Friday, October 31, 2008

Devotional: Jesus, as a mother you gather your people to you...

Jesus, as a mother you gather your people to you:
you are gentle with us as a mother with her children;
Often you weep over our sins and our pride:
tenderly you draw us from hatred and judgement.
You comfort us in sorrow and bind up our wounds:
in sickness you nurse us,
and with pure milk you feed us.
Jesus, by your dying we are born to new life:
by your anguish and labour we come forth in joy.
Despair turns to hope through your sweet goodness:
through your gentleness we find comfort in fear.
Your warmth gives life to the dead:
your touch makes sinners righteous.
Lord Jesus, in your mercy heal us:
in your love and tenderness remake us.
In your compassion bring grace and forgiveness:
for the beauty of heaven may your love prepare us.
... Anselm of Canterbury

Bishop Iker: We Are Contending for the Faith

The Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker
Bishop of Fort Worth
October 2008

“Contending for the Faith” is the theme of this year’s Diocesan Convention, and it aptly describes what lies at the heart of the controversy that surrounds us. Others have argued that it is a matter of contending for property, or contending for the authority of The Episcopal Church over us, or contending for homosexual rights in the church. But these are simply some of the side issues confronting us. The real issue is the faith. We are taking a stand for the historic faith and practice of the Bible, as we have received them, and against the continuing erosion of that faith by TEC. This Diocese stands for orthodox Christianity. TEC stands for a revisionist and compromised version of what the Church has always taught.

In introducing the proposed changes to our Constitution and Canons for last year’s Convention, the Standing Committee wrote: “To submit to and comply with the current direction of the General Convention would mean for us to embrace a distortion of the Christian faith that our forebears would not recognize as a continuation of ‘the Apostles’ teaching and fellowship.’… We cannot act against our conscience and in violation of the faith once delivered to the saints.” One year later, after much debate and discussion, our resolve remains the same: to fearlessly contend for the faith. the rest

Canada: A Statement from the House of Bishops

October 31, 2008 -- The following statement was released by the House of Bishops at the conclusion of its meeting in Niagara Falls, Ont.

We being many are one body for we all share in one bread. (1 Cor 10:17)

The meeting of the Canadian House of Bishops which concluded today was our first time together since we were in England at the Lambeth Conference last summer. We spent considerable time -- more than two days -- sharing impressions of the conference, discussing events in the Canadian Church since Lambeth, and seeking agreement among ourselves on a way forward for our Church and its dioceses in the context of the proceedings at Lambeth.

During this extended discussion, the Conference of Bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, our partner in Full Communion, accompanied us in conversation, bible study, prayer and mutual support. We are grateful for their presence and contributions.

We acknowledged with gratitude the key role played by the Archbishop of Canterbury in leading us at Lambeth. In particular we noted with thanksgiving the retreat addresses and the three presidential addresses. We share with him the understanding that the Anglican Communion is a gift from God and commit ourselves to working together. We also rejoiced in the clear sense from the bishops gathered at Lambeth that we wished to continue to walk together while addressing the theological issues arising from discussions about same-sex unions. the rest

Canadian Anglican bishops seek delay on same-sex blessings

Canwest News Service
Friday, October 31, 2008

NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. - Canada's Anglican Bishops, meeting in Niagara Falls, Ont., have asked bishops who favour the blessing of same-sex unions to indulge in "gracious restraint" for another two years until a meeting of the General Synod can deal with the issue.

The Anglican Bishop of Montreal, Barry Clarke, last week signalled his intentions to work out a rite for such blessings. He told his local synod meeting he believes he has been called by God to speak with a prophetic voice.

"It is our voice that is called to affirm that all unions of faithful love and lifelong commitment are worthy of God's blessing," he said.

The House of Bishops ended its retreat in Niagara Falls on Friday, asking for "a continued commitment to the greatest extent possible" to a moratorium on such blessings agreed to this summer by the Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops meeting in England. The conference, in theory, directs the affairs of the 80-million member Anglican Church worldwide. the rest

Canada: Lutheran Bishops issue statement on joint meeting with Anglican Bishops

October 31, 2008 -- Members of the Conference of Bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, who met jointly with the Anglican House of Bishops in Niagara Falls Ont. this week, issued the following statement at the conclusion of the gathering:

Dear friends,

We, the Conference of Bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Canada, write to you having just concluded five days of joint meetings with the Anglican House of Bishops. It was a particular honour and a privilege, and a sign of our deepening full communion relationship, to be present during the discussion on the agreement by many bishops at Lambeth on three moratoria: on the blessing of same-sex unions, on the ordination to the episcopate of people in same-gender relationships, and on cross-border interventions.

The diversity of opinions expressed reflects a similar diversity that we experience within our own church. We, too, continue to seek to discern the mind and heart of Christ for the wholesome care of all members of his Body, the Church. We echo the desire to “stay at the family table” and commit to walking in partnership with our sisters and brothers of the Anglican Church of Canada, and continuing to work to deepen our full communion relationship.

Yours in Christ,

+ The Rev. Susan C. Johnson, National Bishop
+ The Rev. Gerhard Preibisch, Bishop of the British Columbia Synod
+ The Rev. Ron Mayan, Bishop of the Synod of Alberta and the Territories
+ The Rev. Cynthia Halmarson, Bishop of the Saskatchewan Synod
+ The Rev. Elaine Sauer, Bishop of the Manitoba-Northwestern Ontario Synod
+ The Rev. Michael J. Pryse, Bishop of the Eastern Synod

‘The poor can wait no longer,’ says primate at Walk of Witness
Nov 1, 2008

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, and Bishop Susan Johnson, national bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.

OttawaThe leaders of Canadian Anglicans and Lutherans say ending poverty at home and abroad must be a priority for the newly-formed government.In a joint statement read at the end of an ecumenical “Walk of Witness” in Ottawa Sept. 25, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, and Bishop Susan Johnson, national bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, said Canadians care about the poor. “According to a recent Angus Reid poll, poverty ranks among the top four issues in the current federal election campaign,” they stated. the rest

Canadian Anglicans sit on fence over gay marriages

Fri 31 Oct 2008
By Randall Palmer

OTTAWA, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Canada's Anglican bishops sidestepped a request from the worldwide Anglican Communion to stop blessing gay marriages for now, despite warnings that failure to do so would imperil Anglican unity.

The bishops issued a statement on Friday saying "a large majority" of them could affirm "a continued commitment to the greatest extent possible" to a moratorium on the blessing of same-sex unions until the Canadian church's general synod in 2010.

But the statement did not commit the entire Anglican Church of Canada to agreeing to the request made in August by the once-a-decade Lambeth Conference of global Anglican leaders.

That conference had asked for moratoriums on same-sex blessings, the ordination of gay bishops and on conservative bishops making cross-border interventions in other countries. the rest

Head of Italian museum displaying 'blasphemous frog' sacked

The head of an Italian museum who offended the Pope by exhibiting a wooden sculpture of a crucified frog has been sacked amid a debate over artistic freedom.
By Nick Squires in Rome
30 Oct 2008

Corinne Diserens, the Swiss director of the museum in Bolzano, in the mountainous north-east of Italy, was dismissed after months of controversy over the bright green, bug-eyed amphibian, which is nailed to a cross and holds a frothing mug of beer and an egg.

Picture of the offending frog

She had refused to remove the work by the late German artist Martin Kippenberger despite protests from the Vatican that it was blasphemous.

She said the museum had a right to artistic freedom, and kept the frog on display as originally planned from May to September.

But a majority of the museum's board of directors disagreed and instead dismissed her this week. the rest

Gianna Jessen to Sen. Obama’s Attacks: “I’ve Dealt with Worse – I’ve Survived an Abortion.”

CHICAGO, IL, October 30, 2008 ( - released its second ad earlier this week featuring abortion survivor Gianna Jessen responding to Senator Barack Obama’s direct attack on her.

BornAliveTruth says that Obama’s response spot to the original Gianna ad was filled with false and misleading distortions about Gianna Jessen and Obama’s own voting record against born alive infant protections.

“Senator Obama had the audacity to go after Gianna Jessen, born alive after a failed abortion, and call her and the ad she appeared in ‘a despicable lie,’” said Jill Stanek, executive director of “We want to make sure voters are aware of Barack Obama’s extreme stance on abortion and that he voted four times, while an Illinois State Senator, to deny medical care to infants born alive after abortions.”

Gianna Jessen is the first abortion survivor to appear in a political issue advocacy ad. the rest

Barack Obama Would Restore Funds to UN Group Involved in Forced Abortions

Albert Mohler: Radio Commentary Series on Election 2008

Friday, October 31, 2008

I wrote and voiced a series of twelve commentaries on election 2008 for and the Salem Radio Network. These have been broadcast nationwide over the past few weeks, and are collected here for reference. May God grant each of us wisdom and courage as we face the responsibility of citizenship on Election Day, November 4, 2008.

Electing a President -- What's at Stake? [audio here]

Electing a President -- The Question of Character [
audio here]

Electing a President -- To Defend the Nation [
audio here]

Electing a President -- Governing Philosophy [
audio here]

Electing a President -- National Party Platforms [
audio here]

Electing a President -- The Party in Power [
audio here]

Electing a President -- Iraq and Afghanistan [
audio here]

Electing a President -- The Question of Experience [
audio here]

Electing a President -- The Issue of the Family [
audio here]

Electing a President -- Human Life in the Balance [
audio here]

Electing a President -- A Matter of Priorities [
audio here]

Electing a President -- A Fundamental Responsibility [audio available November 4]

This is Albert Mohler for Today marks a great exercise of hard-won freedoms. Millions of Americans will be streaming into voting booths today, exercising a right that most human beings have never known—the right to elect those who will govern us.
The stakes are always high, for in a democracy different visions of life and public policy compete for the votes of individual citizens, who are voting, one by one, all over this vast nation.
Have you cast your vote yet? If not, what could possibly be more important—on this one day—than taking your stand with those who defend the right to exercise democracy and fulfill the responsibility of citizens? [clean pause] How can you face your neighbors, or your children, and say that democracy just takes too much of your time.
So go vote. Vote your convictions. Vote for life, liberty, and the cause of what is right. Let your voice be heard. I'm Albert Mohler. link

Christian Anti-Defamation Commission Challenges Obama Christianity Claims

Christian Group Reviews Obama History, Writings, and Interviews to Expose Presidential Candidate's Disingenuous Religious Proclamations

October 30 /Christian Newswire/ -- Barack Obama, the Democratic candidate for president of the United States, has repeatedly claimed to be a Christian, but there is more evidence disputing that declaration than affirming it according to Dr. Gary Cass, Chairman and CEO of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission.

Dr. Cass observes, "From his speeches and his writings, even his personal history--despite protestations to the contrary--it appears that Obama's 'Christianity' is carefully constructed to appease traditional American voters." the rest

In the Tank: A Statistical Analysis of Media Bias

A Church Divided

Bishops’ approval of Covenant hangs in the balance

by Bill Bowder
31 October, 2008

THE RESPONSES of the bishops at the Lambeth Conference to the Anglican Covenant were made public last week by the Covenant Design Group. More than half the bishops said they believed that the current draft hit the right balance between interdependence and centralisation in the Anglican Communion.

A Lambeth Commentary on the Saint Andrew’s Draft for an Anglican Communion runs to 33 pages, and was compiled by the Covenant Design Group at its meeting in Singapore in September. It gathers up the views of the bishops who attended Lambeth, and sets out the group’s brief reaction to them. The group has circulated it to all the provinces of the Communion, in order “to assist in their discernment and response” to the Covenant. They have until 9 March to respond.

Provinces are being asked whether they can “in principle” commit themselves to the Covenant process. The Design Group is seeking to find out what this would involve for the provinces, and whether they require significant changes to be made to the draft to help it through their syn­odical processes. the rest

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Devotional: Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you...

Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. Ezekiel 36:25

What an exceeding joy is this! He who has purified us with the blood of Jesus will also cleanse us by the water of the Holy Spirit. God hath said it, and so it must be, "Ye shall be clean." Lord, we feel and mourn our uncleanness, and it is cheering to be assured by Thine own mouth that we shall be clean. Oh, that Thou wouldst make a speedy work of it!

He will deliver us from our worst sins. The uprisings of unbelief and the deceitful lusts which war against the soul, the vile thoughts of pride, and the suggestions of Satan to blaspheme the sacred name-all these shall be so purged away as never to return.

He will also cleanse us from all our idols, whether of gold or of clay: our impure loves and our excessive love of that which in itself is pure. That which we have idolized shall either be broken from us or we shall be broken off from it.

It is God who speaks of what He Himself will do. Therefore is this word established and sure, and we may boldly look for that which it guarantees to us. Cleansing is a covenant blessing, and the covenant is ordered in all things and sure. ...CH Spurgeon image

Albert Mohler: Is the Abortion Argument Changing?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Election cycles serve to confuse as well as to reveal. Reading voting patterns is not quite like reading a CAT-scan, but something does appear to be happening among some parts of the electorate that had been solidly pro-life in voting patterns.

The Boston Globe reports on developments that now appear among at least some Roman Catholic and Evangelical voters.

As the paper reports, the argument now takes a form something like this:

That the legislative battle to outlaw abortion is hopeless and that antiabortion groups would be better off devoting themselves to preventing unwanted pregnancies and persuading pregnant women to carry their fetuses to term rather than trying to change the laws of the land. the rest

Students for Life: Planned Parenthood Admits Infanticide, Obama Defends

Students for Life of America released a video this morning that puts lie to the notion that late-term abortions do not result in infanticide when babies survive the abortion process. Barack Obama claimed that the law he opposed on four different occasions in Illinois was unnecessary, because he was certain that doctors wouldn’t just leave living infants to die — even though the Attorney General and Jill Stanek both testified that they did and that existing Illinois law didn’t prevent it from happening. Abortionists will not render medical assistance to such living infants unless forced to do so. Guess who else admits it?

the rest

Dozens feared killed in serial blasts in northeast India

Thursday, 30th October 2008
By Vishal Arora

New Delhi: About 60 people are feared dead and over 100 injured in at least 11 serial bomb blasts that rocked Guwahati, the capital, and other districts of the northeastern state of Assam at around 11.30 am local time.

Bombs exploded in several areas of Guwahati, including Ganeshguri, Fancy Bazaar, Dispur Road and Paan Bazaar – mostly in crowded places, and the districts of Barpeta, Bongaigaon, and Kokrajhar, according to initial reports.

A blast also reportedly took place near the Guwahati Baptist Church, where a youth convention was underway. the rest

Baghdad in Guwahati, 50 killed, 300 injured

On the lighter side: The Wizard of Washington

An Emerging North American Province- by Bishop Bob Duncan

October 30th, 2008
From The Church of England Newspaper
by Bishop Bob Duncan

The twin trajectories of The Episcopal Church and of the Anglican Church of Canada away from any Communion-requested restraint on matters of moral order and legal prosecution have made permanent a widespread separation of parishes from their historic geographical dioceses in the United States and Canada. Now these alienated parishes representing the moral (and theological) mainstream of global Anglicanism are being joined (or are about to be joined) by the majorities of four former Episcopal Church dioceses: San Joaquin in California, Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, Quincy in Illinois and Fort Worth in Texas. The reality of a significantly disintegrated North American Anglicanism now stretches from coast to coast and from the Arctic to the Rio Grande.

Given the ruthlessness with which those who have stood against the progressive agenda of TEC and the ACC have been treated – lately symbolized by the deposition of the Bishop of Pittsburgh – the possibility of achieving the Windsor Continuation Group’s goal of "holding" for eventual reunion is remote indeed.. Moreover, there is scarcely a parish or diocese that has endured the travail of separation (whether forced or chosen) that would not describe the North American Anglican scene as characterized by "two irreconcilable religions."

the rest at Anglican Mainstream

Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson led retreat for gay Catholic priests

By Associated Press
October 29, 2008

MANCHESTER -- Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson said he led a confidential retreat a few years ago for gay Roman Catholic priests.

Robinson, the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church and world Anglican Communion, said the Catholic priest group that organized the meeting had invited him to attend.

About 75 Catholic clergy from around the U.S. participated without notifying their bishops or provincial leaders, Robinson said. In 2005, the Vatican issued a document affirming the church's stance that men with "deep-seated" attraction to other men should not be ordained.

The retreat was held outside of New England, but Robinson would not say where. the rest

Pro-choice Obama repels evangelicals

Thursday, October 30, 2008
Julia Duin

Abortion is the key issue keeping many social conservatives and religious voters - especially young ones - from supporting pro-choice Democrat Barack Obama for president, leaving most of them to throw their support to his pro-life Republican opponent, John McCain.

A Greenberg Quinlan Rosner poll of voter attitudes, released last week, showed that two-thirds of Catholics and white evangelical Protestants of all ages oppose funding for abortions for poor women overseas. Seventy percent of all evangelicals - with slightly larger majorities among those younger than 30 - say abortion should be illegal in most or all cases.

These same groups - which make up half of the American electorate - also supported the "Mexico City policy," which forbids U.S. funding for organizations that perform abortions overseas. The largest bloc of supporters were young evangelical Christians at 69 percent. the rest

"Perfect storm" could deliver a McCain win

By Steven Thomma
McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON — John McCain still could win.

It would take what one analyst calls a "perfect storm" of events breaking his way in the presidential campaign's final days, but he could come from behind, overtake Barack Obama and pull off the greatest upset in 60 years.

He'd have to squeeze out more support from independents, score higher with his "Joe the Plumber" warning about Obama's tax and economic policies, and hope that enough undecided voters swing his way to help him sweep almost all the states that now are considered tossups.

Difficult? Yes. Impossible? No.

Though he's trailing, polls show McCain within reach and gaining, even if only slightly, both nationally and in some key battleground states. the rest

Muslim scholars to meet Pope

Thu Oct 30, 2008
By Tom Heneghan, Religion Editor

PARIS (Reuters) - Muslim scholars make a rare visit to the Vatican next week to discuss with Pope Benedict and Roman Catholic experts how to overcome mutual suspicion and ignorance between Christianity and Islam.

Twenty-four signatories of A Common Word, a Muslim call to dialogue with Christianity issued last year, will assemble in Rome from around the Islamic world for the November 4-6 talks, the first annual meeting of a new Catholic-Muslim Forum.

The meeting, following talks with U.S. Protestants in July and Anglicans earlier this month, will take place one week before Saudi King Abdullah visits the United Nations to promote a parallel interfaith dialogue he launched last summer. the rest

Departure of Pittsburgh diocese widens Episcopal Church’s schism

by Warren Cole Smith — EP
posted October 30, 2008

MONROEVILLE, Penn. — The theologically conservative Pittsburgh diocese voted overwhelmingly o Oct. 4 to split from the American Episcopal Church. The 210 clergy and 70 parishes of the Pittsburgh diocese make up by far the largest single group so far to break away from the liberal Episcopal Church.

The Rev. Peter Frank, a spokesman for the diocese, said a “small number” of parishes will likely stay in the Episcopal Church, and that the national Episcopal Church will likely claim that they are the true diocese. The denominational divorce is more than academic since in the Episcopal Church it is generally the diocese, not local congregations, who own real estate.

“They will attempt to undo this decision,” Frank said. “But we think our legal position is strong. Besides, we didn’t make this decision based on legal risks. This was a decision of conscience.” the rest

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Devotional: For each of us the time is surely coming...

For each of us the time is surely coming when we shall have nothing but God. Health and wealth and friends and hiding places will all be swept away, and we shall have only God. To the man of pseudo faith that is a terrifying thought, but to real faith it is one of the most comforting thoughts the heart can entertain. ...AW Tozer image

CANA: 11 Ordinations in 2 Weeks

Bishop David Bena prepares to ordain Jeffrey Altman to the priesthood
at Westside Anglican Fellowship, Syracuse NY.

CANA's Vocations Committee is pleased to announce the ordinations of 11 clergy between Sunday October 26 and Sunday November 9:

On Sunday October 26, the Rt. Rev'd David Bena ordained the Rev'd Dr. Jeffrey Harrison Altman to the priesthood in Syracuse NY. Dr. Altman serves as a professor at Roberts Wesleyan University.

On All Saints Day at one o'clock at Truro Church in Fairfax VA, the Rt. Rev'ds Martyn Minns and David Bena will preside over the ordination of 3 vocational deacons, 4 transitional deacons, and 2 priests:

The 3 ordinands for the vocational diaconate are:
David Freeland Case, Truro Church, Fairfax VA
Julie Esther Cate Kelly, The Falls Church, Falls Church VA
George Conway Eddins II, The Falls Church, Falls Church VA

The 4 ordinands for the transitional diaconate are:
Gerald Keith Almond, South Riding Church, South Riding VA
Wayne J. Buchanan, Tremont Church, Tremont ME
James Agnew Swynford, The Falls Church, Falls Church VA
Wright Northrop Wall, The Falls Church, Falls Church VA

The 2 candidates for the presbyterate are:
The Rev'ds Douglas K. Mussey and Harry K. Zeiders. Mussey is the director of finance and development at the American Anglican Council, and he serves as a non-stipendiary associate at Good Shepherd Church in Harrisburg PA. Zeiders is the chief of staff of CANA and serves as a non-stipendiary associate at Apostles in Fairfax VA.

On Sunday November 9 at The Falls Church, the Rt. Rev'd David Bena will ordain the Rev'd John Elgin Kurcina to the priesthood. Kurcina is completing his Ph.D. and serves as a non-stipendiary associate at Christ the King in Alexandria VA. CANA website

Parents queue to select baby gender

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

A growing number of British couples are undergoing procedures at clinics overseas to determine the gender of their babies. However, as the BBC's Colette McBeth reports, this service is often offered illegally.

Like many a story, it started out with a simple conversation with a friend.

Is that really possible? I remember asking, before going straight home to my laptop and typing the words "gender selection" in the search engine. the rest

Newspaper 'suppressing' Obama link to anti-Israel professor

Jim Brown

Conservative author and counterterrorism expert Andy McCarthy is criticizing the Los Angeles Times for not releasing a 2003 videotape it obtained of Barack Obama giving a toast to an anti-Israel professor who formerly served as a spokesman for late PLO leader Yasser Arafat.

The LA Times is being accused of "suppressing" a 2003 tape of a farewell gathering in Chicago for then University of Chicago Mideast studies professor Rashid Khalidi, who is a longtime virulent critic of Israel and has justified Palestinian terrorist attacks against the Jewish state. Barack Obama paid a special tribute to Khalidi that night and noted that he and Michelle were frequent dinner companions of the Khalidis. the rest

Bishop Ackerman to Resign Saturday

October 30, 2008

The Rt. Rev. Keith L. Ackerman, Bishop of Quincy since 1994, has informed the diocesan standing committee of his intention to resign effective Nov. 1, one week before the annual synod votes for a second and final time to leave The Episcopal Church and realign with another Anglican province.

The timing of his resignation announcement comes after much thought and prayer, as well as consultation with his physicians, family and friends, according to the Rev. John Spencer, diocesan media officer and vicar of St. Francis’ Church, Dunlap, Ill. Fr. Spencer said Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori was sent news of Bishop Ackerman’s resignation plans this morning.

Bishop Ackerman did not preside at the business portion of the annual synod meeting last year due to complications from high blood pressure. the rest

Comments at TitusOneNine

Comments at Stand Firm

Former Episcopalian Asks: Out of Division, a Greater Unity?

By David Mills
Inside Catholic

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Inside Catholic) - Earlier this month, almost four-fifths of the clergy and over three-fifths of the laity representing churches in the Episcopal diocese of Pittsburgh voted to leave the Episcopal Church and join the South American Anglican province called "the Southern Cone." It was the second American diocese (out of 100 or so) to do so, with two more -- the tiny diocese of Quincy, in western Illinois, and Fort Worth -- expected to follow.

In this country, individual Episcopal churches, and now these two dioceses, have simply given up allegiance to their province (world Anglicanism is made up of 39 provinces, mostly in former English colonies, each completely independent) and joined a theologically sympathetic one. Hitherto, being an Anglican has been enough to paper over profound religious differences -- the body having been founded on national identity and strategic generality and vagueness -- but now, pushed mainly by the division over homosexuality, it isn't. the rest

Arguing for GAFCON

Wallace Benn and Mark Burkill respond to Iain Murray

The Christian work and fellowship started by GAFCON in Jerusalem in June 2008 has only just begun.

We are well aware that it faces plenty of dangers and obstacles as it seeks to renew the Anglican Communion in the work of the gospel. We know that it has already been misunderstood in various quarters. This may lead some to hesitate about supporting it. That is why we want to respond to the particular misunderstandings and historical errors that are stated in the article by Iain Murray in the September 2008 issue of EN, although both of us have enormously appreciated books he has written over the years. the rest

Churches are looking at hard times

posted October 29, 2008

Kurt Barnes, treasurer of the 2.2 million-member Episcopal Church, said the value of the denomination's endowment funds, which cover 5 percent of the annual budget, have declined by 30 percent this year. Some staff at Episcopal headquarters in New York offered to take a pay freeze, but church administrators declined, saying it wouldn't be fair to the employees.

the rest

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Devotional: Where two or three are met together...

Where two or three are met together, the prayer of one strikes fire from the soul of another; and the latter in his turn leads the way to nobler heights of devotion. And lo! as their joy increases, there is One in their midst whom they all recognize and cling to. He was there before, but it is only when their hearts begin to burn that they recognize Him; and in a true sense they may be said to bring Him there-"Where two or three are met together in My name, there am I in the midst of them."
...James Stalker image

“Suicide is a Human Right”: Dignitas Suicide Doctor

Monday October 27, 2008
By Hilary White

SCHWERZENBACH, Switzerland, October 27, 2008 ( – According to a Swiss physician, suicide “is a human right” that must be accommodated by allowing doctors to prescribe lethal doses of sedatives, so that patients do not have to resort to more “brutal” methods. Alois Geiger wrote in the Times on Friday that he is one of three doctors who prescribe drugs to people who come to the legal “suicide clinic” Dignitas in Schwerzenbach, Switzerland (See: Why I prescribe drugs for suicide, by Dignitas doctor).

In his piece, entitled “Why I prescribe drugs for suicide,” Geiger wrote that lethal doses of sedatives allow a person “to end his life in a pain-free way, free of brutality, and moreover to do so not alone but accompanied by people standing lovingly at his side.” the rest

Terror cancels Christian school year in India

By Asia News
Tuesday, October 28, 2008

To the drama of the persecuted Christians, the devastated churches, and the burned villages, is added the "preoccupation" of students who risk losing the work of this academic year. In the district of Kandhamal, in the state of Orissa, four months before the exam scheduled for March of 2009, 40 schools are still closed or are being used by refugees and police officers as temporary housing.

"There are around 300 students in our school. It is occupied by CRPF personnel and we have not been holding any classes for the last two months," says Bhagaban Das, headmaster of the Sarangada High School in Kandhamal. the rest

Albert Mohler: So Much for Possibility Thinking

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Bad news must be especially hard to bear when you build your world on positive thinking, but the news out of Garden Grove this past Sunday was not happy. Robert H. Schuller, founder of the Crystal Cathedral and the "Hour of Power" television ministry, announced that he had removed his son, Robert A. Schuller, as host of the television ministry.

"It is no secret to any of you that my son, Robert, and I have been struggling as we each have different ideas as to the direction and the vision for this ministry as we move into the future," the elder Schuller stated in a statement published on the church's Web site. "For this lack of shared vision and the jeopardy in which this is placing this entire ministry, it has become necessary for Robert and me to part ways in the Hour of Power television ministry to each pursue our own unique God-ordained visions." the rest

What's Really at Stake in the Gay Marriage Debate? Part One

What's Really at Stake in the Gay Marriage Debate? Part Two

What's Really at Stake in the Gay Marriage Debate? Part Three

What's Really at Stake in the Gay Marriage Debate? Part Four

I'm not Voting for a Man, I'm Voting for Generations of Children and their Right to Live

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I don’t think someone is a good candidate just because he is prolife. But he cannot be a good candidate unless he is prolife. Personally, if he is committed to legalized child-killing, as a matter of conscience I must vote against him.

John Piper takes this same position in an article he wrote about one-issue politics.

Now, when someone says, "But still, abortion isn't the only issue," I agree. I care very much about the poor and racial equality. That's why if John McCain was committed to legalizing the killing of the poor and the killing of ethnic minorities, I would not vote for him either.

Full essay

Obama rips U.S. Constitution: Faults Supreme Court for not mandating 'redistribution of wealth'

If you don't already go there, Townhall has some excellent essays on the candidates and the upcoming election.

Evil Under the Sun

Barack Obama and American exceptionalism
by Noemie Emery

"Does evil exist?" the Reverend Rick Warren asked John McCain and Barack Obama at the Saddleback Forum on August 16. "If so, should we ignore it, negotiate with it, contain it, or defeat it?"

"Defeat it," McCain said. "Not long ago in Baghdad, al Qaeda took two young women who were mentally disabled and put suicide vests on them, sent them into a market place, and by remote control detonated those suicide vests. If that isn't evil, you have to tell me what is." Obama took a more philosophical turn: "Evil does exist," he said. "We see evil all the time. We see evil in Darfur. We see evil, sadly, on the streets of our cities. We see evil in parents who viciously abuse their children. .  .  . We are not going to, as individuals, be able to erase evil, .  .  . [but] we can confront it. .  .  . One thing I think is very important is for us to have some humility. .  .  . A lot of evil has been perpetrated based on the claim that we were trying to confront evil. .  .  . Just because we think our intentions are good doesn't mean that we're going to be doing good." The Bible tells us there is evil everywhere under the sun (as does Agatha Christie), but the two men's ideas of it could not be more different.

To McCain, evil is something specific and vivid, a deliberate decision made by others--sometimes by movements and governments--to do harm: Auschwitz, the Gulag, the planned starvation by Stalin in the 1930s of millions of Ukrainians, beheadings and torture by militant radicals, bombs planted in soccer fields, planes flown into buildings. To Obama, evil is something that happens by accident, and quite often happens at home. To McCain, evil itself cannot be defeated, as it appears over time in differing guises, but each face--fascism, communism, radical terrorism--can be and ought to be beaten. Obama thinks evil should be confronted, but the concept of beating it seems out of the question. Efforts to do so suggest moral arrogance and may make things even worse. the rest-don't miss this!

Thomas Sowell: Obama and the Law

Mauritian Anglican church votes for ordination of women


APA - Port Louis (Mauritius) The Anglican Diocese of Mauritius has, at a special meeting of the local synod on Tuesday, approved the ordination of women priests, APA learnt in the capital Port Louis.

The Bishop of Mauritius and Archbishop of the Anglican Province of the Indian Ocean, Ian Ernest, indicated that he has taken this decision after two years of reflection.

In a letter that he has addressed to all directors of parishes, to council members of the Anglican Church and to all his parishioners, Bishop Ernest revealed that the process of women ordination has been launched and it will take the necessary time that it needs. the rest

Florida Church Ordered To Permit Member Inspection of Records

Monday, October 27, 2008

Florida Statutes, Sec. 617.1602 -.1604 permit members of not-for-profit corporations to inspect records of the corporation. According to Florida Today, a Brevard County (FL) circuit judge on Friday ordered Palm Bay, Florida's Zion Christian Church to permit one of its members to inspect elder board minutes and financial records so that she can determine how her tithes are being used. She also wants records regarding property sale, renovation or expansion. Church member Stephany Eley, who is also a member of West Melbourne (FL) city council, says she wants the information in part to help her decide how to vote in an upcoming election to replace a member of the church's board of elders. Eley dropped her demand for access to e-mails of church officers that discuss finances since the church does not have a central e-mail account. The court will rule on any redaction of privileged information by the church in furnishing Eley the records.

Religion Clause Blog

U.K. Relationship Counselor Sacked for Refusing to Give Homosexual Sex Advice

By Tim Waggoner

BRISTOL, U.K., October 27, 2008 ( – Gary McFarlane, a psychosexual therapist for the relationships counseling service Relate in the U.K., says he was fired for refusing to offer to give sex advice to homosexual couples.

According to the Daily Mail, the father of two claims that Relate failed to accommodate his personal faith. He is now taking his case to the employment tribunal, alleging he has been discriminated against because of his religious beliefs.

McFarlane began training as a counselor with Relate in 2003, and says he learned to feel comfortable in helping homosexual couples in dealing with basic relationship problems.

But after McFarlane underwent training last year on route to becoming a psychosexual therapist, he was confronted with giving sex therapy to homosexual couples, and realized he could no longer do so because of the different nature of his new position – dealing with couples’ intimate sexual issues. He said he felt he could not in conscience do anything to actively promote homosexual sex. the rest

Monday, October 27, 2008

Devotional: As you go to your inner chamber...

As you go to your inner chamber, however cold and dark your heart may be, do not try in your own might to force yourself into the right attitude. Bow before Him, and tell Him that He sees in what a sad state you are, and that your only hope is in Him. Trust Him, with a childlike trust, to have mercy upon you, and wait upon Him. In such a trust you are in a right relationship to Him. You have nothing - He has everything. ...Andrew Murray image

St. Francis on the Hill church elects to leave Episcopal Church

By Diana Washington Valdez
El Paso Times

EL PASO - St. Francis-on-the-Hill in West El Paso has elected to leave the Episcopal Church of the U.S.A, according to an announcement by the Very Rev. Mark Goodman of the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande in Albuquerque.

The church also is leaving Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande.

The vestry of St. Francis-on-the-Hill in El Paso voted Oct. 21 to leave the Episcopal Church, with a majority in favor of the action, Goodman said.

"This decision comes after meetings between the congregation, the president of the standing committee and the assisting bishop of the Diocese of the Rio Grande, the Right Rev. William Frey," Goodman said. the rest

Ottawa bishop seeks approval for same-sex blessings

Art Babych
Oct 27, 2008

The bishop of Ottawa wants to open the door to same-sex blessings in his diocese and will ask permission from the Canadian house of bishops at its meeting Oct. 27-31.

“It is important that I honour the collegiality of the Canadian house," said Bishop John Chapman at the opening of the annual synod of the diocese of Ottawa in Christ Church Cathedral Oct. 23. "We are, after all, an episcopally-led and synodically-governed church."

The bishops are expected to discuss tomorrow the Canadian Anglican church's response to renewed proposals for moratoria on the blessing of same-sex unions, the ordination of persons living in same-sex unions to the episcopate, and cross-border interventions. The proposals were made at the 2008 Lambeth Conference, the once-per-decade meeting of bishops from around the world, in response to bitter divisions among Anglicans over the contentious issue of homosexuality. the rest

San Joaquin's split Episcopal dioceses hold separate conventions

Group left U.S. Episcopal Church over role of women and gays.
The Fresno Bee
Monday, Oct. 27, 2008

They weren't together this year. They were separated in different towns -- 33 miles apart.

For the first time in 49 years, two conventions were held for delegates who previously met at one convention under the governing body of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, based in Fresno.

At the 2007 convention, the last time delegates were together, they seceded from the U.S. Episcopal Church over differences with the national body's approval of same-sex blessings, ordination of a gay bishop, the role of women in the church and the authority of Scripture.

The result was a breakaway diocese now aligned with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. A remaining diocese made up of congregations that didn't want to split is still connected to the U.S. Episcopal Church. the rest

Canadian parish quits, but forgets to tell the vicar

Sunday, 26th October 2008
By George Conger

A rural Manitoba congregation has quit the Anglican Church in Canada for ANiC --- the breakaway group overseen by the Province of the Southern Cone --- but neglected to tell its vicar they were going.

On Oct 15 the congregation of St Bede’s Church in Kinosota, Manitoba, held a parish meeting under the presidency of its NSM curate, the Rev Jona Weitzel, and voted 29 to one to quit the Diocese of Brandon for ANiC.

However, the parish incumbent, the Rev Robert Bettson told the Anglican Journal the secession vote was not lawful. “I am the rector of the parish, and was not consulted about the meeting, which the canons of the diocese require,” he said.

Mr Bettson said he had dismissed the parish wardens and the diocese would assert its ownership of St Bede’s, for the continuing congregation. Built in 1842, St Bede’s is one of the oldest Anglican parishes on the Canadian prairie.

“It is a great joy to welcome the people of St Bede’s into a faithfully Anglican Church family,” said Bishop Malcolm Harding, ANiC suffragan bishop and acting territorial archdeacon for the Prairie Provinces. “By aligning with the Anglican Network in Canada, they join a growing movement of Anglicans throughout North America seeking to remain in the mainstream of global and historic Anglicanism. the rest

San Joaquin moves against traditionalist clergy, but raises legal question

Monday, 27th October 2008
By George Conger

The loyalist faction of the Diocese of San Joaquin has charged 52 clergymen of the diocese with having “abandoned the communion of the Episcopal Church” and has asked provisional Bishop Jerry Lamb to depose them, unless they “recant” their sins and “return to the Episcopal Church” within six months.

The Oct 17 statement was issued by the Standing Committee of the “Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin,” a provisional body created by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori after the Diocese of San Joaquin voted to secede last year.

However, legal analysts note that by charging the 52 clergymen with “abandonment”, the provisional diocese has dealt itself a potentially fatal blow in its litigation with Bishop John-David Schofield and the “Anglican” diocese, as it may constitute an admission that the group led by Bishop Lamb is not a lawfully constituted entity.

In the provisional diocese’s press statement, the standing committee asserted the 52 clergymen had violated the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church by their “support of attempts to remove the diocese from the Episcopal Church, and their repudiation of the ecclesiastical authority of the Episcopal Church” and Bishop Lamb. the rest

First Things: Frodo in a World of Boromirs

By Kurt Luchs
Monday, October 27, 2008

One mark of a great metaphor is that it functions on several levels. In this respect J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings can be, and has been, interpreted to mean any number of things by its central metaphor of “One Ring to rule them all.” The battle over the Master-ring some have read as an allegory of the battle between the Allied and Axis powers in World War II. Christians may find in it a mirror of the battle between Satan and God; socialists (and communists), a reenactment of the class war between capitalists and the working masses; environmentalists, a saga about the clash between industrialization and nature. Still others take it simply as a rousing tale so fine in the telling that these other possible layers of meaning become moot, or at least secondary.

Perhaps all of these views are valid; perhaps none are. That is the measure of how deeply and carefully Tolkien wrought his magic.

For me the Dark Lord’s terrible ring holds another meaning, one that might serve as a warning for any age, but particularly, I fear, for our own. I see in it the lure of political power, specifically the ultimate power of the modern nation-state. And I must admit, even in trying to discuss this concept with most of those nearest and dearest to me, I feel like Frodo in a world of Boromirs. the rest image

New Website Targets Undecided Pro-Lifers

Movement offers opportunity to name, adopt and commit to vote on behalf of aborted babies

ATLANTA, October 27 /Christian Newswire/ -- The "Undecided Voter" is typically used to describe a person who may still cast a vote either way in an upcoming election. Such a voter is usually targeted in the weeks before the election, since they can play the definitive role in determining the outcome.

For Janice Givens, a mom and homemaker in Atlanta's northern suburb of Alpharetta, the lack of commitment to voting pro-life by those she always considered fellow pro-lifers was stunning. "As we got closer to Election Day, I found many pro-lifers - people I had known for years - were conflicted or misinformed on where the candidates stood on abortion, and therefore were still undecided or not voting to protect the unborn. I found people who I always considered pro-life wavering on the life issues because of current events and basic ignorance on what could happen if we lost this election," says Givens. "Last week, I gathered some friends together who I knew shared my discouragement and shock; we prayed for wisdom and were inspired to do something in the names of the nearly 49 million lives lost to abortion."

In less than a week, the ambitious group of six launched a movement to turn things around. Lisa Fiamingo, one of the co-founders of One Baby One Vote, states the facts, "Forty nine million babies have been aborted in the last 35 years. Twenty five million would have been old enough to vote on November 4. This movement is for them. If we can cast one vote for each of their lives, we can turn this election around." the rest

Website: One Baby One Vote

Who's Killing Christians in Iraq?

By Mark D. Tooley
Monday, October 27, 2008

At least 14 Christians were targeted for killing in Mosul, about 260 miles north of Baghdad, earlier this month, prompting more than 1,300 Christian families to flee what had previously been a safe haven. The Geneva-based World Council of Churches has declared it is against the killings...but cannot bring itself to identify the killers.

"Of course, al Qaeda elements are behind this campaign against Christians," said Nineveh provincial governor Mohammed Kashmoula, who relayed the obvious to the Associated Press. But the World Council of Churches (WCC), in a nearly 500-word public statement, seemed to imply the Christians were slaughtered by anonymous forces. “We have heard that people are being killed, houses bombed, thousands are fleeing their homes, and churches and church properties are being destroyed,” fretted the WCC, pronouncing all of this news in the passive voice, unwilling to add a noun to such verbs as “killed,” “bombed,” and “destroyed.”

For the WCC to express specific concern about persecuted Christians is progress of sorts. But naming radical Islam as a persecutor remains taboo for the politically correct and highly multiculturalist WCC, for whom interfaith dialogue is more important than solidarity with besieged Christians. the rest

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Bp. Bena ordains priest for CNY CANA congregation

Ordination spotlights Anglican church rift
Group that broke from Episcopal Diocese ordains a priest today in Geddes.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
By Renée K. Gadoua
Staff writer, Syracuse Post-Standard

Jeffrey Altman will be ordained an Anglican priest today in a ceremony that reflects Central New York's role in the nationwide growth of a separate Anglican church in the United States.

Altman will lead Sunday services at Westside Anglican Fellowship, a Geddes congregation of about 25 people who began worshipping together after their former congregation, St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Syracuse, split from the local Episcopal Diocese. They meet at Syracuse Vineyard Church.

It is one of dozens of breakaway congregations that have started Anglican communities in the five years since the U.S. Episcopal Church consecrated an openly gay bishop. Four groups from three churches in the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York have split from the 2.2 million-member national Episcopal Church. the rest

Ordination of Jeffrey Altman
Westside Anglican Fellowship
Sunday, October 26, 2008 at 5:00 pm
Syracuse Vineyard Church
312 Lakeside Rd., Syracuse NY
(image is part of a triptych painted by Marti Fuller for today's ordination)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Devotional: Don't think that love, to be true, has to be extraordinary...

Don't think that love, to be true, has to be extraordinary. What is necessary is to continue to love. How does a lamp burn, if it is not by the continuous feeding of little drops of oil? When there is no oil, there is no light and the bridegroom will say: "I do not know you". Dear friends, what are our drops of oil in our lamps? They are the small things from every day life: the joy, the generosity, the little good things, the humility and the patience. A simple thought for someone else. Our way to be silent, to listen, to forgive, to speak and to act. That are the real drops of oil that make our lamps burn vividly our whole life. Don't look for Jesus far away, He is not there. He is in you, take care of your lamp and you will see Him." ...Mother Teresa image


By Canon Gary L'Hommedieu

"When the wicked rise, people hide themselves." (Proverbs 28:28 ESV)

The prosecution of thought crime has become commonplace in formerly democratic societies.

That we are unwilling to acknowledge the assaults not only on speech but on the thought that gives rise to it is evidence that we live in dangerous times -- so dangerous that we don't dare think it.

The deposition of Bishop Robert Duncan was not a particularly dangerous or violent act. Given the travesties of truth and justice that are becoming common in our society, it smacked of a certain pathetic mediocrity. It was a very small act by a very unexceptional group huddling together to protect its interests.

It did, however, set an important precedent. And it was possible only because similar precedents have been set not only in the church but even more in the society at large.

The rest at Virtueonline

DUIN: Episcopal Church losing members

Julia Duin
Sunday, October 26, 2008

Several people told me I needed to check out columnist George Will's recent column on the fading away of the Episcopal Church, once "America's upper crust at prayer," as he termed it.
His depressing statistics actually were out of date.

The denomination sunk to 2.1 million active, baptized members in 2006, down from 2.4 million. Average Sunday attendance is 765,326, one-third of the membership. Sixty-three percent of its congregations have fewer than 100 people attend Sunday morning services.

By the end of 2006, there were 7,095 parishes and missions, down 60 congregations from the previous year. During that same period, membership dropped 2 percent, which works out to 50,804 people leaving the church -- 1,000 a week. the rest

Robert Gagnon: Obama ‘Grossly Distorts’ Scriptures to Support Homosexual Cause

by Robert A. J. Gagnon, Ph.D.
October 23, 2008

Presidential candidate Barack Obama has written in The Audacity of Hope—a book that perhaps should have been entitled The Audacity of Portraying Myself Messianically as the Herald of Audacious Hope—that he is not “willing to accept a reading of the Bible that considers an obscure line in Romans [about homosexual practice] to be more defining of Christianity than the Sermon on the Mount.”[1] He repeated this line in a campaign appearance in Ohio this past March. He stated that if people find controversial his views on granting the full benefits of marriage to homosexual unions, minus only the name, “then I would just refer them to the Sermon on the Mount, which I think is, in my mind, for my faith, more central than an obscure passage in Romans.”[2] These remarks by Obama represent a gross distortion of the witness of the Judeo-Christian Scriptures.


Diocese of Pennsylvania: Rector loses fraud suit against Episcopal bishop

Sat, Oct. 25, 2008
By David O'Reilly
Inquirer Staff Writer

In a verdict based on a narrow legal question, a Montgomery County Court jury found yesterday that Episcopal Bishop Charles E. Bennison Jr. did not commit fraud in the process that led to the defrocking of a priest in the Pennsylvania Diocese.

In a potentially precedent-setting civil case, the Rev. David Moyer, rector of the Church of the Good Shepherd in Rosemont, alleged that Bennison, head of the five-county diocese, fraudulently removed him from the priesthood in 2002. Moyer's lawsuit asked for unspecified damages for loss of employment and mental suffering.

Moyer v. Bennison attracted international attention, especially in the theologically fractured Anglican Communion, to which the two-million-member Episcopal Church USA belongs. the rest

Christ Church, Savannah, seeks new Anglican alliance

Dana Clark Felty
Saturday, October 25, 2008

Leaving the Episcopal Church was about more than just leaving a denomination, Gene Prevatt says.

It was also about rejecting "the corruption of the church."

"One does not have to look too far to see the continuing erosion of our freedoms, rising paganism, and an increasing hostility to the Gospel," Prevatt wrote in an April church newsletter to fellow members of Christ Church in Savannah.

"God has called us out, and to those who are moving away, we have said, 'No. We will not go with you.' This is our turning point in history."

For Christ Church in Savannah, that turning point began just over a year ago when leaders voted to sever ties with the Episcopal Church, claiming the denomination has failed to honor the authority of the scriptures. the rest

Friday, October 24, 2008

AnglicanTV: Livestream San Joaquin Convention 2008

Beginning Friday afternoon at 3:00pm PST October 24th, AnglicanTV will be live streaming the Diocese of San Joaquin's 2008 Convention.

Please help with AnglicanTV's Travel Expenses:

Concluding Message of the Synod of Bishops

"Let Us Approach the Table of the Word of God"

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 24, 2008 ( Here is the concluding message of the 12th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which was approved today at the 21st general congregation.

The theme of the assembly was "The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church."


San Joaquin: Breakaway Anglicans, Episcopal Faithful Build New Future

By Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter
Fri, Oct. 24 2008

Anglicans in the Diocese of San Joaquin will be doing a lot more celebrating and a lot less business this year as they hold their first annual convention since severing ties with The Episcopal Church.

The breakaway Anglicans, who voted in December 2007 to disaffiliate from the U.S. church body and realign with the more conservative Anglican Province of the Southern Cone in South America, open their meeting Friday at St. James' Cathedral in Fresno, Calif.

Also celebrating in that same weekend will be Episcopalians who voted to remain with The Episcopal Church – the U.S. arm of Anglicanism. The Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin is meeting at Church of the Saviour in Hanford where they will discuss rebuilding their diocese. the rest

Two PCUSA presbyteries reject pro-gay clergy measure

Two regional bodies of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) have rejected a proposed amendment that would allow non-celibate gays and lesbians to be ordained.
Friday, October 24, 2008

WASHINGTON, USA - Two regional bodies of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) have rejected a proposed amendment that would allow non-celibate gays and lesbians to be ordained.

Majorities in the Presbyteries of Central Washington in Washington state and Palo Duro in Texas voted against the measure on Oct. 18. They were among the first, out of the denomination's 173 presbyteries, to vote on the controversial amendment.

In June, the General Assembly – PC(USA)'s highest governing body – approved an overture that would delete a requirement that clergy live in "fidelity within the covenant of marriage between and a man and a woman, or chastity in singleness" and replace it with language that would not single out a sexual conduct standard. the rest

U.S. condemns beating of sons of Chinese pastor

Thu Oct 23, 2008
By Sue Pleming

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States strongly condemned on Thursday the "brutal beating" of two sons of a detained Beijing pastor and voiced concern over what it said was a pattern of intimidation of religious leaders in China.

State Department spokesman Robert Wood said Beijing-based pastor Zhang Mingxuan, president of the China House Church Alliance, had been detained along with his wife, and their two sons were beaten up this month by public security officials.

"We are gravely concerned by the brutal beating of Pastor Zhang 'Bike' Mingxuan's two sons by public security officials," said Wood, who did not provide details of the beatings. the rest

China's Christian Crackdown

Peggy Noonan: 43% Isn't Nothing

Obama looks like a winner, but it's not over yet.
October 24, 2008

Mr. McCain has endless faith in his ability to come back. He's been doing it for 40 years, from Vietnam, where, with the injuries he'd sustained and the torture he experienced, he might have died, was likely to die, and yet survived, to exactly a year ago, when he was out of money and out of luck. And then he won New Hampshire. When he says, "We got 'em where we want 'em" he must mean: They think they are looking at a corpse. No one in politics has so repeatedly relished coming back from the dead.

Not a single poll has Mr. McCain ahead. The RealClearPolitics average of national polls as I write, rounded off, is Obama 50%, McCain 43%. Actually Mr. Obama has 50.1%, and if that is true and holds, it would make him the first Democratic presidential nominee since Jimmy Carter to break 50%. But I find myself thinking of what that 43% means. It's a big number, considering that this is the worst Republican year in generations. Amid two wars, a deep economic crisis, a fractured base, too much cynicism, and a campaign with the wind not at its back but head on in its face—with all of that working against Mr. McCain, 43% of the American people say, right now, in these polls, they are for him. And there are a significant number of undecideds. Four years ago about 122 million people voted. Forty-three percent of 122 million is 52 million people, more or less. A huge group, one too varied to generalize about because it includes flinty elderly Republicans from New England, home-schooling mothers in Ohio, libertarianish Republicans in Colorado, suburban patriots outside the big cities, and many others.

They are the beating heart of conservatism, and to watch most television is to forget they exist, for they are not shown much, except at rallies. But they are there, and this is a center-right nation, and many of them have been pushing hard against the age for 40 years now, and more. For some time they have sensed that something large and stable is being swept away, maybe has been swept away, and yet you still have to fight for it. They will not give up without a fight, and they will make their way to the polls. the rest

Charles Krauthammer: McCain for President

Hollow Men, Lambeth 2008. What Happened and Why

Special Report/Analysis By George Conger

“MORALITY, LIKE ART, means drawing a line someplace,” Oscar Wilde once observed. Anglican bishops historically wield the pen, drawing the line between error and truth, between right and wrong doctrine.

Yet at some point in the mid-20th century, the bishops of the church began to abdicate this responsibility - even before the American Church reformed its ordinal in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, removing the injunction to bishops that they “banish and drive away from the Church all erroneous and strange doctrine contrary to God’s Word.”

Where once the church celebrated Anglican comprehensiveness, it now celebrated diversity. Confessionalism morphed into conversation, as those charged with guarding the faith suffered a loss of nerve. The church, like the universities, the arts, literature and other repositories of high culture in the West, was trampled underfoot by the long march of the left through the institutions. the rest

UK: Clergy numbers up, but laity down

24 October, 2008
by Bill Bowder

MORE CLERGY are being trained and ordained in the Church of England than for a decade, but the numbers worshipping have con­tinued to drop, says the Church Statistics report for the year 2006-07, which was issued this week.

There were also more younger clergy (under 40) being accepted for training. Over three years, their numbers rose from 188 in 2004 to 243 last year. The Church recom­mended 595 candidates for training during the year — the greatest number in a decade. In 1994, only 408 candidates were recommended for training.

To support these and other in­creasing costs, the average parish­ioner gave £5.38 a week to the Church in 2006 (the figure based on the numbers on parish electoral rolls). But parish expenditure grew faster than giving.

In the nine years between 1998 and 2006, recurring expenditure in­creased by 49 per cent, but recurring income increased by 45 per cent. Over the same period, the amount the Church spent on capital costs increased by 70 per cent, while its “one-off income” (for instance, from appeals to meet those costs) increased by 66 per cent. the rest

Religious Intelligence: Church of England reports declining attendance, but increased ordinations

Bp. Duncan warns the English

by Bill Bowder
24 October, 2008

THE Rt Revd Bob Duncan, the former Bishop of Pittsburgh in the Episcopal Church in the United States, deposed from holy orders by the Presiding Bishop last month for “abandoning communion” after his diocese realigned itself with the Province of the Southern Cone, has warned that English traditionalists could find themselves similarly threatened (News, 10 October), .

At a press conference in London last Friday, Bishop Duncan said that the Episcopal Church in the US had treated him “unjustly and uncan­on­ically”. He had been deposed, two weeks after his diocese’s vote to leave the Episcopal Church, under a canon designed to remove those who had become RCs or Pres­byterians or who had lost their faith. But he expected to be re-elected by the diocese at a Convention on 7 November. “I will have been both the 7th Bishop of Pittsburgh and the 8th Bishop of Pittsburgh, and I didn’t die in between.”

Many English bishops had refused to accept his deposition as valid, including the bishops of Blackburn, Chester, Exeter, Rochester, and Win­chester. They signed a public letter to say that they believed he was still “a bishop in good standing in the Anglican Communion”. the rest

NY's highest court affirms Dennis Canon

NY court: Episcopal diocese owns church building

A copy of the entire decision can be found at the Court of Appeals website here .

This is a very sketchy court decision by New York’s highest court. There is very little analysis, other than for the court to observe that there is a Dennis Canon which gives the diocese and the “National Church” an express trust in all of the parish property, and to say that a 1979 US Supreme Court case allows, or perhaps even mandates, this result.

Why does the Dennis Canon prevail over deeds and certificates of incorporation which do not have any such trust language? Just because they do, says the court, and because the parish concerned was an Article 3 church (the Episcopal Church article of the Religious Corporations Law) under New York Law. There is little explanation as to how the court arrived at this decision, other than to merely proclaim it. One would have hoped for far better from the highest court of one of the largest states.

-Raymond Dague

Executive Council promises support, money to continuing Episcopalians

Members commit church to search for reconciliation
By Mary Frances Schjonberg
October 23, 2008

[Episcopal News Service, Helena, Montana] The Episcopal Church's Executive Council October 23 renewed its ongoing support of dioceses in which the leadership has left or plans to leave the church, and pledged the church to seek reconciliation "without precondition on our part."

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori told council members that she appreciated their sense that irreconcilable differences are inconsistent with the gospel. "It is profoundly unchristian and unhopeful to say that differences can be irreconcilable," she said.

House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson echoed that sentiment during a post-meeting news conference, noting that the remaining members of the Diocese of San Joaquin "have done some very, very hard work … in reconciliation in trying to draw in people who were, shall we say, on the fence." Executive Council said October 23 that "it stands ready to help," Anderson added. the rest

Canada: Anglican bishop seeks OK to bless same-sex marriages

If approved, rite could be offered at designated parish
Jennifer Green, The Ottawa Citizen
Published: Friday, October 24, 2008

An Anglican church in Ottawa may soon be the second in Canada to bless same-sex marriages.

Bishop John Chapman plans to ask the Canadian House of Bishops next week if he can develop an appropriate rite, then designate one parish -- possibly Saint John the Evangelist on Somerset Street -- to offer blessings to gay couples already married in a civil ceremony.

He told several hundred people gathered at Christ Church Cathedral yesterday for an annual synod, or general meeting, that he wants to take it slowly. the rest

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Devotional: I cannot think that God would be content...

I cannot think that God would be content
To view unmoved the toiling and the strain,
The groaning of the ages, sick and spent,
The whole creation travailing in pain.
The suffering God is no vast cosmic force,
That by some blind, unthinking, loveless power
Keeps stars and atoms swinging in their course,
And reckons naught of men in this grim hour.
Nor is the suffering God a fair ideal
Engendered in the questioning hearts of men,
A figment of the mind to help me steel
My soul to rude realities I ken.
God suffers with a love that cleanses dross;
A God like that, I see upon a cross.
... Georgia Harkness

A thousand questions

Episcopal Executive Council hears that 2009 budget could run a deficit

Shortage of $2.5 million would be balanced by surpluses in 2007, 2008
By Mary Frances Schjonberg
October 22, 2008

[Episcopal News Service] [Helena, Montana] The Episcopal Church's Executive Council heard October 22 that the church's 2009 budget, if council members approve it, will have a $2.5 million deficit.

However, Treasurer Kurt Barnes told council members that the entire 2007-2009 triennial budget will be balanced, as required by the Episcopal Church's Constitution and Canons. There were surpluses of $1.2 million in 2007 and $2 million in 2008, Barnes said.

Projections for the 2009 budget anticipate $54.6 million in revenues compared to $57.1 million in expenses. Barnes said that, given the triennial nature of the budget and the previous surpluses, the 2009 budget "could suffer a deficit of $2.8 million" and still be balanced.
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Bennison civil trial: Judge decides to keep hearing church case

Thu, Oct. 23, 2008
By David O'Reilly
Inquirer Staff Writer

Midway through a civil trial in which a priest is suing the Episcopal bishop who defrocked him, the judge hearing the unusual case suggested yesterday that the dispute might belong in a church court, and he appeared close to throwing it out of Montgomery County Court.

The Rev. David Moyer, rector of the Church of the Good Shepherd in Rosemont, alleges that Bishop Charles E. Bennison Jr., suspended head of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania, "fraudulently" removed him from the priesthood six years ago without a hearing before diocesan officials. Moyer seeks unspecified damages for loss of employment and mental suffering.

The case could establish a legal precedent allowing clergy in hierarchical religious institutions to sue their superiors in civil court. American courts have a long tradition of not intervening in churches' internal affairs.

Judge Joseph Smyth said the case, already in its third day, raised "important" legal issues regarding separation of church and state, but he decided to allow the trial to proceed. the rest