Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Legal Analysis and Opinion on San Joaquin Lawsuit

A.S. Haley has provided a detailed analysis and update on the lawsuit in San Joaquin on his blog: "Anglican Curmudgeon"

The entire article is here.

Black Bishop Rips Episcopal Lesbian Leader for her Views of Rick Warren and Intolerance

News Analysis

By David W. Virtue

A leading Black African Bishop, the founder and Chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition (HILC) and senior pastor of the 3,000-member Hope Christian Church in Washington, D.C., ripped the lesbian leader of the Episcopal Church's Integrity organization describing her condemnation of Dr. Rick Warren as "intolerant" and typical of the Left's "mischaracterization" of the views of the Saddleback pastor.

Bishop Harry R. Jackson butted heads with the Rev. Susan Russell on FOX News Channel. In a Sunday segment subtitled "President-elect Obama under fire for inviting Rick Warren to speak at Inauguration.", Jackson said that Russell slandered Warren's name in order "to advance their cause and their PR and wanting to sound tolerant about being so aggressive."

Jackson, who was named one of the top 50 most influential Christians in 2005 by the Christian Post, believes that the church and its leaders must lead the way to protect America's moral compass and heal the nation. A transcript of the " Fox News Sunday" segment on the controversy over President-elect Obama's invitation to Pastor Rick Warren to offer the invocation at his January 20th Inauguration appeared on Russell's blog:

Bishop Jackson: This controversy is a clear example of just how intolerant the gay community is about anyone they disagree with. They've mischaracterized what they've said about Rick Warren. He was not calling gay people pedophiles or anything of that nature and they've been putting out a false story for PR purposes.

MODERATOR: Joining us now on the phone is the Reverend Susan Russell, a priest at All Saints Episcopal Church in California where Prop 8 has been a hotly contested issue. What say you about the invitation to Pastor Warren to speak?

REVEREND RUSSELL: I think it's an unfortunate choice, I think it's a disappointing choice. As I said in my open letter to the President-elect, I applaud -- I applaud. -- his efforts to bring the evangelicals back to the table.-I think that's exactly the sort of post-partisan leadership we're looking for in our president-elect, but we could have done better than Rick Warren.

And I want to rebut your guest. This is not about gay intolerance. This about pointing out that Rick Warren as a pastor has compared a woman's right to choose to the Holocaust, who doesn't believe in evolution, he has said that the Bible would condone the assassination of the President of Iran. These are ideas that are way outside the mainstream of American religious thought.

What I'm saying is rather than seeing gays as being "intolerant," we're serving as the canary in the coal mine saying we deserve better - the American people deserve better - and if you're going to ask someone to pray a blessing on America on Inauguration Day, please select someone who speaks for all Americans.

MODERATOR: Bishop Jackson?

BISHOP JACKSON: Well, I think this is part of the PR spin. Your guest is mischaracterizing the statements of Rick Warren. He is the new Billy Graham. He represents American. The Purpose Driven Life ... everybody knows ...has sold multiple millions of copies ... and he's given millions of dollars to help people who are HIV/AIDS ... he is not intolerant ... he's helped the gay community. I just resent that they're slandering his name to advance their cause and their PR and they want to sound tolerant about being so aggressive.

MODERATOR: Let me point something out to both of you. Last night, Rick Warren spoke for a gathering of Muslims in Southern California - about 800 there. Melissa Etheridge opened up the event, performing there as well, and she of course is openly gay. She went on to say that Pastor Rick Warren is a great guy, someone that she enjoys talking to despite their differences. President-elect Barack Obama has said the same thing.

And then [Warren] also gave a quote here. He said, "Let me just get this over very quickly. I love Muslims, and for the media's purposes I happen to love gays and straights." He said people ask him what he prays for when it comes to the President-elect Obama and he said (quote): "I pray for the president the same things I pray for myself: integrity, humility and compassion." Reverend Russell, what's wrong with that?

REVEREND RUSSELL: There's nothing wrong with that. Our issue is, we want to see the actions meet the words. This is a person, Pastor Warren, who preaches family values and practices discrimination against gay and lesbian families. This is someone who fundraised and advocated to take civil rights away from California regarding civil marriage. We want to see the actions that meet the words and what we're asking is that rather than Rick Warren, the President-elect should look at evangelicals like Tony Campolo or ...

MODERATOR: Reverend Russell, we're running out of time here. I understand your point -- point well taken.

Bishop Jackson, I understand your point as well and of course it's up to the President-elect. He can choose who he wants to for the Invocation, and he says his choice is Rick Warren.

Russell is not the only pansexual proponent critical of President-elect Obama's choice. The openly homogenital Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire, Gene Robinson condemned Warren saying that the God Warren is praying to is not the God that he knows.

Washington Episcopal Bishop John Bryson Chane said he was "profoundly disappointed" by Obama's choice, accusing Warren of being "homophobic, xenophobic, and willing to use the machinery of the state to enforce his prejudices-even going so far as to support the assassination of foreign leaders."

Russell was angered and deflated by the recent passage of Prop 8 in California, vowing to push the California Supreme Court into reconsidering the issue."No one has the right to write their theology into our constitution," Russell said. This of course begs the question: If Prop 8 had lost, it would have been her pansexual theology written into the Constitution. Apparently, it is okay to write her version of theology into the California State Constitution, an apparently untenable position to most Californians.

The original article is here at VirtueOnline.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Anglican Coalition in Canada Welcomes New Province

Written by aciccom

Saturday, 06 December 2008 18:06

Dec 6th 2008- Vancouver, Canada

The Anglican Coalition in Canada is pleased to announce its full participation in the emerging Province called the Anglican Church in North America. This new province was called into existence by the GAFCON Primates, representing the vast majority of the Anglican Church worldwide.

The Rev Barclay Mayo, National ACiC Network Leader, commented: “Who would have believed 10 years ago when we were in the midst of painful challenges that we would see the day when faithful Anglicans would be working together in unity? We were told repeatedly that it couldn't be done, that we were too divided, that our differences were too great. God has shown the impossible to be possible.”

Peter Turner, a Canadian member of the Provincial ACiNA Council which just met in Chicago, said that “we are excited to be full founding partners with our other Canadian Anglican jurisdictions, including ANiC, CANA, and the Reformed Episcopal Church. We are committed to working together in unity for the sake of blessing Canada and North America.”

Over 700 congregations representing around 100,000 faithful Canadian and American Anglicans have come together in the birthing of a new Anglican Province for North America. We are uniting across theological, ethnic, and cultural lines that many thought would not be possible. Bishop Bob Duncan of the Diocese of Pittsburgh is functioning as the leader of this new province. A unique feature of the new Provincial constitutions and canons is that they are driven by mission rather than structure.

This new province is bringing order out of the recent Anglican chaos, and ensuring a vibrant united Anglican voice in North America. Eleven founding Anglican partners are coming together, some of which have been in existence for over 130 years. The gracious Provincial leadership is allowing for greater unity in essentials, while respecting appropriate diversity in non-essentials.

Provisional Canons http://www.united-anglicans.org/about/provisional-canons.html

Provisional Constitution http://www.united-anglicans.org/about/provisional-constitution.html

The original article is here.

THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH: Massive Decline In Average Sunday Attendance - 1997-2007

News Analysis

By David W. Virtue

More than 60% of dioceses in the Episcopal Church USA suffered double digit decline in Average Sunday Attendance from 1997 to 2007 with predictions that the figures will only escalate in 2008 with even greater hemorrhaging.

An official report, drawn from the Episcopal Church's own figures, shows that the Episcopal Church drew 841,445 Episcopalians in 1997, but in 2007 that figure was 727,822, a drop of 113, 623. In 2008 the estimated loss is about 1,000 Episcopalians weekly. With whole dioceses leaving, that figure could well reach 1,200 now that a new North American Anglican Province has been formed. Recently, nearly 7,000 Episcopalians left the Diocese of Ft. Worth.

From 1997 to 2007, the dioceses of Rhode Island, Central New York, Rochester, Western New York, Eastern Michigan, West Tennessee, Northwest Texas, Northwestern Pennsylvania, Navaho Missions, and Northern Indiana declined more than 20 percent in congregational attendance.

Those losing between 10% and 19% of their congregations include Connecticut, Massachusetts, Western Massachusetts, Albany, Long Island, New Jersey, Newark, Bethlehem, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Southwestern Virginia, Virginia, West Virginia, Central Gulf Coast, Florida, Lexington, Southeast Florida, Chicago, Eau Claire, Indianapolis, Michigan, Milwaukee, Northern Michigan, West Tennessee, Ohio, Quincy, Springfield, Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wyoming, Kansas, Oklahoma, West Missouri, Western Kansas, Western Louisiana, California, Eastern Oregon, El Camino Real, Northern California, San Joaquin, Spokane and Utah.

Between 2003 and 2007 the following dioceses lost more than 20% of their flocks: Western New York, Virginia, Florida, Eastern Michigan, Northern Indiana, Northern Michigan, Springfield, Dallas, Kansas, Northwest Texas and the Rio Grande.

The most serious losses between 2003 and 2007 were in the Navaho Missions 34%, Florida 29%, Virginia 21%, Eastern Michigan 22%, Northern Michigan 22%, Springfield, 22%, Dallas 22%, Kansas 26%, Northwest Texas 25%, Rio Grande 21%, El Camino Real 19%, San Diego 18%, Taiwan 19% and Ecuador-Litoral down 16%.

For the years 2006-2007 the following dioceses lost 10% or more of the faithful. They include Lexington, Northern Michigan, Quincy, Springfield, Colorado, Central New York, Western New York, Kansas, Northwest Texas, Oklahoma, Rio Grande, West Missouri, Taiwan and Puerto Rico.

All indicators are that the losses will only increase in 2008. More parishes will leave as the new Anglican Province in North America takes shape. There is now overwhelming evidence that the consecration of V. Gene Robinson, a non-celibate homosexual to the episcopacy, has been a huge net loss to the church. His much vaunted "God is doing a new thing" is emptying, rather than filling churches. The Diocese of New Hampshire lost 12% of its parishioners between 2003-2007 and a further 6% in 2006-2007. Losses are expected to escalate in 2008.

In total, The Episcopal Church lost 10% of its parishioners between 2003-2007 and 5% between 2006-2007.

For the full report click here:

Thursday, December 4, 2008

New American Province Looms

by George Conger

The Third Province movement in North America will be the topic of a special meeting at Lambeth Palace today (Dec 5). The Archbishop of Canterbury is scheduled to meet with the Gafcon primates’ council and will be briefed on plans to form a province for traditionalist Anglicans in the United States and Canada.

On Nov 11, Kenyan Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi told The Church of England Newspaper that a meeting had been tentatively set with Dr. Rowan Williams in London for Dec 5. He said the timeline under which the Gafcon primates were working was that on Dec 3 the leaders of the Common Cause Partnership would gather in Wheaton, Illinois to endorse a draft constitution for the emerging province.

The Gafcon archbishops: Benjamin Nzimbi of Kenya, Peter Akinola of Nigeria, [Emmanuel Kolini of Rwanda] Gregory Venables of the Southern Cone, Valentino Mokiwa of Tanzania, Henry Orombi of Uganda, Justice Akrofi of West Africa would then meet on Dec 4 in London to receive and endorse the agreement and bring it to Dr. Williams the following day.

Speaking to the congregation of Truro Parish in Fairfax, Virginia on Nov 30, Bishop Martyn Minns publicly confirmed the proposed timeline adding that the Gafcon primates were also planning on briefing the primates standing committee the day before the start of the Jan 31-Feb 6 Alexandria Primates meeting-however, US Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will likely miss the pre-conference session as she is scheduled to attend the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council meeting from Jan 29-31.

A Lambeth Palace spokesperson told CEN that Dr Williams would meet Archbishops Benjamin Nzimbi of Kenya, Peter Akinola of Nigeria, Emmanuel Kolini of Rwanda, Gregory Venables of the Southern Cone and Henry Orombi of Uganda at the Old Palace in Canterbury today. The meeting had been set “at their request” the spokesperson said. However, she declined to describe the proposed agenda.

Read the entire article at George Conger's blog

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

WHEATON, IL: North American Anglican Province Formed As Rival To The Episcopal Church

Provisional Constitution and Nine Canons Approved

By David W. Virtue in Wheaton, Illinois

A new Province of the Anglican Church in North America, a rival province to The Episcopal Church USA complete with a provisional constitution and nine canons was birthed today with 700 churches and 100,000 church-going members. A formal ratification of the constitution and canons will take place in a provincial assembly in six months in Bedford, Texas at St. Vincent's cathedral in the diocese of Ft. Worth.

It is historic and unprecedented, said Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan moderator of the Anglican Communion Network. "It is an extraordinary day for us. We have reversed 40 years of Anglican history and years of division among The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church in Canada. Today we bring together 11 jurisdictions in Canada and across the US. Today marks 5 years of labor and attempts to come together."

Duncan said the Provisional Constitution is a response to what 7 Primates of the Anglican Communion asked us to do. "They (archbishops) represent the majority of the worlds' who met recently in Jerusalem recently. They asked us to form a provisional province that would be recognized by the bulk of the Anglican world. Today we have done that."

Duncan said the new province was a work in the spirit of unity and mutual submission and was as fine and as great as "I have ever known." The nine canons put in place were unanimously adopted by all the partners of Common cause, he said.

The article continues here on Virtue Online

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Conservative Anglicans face "punishment" for helping US rebels

Senior bishops are now considering suspending the Latin American Province

By Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent

Times Online -November 25, 2008

A conservative province in the Anglican church faces “punishment” this week for offering a safe haven to conservatives.

Senior bishops and laity meeting in London are to consider suspending the Anglican church in South America for taking rebel US dioceses under its wing.

The move will bring the Anglican Communion closer to a formal split. Early next month, rebel conservatives are expected to finalise plans for a new Anglican province in the US, to sit as a parallel jurisdiction alongside the existing Episcopal Church.

Unless this new province is recognised as part of the Anglican family by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams and the other 38 primates, it will in effect become a new Anglican church.

In a further indication that the liberals are winning the Anglican wars, The Episcopal Church of the US, which was suspended at a previous meeting, is expected to be welcomed back into the fold after sticking by its pledge not to consecrate any more gay bishops.

The Latin American Province of the Southern Cone headed by English-born bishop, the Most Rev Gregory Venables, has aroused the fury of liberal primates after a fourth US diocese voted to leave The Episcopal Church and realign with it.

Fort Worth voted earlier this month to quit the liberal Episcopal Church. Within the last 12 months, San Joaquin, Pittsburgh and Quincy have all approved a similar change . . .

The entire article is here at Times Online

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Fort Worth is 4th Episcopal diocese to break away

NEW YORK (AP) — The theologically conservative Diocese of Fort Worth voted Saturday to split from the liberal-leaning Episcopal Church, the fourth traditional diocese to do so in a long-running debate over the Bible, gay relationships and other issues.

About 80 percent of clergy and parishioners in the Texas diocese supported the break in a series of votes at a diocesan convention.

The Steering Committee North Texas Episcopalians, an umbrella group for those who want to stay with the denomination, plans to reorganize the diocese. They promised that "the Episcopal Church's work of Christian ministry and evangelization will go forward" in the region.

A lengthy, expensive legal battle is expected over who owns Episcopal property and funds. The Fort Worth diocese oversees more than 50 parishes and missions serving about 19,000 people. The Steering Committee estimates that at least five parishes and hundreds of other churchgoers will remain with the New York-based national church.

The other seceding dioceses are Pittsburgh; Quincy, Ill.; and San Joaquin, based in Fresno, Calif., where a legal fight over assets is already under way. National church leaders are helping local parishioners reorganize each diocese.

All four withdrawing dioceses are aligning with the like-minded Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, based in Argentina, to try to keep their place in the world Anglican Communion.

[. . .]

"Some have encouraged us to stay and fight as the faithful remnant in (the denomination), to work for reform from within," Bishop Jack Iker said in his speech before the balloting.

"I can only reply by quoting the saying that `the definition of insanity is to keep on doing the same thing, expecting different results,'" he said. "The time has come to choose a new path and direction, to secure a spiritual future for our children and our grandchildren."

Read the entire Associated Press article here.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Stand Firm interviews: Bishop Jack Iker

"I think that the Instruments of Unity have failed to preserve the communion, and that it's going to get worse before it gets better. In fact, I don't think it's going to get better. I think TEC, Canada, and perhaps some other of the more liberal western provinces are going to go their own way, and that the Global South and other more conservative provinces are not going to be in communion with them."

"I think the formation of a new province is going to come much more quickly than any of us really thought. I think it will be up and running in early 2009."

Read the rest here:

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Diocese splits from national church

Posted on Sun, Nov. 09, 2008


The Associated Press

NEW YORK — A third theologically conservative diocese has broken away from the liberal Episcopal Church in a long-running dispute over the Bible, gay relationships and other issues.

The Diocese of Quincy, Ill., took the vote at its annual meeting that ended Saturday. Two other dioceses — San Joaquin, based in Fresno, Calif., and Pittsburgh — have already split off. Next weekend, the Diocese of Fort Worth will vote whether to follow suit.

The three breakaway dioceses are aligning with the like-minded Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, based in Argentina, to try to keep their place in the world Anglican Communion. The 77-million-member Anglican fellowship, which includes the U.S. Episcopal Church, has roots in the missionary work of the Church of England.

Meanwhile, National Episcopal leaders are reorganizing the seceding dioceses with local parishioners who want to stay in the church. Complex legal fights have already started in San Joaquin over control of millions of dollars in diocesan property and assets.

The head of the New York-based denomination, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, said in a statement Saturday: "We lament the departure" in Quincy.

The Quincy diocese, based in Peoria, has 24 churches and missions and about 1,800 members. Clergy and lay delegates approved withdrawal with a 95 to 26 vote.

The original article from the Star Telegram is here

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Bishop Ackerman Retires This Week

News from the Diocese of Quincy came as a shock on Wednesday October 29th with the announcement of the apparently “sudden” retirement of Bishop Keith Ackerman effective as of November 1st. The fact is that Bishop Ackerman has been on Sabbatical ever since the Lambeth Conference and under the doctor’s care. Due to health concerns he has been advised by doctors and family to retire now. The Diocese of Quincy goes forward with its plans unabated to join us along with the Diocese of Pittsburgh as a part of the Southern Cone. Our prayers are offered for a speedy restoration to health for Bishop Keith as well as wisdom and strength for Quincy’s Standing Committee and its President who will be in charge of their upcoming Diocesan Convention November 7th and 8th.

- Bishop John-David Schofield

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Did you know . . . ?

These are the current (2006) canonical requirements that the clergy in The Episcopal Church are obligated to follow prior to celebrating a marriage:

Sec. 2. Before solemnizing a marriage the Member of the Clergy shall have ascertained:
(a) That both parties have the right to contract a marriage according to the laws of the State.
(b) That both parties understand that Holy Matrimony is a physical and spiritual union of a man and a woman, entered into within the community of faith, by mutual consent of heart, mind, and will, and with intent that it be lifelong.


[Sec. 3.]
(d) The Member of the Clergy shall have required that the parties sign the following declaration:
(e) "We, A.B. and C.D., desiring to receive the blessing of Holy Matrimony in the Church, do solemnly declare that we hold marriage to be a lifelong union of husband and wife as it is set forth in the Book of Common Prayer.
(f) "We believe that the union of husband and wife, in heart, body, and mind, is intended by God for their mutual joy; for the help and comfort given one another in prosperity and adversity; and, when it is God's will, for the procreation of children and their nurture in the knowledge and love of the Lord.
(g) "And we do engage ourselves, so far as in us lies, to make our utmost effort to establish this relationship and to seek God's help thereto."

Sec. 4. It shall be within the discretion of any Member of the Clergy of this Church to decline to solemnize any marriage.

[Excerpts: pages 56 & 57 of the Constitution and Canons of the 2006 General Convention]

It is my understanding that all of TEC's California diocesan bishops have publicly opposed Prop 8. Do you suppose they will be inhibited for abandoning the doctrine, discipline and worship of the Church?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Holy Orders are Valid in World Wide Communion

Diocese of San Joaquin (Anglican)

Fresno, California

October 17, 2008

Anglican Holy Orders Valid in California and World Wide

On December 8, 2007 an overwhelming majority of the priests and deacons serving in the Diocese of San Joaquin, representing over 40 churches, chose to remain with Bishop John-David Schofield and the Diocese of San Joaquin and were officially admitted, along with the diocese, into the Province of the Southern Cone.

The Holy Orders of those clergy are recognized across the world wide Anglican Communion. Any decision made by The Episcopal Church concerning the exercise of ministry by the Clergy in the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin is irrelevant and of no effect.

As Bishop Jerry Lamb noted in his October 10th Friday Reflection, the inhibition of Anglican Clergy in San Joaquin “implies no moral judgment of an individual clergy person. It speaks only about the person’s relationship to the Episcopal Church. The person can of course function in another church that may recognize their ordination.”

Thursday, October 9, 2008

California Property Dispute

Scroll down and read the Oral Argument briefs for the case of TEC and the California Faithful Remnant.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Bishop Lawrence Reports on the House of Bishops' Meeting, September 17-19, 2008

The following is an excerpt from a report by Bp Mark Lawrence regarding the proceedings at the most recent H.O.B. meeting:

There are so many dubious dimensions to this current proceeding against Bishop Duncan that to continue on this path, trampling upon the plain reading and purpose of the Canon in the process, may well give pause to all and cause many of us to shudder.

• There is the torturous reading of the Canon in order to render moot the clear reference to the necessity of inhibition prior to deposition. The fact is that Bishop Duncan has not been inhibited. The fact is that the three Senior Bishops of this church have not consented.

• There is the disputed reading of that phrase in the Canon which reads “…a majority of the whole number of Bishops entitled to vote.” The Constitution and Canons interpret that phrase in Article I:3, and in Canon IV itself, under section 15, which defines the very terminology used in the title! Under the ruling by the Presiding Bishop and her Chancellor, it is possible for a smaller number of Bishops to consent to the deposition of a Bishop than the number required to consent to the resignation of a Bishop. It is respectfully submitted that such an interpretation makes no sense, and turns the Canon on its head.

• There are real questions regarding the adequacy of due process in this case—a sacred principle of judicial practice in our society.

• There are significant questions in this matter that may suggest to some minds a conflict of interest.

• Along with these above concerns, there are the pervasive moral and pastoral dimensions which cannot be so easily dismissed as some would like us to believe. The statement last evening regarding the case of All Saints’ Pawleys Island vs. Diocese of South Carolina may have been well intended, but the fact is that the lawsuit has brought financial cost (thereby diminishing the funds available for missions) and spiritual unrest within the Diocese of South Carolina. The suggestion that swift action averted discord and legal proceeding is just not accurate. The description last evening of the situation within the Diocese of San Joaquin, while it may be one person’s recent experience, bears little resemblance to what was my experience serving in that diocese for the last ten years and living there for the first 30 plus years of my life.

• Having served in the Diocese of Pittsburgh and the Diocese of San Joaquin for almost all of my ordained ministry, I can tell you that the pastoral and theological matters that have precipitated the actions of their conventions will not be resolved by depositions or litigation, especially when the principles of due process and rule of law seem to be high-handedly ignored.

- The Rt Rev Mark Lawrence, Bishop of South Carolina

The full report is posted at the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina's website, HERE.

Anglican Communion Continues to Undergo a Seismic Shift with Pittsburgh Diocese Move

From The Institute of Religion and Democracy

Contact: Jeff Walton (202)682-4131

October 6, 2008

“The real issue here is not parishes or dioceses departing, rather it is that the Episcopal Church was hemorrhaging membership well before the controversial ordination of Gene Robinson. Individuals are realigning with their feet.”

— Faith J. H. McDonnell, Director of the IRD’s Religious Liberty Program


Washington, DC—The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh voted on Saturday to end its affiliation with the national denomination. The vote carried with support from 119 of the 191 lay delegates and 121 of the 160 clergy delegates. The diocese has aligned itself with another province in the Anglican Communion, the Argentina-based Province of the Southern Cone. The vote taken by the diocesan convention follows the removal of Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan on September 18th by the Episcopal House of Bishops over the charge of “abandonment of the communion”.

Pittsburgh follows the Fresno, California-based Diocese of San Joaquin, which voted to secede from the Episcopal Church in December 2007. Two other Dioceses, Fort Worth, Texas and Quincy, Illinois, are scheduled to vote in November on similar resolutions.

IRD Religious Liberty Director Faith J.H. McDonnell commented:

“We at the IRD support the faithful Anglicans in the Diocese of Pittsburgh who have now left The Episcopal Church. Their decisions were made soberly and only after much prayer and agonizing deliberation.

“We also recognize that, in responding to God's call, some faithful Anglicans will remain within The Episcopal Church. Their call is no less one from God, and we support them in their mission of renewing the denomination.

“The real issue here is not parishes or dioceses departing, rather it is that the Episcopal Church was hemorrhaging membership well before the controversial ordination of Gene Robinson. Individuals are realigning with their feet. Many of the most vibrant and evangelistic parishioners are leaving, and the remaining revisionists appear unable to offer a compelling draw to potential new members.

“While Gene Robinson’s consecration heightened the issues within The Episcopal Church, it is in no way the main issue for the churches that are leaving. It provides one example of how The Episcopal Church has drifted away from its Scriptural foundations, but only one. Beyond wanting to be faithful to Scripture, the churches felt that their mission work was impaired by remaining within The Episcopal Church.

“Faithful orthodox Episcopalians owe a debt of gratitude to Global South Anglicans, where the church continues its vibrant growth and ministry. Orthodox Anglicans from many different groups have shown support to the Pittsburgh Diocese, demonstrating a solidarity that could only have been dreamed of a few years ago."

And all I can say is beware of geeks, you know, bearing formulas.”

Warren Buffett explains the credit crisis to Charlie Rose
October 2nd, 2008

Read it all.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Archbishop of Canterbury urged to create new province for US conservatives

Senior bishops express "shock" at the Episcopal Church's decision to depose the Bishop of Pittsburgh

The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams is facing growing pressure to create a new Anglican province for conservatives after a leading evangelical was effectively defrocked in the US.

Six senior Church of England bishops have come out in support of deposed US bishop Bob Duncan, declaring themselves “deeply saddened and shocked.”

Headed by the Bishop of Winchester, the Right Rev Michael Scott-Joynt, the Bishops of Blackburn, Chester, Chichester, Exeter and Rochester joined in declaring their belief that the deposed Bishop of Pittsburgh remains “a bishop in good standing in the Anglican Communion.”

In an interview with The Times, the Bishop of Rochester Dr Michael Nazir-Ali said the time had now come for Dr Williams to create a new province for conservatives in the US.

Another senior bishop, a former primate of the Southern Cone province in Latin America, also wrote an open letter to Dr Williams demanding the immediate suspension of The Episcopal Church from the Anglican Communion and for the recognition of a new conservative province.

Bishops of The Episcopal Church voted last week to depose Bishop Duncan after deciding that he had breached canon law by “abandonment of the communion of the church.”

Bishop Duncan has led his diocese, from the Church’s conservative evangelical wing, in a rebellion against the liberal direction of the wider church in the West.

Next month, under his leadership, the diocese had been expected to vote to join the Province of the Southern Cone, headed by British-born primate Bishop Gregory Venables.

Bishop Venables has already received Bishop Duncan into his province and a majority in the diocese is expected to go ahead with the vote and join him there.

But a minority will remain with the US-based province and work on re-establishing the Pittsburgh diocese, marking the beginning of myriad expensive and lengthy legal battles over who owns the churches and other valuable ecclesiastical properties attached to the diocese.

Bishops of the Episcopal Church voted by 88 to 35 at a meeting in Salt Lake City to remove Bishop Duncan from all ordained ministry.

It is significant that Church of England bishops as senior as Bishop Scott-Joynt and Dr Michael Nazir-Ali continue to recognise Bishop Duncan’s ministry.

Their statement will increase speculation that the split in the US church is heading over the Atlantic to Britain.

Dr Nazir-Ali told The Times: “I hope that a province of the orthodox in America will be recognised in the Anglican Communion.” He said that what had happened to Bishop Duncan showed that a structural solution was necessary.

A new province would be the 39th province of the communion. It would not be the first to share geographical territory with another province. In Europe, there are two Anglican jurisdictions operating already: the Church of England and The Episcopal Church.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, who is visiting Lourdes this week, made no comment. At Lourdes on Wednesday this week, he will be addressing a pilgrimage of Anglican bishops, clergy and laity. He will be sharing the platform with Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Holy See’s Council for Christian Unity.

Unless the springs at Lourdes work one of their rare miracles, Anglicans will emerge more aware than ever that innovations such as gay bishops, women bishops and women priests have ended all hopes of re-uniting the Anglicans and Catholic churches, split since the Reformation four centuries ago.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

+Schofield Joins in Welcoming +Duncan into Southern Cone

On this day when Bishop Duncan was allegedly deposed by the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church, Bishop John-David Schofield joined in welcoming Bishop Duncan as a Brother into full membership of the House of Bishops of the Southern Cone. Bishop Duncan's own continuing status as a bishop in The Anglican Communion has been secured by the Province of the Southern Cone.

"As was resolved by resolution made at the Provincial Synod in Valparaiso last November 2007, we are happy to welcome Bishop Duncan into the Province of the Southern Cone as a member of our House of Bishops, effective immediately. Neither the Presiding Bishop nor the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church has any further jurisdiction over his ministry. We pray for all Anglicans in Pittsburgh as they consider their own relationship with The Episcopal Church in the coming weeks," said Archbishop Gregory Venables.

Bishop John-David also affirms the statement of the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh regarding the deposition of their Bishop, Robert Duncan, Jr., by the House of Bishops:

“We are profoundly disappointed by this action, and view it as yet another tragic rejection of the historic faith of our diocese and the majority consensus of the Anglican Communion. We continue to believe that the House of Bishops has clearly misapplied and misinterpreted the canons as we stated to the Presiding Bishop in our letter of May 28.

In light of this unfair and improper action to “depose” our bishop, we now assume our responsibility under the canons to be the Ecclesiastical Authority of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh. Bishop Duncan will continue to support the work of our diocese under the terms of his administrative employment agreement and within the bounds of his deposition, providing many of the services that he previously performed for the diocese. Our diocesan convention of October 4 will go forward as planned, at which the canonically required re-alignment vote will be taken.

We understand that Bishop Duncan has been received as a member in good standing of the House of Bishops of the Province of the Southern Cone. We rejoice at this news.

The Standing Committee asks that the clergy and people of Pittsburgh pray for the Duncans, the diocesan staff and the elected leadership of the diocese in the days ahead. We stand firmly on the promise of Holy Scripture found in Romans 8:28. ‘We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.’"

"What interests me is that this well planned ambush of Bishop Duncan by the leadership of The Episcopal Church failed to take into account something pretty important …. Bishop Duncan is now even more respected across the world, remains in office, and just went up another notch as a respected leader in the Anglican Communion," said David Bena, Suffragan Bishop of CANA.

Diocese of Pittsburgh Maintains Course after Purported Deposition

As the diocese prepares for its convention on October 4, the standing committee will serve as ecclesiastical authority.

The House of Bishops purported deposition of Bishop Robert Duncan will not change the agenda for the Oct. 4 Diocesan Convention or change Bishop Duncan’s status as a bishop in good standing within the Anglican Communion.

The action of the House of Bishops, which was taken in a closed meeting on September 18 in Salt Lake City, Utah, contravenes numerous canons of The Episcopal Church. While Bishop Duncan continues to believe that the "deposition" is unlawful, he will not challenge the "deposition" prior to the end of the diocese’s October 4 convention unless forced to do so by the leadership of The Episcopal Church.

On October 4, diocesan convention deputies will consider the second reading of a constitutional change that would realign the diocese with the Province of the Southern Cone. With the passage of that constitutional change, the diocese will be free to welcome Bishop Duncan back as its bishop. In the meantime, under the diocese’s governing documents, the standing committee will serve as the diocese’s ecclesiastical authority.

“This is of course a very painful moment for Pittsburgh Episcopalians. The leadership of The Episcopal Church has inserted itself in a most violent manner into the affairs and governance of our diocese. While we await the decision of the diocesan convention on realignment to a different province of the Anglican Communion, we will stand firm against any further attempts by those outside our boundaries intimidate us,” said the Rev. David Wilson, president of the Standing Committee.

Bishop Duncan’s own continuing status as a bishop in The Anglican Communion has been secured by the Province of the Southern Cone.

“As was resolved by resolution made at the Provincial Synod in Valparaiso last November 2007, we are happy to welcome Bishop Duncan into the Province of the Southern Cone as a member of our House of Bishops, effective immediately. Neither the Presiding Bishop nor the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church has any further jurisdiction over his ministry. We pray for all Anglicans in Pittsburgh as they consider their own relationship with The Episcopal Church in the coming weeks,” said Archbishop Gregory Venables.

- Posted September 18, 2008 -

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Archbishop Gregory Singled Out

Read below how Archbishop Gregory is being singled out by the Progressives to be removed from the unity of the primates in order to attack him.

Canadian primate asks Archbishop of Canterbury to convene interventions meeting

Hiltz proposes to gather with Episcopal Church, Brazil, Southern Cone leaders

ptember 10, 2008 [Episcopal News Service] Canadian Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, has asked Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to facilitate a meeting between him, Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil Archbishop Mauricio de Andrade and Anglican Province of the Southern Cone Archbishop Gregory Venables to discuss cross-border interventions. The Anglican Journal of Canada reported Hiltz's request on September 10. Hiltz, Andrade and Jefferts Schori have repeatedly asked Venables to stop intervening in the internal affairs of their provinces. Venables has, on his own accord, been providing episcopal oversight to churches that are in serious theological dispute with their respective provinces over the issue of sexuality.

Read it all.

Episcopal Bishops of California oppose Prop 8

Episcopal Bishops of California oppose Prop 8

by Communications Director

The Episcopal Bishops of California issued a statement today in opposition to Proposition 8, the proposed amendment to the state’s constitution to reserve marriage as only between a man and a woman, saying that “Jesus calls us to love rather than hate, to give rather than to receive, to live into hope rather than fear.”

The statement added that the Bishops did not believe that heterosexual marriage is threatened by same-sex marriage, and that "...the Christian values of monogamy, commitment, love, mutual respect and witness of monogamy are enhanced for all by providing this right to gay and straight alike."

Read it all.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

50,000 Christians Flee Deadly Violence In India State, Bishop Says

BHUABENESWAR, INDIA (BosNewsLife)-- Tens of thousands of Christians, most of them Catholics, were hiding Saturday, August 30, in the jungles of India's eastern state of Orissa where anti-Christian violence killed at least 36 people, Catholic officials said.

Archbishop Raphael Cheenath, who leads the Cuttack-Bhubaneswar Archdiocese in Orissa, claimed more than 80 priests and nuns from his diocese were among 50,000 refugees who fled "for their lives" since last weekend, when Hindu militants began attacking Christians.

"There's a danger of [more] attacks and they are advised not to go home. They have gone into hiding into the forests," said Cheenath in a statement obtained by BosNewsLife. "Their houses have been totally destroyed," he added.

Earlier reports said 11 people died, but the influential advocacy group Global Council of Indian Christians claimed at least 36 people were killed in Orissa's worst communal violence in a decade. The different figures could not immediately be reconciled as investigations continued Saturday, August 30, in remote areas of Orissa.

Read it all.

Friday, August 29, 2008

GAFCON Communiqué on establishment of Primates Council and Fellowship

Setting up the Council and the Fellowship

The first meeting of the GAFCON Primates’ Council has taken place in London on Wednesday 20th to Friday 22nd August. The twofold task of the Council is ‘to authenticate and recognise confessing Anglican jurisdictions, clergy and congregations and to encourage all Anglicans to promote the gospel and defend the faith.’ The Primates have therefore laid the basis for the future work of both the Council and the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA). The GAFCON movement continues its advance.

The Council will consist of Primates assisted by an Advisory Board which will work with them on fulfilling the aims of the movement. In addition, a Secretariat has been created. We are very grateful to God for his guidance and blessing on the Jerusalem Conference. We believe that the Jerusalem Declaration provides for a viable way of helping to deal with the crisis in the Anglican Communion brought about through the disobedience to Scripture by some in North America and elsewhere.

The present reality

We maintain that three new facts of the Anglican Communion must be faced. We are past the time when they can be reversed.

First, some Anglicans have sanctified sinful practices and will continue to do so whatever others may think. Second, churches and even dioceses affected by this disobedience have rightly withdrawn fellowship while wishing to remain authentic Anglicans. So-called ‘border-crossing’ is another way of describing the provision of recognition and care for those who have been faithful to the teachings of Holy Scripture. Third, there is widespread impaired and broken sacramental communion amongst Anglicans with far-reaching global implications. The hope that we may somehow return to the state of affairs before 2003 is an illusion.

Any sound strategy must accommodate itself to these facts.

Developing the GAFCON movement

GAFCON remains a gospel movement. It is far from saying that its membership are the only true Anglicans or the only gospel people in the Anglican Communion. We thank God that this is not the case. But the movement recognises the acute spiritual dangers of a compromised theology and aims to be a resource and inspiration for those who wish to defend and promote the biblical gospel.

The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans will function as a means of sharing in this great task. We invite individuals, churches, dioceses, provinces and parachurch organisations who assent to the Jerusalem Declaration to signify their desire to become members of the Fellowship via the GAFCON web-site or written communication with the Secretariat. The Fellowship will develop networks, commissions and publications intended to defend and promote the biblical gospel in ways which support one another.

At the same time, the Council and its Advisory Board will seek to deal with the problems of those who have confessed the biblical faith in the face of hostility and found the need on grounds of conscience and in matters of great significance to break the normal bonds of fellowship in the name of the gospel. For the sake of the Anglican Communion this is an effort to bring order out of the chaos of the present time and to make sure as far as possible that some of the most faithful Anglican Christians are not lost to the Communion. It is expected that priority will be given to the possible formation of a province in North America for the Common Cause Partnership.

Lambeth 2008

Noting the reference to building bridges with GAFCON in the Archbishop of Canterbury’s concluding Presidential Address at Lambeth, and that the Lambeth Conference itself made no decisions about the future of the Communion, we are grateful that there is an acknowledgement that Lambeth 1.10 of 1998 remains an authentic expression of the mind of the Communion. We also note the renewed call for moratoria on the consecration of bishops who are homosexually partnered and the blessing of same-sex unions as well so-called ‘border-crossing’. Likewise there is mention of the creation of a ‘Pastoral Forum’ to look after disaffected parishes or dioceses and continued work on an Anglican Covenant.

We hope in due course to offer a longer response to Lambeth. Meanwhile we are saddened that the Conference did not offer a more effective way forward than what is proposed. Our immediate difficulty is that the voice of Lambeth 2008 is seriously weakened because it merely repeated what has been said by the Primates’ Meeting (in Gramado early 2003, Lambeth October 2003, Dromantine, February 2005 and Dar es Salaam, February 2007) and which has proved to change nothing. Indeed the Windsor Continuation Group itself made the same point, ‘The three moratoria have been requested several times: Windsor (2004); Dromantine (2005); Dar es Salaam (2007) and the requests have been less than wholeheartedly embraced on all sides… The failure to respond presents us with a situation where if the three moratoria are not observed the Communion is likely to fracture.’

But the Communion fractured in 2003, when our fellowship was ‘torn at its deepest level. It seems that the facts which we have identified as the new reality have not yet been recognised as such, and we are therefore continually offered the same strategies which mean further delay and unlikely results. Indeed, delay itself seems to be a strategy employed by some in order to resolve the issue through weariness. The Anglican Covenant will take a long time to be widely accepted and may have no particular force when it does. The idea of ‘moratoria’ has never dealt with the underlying problem as is shown by the equivalence of cross-border care and protection with the sexual sins which have caused the problems.

In any case, some North American Bishops appear to have indicated already that they will not keep to them. It appears that people living in a homosexual unions continue to be ordained in some dioceses in contravention to Lambeth 1.10. In principle, this is no different from consecrating a bishop who adopts the same pattern of life, or indeed, of blessing same-sex unions. The idea of the Pastoral Forum has only now emerged but has never been discussed with those actually affected by the innovations which have created the problems with which we are trying to deal (see the appended letter ). If the Panel of Reference did not work, it is unclear how the Pastoral Forum will succeed.

Given that some esteemed colleagues from the Global South have strongly commended the Windsor Process to us, we are reluctant to say that it cannot work. But there is nothing new here such as to make us hesitate from the course we are taking, given the urgency of the situations with which we are dealing and the realities already on the ground. As they themselves remark, ‘the Anglican Communion as a communion of ordered churches is at the probable brink of collapse’. We warmly appreciate the good words which they have written about GAFCON and look forward to co-operation with them in the future as we ourselves try to avoid that collapse and renew the Communion.

The Most Rev Peter Akinola, Primate of Nigeria
The Most Rev Gregory Venables, Primate of The Southern Cone
The Most Rev Emmanuel Kolini, Primate of Rwanda
The Most Rev Valentino Mokiwa, Primate of Tanzania
The Most Rev Benjamin Nzmibi, Primate of Kenya
The Most Rev Henry Orombi, Primate of Uganda

Monday, August 25, 2008

China arrests 'underground' bishop

From the Sydney Morning Herald

August 25, 2008 - 5:19PM

China has arrested a 73-year-old underground bishop, a US-based Catholic group said in a statement.

Julius Jia Zhiguo, bishop of the unregistered or "underground" Roman Catholic congregation of Zhengding village in northeast China's Heibei province, was arrested by Chinese officials on Sunday morning, the Cardinal Kung Foundation said.

It was the 12th time Jia has been arrested since 2004, the foundation said. He has spent 18 years in prison.

He was last arrested in August last year, and released again in December.

"We do not know where Bishop Jia is detained at this time. We also do not know why he was arrested again this time," said Joseph Kung, head of the foundation.

After his release in December, Jia was placed under house arrest, confined to the living quarters of his cathedral in Heibei and not allowed to receive any visitors except for a few rare occasions when the visits were supervised and accompanied by government officials, Kung said.

Jia was consecrated bishop of Zhengding in 1980, mandated by Pope John Paul II, and leads a Roman Catholic community with approximately 110,000 members.

Two Catholic churches exist in China. The official state-run church does not recognise the authority of the Pope.

Jia is one of approximately 40 underground bishops in China, every one of whom is either in prison, missing, under house arrest or under surveillance, Kung said.

"The persecution of religious believers is very much alive in China and ongoing regardless of the fact that the Olympic Games has just been held in China and closed," Kung said.

© 2008 AAP

Monday, August 11, 2008

Some Protestants find spiritual appeal in natural family planning

Taking a page from Catholic doctrine, Protestants are avoiding artificial contraception for religious reasons

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Phaedra Taylor abstained from sex until marriage. But she began researching birth control methods before she was even engaged, and by the time she married David Taylor, she was already charting her fertility.

Taylor, a fresh-faced 28-year-old who would blend in easily with South Austin bohemians, ruled out taking birth control pills after reading a book that claimed the pill could, in some cases, make the uterus uninhabitable after conception occurred. She viewed that as abortion, which she opposes.

"I just wasn't willing to risk it," she said.

Taylor wanted her faith to guide her sexual and reproductive decisions after marriage. Natural family planning felt like the best way to honor God, she said.

The Taylors are one of several couples at Hope Chapel — a nondenominational church where David Taylor, 36, was the arts minister for 12 years — who practice natural family planning. Christian scholars say they may reflect a growing trend among non-Catholic Christians who are increasingly seeking out natural alternatives to artificial contraception.

Natural family planning is frequently dismissed by Protestants as an outmoded Catholic practice that most Catholics don't even follow anymore. But 40 years after Pope Paul VI released Humanae Vitae, the document outlining the church's position on marital sex and procreation, the method and the theology behind it are earning respect among some young Protestants, according to Christian scholars.

Read it all.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Dr Williams has made a split inevitable in the Anglican Church

From August 8, 2008

A split in the Anglican Church was inevitable, a leading conservative cleric said last night as he attacked Rowan Williams’s belief that gay relationships could be “comparable to marriage”.

After a successful Lambeth Conference for the Archbishop of Canterbury, where he avoided schism over the issue, Dr Williams faced a fresh furore over the strength of his liberal views.

The Primate of the Southern Cone, Bishop Gregory Venables, predicted the end of the communion, saying: “This is more evidence of the unravelling of Anglicanism. Without a clearly agreed biblical foundation, all the goodwill in the world cannot stop the inevitable break-up. Unity without truth is disunity.”

Bishop Venables, who has infuriated North American Anglicans by taking conservative defectors into his South American province, including the entire Diocese of San JoaquÍn in central California, was among the organisers of the recent Global Anglican Future Conference in Jerusalem.

With Archbishop Henry Orombi, of Uganda, and Dr Peter Akinola, of Nigeria, he will be at the meeting of the Global Anglican primates in London this month, where Anglican bishops who boycotted Lambeth will discuss Dr Williams’s views.

Read the full article at The Times Online

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

San Joaquin to Bishop Lamb: We accept the recognition by the ABC of our Bishop and reject any purported authority of TEC

The Diocese of San Joaquin - Fresno, California

August 4, 2008

The Rt. Rev. Jerry Lamb
P. O. Box 7606
Stockton, CA 95267

Dear Bishop Lamb:

We, the Bishop, Standing Committee and Diocesan Council of the Diocese of San Joaquin, receive with gladness the recognition of Bishop Schofield by the Archbishop of Canterbury "as a full member of the episcopal fellowship of the Province of the Southern Cone within the Anglican Communion, and as such [he] cannot be regarded as having withdrawn from the Anglican Communion."

We do not recognize the uncanonical actions of the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church in moving to depose Bishop John-David Schofield. Prior to this attempt that failed for lack of votes required by TEC's Canons, the Diocese of San Joaquin assembled at its Annual Convention on December 8, 2007, voted overwhelmingly to become a constituent Diocese of the Southern Cone of South America and as such remain a recognized Diocese within the Anglican Communion.

A subsequent action followed in which Bishop Schofield, a full member in the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church, followed his diocese and was welcomed by Archbishop Gregory Venables and the Synod into full membership in the House of Bishops of the Southern Cone.

Therefore, as the lay and clergy leaders of the Diocese of San Joaquin, within the Province of the Southern Cone, we accept the recognition by the Archbishop of Canterbury of our Bishop and reject any purported authority of The Episcopal Church, or Bishop Jerry Lamb, over any of our ministries. Our obligation is to conform to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of the world-wide Anglican Communion.

The Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield, Bishop
The Standing Committee of the Diocese of San Joaquin
The Diocesan Council of the Diocese of San Joaquin

Five million quid down the drain as Lambeth Conference ends

From Damian Thompson, Telegraph.co.uk, Monday, August 4, 2008, 08:41 AM GMT

Well, that was a waste of everyone's time. The Archbishop of Canterbury's spin doctors may pretend that the £5 million Lambeth Conference was an unexpected success because the 650 bishops didn't actually come to blows. Oh, please.

Was the Lambeth Conference really a success?

I'll tell you what was an unexpected success: the Gafcon meeting of anti-gay conservatives in Jerusalem, which managed to keep well within the boundaries of the Anglican Communion even though 230 of its bishops boycotted Lambeth.

Gafcon put the wind up the Lambeth bishops so thoroughly that most of them were more than happy to shift the blame for the troubles of the Anglican Communion on to gay-ordaining American Episcopalians. And, in the absence of votes, they didn't have to put their hands up in order to do so. They just vaguely assented to a smorgasbord of "structures" dreamt up by Rowan and his allies which are targeted at liberals but which will take years to come into force – by which time the Episcopal Church will be marrying and consecrating every gay and lesbian it can lay its hands on.

Rowan's cheerleaders were ready to declare the conference a triumph of statesmanship when Jonathan Wynne-Jones broke the story in the Sunday Telegraph that two senior bishops – Winchester and Exeter – were asking Dr Williams to organise a peaceful separation between the "core Communion" and the liberal fringe. Indeed, Bishop Michael Scott-Joynt of Winchester explicitly said that Rowan's "covenant" scheme was unlikely to work.

Later on Sunday, Ruth Gledhill of the Times reported on her blog that "whispers of discontent" about Dr Williams were circulating among Church of England bishops. She talked about a "photogenic youngish evangelical" being talked up as a possible successor. That strikes me as an excessively flattering description of James Jones of Liverpool, but he's ambitious enough, that's for sure.

More "successes" at Lambeth: Cardinal Walter Kasper, normally keen on observing ecumenical niceties, dropped in to announce that any hope of Rome ever recognising Anglican orders was now extinguished.

And then there's the bill: £5 million, of which the Anglican Communion is probably going to have to borrow over £1 million from the Church Commissioners. And nothing to show for it.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


There are visible divisions separating Christians, but we know that on a deeper lever we do share, in a real sense, membership in one Body. Its expression is incomplete, imperfect, but it is nonetheless a genuine reality. Therefore, I can as an Orthodox, worship with my sisters and brothers who share with me belief in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and Saviour. But I would go further than that. I think of the words of St. Paul, in 1 Corinthians Chapter 12, when one member of the body suffers, all the other members suffer with it; when one member rejoices, all the other members rejoice. As fellow Christians we share one another’s joys and sorrows. For me, as an Orthodox, coming to the Lambeth Conference is an opportunity to do precisely that – to share in your joys and your sorrows.

But, even more, I will go a further step and say that the questions that you are considering are also questions that are of concern to us. And if they are not particularly on our immediate agenda now, yet they are questions that we will need to consider increasingly in the future. So, yes, you have much here to discuss as Anglicans - specifically Anglican problems. But I see them also as questions that are posed to us Orthodox. For example, the question of women priests and bishops. Most Orthodox would say, we should not ordain women. But if you ask them why not, they will say that it has never been done; they will appeal to tradition. But you press them a little farther, and say that there must be a reason why women have never been ordained as priests. The argument from tradition merely tells you that they have never been ordained as priests, but it does not tell you why. Surely there must be some theological reason. On the one hand, the Orthodox are certain and clear in their answer. Most of us would say, no, we could not ever ordain women. Yet others would say, it is for us essentially an open question. We are not proposing to do so in the near future, but we need to reflect more deeply on it. If all we say is, “impossible, never,” we perhaps should ask ourselves, what are the implications for our understanding of human nature , of the difference between male and female, for our understanding of the priesthood and the relationship of the priest to Christ. That is an example of how your questions are perhaps to some extent also our questions.

Read it all.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn, R.I.P.

From National Review Online:

"When 1999 turned into 2000, a lot of people asked, “Who was the Man of the Century?” And many answered, “Solzhenitsyn.” That was a very solid choice.

Born in 1918, Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn became the voice and conscience of the Russian people. There was no greater or more effective foe of Communism, or of totalitarianism in general. His Gulag Archipelago was a crushing blow to the Soviet Union — after its publication in the mid-1970s, the USSR had no standing, morally. The book was effective because it was true.

Because he was such a great and important man, it is sometimes overlooked how great, versatile, and prolific a writer he was. He wrote novels, novellas, short stories, poems, memoirs, essays, speeches, and more. The Gulag Archipelago, he called “an experiment in literary investigation.”

The First Circle, a novel, is many people’s favorite book. So is another novel, Cancer Ward.

He wrote no more gripping or beautiful work than The Oak and the Calf, his literary memoir. The title refers to an old folk image of a calf butting its head up against an oak: This symbolizes futility. And that was a writer — a lone, persecuted, hounded writer — trying to bring down the Soviet state. Yet the oak fell.

With this memoir and The Gulag in mind, Norman Podhoretz once wrote, “[Solzhenitsyn] is returning [to the Russian people] their stolen or ‘amputated’ national memory, reopening the forcibly blocked channels of communication between the generations, between the past and the present . . .” Few writers have written under such pressure. He would receive mail saying, “Look after your health, Aleksandr Isayevich — we are all depending on you.”

In his later years — after age 50 or so — he had the support of a wonderful family, consisting of three boys and his wife, Natalia. Their exile home in Cavendish, Vt., was kind of Solzhenitsyn, Inc.: They all helped with the many tasks of writing and publishing. Out on the grounds of their home is a large rock — a boulder. Solzhenitsyn used to tell the boys, when they were little, that this was a magic horse, which would fly them back, when Russia was free.

Solzhenitsyn returned to his homeland in 1994.

Like everyone else, he had his critics: He was accused of being a megalomaniac, a Slavophile, a right-wing nationalist, an anti-Semite. He was too humane for any of that.

Read it all.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Alliee DeArmond - Diaspora: Word Shop Newsletter July 2008

From the Word Shop Newsletter, July 2008. Also, check out the Word shop online at companyofsaints.com and stop by next time you are on that edge of the continent!

"It's been ten years since I read Isaiah 49 and walked out of church, the wind slamming the door behind us; ten years since we left and walked into a church down the street just in time for the Gospel: "Behold the Lamb of God which takes away the sins of the world." Since then I have bounced around, sometimes feeling like a kid who's left home to go off to college, sometimes rejoicing in the unity of those beholding and sometimes experiencing the heart ripping anguish of divorce. "Great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart," Paul said in regards to his people.

"I grew up in a liberal, academic household. I remember my father refusing to sign the anti-communism loyalty oath demanded of professors in the 50's. We were pro civil rights, pro free speech, anti-war; nonconformists, effete intellectual snobs, hippies. What a shock it has been to watch so-called liberals move into behaviors I would have once attributed to "red-neck fundamentalists." I personally have experienced hate mail, book banning and up shutting from the liberal front. Those whom I'd expect to applaud a forum of freely exchanged ideas, suddenly can only tolerate ideas in agreement with theirs. Since when do liberals demand loyalty oaths like the Presiding Episcopal Bishop did while collecting delegates for her puppet diocese? Why have there been more priests and Bishops deposed in the last two years than in the previous 200 years of the American Episcopal Church? It is very odd.

Reading over a century of encyclicals on Social Justice, I was struck by how the church is unable to rest on the right or on the left. Instead she is always shifting, one foot in front of the other, arms swinging in opposite directions. The belly button insists that we should all just find middle ground, but the church is on the move, always has been. Right, left, right. Sometimes she looks quite drunk, staggering down the hall, bouncing off the walls. Sometimes she is drunk on the finest of wine. Meanwhile, some of us get bruised. This love stuff is not for the faint hearted."

"I try to avoid looking forward or backward, and try to keep looking upward." - Charlotte Bronte

Friday, August 1, 2008

Moscow Patriarchate laments over Anglican decision to install women bishops

Moscow, August 1, Interfax -

"The Russian Orthodox Church has to state with regret that the decision to install women bishops impedes the dialogue between Orthodox Christians and Anglicans developed for some decades," Communication service of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations' Communication Service says in its special statement spread in Moscow on Friday.

According to the document, this decision "alienates Anglicans from the Orthodox Church and contributes in further division of the Christian world."

The Moscow Patriarchate reminds the Orthodox Church has always been negative about women priests since some Protestant and Anglican Churches started to ordain them late in the 20th century.

"Such practice contradicts centuries-old Church tradition dating back to the first Christian community. Orthodox Christians consider women bishops even more unacceptable," the statement further says.

Christian tradition, the authors stress, has always considered bishops as "direct spiritual successors of apostles, who grant them a special blessing to lead God's people and a special responsibility to keep the purity of faith and be symbols and guarantors of Church unity."

Thus, the Moscow Patriarchate believes installing women-bishops contradicts "the course of Savior, holy apostles and ancient undivided Church."

In conviction that revision of the original church norms contradicts the Lord's idea on priestly ministry, the Moscow Patriarchate states "it is not a theological or practical church need that dictated this decision to the Anglican General Synod, but rather its strive to keep step with secular idea of sexual equality in all spheres of life."

The Russian Church reminds, "Secularization of Christianity makes many believers to abandon it as they strive to find spiritual support in secure Gospels and apostolic traditions introduced by Eternal and Unchangeable God."

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Bishop Daniel a Friend of Bishop John-David

From the Living Church:

'A Problem of America' at Lambeth

“The problem we are basically facing is a problem of America,” he said. “They want to push their problems on to other nations.”

Bishop Daniel was one of 16 nominated to serve indaba group listeners on July 25. This is the group that will prepare the conference “Reflections” paper.
Issues of human sexuality do not predominate in East Kerala, said Bishop Daniel. His diocese is about 360 miles long, but averages less than 50 miles in width. It was created about 25 years ago by dividing the Indian state of Kerala in half. Western Kerala has a prosperous and growing service-sector economy, including tourism, public administration, banking and finance, transportation, and communications. East Kerala is much less developed with large tropical rain forests and agriculture as the primary source of employment. Unemployment is high in East Kerala, Bishop Daniel said.
East Kerala may not be experiencing the same economic boon as its neighbor, but the diocese is growing. There are now 200 congregations, up from 75 in 1983, Bishop Daniel said.
“There we are clear,” he said. “We respect the Bible. Whatever is against the Bible, there is no need to discuss.”
Although English is not his first language, Bishop Daniel attended San Francisco Theological Seminary from 1987 through 1989. While in the United States, he attended St. Columba’s Episcopal Church in Inverness, Calif. Bishop John-David Schofield, now of the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin, was the rector at that time.
Bishop Daniel attended Bishop Schofield’s consecration as the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin the year he graduated from seminary, but he said he has since lost touch with Bishop Schofield. He asked if Bishop Schofield had indeed left The Episcopal Church. When he received an affirmative answer, he looked down and shook his head sadly.
Steve Waring

Monday, July 28, 2008

Five Loaves and Two Fishes

Origen's Commentary on Matthew.
Book IX
2. Exposition of the Details of the Miracle.

Jesus, then, because of the power which He gave to the disciples, even the power of nourishing others, said, Give ye them to eat. But (not denying that they can give loaves, but thinking that there were much too few and not sufficient to feed those who followed Jesus, and not considering that when Jesus takes each loaf—the Word—He extends it as far as He wills, and makes it suffice for all whomsoever He desires to nourish), the disciples say, We have here but five loaves and two fishes.

Perhaps by the five loaves they meant to make a veiled reference to the sensible words of the Scriptures, corresponding in number on this account to the five senses, but by the two fishes either to the word expressed and the word conceived, which are a relish, so to speak, to the sensible things contained in the Scriptures; or, perhaps, to the word which had come to them about the Father and the Son. Wherefore also after His resurrection He ate of a broiled fish, having taken a part from the disciples, and having received that theology about the Father which they were in part able to declare to Him.

Such is the contribution we have been able to give to the exposition of the word about the five loaves and the two fishes; and probably those, who are better able than we to gather together the five loaves and the two fishes among themselves, would be able to give a fuller and better interpretation of their meaning. It must be observed, however, that while in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, the disciples say that they have the five loaves and the two fishes, without indicating whether they were wheaten or of barley, John alone says, that the loaves were barley loaves. Wherefore, perhaps, in the Gospel of John the disciples do not acknowledge that the loaves are with them, but say in John, “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fishes.”

And so long as these five loaves and two fishes were not carried by the disciples of Jesus, they did not increase or multiply, nor were they able to nourish more; but, when the Saviour took them, and in the first placed looked up to heaven, with the rays of His eyes, as it were, drawing down from it power which was to be mingled with the loaves and the fishes which were about to feed the five thousand; and after this blessed the five loaves and the two fishes, increasing and multiplying them by the word and the blessing; and in the third place dividing and breaking He gave to the disciples that they might set them before the multitudes, then the loaves and the fishes were sufficient, so that all ate and were satisfied, and some portions of the loaves which had been blessed they were unable to eat. For so much remained over to the multitudes, which was not according to the capacity of the multitudes but of the disciples who were able to take up that which remained over of the broken pieces, and to place it in baskets filled with that which remained over, which were in number so many as the tribes of Israel.

Concerning Joseph, then, it is written in the Psalms, “His hands served in the basket,” but about the disciples of Jesus that they took up that which remained over of the broken pieces twelve baskets, twelve baskets, I take it, not half-full but filled. And there are, I think, up to the present time, and will be until the consummation of the age with the disciples of Jesus, who are superior to the multitudes, the twelve baskets, filled with the broken pieces of living bread which the multitudes cannot eat.

Now those who ate of the five loaves which existed before the twelve baskets that remained over, were kindred in nature to the number five; for those who ate had reached the stage of sensible things, since also they were nourished by Him who looked up to heaven and blessed and brake them, and were not boys nor women, but men. For there are, I think, even in sensible foods differences, so that some of them belong to those who “have put away childish things,” and some to those who are still babes and carnal in Christ.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Common Cause Partnership Welcomes Jerusalem Declaration

The Common Cause Partnership leaders issued a statement today welcoming the Jerusalem Declaration and the statement on the Global Anglican Future and pledging to move forward with the work of Anglican unity in North America.

We, as the Bishops and elected leaders of the Common Cause Partnership (CCP) are deeply grateful for the Jerusalem Declaration. It describes a hopeful, global Anglican future, rooted in scripture and the authentic Anglican way of faith and practice. We joyfully welcome the words of the GAFCON statement that it is now time ‘for the federation currently known as the Common Cause Partnership to be recognized by the Primates Council.’

The intention of the CCP Executive Committee is to petition the Primates Council for recognition of the CCP as the North American Province of GAFCON on the basis of the Common Cause Partnership Articles, Theological Statement, and Covenant Declaration, and to ask that the CCP Moderator be seated in the Primates Council.

We accept the call to build the Common Cause Partnership into a truly unified body of Anglicans. We are committed to that call. Over the past months, we have worked together, increasing the number of partners and authorizing committees and task groups for Mission, Education, Governance, Prayer Book & Liturgy, the Episcopate, and Ecumenical Relations. The Executive Committee is meeting regularly to carry forward the particulars of this call. The CCP Council will meet December 1-3, 2008.

The Common Cause Partnership links together nine Anglican jurisdictions and organizations in North America. Together, the American Anglican Council, the Anglican Coalition in Canada, the Anglican Communion Network, the Anglican Mission in the Americas, the Anglican Network in Canada, the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, the Federation of Anglican Churches in the Americas, Forward in Faith North America and the Reformed Episcopal Church represent more the 1,300 Anglican parishes in the United States and Canada. The Common Cause Partnership Executive Committee is: The Rt. Rev’d Robert Duncan, Moderator; The Venerable Charlie Masters, General Secretary; Mrs. Patience Oruh, Treasurer; The Rt. Rev’d Keith Ackerman, Forward in Faith North America; The Rt. Rev’d David Anderson, American Anglican Council; The Rt. Rev’d Donald Harvey, Anglican Network in Canada; The Rt. Rev’d Paul Hewett, Federation of Anglican Churches in the Americas; The Rt. Rev’d Martyn Minns, Convocation of Anglicans in North America; The Rt. Rev’d Chuck Murphy, Anglican Mission in the Americas; The Rt. Rev’d Leonard Riches, Reformed Episcopal Church; The Rt. Rev’d Bill Atwood, Anglican Church of Kenya and The Rt. Rev’d John Guernsey, Church of the Province of Uganda.

Schofield is an Anglican

From Conger:

The Bishop of San Joaquin, the Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield remains a bishop of the Anglican Communion, though his exact status must be clarified, the Archbishop of Canterbury has declared.

"The long awaited decision by Dr. Williams as to whether Bishop Schofield is or is not an Anglican, avoids a confrontation at this week’s Lambeth Conference between two bishops of San Joaquin, and allows Bishop Schofield to withdraw from the conference due to his declining ill health, without conceding his right to attend the gathering.

Writing to the Presiding Bishop of the Province of the Southern Cone, Bishop Gregory Venables of Argentina, on July 12, Dr. Williams rejected assertions made by the Episcopal Church that Bishop Schofield and his diocese were no longer Anglicans.

“I understand that Bishop John-David Schofield has been accepted as a full member of the episcopal fellowship of the Province of the Southern Cone within the Anglican Communion and as such cannot be regarded as having withdrawn from the Anglican Communion,” Dr. Williams declared."

Read it all.