Friday, February 29, 2008
Author: Michael Daley
As evidence of the escalating crisis in the global Anglican Communion,
today one of the of the world’s most esteemed Christian theologians, Dr.
J.I. Packer, received a letter threatening suspension from ministry by the
controversial Bishop of New Westminster, Michael Ingham. Bishop Ingham
accused Dr. Packer, hailed by Time Magazine as the "doctrinal Solomon" of
Christian thinkers, "to have abandoned the exercise of ministry"after the
church where he is a member voted to separate from the diocese and join
the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone under the oversight of Anglican
Archbishop Gregory Venables. Dr. Packer, who was ordained in the Church
of England, is the author of the Christian classic, "Knowing God," and
joined Billy Graham and Richard John Neuhaus as one of Time Magazine’s 25
most influential evangelicals in 2005.
Dr. Packer, who received his theological education at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford,
was ordained a deacon (1952) and priest (1953) in the Church of England.
He was Assistant Curate of Harborne Heath in Birmingham 1952-54 and
Lecturer at Tyndale Hall, Bristol 1955-61. He was Librarian of Latimer House, Oxford
1961-62 and Principal 1962-69. In 1970 he became Principal of Tyndale Hall,
Bristol, and from 1971 until 1979 he was Associate Prinicipal of Trinity
College, Bristol. In addition to his published works, he has served as
general editor for the English Standard Version of the Bible. He currently
serves as the Board of Governors’ Professor of Theology at Regent
College in Vancouver, British Columbia. He will be 82 in July.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
The Russian Orthodox Church has slammed the Archbishop of Canterbury for his remarks over Sharia law, saying the head of a Christian Church should not be promoting the tenets of non-Christian religions. While church leaders in Britain have rallied to his defense, Orthodox, Lutheran and Roman Catholic leaders abroad have been less charitable in their remarks. The Feb 7 interview with the BBC and his subsequent speech at the Temple Church on certain aspects of Sharia law, have elicited sharp comments from overseas Anglican and Christian leaders, while Dr. Williams' subsequent explanation, that his remarks were misunderstood, appears not to have appeased his critics.
Speaking to the opening session of the World Council of Churches' Standing Committee meeting in Geneva on Feb 14, the Russian Orthodox's representative to ecumenical organizations, Bishop Hilarion of Vienna and Austria said "many Christians around the world are looking up to Christian leaders with hope that they will defend Christianity against all the challenges it faces." "Our role is not to protect Sharia law, to glorify an alternative style of behavior or to preach secular values. Our sacred mission is to announce what Christ announced, to teach what his disciples taught," he said. "Politically correct Christianity will die," said Bishop Hilarion. "We have already been watching the process of liberal Christianity's gradual decline as newly introduced moral norms lead to splits, discrepancies and confusion in several Christian communities," he said.
The head of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) told German radio on Feb 16 there must be a single law for all citizens, regardless of race or religion. Dr. Wolfgang Huber, Bishop of the Evangelical Church of Berlin-Brandenburg-Silesian Upper Lusatia and Chairman of the Council of the EKD said the premise behind Dr. Williams' remarks was flawed. "Hoping to achieve integration through a dual legal system is a mistaken idea," Dr. Huber told Deutsche Welle. "You have to ask the question as to what extent cultural characteristics have a legitimate place in a legal system. But you have to push for one country to have one system." END
The following are identical letters to Canon Cox and Canon Moore.
February 15, 2008
It is my understanding that you have been hired by the Presiding Bishop's Office to be a part of an interim pastoral presence with oversight in the Diocese of San Joaquin. This fact indicates one of the two things: 1) You do not believe that the Diocese was capable of removing itself from TEC in December 2007, and therefore you are intruding into the internal affairs of a recognized TEC diocese; or, 2) You do believe this diocese left TEC in 2007 and you are entering into the internal affairs of a diocese of another province.
In either case, at present, The Episcopal Church has begun attacking both me and this diocese. Your coming here is unconscionable in that you are meddling in the affairs of San Joaquin with neither the courtesy of requesting my permission as bishop nor even troubling to inform me of your plans. Such actions are hardly those of men with honorable intentions. Even though you have already taken it upon yourself to be in contact with clergy and parishes, under no circumstances are you welcome to hold meetings in this diocese or to ask permission of clergy or other leaders to do so. If indeed your proposal is to seek reconciliation with the goal to reduce the "threat of law suits" you are approaching the wrong persons. Why do you not come directly to me with your concerns and offers, for such lawsuits - presumably - would be lodged against me?
Should you choose to deal directly with me concerning the above mentioned proposals I would be willing to set aside time to meet with you in my office in Fresno. Apart from this, I ask you to desist from entering this diocese.
I remain, In earnest,
Cc: The Most Reverend Katherine Jefferts-Schori The Most Reverend Gregory Venables
"There is no conflict between science and Christianity. The conflict is between Christianity and ideological atheists such as Rousseau, Voltaire, Diderot and Huxley, right down to that prince bigot of our time, Richard Dawkins. These people lie about the history of science as a way of attacking the faith. It is not only that there is no conflict between Christianity and science: without Christianity, there would be no science." ---Peter Mullen in New Directions (January 2008)
Friday, February 22, 2008
Seabury-Western Suspends Recruitment, Admissions
Posted on: February 21, 2008
The Very Rev. Gary R. Hall, dean and president of Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, has announced that the school will “suspend recruitment and admissions to all degree and certificate programs” while it considers its future.
“We believe that the church does not need Seabury in its present form,” Dean Hall wrote. “There are a number of other schools who do what we have traditionally done as well as we do. But we also believe that the church very much needs a seminary animated by and organized around a new vision of theological educationone that is centered in a vision of baptism and its implications for the whole church, one that is flexible and adaptive and collaborative in nature.”
The decision to suspend recruitment and admissions was made following a meeting earlier this week of the board of trustees. The board approved a resolution calling on Dean Hall to develop “a detailed plan for the future operation of Seabury, including a financial plan that brings expenses in line with revenues” by its next meeting
The seminary has been running deficit budgets for the better part of 20 years, according to Elizabeth Butler, vice president for advancement and administration. Classes during the current term, which ends in May, will not be affected, but no classes have been scheduled for the term to begin in September. Layoffs of faculty and staff have not been ruled out as part of the reorganization, Ms. Butler said.
“The board has made a really courageous decision which recognizes that the church doesn’t need us as Seabury is currently configured,” she told The Living Church. “We are not clear what will be offered in the fall and since we aren’t clear, we have decided not to say anything.”
Seabury is interested in developing a partnership with either another academic institution or a church organization. Ms. Butler said it was unlikely that the trustees would decide to reopen the seminary as an independent, three-year residential educational institution after the reorganization. The trustees are scheduled to meet again in May, but Ms. Butler said a special meeting is likely to be held in April. The school hopes to unveil its reorganization plan after the regularly scheduled board meeting in May.
Seabury employs eight faculty members, although not all are considered full-time employees. There are 50 students currently enrolled in the seminary’s three-year residential program, Ms. Butler said. An additional 25 students are enrolled in the doctor of divinity program. Existing students in the doctoral program will be allowed to continue, but no new students will be accepted for that program.
We invite your response to this article through a Letter to the Editor. Email your letter to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name, city and state.
To find more news, feature articles, and commentary about the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion not available online, read The Living Church magazine each week.
[Editor's Note: based on information I have received from Bexley Hall, there are at least two seminaries of pecusa that are on life support.]
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
By David Bowen
Published: February 18 2008 16:22 Last updated: February 18 2008 16:22
Do you work for a fractured organisation that is busy avoiding the difficult issues? Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, does which is why I have been looking at anglican websites this week. And guess what – they are fractured and busy avoiding the issues too.
The Archbishop said last week that people may be able to seek justice in the UK under different legal systems, including Sharia. This caused quite a stink, and the news bulletins soon announced that he had published clarification on his website. I would guess it has never seen anything like the traffic.
The site, which is pleasantly designed if unremarkable, has a link under Latest News labelled “What did the Archbishop actually say?”. The explanation is subtle, as one might expect from Dr Williams. I wouldn’t criticise his office for that, but I would suggest that a bit more emphasis should be given to the issue. ‘What did he say?’ is a clear line, but it is tucked away among other links and could easily be missed by (for example) a journalist in a hurry. At the least it suggests that Dr Williams does not want to draw attention to the issue.
Nothing on the site either about one of the main BBC news stories on Thursday – that the Ugandan Church has decided not to attend the 10-yearly Lambeth Conference in the summer.
The issue here is homosexuality, specifically that invitations have been sent to bishops who condone it (mainly in America).
First sign of online fracturing is that the Archbishop has a schism with his own organisation – no links I could see to the Church of England site. This is a cheerful affair, with a suitably purple theme broken up with brightly-coloured headings and small but bright photos – good branding if it wants to say what a friendly, accessible outfit it is. Now, what does it say about the Sharia affair, or homosexuality? Well, by using the search engine I found a news story on the Archbishop’s speech, and a link to his site; and also a section on human sexuality going into considerable detail on the whole issue.
Two problems though. First, neither subject gets onto the home page, which is lovely and fluffy but steers well away from tough issues. Second, more seriously, most people will not start from the home page but from Google (every site’s second home page). I typed in “church of england sharia” on Thursday morning, and found a mass of news stories, none from the C of E. Top result came from allafrica.com, with a piece from the Vanguard, Lagos, which thundered that ‘people like Rowan, in their liberal naiveté, are handing over their culture, their country and their Church to a rival culture which is strong, focused, determined and eager to take it!’. Memo to the C of E web people – get your SEO (search engine optimisation) sorted so that you at least get a show amid the massed enemy on Google’s home page.
There is one anglican site that does make it into the rankings – Episcopal Life Online, which is the newspaper of the Episcopal Church in the US. Its site carries a story filed from the Church’s General Synod in London; it links to the speech and an interview Dr Williams gave, but not to the defence on his site. I think this was posted after the Episcopal piece was put up – but it does suggest there is no attempt at active “reputation management” from across the Atlantic.
Perhaps this is not surprising: there are no standing links to either the C of E or the Archbishop’s site from the episcopalians. More schism, and more avoiding the issues too. The Americans are in the spotlight on the homosexual issue, because they have a gay bishop, but when I put “homosexuality” into the site’s search engine I found results headed by a bishops’ statement in the Congo in 2004. Digging hard I did find a page of links on human sexuality – the first to a BBC piece headed ‘what does the Bible actually say about bring gay? – but nothing from the church itself. Even odder, the news section carries a piece headed “four bishops” renunciations of ministry accepted by Presiding Bishop’, with no mention of why they were walking out; one can only guess.
So I headed to the other side of the debate, the African dioceses, to see if they were a little more robust. Quality varies greatly, from the basic to the slick. The Church of Uganda comes into the first category, so it is not surprising that it has nothing on its Lambeth boycott. The tone is religious (“We thank God that this Web-site is finally born to further the work of our Lord Jesus Christ.”) which should not be a surprise but does highlight the secularity of the western sites. The Church of Nigeria is one of the slick ones, and is also refreshingly frank. One of the Frequently-asked questions is “Why does the Church of Nigeria hate gays?”. The answer, that it doesn’t but that “efforts to bless same sex unions are unscriptural”, may not have the subtlety of the C of E’s response, but is at least easy to understand. Needless to say, I could not find any links from the Uganda or Nigeria sites to the Church of England or Archbishop’s site.
The web almost has a tendency to reflect reality – whether in business, government or church. But as businesses and governments know, there are ways of spinning reality. For one, the anglicans should create an online hub that holds their sites together (there is one, Anglicans Online, but it is not official). For another, they should use their websites to tackle issues head on, rather than sweeping them under the online carpet. “What did the Archbishop actually say?” is a good start; it needs to turn into a more general spirit of openness. Third, don’t forget search engine optimisation: if Google leads first to a hostile column in a Nigerian paper, that is where the people are likely to go.
David Bowen is a website effectiveness consultant for Bowen Craggs & Co . email@example.com
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
A CORRECTION on the Church of Uganda position regarding the Anglican Communion and the Lambeth Conference
“The Church of Uganda is not seceding from the Anglican Communion,” said Rev. Canon Aaron Mwesigye, church spokesperson. “Some press stories have misrepresented our position.”
“The plain fact is that we are simply not attending the Lambeth Conference in July 2008, but we are still very much a part of the Anglican Communion.”
The Church of Uganda broke communion with the Episcopal Church in the United States of America in 2003 after they elected and consecrated as Bishop Gene Robinson, a divorced man living in a same-sex relationship. But, the Church of Uganda has remained a consistently active member of the Anglican Communion.
“It is the Americans who have seceded from the Anglican Communion because of their decisions and their teaching,” Mwesigye said. “They have departed dramatically from the historic faith, teaching, and practice of the Bible and the Anglican Church.”
“How can they still be Anglican when they don’t believe what Anglicans believe?”
The Church of Uganda, along with many other Provinces in the Anglican Communion, urged the Archbishop of Canterbury to see that this crisis was resolved before convening Bishops of the Anglican Communion at the Lambeth Conference.
Since, however, the crisis has not been resolved, and since those who precipitated the crisis – the Americans – have been invited to the Lambeth Conference, the Church of Uganda has upheld its decision not to attend.
“The crisis in the Anglican Communion is very serious,” Mwesigye concluded. “It is not good stewardship of our limited resources to spend more than US$5,000 (8,500,000/=) per person for our Bishops and their wives to attend a three-week meeting which seems, in practice, to have no authority and is blatantly and persistently ignored by some of its wealthier member churches.”
Eminent psychiatrist makes case ideology is mental disorder
Posted: February 15, 2008
3:40 pm Eastern
"Based on strikingly irrational beliefs and emotions, modern liberals relentlessly undermine the most important principles on which our freedoms were founded," says Dr. Lyle Rossiter, author of the new book, "The Liberal Mind: The Psychological Causes of Political Madness." "Like spoiled, angry children, they rebel against the normal responsibilities of adulthood and demand that a parental government meet their needs from cradle to grave."
While political activists on the other side of the spectrum have made similar observations, Rossiter boasts professional credentials and a life virtually free of activism and links to "the vast right-wing conspiracy."
For more than 35 years he has diagnosed and treated more than 1,500 patients as a board-certified clinical psychiatrist and examined more than 2,700 civil and criminal cases as a board-certified forensic psychiatrist. He received his medical and psychiatric training at the
Rossiter says the kind of liberalism being displayed by the two major candidates for the Democratic Party presidential nomination can only be understood as a psychological disorder
A social scientist who understands human nature will not dismiss the vital roles of free choice, voluntary cooperation and moral integrity – as liberals do," he says. "A political leader who understands human nature will not ignore individual differences in talent, drive, personal appeal and work ethic, and then try to impose economic and social equality on the population – as liberals do. And a legislator who understands human nature will not create an environment of rules which over-regulates and over-taxes the nation's citizens, corrupts their character and reduces them to wards of the state – as liberals do."
Dr. Rossiter says the liberal agenda preys on weakness and feelings of inferiority in the population by:
- creating and reinforcing perceptions of victimization;
- satisfying infantile claims to entitlement, indulgence and compensation;
- augmenting primitive feelings of envy;
- rejecting the sovereignty of the individual, subordinating him to the will of the government.
"The roots of liberalism – and its associated madness – can be clearly identified by understanding how children develop from infancy to adulthood and how distorted development produces the irrational beliefs of the liberal mind," he says. "When the modern liberal mind whines about imaginary victims, rages against imaginary villains and seeks above all else to run the lives of persons competent to run their own lives, the neurosis of the liberal mind becomes painfully obvious."
Monday, February 18, 2008
It's always intriguing to see which churches have grown and which denominations have faded in the past year. According to the 2008 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches (a Bible of sorts for us religion writers), the fastest-growing religious body in 2007 was the Jehovah's Witnesses at 2.25 percent.
Following them were the Mormons at 1.56 percent and the Roman Catholics at .87 percent. Compare this to last year's states that had the Catholics out front at 1.94 percent, followed by the Assemblies of God at 1.86 and the Mormons at 1.63.
The denomination with the biggest decrease is the Episcopalians at 4.15 percent.
There are all sorts of arguments why some of these figures on the list below are bogus. For instance, several of the historic black churches with the "no increase or decrease listed" after their name do not release statistics at all. So the membership figure after their name is a guess at best. Plus churches' standards for membership are different. Baptist groups tend to count only those who have made an adult profession of faith. More liturgical churches include any child that has been baptized.
Still, the majority of church groups on this list are not growing. Of the top three churches [Roman Catholics, Southern Baptists and United Methodists], the Methodists are losing members.
There are some surprises here. The Lutheran Church/Missouri Synod decreased by .94 percent. I thought all conservative churches were growing. Ditto for the two Orthodox bodies listed here that are also losing members.
And there are more members of the Assemblies of God than Episcopalians. Guess which of the two gets more news coverage.
Here are the top 25:
1. The Roman Catholic Church, 67,515,016 members, an increase of .87 percent.
2. Southern Baptist Convention, 16,306,246 members, an increase of .22 percent.
3. The United Methodist Church, 7,995,456 members, a decrease of .99 percent.
4. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 5,779,316 members, an increase of 1.56 percent.
5. The Church of God in Christ, 5,499,875 members, no increase or decrease reported.
6. National Baptist Convention, U.S.A., Inc., 5,000,000 members, no increase or decrease reported.
7. Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 4,774,203 members, a decrease of 1.58 percent.
8. National Baptist Convention of America, Inc., 3,500,000 members, no increase or decrease reported.
9. Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), 3,025,740 members, a decrease of 2.36 percent.
10. Assemblies of God, 2,836,174 members, an increase of .19 percent.
11. African Methodist Episcopal Church, 2,500,000 members, no increase or decrease reported.
11. National Missionary Baptist Convention of America, 2,500,000 members, no increase or decrease reported.
11. Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc., 2,500,000 members, no increase or decrease reported.
14. The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS), 2,417,997 members, a decrease of .94 percent.
15. Episcopal Church, 2,154,572 members, a decrease of 4.15 percent.
16. Churches of Christ, 1,639,495 members, no increase or decrease reported.
17. Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, 1,500,000 members, no increase or decrease reported.
17. Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, Inc., 1,500,000 members, no increase or decrease reported.
19. The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, 1,443,405 members, an increase of .21 percent.
20. American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A., 1,371,278 members, a decrease of 1.82 percent.
21. United Church of Christ, 1,218,541 members, a decrease of 0.47 percent.
22. Baptist Bible Fellowship International, 1,200,000, no increase or decrease reported.
23. Christian Churches and Churches of Christ, 1,071,616 members, no increase or decrease reported.
24. The Orthodox Church in America, 1,064,000, no increase or decrease reported.
25. Jehovah's Witnesses, 1,069,530 members, an increase of 2.25 percent.
— Julia Duin, assistant national editor/religion, The Washington Times
THE CANADIAN PRESS
Saturday Feb 16th, 2008
VANCOUVER - Several more British Columbia Anglican congregations will vote in the coming days on whether to abandon the local bishop and diocese and align themselves with more conservative Anglicans in South America, despite the church's Canadian leader warning that they'll lose their church, property and funding if they leave.
The root of the split is the contentious issue of the blessing ofsame-sex unions.
"It started out as a tear in the fabric, then it became a rupture andnow it is a schism and a new reformation," says Lesley Bentley, spokeswoman for St. John's Shaughnessy, the largest Anglican congregation in Canada and one that voted last week to leave.
Two other British Columbia churches had already voted to join the more conservative South American diocese.
"The vote was on the blessing of same-sex unions but the reason we walked out on that was never about the blessings in particular."
Federal legislation allowing same-sex unions largely silenced what was once a raucous debate in Canada. But many churches continue to struggle with the question of religious recognition of homosexual unions.
It has been a major topic of debate for the Anglican Church of Canada and its 30 dioceses at least since 2002 when Bishop Michael Ingham and the Diocese of New Westminster approved it.
Archbishop Fred Hiltz, the head of the Anglican Church of Canada, released a letter earlier this week after the St. John's vote reminding defectors that they'll have no building to occupy if they choose to join another diocese.
In our Anglican tradition, individuals who choose to leave the Church over contentious issues cannot take property and other assets with them," Hiltz wrote.
But Bentley, whose congregation plans to fight any eviction, says the St. John's vote is a result of issues that extend beyond the blessing of same-sex unions, which she likens to the tip of the iceberg, the 10 percent of the iceberg that protrudes above water.
There is now in the Anglican Church of Canada "a real divide between twoways of viewing the scripture, where the orthodox would argue you use the Bible as a lens and you look at society and judge society through the lens of the Bible."
"The liberals would say you use contemporary society as the lens and you look at the Bible through the lens of society."
St. John's voted to come under the episcopal authority of Bishop DonaldHarvey and the diocese of the Province of the Southern Cone in SouthAmerica.
An article published this week in the Anglican Planet noted that last April the "primates (bishops) of the global Anglican Communion had recommended a pastoral council to oversee distressed Anglicans andEpiscopalians in North America."
The article quotes Bentley as saying the primates had called for the Diocese of New Westminster and the Anglican Church of Canada "to repent"' by Sept. 30.
When they didn't, the Southern Cone made the offer of "temporary emergency oversight" in November - the offer voted on last week by St. John's Shaughnessy.
Three other Vancouver-area Anglican churches are holding similar votes this month.
Two other churches in B.C. - in Hope and Richmond - are already affiliated with the Southern Cone.
"We waited out every process we were asked to wait out," Bentley told The Canadian Press. "Over the last two years we continued parish life to try to solve problem."
While those churches are looking to affiliate with the conservative Anglican Church in South America, other B.C. churches joined theAnglican jurisdiction in Africa (Rwanda) five years ago.
Those churches belong to the Anglican Coalition and total 12 congregations with "four or five more in the pipeline," says Rev. Ed Hird, who has been battling Ingham and the same-sex issue from the outset.
Most of the dissident churches are in B.C. but there are at least three in Ontario also about to take votes that could lead to them aligning with jurisidictions in Africa or South America, he says.
Hird agrees the Anglican Church in Canada seems in disarray.
"I think that's quite accurate (while) the Anglican Church in most of the world is healthy and growing in Africa," he says.
"Nobody would have anticipated this a number of years ago becauseCanadians are institutionally loyal."
The Anglican Church he grew up with "has left us. We no longer recognize it. It's become closer to the theology and practice of the UnitedChurch."
Like Bentley, Hird says focusing strictly on the same-sex issue ismisleading.
"The church welcomes homosexuals "but if we have to compromise biblical teaching that becomes difficult for us."
"We welcome everybody - drug addiction, prostitution, pe ople fromprison. But we don't feel we have permission to bless things that areforbidden in Scripture."
With Ingham out of the country, Rev. Peter Elliott speaks for theDiocese of New Westminster and takes the stance that the church is strong and vibrant and can weather this issue.
Of the 30 dioceses in Canada, he says four have voted in favour of asking their bishop to provide a rite for the blessing of couples whohave been civilly married.
They are New Westminster, Niagara, Ottawa and Montreal.
The other 26 "are having conversations" on the issue.
Elliott also notes that the General Synod of the Anglican Church has already decided that the issue of the blessing of same-sex unions "was not in conflict with the core doctrine of the Anglican Church of Canada,in other words, a secondary issue."
For Elliott, it boils down to a minority within the Canadian church who take a view that "homosexual people are disordered. That's really the essence of their argument. They believe the issues around homosexuality to be first order, gospel issues as they call them.
"The vast majority of Anglicans across the country disagree. We celebrate a church that is diverse, where there is healthy debate."
Archdeacon Paul Feheley of Toronto, the principal secretary to the primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, says the Diocese of New Westminster is ahead of even the Anglican Church in Canada.
"It got more confused when federal legislation came through allowing same-sex marriages," says Feheley.
That legislation allows for those who are licensed to marry gay or lesbian couples.
So civil law allows Feheley to marry a gay couple but church law does not.
"In the Anglican Church we are allowed to bless heterosexual couples who are civilly married. To this point we have not on a national level approved blessings of same-sex marriages or relationships."
"But the New Westminster Diocese did make that decision and has moved ahead with it so there are seven or eight parishes that do bless same-sex couples."Like Elliott, Feheley says opinions on the issue vary from diocese to diocese. "We have some dioceses that are very conservative and don't believe we should be blessing same-sex unions. There are other dioceses where probably a majority of people do believe we should be blessing same-sex unions and marriages. And there are dioceses where opinions differ."
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Church of the Province of UgandaStatement by the Provincial Assembly Standing Committee on Lambeth Conference 2008
1. The Lambeth Conference is a gathering that brings together the Bishops of the Anglican Communion from all 38 Provinces of the Communion at the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The conference is usually held every ten years. It provides Bishops with an opportunity for “worship, study, and conversation,” discussing and making resolutions that affect the Anglican Communion.
2. At the 1998 Lambeth Conference under Resolution 1.10 the Bishops overwhelmingly passed a resolution that rejects “homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture.” The conference also rejected the blessing of same-sex unions.
3. In 2003, in flagrant disregard of this resolution of the 1998 Lambeth Conference, the Episcopal Church in the United States of America (TEC) elected as Bishop Gene Robinson, a divorced man living in an active homosexual relationship. The Primates, who are the Archbishops of all the 38 Provinces of the Anglican Communion, met shortly after that and warned the Episcopal Church not to proceed with the consecration of a practicing homosexual as a Bishop. They warned that, if they proceeded with the consecration, their action would “tear the fabric of the Anglican Communion at its deepest level.” Less than a month later, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church presided over the consecration of Gene Robinson. This action has divided the Anglican Communion in a profound way.
4. The Primates of the Communion have asked the American Church to halt further consecrations of practicing homosexuals and ceremonies for the blessing of same-sex unions. Regretfully, TEC has continued to bless same-sex unions, in ceremonies that were presided over, among others, by two Bishops.
5. The Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA) produced a statement entitled The Road to Lambeth that calls for this crisis to be resolved before the next Lambeth Conference is convened. The House of Bishops of the Church of Uganda endorsed this position at their meeting in December 2006. Since this crisis has not yet been resolved, the Bishops of the Church of Uganda have resolved that they will not be participating in the Lambeth Conference to be held in July 2008 in Canterbury, England, a position that the Provincial Assembly Standing Committee strongly endorses. This decision has been made to protest the invitations extended by the Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Rev. and Rt. Hon. Rowan Williams, to TEC Bishops whose stand and unrepentant actions created the current crisis of identity and authority in the Anglican Communion.
6. The Church of Uganda, by this decision, wishes to reaffirm our commitment to the resolutions of the 2006 Provincial Assembly and Resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference, which, in substance, denounced homosexual practice and called upon the Church to remain faithful to the Holy Scriptures.
7. Consultations are going on at different levels on how to deal with this crisis, which, among others, include planning for a meeting of Biblically orthodox Anglican Bishops, clergy, and laity to be held in Jerusalem in June 2008. We request the Church to continue in prayer as efforts are being made to find a lasting solution to this crisis. Further developments regarding this matter will be communicated to the Christians in due course.Issued in Kampala this 12th day of February 2008.
The Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi
ARCHBISHOP OF CHURCH OF UGANDA.
Friday, February 01, 2008
The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Office of the Presiding Bishop
The Episcopal Church Center
New York City, New York firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, February 01, 2008
We have received your letter dated January 25 in which you state that you do not recognize us individually as members of the Standing Committee of the Diocese of San Joaquin. We find your statements, published by ENS on the internet and read in Hanford prior to most of us receiving the actual letter, to be unhelpful. While you may hold any personal opinion you wish as an individual, the office of Presiding Bishop does not have the legal, canonical or moral authority to proclaim for the Episcopal Church non-recognition of duly elected members of a diocesan Standing Committee. Without having any canonical or constitutional authority to refuse to recognize us, we cannot accept your opinion as changing our status as the canonical Standing Committee of the Diocese.
We regret that you have based your “understanding” on conjecture and misinformation. Since you do not provide any evidence of specific acts of the Standing Committee, nor proof of any wrong doing, we are unable to comment in detail on acts or events you may have relied upon to form your “understanding”. We regret you didn’t attempt to confirm your understanding with the President of our Standing Committee when you called him on January 9th, or on any other occasion.
You cite Canon I.17.8 as setting a standard of duty for anyone in elected position in The Episcopal Church, however neither this canon nor any other canon gives the office of Presiding Bishop [or any other person] sole privilege to interpret what constitutes a failure to “well and faithfully perform the duties” of any office. If the interpretation of failure to “well and faithfully perform the duties” of office is open to anyone, a cursory look at your performance in office would be cause for a great number of Episcopalians to find that you “have been and are unable to well and faithfully fulfill your duties as” Presiding Bishop. To name just a few of your canonical violations:
- Ordination of the Bishop of Virginia without the specific written consents from a majority of Standing Committees as required in Canon III.11.4.b;
- Your intentional withholding [from May ’07 to January ‘08] of notification and failure to bring before the House of Bishop’s meeting in September 2007 the abandonment of communion finding of the Title IV review committee against Bishop Cox as required in Canon IV.9.2;
- Your stated intent to delay consideration of the abandonment of communion finding of the Title IV review committee against Bishop Duncan past the March 2008 meeting of the House of Bishop’s [including your intentional withholding of notification from December 16, ’07 to January 15, ‘08] again in violation of the requirements of Canon IV.9.2.
- Establishing a missionary congregation in Bakersfield and appointing a priest who is not canonically resident to be under the supervision of Canon Moore and under your authority in violation of Canon I.13.2b and Canon III.9.6
With this evidence of your willful disobedience to the requirements of Canon, many Episcopalians could, using your own words, state they “do not recognize you as” the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. And of course, in the spirit of reconciliation, we would encourage you to be aware a “future declaration of adherence to the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church and a reaffirmation of the Declaration of Conformity, will once again make you eligible for election to office in the Episcopal Church.”
We regret the decisions you have made to misuse the Canons of The Episcopal Church. We acknowledge your personal opinion of our status as members of the Standing Committee for the Diocese of San Joaquin. In accordance with the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church, we ARE the Ecclesiastical Authority of the Diocese of San Joaquin in the event the House of Bishops should choose to depose Bishop John-David Schofield. Any attempt on your part, or on the part of any other person, to circumvent or replace the Standing Committee as the Ecclesiastical Authority will be a violation of the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church.
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The Rev. Prof. Stephen Noll
Vice Chancellor, Uganda Christian University
It is a daunting task to be asked to define orthodoxy. Such a task has occupied the minds of great theologians and councils throughout Christian history, and I consider myself hardly up to the task. However, in looking to the future of Global Anglicanism, it is necessary to put one’s hand to the plough and begin a furrow.
The need to define or describe Anglican orthodoxy today has an urgency about it, because of the actions of the Episcopal Church (TEC) and other Provinces of the Communion in blessing homosexuality against the clear teaching of Scripture, the historic Church and the Resolution of the Lambeth Conference 1998. Although this issue has dominated discussions, it is clear that it is symptomatic of a larger abandonment of biblical teaching and authority on fundamental matters of the faith. The fact that Bishop John Spong, a man who has denied virtually every article of the Christian faith, continues a bishop in good standing in TEC, while orthodox bishops are threatened with deposition for their witness speaks for itself.
[To read the entire essay, go to Anglicanism in America, http://angicanamerican.blogspot.com/]
The Christian Challenge (Washington, DC)
Lent is nearly upon us, and in The Episcopal Church (TEC) this year that means that if TEC's Presiding Bishop has her way those who go to an Episcopal parish February 10 may be invited to take part, not in the Stations of the Cross, but the Stations of the Millennium Development Goals
(MDG), complete with grammar school-type coloring and painting.
No, as the saying goes, we=92re not making this up.
Carrying forward the new TEC tradition of world-centered piety, Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has declared the first Sunday of Lent to be Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) Sunday, from 2008 onward. ERD, TEC's official charity, has designed a new rite for the occasion: the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Liturgy. Luke Fodor, Network Coordinator at the
Office of Church Relations at ERD, said in an e-mail to TEC dioceses that this "Stations of the MDGs" liturgy is "designed to be used during Lent in lieu of the traditional Stations of the Cross service."
The MDGs are eight goals for world development, adopted by the UN in 2000 in a drive to "cut extreme global poverty in half by 2015."
The Goal's include: "eradicate extreme poverty and hunger," "achieve universal primary education for children," "promote gender equality and empower women," "reduce child
mortality," "improve maternal health," "combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases," "ensure environmental sustainability," "create a global partnership for development." TEC endorsed the MDGs at its 2003 General Convention, and made them a "mission priority" in 2006; Mrs. Schori has made them a centerpiece of her tenure. It seems that Jesus' Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20) is no longer sufficient as a "mission priority."
The MDG liturgy, posted by Mike Angell of the "Office of Young Adult and Higher Education Ministries" at "815" (TEC HQ), begins when the service leader tells the congregation, "Today, we will pray and experience the MDGs as Stations as we commit ourselves to living out the Baptismal Covenant by working to achieve the MDGs. We see ourselves and the Church as on a
pilgrimage in the world, journeying with each other toward the justice of the Reign of God as manifest in the goals." Next, all recite the Baptismal Covenant as given in the 1979 prayer book baptism service.
Members of the congregation then go to each of the eight Stations of the MDGs, and perform symbolic activities at each stop:
*Preparing bag lunches to be given to a local food pantry;
*Writing down "the names of women who have inspired them and why";
*Coloring-in outline drawings of children's faces, while a bell rings to remind the participants that a child dies of a preventable water-borne illness every 15 seconds;
*Placing hand prints (in ink or finger paint) on a bed-sheet every 30 seconds, while the leader explains that "the number of hand prints on the sheet symbolize how many children have died from malaria during the time you were at the station";
*Computing carbon footprints; and
*Filling out cards to lobby Congress to spend on the MDGs.
The prayer at the beginning of each Station starts, "God, you created us and
call us to be in this world, part of your creative force."
The prayer at the end of each Station is a with-it, activist form of the Trisagion: "Holy
God, Holy and Mighty, Holy Immortal One, Transform us, That we might transform the world."
After the procession through the Stations of the MDGs is done, the congregation is to recite the MDGs in unison - as Christians have traditionally said the Creed - committing themselves to "God's Mission" as they pledge to realize the eight UN objectives.
At the end of the service, the dismissal said by all is "We go in peace to love and serve" unlike
the usual TEC post-Eucharist dismissal, which tells worshippers, "Go in peace, to love and serve the Lord."
In her announcement of ERD Sunday, Schori said, "2008 will mark the first year of what will be an annual celebration of Episcopal Relief and Development's role in our mission to seek and serve Christ in all persons. The Episcopal Church's ongoing commitment to fight poverty and disease
around the world is lived out in a variety of ways. Advocacy with our government for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals is one vital way. Another is through the ministry of Episcopal Relief and Development, which works with the worldwide Church to alleviate hunger, fight disease, and strengthen communities."
Despite the worldly bent of ERD Sunday, the TEC authorities still invoke Christ. Schori put her call to alms in a classical Lenten context, saying that, "Almsgiving is one of the traditional disciplines of the season and one of the ways in which we participate with Christ in walking to the foot of the Cross and into the light of Resurrection.=94 The prayer offered for meditation at one of the Stations of the MDGs seeks spiritual as well as secular education for children: 'Lord, we pray for open hearts and open doors to allow all children to learn and grow in knowledge of your world and your Word.'" Participants in the MDG liturgy are told to reflect on Matthew
25:37-40, in which Christ tells the elect, "Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me."
The Presiding Bishop also called on her flock to lobby for increased government spending on MDG-related programs: "I urge you also to deepen your advocacy efforts for robust financial commitments from the U.S. government toward achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Faith-based institutions like Episcopal Relief and Development are proving that poverty
can be eradicated if the proper resources and strategies are brought to bear. However, private action alone will not be enough - collective action as a nation is necessary, and our voices are what will inspire our government to act."
The Archbishop of the Southern Cone, Gregory Venables, recently offered a polar opposite view of the place that the MDGs should have in the Anglican Communion. He said the primary focus should be on "mission, not the Millennium Development Goals. The MDGs are not without value, of course, but the Gospel is far more urgent, and eternal in impact. The world is on a downward spiral, but Jesus came to turn it around. That's why we preach Jesus and not millennium goals."
Sources: Episcopal Relief and Development; Episcopal Life; Millennium Development Goals Liturgy; blog post by Canon George Conger; Stand Firm in Faith.