Saturday, February 16, 2008

Do not yield to the temptation of looking at everything at once, as if everything would happen at once, and all the events of the day be crowded into an hour. Do not thus forecast, but take each thing as it comes to you, and look upon it as the present expression of the will of God concerning you; then regard the next in the same way, and thus receive your day piece by piece from Him who will remember always when He gives you work to do, that you need strength to do it. Often, when you have almost fainted in spirit, the thought comes, "If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, what shalt thou do with the horsemen?" Put it from you, it is a faithless thought; if you need more strength, you will have it, be sure of that; or the call to greater exertion may never come to you. Your business is with the present; leave the future in His hands who will be sure to do the best, the very best for you. ...Priscilla Maurice image

First order for pet dog cloning
Friday, 15 February 2008

A South Korean company says it has taken its first order for the cloning of a pet dog.

A woman from the United States wants her dead pitbull terrier - called Booger - re-created.


RNL Bio is charging the woman, from California, $150,000 (£76,000) to clone the pitbull using tissue extracted from its ear before it died.

The work will be carried out by a team from Seoul National University, where the first dog was cloned in 2005.
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Bishop sees unity among area Episcopal churches
Saturday, February 16, 2008
By KRISTEN CAMPBELL
Religion Editor

Since the election of an openly gay bishop in 2003 and a female presiding bishop in 2006, reports of dissension and division within the Episcopal Church and its parent body, the Anglican Communion, has been prevalent.

Such unrest isn't unfamiliar to Episcopalians along the Gulf Coast.

Several years ago, parishioners of a handful of congregations in the Pensacola, Fla.-based Episcopal Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast -- including what's now Christ Church Cathedral in Mobile -- left the Episcopal Church. In 2006, Daphne's Church of the Apostles, started as an Episcopal mission congregation, dissolved its ties to the area diocese.
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Remain Episcopal to host baptism, female priest
BY LOUIS MEDINA, Californian staff writer
Friday, Feb 15 2008

Two newsmaking events are scheduled to take place Sunday at the local gathering of Remain Episcopal, the faith community of believers opposed to the San Joaquin Diocese's recent split from the Episcopal Church over doctrinal differences.

During the first part of the worship, the Rev. Tim Vivian, an ordained Episcopal priest and a professor at Cal State Bakersfield, will perform a baptism -- his first since recently having been appointed as temporary missionary priest to the local community by an emissary of the church's presiding bishop, the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori.

Later, a visiting female priest from Los Angeles will celebrate Communion toward the end of the Mass.

"In this diocese that IS a big deal," Vivian wrote to The Californian in an e-mail.

The Rev. Elizabeth Davenport, of St. John's Episcopal Church, who has also been the senior associate dean of religious life at USC for the last five years, said the San Joaquin Diocese under seceding bishop the Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield did not allow women priests, including visiting priests, to celebrate Communion.

But because Schofield's duties are currently constrained or "inhibited" by Jefferts Schori during a 60-day waiting period before a possible ecclesiastical trial, the Episcopal remnant within the local diocese is at liberty to employ the services of female priests, whom Jefferts Schori supports.
Sunday's Mass will take place at 10 a.m., at the chapel of First Congregational Church on Real Road and Stockdale Highway, which is allowing Remain Episcopal to use its facilities.
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A taste of Vatican art as relics go on display in three U.S. cities

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - It's not often the Vatican goes on a road show.

When you're one of the planet's foremost cultural and religious institutions, the world tends to come to you. Those who want to see art commissioned by the popes or vie for an up close look at Pope Benedict XVI's fisherman's ring generally have to brave a trip to Rome.

"Vatican Splendors From Saint Peter's Basilica, the Vatican Museums and the Swiss Guard," which opened this month at Florida International Museum, brings some of the Catholic Church's most exquisite items on a three-city U.S. tour.

It is not some watered-down collection, as the exhibit's first room demonstrates.
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China repents and seeks to woo Pope
Michael Sheridan, Far East Correspondent and John Follain
February 17, 2008

TEMPTED by the prize of a historic visit to China by Pope Benedict XVI, the nation’s leaders have authorised a renewed effort in confidential discussions with the Vatican to heal their rift and inaugurate diplomatic ties.

The talks have intensified over recent months, leading some diplomatic observers in Beijing to believe the Chinese may be seeking to announce a deal before the Olympic Games in August.
Liu Bainian, the de facto head of Beijing’s official Patriotic Church, has said on several occasions that he would like to welcome the Pope to China once an agreement has been reached.
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Same-sex blessing issue proves divisive for Anglican Church in Canada

VANCOUVER - Several more British Columbia Anglican congregations will vote in the coming days on whether to abandon the local bishop and diocese and align themselves with more conservative Anglicans in South America, despite the church's Canadian leader warning that they'll lose their church, property and funding if they leave.

The root of the split is the contentious issue of the blessing of same-sex unions.

"It started out as a tear in the fabric, then it became a rupture and now it is a schism and a new reformation," says Lesley Bentley, spokeswoman for St. John's Shaughnessy, the largest Anglican congregation in Canada and one that voted last week to leave.
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Friday, February 15, 2008

You can deal with an enormous amount of success as well as an enormous amount of failure without losing your identity, because your identity is that you are the beloved. Long before your father and mother, your brothers and sisters, your teachers, your church, or any people touched you in a loving as well as in a wounding way-long before you were rejected by some person or praised by somebody else-that voice has been there always. "I have loved you with an everlasting love." That love is there before you were born and will be there after you die.
...Henri J. M. Nouwen image

Mohler Drops Bid for Baptist Presidency Ahead of Surgery
By Audrey Barrick
Christian Post Reporter
Fri, Feb. 15 2008

The Rev. Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., one of the country's pre-eminent conservative evangelicals, announced he is dropping his bid to become president of the Southern Baptist Convention after a tumor was found in his colon.

Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, says he'll undergo surgery for the pre-cancerous tumor, which was discovered during a routine colonoscopy on Feb. 11.

The surgery is likely to require an extensive recovery period, according to a statement by the Louisville-based seminary on Thursday.

While giving thanks for having discovered the tumor early, the 48-year-old Mohler said he has decided to bow out of the race to lead the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) – the largest Protestant denomination in the country – to address his health condition and to minister to his family.
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Three-way split in San Joaquin
Friday, 15th February 2008
By: George Conger.

THE DISPUTE over the secession of the Diocese of San Joaquin has led to the formation of three de facto ecclesiastical authorities for the California diocese: one loyal to Bishop John-David Schofield, one loyal to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, and a third to the diocese’s Standing Committee.

On Dec 8 the San Joaquin Synod voted to transfer the primatial oversight of the diocese to the Province of the Southern Cone, and Bishop Schofield was received as a bishop of that province by the Primate, Presiding Bishop Gregory Venables.

At the meeting of the Diocesan Standing Committee, who in the absence of the bishop constitute the ecclesiastical authority of the diocese, Bishop Schofield on Jan 19 asked the clergy and lay members of the committee to formally join the South American church.
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Italian bishops condemned for urging actors to shun sex scenes
Richard Owen in Rome
February 15, 2008

A row has erupted over “Vatican interference” after the Italian Synod of Bishops appealed to actors to exercise their consciences and refuse to take part in “vulgar and destructive” erotic scenes in films.

The appeal follows public condemnation by the bishops of an explicit sex scene in Caos Calmo, starring the Italian actor and director Nanni Moretti, which has just been released. In the film, directed by Antonello Grimaldi, Moretti plays a television executive who experiences a mid-life crisis after the death of his wife in the course of which he has a torrid affair with a woman he saves from drowning.
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Satellite shoot-down shows missile muscle
By Bill Gertz
February 15, 2008

The Pentagon's plan to shoot down a failed satellite with a missile defense interceptor in the coming days is aimed at preventing toxic fuel from reaching earth. But U.S. officials and experts said yesterday it would also signal that U.S. missile defenses can be used to counter China's strategic anti-satellite weapons.

China conducted its first successful test of an anti-satellite (ASAT) weapon on Jan. 11, 2007, in what defense and military officials called a new strategic threat to the United States.
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TIME: Finding Their Faith
By Amy Sullivan
Thursday, Feb. 14, 2008

Backstage at the Target Center in Minneapolis before a rally earlier this month, Barack Obama engaged in one of his pregame rituals: the presidential candidate joined a circle of young campaign supporters and staff, clasped hands with those on either side of him and prayed.

Hillary Clinton, his rival for the Democratic nomination, has talked on the campaign trail about the "prayer warriors" who support her, and her campaign has made sure that primary voters know that Clinton used to host church picnics at the governor's mansion in Arkansas.

If the Democratic ticket in November is able to capture a greater share of religious voters than in previous elections,
it will be because both Obama and Clinton have rejected their party's traditional fight- or-flight reaction to religion. For decades, the men and women who ran the Democratic Party and its campaigns bought into the conservative spin that the faithful were pro-life, right-wing and most certainly not Democratic voters. Armed with this mind-set, political professionals gave themselves permission to ignore religion and the religious. And in 2004, John Kerry paid the price for that decision. the rest

Five Primates respond to English Evangelical Bishops' letter

To Bishop David James and colleagues

Brethren

We have received
your letter encouraging us to attend the Lambeth Conference with you. We trust that we are united in faithful obedience to the Scriptures and also to the Anglican Formularies. We understand your desire to continue to support the efforts of the Archbishop of Canterbury. As GAFCON Bishops and primates, we share with you a commitment to the communion and its future. We ask you to understand that we have reached a different conclusion and request you to understand our decision.

We think it is important to let you know our reasons for not acceding to your request, and also to make them public since your letter is public. We have a number of concerns.

First, the Lambeth Conference is not a two hour seminar discussing a contentious issue. It is three weeks in which we bishops and our wives are called to share together our lives, our prayer, our bible study, our meals, our worship and the Lord’s Supper, to be a family together.

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Signed by:
Archbishop Peter Akinola (Nigeria)
Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini (Rwanda)
Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi (Kenya)
Archbishop Henry Orombi (Uganda)
Archbishop Gregory Venables (Southern Cone)

More B.C. churches plot gay-rights rebellions
Move sparked by St. John's vote to leave

Darah Hansen and Chad Skelton, Canwest News Service
Thursday, February 14, 2008

VANCOUVER -- Members of an Anglican church in Abbotsford, B.C., are expected to become the second Vancouver-area congregation in a week to split from Lower Mainland Bishop Michael Ingham over his support for same-sex blessings.

And two more Anglican churches - St. Matthias/ St. Luke and The Church of the Good Shepherd -- in Vancouver are poised to fill out similar ballots later this month as orthodox followers openly challenge Ingham's liberal vision for the church.

"We are prepared to act on our faith," said Rev. Trevor Walters of St. Matthew's Anglican parish in Abbotsford, whose members will cast their votes Sunday.
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ANGLICAN CHURCH LOSES LARGEST CONGREGATION

Church Criticized Over Gay Services Plan
By Jacqueline L. Salmon
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 15, 2008

A conservative Christian group yesterday criticized a large Methodist church in the District for planning to offer services that recognize gay and lesbian relationships, saying they violate the United Methodist ban on same-sex unions.

Foundry United Methodist Church, which Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton attended when he was president, decided last month to support its senior pastor's decision to lead services that "recognize and honor" committed gay relationships. Foundry clergy, however, do not perform union ceremonies, the local bishop said.
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Copenhagen police arrest six in fifth night
of riots
Thu Feb 14, 2008

COPENHAGEN (AFP) - Six youths were arrested in Copenhagen for setting cars and dumpsters ablaze and throwing stones at police in a fifth night of riots in a predominantly immigrant area of the Danish capital, police said Friday.

"We've had six arrests so far. They've been charged with throwing stones at police and setting fires to cars and waste containers," Chief Inspector Henrik Olesen of the Copenhagen police told AFP.

At least 11 cars were torched in various neighbourhoods of Copenhagen, and 10 others in the nearby town of Kokkedal.

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Homosexual Leader Calls AIDS 'a Gay Disease'
By Pete Winn
CNSNews.com Senior Staff Writer
February 15, 2008

(CNSNews.com) - In a startling admission, the head of a major homosexual activist group said HIV/AIDS is a "gay disease."

The comments were made last Friday at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force's (NGLTF) national conference in Detroit by Executive Director Matt Foreman.

"Folks, with 70 percent of the people in this country living with HIV being gay or bi (sexual), we cannot deny that HIV is a gay disease," Foreman told his audience. "We have to own that and face up to that."
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Annual membership losses projected to reach 50,000 members by 2009
By Craig M. Kibler
Staff Writer
The Layman Online
Thursday, February 14, 2008

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The Presbyterian Church (USA) is anticipating annual membership losses will reach 46,544 in 2008, growing to 50,000 in 2009, and another 43,436 members expected to leave the denomination in 2010.

Those projections of 139,980 members leaving the PCUSA in the next three years follow on actual membership losses of 91,649 over the past two years - 43,175 in 2006 and 48,474 in 2007, according to a report released Feb. 13 at a joint meeting of the General Assembly Council and the Committee on the Office of the General Assembly.
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Washington Post Sends Big Valentine to Multi-Partner ‘Relationships’
Polyamory. It’s not about sex, it’s about loving yourself. Really? It may also be about redefining marriage.
By Kristen Fyfe Culture and Media Institute
February 13, 2008

Triads. Quads. V’s. No, it’s not a math lesson, it’s the terminology polyamorists use to describe relationships. Not sure what polyamorists are? Lucky you have the February 13 edition of The Washington Post “Style” section to enlighten you.

And if you read far enough into the copy you’ll also find a game plan for redefining marriage. More on that in a minute.

In what can only be described as a Valentine to immorality and provocative behavior, the Post ran a
2554-word feature on polyamory, a practice most readers – even the liberal fans of the Post – would find disturbing. Sometimes called “swinging” or “wife swapping,” polyamory is the practice of openly having several sexual partners, regardless and sometimes in spite of marital status. the rest image

New Church-state tensions in Poland
Warsaw, Feb. 13, 2008

(CWNews.com) - Polish government officials met on February 13 with representatives of the Catholic Church to discuss four items: pro-family politics, in-vitro fertilization, religion classes in public schools, and the declaration of the feast of Epiphany as a national holiday.

The meeting comes at a time of some tension between Polish political leaders and the Catholic hierarchy. The Dziennik newspaper reports that a Polish vice president of the European Union Parliament, Marek Siwiec of the Party of European Socialists, criticized Bishop Tadeusz Pieronek for his statements of opposition to sex education in public schools and government funding of contraception-- two projects that have been advanced by the current government. Siwiec likened Bishop Pieronek's views to those of Father Tadeusz Rydzyk, the highly controversial founder of Radio Maryja.
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Christian Groups Rebuke School for Promoting Gender Confusion
By Nathan Black
Christian Post Reporter
Thu, Feb. 14 2008

Transgendered persons make up less than one-half of one percent of the American population, experts say, but the drive to expand their rights is gaining momentum. And Christians are concerned such efforts will encourage gender confusion among children.

In the latest media report on transgenderism, an 8-year-old Colorado boy wants to be recognized as a girl. The second-grader has found support from his parents and his Denver-area elementary school, which is making two unisex bathrooms available and having its teachers call him by a girl's name.
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Thursday, February 14, 2008

O my soul, what an atmosphere dost thou breathe! As the air surrounds thee, even so does the mercy of thy Lord. To the wicked there are many sorrows, but to thee there are so many mercies that thy sorrows are not worth mentioning. David says, "Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye righteous; and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart." In obedience to this precept my heart shall triumph in God, and I will tell out my gladness. As Thou hast compassed me with mercy, I will also compass Thine altars, O my God, with songs of thanksgiving! ...CH Spurgeon image

CANA Clarifies Status of Suffragan Bishop
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 14, 2008
(via email)

HERNDON, Va. - On February 12, it was announced that the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church had accepted four bishop’s renunciation of ordained ministry and included in the list of bishops was the Rt. Rev’d David Bena, Suffragan Bishop of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA).

CANA Bishop Martyn Minns responded by saying, “This announcement is misleading because Bishop Bena has most definitely not renounced his ordained ministry nor has he been ‘deprived of the right to exercise the gifts and spiritual authority as a Minister of God’s Word and Sacraments conferred on him in Ordinations’ as stated in the news release. Bishop Bena is a faithful bishop in good standing within the Anglican Communion and continues to fully exercise his ordained ministry.”

“The background to this action is that on February 1, 2007, Bishop Bena was transferred from the Diocese of Albany to the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) to serve in CANA . On March 6, he wrote to the Presiding Bishop to advise her of this action and to resign from the Episcopal Church House of Bishops. In his letter he stated that, ‘In transferring from one Province of the Anglican Communion to another, I do declare that I am neither renouncing my Orders as a bishop, nor am I abandoning the Communion of the Church.’

“In a letter dated March 13, 2007, the Presiding Bishop wrote back thanking him for his letter ‘informing me that you have been enrolled in the Anglican Province of Nigeria. I have informed the Secretary of the House of Bishops and the Recorder of Ordinations that by this action you are no longer a member of the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church nor are you enrolled as person in any order of the Episcopal Church.’ She also wrote that it was her prayer, ‘that God may bless us both in a ministry of reconciliation.’

“One year later to now describe his action as a ‘renunciation of ordained ministry’ is confusing at best and at odds with the Presiding Bishop’s earlier response. Bishop Bena’s resignation from the Episcopal Church came after a season of discernment during which he came to the conclusion that the Episcopal Church no longer embraced the Gospel that he had been called to proclaim nor taught the ‘faith once and for all delivered to the saints.’ His desire was to continue his ordained ministry but within another branch of the Anglican Communion and this he continues to do so with great effectiveness within CANA .”
The Convocation of Anglicans in North America (www.canaconvocation.org) currently consists of approximately 60 congregations and 100 clergy in 20 states. CANA was established in 2005 to provide a means by which Anglicans living in the USA who were alienated by the actions and decisions of The Episcopal Church could continue to live out their faith without compromising their core convictions. Created as a missionary initiative of the Church of Nigeria , about a dozen of the congregations are primarily expatriate Nigerians. CANA is part of the Common Cause partnership that includes representatives of more than 250 Anglican congregations that are connected to the rest of the Anglican Communion, a worldwide fellowship of some 70 million, through various pastoral and missionary initiatives. For more information, please visit CANA at www.CanaConvocation.org.

Muslims riot after Christian woman rejects Muslim suitor
By StatGuy
February 13th, 2008

Muslims in the town of Yana, Bauchi state, Nigeria, went on a rampage earlier this month, as I blogged
here, after a woman was accused of blasphemy. One person was killed, seven hospitalised, and five churches destroyed in the violence. Also, 1000 people were displaced from their homes.

It has now emerged that the riot was
instigated after a Christian woman refused a Muslim man’s offer of marriage. the rest

Christians Stand for Purity on Valentine's Day
By Jennifer Riley
Christian Post Reporter
Thu, Feb. 14 2008

Teens, churches and Christian organizations are sending an alternative message of abstinence and purity on the most romantic day of the year, Valentine’s Day.

Across the country, youths will make a public stand on their commitment to remain sexually pure until they are married on the Day of Purity, an annual event that coincides with Valentine’s Day. This is the fifth annual Day of Purity for youth.

“Students are sending a message to their friends, parents, churches, communities, legislators and the media that it’s time for a positive change in the culture,” said Rena Lindevaldsen, coordinator of the Day of Purity, to LifeNews.com.
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+Harvey Welcomes St. John's Shaughnessy to the Southern Cone
Michael Daley
February 14, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

St John’s (Shaughnessy) Vancouver, the largest Anglican Church in Canada, voted overwhelmingly on February 13 to accept the episcopal oversight of Bishop Donald Harvey, Moderator of the Anglican Network in Canada, under the Primatial authority of Archbishop Gregory Venables and the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. The largest congregational meeting ever, voted 97.7% in favour of the motion. Of the 495 votes cast, 475 were in favour, 11 were against and 9 abstained. Other provisional votes are under consideration and may impact the final vote.

“St John’s has shown true leadership both now and over the past difficult years,” said Bishop Harvey. “I look forward to ministering with them and moving forward together in mission and in full communion with the tens of millions of orthodox Anglicans worldwide who have been so supportive of us.”
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Congress Again Considers Workplace Religious Freedom Act
More than a decade after its introduction, bill still has wide bipartisan support—and corporate criticism.

Greg Trotter, Religion News Service
2/14/2008

Congress is again considering a bill to protect religious expression in the workplace, but the bill, which has been bandied about for a decade or more, continues to draw steep opposition from business interests.

The
Workplace Religious Freedom Act would require employers to be more accommodating of employees who wish to wear religious headgear, for example, or take time off for holy day observances.

The bill has broad bipartisan support and backing from an unusually large swath of religious groups, including the
National Association of Evangelicals, Christian Legal Society, Seventh-day Adventists, Orthodox Jews, Catholic bishops, the Islamic Supreme Council of North America and the Church of Scientology. the rest

Canada: Anglican congregation votes to split from bishop over same-sex unions
Chantal Eustace, Canwest News Service
Vancouver Sun
Thursday, February 14, 2008

VANCOUVER - Members of what is described as the largest congregation in the Anglican Church of Canada voted strongly Wednesday to split with Vancouver-area Bishop Michael Ingham over his support for same-sex blessings.

``It means that the community speaks with one mind,'' said St. John's Shaughnessy Anglican Church spokeswoman Lesley Bentley, after a preliminary count showed that out of 495 ballots cast, only 11 opposed the split and nine abstained. ``What it is is very uniting.''

The vote means the church, which has more than 700 members, will break with Ingham and join with the conservative Anglican bishops of the Diocese of the Southern Cone, which includes Argentina and Paraguay.
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Ugandan bishops to boycott global Anglican meeting
Thu 14 Feb 2008
By Francis Kwera

KAMPALA (Reuters) - Uganda's Anglican bishops will boycott a major church summit this year because a rift over gay clergy and same-sex unions remains unresolved, Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi said on Thursday.

The consecration of openly gay U.S. Bishop Gene Robinson in 2003 has split the 400-year-old church -- setting a liberal minority against a conservative majority, mostly from Africa, Asia and Latin America.

"Since this crisis has not yet been resolved, the Bishops of the Church of Uganda have resolved that they will not be participating in the Lambeth Conference," Orombi said in a statement.
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Uganda’s Anglicans to boycott Lambeth
ChristianToday

Uganda to boycott Lambeth
Religious Intelligence Ltd, UK

By This All Will Know
L.T. Jeyachandran
February 14, 2008

Jesus said in John 13:34, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” The only way people will know that you are my disciples, declared Jesus, is to demonstrate it by your relationships. Thus I believe there can be no real Christian apologetic without first a community of love and relationships. After we have given all the arguments, the defenses and the evidences, loving one another is the final apologetic.

Of course, our relationships to one another in a fallen world waiting for the coming of Christ are not going to be idealistic, which is perhaps why Jesus chose an intimate occasion with his disciples to offer this command--during what we now call the Last Supper. The doctor Luke also records this occasion in his Gospel (see Luke 22), and here we gain some interesting insight about relationships that John doesn’t mention as John’s focus is on Jesus washing his disciples’ feet. Luke writes, “Also a dispute arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest” (22:24). Luke does not say anything about the washing of the feet. But putting the two texts together, you begin to see that Jesus is actually telling the disciples that by washing the feet of one another, they were going to demonstrate that they (and we) are living in an imperfect world where we could, to some degree, reflect the perfection of relationship that is part of the triune God.

We have two children. Our first one is a daughter. Those of you who have daughters, you know that daughters are famous for lecturing their fathers! Now if our daughter were able to lecture within the few seconds of her birth, she would have given us a lecture that would have probably run along these lines: “You should be happy that I am born because before I was born, you had no object to love. But now that I am born, you can love me and therefore you are beginning to learn to love. And therefore (albeit in a peculiarly ironic way), I am your teacher and you are my students.” In hindsight, my wife and I would have to say, “Amen.”

However, if this scenario reflects one’s perception of God this would be problematic because He would be a God without an object to love. What do I mean? God is three-in-one: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in relationship. He is not unipersonal but rather triune and thus relational. John, above all the other writers of the Bible, tells us that within the oneness of this God, there is a relationship. Take, for instance, John 14:8–11. When the disciple Philip asks Jesus to show the Father to them, Jesus chides Philip and his fellow disciples for not recognizing who he was in spite of being with him for so long. Jesus then goes on to explicitly tell them that those who have seen him have seen God! This claim is amazing, to say the least. Jesus describes his relationship to God in a way that no human being in his right mind has ever come close to saying. He and the Father are in a relationship that is so intimate--one is in the other and vice versa--that to see Jesus is to see God. Indeed, earlier in John’s Gospel, Jesus declares, “I and the Father are one” (10:30).

Notice too what Jesus says after “A new command I give you: Love one another”: “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35). Jesus did not give us religious criteria by which we would be known as his disciples. He doesn’t say, “You will be known as my disciples because you worship on Sundays, because you’ll carry your Bibles--the bigger the better.” No. “You will be known as my disciples because of how you relate to one another.” It is a relational criterion rather than religious criteria.

So when we consider who we are as Christians we must first consider who God is. Thus, we must begin to think about relationality, which is at the heart of reality: three persons, who in some amazing, mysterious way constitute one God. Here in John and Luke Jesus tells us that the relationship with the Godhead will be the standard by which our love for one another would be measured. Not at the mega level, but at the micro level. Not when ten thousand people come and worship together, but when five people meet in our home for a Bible study--a neighborhood Bible study--and our neighbors begin to see that we truly love one another. Because when I wash your feet and you wash my feet, the watching world sees two imperfect people, yes, but who belong to Jesus Christ and reflect his love in relationship. By this all will know that we are his disciples.

L.T. Jeyachandran is executive director of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Singapore.
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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Before Jesus died, He willed us His Peace. But we forfeit His gift through strife. God's desire for us is that we live in peace with Him, with ourselves and with our fellowman. He wants us to have peace in the midst of our current circumstances--peace in the morning, at night and all times in between. Peace is our inheritance! And it is a wonderful possession. ...Joyce Meyer image

Anxiety of Queen over sharia law controversy
By Andrew Pierce
13/02/2008

The Queen is distressed by the row over Islamic law which she fears threatens to undermine the authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury and damage the Church of England.

According to a royal source, the Queen has not expressed any view on whether Dr Rowan Williams was unwise to say it was "unavoidable" that aspects of the sharia legal system could be incorporated into English law.

But as Supreme Governor of the Church of England she has been dismayed by the controversy that the remarks have generated at such a difficult period in the history of the Established Church, which faces possible schism over the issue of homosexual clergy.
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TLC: San Diego Asks Church to Cut Abortion Rights Ties
February 13, 2008

Delegates to the convention of the Diocese of San Diego approved all 11 resolutions introduced, including one calling on the 76th General Convention to “end the officially sanctioned affiliation of The Episcopal Church with the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice” (RCRC). Convention met Feb. 8-9 at St. Margaret’s Church, Palm Desert, Calif.

The RCRC resolution was a substitute for the original which called on the diocese to dissociate from a decision made by Executive Council in January 2006 to join the RCRC on behalf of The Episcopal Church. During hearings about the resolution, a consensus emerged among some who had procedural concerns about the way the decision to join the RCRC was made as well as those delegates opposed to abortion.
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Second ‘Interim Pastoral Presence’ Appointed for San Joaquin

Religion Joins Custody Cases, to Judges’ Unease
By
NEELA BANERJE
Published: February 13, 2008

MADISON, Ala. — On a January night nine years ago, Laura Snider was saved.

A 27-year-old single mother at the time, Mrs. Snider felt she had ruined her life through a disastrous marriage and divorce. But in her kitchen that night, after reading pamphlets and Bible passages that her boss had pointed her to, she realized she was a sinner, she said, she prayed for forgiveness, and put her trust in Christ.

Four years later, the conservative brand of Christianity Mrs. Snider embraced became the source of a bitter, continuing custody battle over her only child, Libby Mashburn.

Across the country, child-custody disputes in which religion is the flash point are increasing, part of a broader rise in custody conflicts over the last 30 years, lawyers, judges and mediators say.
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Massive Study Finds Active Fathers are Essential for Well Adjusted Children
20-year review finds children have fewer psychological and behavioral problems

STOCKHOLM, Sweden
February 13, 2008

(LifeSiteNews.com) - Active father figures play a key role in reducing behaviour problems in boys and psychological problems in young women, according to a review published in the February issue of the peer-reviewed journal Acta Paediatrica.

Swedish researchers also found that regular positive contact reduces criminal behaviour among children in low-income families and enhances cognitive skills like intelligence, reasoning and language development. Children who lived with both a mother and father figure also had less behavioural problems than those who just lived with their mother.

The researchers are urging healthcare professionals to increase fathers' involvement in their children's healthcare and calling on policy makers to ensure that fathers have the chance to play an active role in their upbringing.
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Albert Mohler: Sharia Law in Great Britain?
Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Archbishop of Canterbury has instant access to the media and his office carries a great deal of symbolic weight in Great Britain, where he is the senior cleric in the established church. That said, the current archbishop, Rowan Williams, seems to attract an unprecedented amount of controversy.

As a matter of fact, the Archbishop's current controversy now threatens his leadership, with senior figures calling for his resignation and even his predecessor lambasting his arguments. Some in the media are even questioning his state of mind, asking what many others must be thinking.

What got the Archbishop in such trouble? He called the establishment of some kind of Islamic Sharia law in Britain inevitable.
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In growing trend, another congregation reaches settlement with presbytery over property, denominational affiliation
The Layman Online
Wednesday, February 13, 2008

In what has become a growing trend in settling disputes over church property, a congregation in Omaha, Neb., has reached an amicable agreement with its presbytery to disaffiliate from the Presbyterian Church (USA) with its property and join the Evangelical Presbyterian Church.

Like congregations in Mississippi and California, among others, Covenant Presbyterian Church in Omaha and the Presbytery of Missouri Valley reached an agreement that allows Covenant to transfer to the EPC. The presbytery is comprised of 56 congregations in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa.

In February 2007, with 480 of its 720 members voting, the congregation voted 471 to 9 to disaffiliate from the PCUSA and affiliate with the EPC – setting up a potentially contentious separation from the denomination.
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Unmasking The “Gay” Agenda
By Matt Barber
Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Americans who self-identify as “gay” or lesbian comprise roughly one to three percent of the population. Yet the homosexual movement — led by extremist homosexual pressure groups like the so-called Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — represent, per capita, one of America’s most powerful and well-funded political lobbies. Consider that HRC and the HRC foundation alone have an annual budget in excess of 50 million.

Through a carefully crafted, decades-old propaganda campaign, homosexual activists have successfully cast homosexuals — many of whom enjoy positions of influence and affluence — as a disadvantaged minority. They have repackaged and sold to the public behaviors which thousands of years of history, every major world religion and uncompromising human biology have long identified as immoral and sexually deviant.
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Retailer pulls 'Jesus' cosmetics from shelves
Associated Press
Feb. 12, 2008

SINGAPORE- A cosmetics line that extolled the virtues of "Looking Good for Jesus" has been pulled from stores in Singapore after a number of complaints from shoppers, according to media reports Tuesday.

Promising to "Redeem your reputation and more," the product line included a "virtuous vanilla"-flavored lip balm and a "Get Tight with Christ" hand and body cream, The Straits Times said.Wing Tai Retail, which manages the British retailer Topshop, removed the line late last month after receiving complaints.
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Head of the Canadian Church urges parishes to remain within the Anglican Church
Archbishop Fred Hiltz says there are ways to deal with differences
Wednesday 13 Feb, 2008

The Primate (Chief Bishop) of the Anglican Church of Canada is urging all parishes to try to work out their differences with their diocesan bishops while staying within the Church.

Archbishop Fred Hiltz said he very much aware of the possibility that at Annual Meetings some congregations might vote to leave and join the Anglican Church in another country.

“I am very concerned that there are a few parishes that may be considering a motion to withdraw from the fellowship of the Anglican Church of Canada, and to place themselves under the jurisdiction of another Province of the Anglican Communion,” he wrote, urging reconsideration. the rest

Lambeth: Theology behind boycott
Tuesday, 12th February 2008

Theological convictions, not bruised feelings, will prevent at least three provinces from attending the 2008 Lambeth Conference, the Primate of the West Indies has said.

In an interview with the Nassau Guardian yesterday, West Indian Archbishop Drexel Gomez stated “there are at least four provinces in Africa that have either said they will not attend or are still considering if they will attend, but there are three who said they will definitely not be attending."

Nigeria, Rwanda and Uganda had announced they will not be attending the conference as it is currently organized. Sources in the Anglican Church of Kenya tell us that the Church was to have made a decision at its House of Bishops meeting scheduled for this week. However, the post-election violence has postponed the meeting to April when a decision will be taken.
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Canada: Anglican diocese in turmoil
Congregation threatening to split, triggering legal fight over property

Douglas Todd, Canwest News Service
Wednesday, February 13, 2008

VANCOUVER -- The fate of what is described as the largest congregation in the Anglican Church of Canada hangs in the balance tonight.

Members of St. John's Shaughnessy Anglican Church, a neo-Gothic landmark in the heart of the city's wealthiest neighbourhood, are gathering for an expected vote on breaking with Vancouver-area Bishop Michael Ingham over the issue of same-sex blessings and trying to take the church property with them.

Ingham has warned St. John's Shaughnessy that what it is considering is "schismatic." If members of the large parish at the corner of Granville and Nanton try operating under the authority of a South American Anglican bishop or anyone else, Ingham said, they will not be legally able to hold onto the church property.
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West Coast bishops warn parishes against separation

City hall caught in middle of church's pew dispute

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I choose gentleness... Nothing is won by force. I choose to be gentle. If I raise my voice may it be only in praise. If I clench my fist, may it be only in prayer. If I make a demand, may it be only of myself. ...Max Lucado image

Santeria-A Growing Problem for the Catholic Church
By George Hood, News Director, El Bohemio News
02-12-2008

San Francisco (EBN) There is little question that Santería is growing in influence in the United States and in much of Caribbean Latin America. In Cuba and Venezuela, it has become a major problem for the Catholic Church.

If the belief were to stand alone, it would likely simply be considered another cult oriented religious practice, much like an ugly form of shamanism. The problem is that most of its adherents consider themselves to be Roman Catholics and insist on incorporating their heretical practices into Catholic liturgy.

Santería undermines orthodoxy and attacks the very heart of Christian belief by insinuating a pantheon of sub-gods into Catholicism.

Lent fast re-branded as 'Christian Ramadan'
By Bruno Waterfield
12/02/2008

Dutch Catholics have re-branded the Lent fast as the "Christian Ramadan" in an attempt to appeal to young people who are more likely to know about Islam than Christianity.

The Catholic charity Vastenaktie, which collects for the Third World across the Netherlands during the Lent period, is concerned that the Christian festival has become less important for the Dutch over the last generation.

"The image of the Catholic Lent must be polished. The fact that we use a Muslim term is related to the fact that Ramadan is a better-known concept among young people than Lent," said Vastenaktie Director, Martin Van der Kuil.
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Stand Firm: Report From Quito, Ecuador Where The Executive Council Is In Session

Cheryl Wetzel has three reports up at
Anglicans United and Latimer Press.

Report 1
Report 2
Report 3

Comments

CANA Quadruples its congregational membership
in one year
Tuesday, February 12, 2008

HERNDON, VA– The Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) has experienced momentous growth in one year, quadrupling its congregational membership.

“CANA is leading the way for the new era of American Anglicanism. CANA is modeling the unifying presence for which many of us have longed,” said CANA Missionary Bishop Martyn Minns.

In November 2006, CANA began with 19 clergy and 14 congregations. By March 2007, the number of clergy grew to 47 and the number of congregations totaled 34. By November 2007, CANA was comprised of 118 clergy and 61 congregations. Overall, CANA clergy have increased by 621% and congregations have increased by 436%.
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ACNS: Archbishop of Canterbury appoints Windsor Continuation Group
February 12, 2008

The Archbishop of Canterbury announced the formation of the Windsor Continuation Group (WCG), as proposed in his Advent Letter.

The WCG will address outstanding questions arising from the Windsor Report and the various formal responses from provinces and instruments of the Anglican Communion.

The members of the group are:
The Most Revd Clive Handford, former Primate of Jerusalem and the Middle East (chair)
The Most Revd John Chew, Primate of South East Asia
The Right Revd Gary Lillibridge, Bishop of West Texas
The Right Revd Victoria Matthews, former Bishop of Edmonton
The Very Revd John Moses, former dean of St Paul's, London
The Most Revd Donald Mtetemela, Primate of Tanzania

They will be joined as a consultant by:
Dame Mary Tanner, Co-president of the World Council of Churches

and assisted by:
Canon Andrew Norman of the Archbishop of Canterbury's Staff and
Canon Gregory Cameron of the Anglican Communion Office

Bishop Clive Handford, who will be chairing the group, said: "We are conscious as we undertake this work that the Archbishop has given us an important responsibility to assist the Communion to move forward. A significant element of our work will be face-to-face conversation with those who have key roles in shaping the future of our common life. I believe in the Anglican Communion, and hope that our work will help it to find healing and new strength."

The group will be working intensively in the period running up to the 2008 Lambeth Conference, where its initial work will contribute to the shared discernment of the bishops in strengthening the life and identity of the Anglican Communion.

The Archbishop of Canterbury commented: "I am deeply grateful to those who have accepted the invitation to carry forward the important work in our Communion's life that I indicated in my Advent Letter. This is a demanding assignment. I trust they can count on our prayers throughout the Communion as they bring their combined wisdom and attentiveness to the strengthening of our common life through the Windsor Process."
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Saudi Arabia bans the color red for Valentines
Saudi police enforcing religious edicts swooped down on florists and gift shops to ban the display of anything in the color red, until after St. Valentine's Day

By Spero News
Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Vigilant Saudi police are seeking any public signs of affection in the Kingdom of Petroleum.

Agents of the Saudi Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, also known as "muttawa", made visits on florists and gift shop owners throughout the capital city of Riyadh bearing instructions that the color red is banned until Friday, the day after St. Valentine's Day.

This would include red roses, red candy boxes, red teddy bears, red clothing, and other such articles given as tokens of romantic love.

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Union University Tornado (2/9/08)

"Providential God."

Obama Unplugged
Lost without a Teleprompter
by Dean Barnett
02/12/2008

USUALLY WHEN BARACK OBAMA gives a major speech, the overdone hosannas from the liberal commentariat follow as surely as night follows day. The American Prospect's Ezra Klein wrote of Obama's post-Iowa victory speech, "I've been blessed to hear many great orations. I was in the audience when Howard Dean gave his famous address challenging the Democratic Party to rediscover courage and return to principle . . . But none achieve(d) quite what Obama, at his best, creates. . . . Obama's finest speeches do not excite. They do not inform. They don't even really inspire. They elevate. They enmesh you in a grander moment."
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Britain clears way for polygamy benefits
By Al Webb
February 12, 2008

LONDON — The British government has cleared the way for husbands with multiple wives to claim welfare benefits for all their partners, fueling growing controversy over the role of Islamic Shariah law in the nation's cultural and legal framework.

Bigamy is outlawed in Britain, but authorities have never prosecuted Muslim men who had legally married more than one woman abroad and continued to live with them after immigrating. Shariah permits men to have up to four wives at one time.
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Report: Sharia Courts Already Operating in England

The Culture War is Over: We Lost!
February 11, 2008
S. Michael Craven

I have come to face this possibility along with its implications, most recently while reading the new book by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons entitled unChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity … and Why it Matters. In the book, Jud Wilhite, a pastor in Las Vegas says just that, “In Las Vegas, where I live, the culture war is over. We lost. Let me repeat: WE LOST. Now our calling is to love and accept people one-on-one, caring for them where they are. Our role is subversive as we carry the light and love of Jesus into the casinos, clubs, and streets of our city.” (Kinnaman & Lyons, unChristian, Baker Books, 2007, p. 62)

A recent conversation on the subject of cloning with my good friend, a philosophy professor, further underscores the moral and cultural defeat of the Church in the West. My friend, who must remain anonymous due to the risk of exposure as a Christian, which would likely cost him tenure, also teaches medical ethics at a major medical school. He points out, radical new frontiers are being explored and old moral and ethical boundaries are being challenged and/or obliterated almost daily within the field of medical science. He argues that modern science is rapidly moving beyond therapy and treatment to “enhancement” and the alteration of human nature itself. He adds that scientific progress into the morally ambiguous areas of human cloning, nanobiotechnology, and neurosciences has achieved such a level that any hope of stopping it at this point is nearly futile.
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NYT on Fetal Pain:
The First Ache
By ANNIE MURPHY PAUL
February 10, 2008

Twenty-five years ago, when Kanwaljeet Anand was a medical resident in a neonatal intensive care unit, his tiny patients, many of them preterm infants, were often wheeled out of the ward and into an operating room. He soon learned what to expect on their return. The babies came back in terrible shape: their skin was gray, their breathing shallow, their pulses weak. Anand spent hours stabilizing their vital signs, increasing their oxygen supply and administering insulin to balance their blood sugar.

“What’s going on in there to make these babies so stressed?” Anand wondered. Breaking with hospital practice, he wrangled permission to follow his patients into the O.R. “That’s when I discovered that the babies were not getting anesthesia,” he recalled recently. Infants undergoing major surgery were receiving only a paralytic to keep them still. Anand’s encounter with this practice occurred at John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, England, but it was common almost everywhere. Doctors were convinced that newborns’ nervous systems were too immature to sense pain, and that the dangers of anesthesia exceeded any potential benefits.

Anand resolved to find out if this was true. In a series of clinical trials, he demonstrated that operations performed under minimal or no anesthesia produced a “massive stress response” in newborn babies, releasing a flood of fight-or-flight hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. Potent anesthesia, he found, could significantly reduce this reaction. Babies who were put under during an operation had lower stress-hormone levels, more stable breathing and blood-sugar readings and fewer postoperative complications.
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Clash over teaching evolution hits Orlando
State education officials have hearings before voting on science standards.

Leslie Postal Sentinel Staff Writer
February 11, 2008

Evolution has been a cornerstone of biology for more than 100 years, but don't try to tell that to many of the thousands of people who posted comments on Florida's Department of Education Web site.

"The last time I went to the zoo, the monkeys weren't evolving into man," read one comment.

"Evolution is not proven and we should not brainwash our children with this concept," stated another.
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Monday, February 11, 2008

It is far too easy, within the current upsurge of creative input in the realm of worship, to find ourselves chasing spiritual or aesthetic experiences, as if the highest achievement of our whole pilgrimage on earth were to enter some kind of praise-induced ecstasy! I am, in fact, all in favour of spiritual experiences when they are genuine, and welcome ecstasies that are the gifts of God and not artificially induced, but if such things become the AIM of our gatherings for worship, then we have turned the gospel upside down. ...Graham Kendrick image

Louie Crew: Rome's most influential Episcopalian?
Sunday, February 10, 2008

Excerpt: "Those who follow Episcopal Church politics will recognize Louie Crew as the founder of Integrity, the numerically unimpressive but politically potent Episcopal gay rights group that has so successfully pushed for and achieved its agenda. It is indisputable that Crew has been an enormously influential figure, in his diocese, in the national church, and throughout the Anglican world. If any one person can be deemed responsible for the state in which the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion now finds itself, that person is not Katherine Jefforts Schori or V. Gene Robinson. It is Louie Crew." the rest

Comments at Stand Firm

Ritual of Dealing With Demons Undergoes a Revival
By Craig Whitlock
Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, February 11, 2008

POCZERNIN, Poland -- This wind-swept village is bracing for an invasion of demons, thanks to a priest who believes he can defeat Satan.

The Rev. Andrzej Trojanowski, a soft-spoken Pole, plans to build a "spiritual oasis" that will serve as Europe's only center dedicated to performing exorcisms. With the blessing of the local Catholic archbishop and theological support from the Vatican, the center will aid a growing number of Poles possessed by evil forces or the devil himself, he said.

"This is my task, this is my purpose -- I want to help these people," said Trojanowski, who has worked as an exorcist for four years. "There is a group of people who cannot get relief through any other practices and who need peace."
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The intellectual arrogance that pervades the heart of Lambeth Palace wisdom
Ruth Gledhill: Analysis
February 11, 2008

The Archbishop of Canterbury rarely lets anyone amend his speeches. Unlike his predecessor, George Carey, Rowan Williams is confident enough of his intellectual gifts to consider that he does not need the wisdom of others in guiding the public expression of his thoughts.

This illustrates the divergent backgrounds of the two men — one is working-class, self-taught, rooted in the simplicity of an evangelical faith, the other is Oxbridge to the depths of his complicated soul, espousing a Christianity at once liberal, catholic and ascetic. Lord Carey reads the News of the World, and likes to write for the paper. Dr Williams prefers Dostoevsky, and is writing a book about him.
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Presidential Address to the opening of General Synod
This is the transcript of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams' presidential address at the opening of the General Synod.


'The prevailing attitude...was one of heavy disagreement with a number of things which the [speaker] had not said'. Ronald Knox's description of discussion at a student society in the nineteen thirties has a certain familiarity after the last few days; but given that public comment and criticism has been cast in such highly-coloured terms, I've thought it right to say a few words to Synod this afternoon about what was and wasn't said last week and what the questions were which I had hoped might benefit from some airing.

Some of what has been heard is a very long way indeed from what was actually said in the Royal Courts of Justice last Thursday. But I must of course take responsibility for any unclarity in either that text or in the radio interview, and for any misleading choice of words that has helped to cause distress or misunderstanding among the public at large and especially among my fellow Christians . It's Lent, and one of the great penitential phrases of the Psalms will be in all our minds – 'Who can tell how oft he offendeth? Cleanse thou me from my secret faults'. I'm deeply grateful to many of you for the support as well as the challenges I've received this weekend, and for your willingness to treat all this as a serious issue that deserves attention. But I believe quite strongly that it is not inappropriate for a pastor of the Church of England to address issues around the perceived concerns of other religious communities and to try and bring them into better public focus. the rest

TLC: Archbishop Apologizes for 'Unclarity' in Sharia Law Remarks