Saturday, March 22, 2008

Easter Vigil
Westside Anglican Fellowship
March 22, 2008

As we wait in the night-dark church for the Easter light to be struck, we should experience the consoling realization that God is fully aware of the night by which we are surrounded. In fact, he has already struck his light at the heart of it... The night enables us to appreciate what the light really is. It is brightness or luminousness that enables us to see; that shows the way and gives direction; that helps us to know both others and ourselves. It is warmth that strengthens and brings mobility; that consoles and gladdens.

Finally, it is life, and this tiny quivering flame is an image of the wonderful mystery that we call "life" and that is in fact profoundly dependent on light... At this moment we are not only celebrating the Resurrection; we are also being given a distant glimpse of the second coming of the Lord, whom we are advancing to meet with lamps lit... Something of the joy that marks a wedding should be ours on this night so bright with candles. We should also ask ourselves the question: "Will I be one of those who sit at God's table? Will my lamp have enough oil for the everlasing wedding feast?" But perhaps it is even more Christian to ask ourselves the right questions about the present. The world is indeed dark, but even a single candle suffices to bring light into the deepest darkness. Did not God give us a candle at baptism and the means of lighting it? We must be courageous enough to light the candle of our patience, our trust, our love. Instead of bewailing the night, we must dare to light the little lamp that God has loaned us:
"The light of Christ! - Thanks be to God! ...Benedict XVI image

Psalm 88

O LORD, God of my salvation;
I cry out day and night before you.
Let my prayer come before you;
incline your ear to my cry!

For my soul is full of troubles,
and my life draws near to Sheol.
I am counted among those who go down to the pit;
I am a man who has no strength,
like one set loose among the dead,
like the slain that lie in the grave,
like those whom you remember no more,
for they are cut off from your hand.
You have put me in the depths of the pit,
in the regions dark and deep.
Your wrath lies heavy upon me,
and you overwhelm me with all your waves.
Selah

You have caused my companions to shun me;
you have made me a horror to them.
I am shut in so that I cannot escape;
my eye grows dim through sorrow.
Every day I call upon you, O LORD;
I spread out my hands to you.
Do you work wonders for the dead?
Do the departed rise up to praise you?
Selah

Is your steadfast love declared in the grave,
or your faithfulness in Abaddon?
Are your wonders known in the darkness,
or your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?

But I, O LORD, cry to you;
in the morning my prayer comes before you.
O LORD, why do you cast my soul away?
Why do you hide your face from me?
Afflicted and close to death from my youth up,
I suffer your terrors; I am helpless.
Your wrath has swept over me;
your dreadful assaults destroy me.
They surround me like a flood all day long;
they close in on me together.
You have caused my beloved and my friend to shun me;
my companions have become darkness. image


"Holy Saturday is the day of the "death of God', the day which expresses the unparalleled experience of our age, anticipating the fact that God is simply absent, that the grave hides him, that he no longer awakes, no longer speaks, so that one no longer needs to gainsay him but can simply overlook him... Christ strode through the gate of our final loneliness; in his Passion he went down into the abyss of our abandonment. Where no voice can reach us any longer, there is he. Hell is thereby overcome, or, to be more acccurate, death, which was previously hell, is hell no longer. Neither is the same any longer because there is life in the midst of death, because love dwells in in." ...Pope Benedict XVI

Friday, March 21, 2008

But that Christ on His cross did rise and fall,
Sin had eternally benighted all.
Yet dare I almost be glad, I do not see
That spectacle of too much weight for me.
Who sees Gods face, that is self-life, must die;
What a death were it then to see God die?
It made His own lieutenant, Nature, shrink,
It made His footstool crack, and the sun wink.
Could I behold those hands, which span the poles
And tune all spheres at once, pierced with those holes?
Could I behold that endless height, which is
Zenith to us and our antipodes,
Humbled below us ? or that blood, which is
The seat of all our soul's, if not of His,
Made dirt of dust, or that flesh which was worn
By God for His apparel, ragg'd and torn?
...John Donne Good Friday, 1613, Riding Westward image

For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 1 Peter 2:21-24 image

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Now, my tongue, the mystery telling,
Of the glorious body sing,
And the blood, all price excelling,
Which all mankind’s Lord and King,
In a virgin’s womb once dwelling,
Shed for this world’s ransoming.

Given for us and condescending
To be born for us below,
He, with men in converse blending,
Dwelt the seed of truth to sow,
Till He closed with wondrous ending
His most patient life below.

That last night, at supper lying
’Mid the twelve, His chosen band,
Jesus, with the law complying,
Keeps the feast its rites demand;
Then, more precious food supplying,
Gives Himself with His own hand.

Word made flesh, true bread He maketh
By His word His flesh to be;
Wine His Blood: which whoso taketh
Must from carnal thoughts be free;
Faith alone, though sight forsaketh
Shows true hearts the mystery.
...Thomas Aquinas image

CANA Chrism Mass Gathering
Holy Week 2008

Bishop David Bena with CANA Clergy and Parish Leaders

Newly Blessed Holy Unction and Chrism

Bishop Bena with CANA clergy from NYC and NJ Parishes

Bp. Martyn Minns:
An Easter Message
from CANA 2008

"But sometimes it doesn’t seem that way!" We have all had those times in our lives when it seemed as if our world was coming to an end. I am not referring to the eschaton when all that we know of this world will come to an end but rather those moments of personal crisis when there seems to be no way forward. It can happen when we confront the specter of terminal illness for ourselves or for someone we love; it can be prompted by the end of a friendship or breakup of a family or the loss of a job; it can be provoked through the devastation caused by an encounter with one kind of natural disaster or another. What then? How do we cope, how do we find the strength to continue? This is when the events of that first Holy Week become a personal experience and not merely a religious memory.

For those first disciples it seemed as if their world had come to an end in the days leading up to that first Easter Sunday. The darkness of despair and the betrayal by the civil and religious authorities had extinguished their dreams. They had pinned their hopes on that wandering Rabbi who had emerged out of the wilderness. He had encouraged them to look forward to a new and brighter world where God’s reign would be made visible for all to see. But now it seemed to be all over. To add insult to injury when they buried the broken body of their beloved friend they did so in a borrowed tomb and blocked entrance with a rock. They could not even honor him in his death.

But that wasn’t the end of the story. The stone was rolled away and their nightmare came to an end. Jesus was gloriously raised from the dead. He didn’t simply survive it he overcame it. But it was not simply his life that was forever changed. All those who put their trust in Him have been given the same promise that death will no longer have the last word for us. Instead we will overcome it. Like him we will be given a new body and live forever in the closer presence of the One who loves us even more than life itself. But even that isn’t the end of the story. We have also been given the promise that the very same power that raised Jesus from the dead is now at work transforming the lives of his followers.

And I have seen it. I have seen men and women who were dead to the things of God come alive – I have seen blind people be given their sight and I have seen sick people made well. I have known people who were locked into patterns of abuse and addiction set free. I have seen men and women with no hope have their dreams restored and their hopes fulfilled. I have witnessed broken marriages made whole and children who were lost brought back home. It is all part of the resurrection story. It is not just about then but it is about NOW. The good news is that the God that we serve is not only a God who offers radical inclusion but also a God who promises profound transformation.

Nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing is impossible with God.

Alleluia! Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!

+Martyn
The Rt. Rev’d Martyn Minns
Missionary Bishop of CANA

Bearing the Silence of God
A Turkish theologian finds the image of Christ

in the persecuted church.
Ziya Meral 3/19/2008

Excerpt: "Yet the silence of God is not the same as the absence of God. Within those silent moments, he is present in our pain, suffering, and isolation. He is hurting with us as we are hurting like his Son. In his silence, he is speaking loudly to the world around us.

The greatest glory Jesus brought to God was not when he walked on the water or prayed for long hours, but when he cried in agony in the garden of Gethsemane and still continued to follow God's will, even though it meant isolation, darkness, and the silence of God. Thus, we know that when everything around us fails, when we are destroyed and abandoned, our tears, blood, and dead corpses are the greatest worship songs we have ever sung."

Full essay-Do not miss this! image

Libyan leader says the Bible is counterfeit
Thursday, 20th March 2008
Manasseh Zindo

LIBYAN leader Col Muammar Gadaffi, who is in Uganda, on Wednesday March 19 celebrated the anniversary of the birth of Prophet Mohammed with a series of attacks on European countries and the Bible for besmirching the Prophet.

Gadaffi was speaking to a large crowd at Nakivubo War Memorial Stadium in Kampala after leading the Thuhur (afternoon) prayer, where he said any Bible and Torah (Old Testament) that does not mention the Prophet Mohammed was written by mankind and therefore a fraud.
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Views of Obama's pastor reflect black U.S. tradition
Thu Mar 20, 2008
By Matthew Bigg

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Reuters) - Many U.S. voters have been shocked by the sentiments expressed by the pastor of Democratic presidential candidate
Barack Obama but they should not be surprised, say faith leaders with experience of black American churches.

Anger at discrimination, real or perceived, and strong memories of racial injustice is a common thread running through black American discourse and is reflected in religious life, they said.
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The Economist: The Jeremiah Wright affair: The trouble with uncles

Five Years Later, Where are the Christians in Iraq?
By Michelle A. Vu
Christian Post Reporter
Wed, Mar. 19 2008

It's been exactly five years since President Bush gave the green light for the Iraq war, which, aside from toppling former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, has resulted in the disappearance of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christians from their ancestral homeland.

Bush, during his address Wednesday to mark the anniversary, declared that the war in Iraq must go on, arguing that the removal of Hussein from power was the right decision, according to CNN.
the rest

Easter Threats Against Christians in Indonesia Reported

Australia: Study finds abortion rate in dramatic decline
By Tamara McLean
March 19, 2008

YOUNG Australian women are as unlikely to have an abortion today as their grandmothers were half a century ago, according to new national data that shows a dramatic decline in the procedure.

Researchers behind the major findings credit increasing condom use and the nation's newfound enthusiasm for having children for the remarkable new trend.

Findings from a study of women's reproductive history has found that less than five per cent of women born in the 1980s have had an abortion - a significant drop from the 14 per cent seen in women 10 years older.
the rest

British Figures Show 1,300 Women Have Had Five Abortions, Hundreds Have More

Abortionist Tiller Admits to Performing Abortions the Day Before Delivery

Anglicans Seen Floundering From Lack Of Leadership
3/19/2008

DESTIN, Fla. (AP) -- A leader of former Episcopalians says the Anglican Communion is floundering because of a lack of leadership from Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.

Bishop Martyn Minns, who heads the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, says the Communion's once-a-decade Lambeth Conference this summer won't include traditional Anglican provinces that are vibrant and growing. Leaders of those churches, many of them in Africa, are refusing to meet with bishops who supported consecration of the openly gay Episcopal Bishop V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.

Minns says between 200 and 300 conservative Anglican bishops will hold a separate meeting.

But he says the Anglican Communion isn't breaking up so much as it's re-forming around churches that adhere to Biblical authority and Christian tradition. More liberal churches are losing members, he says, because they have "nothing that is solid to stand on."
link

McCain currently leads Obama and Clinton
Daily Presidential Tracking Poll
Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Thursday shows John McCain’s lead growing against both potential Democratic opponents. McCain currently leads Barack Obama 49% to 42% and Hillary Clinton 51% to 41% margin (see
recent daily results). African-American support for Clinton has collapsed, falling to 55% in the general election match-up. Obama, on the other hand, earns solid support from African-American voters but attracts only 36% of white voters in a match-up with McCain. the rest

Bin Laden: Pope Helps Anti-Islam Crusade
Mar 20 2008
By PAUL SCHEMM
Associated Press Writer

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) - Osama bin Laden accused Pope Benedict XVI of helping in a "new Crusade" against Islam and warned of a "severe" reaction to European publications of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that insulted many Muslims.

Bin Laden's new audiotape message raised concerns al-Qaida was plotting new attacks in Europe. Some experts said bin Laden, believed to be in hiding in the rugged Afghan-Pakistan border area, may be unable to organize an attack himself and instead is trying to fan anger and inspire his supporters to violence.
the rest

Vatican rejects Osama bin Laden claim that Pope launched new Crusade

'Mohammed Cartoons Worse Than Killing of Women and Children' - CNS News


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Gambling Opponents Say Moral Argument No Longer a Trump
As casinos and lotteries spread, two-thirds of Americans join in.

Greg Trotter, Religion News Service
3/18/2008

The moral opposition to gambling might be gasping its last breaths.

As more and more states turn to casinos and gambling to fill shrinking budget coffers, the voices of the religious opposition are struggling to convince people that it is morally wrong.
It's an uphill fight: A recent study by Ellison Research showed that 70 percent of Americans do not consider gambling to be a sin.

"It's not acceptable in today's society to present arguments based solely on religion or morals," said I. Nelson Rose, who teaches gambling law at the Whittier Law School in California.
the rest image

First Things: Homeschoolers and the Law in the Golden State
By Joseph M. Knippenberg
Wednesday, March 19, 2008

As word of an appellate decision—In re Rachel L.—in California got around earlier this month, homeschoolers around the country reacted with incredulity and outrage. Ruling on a petition filed by attorneys representing the youngest two of eight homeschooled children, the judicial panel told a lower court to “order the parents to (1) enroll their children in a public full-time day school, or a legally qualified private full-time day school and (2) see to it that the children receive their education in such school.” In coming to this conclusion, the three judges found not only that California’s education law permitted home education under the narrowest possible circumstances, but also that it would be quite difficult (though not altogether impossible) to claim a religious exemption from the law’s strictures.

The contrast between what the court held and the expectations of California homeschoolers was stark.
the rest

Touchstone: Render Unto the Family

Pastors: Multi-Site Churches About Evangelism, Not Numbers
By Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter
Wed, Mar. 19 2008

The number one reason for pursuing the increasingly popular multi-site strategy is evangelism, not bigger attendance numbers, say church pastors who are at the forefront of the multi-site movement.

"Really for us, it's absolutely just about lost people. It's not like 'let's all be seeker sensitive.' This generation, they want to hear the truth," said John Bishop, pastor of Living Hope Church in Vancouver, Wash.

A multi-site church can be described as one church that meets in multiple locations – also called campuses. Most engage in live, on-site preaching and many engage in video satellite preaching – where a pastor's sermons are broadcasted from one church location to the other campuses. Each multi-site location typically has their own live worship music and most meet in a school, restaurant or mall.
the rest

Bishop speaks of 'Christian UK'
Monday, 17 March 2008

The Bishop of Rochester spoke exclusively to BBC South EastAn Anglican bishop who received threats after comments about Islamic extremism has spoken on the importance of the UK's Christian heritage.

The Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, was threatened after claiming Islamic extremism made some places "no-go areas" for non-Muslims.

In an exclusive interview, he told BBC South East that Christianity "is the conscience of this nation".

Dr Nazir-Ali was born in Pakistan and has a Christian and Muslim background.
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Canada: Anglican schism not 'catastrophic': theologian
Charles Lewis, National Post
Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Schism is not a "catastrophic" event and is preferable to placating those who do not treat gays as equal simply for the sake of unity, a Canadian Anglican theologian says.

"There are moments when treating unity as kind of absolute virtue that's higher than anything else is not necessarily the right thing," Rev. Paul Gibson said in an interview, concerning an essay he wrote that was posted on the Anglican Church of Canada's Web site Tuesday.

He wrote the essay in relation to the present schism in the Anglican Church over same-sex blessings, and concluded that a unified church that treats gays unequally would be a greater evil than a divided church. Since the start of the year, eight Anglican parishes, out of a total of about 2,000 across the country, have formally left the national Church.
the rest

Read Rev. Gibson's essay on the Anglican schism

Science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke dies aged 90

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

It is not for us now to rush ahead to Easter. Rather, it is necessary for us once again to undertake the surrender to Jesus of all of our false expectations and selfish hopes. It is necessary for us to watch as our sin burdens him and bears down on his head like a crown of thorns. It is necessary for us to see him die as the Lamb of God who absorbs the sin of the world and bears it away. It is necessary for us to suffer patiently the dark night of sorrow and death, if we are to enter the brilliant new light of Easter and receive the eternal life offered to us in the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. ...Anonymous image

ENS: Presiding Bishop presents Good Friday Offering to Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem
Gift of $158,000 will serve Middle East Church's mission priorities
By Matthew Davies
March 18, 2008

[Episcopal News Service] Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori presented the Good Friday Offering -- a check for $158,801.42 -- to Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem Suheil Dawani on March 18 at St. George's Cathedral in Jerusalem.

The gift, which includes collections gathered on Good Friday 2007 from the Episcopal Church's parishes, congregations, cathedrals and missions, is intended to serve mission priorities of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East.

The Presiding Bishop, who is visiting the Holy Land March 16-24 at Dawani's invitation, said it is a great privilege to be able to present the offering in person.
the rest

Statement by the Synod of The Province of the Anglican Church in South East Asia (2008)
18 March 2008

...Hereby:

1. encourages the bishops of our Province to participate in the Lambeth Conference 2008 yet also fully understands and respects the decision of some who for their own principled reasons may choose not to attend the Lambeth Conference 2008;

2. supports our bishops in fully and actively expressing our on-going concern for the issues and challenges facing the Anglican Communion, and our continued participation in and commitment to the position of the Global South; and

3. gives support for such appropriate further action on the part of our House of Bishops as they may among themselves decide in order to give full effect to this Statement, and to report any such further action taken to the Provincial Synod and/or Provincial Standing Committee as soon as practicable for ratification.


Full Statement

AnglicanTV: Conference Call with CANA Bishop Minns

TLC: Bishop Duncan Denies Abandonment Charge
March 18, 2008

Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh has responded to charges that he had abandoned communion. The bishop declared he is subject to the doctrine, discipline and worship of The Episcopal Church in a letter sent to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori on March 14.

“I have kept my ordination vows – all of them – to the best of my ability, including the vow I made on 28 October 1972 to ‘banish and drive away all strange and erroneous doctrines contrary to God’s Word’,” he said. “I have been present to all but two meetings of the House of Bishops (out of 24) during the last 12 years. In those meetings I have clearly and openly opposed the theological and moral drift of The Episcopal Church, often in the face of great hostility and sadly, at times, derision.”
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England’s Lost Daughters
By Stephen Brown
FrontPageMagazine.com
Tuesday, March 18, 2008

“Abdullah is your husband.”

Fifteen-year-old Arab-British girl, Zana Muhsen, could not believe her ears. She thought it was a joke when she first heard it. After all, the visiting British schoolgirl had only met the boy for the first time that day in an isolated, Middle Eastern mountain village. Besides the fact the young tourist had no intention of marrying anyone, she was returning home shortly to family, friends and school.

But when the unwitting high school student realized the father of the “groom” had meant what he said, she suddenly felt short of breath, while her heart began to beat wildly. The pretty teenager could not comprehend what was happening, still unaware she was the victim of a cruel fate that befalls hundreds of innocent European and North American girls every year – a forced marriage.
the rest

“Radically new and different”
March 18, 2008

Episcopalians quickly name proposed replacement for ousted San Joaquin bishop, while deposed leader says his removal was invalid.

The leadership of the Episcopal Church, the U.S. branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion, wasted no time in selecting a replacement for Diocese of San Joaquin Bishop John-David Schofield, whom the Episcopal House of Bishops deposed earlier this month. In December, Schofield and his diocese ceased affiliation with the Episcopal Church and joined a South American Anglican jurisdiction because of the Episcopal Church’s toleration and promotion of homosexuality and other issues, which, says the Fresno-based diocese, depart from biblical orthodoxy. Schofield, bishop of what is now the Fresno-based Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin, insists that the Episcopal deposition is of no effect as he now belongs to the House of Bishops of the South American Anglican jurisdiction of the Southern Cone.

Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts-Schori has recommended Bishop Jerry Lamb as Schofield’s successor in the reconstituted Episcopal Diocese of the San Joaquin. If approved by a diocesan convention in Lodi on March 29, Lamb, as provisional bishop, will oversee parishes that have refused to follow Schofield, as well as new missions. According to a March 15 Episcopal News Service report, the “continuing” Episcopal diocese has 18 congregations.
the rest

God and Man in China
March 18, 2008

The violent protests in Tibet that began last week and have since spread across (and beyond) China are frequently depicted as a secessionist threat to Beijing. But the regime's deeper problem in the current crisis is neither ethnic nor territorial. It's religious. ...

...Much the same goes with China's Christians. The regime has substituted its own Catholic hierarchy -- the Catholic Patriotic Association -- for Rome's since 1957, leading to endless friction between the Pope and the Communist Party. Similarly, Chinese Protestantism officially operates under the so-called "Three-Self Patriotic Movement" (the three "selfs" being self-governance, self-support and self-propagation), which in turn is regulated by the party. "The purpose of [the regime's] nominal degree of sympathy for Christianity is to indoctrinate and mobilize for Communist Party objectives," says journalist David Aikman, author of the 2003 book "Jesus in Beijing." "I've often joked that the most leftist people in China are members of the Three-Self Church." the rest
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CANA Bp. David Bena: 'Shadow' of litigation overcasts both houses
Episcopal Diocese of Virginia
3/18/2008

FAIRFAX--The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia recently completed its Annual Council amid raging controversy over the biblical teachings of the church and vicious litigation. A lot of people are getting hurt in this strife. So I read with interest the press releases and statements in the newspapers and blogs regarding what took place at the DOV Council.

Given what was said and what has been written about a group of churches known as the Anglican District of Virginia, I must spend a moment correcting the record. I must defend the members of ADV, as any shepherd would defend his flock against attack.

Overwhelming majorities of the ADV congregations exercised their American rights of freedom of religion, freedom of affiliation, and freedom of choice when they voted 14 months ago to separate from The Episcopal Church. Their referendum was based on the unfortunate reality that The Episcopal Church is on a prodigal course away from its Christian and Anglican roots.

Contrary to what the DOV has been saying publicly, many of the individuals who chose not to vote with the majority are still active members of ADV churches. Every week, in fact, these members worship and volunteer in ADV buildings. ADV churches continue to work together with Episcopal parishes, whether it's by holding funeral and wedding services, or by cooperating in ministry projects like the Lamb Center, a daytime homeless shelter in Fairfax County.
the rest

Study: God Relationship Not Most Important to Americans
By Jennifer Riley
Christian Post Reporter
Mon, Mar. 17 2008

America is a religious nation in the eyes of the world. But a new study revealed that the majority of Americans do not rank their relationship with God as the most important personal connection in their life.

Seven out of 10 American adults choose their earthly family over their Heavenly Father when asked to choose the most important relationship to them, according to a Barna study released Monday.

One-third said their entire nuclear family is most important, while nearly a quarter (22 percent) named their spouse and one-sixth (17 percent) pointed to their children. An additional three percent of American adults identified their parents as the most important relationship in their lives.

Only 19 percent, or nearly one out of every five adults, said their relationship with God, Jesus Christ, the Trinity, or Allah (specific names) is the most important in their life.
the rest

Go to church and pray if you want to be happy, say scientists

Australia: Children of a modern God
Peter Munro
March 16, 2008

Excerpt:
Empty pews are a common sight in Australia's established churches. The latest census found that just over half of 15 to 34-year-olds call themselves Christian, compared with 64% of all Australians and 79% of those aged over 65. Data tracing generation Y - those born from 1976 to 2001 - over the decade to 2006 as they began forging their own beliefs shows that about a third stopped identifying themselves as Catholic, while more than 40% turned from Anglicanism.

But it seems the long-documented drift from established religions has not left generation Y godless - or at least has not left it lacking in spirit. Experts suggest young Australians are increasingly embracing spirituality, whether in rebellion against their parents' secularism or as an antidote to rampant materialism.

Spirituality used to have a predominantly religious meaning, often referring to someone's relationship with God. Now it is used more broadly to denote a person's outlook and values, whether religious or not. And its rise among generation Y has prompted some who once spoke about the death of God to now contemplate something akin to a resurrection.

A study released in January found that almost a third of Australians aged 13-17 were non-believers. The three-year national study of spirituality among 1219 young people found that 31% had no religious beliefs. While almost half identified themselves as Christian, only 17% regularly practised their religion - almost as many who professed to New Age beliefs such as reincarnation and astrology. the rest

To encourage others: The canon-legal conundrum
By Fr. Tony Clavier
March 16, 2008

Excerpt: "No one deplores schism more than I. “I’ve been there, done that” as the saying goes. Nor do I suggest that there should not be serious consequences if someone, in what ever Order, willfully breaks our discipline. BUT I must say loudly that nothing has offended me more or sickened me -and that includes some actions of GC 2003- more than the activities of our leaders and their use of “law” during the past few months. There seems to be a ruthlessness, a bloodlessness, and a determination to proceed whatever our Canons may suggest, whether authority is clearly given or not, all because of a present crisis. The nearest parallel I can see is to be found in the post 9/11 activities of the present administration. This will come back to bite us."

Full Commentary

Monday, March 17, 2008

NY Gov. Paterson admits to sex with other woman for years
Monday, March 17th 2008

The thunderous applause was still ringing in his ears when the state's new governor, David Paterson, told the Daily News that he and his wife had extramarital affairs.

In a stunning revelation, both Paterson, 53, and his wife, Michelle, 46, acknowledged in a joint interview they each had intimate relationships with others during a rocky period in their marriage several years ago.

In the course of several interviews in the past few days, Paterson said he maintained a relationship for two or three years with "a woman other than my wife," beginning in 1999.
the rest

Why fearest thou then to take up the cross which leadeth to a kingdom? In the Cross is health, in the Cross is life, in the Cross is protection from enemies, in the Cross is heavenly sweetness, in the Cross strength of mind, in the Cross joy of the spirit, in the Cross the height of virtue, in the Cross perfection of holiness. There is no health of the soul, no hope of eternal life, save in the Cross. Take up therefore, thy cross and follow Jesus and thou shalt go into eternal life. He went before thee bearing His Cross and died for thee upon the Cross, that thou also mayest bear thy cross and mayest love to be crucified upon it. For if thou be dead with Him, thou shalt also live with Him, and if thou be a partaker of His sufferings thou shalt be also of His glory.
...Thomas à Kempis image

NYT: Gay Couples Say Civil Unions Aren’t Enough
By ALISON LEIGH COWAN
Published: March 17, 2008

Eager to celebrate their partnership, Tracy and Katy Weber Tierney were among the first in line when Connecticut created civil unions three years ago as a way to formalize same-sex relationships without using the word “marriage.”

But when Tracy was giving birth to their son, Jake, five months ago, a hospital employee inquired whether she was “married, single, divorced or widowed.”

“I’m in a civil union,” she replied. When the employee checked “single,” Tracy protested. “I’m actually more married than single,” she said, leaving the employee flustered about how to proceed.
the rest

Touchstone: Is Easter Too Scary for Preschoolers?
March 17, 2008


Jesus was dead, and I mean really dead, on a cross, but he's not anymore.

That's how my son Timothy, a few years ago when he was three, explained to neighbors why he was so excited about Easter. No one referred me to a therapist, or to a cognitive development seminar. Those around me didn't see the horror of what I was doing to my children. Neither did I.


We didn't know that the Gospel, like Ginsu knives and blood pressure medicine, ought to be kept out of the reach of small children.

At least that's what one church was told recently, by a publisher of children's Sunday school curricula, according to
Two Institutions, a blog about family and church matters.
The pastors at this church in Raleigh, North Carolina, were perplexed when they saw the Holy Week Sunday school lessons for preschoolers from
"First Look," the publisher of the one to five year-old Sunday school class materials. There wasn't a mention of the resurrection of Jesus. Naturally, the pastors inquired about the oversight. It turns out it was no oversight. the rest image

Political spokesman says media purposefully conceals Spitzer's party affiliation
Chad Groening
OneNewsNow
3/17/2008

Rich Noyes, spokesman for the Media Research Center, says the major television networks have gone out of their way to avoid identifying former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer as a Democrat, much like they have done with numerous past Democratic sex scandals.

When news of Spitzer's involvement with a high-dollar prostitution ring broke, the
Media Research Center found only one spoken reference to Spitzer being a Democrat during nine-and-a-half hours of coverage, which Noyes believes is yet another attempt by the media to hide the fact that the scandal involves a liberal Democrat. the rest

TLC: Commentary: Flaws in Misconduct Canons
March 17, 2008

Barring a tidal wave of negative letters being sent to the task force charged with rewriting The Episcopal Church’s “misconduct canons,” clergy and lay leaders may have to stop and ask themselves whether anyone might be offended before publishing a critical opinion piece or posting an edgy blog entry on the internet.

That’s because among the changes being proposed by the
Title IV Task Force II” are those that would expand the definition of conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy to include virtually any public criticism of the church and its policies, and others permitting misconduct complaints to be filed “in any manner and in any form.” The task force recently released a draft of its work. Public comment on the 40-page document concludes June 30. The task force’s final report will be submitted for consideration to the 76th General Convention in 2009.

In an interview with Episcopal News Service, Steve Hutchinson of Utah, chairman of the task force, said the group sought to move away from a criminal justice model. He said the group recognized “that a reconciliation model is more consistent with our theology,” and that it should consider other professional-misconduct models, such as the American Medical Association’s code. There is “an emphasis on pastoral resolution” at all stages, Mr. Hutchinson told ENS, yet there is also a requirement that any pastoral resolution between a bishop and priest or deacon be reviewed and approved “so that there’s not the appearance of fair or unfair allegations or sweetheart deals.”
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Learning from the Irish
By Chuck Colson
3/17/2008

The Creational Theology of the Celts

Although the mists of history hide much about St. Patrick, this much we do know: He was not even Irish. He was born in Roman Britain and kidnapped by Irish attackers. After escaping captivity, Patrick returned to Britain and became a priest, and later a bishop. He returned to Ireland 30 years later and, despite the danger, witnessed Christ among the Irish, converting thousands.

As Thomas Cahill describes in his outstanding book, How the Irish Saved Civilization, these barbaric warriors “lay down the swords of battle, flung away the knives of sacrifice, and cast away the chains of slavery.” Not only did the Irish save civilization, their zeal for Christ certainly saved the Church in Western Europe.
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Anglican Covenant 'not due to be implemented until 2015'
Monday, 17th March 2008
By: George Conger

THE ARCHBISHOP of Canterbury’s Anglican Covenant is not scheduled to be implemented until 2015, the Presiding Bishop of the Middle East and Jerusalem reports.

In a statement released following the Feb 29 to March 4 meeting of the joint standing committee of the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates, Bishop Mouneer Anis of Egypt stated he had “lost many of the hopes” he had had for preserving the Anglican Communion from collapse due to delay, obfuscation and mendacity.

A member of the primates’ joint standing committee, he described an institution trapped in a culture of bureaucratic inertia that saw “conversation” as an end in itself. Bishop Anis said he was “shocked” to hear from the staff of the ACC the Anglican Covenant would not be enacted until 2015.
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Court Will Examine Profanity Rules
Monday March 17, 2008
By Mark Sherman, Associated Press Writer

Supreme Court Will Review FCC Policy on Broadcast Profanity

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court on Monday stepped into a legal fight over the use of curse words on the airwaves, the high court's first major case on broadcast indecency in 30 years.
story

On the Matter of Deposing Bishops at a Time of Communion Self-Assessment
Written by The Anglican Communion Institute
Monday, 17 March 2008

The current public dispute over the canonical legality of the Episcopal Church's House of Bishops' recent vote to depose Bishops Schofield and Cox amounts at best to a severe embarrassment to the Presiding Bishop, her advisors, and the House itself; at worst, it exposes a travesty of Christian justice and prudence. How was it possible that the process and definition of terms demanded by the canons were not openly examined, discussed, and agreed upon prior to this vote, so as to avoid the prima facie plausible accusations now being made that appropriate consents were not in fact given? Indeed, given the intrinsic seriousness of the matter - the deposition of a bishop - and the overwrought character of the moment within both TEC and the Anglican Communion and within which the deposition process has unfolded, and the general ecclesiological stakes at play within the Communion at large that are caught up in this moment, it is simply unconscionable that such preparation was not carried through. Trust in the good will and/or good sense of our leadership is no longer just frayed; it has been torn asunder.

And the result of this dispute and the failures of good order leading up to it will inevitably be the further erosion of TEC's standing in the public's eye and in the Communion's councils. Although some will take this as vindication of their hostility towards TEC, it can only bring shame to the Christian gospel as a whole, given that the name of Christ is being abused in the process.
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Before Christ promised the Holy Spirit, He gave a new commandment, and about that new commandment He said wonderful things. One thing was: "Even as I have loved you, so love ye one another." To them His dying love was to be the only law of their conduct and fellowship with each other. What a message to those fishermen, to those men full of pride and selfishness!

"Learn to love each other," said Christ, "as I have loved you." And by the grace of God they did it. When Pentecost came, they were of one heart and one soul. Christ did it for them.

And now He calls us to live and to walk in love. He demands that though a man hate you, still you love him. True love cannot be conquered by anything in heaven or on earth. The more hatred there is, the more love triumphs through it all and shows its true nature. This is the love that Christ commanded His disciples to exercise.

What more did He say? "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another" (John 13:35).

You all know what it is to wear a badge. And Christ said to His disciples in effect: "I give you a badge, and that badge is love. That is to be your mark. It is the only thing in heaven or on earth by which men can know me." Do we not begin to fear that love has fled from the earth? That if we were to ask the world: "Have you seen us wear the badge of love?." the world would say: "No, what we have heard of the Church of Christ is that there is not a place where there is no quarreling and separation." Let us ask God with one heart that we may wear the badge of Jesus' love. God is able to give it. ...Andrew Murray
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EASTER MESSAGE FROM THE MOST REV IAN ERNEST - CAPA CHAIRMAN

The Lenten Season and the Celebration of Easter Strengthens our Faith in Jesus, our Lord and Saviour . St Paul in his letter to the Philippians inform us of who Christ is for us (Phil 2:6-11)


This faith in Jesus, the word incarnate is to be translated on our lives as individuals and as communities. God has given to us men and women his creation as in inheritance and we are called to respect it, transform it and build up the future .. my hope is that this Paschal Season will instill in us an urge to seek transformation and thus empower us to work towards the making up of a society based on gospel values.

CAPA the coordinating body for Anglican Provinces in Africa is no exception for as part of the Body of Christ, it has to seek perfection and sustenance in the way it serves the Mission of God in the continent of Africa. It is imperative that this coordinating body facilitates the edification of a church with living stones that will engage itself with determination and efficiency to uphold the continent of Africa as it faces its daily challenges.
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Bishop Mouneer Anis Reflections on the Joint Standing Committee (JSC)
29/02/08 - 04/03/08

By the time I finished the meetings of the JSC, I realised that I lost many of the hopes which I had before the meeting. Several friends discouraged me to attend the JSC meeting but I insisted to go as I don’t believe in withdrawal. Jesus is our best example in this regard. He spoke the truth boldly everywhere He went. Some accepted the truth, some refused and some wanted to murder Him, but He never stopped speaking the truth and meeting His friends as well as His enemies.
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Bishop Duncan Responds to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori
From TitusOneNine
March 17, 2008


Added: Letter from Bp. Duncan's lawyer to DB Beers

Gays to win marriage rights
The Norwegian government put forth a long-expected gay marriage bill on Friday, clearing the way for homosexual couples to secure the same marriage rights as heterosexuals.

Monday March 17 2008

Norway already has a so-called "partnership law" that has allowed homosexuals to form legal domestic partnerships. Now they likely will be able to marry, with all the rights that entails, since the government has a majority in parliament and the law is expected to win approval.
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Vatican plans to open church in Saudi Arabia
By Malcolm Moore in Rome
17/03/2008

Archbishop Mounged El-Hachem, the papal envoy to Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Yemen and the United Arab Emirates said talks had started a few weeks ago, in the wake of King Abdullah’s visit to Pope Benedict last November.


Currently, all Saudi citizens are required by law to be Muslim, and the Mutaween, or religious police, strictly prohibits the public practice of non-Muslim religions.


However, the Vatican’s relationship with the Muslim world is improving rapidly, and Qatar opened its first Catholic church on Sunday. the rest

First Catholic Church Opens in Qatar, Sparking Fear of Backlash Against Christians

Albert Mohler: ON FAITH -- Character and Leadership
Posted: Monday, March 17, 2008

The editors of
The Washington Post and Newsweek asked the On Faith panel to answer this question: What does the Eliot Spitzer scandal say about our public and private morality? Should he have resigned?

My column on this question was posted Friday. You can read the complete article here. In the article I argued that Americans may not have a complete or consistent sense of how this works, but there is no doubt that the public sees a connection between character and leadership -- and we should be glad this is the case." the rest

Obama Attended Hate America Sermon
Sunday, March 16, 2008
By: Ronald Kessler

Obama claims he was completely unaware that the Reverend Wright’s trademark preaching style at the Trinity United Church of Christ targeted “white” America.

Contrary to Senator Barack Obama’s claim that he never heard his pastor Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. preach hatred of America, Obama was in the pews last July 22 when the minister blamed the “white arrogance” of America’s Caucasian majority for the world’s suffering, especially the oppression of blacks.

Senator Obama has sought to separate himself from his pastor’s incendiary remarks, issuing a statement Friday rejecting them as “inflammatory and appalling” but failing to renounce Wright himself for his venomous and paranoid denunciations of America.
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Sunday, March 16, 2008

The heart of Christianity is the Bible, the heart of the Bible is the cross and the heart of the cross is the very heart of God. Inscribed upon the cross we see in shining letters. "God is love". The Lamb who died upon the tree has bought mercy from above. ...Anonymous image

ENS: Presiding Bishop preaches in Jerusalem, shares in Palm Sunday celebrations
Anglican Bishop Suheil Dawani welcomes Jefferts Schori to the Holy Land
By Matthew Davies, March 16, 2008

[Episcopal News Service] Marking the annual Palm Sunday celebrations and the start of a week-long visit to the Holy Land, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori made Anglican history on March 16 becoming the first woman ever to preach at St. George's Cathedral in Jerusalem.

[An audio stream of the Presiding Bishop's sermon is available
here. The full text is available here.]

The Presiding Bishop's visit to the Holy Land comes at the invitation of the Rt. Rev. Suheil Dawani, who was consecrated Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem in January 2006.
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Clock is ticking for fate of Bishop Duncan
American Episcopal bishops to be polled

Saturday, March 15, 2008
By Steve Levin, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The leader of the Episcopal Church will poll bishops nationally next month in an effort to move the possible deposition of Pittsburgh Bishop Robert W. Duncan Jr. ahead to May.

While Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori's reasons have not been made public, the impact of accelerating the deposition could be far reaching not only for Bishop Duncan but the entire worldwide Anglican Communion.

If the Episcopal Church's House of Bishops were to depose Bishop Duncan -- essentially defrocking him for abandoning the communion of the church for his efforts to move the Pittsburgh diocese out of the American church to a more conservative province within the worldwide Anglican Communion -- then the Archbishop of Canterbury would have to decide whether to disinvite him to this summer's once-a-decade meeting in Lambeth, England of all bishops in the worldwide church.
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Vicar attacked for 'being a Christian' after hate campaign by yobs who claimed his church 'should be a mosque'
By AMANDA PERTHEN and RHODRI PHILLIPS
16th March 2008


A vicar was in hospital last night after being attacked in his churchyard by two youths in what is being treated as a 'faith hate' crime. the rest

Royal college warns abortions can lead to mental illness
Sarah-Kate Templeton, Health Editor
March 16, 2008

Women may be at risk of mental health breakdowns if they have abortions, a medical royal college has warned. The Royal College of Psychiatrists says women should not be allowed to have an abortion until they are counselled on the possible risk to their mental health.

This overturns the consensus that has stood for decades that the risk to mental health of continuing with an unwanted pregnancy outweighs the risks of living with the possible regrets of having an abortion.

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"You say that I am a king. John 18:37

Psalm 145
A psalm of praise. Of David.

1 I will exalt you, my God the King;
I will praise your name for ever and ever.

2 Every day I will praise you
and extol your name for ever and ever.

3 Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;
his greatness no one can fathom.

4 One generation will commend your works to another;
they will tell of your mighty acts.

5 They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and I will meditate on your wonderful works.

6 They will tell of the power of your awesome works,
and I will proclaim your great deeds.

7 They will celebrate your abundant goodness
and joyfully sing of your righteousness.

8 The LORD is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and rich in love.

9 The LORD is good to all;
he has compassion on all he has made.

10 All you have made will praise you, O LORD;
your saints will extol you.

11 They will tell of the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your might,

12 so that all men may know of your mighty acts
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.

13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
The LORD is faithful to all his promises
and loving toward all he has made.

14 The LORD upholds all those who fall
and lifts up all who are bowed down.

15 The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food at the proper time.

16 You open your hand
and satisfy the desires of every living thing.

17 The LORD is righteous in all his ways
and loving toward all he has made.

18 The LORD is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.

19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;
he hears their cry and saves them.

20 The LORD watches over all who love him,
but all the wicked he will destroy.

21 My mouth will speak in praise of the LORD.
Let every creature praise his holy name
for ever and ever. image