Saturday, November 29, 2008

God No !

National Public Radio's "On the Media" has an audio piece this morning on the rising atheism movement. Is it a religion? Well, it is becoming a political movement. No transcript yet but you can listen to it at the link.

Scroll down to the "God No" article.

Good Stuff in TEC: Georgia

Outdoor church serves homeless on their home turf

Folding chairs make do for pews, and hymns from a boom box replace the choir.

There’s no sanctuary either, unless you count the tall office buildings that shelter the 30-person congregation gathered in a downtown park: Welcome to Atlanta’s outdoor church for the homeless.

The worship services at Woodruff Park are open to all, but geared toward bringing hope to the homeless on their home turf. And for two years, the Church of the Common Ground has brought faith to Atlanta’s homeless through songs, gospel readings and weekly communion.

The church is affiliated with the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, which consecrated its pastor, Bob Book, as a priest in October in a ceremony in the park.

The outdoor ceremony was a first for the diocese, and a major step in a denomination where officials have been slow to recognize nontraditional street ministries as “real church.”

You can see all of the Good Stuff posts by clicking on Good Stuff in the labels below.

Good Stuff in TEC: Pennsylvnia

A growing need in tough times

For nearly a quarter-century, St. James Episcopal Church has opened it doors each weekday morning to the down-and-out.

And recently, there have been more of them.

Some days, the line stretches across the church's cafeteria, said Charles Green, who has coordinated the free morning meal since it started.

"It's up quite a bit," said Green, from about 100 last year to nearly 150 on some recent mornings.

And what Green is seeing are more younger people and families with young children.

"It's getting more and more and more. We're seeing more people," he said.

St. James is not alone.

Difficult economic times have forced a growing number of countinues to seek help this fall from organizations that provide free meals and shelter.

You can see all of the Good Stuff posts by clicking on Good Stuff in the labels below.

Good Stuff in TEC: Texas

Taize followers plug into God with song, quiet and meditation

If Cass Davies can’t attend her monthly Taizé service, life doesn’t feel quite right.
As soon as she steps into the church, lit with candles and filled with music, she feels tension slip away.

An increasingly popular worship tradition started by a theology student in Taizé, France, services are ecumenical, with meditation, silence, prayers, music and Bible readings.

“It’s a way to plug into God,” Davies said. “I walk out of there feeling so rested. It’s a deep meditation for me. There are no sermons, it’s just between you and God. If I don’t go, I truly miss it.”

Davies attends Taizé prayers at Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church, but services can also be found at Lutheran, Methodist and Catholic churches.

“It’s wonderful to find peace in the midst of stress,” said the Rev. John Price, who started Palmer’s tradition. “That is what Taizé does.”

You can see all of the Good Stuff posts by clicking on Good Stuff in the labels below.

Church's separatist stance ignores much bigger issues

The Rev. Tom Ehrich in the Indianapolis Stars opines about The Diocese of Quincy "leaving" the Episcopal Church.

I doubt that much sleep was lost, in heaven or on Earth, when the tiny Episcopal Diocese of Quincy, Ill., recently voted to secede from the national Episcopal Church for being too liberal.

With 1,800 members scattered over a large area bordering the Mississippi River, the diocese has long been a recalcitrant outpost of the fading Anglo-Catholic wing of the Episcopal Church. Its stern refusals -- no to women as priests, no to gays, no to theological diversity -- have played poorly in Peoria.

Its 24 congregations have an average membership of 75. Its 7 percent decline in membership since 2006 is the worst among Episcopal dioceses in its region.

But Quincy's debate over leaving the national denomination was illuminating.

With the nation caught up in its worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, focusing a church convention on denominational politics showed an odd detachment from reality.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Analysis: Recognition of Third Province Likely to Take Years

Recognition of Third Province Likely to Take Years (if ever).

It is technically possible for a vote on a third province to come before the primates’ meeting in February in Alexandria, Egypt, and then be forwarded to ACC-14. This is unlikely, however, because the necessary constitutional work in forming a CCP-based North American province probably will not be completed. This could take as much as two years because the diocesan conventions of the four breakaway Episcopal dioceses—San Joaquin, Pittsburgh, Quincy and Fort Worth—will have to endorse the constitution of the proposed province over two meetings of their conventions. CCP members also will need to ratify the constitution and amend their own governing documents so as to bring its terms into force.

It is more likely that the primates would address the creation of a third province at their meeting in 2011. If approved, the matter would be brought before ACC-15 in 2012.

While special meetings of the ACC and the primates can be called on the initiative of their standing committees, no such meeting has ever been called. In the current political climate within the Anglican Communion, expedited action is unlikely.

Orombi criticises Alur over witchcraft

More on the problem of witchcraft in the African Church - this time in Uganda. The Alur people live an area of Uganda known as Nebbi where Henry was Bishop before he was archbishop.

THE Anglican archbishop, Henry Luke Orombi, has told the Alur to stop witchcraft to fight poverty. “People still share one grass-thatched hut with goats, children, chicken and ducks.

You Alur people should have trust in God and stop witchcraft. Stop giving yourselves names like Kumakech (I am unlucky), Ajaruva and Masedi (disturbance), among others associated with poverty,” he said.
“An Alur will not want to see his fellow Alur prospering; they prefer seeing other tribes developing as they bewitch themselves.

An Alur will wake up at night and sprinkle blood on the doorway of his fellow Alur who is developing. We must stop this backward habit.”
Orombi’s wife Phoebe advised the Alur in other areas to develop their home area. “As you work in Gulu, Kampala and other places, think of putting up some structure at home where you body will be laid when you are dead,” she said.

Orombi was meeting the Nebbi community living in Gulu and Amuru districts on Tuesday in Bardege division, Gulu.
He urged the elders to teach the children and women the Alur culture. Orombi is on a one-week pastoral visit to the diocese of northern Uganda.

Last summer I posted a Christianity Today piece on the problem in Nigeria. Here it is again.

Conservative Anglicans determined to stay within church

From Canada an article about conservative parishes and clergy who are "loosening" their ties to Common Cause and deciding to stay in the Anglican Church of Canada. Oh Canada!

About 50 conservative Anglican leaders, including eight young theological students, gathered in Toronto for a one-day consultation on Nov. 25 and emerged with a determination to remain within the Anglican Church of Canada. They came from 16 dioceses across the country.


He said there are five key areas on which the federation will focus: giving voice to the issues at various meetings of dioceses and synods, continuing to network with other conservative organizations and denominations in Canada, international representation (Mr. Cane says he will attend the Common Cause Partnership meeting in December as an observer), encouraging conservative theologians to meet and work on the issues, and working with theological students and others under age 40 to “help the rest of the church affirm authentic Anglicanism.”

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, sent a lengthy pastoral letter to the consultation in which he acknowledged differences in biblical interpretation and expressed appreciation for the fellowship’s determination to work within the Anglican Church of Canada.
In his letter, the primate said that “the St. Michael Report itself acknowledges that ‘the interpretation of scripture is a central and complex matter’ and that, at times in the church’s history, ‘faithful readings have led to mutually contradictory understandings, requiring on-going dialogue and prayer toward discernment of the one voice of the gospel.’

No, no, its back "to" Church Sunday !

Back to Church Sunday 2008 welcomes back 37,000

Back to Church Sunday is celebrating another rise in the numbers drawn back to church by the event this year as organisers gather in London for a special event at Lambeth Palace. Figures based on returns from dioceses suggest that more than 37,000 people took up the invitation to try church again on Sunday 28th September 2008 – with more than 31,000 of them ‘coming back’ to an Anglican church.

This achievement is being marked with a ‘thank you’ party for people across the country responsible for promoting Back to Church Sunday to local parish churches and encouraging them to extend the warmest welcome to visitors. The day will involve multimedia presentations, buzzgroups, and giveaway treats from the sponsors Traidcraft.

More on Galileo

Galileo explains his discovery to the Pope

Vatican official says Galileo was a man of faith

From Catholic News Service. Who says the church can't admit its wrong and recant iteself? Sometimes it just takes 400 years.

Fourteen years after Pope John Paul II said the Catholic Church erred when it condemned the 17th-century astronomer Galileo Galilei, the Vatican secretary of state said the astronomer was "a man of faith" who recognized God as creator of the cosmos.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the secretary of state, spoke briefly Nov. 26 at the opening of a Rome conference titled, "Science 400 years after Galileo Galilei," designed to bring scientists, ethicists and other experts together to discuss the role of ethics in scientific research.

The cardinal said recent studies and the Vatican's own review of the Inquistion trial of Galileo "have shed light on the shortcomings of churchmen tied to the mentality of their age," but also gave people a more accurate understanding of Galileo's beliefs.

"Galileo, a man of science, also cultivated with love his faith and his deep religious convictions," Cardinal Bertone said, repeating Pope Benedict XVI's statement that "Galileo Galilei was a man of faith who saw nature as a book written by God."

Province plan to be unveiled

Church Times (England) take on the proposed "New Province" in North America.

THE Common Cause Partnership (CCP), a coalition of conservative Anglican groups in the United States and Canada, which have broken away from their national Churches, is to announce plans next week for a separate province.

The group will meet in the Evangelical Free Church in Wheaton, Illinois, next Wednesday to “release to the public” its draft constitution. Its moderator, the Rt Revd Bob Duncan, the deposed Bishop of Pitts burgh, described it as “an important concrete step towards the goal of a biblical, missionary and united Anglican Church in North America”.

The CCP represents about 100,000 Anglicans, 3000 of them in Canada. It comprises diverse groups that have left the Episcopal Church in the United States and the Anglican Church of Canada: four US dioceses (San Joaquin, Pittsburgh, Quincy, and Fort Worth); associations such as the Nigerian-led Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA); and seceded congregations and denomina­tions, such as the Reformed Episcopal Church.

A spokesman for one of the con stituent bodies, the American An glican Council, said the new Anglican Church in North America “will have all the necessary features to be recognised as a province”.

The new self-styled province will be defined by theology, not by geo graphy. It will appeal to the other provinces for recognition, and is relying on the support of the Prim ates who attended the Global An­glican Future Conference (GAFCON) in Jerusalem in the summer. The GAFCON movement made it clear in its declaration from Jerusalem that approval from Canterbury was not a prerequisite for future organisations.

And from Philadelphia

"Those who are gathering next week to essentially declare a new province can only call it a 'province' in quotes," said Rev. Edward Rix, rector at All Saint's Parish in Wynnewood. "What will be controversial will be how they move forward on such issues that divide them."

Rev. Rix said there are many examples of overlapping jurisdiction that could provide a precedent, but those instances may be considered different than this one.

"It is the case that dioceses spring up from groups of parishes," said Rev. Rix.

He said some parishes incorporate as a diocese and than apply for membership as a diocese, essentially the same procedure that is being used for the new province.

Bishop David Moyer, rector of the Church of the Good Shepherd, knows many of the leaders of the movement. He said their intentions are good, but that their road will be difficult.

"I think these leaders are driven by Gospel imperatives," said Bishop Moyer.

But he also said he doesn't really expect Archbishop Williams to recognize the new province.
"I don't see him in any way giving them the credibility they request," he said. "Because that will discredit the Episcopal Church. And there are still many traditional, orthodox Anglican people there."

Good Stuff in TEC: Viginia

Church program offers wood to needy

Piles of freshly split wood towered above enthusiastic volunteers on a recent Saturday morning as they filled truckloads of firewood to deliver to those in need around the area.

Scores of young people worked alongside more seasoned veterans as the Wood for Warmth program, sponsored by Trinity Episcopal Church of Rocky Mount and St. Peter's Episcopal Church of Callaway, carried out its weekly volunteer effort.

Volunteers of all ages pitched in to help.

"In addition to the benefits clients receive, it's also a wonderful equalizer with young and old working side by side," said John Gardner, Trinity's co-rector. "You have people who need the wood themselves interacting with real estate moguls or doctors. And it's a great way for new church members to get to know each other and blend into the community."

There are currently 23 members of the "Wood Crew," who are called upon when they are available. Several volunteers gather during the week to cut and split firewood in order to get a head start on weekly Saturday deliveries.

You can see all of the Good Stuff posts by clicking on Good Stuff in the labels below.

World's largest cathedral plans rededication in NY

The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in Upper Manhattan will be open from end to end for the first time since its restoration following a devastating fire that damaged ancient tapestries and a 8,500-pipe organ.

A celebratory rededication is planned for Sunday at the Gothic Episcopal church, called the largest cathedral in the world.

The entire length of the 601-foot-long building will be open. A temporary wall had halved the cathedral, concealing the scaffolding set up for the restoration work. The fire originated in the gift shop on Dec. 18, 2001.

At Sunday's celebration, the restored 98-year-old Skinner organ will be played for the first time since the fire. All of its pipes were removed, cleaned and reinstalled.

Every inch of limestone, marble and granite surface also has been cleaned.

The ceremony will begin with a procession of bishops and fire department members who helped battle the blaze.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Newman's beatification may bring Anglicans and Catholics close

From the London Times. The John Henry Newman story continues to make news in England. Here's John in his Cardinal cowboy hat.

The beatification of Cardinal Newman, the most prominent Anglican convert to Catholicism, should offer "a great opportunity ecumenically" and not be presented as "Roman Catholic triumphalism", a leading expert on Newman has said.

Monsignor Roderick Strange, Rector of the Pontifical Beda College in Rome and author of the recently published John Henry Newman: A Mind Alive said that Newman "while never regretting his move remained positive about what was good in Anglicanism, and appreciative of what he had learnt from it." Monsignor Strange told The Times he believed that Anglican figures "would be delighted by Newman's beatification, because they have a sense of the way Newman took his Anglican heritage with him into Catholicism".

During an audience given at the residence of the British Ambassador to the Holy See, Monsignor Strange said that Anglicans "leaning in a more Protestant direction" were likely to be critical of the beatification if and when it occurred, which was why Rome should "not be triumphalistic about the proceedings." Monsignor Strange added: "I would see the beatification as a challenge for ecumenism, but also as an opportunity".

Police raid Grace Church & St. Stephen's

From the Colorado Springs Gazette

Colorado Springs police detectives raided Grace Church & St. Stephen's on Wednesday morning to seize paper financial records and computers as part of a theft investigation launched more than a year ago. More than 20 officers cordoned off the blocklong church complex at 601 N. Tejon St., evicting its controversial pastor, the Rev. Donald Armstrong, who wandered the sidewalk in clerical garb, a copy of the warrant in his right hand.

The raid focused on records tied to allegations from the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado that Armstrong embezzled $400,000 from Grace Church & St. Stephen's Parish, the congregation he headed before he and his followers broke away in early 2007 to affiliate with the Convocation of Anglicans in North America.
Colorado Springs police Lt. David Whitlock said officers were searching for evidence of theft and fraud. Police also searched Armstrong's Colorado Springs home Wednesday.

William Bradford from "The Plymouth Plantation"

William Bradford was the Governor of the Plymouth Colony (and my 12th great-grandfather). He wrote a history of what happened and while he doesn't mention the first Thanksgiving he does talk about the bounty of that first harvest.

But first an excerpt about that first devastating winter-

But soon a most lamentable blow fell upon them. In two or three months time half of their company died, partly owning to the severity of the winter, especially during January and February, and the want of house and other comforts; partly to scurvy and other diseases, which their long voyage and incommodious quarters had brought upon them. Of all the hundred odd persons. scarcely fifty remained and sometimes two or three persons died in a day. In the worst distress there but six or seven sound persons who to their great commendation be it spoken, spared no pains night and day, but with great toil and at risk of their own health, fetched wood made fires, prepared food for the sick, made their beds, washed their infected clothes dressed and undressed them - in a word, did all the homely and necessary services for them which dainty and queasy stomachs cannot endure to hear mentioned; all this they did willingly and cheerfully, without the least grudging, showing their love to the friends and brethren...

But the next fall-

They now began to gather in the small harvest they had, and to prepare their houses for winter, being well recovered in health and strength, and plentifully provisioned; for while some had been thus employed in affairs away from home, others were occupied in fishing for cod, bass and other fish, of which they caught a good quantity, every family having their portion. All the summer there was no want. And now as winter approached, wild fowl began to arrive, of which there were plenty when they came here first, though afterward they became more scarce. As well as wild fowl, they got an abundance of wild turkeys, besides venison etc. Each person had about a peck of meal a week, or now, since harvest, Indian corn in that proportion; and afterwards many wrote at length about their plenty to their friends in England- not feigned but true reports.

Happy Thanksgiving

Lincoln's Thanksgiving Decree 1863

The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they can not fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict, while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battlefield, and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore if, as soon as may be consistent with the divine purpose, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity, and union.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the city of Washington, this 3d day of October A.D. 1863, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-eighth

Washington's Thanksgiving Decree 1789

WHEREAS it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favour; and Whereas both Houfes of Congress have, by their joint committee, requefted me "to recommend their safety and happiness:"

NOW THEREFORE, I do recommend and affign THURSDAY, the TWENTY-SIXTH DAY of NOVEMBER next, to be devoted by the people of thefe States to the fervice of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our fincere and humble thanksfor His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the fignal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpofitions of His providence in the courfe and conclufion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have fince enjoyed;-- for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to eftablish Conftitutions of government for our fafety and happinefs, and particularly the national one now lately instituted;-- for the civil and religious liberty with which we are bleffed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffufing useful knowledge;-- and, in general, for all the great and various favours which He has been pleafed to confer upon us.

And also, that we may then unite in moft humbly offering our prayers and fupplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and befeech Him to pardon our national and other tranfgreffions;-- to enable us all, whether in publick or private ftations, to perform our feveral and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a bleffing to all the people by conftantly being a Government of wife, juft, and conftitutional laws, difcreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all fovereigns and nations (especially fuch as have shewn kindnefs unto us); and to blefs them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increafe of fcience among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind fuch a degree of temporal profperity as he alone knows to be beft.

GIVEN under my hand, at the city of New-York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand feven hundred and eighty-nine.

(signed) G. Washington

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Joint Standing Committee plans for 2009 ACC meeting

Looks like the Times report that the Southern Cone would be disciplined might be a false alarm. From Episcopal News Service.

The Joint Standing Committee of the Primates and Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) has devoted much of its November 24-26 meeting to discussing budgetary issues and planning the next meeting of the ACC -- the communion's main policy-making body -- set for May 1-12, 2009 in Kingston, Jamaica.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori was among those attending the JSC meeting, which was held behind closed doors at the Anglican Communion Office and Lambeth Palace in London. She noted that a November 26 report in The Times of London newspaper, that suggested the JSC had discussed plans to discipline the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone for its recent incursions into other provinces, was untrue. "The subject has not come up," she told Episcopal News Service.

The committee heard a report about the 2008 Lambeth Conference budget "and the deficit is much lower than was originally anticipated," said Jefferts Schori, who was elected to the Primates Standing Committee in February 2007.

Church members sue Episcopal Diocese over reservation land

A different sort of property battle in South Dakota. (Another interesting hat)

Members of 11 Episcopal churches on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation have filed lawsuits in Oglala Sioux tribal court asking that the Episcopal Diocese of South Dakota be prevented from closing their churches and from deconsecrating buildings and cemeteries in the process.

On Monday, the executive committee of the Oglala Sioux Tribal Council also unanimously approved a resolution stating that the diocese should return those properties to the tribe in compliance with federal laws that govern the use of reservation lands for missionary or educational works.

The rite of deconsecrating a church allows that building to be used for secular purposes, but it would not necessarily prevent it from being used as a church again at some point.

The legal papers were served Monday at the diocesan offices in Sioux Falls but had not been signed by a tribal judge as of Tuesday. The plaintiffs seek an immediate hearing to stop the closures.

Reflections on Conservatives in Anglicanism

Graham Kings from Fulcrum opines on the conservative movement in the Episcopal Church in The United States

There are in fact two conservative strategies for the way forward for Anglicans in North America. CEEC should bear both of these in mind as it prepares to make a statement on this issue, which is meant to represent evangelicals in the Church of England. The motion at NEAC 2008, which was 'not put' in the end, would have backed the former and did not specifically mention the latter. It may be helpful to have them both set out.

First, the ‘Federal Conservative strategy which is focused on the 'Common Cause Partnership' and involves splitting from The Episcopal Church (TEC) and working with GAFCON/FCA (4 dioceses, some previously separated groups and about 24 churches in Northern Virginia).

Second, the 'Communion Conservative' strategy which is focused on 'Communion Partners' – a development of the ‘Windsor Bishops group’ which now includes 40 Rectors of major churches - and involves working from within TEC and with the Windsor Process (15 dioceses)

At the beginning of Advent, these two strategies are represented in two conferences. On Wednesday 3 December 2008, at Wheaton College, an independent evangelical college in west Chicago, on Wednesday 3 December 2008, the proposed constitution for an independent new Anglican 'Province' in North America will be unveiled. Bob Duncan is in line to lead the new Province and will be speaking, together with Martyn Minns and others.

On Saturday 6 December 2008, four days later, at the Church of the Incarnation, Dallas, Texas, the ‘Covenant’ web site and the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas are holding a conference, open to everyone 'Discerning the Body: The Gift and Discipline of Communion'. The speakers are James Stanton, Bishop of Dallas, and Ephraim Radner, together with others.

Diocese of Texas Consecrates new Bishop

And we keep being told that no one who isn't on board with the gay agenda will ever be elected, confirmed or consecrated again.

Southern Cone heading south

Ruth Geldhill from the London Times comments on the Primates meeting this week.

Looks like action is about to be taken against Greg Venables and the Southern Cone for sheltering no fewer than four TEC conservative bishops and their flocks, the latest being Jack Iker and Forth Worth. See our news report summing up the latest. I understand that the Joint Standing Committee meeting in London this week, from which significantly Egypt's Mouneer Anis and Uganda's Henry Orombi are absent, is to discuss suspending Southern Cone's voting rights from the upcoming Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Jamaica next May. As long-standing readers will recall, this is what happened to TEC, then Ecusa, at the last ACC meeting in Nottingham in 2005. This is not so much a 'booting out' but should be regarded as a punishment, I am told. Meanwhile, it seems highly probable that TEC and Canada are to be rewarded for their restraint by being given a full seat back at the table again in May.

Read it all-

Joint ACC, Primates Steering Committee Meets

The Living Church has a list of the Primates on the steering committee meeting this week along with representatives of the Anglican Consultative Council. See the Times piece two posts below.

The Joint Steering Committee (JSC) of primates and representatives of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) are holding an important planning meeting in London this week in advance of forthcoming meetings of the primates in February in Alexandria, Egypt, and of the ACC in Jamaica in May.

Approval for a possible second province in North America expected to be on the agenda for the primates’ meeting as well as the ACC gathering.

Elected from within their respective bodies, JSC members meet on a regular basis between meetings of the two larger groups. Two of the six primates on the JSC are absent: the Most Rev. Henry Orombi, Archbishop of Uganda, and the Most Rev. Mouneer Anis, President Bishop of The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East. The primates reported present by Anglican Communion News Service are: the Most. Rev. Phillip Aspinall, Archbishop of Australia; the Most Rev. Barry Morgan, Archbishop of Wales; the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church; and the Most Rev. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury.

Good Stuff in TEC: Massachusetts

Charities scurry to meet demand

Tough economic times are forcing more people than ever to seek help with their Thanksgiving meal, creating such demand at local food pantries that many will likely be disappointed this year.

Martha Reed, coordinator of the food pantry at Grace Episcopal Church, said the church had begun to turn people away Monday.

"A woman came this morning with six children. I was able to give her a couple of good-sized chickens, but there are a lot more people looking," she said.

This year, Grace Episcopal gave out 136 turkeys and 76 chickens that came from the Boston Food Bank, along with all of the traditional ingredients that accompany a Thanksgiving meal, Ms. Reed said.

"The fixings we bought ourselves. I have done a tremendous amount of shopping," she said. "There's a lot of need, and with winter coming it is only going to get worse."

You can see all of the Good Stuff posts by clicking on Good Stuff in the labels below.

Conservative Anglicans face "punishment" for helping US rebels

From The London Times. Didn't see this coming. Its worth reading the entire article available at the link below.

The Church of England has so far resisted being split by the controversy. At a recent meeting of evangelicals in London, delegates refused to vote for a motion backing a declaration by the Global Anglican Future Conference, the conservative “alternative” to the Lambeth Conference that met in Jerusalem last summer.

The penalty being considered against the Southern Cone, which has 22,000 members in Argentina and surrounding nations, includes the removal of voting rights at the forthcoming meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council, the central governing body of the Anglican Communion, in Jamaica next May.

When the council last met in Nottingham in 2005, the lay and ordained members from Canada and the US were allowed to attend as observers but were barred from voting. This was because a diocese in Canada had authorised a rite for same-sex blessings and The Episcopal Church had gone ahead with the consecration of the openly gay Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams and Bishop Jefferts Schori are among those who will be debating action against the Southern Cone at this week’s meeting of the joint standing committee of the Primates and the Anglican Consultative Council, chaired by the Right Rev John Paterson of New Zealand.

Significantly, the two conservative Archbishops on the committee, the Most Rev Henry Orombi of Uganda and the Most Rev Mouneer Anis of Egypt and the Middle East, have decided not to attend.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Just because its funny

An Aternate Province

Tony Clavier on the prospects of a new province in North America. Two snippets below. The entire piece (well worth reading) at the link at the bottom.

I hope you will excuse this old codger for revealing that he greets this news with a vivid sense of deja vu. I arrived on these shores at the moment when the first wave of dissenters were leaving, some of whom were sure that the way forward was to create a separate Anglican entity. Their leaders soon got to work on writing Canon Law and on securing episcopal consecration. Ten years later a larger group emerged, this time aided by retired bishops and overseas bishops. They called themselves the Anglican Church in North America and created a corpus of Canon Law only rivalled by Rome. They too sought recognition by obtaining episcopal consecration. I could go on. The list of defunct and emerging ecclesial groups, each one claiming to be the answer to the proverbial maiden’s prayer, is formidable. Their history of binary fission, character assassination and obsession with valid Orders and Canon Law needs no telling here.


The bishops and leaders of the new church must learn a simple lesson. The skills and talents employed in standing against the church Establishment in TEC are not the same at all as those needed to inspire, build up and promote the morale of those called to shepherd their people once they are out in the ecclesiastical shopping mall of American religion. Many of the clergy will be wounded, angry and bitter and will inevitably demonstrate these hurts in their pastoral lives. Many of the laity will be similarly hurt, particularly if they lose their buildings and their cash. The task of healing will be enormous and will require enormous patience and skill.

In Colo., Veggie Giveaway Spurs Massive Response

When you reap your harvest in your field and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back and get it. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the works of your hands. Deut. 24:19

A nice story from "All Things Considered" about a Colorado farmer who invited strangers to come and glean his fields. 40,000 showed up!

You can listen to it here-

Good Stuff in TEC: Conneticut

Donations come in, food goes out at local food pantries

At the same time, Paulsen said, new people have been asking for help all fall. The pantry can only donate food to Newtown residents in need, but the need is growing.

"We're seeing one or two new families a week," she said. "We're seeing people who have lost their homes in foreclosures. It's unbelievable."

At other area food pantries, the same pattern seems to be in play. As the holidays approach, the people who can donate are finding ways to give more. At the same time, the demand for that help is growing fast.

"It's going to be close," Capt. Todd Hughes, commander of The Salvation Army in Danbury, said Monday about the work of filling all the request for Thanksgiving meals this week.

Hughes said The Salvation Army normally prepares about 200 food baskets for Thanksgiving. St. James Episcopal Church in Danbury and the Community Action Committee of Danbury do the same, Hughes said.

You can see all of the Good Stuff posts by clicking on Good Stuff in the labels below.

Dueling resposnes in Ft. Worth

The Diocese of Ft. Worth issues a response to the Presiding Bishop's inhibition on Jack Iker here-

Those staying in the Episcopal Church from Ft. Worth have their statement here-

Living Church article on all of this is here-

Monday, November 24, 2008

Top 10 religious themed musicals

From the London Times. I didn't even know there were ten religious themed musicals. (Not quite sure how Jerry Springer gets in the mix)

Nazis persecuting Jews in wartime Warsaw: a grim subject, you might think. Hardly suitable material for the cheery, sing-a-long format of the musical.

Yet last night Imagine This, a show set in the 1942 Warsaw ghetto opened in London. Already bookings have been taken until 2009, and as our reviewer reports, dark, tricky themes are handled sensitively. Religion and the musical might seem an odd match. In fact, as the list below suggests, a healthy appetite for the faith-themed musical exists on both the West End and Broadway.

Top of the list, without question, is....

Bishop of Birmingham David Urquhart spreads the 'green gospel'

From the Birmingham (England) Post. The Bishop there is on a crusade for the environment.

For the first time in history, city Christians are willing to think about everything from the coffee they drink to the gifts they consume – all in the name of the planet.

And the leader of Birmingham’s Anglican community thinks this is no bad thing as it’s important for everyone, no matter their faith, to address environmental issues.

“The health of the planet is of great importance to Christians and so is preserving the planet’s resources,” he says. “But the Church has also been a part of flourishing societies which in turn have generated great amounts of wealth in the industrial world.

Rest is here-

AMAZING GRACE PROJECT: Worshippers at about 2,000 Anglican churches in Canada joined voices

Yesterday was the "Amazing Grace Project" where Anglican Churches across Canada were encouraged to sing the hymn and tape it for a video production to be released at a later date.

Karianne and Bryan Neff of London were part of a choir of thousands yesterday, stretching from coast to coast to coast and all singing from the same songbook.

In pews and in parking lots, in tiny parish halls and soaring cathedrals -- and in at least once instance, on an East Coast beach -- worshippers at about 2,000 Anglican churches in Canada joined voices to sing Amazing Grace as a statement of unity in trying times.

"We're doing this to support the churches in the northern parts of Canada," said Karianne Neff.

The Neffs and about 480 others stood to sing with the organ at St. James Westminster Anglican Church in Old South London.

From his pulpit, Archdeacon Ken Anderson said he could see tears in some congregants' eyes as they sang one of the most universally loved hymns of the faith.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Lemming Pledge #11

Good Stuff in TEC: South Carolina

Island churches help hungry

Thanksgiving came early this year for residents of Johns and Wadmalaw islands.

Nineteen churches pulled together Saturday to host "Feeding the Multitude," which included a free Thanksgiving meal, entertainment and Christian fellowship.

Although Sunday mornings have been called one of the most segregated times in America, black, white and Hispanic volunteers contributed food, time and talent to serve their neighbors Saturday afternoon.

The event was held at St. John's Episcopal Church on Johns Island, and organizers hope it will become an annual event.

Claudia Boyce of St. John's, the event's coordinator, said she volunteered at a similar event last year, and a minister challenged those who attended to carry the tradition home to their own communities. She spread the word and found a lot of interest from parishes on Johns and Wadmalaw islands.

You can see all of the Good Stuff posts by clicking on Good Stuff in the labels below.

Good Stuff in TEC: North Carolina

For the homeless, they're thinking out of the box

About 700 people gathered north of uptown Saturday to march through the cold in support of Charlotte's homeless.

With temperatures in the 40s, a group of teens, their parents and homeless people took part in the fourth annual Help the Homeless Walk.

The three-mile march marked the close of a two-day event aimed at raising awareness of the problem. Friday night, more than 100 teens from five area churches took part in an empathy-building exercise in which they spent at least part of the night sleeping in cardboard boxes.

It was an idea that some colleges have used to bring attention to homelessness, and it left an impression on those who took part this year.

You can see all of the Good Stuff posts by clicking on Good Stuff in the labels below.

Episcopal Diocese gets new bishop

North West Texas elects a new Bishop.

It was short and sweet, and void of drama, like most thought it would be. After two hours and just two ballots, the Rev. J. Scott Mayer was named Bishop Elect of the Episcopal Diocese of Northwest Texas late Saturday morning.

The election was held inside the sanctuary of St. Paul's-on-the-Plains Episcopal Church and simulcast on a large projection screen inside the church's parish hall.

Mayer was the only of the four nominees with local roots, and the only nominee in attendance due to his membership in the diocese as current rector of the Church of the Heavenly Rest in Abilene.

The first ballot earned him 34 of the 47 clergy votes, but only 65 of the 141 votes cast by the lay electorate - six shy of the necessary majority. But the results of the second ballot weren't even close: 38 votes from the clergy order, and 90 from the lay.

Head of Episcopal church tells Fort Worth bishop he's no longer to act as a minister

The inevitable inhibition of Bishop Iker has been announced. From the Dallas Morning News.

The presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, the Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, has fired the latest salvo in the battle with the Fort Worth diocese, ordering Bishop Jack Iker to stop functioning as an ordained minister.

That's probably fine with Iker, since his Fort Worth diocese voted just last week to have nothing further to do with the Episcopal Church.

Jefferts Schori's order, known as an "inhibition," says Iker "abandoned the Communion" of the Episcopal Church.

At Iker's urging, the Fort Worth diocese has voted to align itself with a conservative province of the Anglican Communion, one based in Argentina.

Iker holds that the Episcopal Church has drifted from the Bible's teachings by allowing women priests and an openly gay bishop.

He has said the Fort Worth diocese will function as before, though several congregations are staying with the Episcopal Church.