Saturday, November 14, 2009

Anglicans focus on home, and Rome

From The BBC-

Anglicans in Sevenoaks, Kent, have given mixed reactions to the Apostolic Constitution published by the Vatican.

Since the Church of England first ordained women priests in the 1990s several hundred Anglicans have taken the road to Rome; many married Anglican priests have been ordained in the Roman Catholic church.

The Apostolic Constitution, holding out to Anglicans the prospect of their own hierarchies - "ordinariates" - within the Roman Catholic system, has led to predictions that whole congregations opposed to plans for women priests will leave the Church of England.
'Totally unacceptable'

In Sevenoaks - visited by the BBC News website earlier this year to discuss the women bishops debate, the parish of St John the Baptist is firmly on the Catholic wing of the Church and opposed to women's ordination.

But Jim Cheeseman, a parishioner of St John's and a member of the C of E's General Synod, finds much to criticise in the Vatican's plan.

More here-

OCEANSIDE: O'side congregation loses legal battle with Episcopal Church

From San Diego-

Sunday's sermon at St. Anne's Anglican Church in Oceanside will be about "standing on the authority of God's word" in light of a recent court ruling that could force the congregation to find a new home.

Father Joe Rees, rector of the church at 701 West St. near the former Ditmar Elementary School, said he and his parishioners are still praying about a ruling handed down by San Diego Superior Court Judge Steven Denton on Tuesday.

The tentative ruling found that the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego is the true owner of the Oceanside church building and grounds, as well as property inhabited by another Anglican congregation in Ocean Beach. Both congregations left the Episcopal Diocese in 2006 and changed denominations.

It is the latest legal victory for the Episcopal Church, which has seen many individual congregations and four dioceses nationwide break away in disagreement over several decisions made by church leadership, including the ordination of the faith's first openly gay bishop in 2003.

In his Nov. 10 ruling, Judge Denton wrote that once St. Anne's congregation changed denominations, the Oceanside property "reverted to the national church."

The judge based his ruling in large part on a pair of appellate court decisions that found for the dioceses of other formerly Episcopalian churches earlier this year.

Denton wrote that it was undisputed that both the Oceanside and Ocean Beach parishes agreed "from the beginning of their existence to be part of a greater denominational church and to be bound by that greater church's governing instruments.

"Those instruments make it clear that a local parish owns local church property in trust for the greater church and may use that property only so long as the local church remains part of the greater church," he continued.

More here-

Episcopal Diocese in Fort Worth to ordain first female priest

From Dallas Morning News-

For the first time, a woman is to be ordained to the priesthood in the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth.

The ordination of Susan Slaughter is set for Sunday afternoon in Fort Worth, at St. Luke's in the Meadow Episcopal Church.

"It is with a deep sense of awe in the mysterious ways of our Lord that I arrive at this moment," Slaughter said.

The Episcopal Church approved the ordination of women more than three decades ago. Most dioceses, including the one in Dallas, have long had women priests.

But Fort Worth, led by bishops who opposed the ordination of women, joined a few other conservative dioceses as holdouts.

The Fort Worth diocese split last year, with Bishop Jack Iker and most congregations leaving the Episcopal Church to align with a conservative, Argentina-based province of the Anglican Communion.

Iker's group still claims the title Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth. So does a smaller contingent of Fort Worth area churches that remain loyal to the Episcopal Church and have reorganized, choosing new leadership.

The latter group favors women's ordination. The Rev. Ted Gulick, who has been its provisional bishop, will ordain Slaughter.

Slaughter, 67 and a grandmother, visited an Episcopal church as a small girl in Houston and "loved the liturgy." She became the first in her family to be confirmed in the Episcopal Church, and soon brought family members into the church.

Long active in lay ministry, Slaughter eventually underwent seminary training and has been a deacon at St. Luke's in the Meadow in recent years.

She will be the rector of that church and the diocese's first female rector.

Friday, November 13, 2009

D.C. Council, Catholic Archdiocese at Odds over Funds for Charity

From the Living Church-

In a conflict between the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington and the Council of the District of Columbia, the Episcopal Diocese of Washington has sided with the council.

The conflict involves a proposed law that would legalize marriage between same-sex couples, and how that law would affect entities, including churches, that accept city funds for charitable work. The council rejected an amendment to exempt churches from “the promotion of marriage that is in violation of the entity’s religious beliefs.”

The council is due to vote on the legislation in December. The district has longstanding laws that bar discrimination against gays and lesbians.

The archdiocese, which accepts city funds for Catholic Charities, has expressed concern that the proposed law will hinder its religious freedom and freedom of speech.

“It is our concern that the committee’s narrowing of the religious exemption language will cause the government to discontinue our long partnership with them and open up the agency to litigation and the use of resources to defend our religious beliefs rather than serve the poor,” said Edward Orzechowski, president and CEO of Catholic Charities, in a statement released by the archdiocese.

Catholic Charities serves 68,000 people in the city each year, and the city’s 40 Catholic parishes operate another 93 social-service programs, the statement added.

The Rt. Rev. John Chane, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, sees the question as one of civil rights for gay and lesbian couples.

“The Episcopal Church and the Roman Catholic Church have significant theological differences on the issue of same-sex relationships, so perhaps it is not surprising that the social service organizations affiliated with the two Churches have reached different conclusions regarding the effect of the legislation to legalize same-sex marriage currently under consideration in the District of Columbia,” Bishop Chane said in a statement issued on Nov. 12.

“Our partners in ministry have expressed no reservations about the legislation,” Bishop Chane added. “Episcopalians understand that none of us has the right to violate the human rights of another individual. That’s the law of the District of Columbia. More important, it’s at the core of the Gospel. I hope that the least among us will not be victimized by the struggle over this legislation, and I pray that people of faith will come forward to provide food and shelter if the need arises.”

The Most Rev. Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, has written before about why the Catholic archdiocese opposes the proposed law.

“Our support of marriage is not meant to discriminate against any individual or family. The Catechism of the Catholic Church upholds the human dignity of every person and condemns any form of unjust discrimination (2358),” the archbishop wrote on Oct. 6 in a “Pastoral Message for Homosexual Catholics in the Archdiocese of Washington.”

Archbishop Wuerl added: “The complementarity of man and woman is the foundation of marriage as created by God. The Church and, indeed, cultures throughout time have recognized that marriage is the faithful union of man and woman, joined in a permanent relationship of self-giving love and an openness to creating new life.”

Interesting Photo

Pages from the Lindisfarne Gospels are projected onto Durham Cathederal in Durham, northern England November 12, 2009. Projection artist Ross Ashton has collaborated with composer and arranger Robert Ziegler and Imagination sound designer John del’Nero, to create a twelve-minute son et lumiere. Ashton will project illustrated pages of the Lindisfarne Gospels across the 100m span of Durham Cathedral over four consecutive nights.

Invite from Rome 'offensive,' says Anglican bishop

From Toronto-

An invitation from Rome to join the Catholic Church is "offensive in the extreme," the head of a breakaway group of Canadian Anglicans says.

"Apart from being an intrusion at the very highest levels of one major church into the internal affairs of another, under the guise of being ecumenical, this invitation offers very little that is new," Bishop Don Harvey, moderator of the Anglican Network in Canada, told the group's annual synod Thursday morning.

The Network left the Anglican Church of Canada last year to join the conservative Anglican Church in North America in a dispute over liberal versus conservative interpretations of the Bible that came to a head over gay marriage and clergy.

Then, last month, Pope Benedict XVI invited dissatisfied Anglicans to join the Catholic church, but keep their Anglican rituals. Details of the invitation, which allows Anglican clergy to remain married, but not become bishops, were released this week.

More here-

Vatican publishes plan for full communion with disaffected Anglicans

The Anglican Journal-

The Vatican has offered more details about how it plans to accommodate disaffected Anglican clergy and lay people who want to join the Roman Catholic Church but still retain some of their Anglican traditions.

The Vatican published its Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus on Nov. 9, introducing a canonical structure that would establish “personal ordinariates,” similar to dioceses within existing Catholic dioceses. These jurisdictions would be in full communion with the Catholic Church but could observe some Anglican services and traditions. The Catechism of the Catholic Church would, however, be the “authoritative expression” professed by those in the ordinariates.

According to the document, former Anglican bishops, including those who are married, could be ordained as priests within the Catholic Church and are eligible to be appointed as ordinary (bishop) and exercise pastoral and sacramental ministry within the ordinariate with full jurisdictional authority. But all exceptions to the Catholic Church’s rule that priests should be celibate would be decided on a case-by-case basis. Former Anglican bishops could also be asked to assist ordinaries. They may be invited to participate in meetings of the Bishop’s Conference in that territory with status equivalent to a retired bishop.

Anglican clergy could be accepted by the ordinary as candidates for ordination as Catholic priests. Married priests would also be eligible on a case-by-case basis, but unmarried priests would be required to remain celibate. The constitution also stated that Anglican clergy who are in “irregular marriage situations” would not be accepted for ordination.

More here-

Ugandans clarify view on gay Bill

From The Church Times-

THE Church of the Province of Uganda says it “does not yet have an official position” on the country’s proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill, but says that it cannot support the death penalty for the offence of “aggravated homosexuality”.

Someone convicted of “the offence of homosexuality” would be liable to life imprisonment under the Bill. Human-rights organisations world wide have condemned the Bill and described it as draconian (News, 6 November). The statement from the Province of Uganda reiterates its stance that “homosexual behaviour is immoral and should not be promoted, supported, or condoned in any way as an ‘alternative lifestyle’.”

It also quotes a comment made in April this year by the Archbishop of Uganda, the Most Revd Henry Orombi: “I am appalled to learn that the rumours we have heard for a long time about homosexual recruit ing in our schools and among our youth are true.
“I am even more concerned that the practice is more widespread than we originally thought. It is the duty of the Church and the government to be watchmen on the wall and to warn and protect our people from harmful and deceitful agendas.”

He made the remarks in the wake of the right-wing Family Life Net work conference in Uganda in March, addressed by Christian speakers from the United States. Participants publicly “confessed” to bribing school children to become gay, and the Network petitioned the Ugandan government for new laws against homosexuals.

More here-

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Anglican groups back Covenant draft

From Religious Intelligence_

The Church of Ireland, the American dioceses of Western Louisiana and South Carolina and the New Zealand dioceses of Christchurch and Nelson have endorsed the Ridley-Cambridge draft of the Anglican Covenant, joining Central Florida in backing the Archbishop of Canterbury’s plan for creating a structure to manage the divisions over doctrine and discipline dividing the Anglican Communion.

On Oct 24, a special convention of the Diocese of South Carolina approved a resolution by a margin of 88 to 12 per cent that “endorses” the Anglican Covenant “as it presently stands, in all four sections, as an expression of our full commitment to mutual submission and accountability in communion, grounded in a common faith.”

Delegates to the Oct 9-10 annual convention of the Diocese of Western Louisiana also affirmed their support for the Covenant and backed Bishop Bruce MacPherson’s endorsement of the Anaheim Statement, which reaffirmed his commitment to remain part of the Anglican Communion and the Anglican Covenant process.

By a show of hands the convention adopted a resolution that “fully affirms” Western Louisiana’s “commitment to the Windsor principles, including the formation of, and future adoption of an Anglican Covenant as a means of supporting the ongoing work of our bishop and the efforts of the broader Communion to preserve our unity.”

The convention further stated that it “supports the ongoing work on the Ridley Cambridge draft including section 4.” In his presidential address to his diocesan synod on Sept 24, the Bishop of Nelson, the Rt Rev Richard Ellena said the Anglican Covenant was “the Archbishop of Canterbury’s only strategy for holding the Communion together.”

In September, Christchurch and Nelson took note of the actions of ACC-14 in Jamaica and stated they supported “in principle” the Covenant process and commended the Ridley-Cambridge draft “as it currently stands as the practicable means available to make the Anglican Communion Covenant process become effective in the life of the Anglican Communion.”

On Sept 15, the standing committee of the Church of Ireland’s General Synod endorsed a report created by the church’s Anglican Covenant Working Group. “Having considered Section 4 of the [Ridley-Cambridge] Draft Anglican Covenant very carefully, and bearing in mind a full range of points of view, we believe that the text of Section 4 as it stands commends itself in the current circumstances,” the working group said.

Delegates to the annual synod of the Diocese of Sydney last week also voiced their approval of the Anglican Covenant, voting on Oct 28 to ask the Anglican Church of Australia’s General Synod Standing Committee to bring the Anglican Covenant to the September 2010 General Synod “in such a manner as to enable each diocesan synod to consider the document.”

Rowan Williams: Anglican future looks 'chaotic and uncertain'

From The London Times-

The Archbishop of Canterbury has pleaded with the Church of England’s Anglo-Catholics to resist the temptation to convert to Roman Catholicism over women bishops.

Dr Rowan Williams admitted that the future of the Anglican Communion looked “chaotic and uncertain”.

Preaching in london, he said: “God knows what the future holds.” But he insisted that it remained possible to be at once holy, Catholic and Anglican.

Dr Williams did not refer directly to the response from Pope Benedict XVI to requests from some Church of England bishops and traditional Anglicans around the world for a means of admission to the Catholic Church.

More here-

and The Telegraph-

Anglicans to Pope: We’re staying put

From Uganda-

Anglicans in Uganda yesterday rallied behind conservative colleagues around the world to reject an open-ended invite to them by Pope Benedict XIV to embrace the Catholic faith.

“We are convinced that this is not the time to abandon the Anglican Communion,” Mr Peter Abuja, the chairman of the Global Anglican Future (Gafcon), said in a Tuesday statement that Church of Uganda (CoU) endorsed.

Yesterday, Ms Amanda Onapito, CoU’s newly-promoted communications director, said they “fully subscribe to Gafcon and all its views”.

Uganda last year teamed with other conformist churches representing some 30 million Anglicans around the world to found Gafcon at a symposium in Jerusalem as a parallel forum to profess strict adherence to the scriptures.

The conservatives are angry over mainstream Anglican church’s tolerance – some say acceptance – of openly gay bishops, especially in the US, Canada and Australia.

More here-

Installment ceremony today for Minn. minister taking national post

From Minnesota Public Radio-

The director of the Minnesota Council of Churches will become president of the National Council of Churches on Thursday evening during an installment ceremony.

The Rev. Peg Chemberlin was elected to lead the national organization of Christian churches two years ago, but a ceremony at St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral in Minneapolis will make her position official.

Under her leadership, Chemberlin said the National Council of Churches will focus on issues like poverty, which all denominations involved in the council agree deserve attention.

The organization will also need to pull its more that 100,000 member congregations together, even when there are differences of opinion on gay marriage and whether to allow gay clergy to serve, she said.

"It's part of the life of the national council because it's part of the life of our denominations," Chemberlin told MPR's Morning Edition. "We have very diverse perspectives among our denominations at the table."

The other challenge, Chemberlin said, will be raising the council's profile while also raising the profile of member denominations. She said the Minnesota Council of Churches, where she will continue to serve as executive director, has become "the go-to organization when a public leader needs to be engaged with the faith community," such as when there's a major tragedy.

"We're also just going to make ourselves more available than we have in the past," said Chemberlin, a Moravian clergywoman who is the first Minnesotan to lead the national organization.

Thursday's ceremony will include a worship service at 7:30 p.m. and a procession of 20 national church leaders of various denominations. The installation will take place at 8:30 p.m. The event will be open to the public.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Anglican Professor Slain in South Africa

From the Living Church-

The Rev. Clive Newman, who narrowly escaped murder when he was a 27-year-old businessman in 1991, was found dead on Nov. 9.

Fr. Newman, 45, was a lecturer at College of the Transfiguration in Grahamstown, South Africa, for the past four years. He taught in the fields of Anglican studies, worship and early African church history. He was ordained in 2007.

The Rev. Canon William Domeris, rector of the college, found Fr. Newman’s body in his campus apartment. Canon Domeris said he checked on Fr. Domeris because he had not shown up for teaching duties or for worship.

The attack in 1991, by two men who had already killed three other people, left Fr. Newman with sliced vocal chords and gaping wound in his neck. He was told that he may never regain his voice, and he suffered a stroke.

He regained 80 percent of his voice and went on to sing in the St. Maury’s Church choir in Port Elizabeth.

“Clive was a gentle man who looked after everybody,” said his sister, Adele Bulkin, of Summerstrand, in The Herald of Port Elizabeth. “He spent his whole life spreading the word of God in his community and doing acts of kindness.
“He was an amazing person and he is going to be sorely missed.”

Skateboards meet spirituality

From Australia-

Where signs warding off skateboarders once hung, a new movement to blend skating culture with Christianity is taking root.

Tonight, Christian rock music will blare from the speakers as kids take advantage of the only place in town they can skateboard indoors. When their boards hit the ramps, they will be taking part in a new iteration of a global Christian movement called Fresh Expressions that is making the teachings of the Anglican church accessible to people who haven’t felt a connection to the traditional church.

This new skateboard ministry, which will happen every Tuesday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., is a collaboration between a local teen who was looking for a space to skate in the winter, and a church that has switched from opposing skateboarders to welcoming them.

Last spring, skateboarders broke into the church’s hall and damaged folding tables they used as makeshift ramps.

“There was a misunderstanding,” said Rev. Christine Piper. “The youth understood they were free to come in and use the church, and that wasn’t the case. There was a little bit of distress over that.”

When the skateboarding continued, the church put up signs telling skateboarders they weren’t welcome at St. James.

More here-

Christian leaders urged to condemn Ugandan anti-gay bill

From Uganda-

Christian leaders around the world, particularly in the Anglican Communion, are being urged to condemn proposed legislation in Uganda which would introduce the death penalty for certain consensual homosexual acts.

In an open letter published by the Guardian today, the prominent gay Christian Nigerian activist Davis Mac-Iyalla has called on the Archbishop of Canterbury and other Anglican primates to speak out against the bill, whatever their views on “homosexuality as a moral issue”.

Sexual activity between two people of the same sex is already punishable by life imprisonment in Uganda. The proposed bill – backed by certain Anglican figures in the country - would bring in the death penalty for anyone whose same-sex partner is aged under 18 or is disabled.

The bill would also introduce a range of new offences, permitting imprisonment for three years for anyone in a position of authority, such as a minister of religion, who knew of a homosexual act but failed to report it.

“As a practising Anglican Christian, I believe it is crucial that the Anglican Communion unites to prevent the killing of people on the grounds of sexuality” said Mac-Iyalla, who now lives as a refugee in Britain following homophobic persecution in his native Nigeria.

Like many Christian activists, he is particularly angry that Ugandan politicians promoting the bill claim that they are motivated by Christianity.

“The Church of England has a duty to condemn the anti-homosexuality legislation and put pressure on those MPs who support such laws,” added Mac-Iyalla, “Anglicans should unite in condemnation of violent persecution and discrimination of LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered] people whoever and wherever they are, particularly when it is carried out in the name of Jesus Christ”.

The letter is expected to add to the growing pressure on the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, to make a clear public statement calling on Christians to oppose the legislation.

More here-

Permission denied to sell Anglican church properties in Mumbai

Apparently not a problem unique to the western church - From India-

Church properties belonging to the Anglican community in Mumbai cannot be sold by those in possession of them, according to the ruling of Maharashtra charity commissioner N V Deshmukh.

Rejecting an application of the Bombay Diocesan Trusts Association (BDTA) seeking permission to sell the transfer of development rights (TDR) of two of its churches amid much controversy, Deshmukh said institutions running the churches are merely custodians of the land and it is to be used only for religious and educational purposes.

"The property was allotted for the specific purpose of religious worship of the established Church of England and for no other purpose. The document prohibits any change in usage other than for religious worship. As per the indenture, in case the property is used for other purposes, the grant shall cease and hereafter the property shall become absolutely the property of the secretary of the state," Deshmukh said in his order, quoted by a DNA report.

According to sources, there are over 4,000 church properties in Mumbai managed by BTDA which is formed by several small and big trusts. The BDTA’s claim that the redevelopment of its properties is needed to maintain churches is strongly opposed by the parishioners who suspect the trust’s motives.

"The historic judgment by the charity commissioner has delighted all parishioners, worshippers, and the entire Christian community," Cyril Dara, a church activist, was quoted saying. "All fraudulent deals are satanic and all the so-called illegal custodian trustees of BDTA are liable for criminal action and prosecution."

More here-

Anglicans welcome offer from Rome

From The BBC-

The proposal offers them what amounts to their own dioceses within the Roman Catholic Church.
The Vatican also said they could continue with Anglican traditions, such as some church services.

Anglican clergy claim the rules set out in the document make the offer seem more generous than it first seemed.

Fr Geoffrey Kirk, the national secretary of Forward in Faith, which represents Anglicans sympathetic to Catholicism, said more clergy around the world would probably convert as a result.

"Of the 450 parishes I knew would take it (the Pope's invitation) seriously, I said between 150 and 200 would convert. Now I think it'll be more than 200."

The details published today confirm that Church of England priests who are married will be allowed - on a case-by-case basis - to serve as Roman Catholic priests.

That could lead to an influx of married priests to a church where clergy have traditionally been celibate.

More here-

Pope 'is not trying to lure Anglicans into the Catholic Church'

From The London Telegraph-

Father Federico Lombardi, the Pope's official spokesman, spoke out following the recent announcement that the Pontiff would allow traditional Anglicans to "move to Rome" - which was seen as a possible shift in policy on the celibacy of priests.

In the Roman Catholic Church, priests are not allowed to marry or have sexual intercourse and Father Lombardi made his comments after the Vatican published a guide for Anglicans who want to convert called "The Apostolic Constitution".

Father Lombardi said: "This is not an initiative that came from the Holy See" but "a generous response by the Holy Father to the legitimate aspirations of some Anglican groups.
"It is not an initiative by the Pope to attract new members," he said, stressing that dialogue with the Anglican Church would not be affected.

He added: "The institution of this new structure is in full harmony with a commitment to ecumenical dialogue, which continues to be a priority for the Catholic Church."
The Apostolic Constitution or Anglicanorum Coetibus, to give it its official Latin title, allows Anglicans to become Catholics while retaining some of their traditions and practices.

More here-

Married Catholic priests? Yes and (mostly) no

From the LA Times-

It was a blow to Roman Catholic liberals when the Vatican announced last month that it would welcome, en masse, conservative Anglicans who share the pope's opposition to female clergy and traditional views about homosexuality. But there was a silver lining for liberals: The fact that in welcoming married Anglican priests to the fold, Pope Benedict XVI was perhaps opening the door to married priests within so-called Latin Rite Catholicism. (Eastern Rite Catholics, who recognize the pope's authority but follow rites similar to those of Eastern Orthodoxy, do ordain married men, though Eastern Catholics in the United States were pressured to conform to Western practice so as not to "scandalize" their Irish Catholic neighbors).

But the publication this week of the decree implementing the overture to Anglicans suggests that the slope to married Catholic priests isn't that slippery. After saying that married former Anglican priests could be ordained as Catholic priests, the "Apostolic Constitution" stops short of adopting the Anglican practice of routinely ordaining men who want to become priests.

While authorities of the new church-within-a-church will abide by "the discipline of celibate clergy in the Latin Church, as a rule," an "ordinary" (a bishop or former Anglican bishop) may also ask the pope for permission to ordain married men "on a case-by-case basis." This could be a face-saving way to perpetuate the Anglican tradition of a married clergy without saying so, or it could be a warning that married Anglican laymen will be ordained only rarely. Either way, the new Anglican body within Catholicism will not have the autonomy enjoyed by the Eastern Catholic churches.

The more stinging rebuff to Roman Catholic advocates of married priests is this rather mean-spirited provision of a companion document: "Those who have been previously ordained in the Catholic Church and subsequently have become Anglicans, may not exercise sacred ministry in the Ordinariate." In other words, if you left the Catholic Church and now want to return alongside other Anglican priests, you are treated worse than an Anglican priest who never belonged to the Catholic Church in the first place.

More here-

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Responses Varied as Vatican Offers Plan Details

From the Living Church-

Since Oct. 20, when the Vatican announced its plan to welcome Anglicans into its fold, most responses have followed this pattern: Anglicans most directly affected by the plan have expressed gratitude. Others have used the occasion to criticize their fellow Anglicans or the Roman Catholic Church.

The Vatican has now released the full text of Pope Benedict XVI’s constitution, Anglicanorum Coetibus, which explains in detail how Anglicans will be welcomed into the Roman Catholic Church.

The constitution includes these details:

• “A Personal Ordinariate is entrusted to the pastoral care of an Ordinary appointed by the Roman Pontiff.

• “Those who ministered as Anglican deacons, priests, or bishops, and who fulfill the requisites established by canon law and are not impeded by irregularities or other impediments may be accepted by the Ordinary as candidates for Holy Orders … Unmarried ministers must submit to the norm of clerical celibacy.

• “The Ordinary, in full observance of the discipline of celibate clergy in the Latin Church, as a rule (pro regula) will admit only celibate men to the order of presbyter. He may also petition the Roman Pontiff … for the admission of married men to the order of presbyter on a case-by-case basis, according to objective criteria approved by the Holy See.”

One of the warmest responses to the plan has come from the Rt. Rev. John Fulham, chairman of Forward in Faith–United Kingdom.

“Today all the accompanying papers have been published and they are extremely impressive,” Bishop Fulham said in a statement on Nov. 9. “What Rome has done is offer exactly what the Church of England has refused. … For some of us I suspect our bluff is called! This is both an exciting and dangerous time for Christianity in this country.”

The Global Anglican Future Conference/Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans primates council praised the Vatican’s plan briefly in a statement issued by its chairman, the Most Rev. Peter Akinola, Primate of the Church of Nigeria.

“We believe that this offer is a gracious one and reflects the same commitment to the historic apostolic faith, moral teaching and global mission that we proclaimed in the Jerusalem Declaration on the Global Anglican Future and for this we are profoundly grateful,” the primates said.

More here-

First Pakistani woman priest ordained

From Episcopal Life Online-

The Rev. Dr. Khushnud Mussarat Azariah shattered another barrier on Nov. 8 when, by way of the Diocese of Los Angeles, she became the first Pakistani woman ordained to the priesthood.
Azariah hoped her "miraculous" day sent a powerful message to women back home.

"Ever since I was a young child, I have felt God had a special calling for me but I was told there was no place for me in the church," said Azariah, 60. "This day is a miracle. I never knew this day would ever come. I always prayed to God that one day the Church of Pakistan would ordain women," she added tearfully.

The great-granddaughter and granddaughter of ministers, her father was a priest and a bishop, and Azariah was also the first Pakistani woman ever to attend seminary, though she could not do so in Pakistan. She also is married to Presiding Bishop Samuel Robert Azariah of the Church of Pakistan.

"This is an historic day for our family, a day of rejoicing and thanksgiving," said Samuel Robert Azariah, who is also Bishop of Raiwind and served as a presenter during the ordination at St. James Episcopal Church in South Pasadena, California, in the Diocese of Los Angeles.

"As the Church of Pakistan, this is one step forward in our further understanding of the Body of Christ as one family," he said Sunday. "Khushnud's ordination to the priesthood, which would not have been possible in Pakistan at the moment, affirms the significance of 'where I am weak, you can be my strength' … and how the Body of Christ can support one another in their strengths and weaknesses."

He also asked for prayers for his country and the church. "Pakistan as a nation is at a crossroads and the challenge of the church becomes heavier as to what it means to share the grace of Jesus Christ. And please pray for the Church of Pakistan, because it faces difficulties of persecution," he said.

The United Church of Pakistan was formed in 1970 by uniting the Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian and other Protestant groups in Pakistan. Christians number about 2 percent of Pakistan's 140 million people; 97 percent are Muslim.

More here-

Pope allows married Anglicans to become Catholic priests in bid to tempt them to defect

From the Daily Mail-

The Roman Catholic Church is to allow married Anglican converts to become priests in a radical concession to tempt them to defect.

Church of England bishops who switch allegiance to Rome will be able to ordain them, the Vatican said yesterday.

Married Anglican vicars have been able to convert and join the Rome priesthood since the 1950s, but this is the first time that married non-vicars have been allowed to become priests.

The decision to allow Anglican converts to keep their tradition of married priests is a break with rules that have applied in western Catholic churches for nearly 900 years.

The Vatican was at pains to insist that it does not mean a break with the celibacy for clergy nor the first step towards a married priesthood.

But leading Anglo-Catholics confirmed that CofE bishops who switch loyalty to Rome will have the power to ordain their own priests and that - with permission from the Pope - some of the newly-ordained priests may be married.

The gesture goes alongside a welcome package for Anglicans that will mean that converts will be able to worship according to services from the Church of England's Book of Common Prayer. Services will be re-written to remove references to the Queen as head of the church and to pledge loyalty to the Pope.

Read more:

Church Schism Paves Way for Female Priests

From The Wall Street Journal-

For three decades, a succession of conservative bishops here barred women from being ordained as priests in the Episcopal Church.

But the conservatives went their own way last fall, forming the Anglican Church in North America. And so on Sunday, exactly one year after that schism, Susan Slaughter will become the first woman in the Episcopal Church's Forth Worth diocese to don a red stole for ordination to the priesthood.

"God works in mysterious ways," Ms. Slaughter said, "and this is one of those."

The national Episcopal Church has been ordaining women priests since 1977, but a handful of holdout bishops around the country, including here in Fort Worth, refused. Bishop Jack Iker viewed women's ordination as a departure from traditional church practices and a break from the Biblical model of male priesthood.

Bishop Iker and the traditional faction of the diocese that he leads have taken little note of Ms. Slaughter's pending ordination. "What they're doing, they're doing," Dean Ryan Reed said. "We're heading down two different paths."

Those aligned with the national church, meanwhile, are rejoicing. "It's like Juneteenth," said Father Vernon Gotcher, referring to a holiday marking the day the last slaves in America were liberated. "You discover that you are free. The new has arrived."

The ceremony at St. Luke's in the Meadow -- where Ms. Slaughter will become rector after her ordination -- is expected to be packed. It will be streamed live online for those who can't find seats.

Ms. Slaughter said she's overwhelmed. "The joy others are feeling humbles me," she said.

More here-

Ida Wreaks Havoc in El Salvador; ERD responds

From ENS-

Hurricane Ida hit El Salvador late Saturday, Nov. 7, fed by 145-kilometer-per-hour winds and causing heavy flooding. The country's civil protection authorities reported that 91 people were killed, 60 missing, and hundreds injured.

Following Ida's assault, Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) has been in contact with its program partners, the Anglican Diocese of El Salvador, Asociacion CREDHO and Asociacion Mangle. ERD says it is standing ready to support the partners with emergency relief to devastated communities.

"We are working with our local partners to collect information, contact affected communities, and assess the current situation," said Matt St. John, ERD's program officer for Latin America and the Caribbean.

"Once the assessment is complete, we will formulate a response based on the needs and available resources," St. John said. "In the meantime, the Anglican Episcopal Church of El Salvador is providing pastoral care in several affected communities, including in the area of Bajo Lampa and the department of San Vicente."

El Salvador's central region was hardest hit, with the Chinchontepec volcano causing a mudslide near San Vicente that claimed several victims. According to Civil Defense Chief Jorge Melendez, the number of fatalities could rise as rescue services continue combing the eastern regions. Major roads into the country are blocked, five bridges have collapsed, and thousands of people are in emergency housing.

The Most Rev. Martín Barahona, primate of the Anglican Church of the Region of Central America (IARCA), said, "We are praying for the families and are in communication with other institutions and sister churches at the national, regional and international level to plan our level of action right now and after the emergency."

Barahona considers Ida "the worst natural event of the year to strike El Salvador. It intensifies the social and economic problems with which we live. We pray to God for the life of our families, communities and countries."

An Episcopal Flock Breaks -- and Heals -- Apart

From The Wall Street Journal-

There is still talk of pain and loss. But not much of it.

Last November, the Episcopal diocese here in northeast Texas fractured over issues such as the ordination of women and gays, and the theology of salvation. A year later, both sides express one emotion above all: Relief.

The Episcopal Church, about two million strong, is the U.S. branch of the world-wide Anglican communion, which has about 80 million members. In the past few years, scores of individual churches and several entire dioceses have rejected the leadership of the national church and formed their own Anglican Church in North America, aligned with more conservative bishops in Africa and South America.

Complicating matters, the Vatican last month reached out to the disaffected faction in the U.S., offering to welcome them into the Roman Catholic fold. It was a dramatic gesture that seemed to further strain the already-divided Episcopal Church.

But at least here in the Fort Worth diocese, the pope's overture appears to have so far fallen flat. The reason? Life apart has left both sides surprisingly content.

They are still fighting a legal battle for control of church property and endowments. Yet the faithful from both factions have found the split reinvigorating; it has helped clarify their understanding of their central mission as Christians.

Those who have stayed with the national church have taken up their presiding bishop's calls to focus on serving the poor and hungry, and to embrace a broad view of God as welcoming not just Christians but also Muslims, Jews and others into his kingdom.

More here-

Monday, November 9, 2009

Clerics united in opposition to death penalty

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette-

It could be the start of a groan-worthy joke.

A Catholic priest, a rabbi, an Episcopal rector, a Methodist minister and a Lutheran pastor sit down for some interfaith dialogue.

But yesterday at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in East Liberty, there was no joking about the discussion topic, the death penalty.

The Judeo-Christian religions have come a long way from the Old Testament notion of an eye for an eye, the panelists said. Representatives of the five religions said their churches have officially come out strongly against America's use of the death penalty.

The panel discussion, which was sponsored by the Pittsburgh Faith in Action Against the Death Penalty group, came just a few days after a Washington County jury unanimously decided against the death penalty for Terrell Yarbrough, 29, of East Liberty. Mr. Yarbrough was sentenced to life without parole for the shooting deaths of two Franciscan University of Steubenville students in 1999.

Pennsylvania has executed three people since 1976, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Death Penalty Information Center, but has 226 people on death row.

The Rev. Donald Green, a Lutheran pastor and the executive director of Christian Associates of Southwest Pennsylvania, moderated the discussion among the four panelists, who each presented their church's official stance on the death penalty.

"At the core of Catholic understanding is the worth and dignity of every human being, and the protection thereby," said the Rev. Frank Almade, the pastor of St. Juan Diego Parish in Sharpsburg.

Speaking for the United Methodist Church was the Rev. David Morse, a retired pastor and the chair of the Western Pennsylvania United Methodist Conference Board of Ordained Ministry. The United Methodist Church opposes the death penalty, he said, and urges "restorative justice" rather than "justice of punishment, or vengeance."

Rabbi Art Donsky, the spiritual leader of Temple Ohav Shalom in McCandless, outlined the evolution of death penalty position in Jewish scripture, thought and practice.

"There would be no moral or legal grounds within Jewish tradition to execute anyone," he said.

The Rev. Moni McIntyre, rector of Holy Cross Episcopal Church in Homewood, said the Episcopal Church has made pronouncements against the taking of human life, including through the death penalty.

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Program to Help the Hamptons’ Homeless Begins

From Sag Harbor New York-

Last spring when a make shift “soup kitchen” was erected at the Tires Plus store in Southampton many people were shocked into an awareness of local poverty. The many pictures and headlines depicting large groups of men lining up for food presented an image of the Hamptons quite at odds with our area’s reputation for extreme wealth and exclusivity in the summer months. Yet being homeless in the Hamptons is a year round realty for the approximately 500 hundred people currently seeking shelter in the five towns of the South Fork of Eastern Long Island. That is the estimated figure according to Barbara Jordan, and affordable housing advocate living in East Hampton.

Since April, Jordon has been on a mission to give the area’s homeless a safe, warm place to eat and rest during the cold winter months. She spent her summer organizing volunteers and raising money to buy supplies for a program called Maureen’s Haven, a national program that helps local church’s set up occasional shelters for the homeless. With the help of several community churches and non-religious organizations, East Hampton’s United Methodist Church will start housing guests every Friday night starting November 6th and will continue housing them through March. Sag Harbor’s Christ Episcopal Church and Addas Israel will be a part of the community-wide effort.
Jordan explained the program asks area churches to provide an overnight stay including a hot meal, a place to wash, and other things such as AA meetings, nurses visits, and clothes to the homeless during the winter months. People are only allowed into the program after they have been searched and screened for drugs, alcohol, and unstable behavior.

Jordan was overwhelmed by both the media interest in the shelter as well as the community’s generosity. “People are wanting to find something constructive and helpful to do.” She noted, and added “People have been great. I have to put people on a waiting list to volunteer at the moment.”

So far the shelter is a real mix of community volunteerism, according to Jordan. Although East Hampton’s Methodist Church is housing the shelter, which will only be able to accommodate about 20-25 people, Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church is backing the venture both financially and with volunteers. At the moment various congregations sponsor a Friday night, which means their parish or group pays for and makes a hot meal, sets up the bedding, and arranges for volunteers to dine and spend the night with the guests.

More here-

Anglicans Respond Coolly to Swedish Consecration

From the Living Church-

Swedish press reports that the Church of England and Church of Ireland will boycott the consecration of a partnered lesbian priest as Bishop of Stockholm are not true, spokesmen for the Archbishop of Canterbury and Archbishop of Armagh told The Living Church.

Nevertheless, no episcopal representatives from the Churches of England or Ireland, the Church in Wales or the Scottish Episcopal Church will be present for the Nov. 8 consecration of the Rev. Eva Brunne by Swedish Archbishop Anders Wejryd of Uppsala.

The Swedish Christian newspaper Dagen reported on Nov. 3 that the Church of England and Church of Ireland will boycott the ceremony as a sign of their displeasure with the ordination of Pastor Brunne, who lives with her partner, a fellow Church of Sweden pastor, the Rev. Gunilla Lindén.

Paul Harron, a spokesman for Archbishop Alan Harper, Primate of the Church of Ireland, said that while the substance of the comments attributed to Dr. Harper were correct, the archbishop “did not give such a statement to a Dagen journalist.”

Dr. Harper would “not think of this in terms of a ‘boycott,’ ” Mr. Harron said. The archbishop received an invitation, he said, but declined to attend.

The Archbishop of Armagh “has conveyed to the Church of Sweden that the Church of Ireland will not be officially represented at the episcopal consecration in Uppsala,” Mr. Harron said, as the “Church of Ireland is observing the moratorium” on the consecration of clergy with same-sex partners.

David Brownlie-Marshall, a spokesman for the Archbishop of Canterbury said the Church of England will be represented by the Area Dean of the Baltic and Nordic States of the Diocese of Gibraltar in Europe, the Rev. Nicholas Howe, chaplain of St. Peter and St. Sigfrid’s Church in Stockholm.

A “diary conflict” will prevent Fr. Howe from attending the consecration, Mr. Brownlie-Marshall said, but he will attend a subsequent reception. The Church of England’s Diocese of Portsmouth, which is twinned with the Diocese of Stockholm, will also send a representative to the reception.

Speaking to the Church of Sweden’s newspaper, the Kyrkans Tidning, Archbishop Wejryd said he did not expect the Archbishop of Canterbury to attend. “We send invitations to those with the highest rank. That’s why the Archbishop of Canterbury received an invitation, but no one expected him to say yes.”

More here-

Apostolic Constitution: married ex-Anglican bishops may keep insignia of episcopal office

From the London Telegraph-

I’m going to analyse the Constitution in detail later, but let me draw your attention to an intriguing detail which demonstrates just how far Rome is prepared to go to make special provisions for ex-Anglicans. Married ex-Anglican bishops will not be ordained Catholic bishops – but, if they become Ordinaries, they will be able to join Bishops’ Conferences with the status of retired bishops, and may be allowed to use “the insignia of the episcopal office”. This is from the Norms:

§1. A married former Anglican Bishop is eligible to be appointed Ordinary. In such a case he is to be ordained a priest in the Catholic Church and then exercises pastoral and sacramental ministry within the Ordinariate with full jurisdictional authority.

§2. A former Anglican Bishop who belongs to the Ordinariate may be called upon to assist the Ordinary in the administration of the Ordinariate.

§3. A former Anglican Bishop who belongs to the Ordinariate may be invited to participate in the meetings of the Bishops’ Conference of the respective territory, with the equivalent status of a retired bishop.

§4. A former Anglican Bishop who belongs to the Ordinariate and who has not been ordained as a bishop in the Catholic Church, may request permission from the Holy See to use the insignia of the episcopal office.

I’m also very struck by the Constitution’s insistence on the “treasures” of Anglicanism, which it values very highly and wishes to see brought into the fulness of the Church. The Constitution is a very big deal indeed.

Episcopal Church bishop to visit area

From the Diocese of Bethlehem-

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will make her first visit to the Diocese of Bethlehem this week, stopping at St. Stephen’s Procathedral in Wilkes-Barre on Wednesday.

Featured events during her visit will be Evensong at 6 p.m., during which she will preach, followed by a reception and open forum. Today, the bishop will be at Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. On Tuesday, she will be at St. Luke’s Church in Lebanon.

The public is invited to these events.

Additionally, Jefferts Schori will visit local ministries on Tuesday morning and meet with Moravians at Moravian Seminary, Bethlehem, on Wednesday morning. Diocesan youth have been invited to meet with her at St. Stephen’s on Wednesday afternoon.

Finally, she will meet with the clergy of the Diocese of Bethlehem on Thursday morning at Good Shepherd, Scranton.

Jefferts Schori was elected presiding bishop for a nine-year term in 2006. She serves as chief pastor to the Episcopal Church’s 2.4 million members in 110 dioceses in 16 countries, the first woman to hold a comparable office throughout the worldwide Anglican Communion. Some Anglican provinces don’t permit women to be ordained priests; some of those that do don’t allow them to be consecrated bishops.

She has been vocal about the Episcopal Church’s mission priorities, including the UN Millennium Development Goals, issues of domestic poverty, climate change and care for the Earth, as well as the ongoing need to contextualize the gospel.

A career as an oceanographer preceded Jefferts Schori’s studies for the priesthood, to which she was ordained in 1994. She served for six years as Bishop of Nevada before election to this post. She grew up in the Seattle area, and lived a few years in New Jersey, but has spent most of her life in the West. Bishop Jefferts Schori and her husband, Richard Miles Schori, a retired mathematician, were married in 1979. They have one daughter, who is a pilot captain in the U.S. Air Force.

More here-

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Churches try to balance Communion with sanitary practices during flu season

From the Boston Globe-

Houses of worship around the region are continuing to grapple with how to balance efforts to contain the spread of swine flu with traditional practices that involve building community by sharing a cup or embracing a neighbor.

The latest to weigh in is the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, whose bishops last week issued a lengthy set of guidelines to parishes, prefaced by the declaration that, “While God’s will for us is to live and thrive in community and in celebration of God’s gifts to us, it is also God’s will that no unnecessary risks be taken that might complicate or compromise the health of our people.’’

The Episcopal bishops joined many other religious leaders in advising a discontinuation of the practice of worshipers shaking hands, or holding hands, at any point during services. But Episcopal guidelines differ from others in some significant respect - unlike the advice from many Catholic bishops, the Episcopal bishops are not recommending against the use of a common cup for Communion, but rather state, “Drinking from the common cup is a treasured symbol of unity in the life of the church and it may be continued, although scientists disagree as to whether the wine carries enough disinfectant power to kill the virus.’’

More here-

Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh grows with addition of parishes

From The Pittsburgh Tribune Review-

Three out-of-state churches Saturday joined the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh — a group of 55 parishes that last year broke away from the national Episcopal Church of America over issues ranging from abortion to the consecration of a non-celibate gay bishop.

The new member churches are St. James Church of San Jose, Calif.; Holy Trinity Church of Raleigh, N.C.; and the Church of the Transfiguration of Cleveland.

An area church — Harvest Anglican Church of Homer City, Indiana County — was admitted to the diocese.

For the most part, the new member churches were attracted to the diocese because of its more conservative theological views than the national Episcopal Church, said Bishop Robert Duncan.

"There has been a secular drift in the Episcopal Church in the U.S. and in the Anglican Church of Canada. It has caused the church to stray from core theology," Duncan said yesterday at his diocese's first convention since the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh split in two last year.

"There is a whole sense of freedom and joy here. We are not spending time debating differences," said Peter Frank, a deacon at Grace Church in Mt. Washington.

For the Church of the Transfiguration of Cleveland, the realignment is an attempt to keep the church alive. The parish initially became interested in the Pittsburgh-based diocese when the Episcopal Diocese of Ohio said it planned to close the urban church.

"We left two years ago because we were going to be closed. We affiliated with the Anglican Church of Kenya, and now we are here," said the Rev. Barbara Harris, a priest.

The Pittsburgh-area parishes that remained with the national Episcopal Church met last month. They named a new bishop, Kenneth Price Jr.

The two dioceses are embroiled in litigation, and Duncan's group is appealing a Common Pleas Court ruling that stated that the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh owns all diocesan property.

Duncan, who is also archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, said the group is seeking recognition as a province from the worldwide Anglican Communion, which is made up 38 provinces.

Anglican Diocese to expand, cut costs

From The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette-

Due to at least a temporary loss of endowment, the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh has slashed its budget, but still plans to launch 70 new churches over five years.

It received five mission congregations at its convention yesterday in Sewickley. It also received four parishes from outside its original boundaries. All nine were already counted among its 58 churches.

The Anglican diocese is appealing a Common Pleas Court decision awarding its endowment to the 28-parish Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh. The two split last year when a majority at the diocesan convention voted to secede from the Episcopal Church, which they believed had failed to uphold biblical doctrine on matters from salvation to sexuality. The Anglican diocese billed this as its 144th convention, and there were references to the Episcopalians as "the rogue diocese."

But others can't be blamed for any past failure of missionary initiative, said the Rev. Mary Hays, canon to the ordinary, as she urged the diocese to start 70 new churches.

"There's a reason we're in this mess and it isn't just the rogue diocese," she said. "We have to take responsibility for not reaching the people around us with the love and power of the Lord Jesus."

The diocese left the Episcopal Church for the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone in South America. Both the Southern Cone and the Episcopal Church belong to the global Anglican Communion.

In June the diocese joined the new Anglican Church in North America, which hopes to join the Anglican Communion.

Yesterday it voted for sole affiliation with the Anglican Church in North America, while its bishops and clergy hold dual credentials with the Southern Cone.

It adopted a flexible 2010 budget of $919,163 to $987,416. That's down from $1.7 million for 2009. Rent will be slashed by moving from Downtown to the North Side. Archbishop Robert Duncan's pay package was reduced from $192,700 to $89,356 but he will receive $75,000 from the Anglican Church in North America for serving as its archbishop.

The convention overwhelmingly passed a resolution opposing abortion, except to save the mother's life, and called for aid to women with crisis pregnancies. There were questions about a clause against teaching that "divorces the sexual act from ... the possibility of procreation."

Some asked if that was a criticism of contraceptive use. Co-author Deacon Tara Jernigan of Butler replied that "the intent here is not to legislate with regard to birth control" but to counteract a world view "that has divorced sex from babies."

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