Saturday, January 17, 2009

Devotional: The degree of blessing...

The degree of blessing enjoyed by any man will correspond exactly with the completeness of God's victory over him.
...AW Tozer image

Bp. Iker: Global Anglicanism: Beyond the Elizabethan Settlement toward the New Anglican Conciliarism

Address delivered Jan. 16, 2009, at the Mere Anglicanism Conference in Charleston, S.C.

Have you noticed how nearly everything we speak of in today’s world is global? We live in a global community, with a global economy, with global warming. We engage in global politics, caution against global war, and fear global ruin. Little wonder we should speak of a global Anglicanism, though in some ways such a concept is misleading.

Modern technology and Internet communication have indeed made our world a much smaller place. What happens in one part of the world is immediately communicated across the globe. What touches our common life in one place impacts countless others in far away places. This is as true of the church as in other areas of contemporary life.

The consecration of a partnered homosexual bishop in the Diocese of New Hampshire impacts the life of the Diocese of Jos in Nigeria. The blessing of same-sex unions in a growing number of North American dioceses send shock waves throughout the Anglican world. To speak of Global Anglicanism is to speak of fragmentation, division and schism, as reflected in the preponderance of media stories about the Anglican Communion in recent months, rather than a unified, missionary church rooted in the historic faith and practice of Anglicanism. Global Anglicanism is coming apart, not coming together, and the crisis that besets us shows no signs of being resolved any time soon. One wonders about a communion of churches bound together by “bonds of affection” rather than by true doctrine and godly discipline. What sort of a global church is it that is held together by sentimentality rather than truth? Is such a communion worth preserving? the rest

Albert Mohler Radio Program: A Conversation with Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali

Few voices in the Church of England have stood more boldly for biblical authority than the Right Reverend Michael Nazir-Ali, Bishop of Rochester. In a special broadcast from the Mere Anglicanism Conference in Charleston (SC), Dr. Mohler welcomes Bishop Nazir-Ali to the program for a broad conversation about the most pressing issues facing the Church of England.


The Way of the Cross: Biblical Resources for a Global Anglican Future


In June 2008, 291 Anglican Bishops gathered in Jerusalem with almost 900 other Anglican leaders, representing over 40 million churchgoing Anglicans from around the Anglican Communion, for the Global Anglican Future Conference.

They issued a Statement on the Global Anglican Future and said: ‘We believe that, in God’s providence, Anglicanism has a bright future in obedience to our Lord’s Great Commission to make disciples of all nations and to build up the church on the foundation of biblical truth (Matthew 28:18-20; Ephesians 2:20).’

In his Foreword, Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria, Chairman of the GAFCON Conference, writes:

In calling orthodox Anglicans to meet in Jerusalem, we were calling them to return to their roots, both doctrinally, in the Scriptures, and historically, in the Holy Land, where God has acted decisively for our redemption through the Lord Jesus Christ.

Central to the GAFCON gathering were the daily expositions of Scripture, which were followed by group discussion and prayer. We shared stories of our own Christian journey, or pilgrimage, and recognized that the way of the cross is at the heart of our discipleship, and also of our engagement with the world.

We now invite a wider circle of churches to join us in these studies, particularly during the season of Lent, as we consider them under the overall title of The Way of the Cross.
the rest

From a commentator at Stand Firm:
I have just received these details of the publication of the Way of the Cross in North America which should be available in early February.

The SBN is ISBN 978-1-57383-435-3.

Advance Bulk orders (25 copies +) can be e-mailed directly to

Smaller orders should be placed with our bookstore:
Regent Bookstore 5800 University Blvd. Vancouver, BC V6T 2E4 Canada Tel: 604.228-1820 Fax: 604.224.3097 E-mail:
The book will also be available through online sellers such as

Pope to have own Google channel with video

posted January 17, 2009

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican says Pope Benedict XVI is getting his own channel on Google.

It says the Vatican TV Center and Vatican Radio are collaborating with Google on the project.

The Vatican's press office said Saturday that texts and video of the pope's speeches as well as news about the pontiff would be posted directly onto the channel.

It says more information will be given next week.

The Vatican began using its Web site widely to publish teachings and pronouncements under the late Pope John Paul II. the rest

Pope Benedict the next YouTube star?

The Vatican--which recently endorsed an iPhone prayer app and gave its blessing to gadget evangelism--is displaying further receptivity to technology with Saturday's announcement that Pope Benedict XVI will get his own YouTube channel.

According to the Associated Press, the Vatican TV Center and Vatican Radio are collaborating with Google on the project, and texts and video of the Pope's speeches, as well as news about the pontiff, will be posted directly to the channel. More details on the project will be released next week, the Vatican press office said.

Given past tech-friendly moves by the Vatican, the YouTube announcement is not all that surprising.

Catholic Church officials have said that consumer electronics are necessary for distributing the Bible in today's world.

Besides printed text, "the voice of the divine word must also resonate over the radio, Internet channels with virtual online distribution, CDs, DVDs, iPods, and on television and cinema screens," read an official statement released during a gathering of Catholic bishops in October. the rest

D.C. cops ban pro-life messages

'Is this the future of free speech and political dissent under President Obama?'
January 16, 2009
By Chelsea Schilling
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

The Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department has forbidden a pro-life gathering and chalk display during Inauguration Week – and now the group is fighting back with a lawsuit against the District of Columbia.

Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition, said the department is banning the event because of its message.

"For over 16 years, law enforcement officials have given permission to the Christian Defense Coalition to use public 'sidewalk chalking' as a part of their demonstrations and vigils in the nation's capitol. The City of Washington, D.C., has also allowed numerous public 'chalk art displays' throughout the city," he said in a statement. "It is therefore most troubling that for the first time the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department is banning this practice when it involves a pro-life display in front of the White House." the rest

Madoff scandal leads to staff cuts in abortion industry

Charlie Butts and Jody Brown

Because of a downturn in donations and losses related to the Bernard Madoff scandal, Planned Parenthood's national office has laid off about one-fifth of its staff.

According to the federally funded abortion provider, the layoff affected about 30 people. The cuts came following last month's closure of the Florida-based Picower Foundation, which shut down because its assets -- totaling nearly $1 billion -- were managed by Madoff but lost in his alleged Ponzi scheme. Picopower was a major contributor to Planned Parenthood.

While Jim Sedlak of STOPP International regrets anyone losing their job, he suggests the country is better off for what has happened to the largest abortion provider in the country. the rest

GAFCON Primates Prepare Case for New Province

January 16, 2009

The Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh (Anglican), is involved in “an unanticipated series of consultations with the primates who originated the call” for a new Anglican province in North America, participants in an Anglican theology conference have been told.

Bishop Duncan had been scheduled to address “North American Anglicanism After GAFCON and Lambeth” at the Mere Anglicanism conference in Charleston, S.C. Instead, the Very Rev. William McKeachie, dean of the Cathedral Church of St. Luke and St. Paul which is the conference location, read a letter from Bishop Duncan. He said that following consultations about the proposed new province between Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and members of the GAFCON primates’ steering committee in London last month, Archbishop Williams had asked that a paper be prepared setting out the situation and the hopes for a new structure. The Archbishop invited the primates to forward the case to the Anglican Consultative Council along with their comments. the rest

Friday, January 16, 2009

Canal ice helps Dutch rediscover national identity

January 16, 2009
By John Tagliabue

NIEUWERKERK AAN DEN IJSSEL, Netherlands: For the first time in 12 years, the Netherlands' canals froze this month, bringing the Dutch, who like their tulips in neat rows, a heady mix of pandemonium and euphoria.

Hundreds of thousands of skaters, their cheeks as red as apples in the freezing temperatures, took to the ice, and hospital wards were filled with dozens of people with fractured arms, sprained ankles and broken legs.

Train engineers were ordered to go slowly to avoid hitting skaters who clambered across railway tracks to get from one frozen canal to another. Even the minister of defense, an avid skater, fell and broke his wrist. His ministry announced that the national defense remained in safe hands, even if one of them was in a cast. the rest

New Study Examines Familial Context of Choice to Abort

By Wanda Franz, Ph.D., NRLC President
January 15, 3009

The pro-life movement in this country has been very successful in reducing the numbers of abortions and the abortion rate (the number of abortions per 1,000 women of child-bearing age). In 2005, the abortion rate was down 33% from its peak in 1980/81, the same level it had been in 1974. If the abortion rate had not decreased from its peak value in 1980/81, but simply stayed the same, there would have been 50% more abortions in 2005: 1.8 million, instead of the actual 1.2 million.

This decrease in abortion has been greatest among adolescents and young people. While abortions have decreased in women having their first pregnancy, the number of repeat abortions has increased. Today, 47% of all abortions are obtained by women who have already had at least one previous abortion. In addition, most abortions occur now in the group of women who already have one living child. Thus, the demographics of abortion are changing. Today, the women, who are in need of pro-life support, are often those with families. No research has been done on this population group, until now. the rest

Washington Hotel Hosts Homosexual Orgy on Eve of Inauguration Festivities


As millions head to Washington, D.C. to participate in Inaugural events kicking off this Sunday, the Doubletree Hotel on Rhode Island Avenue has set aside a block of guest rooms and several conference rooms for a homosexual mass orgy. The invitation-only event called "The Maneuvers," booked at the Doubletree Hotel Washington for three days, is one part of the larger Mid-Atlantic Leather Conference being held at a nearby hotel. the rest

The Miracle of Life

Pro-life mini-movie ‘Miracle of Life’ released

West Hollywood, CA
Jan 15, 2009

(CNA).- A new pro-life mini-movie showing the stages of development in an unborn child has been released by Catholic Media House.

The mini-movie, titled “The Miracle of Life,” asks the questions “When does Life Begin?” and “Do you know about the miracle of life?”

The movie also uses high-quality photographs of unborn life and ultrasound videos to humanize the unborn. the rest

Federal Judge Tosses out Newdow’s Challenge of Inaugural Prayers, ‘So Help Me God’

Friday, January 16, 2009
By Pete Winn

Washington ( -Atheist Michael Newdow and 30 other "nontheistic" plaintiffs say they will decide Friday whether to appeal Thursday's decision by a federal judge dismissing their demand that President-elect Barack Obama be barred from saying “So help me God” when he takes the oath of office Jan. 20.

U.S. District Court Judge Reggie B. Walton also refused to block prayers at the inaugural – leaving the Reverends Rick Warren and Joseph Lowery free to give the invocation and benediction at Obama’s swearing-in. the rest

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Devotional: True patience...

True patience is to suffer the wrongs done to us by others in an unruffled spirit and without feeling resentment. Patience bears with others because it loves them; to bear with them and yet to hate them is not the virtue of patience but a smokescreen for anger. ...Gregory the Great image

Church Adds Staff to Address Declining Numbers

January 15, 2009

Facing declining membership, the Episcopal Church plans to look at emergent church models in efforts to reach “new generations,” Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said.

Reflecting on the state of the church in a wide-ranging interview with Episcopal Life Media, Bishop Jefferts Schori said there are “many plans to address the trend” of decreasing attendance.

“Among the new staff at church center [in New York] are ones dedicated to church planting work, one dedicated to work in evangelism, and one for work with small congregations,” Bishop Jefferts Schori said. “We're going to bring aboard another person who will help to teach the rest of us and challenge the rest of us to think about emergent church models—how the church can as a whole be more effective in presenting the gospel in language and images and idioms that can be more readily understood by new generations.” the rest

US Airways Plane Crashes Into Hudson River

Plane Lands Upright In Water Near USS Intrepid
Bird Strike Said To Have Caused Both Engines To Malfunction
Witness: 'It Wasn't Wobbling, There Was No Smoke'

A U.S. Airways airplane has crashed into the Hudson River, CBS 2 has learned. The plane appears to be in one piece and passengers are being evaucated by rescue teams.

Officials tell CBS 2 the airplane is Flight 1549, an Airbus a320 that took off from La Guardia Aiport and headed to Charlotte, N.C. There are reports that there were 151 people on board. It went down around 3:30 p.m.

There are reports that the a bird strike may have caused the plane to go down, meaning a bird may have entered the engine, causing a malfunction. A large flock of geese was said to have flown in front of the plane at the time of the bird strike.

The bird strike disabled both engines. the rest

ACNS: Media Advisory on the 2009 Primates Meeting

January 15, 2009

The Primates of the Anglican Communion will meet for the next of their regular meetings at the Helnan Palestine Hotel Alexandria Egypt, between 1st – 5th February.

The meeting will be chaired by the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams and hosted by the President Bishop of Jerusalem & the Middle East & Bishop in Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa, The Most Revd Dr Mouneer Hanna Anis. The Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, the Revd Canon Kenneth Kearon will act as the meeting’s secretary. the rest

Lent and Beyond has a wonderful compilation of information on the Primates of the Anglican Communion and prayers to help you pray specifically for each primate, this meeting and for the difficult issues that will be discussed. Here

More Obamanations

by Bill Muehlenberg

It is hard to know in which area Barack Hussein Obama is the most radical. Will he be the most pro-abortion American president ever? Or will he be the most pro-homosexuality president ever? Probably both, one suspects. He is not yet even president (five more days remain before that happens) but he is already making quite a stir.

Consider the issue of homosexuality. When he invited megapastor Rick Warren to say an Inauguration Day prayer, that stirred things up. The choice was in many respects a sop to the evangelical community which unfortunately was duped into supporting Obama in the first place. But since Warren has supported California’s Proposition 8, which forbids homosexual marriage, the homosexual activists have gotten into a frenzy about Obama’s choice.

But this choice was all about appearances. Obama is anything but an evangelical Christian, and this was simply a move to persuade evangelicals to remain onside with Obama. But his real colours appeared a few days ago when he chose a homosexual church leader to give the main invocation on January 20.

New Hampshire Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson, the Church’s only openly homosexual bishop, will join Warren in a few days time, giving a much different message. the rest

EU Approves Resolution to Force Homosexual “Marriage” Acceptance in All Member States

January 14, 2009

( – A resolution has been passed today at the European Union that proposes to standardise among all member states the legal status of same-sex relationships.

Pro-life and pro-family leaders have called for a strong Christian response to the move that that will force EU member states to adopt same-sex “marriage” or civil unions and bring legalised abortion, even in countries who uphold legal protections for the unborn and in which only natural marriage is legally recognised.

The resolution, authored by Giusto Catania, an Italian Communist MEP, calls upon EU member-states to guarantee access to “sexual and reproductive health and rights,” terms universally accepted as including abortion and sterilisation as well as the recognition of same-sex unions. The resolution represents the next step in the work of European homosexualist activists who started last year with a declaration saying that same-sex “marriage” and civil union laws should be standardised across the EU to facilitate freedom of movement. the rest

In Defense of Death

January 12, 2009

William D. Eddy was an Episcopal minister in Tarrytown, N.Y., and an admirer of the writer and theologian Richard John Neuhaus. When Rev. Eddy grew gravely ill about 20 years ago, I asked Neuhaus to write him a letter of comfort.

I was shocked when I read it a few weeks later. As I recall, Neuhaus’s message was this: There are comforting things you and I have learned to say in circumstances such as these, but we don’t need those things between ourselves.

Neuhaus then went on to talk frankly and extensively about death. Those two men were in a separate fraternity and could talk directly about things the rest avoided. the rest

Post-Abortion Counselor Confirms Abortions Cause Women Mental Health Issues

by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 14, 2009

Washington, DC ( -- While numerous studies confirm abortions cause women subsequent mental health issues, abortion advocates downplay them so abortion isn't seed in a negative light. But one doctor who counsels women after abortions says the proof is in the actual experiences of women who regret their choice.

Dr. Linda Mintle, who counsels women after abortions, says she sees problems such as depression, anxiety and substance abuse on a regular basis in the women who have had abortions.

"Abortion is a loss," Mintle told CBN News on Wednesday. the rest

Episcopal church holds Goth services

January 15, 2009
by Lisa B. Hamilton

If there's a stereotype of a clergy person who initiates a Goth service, the Rev. Lou Divis defies it. At nearly 60, Divis, the mother of four and stepmother of four, with her first grandchild on the way, is one of the softest-spoken, sweetest-looking people you could hope to meet. Her "day job" is in early childhood education.

But unlikely or not, Divis has introduced Goth services at St. George's Episcopal Church, where she serves on weekends as a deacon-in-charge in tiny Nanticoke, Pa., population 10,000, where the average age is 43.

Goths—usually people in their teens and 20s—are associated with a world outlook as dark as their eyeliner and a fashion sense that mixes body piercing with black period dress from earlier English eras. The meaning of their frequently worn crosses and other religious jewelry ranges from satire to a sincere expression of faith. the rest image

Bonnie Anderson in Falls Church:

Written by Nicholas F. Benton
Thursday, 15 January 2009

The highest ranking elected leader of the Episcopal Church USA spoke to the "continuing Episcopalian" congregation in Falls Church Sunday, making a presentation, taking questions and then preaching during the group's weekly religious service.

Bonnie Anderson, president of the House of Deputies of the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, said the schism in the Episcopal Church has "awakened a sleeping giant" in the church. "The laity is being pushed into reaffirming its faith, reclaiming its own voice, and is focusing more on dynamic outreach and mission efforts," she said, and while she admitted there is lots of anger, there is also "a lot of hope."

The progressive denomination, which elevated the first openly-gay priest to standing as a bishop in 2003, provoking some congregations to leave, is keenly aware that it may have a special, revitalized role amid the new and young idealism that swept the nation in the 2008 presidential election. the rest

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Devotional: Thoughtfulness is the beginning of great sanctity...

Thoughtfulness is the beginning of great sanctity. If you learn this art of being thoughtful, you will become more and more Christ-like, for his heart was meek and he always thought of others. Our vocation, to be beautiful, must be full of thought for others. ...Mother Teresa of Calcutta image

UK: It’s a lovely church, shame about the cross, say TV crew

Coronation Street censors ‘offensive’ symbol
Russell Jenkins
The Times
January 14, 2009

When millions of viewers tuned into Tyrone and Molly’s wedding on Coronation Street this week, they probably did not notice anything amiss with the beautiful 14th-century church. The rector was not among them.

It was not the absurd storyline that so incensed the Rev James Milnes, of St Mary’s Church, Nether Alderley, Cheshire. Nor was it the ornate horse-drawn carriage, the dry-ice machine used to create atmosphere or even the harpist in the nave.

The clergyman was furious that the show’s producers had decided to hide the solid brass cross that formed the centrepiece of the altar for fear that it would cause offence to viewers. the rest

Albert Mohler: The Idol of Our Many Understandings -- Bishop Robinson at Prayer

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

President-elect Barack Obama promised to make his inaugural events the most inclusive ever -- and he is making good on his promise. Just over two weeks after gay rights activists condemned his choice of Saddleback pastor Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at the ceremony itself, the President-elect and his inaugural committee announced the choice of Bishop Gene Robinson, the openly-homosexual Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire, to open the mass event at the Lincoln Memorial with prayer.

Predictably, the committee insisted that the invitation has nothing to do with the furor over naming Warren, who angered homosexual activists and their allies by supporting Proposition 8 in California. "They called up and said this has actually been in the works for a long time," the bishop told The New York Times. He added that the committee also expressed, "and at the same time, we understand that people in the [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender] community have been somewhat wounded by this choice, and it's our hope that your selection will go a long way to heal these divides."

The event Bishop Robinson will open with prayer will be a huge opening rally featuring major entertainment figures and a mass gathering on the mall. Artists invited to perform at the event include Bono, Stevie Wonder, and Bruce Springsteen, along with the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington.

The choice of Bishop Robinson is not a complete surprise, since the President-elect had met with the bishop during the campaign. Of course, Bishop Robinson is one of the most controversial figures in the entire history of the Episcopal Church. Controversy over his election has led to a schism in his church and a rupture that threatens to unravel the world-wide Anglican Communion. the rest image

The pulpit and the presidency

Rick Warren has the power to broaden the evangelical agenda
By Electa Draper The Denver Post

Rick Warren, the chubby, denim-clad, goateed 54-year-old Southern Baptist now hailed as America's pastor, was the heir apparent to 90-year-old Billy Graham long before President-elect Barack Obama asked him to give the inaugural invocation.

Warren rose to the occasion in 28 years, under circumstances very different from Graham's.
Even before Obama's invitation, Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where Martin Luther King Jr. was pastor, asked Warren to speak at its King Day service Jan. 19.

Long before the Saddleback Civil Forum last August, where Warren moderated a values-focused Q&A session with presidential candidates Obama and John McCain, the media represented Warren as the authoritative spokesman for a new generation of evangelical Christians. the rest

Most US Christians define own theology

More than half say other faiths can also lead to salvation.
By Jane Lampman
Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
January 14, 2009

American individualism has made its imprint on Christianity.

A sizable majority of the country's faithful no longer hew closely to orthodox teachings, and look more to themselves than to churches or denominations to define their religious convictions, according to two recent surveys. More than half of all Christians also believe that some non-Christians can get into heaven.

"Growing numbers of people now serve as their own theologian-in-residence," said George Barna, president of Barna Group, on releasing findings of one of the polls on Jan. 12. the rest

The two faces of an Episcopal Bishop

January 12, 2009
by Jake Jones
Evangelical Examiner

The first openly gay Episcopal Bishop will say a prayer at the Lincoln Memorial at a pre-inaugural event for President-elect Barack Obama on January 18. This Bishop of the Episcopal Church is Gene Robinson (New Hampshire). When he was elevated to Bishop several years ago the news made headlines around the world.

Only problem is that the Bishop wears two faces when it comes to Christianity. One face is the face of a church leader and the other……….the face of biblical hypocrisy. The fact that Obama chose Robinson for this event is nothing more than appeasement because Robinson complained about Obama’s decision to have Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren do the invocation at the presidential inauguration on January 20. Of course, Obama told everyone that he represented change for the country, I’m not sure that this is the kind of change the country is looking for.

In an interview with the Concord Monitor, Robinson was quoted as saying “While that is a Holy and sacred text to me, (the Bible) it is not for many Americans,". He said additionally "I will be careful not to be especially Christian in my prayer. This is a prayer for the whole nation.” the rest

Whining your way to the White House
By Uwe Siemon-Netto
January 13, 2009

So now Vicki Gene Robinson, the Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire, has finally managed to whine his way into some role at President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration. For the sake of an argument, let’s forget, if only one could, that he is openly homosexual; let’s forget, of only one could, that he is the cause of a tragic schism in the world’s Anglican community; let’s forget, if only one could, that he had dumped his wife to live with a male lover, whom he “married” in a civil ceremony,

Let’s forget, if only one could, that three months ago he led a retreat for homosexual Catholic priests urging them to push for the ordination of women in the Church of Rome, thus meddling in its affairs and offending the members of the largest Christian Church body in the United States, as the Catholic League’s feisty president Bill Donohue has rightly pointed out. the rest

From TitusOne Nine: npr-Robinson 'Delighted' To Be Part Of Inauguration

St. John's Episcopal Church Will Host President-Elect on Big Day

Obama backed same-sex marriage in 1996

CDC: Sexually transmitted disease rates soar

By Will Dunham
Jan 13, 2009

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. syphilis rates rose for a seventh year in 2007, driven by gay and bisexual men, while chlamydia reached record numbers and gonorrhea remained at alarming levels -- especially among blacks, health officials said on Tuesday.

Blacks make up 12 percent of the U.S. population, but account for about 70 percent of gonorrhea cases and almost half of chlamydia and syphilis cases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Black women ages 15 to 19 have the highest rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea, and gonorrhea rates for blacks overall were 19 times higher than for whites, the CDC said. the rest

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Stand Firm: An Offer from the Diocese of Central New York

Here Read the comments

ENS: CENTRAL NEW YORK: Parishioners who left Episcopal Church cannot keep Binghamton building

Also: Statement by the Presiding Bishop on the Confiscation of Good Shepherd’s property

Christmas in India. "There was no room for them at the inn"

Rome, January 14, 2009
by Sandro Magister

ROMA, January 13, 2009 – In the areas of Orissa that have been the theater of anti-Christian attacks, celebrations were held this Christmas without significant incidents. Unlike what happened at Christmas of 2007, when more than a hundred churches and a thousand homes were devastated and burned.

But about 20,000 Christians from the district of Kandhamal, the epicenter of the attacks, continue to stay away from their villages, which they fled in August and September. Their homes have been destroyed, and above all they do not feel sufficiently protected. They are living in tents on the edges of the forest, in a dozen refugee camps. The police are closing the camps one by one, forcing the refugees to go back home in exchange for 10,000 rupees (about 150 euros), 50 kilos of rice, and a roll of plastic to use as a shelter.

On January 4, the supreme court of India – after giving a hearing to the attorney of the archbishop of Bhubaneswar, Raphael Cheenath – criticized the government of Orissa for its late and feeble reaction to the anti-Christian pogrom last summer, and told it to "resign if it is incapable of protecting the minorities." The government of Orissa is headed by the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Biju Janata Dal, the two parties of reference for the Hindu groups that committed the violence. the rest

Orissa: insecurity and hatred await Christians forced out of refugee camps

Go East, young man? Californians look for the exit

Mon Jan 12, 2009

LOS ANGELES – Mike Reilly spent his lifetime chasing the California dream. This year he's going to look for it in Colorado.

With a house purchase near Denver in the works, the 38-year-old engineering contractor plans to move his family 1,200 miles away from his home state's lemon groves, sunshine and beaches. For him, years of rising taxes, dead-end schools, unchecked illegal immigration and clogged traffic have robbed the Golden State of its allure.

Is there something left of the California dream?

"If you are a Hollywood actor," Reilly says, "but not for us."
Since the days of the Gold Rush, California has represented the Promised Land, an image celebrated in the songs of the Beach Boys and embodied by Silicon Valley's instant millionaires and the young men and women who achieve stardom in Hollywood.

But for many California families last year, tomorrow started somewhere else.

The number of people leaving California for another state outstripped the number moving in from another state during the year ending on July 1, 2008. California lost a net total of 144,000 people during that period — more than any other state, according to census estimates. That is about equal to the population of Syracuse, N.Y. the rest

Changing Diocesan Policy, Colorado Bishop Ordains Partnered Lesbian

January 13, 2009

Ending a diocesan policy of several years’ duration, the Rt. Rev. Robert O’Neill, Bishop of Colorado, ordained a partnered lesbian to the priesthood at Denver’s St. John’s Cathedral Jan. 10.

In a media statement, Beckett Stokes, director of communication for the Diocese of Colorado said that Mary Volland is a longtime resident of Colorado who had been a candidate for ordination in the Diocese of Minnesota, where she had been ordained to the transitional diaconate by Bishop James Jelinek. Ms. Volland has been called to serve as an assistant priest at St. Thomas’ Church, Denver.

“The Episcopal Church does ordain partnered gay and lesbian persons,” Ms. Stokes said. “Several Colorado congregations have been and are served faithfully by gay and lesbian clergy. Although there is a clear range of opinion among clergy and lay people of the diocese about the ministry of partnered gay and lesbian clergy, one of the gifts of Anglican Christianity is its tradition of holding widely divergent points of view in a context of orthodox Christian faith.”

Bishop O’Neill described the diversity of the diocese as “a great gift.” the rest

Bishop denies Scripture is the word of God

13 Jan 2009

Lee Gatiss reports that on Sunday 11th January the Bishop of Leicester, Tim Stephens, appeared on the BBC's debate show, "The Big Question" (this can be viewed on the BBC iPlayer). The issue was the consecration of women as bishops, something he himself is clearly in favour of. As part of his contribution he signalled that what Scripture says cannot be taken as the word of God.

During the debate, Sarah Finch, a member of St. Helen's Bishopsgate and a Lay representative on General Synod had quoted from 1 Timothy 2 ("I do not permit a woman to teach or have authority over a man"), a passage of Scripture which directly addressed the issue being discussed. Yet the Bishop refused to countenance this, saying instead that "For Christians 'the word of God' is the life of Jesus. The Bible is the product of those who sought to understand the life of Jesus."
the rest

Albert Mohler: Sex and the Seminary

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The report makes for riveting reading. Almost half of the schools querried indicated that worship experiences in chapel at least occasionally focused on gay, lesbian, or bisexual experiences. Seven of the 36 schools also offered worship focused on transgender issues.

Consider this section of the recommendations:

Seminaries also must assure a supportive environment for sexuality-related issues. Seminaries must have anti-discrimination, sexual harassment, and full inclusion policies that reflect sexual and gender diversities. It was a welcome surprise that almost 9 out of the 10 seminaries have anti-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation, and half have such policies for transgender students, staff, and faculty; other seminaries, unless prohibited by their faith traditions, should implement such policies. In addition, seminaries must provide opportunities for worship and advocacy that reflect the diversity of sexuality issues students will encounter in their ministry.

All this adds up to a huge effort to redefine what is normative in theological education, but the larger agenda is to remove the churches as obstacles to the deconstruction of biblical sexual morality.

Obviously, many of these schools have already joined that bandwagon. They long ago abandoned biblical authority and the Gospel and transformed Christianity into a form of sexualized paganism. The "worship" practices revealed in the report suffice to establish that point. the rest image

Americans aren't reading, neither are Christians

13 January, 2009

USA (MNN) ― Americans are quickly becoming a listening society. Evidence to that are statistics that say 58% of all Americans won't read another book after high school. 42% of all college graduates won't read another book after college.

Shockingly, American Christians are equally falling into this pattern. According to Roger Hunter at Faith Comes By Hearing, 65% of all American Christians haven't read the entire New Testament.

Unfortunately, if Christians aren't reading the Bible, they're not growing. Hunter says, "What do we do about it? We need to get them into a position where they will engage in God's Word, and we believe it's through listening." the rest image

Stocks Squeeze Seminaries

Financial crisis may claim more evangelical schools in 2009.
Collin Hansen

One evangelical seminary fell victim to the American economy's recession in 2008, while others teetered on the brink of collapse or faced serious cutbacks.

Salt Lake Theological Seminary, the only Christian graduate school of theology in Mormon territory, closed in late October after a benefactor reneged on a large donation and attempts to secure grants from charitable foundations failed. Faculty and staff agreed to work without pay through December so that the seminary's 54 students could finish the semester.

The financial crisis may take down other seminaries in 2009 if the stock market does not rebound. The Association of Theological Schools (ATS) assessed the financial vitality of member schools in 2007 and discovered significant weaknesses. the rest

Homeschooling numbers climb 36% since 2003

Jan 12, 2009
by Erin Roach

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--A new report by the U.S. Department of Education finds that the number of homeschooled children in America has risen steadily over the past five years and stood at about 1.5 million in 2007.

Homeschooling experts, though, place the number closer to 2 million and say the discrepancy can be attributed to homeschooling parents being less inclined to respond to government surveys.

The report from the National Center for Education Statistics, a division of the federal government's education department, said in December the number of homeschooled children was up 74 percent from 1999 to 2007 and 36 percent since 2003. the rest image

Pope orders bishops to root out false claims of visions

The Pope has ordered thorough investigations to be carried out into people who claim they have seen visions of the Virgin Mary.
By Simon Caldwell
12 Jan 2009

He is hoping to cut down on an explosion in the number of bogus heavenly apparitions with new guidelines to help his bishops to root out frauds.

Benedict XVI plans to publish criteria to help them to distinguish between true and false claims of visions of Jesus and the Virgin Mary, messages, stigmata, weeping and bleeding statues and Eucharistic miracles.

In some cases exorcists will be used to determine if a credible apparition is of divine origin or whether it is demonic.

The guidelines will come in a "vademecum", or handbook, which is in its final stages and will be published soon by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. the rest

Vatican suggests excommunicating Mexican drug traffickers

The Vatican's No. 2 official, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, calls for a 'harsh deterrent' to the drug violence that left more than 5,000 dead last year.
By Tracy Wilkinson
January 13, 2009

Reporting from Mexico City -- Decrying the violence that Mexicans are enduring, the Vatican has suggested excommunication as a possible punishment for drug traffickers whose war with the government has led to the deaths of thousands of people in the last year.

But the Roman Catholic Church's severest form of rebuke would probably have little effect on traffickers and killers who lack a religious conscience, the Vatican's No. 2 official, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, acknowledged. the rest

Monday, January 12, 2009

Devotional: Is there not comfort in knowing...

Can anything appear in us that was not anticipated by One who before taking us for His own possession sat down and counted the cost? Is there not comfort in knowing that your keel is caught by a current which emanated from the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will, and is bearing you towards His heart? Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgements, and His ways past finding out! ...FB Meyer image

Having babies is... SEXIST!!!

Posted by Cassy Fiano
January 11, 2009

We've all heard the eco-warriors talk about the extinction of mankind as a benefit to the planet. Who cares about humans, Gaia must reign supreme! The latest reason to stop with the babymakin', though, is because it is SEXIST!!!!!!!!!!

While of course we're used to the feminist argument that marriage is just legal slavery or rape, I have to admit this was a new one for me -- albeit, unsurprising, given how enthusiastic feminists are for meaningless sex and unfettered access to abortions.

Along with the emancipation of women, sexual liberation has become very much a part of politics around the world. To the conservatives, both these issues challenge 'family values'.

But what if there were no families? What if we say no to reproduction?
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Federal Lawsuit as Police Ban Pro-Life Inaugural Display?


WASHINGTON,D.C. (Christian Newswire) - The Christian Defense Coalition is calling for the D. C. Metropolitan Police Department to lift a ban on pro-life displays in front of the White House by Monday, January 12, or they will file a federal lawsuit.

The Christian Defense Coalition is being represented by The American Center for Law and Justice.

Activists had planned to leave a "sidewalk chalk" display with pro-life messages and artwork for President Obama on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House.The date for this display was Saturday, January 24, 2009. the rest

Bush's Achievements

Ten things the president got right
by Fred Barnes

The postmortems on the presidency of George W. Bush are all wrong. The liberal line is that Bush dangerously weakened America's position in the world and rushed to the aid of the rich and powerful as income inequality worsened. That is twaddle. Conservatives--okay, not all of them--have only been a little bit kinder. They give Bush credit for the surge that saved Iraq, but not for much else.

He deserves better. His presidency was far more successful than not. And there's an aspect of his decision-making that merits special recognition: his courage. Time and time again, Bush did what other presidents, even Ronald Reagan, would not have done and for which he was vilified and abused. That--defiantly doing the right thing--is what distinguished his presidency.

Bush had ten great achievements (and maybe more) in his eight years in the White House, starting with his decision in 2001 to jettison the Kyoto global warming treaty so loved by Al Gore, the environmental lobby, elite opinion, and Europeans. The treaty was a disaster, with India and China exempted and economic decline the certain result. Everyone knew it. But only Bush said so and acted accordingly.
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Anglicans in L.A. and Newport Beach discuss the split

At St. John's Cathedral, the Episcopal Church is 'one family' that welcomes loyal dissent. The breakaway St. James Anglican Church respectfully disagrees.
By Joanna Lin and Ari B. Bloomekatz
January 12, 2009

At St. James Anglican Church in Newport Beach, the Rev. Richard Crocker told parishioners Sunday to await the "good news of a God who's with us," an upbeat message despite a recent legal ruling that could strip the congregation of its property because of its break with the Episcopal Church.

At St. John's Cathedral near downtown Los Angeles, whose congregation has remained within the Episcopal fold, the Very Rev. Canon Mark R. Kowalewski told parishioners that the Episcopal Church is "one church, one family."

The two messages came just days after the California Supreme Court ruled that congregations choosing to leave the Episcopal Church may lose church buildings and property because they belong to the national church. the rest

National Planned Parenthood Fires 20 Percent of Staff After Madoff Scandal

by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 12, 2009

Washington, DC ( -- The Madoff fundraising scandal has had some beneficial fallout for the pro-life movement. Combined with the current economic downturn, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America is feeling the pinch and has laid off 20 percent of its staff.

The nation's largest abortion business, which does 25 percent of all abortions in the United States annually, laid off about 30 people this week.

Executives at Planned Parenthood confirmed the layoffs in an interview with the Crain's New York business publication. the rest

Barna: Christianity Is No Longer Americans’ Default Faith

January 12, 2009

(Ventura, California) - For much of America’s history, the assumption was that if you were born in America, you would affiliate with the Christian faith. A new nationwide survey by The Barna Group, however, indicates that people’s views have changed. The study discovered that half of all adults now contend that Christianity is just one of many options that Americans choose from and that a huge majority of adults pick and choose what they believe rather than adopt a church or denomination’s slate of beliefs. Still, most people say their faith is becoming increasingly important as a source of personal moral guidance. the rest

Presenter sacked for 'supporting the Bible's teachings' on radio

A radio presenter is taking legal action after he alleged he was sacked for offending Muslims by defending Christianity on air.
By Andrew Alderson, Chief Reporter
11 Jan 2009

The Rev Mahboob Masih, a Church minister, claims he was unfairly dismissed and that the action taken against him was a case of religious discrimination.

He had been host of a regular Saturday morning show on Awaz FM, a community radio show in Glasgow, for six years before the row with the station's management blew up.

After a lively religious debate, the radio station management took exception to the content of the discussion. The Rev Masih was accused of not being balanced enough on air. However, Awaz FM refuses to detail anything specific he said that might have offended its listeners. the rest

Gay bishop to appear at Obama inaugural event

January 12, 2009

Washington – The Rev. V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, whose installation as an openly gay prelate split the Episocal Church, will speak Sunday at an inaugural event at the invitation of the inaugural committee.

"I am writing to tell you that President-Elect Obama and the Inaugural Committee have invited me to give the invocation at the opening event of the Inaugural Week activities, We are One, to be held at the Lincoln Memorial," Robinson wrote in an e-mail to friends over the weekend.

"It will be an enormous honor to offer prayers for the country and the new president, standing on the holy ground where the 'I have a dream speech' was delivered by Dr. King, surrounded by the inspiring and reconciling words of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address," he wrote. "It is also an indication of the new president’s commitment to being the President of ALL the people. the rest

On Obama's inauguration, Muslims say, 'It's our time'

NYT: Openly Gay Episcopal Bishop to Deliver Invocation at Lincoln Memorial

Anglican church consecrates 14 new bishops

by Festus Ahon
Monday, 12 January 2009

AT least fourteen new bishops were yesterday in Ughelli, Delta State , consecrated by the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion with an exhortation to be good shepherds and not a wolves to the flocks of Christ.

Making the clarion call while consecrating the bishops during the service held at the All Saints Cathedral Church, Ughelli, the Archbishop and Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, the Most Revd Peter Akinola told the new bishops to abide by the discipline of Jesus Christ in the discharge of their duties as clergies.

He said their consecration into the royal priesthood of the Anglican Communion was to advance the evangelical work of God, adding their calling was of God. the rest

Diocese of Westminster accused of discriminating against devout Catholic parents

By Damian Thompson
Jan 12, 2009

The governors of the Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School, one of London's leading Catholic comprehensives, are embroiled in a furious row with the Diocese of Westminster, which they accuse of forcing it to discriminate against practising Catholic parents.

According to the chairman of the governors, Sir Adrian Fitzgerald, the Vaughan's new admission criteria no longer allow the west London school to favour children from committed Catholic famlies. He is so angry that he has complained to Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Pope's right-hand man in matters of doctrine.

Sir Adrian says that the Vaughan is no longer allowed to favour "families who go to Mass every Sunday, parents who have their children baptised within a year of birth, children who have made their first confession and first Holy Communion, families who are actively involved in their parishes or the wider life of the Church, and parents who have shown their commitment to a Catholic education for their children."
the rest

Obama, Warren defy culture war

January 27, 2009
by John Dart

When President-elect Barack Obama tapped megachurch pastor Rick Warren to give the invocation at his inauguration, many liberal activists decried the choice of a high-profile evangelical figure who has opposed gay marriage and abortion rights. It did not matter to them that civil rights veteran Joseph Lowery, a backer of same-sex marriage, was picked by Obama to deliver the benediction at the January 20 ceremony.

To critics who deemed Warren a symbolically bad choice, Obama responded in mid-December by saying that he himself is "a fierce advocate of equality for gay and lesbian Americans." Moreover, he added, "it is important for Americans to come together even though we may have disagreements on certain social issues."Obama's emphasis on crossing partisan lines also characterizes Warren's approach.

Warren, a registered independent, lured both Democrat and Republican lawmakers to his Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, in support of anti-AIDS campaigns; his televised forum for Obama and Senator John McCain (R., Ariz.) in August launched the presidential debate season. the rest

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Devotional: One of the greatest blessings the Lord ever gave us...

I believe the hard heartest, most cross grained and most unloving Christians in all the world are those who have not had much trouble in their life. And those that are the most sympathizing, loving and Christlike are generally those who have the most affliction. The worse thing that can happen to any of us is to have a path made too smooth. One of the greatest blessings the Lord ever gave us was a cross. ...Charles Spurgeon image

Presbyterian splits lack Episcopalian litigiousness

By Sue Nowicki
January 10, 2009

The Episcopal Church isn't the only denomination facing a split between liberal and conservative interpretations of Scripture. The Presbyterian Church USA also has seen individual churches leave the national church.

First Presbyterian Church in Fresno and Trinity Presbyterian Church in Clovis are two. The congregational votes in November were overwhelming: 543-10 at First Presbyterian; 264-7 at Trinity.

There are similarities between the denominations: Both have had more than 100 churches leave the national churches, mainly over differences about the authority of Scripture and the ordination of gay clergy. Both national churches claim more than 2 million members.

But there are differences: The Fresno and Clovis churches have asked to be reassigned to the more conservative Evangelical Presbyterian Church, based in Livonia, Mich. The Episcopal Church, so far, is the only approved Anglican body with oversight in the United States. the rest

Fort Worth bishop demands right to respond to ‘abandonment’ charge

Sunday, 11th January 2009
By George Conger

The Bishop of Fort Worth has called upon US Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori to honour due process and the rule of law, and give him an opportunity to respond to charges he has “abandoned” his priestly orders.

According to a report in The Church of England Newspaper, the Rt Rev Jack Iker —- speaking through his attorney Marshall Searcy —- wrote to Bishop Schori contesting the legality of her attempts to remove him from office and from the ordained ministry.

He charged the Presiding Bishop had perverted the rule of law in the church and that her novel interpretations of the canons in aid of expelling out the last Anglo-Catholics from the Episcopal Church were creating further division within the Anglican Communion. the rest

Monasteries in drive to recruit more novices

Religious orders are offering 'taster' weekends to stem a near-terminal decline in numbers
Gareth Rubin
The Observer
Sunday 11 January 2009

It may be the ultimate relaxation break: beautiful medieval buildings, smiling hosts and a spot of gentle gardening to pass the time. But the 5am prayers could be a nasty jolt.

Monasteries and convents are advertising "try being a monk/nun" weekends as a way of encouraging men and women into religious orders. The number of monks and nuns is falling so quickly that very soon there could be none left. In 2000, there were about 710 nuns and 230 monks in Anglican religious orders in Britain and Ireland. Eight years later, numbers are down more than a third - to 470 nuns and 135 monks.

It is no better for Roman Catholic orders. The Vatican revealed last year that numbers worldwide fell 10% in 2005-06 alone. The Conference of Religious in England and Wales represents around 80% of Catholic communities, some 4,930 nuns and 1,320 monks. In 2007, just 13 men and 16 women became novices. Numbers have been declining steadily for at least 20 years and the average age of entrants is much higher. the rest

Chicago: Sexuality issues divide area Episcopalians

By Nancy Gier

Ethan Jewett comes from a Jewish family, but his partner Michael Bansley was raised Roman Catholic.

"He told me to find an Episcopal Church or we were going back to the Catholic Church," Jewett said.

The couple was living in Schaumburg at the time (they now live in Chicago) and Jewett discovered during an online search that St. Nicholas Episcopal Church in Elk Grove Village had an AIDS Ministry.

"For us, that was code that we had found a welcoming place, affirming for us as a couple," Jewett said. They joined the church in 2004.
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Gay church official to speak of civil rights and religious rites

Episcopal Bishop V. Gene Robinson has become symbolic of the fierce tensions within the denomination — both nationally and internationally — over issues such as homosexuality and the authority of Scripture. For that very reason, some local Episcopalians are inviting Robinson to Seattle this week.
By Janet I. Tu
Seattle Times staff reporter
Sunday, January 11,2009

Since the Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson became the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church in 2003, he has come to symbolize different things to different people.

For some, the New Hampshire bishop is a symbol of gay rights, while to others he represents a church gone astray. the rest

Nigeria: 2009 Annual Bisops' Retreat:COMMUNIQUE

Ibru Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State
January 5-10, 2009


The House of Bishops of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the leadership of the Most Rev. Peter J. Akinola, Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria, met for our annual retreat at the Ibru Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State, from January 5-10, 2009. One hundred and forty bishops were present. We were also joined by thirteen bishops-elect who were to be consecrated at the Cathedral Church of All Saints, Ughelli at the conclusion of the Retreat on Sunday, January 11th. The theme of our retreat was “Revive Thy Work, O Lord” (Habakkuk 3:2).[1] At the conclusion the House of Bishops issued this Communiqué:


Colorado poses new crisis for Anglican Communion

Sunday, 11th January 2009
By Nick Mackenzie

The Anglican world is about to be plunged into a new crisis over sexuality as the American Diocese of Colorado ordained an openly gay and partnered priest yesterday.

Under terms agreed between member Churches of the Anglican Communion, there is a moratorium on ordaining further openly gay people, but Bishop Robert O'Neill (pictured) ordained Mary Catherine Volland, along with three others, to the priesthood at St. John's Cathedral on Saturday. the rest

TitusOneNine:Press Release from the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado on Yesterday’s Action