Saturday, July 26, 2008

March against Poverty on you way to Buckingham Palace

An Episcopal News Service article about day five at Lambeth. More than a little irony that the Bishops march in the morning to abolish poverty and then go to the Palace to have tea with Queen Elizabeth !

A Complex Man Tries to Hold Anglicans Together

A nice introductory piece about Archbishop Rowan Williams from the Washington Post.

"With his bushy beard and black berets, Rowan Williams might more closely resemble the headmaster at Harry Potter's Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry than previous archbishops of Canterbury. But the Welshman is considered one of the most important -- and powerful -- thinkers in Christianity today."

More on the Faith and Order Commission

Here's a longer but, I think more descriptive and helpful piece by George Conger describing the Archbishop' proposal for the Commission.

"In discussion following the first presentation, 21 bishops spoke, of whom 17 were white Western bishops. Bishop Keith Ackerman of Quincy (Illinois) spoke of the difficulties faced by traditionalists in the United States, while Bishop Peter Beckwith of Springfield (Illinois) enumerated the innovations of doctrine and discipline that have occurred in the Episcopal Church in recent years.

However, the majority of speakers at the closed-door session came from the Episcopal Church’s liberal wing, and argued the American church was being unfairly caricatured. Bishop James Mathes of San Diego complained of cross-border interventions into his diocese by overseas primates, while other bishops suggested the wider Communion did not understand the unique circumstances of the United States."

Its here -

Dr Rowan Williams calls for church problems ‘clearing house’ (or is it an Inquisition?)

There are two London Times articles about this proposal from Rowan Williams. The first one is short and fairly benign and can be found here -

The second, by Ruth Gledhill, is much more caustic in tone (in my opinion) and the headline describes Rowan's idea as an Anglican version of the Inquisition. (No one expects the Anglican inquisition) It can be found here -

Friday, July 25, 2008

West African Christianity often includes the Occult

Syncretism refers to practicing more than one religion at a time, often mutually exclusive religions. Much like the Israelites hedged their bets by worshipping Yhwh and Baal. This a Christianity Today article (CT tends to have a very conservative bent) which begins with a fairly dramatic example from Nigeria -

"Nigerian pastor Benjamin Ojobu and his wife, Patience, were arrested in May for allegedly using a human head in rituals for church members. The practice of using severed body parts to ensure prosperity—whether material, emotional, or spiritual—is not uncommon in West Africa."

""One out of 10 self-named Christians in this region practices only Christianity," says Benjamin-Lee Hegeman, a former missionary in West Africa who now teaches at Houghton College. "Some people call it syncretism, but it may be more like dual religious allegiance, where Christianity is practiced in the daytime and occult [practice] is done at night. Many of the pastors will preach from the pulpit that this type of thing is wrong, but secretly take part in it at night. "

Legality of Conversion

I remember being in Mumbai years ago and reading an editorial in the English language newspaper discussing whether or not Indian citizens should legally be allowed to change their religion. Here's a story from The Economist about that.

"But America’s religious free-for-all is very much the exception, not the rule, in human history—and increasingly rare, some would say, in the world today. In most human societies, conversion has been seen as an act whose consequences are as much social and political as spiritual; and it has been assumed that the wider community, in the form of the family, the village or the state, has every right to take an interest in the matter."

New web address for Pittsburgh Diocese

If you have the diocesan web site book marked you'll need to change it to this -

The story is here -

Telegraph Commentary

London Daily Telegraph commentary on the poverty walk -

"The spectacle of more than 600 purple-cassocked bishops, with spouses and friends more than doubling their number, marching through Whitehall and Westminster in solidarity with the world's poorest peoples must have elicited a collective sigh of relief among those who count themselves members of almost any Christian congregation. Here, at last, were the Church's leaders doing not only what they should be doing, but also what they do best: holding the world's political and commercial powers to account in a visible act of Christian witness."

Church Times on the Sudanese Statement

This first link is to the news story about The Archbishop of Sudan (Pictured) issuing a statement about the theology of sexuality. It reads in part -

"Sudan was the first to take the velvet gloves off at the Conference and throw into the ring a position statement on sexuality. The two issues are inextricably linked for the country. Speaking separately to the Church Times, the Archbishop said: “Our Muslim neighbours view us as completely infidel. We are [considered] not people who love God, because they think what we are doing in the Church is completely evil. We are being insulted by Islam. We want our brothers to see the pain of what we have done."

This link is to the story about some of the reaction to it -

"Archbishop Chew had not studied the statement, but there was nothing new in it, he suggested: it repeated Windsor and was consistent with the Primates’ statement from Dromantine. “They are not calling for anything new, which would have been unfair. They are saying that if we do not take up what we have committed [ourselves to] seriously, then even in the eyes of the secular world, our credibility is reduced.”"

Church Times on Lambeth's First Days

The Church Times is a weekly British Publication. Here is there story about the opening of Lambeth from today's edition. And yes, the dancers with the grass skirts and funny hats are back.

"Then came the outbreak of sheer joy that was the Gospel procession of grass-skirted Melanesian Brothers and Sisters. In scenes reminiscent of Dr Sentamu’s enthronement as Archbishop of York, they danced and weaved their exuberant way from the high altar to the Compass Rose, to the accompaniment of pan pipes, drums, and the kazoo."

Bishops do the Lambeth walk to end poverty

London Times story on the "March against Poverty" yesterday. Includes a brief video.

"Dr Williams told The Times that the purpose of the march was to “persuade other governments, through our government, to keep up the pressure on poverty”.

The Archbishop's entourage were in the centre to keep up morale and ensure that the message got through."

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Akinola threatens discipline for any Nigerian Bishop who goes to Lambeth

Archbishop of Nigeria, Peter Akinola (pictured) talking with George Conger about the Lambeth conference.
Just a question, but if Lambeth is immaterial then why would you need to discipline a Bishop who went?

"Initial claims that a Nigerian bishop had bucked his Church have proven false.

However, Archbishop Peter Akinola told the whole issue of who was or was not at Lambeth was immaterial. “At this point it is a non-issue for us. After Lambeth, any Nigerian who may have chosen to flout our provincial and collective decision will have to answer to the general synod. Its as simple as that.""

Lambeth diary: Anglicans in turmoil

BBC Corespondent Robert Pigott (pictured) is keeping a daily dairy of his experience at Lambeth. He laments the lack of access the news media has to the conference and says that's why items like Cardinal Dias' statement get so much press.

"The media aren't allowed into many of the events taking place under the auspices of the Lambeth Conference, the Anglican Communion's once-a-decade meeting taking place in Canterbury.
At daily news conferences mild-mannered archbishops have encountered hostility from correspondents irritated at being banned even from the early morning service of Holy Communion. They have scarcely been mollified by the explanation that the exclusion is for "security reasons"."

Lambeth voices: a panel of Anglican bishops share their views

The London Times asks some Bishops what's going on. My friend Pete Beckwith (pictured) Bishop of the Diocese of Springfield (another conservative who's not leaving) doesn't pull any punches -

“In my Bible study group I apologised for the behaviour of our province that has brought us to the brink of schism. Two hundred and seventy bishops are not here because they refuse to sit down with people who refuse to repent."

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Just what every Episcopalian needs (Does it come in white?)

Not even remotely on topic (as if we have one yet). Maybe the French do have something to contribute to Anglicanism !

Drink it here -

Video of Rowan Williams reflecting on Hopes for Lambeth

This is a seven minute YoutTube video of Rowan Williams reflecting on his hopes for Lambeth. Just a little on the dry side. Too bad Busby Berkeley isn't around to dress it up with a musical number. Oh well...

Its here

Cardinal Ivan Dias: Anglican Church suffering spiritual Alzheimer's (You gott'a read this to believe it!)

This may be in the category of "Did I say that out loud?" Cardinal Ivan Dias again (pictured in a different hat - liked the earlier one better) -

"The Cardinal said: “Much is spoken today of diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. By analogy, their symptoms can, at times, be found even in our own Christian communities.
“For example, when we live myopically in the fleeting present, oblivious of our past heritage and apostolic traditions, we could well be suffering from spiritual Alzheimer’s. And when we behave in a disorderly manner, going whimsically our own way without any coordination with the head or the other members of our community, it could be ecclesial Parkinson’s.”"

But wait, it gets better !

"In a joint statement, the Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease societies criticised the Cardinal. They said: “Seeing the challenges faced by people with Parkinson’s disease or dementia trivialised by comments from such a prominent public figure is demoralising."

You couldn't make this stuff up !

But you can read it here -

NPR Audio from this morming

Morning Edition story on the Lambeth Conference. A little over four minutes long.

Vatican official in warning to Anglican bishops

A piece by George Conger on Romes response and advice to the Bishops at Lambeth.

"Cardinal Ivan Dias (pictured) , the prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples said internal dissention within the Christian world and external attacks were hindering the spread of the faith. However, “for a disciple of Jesus Christ” to “preach the Gospel is not an option, but a command of the Lord.”

Speaking to bishops gathered for the 14th Lambeth Conference on July 22, Cardinal Dias, who was accompanied by the Papal Nuncio to Great Britain, Archbishop Faustino Sainz Munoz, said the battle to bring Christ to the world must be placed in the “wider context of spiritual combat” with Satan. “If this context is ignored in favour of a myopic world-vision, Christ’s salvation will be conveniently dismissed as irrelevant,” he argued."

Anglicans Could One Day Be Led by a Woman: Bishop

Reuters story on the women Bishop issue that has recently rocked the Church of England. The story is wrapped around a statement Bishop Victoria Matthews (pictured with the Queen (does she ever not wear a hat?)) made, which actually in America doesn't sound all that provocative.

"Williams readily admitted at the conference on Monday that the thorny issue of women bishops was "a huge bit of unfinished business" for the Church of England.

But he did not feel that the mother church had entered the conference mortally wounded "as a bleeding, hunted animal with arrows in its side.""

BBC video on Lambeth Conference

A BBC news video on the opening Eucharist at Lambeth. You can see the so called "half naked dancers" at the beginning. A bit less ferocious than what's pictured.

Bishops invited to sit under the Church’s ‘shady tree’ and give tribal politics a go

A story/commentary about the first try at the Indaba process from the London Times. Allison Lawrence (pictured with Mark) is quoted below _

Allison Lawrence, wife of the Bishop of South Carolina, Mark Lawrence, said: “They have taken a Zulu word and used it for an American concept. The African concept when you do an indaba is you talk, talk, talk until you agree. In these indaba groups, they talk a little and then someone changes the subject if they don’t like it. The Americans are feeling railroaded and manipulated. Even the Africans are saying, ‘This is not indaba’.”

Whole thing here -

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Sudanese Archbishop asks Gene Robinson to Resign for the Sake of the Communion

From Religious Intelligence

"The Bishop of New Hampshire must resign in order to save the Anglican Communion from chaos, the Archbishop of Juba and Primate of the Sudan (pictured), said today. “If [Gene Robinson] were a real Christian he would resign,” Archbishop Daniel Deng said on July 22."

"It came the same day as evangelicals held a private meeting to address divisions among traditionalists. A number of primates, Church of England and overseas bishops and an aide to the Archbishop of Canterbury met to reconcile the Gafcon wing of the traditionalist movement with the Communion Partners group."

And also from the London Daily Telegraph -

The statement read: "This has not only caused deep divisions within the Anglican Communion but it has seriously harmed the Church's witness in Africa and elsewhere, opening the church to ridicule and damaging its credibility in a multi-religious environment."
He later added: "If he [Bishop Robinson] is a Christian as he says, then he should resign for the sake of the church. We want Gene Robinson to resign to allow the whole communion to be united."

And from the London Times

And he called on the 60 bishops who consecrated him, many of whom are at the ten-yearly Lambeth Conference in Canterbury, Kent, to confess, repent and beg for forgiveness for taking the Church to the point of schism.

Rumours of Anglican death prove premature

Commentary from the Daily Telegraph

"But the start of the Lambeth Conference has continued his and, by extension, the Anglican Communion’s upswing. A month ago, this conference was still being heralded as a bloodbath, or an irrelevance with so many bishops boycotting it over issues of homosexuality, or even a funeral pyre for the Anglican Communion and with it the Church of England."

Report on Lambeth from 1948

The more things change the more they stay the same. This is how the Time magazine article reporting on the eighth Lambeth Conference in 1948 begins -

"The Church is not something made by men. It is the instrument of the living God for the setting-forward of His reign on earth . . . This is an hour of testing and peril for the Church, no less than for the world. But it is the hour of God's call to the Church . . . For those who have eyes to see, there are signs that the tide of faith is beginning to come in."

This is an interesting read especially in light of recent statements that Lambeth is not a body creating or affirming doctrine. Much of the article deals with the doctrinal stances taken and refers to the Bishop's "encyclical". Archbishop Fisher is pictured.,9171,799115,00.html

Not Quite Indaba

Another Dave Walker Cartoon. He's at Lambeth and has a "Cartoon Tent". His blog can be found at-

Archbishop (Rowan) confirms church's anti-gay sex stance

Will wonders never cease? The ABofC affirms the Church's teaching on sexuality. From the London Times.

"The Archbishop of Canterbury has continued his quest for Anglican unity with a strong statement against living in sin and gay sex.

Dr Williams said: "I do not believe that sex outside marriage is as God purposes it."

And he said he remained "committed" to the Church's official stance against gay sex, which aims to preserve Biblical norms."

Father of the Save Dies

Hall of Fame sports writer Jerome Holtzman has died. He created the category of "save" for pitchers in 1959 and it was adopted by major league baseball in 1969. (If they had adopted it when it was invented Elroy Face would probably be in the Hall of Fame.)

Holtzman is on the left in the photo on opening day in 1957. Don't you wish those hats would come back in style?

From the Chicago Tribune where he worked for many years -

"Holtzman was a baseball beat writer and columnist at the Chicago Sun-Times for three decades, starting in 1957, the year before the Dodgers' and Giants' migration from New York to California turned baseball into a truly national sport. He moved to the Tribune as baseball columnist in 1981 and was inducted into the writers' wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1989, perhaps the most notable of the countless honors he achieved over his remarkable career.",0,6453919.story

Lambeth Conference Daily Account

From Episcopal Life Online -Three American Bishops give a brief account of their first day.

In case you missed it Indaba is an African way of having conversation and listening.

"Indaba is a Zulu word for a gathering for purposeful discussion and is both a process and method of engagement, and offers a way of listening to one another concerning challenges that face the Anglican Communion."

Information about the process can be found here-

Lambeth diary: Saying sorry

BBC report in which Rowan Williams is quoted as saying that all the American Bishops (except one) were invited to Lambeth because they said the were sorry.

"But Dr Williams said the American bishops had earned their invitations through contrition.
Some individually expressed regret for the action widely blamed for prompting the widening rift over homosexuality in the Communion.
"Corporately the (American) House of Bishops asked for forgiveness last year," said Dr Williams, "and 50% of the provinces (individual autonomous national Anglican Churches) or a bit more said that's probably all right.""

My sweet Lord: Top ten religious treats

Slightly off topic (as if we really have one). The London Times on the most popular Religious snack foods. Didn't even know the category existed.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Full Text of Rowan William's Address

From The London Telegraph

"We know all that; but we need also to know what most matters – that God’s eyes are upon us and that God has entrusted something to us. In the last few days, we have had a chance to hold that firmly in mind as we have shared our time of retreat. We have reminded ourselves that God has entrusted something to each one of us as a bishop, the care of his people and the taking forward of his purpose for humankind through our share in God’s mission."

(Got himself a new hat)

Audio From Lambeth Press Conference July 21

This is a 35 minute audio of today's press conference. (Not quite aural chloroform but pretty close). Archbishop Rowan, Archbishop Aspinwall (Brisbane) and Melinda Whalon. Melinda is the wife of Pierre Whalon (pictured) Bishop of the American Churches in Europe. Pierre and I were ordained together and he and Melinda ministered in North Versailles for several years. Melinda shows up about 3/4 of the way through.

Aparently Rome has its Lunatic Fringes As Well

Now where did they get the Roman Catholic women Bishops again ? Oh I get it !

"BOSTON (AP) -- An activist group hoping to pressure the Roman Catholic church into dropping its long-standing prohibition barring women from the priesthood says it ordained three women on Sunday."

And we have video-

A Bishop Prepares for Lambeth

My friend Mary over at the blog "Baby Blue Cafe" ran this last spring. She cracks me up. She has one of the most eclectic blogs going.

It can be found at -

Crackup of Anglican Communion at Hand, Evangelical Bishops Say

Christianty Today's take on what's going on in the communion

"I'd like to expect a miracle," said Bishop Venables (pictured), a leader of the evangelical alliance at Lambeth, but said he feared the prospects for the church holding together were grim.

"Humanely speaking, there is little hope for even a peaceful separation" between the liberal and evangelical wings of the 80-million-member communion of churches, Bishop Venables said on July 18."

Archbishop of Canterbury says: 'Now we must work out what is really important'

London Times on Rowan Williams opening address -

“To such people, I’d simply say, ‘How effective have the old methods really been?’. Earlier Lambeth Conferences issued weighty reports and passed scores of resolutions,” he said. “If you look at the resolutions that have been passed since 1867, you’ll find many of them, on really important subjects, have never been acted on.”

Dr Williams said: “We need to get beyond the reciprocal impatience that shows itself in the ways in which both liberals and traditionalists are ready – almost eager at times, it appears – to assume that the other is not actually listening to Jesus."

Bishop Mark Lawrence Reflects on First Days of Lambeth

My good friend Mark Lawrence, recently consecrated as the Bishop of South Carolina, is sending some reflections to his diocese. You can read the first installation here -

Lambeth Introduction

The BBC has its own primer which is quite good. The chart shows the number of Anglicans in the world.

FACTBOX: What is the Lambeth Conference?

A brief primer about the conference for those of you who are still not sure what its all about. Also some information about the recent GAFCon conference. From Reuters -

A Pox on Both Your Houses

London Telegraph article about Rowan Williams opening address in which he criticizes the left and the right extremes. He is also setting the groundwork for the Anglican covenant. He is quoted below

"I want to say very clearly that the case for an Anglican Covenant is essentially about what we need in order to give [our] vision some clearer definition," he said last night.

"It implies some obvious and simple things – being clear about how we recognise and accept each other's ministries in the conviction that we are ordaining men and women to one ministry in one body."

Its all here -

If you want to see what the latest incarnation of the Anglican Covenant looks like (referred to as the St. Andrews version) look here-

The shindig begins with nerves and half-naked dancers

London Times commentary on the opening Eucharist. Reads like it was written by the society column folks. (And I thought the bishops had funny hats !)

"The 14th Lambeth Conference had everything befitting a party that has been ten years in the planning: bouncers, paparazzi, an international guest list of thousands, in Canterbury Cathedral the most well-established venue in the city, world-renowned musicians and even half-naked dancers."

Episcopal News Service on Lambeth Opening Eucharist

Controversy at the opening Eucharist apparently over the humming of a Buddhist like chant by the preacher. Does this mean that they have to stop using drums in the Ugandan church ? Also the wheat and the weeds are back.

"De Chickera noted that "we are a wounded community … the crisis is complex and it can't be resolved instantly. The journey ahead is long and arduous … but we trust in God who makes reconciliation possible."

He referred to the Gospel reading from chapter 13 of Matthew, in which Jesus tells the parable of a field that bore both weeds and wheat. The two grow together, but at harvest, the weeds are burned and the wheat -- God's community -- is gathered into the barn. "If we uproot the unrighteous, then none of us will remain. We are all amidst the weeding and the weeds. I suggest we stay together and grow from our common heritage, regardless of our differences," said De Chickera."

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Lambeth Opening Eucharist

Associated Press Story on Lambeth opening eucharist.

In his sermon at Canterbury Cathedral, Bishop Duleep de Chickera of Colombo, Sri Lanka, (pictured) said that Anglicans should focus on healing the world, not on internal differences that undermine "unity in diversity" that he called a "cherished Anglican tradition."

Anglican leader rebuffs challenge to his authority

Christian Century article on Rowan's response to GAFCon. Dated July 29 (must be wrong ). And by the way what "Bishop" is that in the picture? (Just having a little fun! Got tired of looking for pictures of Rowan.)

"It is not enough to dismiss the existing structures of the communion," Williams said. "If they are not working effectively, the challenge is to renew them rather than improvise solutions."

Williams: Anglicans in 'severe' crisis

AP Story on the continuing Lambeth Conference.

"Whatever the popular perception, the options before us are not irreparable schism or forced assimilation," Williams said. "It is not an option to hope that we can somehow just carry on as we always have."

(Does he have a lot of great hats or what?)

Find it here

Bishops boycotting Lambeth Conference 'are weakening church's efforts to resolve crisis'

London Daily Telegraph article as the Bishops emerge from their retreat.

"Speaking as the world's Anglican bishops emerged from their three-day retreat for the opening service of the conference at Canterbury cathedral, the Most Rev Phillip Aspinall, (pictured) the Archbishop of Brisbane and Primate of Australia, said: "I'm greatly saddened by their decision not to come. They come from an Evangelical tradition and that perspective is weaker because they are not here – and we are much the poorer."

Splitting Up

This is a Christian Century article from May. In it the writer tells the story of several former Episcopal Churches who split from the denomination and kept on splitting over and over. This is very common for churches which leave over purity issues. It reads in part -

"George Koch, pastor of Church of the Resurrection Anglican, views this history more simply: "Divorce breeds divorce." Bishop Persell, viewing the scene from the perspective of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago, draws an even stronger conclusion: "If you're formed in opposition and negativity, you're bound to keep on splitting—there's always need for more purity, and you don't live with ambiguity very well, so you end up in a church of one." "

Barney Dreyfuss Finally Makes it to Cooperstown

A wonderful piece in today's Post-Gazette about the first owner of the Pirates and his enshrinement in the Hall of Fame. (Another nice hat!)

"In the eulogy delivered at Rodef Shalom Temple, prior to burial at West View Cemetery, Dr. Samuel Goldenson said, "Here was a man who elevated a mere sport to the dignity of an honorable and magnificent business. ... It is fair play we have most need of in the world, and this man made it the object of his life.""

There's also a companion piece on the Cooperstown web site.