Friday, June 20, 2014

ACNA Conclave opens

Jeffrey Walton: ACNA conclave opens amidst good news about membership growth
Bishops of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) have encouraging news as they convene this evening to begin the process of selecting a new leader: a growing flock. The fledgling denomination, launched in 2009, has seen membership grow by 13 percent to 112,504 members and attendance by 16 percent to 80,471 attendees.

The numbers contrast with the U.S.-based Episcopal Church that many ACNA members departed from, which has declined in its domestic dioceses from 2,006,343 members in 2009 to 1,894,181 members in 2012, the most recent reporting year. Episcopal Church domestic attendance declined from 682,963 in 2009 to 640,142 in 2012. The Episcopal Church Center usually releases updated statistics for the previous reporting year in the autumn.

In releasing statistics, the ACNA officials note that 74 percent of congregations completed reports. In an attempt to provide a complete picture, the denomination provides two statistical totals: “reported” figures and “projected” figures that substitute median averages for congregations that did not report. In the Episcopal Church, officials roll over previously reported statistics for non-reporting parishes until new ones are received. In the case of both the “reported” and “projected” figures, ACNA posts growth, which is strongest with the “reported” figures.

Archbishop Robert Duncan is concluding a five-year term as the denomination’s top official and will step down next week at the Anglican Provincial Assembly held June 25-28 at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, PA. The province, which aspires to be a part of — but is not formally recognized by – the worldwide Anglican Communion, unmistakably bears the fingerprints of Duncan, a longtime leader in what has been referred to as the “Anglican Realignment.”

The outgoing leader has steered the Anglican Church towards aggressively planting new congregations, especially in urban centers and college towns. Since 2009, the church has seen a growth of 40 percent in net congregations, from about 700 to 983 in 2013. In contrast, church planting efforts in the Episcopal Church have nearly ground to a halt, with overall parishes dropping from 6,895 in 2009 to 6,667 in 2012...  Thursday, June 19, 2014

Bp. Robert Duncan's Final Interview as ACNA Archbishop

June 19, 2014
Archbishop Duncan talks about the formation of the ACNA and gives some behind the scenes secrets about the ACNA Conclave.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Freezing Tiny Human Beings; Kidnapped Christian girls in Egypt; ISIS terror leader: 'I'll see you guys in New York'...more

Freezing Tiny Human Beings
...The most obvious offense to their human rights is that the process of freezing and thawing the embryos leads to the death of many. A recent study indicated that 46 percent will not survive the freezing and thawing process. The two primary causes of death? Formation of ice crystals (freezer burn) or cytotoxicity (poison) from the cryoprotectant. As the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority has summarized, “Not all embryos will survive freezing and eventual thawing when they come to be used.  Very occasionally no embryos will survive.” Many will lose one or two cells, with associated risks not fully understood. In short, the freezing and thawing process exposes them to serious risk of harm and death..

But even if the technology was perfected and no deaths would occur (an exceptionally unlikely scenario), these human beings are frozen against their will and not for their own good. Consent to such a procedure cannot be presumed because IVF and the freezing of embryos do not offer reasonable hope of success or great benefit for the embryo. They offer, rather, significant risks that are well above what might be reasonably considered normal. These risks are accepted because of a prior choice for IVF which is, itself, an irresponsible herculean intervention with overall embryo survival rates hovering around 5-20 percent...

Over 550 Christian girls kidnapped in Egypt since 2011 ...Since January, 2011 through March, 2014, over 550 Christian girls were kidnapped by Muslim men and forced to convert and marry their abductors, often after suffering violence at the hands of their kidnappers, according to the Association of Victims of Abduction and Forced Disappearance (AVAFD).

Often before these forced marriages, the traditional cross the Coptic minority tattooes on their wrists was erased with acid, according to Terrasanta, a Catholic news service...

ISIS terror leader: 'I'll see you guys in New York'
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is responding to news that the leader of the insurgent group currently advancing on major cities in Iraq made specific reference to New York City five years ago.

His name is Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and he made the chilling remarks during his release of a U.S. detention camp in 2009. He wasn't considered much of a threat at the time, but now he is being called a true heir to Osama bin Laden...

Sudanese Christians plea for release of Meriam Ibrahim  The Sudanese Council of Churches has called for the immediate release of Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, the Christian woman sentenced to death last month for apostasy from Islam by a Khartoum court. In a 1 June 2014 statement given to the media, the SCC said the death sentence for apostasy and sentence of 100 lashes for adultery for having married a Christian is a “clear and direct persecution of Christians in Sudan”...

What the Democrats, including Harry Reid and Hillary Clinton, were saying on Iraq before the invasion

How Arguments (Do Not) Function
Thanks to Real Clear Religion, I was alerted to someone named Sarah Moon at Patheos, blogging in high dudgeon about the “bigotry” of N.T. Wright, the renowned Anglican theologian. What has Ms. Moon so exercised? Here is how she begins:

In case you haven’t heard, N.T. Wright—author of theology books such as Surprised By Hope and Simply Christian, and former Bishop of Durham—recently did an interview in which he compared people who support marriage equality to Nazis and Soviet Communists.
And Soviet Communists.
No. No, he didn’t. Not even close...

Homemakers are happier
...As recent research indicates, female homemakers tend to be happier than working mothers or wives. This is consistent with both the positive correlation we see between stay-at-home mothers and the stabilizing economy, as well as the negative correlation between stay-at-home fathers and the improved job market. If women really are happiest as homemakers, then we should expect that women will choose to stay at home when they are financially able to do so. Likewise, since men seem to largely be stay-at-home fathers not by choice, but due to economic pressures or related factors, we can speculate that, unlike mothers, fathers prefer to pursue employment outside of the home rather than being stay-at-home fathers when they are economically or financially able to do so...

Anglicans set to pick successor to Duncan

Monday, June 16, 2014

Watching the World Cup

June 16, 2014

Georges the dog

Iraqi Christians flee; Pelosi Warns Bishop Not to March for traditional Marriage; Father's Day for a boy raised by lesbians...more

Thousands of Christians flee as ISIS militants burn, loot churches in captured Iraqi city 
Christians in Mosul city in northern Iraq are fleeing en masse with others, as militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, who captured the city last week, are now looting and burning churches and forcing all women to wear the Islamic veil.

Assyrian International News Agency reports that the Sunni group ISIS – also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – has gone on a rampage, looting and burning government buildings, raising its black flag and burning churches throughout Mosul, the capital of the Nineveh Province...

Abortionist who kills babies born alive (like Kermit Gosnell) forced to stop doing abortions  ...Karpen’s horrors were brought to light by three of his clinic workers who walked away from his abortion mill and gave a tell-all interview to pro-life organization Operation Rescue last year. According to these witnesses, Karpen frequently delivered live babies and killed them afterwards, turning abortions into infanticides...

Pelosi Warns SF Bishop Not to March for Traditional Marriage   In an astonishing challenge to traditional Catholic doctrine, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, nominally Catholic, has taken to telling San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone that he should not attend the National Organization for Marriage’s June 19 march on the Supreme Court in Washington D.C.

Cordileone is scheduled to be a featured speaker at the event, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, which is consistent with his championing of Proposition 8 in 2008. Cordileone helped raise $1.5 million for the initiative, which intended to ban same-sex marriage in the state. He once said, "The ultimate attack of the evil one is the attack on marriage."...

Incurable chikungunya virus spreads in US, at least 6 states affected
US health officials are on high alert as a mosquito-borne virus that yet has no cure has struck six of the US states. The virus called chikungunya causes severe joint pain which can last for years.

The latest case of the virus has been confirmed by Tennessee officials as the resident of Madison County, has been tested positive for the virus. The officials, however, added that there was no transmission to other residents in the state...

...Therein lies the rub for the boy raised by lesbians. You grow up seeing a loving relationship between two women who have defined themselves against what you are, and against the man who gave you life. Father's Day becomes a black hole of time, a day you get through, trying to listen to everyone's stories about their dads without rolling your eyes. The happy ending that concluded my journey through a fatherless life is something I treasure and am grateful for. But I grieve for the many boys raised by lesbians who will never have the fortuitous twists that allowed me to reunite with Dad: the cancer, the empty room in his house, graduate school, my own inexplicable decision to send my brother home and call Dad instead.

If there is any day on which I feel the importance of opposing same-sex parenting, it's Father's Day by far. Lesbian moms should feel deep shame on this day, because they have done something terrible and cruel to their children by forcing them to grow up with a gaping void that their peers never feel. There are children whose fathers die, of course, but most often, these children have a tombstone to visit and their widowed mothers will sit them down and tell them sentimental tales about what their father was like. That's not like having a lesbian mom who can't bear the thought of your dad, the reflection of you as a male, sharing your home and actually being part of your life...

Phil Ashey+: Praying for a new ACNA archbishop

posted June 6, 2014

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, friends of the Anglican realignment,

The College of Bishops of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) will gather to elect a new Archbishop beginning Thursday evening, June 19 and, if necessary, adjourning Sunday evening June 22. I am grateful for the Collect (above) that we have been able to pray during these recent weeks leading up to the election of a leader to succeed Archbishop Bob Duncan. I am also grateful for our Lord’s hand upon the ACNA, its growth under the inspired leadership of Archbishop Duncan, and our opportunity to celebrate both during Provincial meetings June 23-28 at St. Vincent’s College in Latrobe, PA.

There has been much speculation on the blogs regarding the possible candidates for Archbishop, the “handicapping” of their odds to succeed, and politicking for and against certain bishops, etc. I’m going to refrain from any further comment on all that, and to resist any temptation to prognosticate. Instead, I’d like us to take that Collect quite seriously and drill down deeper, asking ourselves the question: “What should we be praying for in a new Archbishop?”  the rest

Pope Francis' address to the Archbishop of Canterbury

16 Jun 2014

Your Grace,
Cardinal Nichols,
Cardinal Koch,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!” (Ps 133:1). Once again we meet, Your Grace, as co-workers in the Lord’s vineyard and fellow pilgrims on the path to his Kingdom. I welcome you and the distinguished members of your delegation, and I pray that today’s meeting will serve to strengthen further our bonds of friendship and our commitment to the great cause of reconciliation and communion between Christian believers.

The Lord’s question – “What were you arguing about on the way?” (Mk 9:33) – might also apply to us. When Jesus put this question to his disciples they were silent; they were ashamed, for they had been arguing about who was the greatest among them. We too feel ashamed when we ponder the distance between the Lord’s call and our meagre response. Beneath his merciful gaze, we cannot claim that our division is anything less than a scandal and an obstacle to our proclaiming the Gospel of salvation to the world. Our vision is often blurred by the cumulative burden of our divisions and our will is not always free of that human ambition which can accompany even our desire to preach the Gospel as the Lord commanded (cf. Mt 28:19).

The goal of full unity may seem distant indeed, it remains the aim which should direct our every step along the way. I find a source of encouragement in the plea of the Second Vatican Council’s Decree on Ecumenism that we should advance in our relationship and cooperation by placing no obstacle to the ways of divine providence and by not prejudicing future promptings of the Holy Spirit (cf. Unitatis Redintegratio, 24). Our progress towards full communion will not be the fruit of human actions alone, but a free gift of God. The Holy Spirit gives us the strength not to grow disheartened and he invites us to trust fully in the power of his works. the rest