Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Cultivate peace; be deaf to your too prolific imagination; its great activity not only injures the health of your body, but introduces aridity into your soul. You consume yourself to no purpose; peace and interior sweetness are destroyed by your restlessness. Think you God can speak in those soft and tender accents that melt the soul, in the midst of such a tumult as you excite by your incessant hurry of thought? Be quiet, and He will soon be heard. Indulge but a single scruple; to be scrupulously obedient. ...Francois Fenelon photo

+ Rowan Cantuar: Address at Evensong in Westminster Abbey
31 JANUARY 2007

In the presence of the Ecumenical Patriarch, His All-Holiness Bartholomew I, and the International Commission for Anglican-Orthodox for Theological Dialogue

Your All-Holiness, Your Eminences, dear brothers and sisters in Christ:

The dialogue between the Anglican and Orthodox families of churches is not a new thing. Only last year, we saw the publication of a fine collection of essays to mark the 300th anniversary of the short-lived but significant experiment of a ‘Greek College’ in Oxford; and the wide-ranging scholarship of the late Judith Pinnington gave us recently a comprehensive and quite challenging overview of some of the questions that had arisen for both ecclesial families in the course of their relationship over the centuries.

We have always had an instinct that at root, despite many superficial differences, our understandings of the Church of God have grown on the same soil. We have looked to the definitive moments of doctrinal history, in the early centuries of the Church, for our standards of faith and worship, recognising that the creeds and definitions of the Councils lay out for us a field large enough for the freedom of mind and spirit to flourish in the way God intends. We have striven to remain focused on these great central themes - of the revelation of the Threefold Godhead, and the inseparable yet distinct life of divinity and humanity in the one Person of the Eternal Son, in communion with whom through the Spirit we pray, act and love in the life of the Church.
the rest

Diocese of Virginia Files Suit Against Departing Congregations

The Diocese of Virginia has filed suit in various legal jurisdictions regarding real and personal property claims made by 11 congregations where the majority of the membership recently voted to leave The Episcopal Church.

The 11 new complaints seeking court action with respect to the real and personal property now held by the 11 congregations were preceded by legal filings last week in which the diocese objected to any transfer of property, citing both Virginia law and the canons of the diocese and the General Convention.

Following the votes to separate, eight of the congregations initiated proceedings in their respective local circuit courts in an effort to transfer ownership of their real properties away from the diocese and The Episcopal Church and to the Church of Nigeria through a missionary endeavor, the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA).

The clergy in charge and lay leadership of each of the 11 congregations have been named as defendants in the actions. The diocese is not asking the courts to impose any personal liability on any of the individuals named defendants at this time.
the rest

comments at titusonenine

comments at StandFirm

Jack Bauer's Dilemmas--and Ours
Watching "24" as a primer on moral philosophy.

Friday, January 26, 2007

The current season of Fox's television series "24" began with a dilemma that will be familiar to long-time devotees of the program. A man's wife and child have been taken hostage by a terrorist. If the man does not help him carry out his plans, his family will be killed.

Yes, such a dilemma propels the show's pace and intensifies the dramatic ordeal. But it also points toward difficult ethical puzzles with profound implications for our current real-world moment. You don't need to watch "24" as a kind of primer on moral philosophy, but you probably should.

This season's opening predicament echoes the one into which the show's star, Jack Bauer, was thrust in the series' first season six years ago. Back then, the bad guys tried to compel Bauer, played by Kiefer Sutherland, to assist in the assassination of a presidential candidate. As a result, he was forced both to play along with the terrorists and seek a way to free his family. He succeeded, at least temporarily, in saving both the target of the assassination and his family.
the rest photo

"Please, I need your help""I have to finish this"

"You are going to tell me what I want to know, it's just a question of how much you want it to hurt"

"I'm done talking with you, you understand me? You've read my file..."

"Trust me, you don't want to go down this road with me"

more sound clips

Religious complex unearthed near Stonehenge
By Thomas H. Maugh II, Times Staff Writer
January 31, 2007

Archeologists working near Stonehenge in England have discovered what appears to be an ancient religious complex containing a wealth of artifacts that may finally illuminate the lives and religious practices of the people who built the mysterious monument 4,600 years ago.

The circle of massive stone blocks on Salisbury Plain southwest of London is one of the most famous archeological sites in the world, but researchers know surprisingly little about the people who built it and lived in the region.

The discovery, reported Tuesday in a teleconference organized by the National Geographic Society, reconfigures the geometry of Stonehenge, indicating that it is not an isolated monument but part of a larger religious complex that may have encompassed the area.
the rest

Planned Parenthood Misleads Women on Abortion's Mental Health Risks
by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 30, 2007

Washington, DC ( -- The Planned Parenthood Federation of America is coming under fire for continuing to mislead women about the mental health risks associated with having an abortion. In a statement released Tuesday by PPFA medical director Vanessa Cullins, the abortion business claims there are no emotional or psychological concerns.

Cullins answered a sample question from a Planned Parenthood supporter asking if "having an abortion emotionally and psychologically dangerous."

"No. Most women feel relief after an abortion," Cullins responded.

"But anti-choice extremists make false claims about this. They want people to believe that most women who choose abortion suffer severe and long lasting emotional trauma. This is not true," Cullins added.

"For more than 20 years, most scientific studies have found that emotional reactions to having abortion are relatively positive," Cullins explains.

However, her statements run counter to the latest research studies published in peer-reviewed medical journals.
the rest

Muslim nations move to prevent violence
By David R. Sands
January 31, 2007

Terrified that sectarian Muslim bloodshed could soon engulf the region, U.S. allies and adversaries in the Middle East have stepped up joint efforts to head off a religious civil war.

Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia and Shi'ite Iran have held intensive talks in recent days on ways to tamp down sectarian violence in Iraq and Lebanon. Over the weekend, Saudi King Abdullah issued an unusual public call for calm.

Top Islamic clerics and scholars in Egypt, Qatar and Iraq also have issued statements urging Muslim unity, often blaming the United States and other outside actors of trying to divide the faithful.

"All scholars are condemning the ongoing sectarian war between Sunnis and Shi'ites as a threat to the unity of Iraq and drawing the attention of Muslims away from the real enemy of the [Islamic world]," Aisha al-Mannai, an Islamic law scholar at Qatar University, said last week at the conclusion of an emergency conference in Doha on the growing tensions among various strains of Islam.
the rest

Hawaii considers bill to allow civil unions for gay couples
Posted 1/31/2007

HONOLULU (AP) — Trying to avoid a heated battle over gay marriage, Hawaii lawmakers are considering a renewed push to grant same-sex couples similar benefits through civil unions.

Democratic legislators, who hold overwhelming majorities in both the state House and Senate, are supporting a proposed civil union bill as one of the party's top priorities for this year's legislative session. If it passes, Hawaii would become only the fifth state to recognize either civil unions or gay marriage.

"Committed couples, regardless of their sexual preference or orientation, should have the same rights. That's the bottom line — we should treat people equally," said Gary Hooser, the state senate majority leader. "There's broad support among Democratic party members."

He said if approved, the civil unions law would grant same-sex couples the same rights and benefits as married couples. Hawaii already gives some rights — in areas of insurance, property, pension and hospital visitation — to same-sex partners through its reciprocal benefits law.
the rest

Anglican Meeting May Make or Break Communion
Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter
Wed, Jan. 31 2007

The upcoming global meeting of Anglican archbishops can be a make or break time for the 77 million-member Anglican Communion.

Archbishop Peter Akinola of the Church of Nigeria, reportedly the largest province in the worldwide communion, says the issue of homosexuality must be resolved before the 2008 Lambeth Conference. Otherwise, Akinola is counting his church out.

The bishop told the Guardian newspaper of Lagos that the conference is not worth attending if it will "not be able to guide the church in a way that the church will embrace" and "comply."

Division in the global body escalated when the Episcopal Church consecrated an openly gay bishop in 2003. Last November, the church invested its first female bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori, who supports the consecration of homosexuals and the blessing of same-sex unions.
the rest

Anglican Church Leader Discusses Homosexuality, Women, Scripture
George Carey, former Archbishop of Canterbury, says The Episcopal Church broke from a resolution on sexuality.
By James Todd
Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The former leader of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop George Carey, will speak on campus on his church’s heritage and future Wednesday, Feb. 7, at 2:30 p.m. The address will be in room 0016 Westbrook in the Divinity School and is free and open to the public. Duke Today interviewed Carey by phone in London.

How do you understand the current debates in the church about homosexuality, unity and biblical authority?

All traditions, all denominations are having to face up to this issue of human sexuality. At the [worldwide meeting of bishops at the] Lambeth Conference, which I presided over in 1998 in Canterbury, there was a very remarkable resolution, which I was wholly in favor of, which expressed its view that practicing homosexuality was wrong, but we must listen to homosexuals and continue a journey together. That was overwhelmingly accepted. But then, of course, in 2003, the American church, The Episcopal Church of the United States, decided to break from that position and so Gene Robinson [an openly gay priest] was ordained bishop. That’s been the heart of the issue every since. There are very strong forces on both sides, and I would also want to emphasize that there are good, noble people on both sides of the argument. We should not demonize one another.
the rest

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

It is impossible to live the life of a disciple without definite times of secret prayer. You will find that the place to enter in is in your business, as you walk along the streets, in the ordinary ways of life, when no one dreams you are praying, and the reward comes openly, a revival here, a blessing there. ...Oswald Chambers photo

Hit TV series features mosque in Anglican church
The series is a humorous look at the efforts of a young imam to lead a small group of Muslims who have just persuaded the local Anglican priest to allow them to set up a mosque in the church basement
Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A new Canadian television series, "Little Mosque on the Prairie" has attracted worldwide media attention since its debut on 9 January. Coverage of the show has made the pages of newspapers such as The New York Times, the Jerusalem Post and the Saudi Arabian daily newspaper, Arab News, and further afield.

The series is a humorous look at the efforts of a young imam, fresh from a career as a big-city lawyer, to lead a small group of Muslims who have just persuaded the local Anglican priest to allow them to set up a mosque in the church basement.

The weekly social comedy about a small Muslim community inhabiting a town in the prairie region of western Canada was developed by a Muslim Canadian, Zarqa Nawaz, for broadcast on Canada's national public broadcast television network, CBC-TV.
the rest

Church loses opt-out fight over gay adoptions
By George Jones, Political Editor

Roman Catholic adoptions agencies yesterday lost their battle to opt out of new laws
banning discrimination against homosexual couples when Tony Blair announced that there would be "no exemptions" for faith-based groups.

The Prime Minister said in a statement that the new rules would not come into force until the end of 2008. Until then there would be a "statutory duty" for religious agencies to refer gay couples to other agencies.
the rest

Doomsday cult said to be at center of Iraqi battle
Authorities say Iraqi and U.S. forces fought disciples of a renegade Muslim leader intent on killing Shiite pilgrims.
By Louise Roug and Saad Fakhrildeen, Special to The Times
January 30, 2007

NAJAF, IRAQ — In an era beset by war and confusion, a purported messiah rises from the sands of the desert promising to deliver the end of time. On the outskirts of a holy city, he gathers his fighters for the apocalypse. But his plan is betrayed.

By dawn, government forces surround the messiah and his followers, killing him and hundreds of others.

The apparent story line of the Heaven's Army cult and its leader, Dhyaa Abdul-Zahra, seems to belong to a long-ago epoch.

But the Iraqi and U.S. troops who fought an intense battle against hundreds of disciples of the renegade Muslim leader near the ancient city of Najaf on Sunday met a modern enemy. They were armed not only with an unorthodox religious fervor but also with high-tech weapons, Iraqi officials said.
the rest

Why Roe vs. Wade is Losing Ground
By Sharon Hughes
Jan 30, 2007

Did you notice the decrease in news coverage of this year’s March for Life in Washington DC last week?

I tuned in to local and cable channels every day looking for news on the March for Life events.

I knew were being held in the nation’s capitol for the 34th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade. But I could find little coverage, The same thing was true for print news.

Why? Because of the mainstream media’s liberal bias, many would say. And I would agree with that. the rest photo

Ruth Gledhill weblog: Casino 'will imprison your soul' says Archbishop
Tuesday, 30 January 2007

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has led Church of England bishops in attacking
the plans for a supercasino in Manchester, pictured here. Dr Williams, speaking at Lambeth Palace at a press conference with Patriarch Bartholomew who heads the Orthodox Church, said: “It’s quite clear from all the research figures that gambling is a more and more popular form of addiction in this country, and we must not underrate the seriousness of that."

He continued: “All addictions are imprisonments for the soul and therefore any form of addiction is something that ought to be of concern to the population at large and, as to the religious population in particular. It seems to me that any large, high profile development is going to attract attention and draw people in here. I know that the area of Manchester where this development is planned to take place, in Beswick, is one which has a long history of deprivation which is going through regeneration at the moment. I happen to have quite direct contact with one of the primary schools there, so it’s not quite an academic interest.”
the rest

Moscow bans 'satanic' gay parade
Monday, 29 January 2007

Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov has said he will never allow a gay rights parade in the Russian capital.

Speaking to reporters, Mr Luzhkov described such events as "satanic".

Moscow banned a gay march in 2006, citing the threat of violence. People who ignored the ban were beaten up by counter-demonstrators and arrested.

Gay activists say the ban breaches their fundamental human rights. They say they intend to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.
the rest

Documentary: What Does the Bible Really Say about Homosexuality
Nathan Black
Christian Post Reporter
Mon, Jan. 29 2007

Excerpt: "While expressing regret over the misuse of Scripture, communications coordinator Jenny Noyes of the conservative Anglican Communion Network, which has yet to see the documentary, said the network disagrees with the position of the filmmakers who relayed that the worldwide Anglican body misinterprets Scripture. The film's central figure is openly gay bishop V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire whose ordination widened rifts within the U.S. Anglican body.

"The Anglican Communion Network regrets along with the makers of this film the ways in which Scripture has been misapplied to seek to justify conduct or actions that are contrary to Scripture," said Noyes. "However, we disagree with the film’s makers that the theological position of the majority of the worldwide Anglican Communion on sexual orientation contained in Lambeth Resolution 1.10 and affirmed by the Windsor Report is similarly a misinterpretation of Scripture."

Lambeth Resolution 1.10 states that the communion rejects homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture. At the same time, it calls on their people to minister to all despite sexual orientation.

"Scripture is God’s Word written," stated Noyes. "Man’s sinful mis-application of Scripture does not negate the authority or truth of it today.”

The single most significant person who made the film happen, according to Karslake, is Robinson. Although theological disputes in the Episcopal Church go back decades, the consecration of Robinson in 2003 had triggered the departure of numerous congregations from the national Anglican body. The problem was not just homosexuality, many departed Anglican leaders have argued, but the continual drift in the church away from Scriptural authority." the rest

Stand Firm: Video: Bishop Jack Iker at 'Mere Anglicanism'

Jerusalem registers its first gay couple
Jan. 30, 2007

Jerusalem officially registered its first homosexual couple as married Monday, three months after a ruling by the High Court of Justice paved the way for same-sex couples to be listed in the Interior Ministry's Population Registry.

Binyamin and Avi Rose married on June 28 in Toronto, Canada, but immediately returned to Jerusalem to start building their life together.

"We did the civil ceremony in the hopes that we would eventually be able to make legal what we felt inside," said Avi, an informal Jewish educator for the Young Judaea youth movement.
the rest

A Pastoral Letter from Bishop Robert Duncan

My beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. [I Cor 15: 58]

29th January, A.D. 2007
4th Monday After the Epiphany

Beloved in the Lord,

Writing from my hometown more than two hundred years ago, the great pamphleteer of the American Revolution, Thomas Paine, wrote these words: “Now are the times that try men’s souls.” The American Crisis called countless men and women to nobility and sacrifice in a very difficult season; the necessary recruits came forward, the against-the-odds successes of Trenton and Princeton followed, and the cause endured and eventually triumphed. We give thanks for the courage and tenacity of those long-ago heroes.
the rest

Monday, January 29, 2007

Dear Jesus,
Help us to be small, like the meal and oil
belonging to the widow of Zarephath.
Help us to entrust the provision to You.
Help us to be small, like the yeast in the dough.
Help us to entrust the rising to You.
Help us to be small, like the mustard seed.
Help us to entrust the increase to You.
Use our smallness for Your glory, Lord.
May the Anglican Communion become
a home for the bereft,
a sustenance for body and soul, and a haven of peace. Amen.
1Kings 17:8-16, Matthew 13:31-33

Episcopal Church Figures Prominently on Primates' Agenda

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has been allotted two sessions of next month’s primates’ meeting to describe The Episcopal Church’s response to the Windsor Report.

Sessions on the “listening process,” the proposed Anglican Covenant, and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Panel of Reference, as well as social and development issues are on the agenda for the Feb. 12-19 meeting to be held at a hotel near Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, sources in London tell The Living Church.

Archbishop Peter Carnely, the former Primate of Australia and chairman of the Panel of Reference, will brief the primates and respond to criticism that the panel has been dilatory in its work. Established as a “matter of urgency” by the 2005 primates’ meeting, the panel has released recommendations on petitions received from the Diocese of Fort Worth and from traditionalist congregations in the Canadian Diocese of New Westminster. Petitions from the Dioceses of Florida and Lake Malawi are currently under review.
the rest

Website helping families stung by elaborate birthdays
Ed Thomas
January 29, 2007

A Focus on the Family official says the "Birthdays Without Pressure" website, which explores pressure on parents to host elaborate and expensive child birthday celebrations, may not go far enough in probing the reasons behind this phenomenon.

Peer pressure for parents to host elaborate and expensive child birthday celebrations has become the springboard issue that has launched the "Birthdays Without Pressure" website and an accompanying media campaign.

The Birthdays Without Pressure site documents stories that include parents spending as much as $10 million for their child's birthday party. Other entries on the site recount the rental of a cougar, a llama, and a helicopter for entertainment at a children's party, as well as a fire station as a party location.
the rest photo

Diocese of Pittsburgh Preparing Vigorous Defense of APO Request

The Diocese of Pittsburgh has released a
document detailing how its request for alternate primatial oversight (APO) fits in with its long-term strategy which includes having the “alternative primate convene an organizing convention for the purpose of forming a permanent constituent Anglican body in the U.S.”

The document was given to several Global South primates and discussed during a November meeting in Virginia with several bishops and other leaders of the Anglican Communion Network.

“As we await clarity regarding the consequences of the recent theological disputes between much of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, all in the diocese need to know that we will remain who we are and where we are,” said Pittsburgh Bishop Robert W. Duncan in an
article published on the diocesan website. “We have no plans to be anything but the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh as we seek spiritual oversight from a primate committed, as we are, to the historic faith and order of the church catholic.” the rest

Nigerian Primate: Consensus on Sexuality Necessary Before Lambeth Conference

The issue of homosexuality and the Anglican Communion must be resolved before the 2008 Lambeth Conference, if the Church of Nigeria is to participate, according to Archbishop Peter Akinola.

In a Jan. 14 interview with the Guardian newspaper of Lagos, Archbishop Akinola, the primate of the Communion’s largest province, said sending more than 100 Nigerian bishops to Lambeth would not be an act of prudent stewardship, if the conference was simply going to be an expensive episcopal jamboree.

“A Lambeth Conference that will not be able to guide the church in a way that the church will embrace” and “comply” is “not worth attending,” the archbishop said. The Church of Nigeria would be a “bad steward, to use God’s resources and waste it on jamboree. God will hold me responsible and accountable for spending money in that way.”
the rest

Brownback Draws Cheers During March for Life
January 28, 2007

Senator Sam Brownback (KS) drew an enthusiastic response during the recent March for Life in Washington DC that was arguably bigger than that of any other politician. To some extent, the positive reaction was fueled by an exceptional turnout by Brownback's Kansas constituents who appeared to be well represented, organized and vigorous in their applause.

In my opinion, however, it wasn't just Kansans who were excited by Brownback's attendance at the March or his announcement to seek the country's highest office in 2008. The Senator is a breath of fresh air in a field of presidential candidates who have hung their hats on superficial makeovers, doublespeak and exploitation of the U.S. response to Terrorism. His stand on issues proceeds from principles rather than the latest opinion poll and his campaign rests on making America a greater nation rather than advancing his own self-interest.

I suggest our readers examine his
announcement for President. As you read it, I think you will find it consistent with how he has lived his life - genuine and authentic. the rest

U2Charist to Hit England for the First Time
The groundbreaking ‘U2Charist’, an adapted Holy Communion service that uses rock band U2’s best-selling songs in place of hymns, will be presided by a Church of England bishop for the first time in May.
by Kevin Donovan
Monday, January 29, 2007

The groundbreaking ‘U2Charist’, an adapted Holy Communion service that uses rock band U2’s best-selling songs in place of hymns, will be presided by a Church of England bishop for the first time in May.

A live band will belt out U2 classics such as “Mysterious Ways” and “Beautiful Day” as worshippers sing along with the lyrics, which will appear on screens.

Bono's high-profile anti-poverty campaigns with singer Bob Geldof and the spiritual content embedded in his music have led to U2 lead singer Bono being elevated to the status of Christian icon.

Bishop of Grantham, the Rt Rev Timothy Ellis, who is organising the U2Charist in St Swithin's Church in Lincoln, said in a Telegraph report: "Bono and Bob Geldof are very human, but they have demonstrated that they believe there is sanctity to life that has to be protected.”
the rest

Third Episcopal Bishop Invited to Primates' Meeting

Three members of the House of Bishops have been invited by the Archbishop of Canterbury to address an extra-curricular session of the meeting of Anglican primates in Tanzania.

The Rt. Rev. C. Christopher Epting, Presiding Bishop’s deputy for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations and retired Bishop of Iowa, will join the Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, Bishop of Pittsburgh and moderator of the Anglican Communion Network, and the Rt. Rev. D. Bruce McPherson, Bishop of Western Louisiana and president of the Presiding Bishop’s Council of Advice. They will speak to the state of The Episcopal Church, according to sources in London who spoke with a reporter for The Living Church.

The three bishops will join Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, Archbishop Williams, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, and the 36 other primates at a hotel near Dar-es-Salaam for sessions on Feb. 14.
the rest

Haggard's Accuser Visits Megachurch
By The Associated Press
Mon, Jan. 29 2007

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) - The former male prostitute whose accusations against New Life Church founder Ted Haggard led to Haggard's dismissal as pastor has paid a visit to the megachurch.

Mike Jones, who has a forthcoming book, told The Denver Post that several people shook his hand during the visit Sunday and told him, "God bless you."

"I had read a lot about the church, but there's nothing like seeing it for yourself," Jones told the paper. "It wasn't to rub anyone's face in it by any means. I was wanting to get some perspective, to see where they are coming from, what the magnet is."

Haggard resigned last year as president of the National Association of Evangelicals after Jones alleged Haggard paid him over a three-year period for sex and sometimes took methamphetamine during the encounters.
the rest

Bow to diversity leaves altar empty
By Natasha Altamirano
January 29, 2007

WILLIAMSBURG -- The simple altar at the College of William & Mary's Wren Chapel befits the austerity of the Anglican tradition in which the school was founded. There are no ornate icons or stained-glass windows, just a few candles and an empty space where a brass cross once stood.

To some, that empty space marks the triumph of diversity over exclusivity. To others, it represents unchecked political correctness at the expense of free expression.

College President Gene R. Nichol decided in October to remove the Wren Chapel cross, unless its display is requested. Responses have been passionate, from campus discussions and newspaper editorials to an online petition and a debate this week between William & Mary religion professor David Holmes and conservative pundit Dinesh D'Souza.
the rest

Pastor Allyn Benedict - Jan 28, 2007

VIideo: Pastor Allyn Benedict gives Annual Report (MUST WATCH)

Father Allyn Benedict is rector of Christ Church Parish in Watertown, Connecticut

Christ Church Parish on one of the Connecticut Six Churches
Father Allyn (and the other CT 6 Clergy) are 'under threat of inhibition' from Bishop Andrew Smith

Homosexuality Not the Problem, Says Va. Episcopal Bishop-Elect
Va. Episcopal Diocese Elects Next Bishop
By The Associated Press
Sun, Jan. 28 2007

Excerpt: "Johnston, 48, will follow the Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee as bishop upon his retirement. Bishop Lee has not yet announced when his tenure will end, but by church law, it must be within three years of the election of a bishop coadjutor.

Eleven churches have voted since late last year to part ways with The Episcopal Church, citing disagreements with the American denomination's liberal views on homosexuality.

Johnston said during the nomination and election process, people in Virginia's diocesan leadership seemed to connect with him on his stance that the Episcopal Church needs to reclaim its middle way.

Johnston said the Episcopal Church has been a very big tent allowing for a broad range of ways to live out Scripture.

"Anglicans simply don't break apart from each other," he said. "The fact we now have that going on for the first time in our history says we need to come back to that middle ground."

The problem is not homosexuality," he said, "but the way the right and left are treating each other. That has to stop."
the rest

Texas Megachurch Joins New Anglican Body
Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter
Mon, Jan. 29 2007

A former Episcopal Texas megachurch has announced its new home – the Anglican Mission in America.

In an announcement last week, the Rev. Canon David H. Roseberry, pastor of Christ Church in Plano, excitedly told congregants of their "historic" step in joining as mission partners with the AMiA."

It is an Anglican mission in that it is thoroughly Anglican, respected all around the world within the Anglican Communion," said Roseberry in a message to his church.

Christ Church split from the Episcopal Church last summer in disagreement with the national body's controversial decisions that indicated a "departure from biblical truth and historic faith of the Anglican Communion," the church's leaders had said in a statement last year.

The departure came a week after the Episcopal Church elected Nevada Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori as the first female presiding bishop. Jefferts Schori supports the consecration of homosexuals and the blessing of same-sex unions. the rest

Stand Firm interviews Kendall Harmon Part I
January 27, 2007

Stand Firm: Kendall Harmon Advises - Curb Your Enthusiasm
January 27, 2007

Bishop Lyons

Interview with the Rt. Revd. Frank Lyons, Anglican Bishop of Bolivia

Bishop Lyons is in the San Diego area from January 21 - 31 to visit Anglican churches under his oversight, as well as those under the Most Revd. Gregory Venables, Bishop of Argentina and Presiding Bishop of the Southern Cone.

Interviewed by Anne Coletta for AnglicanTV

Worshipers vacate Episcopal church
By Charles A. Radin, Globe Staff
January 29, 2007

ATTLEBORO -- In a service overflowing with tears, hugs, and evocations of historic persecution of Christians, members of All Saints Anglican Church of Attleboro held their last service yesterday in their North Main Street building and bowed to orders from the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts that they vacate the premises.

"I never meant us to be at this time and place," said the Rev. Lance Giuffrida , his voice cracking as he addressed about 160 worship ers who filled the sanctuary nearly to capacity. "I didn't do anything differently than when you called me" to the church's pulpit in 2001.

Since then, however, differences between traditionalists and liberalizers in Episcopal Church of the USA have deepened and hardened, underscored by their disagreement on homosexuality and gay marriage, according to adherents of both trends.

"I could not sit in the councils of the church in Massachusetts," Giuffrida said, breaking into tears. "I could not represent Jesus Christ in those councils."
the rest

Sunday, January 28, 2007

We often think of great faith as something that happens spontaneously so that we can be used for a miracle or healing. However, the greatest faith of all, and the most effective, is to live day by day trusting Him. It is trusting Him so much that we look at every problem as an opportunity to see His work in our life. It is not worrying, but rather trusting and abiding in the peace of God that will crush anything that Satan tries to do to us. If the Lord created the world out of chaos, He can easily deal with any problem that we have. ...Rick Joyner photo

Episcopal meeting takes upbeat tone
Years of divisiveness have given way to a fresh sense of unity, some say.
By JEFF BRUMLEY, The Times-Union

LIVE OAK - The atmosphere at Saturday's 164th convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Florida was palpably different from the meetings of the past three or four years.

Palpably better, said the Rev. Sandra Moyle, associate rector at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Jacksonville.

Previously, she said, the annual sessions held to conduct diocesan business pitted those who wanted to remain Episcopalians against those who did not because of their denomination's "progressive" views on Scripture and homosexuality.

Now that those unhappy factions have quit the Episcopal Church USA and Bishop John Howard's Jacksonville-based diocese, the mood at the convention is noticeably upbeat and joyful, Moyle said.
the rest

ENS: PITTSBURGH: Court tells diocese to turn over documents by January 31
By Mary Frances Schjonberg
Sunday, January 28, 2007

A judge has agreed with a request by
Calvary Episcopal Church in Pittsburgh to speed up the disclosure of information it requested from the Diocese of Pittsburgh in connection with a court case meant to enforce a ruling prohibiting the diocese from transferring title or use of real or personal property to any entity outside of the Episcopal Church.

The normal time for such so-called "discovery" is 30 days; the parish asked for a 21-day limit. Calvary argued the limited time frame is needed in part because it said that the court should rule before the meeting of the primates of the Anglican Communion February 15-19 in Tanzania. Calvary’s
December 19 petition said that some of the primates and Duncan are planning to use the meeting to further their efforts to set up an alternative Anglican structure in the United States.

The diocese must comply with the discovery request by January 31.

Calvary’s petition alleged that "despite assertions to the contrary -- persons and property within the Diocese are effectively being removed or have been removed from the Episcopal Church" in the wake of the diocesan convention's
decision in early November to request a relationship with a primate other than Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and to withdraw consent to membership in the Episcopal Church's Province III. the rest

Church-state 'wall' coming back down?
By Joyce Howard Price
January 28, 2007

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ..." the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution, which took effect Dec. 15, 1791

U.S. courts rule about two times each week on cases involving whether prayers can be included in a high school graduation ceremony, an image of Jesus Christ can be displayed in a public school or a Ten Commandments monument can remain in a government building or public park.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) says such prayers and displays violate the principle of separation of church and state.

The Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, estimates the frequency of such rulings between 104 and 156 annually.
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Williams 'fostering schism', aide fears
By Jonathan Wynne-Jones, Sunday Telegraph

The Archbishop of Canterbury has "fostered schism" in the Anglican communion's row over homosexual clergy, one of his most senior aides believes.

In an email that lays bare growing tensions at the heart of the Church, the communion's secretary-general endorses a withering assessment of Rowan Williams.

He supports the view that the archbishop has chosen "a path that is not courageous or well-defined" and has appointed a "virtual lynch mob" to try to preserve unity.

The revelation comes ahead of a meeting of Anglican primates in Tanzania next month which will be dominated by the battle to keep together the church's 38 provinces.
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Episcopal diocese may abandon U.S. church
The San Joaquin Diocese would be the first to align itself with more conservative, foreign members of the global Anglican Communion.
By Louis Sahagun, Times Staff Writer
January 28, 2007

FRESNO — For Bishop John-David Schofield, the question is central to the future of the church he loves: Does the American Episcopal Church believe the Scriptures are the revealed word of God?
In a recent vote, a majority of his flock answered with a resounding "no," and that is why Schofield is leading his San Joaquin Diocese in an unprecedented effort to pull away from the Episcopal Church.

Although parishes have left the national church, primarily over the ordination of gays and lesbians, this is the first time that an entire diocese has sought to align itself with more conservative members of the Anglican Communion overseas.

His supporters view Schofield as their chief defense against what one diocese priest called "the plague of heresy infecting our churches and homes.

"Schofield's diocese, which had been largely ignored for decades by top Episcopal leaders, is sharpening the national debate over church identity and mission. Although the Fresno-based diocese has focused on its differences with the national church, Episcopal leaders have stressed their commonalities, such as core beliefs about the salvation promised by Jesus Christ.
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Bishop Lee and New Coadjutor Agree on Vision of Big Tent Church

After electing the Very Rev. Shannon Johnston as Bishop Coadjutor of Virginia the day before, the annual council meeting mostly followed a path of genteel centrism in the resolutions it approved in the business portion. During a Jan. 27 press conference at the end of the two-day council meeting, Virginia Bishop Peter James Lee and Fr. Johnston shared a "big tent" vision of the diocese and The Episcopal Church.

Earlier in the day, delegates and visitors to the business portion heard Colonel Jean Reed, president of the standing committee report that it has declined to consent to the election of the Rev. Mark Lawrence as Bishop of South Carolina.

In a news conference afterward, Bishop Lee said that he, unlike the standing committee, had given consent to Fr. Lawrence’s election.
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Anglican Report Episode 16

Bill and Kevin discuss:
Presiding Bishop Schori

Courtesy of AnglicanTV

Saturday, January 27, 2007

"But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart."—Luke 2:19.

Here was an exercise, on the part of this blessed woman, of three powers of her being: her memory—she kept all these things; her affections—she kept them in her heart; her intellect—she pondered them; so that memory, affection, and understanding, were all exercised about the things which she had heard. Beloved, remember what you have heard of your Lord Jesus, and what He has done for you; make your heart the golden pot of manna to preserve the memorial of the heavenly bread whereon you have fed in days gone by. Let your memory treasure up everything about Christ which you have either felt, or known, or believed, and then let your fond affections hold Him fast for evermore. Love the person of your Lord! Bring forth the alabaster box of your heart, even though it be broken, and let all the precious ointment of your affection come streaming on His pierced feet. Let your intellect be exercised concerning the Lord Jesus. Meditate upon what you read: stop not at the surface; dive into the depths. Be not as the swallow which toucheth the brook with her wing, but as the fish which penetrates the lowest wave.

Abide with your Lord: let Him not be to you as a wayfaring man, that tarrieth for a night, but constrain Him, saying, "Abide with us, for the day is far spent." Hold Him, and do not let Him go. The word "ponder, ' means to weigh. Make ready the balances of judgment. Oh, but where are the scales that can weigh the Lord Christ? "He taketh up the isles as a very little thing:"—who shall take Him up? "He weigheth the mountains in scales"—in what scales shall we weigh Him? Be it so, if your understanding cannot comprehend, let your affections apprehend; and if your spirit cannot compass the Lord Jesus in the grasp of understanding, let it embrace Him in the arms of affection. ...CH Spurgeon

Internet to revolutionize TV in 5 years: Gates
Sat Jan 27, 2007
By Ben Hirschler

DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) - The Internet is set to revolutionize television within five years, due to an explosion of online video content and the merging of PCs and TV sets, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates said on Saturday.

"I'm stunned how people aren't seeing that with TV, in five years from now, people will laugh at what we've had," he told business leaders and politicians at the World Economic Forum.

The rise of high-speed Internet and the popularity of video sites like Google Inc.'s YouTube has already led to a worldwide decline in the number hours spent by young people in front of a TV set.
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Iran prepares people for 'messiah miracles'
Government broadcasts series on imminent appearance of apocalyptic Islamic 'Mahdi'
January 27, 2007

Official Iranian radio has completed broadcasting a lengthy series on the imminent appearance of a messianic figure who will defeat Islam's enemies and impose Islamic Shiite rule over the entire world – even speculating on specific dates the so-called "Mahdi" will be revealed.

English-language transcripts of "The World Toward Illumination" programs can be found on the website of IRIB, a public broadcast arm of Tehran.

"Be joyous my heart, miracles of the Messiah will soon be here," reads a poem used to conclude the first broadcast. "The scent of breaths of the One we know comes from near. Grieve not of sorrow and melancholy, as assured I was … last night that a Savior will come, it's clear."

After the coming of the 12th imam, or Mahdi, "liberal democratic civilization" will be found only in "history museums," explained the program.
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Despite modern influences, 'spirit churches' popular in South Africa
Associated Press

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA — On a rocky hilltop in Johannesburg a priest leads his congregation in an all-night prayer vigil. His is not a religion for the fainthearted: At the core of his faith is the unshakable conviction that the Bible is a simple, straightforward road map to the hereafter.

"The Bible is the way it is. It doesn't change. It needs no explanation. You just have to follow it," said Molefa Mojela, the priest of the Edumisweni Apostolic Church of Christ.

Yet the congregation also holds beliefs many consider outside the bounds of mainstream Christianity.

Members of Mojela's church venerate and fear ancestors who they believe can help or harm them. They are convinced witches and evil spirits walk among them. They look to prophets to heal the sick, and trust in the power of magic and the benefits of animal sacrifice.
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Anglican bishop of Bolivia in town
By Sandi Dolbee
January 27, 2007

When some conservative congregations and their priests began seceding from the U.S. Episcopal Church, they transferred their allegiance to sympathetic bishops elsewhere in the global Anglican Communion.

One of these recipients: Anglican Bishop Frank Lyons of Bolivia, who has five churches back home (counting one that will open later this year) but supervises 35 breakaway congregations, by his count, in the U.S.

This hasn't made the 52-year-old, American-born Lyons popular among Episcopal bishops. Chicago Bishop William Persell has called Lyons “schismastic,” and San Diego Bishop James Mathes says he has “exacerbated the conflict.” A church spokesman in Washington, D.C., once suggested Lyons is using the conflict to promote himself.
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Episcopalians Debate Property Issues
Bishop John Howe and diocesan churches may struggle over property.

Ledger Religion Editor

The Episcopal Church has had heated public disputes about the role of gays over the past several years. Now the battles are shifting from theology to more practical and secular grounds - property, money and the specter of lawsuits.

Parishes in California and Virginia, disgruntled by the national church's leniency toward gays in leadership roles, are seeking to leave the denomination while holding on to their buildings and property, a move resisted by diocesan and national church leaders.
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Anglican Archbishop Invites Other U.S. Bishops to Primates Table
Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter
Sat, Jan. 27 2007

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams invited two other Anglican representatives other than the head of the Episcopal Church from the United States for a worldwide meeting in February.

The Rt. Rev. D. Bruce MacPherson, bishop of Western Louisiana and president of the Presiding Bishop's Council of Advice, and the Rt. Rev. Robert W. Duncan, bishop of Pittsburgh and moderator of the conservative Anglican Communion Network, will join Anglican leaders from around the world as "the other voices" from the Episcopal Church at the Primates meeting.

The invitation by the archbishop comes as some Global South Anglican leaders said they would not recognize Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori of the Episcopal Church as a representative of the U.S. body. Jefferts Schori supports the ordination of homosexuals and the blessing of same-sex unions.

Also, the departure of numerous churches from the Episcopal Church since the consecration of an openly gay bishop in 2003 has resulted in a number of separate conservative groups in the United States, including the Anglican Communion Network and the Convocation of Anglicans in North America – an outreach initiative of the Church of Nigeria.
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Albany Intercessor (click on picture to enlarge)

David Roseberry: Euntes Docete Omnes
The Journey of Christ Church Plano: Part VI
Stand Firm

Excerpt: Our vestry met on Monday evening, January 22. Our clergy team submitted an encouraging letter to our vestry recommending that the parish join the Anglican Mission in the Americas (AMiA). With joy and thanksgiving for God’s great guidance over these years and most especially in the past six months, the vestry voted unanimously to join the AMiA.

We make this choice with great delight and anticipation. On that boulder in the Holy Land I was told what to do with the rest of my ministry and with the parish of Christ Church: Euntes Docete Omnes. The AMiA has the perfect set-up for us to continue this ministry with integrity and freedom in the Lord. It is my hope that Christ Church, which has become so well known for a “stand” against the dominant forces of ECUSA, will become better known for its commitment to the mission of Jesus Christ that so deeply and wonderfully touched me almost 13 years ago.

I greet this decision with great relief. I recently attended the AMiA’s winter conference (also at a Florida hotel…irony?) I attended the great plenary sessions and I met old friends and linked arms with new brothers and sisters in ministry. It was a great time for fellowship and joy. I finally felt what I had been told I would feel after a few months of being out of ECUSA and away from the constant contention: I felt happy. I listened very carefully to the speakers and most especially to the leadership of the AMiA describe their mission and their goals and their hopes for the coming year. I did not hear a reference to the Episcopal Church drama or warring contentions and factions that have so paralyzed and pulverized my former denomination. I am sure it is there, but it is in the rear view mirror and the prospects ahead are too exciting to pay much attention to what we’ve left behind.

We have been wonderfully welcomed by this organization. The leadership has been extremely respectful of my need to sniff around, ask questions, write blog articles and invite others into the equation. They have not pressured me or shunned me. They have prayed for me and for our parish.

I would invite my readers to visit
our website for the complete details about our decision. I am so very happy to have a personal video greeting from the Chairman of the AMiA, Chuck Murphy, and a personal welcome from the Archbishop of Rwanda, Emmanuel Kolini. You will find a letter from me, a blessing from our “outgoing” bishop, Bill Godfrey, links to the AMiA, and a few other things of interest. the rest

Friday, January 26, 2007

When Christ was in the world, He was despised by men; in the hour of need He was forsaken by acquaintances and left by friends to the depths of scorn. He was willing to suffer and to be despised; do you dare to complain of anything? He had enemies and defamers; do you want everyone to be your friend, your benefactor? How can your patience be rewarded if no adversity tests it? How can you be a friend of Christ if you are not willing to suffer any hardship? Suffer with Christ and for Christ if you wish to reign with Him. ... Thomas à Kempis photo

Virginia Diocese Elects Bishop Coadjutor, Conducts Annual Business
Friday, January 26, 2007

News Release from the Communications Office of The Diocese of Virginia

In his pastoral address to the delegates and attendees at The Diocese of Virginia’s Annual Council, Bishop Peter James Lee noted that Council “is an opportunity to reaffirm mission and unity.” Delegates and visitors gathered at the Richmond Marriott and Richmond Convention Center Friday, Jan. 26 to work towards reaffirming that sense of mission and unity at the diocesan 212th Annual Council.

The principal order of business at Council was the election of a bishop coadjutor to succeed Bishop Lee upon his retirement. The Very Rev. Shannon S. Johnston was elected from a pool of five candidates on the third ballot. An election on that ballot required 135 lay votes and 128 clergy votes. Mr. Johnston, 48, currently serves as rector of All Saints’, Tupelo, Miss. He will be consecrated on Saturday, May 26 at Washington National Cathedral.

In reference to the churches that recently voted to leave the Diocese and The Episcopal Church, Bishop Lee said that our differences “are not about property but about legacy.” He added, “The church buildings of the Diocese of Virginia were given by generations past to be Episcopal Churches for generations to come and we are committed to protecting that legacy.”
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Religion and science
Fri, Jan. 26, 2007

AP- PHILADELPHIA - Religion and science can combine to create some thorny questions: Does God exist outside the human mind, or is God a creation of our brains? Why do we have faith in things that we cannot prove, whether it's the afterlife or UFOs?

The new Center for Spirituality and the Mind at the University of Pennsylvania is using brain imaging technology to examine such questions, and to investigate how spiritual and secular beliefs affect our health and behavior.

"Very few are looking at spirituality from a neurological side, from the brain-mind side," said Dr. Andrew Newberg, director of the center.

A doctor of nuclear medicine and an assistant professor at Penn, Newberg also has co-authored three books on the science-spirituality relationship.

The center is not a bricks-and-mortar structure but a multidisciplinary team of Penn researchers exploring the relationship between the brain and spirituality from biological, psychological, social and ideological viewpoints. Founded last April, it is bringing together some 20 experts from fields including medicine, pastoral care, religious studies, social work and bioethics.
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Property fight looms in U.S. Episcopal split
Fri Jan 26, 2007
By Michael Conlon, Religion Writer


CHICAGO (Reuters) - Gay issues splintering the U.S. Episcopal Church appear to be pushing it into a divorce and, like many separations, there is property at stake -- in this case worth millions.

Leaders of its 2.4 million members and conservative elements disagree over who owns the property, as the dispute over homosexuals in the church heats up. Already about 100 parishes have placed themselves under foreign jurisdiction.

Barring a compromise -- and given that property disputes are a matter of local, not U.S. national law -- it is a battle likely to be fought in the courts, state by state, for years.
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Details on Tanzania Meeting Few For Western Louisiana Bishop

The Rt. Rev. D. Bruce MacPherson, Bishop of Western Louisiana and president of the Presiding Bishop’s Council of Advice, has accepted an invitation to attend the primates’ meeting in Tanzania on Feb. 14. He joins the Rt. Rev. Robert W. Duncan, Bishop of Pittsburgh and moderator of the Anglican Communion Network, as the other voices from The Episcopal Church that Archbishop of Canterbury proposed including in an Advent letter to the primates.

“The Episcopal Church (TEC) is not in any way a monochrome body and we need to be aware of the full range of conviction within it,” Archbishop Rowan Williams
wrote. “I am sure that other primates, like myself, will welcome the clear declarations by several bishops and diocesan conventions (including those dioceses represented at the Camp Allen meeting earlier this year) of their unequivocal support for the process and recommendations of the Windsor Report. There is much to build upon here. There are many in TEC who are deeply concerned as to how they should secure their relationships with the rest of the Communion; I hope we can listen patiently to these anxieties.” the rest at The Living Church

He Who Pays the Piper . . .
By Richard John Neuhaus
Friday, January 26th 2007

One of the most dramatic stories of religious and cultural change in recent American history is the collapse of what was viewed as the Protestant establishment. Its main institutional embodiment was the National Council of Churches (NCC), established in 1950 as the successor to the Federal Council of Churches. The NCC, like its predecessor body established in 1908, was part of the American establishment in a way comparable to, say, the American Medical Association. Over the years, I have written about how the NCC has become barely a skeleton of its former self. By the late 1990s, it was in severe financial crisis, laying off staff, shutting down programs, and struggling to pay the phone bills. the rest

Methodism Madness
A group of Methodist bishops tries to keep the Bush presidential library out of SMU.
by Mark D. Tooley 01/26/2007

LATE LAST YEAR, dozens of faculty members at Southern Methodist University publicly opposed plans by President Bush to locate his presidential library on SMU's campus in Dallas.
Now, ten bishops of the United Methodist Church, which owns the school, and of which President Bush is a member, are urging SMU to reject the library and are circulating a petition for others to sign.

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Interview with U.S. Presidential Candidate Sam Brownback: Unequivocally Pro-Life, Passionately Pro-Family
By John-Henry Westen
WASHINGTON, DC, January 26, 2007 ( - He is seen by supporters as a man of wisdom and intelligence, not too old and not too young, with stamina and good looks and the determination it takes to become the President of the United States of America. Sam Brownback and his team of youthful volunteers were all over the March for Life in Washington DC this week.
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Making Airwaves
Goodbye Old-Fashioned Revival Hour. Hello 'safe for the whole family.' Meet the company that's transforming Christian radio.
Madison Trammel 1/26/2007
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If it's rated 'R,' who brought all these children?
By Amanda Paulson Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
The movie industry is considering adding a specific admonishment to parents on the unsuitability of the films for youngsters.
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A fractured church
Western Kansas bishop's letter voices his disapproval of Episcopal Church's leader
By Kathy Hanks
The Hutchinson News

The bishop of western Kansas has jumped into a national dispute over theology dividing the Episcopal Church.

Bishop James Adams has caught the attention of the newly appointed Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori with a letter stating he disapproves of her theology.

In response, the first female primate in the 500-year history of the Anglican Church has offered to visit the Western Kansas Diocese, which has about 2,500 members.

The issues that separate Adams and Jefferts Schori are part of the new face of the Episcopal Church, according to Ian Douglas, professor of mission and world Christianity at Episcopal Divinity School, Cambridge, Mass.

"Until recently it was pretty clear what Episcopalians looked like and where they resided. They were overly educated, financially secure," Douglas said.

But in the past 40 years, membership has branched out to include African Americans, women and most recently, gay and lesbian people, Douglas said.
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