Saturday, April 10, 2010

A Statement from the Standing Committee Regarding Suffragan Bishop Election in the Diocese of Los Angeles


Dear Friends,

Don Metheny, president of the Standing Committee, has asked me to send you the following message on behalf of the Standing Committee.


Henry D.W. Burt
Secretary of the Diocese

Statement of the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Virginia

The Standing Committee of the Diocese of Virginia has declined to consent to the election of the Rev. Canon Mary Douglas Glasspool as bishop suffragan of the Diocese of Los Angeles because, in the view of a majority of the Committee, her election is inconsistent with the moratorium agreed to by the General Convention of the Episcopal Church. That majority believes that, at this time, failure by individual dioceses to respect the Church's agreement to the moratorium would be detrimental to the good order of our Church and bring into question its reliability as an institution. The committee found no other reason to withhold its consent to the election of Canon Glasspool.

A Letter from the Bishop Regarding Suffragan Bishop Election in the Diocese of Los Angeles


Dear Diocesan Family,

The Rev. Canon Mary Douglas Glasspool, a priest of the Diocese of Maryland and a partnered gay woman, was elected to serve as a bishop suffragan in the Diocese of Los Angeles in December 2009. The consent process, a 120-day period, requires the receipt of consents from majorities of the Standing Committees throughout the Episcopal Church and from the Church's bishops with jurisdiction. On March 17, just before the opening of the House of Bishops meeting at Camp Allen, Texas, the presiding bishop's office announced that Canon Glasspool had received the number of consents required to proceed with her ordination and consecration as a bishop.

Along with several other bishops, I had been delaying my vote until the House of Bishops meeting so that we might confer with one another as to the implications of this episcopal election. As consent is a responsibility upon all diocesan bishops, I then sent in my ballot even though the process had already been decided. Understandably, the diocesan offices have received numerous inquiries as to how I voted. I write this to announce my decision for this particular process and to say something about what this means (and doesn't mean) for my leadership in the Diocese of Virginia.

Bishop-elect Glasspool's election has been both a source of celebration and of alarm for many in our diocese, just as in the Episcopal Church and our wider Anglican Communion. In my judgment, both "sides" make compelling arguments and have quite legitimate concerns. Personally, I am more torn by this decision than by any other decision I've yet faced, whether as priest or bishop. After deep prayer and thought, I voted to decline consent to the ordination of Bishop-elect Glasspool. This is not to reflect on Bishop-elect Glasspool herself (who, by all accounts, is indeed highly qualified and well suited for the ministry of bishop) but rather is about the circumstances of this case.

More here-

Archbishop Fears Formation of 'Two-Tier' Anglican Communion

From Christian Post-

The Archbishop of Dublin has expressed his fears that a “two-tier” Anglican Communion could emerge over different viewpoints on the recently released Anglican Covenant.

"I don't like two-tier fellowships, but it may be a way forward at the moment,” the Most Revd. John Neill told a theological discussion group in March.

Released last December to the church’s 34 provinces, the Anglican Covenant represents “an invitation to deepening of relationships” among the Communion’s members, according to the Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon, the church’s secretary general, who announced the document’s release.

“To covenant together is not intended to change the character of this Anglican expression of Christian faith,” the document states. “Rather, we recognise the importance of renewing in a solemn way our commitment to one another, and to the common understanding of faith and order we have received, so that the bonds of affection which hold us together may be re-affirmed and intensified.”

While a binding agreement, the Covenant is not intended to be “a constitution, and it's certainly not going to be a penal code for punishing people who don't comply,” according to Communion head the Rev. Rowan Williams.

However, disputes over The Episcopal Church’s (TEC) election of its second openly gay bishop last have caused doubts over whether the U.S.-based group, as well as the Anglican Church of Canada, will partake in the Covenant.

More here-

Utah's next bishop could be gay priest

From Salt Lake-

Utah could become only the third Episcopal diocese with an openly gay bishop.

The Rev. Michael L. Barlowe -- who married his partner, the Rev. Paul Burrows, in San Francisco in 2008, just before the fractious Proposition 8 vote banning gay marriage -- is one of four finalists to replace retiring Bishop Carolyn Tanner Irish.

Reflecting the Utah diocese's diversity, the other three candidates are: the Rev. Juan A. Quevedo-Bosch, a Cuban-born rector in New York; the Rev. Mary C. Sulerud, who helps train new priests in Washington, D.C.; and the Rev. Scott B. Hayashi, who once pastored a church in Ogden but now ministers in Chicago.

"What is unique about all four of these candidates is that they have worked within diocesan offices as well as in parish ministry," said Ric Tanner, president of the Utah church's Standing Committee, which advises the bishop. "It is a little unusual but marvelous."

Each of the candidates is "immediately engaging," Tanner said. "We felt that any one of them would help us draw together as a church family, given the challenges of the diocese's great geographic separation and cultural diversity, between downtown Salt Lake City and Native American parishes on Utah's southern border."

More here-

4 seek Episcopal bishopric in Utah

From Utah-

The field has been narrowed down to four applicants to be elected the 11th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Utah on May 22.

One will step up to succeed retiring Bishop Carolyn Tanner Irish, who has headed the diocese for the past 14 years.

"We've only had 10 bishops in 143 years," said Bishop Irish in a prepared statement. "I am delighted to see this slate of extremely gifted finalists and feel a sense of vision and strong leadership that any one of these priests will prayerfully serve the Episcopal Church in Utah."

The finalists include the Rev. Canon Michael Barlowe, canon for Congregational Ministries in the Diocese of California; the Rev. Canon Scott B. Hayashi, canon to the Ordinary in the Diocese of Chicago; the Rev. Canon Juan Andrés Quevedo-Boscho, rector of the Church of the Redeemer in the Diocese of Long Island; and the Rev. Canon Mary C.M. Sulerud, canon for Deployment and Vocational Ministries in the Diocese of Washington, D.C.

The candidates will visit Utah during the first week of May to attend regional meetings so the majority of the 6,000 members of the Diocese of Utah can meet them.

More here-

Friday, April 9, 2010

Liturgist: Common Worship Texts Eroding

From the Living Church-

Christian unity is strengthened when worshipers across the world use the same versions of prayers and hear the same readings on Sunday, says the Rev. Dr. Ruth Meyers.

Meyers is the Hodges-Haynes professor of liturgics at Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, Calif., and leads the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, which prepares liturgical revisions for the Episcopal Church.

“If we cannot pray together, how effectively can we witness together?” she asked in a lecture in Virginia Theological Seminary’s Prayer Book at 30 series. “Common texts are a tool to help us worship together.”

But the liturgical and ecumenical unity underpinning common texts — which flourished in the 20th century — is now losing strength, Meyers said. She cited two primary sources of weakening liturgical unity: widespread ethnic divergence in worship styles around the world, and the Vatican’s moving toward a more literal translation of the original Latin in its new Roman Missal, which is nearing completion.

“English, it is clear, is not simply one language,” Meyers said. “There are regional differences in linguistic norms.”

Among the key principles of liturgical unity emerging from Vatican II, she said, were the teachings that Christians should be united in one universal Church and that division among Christians is contrary to God’s will. One goal of movements toward liturgical and ecumenical unity was to develop as wide a convergence as possible on common worship texts for the sake of the universal Church.

More here-

Baghdad church hit by Easter Day blast

From The Church Times-
ST GEORGE’S Anglican Church in Baghdad suffered “severe” damage on Easter morning when a bomb exploded near its compound, the Chaplain, Canon Andrew White, has disclosed.

In a letter to friends of the church, Canon White said that he and a group of parishioners were preparing for an early eucharist when they heard an explosion. This was followed by a second blast several minutes later.

The church compound is on Haifa Street in Baghdad’s “Red Zone”, close to the Iranian embassy, which is thought to have been the bombers’ main target. “We will need several thousand dollars just to repair the windows,” Canon White said. “As for the [church’s] structure, I just don’t know.” British Embassy staff were unable to attend Easter worship at the church, but the local Governor visited Canon White as a gesture of support. “He visited our clinic and viewed our kindergarten and hall that he is funding,” Canon White said.

The desperate plight of Iraqi Christians was underlined in a BBC Radio 4 documentary, Iraq’s For­gotten Conflict, presented by Edward Stourton on Tuesday evening. The programme disclosed that around 200,000 Christians are thought to have fled the country since the American-led invasion in 2003, and that Christians, who once formed three per cent of the population, now constitute about half of all Iraqi refugees.
The interviewees included Canon White and Archbishop Louis Sako of the Chaldean Catholic Church.

The Archbishop emphasised that Christians, formerly viewed with tolerance by most Muslims, are now seen as fifth-columnists because of the war. The perception had been underlined by the often heavy-handed tactics of incoming American Evangelical missionaries.

The broader ramifications of the conflict were underlined by the Archbishop of Canterbury, who also warned that the end of Christianity in the Middle East was a distinct possibility, “and one that appals me”. “Ill-judged rhetoric about opposing Islamic power” meant that centuries of fruitful co existence between Muslims and Christians had been “wiped out” around the region, Dr Williams said. He was deeply concerned for the position of Christians in Egypt, Algeria, and Pakistan.

More here-

Orombi resignation: Anglican Communion crumbles anew

From The London Times-

Ugandan Archbishop Henry Orombi has resigned from the standing committee of the Anglican Communion, in solidarity with Middle East primate Mouneer Anis. His eloquent letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams needs no further comment. It is reproduced below.

9th April 2010
The Most Rev. Rowan Williams
Archbishop of Canterbury
Lambeth Palace

Your Grace,

Easter greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!
In February I read with great interest Bishop Mouneer Anis’ letter of resignation from the Joint Standing Committee. I am grateful for his clarity and honesty. He has verbalized very well what many of us have thought and felt, and inspired me to write, as well.

As you know from our private conversations, I have absented myself for principled reasons from all meetings of the Joint Standing Committee since our Primates meeting in Dar es Salaam in 2007.

The first meeting of the Joint Standing Committee was later that year in New Orleans. At our Primates meeting in February 2007, we made certain requests of the Episcopal Church. In our Dar es Salaam communiqué we did not envision interference in the American House of Bishops while they were considering our requests.

For me to participate in a meeting in New Orleans before the 30th September deadline would have violated our hard-won agreement in Dar es Salaam and would have been another case of undermining our instruments of communion. My desire to uphold our Dar es Salaam communiqué was intended to strengthen our instruments of communion so we would be able to mature into an even more effective global communion of the Church of Jesus Christ than in the past.

Subsequent meetings of the Joint Standing Committee have included the Primate of the Episcopal Church (TEC) and other members of TEC, who are the very ones who have pushed the Anglican Communion into this sustained crisis. How can we expect the gross violators of Biblical Truth to sanction their own discipline when they believe they have done nothing wrong and further insist that their revisionist theology is actually the substance of Anglicanism? We have only to note the recent election and confirmation of an active Lesbian as a Suffragan Bishop in the Diocese of Los Angeles to realize that TEC has no interest in “gracious restraint,” let alone a moratorium on the things that have brought us to this point of collapse.

More here-

‘Overheated’? Dr Williams and a Manhattan transfer

From The Church Times-

THINK about the larger picture, the Archbishop of Canterbury urged Christians in his Easter sermon: the Church’s continuing contribution to tackling human problems no one else was prepared to take on was “one of the great untold stories of our time”.

Dr Williams’s measured defence of Christianity against “wooden-headed bureaucratic silliness” con­trasted with the Westminster 2010 Declara tion, released at the weekend, which took its structure and tone from a conservative US document.

Issued at the start of the General Election campaign, the Westminster Declaration speaks of a refusal to “submit” to a perceived attack on human life, marriage, and freedom of conscience: “We will not be intimidated by any cultural or political power into silence or acquiescence,” say signatories from a number of conservative Christian organisations, the first of whom is Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canter bury.

The document echoes almost word for word the Manhattan Dec laration signed, in November 2009, by conservative church leaders in the US, who wanted to signal to the Obama administration that they were a force to be reckoned with over issues such as abortion, stem-cell re search, and gay marriage (News, 27 November).

In contrast, Dr Williams, speaking in the context of wrangles over the display of religious symbols, warned of “overheated language”, and reminded Christians in the UK of the physical persecution suf fered by Christian minorities in countries such as Nigeria, Iraq, southern Su dan, the Holy Land, and Zimbabwe.

More here-

Chinese bishop under house arrest for refusing to concelebrate with government-appointed bishop

From Catholic Culture-

A Chinese bishop is under house arrest because he objected to concelebrating Mass with an excommunicated prelate.

Bishop Matthias Du Jiang of Bameng, in Mongolia, has been serving the underground Church for 6 years after his episcopal consecration-- which was done in secret, without approval from the state-controlled Catholic Patriotic Association. He was finally recognized by the government, with installation services today. But he was promptly placed under house arrest because he balked at officials' order to concelebrate the Eucharistic liturgy with Bishop Joseph Ma Yinglin. Bishop Ma Yinglin was excommunicated in 2006 when he participated in an episcopal ordination ceremony without Vatican approval.

Bishop Du was compelled to go through with the ceremony, but announced to the congregation that he was concelebrating against his will. He was quickly restricted to his residence.

Episcopal Priest Barbie: silly or sacrilegious?

From St. Louis (This story has really gotten traction)

I just became Facebook friends with a new Episcopal priest. According to her profile, she’s a gorgeous, leggy blond who serves at a parish in Malibu, California.

She’s also 11.5 inches tall. And yes, her name is Barbie.

To see the rest of the story of how she came to be, read this story from the Religion News Service. And then tell me that clergy don’t have a sense of humor!

As a feminist raising two daughters, I’ve never been a big fan of Barbie, although I haven’t banned her from our house, either. But this did bring a smile to my face, almost against my will. As a friend put it, “I’m simultaneously appalled and gratified.” That about sums it up. I realize it’s just going to give people who already loathe the Episcopal Church more ammunition for their smug disapproval. But I think this might be one time when we should just lighten up and not mount the ramparts for a big intra-Christian publicity battle.

That said, I can’t seem to resist saying just one more thing about the smug disapproval issue. If you want to heap coals of scorn and ridicule on the Episcopal Church, you won’t be alone. Observers of popular culture have argued for years that Barbie, and how she is reviled or fetishized (or both), is a barometer of our society’s attitudes toward women. This article in USA Today says the same thing about the Rev. Barbie:

The little plastic priest is ideal for making any argument you like about women in the church.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Episcopal Church to challenge property rights ruling by Virginia circuit court

From Virginia-

A longstanding dispute over property rights in Northern Virginia between the Episcopal Church and the Convocation of Anglicans in North America will be heard by the Virginia Supreme Court April 13th.

Two appeals will be presented to the court, one by the Episcopal Church and one by the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia. The denomination will challenge the state's "Division Statute," which they argue is unconstitutional. The church lost property valued at approximately $30 million during a 2008 ruling by the Fairfax Circuit Court, which granted CANA ownership of the property.

“It’s regrettable that we find ourselves here, but it’s also absolutely necessary to safeguard our church and to safeguard the legacy of our members,” said Henry Burt, secretary and chief of staff for the Diocese of Virginia.

In late 2006 and early 2007, 11 parishes in Northern Virginia seceded from the Episcopal Church and joined the Convocation of Anglicans in North America. The Fairfax Circuit Court ruled that these parishes were allowed to keep church property that previously belonged to the Episcopal Church.

The Anglican District of Virginia followed the protocol of the 1867 "Division Statute," but the Episcopal Church claims the ruling under the statute was unconstitutional. The argument of whether or not the state should be able to determine what is and is not a split within the church is a big determinant in their argument.

“These people left. They didn’t split our church. They just left,” said Burt.

Read more at the Washington Examiner:

Do away with corrupt activities and abuse of power, urges Anglican’s Bishop Mchombo

From Zambia-

ANGLICAN Diocese of eastern Zambia Bishop William Mchombo has challenged those in leadership to do away with corrupt activities as well as abuse of power.

In an interview, Bishop Mchombo said the resurrection of Jesus Christ challenged all Christians to live the Jesus' way of renewed hope in spite of the many challenges they faced.

“We are all called to humble service, especially those of us in leadership. We are further challenged to do away with corrupt activities as well as abuse of power. A life of compromise for political expedience or for purely selfish motives is not a Jesus' way,” Bishop Mchombo said in his Easter message to the country. “The power of the resurrection leads us to renewal and gives us a desire of wishing each other peace. It challenges us to be concerned with any dehumanising conditions such as poverty in the face of abundant wealth in form of natural resources in the country. We are challenged to take care of each other.”

He expressed concern over the current politics of name-calling in the country.

“We should implore all our political leaders to desist from the culture of name-calling but instead challenge them to give hope to the nation in their utterances in the spirit of Easter. After all, some of our leaders profess an affinity to Christianity and we have since declared ourselves as a Christian nation," he said.

Bishop Mchombo noted that Jesus faced a lot of temptations in his life.

“At the beginning of the season of Lent, our Lord Jesus Christ faced temptations of corruption to turn stones into bread, compromise to worship the devil and abuse of power by jumping from the pinnacle of the temple. He faced persecution. He was falsely accused. He was angry with the moneychangers who exploited the poor in the precincts of the temple so much that he chased them out. He healed the sick and the crippled thereby empowering them,” said Bishop Mchombo.

More here-

Studying the Shroud as a ‘Strange Icon’

From The Living Church-

An interest that began in incredulous laughter has led an Episcopalian to deep immersion in Shroud of Turin studies.

Daniel Porter, a longtime member of Trinity Church, Wall Street, joins other shroud scholars on The History Channel’s Easter-season documentary, The Real Face of Jesus? The documentary premiered on April 3, repeats on April 10, and is available on DVD.

Porter said he became interested in the shroud while reading Thomas Cahill’s Desire of the Everlasting Hills: The World Before and After Jesus during a flight. Porter was amazed that Cahill gave serious attention to the shroud, and began laughing aloud as he read.

Porter’s curiosity was piqued, though, and he began research on whether the shroud could have covered the body of Jesus Christ after his crucifixion.

Today he tends toward considering the shroud authentic rather than a clever artistic forgery, and he writes on the topic frequently at his Shroud of Turin Story website.

“History is the part that fascinates me,” he told The Living Church. “In fact, I think history gives the best argument for the shroud’s authenticity.”

Evidence of the shroud’s presence at Edessa (present-day Urfa), Turkey, in the 3rd or 5th century argues against its being a medieval contrivance, Porter said.

He calls the shroud a “strange icon.”

“Icons tend to be stylistic,” he said. “They exaggerate features, they try to capture expressions.”

The expression of the figure on the shroud is “subdued, realistic and serene,” he said.

“It’s almost what I would call an intellectual tease. I think it’s real, but I would be the first to say I don’t think we can know that,” Porter said.

“God is not trying to provide answers so much as raise questions,” he said. “You can’t entirely get your arms around it, and if you could it wouldn’t be so interesting. God not only gave us free will; he also gave us a brain.”

More here-

Why the obsession with crucifixes?

From The London Guardian-

There's clearly something in the water in the West Country that stimulates the desire for a lawsuit. On Tuesday, Shirley Chaplin (no relation), lost her battle against the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospitals NHS Trust to wear her crucifix at work. She is the latest of a series of Christians alleging that they are being discriminated against for their faith.

Before her came Somerset nurse Caroline Petrie, who was suspended after offering to pray with a housebound patient, and then the supply teacher from Weston-super-Mare, Olive Jones, who was suspended by her local authority while she was investigated for having given her testimony to a sick pupil.

For some Christians – including it would seem the former archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey – this demonstrates a pattern of persecution. Christians are not allowed their symbols, where Muslims and others are. Today a crucifix ban, tomorrow an auto-da-fé. Writing last month to the Daily Telegraph, Carey and his fellow signatories were quite clear:

"The cross is ubiquitous in Christian devotion from the earliest times and clearly the most easily recognisable Christian symbol. For many Christians, wearing a cross is an important expression of their Christian faith and they would feel bereft if, for some unjustifiable reason, they were not allowed to wear it. To be asked by an employer to remove or 'hide' the cross, is asking the Christian to hide their faith."

There is, however, an irony that Carey, along with most reporting of this case, seems to have missed. According to a very supportive profile of Chaplin by in the Daily Mail, she is a member of the Free Church of England. Indeed, in the photo of her leaving the employment tribunal she is accompanied by the Exeter presbyter of the Free Church of England, John Eustice.

More here-

Church split on Proposed Constitution

From Kenya-

And speaking at All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi on Sunday, Anglican Church in Kenya Head, Archbishop Eliud Wabukala warned: "It is naive to assume that because the document has been passed by Parliament Kenyans will endorse it."

He said: "All our (ACK) bishops are taking the debate to the grassroots this month. At the end of it they will be back with their findings, after which the church will give its directive."

The archbishop urged Kenyans not get carried away by the debate.

"We appeal to the people to carry the debate but not in a manner that may cause complications, like in 2007," the archbishop pleaded.

He added, "We have opened the debate and we allow (congregations) to participate."

He said the church expects its bishops to find out what its followers want, or don’t want, and announce a united stand.

Leading flock astray

But Chief Kadhi Sheikh Hammad Kassim called on sections of church leaders to stop misleading Kenyans on the constitution.

Hammad said some of the clerics have been misquoting the Proposed Constitution thereby misleading their followers to vote against it.

He cited the abortion clause, which he said had been misinterpreted by church leaders.

Sheikh Hammad said he had read the Proposed Constitution and understood that abortion had not been legalised, contrary to claims by other church leaders.

More here-

Good Stuff in TEC: Teens learn empathy for those who are hungry

From Montana-

It was a lesson in humility and empathy. About 20 teens, led by five adults, participated in the World Vision-sponsored 30-Hour Famine and learned what it’s like to be hungry, like many who live in Ethiopia, for example.

The group included Jack Preston, who is 12. How was he feeling Saturday afternoon, after not having eaten since Friday at noon? “I’m kinda hungry. I’m really hungry and tired,” he said. Unlike many of the others, though, he wasn’t thinking about food. Instead, he was thinking about “all the kids that we’ve been helping by doing this. I’m glad we’re making an impact with the kids,” he added.

The group’s goal was to raise $3,000, which will be donated to World Vision, a nonprofit group that will use it to feed hungry people all over the world. Preston said he raised $202 by sitting in front of Sunshine Foods with his sister. He said participating in the famine “gives me an awareness and the experience of what it is like for kids who don’t eat very often. We’re lucky to live in St. Helena, because it’s easy to get food. There aren’t really any hardships for us.”

The fasting teens — juice and water were allowed — were joined by Erika Trez, who is the teen coordinator at Grace Episcopal Church, and four adults: Phil Toohey, John Hendrick, Genevieve Schlangen and Katie Kimsey. The group started fasting at noon Friday. Twenty-four hours later, Hendrick said he was feeling a little lightheaded. “I’m waiting for it to hit me like a rock, it hasn’t snuck up on me yet. I’ve got seven hours to go,” he said.

More here-

Why I Could No Longer Be a Catholic

From Politics Daily-

An old friend of mine recently posted the following sentence on his Facebook page: "I know this is totally not a PC thing to say, but can someone please explain to me why anyone is still Catholic?"

It's a fair question. And my Politics Daily colleague, Melinda Henneberger, has one answer. In an honest and moving piece she wrote a few days back, Melinda tells us that she's as put off as the next person by the current sex abuse scandal roiling the Catholic Church, as well as by the Vatican's latest attempts to play the victim and point fingers. At the end of the day, though, Melinda is going to hang in there with this church, because being Catholic is integral to who she is. "In the end," she writes,"it is not about them."

Melinda's argument is a variant on one that many of my pro-choice Catholic friends use when defending their choice to remain in a church even when its hierarchy (and -- it must be said -- most of its adherents) condemn a practice which my friends find perfectly legal and justifiable. They are somehow able to separate their personal beliefs on this issue from official church doctrine, and can carry on as practicing Catholics because they buy into other church teachings.

More here-

IRELAND: Primate expresses regret over consent to Glasspool's election in Los Angeles

From Episcopal Life Online-

Anglican Archbishop Alan Harper has expressed his "deep regret" that the U.S.-based Episcopal Church has given its consent to the election of Los Angeles Bishop-elect Mary Glasspool.
The decision, Harper said in a statement to the Church of Ireland Gazette, "does not reflect the mind of a majority of those in positions of leadership in the Anglican Communion and it is bound to create even greater stresses within the communion at a time when consultations on an Anglican covenant are at an advanced stage."

Glasspool is the second openly gay partnered priest to be elected a bishop in the Episcopal Church. The first was Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, who was elected in 2003. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori's office on March 17 confirmed that Glasspool had received the required number of consents from diocesan standing committees and bishops with jurisdiction to her ordination and consecration as a bishop.

The Anglican covenant to which Harper refers was first cited in the 2004 Windsor Report, a document that made several recommendations on how the communion might maintain unity amid disagreements over theological interpretations and human sexuality issues. The covenant is currently in its final draft and has been sent to the communion's 38 provinces for formal consideration.

Harper noted that the Windsor Report had recommended that the Episcopal Church "be invited to effect a moratorium on the election and consent to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate who is living in a same-gender union until some new consensus in the Anglican Communion emerges."

That recommendation, he added, was reiterated at successive Primates Meetings, and most recently with a request in February 2009 for "gracious restraint" in respect of actions that endanger the unity of the Anglican Communion.

More here-

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Springfield: Conservative but Unpredictable

From The Living Church-

In searching for its 11th bishop, the Diocese of Springfield describes itself as “more conservative than liberal” philosophically and theologically, “although several parishes likely would describe themselves as more liberal.”

A survey included in the diocesan profile [PDF] reinforces that description, but with some unpredictable results.

The Rt. Rev. Peter H. Beckwith was the diocese’s 10th bishop from 1992 until February 2010. In addition to his diocesan duties, Bishop Beckwith served as vice president of the American Anglican Council and as chairman of the AAC Bishops Network.

The diocese’s election committee says 846 people completed the survey. That number “constitutes 40.61% of the diocese’s average Sunday attendance of 2,083 taken from the 2008 parochial reports.”

Under “Theological and Philosophical Ideals,” respondents gave highest priority to five ideals in a new bishop:

Has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Believes in the authority of Holy Scripture, the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, and the 39 Articles.
Supports the Episcopal Church.

Promotes traditional Episcopal/Anglican teachings and the 1979 Book of Common Prayer.
Will strive to heal and strengthen relationships within the diocese.

More here-

Supreme Court May Soon Lack Protestant Justices

From NPR- The all time makeup is the chart to the left.

With U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens talking openly about retirement, attention has focused on the "who" — as in who is on President Obama's short list of potential nominees. But almost nobody has noticed that when Justice Stevens retires, it is entirely possible that there will be no Protestant justices on the Court, for the first time ever.

Topic With A Hint Of Taboo

Let's face it: This is a radioactive subject. As Jeff Shesol, author of the critically acclaimed new book Supreme Power, puts it, "religion is the third rail of Supreme Court politics. It's not something that's talked about in polite company." And although Shesol notes that privately a lot of people remark about the surprising fact that there are so many Catholics on the Supreme Court, this is not a subject that people openly discuss.

In fact, six of the nine justices on the current court are Roman Catholic. That's half of the 12 Catholics who have ever served on the court. Only seven Jews have ever served, and two of them are there now. Depending on the Stevens replacement, there may be no Protestants left on the court at all in a majority Protestant nation where, for decades and generations, all the justices were Protestant.

The first Catholic to serve was Chief Justice Roger Taney, historically famous for writing the Dred Scott decision upholding slavery. After he left, no Catholic was appointed for 30 years. But by the early 20th century, the nation settled into a pattern in which there was one seat on the court occupied by a Catholic, and usually one by a Jew, beginning with Louis Brandeis in 1916. There was no Jewish justice, however, in the 24 years between 1969 and 1993. The 20th century hiatus for Jews began under President Nixon, who, when asked by his attorney general when he was going to fill the Jewish seat, replied, "Well, how about after I die."

More here-

In meeting with Obama, black religious leaders offer encouragement

From The Washington Post-

President Obama briefly met Tuesday with about 20 black religious leaders, including representatives of the major African American denominations, in the second White House gathering in three months to discuss the needs of the black community.

While the president has faced growing questions about whether he has done enough to help African Americans deal with the nation's economic downturn, the ministers spent most of the 15 minutes they had with the president in the White House Blue Room offering words of encouragement and urging Obama to offer more summer jobs to young people and select an African American to fill the next Supreme Court vacancy.

When the meeting broke up, the ministers surrounded Obama, placed their hands on his shoulders and prayed.

"We need to pray for the president, pray for his wisdom, pray for his courage and pray for his strength because these are rough times," said John R. Bryant, senior bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. "I am always open and standing in the need for prayer," Bryant recalled Obama replying to a question from another minister about whether prayer was acceptable.

More here-

Election Jitters

From Christianity Today-

The voter registration process has been difficult. "You'll find that a big portion of the diaspora never registered, because they didn't have their proper documents," said Jimmy Mulla, president of D.C.-based Southern Sudanese Voice for Freedom.

"Southern Sudan has been denied for years," said William Deng, a native of the region and now a seminary student at Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry in Pennsylvania. "Before the war, it was two million people and one clinic. A lot of children are born there in their houses; there is no record."
A birth certificate is required to register to vote. Deng, one of the "Lost Boys" relocated to the U.S. as child refugees, is among those denied.

Church leaders such as Archbishop Daniel Deng (no relation) of the Episcopal Church of Sudan have struggled for a role in the election process, appealing to the international community to safeguard the cpa in the face of violations.

"The position of the church is to make peace," said Deng. "Sometimes we can't make it, because we don't have power." The elections could transform the role of the church by allowing Christians—long punished for their faith—to finally have a voice in historically Islamic-controlled Sudan.

In the meantime, the Christian diaspora is slowly returning to Southern Sudan and rebuilding burned-out churches, even as the region passed Darfur in deaths last year. "People come back home," said Deng. "They start [by having church] under the tree; maybe next to the tree is where they will build [the new church]."

More here-

Local Episcopalians await legal ruling on property dispute $40M property case heads to Virginia Supreme Court beginning April 13

From Virginia-

A 3-year-old property dispute between local Episcopalians and Anglicans will be played out in Virginia Supreme Court next week.

The state's high court will hear oral arguments beginning April 13.

Nine Virginia churches that broke away from the Episcopal Church in early 2007 to join a more conservative Anglican Church are still fighting to retain their properties, estimated to be worth as much as $40 million. To date, both churches have spent more than $5 million each in litigation costs, according to officials on both sides of the issue.

Among the area congregations now aligned with the Convocation of Anglicans in North America are, Church of the Apostles in Fairfax, Church of the Epiphany in Herndon, Church of Our Saviour in Oatlands, Truro in Fairfax City, and The Falls Church.

Citing a determination "to restore constitutional and legal protections for all churches in Virginia," the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia filed a petition this past year to appeal a 2009 Fairfax County Circuit Court decision upholding a controversial Civil War-era Virginia law called the "Division Statute."

The statute, Va. Code § 57-9, provides that when a religious denomination or diocese experiences a "division," member congregations may determine by majority vote which branch of the divided body they wish to join. It also states this determination governs the ownership of property held in trust for the congregation.

According to Henry D.W. Burt, secretary of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, the Episcopal Diocese will argue for reversal of the lower court's rulings regarding the division statute with two goals in mind: the restoration of Episcopal congregations to their original buildings, and the restoration of the ability of churches to organize and govern themselves according to their beliefs.

More here-

S.C. Episcopal Forum plans meeting series

From South Carolina-

The Episcopal Forum of South Carolina, an affiliation of Episcopalians who assert loyalty to The Episcopal Church and oppose the Diocese of South Carolina's actions to disengage from the church, is holding a series of meetings around the diocese. The series is called "What in the World is Going On in the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina?"

The meetings are free and open to the public; no registration is required. They follow a spring conference in Charleston that included a guest speaker, the Rev. Dr. Frank Wade, a priest and seminary professor. DVD copies of the conference will be available at each of the meetings, which will feature a panel discussion of the issues, including:

--House of Bishops meeting actions and reports.

--Diocese convention actions and reports.

--Implications of the decision by St. Andrews Church-Mount Pleasant to leave the Episcopal Church.

--The diocesan leadership's stated positions on these issues.

The Episcopal Forum of South Carolina is a membership organization whose mission is to affirm support for the Episcopal Church and its leadership.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Essays: Theological Education for the Whole Church

From The Living Church-

Turning Our Thought to God

By Joseph Mangina

We are entering a radically new era of theological education in North America. Christendom is dying apace. Students want a more flexible curriculum, tooled to part-time study and distance learning, forcing us to rethink the very idea of “formation.” Shrinking resources mean that everyone will have to do more with less, a goal that can be accomplished partly through the efficient use of technology. Students will be using e-readers in place of textbooks, and instead of essays they will write blogs. Seminary education will be dynamic, pluralist, ecumenical, and missional, the food in the refectory will be certified Organic purchased from local farmers, and all the coffee will be Fair Trade.

Or not, as the case may be.

There is always a certain degree of hyperventilating in academic circles about “new paradigms,” and theology is no exception. Of course there is a grain of truth in such remarks. We live in rapidly changing times, and some of the prophecies in my opening paragraph may even be accurate; though I, for one, would be loathe to see my dog-eared copy of the Church Dogmatics replaced by a Kindle. And I am often struck by how perduringly “relevant” old-fashioned theological curricula remain.

New paradigm or old, students still must master the contents of the Bible. They need to know the basic outlines of Church history and the “depth grammar” of the creeds. In my introductory theology course, I spend basically the entire first semester on Nicea and Chalcedon, trying to convince students that God is triune “all the way down” and that the Son of God and the Son of Mary are the same person. They are digesting all this at the same time they are taking challenging courses in Scripture, Anglican theology, and missional congregations.

More here

Archbishop: paedophile priests scandal a 'colossal trauma' for Irish Catholic church

From The London Telegraph-

In a radio debate, the Archbishop took the unusual step of commenting on the Catholic Church, saying the scandal had caused the church in Ireland to lose "all credibility".
He added that the issue had proven the need for church institutions to be more open and honest, saying it was a "lesson we've all had to learn the hard way".

He said: "For an awful lot of Christian institutions until fairly recently the default setting would be to try and hang on to institution's credibility and we've learned that that is damaging, it's wrong, it's dishonest.

"It requires that very hard recognition which ought to be natural for the Christian Church, based as it is on repentance and honesty, and we had to learn honesty and truthfulness are the only way in which we can survive in any institution."

Dr Williams was forced to apologise at the weekend after some of his comments were leaked to the press ahead of the full broadcast of Start the Week on BBC Radio 4 on Monday morning.
In remarks published ahead of the programme, he spoke of how the scandal had deeply affected the Catholic Church in Ireland.

He said: "I was speaking to an Irish friend recently who was saying that it's quite difficult in some parts of Ireland to go down the street wearing a clerical collar now.

More here-

Obama to meet at the White House with black church leaders

From The Washington Post-

President Obama will sit down Tuesday with about 20 black religious leaders, including representatives of the major African American denominations, in the second White House meeting in three months to discuss the needs of the black community.

The president has faced growing questions about whether he has done enough to help African Americans deal with the nation's economic downturn. Blacks have been hurt more than other communities by the lack of jobs and the difficulty in obtaining bank financing, among other issues, and some -- including political commentator Tavis Smiley and some members of the Congressional Black Caucus -- say that Obama has not responded urgently.

As the criticism intensified last month, the White House paid little public attention to the critics while aides privately pushed back, citing examples of the president's agenda, such as health care and education, that specifically benefit African Americans.

Tuesday's meeting appeared to be a clear sign that Obama has heard the complaints, especially because it precedes a gathering with a larger group of ministers in the East Room for an Easter prayer breakfast. But a White House spokesman rejected the conclusion.

More here-

Bar-hopping Episcopal priest, ex-Rev. Gregory Malia, is defrocked

From The New York Daily News-

A bar-hopping Episcopal priest, who was once a big-spending mainstay of the Manhattan nightclub scene, has been defrocked, officials confirmed Monday.

Ex-Rev. Gregory Malia was ousted from the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem, Pa., on grounds he "abandoned the communion of this church."

Church officials suspended Malia, 44, after he was arrested last July for pulling a gun when his daughter and a gal pal got into a fight at a bar.

"Gregory Malia has not made renunciation, retraction or denial" of charges he violated church canons, said the Rev. Paul Marshall, bishop of the Diocese of Bethlehem.

"He is therefore deposed from the ordained ministry, released from his obligations and deprived of the right to exercise the gifts of spiritual authority as a minister of God's word and sacrament conferred on him at his ordination," Marshall wrote in a Feb. 15 notice of deposition.

The Jaguar-driving party priest's late-night carousing was first reported by the Daily News in December 2008 after his big tips and taste for Dom Perignon made him a popular club patron.

Malia, who also runs a specialty pharmacy dedicated to blood disorders, could not be reached for comment.

Read more:

Monday, April 5, 2010

Archbishop of Canterbury - Cross is a challenge to the world

From ACNS-

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has used his Easter sermon to urge Christians to keep a proper sense of proportion when they feel they are experiencing opposition to their faith and remember both the physical suffering of Christian minorities in other countries and call to mind what exactly the Cross stands for in their faith.

In his Easter sermon delivered at Canterbury Cathedral he says that ‘bureaucratic silliness’ over displaying religious symbols should not be mistaken for physical persecution:

‘It is not the case that Christians are at risk of their lives or liberties in this country simply for being Christians. Whenever you hear overheated language about this remember those many, many places where persecution is real and Christians are being killed regularly and mercilessly or imprisoned and harassed for their resistance to injustice.”

“Remember our brothers and sisters in Nigeria and in Iraq, the Christian communities of southern Sudan … the Christian minorities in the Holy Land … or our own Anglican friends in Zimbabwe; … we need to keep a sense of perspective, and to redouble our prayers and concrete support.”

He says that the climate of intellectual opposition to Christianity – what he called ‘the strange mixture of contempt and fear towards the Christian faith’, regarding it as both irrelevant and a threat – is largely unjustified:

“… on many of the major moral questions of the day, the Christian Church still speaks for a substantial percentage of the country – not to mention speaking with the same concerns as people of other faiths. On burning questions like the rightness of assisted suicide, it is far from the case that the Christian view is only that of a tiny religious minority; and the debate is still very much alive.”

More here-

Can the pope restore the purity of Catholicism?

From The Washington Post-

The scandal facing Catholics today looks a lot like the Watergate scandal that engulfed the United States in the early 1970s. Then, what started as a crime committed by a few burglars slowly escalated to reveal corruption at the highest levels of authority. The White House counsel, senior advisers and others were punished for their roles. In the end, the president of the United States was implicated and forced to resign.

Is the Catholic Church on a similar pathway to the resignation of a pope?

On the surface, there are many similarities. A few years ago, the church was embarrassed by revelations that some priests were involved in the abuse of minors -- unlike the Watergate break-in, a major crime. Those priests were largely in Boston, but other abusers were exposed around the country. Reforms followed, and the scandal seemed to pass.

More recently, the equivalent of the Watergate tapes have blown open the church's calm. The Cardinal Archbishop of Ireland was involved in not only a failure to act but appears to have been an active agent of cover-up. And the trail seems to be leading even higher: the pope himself, while an archbishop in Munich, may have played a role in failing to respond to abuse.

More here-

Pirates' 1960 champs 'a team of destiny'

The Post Gazette did a big spread on the 1960 Pirates yesterday. First link is the article and the second is "where are they now?"

Fifty years ago on Easter, the Pirates had a baseball awakening.

Trailing the Cincinnati Reds by five runs in the second game of a doubleheader and down to their last two outs, the Pirates rallied for a 6-5 win. The biggest blows were a three-run home run by Hal Smith and a two-run blast by Bob Skinner, who said his game-winning trip around the bases was like "walking on air."

A victory in the first week of a protracted season might not qualify as pivotal, but it did establish a palpitating pattern of comebacks. On 22 ensuing occasions, the 1960 Pirates won in their final at-bat, which helps explain why that season continues to enchant and enthrall.

"That game was when we really believed we could win," said team captain Dick Groat. "Then, we did it so many times it became contagious. It got to the point where we thought we weren't supposed to lose. We were like a team of destiny."

Nothing is older than yesterday's news, especially in this age of Twitter and the blogosphere. But even if baseball lends itself to nostalgia, 1960 stands out as a season worth remembering. It has been called the last pure season because it was the last one before expansion. And in these parts, nothing could be as pure as the Oct. 13 home run in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 7 of the World Series that beat the Yankees.

Read more:

Where are they now?

Good Stuff in TEC: Churches, Community Kitchen welcome 150 for free holiday meal

From Elmira NY-

About 150 people turned out at Trinity Episcopal Church in Elmira on Sunday to take advantage of a free community Easter dinner.

The dinner was a joint effort by the Elmira Community Kitchen and a coalition of six area Episcopal churches.

"We were looking for a way to do an outreach to the community and the Community Kitchen gave us the opportunity," said Barbara Brownrigg of Grace Episcopal Church, one of the dinner's organizers.

People attended the dinner for different reasons, including financial.

"A holiday meal costs two weeks of regular groceries," said Sharon Caruana of Elmira, who enjoyed the dinner along with her mother and her two sons. "You can't do a holiday meal when you have a strict budget."

The dinner gave Dave Palmieri of Elmira a chance to socialize.

"I wouldn't have anybody to talk to. I have just myself," Palmieri said. "It makes it nice to have the company of other people. It's fantastic."

More here-

Liturgical Labor Dispute: Episcopal Church Irks Unions

From "Human Events"-

In early February, a 100-strong group of labor activists angrily gathered in front of the Manhattan headquarters of a prominent national organization to protest. The offense they protested was a recent contract change at the headquarters, from a unionized housekeeping services crew to a non-union one, and the effective dismissal of long-serving personnel.

But the organization which had earned the ire of organized labor wasn’t a business, it was the chronically liberal Episcopal Church.

More amazingly, the director of the Communist Party USA’s religious outreach, himself a prospective Episcopal priest, is trying to negotiate a labor-friendly accommodation with the Episcopal Church.

Long the supporters of union-friendly policies, Episcopalians have a record that should please even the most hardened union bosses. Once known as “the Republican Party at Prayer,” the 2.1 million-member denomination’s leadership long ago completed a political U-turn that now situates it on the Democratic Party’s far-left flank.

More here-

Sunday, April 4, 2010

He Is Risen!

Happy Easter!

Orthodox icons are seen as 'theology in color'

From The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Antiochian Village is just up the road a bit)

On a wall behind the altar of an Orthodox camp chapel near Ligonier is a larger-than-life icon of Jesus freeing souls from Hades.

The 8-foot Jesus, robed in white, stands on his broken cross. Its shards also represent the shattered gates of Hades, which in Orthodox theology is where the righteous and unrighteous await judgment. Grasping the hands of Adam and Eve, he raises them from a dark pit.

The icon illustrates an ancient understanding of Jesus' resurrection as the gift he offers to all humanity on a renewed Earth. While all Orthodox churches are filled with icons, the Resurrection icon in the camp chapel at Antiochian Village retreat and conference center is one of the largest in Pennsylvania and possibly the United States.

"An icon is theology in color," said Mother Alexandra, founder of the Convent of St. Thekla, which also is on the grounds of Antiochian Village in Bolivar, Westmoreland County. The center, which also houses a museum and bookstore, is a ministry of the Antiochian Orthodox Church.

Today Eastern and Western Christians all celebrate Easter. Most years the Orthodox celebrate after Catholics and Protestants because they use a different formula to calculate the date of Easter and also observe it according to the Julian calendar. The Orthodox and Catholic churches were originally one, but split in 1054. Orthodoxy is dominant in the east, Catholicism in the west. Protestants split from Catholicism centuries later.

Read more:

Archbishop of Canterbury: Irish Catholic church has lost all credibility

From The London Guardian-
Church leaders in Ireland have condemned the archbishop of Canterbury after he said the country's Catholic church has lost "all credibility" because of its poor handling of the scandal of paedophile priests. Dr Rowan Williams said the child sex abuse scandal that has engulfed the Catholic church had been a "colossal trauma" for Ireland in particular.

But a Catholic archbishop and senior Anglican clergy in Ireland rebuked Williams over his comments, contending they were unhelpful and discouraging. In an interview to be broadcast on Monday, Williams said: "I was speaking to an Irish friend recently who was saying that it's quite difficult in some parts of Ireland to go down the street wearing a clerical collar now. "And an institution so deeply bound into the life of a society suddenly losing all credibility – that's not just a problem for the church, it is a problem for everybody in Ireland." Williams's remarks were condemned by one of the most senior Catholics in Ireland, the archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin.

"Those working for renewal in the Catholic church in Ireland did not need this comment on this Easter weekend and do not deserve it," he said.
The comments are also likely to fuel the controversy surrounding the pope's visit to Britain in September, when he is expected to talk about moral standards and renew his attack on Britain's equality laws.

More here-

Catholic Church: 'serious sins' over child abuse scandal

From The London Telegraph

During his homily at Westminster Cathedral, Vincent Nichols, the head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, said: "Talk of sin is not always popular - unless we are talking about other people's sins.

"In recent weeks the serious sins committed within the Catholic community have been much talked about.

"For our part, we have been reflecting on them deeply, acknowledging our guilt and our need for forgiveness. This is the journey of Holy Week.

"Indeed, to appreciate the message of this great Christian feast we have to begin with our own sin and shame."

Anglican Church leader the Archbishop of Canterbury also takes to the pulpit a day after being forced to apologise for suggesting the Catholic Church in Ireland had ''lost all credibility'' over the abuse revelations.

The wider Catholic Church has been engulfed by sex abuse scandals this year, with victims coming forward in Ireland, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany and the United States.

Cardinal Keith O'Brien, head of the Church in Scotland, will apologise to child victims of abusive priests during his sermon in Edinburgh. He is also expected to describe the ''shame'' the issue has brought on the Catholic Church.

More here-