Saturday, February 23, 2008

When our hearts are tenderly responsive --- and it suits His greater plan, then the Lord will lift the thin veil that separates us. And we will be stunned to realize that He has been closer than our own breath all along. ...Patsy Clairmont image

Secret plan to avoid church gay split
By Jonathan Petre, Religion Correspondent

The Archbishop of Canterbury is backing secret plans to create a "parallel" Church for American conservatives to avert fresh splits over homosexuality.

Dr Rowan Williams has held confidential talks with senior American bishops and theologians who oppose the pro-gay policies of their liberal leaders.

A handful of hardline American dioceses are already defecting from the Episcopal Church, the American branch of Anglicanism, and transferring their loyalties to a conservative archbishop in South America.
the rest Comments at Stand Firm

Stand Firm: Bishop John Howe responds to Petre’s Report and provides details of the plan Comments at TitusOneNine

Canada: Anglican priests get 'grace period' in diocesan rift
February 23, 2008

The Anglican Diocese of British Columbia has temporarily softened its position against a pair of priests who have been suspended for leading a congregation of breakaways.

Diocesan Archdeacon Bruce Bryant-Scott wrote in an e-mail to parishioners on Thursday that he has agreed to a 12-day grace period, during which no disciplinary action will be taken against the Venerable Sharon Hayton, the rector, and Rev. Andrew Hewlett, the assistant priest, of St. Mary's of the Incarnation in the Victoria suburb of Metchosin.

Ms. Hayton and Mr. Hewlett were told a week ago to stop performing their duties "as an ordained priest."
the rest

Building may be on the line after local Anglican vote

All seminaries must teach the old Latin Mass, says Vatican
Anna Arco
February 22, 2008

Seminaries throughout the Catholic world will have to teach candidates how to celebrate the pre-Vatican II Latin Mass, it emerged last weekend.

A letter from the Ecclesia Dei commission, the body which deals with matters concerning the 1962 missal, said that the Vatican is preparing to order rectors to “provide for the instruction of their candidates in both forms of the Roman Rite” in a forthcoming clarification of Summorum Pontificum, the Apostolic Letter which liberated the traditional Mass last July.

The Ecclesia Dei letter said: “Candidates for the priesthood in the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church have the right to be instructed in both forms of the Roman Rite.
the rest

Friday, February 22, 2008

If you therefore go to the desert to be rid of all the dreadful people and all the awful problems in your life, you will be wasting your time. You should go to the desert for a total confrontation with yourself. ...Alessandro Pronzato, Meditations on the Sand

They who are conscious of their own sins have no eyes for the sins of their neighbors. ...Abbot Moses in The Wisdom of the Desert image

Bishop asks eight clergy to say whether they remain within the Anglican Church of Canada
Priests and deacons serve congregations that voted to leave the diocese
Friday 22 Feb, 2008

Bishop Michael Ingham has asked eight of his clergy to formally declare whether they’re in or out of the Anglican Church of Canada.

The priests have been involved in a series of meetings in which congregations in two Parishes in the diocese have voted to join a foreign Church.

On Friday, February 22, the Bishop sent rectors and clergy working in the parishes involved--St. Matthew’s Abbotsford and St. John’s Shaughnessy--”notice of presumption of abandonment of the exercise of ministry” asking them to tell him whether they have left the ministry of the Anglican Church of Canada, and if they are seeking admission into another religious body outside Canada.
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Quoted in Christianity Today

"In a sense it's related to the old ecclesiastical behavior toward child abuse [when priests looked the other way]. Bad behavior must be confronted."

-Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, on why the church is suing congregations that leave the national denomination.

'The Pilgrim's Progress'
By Chuck Colson

The Human Experience of Grace

It has often been described as the most popular and most influential book ever published—after the Bible, that is. Yet many literary critics of its time treated it with scorn. Its author was simply a humble Puritan minister who wrote it while imprisoned for his faith. He was not even sure if he should publish it.

If you have not guessed it yet, I am talking about The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan, the subject of Dr. Ken Boa’s newest “Great Books Audio CD.” Boa calls this book “an extraordinary achievement” by a man who was simply “trying to communicate the doctrine of grace”—and, who by his own account, did not even plan to write it as an allegory at first. “The thing took on its own momentum, its own life,” as Boa puts it, and it became one of the greatest accounts of “the human experience of grace ever written.”
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Young Catholics Embrace Jesus’ Message, Not Practices
Published: February 21, 2008

ATLANTA—The youngest Catholics may not be sitting in the pews, but they have picked up Jesus’ key message. Serving the poor is a core belief of the Catholic faith for some 91 percent of so-called “Millennial” Catholics, according to a survey done by Catholic University of America sociologists.
the rest

Archbishop was 'misguided' reveals survey of top Brits
Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent of The Times
February 22, 2008

More than a third of Britain’s most influential people think the Archbishop of Canterbury was “misguided” to suggest that some elements of Islamic law might be recognised in Britain. One in seven believes he should resign, according to a survey seen by The Times. But nearly one in three welcomes his views as part of the debate, and one in ten said he was right to speak out.

The survey comes in the wake of the most controversial intervention in public life made so far by Dr Rowan Williams, who was appointed to Canterbury five years ago. He told BBC Radio 4 that the introduction of some elements of sharia law "seems unavoidable" and warned of a "danger" in the principle of "one law for everybody."
the rest

Russians slam Archbishop

Post tornado, Union students, faculty return with optimism
Posted on Feb 21, 2008
by Brittany Howerton

JACKSON, Tenn. (BP)--Only two weeks after a tornado ripped through Union University, students and faculty brought a sense of optimism in returning to their classes Feb. 20.

In addition to a revised schedule and, in some cases, relocated classrooms and offices, the many changes to the campus caused by the EF-4 tornado continue to weigh on hearts and minds at the Jackson, Tenn., campus. Two students remain hospitalized from their injuries.

"It was strange walking onto campus and not seeing what I used to call home, yet having to continue to act as though everything was normal," said Natalie Newberry of Memphis, Tenn. "Walking from the Student Union Building to the Penick Academic Complex and not seeing any dorms was strange to me. It threw my day off."
the rest
he Christian Post

Baptist University Looks to Renewal After Storms

Back to his roots for
breakaway bishop
Doctrine of church can't be changed, leader of conservative Anglican group says

February 22, 2008

It wasn't until relatively late in his career that the man now fiercely leading an Anglican breakaway group in Canada had his Robert Frost moment.

Donald Harvey, at the time in his sixth year as chaplain of Memorial University where he taught English literature and theology, got a phone call one May evening in 1989 offering him a prestigious $15,000 academic grant to pursue a doctorate in poetry.

Not even an hour later, another call. The bishop on the other end of the line was offering him a dean's position at the cathedral.
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Who is Jesus? He's three people, says Deepak Chopra
Thu Feb 21, 2008
By Michelle Nichols

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Who is Jesus? According to spiritual guru Deepak Chopra, there are three interpretations.

In his book "The Third Jesus," published this week, Chopra says there is a "sketchy historical figure," a second "abstract theological creation" and a third Jesus with the highest level of enlightenment -- what Chopra calls God-consciousness.

"I want to offer the possibility that Jesus was truly, as he proclaimed, a savior," Chopra wrote. "Not the savior, not the one and only Son of God. Rather Jesus embodied the highest level of enlightenment.

the rest

Congregations splitting from denominations battle to keep church property
McClatchy Newspapers
Fri, Feb. 22, 2008

SACRAMENTO, Calif. --For 55 years, members of Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church have tithed their 10 percent, money that often went toward maintaining 12 acres of tree-lined church property.

Now they've been told that the church building and grounds where generations have worshipped does not belong to them -- but rather to the national denomination with which they want to cut ties because they believe it has lost its biblical authority.

"What about the blood, sweat and tears of the congregation -- all of us who have given all these years?" said Jane Constance, a member since 1982 whose four children were baptized and raised in the church. "It's unthinkable to me, to most of us, that it could belong to them because of a clause most of us didn't know about."
the rest

ProLife Ob/Gyns Oppose Attempt to Shut Down Their Conscience Convictions
The American Association of ProLife Obstetricians and Gynecologists Responds to the ACOG Promulgated "Limitations of Conscientious Refusal."

Christian Newswire/ -- In Nov 07, the (ACOG) American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology's Ethics Committee issued a formal Opinion titled "The Limits of Conscientious Refusal In Reproductive Medicine." This Opinion warns Ob/Gyn doctors that their practice pattern can be considered "unethical" by ACOG standards if they do not either do abortions, or refer patients desiring an abortion to an abortion provider. The Opinion goes so far as to suggest that pro-life doctors should locate their office in proximity to an abortion provider, for the convenience of such patients. The American Board of Ob/Gyn in January 08, published revised standards for doctors seeking recertification (which maintains their professional reputation in good standing). The revised standards are tied to ACOG Ethics compliance. This is a raw power play to cripple, and ultimately eliminate from practice, those doctors who hold a conscience conviction on the sanctity of human life, and refuse to have a part in doing, or referring for, the elective, deliberate taking of an unborn human life. the rest

Williams ‘false’ says Church Society
by Rachel Harden
22 February, 2008

THE COUNCIL of the conservative Evangelical group the Church Society has written a letter to “the Primates and faithful Anglicans of the Global South”, calling on them to break fellowship with the Archbishop of Canterbury because of his “false” teaching on homosexuality.

Speaking this week, the Revd David Phillips, the Society’s general secretary, who signed the letter on behalf of the council, said that it had no intention of divorcing from the formal structures of the Church of England. It would, however, support congregations who might consider themselves outside those structures.
the rest

Anglican Church facing danger point, says expert
Becky Rynor, Canwest News Service
Friday, February 22, 2008

The Anglican Church of Canada is approaching an "open schism" because of its inability to resolve differences over issues such as same-sex marriage, an expert in Anglican church history said Thursday.

"We're at a danger point," said Bill Acres, a professor of religious studies at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ont. "There will be some really sad consequences if this whole thing breaks apart. We're a very spread out church and there are not a lot of Anglicans in Canada as is."
the rest

Thursday, February 21, 2008

There are times when it seems as if God watches to see if we will give Him the abandoned tokens of how genuinely we do love Him. Abandon to God is of more value than personal holiness. Personal holiness focuses the eye on our own whiteness; we are greatly concerned about the way we walk and talk and look, fearful lest we offend Him. Perfect love casts out all that when once we are abandoned to God. We have to get rid of this notion - "Am I of any use?" and make up our minds that we are not, and we may be near the truth. It is never a question of being of use, but of being of value to God Himself. When we are abandoned to God, He works through us all the time. ...Oswald Chambers image

Seabury-Western Suspends Recruitment, Admissions
February 21, 2008

The Very Rev. Gary R. Hall, dean and president of Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, has announced that the school will “suspend recruitment and admissions to all degree and certificate programs” while it considers its future.

“We believe that the church does not need Seabury in its present form,” Dean Hall wrote. “There are a number of other schools who do what we have traditionally done as well as we do. But we also believe that the church very much needs a seminary animated by and organized around a new vision of theological education­one that is centered in a vision of baptism and its implications for the whole church, one that is flexible and adaptive and collaborative in nature.”
the rest

Stand Firm: Canon John Heidt in TLC: Once a Bishop, Always a Bishop

Spiritual illiteracy
Scripps Howard News Service

"My mind is my own church," proclaimed patriot Thomas Paine, rejecting the constraints of America's Puritan founders in favor of individual freedom. Over time, the independence of faith and conscience that Paine espoused has probably made America one of the most religious nations on earth.

Professor Stephen Prothero disagrees, arguing that our religiosity as a people is sustained without drawing much at all from our minds.

A decade ago, when Prothero moved from the Bible Belt to teach religion at Boston University, he began to doubt his effectiveness in the classroom. Time and again, his students reacted to his lectures with blank stares. "When I would say things like in Matthew, blah, blah, blah, the students would get that look like they sort of knew what I was talking about, but they really didn't," he confesses. the rest

President Bush Dances In Africa

Bush Offers Help for Troubled Liberia

Episcopalian Swan Song
February 20, 2008

We have a hunch that James Pike, the late bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Francisco — wherever he might be at the moment — is watching with interest the latest controversy facing the Anglican Communion. A little more than a week ago, the church's spiritual leader, the archbishop of Canterbury, called for aspects of Islamic Shariah law to be incorporated into British law.

The archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has shocked politicians, theologians, and world leaders with his latest round of outlandish and provocative comments. But Episcopalians — the American members of the worldwide Anglican Communion — have grown painfully accustomed to such ridiculous behavior and posturing on the part of their church's leaders.
the rest

Trinity's mail-in poll: 383 favor leaving national Episcopal church
By Elliott Jones
Wednesday, February 20, 2008

VERO BEACH — More than half of Trinity Episcopal Church members say they favor breaking away from the national church, church officials announced Wednesday.

Results from the mail-in poll could bolster efforts to break away by June, though some church members opposed to a division say they weren't consulted before the survey went out.

In response to surveys mailed two weeks ago to 741 members, 383 favored leaving the Episcopal Church of the United States and 128 opposed the move. the rest

Pentagon Says It’s Confident Missile Hit Satellite Tank
by Thom Shanker
Published: February 21, 2008

WASHINGTON — Just hours after a Navy missile interceptor struck a dying spy satellite orbiting 130 miles over the Pacific Ocean, a senior military officer expressed high confidence early Thursday that a tank filled with toxic rocket fuel had been breached.
the rest

Satellite explodes on tape

NFL Reverses Call On Church Parties
Thursday, February 21, 2008

The NFL, which found itself on the receiving end of protests and controversy after it objected to churches showing the Super Bowl on big-screen televisions, has reversed course and will now permit the viewings.

In a letter to Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league would not object to "live showings -- regardless of screen size -- of the Super Bowl" by religious organizations.

In response to questions from Hatch, Goodell said in the letter, dated Feb. 19, the NFL will implement the policy starting with next year's Super Bowl. the rest image

Palestinian Christians live in constant fear
Father Raymond J. De Souza, National Post
Tuesday, February 19, 2008

JERUSALEM -Here with an item from last week's news that you might not have heard about: Unidentified gunmen blew up the YMCA library in the Gaza Strip on Friday morning. While no one was hurt, two guards were temporarily kidnapped while the offices were looted, a vehicle stolen and all 8,000 books destroyed. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, although Fatah accused Hamas of being behind it. Hamas, for its part, strongly denied any responsibility and condemned the attack. Meanwhile, confidential sources in Gaza told the Jerusalem Post that the attack was in response to the reprinting of the Muhammad cartoons in Danish newspapers last week.

The supposed motivation for the attack, and the fact that it was not big news, illustrates the dire situation faced by many Christians living in the Palestinian territories.

There are only some 3,500 Christians, mostly Greek Orthodox, in Gaza. Over the past two years, al-Qaeda-affiliated groups have claimed responsibility for attacks against Christian figures and institutions with the stated goal of driving Christians out of Gaza .
the rest

Concerned about religious freedoms, Malaysian churches step into political sphere

San Joaquin: Response to the Interim Pastoral Presence

The following are identical letters to Canon Cox and Canon Moore.
February 15, 2008

It is my understanding that you have been hired by the Presiding Bishop’s Office to be a part of an interim pastoral presence with oversight in the Diocese of San Joaquin. This fact indicates one of the two things: 1) You do not believe that the Diocese was capable of removing itself from TEC in December 2007, and therefore you are intruding into the internal affairs of a recognized TEC diocese; or, 2) You do believe this diocese left TEC in 2007 and you are entering into the internal affairs of a diocese of another province.
the rest

Terry Kelshaw leaves US Church
February 21, 2008
Posted by geoconger

The retired Bishop of the Rio Grande has quit the Episcopal Church in the United States for the Church of Uganda. The Rt. Rev. Terry Kelshaw will be the ninth US bishop to quit the American church in the past 12 months in protest to the Church’s leftward drift on doctrine and discipline.

On Feb 14 the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Rio Grande in New Mexico announced Bishop Kelshaw had written to US Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori announcing his resignation from the House of Bishops. Bishop Kelshaw’s successor, Bishop Jeffrey Steenson quit the Episcopal Church for the Roman Catholic Church in September. Three other American bishops have gone over to Rome, two to the Southern Cone, one to Uganda and one to Nigeria.
the rest

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Sound Bible exposition is an imperative must in the Church of the Living God. Without it no church can be a New Testament church in any strict meaning of that term. But exposition may be carried on in such a way as to leave the hearers devoid of any true spiritual nourishment whatever. For it is not mere words that nourish the soul, but God Himself, and unless and until the hearers find God in personal experience they are not the better for having heard the truth. The Bible is not an end in itself, but a means to bring men to an intimate and satisfying knowledge of God, that they may enter into Him, that they may delight in His presence, may taste and know the inner sweetness of the very God Himself in the core and center of their hearts.
... A. W. Tozer image

Recruiting gays for government jobs
By Ken Herman
Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A coalition of groups representing gays, bisexuals and transgendered folks is looking to put more of its own in top government positions.

The Gay & Lesbian Leadership Institute today launched its Presidential Appointments Project, billed as a “nonpartisan effort designed to help grow the pool of openly lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender professionals who would be qualified and ready to accept politically appointed positions in the next U.S. presidential administration.”

the rest

New York Catholic bishops release video ripping Gov. Spitzer's abortion bill
Wednesday, February 20th 2008

ALBANY - New York's Catholic bishops have put a video on YouTube attacking legislation advanced by Gov. Spitzer that they charge would make abortions "virtually immune to state regulation."

In the 10-minute clip, Kathleen Gallagher of the state Catholic Conference warns that the Spitzer bill would force Catholic hospitals to perform abortions and strip doctors of their medical licenses if they refuse to carry out the procedure.

Asked about the criticism Tuesday, Spitzer said, "With great respect, I disagree with the legal analysis." He added, "People will not be subject to lawsuits."
the rest

China Sentences 21 Church Leaders To Labor Camp; Women Missing
Wednesday, 20 February 2008
By Stefan J. Bos,
Chief International Correspondent BosNewsLife

(BosNewsLife)-- Two theological teachers were missing and 21 major house church leaders locked up in a labor camp Wednesday, 20, in China’s “most massive persecution case” involving Christians in decades, an advocacy group defending them said.the rest

China claims Vatican prepared to sever ties with Taiwan

Papal trip to China "unthinkable": Vatican official

Muslim Laws and Western Society
Altercation Over Anglican Leader's Comments

By Father John Flynn, LC

ROME, FEB. 17, 2008 ( Remarks made about the introduction of Shariah -- a strict form of Muslim law -- by England's Anglican leader, Archbishop Rowan Williams, sparked off a storm of criticism. His comments, made in the form of a speech and a separate interview with the BBC, caused such a hostile reaction that they had to be clarified in a subsequent declaration, and in another speech.

In the interview the archbishop of Canterbury declared that the introduction of some elements of Shariah law in the United Kingdom seemed "unavoidable," reported the BBC on Feb. 7. He even went so far as to affirm that accepting some elements of Shariah could help social cohesion in the country, and also suggested that marital questions could be handled in Muslim tribunals.
the rest

Total lunar eclipse on Wednesday
By Joe Rao, Skywatching Columnist

On Wednesday night, Feb. 20, for the third time in the past year, the moon will become completely immersed in the Earth's shadow, resulting in a total lunar eclipse.

As is the case with all lunar eclipses, the region of visibility will encompass more than half of our planet. Nearly a billion people in the Western Hemisphere, more than 1.5 billion in Europe and Africa, and perhaps another half-billion in western Asia will be able to watch — weather permitting — as the brilliant mid-winter full moon becomes a shadow of its former self and morphs into a glowing coppery ball.

Almost everyone in the Americas and Western Europe will have a beautiful view of this eclipse if bad weather doesn't spoil the show. The moon will be high in a dark evening sky as viewed from most of the United States and Canada while most people are still awake and about.
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Tonight's Eclipse of the Moon
All of the Americas will have ringside seats . . . weather permitting.

Earth’s shadow will totally engulf the Moon from 10:00 to 10:52 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, or 7:00 to 7:52 p.m. Pacific Standard Time, as shown at lower right. The partial phases of the eclipse last for about an hour and a quarter before and after totality.

Anglican split could spread worldwide
Canadians will not be last to leave: Archbishop

Charles Lewis, National Post
Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The battle taking place inside the Anglican Church of Canada is a microcosm of a larger problem that could see the worldwide Anglican Communion end in division, said the South American archbishop who has been taking dissident churches under his wing.

In the past week, seven Canadian parishes in five dioceses have split from the national church and have put themselves under the authority of Archbishop Gregory Venables, head of the Province of the Southern Cone, which encompasses parts of South America. This week, the Diocese of Niagara in Ontario said it will replace the clergy at its two churches that voted to separate and went on to say that breakaway parishes "are no longer considered officially Anglican." Two ministers in British Columbia have also been suspended.
the rest

Clergy at two Anglican churches suspended
Move follows controversial votes on same-sex unions

February 20, 2008

The clergy of two Anglican churches in Ontario have been suspended with pay in the wake of several congregations voting last weekend to put themselves under the authority of a South American archbishop over theological issues that include the blessing of same-sex unions.

The diocese of Niagara yesterday informed St. Hilda's Anglican Church in Oakville and St. George's Anglican Church in Lowville that it was appointing new administrators to the parishes.
the rest

Anglican websites avoid the issues too
By David Bowen
Published: February 18 2008

Do you work for a fractured organisation that is busy avoiding the difficult issues? Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, does which is why I have been looking at anglican websites this week. And guess what – they are fractured and busy avoiding the issues too.

The Archbishop said last week that people may be able to seek justice in the UK under different legal systems, including Sharia. This caused quite a stink, and the news bulletins soon announced that he had published clarification on
his website. I would guess it has never seen anything like the traffic. the rest

Defending Barack Obama

In Victory Speech, McCain Goes After Obama

Barack Obama rolls on

AP Hints Pro-Lifers Bigger Terrorists Than Foreign Radicals
By Dave Pierre
February 20, 2008

Let me get this straight: On September 11, 2001, terrorists brutally exterminated nearly 3,000 Americans, obliterated the landscape of lower Manhattan, and pummeled the headquarters of the United States's national defense. And since that same date nearly six-and-a-half years ago, pro-lifers have committed a grand total of zero murders, attempted murders, and bombings directed at abortion workers and clinics across the United States and Canada.

So the Associated Press implies that the bigger threat of terrorism to this country comes from ... pro-lifers?
Here's how the AP tells it:
the rest

Former Illinois Abortion Center Will Become Pre-Natal Clinic Helping Women

Threatening a woman into abortion illegal under proposed bill

Driven Life" and others in a dynamic conversation about faith and its impact on the world.
French Catholics Seek Legal Status for Embryos

By Tom Heneghan, Religion Editor
Tuesday, February 19, 2008

PARIS (Reuters) - France's Roman Catholic Church has called for embryos to be given a clear legal status following a court decision that let parents of miscarried fetuses enter them with a name in the official civil registry.
the rest

Former bishop denies fraud charges
Wednesday, 20th February 2008
By: George Conger.

THE FORMER Bishop in Jerusalem has denied accusations of fraud and theft brought by his successor. In a Feb 6 statement the Rt Rev Riah Abu al-Assal disputed the financial misconduct charges leveled by the Rt Rev Suheil Dawani, hitting back with his own charges of conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy.

In a Jan 29 statement given to The Church of England Newspaper Bishop Dawani alleged that shortly before Bishop Riah’s retirement in 2007, Bishop Riah transferred the assets of the diocesan school to a charitable trust.
the rest

Voices of Church of England speak through in new podcasts
Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Church of England and Premier Christian Radio have joined forces to feature people who are part of today’s Church of England via a series of monthly podcasts.

In the ‘People and Places’ series, journalist Howard Dobson travels to meet a variety of Church of England people across the country, and series presenter Cindy Kent, from Premier Christian Radio, contributes topical interviews recorded at Church House in London and Premier. the rest

They are available online at and and via iTunes

Albert Mohler: Our House or the Big House?
It's Parents or Prisons

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Excerpt: "The statistics do tell the story. Young males raised without fathers are far more likely than their peers to be involved in anti-social behavior and far more likely to spend time in prison. For some of these young men, prison is the first place they meet an authority they cannot manipulate, a voice they cannot defy, and a consequence they cannot avoid.

Morse asserts that most people in prison are there because they did not learn self-control, personal responsibility, and the necessity of following rules. To this list we can add the fact that these young people did not learn (or did not learn adequately) how to respect authority and understand the consequences of their behaviors."
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Breakaway churches begin to organize amid confusion
Effort would unify conservative congregations disaffiliated from the Episcopal Church USA

By Colette M. Jenkins Beacon Journal religion writer
Wednesday, Feb 20, 2008

FAIRLAWN: Bishop Roger Ames is no longer a cleric in the Ohio Diocese of the Episcopal Church USA.

But he is a leader in the global Anglican Communion, which includes the Episcopal Church USA.
Then there's the church that Ames pastors — St. Luke's in Fairlawn. Its incorporation papers list its name as St. Luke's Anglican Church and Ames as pastor. Diocesan records, however, show that it is St. Luke's Episcopal Church and that the pastorate is vacant.

The status of both Ames and the church is an indication of the level of confusion in the denomination and of what might very well be the beginning of a new Anglican province in North America.

Both Ames and Bishop Martyn Minns, the missionary bishop for the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), say an effort is under way to unify the theologically conservative parishes that have broken away from the Episcopal Church.

''We're trying to hold onto the traditional teachings of the church and stop the fragmentation that is going on across the country by bringing people together,'' Minns said. ''We definitely have some real divisions (in the Episcopal Church) and we are trying to develop tight connections with the international church and the churches in this country.''
the rest

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I COME in the little things,
Saith the Lord:
Not borne on morning wings
Of majesty, but I have set My Feet
Amidst the delicate and bladed wheat
That springs triumphant in the furrowed sod.
There do I dwell, in weakness and in power;
Not broken or divided, saith our God!
In your strait garden plot I come to flower:
About your porch My Vine
Meek, fruitful, doth entwine;
Waits, at the threshold, Love’s appointed hour.

I come in the little things,
Saith the Lord:
Yea! on the glancing wings
Of eager birds, the softly pattering feet
Of furred and gentle beasts, I come to meet
Your hard and wayward heart. In brown bright eyes
That peep from out the brake, I stand confest.
On every nest
Where feathery Patience is content to brood
And leaves her pleasure for the high emprize
Of motherhood—
There doth My Godhead rest.

I come in the little things,
Saith the Lord:
My starry wings
I do forsake,
Love’s highway of humility to take:
Meekly I fit My stature to your need.
In beggar’s part
About your gates I shall not cease to plead—
As man, to speak with man—
Till by such art
I shall achieve My Immemorial Plan,
Pass the low lintel of the human heart.
...Evelyn Underhill

Is Obama a (or the) Messiah?
Claire Hoffman

Is Obama the Messiah? People are asking these days and it's not so hard to understand why: the desperate throngs, the tears, the great awakening of a slumbering demographic. All that larger symbolism.

The emotional landscape of many American voters is calamitous of late -- frightened by our Babylonian war, unhappy with our President and depressed by the cleansing crush of the credit crunch -- so it's not surprising that the coming presidential election would take on a certain biblical coloring.

The Messiah question is a loud one coming from all corners. Even a blogger for Mother Jones, the hot heart of the far left,
worries that the Obama-passion will be used for nefarious purposes by right-wingers, he himself writes "Barack Obama has a messiah complex and no one will convince me otherwise." the rest image

Episcopal bishop keeps her cool in the hot seat
By DANIEL BURKE Religion News Service
National Catholic Reporter
February 22, 2008

For a woman sitting on a very warm seat, Katharine Jefferts Schori, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal church, seems remarkably cool. Even those who disagree with her progressive leadership agree that the 53-year-old remains unflappable under duress.

“She’s centered and intense,” said the Rev. Kendall Harmon, a well-regarded conservative theologian from South Carolina. “You get a sense when she answers a question that she’s trying to channel all her passion in one place.”

Since Jefferts Schori’s installation slightly more than a year ago, she’s had plenty of opportunities to test her poise. The presiding bishop, who serves a nine-year term, is chief pastor and executive of the 2.2 million-member Episcopal church.
the rest

ACNS: Message from the Anglican Primate of Brazil - The Most Revd Mauricio de Andrade
February 19, 2008

Letter announcing the Boycott by Five Anglican Primates of the 2008 Lambeth Conference

Which path will we walk?
Who will hear us?
How will we bear witness?

These days I wonder which path we will walk. At the last meeting of Anglican primates, in Tanzania, 12 primates besides me were participating at the gathering for the first time. It was an experience of patience and hope: patience, because nothing happens when we want it to and, hope, because the new primates, including one woman, indicated the possibility of taking new paths.

We were very well received by Archbishop Donald Mtetemela of Tanzania, by the provincial secretary, Canon Mwita Akiri, and by the local organizing committee. There, I saw friends I had met awhile ago, like Ian Ernst, work colleagues, and provincial secretaries such as Nathaniel Uematsu and Bernard Ntahoturi. I met other people who have become friends and joined hands in face of the challenges of walking as a Church desiring to stay on the path of unity.
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Archbishop Peter Jensen's Address to Standing Committee
February 18, 2008


Diocese of Sydney: Standing Committee press release

Anglican priest killed in Sri Lanka
Tuesday, 19th February 2008
By: George Conger

An Anglican priest has become the latest casualty in Sri Lanka’s civil war.

On Feb 17 the Rev. Neil Samson, priest of the diocese of Kurunagla, was shot to death outside his home. At approximately 9:30 in the evening two gunmen riding a motorbike shot the 39-year-old priest and his wife while they were out walking with their family.
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Gafcon conference 'rearranged'
Tuesday, 19th February 2008
By: George Conger

The Gafcon organizing committee, which is arranging an alternative to the Anglican Lambeth Conference, has announced that the dates and venue of the Jerusalem conference have been changed.

Following consultations with the Bishop in Jerusalem, the Rt Rev Suheil Dawani, the conference will now be broken into two parts: a consultation for church leaders in Jordan from June 18-22 and a pilgrimage to Jerusalem from June 22-29.

"We are very grateful for the feedback that we have received on the many complex issues that confront us,” the Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Peter Jensen (pictured) said on Feb 19.
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Qatar's first Christian church sparks bitter debate
Agence France-Presse

DOHA -- A bitter debate has broken out in the tiny, oil-rich Gulf state of Qatar over construction of the Muslim country's first Christian church, set to open next month in time for Easter.

Critics have branded the concept as "repulsive" while supporters said building places of worship for other religions is a right guaranteed by Islam...

...For other Christians, construction of an Anglican church will begin in May, according to Qatar's Anglican priest Canon William Schwarz.

Anglican Archbishop: too intellectual to lead?
The Archbishop of Canterbury faces criticism for his views on Islamic law and gay clergy. Is he just misunderstood?

By Mark Rice-Oxley
Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor
February 20, 2008

LONDON - When it comes to leadership in the Church of England, the former Bishop of Norwich once reportedly said: "If you want to lead someone in this part of the world, find out where they're going. And walk in front of them."

Rowan Williams, who celebrates five years as Archbishop of Canterbury next week, could never be accused of doing that.

Since he took over the delicate task of leading the Anglican church's 77 million strong worldwide communion, Dr. Williams has repeatedly found himself marching against the current of public opinion, government policy, or both. the rest image

Added: Archbishop of Cant
The Anglican Communion shrinks
By Mark Hemingway

(February 19, 2008) Last week, the Washington Post summarized for an American audience the controversy over Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams’s assent to the notion that the U.K. must inevitably adopt sharia law. It was a welcome service, since the speech that stoked the controversy was some 6,000 words long. The archbishop found it difficult to express his thoughts succinctly on how British citizens ought to chuck 1,000 years of common-law tradition.
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Philly's War on the Boy Scouts

February 16, 2008

As Michael Nutter was sworn in as the city's 98th mayor last month, he called for a new wave of public service to clean up drug-infested neighborhoods. If he is serious about renewing volunteerism, he'll start by putting an end to the city's campaign against the Boy Scouts.

On May 31, the Cradle of Liberty Council, the local Boy Scout chapter, will be evicted from its headquarters on 22nd and Winter Streets -- a space it has occupied since 1928.

The eviction isn't for a breach of contract. It comes at the behest of the City Council, which voted 16 to one last year to kick the boy scouts out unless they reverse the national Boy Scouts of America's ban on gays serving in the ranks or as scoutmasters or start paying "market rent" -- about $200,000 a year. Local chapters can't reverse national scouting policies. So it's a matter of paying up or moving out.
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Sydney Standing Committee supports GAFCON Archbishops on Lambeth Decision
February 19th, 2008

The Standing Committee of the Anglican Diocese of Sydney has given its full support to Archbishop of Sydney Dr Peter Jensen’s decision not to attend the Lambeth Conference.

The decision was announced earlier this month and this was standing committee’s first meeting since then.

The committee stated it “wholeheartedly supports the Archbishop and his Bishops in their decisions relating to Lambeth and GAFCON, recognising the cost to them of such decisions.”
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Overview of the teaching of Rowan Williams on Scripture and sexuality
This summary can also be
viewed as a PDF
David Philips

The teaching of Rowan Williams on Scripture and sexual immorality has been documented by a number of people including a substantial report entitled
Rowan Williams and Scripture produced by SPREAD. The following is a summary of their summary. It should be noted that Williams has been more coy about articulating his opinions since being appointed to the See of Canterbury but he does not appear to have been willing to distance himself from his earlier teaching which is much more forthright. the rest

The full text by SPREAD can be found on their website

Study: Americans Say Non-Church Worship is Fully Biblical
By Jennifer Riley
Christian Post Reporter
Mon, Feb. 18 2008

The majority of Americans believe that alternatives to the conventional church experience are a fully biblical way for believers to practice their faith, a study revealed Monday.

For decades, U.S. Christians, who make up more than four out of every five adults, assumed there was only one right way to practice their faith – through worship in a conventional church. But a new Barna study shows that a majority of American adults now believe there are various legitimate ways to practice their faith besides participation in a conventional church.
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Sources: Navy to shoot down failed satellite Thursday

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. Navy will likely attempt to shoot down a faulty spy satellite Thursday, the day after the space shuttle Atlantis is scheduled to land, two officials told CNN Monday.

The officials -- who spoke on condition of anonymity because much of the planning remains classified -- said the idea is to leave as much time as possible so a second attempt could be made if necessary.

Because the 5,000-pound satellite malfunctioned immediately after launch in December 2006, it has a full tank of fuel. It would likely survive re-entry and disperse potentially deadly fumes over an area the size of two football fields, officials have said.
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Parents Rise Up Against A New Approach to Math
By Ian Shapira
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Greg Barlow, an Air Force officer in the defense secretary's office at the Pentagon, was helping his 8-year-old son, Christian, one recent night with a vexing problem: What is 674 plus 249?

The Prince William County third-grader did not stack the numbers and carry digits from one column to the next, the way generations have learned. Applying lessons from his school's new math textbook, "Investigations in Number, Data, and Space," Christian tried breaking the problem into easier-to-digest numbers.
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Muslim burial rites clash with Conn. laws
Associated Press / February 19, 2008

BRISTOL, Conn. - Muslims throughout Connecticut say they are finding increasingly creative ways to follow their faith's burial traditions without violating state regulations.

Some mosques are encouraging members to enter the funeral industry, while others hope more cemeteries can be established with the facilities needed for ritual washings and other traditions outlined in the Koran.
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Colleges scramble to offer curriculum on Mormon religion

Fidel Castro Resigns As Cuba's President
Feb 19, 2008

HAVANA (AP) - An ailing, 81-year-old Fidel Castro resigned as Cuba's president Tuesday after nearly a half-century in power, saying he will not accept a new term when parliament meets Sunday.

The end of Castro's rule - the longest in the world for a head of government - frees his 76-year-old brother Raul to implement reforms he has hinted at since taking over as acting president when Fidel Castro fell ill in July 2006. President Bush said he hopes the resignation signals the beginning of a democratic transition.

"My wishes have always been to discharge my duties to my last breath," Castro wrote in a letter published Tuesday in the online edition of the Communist Party daily Granma. But, he wrote, "it would be a betrayal to my conscience to accept a responsibility requiring more mobility and dedication than I am physically able to offer."

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Monday, February 18, 2008

There are no shortcuts to holiness. There is no easy way to conquer the flesh. Christian character is a matter of growth, not of secrets or formulas. Growth takes time. It also takes the discipline of prayer, of study, of heart searching, of sensitivity to the Holy Spirit's pleading, and of consistent obedience. It must always begin with a renewed thankfulness for the never-ending grace of God, and a sense of being set free repeatedly to a life of holiness. ...John White image

Which churches are the country's largest?
February 18, 2008
Julia Duin

It's always intriguing to see which churches have grown and which denominations have faded in the past year. According to the 2008 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches (a Bible of sorts for us religion writers), the fastest-growing religious body in 2007 was the Jehovah's Witnesses at 2.25 percent.

Following them were the Mormons at 1.56 percent and the Roman Catholics at .87 percent. Compare this to last year's states that had the Catholics out front at 1.94 percent, followed by the Assemblies of God at 1.86 and the Mormons at 1.63.

The denomination with the biggest decrease is the Episcopalians at 4.15 percent.There are all sorts of arguments why some of these figures on the list below are bogus. For instance, several of the historic black churches with the "no increase or decrease listed" after their name do not release statistics at all. So the membership figure after their name is a guess at best. Plus churches' standards for membership are different. Baptist groups tend to count only those who have made an adult profession of faith. More liturgical churches include any child that has been baptized.
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Comments at TitusOneNine

Woman Diagnosed as "Brain Dead" Walks and Talks after Awakening
By Hilary White
LAKE ELMO, Minnesota
February 15, 2008

( - 65-year-old Raleane "Rae" Kupferschmidt's relatives were told by doctors that she was "brain dead" after she had suffered a massive cerebral haemorrhage in mid-January, according to an Associated Press Report. Her family had taken her home to die and were in the process of grieving and planning her funeral when she awoke and was rushed back to hospital.

In accordance with her own wishes, doctors had removed Rae's breathing tube and were waiting for her to die. She was taken home from the hospital, and while friends and family gathered to say a last good bye, Kupferschmidt's daughter Lisa Sturm used an ice cube to wet her mother's dry lips. When her mother sucked on the ice cube, she thought it was only an instinctive reaction. She said, "I knew suckling is a very basic brain stem function, so I didn't get real excited. But when I did it again she just about sucked the ice cube out of my hand, and I looked at my aunt and said, 'Did you see that?'"

"So I leaned down and asked, 'Mom... Mom, are you in there?'" Sturm said. "And when she shook her head and mouthed, 'Yes,' we all just about fell over."
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Bill Clinton Lashes Out at Pro-Life Advocates During Ohio Stop for Hillary
by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 18, 2008

Steubenville, OH ( -- Former president Bill Clinton made a campaign stop for Hillary in Steubenville, Ohio on Sunday and found himself greeted by more than 100 pro-life students from nearby Steubenville University. According to eye witnesses accounts, Clinton lost his temper and lashed out at the pro-life students during the speech.

Clinton's heated response came after being questioned on his support of abortion-on-demand.

"I gave you the answer. We disagree with you," Clinton said about the position he and Hillary Clinton hold on abortion.
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Pro-life groups choose McCain

Huckabee Fends Off Mounting GOP Pressure to Quit

War of Words-Hillary and Obama face off in Wisconsin.

Former President Bush endorses McCain

Uganda's Anglicans threaten to secede from global church
The Associated Press
February 18, 2008

KAMPALA, Uganda: Uganda's Anglican church threatened Monday to secede from the rest of the 77-million member fellowship unless U.S. clergy condemn homosexuality.

The announcement was the latest salvo in a fierce debate about homosexuality has overtaken the global Anglican Communion since its U.S. wing — the Episcopal Church — consecrated its first openly gay bishop in 2003.

"Anglicanism is just an identity and if they abuse it, we shall secede. We shall remain Christians, but not in the same Anglican Communion," Church of Uganda spokesman Aron Mwesigye said.
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Uganda: Homosexuality - COU May Secede

Catholics Can't Support 'Pro-Choicers,' Church Leaders Say
By Penny Starr Senior Staff Writer
February 18, 2008

( - A statement by the Archbishop of San Antonio, Texas, criticizing Hillary Clinton's speech and rally on a Catholic college campus because of her pro-abortion stance is being cheered by some Catholics and dismissed by others.

In a Feb. 12 statement about Clinton's campaign stop at St. Mary's University, Archbishop Jose Gomez, said: "The Catholic bishops of the United States, in their 2004 document Catholics in Political Life, affirmed that when dealing with political candidates and public office holders, 'The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.'" the rest

Bishop Kelshaw Affiliates With Ugandan Church
February 18, 2008

The Rt. Rev. Terence Kelshaw, retired Bishop of the Rio Grande, has joined the Church of the Province of Uganda. Bishop Kelshaw sent a letter to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori on Feb. 14 to inform her of the development. He wrote, “I have therefore requested and been received into the Province of the Church of Uganda (where I once lived for two years) and I believe I sense a certain security and unity with that decision and with that Province.”

Bishop Kelshaw, who served as the diocesan bishop from 1989 to 2005, is the second bishop in the Rio Grande to leave The Episcopal Church. The Rt. Rev. Jeffrey N. Steenson resigned in September to join the Roman Catholic Church. A native of England, Bishop Kelshaw, 71, transferred to The Episcopal Church in 1980 to become a faculty member of Trinity School for Ministry.