Sunday, September 30, 2007

“Christ is a person so dear to the Father, that those who are in Christ need not be at all jealous of being accepted upon his account. If Christ is accepted they must of consequence be accepted, for they are in Christ, as members, as parts, as the same. They are the body of Christ, his flesh and his bones. They that are in Christ Jesus, are one spirit; and therefore, if God loves Christ Jesus, he must of necessity accept of those that are in him, and that are of him. But Christ is a person exceedingly dear to the Father, the Father's love to the Son is really infinite. God necessarily loves the Son; God could as soon cease to be, as cease to love the Son. He is God's elect, in whom his soul delighteth; he is his beloved Son, in whom he is well pleased; he loved him before the foundation of the world, and had infinite delight in him from all eternity.

A terrified conscience, therefore, may have rest here, and abundant satisfaction that he is safe in Christ, and that there is not the least danger but that he shall be accepted, and that God will be at peace with him in Christ.” ...Jonathan Edwards

Presbyterians Plan 'Reorientation' for Global Christian Relations
Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter
Sun, Sep. 30 2007

Presbyterian leaders held their first major consultation since 1983 on Friday to map out the direction in which the denomination will engage with the wider Christian Church over the next decade.

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has played an active role in the Protestant ecumenical movement over the past century but maintaining their historic leadership in religious unity "will require a major reorientation and recommitment," said PC(USA) head Clifton Kirkpatrick.

“We need to recapture a passionate
vision in the PC(USA) for the unity of the church, which now seems to recede into the background," he said at a three-day gathering sponsored by the General Assembly Committee on Ecumenical Relations (GACER), according to the Presbyterian News Service. the rest

Onward Christian Scholars
September 30, 2007

Idaho, a strange commotion overruns Main Street. A stream of young men and women parade down the sidewalk, wearing black academic gowns that billow and flap as they walk. Some pore over Latin textbooks or thumb flashcards of ancient Greek vocabulary, nearly tripping at the curb. They are students at New St. Andrews College on their way to disputatio, a weekly assembly held in a movie theater downtown. The college itself has no room large enough to accommodate all 150 students at once: it occupies a single unassuming brick building a few blocks away, one that a stranger might mistake for the refurbished husk of an old savings and loan. Passers-by on their way to the Pita Pit or Hodgins Drug barely give the students a second glance. Not a few residents, however, have fought hard to keep them out of downtown. Founded in 1994 by the elders of a fast-growing and radically conservative church, New St. Andrews represents a new philosophy of evangelical education — one that has inspired a national movement and makes local liberals nervous.

The students and teachers call what they are doing “classical Christian education.” They believe it’s much more than memorizing Latin declensions and Aristotle’s principles of rhetoric, though they do plenty of that. Doug Wilson, 54, the pastor who spearheaded New St. Andrews’ founding, puts the college’s purpose simply: “We are trying to save civilization.” He’s not alone in his mission. The C.C.E. movement began in the early 1980s among Protestant evangelical private schools and home-schoolers who scorned most conservative Christian colleges, which were long on classes in business management and Bible prophecy but short on history, literature and ideas. Now the movement boasts a host of home-schooling associations and curriculum companies, more than 200 private schools and college programs around the country. Evangelicals at New St. Andrews are using dead languages and ancient history to reinvent conservative Protestant education. As Matthew McCabe, an alumnus, puts it, “We want to be medieval Protestants.”
the rest

Sadness, confusion after Episcopal bishop quits
The New Mexican
September 29, 2007

Clergy from the Diocese of the Rio Grande greeted Bishop Jeffrey N. Steenson with a standing ovation last week during a conference at the Holy Cross Retreat Center in Mesilla Park, N.M.

The expression of respect and affection for Steenson came five days after he released a “very difficult letter” announcing his intention to resign as bishop of the 8,000-member diocese in New Mexico and West Texas. Steenson said his “conscience is deeply troubled about where the Episcopal Church is heading.”

According to clergy in the room, the response was one of compassion for Steenson’s realization that he could no longer uphold the doctrine, discipline and worship of the Episcopal Church, which has lost dozens of congregations in recent years.
the rest

Groups Plan New Branch to Represent Anglicanism
Published: September 30, 2007

Bishops from 13 Anglican and Episcopal groups in North America announced Friday that they had formed a partnership as the first step to creating a rival to the Episcopal Church, the American branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

The announcement by the group, the
Common Cause Partnership, marks a widening of the fissures within the Episcopal Church and in the greater communion over the church’s liberal stance on homosexuality.

Earlier in the week in New Orleans, the bishops of the Episcopal Church defied a directive by leaders of the Anglican Communion asking them to set up an alternate structure for conservative churches, to stop consecrating openly gay and lesbian bishops and to ban the blessing of same-sex unions.
the rest

Episcopalians plan to leave denomination

TIME: Uganda Becomes an Anglican Haven
Friday, Sep. 28, 2007

This Sunday a number of Episcopal churches in America will be praying under a distinctly foreign authority. God is still in charge, but so will the Church of Uganda. The east African nation's Anglican Church consecrated Virginian John Guernsey as bishop earlier this month to lead 33 American congregations that have defected from the U.S. Episcopal Church, mainly because of the American organization's stand of gay ordination — a stance reaffirmed at a
conference this week in New Orleans.

But earlier in September, in a five-hour long, open-air service in southwestern Uganda that blended Anglican hymns with traditional African music, bishops from around the world joined together to anoint the latest conservative U.S. cleric seeking shelter in an African church. Says Guernsey: "Uganda has become a haven for ecclesiastical refugees."
the rest

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Bishops Attending the Common Cause Council of Bishops

List here

Anglican rift sparks move for new church
Conservatives seek to set up parallel body along more orthodox theological lines

Sep 29, 2007
Stuart Laidlaw
Faith and ethics reporter

PITTSBURGH–Conservative Anglicans in Canada and the U.S. plan to break away from their increasingly liberal national churches within 15 months, setting up a parallel continental church along orthodox theological lines.

"This is necessary because of drift in the church in the West," Pittsburgh Bishop Bob Duncan said at the close of a four-day meeting of rebel bishops to discuss separation.

"This is a time of reformation. This is a moment in Christian history," said Duncan, who has been a leader in the effort.
the rest

Conservatives Take First Step Toward New Anglican Structure

Gay activist says split regrettable but admits it might make life easier

Robert Gagnon: Transsexuality and Ordination
Aug. 2007

The issue of transsexuality is an extension of the issue of homosexuality. To understand rightly the problem with transsexuality one must first understand the problem with homosexual practice.
the rest

Common Cause Pittsburgh Friday Press Conference

Friday, September 28, 2007

Let every one consider what his weak point is;
in that is his trial. His trial is not in those things which are easy to him, but in that one thing, in those several things, whatever they are, in which to do his duty is against his nature. Never think yourself safe because you do your duty in ninety-nine points; it is the hundredth which is to be the ground of your self-denial. It is with reference to this you must watch and pray; pray continually for God's grace to help you, and watch with fear and trembling lest you fall. Oh that you may (as it were) sweep the house diligently to discover what you lack of the full measure of obedience! for, be quite sure, that this apparently small defect will influence your whole spirit and judgment in all things.
...John Henry Newman photo

Australian Anglicans clear way for women bishops
Fri Sep 28

SYDNEY (AFP) - Australia's Anglican Church said Friday women can be appointed bishops for the first time, drawing immediate criticism from conservatives.

Australia's top Anglican, Archbishop Phillip Aspinall, called the decision "a significant day in the life" of the church.

He said the decision by the Anglican appellate tribunal allowed the consecration of women bishops in dioceses that have adopted 1992 canon law, which includes Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra.

"This means that whenever there are vacancies in dioceses that have adopted the 1992 canon and whose own diocesan law permits it, a woman can become a diocesan bishop," Aspinall said.
the rest

Conservative US Episcopalians plot separate church
Fri 28 Sep 2007
By Jonathan Barnes

PITTSBURGH (Reuters) - Conservative bishops upset with U.S. Episcopal Church stands on gay issues said Friday they will call a constitutional convention to form a new "Anglican union" in North America.

"This is a time of reformation," said Robert Duncan, Episcopal Church bishop of Pittsburgh who convened the group. "We hope to go through this in a way that brings honor and glory to God."

He and others meeting as the "Common Cause Council of Bishops" said the group included 51 bishops and bishops-elect representing "tens of thousands of Anglicans in North America."
the rest

Breakaway Episcopalians Form Partnership

AnglicanTV: Common Cause Interview with Bishop Duncan

Anglican Bishops Take First Steps to New Structure
SEPTEMBER 28, 2007

Anglican bishops from ten jurisdictions and organizations pledged to take the first steps toward a “new ecclesiastical structure” in North America. The meeting of the first ever Common Cause Council of Bishops was held in Pittsburgh September 25–28.

The bishops present lead more than 600 Anglican congregations. They formally organized themselves as a college of bishops which will meet every six months. They also laid out a timeline for the path ahead, committed to working together at local and regional levels, agreed to deploy clergy interchangeably and announced their intention to, in consultation “with those Primates and Provinces of the Anglican Communion offering recognition under the timeline adopted,” call a “founding constitutional convention for an Anglican union,” at the earliest possible date agreeable to all of the partners.

“We met deeply aware that we have arrived at a critical moment in the history of mainstream Anglican witness in North America. God has led us to repentance for past divisions and opened the way for a united path forward. To him be the glory,” said Bishop Robert Duncan, convener of the council.

The full text of the bishops’ joint statement follows:

Common Cause Statement here

Comments at Stand Firm

Comments at TitusOneNine

Stand Firm: John Woodhouse: The Babylonian Unity of the Church
The Rev Dr John Woodhouse

Principal, Moore Theological College
October 2003

The unity God is creating through the power of the Spirit and the proclamation of Christ, itself creates a division. It is the division between those to whom the word of the cross is foolishness and those to whom it is the power of God.

That is one kind of division. It is the kind which Paul told the Corinthians was necessary. Not pleasant. Not desirable. But necessary wherever Christ is proclaimed.

But there is also division caused by human sin, human “boasting”. This is the kind of division caused by personalities, by personal preferences, by human pride. This kind of division is a denial of Christ. “Is Christ divided?” Paul pointedly asked the same Corinthian Christians.

Faithfulness to Christ must be willing to accept and even cause the first kind of division. But we must oppose and — where appropriate — repent for the second kind of division.
the rest

Thursday, September 27, 2007

I need not shout my faith. Thrice eloquent
Are quiet trees and the green listening sod;
Hushed are the stars, whose power is never spent;
the hills are mute: yet how they speak of God!
...Charles Hanson Towne

The Economist: The turbulence of priests
Sep 27th 2007

IN NEW ORLEANS it is hard to stop talking about hurricanes, even metaphorically. “People came here thinking this was going to be Katrina II,” said Gene Robinson, the gay American Episcopalian whose ordination as bishop in 2003 plunged the worldwide Anglican Communion of churches into crisis. In the end, reported Katherine Jefferts Schori, who led 160 Episcopalian prelates in six hard days of deliberation, they found “common ground to stand on...high ground”.

Will the elevation be sufficient? Faced with the risk of a fiasco at next summer's Lambeth conference—a once-a-decade gathering in England for all the communion's bishops—the Americans were pondering how far they could go to meet conservative demands that they stop elevating gay bishops and blessing same-sex couples. Without concessions from the American side—so the Africans and other conservatives had made clear—Lambeth might face a mass boycott.
the rest

Episcopal leaders struggle to find a clear message
By Terry Mattingly
Scripps Howard News Service

The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East is rich in symbolism, but not in the clout that comes from great numbers and wealth.

This branch of the Anglican Communion stretches from Algeria to Iran, a part of the world in which there are few Anglicans, but millions of Muslims, Jews, Catholics and Orthodox Christians. Nevertheless, the archbishop of this tiny Anglican flock dared to bring a blunt message to the powerful Episcopal Church this past week - please be candid as well as careful.

American bishops may believe that God wants them to modernize ancient doctrines about sex, marriage, salvation and the authority of scripture, said Archbishop Mouneer Anis of Egypt. But it's getting harder for other Anglicans to explain news about same-sex unions and gay bishops to their ecumenical and interfaith neighbors at home.
the rest

Quincy bishop will pray, seek input
Springfield bishop calls resolution 'same old stuff'

Thursday, September 27, 2007
of the Journal Star

Episcopal Diocese of Quincy officials won't know what they think of this week's Episcopal Church House of Bishops action until they have a chance to ponder it.

"I need to scrutinize it, literally pray over it and then sit down with my standing committee so I can have clergy and lay input," Bishop Keith Ackerman said Wednesday.

Bishop Peter Beckwith of the Episcopal Diocese of Springfield, though, said he was "disappointed" by the resolution and called it "the same old stuff."

The resolution passed by the bishops on Tuesday was in response to a request made by Anglican Communion archbishops from around the world to clarify Episcopal Church positions on blessings of same-sex unions and consecration of noncelibate homosexuals as bishops.
the rest

AnglicanTV: Common Cause Photos Day One

Eritrean Christians tell of torture
By Tanya Datta

BBC News, northern Ethiopia
Thursday, 27 September 2007

Excerpt: Refugees certainly continue to pour out of Eritrea. In two years, the number of asylum applications by Eritreans to the West has increased by 57%. The UNHCR recently described the exodus as "one of the world's most protracted refugee situations".

My last contact with Eritrea's persecuted Christians came in an e-mail sent to me last week.

"The situation in Eritrea is getting worse and worse after the president stated that the US is funding the Pentecostal church in Eritrea," it said.

"Many Christians are suffering in military concentrations [camps] and police stations... Pray for the Christians in Eritrea, and pray for the prisoners and their families."

full story map

Concentration camps hold a million people?
Nearly 40 'detention' centers reported in North Korea

September 27, 2007

A Christian ministry is reporting that the number of North Koreans locked up in dozens of concentration camps could number more than a million, but few survive in an atmosphere reminiscent of Hitler's death camps where guards reportedly stomp on the necks of babies born to prisoners and "scientists" experiment on living victims.

The report comes from
Open Doors International, which is based in the Netherlands, and has been investigating and responding to reports of persecuted Christians since the 1950s. the rest

16 U.S. senators accused of rejecting Catholic faith
Jim Brown
September 26, 2007

Catholic pro-life groups are condemning a major pro-abortion vote cast by more than a dozen Catholic U.S. senators.

Sixteen Catholic senators recently voted against an amendment that would have restored the Mexico City Policy. The policy, instituted by President Reagan in 1984, prohibited U.S. taxpayer dollars from funding organizations that perform or promote abortions in foreign countries.

Catholic activist Judie Brown, president of
American Life League, says she was especially disappointed by the vote of a freshman Democrat from Pennsylvania who claims to be pro-life. the rest

"Heart of Darkness" - A response by Michael Poon
Heart of Darkness: A Response to the
Statement by the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion on behalf of the Joint Standing Committee of the Primates and the Anglican Consultative Council
26 September 2007
Michael Poon

“And this also . . . has been one of the dark places of the earth (Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness).”

Statement the Secretary-General crafted on behalf of the Joint Standing Committee of the Primates and the Anglican Consultative Council is remarkably misleading. That such statement can come from someone in such high office in the Communion is an indication of the heart of darkness in the once Christian and self-proclaimed civilized West that is slowly eroding the Communion of its Christian foundations. Such encroachment on the Lordship of Jesus Christ upon his holy and catholic church – his rightful property – must end. the rest

Joint Statement on the Resolution of the House of Bishops
September 26, 2007

Three orthodox Anglican groups, the American Anglican Council, the Anglican Communion Network, and Forward in Faith North America, have issued a joint statement on the recently-concluded meeting of the House of Bishops in New Orleans.

The last seven days have been eventful ones for the worldwide Anglican Communion. The future of our 500 year fellowship has been focused on The Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops (HOB). The worldwide Anglican Communion has been looking for clarity, praying for unity, and searching for Christ and His will in our lives. Unfortunately, the HOB has failed the Communion; their continued ambiguity, questioning of basic Christian beliefs, and rejection of obvious Scriptural teaching has widened the gap between them and biblical Christianity.
the rest

Prisons to Restore Purged Religious Books
Published: September 27, 2007

WASHINGTON, Sept. 26 — Facing pressure from religious groups, civil libertarians and members of Congress, the federal Bureau of Prisons has decided to return religious materials that had been purged from prison chapel libraries because they were not on the bureau’s lists of approved resources.

The bureau had said it was prompted to remove the materials after a 2004 Department of Justice report mentioned that religious books that incite violence could infiltrate chapel libraries.
After the details of the removal became widely known this month, Republican lawmakers, liberal Christians and evangelical talk shows all criticized the government for creating a list of acceptable religious books.
the rest

Threat of Anglican schism still looms
By Robert Pigott

Religious affairs correspondent, BBC News
Thursday, 27 September 2007

Bishops of the Episcopal Church in the United States have bowed to pressure and taken what they call "sacrificial action" over their approach to homosexuality, in order to remain fully part of the Anglican Communion.

But while Episcopalians have been debating the issue a cuckoo has hatched in their nest, and shows every sign of wanting to displace them as the official Anglican Church in America.
the rest

Nigerian archbishop blasts Episcopal Church stand
Thu 27 Sep 2007
By Michael Conlon, Religion Writer

CHICAGO (Reuters) - A leading conservative critic of the U.S. Episcopal Church said on Wednesday its bishops have turned their back on pleas from global Anglican church leaders to take a clear stand against consecrating gays as bishops or blessing same-sex unions.

"Sadly it seems that our hopes were not well-founded and our pleas have once again been ignored," Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria said, responding to a six-day meeting of Episcopal Church bishops that ended a day earlier in New Orleans.
the rest

Gay bishop move rejected by Kenya

Guardian: Nigerian Bishop Rejects U.S. on Gays

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

AnglicanTV: Common Cause Pittsburgh Keynote Address

Lo, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be redeemed among the nations. Numbers 23:9

Who would wish to dwell among the nations and to be numbered with them? Why, even the professing church is such that to follow the Lord fully within its bounds is very difficult. There is such a mingling and mixing that one often sighs for "a lodge in some vast wilderness."

Certain it is that the Lord would have His people follow a separated path as to the world and come out decidedly and distinctly from it. We are set apart by the divine decree, purchase, and calling, and our inward experience has made us greatly to differ from men of the world; and therefore our place is not in their Vanity Fair, nor in their City of Destruction, but in the narrow way where all true pilgrims must follow their Lord.

This may not only reconcile us to the world's cold shoulder and sneers but even cause us to accept them with pleasure as being a part of our covenant portion. Our names are not in the same book, we are not of the same seed, we are not bound for the same place, neither are we trusting to the same guide; therefore it is well that we are not of their number. Only let us be found in the number of the redeemed, and we are content to be off and solitary to the end of the chapter. ...CH Spurgeon

Stand Firm: A Report on the New Orleans House of Bishops from Bishop Edward Salmon

ACNS: Statement by the Secretary General on behalf of the Joint Standing Committee of the Primates and the Anglican Consultative Council.

The Joint Standing Committee of the Primates and the Anglican Consultative Council accompanied the Archbishop of Canterbury to the meeting of the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church which has been meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, between Wednesday 19 September and Tuesday 25 September.

We gathered at the invitation of presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and of the House of Bishops in order to converse with them about the current tensions encountered in the life of the communion.

On Monday 24 September, the Joint Standing Committee met in formal session to reflect on the conversations, both formal and informal, in which they had participated over the previous four days.
The Committee would like to express their profound thanks to the Presiding Bishop and to the House of Bishops for the generosity and graciousness of the welcome that they have received.

They had also been invited by Bishop Charles Jenkins and the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana to witness something of the ministry of the Church, as it plays its part in the healing and renewal of the City of New Orleans in the wake of hurricane Katrina. So, after two days of engagement and listening on the Thursday and Friday, members of the Joint Standing Committee joined members of the House of Bishops and their spouses in participating in active mission projects in the city of New Orleans so grievously affected by Hurricane Katrina.
the rest

AnglicanTV: Bishop Duncan opens Common Cause 2007

Posted by Kendall Harmon
September 26th, 2007

In accordance with our desire to walk “in a manner worthy of the calling to which we have been called, … eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians (4:1,2) we have looked forward with hope to the response of The Episcopal Church as requested by the Primates when we met earlier in the year in Dar es Salaam. That request was the culmination of many conversations and years of painful negotiations. It was our expressed desire to provide one final opportunity for an unequivocal assurance from The Episcopal Church of their commitment to the mind and teaching of the Communion. We also made clear that it is a time for clarity and a rejection of what hitherto has been endless series of ambiguous and misleading statements. Sadly it seems that our hopes were not well founded and our pleas have once again been ignored.

While we await a meeting of all the Primates to receive and determine the adequacy of The Episcopal Church’s response it seems clear from first reading that what is offered is not a whole hearted embrace of traditional Christian teaching and in particular the teaching that is expressed in Lambeth Resolution 1.10. The unequivocal assurances that we sought have not been given; what we have is a carefully calculated attempt to win support to ensure attendance at the Lambeth Conference and continued involvement in the life of the Communion.

the rest at TitusOneNine

Miller Brewing Pulls Logo From 'Last Supper' Advertisement
By Randy Hall Staff Writer/Editor
September 26, 2007

( - The Miller Brewing Company, a sponsor of this weekend's homosexual "leather" street fair in San Francisco, has asked to have its logo removed from an advertising poster that has offended some Christians.

The advertisement portrays Christ and his disciples as half-naked sado-masochists.

"While Miller has supported the Folsom Street Fair for several years, we take exception to the poster the organizing committee developed this year. We understand some individuals may find the imagery offensive and we have asked the organizers to remove our logo from the poster effective immediately," the company told Cybercast News Service on Tuesday.
the rest

South Africa Elects Conservative as Next Primate

The Rt. Rev. Thabo Cecil Makgoba, Bishop of Grahamstown, was elected Archbishop of Cape Town and Metropolitan and Primate of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa on Sept. 25.

Bishop Makgoba, 47, will succeed the Most Rev. Njongonkulu Ndungane as archbishop, and will assume office on Jan 1. Viewed as a conservative on issues of human sexuality, he is expected to try to move the South African church closer to the other African Anglican provinces. The spiritual reconstruction of the church and of South African society will guide his tenure as archbishop, he told the South African Broadcasting Corporation.

Bishop Makgoba was elected on the second ballet by the Cape Town electoral assembly. His name will now be submitted to the province’s House of Bishops for confirmation.
the rest

TIME: The Anglicans Get Ready to Rumble
Wednesday, Sep. 26, 2007

An uneasy peace has brooded over the 2.3 million member Episcopal Church of the U.S.A. and its global parent body, the 77-million member Anglican Communion, for some four years now. And a key voice vote Tuesday evening at the American bishops' conference in New Orleans has set up a decisive showdown that could well end the unity of the Communion.

At the end of their five day meeting in New Orleans, the Episcopal House of Bishops made their response to three demands presented by the Communion's leaders last February: that the generally liberal U.S. church accept the Communion input in creating conservative bishops to pastor some of its more disaffected members; that it cease to make any more gay bishops, as it did in 2003 with the Right Rev. V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire; and that it stop blessing same-sex union ceremonies.

The Americans certainly seemed to want to come up with a formulation that would enable them to continue on their own track while still remaining part of the Communion. The global Anglican body disapproves of the American stance on homosexuality but, nevertheless, takes about a third of its funds from its U.S. affiliate. In the first few days of their parley they met with
Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Communion's embattled titular head, who has become somewhat adept at the art of forestalling a schismatic confrontation. Consistent with this goal, Williams, who didn't stay for the final vote, clearly tried to take the pressure off the conference by saying that there was "no ultimatum involved" in the Communion's demand. the rest

Conservative group leaves Episcopalian parish in PV
Michael Clancy
The Arizona Republic
Sept. 26, 2007

About 15 percent of the members are splitting from a prominent Valley Episcopalian parish and affiliating with an African church because they say the conservative congregation here is not conservative enough for them.

The departure is one of many across the United States by former Episcopalians who believe the church, the American arm of the worldwide Anglican Communion, has turned its back on its own traditions and become too liberal.

A leader of the group that left Christ Church of the Ascension at the end of August says the decision had nothing to do with a statement issued Tuesday by American bishops attempting to appease fellow church leaders on the gay issue.
the rest

Common Cause Council of Bishops Opens:
Bishop Duncan's opening Address


A total of 51 bishops and bishops-elect representing tens-of-thousands of Anglicans in North America are meeting together Sept. 25–28 in Pittsburgh, PA. The meeting of the first-ever Common Cause Council of Bishops brings together bishops and observers from the American Anglican Council, the Anglican Coalition in Canada, the Anglican Communion Network, Anglican Network in Canada, the Anglican Province of America, Anglican Essentials Canada, the Anglican Mission in the Americas, the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, Forward in Faith North America and the Reformed Episcopal Church.

In welcoming the assembled bishops, the Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, Episcopal Bishop of Pittsburgh and convener of the gathering, said that before any unified orthodox Anglicanism could be expected to emerge in North America relationships among bishops and jurisdictions need to be reordered. “Our shortcoming is not ‘right Faith.’ Our shortcoming is ‘right Order’ and ‘right Mission,’” said Bishop Duncan.
the rest

Study: Christianity No Longer Looks Like Jesus
Audrey Barrick
Gospel Herald Contributor
Tue, Sep, 25 2007

Young Americans today are more skeptical and resistant to Christianity than were people of the same age just a decade ago, says a new study.

Negative perceptions toward the Christian faith have outweighed the positive as a growing percentage of younger Americans associate with a faith outside Christianity.Only 16 percent of non-Christians aged 16 to 29 years old said they have a "good impression" of Christianity, according to a report released Monday by The Barna Group. A decade ago, the vast majority of Americans outside the Christian faith, including young people, felt favorably toward Christianity’s role in society.
the rest

Matt Kennedy+: The Fall of the Windsor Bishops, the loss of the House…
September 26, 2007

The Response by the House of Bishops, joined with their earlier responses and those of the Executive Council, represents an utter rejection of the Primate’s request. There is a bold commitment to permit same sex blessings. There is an avenue ripe for exploitation with regard to episcopal consents. And, as was evident in past statement and in this Response, there will be no attempt to provide adequate oversight for dissenting people, parishes, and/or dioceses. The very sad thing is that the Windsor Bishops did not lose the fight. They did not fight...

Full Commentary at Stand Firm

Bishop skeptical of Episcopal stance on gays
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
By Steve Levin, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pittsburgh Episcopal Bishop Robert W. Duncan Jr. last night dismissed the promise of church leaders meeting in New Orleans to "exercise restraint" in approving gay bishops and same-sex blessings.

Speaking before the opening in Pittsburgh of a four-day gathering of more than four dozen bishops representing both the Episcopal Church's conservative minority and U.S. and Canadian offshoots of the denomination, Bishop Duncan said the leaders' promise was "the same stuff; it's not movement."

"The American church is moving in one direction," he said. "The Western church is moving in one direction. The classic church stands where it has always stood."
the rest

NYT: Episcopal Bishops Reject Anglican Church’s Orders
September 26, 2007

NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 25 — Bishops of the
Episcopal Church on Tuesday rejected demands by leaders of the worldwide Anglican Communion to roll back the church’s liberal stance on homosexuality, increasing the possibility of fracture within the communion and the Episcopal Church itself.

After nearly a week of talks at their semiannual meeting in New Orleans, the House of Bishops adopted a resolution that defied a directive by the Anglican Communion’s regional leaders, or primates, to change several church policies regarding the place of gay men and lesbians in their church. But the bishops also expressed a desire to remain part of the communion, and they appeared to be trying to stake out a middle ground that would allow them to do so. the rest

Times Online: US Episcopal Church leaders pledge not to consecrate gay bishops

Toronto Star: Anglican split gains ground

LA Times: Episcopal bishops promise 'restraint'

Guardian UK: Episcopal Leaders Try To Avoid Schism

Boston Globe: Episcopal leaders act to avert a schism

The Times-Picayune: Episcopal bishops decline to roll back inclusion of gays

Leaders Pledge Restraint on Gay Bishops

Albert Mohler: What Really Happened in New Orleans? An Anglican Schism Draws Closer
Wednesday, September 26, 2007

"We want that statement to be clear and unambiguous and we are working in that direction," said Episcopal Bishop Neil Alexander of Atlanta. The bishop made this statement at a press conference during the meeting of the Episcopal Church's House of Bishops that ended in New Orleans yesterday.

The meeting of the bishops made international news because the stakes could not be higher for the future of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, the international fellowship of churches associated with the Church of England and the Anglican tradition.

The background to the controversy and drama is well known. In 2003 the Episcopal Church elected and consecrated an openly-homosexual man as the Bishop of New Hampshire, detonating an international crisis in the Anglican Communion. The American church had also moved in the direction of blessing same-sex unions. The unavoidable reality is that the American church has been moving toward the normalization of homosexual behavior and homosexual relationships -- putting the liberal American church on a collision course with the churches of the so-called "Global South." These churches, including several in Africa, now claim far more members than the Church of England and the Episcopal Church. They are also far more conservative.
the rest

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

O Lord our God,
Who has called us to serve You,
In the midst of the world's affairs,
When we stumble, hold us;
When we fall, lift us up;
When we are hard pressed with evil, deliver us;
When we turn from what is good, turn us back;
And bring us at last to Your glory.
St. Alcuin photo

Stand Firm: Breaking Text: Response to the Primates

House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church
New Orleans, Louisiana
September 25, 2007

A Response to Questions and Concerns Raised by our Anglican Communion Partners:

In accordance with Our Lord's high priestly prayer that we be one, and in the spirit of Resolution A159 of the 75th General Convention, and in obedience to his Great Commission to go into the world and make disciples, and in gratitude for the gift of the Anglican Communion as a sign of the Holy Spirit's ongoing work of reconciliation throughout the world, we offer the following to The Episcopal Church, the Primates, the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC), and the larger Communion, with the hope of "mending the tear in the fabric" of our common life in Christ.
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IRD: "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" about Episcopal Church Diocesan Same-Sex Blessings?

“The real issue here is how the Episcopal Church’s own restrictions on same-sex blessings, minimal as they are, don’t amount to much if a diocese allows loopholes.”
—Ralph Webb, Anglican Action Director

Washington, DC—On Monday, January 24, Bishop Jon Bruno of the Episcopal Church’s Diocese of Los Angeles told media that “The fact of life is that we [the Episcopal Church] have never authorized same-sex blessings … It does not happen in my diocese with my permission.” Just two days earlier, however, a same-sex blessing had occurred in his diocese at All Saints Episcopal Church in Beverly Hills.

Furthermore, while Bruno may not give “permission” to each individual blessing, he reportedly has told his priests that they can bless same-sex unions as pastoral measures.
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TLC: In Closed Session, Bishops Perfecting Response to Primates

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and the other members of the joint steering committee of primates and the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) met late into the night Monday discussing language on the eight or so bullet points which might constitute an acceptable response from Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and the primates.

The six-day fall meeting of the House of Bishops, which began Sept. 20 with a two-day visit from Archbishop Williams, concludes today. The bishops are attempting to provide a response to requests made of them by the primates in their Feb. 19 communiqué from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Archbishop Williams left New Orleans Sept. 21 to begin a pastoral visit in Armenia. All of the invited international visitors departed Tuesday morning with the exception of the Rev. Jim Rosenthal, director of communication for the ACC. Deacon Rosenthal said Archbishop Williams has already been briefed by representatives of the joint steering committee on the substance of the joint steering committee report to him.
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Ruth Gledhill weblog: Goodbye Father Jeffrey. Hello, Sister Moon.
September 25, 2007

As we report, the Bishop of Rio Grande, Jeffrey Steenson, has today explained to the US bishops why he is to be received into the Roman Catholic Church. He leaves an Episcopal Church in disarray, led no longer by a 'house' but by a 'community' of bishops, with a songbook of praise to Mother Earth, Sister Moon and Brother Sun. Thank you BabyBlue for finding out what the bishops are singing in New Orleans and thus reminding us that this whole affair actually has very little to do with homosexuality. Read on to enjoy the words of the songs. the rest

AnglicanTV: Pittsburgh Common Cause Meeting Live Broadcast

7:00 pm eastern

Orthodox Anglicans Open Talks on Heels of High-Powered Meetings
Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter
Tue, Sep. 25 2007

Orthodox Anglican leaders on the move toward forming a new Anglican structure that they hope would replace The Episcopal Church are convening for the first time this week to discuss a way forward.

The "Common Cause Partners," consisting of U.S. Anglicans discontent with The Episcopal Church and those who have already split, opens a four-day meeting in Pittsburgh, Pa., on Tuesday with some 50 bishops and some observers.

What is claimed to be a historic council meeting comes with predictions that The Episcopal Church – the U.S. arm of Anglicanism – will "walk apart" from the global Anglican Communion by the conclusion of an Episcopal meeting in New Orleans.
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Henry Orombi Meets with Kentucky Anglicans
Alice C. Linsley
Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Archbishop Henry Orombi, Primate of the Anglican Church of Uganda, spoke to Anglican clergy and lay leaders at Apostles Anglican Church in Lexington, Kentucky on Tuesday, September 25. The event was well attended with representatives from all the newly formed Anglican churches in Kentucky. Also present were representatives from a missionary agency working in Uganda and a representative from the American Anglican Council.

His Grace preached from the 21st chapter of John’s gospel. Here we read that Peter has essentially aborted the mission of Jesus Christ. Discouraged and disillusioned, he tells the others “I’m going fishing.” He has decided to return to the only work he knows, the business of fish. After a long and unproductive night of fishing, Peter and his comrades hear someone call to them from the shore: “Have you caught anything, friends?”

The rest at Northern Plains Anglicans

Forth Worth Standing Committee Statement
September 25, 2007

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We, the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, have recently conducted two meetings with clergy and lay leaders of the diocese. This was done in accord with our decision, announced in May, to continue to seek Alternative Primatial Oversight as requested by vote of the 2006 Diocesan Convention. The meetings allowed us to explore the options before us. All active parish clergy resident in the diocese were invited to attend one of the two meetings. The junior and senior wardens of each congregation also were invited to attend, to represent the concerns of the laity.

the rest at TitusOneNine

Stand Firm: BREAKING: Bishop Steenson’s Statement to the House

TLC: Bishop Steenson Addresses House, Explains Decision

Houston Chronicle: Episcopal bishop, troubled by church's direction, wants to resign

TLC: Bishops Briefed on Lambeth Conference

The Lambeth Conference of Bishops in England next July will bear a striking organizational resemblance to a recent pan-Anglican consultation underwritten by Trinity Church, Wall Street, last July in Madrid.

“I assure you there is no collusion,” said the Rev. Ian Douglas, professor of world mission at Episcopal Divinity School and a member of the Lambeth Planning Committee. “The idea was to create a space for many voices to speak.”

Prof. Douglas addressed the House of Bishops during a plenary session Sept. 24. He said the Lambeth Conference will be radically different in design from any other Lambeth Conference in recent memory.

It will begin with a three-day retreat designed to help bishops become more mission minded. After the conclusion of the retreat, bishops will be assigned to two Ubuntu table groups: a more intimate one of eight and a larger one involving five groups of eight combined. They will discuss about one dozen issues of common interest before the Anglican Communion, including economics and poverty, gender inequality and violence, human sexuality and identity.
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50 Orthodox Bishops to meet in Pittsburgh: Pressure to recognise parallel Anglican province in USA
Tuesday September 25th 2007

PITTSBURGH (AP) Conservatives alienated by the Episcopal Church’s liberal theology are meeting in Pittsburgh today through Friday to seek unity as American Anglicans.

Conservative Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh left early from the Episcopal House of Bishops meeting, which wraps up today in New Orleans, saying the denomination’s departure from traditional teachings on homosexuality and the Bible left him “heartbroken.” Attending the Pittsburgh meeting are more than 50 bishops many of them former Episcopalians whose congregations are now aligned with conservative Anglican churches overseas.

Duncan says that while Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has been unwilling to recognize an American Anglican province other than the Episcopal Church, there’s growing pressure to do so from churches representing the majority of Anglicans worldwide.

US bishop defects to Catholic Church in row over gays
Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent, The Times
September 25, 2007

In the most high-profile American defection to date in the row over gays in the Anglican Church, a diocesan bishop has explained why he is to be received into the Roman Catholic Church.
The Bishop of Rio Grande, the Right Rev Jeffrey Steenson, who was educated at Oxford and is in the Anglican Catholic tradition of the Church, said that to remain in his post in the Episcopal Church may lead him "to a place apart from Scripture and tradition”.

In a statement to American bishops meeting in New Orleans in an attempt to avert schism, in which he requested permission to resign both from his post and his orders, the Right Rev Steenson said: “I am concerned that if I do not listen to and act in accordance with conscience now, it will become harder and harder to hear God’s voice.”

He said that he had already received counsel and prayers from the Presiding Bishop, the Right Rev Katharine Jefferts Schori. “Now I come before you, asking that you give me the necessary canonical permission to resign as ordinary of my diocese. I should like to do this by the end of this year, and afterwards, in proper order, to be released from my ordination vows in the Episcopal Church.”
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Episcopal Bishops Look for 'Clear' Statement on Gays
Tuesday, September 25, 2007

NEW ORLEANS - U.S. Episcopal Church bishops, hammering out a response to a request by the broader Anglican Communion that it stop ordaining openly gay bishops, said on Monday its answer would be "clear and unambiguous."

The church also said it would not withdraw its support for gay and lesbian church members, indicating that the Anglican struggle over the issue between liberals and traditionalists that could split the worldwide church is far from over.

"We want that statement to be clear and unambiguous and we are working in that direction," Bishop Neil Alexander of Atlanta told a news briefing in New Orleans, where the House of Bishops has been meeting.
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Lent and Beyond:

I gasped aloud when I read this morning’s lectionary last night in preparation for posting prayers or reflections here at L&B. Just astonishing. A case of the Word of God truly being living and active, and sharper than a double-edged sword. What timely and piercing words for us, the TEC House of Bishops, and the TEC as a whole.

Please read, reflect and pray through the entire lectionary. Here’s an easy link to
read it all on one page

Over at TitusOneNine, Kendall Harmon has posted a selection of verses from today’s lectionary, all of which touch on relevant issues for the HoB. But the passage that struck me most last night and continues to be MUCH on my heart this morning is this one from 1 Corinthians 5:

6 Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

May the Lord begin in our hearts, helping us to expose and renounce sin, and may He work in the HoB and TEC as a whole to cleanse it of the old leaven and replace malice and evil with sincerity and truth.

Biography Reveals Hillary Clinton Séance, Religious Devotion to Abortion
Participated in strange moments of imaginary conversation with deceased Eleanor Roosevelt from solarium atop White House
By John-Henry Westen

WASHINGTON, September 24, 2007 ( – A new biography on Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton reveals that during her time as First Lady, Clinton participated in strange moments of imaginary conversation with a deceased Eleanor Roosevelt from the solarium atop the White House. Grove City College professor Paul Kengor’s “God and Hillary Clinton” also notes the religious devotion with which Senator Clinton advocates abortion.

An overview of the book by Kengor’s Grove City colleague Dr. Warren Thockmorton notes that the book - with information from friends, colleagues and acquaintances - paints an accurate picture of Clinton’s version of faith.
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Connecting with the Almighty
By Electa Draper Denver Post Staff Writer

Colorado is "an area of intense spiritual warfare," said world-famous revivalist Steve Hill - and he was here to do battle.

"There are demons and devils flying all around this building. And there are great angels," Hill told a crowd of 400 at the three- day revival, called "Fire on the Front Range," that ended over the weekend at the Larimer County Fairgrounds in Loveland.

The Pentecostal revival has moved from the tent into venues with big screens, lighting effects, amped-up musicians and DVDs for sale.

Still, adherents say, it remains old-time religion.
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Worship Goes Big-Screen and Hi-Fi, With Direct-Deposit Tithing

Harvest Crusade Revs Up 10,000 New Yorkers

Stand Firm: Hypocrisy in the House of Bishops

February 18, 2006: Bacon, Regas Perform Same-Sex Blessing in Pasadena (+Bruno)

March, 2004: James Newman Performs Same-Sex Blessing in Los Angeles (+Bruno)

September 9, 2006, Jimmy Bartz Performs Same Sex Blessing in Beverly Hills (+Bruno)

July 8, 2007, Susan Russell Performs Same Sex Blessing in Los Angeles (+Bruno)

The Living Church:


" At one point in response to a question by a reporter from The New York Times, Bishop Bruno said “same-sex blessings do not occur in my diocese with my permission.” The media briefing was officially ended shortly after that. In a follow up question afterward, Bishop Bruno denied knowledge of a same-sex blessing that occurred Saturday at All Saints’, Beverly Hills. A celebration announcement was published in the Sunday edition of the Times.

When contacted by The Living Church, the Rev. Susan Russell, associate rector at All Saints' Church, Pasadena, and president of Integrity, clarified the apparent contradiction.

Same-sex blessings occur in the Diocese of Los Angeles all the time,” she said listing several parishes including her own at which same-sex blessings had recently been performed. “We don’t ask for permission because Bishop Bruno has told us that he cannot give it until General Convention approves an official liturgy. He has told us that we are free to exercise appropriate pastoral care” for parishioners."
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Monday, September 24, 2007

He does not need to transplant us into a different field, but right where we are, with just the circumstances that surround us, he makes his sun to shine and his dew to fall upon us, and transforms the very things that were before our greatest hindrances into the chiefest and most blessed means of our growth. I don't care what the circumstances may be, His wonderworking power can accomplish this...No difficulties in your case can baffle him. No dwarfing of your growth in years that are past, no apparent dryness of your inward springs of life, no crookedness or deformity in any of your past development, can in the least mar the perfect work that he will accomplish, if you will only put yourselves absolutely into his hands and let him have his own way with you. ...Hannah Whitall Smith photo

Matt Kennedy Breaking: No text tonight…news conference live blog

Baby Blue: Press Conference for Day Six: House of Bishops

Church mission to get people back to pews
· Campaign aimed at lapsed churchgoers
· Department store trains priests to be more inviting

Riazat Butt
Tuesday September 25, 2007
The Guardian

The Church of England has launched a renewed effort to increase attendance in England and Wales, with clergymen using podcasts and planes to promote the campaign. Around 2,000 churches have signed up for Back to Church Sunday, making it one of the largest ever coordinated mission activities. Congregation members in England and Wales were asked to invite a friend who had stopped going to come back and churches are expecting an extra 20,000 people this Sunday.
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Flying bishops try to bring back lapsed Anglicans

Episcopal bishops working against deadline to prevent Anglican split over homosexuality
By Rachel Zoll, AP Religion Writer
September 24, 2007

NEW ORLEANS --Episcopal bishops, under intense pressure from Anglicans to ease their support for gays, said Monday they were crafting a straightforward statement that reflects their deep desire to remain in the global Anglican fellowship.

a Sept. 30 deadline for the Americans to pledge unequivocally not to consecrate another gay bishop or approve an official prayer service for same-gender couples.

Episcopal bishops have dedicated their meeting here to crafting a response. A preliminary draft statement released in the morning was considered far too weak and was quickly scrapped.
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'God wants unity' but doesn't get it
WHEATON Lesbian chaplain protests Anglican archbishop's talk

September 24, 2007

They spoke of faith, preached unity and professed an unwavering love for God.

Anglican Archbishop Peter Akinola did it Sunday from the pulpit of Edman Memorial Chapel at Wheaton College.

The Rev. Liz Stedman and more than two dozen others did it outside -- protesting Akinola's presence.

Akinola, of Nigeria, heads one of the Anglican faith's most thriving sectors and is building up churches at a roaring pace while carving out a firm stance against gay clergy.
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Ruth Gledhill weblog: Fishy business in New Orleans
September 24, 2007

A source in New Orleans tells me the House of Bishops, due to finish their deliberations later today, are like a 'shoal of fish'. The source, who is inside the meeting, says: 'They are all swimming in the same direction. The difficulty is knowing which direction they are going in.

They could suddenly move off together in a completely different direction. It is wide open still.'

AP's Rachel Zoll has done a good summary of where everything is right now. You can catch up with everything that is going on at StandFirm, including the news from LivingChurch that Rio Grande's diocesan, Oxford-educated Jeffrey Steenson, is to be received into the Roman Catholic Church. And as usual Thinking Anglicans has all the links you'll need to get up to speed on this story. the rest

ENS: House of Bishops begins to prepare Primates' Communiqué response
Text in draft form only; final action expected September 25

By Pat McCaughan,
September 24, 2007

[Episcopal News Service] Editor's note: The text is a write-through of a previously posted article.

Solidarity with the disenfranchised guided the discussion September 24 as the House of Bishops began to draft its formal statement to the Episcopal Church and the worldwide Anglican Communion culminating its five-day meeting in New Orleans.

The text is in draft form only and will be finalized and released September 25. The document is expected to serve as a response to the Primates' Communique.

Bishop Wayne Wright of Delaware, who chaired the writing committee, cautioned that the discussion was a "draft only" and that a final statement would not be released until it had been adopted on September 25 by the bishops. The document itself was withheld and its contents embargoed until it can be finalized.

"This is only a draft," Wright emphasized. "Tomorrow we will perfect and adopt it and then it will be released."
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TLC: Bishops Struggle to Craft Satisfactory Statement

As members of the House of Bishops began filing out of the plenary hall for lunch Monday, several expressed dissatisfaction with the direction taken in the draft statement proposed by the writing committee. The proposed draft attempted to incorporate the main points contained in many of the resolutions previously submitted for consideration, albeit with watered-down language in at least some cases.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori suggested that the statement by the writing committee should be considered a substitute version of the original resolutions that were submitted. The writing committee is not scheduled to present a revised draft of its statement until Tuesday morning, the final day of the House of Bishops’ Sept. 20-25 meeting in New Orleans.
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Anglican Church could split by end of year
By Jonathan Petre, Religion Correspondent in New Orleans

The worldwide Anglican Church is expected to split radically by the end of the year under plans being drawn up by a leading conservative archbishop to "adopt" a breakaway group of American dioceses, the Daily Telegraph has learned.

Under the unprecedented proposals, the archbishop would allow the conservative dioceses to opt out of the liberal American branch of the Anglican Church and affiliate with his province thousands of miles away.

It is understood that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has been informed of the plans.
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Stand Firm: The 7 points of the Preliminary Draft Document: A Message from the House of Bishops
September 24, 2007

1. We affirm and support the PB’s plan to provide Episcopal visitors for dioceses within the Episcopal Church. The Windsor Report (paragraph 152) affirmed that our plan for DEPO is reasonable and saw no reason why such delegated pastoral and sacramental oversight should not be provided by bishops from within this province. We believe the Presiding Bishop’s plan is consistent with DEPO and we thank those bishops who have generously offered themselves for this ministry.

2. While we have already expressed concerns about the recommendations made by the Primates for a pastoral scheme, we nonetheless urge the PB to continue conversations with those requesting alternative oversight, seeking ways to create and implement arrangements which meet pastoral needs and which do not violate our Constitution and Canons. We urge those requesting such oversight to participate in these conversations and to assist in finding appropriate solutions. We pray that a way forward can be found which will bring an end to the incursions of extra-provincial bishops. These incursions imperil the Communions principle of honoring one another as we work together in good faith on these very difficult issues.

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