Va.

(December 12, 2007) –The Anglican District of Virginia (ADV), an association of Anglican congregations in Virginia and part of the Convocation of Anglicans in North American (CANA), extended enthusiastic congratulations to the four new CANA bishops who were consecrated on December 9 at Church of the Epiphany, an ADV member parish in Herndon, Va.

The new bishops include: The Rev’d Canon Roger Ames, Rector of St. Luke’s in Akron, Ohio; The Rev’d Canon David Anderson, President of the American Anglican Council in Atlanta, Ga.; The Ven. Amos Fagbamiye, Vicar of Anglican Church of the Resurrection in Indianapolis, Ind.; and The Rev’d Canon Nathan Kanu, Vicar of Christ’s Ambassadors Anglican Church in Oklahoma City, Okla.
the rest

Christians Agree With Muslims They Must Have Goat in New Jersey
By Alan Bjerga

Dec. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Charles Seugling's 90-year-old family business, a slaughterhouse in Pequannock, New Jersey, is hustling to supply a holiday ``madhouse'' of demand for goat.

Sales may surpass last year's record because of the rare confluence of two religious holidays, he said. Eid al-Adha, the Muslim Festival of Sacrifice, is being observed this year starting Dec. 19, just before Christmas on Dec. 25. The calendar proximity happens only about every three decades.
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Chasing Archbishop Akinola
Julia Duin

Belief Blog
December 14, 2007

Archbishop Peter Akinola stood solemnly on a dias, wearing a deep purple and bright red cape threaded with glittering gold thread and gold embroidered stars. Another brilliant star was stitched onto his miter.

I was sitting in a crowd of several hundred people last Sunday afternoon at Church of the Epiphany's new sanctuary near Dulles airport in northern Virginia. The leader of 18 million Nigerian Anglicans and the one man in the world capable of challenging the archbishop of Canterbury was in town to consecrate four new missionary bishops.

His presence was an in-your-face challenge to the Episcopal Church, from which the Nigerian archbishop has extracted some 8,600 Episcopalians, who are now attending one of 60+ churches in his Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA).
the rest

Scores of Chinese Pastors in Detention
By Patrick Goodenough
CNSNews.com International Editor
December 13, 2007

(CNSNews.com) - Up to 150 Chinese pastors are believed to be in police custody, five days after officials raided a bible study and detained 270 people, a Christian religious freedom monitoring group said Wednesday.

The arrests, in the eastern Shandong province, come amid a growing campaign by human rights and other advocacy groups for international focus on China ahead of next summer's Olympic Games in Beijing.

the rest

Vatican defends duty to evangelize and accept converts
Fri Dec 14, 2007
By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The Roman Catholic Church on Friday defended its "right and duty" to spread its message to non-believers and to welcome converts, particularly from other Christian churches.

A document from the Vatican's doctrinal department also rejected charges from some quarters that spreading the faith and receiving converts amounted to proselytism, or seeking new members aggressively or through coercion.
the rest

Stand Firm: Archbishop of Canterbury’s 2007 Advent Letter
Posted December 14, 2007


To: Primates of the Anglican Communion & Moderators of the United Churches

Greetings in the name of the One 'who is and was and is to come, the Almighty', as we prepare in this Advent season to celebrate once more his first coming and pray for the grace to greet him when he comes in glory.

You will by now, I hope, have received my earlier letter summarising the responses from Primates to the Joint Standing Committee's analysis of the New Orleans statement from the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church. In that letter, I promised to write with some further reflections and proposals, and this is the purpose of the present communication. Although I am writing in the first instance to my fellow-primates, I hope you will share this letter widely with your bishops and people.

As I said in that earlier letter, the responses received from primates differed in their assessment of the situation. Slightly more than half of the replies received signalled a willingness to accept the Joint Standing Committee's analysis of the New Orleans statement, but the rest regarded both the statement and the Standing Committee's comments as an inadequate response to what had been requested by the primates in Dar-es-Salaam.
the rest

Comments at TitusOneNine

Archbishop of Canterbury's Christmas Message to the Anglican Communion
December 14, 2007


Here

ACNS: Anglican Communion News Service
Steps Forward for Anglican - Methodist Relations

December 14, 2007

A consultation has been held in London to review the progress of the report of the Anglican - Methodist International Commission Sharing in the Apostolic Communion, which was received by the World Methodist Council in 1996 and the Lambeth Conference in 1998. The meeting was chaired by the Revd Professor Robert Gribben, Chair of the Standing Committee for Ecumenics and Dialogues of the World Methodist Council, and Bishop Harold Miller, Bishop of Down and Dromore in the Church of Ireland, nominated by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Secretary General on behalf of the Anglican Communion. Five members were nominated by each church for the purpose of this review. The meeting took place from 30 October to 1 November 2007 at the historic Wesley’s Chapel.
the rest

CANA split on issue of women priests
By Gregg MacDonald
Source: Fairfax County Times
UPDATED WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 12 2007

CANA, the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, numbers about 60 congregations and over 100 clergy in twenty states with a total average Sunday attendance of approximately 8,600. This number is larger than seventy percent of the dioceses in the Episcopal Church.

As it continues to develop into a formal body, the group of congregations that left the Episcopal Church not yet a year ago over the issue of homosexuality is now part of a split over the issue of women as priests.

CANA – the Convocation of Anglicans in North America – held a four-day convention in Oak Hill last week, culminating with the consecration of four new bishops on Sunday.

“We are thrilled to welcome these four new bishops to CANA. They will minister to our growing flock of orthodox Anglicans here in the U.S.,” said CANA Missionary Bishop Martyn Minns.
the rest

ENS: RWANDA: Province approves name-change, affirms new Metropolitan diocese in Kigali
December 13, 2007

[Episcopal News Service] The Province of the Episcopal Church of Rwanda, known locally as L'Eglise Episcopal au Rwanda, will change its name to the Province of the Anglican Church of Rwanda, according to a resolution unanimously approved November 29 by the Provincial Synod.

The resolution was first presented at a November 27 extra-ordinary meeting of Rwanda's College of Bishops, which includes irregularly consecrated bishops who are not formally recognized by the Anglican Communion's Instruments of Communion or the Archbishop of Canterbury. Those bishops, some of whom are former Episcopal priests, serve as missionary bishops in the breakaway Anglican Mission in the Americas (AMiA).
the rest

San Joaquin moves to ‘assured place’
by Pat Ashworth
14 December, 2007

THE Californian diocese of San Joaquin has voted overwhelmingly to leave the Episcopal Church in the United States and affiliate with the Province of the Southern Cone.

San Joaquin, which has 47 parish and mission churches, and does not ordain women, adopted a constitutional change a year ago to enable the current move. It is the first of five expected diocesan secessions. Pittsburgh, Springfield, Quincy, and Fort Worth are at different stages of the process.
the rest

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Hold to patience in your hearts, my friends, and put it into action when the situation calls for it. Don't let any abusive word from your neighbour stir up hatred in you, and don't allow any loss of things that pass away to upset you. If you are steadfast in fearing the loss of those things that last forever, you will never take seriously the loss of those that pass away; if you keep your eyes fixed on the glory of our eternal recompense, you will not resent a temporal injury. You must bear with those who oppose you, but also love those you bear with. Seek an eternal reward in return for your temporal losses. ...Gregory the Great photo

Lawsuit targets history teacher's comments
A Capistrano Valley High School student claims James Corbett violated his constitutional rights with 'highly inappropriate' and offensive statements regarding Christianity.

By David Haldane, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
December 13, 2007

A San Juan Capistrano high school student and his parents filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday alleging that his history teacher violated his constitutional rights by making "highly inappropriate" and offensive statements in class regarding Christianity.


James Corbett, who teaches Advanced Placement European history at Capistrano Valley High School, consistently "demonstrates a sense of hostility toward religion," causing Christian students to "feel ostracized and treated as second-class citizens," according to the lawsuit filed in federal district court in Santa Ana by Chad Farnan, 16, and his parents, Bill and Teresa.

The lawsuit contends, among other things, that Corbett told students during class that "when you put on your Jesus glasses, you can't see the truth"; said that religion is not "connected with morality"; compared Christians to "Muslim fundamentalists" who want women to "stay pregnant, barefoot, and in the kitchen and have babies until your body collapses"; and suggested that churchgoers are more likely to commit rape and murder. the rest

Canadian MP Introduces "Transgender" to the Hate Crimes Act
By Hilary White
OTTAWA, December 13, 2007

(LifeSiteNews.com ) - An NDP Member of Parliament has introduced a bill to add yet another in a growing and long list of groups to the hate crimes act. Now its the "transgendered" who are being presented as an "identifiable group" against whom it would be a criminal offence to "discriminate."

Bill Siksay, MP for Burnaby-Douglas in British Columbia who is himself a homosexual, has introduced, bill C-494, that would add the terms "gender identity" and "gender expression" to the criminal code under the section addressing "hate crimes".

Siksay is well known as one of Canada's most energetic Parliamentary homosexual activists who has recently made "transgender" a key focus of his work.
the rest

UK: Most British babies now born outside marriage
By Philip Johnston, Home Affairs Editor
13/12/2007

More than half the babies born to British mothers this year will be outside marriage for the first time since records began.

The routine acceptance among the British-born population of illegitimacy has taken just 40 years to come about. In 1970, fewer than one in 10 children were born outside marriage - and in the 1950s just one in 20.
the rest

Hindu extremists level Catholic parish to the ground
New Dehli, Dec 12, 2007

The news agency Fides is reporting that 150 Hindu extremists have leveled the Church of Divine Mercy to the ground before its construction could be finished. On December 5 at about 7am a gang of about 150 extremists forced the workers to leave the premises and then began to destroy the building and the machinery for construction.

Eyewitnesses told Fides that the mob shouted anti-Christian slogans and said they would "not tolerate Christian proselytizing”. When they had finished their destruction they warned the builders that if work started again, there would be another attack.

The Catholic community has responded with shock and sadness to the unprovoked attack. The assault was not carried out because the church lacked the necessary permits. The complex was to include rooms for pastoral and charitable activities.
the rest

Stand Firm: Diocese of Central Florida Protocol for Departing Parishes
December 13, 2007
Via email

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The following Protocol was adopted by the Diocesan Board at my request. Thank you for your prayers on behalf of the meeting. (There were four votes against it and one abstention.)

A Protocol For Those Desiring to Disaffiliate From The Episcopal Church
here

Brad Drell: The Anglican Revolution Begins In Earnest In North America; A Few Predictions; New Directions
December 9, 2007

The Diocese of San Joaquin has left the Episcopal Church, despite Katharine Jefferts Shori’s asseveration that only some people left, by an overwhelming majority vote.

This news is not unexpected, but certainly welcome.

My prediction on how this will all turn out? The Episcopal Church, as recognized in corporate documents on file with the state of New York, will be dead in 40 years, maybe less.

Yeah, that is a pretty tough prediction. I’ll be 76 when it happens, and I almost certainly won’t be in the Episcopal Church as we know it, even if my current parish and Diocese survives the changes in the future.


the rest-don't miss this! photo

Church on the Tipping Point
Chris Sugden
From The Church of England Newspaper

12 December 2007

‘This is an historic weekend on both coasts,’ said Bishop Bob Duncan, the moderator of Common Cause in the United States. He had attended the vote of the Diocese of San Joaquin in California to leave The Episcopal Church (TEC), and flew to Washington to attend the consecration of four new bishops for the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA). He brought them ‘greetings from the wider fellowship which is our common future,’ looking forward to a new Anglican entity in North America.

The Church of the Epiphany, near Dulles International Airport, in Washington DC is the home of the CANA offices. Some 1,000 people gathered there last Sunday for a three-hour service for the consecration of two Nigerians and two Anglo-Americans as bishops of CANA. The Convocation of Anglicans in North America has 60 congregations in 20 states in the USA, with a total average Sunday attendance of approx 8,600, larger than 70 per cent of TEC dioceses. A senior leader said CANA expected to grow to 200 congregations in the next year. All the glories of Anglican worship were there: a splendid liturgy, the great hymns of the church, enthusiastic African praise songs accompanied by drums and the celebrant on tambourine led by a dominant Nigerian soprano, and robust biblical exposition. It was impossible to tell if this was a Nigerian service in which Anglo-Americans took part, or an Anglo-American service in which Nigerians took part. CANA and other Anglican entities on North America are working hard to express true partnership across cultures. It is hard to see what else other than the crisis we are in could have brought about such a deep desire from Westerners for Global South help.


the rest at Anglican Mainstream

S. Koreans clone cats that glow in the dark: officials
Dec 12, 2007

South Korean scientists have cloned cats by manipulating a fluorescent protein gene, a procedure which could help develop treatments for
human genetic diseases, officials said Wednesday.

In a side-effect, the cloned cats glow in the dark when exposed to ultraviolet beams.

A team of scientists led by Kong Il-keun, a cloning expert at Gyeongsang National University, produced three cats possessing altered fluorescence protein (RFP) genes, the Ministry of Science and Technology said.

"It marked the first time in the world that cats with RFP genes have been cloned," the ministry said in a statement.
story and photo

Kids and parents agree: 18- to 25-year-olds aren't adults
By Marilyn Elias,
USA TODAY

Once upon a time, 18- to 25-year-olds were considered adults.

That's a fairy tale now, say most parents of college students, and their kids agree in a new study that confirms "growing up" comes later.

READERS:
At what age did you become an adult and how did you know?

Only 16% of mothers and 19% of fathers say their children this age have reached adulthood. And their kids don't dispute it: Just 16% consider themselves grown up in the online survey of 392 college students and their 590 parents.

The study, reported in the December issue of Journal of Family Psychology, involved students on five diverse campuses.
the rest

Miracle healings not recognised by government computer
by Jennifer Gold
Thursday, December 13, 2007

A woman confined to a wheelchair for six years has been told that she cannot end her welfare allowance claims even after being healed of her disability because the government computer does not recognise miracles.

June Clarke, 56, and a devoted Christian who is now able to walk, said that her healing was all down to the power of prayer. When she passed this on to benefits officials in order to end her disability allowance, however, she was refused because their computer "didn't have a button for miracles", the Daily Mail reports.

Clarke was confined to a wheelchair after slipping on a wet floor at work in 2000. Her hip, pelvis and spine were all badly damaged in the accident.

Stuart, 58, her husband and a pastor at Hooe Baptist Church has said that he prayed every day since the incident that God would "bring my wife back", reports the Daily Mail.
the rest

Update on St. Andrew's Vestal: Two Weeks out of Egypt
Tuesday, December 11, 2007

St. Andrew's Anglican Church has celebrated two Sundays now in our new meeting place. We are currently meeting at Memorial Park Baptist Church at 1013 Front Street in Vestal. The sense of relief that we are completely out of the Diocese of Central NY and pecusa was palpable. Our worship was energized by a new sense of freedom for proclaiming the Gospel. We are thankful for the welcome that we have received from the MPBC folks and the sense of common mission that we feel between their folks and ours.

In this second week out of Egypt, four from St. Andrew's participated in the inaugural council of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America. As a layperson, deacon and priest I have attended 17 diocesan conventions. Those conventions were held in five different dioceses. This year I attended no diocesan council; the CANA Council in Herndon, VA was an inspiring substitute. What a breath of fresh air!
The rest at DCNY

Judge Rules in Sermon Sharing Scandal
December 11, 2007

Evangelical churches and ministries across America are reeling today after a lower court in Manhattan found the defendants guilty in the "U.S. vs. 'Rev. John Smith'" sermon sharing case.

On April 1, 2007 the justice department filed charges against thousands of pastors and seminary students across America. Due to the large number of parties involved, the justice department simply designated the defendant as "Rev. John Smith" to represent the whole.

At the center of the suit are the sermons and writings of Rev. Timothy J. Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan. After an intensive three year investigation the justice department uncovered an extensive network of pastors, seminary students and other church workers who downloaded hundreds of sermons by Rev. Keller, distributed them and preached them regularly in churches across America.

Lead investigator Roscoe P. Coltrane commented, "we received a tip from an elderly lady from Flynt, MI named Lois McGillicuddy. Being retired, she travels extensively throughout America and is in a different church every Sunday. She noticed that she kept hearing the same sermons over and over and after three years of this became suspicious and notified us. We launched an investigation which uncovered a massive underground network of illegal sermon sharing. Mrs. McGillicuddy was right, the same sermons are being preached over and over again in the churches throughout America, and they all are tied to Keller."
the rest

Church of Sweden prepared to accept same-sex unions
Wed, 12 Dec 2007

Stockholm - Marriage and same-sex unions were "equal forms of living together," the Church of Sweden, a Lutheran church, said Wednesday. The central board of the church said it would accept pending changes of marriage laws that would offer same-sex unions the same legal status as traditional marriage.

However the term "marriage" should be reserved for the union between man and woman, the board - elected by the Church Assembly, the highest decision-making body in the church - said.

The church was one of many bodies asked to comment on proposals to change current legislation presented earlier this year.
the rest

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength. Isaiah 30:15

It is always weakness to be fretting and worrying, questioning and mis-trusting. What can we do if we wear ourselves to skin and bone? Can we gain anything by fearing and fuming? Do we not unfit ourselves for action and unhinge our minds for wise decision? We are sinking by our struggles when we might float by faith.

Oh, for grace to be quiet! Why run from house to house to repeat the weary story which makes us more and more heart-sick as we tell it? Why even stay at home to cry out in agony because of wretched forebodings which may never be fulfilled? It would be well to keep a quiet tongue, but it would be far better if we had a quiet heart. Oh, to be still and know that Jehovah is God!

Oh, for grace to be confident in God! The holy One of Israel must defend and deliver His own. He cannot run back from His solemn declarations. We may make sure that every word of His will stand though the mountains should depart. He deserves to be confided in; and if we would display confidence and consequent quietness, we might be as happy as the spirits before the throne.

Come, my soul, return unto thy rest, and lean thy head upon the bosom of the Lord Jesus. ...CH Spurgeon
art

Two churches leaving with properties, presbytery to get cash gifts; ownership lawsuits to be settled
By Patrick Jean Staff Writer
The Layman Online
Wednesday , December 12, 2007

Two of the largest churches in Sacramento Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church (USA) will leave the denomination with their properties for the Evangelical Presbyterian Church on Jan. 1, now that their dismissal requests have been approved.

About the parties Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church was chartered in 1952, but has roots dating back to 1903.First Presbyterian Church in Roseville was founded in 1873.Sacramento Presbytery has 43 congregations totaling more than 15,000 members. Presbytery commissioners agreed at their stated meeting Dec. 4 to dismiss Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church in Fair Oaks, Calif., the presbytery's largest with 2,286 members, and First Presbyterian Church in Roseville, Calif., the presbytery's third-largest with 1,143 members. The vote totals were 146-18 for the Fair Oaks Church's dismissal, said Bill Cole, an elder and spokesman for that church, and 153-11 for the Roseville church's dismissal, said the Rev. Dr. Jim Barstow, senior pastor of that church.

In exchange for being dismissed with its property, each church will make an "irrevocable gift" of cash to the presbytery. Fair Oaks Church must pay either $250,000 by Jan. 31, 2017, or a "discounted early payment option" totaling $180,000 by June 30, 2008. The Roseville church must pay $160,000 by Jan. 31, 2015.
the rest

ENS: International Anglican group initiates 'strategy of inclusion'
Chicago Consultation celebrates contributions of gay Christians, calls homophobia 'a sin whose end time is now'

December 12, 2007

[Chicago Consultation] Anglicans from around the world met near Chicago December 5-7 to build international coalitions and develop a strategy for the full inclusion of gay and lesbian Christians in the life of the church.

Meeting at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, the 50-member group known as the Chicago Consultation urged leaders of the Episcopal Church to permit the blessing of same-gender relationships and to remove barriers that keep gay candidates from being elected as bishops, according to a news release from the group. the rest

Continuing Episcopalians making plans to reconstitute Diocese of San Joaquin

Presiding Bishop's Christmas message

TLC: Retired Bishops Repeat Request for Financial Data
December 11, 2007

Five retired bishops chided two members of Executive Council whom the bishops said “carefully failed to give us the information we requested.” In a brief letter the bishops again repeated their request for the amount of money spent last year on property disputes and the source of the funds.

“We are concerned that there could be a violation of federal pension fund laws,” the Rt. Rev. William Wantland, retired Bishop of Eau Claire, said in an interview with a reporter for The Living Church. “If they are using endowment funds, some of those are restricted.
the rest

Episcopal Remnants Undeterred by Historic Split
By Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter
Wed, Dec. 12 2007

Days after the first ever Episcopal diocese voted to secede from the national church, Episcopal leaders have revealed plans to continue the diocese.

Delegates of the Diocese of San Joaquin in
California overwhelmingly voted on Saturday to sever ties with The Episcopal Church over its liberal direction on theology and Scripture. The few that chose to stay are now working with leaders from neighboring dioceses and those from the wider church to "provide for the continuation" of the Diocese of San Joaquin, said Michael Glass, a San Rafael, Calif.-based attorney.

Glass represents congregations and individuals who want to remain in the national church. the rest

ACNS: Archbishop of Canterbury names new Representative to the Holy See
December 10, 2007

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, and the governors of the Anglican Centre in Rome are delighted to announce the appointment of the Very Revd David Richardson as the Archbishop’s Representative to the Holy See and Director of the Centre. David Richardson is Dean of St Paul's Cathedral, Melbourne Australia and was previously Dean of St Peter's Cathedral, Adelaide. David Richardson succeeds the Right Reverend John Flack, former Suffragan Bishop of Huntingdon, as the Archbishop of Canterbury’s personal representative in the Holy See. Bishop John retires in February. David Richardson will take up his appointment after Easter.

Dr Williams congratulated David Richardson on his appointment: "I am delighted that someone of David Richardson's stature will be carrying forward the much-valued work of his predecessor, Bishop John Flack. His role at this important time builds on four decades of dialogue between Anglicans and Roman Catholics. It will be exercised in the context of the ‘many area of witness and service" which call for "closer co-operation between us’, as Pope Benedict and I affirmed in our Common Declaration last year."
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San Joaquin begins to plan for new future
Wednesday, 12th December 2007
By: Nick McKenzie

Local leaders in the diocese of San Joaquin are beginning to make plans for the continuation of church structures there after last weekend’s vote to disassociate from the Episcopal Church.

Michael Glass, a San Rafael, California-based attorney who represents congregations and individual Episcopalians who wish to remain in the Episcopal Church, told Episcopal News Service that he, local leaders, Chancellor to the Presiding Bishop David Booth Beers, and leaders from Episcopal dioceses surrounding San Joaquin “are coming together very soon to finalise our co-ordinated efforts to provide for the leadership needs, the legal and pastoral issues, and the financial concerns of our brothers and sisters in San Joaquin, and to provide for the continuation of the diocese.”
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Reducing Abortions Would Significantly Cut Premature Birth Rate
by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
December 11, 2007

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- Two researchers say reducing abortions in the United States would significantly cut the rate of premature births. They say the rate has increased as abortion has been legalized and point to Poland as an example of how banning or significantly reducing abortions would help pregnant women.

Dr. Richard E. Behrman, representing the Institute of Medicine, has identified prior first-trimester induced abortion as an “immutable medical risk factor associated with pre-term birth.”
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Italian doctors want to scrap ‘outdated’ Hippocratic Oath
Richard Owen in Rome
December 11, 2007


Senior medical figures in Italy are campaigning to scrap the Hippocratic Oath for doctors on the ground that the passages forbidding abortion and euthanasia are outdated.

Giorgio Iannetti, a professor of surgery at Rome University, said that the oath, which is read out by medical students when they graduate, must either be abolished or “radically modified”.

“There are passages which are no longer relevant to our times and which newly qualified doctors know in advance they will not be able to respect,” Professor Iannetti told a medical conference in Rome.

The oath, written by Hippocrates, the Greek father of medicine, in the 4th century BC, obliges doctors to heal the sick “according to my ability and judgment” and to “keep them from harm and injustice”. However, a new doctor also swears to “neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy.”
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Storm Leaves Almost 1M Without Power
Dec 12, 2007
By MURRAY EVANS

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - A massive storm that dropped sleet and freezing rain across the nation's midsection, leaving nearly a million utility customers without electricity, finally tapered off, but another wintry blast was forecast to develop Wednesday over the southern Plains.

The new system was expected to bring more sleet and freezing rain to Oklahoma, Missouri and Texas, but not nearly as much as the previous storm, according to the National Weather Service.
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Florida: Trinity church in Vero Beach may break from national organization
By Elliott Jones
Wednesday, December 12, 2007

VERO BEACH — Disagreements over religious beliefs are leading Trinity Episcopal Church to consider breaking from the national Episcopal Church, following in the footsteps of other parishes in Florida and nationwide.

The Rev. Lorne Coyle says the national church is being unorthodox, in his estimation, on everything from interpretations of the Bible to allowing a gay bishop to be ordained in 2003. He is not alone in his beliefs — members of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, Calif., voted this week to split from the national church, the first entire diocese to make such a move.

The Episcopal Church nationally has a "culture the Holy Spirit cannot honor," Coyle said. "It is losing members."
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World's biggest Bible factory opens in China
Dec 12, 2007

It is a country where people caught smuggling religious texts or organizing illicit services can face years in jail. Yet China is about to become home to the world's biggest Bible factory, producing a staggering 1 million copies a month.

The aircraft hangar-sized plant on an industrial park outside the eastern city of Nanjing will be capable of producing more than one Bible every second and is expected to supply one quarter of all the world's Bibles by 2009.

Amity Printing - a joint venture between a Chinese Christian charity and the UK-based United Bible Societies - is already printing up to 800,000 Bibles a month, 80 per cent of which are distributed to officially-approved churches across China.
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Schori & Beers In Unholy Alliance To Destroy Orthodox Dioceses and Parishes
By David W. Virtue
12/11/2007

In sworn testimony given in depositions before the trial of parishes leaving The Episcopal Church in a Fairfax County Court, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori stated that she will never allow a diocese to sell a church property to an orthodox Anglican Church, but the diocese may sell the church property for any other purpose, even and including a saloon.

When David Booth Beers took the stand, he said, under questioning, that if the national church adopted a non-Christian faith and declared holy war on the United States, a diocese would still not have the authority to withdraw from the national church.

Here is what their verbatim testimony revealed. The first person questioned was Mrs. Jefferts Schori, TEC Presiding Bishop.


the rest at Virtueonline

The Episcopal Church losing many congregations
Ocala's Grace Episcopal might be one of them

BY LASHONDA STINSON
STAR-BANNER
Dec. 12, 2007

OCALA - One November night, Bishop John W. Howe stood at the pulpit of Grace Episcopal Church as members with worried and frustrated faces stared back at him.

Howe, head of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida, was there to tell the members what they all wanted to hear.

"During this time of transition, however it comes out, neither I or the Diocese of Central Florida intend in any way to abandon you. . . . Neither your rector [pastor] or your vestry [pastor and lay members] will decide for you whether you want to be a part of The Episcopal Church or the Diocese of Central Florida or not," Howe said. "That's something that you're going to decide for you."

Howe visited the church to address Grace Episcopal Church's recent decision to "disaffiliate" from the Central Florida diocese and The Episcopal Church (USA) - a movement that's happening in Episcopal parishes all across the country. The Episcopal Church is the U.S. branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion and has 2.4 million members. Approximately 80 million members belong to the global denomination.
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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The love I bear Christ is but a faint and feeble spark, but it is an emanation from himself: He kindled it and he keeps it alive; and because it is his work, I trust many waters shall not quench it. ... John Newton image

Family and God keep me going - even if they all think I'm an idiot
December 12, 2007
Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, stops work at 6pm so he can watch The Simpsons. He is more afraid of what his wife Jane thinks than he is of the Editor of the Daily Mail. And he believes that gay clergy should adhere to the Bible and not act upon their sexual preferences.

Dr Williams spoke of the insecurities and anxieties of high office in the Church of England in an interview with three teenage reporters from the youth magazine Oi!.

He told one of the interviewers, 17-year-old Georgie Gothard, who said that she was 12 weeks pregnant and did not know whether she should keep the baby, that he could never advise anyone to have an abortion and that the 24-week limit was too high.
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Episcopal Church, Anglican Communion Continue to Undergo a Seismic Shift

WASHINGTON, Dec. 11 /
Christian Newswire/ -- Last weekend was a significant one in the life of the Episcopal Church and the larger Anglican Communion. On December 8, delegates to the Episcopal Church's Diocese of San Joaquin overwhelmingly voted to leave the denomination.

The vote carried with support from 90 percent of the lay delegates and 83 percent of the clergy delegates. The diocese has aligned itself with another province in the Anglican Communion, the Province of the Southern Cone.

On December 9, the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), a missionary arm of the Church of Nigeria, consecrated four new bishops to support its growing work in North America. Roger Ames, David Anderson, Amos Fagbamiye, and Nathan Kanu have joined the Rt. Rev. David Bena as suffragen bishops under the Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns, who is missionary bishop of CANA.
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The Clock Is Ticking
Commentary by Robin G. Jordan
Tuesday, December 11, 2007

On Saturday December 8, 2007 the Diocesan Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin made a momentous decision. The delegates voted to drop every reference to The Episcopal Church from the Diocese’s Constitution and to succeed [sic] from The Episcopal Church. They placed the diocese under the primatial oversight of the Archbishop of the Southern Cone Gregory Venables. Three other dioceses of The Episcopal Church are considering taking similar action—Dallas, Pittsburgh, and Fort Worth. Their diocesan conventions have already taken the initial steps. Requirements in their constitutions that two consecutive diocesan conventions must pass proposed changes to the constitution keep them from joining the Diocese of San Joaquin. The bishops of all four dioceses have been threatened with deposition and they and a representative sampling of the congregations in the dioceses with litigation. Regrettably these dioceses have not able to coordinate their departure from The Episcopal Church and no additional dioceses have so far shown indications of following their lead. One suspects that the leaders of conservative dioceses are nervously waiting to see what happens to the Diocese of San Joaquin and the other three dioceses before they decide whether they will lead their diocese out of The Episcopal Church.


the rest at Anglicans Ablaze image

N.Y. town silences religious speech on private property, issues citation for gospel message on trailer
Attorneys with ADF to assist Gouverneur man in criminal case
Tuesday, December 11, 2007

GOUVERNEUR, N.Y. — Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund have agreed to assist a New York man cited by his town for displaying a gospel message on a trailer on his private business property. Town of Gouverneur officials have not issued citations against other types of speech, such as commercial messages, displayed on private property along area roads.

“Christians should not be treated as second-class citizens,” said ADF Legal Counsel Matt Bowman. “The U.S. Supreme Court gives special protection to speech on private property. It has distinctly ruled that the government cannot give commercial speech on private property more rights than non-commercial speech on private property. And it does not allow towns to ban religious speech just because some may consider it ‘offensive,’ as this town’s permit scheme allows. Gouverneur officials were wrong to issue the citation.”
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Honda Robots Pair Up to Lend a Hand
Dec 11, 2007
By CARL FREIRE

Associated Press Writer

TOKYO (AP) - As if the idea of having one robot to serve you wasn't unusual enough, Honda says its humanoids are now ready to work in pairs—and they can even serve drinks.

At a demonstration Tuesday at its Tokyo headquarters, automaker Honda Motor Co. showed off two of the child-sized Asimo robots serving tea and performing other tasks in coordination with one another.

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Talking Jesus nearly vanishes
The toys have sold out at Wal-Mart, and there aren't many left at Target.com, either

Sunday, December 9, 2007

There's been much written about the scarcity of Nintendo's Wii this holiday season, but last week Wal-Mart sold out of another popular toy: the Talking Jesus Messenger of Faith doll. The 12-inch doll is made by one2believe of Valencia, Calif., which also sells Nativity scenes and other Bible action figures such as Samson and Goliath Spirit Warriors.

The Talking Jesus Messenger of Faith dolls won't be restocked before Christmas. The toys were sold at about 600 Wal-Mart stores and online at Target.com, and almost 20 percent of the Wal-Mart stores that sell Talking Jesus are in Texas.
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Albert Mohler: Yes, They Said It -- Revealing Comments
Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Those wondering what has made orthodox believers in mainline Protestant denominations so upset need look no further than two very revealing comments offered by leading figures in these denominational conflicts.

Exhibit A -- Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson

The 2003 election and consecration of Gene Robinson as the first openly-homosexual bishop of the Episcopal Church USA set the stage for the separation of orthodox believers from the denomination that is now reaching fever pitch. Robinson was elected Bishop of New Hampshire even as those investing him in office were aware that he had years earlier divorced his wife and was then (as now) cohabitating with another man.
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Study says humans not heating up the planet
Jim Brown
OneNewsNow.com
December 11, 2007

A new peer-reviewed study disputes the claim of former Vice President Al Gore and other green activists that global warming is caused by human activity and constitutes a "planetary emergency."

The study -- conducted by climate scientists at the University of Rochester, the University of Alabama, and the University of Virginia -- finds that atmospheric warming patterns, or "fingerprints," over the last 30 years are not caused by greenhouse gas emissions. The report is published in the December issue of the International Journal of Climatology. Results from the study greatly contradict the findings of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Dr. S. Fred Singer, professor emeritus of environmental science at the University of Virginia -- and president of the Science and Environmental Policy Project -- says he is "fairly" sure that the current warming trend is due to changes in the activities of the sun. "The sun is constantly active, emitting particle streams that carry magnetic fields; and they in turn have an influence on the climate of the earth," he says.

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Study: Monthly fasting may help heart
By MARILYNN MARCHIONE, AP Medical Writer
Mon Dec 10, 2007

Mormons have less heart disease — something doctors have long chalked up to their religion's ban on smoking. New research suggests that another of their "clean living" habits also may be helping their hearts: fasting for one day each month.

A study in Utah, where the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is based, found that people who skipped meals once a month were about 40 percent less likely to be diagnosed with clogged arteries than those who did not regularly fast.

People did not have to "get religion" to benefit: non-Mormons who regularly took breaks from food also were less likely to have clogged arteries, scientists found.
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ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY AWARE OF REALIGNMENT
Southern Cone Primate Stands "Shoulder to Shoulder" with Nigerian Primate

By David W. Virtue
12/10/2007

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, seems prepared to let the American Episcopal Church (TEC) work out its problems with parishes and dioceses leaving the denomination without interfering in their internal affairs.

Dr. Williams is being kept appraised of the situation in the United States and will apparently not comment publicly on the situation, but is letting events unfold, VirtueOnline Was told by Archbishop Gregory Venables of the Southern Cone.

Newspaper reports suggesting that there is a split between Southern Cone Primate Gregory Venables and Dr. Williams are not true, he told VOL.

A spokesman for the Anglican Communion said the Archbishop of Canterbury had not in any way endorsed the actions of the Primate of the Southern Cone in welcoming the Diocese of San Joaquin in the Episcopal Church to become part of his province.

the rest at Virtueonline

Gay row ‘harming talks with Vatican’
Monday, 10th December 2007
By: George Conger.

THE ANGLICAN Communion’s divisions over sexual ethics have harmed its ecumenical dialogue with Rome, the head of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity has claimed.

Speaking to the Pope and 123 cardinals in a private meeting at the Vatican on Nov 23, Cardinal Walter Kasper said that while relations with the Orthodox and some Evangelical groups were improving, talks with the Anglicans had stalled. “What we held to be our common heritage has begun to melt here and there like the glaciers in the Alps.”

Cardinal Kasper’s address, published in L’Osservatore Romano, noted that recent years had seen openness to dialogue with Rome from the ‘ecclesial Communities born from the Reformation.’

“A certain agreement has been reached in the realm of the truths of faith and in many places, there is fruitful collaboration in the social and humanitarian sphere.” This was characterized by ‘mutual trust and friendship,’ motivated by a ‘profound desire for unity.’
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Hands off Christmas, say British religious leaders
By Paul Majendie
December 10, 2007

LONDON (Reuters) - Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims joined Britain's equality watchdog on Monday in urging Britons to enjoy Christmas without worrying about offending non-Christians.
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"It's time to stop being daft about Christmas. It's fine to celebrate and it's fine for Christ to be star of the show," said Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
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Security Guard: 'God Guided Me And Protected Me'
Jeanne Assam Stopped Gunman At New Life Church

Thomas Hendrick, News Editor
December 10, 2007

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Jeanne Assam appeared before the news media for the first time Monday and said she "did not think for a minute to run away" when a gunman entered the New Life Church in Colorado Springs and started shooting.

There was applause as Assam spoke to reporters and TV cameras saying, "God guided me and protected me."

New Life's Senior Pastor Brady Boyd called Assam "a real hero" because Murray "had enough ammunition on him to cause a lot of damage."

When asked by a reporter if she felt like a hero, Assam said, "I wasn't just going to wait for him to do further damage."

"I give credit to God," she said.
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Shooter Copied From Columbine Killers on His Website

Monday, December 10, 2007

In heaven there shall be no interruptions from care or sin; no weeping shall dim our eyes; no earthly business shall distract our happy thoughts; we shall have nothing to hinder us from gazing for ever on the Sun of Righteousness with unwearied eyes. Oh, if it be so sweet to see Him now and then, how sweet to gaze on that blessed face for aye, and never have a cloud rolling between, and never have to turn one's eyes away to look on a world of weariness and woe! Blest day, when wilt thou dawn? Rise, O unsetting sun! The joys of sense may leave us as soon as they will, for this shall make glorious amends. If to die is but to enter into uninterrupted communion with Jesus, then death is indeed gain, and the black drop is swallowed up in a sea of victory. ...CH Spurgeon image

Australia: Baby tax needed to save planet, claims expert
By Jen Kelly
December 10, 2007

A WEST Australian medical expert wants families to pay a $5000-plus "baby levy" at birth and an annual carbon tax of up to $800 a child.

Writing in today's Medical Journal of Australia, Associate Professor Barry Walters said every couple with more than two children should be taxed to pay for enough trees to offset the carbon emissions generated over each child's lifetime.

Professor Walters, clinical associate professor of obstetric medicine at the University of Western Australia and the King Edward Memorial Hospital in Perth, called for condoms and "greenhouse-friendly" services such as sterilisation procedures to earn carbon credits.

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Court: Gay couple married in Massachusetts can't divorce in R.I.
By Eric Tucker
Associated Press Writer
December 7, 2007

PROVIDENCE, R.I.—A lesbian couple who married in Massachusetts cannot get divorced in their home state of Rhode Island, the state's highest court ruled Friday in a setback to gay rights advocates who sought greater recognition for same-sex relationships.

The Rhode Island Supreme Court, in a 3-2 decision, said the family court lacks the authority to grant a divorce because state lawmakers have not defined marriage as anything other than between a man and a woman.
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Conservative Anglicans continue growth in U.S., despite challenges
Allie Martin
OneNewsNow.com
December 10, 2007

A top official with a conservative group of former Episcopal congregations says while there are challenging days ahead, the organization continues to expand as leaders of the Episcopal Church USA embrace liberal ideology and theology.

Four years ago, the Episcopal Church USA (ECUSA) alienated many conservative members when officials consecrated V. Gene Robinson, an open homosexual, as a bishop of New Hampshire. Since then, Anglicans have been moving toward a worldwide schism. One of the groups to separate is the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), which recently held its annual meeting for clergy and lay delegates.

During his opening remarks at a Virginia church, CANA Bishop Martyn Minns told how the splinter group has grown to 60 congregations and more than 100 clergy in 20 states since it split from the ECUSA last year. Bishop Minns says many are receptive to an alternative to the liberal leanings of the U.S. Episcopal church.

"And I keep challenging people everywhere I go to let them know why we're here," he explains, "and to let them know that we are about reaching out in this message of radical inclusion, profound confirmation, and inspired service -- a message centered in the person of Jesus Christ."
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