Saturday, May 03, 2008

Devotional: Jesus, my all, to Heaven is gone...

Jesus, my all, to Heaven is gone,
He Whom I fix my hopes upon;
His track I see, and I’ll pursue
The narrow way, till Him I view.
The way the holy prophets went,
The road that leads from banishment,
The King’s highway of holiness,
I’ll go, for all His paths are peace.

This is the way I long have sought,
And mourned because I found it not;
My grief a burden long has been,
Because I was not saved from sin.
The more I strove against its power,
I felt its weight and guilt the more;
Till late I heard my Savior say,
“Come hither, soul, I am the Way.”

Lo! Glad I come; and Thou, blest Lamb,
Shalt take me to Thee, as I am;
Nothing but sin have I to give;
Nothing but love shall I receive.
Then will I tell to sinners round,
What a dear Savior I have found;
I’ll point to Thy redeeming blood,
And say, “Behold the way to God.”
...John Cen­nick image

Pastoral Letter: The Rt Revd David Anderson

Letter at Anglican Mainstream

Pope meets Iranian delegation

May 3, 2008

VATICAN CITY (Middle East Online) -- Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday met an Iranian Muslim delegation taking part in a seminar on “faith and reason” in Christianity and Islam, the Vatican said.

The delegation was led by the head of Iran’s Islamic Culture and Relations Organization, Mahdi Mostafavi, the Holy See said in a communiqué.

The pope was “especially pleased with the choice of theme” for the seminar, co-led by Mostafavi and Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue.

The participants issued a joint statement afterward saying that “faith and reason are both gifts of God to mankind” and “intrinsically non-violent.” the rest

Benedict's Cat

Cat Lovers Appreciate Soul Mate in Vatican
By Andy Newman
Published: April 21, 2008

Excerpt:
Benedict’s kindness toward the strays of Rome is already the stuff of Vatican legend. His house in Germany, its garden guarded by a cat statue, was filled with cats when Benedict lived there full time before he was posted to the Vatican in 1982.

And Benedict is, without a doubt, the first pope to have had an authorized biography of him written by a cat — Chico, a ginger tabby who lives across the road from Benedict’s old house in Germany.

“I think it shows a sensitive side, and I believe it shows that God lives in a person,” Ms. Fredericks said Friday. “I think all leaders should have compassion for animals.” the rest image

A surprising Cat-holic bestseller!

Joseph and Chico: The Life of Pope Benedict XVI as Told by a Cat

Statement by the Church of the Province of West Africa on the state of the Anglican Communion

ACNS
May 2, 2008

The Church of the Province of West Africa (Anglican Communion) meeting in Douala, Cameroon, on the 11th day of April, in the year of our Lord, Two Thousand and Eight, having considered very carefully, among other pressing and very important issues, the current general state of the Anglican Commuion in the light of same – sex relationship receiving official recognition and approval by some dioceses and provinces, an issue which is seriously threatening the unity of the Communion, do hereby make the following statement:

1 i. That we are resolved to continue to be in communion with the See of Canterbury as we unequivocally and unambiguously remain in the Anglican Communion.

ii. In this regard, we reiterate the resolution of Anglican Consultative Council, Hong Kong, August 2002 in response to Archbishop George Carey’s urging that dioceses “that are considering matters of faith and doctrine that could affect the unity of the Communion to consult widely in their provinces, and beyond before final decisions are made or action is taken.”

iii. We affirm the importance of showing concern and regard to the rest of the Communion.

2. We, however, out rightly condemn and reject the unacceptable action of some of the members of the Communion in the blessing and formal acceptance of same-sex marriages and relationships, the appointment, election and ordination to ecclesiastical offices of those persons who openly admit and declare that they are homosexuals and lesbians (cf Romans 1:26-27). That such practices of some of the members of our Communion do exist and that they are to be treated pastorally, we deny not. However, that they be given official recognition and acceptance by the Church of God as a standard form of life is quite another stand which we cannot and dare not accept. the rest

Schori's GC 2006 Sermon Revisited

In the summer of 2006 immediately following the General Convention, Raymond Dague took the first sermon of the presiding bishop-elect, Katherine Jefferts Schori, and penned an analysis. Reading Mrs. Schori's sermon with Raymond Dague's commentary, now almost two years later, is very interesting. Especially in light of the events of the last few days and the various articles which have appeared online concerning the PB, her sermon and Dague's commentary is worth re-reading.

Text of Schori's Sermon

Presiding Bishop-elect Katharine Jefferts Schori preached the homily at the Closing Eucharist June 21 at General Convention in Columbus, Ohio. The text of Jefferts Schori's homily follows:
Homily preached at the General Convention's Closing Eucharist
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
The Right Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori

Colossians 1:11-20
Canticle 18
John 18:33-37

With commentary by Raymond Dague in italics in red.

This last Sunday morning I woke very early, while it was still dark. I wanted to go for a run, but I had to wait until there was enough light to see. When the dawn finally began, I ventured out. It was warm, and still, and very quiet, and the clouds were just beginning to show tinges of pink. I ran by the back of the Hyatt just as two workers were coming out one of the service doors. They were startled, I'm afraid, but I nodded at them, and they responded. I went west over the freeway, and encountered a man I'd seen here in the Convention Center. Neither of us stopped, but we did say a quiet good morning. Then I found a lovely green park, and started around it. There was a man with a reflective vest, standing in the street by some orange cones, as though he were waiting for a run or a parade to begin. I said good morning, and he responded in kind. Around the corner I came to a bleary-eyed fellow with several bags who looked like he'd just risen from sleeping rough. I said good morning to him too, but I must admit I went past him in the street instead of on the sidewalk. Then I met a rabbit hopping across the sidewalk, and though we didn't use words, one of us eyed the other with more than a bit of wariness. Around another corner, a woman was delivering Sunday papers from her car. She was wary too, and didn't get out of her car with the next paper until I was a long way past her. Back over the freeway, and a block later, two guys seemingly on their early way to work. We nodded at each other.

As I returned to my hotel, I reflected on all those meetings. There was some degree of wariness in most of them. There were small glimpses of a reconciled world in our willingness to greet each other. But the unrealized possibility of a real relationship -- whether in response of wariness, or caution, or fear -- meant that we still had a very long way to go.

Can we dream of a world where all creatures, human and not, can meet each other in a stance that is not tinged with fear?

Commentary: What was all of this about, except to tell us that she goes for a jog in the morning? Does the previous paragraph above create an equality of humans and animals? Somehow she seems to commune with the rabbit every bit as much as she does the humans she meets on her run. Very weird! Also, she reads “wariness, or caution, or fear” into her encounters with these “creatures” (people as well as the rabbit) in a very odd way. Your commentator is a long distance runner, and I have never sensed such a “wariness, or caution, or fear” in the “creatures” I have encountered on my many runs. Most people have seen runners before, and I bet that even the rabbits have too. I for one have never had any meaningful communication with rabbits on my runs.

When Jesus says that his kingdom is not of this world, he is saying that his rule is not based on the ability to generate fear in his subjects. A willingness to go to the cross implies a vulnerability so radical, so fundamental, that fear has no impact or import. The love he invites us to imitate removes any possibility of reactive or violent response. King Jesus' followers don't fight back when the world threatens. Jesus calls us friends, not agents of fear.

What an odd notion! When he says, “My kingdom is not of this world,” he does not mean this. What does “his rule is not based on the ability to generate fear” have to do with what Jesus says about whether his kingdom is in this world or the next? Notice how she constantly juxtaposes love and fear. She also contrasts Jesus love with “any possibility of reactive or violent response.” This develops the “fear” theme of the feelings she had on her morning jog. This is very odd. Is this a not-so-subtle jab at some supposed violent homophobic views of the conservatives? Other than that possible interpretation, why is fear repeated as the opposite of love? Is this woman reacting against many fears in her own life?

If you and I are going to grow in all things into Christ, if we're going to grow up into the full stature of Christ, if we are going to become the blessed ones God called us to be while we were still in our mothers' wombs, our growing will need to be rooted in a soil of internal peace. Sounds like she is pro-life here. Will she take us out of the Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights, or is this just sentimental talk about being “blessed ones God called us to be while we were still in our mothers' wombs”? We'll have to claim the confidence of souls planted in the overwhelming love of God, a love so abundant, so profligate, given with such unwillingness to count the cost, that we, too, are caught up into a similar abandonment. God’s “overwhelming,” “abundant,” and “profligate” love. These thoughts are fine so long as it is used with God’s requirements for us. I assume that some talk about “sin” might soon pop up in this sermon.

That full measure of love, pressed down and overflowing, drives out our idolatrous self-interest. Because that is what fear really is -- it is a reaction, an often unconscious response to something we think is so essential that it takes the place of God. "Oh, that's mine and you can't take it, because I can't live without it" -- whether it's my bank account or theological framework or my sense of being in control. If you threaten my self-definition, I respond with fear. Unless, like Jesus, we can set aside those lesser goods, unless we can make "peace through the blood of the cross." Here again comes up the “fear” as a contrast to what Jesus is about.

That bloody cross brings new life into this world. Colossians calls Jesus the firstborn of all creation, the firstborn from the dead. That sweaty, bloody, tear-stained labor of the cross bears new life. Here she speaks of the cross and Jesus’ blood. Maybe we will see a good exegesis of the Gospel message. Let’s keep reading. Our mother Jesus gives birth to a new creation -- and you and I are His children. Mother Jesus!? Why is this thrown in here? Does she develop any theme for which this appellation might make sense? Let’s read on. If we're going to keep on growing into Christ-images for the world around us, we're going to have to give up fear. Nope! Just more talk about fear. Somebody really ought to have a talk with her about her fears. Either that, or she thinks someone else has an awful lot of fears, or both. Also, this Colossians passage has nothing to do with what she is talking about. Did she pay attention to the reading of the day? And what does “mother Jesus” have to do with any of this? Quite apart from some possible desire to provoke, it just does not fit into the flow of any thoughts she is seeking to develop.

What do the godly messengers say when they turn up in the Bible? "Fear not." "Don't be afraid." "God is with you." "You are God's beloved, and God is well-pleased with you." Yeah, the Angel of the Lord often says “fear not,” but then he goes on to a substantive message. The “godly messengers” told those who they encountered not to fear, because like Isaiah in Chapter 6, he knew that his sin in the presence of a Holy God gives him great reason to fear were it not for the mercy of God by His unilateral act to take away the sin of those in God’s holy presence. Other than "You are God's beloved, and God is well-pleased with you" where is the substantive message? Any demands or requests of us from God? Not in this sermon, other than the fear theme, which again comes up again and again. Not only is there an odd theme of “fear” which does not fit with any biblical text, she ignores the real reason why people are told by an angel not to fear: because God has acted through Jesus Christ to take away our sin and hence reconciled us to a Holy God who sinners would otherwise rightly fear.

When we know ourselves beloved of God, we can begin to respond in less fearful ways. More fear. This lady has got issues! It is not because we are “beloved of God” that we need not fear him; it is because God takes away our sin. When we know ourselves beloved, we can begin to recognize the beloved in a homeless man, or rhetorical opponent, (“rhetorical opponent?” – I assume she means we conservatives) or a child with AIDS. When we know ourselves beloved, we can even begin to see and reach beyond the defense of others. What is the “defense of others” all about? I thought that to defend others, like the widow, orphan and downtrodden was a good thing. Does she imply that it is not?

Our invitation, both in the last work of this Convention, and as we go out into the world, is to lay down our fear and love the world. Fear again contrasted with love. Is this the sum and substance of the Christian message for her? Lay down our sword and shield, and seek out the image of God's beloved in the people we find it hardest to love. What is “our sword and shield”? She does not seem to be using the Biblical references of Ephesians 6:13-17. What does this mean? Lay down our narrow self-interest, and heal the hurting and fill the hungry and set the prisoners free. Lay down our need for power and control, and bow to the image of God's beloved in the weakest, the poorest, and the most excluded. She has not developed these themes, and her constant mention of fear makes me wonder how this fits in here. What does it mean to “bow to the image of God’s beloved” in others?

We children can continue to squabble over the inheritance. Is this what she thinks GC2006 was doing, since she wrote and delivered this sermon at the Convention Eucharist? If so, what does she give us to stop our “continu[ing] to squabble over the inheritance”? Nothing, other than her invocations against “fear.” Or we can claim our name and heritage as God's beloveds and share that name, beloved, with the whole world.

This sermon makes no serious attempt to exegete the scriptures. The one scriptural reference is to Colossians, but her mention of it has no connection to what is actually in the text of Colossians 1:11-20 which was the reading for this liturgy. No wonder she so quickly drifted into the goofy “Mother Jesus” phrase when she was so focused on fear and so disconnected with the scriptures. What is the Gospel message here? I see nothing about sin, atonement, resurrection, a striving for holiness, or anything else which is characteristic of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.


This sermon has engendered much attention for the “mother Jesus” phrase which she used. It was, upon scrutiny, an random inflammatory comment having little to do with the central message she gave. But what is her central message? The homily, the first which she gave as the newly elected PB, sets forth what she considers significant for the church. The subject of Fear verses Love with the suggestion to eschew the former and embrace the later? If this is the sum and substance of the new presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, the “mother Jesus” comment is the least of her difficulties with orthodox Anglican Christianity.

Jesus said, “perfect love casts out fear,” but this can only be understood in the context of the essential Gospel message which says, “repent, and believe in the Gospel.” If fear and love are the two polar opposite points in the theology of Katharine Jefferts Schori, there is strong reason to believe that the blessing of same-sex unions is the least of this bishop’s difficulties as she takes on the leadership of the American church. She expressed after the General Convention her support for the millennium development goals (in effect, the elimination of global poverty by churches giving 0.7% of their gross receipts to international charitable causes) as the essence of what the Gospel is about for her. She should re-read the New Testament, and listen to the words of Jesus in response to the indignation of Judas that the expensive ointment was being wasted on Jesus when it could have been sold to give to the poor. “The poor will always be with you,” Jesus said. So much for the elimination of global poverty being what the Gospel is really about. Is this really the central message of the Gospel, Bishop Katherine? If so, heaven help the lost sheep of the Episcopal Church. Bishop Schori,... you have missed the boat, and are charting a course for this church which takes it into the very troubled waters of unfocused confusion at best, and a wholesale departure from the Gospel at worst. I fear the worst, ma’am.

AnglicanTV: Archbishop Venables delivers sermon to Diocese of San Joaquin

Here

Also: Archbishop Venables teaches about Anglicanism-
Video here

Arrest made in alleged scam targeting Christians

Gillian Flaccus
Associated Press Writer
5/3/2008

SANTA ANA, Calif. - Federal authorities have arrested a man accused of running an investment scheme that netted more than $25 million by targeting Christian investors nationwide.

Jon G. Ervin, 61, of Mission Viejo, was arrested Friday on a charge of wire fraud. He later appeared in federal court, where he was ordered held on $1 million bail.

Ervin's public defender, Leon Peterson, didn't immediately return a call seeking comment.

Ervin was named Thursday in a criminal complaint filed in federal court. The same day, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission filed lawsuits against Ervin and his company, Safevest LLC, and obtained federal orders freezing their assets. the rest

Kids Say, “Enough with the ‘Gay’ Stuff!”

5/1/2008
By J. Matt Barber

Excerpt:
Consider that during DOS [Day of Silence], many kids who hold time-honored traditional values relative to sexual morality (i.e., that human sexuality is a gift from God to be shared between husband and wife within the bonds of marriage) are frequently and ironically tagged as “hateful,” “bigoted” and “homophobic.” (Who’s doing the bullying?)

But this year, something extraordinary happened on the way to the brainwashing. Kids at schools all over the country stood tall and said, “Enough is enough!” Untold thousands of students participated in a peaceful, pro-family counter effort called the “Day of Silence Walkout.”
In unyielding defense of God’s design for natural human sexuality, marriage and family, these gutsy kids stayed home from school on DOS (with their parents’ permission) and let school officials know why. Some of them even participated in peaceful prayer rallies outside school in support of sexual morality and purity. the rest image

'Gays' shut down discussion of faith: Mohler vs. Robinson

Psychiatrists pull symposium on 'The Religious Dimension'
Posted: May 02, 2008
By Bob Unruh
© 2008 WorldNetDaily

A discussion on religion, homosexuality and therapy that had been scheduled during the American Psychiatric Association's annual meeting in Washington has been shut down following an attack by a "gay" publication on some of the people planning to participate.

The symposium called "Homosexuality and Therapy: The Religion Dimension," had been in the plans for months at the APA convention in Washington, and was to feature advocates for homosexuality including New Hampshire Bishop Gene Robinson of the Episcopal church and was to be moderated by Harvard psychiatrist John Peteet.

Others scheduled to be on the podium included Grove City College professor Warren Throckmorton, who has studied related issues intensively, and Rev. Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. the rest

Editorial: The Inevitable Triumph of the Pro-Life Position

We must prepare ourselves for the real work of building a culture of life and civilization of love, a new society. The end of Roe is not the end of the struggle.
By Deacon Keith Fournier
5/3/2008

LOS ANGELES (Catholic Online) - It has been thirty five years since that infamous U.S. Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade.

With the stroke of a judicial pen, unelected Justices consigned an entire class of persons, children in the first home of the whole human race (their mothers womb), to the status of property.

Like millions, I have prayed, marched and worked tirelessly to overturn this horrid decision and end the killing. As a human rights lawyer I went to the U.S. Supreme Court to defend pro-life protestors. I still try to join the thousands annually who travel to Washington, D.C. to pray and stand in solidarity with children in the womb and the second victims, their mothers.

The right to life is the fundamental human rights issue of our age because without it there are no other rights. It is also the great freedom movement of our day because without the freedom to be born, there are no other freedoms. the rest image

A Methodism to the madness

GetReligion
Saturday, May 3, 2008

It never ceases to amaze me how much media coverage of denominational politics we get for The Episcopal Church vis-a-vis all other denominations. It seems like every time an Episcopal clergyman sneezes, it’s worthy of massive coverage. But a major church body — the United Methodist Church — holds its quadrennial convention in Fort Worth over the last two weeks and we get nothing. Or at least something close to nothing.

I subscribe to every denominational press out there. The United Methodist News Service has been deluging its subscribers with stories. The press service for the church body is amazingly liberal, politically speaking. They ran a story this week attacking evangelical activists and traditionalists for caucusing with the also-evangelical and conservative African delegation. The conservative activists had supplied African delegates with cell phones to help coordinate efforts. the rest

Episcopalian Split Comes Down To Locked Groton Church

By ELIZABETH HAMILTON
Courant Staff Writer
May 3, 2008

When the Rev. David Cannon, the priest-in-charge of Bishop Seabury Church in Groton, showed up to start his job two weeks ago, he walked around the outside of the building, trying every door. All locked.

He could hear people moving around inside, so he knocked. No answer.

Eventually, Cannon found his way to the office building, adjacent to the church, where he called out for the Rev. Ronald Gauss, who still heads the parish in defiance of Episcopal officials. The two men have known each other for many years — were on friendly terms, even — and Gauss knew why Cannon was there, but that didn't make this any easier.

Cannon was there to take over Gauss' church — and Gauss was having none of it. the rest

Recent U.S. Trip Hints at Benedict's Softer Side

During recent trip to U.S., Pope Benedict Showed Gentler Side
By MARY PFLUM and STEPHANIE DAHLE
May 2, 2008

After Pope Benedict XVI's wildly successful U.S. tour, many Catholics are rethinking their views of the leader. Even Vatican insiders are examining a new side of Benedict.

During his recent visit, Benedict showed a side the public had never seen before. He became the first pope to visit an American synagogue and noticeably doted on babies.

Most unexpectedly, Benedict repeatedly apologized for the priest sexual abuse scandal and even met with five of the victims in a private session.

"I think that people that were expecting him to be the disciplinarian that he had been before are very surprised," said the Rev. James Martin, associate editor of America Magazine. "I think this is the real Benedict." the rest

Friday, May 02, 2008

Manchester report: the conclusions summarised

Pat Ashworth digests the new report on women bishops
2 May, 2008

THE CHURCH of England must decide once and for all whether it wants to continue accommodating those who cannot accept the priestly ministry of women, says the report of the Legislative Drafting Group, under the chairmanship of the Bishop of Manchester.

The Synod has agreed by significant majorities in all three Houses to the basic principle of admitting women to the episcopate, and this report is concerned with how that might proceed.

It states: “The shape of legislation on women bishops turns crucially on how determined members of General Synod are tostretch as far as is theologically and ecclesiologically possible in order to accommodate the widest possible breadth of theological convictions.” the rest

Women bishops: choose path you want, says group

Why many evangelicals are attracted to that strange thing called liturgy

A Deeper Relevance
Mark Galli
5/02/2008

Excerpt:
"In this regard, the liturgy is more relevant than we can imagine, because it's a place where God is taken seriously, and therefore where we are taken seriously. A liturgical service is by no means the only service that does this, but it is a form of worship that is especially suited to not getting distracted. The Anglican liturgy I participate in begins and ends like this:

Celebrant: Blessed be God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
People: And blessed be his kingdom, now and forever.

Deacon: Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
People: Thanks be to God.

The liturgy, from beginning to end, is not about meeting our needs. The liturgy is about God. It's not even about God-as-the-fulfiller-of-our-need-for-spiritual-meaning. It's about God as he is himself: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is not about our blessedness but his. The liturgy immediately signals that our needs are not nearly as relevant as we imagine. There is something infinitely more worthy of our attention—something, someone, who lies outside the self.

the rest-Excellent! image

First Things: Benedict and the Human Face of God

By Richard John Neuhaus
Friday, May 2, 2008

Excerpt:
Benedict is relentless in his critique of every form of nominalism, voluntarism, and a naked command-theory of morality. This has everything to do with his “controversial” comments on Islam at Regensburg University in September 2006. It was said that this was a sharp departure from the more irenic approach of John Paul II, but the questions put to Islam by the latter in his best-selling book, Crossing the Threshold of Hope, are every bit as incisive as what was said at Regensburg. The Christian understanding of God is not that of an omnipotent deity handing down commands from on high, but that of God’s emptying himself of glory (kenosis) in order to become one with his human creatures, inviting and enabling us to be lifted up by participation in his eternal life. In other words, incarnation; in other words, “the human face of God.”

This theme is nicely caught in Ratzinger’s remarks, a few months before he was elected pope, at the funeral of Luigi Giussani, the founder of Community and Liberation. “Christianity is not an intellectual system, a collection of dogmas, or a moral system. Christianity is an encounter, a love story, an event.” Of course nobody is more assiduous in defending the intellectual and doctrinal tradition of the Church, including moral doctrine, but the point is that all of that only coheres in the encounter with the human face of God, Jesus Christ.

This encounter is not simply a private spiritual experience of “knowing Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.” The Christ encountered is the logos—the word and reason that is both the source and reason of all that is. It is an intensely personal encounter but never just a private encounter. The revelation of God in Christ is emphatically public. As he said at the Washington meeting with leaders of other religions, “Christianity proposes Jesus of Nazareth.” And at the United Nations, he underscored that the Christian cannot divest himself of faith in this great truth—or stifle his witness to this great truth—in order to gain admission to the public square. All religions and worldviews are, whether they explicitly recognize Christ or not, informed to a greater or lesser degree by the logos that makes possible, through the exercise of the gift of reason, a measure of common understanding pertinent to the right ordering of our life together. the rest image

Muslim rebels occupy Philippine village, sending Christian settlers fleeing

The Associated Press
May 2, 2008

COTABATO, Philippines: More than a thousand mostly Christian settlers fled their southern Philippine farming village after about 300 armed Muslim rebels occupied their land, the guerrillas and a mayor said Friday.

Moro Islamic Liberation Front guerrillas entered the coastal village of Sangay in Kalamansig township on Wednesday, demanding food and confiscating rice recently harvested by the villagers, Kalamansig Mayor Rolando Garcia said.

The rebels told the frightened villagers to leave, sending them fleeing to Kalamansig town some three hours away by boat, Garcia told reporters. Kalamansig is in Sultan Kudarat province. the rest

Orthodox Anglicans ordain five priests in Ohio (CANA)

Bishops celebrate 'a sign of new life'
Pastors hope someday to start new churches

By Colette M. Jenkins Beacon Journal religion writer
Friday, May 02, 2008

A local leader of Orthodox Anglicans who have broken away from the Episcopal Church USA is calling Thursday's ordination of five priests ''a sign of new life'' in the American church of the Anglican Communion.

''It's another step in increasing the reality of another Anglican jurisdiction. These men are the fruit of the realignment of the Anglican Communion in America,'' said Bishop Roger Ames.

Ames is also rector at St. Luke's Anglican Church, 565 S. Cleveland-Massillon Road, Fairlawn, where the ordination took place.

Ames and Bishop Frank Lyons of Bolivia presided over the ordination of five former deacons who are expected to plant new churches for the Convocation of Anglicans in North America.
The organization is made up of theologically conservative parishes that have broken away from the Episcopal Church. CANA was formed in 2005 by the Anglican Church in Nigeria, the largest province in the global communion. the rest

Anglican Church of Canada Loses Prominent Theologian over its "Poisonous Liberalism"

By Hilary White

VANCOUVER, April 30, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Anglican Church of Canada has lost another prominent member due to its "poisonous liberalism" which holds homosexuality in high esteem but increasingly marginalizes Christian morality and scriptural tradition.

James Innell Packer, a British-born Canadian theologian in the Calvinistic or Evangelical Anglican tradition, has announced that he will be aligning himself with the groups of Anglicans who have left the jurisdiction of the ultra-liberal Anglican Church of Canada and are seeking episcopal oversight from more traditional wings of the Anglican Church.

On April 23, Dr. Packer handed in his clergy licence to Canadian Bishop Michael Ingham, the bishop of New Westminster, who had already declared him and ten other clergy to be guilty of "abandoning" their ministry. Dr. Packer told a meeting of the Anglican Network this week that he could no longer serve in ministry under Bishop Ingham.

He told a conference of 400 orthodox Anglicans this week, "It seems to me that in a situation where arguably, elected bishops become heretical, what is the divine answer to that, there must be possibility for realignment for the faithful where heresy, doctrinal and moral is approved." the rest

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Devotional on the Ascension: The Lord always hears our voice...

The Ascension of Christ means that he no longer belongs to the world of corruption and death, which conditions our life. It means that he belongs completely to God. He, the eternal Son, has taken our human being to the presence of God; he has taken with him flesh and blood in a transfigured form. Man finds a place in God through Christ; the human being has been taken into the very life of God. And, given that God embraces and sustains the whole cosmos, the Lord's Ascension means that Christ has not gone far away from us, but that now, thanks to the fact he is with the Father, he is close to each one of us forever. Each one of us may address him familiarly; each one may turn to him. The Lord always hears our voice. We may distance ourselves inwardly from him. We can live with our backs turned to him, but he always awaits us, and is always close to us. ...Benedict XVI image

Church Times: Venables licenses 30

by Bill Bowder
2 May, 2008

MORE than 30 clergy received licences to serve in the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC) from the Presiding Bishop of the Southern Cone, the Most Revd Greg Venables, on Saturday at a ceremony in South Delta Baptist Church, Vancouver.

The 29 priests and four deacons have left the Anglican Church of Canada and put themselves under the archiepiscopal authority of the Southern Cone because of the disagreement with the Canadian Church over homosexuality.

British-born Bishop Venables, who is 58, also commissioned two Canadian bishops: the retired Bishop of Brandon, the Rt Revd Malcolm Harding, and the former Bishop of Eastern Newfoundland & Labrador, the Rt Revd Donald Harvey, who will be the Moderator of ANiC.
the rest plus a wonderful picture!

Anglican Communion Institute: Presentment Memorandum Regarding PB Jefferts Schori

MEMORANDUM TO: Working Group
April 21, 2008
FROM: [Redacted]
RE: Canonical Violations

This memorandum evaluates whether the Presiding Bishop has violated the constitution and canons of The Episcopal Church and what procedures would be applicable for charging her with a presentable offense. This memorandum identifies at least eleven violations of TEC's constitution and canons by the Presiding Bishop in her dealings with Bishops Cox, Schofield and Duncan and the Diocese of San Joaquin. Taken together, these actions demonstrate willful violation of the canons, an intention to repeat the violations and a pattern of concealment and lack of candor. In the case of DSJ, the fundamental polity of TEC as a "fellowship of duly constituted dioceses" under the ecclesiastical authority of the diocesan bishop has been subverted. The memorandum then addresses the procedural requirements for filing charges against the Presiding Bishop.

The rest at ACI

Comments at Stand Firm

Methodists Reject Changes to Gay Stance, Oppose Homophobia

By Audrey Barrick
Christian Post Reporter
Thu, May. 01 2008

After a lengthy debate, United Methodists voted Wednesday to reject changes to its constitution that would have liberalized the church's stance on homosexuality.

Delegates to the 2008 General Conference, the denomination's highest governing body, voted against a proposed "majority report" which would have acknowledged that members of the United Methodist Church "deeply disagree with one another" on the issue of homosexuality.
the rest

The Presiding Bishop of TEC: Does She Know What She Is Doing?

by Rev. Dr. Philip Turner
Thursday, 01 May 2008

Three events in the recent past have posed a serious question. Does the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church (TEC) know what she is doing? The possible answers to this question have raised even greater concern than the question itself. For, I have concluded, if, on the one hand, she does not know what she is doing then TEC is without effective leadership at perhaps the most crucial time in its history. If, on the other hand, she does know what she is doing, she is leading TEC in directions for which she has no warrant.

To be specific, her decline of an invitation to greet the Pope on his present visit calls into question her understanding of the office of Presiding Bishop. The canonical irregularities surrounding the specially called convention in the Diocese of San Joaquin and the actions to depose Bishops Cox, Schofield and Duncan raise questions about the way in which she understands and deploys the Constitution and Canons of TEC. Finally, her Easter Message to TEC raises a question about the adequacy of her grasp of the Christian Gospel. the rest image

Philip Turner: A Self-Defining Moment for the Anglican Communion

By Craig Uffman
May 1, 2008

A Comment on the St. Andrew’s Draft of the Anglican Covenant

I

A second iteration of a draft covenant for the Anglican Communion (the St. Andrew’s Draft) is now circulating; and it is likely that some version thereof will be presented to the Bishops of the Communion when they meet in Canterbury this summer. At some point after this gathering, a covenant proposal will be circulated among the provinces of the Communion for ratification. There is no doubt that most (though perhaps not all) of the member provinces of the Communion will ratify a covenant within the next few years. The question is really not so much ratification of the Covenant, but (1) the sort of covenant that will be ratified; (2) the way in which the provinces of the Communion comport themselves during the period leading up to ratification; and (3) how the Communion might best respond to a situation in which a province rejects the covenant but there are dioceses and parishes within that province that do not.

The ratification process promises to be stressful. Already one can see forces at work that pull in opposing directions. It is important to identify what these opposing forces are. However, the basic concern of this essay is not a lack of awareness on the part of Anglicans of the political and ideological forces at work among them. It is the possibility that, as a result of attempts at too easy a reconciliation of these forces, the ensuing draft will obscure the vision of communion from which the proposal originated in the first place. To be specific, as one reads through the responses to the drafts of the covenant, one cannot miss the fact that the differences between them stem in large measure from two very different visions of what the purpose of the covenant is. Both seek to sustain and strengthen the communion (koinonia) that binds together the various Anglican provinces. Each, however, conceives the nature and purpose of the Anglican Communion in a different way.

New Anglican Entity Inaugurated in Canada: Archbishop Venables commissions two Bishops and thirty two clergy.

May 1st, 2008

Before 1000 people, Presiding Bishop Greg Venables commissioned two Bishops, and one of them, Bishop Donald Harvey, then licenced 32 priests and deacons for the Anglican Network in Canada on Saturday April 27. The Network comprises 15 churches, whose average Sunday attendance is larger than 12 of the 31 dioceses in the Anglican Church of Canada (according to the 2001 published statistics, but recent numbers are presumed to be much lower).

The Network was first offered as an ecclesial alternative in Burlington Ontario in November 2007. Since then these 15 churches have all held votes in which their congregations voted overwhelmingly to join the Network or left their buildings and planted new churches.

The Presiding Bishop commissioned Don Harvey and Malcolm Harding as Bishops with the words " I offer you pastoral oversight and fellowship. I commission you to preach the gospel and love the people." The rest at Anglican Mainstream

The Poverty of Love

The desert fathers and mothers would know instantly why our gospel is too small.
Bradley Nassif
4/30/2008

St. Anthony's Spiritual Advice
The greatest of these monks wielded enormous power in the ancient world. Because of their reputation for humility and holiness, crowds would flock to see them. Emperors, generals, politicians, as well as the poor, would travel long distances by foot or donkey just to sit at their feet. In Syria, St. Simeon preached atop a 40-foot column, in the process converting Bedouin Arab tribes to Christ. In Egypt, John the Dwarf had an entire town "hanging from his little finger because of his humility." Some monks' characters were so transfigured by the Holy Spirit that their sheer presence was enough to effect a transformation in others.

Yet whether a beginner or a seasoned monk, everyone needed advice from a spiritual elder from time to time. The custom in the desert was to ask an elder, "Abba, give me a word that I may live!" This request was for a personal word of wisdom that would open their heart like a key to a locked door. the rest-Excellent! image

Switzerland a country in which the unborn are less important than plants and animals

Switzerland grants unprecedented “rights” to plants and animals
Geneva, Apr 30, 2008

(CNA).- Switzerland has now become a country in which the unborn are less important than plants and animals. The country’s Federal Ethics Committee is encouraging the defense of the “dignity” of plants, and Parliament has approved a law granting animals unprecedented rights.

According to a report on LifeSiteNews.com, the Swiss Parliament passed a law last week requiring prospective dog owners to complete a course in canine treatment that will include both theoretical and practical elements. Due to concern over recent studies suggesting the pain experienced by fish, anglers are now subjected to a preparatory course on humane fishing. The new laws will also dictate how farmers treat their livestock and even regulates the proper treatment of rhinoceroses. the rest image

Gujarat India Enacts Anti-Conversion Law

CARROLLTON, Texas, April 30 /Christian Newswire/ -- Gospel for Asia missionaries in Gujarat, India, could now face up to three years in prison if they are convicted of "forcibly converting" someone to Christianity. And believers across the state are concerned that the law will open doors for anti-Christian extremists to falsely accuse them of illegal practices.

"Our missionaries are trusting that the Lord will take care of them in this difficult time," said K.P. Yohannan, Gospel for Asia's founder and president. "Several states in India have enacted these types of laws, but the love of Christ is still going out." the rest image

Hindu nationalist government closed investigation into attack on Pastor

Ban on bowing for prayer challenged

'This ruling will mean teachers will have no free speech or academic freedom rights'
May 01, 2008

Members of the legal team for the Rutherford Institute have asked the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals to re-hear a case in which school officials ordered a football coach not to bow his head while his players voluntarily took part in a pre-game prayer.

"If this ruling is allowed to stand, it will mean that high school teachers across the United States will have no free speech or academic freedom rights at all," said John W. Whitehead, president of the organization, in a statement yesterday. the rest

Methodists OK sharing pastors with Lutherans

Thursday, May 1, 2008 3
By Meredith Heagney
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

United Methodist Church congregations could share pastors and combine churches with a Lutheran denomination under a partnership approved by the Methodist denomination this week.

The agreement with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America would allow a Methodist church and a Lutheran church to share a pastor. It could also lead to new combined churches, which could be labeled Lutheran/Methodist, said the Rev. Donald McCoid, executive of inter-religious relations for the ELCA. That could help smaller or struggling congregations.

The two denominations have a combined membership of about 16 million in the United States. The agreement gives churches of both denominations a chance to work together in providing ministries and missions. The ELCA, which is the country's largest Lutheran denomination, must vote on the agreement at its conference next year. The Southern Ohio Synod, which includes Columbus, has more than 99,000 baptized members. the rest

Britain's Got Talent 2008: Gin the dog

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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Devotional: Are you seeking great things for yourself?

"Seekest thou great things for thyself?" Jeremiah 45:5

Are you seeking great things for yourself? Not seeking to be a great one, but seeking great things from God for yourself. God wants you in a closer relationship to Himself than receiving His gifts, He wants you to get to know Him. A great thing is accidental, it comes and goes. God never gives us anything accidental. There is nothing easier than getting into a right relationship with God except when it is not God Whom you want but only what He gives.

If you have only come the length of asking God for things, you have never come to the first strand of abandonment, you have become a Christian from a standpoint of your own. "I did ask God for the Holy Spirit, but He did not give me the rest and the peace I expected." Instantly God puts His finger on the reason - you are not seeking the Lord at all, you are seeking something for yourself. Jesus says - "Ask, and it shall be given you." Ask God for what you want, and you cannot ask if you are not asking for a right thing. When you draw near to God, you cease from asking for things. "Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask Him." Then why ask? That you may get to know Him.

Are you seeking great things for yourself? "O Lord, baptize me with the Holy Ghost." If God does not, it is because you are not abandoned enough to Him, there is something you will not do. Are you prepared to ask yourself what it is you want from God and why you want it? God always ignores the present perfection for the ultimate perfection. He is not concerned about making you blessed and happy just now; He is working out His ultimate perfection all the time - "that they may be one even as We are." ...Oswald Chambers image

Beautiful Minds: Stephen Wiltshire

Fort Worth Bishop Accuses Presiding Bishop of Unwelcome Meddling

April 30, 2008

The Rt. Rev. Jack L. Iker, Bishop of Fort Worth, has responded to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, who urged a visiting primate to cancel a planned visit to Fort Worth. The Most Rev. Gregory Venables, Presiding Bishop of the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone, is scheduled to address a special convocation in Fort Worth May 2-3.

“Visiting a special convocation of the Diocese of Fort Worth with the expressed purpose of describing removal to the Province of the Southern Cone is an unprecedented and unwarranted invasion of, and meddling in, the internal affairs of this province,” Bishop Jefferts Schori wrote to Bishop Venables on April 29. “I ask you to consider how you might receive such a visit to your own province by a fellow primate. The actions contemplated by some leaders in Fort Worth are profoundly uncanonical. They also prevent needed reconciliation from proceeding within this province.”

Bishop Iker responded the following day. He described Bishop Jefferts Schori’s letter as rude. “Far from being ‘an unwanted interference,’ [Bishop Venables] is coming at my request as an honored visitor and guest speaker.” Bishop Iker reminded the Presiding Bishop that a diocesan bishop is free to make such invitations and accused her of being disingenuous. the rest

Bishop Iker's letter at Stand Firm

Memo: Presiding Bishop Subverting Constitution and Canons

April 30, 2008

Sufficient legal grounds exist for presenting Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori for ecclesiastical trial on 11 counts of violating the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church, according to a legal memorandum that has begun circulating among members of the House of Bishops.

A copy of the April 21 document seen by a reporter representing The Living Church states Bishop Jefferts Schori demonstrated a “willful violation of the canons, an intention to repeat the violations, and a pattern of concealment and lack of candor” in her handling of the cases of bishops Robert W. Duncan, John-David Schofield and William Cox, and that she “subverted” the “fundamental polity” of The Episcopal Church in the matter of the Diocese of San Joaquin.

Prepared by an attorney on behalf of a consortium of bishops and church leaders seeking legal counsel over the canonical implications of the Presiding Bishop’s recent actions, it is unclear whether a critical mass of support will form behind the report’s recommendations for any action to be taken, persumably as a violation of the Presiding Bishop’s ordination vows. Title IV, Canon 3, Section 23a requires the consent of three bishops, or 10 or more priests, deacons and communicants “of whom at least two shall be priests. One priest and not less than six lay persons shall be of the diocese of which the respondent is canonically resident.” Victims of sexual misconduct and the Presiding Bishop also may bring charges before the Title IV [disciplinary] Review Committee. Title IV, Canon 3, Section 27 specifies that the Presiding Bishop appoints the five bishops to the Review Committee and the president of the House of Deputies appoints the two members of the clergy and two lay members. A spokeswoman said the Presiding Bishop was unable to respond to the charges as she had not yet seen the memorandum.

The Rev. Ephraim Radner, a member of the Anglican Covenant Design Group, said he found the matters addressed by the brief troubling. The lack of a common understanding of the church’s constitution and canons was “tearing apart our very episcopate and the credibility of our church’s ability to make formal decisions,” he said.

the rest at The Living Church

Activitists push for same-sex marriage bill in N.Y.

Star-Gazette Albany Bureau
April 29, 2008

ALBANY -- More than 2,000 gay-rights activists gathered at the Capitol today to urge the legislature to legalize same-sex marriage.

The group of young and old, black and white, male and female straight and gay people from across the state gathered on the Capitol lawn, some dancing and others waving signs. Everyone was cheering for same-sex marriage.

Alan Van Capelle, executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda, told the crowd that the majority of New Yorkers support gay marriage. Now the legislature has catch up. the rest

Presiding Bishop writes to the House of Bishops

The following letter was sent to the House of Bishops at 10:30 am this morning.

April 30, 2008
For the House of Bishops

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ:

Inasmuch as the past several weeks have involved some significant situations, I thought itwould be helpful to review and comment on process. First, regarding deposition for“abandonment of the communion of The Episcopal Church,” it is important to rememberthat such an act is not by definition punitive, but does give formal recognition to a realityalready taking place. Once the Title IV Review Committee has certified that a bishop hasabandoned the communion of this Church under Title IV, Canon 9, the bishop in questionis given sixty days to respond. the rest

Comments at Stand Firm

Comments at TitusOneNine

Catholic Dissenters Should Call the Episcopalians

Commentary
By Hugh McNichol

April 30, 2008 - Rudy Giuliani, Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry, Ted Kennedy and a host of other high profile politicians, actors, and social advocates need to clearly understand that the practice of Catholicism is a committed lifestyle of faithful and loving adherence to the Church’s regulations and teachings.

It is indeed the right time for that message to be reiterated to all of our priests, clergy and religious who proclaim in error that the Church’s moral and social declarations on the dignity of human life and the sanctity of marriage are merely subject to personal interpretation. Not so. This viewpoint represents a completely wrong understanding of the mission and message of the Catholic Church’s teaching.
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CANA: Five New Priests to be Ordained in Ohio

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 30, 2008

HERNDON, Va. (April 30, 2008) – The Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) will ordain five deacons into the priesthood this week in Ohio . These include Deacon Sean Templeton, Deacon Kevin Maney, Deacon Greg Heath, Deacon David Smith, and Deacon Jeremy Lile. CANA Suffragan Bishop Roger Ames and Bishop Frank Lyons of Bolivia will be presiding over the ordination liturgy this Thursday, May 1 at St. Luke’s Anglican Church in Akron , Ohio .

“It is a sign of new life in the church as we pass along leadership to a new generation. Our prayers and thoughts are with these five special ordinands this week. We are pleased that they will be continuing in their orthodox Anglican faith and that they will be able to minister to their brothers and sisters in Christ,” said Bishop Ames, who is also rector of St. Luke’s.

Once ordained, all five priests will continue as clergy members in their Anglican churches in Ohio: Deacon Lile will continue at St. Luke’s, Deacon Templeton in Holy Trinity in Milan, Deacon Smith in Church of the Good Samaritan in Cleveland Heights, Deacon Maney in St. Matthews in Westerville, and Deacon Heath in St. Anne-in-the-Fields in Madison.

“We are overjoyed over the growth of CANA in Ohio with the ordinations of these blessed deacons to the priesthood. They will no doubt serve as worthy shepherds to the flock of orthodox Anglicans in Ohio who live for profound transformation through Christ. We know that without Christ we are nothing, but with Christ there are no challenges or obstacles that we cannot overcome,” said CANA Missionary Bishop Martyn Minns.

The ordination liturgy will take place this Thursday, May 1, 2008 at 7:00 pm EDT. St. Luke’s Anglican Church is located at 565 S. Cleveland-Massillon Road , Akron , Ohio 44333 . All are welcome to attend.

The Convocation of Anglicans in North America (www.canaconvocation.org) currently consists of approximately 60 congregations and 100 clergy in 20 states. CANA was established in 2005 to provide a means by which Anglicans living in the USA , who were alienated by the actions and decisions of The Episcopal Church, could continue to live out their faith without compromising their core convictions. CANA is part of the Common Cause partnership that includes representatives of more than 250 Anglican congregations that are connected to the rest of the Anglican Communion.

Methodists Poised to Move Beyond Gay Issue

Wednesday, April 30, 2008
By Cary McMullen
THE LEDGER

FORT WORTH, Texas Advocates of gay rights wonder whether this might be the year when the United Methodist Church drops its sanction against homosexuality. A proposal that may be voted on today at the church's General Conference would make the 7.9 million-member church the largest to withhold moral judgment about gay sexual activity.

Almost 1,000 delegates from all 50 states and 66 overseas jurisdictions will conclude a 10-day meeting at the Fort Worth Convention Center on Friday. The conference, which meets every four years, sets policy for the denomination, which has struggled over the role and place of gays for more than 35 years.

The church's current policy declares, "The United Methodist Church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and considers this practice incompatible with Christian teaching." A legislative committee has proposed a sweeping change to that policy, taking a neutral stance, calling "all members of our community of faith to commitment, integrity and fidelity in their sexual relationships."

The proposal also acknowledges the strong disagreements within the church and asks "the Church, United Methodist and others, and the world, to refrain from judgment regarding homosexual persons and practices until the Spirit leads us to new insight." the rest

United Methodists OK Full Communion with Lutherans

Pope, Iranian Scholars Discuss Christianity, Islam

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI met Wednesday with a group of Islamic scholars from Iran following their talks with a Catholic delegation on issues apparently related to recent tensions between Muslims and Christians.

The Vatican said the pope received the Iranians after his weekly public audience, describing Benedict as "particularly satisfied" with the theme of the meeting.

It examined faith and reason in Christianity and Islam. The joint communique did not mention a speech by the pope in Germany in 2006, when he appeared to associate Islam with violence and irrationality. But the issue of violence was raised.

"Neither reason nor faith should be used for violence; unfortunately, both of them have been sometimes misused to perpetrate violence," said the communique. the rest

Egypt: On the Brink of Revolution?

By Jamie Glazov
FrontPageMagazine.com
Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Frontpage Interview’s guest today is John R. Bradley, a British journalist and author. His last book on the Middle East was the critically acclaimed Saudi Arabia Exposed: Inside a Kingdom in Crisis (2005). He joins us to discuss his new book, Inside Egypt: The Land of the Pharaohs on the Brink of a Revolution.

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Economy grows by only 0.6 percent in first quarter

Economy limps ahead at a 0.6 percent pace in first quarter, better pace than expected
Wednesday April 30, 2008
By Jeannine Aversa, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The bruised economy limped through the first quarter, growing at just a 0.6 percent pace as housing and credit problems forced people and businesses alike to hunker down.

The country's economic growth during January through March was the same as in the final three months of last year, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. The statistic did not meet what economists consider the definition of a recession, which is a contraction of the economy. This means that although the economy is stuck in a rut, it is still managing to grow, even if slightly.

Many analysts were predicting that the gross domestic product (GDP) would weaken a bit more -- to a pace of just 0.5 percent -- in the first quarter. Earlier this year, some thought the economy would actually lurch into reverse during the opening quarter. Now, they say they believe that will likely happen during the current April-to-June period. the rest

Tony Blair details role of his faith

Breaking his silence on the topic, the former British prime minister says his belief in God has been an essential backdrop in his public life.
By Kim Murphy, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
April 30, 2008

LONDON -- A cathedral is an odd place for a coming-out party.But not, as it turns out, if you're a former prime minister of Britain and you're preparing to tell the world that God was one of your senior advisors during your 10 years in power.

Speaking one recent evening under the lofty Byzantine vaults of Westminster Cathedral, Tony Blair ended his self-imposed silence on the subject, declaring that his faith has formed the essential backdrop to much of his political life. the rest image

Albert Mohler: A Tale of Two Nations -- Getting Honest about Sex Selection Abortions

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Prime Minister of India delivered a brave and important speech on Monday of this week. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh declared his nation's practice of sex-selection abortions to be a "national shame" and called for increased enforcement of laws that would prevent the practice.

Sex selection by abortion is widespread in both India and China, although it is practiced in many other nations as well. In both nations efforts to limit the size of families is part of the equation. In China, the nation's draconian "one child only" policy has led to a dramatic imbalance of males to females. In India, only 927 baby girls are born for every 1,000 baby boys.

Throughout India, ultrasound technologies and other diagnostic procedures are used to identify the sex of the unborn baby. Close nearby are abortionists ready to terminate a pregnancy of the unwanted gender -- almost always baby girls. the rest image

Philip Yancey: The Healing Pen

Philip Yancey writes to save his past—and others' futures.
Tim Stafford
4/29/2008

I met Philip Yancey when we both were 22, newly minted editors at Youth for Christ's Campus Life magazine. He was of medium height, without a single ounce of fat on him, and had sandy, curly hair that would later puff out into a blond Afro. He was wiry—not naturally athletic, but he made up for it with sheer energy. To watch him swim was like watching the Buckingham Fountain at Chicago's Grant Park, water flying everywhere.

He came to Youth for Christ from a fundamentalist Georgia upbringing by way of Columbia Bible College and an M.A. at Wheaton College. His mother raised him as a single parent while teaching Bible classes; he grew up poor, in a trailer. He and his brother were raised to play the piano and to cherish classical music (as Philip does to this day). They learned to work hard and to respect authority, but most importantly, they learned fundamentalist Christianity. Nothing mattered much, compared to that. the rest image

New Archbishop urged to help unify Sudan

Tuesday, 29th April 2008
George Conger

THE PRESIDENT of Southern Sudan has challenged the new Primate of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan, Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul of Juba, to help his government unify the country in the wake of the decades-old civil war with the Islamist government in Khartoum.

In a speech delivered at the enthronement ceremony on April 20 at All Saints Cathedral in Juba, President Salva Kiir Mayardit (pictured) called upon the church to embark on a campaign of school and hospital building, and to help the government establish social services for the war-torn country.

The former leader of the military wing of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), who also serves as Vice-President of the Sudan, President Kiir also urged the church to back plans for the first comprehensive census of the Sudan since Anglo-Egyptian colonial rule. the rest

With Adoption of Second Disabled Child Jim Caviezel Makes Good on Pro-Life Convictions

"You have no idea the blessings that you have coming" says Caviezel to parents considering adoption
By Hilary White

April 29, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Jim Caviezel, the star of the blockbuster film The Passion of the Christ, told an interviewer that he had been challenged by a friend who was not pro-life to live up to his professed pro-life convictions and adopt a disabled child. The friend told Caviezel that if he did that, then he would change to the pro-life position. When Caviezel and his wife, Kerri, went to China to adopt not one, but eventually two orphans suffering from brain tumours, the friend reneged on the deal. Caviezel, however, said, "It didn't matter to me because the joy that we had from (Bo) - he's like our own."

The couple's first child, Bo, had been abandoned on a train, grew up in an orphanage until he was five and was diagnosed with a brain tumour. The Caviezels nursed Bo through his surgeries and he remains today at the centre of the family.

"We took the harder road," the actor said. "That is what faith is to me; it's action. It's the Samaritan. It's not the one who says he is; it's the one who does - and does without bringing attention to himself. I'm saying this because I want to encourage other people." the rest image

Episcopal group against Fort Worth diocese's secession

By TERRY LEE GOODRICH
Star-Telegram Staff Writer
Wed, Apr. 30, 2008

Area Episcopalians who want to stay with the national church if the Fort Worth diocese withdraws have formed an umbrella group to help achieve their goal, the group's leader said Tuesday.

The Steering Committee North Texas Episcopalians hopes to establish "a more tolerant attitude" locally on issues that have divided the Episcopal Church in the United States, committee President Walter Cabe said.

"We might not agree on every position or action, but it's that diversity that has attracted us to remain Episcopalians," he said. "That's an important witness."

Controversial issues include same-sex unions and ordination of gay clergy and of women. The Episcopal church is part of the worldwide Anglican Communion but is more liberal than much of the communion, with the Fort Worth diocese a leader in the conservative camp. the rest

Gene Robinson on Gay Rites and Why He is Entering a Civil Union

In a new book the Anglican clergyman explains why he wanted to formalise his 20 year relationship
Gene Robinson
April 29, 2008

“I always wanted to be a June bride.” As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I knew there'd be trouble. I'd just delivered an hour-long lecture on the relationship between religion and public discourse, and why religious fervour over homosexuality plays such a large and negative role in the securing of full civil rights for gay people.

During the question-and-answer period, someone asked me about the forthcoming civil union between me and Mark, my partner of 20 years. The audience had been welcoming and sympathetic, full of laughter and understanding, and for one moment, I forgot that the C-SPAN cameras were rolling and that every word I said would be parsed by my critics. Within hours, those eight words had made it around the world, thanks to conservative bloggers and the magic of the internet. the rest image

‘Gender havens’ to avert split in Church of England

Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent
April 29, 2008

The Church of England is proposing to tear up hundreds of years of tradition by establishing spiritual havens for opponents of women priests and bishops.

In a desperate attempt to stave off a schism over female ordination, church leaders have suggested the creation of new dioceses based on gender rather than geography.

The proposal – allowing some parishes to flee from the prospect of women bishops to male bishops hundreds of miles away – is one idea intended to preserve the unity of the Anglican Communion amid intense anger among millions of conservative church members. the rest

Archbishop Rowan Williams condemned over gay issue-by Gene Robinson

The Anglican Communion's first gay bishop has criticised the Archbishop of Canterbury for the controversy surrounding his appointment.

American Bishop Gene Robinson said he believed that God would be "very disappointed" with Dr Rowan Williams for his unwillingness to confront negative statements made by some of Bishop Robinson's opponents within the Anglican church. The bishop claimed Dr Williams had failed to be even-handed and crack down enough on the language used by his opponents.

He was elected Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003, becoming the Anglican Communion's first openly gay bishop.

His appointment has caused great friction within the church, attracting particular criticism from Peter Akinola who leads 37 million Anglicans as chairman of the Anglican Church in Africa.

Appearing on BBC's HARDtalk programme, the bishop was asked why he thought Dr Williams had not held to account Mr Akinola and "others who have used such dramatic language against you personally?"

Bishop Robinson replied: "Well, you would have to ask him that - and I think he will have to answer to God about that." the rest

Stand Firm: Good Shepherd and the Diocese of Central New York: Resolution and Correspondance, July 2006

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The following three documents from the Church of the Good Shepherd were produced in July 2006 in response to General Convention.

The rest at Stand Firm

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Devotional: If we would indeed know God in growing intimacy...

If we would indeed know God in growing intimacy, we must go this way of renunciation. And if we are set upon the pursuit of God, He will sooner or later bring us to this test. Abraham's testing was, at the time, not known to him as such, yet if he had taken some course other than the one he did, the whole history of the Old Testament would have been different. God would have found His man, no doubt, but the loss to Abraham would have been tragic beyond the telling. So we will be brought one by one to the testing place, and we may never know when we are there. At that testing place there will be no dozen possible choices for us; just one and an alternative, but our whole future will be conditioned by the choice we make. ...AW Tozer image

Venables predicts end of Anglican Communion

Anne Fletcher
Special to the Journal
Apr 29, 2008

Bishop Donald Harvey, moderator of the Anglican Network in Canada, and Archbishop Gregory Venables, primate of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone.

Delta, B.C. The South American primate who has welcomed dissenting Canadian Anglican parishes into his province says he sees the beginning of the end of the world-wide Anglican Communion.

“I believe we’re in the early stages of divorce,” Archbishop Gregory Venables, presiding (national) bishop of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, told a news conference during a meeting of the Anglican Network in Canada from April 25 to 26.

“I think there comes a point when a marriage is no longer a marriage and you have to recognize it,” he said. But Archbishop Venables suggested that Anglican churches could still stay together in some form. “Maybe we can have an Anglican federation,” he said.

In an interview with the Anglican Journal, Archbishop Venables noted that air travel and the Internet have radically re-structured international networks. the rest