Saturday, September 20, 2008

Curial Powers Expanded

September 19, 2008

In light of Thursday’s vote to depose Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh from the ordained ministry of The Episcopal Church, the proposed changes to the Title IV disciplinary canons appear even more likely to be approved when they are considered by General Convention in July 2009.

Two canonical challenges in Salt lake City failed to achieve the required two-thirds majority needed to overturn the Presiding Bishop’s interpretation under the canons:

*That the canons specify that the three senior bishops with jurisdiction must consent to the inhibition of a bishop before deposition proceedings can begin; and

*That a majority of all bishops entitled to vote is required for a deposition under the abandonment canon to pass.

Under the revised canons, inhibition occurs as soon as the Title IV [disciplinary] Review Committee certifies sufficient grounds to proceed with a hearing. Retired bishops, who by and large have not attended meetings of the House of Bishops in recent years, will lose their status as voting members of the House.

During a press conference sponsored by the American Anglican Council (AAC) shortly after the deposition vote on Sept. 18, the Rev. Philip Ashey, president of the AAC, observed that it was now easier to depose a bishop for abandonment than it is for a bishop to resign or for the House to approve a 10-minute recess during debate. The loosening of procedural safeguards for the accused greatly expands the Presiding Bishop’s curial powers over the church. From its inception right up through its recent submissions to the Covenant Design Group, a curial style of polity is something that most Episcopalians have strongly resisted. the rest

Friday, September 19, 2008

UPDATED: An Excel Table with the Roll Call of the Deposition Vote


We've revised the spreadsheet this morning to add a few more absent diocesans we missed last night, and to clarify which dioceses are vacant. The second and third pages of the spreadsheet are entirely new.

The second page lists every TEC diocese, and how the bishops in that diocese voted.The third page was my attempt, using Louie Crew's House of Bishops data, to list the TOTAL number of bishops that were entitled to vote at the HoB meeting. If my understanding is correct, I came up with 290 eligible bishops. Only 127 bishops attended the HoB meeting, not even 50% of eligible bishops.You'll find all the details here:

Devotional: O for a closer walk with God...

O for a closer walk with God,
A calm and heavenly frame,
A light to shine upon the road
That leads me to the Lamb.

Return, O holy Dove, return,
Sweet messenger of rest!
I hate the sins that made Thee mourn
And drove Thee from my breast.

The dearest idol I have known,
Whate'er that idol be,
Help me to tear it from Thy throne,
And worship only Thee.

So shall my walk be close with God,
Calm and serene my frame;
So purer light shall mark the road
That leads me to the Lamb.
... William Cowper image

Churchgoing Catholics returning to GOP fold

Gov. Sarah Palin has outsized impact on an important bloc in key battleground states.
By Ben Arnoldy/Staff writer
September 18, 2008

Carson City, Nev. -Observant Catholics are returning to the Republican fold now that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has joined the GOP ticket – a shift that looks to be more enduring than a postconvention bounce. If the trend sticks, it will mark a partial setback for Democrats and the Obama campaign, who have vied vigorously for the pivotal votes of Roman Catholics.

Before the national political conventions, presidential contenders Barack Obama and John McCain were about splitting the votes of white Catholics who attend church weekly. That was a weak showing for the GOP’s Senator McCain; in 2004, President Bush carried this group 3 to 2.

McCain, however, has now opened a 16 percentage point lead among these Catholics, according to a poll released Thursday by the Pew Research Center. Still, there is good news for Senator Obama among Catholic voters: He continues to gain among Hispanics, two-thirds of whom are Catholic, and he is even with McCain in support among Catholics who attend mass occasionally or never. the rest

Joe Biden loses Barack Obama the Catholic vote

Website in support of Bishop Duncan

Website here

The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh's communications team has created this website for the purpose of posting and sharing comments in support of Bishop Robert Duncan and The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh in light of his purported deposition by The Episcopal Church on September 18. Posted below are several public announcements of support from leaders throughout global Anglicanism. Personal notes offering prayers and support for laity and clergy all over the world continue to pour in as well. Do you have a comment of support for Bishop Duncan or The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh?

Please email with your messages, knowing that they will be shared with him, and may be posted to this site.

The Minutes of the HOB Meeting and Roll Call Vote

Here-Stand Firm

Bishop Howe writes his diocese

Received via e-mail from the Diocese of Central Florida, here is an update from Salt Lake City by Bishop John Howe:

Bishop Howe provided a recent update on the House of Bishops' meeting in Salt Lake City and granted his permission for me to share that update with the Cathedral community.

My Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I suspect that by the time I have finished composing this post you will have already learned that the House of Bishops has this afternoon voted to depose Bishop Robert Duncan of the Diocese of Pittsburgh for "abandoning the communion of this Church by an open renunciation of the Doctrine, Discipline or Worship of this Church."

The vote was 88 in favor of deposition, 35 against, and there were 4 abstentions. I voted against. I want to share with you my impressions of what has just happened.

First, the background of "where we are" was reviewed last night primarily by the Presiding Bishop's Chancellor, David Beers. He apprized us of his interpretation and advice to the Presiding Bishop regarding the meaning and interpretation of the Abandonment canon. He told us that he had conferred with a number of Diocesan Chancellors in rendering his opinion, and that the Parliamentarian of our House agrees with his interpretation and advice. the rest

CNY Bishop "Skip" Adams votes yes to depose Bishop Duncan

Sign in front of Bishop Skip Adams' cathedral on the day he voted
to depose Pittburgh's Bishop Bob Duncan.
(picture by Raymond Dague)

TitusOneNine: Roll Call of the Deposition Vote

Excel table

Blogging is sporadic...

Couldn't publish most of the day. There are still some problems with Google Blogger in posting, archiving, editing, fonts, time stamps etc.

Here's the link to one of the blogger help groups -Pat Dague


By Canon Gary L'Hommedieu

The spirit of lawlessness that has possessed the hierarchy of the Episcopal Church for over a generation has come full circle so that now lawlessness is the norm. It is the law. Only so could the Presiding Bishop's chancellor publicize his intention to "interpret" the canons requiring a bishop's right to a trial to be irrelevant in the present case when time is of the essence. Only so could lawyers among the House of Bishops argue today for the necessity of short-circuiting the plain text of canon law in order to position the Episcopal Church for a "real" legal struggle in the Pennsylvania civil courts over properties in the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

The legal scholars among the bishops know that the national church will not be able to roll over due process in the civil courts as easily as Schori and Beers rolled over their own hierarchy. In a few weeks the Episcopal Church must make its case in the real world in a protracted property war. Time to steel oneself for battle. The niceties of canon law must be set aside.

Besides, the last time Schori played at due process over this meddlesome Duncan things did not go her way. She could not get her deposition legally. And the important thing is not to obey the law. The important thing is to have the law work the way you want it to. When it doesn't, you set it aside. Any third rate dictator knows that.

It is better that one man should perish than that an entire regime should risk losing its dominance and prestige. Or something like that.
the rest at Virtueonline

Archbishops offer support to Bishop Duncan, Pittsburgh

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Devotional: Keep your eye steadily fixed...

Keep your eye steadily fixed on the infinite grandeur of Christ's finished work and righteousness. Look to Jesus and believe, look to Jesus and live! Nay, more; as you look to him, hoist your sails and buffet manfully the sea of life. Do not remain in the haven of distrust, or sleeping on your shadows in inactive repose, or suffering your frames and feelings to pitch and toss on one another like vessels idly moored in a harbor. The religious life is not a brooding over emotions, grazing the keel of faith in the shallows, or dragging the anchor of hope through the oozy tide mud as if afraid of encountering the healthy breeze. Away! With your canvas spread to the gale, trusting in Him, who rules the raging of the waters. ...JR Macduff image

CANA Responds to TEC’s Uncanonical Action to Depose Bishop Duncan

HERNDON, Va. (September 18, 2008) – The Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) responded to The Episcopal Church’s decision to depose Bishop Bob Duncan, moderator of the Common Cause Partnership and the head of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, from the priesthood. CANA is a founding member of the Common Cause Partnership.

“We support Bishop Duncan, a godly man who has chosen to follow the historic teaching of the worldwide Anglican Communion and to remain steadfast in his faith. CANA continues to recognize Bishop Duncan as a bishop in good standing in the Anglican Communion, as Bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, and as the moderator of the Common Cause Partnership. This hostile and uncanonical action by The Episcopal Church House of Bishops will not be accepted by the worldwide Anglican Communion,” said CANA Missionary Bishop Martyn Minns.

David Bena, Suffragan Bishop of CANA, added, “What interests me is that this well planned ambush of Bishop Duncan by the leadership of The Episcopal Church failed to take into account something pretty important – they are firing blanks. Bishop Duncan is now even more respected across the world, remains in office, and just went up another notch as a respected leader in the Anglican Communion.”

“We hope and pray for the leaders of The Episcopal Church that they would protect the interests of its members by working with – rather than fiercely against – its bishops to proclaim the life-transforming news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That should be the goal of all Christians. Sadly, trying to fire a bishop in good standing with the rest of the Anglican Communion does nothing to save one soul,” Bishop Minns concluded. Here

Bishop Duncan's Statement on his "Deposition"

Posted September 18, 2008

It is a very sad day for The Episcopal Church. It is also a sad day for me, a faithful son of that church.

Nevertheless it is also a hopeful day, hopeful because of the unstoppable Reformation that is overtaking the Christian Church in the West. It is also a hopeful day for me personally as I am unanimously welcomed into the House of Bishops of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, an act applauded by Anglican archbishops, bishops, clergy and people all around the world.

The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh will move forward under its new Ecclesiastical Authority, its Standing Committee. That body will carry the diocese through to our realignment vote on October 4. With the success of that vote, it will be possible that we be joined together again as bishop and people.

I offer my deepest thanks to the company of saints all around the globe who have sustained me, my wife and all who are dear to me in these days.

Robert Duncan


AnglicanTV: Bishop Duncan's Final TEC Interview


Bishop Duncan "Deposed"

Statement by the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh Regarding the Deposition of our Bishop, Robert Wm Duncan, Jr., by the House of Bishops
September 18, 2008

We are profoundly disappointed by this action, and view it as yet another tragic rejection of the historic faith of our diocese and the majority consensus of the Anglican Communion. We continue to believe that the House of Bishops has clearly misapplied and misinterpreted the canons as we stated to the Presiding Bishop in our letter of May 28.

In light of this unfair and improper action to “depose” our bishop, we now assume our responsibility under the canons to be the Ecclesiastical Authority of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh. Bishop Duncan will continue to support the work of our diocese under the terms of his administrative employment agreement and within the bounds of his deposition, providing many of the services that he previously performed for the diocese. Our diocesan convention of October 4 will go forward as planned, at which the canonically required re-alignment vote will be taken.

We understand that Bishop Duncan has been received as a member in good standing of the House of Bishops of the Province of the Southern Cone. We rejoice at this news.

The Standing Committee asks that the clergy and people of Pittsburgh pray for the Duncans, the diocesan staff and the elected leadership of the diocese in the days ahead. We stand firmly on the promise of Holy Scripture found in Romans 8:28. "We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

The Rev David D. Wilson, President
St. David's Church, Peter's Twp PA

The Rev. Karen B. Stevenson
Trinity Church, Washington PA

The Rev. Geoffery W. Chapman
St. Stephen's Church, Sewickley PA

Mr. Wicks Stephens, Secretary
Trinity Cathedral, Pittsburgh PA

Dr. Theresa T. Newell
St. Stephen's Church, Sewickley PA

Mrs. Gladys Hunt-Mason
St. Stephen's Church, McKeesport PA

Mr. Kenneth Herbst
St. Peter's Church, Butler PA

Diocese of Pittsburgh Press Release

The Living Church: House of Bishops Deposes Bishop Robert Duncan

Albany Bishop and Standing Committee letter to HOB: Do Not Depose Duncan

Distributed to the HOB Thursday, September 18, 2008

September 16, 2008

The House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church
The Episcopal Church Center
815 Second Avenue
New York, NY 10017

Dear Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori and Members of the House of Bishops,

The Standing Committee and Bishop of the Diocese of Albany express our grave concern and hereby formally protest the planned deposition proceedings directed against Bishop Robert W. Duncan, called for by the Presiding Bishop in her Memorandum to the House of Bishops, dated September 12, 2008. We urge you in the strongest terms possible, not to proceed in this matter for the following reasons:

1) From a procedural and fairness standpoint, while it had been widely speculated that deposition proceedings would be brought against Bishop Duncan at the September HOB Meeting, the Presiding Bishop’s Memorandum to the House of Bishops, dated September 12, 2008, was the first official notification that such proceedings would in fact occur. There was no mention of deposition proceedings referenced in the draft agenda for the September HOB Meeting sent out on August 20, 2008. In the text of the agenda, it is stated that, “The main purpose of this meeting will be to reflect and deliberate together following the Lambeth Conference.” We believe that in a matter of such importance as the deposition of a bishop, every member of the House of Bishops should be notified well in advance of such actions, in order that every effort can be made by them to attend the proceedings. In accordance with the General Rules for Meetings in this House, Rule XIX on page 193 in the Rules of Order, House of Bishops, in order for any resolution to come before the House of Bishops at a special meeting the resolution must have been circulated 30 days in advance to all of the members, unless there is a two-thirds vote to allow the resolution. Should not the deposition of a bishop have, at a minimum, that same level of notification?

2) As acknowledged by the Presiding Bishop herself in the September 12th Memorandum, there have been significant differences of opinion expressed in regard to the interpretation of Canon IV.9 and the criteria that must be met as outlined in the canon. Specifically there is much debate centered around two major areas of concern: A) The required number of bishops needed to consent to the deposition of a bishop (whether it be a majority of all bishops in the House of Bishops eligible to vote or simply a majority of those present at the HOB meeting
in which the deposition proceedings occur); and B) Whether or not the inhibition of a bishop is a prerequisite to deposition. As you are well aware, the depositions of Bishop Schofield and Bishop Cox on March 12, 2008, were followed by an outcry by many within the Episcopal Church and the larger Anglican Communion. At question was the legality of the actions taken by the House of Bishops, particularly in regard to whether all the criteria outlined in Canon IV.9 were properly met and adhered to. While Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori and her Chancellor David Booth Beers have both expressed their belief that they have properly interpreted the canons in regard to these matters, in a letter to the Presiding Bishop, dated March 27, 2008, the Standing Committee and Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina, made a strong, well reasoned argument for an interpretation of Canon IV.9 which differs greatly from that held by the Presiding Bishop and her Chancellor. The Dioceses of Central Florida, Northern Indiana, Springfield and Western Louisiana, in statements published by their Standing Committees and or/Bishops in recent months, have raised similar concerns and interpretations of Canon IV.9 as those expressed by South Carolina. Due to these widely differing views and interpretations of Canon IV.9 and the extreme damage that can occur if misinterpreted, we call upon the House of Bishops to refrain from acting on this canon, until the House of Bishops is able to receive a legal interpretation of Canon IV.9 from a panel, consisting of a minimum of five canon lawyers/experts who are not involved in the proceedings against Bishop Duncan or any of the on going legal proceedings dealing with property disputes or parishes or dioceses leaving The Episcopal Church. While we appreciate the Presiding Bishop, her Chancellor and Bishop Stacy Sauls’ attempts to provide clarity in interpreting Canon IV.9, due to their current high level of involvement in legal proceedings throughout TEC that could be influenced by the outcome of the interpretation of Canon IV.9, we believe it is important to get an unbiased, outside interpretation of the canon, to prevent any appearance of a conflict of interest.

3) In defense or justification of the Presiding Bishop’s interpretation of Canon IV.9 in the depositions of Bishop Schofield, Bishop Cox and the pending deposition proceedings against Bishop Duncan, the depositions of Bishop Davies, the resigned bishop of Fort Worth in 1993, and Bishop Larrea, the Bishop of Ecuador Central in 2004 are cited as precedent, therefore paving the way for future depositions. The fact that no one apparently challenged the 1993 and 2004 depositions does not necessarily mean that the Presiding Bishop and her Chancellor have interpreted the canons correctly. If precedent is going to be used as justification for future actions, it is imperative that the canons are being properly interpreted and applied and that the process is agreed upon by the House of Bishops before action is taken. Again, the recent outcry by many over the believed failure to follow and apply the Canons properly in the depositions of Bishop Schofield and Bishop Cox, have only added to the growing division within TEC and the Anglican Communion.

4) In a letter to the Bishops of the Episcopal Church, dated August 24, 2008, Bishop Duncan stated, “The proper forum to determine whether I have violated constitution or canons would be a church trial, as I am a Bishop of this Church. But such a trial would have required due process and all the protections of the trial canons. The Course chosen…was an expedient course, requiring none of the justice, none of the expense, none of the rights of the accused, none of the lengthy timetable.” We concur with Bishop Duncan’s assessment that the proper forum to determine his guilt or innocence in regard to the charges that have been brought against him would be a church or ecclesiastical trial. The deposition of a bishop is an extremely serious matter as you well know. It is equivalent to the death penalty in regard to one’s ordained ministry. This is NO time to seek the most “expedient course” in determining one’s guilt or innocence. Bishop Duncan has dedicated his life to serving our Lord Jesus Christ and His Church. While we question the charges brought against him, if he is to be charged, it should be dealt with in an ecclesiastical trial with all the protections guaranteed in the trial canons. Anything less is doing Bishop Duncan and the Church a great injustice.

5) In their attempts to explain their interpretations of Canon IV.9, The Presiding Bishop, her Chancellor and Bishop Sauls make numerous references to the “intent” of a canon. In her September 12th Memorandum, Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori stated, “…the General Convention in enacting this canon did not intend to give the three senior bishops a “veto” over the House’s right to determine whether or not a bishop who has been certified by the Review Committee as having abandoned the Communion of this Church should be deposed. Rather, that decision was intended to be made by the House.” First we would argue that is purely a judgment call on the part of the Presiding Bishop and her advisors. Others could well argue that the canonical stipulation that the majority vote of the three senior bishops was inserted to provide another level of discernment and to protect the House from having to deal with frivolous accusations. Second, after studying the history of Canon IV.9, a strong argument could be made that this canon was never intended to be used in the manner in which it was applied in the depositions of Bishop Schofield, Bishop Cox and the pending deposition proceedings against Bishop Duncan. It would seem that the intent of the canon is to deal with those bishops who not only leave the Episcopal Church, but also the Anglican Communion. That is clearly not the case with the three bishops just mentioned. While Bishop Schofield and Bishop Cox may have left TEC and in the case of Bishop Duncan it would appear he has plans to leave TEC, none of the three bishops have abandoned the Anglican Communion, but simply realigned with another province within the Anglican Communion. Because TEC is part of the Anglican Communion, it would seem that a charge of abandonment of Communion has no merit.

Despite the attempts of some to downplay the seriousness of the current situation in which tens of thousands of once loyal Episcopalians are leaving TEC, with no end in sight, the Episcopal Church is in a state of chaos. It is our belief that unless the current downward spiral is reversed, current and future charges of abandonment of communion will be a moot point. Within the not-too-distant future, if things continue as they currently are, there won’t be a communion to abandon. If the current on-going depositions of bishops and priests are intended to stop the mass exodus out of TEC, it isn’t working, but rather having the opposite effect. More and more clergy and laity are reaching the point that they can no longer accept or tolerate the recent theological innovations that have become so pervasive throughout much of The Episcopal Church’s leadership. The current attacks directed against the theologically conservative orthodox Christians within TEC are not scaring or intimidating them, but rather angering and emboldening them. With each new attack, more fuel is thrown on the fire. The depositions and lawsuits must stop. What type of example are we setting for our children and the rest of the world? What are we saying about how Episcopalians treat one another? Jesus commands us to love our enemy; to love our neighbor as we love ourselves; to love one another as He loves us. Clearly many in the Episcopal Church have not heard or listened to His command, when it comes to the way we relate to one another within TEC and the wider Anglican Communion.

The Standing Committee and Bishop of Albany call upon the House of Bishops, the House of Deputies and all involved in the current theological war to call a truce, enabling The Episcopal Church to refocus our time, energy and resources on the difficult but necessary process of figuring out how Christians who passionately hold what appear to be irreconcilable differences in the understanding and interpretation of Holy Scripture and its authority on our lives as well as issues of human sexuality, can move forward in building up the Kingdom of God by sharing the love and Good News of Jesus Christ with all who will receive it. For far too long we have been consumed by politically-charged agendas to the detriment of the Church and the building up of the Kingdom of God. May God give us the grace, the wisdom, the compassion, the humility we need to discern His will, moving forward in His Name to His honor and glory and to the benefit of His Church and people.

Faithfully in Christ,

The Reverend Lorraine M. Lyons
President, Standing Committee of the Diocese of Albany

The Right Reverend William H. Love
Bishop, Diocese of Albany


Trying again-apparently the hyperlink function is affected too. 

Blogger message board:

Blogging difficulties

There are a lot of difficulties in trying to publish today.  From the blogger message board here,  I see this is hitting some other blogs.   

If it helps anyone, I am able to publish in Google Chrome, but nothing is being saved in the archives.

Pat Dague

Archbishop Rowan Williams makes historic visit to Catholic shrine

 17th September 2008

By Daily Mail Reporter
 17th September 2008

Trailblazer: Doctor Rowan Williams will become the first leader of the Church of England to make a pilgrimage to the Roman Catholic shrine of Lourdes

Doctor Rowan Williams is to become the first leader of the Church of England to make a pilgrimage to the Roman Catholic shrine of Lourdes.

The Archbishop of Canterbury flies to the shrine of Our Lady in the French Pyrenees on Monday, a week after Pope Benedict XVI made his own pilgrimage there.

He will be part of a historic pilgrimage of ten Church of England bishops, 60 Anglican priests and 400 Anglican lay worshippers. the rest

Virginia Anglicans ‘Standing for Core Values,’ Bishop Says

Thursday, September 18, 2008
By Pete Winn, Senior Writer/Editor

Washington ( - Marriage means one man and one woman – and everything else falls short of God’s standard, according to the Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns, bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Virginia.
“There are values that I believe are universal and unchanging and are at the heart of what we are as human beings,” Minns told in an interview. “Right now those core values are being threatened.”
Minns’ comments seem to directly contradict remarks made by South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who earlier this month accused the Anglican church of “persecuting the already persecuted” in its attitude toward homosexuals. the rest

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Devotional: The light of heaven is the face of Jesus Christ...

The light of heaven is the face of Jesus Christ; the joy of heaven is the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ; the melody of heaven is the name of Jesus Christ. The theme of heaven is the work of Jesus Christ. The employment of heaven is the work of Jesus Christ. The fullness of heaven is the Lord Jesus Christ, himself. ...Anonymous

Consider Jesus. Know Jesus. Learn what kind of Person it is you say you trust and love and worship. Soak in the shadow of Jesus. Saturate your soul with the ways of Jesus. Watch Him. Listen to Him. Stand in awe of Him. Let Him overwhelm you with the way He is. ...John Piper

Study: Homosexual Lifestyle Strongly Linked to Depression, Suicide

Wednesday September 17, 2008
By Kathleen Gilbert

LONDON, September 17, 2008 ( - A new study in the United Kingdom has revealed that homosexuals are about 50% more likely to suffer from depression and engage in substance abuse than the rest of the population, reports

After analyzing 25 earlier studies on sexual orientation and mental health, researchers, in a study published in the medical journal BMC Psychiatry, also found that the risk of suicide jumped over 200% if an individual had engaged in a homosexual lifestyle.

These findings strongly support the results of similar studies conducted in the United States, which have unveiled the severe physical and psychological health risks associated with homosexual behavior. Drs. Paul and Kirk Cameron of the Family Research Institute revealed in 2007 that research shows that the lifespan of a homosexual is on average 24 years shorter than that of a heterosexual. As a health threat, even smoking pales in comparison, as studies show smoking can shorten one's life by only 1 to 7 years on average. the rest

Interview with Richard Foster: A Life Formed in the Spirit

Richard Foster's disciplined attention to spiritual formation began early on.
Interview by Mark Galli

Thirty-one years ago, not many evangelicals thought much of the "spiritual disciplines," and when they did, they thought of them negatively—as one more form of works righteousness. That began to change substantially 30 years ago, with the publication of Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster. This book, arguably more than any other, introduced evangelicals not only to the disciplines, but also to the wealth of spiritual formation writing from the medieval and ancient church. Today you are almost as likely to hear an evangelical talk about Thomas à Kempis's The Imitation of Christ as Rick Warren's The Purpose Driven Life.

The idea for Celebration grew in the heat of pastoral work, as Foster explains below. The church of his youth supported him financially and in prayer as he made his way through college (George Fox) and seminary (Fuller), but little did it know what fruit would result. Neither did Harper & Row, which decided to publish the unsolicited manuscript of an unknown pastor. (The full story of the publication is told in the introduction to the revised edition of Celebration.) Since then, Foster has published many other books, including his most recent (with Kathryn Helmers), Life with God: Reading the Bible for Spiritual Transformation (HarperOne).

Senior managing editor Mark Galli sat down with Foster in his home in Colorado to talk about the genesis of his lifelong work in spiritual formation, and how the disciplines have shaped him personally. Interview-excellent!

(Richard Foster's book Prayer: Finding the Heart's True Home has probably been the most intrumental work in forming my prayer life. I've read it several times and recommended or given it to others, always with great feedback. -PD)

Anglican Covenant Could Be Operative By May 2009

September 17, 2008

Adoption of the proposed Anglican Covenant could be completed much sooner than the 10-year time frame mentioned frequently during the Lambeth Conference, according to one of the two Covenant Design Group members from The Episcopal Church.

Basing on submissions received from bishops attending the Lambeth Conference, the Rev. Ephraim Radner predicted that only a small minority of provinces would fail to approve the Covenant. Prof. Radner, who teaches historical theology at Wycliffe College in Toronto, said the Covenant Design Group is scheduled to disband after holding a second meeting sometime after the first of the year. From there, the Covenant is scheduled to be considered by the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC), which meets next May in Jamaica.

Prof. Radner told The Living Church it is not clear whether the ACC would be asked to hold an up-or-down vote on the final language drafted by the Covenant Design Group or whether they would be encouraged to propose amendments before a vote. the rest

Anglicans fighting over church property

Martin and Marty Cooper

The bishop of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America says leaders of The Episcopal Church are increasingly intolerant towards those with whom they disagree.

According to Bishop Martyn Minns, division within the Anglican Communion -- which he argues was caused by liberal leaders in The Episcopal Church -- is widespread and painful. However, Minns says it is vital to stand for truth, even if church officials do not advocate traditional, biblical values.

That has meant that some churches, which have broken away from The Episcopal Church, have been sued by denominational leaders who want to keep valuable property, sanctuaries, and other buildings. Recently in Virginia, The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Virginia lost a case to 11 Anglican congregations who were breaking from the denomination but wanted to keep their properties.

The Virginia Division Statute, according to Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), "recognizes the right of a congregation to keep its property when a majority votes to disaffiliate from a divided denomination." The judge in the case ruled that The Episcopal Church and the Diocese did not assert their claims to the 11 properties in a timely manner. the rest

Albert Mohler: Put a Stop to Large Families?

September 18, 2008

These days, the issue of family size can be controversial -- just ask any couple with several children. Large families are often seen as oddities and treated as an imposition. Why would anyone willingly have so many kids? Don't they know about birth control?

Few comments reveal as much about our times as these. Those with even the slightest historical awareness would know that large families were the norm throughout human history, and for good reason. In the Bible, large families are seen as a sign of God's blessing and children are celebrated as God's gifts. Only with the development of modern birth control and the transformations of values and worldviews that followed, does any other view of large families make sense.

The pill changed everything. In addition, concerns about human overpopulation and an ecological crisis led some to see large families as expensive and inefficient hobbies, or worse. Social planners held out the example of the two-child family, and some ideologues wanted to define "normal" as one child per couple. By the early twenty-first century, reproduction rates were falling around the world. Some European nations were facing a demographic crisis of low birthrates and not a single major European nation was reproducing at even the replacement rate. the rest image

Video: "Mad World of Barack Obama"

Canon Gary L'Hommedieu: The Historical Fiction of the Episcopal Church


There's a lot of pressure on Episcopal middle-of-the-roaders these days.

With traditionalist dioceses lining up like planes on the tarmac waiting for takeoff, the pressure is on the Left Behinds to define their own Episcopal identity. Because doctrine is off limits, the only thing left to rally around is the church as institution. Not an institution with a purpose or even a variety of purposes, but simply as an institution pursuing its own survival.

A faithful Episcopalian is no longer one who faithfully stands by the creeds, the Prayer Book and (heaven forbid!) the scriptures. A faithful Episcopalian is now one who stands behind the Presiding Bishop and the General Convention. To paraphrase the jingoist sentiment of another era, "My church, right or wrong!"

It is troubling to note the shift of TEC from an institution centered around a long religious tradition to one centered around rules, regulations, and real estate. Even more troubling is watching the leadership of the Episcopal Church act more and more like this is the way it ought to be--the way it has always been--and to watch them feign indignation at those who cling to an historic faith as the proper object of Christian loyalty. There is no one "faith", they retort. And even if there is, to make demands about it is to be divisive and exclusive. Today's loyalists have no stomach for standing on principle.

It is sobering to watch the bishops and clergy of TEC pretend a new history into existence and then equate conformity to this fabrication with faithfulness to the gospel. the rest at Virtueonline

Anglican Curmudgeon: The Coming Perfect Snafu

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Though I am fortunate not to live anywhere in the paths of Hurricane Gustav or Hurricane Ike, I feel I can sympathize with those who do, because I foresee a storm of similar magnitude that is about to engulf The Episcopal Church. I feel the rise in temperature and humidity, the winds beginning to whistle, and the sudden silence of the innocent animals as they look to their masters for protection against the coming fury of the gale. I see lowering storm clouds not far off, billowing up to occupy the entire sky in one direction. One is left with a sense of frustration and hopelessness in the face of forces that have gathered at this point in space and time, as they seem unstoppable on their path to calamity and destruction.

On the one hand, the Bishops of the Church are already on the move from the four corners of the country, assembling to meet in Salt Lake City starting tomorrow. Despite an early announcement to the contrary, and despite the issuance on August 20 of a call for the meeting that made no mention of the fact, the agenda for the meeting is now clear: the powers that be have decreed that the assembled episkopoi (ironically, from the Greek word for "overseer") will be asked to consent to the immediate deposition of one of their own, without a trial.
the rest image

Bishop John H. Rodgers: An Open Letter to the Right Reverend Robert Wm. Duncan and the Diocese of Pittsburgh

September 16, 2008

Dear +Bob,

As rumors and threats of your being deposed circulate, I write this letter.

For many others and for myself, to express our thanksgiving for your sustained, wise and patient leadership in a time of great difficulty in the Church.

First, we want to thank you for your leadership on the Board of Trustees of the Trinity School for Ministry. Your presence at the Board Meetings has been constant and your wisdom has often helped guide us down good and godly paths. I know something of the schedule you keep, and I want you to know how greatly we, particularly your fellow Board members, appreciate your willingness, faithfulness and thoughtful leadership.

Second, we want to thank you for the pastoral concern for all of us in the diocese of Pittsburgh that you have maintained over the years. Having served in the Diocese for the largest part of my years in ordained ministry and presently being closely related to and associated with many in the Diocese, I have had the opportunity to see your guiding hand at work, your patience with us, your prayerfulness and your hard work to keep all of us in communication with one another and with the Lord. You have never been vindictive when resisted, and always encouraged us when it was needed. It has been a great privilege to serve under you and along side of you. the rest

Google Allows Abortion Ad by Christian Group

By Jennifer Gold
Christian Today Reporter
Wed, Sep. 17 2008

The Christian Institute has welcomed the decision by Google to allow religious groups to place ads on the issue of abortion after legal proceedings against the world's biggest search engine were settled "on amicable terms."

The group took legal action against Google after it rejected an ad in March with its search related advertising system, AdWords. The advertisment read: “UK abortion law: Key views and news on abortion law from The Christian Institute.”

Google rejected the ad on the grounds that it constituted “inappropriate content.” Although Google allowed non-religious websites to place ads on the issue of abortion, it had at the time of the court proceedings a policy of not advertising sites which combined “abortion and religion-related content.” the rest

Hindu-Christian riots spread in India

Please pray!

September 16, 2008
NEW DELHI, India (CNN) -- Three weeks after an apparent misunderstanding sparked a confrontation, deadly Hindu-Christian riots continue unabated in the remote east Indian state of Orissa.

By Tuesday, about 20 deaths had been reported, said Praveen Kumar, the superintendent of police in the worst-affected Kandhamal district.

The latest casualty is a police officer who died after an armed mob of about 400 to 500 mostly Hindus torched a police station in the district on Monday, Orissa state police said.

Orissa's Director General of Police G.C. Nanda the policeman died when the mob opened fire at officers fleeing the burning building.

The attack, he said, may have been in retaliation for arrests that police made in the ongoing communal fighting. the rest

Anglican Mainstream:
Letter from Bishop P.K.Samantaroy (Amritsar Diocese)

Pictures of Church of South India Church attacked on September 14th

Give 'em Hell, Sarah: Like Truman, a natural-born executive.

Like Truman, a natural-born executive
by Steven F. Hayward

Lurking just below the surface of the second-guessing about Sarah Palin's fitness to be president is the serious question of whether we still believe in the American people's capacity for self-government, what we mean when we affirm that all American citizens are equal, and whether we tacitly believe there are distinct classes of citizens and that American government at the highest levels is an elite occupation.

It is incomplete to view the controversy over Palin's suitability for high office just in ideological or cultural terms, as most of the commentary has done. Doubts about Palin have come not just from the left but from across the political spectrum, some of them from conservatives like David Frum, Charles Krauthammer, and George Will. Nor is this a new question. To the contrary, Palin's ascent revives issues and arguments about self-government that raged at the time of the American founding and before. Indeed, the basic problems of the few and the many, and the sources of wisdom and virtue in politics, stretch back to antiquity.

American political thought since its earliest days has been ambiguous or conflicted about the existence and character of a "natural aristocracy" of governing talent. If the ghosts of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams are watching the storm over Palin, they must surely be revisiting their famous dialogue about America's governing class. Adams's widely misunderstood argument that there should perhaps be an explicit recognition and provision for an aristocratic class finds its reprise in the snobbery that greeted Palin's arrival on the scene. It's not just that she didn't go to Harvard; she's never been on Meet the Press; she hasn't participated in Aspen Institute seminars or attended the World Economic Forum. She hasn't been brought into the slipstream of the establishment by which we unofficially certify our highest leaders. the rest

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Devotional: The things that Jesus did...

The things that Jesus did were of the most menial and commonplace order, and this is an indication that it takes all God's power in me to do the most commonplace things in His way. Can I use a towel as He did? Towels and dishes and sandals, all the ordinary sordid things of our lives, reveal more quickly than anything what we are made of. It takes God Almighty Incarnate in us to do the meanest duty as it ought to be done.

"I have given you an example that ye should do as I have done to you." Watch the kind of people God brings around you, and you will be humiliated to find that this is His way of revealing to you the kind of person you have been to Him. Now, He says, exhibit to that one exactly what I have shown to you. ...Oswald Chambers image

Ackerman Warns Of Anglicanism’s Deteriorating Ecumenical Relations

By Robert England
September 15, 2008

Revisionism within the Anglican Communion has caused a serious decline in ecumenical relations with Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox and a range of other Christian bodies, Quincy Bishop Keith Ackerman told a gathering of conservative Anglicans on September 13.

Comments from ecumenical partners at the 2008 Lambeth Conference made it “obvious the ecumenical relationships are eroding rapidly in many places,” Ackerman told some 100 persons attending the Festival of Faith at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Bladensburg, Maryland.

The Quincy prelate, who leads Forward in Faith, North America, was joined at the day-long event by West Indies Archbishop Drexel Gomez, chairman of the panel that is formulating an Anglican Covenant designed to help ensure greater unity among historically autonomous Anglican provinces. the rest

The Episcopal Church and the Proposed Anglican Covenant

September 16, 2006

It is no secret that the bishops who assembled at Lambeth were asked to complete a survey soliciting their views on the proposed Anglican Covenant. It is now no secret, based upon public statements made by TEC Bishops, that, while most American bishops may favor some version of the first two sections of the proposed covenant, they oppose the third section and the appendix.

Here are outlined the likely consequences should a Province exceed the limits of diversity generally accepted by the Communion as a whole. Opposition to the appendix indicates that the Episcopal Church (TEC) espouses a minimalist view of the requirements of communion—one that emphasizes relations of hospitality and mutual aid but down plays or utterly avoids issues of common belief and practice.

The future of Anglicanism as a communion of churches that holds in tension both Catholic and Protestant concerns will be determined by the sort of covenant that in the end will be ratified. Considerable pressure is being exerted on the Covenant Design Group (scheduled to meet at the end of this week) to produce a covenant proposal that says little or nothing about the consequences of going beyond the accepted views of the Communion about the limits of diversity. If the Covenant Design Group accedes to these pressures, it is our belief that Anglicanism will cease to exist as a credible form of Catholic Christianity and will become little more than a Federation of utterly independent churches.

Given the seriousness of the moment, we believe it important to set out certain facts so that the Covenant Design Group can take them fully into consideration. the rest

Father Who Saved Son Is Remembered For Generosity

By Jonathan Mummolo
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Thomas S. Vander Woude would never have wanted a big display in his honor. The Nokesville father of seven sons, who drowned last week while rescuing his disabled son when he fell into the family's septic tank, was more the type to try to elevate the lives of those around him, his family members and friends said.

But yesterday, more than 2,000 people packed the pews at Holy Trinity Catholic Church for his funeral Mass in Gainesville, some listening from the vestibule, others down a hallway watching on closed-circuit television. Among the attendees were his wife of 43 years, Mary Ellen, more than 70 priests, including the bishop of Arlington, and the friends accrued over decades who came to pay respects to a man who inspired them, right up until his final breath.

If Vander Woude saw the throng, he'd say, "Are you kidding me? . . . Don't waste your gas," said one of his sons, Steve Vander Woude of Nokesville, after the service. But "this guy did something saintly, and they wanted to come be a part of it."

Thomas S. Vander Woude, 66, died last week while helping his son Joseph, who has Down syndrome, after he fell into a septic tank while working in the yard, police said. The tank was eight to 10 feet deep, Steve Vander Woude said. the rest-A moving story!

And here

Mark McCall: Do Bishops Deserve Due Process?

Sunday, September 14th, 2008

On Friday the Presiding Bishop notified the House of Bishops that she would seek the deposition of Bishop Duncan next week. This announcement was contrary to other public statements by her office and the published agenda of the upcoming meeting. Any bishops wishing to speak against this unprecedented use of summary procedures against a sitting bishop of the church were given five days notice. She also served notice that she intends to run roughshod over the canons in seeking to depose Bishop Duncan and that only a two-thirds vote of those present and voting will deter her. It will take two-thirds of the bishops present to overrule her gross misreading of the canons, but only a simple majority to remove without presentment or trial a diocesan bishop who even today is fulfilling his responsibilities as the bishop of Pittsburgh. Is TEC still under the rule of law?


Sharia courts operating in Britain

Sharia courts have been operating in Britain to rule on disputes between Muslims for more than a year, it has emerged.
16 Sep 2008

Five sharia courts have been set up in London, Birmingham, Bradford and Manchester and Nuneaton, Warwickshire. The government has quietly sanctioned that their rulings are enforceable with the full power of the judicial system, through the county courts or High Court. Previously, the rulings were not binding and depended on voluntary compliance among Muslims.
Lawyers have issued grave warnings about the dangers of a dual legal system and the disclosure drew criticism from Opposition leaders.

Dominic Grieve, the shadow home secretary, said: "If it is true that these tribunals are passing binding decisions in the areas of family and criminal law, I would like to know which courts are enforcing them because I would consider such action unlawful. British law is absolute and must remain so." the rest

College bans 'Christmas' and 'Easter' from calendar for fear of offending ethnic students

By Daily Mail Reporter
16th September 2008

A college has renamed the traditional Christmas and Easter breaks in a bid to avoid offending students from other religions.

The college's new calendar shows that both of the traditional holiday periods have now been re-branded as 'end of term breaks'.

Critics have complained that the decision by Yorkshire Coast College is nothing more than 'political correctness'. the rest

Catholic University to Honor Justice Breyer Who Wrote Majority Opinion Supporting Partial-Birth Abortion

NEW YORK, September 15, 2008

( - In a brash move defying the U.S Bishops' speakers policy, Fordham University's Stein Center for Law and Ethics announced that pro-abortion Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer is the 2008 recipient of the Fordham-Stein Ethics Prize. Breyer infamously wrote the majority opinion in Stenberg v. Carhart, which struck down state laws banning the practice of partial-birth abortion.

The Fordham-Stein Ethics Prize is scheduled to be bestowed upon Justice Breyer at a dinner in New York on October 29, 2008.

Three weeks ago The Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick J. Reilly wrote to inform Rev. Joseph McShane, S.J., President of Fordham University, of Justice Breyer's record. Reilly urged him to rescind the offer of the Fordham-Stein Ethics Prize to Breyer. No response was given. the rest

Albert Mohler: Apologize to Charles Darwin?

September 16, 2008

A senior cleric of the Church of England wants his church to apologize to Charles Darwin in time for the observance of the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth next year. The Rev. Dr. Malcolm Brown, Director of Mission and Public Affairs for the church, made his case in an article entitled, "Good Religion Needs Good Science," published in a special new section of the Church of England's official Web site.

"Charles Darwin: 200 years from your birth, the Church of England owes you an apology for misunderstanding you and, by getting our first reaction wrong, encouraging others to misunderstand you still," Brown wrote. "We try to practice the old virtues of 'faith seeking understanding' and hope that makes some amends."

Apologize to Charles Darwin? The Church of England may well need to apologize, but not to Charles Darwin. If anything, the church needs to apologize for its rightful embarrassment in considering an apology to Darwin. But, it seems, this church is not embarrassed. the rest

Choosing Celibacy

How to stop thinking of singleness as a problem.
Marcy Hintz

On an ordinary Tuesday last spring, the Dean of Student Life at an evangelical Christian college in the Midwest said to me, her graduate assistant, "Marcy, the evangelical culture of our campus does a lot to prepare its students for the inevitability of marriage, but we do little to set them up for singleness. We need to do better. You should be the one to speak with them," she decided, "and the title of your talk should be, 'Single by Choice.'"

She was a provocative one, this dean, with sharp instincts. Her title's declaration posed an ultimatum: to reconsider the assumptions about singleness and marriage passed down to us by the lore of our Christian campus, and an ultimatum to me as a representative of the most recent generation of young adults, most of whom, according to U.S. census data, will not marry until we're at least 27. A full one-fifth of us will never marry at all. the rest

Smithsonian will digitize its full collection

By Brett Zongker
Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Smithsonian Institution will work to digitize its collections to make science, history and cultural artifacts accessible online and dramatically expand its outreach to schools, the museum complex's new chief said Monday.

"I worry about museums becoming less relevant to society," said Secretary G. Wayne Clough in his first interviews since taking the Smithsonian's helm in July.

Clough, 66, who was president of the Georgia Institute of Technology for 14 years, says he's working to bring in video gaming experts and Web gurus to collaborate with curators on creative ways to present artifacts online and make them appealing to kids. the rest image

Revoke my feminist card -- I like Palin

September 16, 2008
Sun-Times Columnist

So I asked myself -- what fault is there in admiring a woman who is against abortion -- even though I believe in freedom of choice?

What's wrong with huge respect for a woman who chose to give birth to a Down syndrome child knowing full well what was in store for her and her family?

And if appreciating a woman who chose a husband who supports her ladder-climbing skill puts me in the non-feminist category, well maybe that's where I belong.

To be blunt, Palin is like a zephyr blowing across the prairie with a retro hairdo tied back like a sheaf of wheat.

She is real. She is rural. She may not be a brilliant tactician, but she's got street sense. Palin is so unlike the very controlled Hillary Clinton, who would never be caught dead in red heels.

Thus, it now appears Palin has emerged as "everywoman" to a huge portion of our female population; a woman never really identified with what we thought was our quintessential role model -- a highly educated woman who wears tailored suits, whose voice is never shrill and who has a husband who makes more than she does. the rest image

Cal Thomas: Generation gaps

Sarah Palin would focus on energy, reform, special needs children

Palin's Energy Expertise

Episcopal Workshop Trains 'Inclusion Activists'

September 15, 2008

A mission and message are unlikely to be effective without a way to ensure that they are recognized and acted upon. This theme was explored by participants in an “Inclusion Activism” workshop Sept. 12-13 at St. Mark’s Cathedral, Minneapolis.

Subtitled “Advancing Equality for LGBT Episcopalians at the Diocesan Level,” it was the last of a series of five inclusion activism workshops held around the country and co-sponsored by Claiming the Blessing and Integrity USA. The workshops were designed to provide Episcopalians with the tools they need to bring LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) issues to the forefront of diocesan conventions and diocesan decision makers. All five workshops attracted people from wide geographic areas. Organizer Jan Adams told of one previous workshop at which a woman drove for 10 hours in order to attend.

Participants in Minneapolis came from seven dioceses to share their stories and to support each other in the inclusion efforts in which they are engaged at home. After a review of the progress of recognition and inclusion for LGBT people in The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, trainers Katie Sherrod (Fort Worth) and the Rev. Cynthia Black (Western Michigan) then led the group through a short training course on topics, including how The Episcopal Church works, organizing and presenting cases at the diocesan level, and working with the media. the rest

Monday, September 15, 2008

Devotional: Lord, what a change within us...

Lord, what a change within us one short hour
Spent in Thy presence will prevail to make!
What heavy burdens from our bosoms take,
What parched ground refresh as with a shower!
We kneel, and all around us seems to lower;
We rise, and all, the distant and the near,
Stands forth in sunny outline brave and clear;
We kneel, how weak! we rise, how full of power!
Why, therefore, should we do ourselves this wrong,
Or other, that we are not always strong,
That we are ever overborne with care,
That we should ever weak or heartless be,
Anxious or troubled, when with us is prayer,
And joy and strength and courage are with Thee!
... Richard Chevenix Trench

Episcopal blood-letting

September 15 2008
By Julia Duin

When Robert Duncan was elected Episcopal bishop of Pittsburgh in 1997, he was the dark horse local candidate who defeated the out-of-town contenders for a job in what used to be a quiet diocese. At the time, he was thought of as more an administrator kind of guy; far less flashy than his revered predecessor, the silver-haired Alden Hathaway.

Then in 2003, the Episcopalians OK'd the consecration of the world's first openly gay bishop: Gene Robinson of New Hampshire and Bishop Duncan became a leader in the Network, a group of conservatives fighting to stay in the Episcopal Church but disheartened by its increasingly liberal tendencies. As those tendencies got more and more onerous, various dioceses, including Pittsburgh, announced they were considering leaving the Episcopal Church, which in Pittsburgh's case would mean a flight of millions of dollars - $43 million is one figure being bandied about - in church assets.

Pittsburgh Episcopalians will vote Oct. 4 whether or not to leave the denomination. They are not alone. The Diocese of San Joaquin, Calif., has already left although the Episcopal Church has instituted another bishop to try to rebuild. Being that senior Episcopal bishops in California have endorsed the California's Supreme Court's May ruling giving civil marriage status to gay unions, the San Joaquinians probably saw what was coming and decided to flee. the rest

Obama campaign rolls out new 'faith merchandise'

September 15, 2008

(CNN) – The Obama campaign is preparing rolling out a new line of “faith merchandise” – the latest move in an ambitious effort to win over religious voters.

“Check out the Believers for Barack, Pro-Family Pro-Obama, and Catholics for Obama buttons, bumper stickers and signs….” says Obama Deputy Director of Religious Affairs Paul Monteiro in an e-mail obtained by the Beliefnet Web site.

“Believers for Barack rally signs and bumper stickers, along with all Pro-Family Pro-Obama merchandise, are appropriate for people of all faith backgrounds. We'll soon be rolling out merchandise for other religious groups and denominations, but I wanted to get this out to you without delay,” he adds. the rest image

ARCHBISHOP GOMEZ: Need For Covenant Grows More Urgent

Leader Sees Good Chance That Final Covenant Will Go To Provinces Next Year; Expresses Openness To Possibility Of New North American Province
By Robert England
Special To The Christian Challenge and VIRTUEONLINE
September 15, 2008

The process of finalizing an Anglican covenant needs to move forward more quickly if the Anglican Communion is to be preserved.

That was the message delivered Saturday (September 13) by West Indies Archbishop Drexel Gomez, the chairman of the group charged with formulating the pact intended to help ensure unity in basic beliefs, settle disputes, and administer discipline among historically autonomous Anglican provinces.

"I believe Anglicanism has much to offer the world and has made a tremendous contribution to Christianity. But we are at a dangerous point in our history," Gomez told more than 100 people attending the Festival of Faith at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Bladensburg, Maryland.

"There is nothing on the immediate horizon that offers any kind of hope to holding the Communion together other than the covenant," Gomez contended. "Nothing else is on the table. If that fails, we will see only further fragmentation and disintegration. That is not theory but reality," he said. the rest at Virtueonline

Former New Westminster clergy and lay leaders sue diocese

Marites N. Sison
staff writer
Sep 15, 2008

Seventeen former clergy and former lay leaders of three parishes on Sept. 9 filed a lawsuit against the diocese of New Westminster and its bishop, Michael Ingham, over the diocese’s decision to evict breakaway priests who continue to use diocesan properties and to dismiss trustees believed to be supportive of them.

The plaintiffs have asked the B.C. Supreme Court to declare that the dismissal of the trustees is “of no force and effect,” and that the parish corporations “or, in the alternative, the trustees” and not the diocese hold the property of the parishes in trust. It also asked the court to declare that the bishop “has no jurisdiction or authority to dismiss or appoint trustees to parish corporations.” It also asked the court to issue a “permanent injunction concerning the use of the property of the parishes.”

The lawsuit was filed in response to a diocesan decision on Aug. 26 asking clergy who had left the diocese and the Anglican Church of Canada because of bitter disputes over the issue of homosexuality to vacate their former parishes. The diocese also said that under a provision in its canons (church law) it was returning control of the parishes to the diocese. the rest

Dead Men Reproducing: Responding to the Existence of Afterdeath Children

Browne C. Lewis
August 25, 2008

Medical advances currently available permit dead men to reproduce. Sperm can be successfully stored for at least ten years. Therefore, a man’s heirs may be created years after his death. Recently, this event has gone from a possibility to a reality. More and more women are choosing to conceive children using the sperm of their dead husbands or boy friends.

Widows of soldiers killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have conceived children through artificial insemination using their dead husbands’ sperm. The process of creating afterdeath children can occur in two contexts. Scenario One - Prior to going to war, the man has his sperm extracted and placed in a sperm bank. If the man does not return from the war, his wife or girl friend uses his stored sperm to create his child. Scenario Two - The man is killed in the war. His wife or girl friend has the doctor harvest sperm from his dead body. Then, she uses that sperm to conceive his child. Either scenario results in the existence of an afterdeath child that needs financial support.

The law has not kept pace with the reproductive technology. Hence, when the mothers of the posthumously conceived children file social security surviving children claims on behalf of their children, the claims are often rejected. The children are denied benefits because the agency is not equipped to deal with “survivors” who did not exist at the time that the insured worker died. The resolution of these Social Security cases often turns on the manner in which the children are classified under the states’ intestacy systems. If the child is eligible to inherit under the intestacy system, the child is entitled to social security survivor’s benefits. the rest

Widow's suit to keep husband's frozen sperm denied

Bishop Nazir-Ali and the three 'C's

September 14, 2008
Ruth Gledhill

The Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, has delivered a strong address to the Prayer Book Society at its annua general meeting that you can listen to here. He warned that the Anglican Church was too ready to adapt to modern culture. He called for the Church to reaffirm its traditional identity as a confessing, conciliar and consistory church. He was also critical of councils that 'make no decisions', a veiled attack on the recent Lambeth Conference. I've reproduced some edited highlights below. Also, please join in prayers for the family of the regular contributor to this blog, the Rev Tom Allen of Big Bulky Anglican, who has died suddenly. the rest

HOB Will Hold Hearings to Remove Bishop Duncan

The Living Church
September 15, 2008

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has proposed a sweeping change to the previously announced agenda for the special House of Bishops’ meeting scheduled Sept. 17-19 in Salt Lake City.

In a memorandum to bishops, Bishop Jefferts Schori proposed two days of hearings to remove Bishop Robert W. Duncan of Pittsburgh permanently from the ordained ministry of The Episcopal Church for teaching that it is lawful for a diocese to withdraw from The Episcopal Church.

The revised scheduled calls for the Presiding Bishop’s council of advice to hold an “informal evening meeting to investigate the matter” on Sept. 17, with further discussion leading to a vote during the business meeting the following day. the rest

US Bishop backs Obama (Guess who...)

Monday, 15th September 2008
By George Conger

The Bishop of New Hampshire has broken with tradition and endorsed a candidate for political office. In a letter published on “LGBT for Obama,” a website that states it serves as the “lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community's online campaign to educate voters on John McCain's anti-gay policies,” Bishop Gene Robinson called on all LGBT voters to “put our differences and disappointments aside, and get behind the one candidate who has our interests at heart.”

On Sept 4 Bishop Robinson wrote that LGBT voters were “faced with the most stark choice in recent memory, with ramifications for our community like no other. If nothing else convinces you to vote for Barack Obama, surely the likelihood of the next president appointing one, two, or possibly even three Supreme Court justices should do it.”

While endorsing specific issues and or programmes is not uncommon, lending the support of the episcopal office to a single candidate is uncommon. It also skirts US tax laws, as clergy or church endorsements are prohibited by a 1954 amendment to the Internal Revenue Code. Nonprofit, tax-exempt entities may not "participate in, or intervene in ... any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office." the rest

Does the IRS know about this activity of VGR? Looks to me like this is a direct violation of the IRS rule for tax exempt organizations that they not "Directly or indirectly to participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office." Will the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire loose its tax exemption over this? Don't count on it. Homosexual activists demand that the rule of law be re-written for them in the area of marriage, so apparently IRS rules don't apply to them either. But just watch how fast a conservative pastor's church will be hit if the pastor endorses John McCain. ....Raymond Dague

Bishop David Bena: Former Marine now leads a spiritual struggle

Greenwich man left Episcopal Church to join conservative offshoot
By MARC PARRY Staff writer
Albany Times Union
Monday, September 15, 2008

GREENWICH -- Over a salad lunch on an outdoor patio, Assistant Bishop David Bena is so positive and chipper it's hard to connect him with the words of a letter to the editor on the table.
"Well, that's interesting," Bena says cheerfully. "I've never been called a guerrilla warrior."

This is life on the front lines of an emotional rift cleaving the Anglican Communion, the 77-million-member Christian federation that encompasses the U.S. Episcopal Church.

Five years ago, Bena was serving as assistant bishop in Albany when Episcopalians took what he considered a misguided step: electing the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire. Bena was one of three people to stand up and protest at the consecration ceremony where Robinson, who has received death threats, wore a bulletproof vest.

Today, Bena still wears a bishop's ring, but he no longer belongs to the Episcopal Church. Since last March, the Mechanicville resident and former Marine has worked as assistant bishop in an upstart group called the Convocation of Anglicans in North America.

The Virginia-based outpost of the Nigerian church was established to shelter breakaway conservative Episcopalians, who were outraged over Robinson's consecration and clash with the Episcopal Church on doctrine and interpretation of scripture. the rest

Legal doubt over Presiding Bishop's move to depose Duncan

Sunday, 14th September 2008
By George Conger

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori may face legal hurdles in her bid to depose Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan (pictured) this week, as her decision to change the agenda of the special session of the House of Bishops five days before its start appears to violate canon law.

On Sept 12, Bishop Schori distributed a memorandum to the American bishops announcing that on Sept 18 she would attempt to depose the conservative leader.“I shall present to the House the matter of the certification to me by the Title IV Review Committee that Bishop Robert W Duncan has abandoned the Communion of this Church within the meaning of Canon IV.9,” she wrote.However, the rules of the House of Bishops forbid modifying the agenda of a special session after the meeting has been announced, placing her plans in legal and canonical limbo.

Whether the bishops will challenge her request is unclear, however, as her past legal missteps in the cases of Bishops John-David Schofield and Williams Cox provoked protests from bishops and dioceses distressed over what they perceived was her abuse of office, but no action followed. the rest

AnglicanTV Live Stream: Trinity's Seminarian for a Day Event

Live Video streaming by Ustream

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Devotional: The tiniest thing we allow in our lives...

The tiniest thing we allow in our lives that is not under the control of the Holy Spirit is quite sufficient to account for spiritual muddle, and all the thinking we like to spend on it will never make it clear. Spiritual muddle is only made plain by obedience. Immediately we obey, we discern. This is humiliating, because when we are muddled we know the reason is in the temper of our mind. When the natural power of vision is devoted to the Holy Spirit, it becomes the power of perceiving God's will and the whole life is kept in simplicity. ...Oswald Chambers image

Hurricane Ike Claims Eight Lives, Millions Without Power

AUSTIN, Texas, September 14, 2008 (ENS) - The center of Hurricane Ike slammed into Galveston, Texas at 2 am Saturday and moved inland across the Galveston-Houston area, knocking out power, water and sewer services, toppling trees and damaging buildings. The hurricane has claimed eight lives to date, five in Texas, two in Louisiana and one in Arkansas, officials said.

Three bodies were found today in Galveston, including one in a submerged vehicle near the airport. In Corpus Christi, the body of a man who was swept off a pier where he had gone to view the oncoming storm was found today.

At daybreak, the Texas Public Utilities Commission estimated that more than 2.4 million customers were without power, and the U.S. Energy Department says 400,000 others are without power in Louisiana and Arkansas. the rest

Nearly 2000 brought to safety in Texas

Online networks help keep people in touch

In pictures: Hurricane Ike

Charles Darwin to receive apology from the Church of England for rejecting evolution

The Church of England is to apologise to Charles Darwin for its initial rejection of his theories, nearly 150 years after he published his most famous work.
By Jonathan Wynne-Jones, Religious Affairs Correspondent
14 Sep 2008

The Church of England will concede in a statement that it was over-defensive and over-emotional in dismissing Darwin's ideas. It will call "anti-evolutionary fervour" an "indictment" on the Church".

The bold move is certain to dismay sections of the Church that believe in creationism and regard Darwin's views as directly opposed to traditional Christian teaching.

The apology, which has been written by the Rev Dr Malcolm Brown, the Church's director of mission and public affairs, says that Christians, in their response to Darwin's theory of natural selection, repeated the mistakes they made in doubting Galileo's astronomy in the 17th century. the rest image

Church makes ‘ludicrous’ apology to Charles Darwin - 126 years after his death