Saturday, April 25, 2009

"Buddhist" Bishop-Elect Revises Liturgy for Baptism

Holy Revisionist Batman !

Presider: The Candidate for Holy Baptism will now be presented.

Parents and Godparents: I present N. to receive the Sacrament of Baptism

Presider: Will you be responsible for seeing that N. is brought up in the Christian faith and life?

Parents and Godparents: I will, with God’s help.

Presider: Will you, by your prayers and witness, help N. to grow into the full stature of Christ?

Parents and Godparents: I will, with God’s help.

Presider: Do you seek to awaken to the eternal presence of God, who is your very heart and soul?

Parents and Godparents: I do.

The Renunciations

Presider: God forever invites you to let go of self deceit to dwell in the house of honesty, where eternal Hope reigns. Will you accept this invitation?

Parents and Godparents: I will, with God’s help.

Presider: God forever invites you to let go of all fear to dwell in the house of courage, where eternal Faith reigns. Will you accept this invitation?

Parents and Godparents: I will, with God’s help.

Presider: God forever invites you to let go of all anger to dwell in the house of serenity, where Love reigns. Will you accept this invitation?

Parents and Godparents: I will, with God’s help.

The Act of Adherence
Presider: Do you turn to Jesus Christ and accept him as the way of Life and Hope?

Parents and Godparents: I do.

Presider: Do you put your whole trust in Christ’s grace and love?

Parents and Godparents: I do.

Presider: Do you promise to follow Christ as the way of life?

Parents and Godparents: I do.

We stand as we are able.

Presider: Will you who witness these vows do all in your power to support N. in her life in Christ?

Assembly: We will.

More (much more)-

Amazing Grace funds will be used for suicide prevention

Proceeds from the recent Amazing Grace project, which captured the interest of Anglicans across Canada and raised more than $91,000 for the Council of the North, will go towards the establishment of a suicide prevention program for its member dioceses.

The council, which met in February, decided that the donations “had to be spent for a project that would really address the needs of its members,” Keewatin Bishop and Council chair David Ashdown told the house of bishops at its spring meeting here.

“The issue of suicide is one that we deal with all the time. The council struggles with trying to find ways of preventing suicide,” said Bishop Ashdown. It’s one thing to minister to communities and individuals after a suicide has taken place. But we’d rather find help and focus the energy on preventing it as much as we can.”

The council “never had the resources until the Amazing Grace (project),” Bishop Ashdown said in an interview with the Anglican Journal. “It is amazing that we’ve now received the grace that will enable us to go forward and bring grace into other people’s lives,” he said. “I genuinely believe that, as a result of the Amazing Grace contributions, lives are actually going to be saved and enhanced.”


Kenya: Anglican Primate Nominated to Truth Commission

The outgoing Anglican Archbishop of Kenya Benjamin Nzimbi tops the list of possible members of the proposed Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) which is intended to investigate human rights violations since independence.

The only other noted Christian leader on the list of 15 nominees is retired Presbyterian cleric Timothy Njoya, previously an outspoken government critic. No Catholic cleric is on the list.

Well-known peace negotiator Bethwel Kiplagat is also listed. Parliament will pick the final members of the TJRC from the 15 nominees, who will then be formally appointed by the president.

The other nominees are Maria Nzomo, Elizabeth Muli, Tom Ojienda, Joseph Aluoch, Betty Murungi, Margaret Shava and Thomas Letangule. Others are Abubakar Zein Abubakar, Joyce Majiwa, Tecla Namachanja, Ahmed Sheikh Farah and Daadab Mohammed.

The nominees are largely unknown figures. Kenya's largest independent newspaper, The Daily Nation, raised the issue of credibility of the person who will preside over the truth commission, commenting that he or she should have the moral stature of South African Nobel Peace Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

The rest-

Good Stuff in TEC: Mississippi


In 1970, Ann L. Whitaker attended the first Earth Day celebration in Washington, and was one of 20 million nationwide observing it.

"It was part of my formation," the Clinton resident said. "I was a senior in high school. There were many changes taking place, and there was this notion of getting back to the garden. People were saying we have this planet, and we need to do something to save it or take care of it."

Today, Whitaker is still leading people back to the garden. As the rector of Clinton's Episcopal Church of the Creator, she's helped introduce environmental initiatives there while emphasizing a connection between being green and being godly.

On Wednesday, Whitaker led an Earth Day-themed program for children during which they discussed creation care and planted a dogwood.

"My take from the book of Genesis is that God has given the care of creation to the created man and woman," she said. "I think that the instructions, right from the beginning, were that we are to care for the garden and care for the Earth."

Whitaker's congregation does that by recycling church bulletins and aluminum. They use energy-saving compact florescent light bulbs, turn their computers off daily and hope to install programmable thermostats in the future to save money and energy.

'Twurch' and tweeting Sunday sermons

From USA Today-

Trinity Wall Street, a historic Episcopal church in lower Manhattan, is pretty current for a 312-year-old. It was the first tell the Passion Play via Twitter on Good Friday (@twspassionplay) with more than 2,000 followers on the site, and starting this week it will tweet Sunday services from beginning to end, including Scripture readings and the sermon @TrinityWallSt.

While worship on Twitter will not replace the experience of being in communion with others in the actual sanctuary, it broadens the means by which parishioners around the world can be part of our Sunday worship service, says Trinity's rector Rev. James Cooper.

Twitter is a website that allows users to share thoughts, news and updates in 140-character posts or "tweets." Of course, if you're one of the thousands making religion a vibrant subject on the site, you already know that.

More here-

New evangelical bishop hails Anglican unity

From the London Times-

A leader of a prominent evangelical Anglican group has been appointed bishop to Sherborne, one of the oldest episcopal seats in the country. The appointment of Dr Graham Kings is a strong sign that the Archbishop of Canterbury is winning the battle for Anglican unity.

Dr Kings, 55, is the founder of Fulcrum, which has campaigned for orthodoxy without schism in the Church of England. Centrist conservatives are resisting moves to defect over the consecration of a gay bishop and the blessing of same-sex marriages. Fifteen of these bishops in the US Episcopal Church this week published a statement arguing for the recognition of the individual diocese as “church” rather than the national province. If these were accepted it would mean that dioceses could invidually sign up to the new unity document, the Anglican Covenant, even if a national Church refused to do so because it wished to pursue a more liberal pro-gay agenda.

Dr Kings said he believed that the strategy of Dr Rowan Williams to attempt to keep most conservatives and liberals on board through the “covenant process” was working.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Cardinal John Newman poised for beatification after ruling

From the London telegraph-

A panel of theological consultors agreed unanimously that the inexplicable healing of an American man who was "bent double" by a severe spinal disorder came as a result of praying to Newman for a miracle, according to sources. Their decision was the final hurdle before Pope Benedict XVI can declare him "Blessed".

The Pope, who is known to be keen to make Newman a saint and who asks about the progress of his cause on a regular basis, was informed of the panel's decision straight away.

The vote means that the Pope can now beatify Newman at a date of his choosing. A second miracle will be required before Newman can be declared a saint.
The move was welcomed by Oxford University theologian Father Ian Ker, the author of the definitive biography of Cardinal Newman.

Father Ker said: "Newman was definitely a saint and he was a very English saint. He had a great sense of humour like St Thomas More.

"He also had a great gift for friendship which has been lost in the modern age." The priest said Newman was a significant figure to Catholics worldwide because he pre-empted the reforms of the Second Vatican Council of the 1960s that modernised the Church.

Father Ker added: "As soon as he is canonised he will definitely be made a theological "doctor of the Church" and he will be seen as a doctor of this period we are living in.

More here-

Press Release from the Church of the Province of Central Africa

The Church of the Province of Central Africa (which is the Anglican Church in Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana) announces that the Court of Confirmation of the new bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Upper Shire met on 16th April, 2009 at Chilema Conference Centre Chapel at Malosa.

After six successive ballots for the nominated candidates failed to achieve the required two thirds of the votes cast on 16 February 2008, the election of the bishop was referred to the Episcopal Synod, which is the house of Bishops, in accordance with Canons and Constitution of the Church of the Province of Central Africa.

The Vicar General of the Diocese, Fr Brighton Malasa, was duly elected at the Episcopal Synod that was held in Lusaka on 16 December 2008.

We would therefore like to announce to all and sundry that Fr Brighton Malasa’s election as Bishop of the Diocese of Upper Shire in the Church of the Province of Central Africa was confirmed by the Court of Confirmation comprising the Dean of the Province, Bishop Albert Chama, Bishop Derek Kamukwamba – Central Zambia, Bishop Ishmael Mukuwanda – Central Zimbabwe, Bishop Robert Mumbi – Luapula, Bishop Trevor Musonda Mwamba- Botswana, Bishop David Njovu – Lusaka, Bishop James Tengatenga – Southern Malawi, Bishop Godfrey Tawonezvi – Masvingo, Very Revd Canon Michael Mkoko – Lake Malawi, Revd Dennis Milanzi – Commissary for Northern Malawi, Ven Revd Justice Msini – Commissary for Matabeleland, and Bishop William Mchombo – Eastern Zambia.

The court sat under the legal guidance and watchful eye of the Provincial Registrar, Canon Justice James Kalaile.

Sorry bishops, but a diocese is not a church.

From the London Times

Just when I thought I might never have to write about Graham Kings' camel walk ever again, the Bishop of Salisbury goes and makes him his Bishop of Sherborne in Dorset, and I just know that camel walks will be with me for the rest of my professional life. Not that I've got the hump or anything. Because in fact this is a fascinating appointment with far-reaching implications. Dr Kings, currently Vicar of St Mary's Islington and the founder of Fulcrum, is the closest thing we've got in England to an Anglican Communion Institute. And these are the dear folk who've been trying to persuade themselves that their episcopal dioceses are 'proper churches' after all.

It merely adds to the interest that Sherborne is one of the oldest centres of Christian worship in England, and that Dr Kings' diocesan bishop David Stancliffe and his neighbour in Wiltshire, Bishop of Ramsbury Stephen Conway, are both leading lights in Affirming Catholicism, one vehicle by which traditionalists who supported the ordination of women also managed to remain within the Church in the previous debate between 'new' and 'old', namely the ordination of women.

You can read my news story about Dr Kings' appointment at Times Online's Faith page.

So why would the 15 or so conservative bishops in TEC with whom Dr Kings aligns himself in England, even though England is an altogether different kettle of fish and the same circumstances would never apply here, want to assert diocesan supremacy, thus posing an apparent ecclesiological threat to the authority of the Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori?

more here-

Evangelical appointed Bishop of Sherborne

From the London Times

A leader of a prominent evangelical grouping in the Anglican war over gays has been appointed bishop to one of the oldest historic Episcopal seats in the country.

Although Sherborne, founded in 705, is no longer a see in its own right but an area in the Salisbury diocese covering Dorset, the appointment Dr Graham Kings as its bishop is one of the strongest signs yet that the Archbishop of Canterbury is winning the battle for Anglican unity.

Dr Kings is founder of the increasingly influential group Fulcrum, which publishes the writings of conservative evangelical Bishop of Durham, Dr Tom Wright.

Fulcrum, based at Dr Kings’ present church of St Mary’s Islington, has campaigned for orthodoxy without schism in the Church of England.

Fulcrum is aligned theologically with conservatives in North America who are also attempting to maintain a conservative agenda without schism.

Unlike other conservative bishops, clergy and laity who have already left, the centrist conservatives are resisting moves to defect over the consecration of a gay bishop and the blessing of same-sex marriages.

More here-

A Message to the Church from the House of Bishops-Canada

In response to a call for clarification of the status of entities who self identify as being Anglican, it was noted that the Archbishop of Canterbury has stated in writing that his office and the Anglican Communion Office recognize one ecclesial body in Canada as a constitutive member of the Communion, The Anglican Church of Canada. We affirm this statement. We cherish our Communion with the See of Canterbury and remain committed to the life and witness of the Anglican Communion in the service of the Gospel.

The House, responding to a question from the National Cursillo Secretariat, discussed the relationship with the Anglican Network in Canada, particularly as it related to leadership in Cursillo. It was noted that diocesan bishops have the authority to decide who may serve on Cursillo leadership teams. The House, with regret, is of the opinion that clergy and laity who are members of the Anglican Network in Canada (ANIC) should not be given permission to exercise a leadership role in the Cursillo Movement of the Anglican Church of Canada.

The House reviewed motions passed by General Synod 2007 concerning same sex blessings. Canon Isaac Kawuki-Mukasa of the Faith Worship and Ministry staff spoke to us about a request to develop a process to engage dioceses and parishes of the Anglican Church of Canada in a study of the Christian perspective of human sexuality through the lens of Scripture, reason, tradition and current scientific understanding. In his presentation Canon Mukasa also informed us of an initiative to link some Canadian dioceses with some African dioceses for discussions and exchange of views around matters of human sexuality.

Rest is here-

Wabukala new Anglican Church head- Kenya

The Anglican Church of Kenya has elected a new Archbishop.

Bungoma Diocese bishop Eliud Wabukala has taken over from Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi whose term has expired.

The news Archbishop was elected by the church’s electoral college during elections held at the All Saints Cathedral, Nairobi on Friday.

The electoral college has 150 members. Twelve other electors from All Saints (6 clergy and 6 laity) participated in the secret ballot exercise.

The college is comprised of 5 representatives from each of the 30 dioceses (One bishop, two clergy and two laity).

The other nominees who had vied for the post were: Bishop Joseph Wesonga- Maseno West Diocese, Bishop Samson Mwaluda- Taita Taveta Diocese and Bishop Stephen Kewasis- Kitale Diocese.

Archbishop Nzimbi will still hold office until June 30.

Archbishop Wabukala will be enthroned on July 5 at a service at the All Saints Cathedral, but will assume office on July1.

That Anglican Communion rescue plan in full

From the London Telegraph-

Mea culpa. Yesterday I made fun of a plan to create a "multi-layered Anglican communion". Now that I have been leaked fuller details of the proposals, I can see how ingenious it is. You'll recall that the covenant, by virtue of a quasi disciplinary process, is likely to create a multi-layered communion, with the "conservative" provinces in the inner circle, with full voting rights at all the communion bodies, and the pro-gay liberals on the outer circle and presumably some rights removed, if they insist on consecrating more gay bishops or sanctioning gay marriage.

What I didn't know is that the proposals are tied to an intricate scale of "degrees of communion" - full, impaired, partial and broken - that will ascribed to different provinces by a Lambeth Communion Review Commission, which will itself be multi-layered, supervising Review Sub-Committees based on the Indaba model that will ascribe State of Communion Assessments to individual dioceses, non-territorial episcopal oversight areas and parishes. It would, of course, be inappropriate for the same Review Sub-Committees to cross the boundary between inner and outer circles of the Anglican Communion, and so - in a radical proposal drafted by Dr Rowan Williams himself - the Lambeth Communion Review Commission will divide into inner and outer circle Areas of Special Responsibility that will shadow each other's assessments.

More (read it)

Church wins technology makeover

From Virginia-

Christ Episcopal Church will receive a $50,000 technology “makeover,” including a new computer server, hardware, software, and a year of free high-speed Internet service.

The downtown church won a contest held during the Small Business Server 2008 Technology Makeover Event Series, held in 15 locations throughout the Mid-Atlantic region from November to March.

Global Technology Services, based in Winchester, joined with the Top of Virginia Regional Chamber to bring the event to the area in January.

Christ Episcopal was among 500 small businesses and other organizations that entered the contest.

Global Technology Services is a member of the Mid-Atlantic Small Business Engagement Council, which launched the series as an outreach for small and mid-sized businesses.

Don Louque, vice president of sales and marketing for Global Technology Services, announced Christ Episcopal’s win during a press conference Wednesday in the church at 114 W. Boscawen St.


PITTSBURGH: Jews and Episcopalians join in service on Mitzvah Day

From Episcopal Life Online-

This Sunday (April 26), members of Calvary Episcopal Church and Rodef Shalom Congregation in Pittsburgh together will serve their community on what they call "Mitzvah Day." The Hebrew word "mitzvah" means "good deed or being obedient to the law."

The volunteers will weed and plant perennials in a city park, do some painting at two local Episcopal parishes, St. Stephen's and Holy Cross; and pack medical supplies to ship to developing nations. Other projects include reading to and making crafts with young children and nursing home residents and playing bingo and sharing ice cream at Family Houses, which serve those undergoing treatments at area hospitals.

"It makes us better Jews, better Episcopalians and better citizens," Rabbi Aaron Bisno, senior rabbi at Rodef Shalom said of the yearly event, which began in 2005.

According to Phil Parr, longtime Calvary parishioner and outreach committee member, in 2004, Calvary outreach committee members visited various houses of worship throughout the city. "Calvary folks were very impressed with the Rodef Shalom Mitzvah Day," a common tradition in Judaism, and asked to join efforts for a day of service. "From the beginning, we've been welcomed as full partners," Parr said in an interview.

The rest is here-

House of bishops' 'message to the church' covers wide range of topics

From Canada-

The Canadian house of bishops, at the end of its five-day spring meeting, issued a “message to the church” stating that it had discussed a range of topics including mission, the effects of the current economic crisis in their communities, residential schools, and, in the lead up to the 2010 General Synod, the issue of same-sex blessings.

The bishops also stated, “with regret,” that clergy and laity who are members of the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC) “should not be given permission to exercise a leadership role in the Cursillo movement of the Anglican Church of Canada.” (The ANiC includes clergy and laity who have left the Canadian Anglican church because of theological differences over sexuality and other issues.)

The bishops said they were stating their opinion in response to a “call for clarification” from the National Cursillo Secretariat. “It was noted that diocesan bishops have the authority to decide who may serve on Cursillo teams,” they said.

The Archbishop of Canterbury “has stated in writing that his office and the Anglican Communion Office recognize one ecclesial body in Canada as a constitutive member of the communion, the Anglican Church of Canada,” they added. “We affirm this statement. We cherish our communion with the See of Canterbury and remain committed to the life and witness of the Anglican Communion in the service of the Gospel.”

More here-

US contingency plan asserts diocesan autonomy

Church Times-

FOURTEEN conservative bishops in the United States have declared that the Episcopal Church consists of autonomous but interdependent dioceses, “not subject to any metro political power or hierarchical control”.

The national Church has no power to speak for them, says a statement expected to be published later this week. The document lays the ground for individual dioceses to sign the Anglican Covenant.

It is written largely by a retired lawyer, Mark McCall, and is endorsed by conservative theologians from the three-member Anglican Communion Institute (ACI). They include the Revd Dr Ephraim Radner, a member of the Covenant Design Group.

A flurry of emails among the instigators, seen by the Church Times, demonstrates how the bishops, most of whom are members of the Communion Partners net work, are planning a strategy to be used in the event of a bishop’s not signing up to the Covenant. The strategy will be tried out in a parish in Colorado, and its details are set out in the email exchanges, which began on Saturday 18 April, the day the statement is dated.

The statement argues that, in the “recent controversies surrounding the withdrawal of dioceses from the Episcopal Church”, the Presiding Bishop, Dr Katharine Jefferts Schori, did not have the constitutional authority to speak on its behalf in civil-litigation cases.

It argues, moreover, that there is no central hierarchy; that the part played by the General Convention is secondary; and that the use of the word “acceding” to describe the act of dioceses’ accepting the Constitution is “treaty language”, allowing them to retain their sovereignty, freedom, and independence.

It argues that the Episcopal Church lacks the structures and mechanisms of a central hierarchical council, and has no language that makes it the “supreme” authority. With reference to the Pittsburgh dispute last year, when the Presiding Bishop deposed the Bishop, the Rt Revd Bob Duncan, the statement calls Dr Jefferts Schori’s interpretation of the Church’s law “novel”. In the US, unlike the C of E, priests’ vows contain no pledge of obedience to a metropolitan or central hierarchy.


Covenant is to be used as litmus test of Anglicanism

From the Church Times (England)

CONSERVATIVE BISHOPS in the United States are preparing to challenge their church hierarchy over the Anglican Covenant, it emerged this week.

A group of conservatives, known as the Anglican Communion Partners, met in Houston earlier this month and agreed a statement that is expected to be published this week.

In it, they express concern that the the Episcopal Church as a whole will resist signing the Covenant — the document that has been drafted to regularise belief and practice in the Anglican Communion in the wake of the consecration of the Rt Revd Gene Robinson, an openly gay bishop, in 2003.

The statement asserts the right of individual dioceses to sign the Covenant. Failure by the Church to sign the Covenant, or any attempt to prevent dioceses’ signing, “would be decisive”.
At the same time as producing this statement, the Anglican Communion Partner bishops have been planning to test the waters of diocesan autonomy. In a series of emails, they have discussed a potential request for alternative episcopal oversight by a priest in the diocese of Colorado, where the Bishop is a liberal (see further news).

The Anglican Partner bishops have declared themselves to be loyal to the Episcopal Church and to the Anglican Communion. Their move can be seen as an alternative path to that taken by the Common Cause Anglicans in the United States, who last year established the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) under the deposed Bishop of Pittsburgh, the Rt Revd Bob Duncan.

None the less, their latest move to use the Covenant as a test of orthodoxy parallels moves by the ACNA last week. The Covenant has been criticised by conservatives in the past, and the first version of a communiqué issued by the GAFCON (Global Anglican Future Conference) Primates in London last week appeared to be sceptical about the latest draft of the Covenant (the “Ridley draft”, News, 17 April): “While we support the concept of an Anglican Covenant . . . if those who have left the standards of the Bible are able to enter the Covenant with a good conscience, it seems to be of little use.”

The rest-

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Bishops: Church’s Doctrine, Worship, Polity in ‘Grave Peril’

The primary responsibility of the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church is to preside at meetings of the House of Bishops and to act as its agent in canonical matters, according to 11 diocesan bishops who endorsed a statement on the church’s polity.

The 21-page document, published on April 22, includes more than two pages of endnotes, a number of which cite historical documents dating back to the church’s founding in 1789.

“The traditional doctrine and worship and the historic polity of the Church are in grave peril,” the bishops said. “For this reason, we emphasize that The Episcopal Church consists of autonomous, but interdependent, dioceses not subject to any metropolitical power or hierarchical control …We intend to exercise our episcopal authority to remain constituent members of the Anglican Communion and will continue to speak out on these issues as necessary.

“We emphasize this significant feature of our governance at the outset because in the recent controversies surrounding the withdrawal of several dioceses from The Episcopal Church, the Presiding Bishop and others acting on her behalf, including the Presiding Bishop’s chancellor and, most recently, the retired Bishop of West Missouri, have purported to act within dioceses, to ‘recognize’ or ‘de-recognize’ diocesan officers and to speak on behalf of The Episcopal Church in civil litigation involving dioceses. However much we respect the desire of the Presiding Bishop to provide pastoral assistance in these areas, neither she nor anyone acting on her behalf has constitutional authority to act without the Ecclesiastical Authority except in unorganized territory. Nor are they authorized to speak for The Episcopal Church in civil litigation within a diocese.”

The document makes extensive reference to The Case of the Episcopal Churches in the United States Considered, a document written by the Rt. Rev. William White, the first Presiding Bishop, and widely credited as the blueprint for reorganizing an Anglican-rite church in the United States after the American Revolution.

Another significant section compares the language of the constitution and canons of the General Convention of The Episcopal Church with similar bylaws from other denominations to conclude that the founders of The Episcopal Church intentionally created a church in which dioceses “are not subject to hierarchical control by central bodies whether they be the Presiding Bishop, the General Convention, the Executive Council, or the courts of The Episcopal Church.”

More here-

New Anglican leader to be elected-Kenya

The next head of the Anglican Church in Kenya will be known on Friday when the 150-member electoral college elects the archbishop of Nairobi.

The college members — a diocesan bishop, two priests and two lay persons from each of the 30 dioceses — will gather at the All Saints’ Cathedral in Nairobi at 9am to elect, by secret ballot, the man to replace Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi.

The candidate will be installed and enthroned, the Anglicans say, as the head of the 4.5 million member church in a grand ceremony on July 5.

No campaigns

A public relations officer at the church’s headquarters on Wednesday said that the preparations for perhaps the biggest event in the church’s calendar this year are going on well. But church leaders declined to give reporters interviews “for fear that their remarks could work for or against one of the four candidates”.

In the contest are Maseno West bishop Joseph Otieno Wasonga, Kitale bishop Stephen Kewasis, Taita bishop Samuel Mwaluda and Bungoma bishop Eliud Wabukala. In an interview on Monday, the church’s equivalent of a secretary-general, Bishop Lawrence Dena said no direct campaigns were allowed and tomorrow’s election is considered a mere formality as the “head has already been identified by God”.

“There is minimal contact allowed between the bishop and the person nominating them and the church does not allow for campaigns,” he said. Bishop Dena said the next archbishop must be a holder of at least a Masters degree in theology, be 45-60 years in age, be a well-known spiritual leader, development-oriented and have been a bishop for at least five years.

More here-

Integrity Faces Budget Deficit

From The Living Church-

At its semi-annual meeting on April 17, the board of directors for Integrity, an advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Episcopalians, approved a budget which will deplete most of its reserves by the end of the year.

The board convened electronically in order to reduce travel costs and carbon emissions, according to minutes of the meeting published on one of the organization’s websites.

The approved budget assumes income of $270,000, primarily from member dues, and total expenses of approximately $313,000. Previously the organization has said that it plans for its presence at this summer’s General Convention to be its largest ever.

“Integrity believes that [The Episcopal Church] is on the tipping-point of becoming unequivocally welcoming and affirming of LGBT people. General Convention 2009 is a decisive opportunity for TEC to move beyond its de facto moratorium on additional LGBT bishops and forward on the blessing of same-gender relationships,” the group said in an appeal for donations sent in January.

Among other business, the board also learned that the organization’s chapters in Austin, Texas, Dallas, Kansas City, Princeton, N.J., Southern Nevada and Western Michigan had either been decertified or begun the process of decertification.

The Rev. Susan Russell, priest associate at All Saints, Pasadena, Calif., and president of Integrity, denied that the organization is losing members or is in financial difficulty.

The rest is here-

Heads Up: Lawyer McCall and “Communion Partner” bishops play the diocese card.

Today's furor is ignited by Mark Harris - The ACI response is below as is the Polity Paper.

In the next few days a position paper signed by a number of bishops connected to the "Communion Partners" bishops group will be published, in all likelihood by the Anglican Communion Institute. It will challenge the notion that dioceses of TEC are part of TEC in any other way except by voluntary association, and that therefore they are free to independently subscribe to the Anglican Covenant and maintain pastoral visitation and oversight independent of any agreement with TEC or its leadership. At least that is the conclusion to be reached from a thread of emails send to Preludium today (April 21).

The document is sure to be a best seller in the Anglican blogsphere. It remains to be seen if it has any depth. The potential signatories to this letter include the majority of the "Communion Partner" bishops. There may be as many as ten signers.

The Communion Partners bishops are those who wish to disavow TEC leadership but will stay in TEC and have determined that individual dioceses in the Episcopal Church might sign on to the Anglican Covenant (in its apparently final draft) and thereby establish their purity of relationship with the Anglican Communion in spite of what they see as the drift of The Episcopal Church and its leadership away from "orthodox" belief.

The Communion Partners take as their beginning point of reference the comment made some time ago by the Archbishop of Canterbury that dioceses might well be able to sign the Covenant even if the Province to which they belonged did not. There is some thought that the Archbishop of Canterbury regrets ever having said that. But there it is, and the Communion Partners have grabbed on to it.

More, much more-

Statement from the Anglican Communion Institute

The ACI repsonds to Mark Harris-

The Rev’d Mr Harris has released via his blog confidential emails not addressed to him. We assume him to be a man of civility and honor, in view of his role as a member of the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church. The Anglican Communion Institute has long been on record as supportive of the Anglican Communion, the Covenant process, and the flourishing of the Episcopal Church and the defense of its Constitution. We have welcomed the Pastoral Visitors idea as emerging from the Communion’s common life, and have been engaged, through Communion Partners, with a plan that would honor the polity of this Church and find a way to maintain the unity of the Church and of the Anglican Communion. Communion Partners has from its inception been on record as wishing to prevent churches from leaving because, given the season we are in, they were unclear about the place of their own mission within the larger Anglican Communion. Our understanding of the proper role to be exercised by the Presiding Bishop, consistent with the Constitution of The Episcopal Church, is the subject of a public document to be found on our web-site (see the 12 March 2009 essay below) and so no secret.


Episcopal email conspiracy unwrapped

From the London Times-

Mark Harris, a US episcopal priest in Delaware, has obtained details of an apparent plot by conservatives to subvert the authority of the US Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, the only woman Primate among the 39 at the top table.

The idea seems to be that diocesan bishops can take unilateral action to sign up to the new covenant currently going through the long process of approval by the worldwide Anglican Communion. The Archbishop of Canterbury's recent remarks on the shift that is needed in the Anglican understanding of communion and autonomy appear to have given grounds for these hopes.

The covenant, by virtue of a quasi disciplinary process, is likely create a multi-layered communion, with the 'conservative' provinces in the inner circle, with full voting rights at all the communion bodies, and the pro-gay liberals on the outer circle and presumably some rights removed, if they insist on consecrating more gay bishops or sanctioning gay marriage and refuse to sign up to the convenant in all its biblical orthodoxy.

It's long been a matter of speculation as to what would happen in the North American provinces of Canada and TEC. Will they be able to bring themselves to sign up? Read some of the comments on Kendall Harmon's TitusOneNine blog to see some of the difficulties.

From this email exchange that Mark has obtained, it looks as though the conservatives are working out a way of keeping themselves in the inner circle while consigning the liberals to the outer one. And if this sounds Dante-esque, that's because it is.

Read it all-

Bishops’ Statement on the Polity of the Episcopal Church

A lengthy paper from the Anglican Communion Institute about the Independence of dioceses in relationship to the province.

We write as Bishops of The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Communion and the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. We are joined by distinguished theologians known for their long service throughout the Anglican Communion.

The Historic Episcopate has always been recognized as an essential non-negotiable element of our Anglican identity, including by the Bishops of The Episcopal Church “in Council assembled as Bishops in the Church of God” and recorded in the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral. Bishops are successors to the apostles and upon their consecration receive the authority and responsibility inherent in the sacred and unbroken apostolic office. The people of God are united in one local church by their communion with their Bishop, and through the communion of all the Bishops in a college of Bishops the people of God around the world are joined in one communion. Resolution 49 of the 1930 Lambeth Conference, quoted in part in the preamble to our Constitution, notes that the Anglican Communion consists of “those duly constituted Dioceses, Provinces and regional Churches in communion with the See of Canterbury” that are “bound together not by a central legislative and executive authority, but by mutual loyalty sustained through the common counsel of the bishops in conference.”

Much more here-

Peers launches fourth volume of Anglican Episcopate

From Canada-

“It’s not a dream book for a publisher,” said Archbishop Michael Peers, former primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, of his latest book, the fourth volume of The Anglican Episcopate in Canada.

Still, he acknowledged that the book, launched at the spring meeting of the House of Bishops, is one that would be extremely valuable to libraries, diocesan offices and researchers interested in hard archival data about Canadian Anglican bishops over the past 33 years.

Published by the Anglican Book Centre (ABC), the book provides details on 105 bishops elected into office between 1976 to 2008 and also includes what Archbishop Peers calls his observations on Episcopal ministry over a 27-year period, or from the time he became a bishop in 1977 up to his retirement as primate in 2004.


Can Rick Warren Be a Political Peacemaker if He's a Lightning Rod?

Politically, Rick Warren is a puzzle. He is determined to get evangelicals to expand their political horizons beyond hot-button issues, but he often finds himself mired in controversy surrounding those very issues.

Gay rights activists decried Barack Obama's invitation to him to deliver his inauguration invocation because Warren had supported Proposition 8, California's recently adopted gay marriage ban. Christian-right leaders bashed him after he appeared to dial back support for Prop. 8 in a recent interview with Larry King.

My column from the latest U.S. News Weekly, just posted on, outlines how Warren's controversies threaten to stymie his mission of becoming a political bridge builder. Here's the top:

Unlike many evangelical leaders of recent decades, the Rev. Rick Warren doesn't want to be a lightning rod. When I asked him before the last election whether the Christian right had tarnished the image of American evangelicals, Warren didn't blink: "without a doubt."

"I never was a part of it," Warren said of the Christian right. "I'm trying to stake out what I call a common ground for the common good."

More here-

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Online Bible verses give hope to hopeless in current financial situation

Words of hope and specially selected Bible verses have been added to the Church of England’s Matter of Life and Debt online initiative to help those suffering from the agony of hopelessness in the current financial situation.

Finding hope when struggling with debt complements practical advice and resources for escaping problem debt with simple ways to develop a sense of hope for the future.

The new pages advise website visitors to look beyond the here and now, to count their blessings, and to remember that they are valuable to God, even if they lose the ‘status’ that comes with jobs and money.

“There is more to life than the current financial downturn,” the pages say. “If we can view the bigger picture, there is more to look forward to, and feel positive about.”

They quote verses from the New Testament, including Matthew’s Gospel: "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

There is also an encouragement to pray to God about financial worries. Psalms 42 and 130 are offered as words of prayer, Psalm 130 crying out: “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope.”

More here-

Mozambique: Further Efforts Urged in Anti-Malaria Struggle

The president of the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) movement in Mozambique, Anglican Bishop Dinis Sengulane, on Tuesday declared that, despite all the encouraging results achieved to date, civil society should still undertake further efforts in the fight against malaria.

Speaking at a press conference marking the start of a series of activities to celebrate World Malaria Day (25 April), Sengulane urged "let us make every day of our lives a day of struggle against malaria, so that it ceases to be the main cause of mortality among children and adults".

He lamented the negligent attitude shown by some Mozambicans. Sengulane claimed that a large number, although they have mosquito nets in their houses have stopped sleeping under them on the spurious grounds that the netting makes the room hotter, or disturbs their sleep.

He thought these were psychological problems rather than any real objections to the nets, whose primary purpose is to prevent the bearer of the malaria parasite, the anopheles mosquito from biting people, especially children and pregnant women, at night.

The Rest-

Archbishop of Wales says selfishness hurts children

The Anglican Archbishop of Wales says children are suffering due to the culture of society which puts the self and materialism as the top priorities in life.

Addressing the Governing Body of the Church in Wales, Dr Barry Morgan stressed that parenting was a serious commitment and that parents needed to work hard to stay together and to spend enough quality time with their children.

He said that school children should also be taught that becoming a parent is a serious commitment rather than just the “mechanics” of pregnancy that are dealt with by sex education and Government policies.

Dr Morgan said it was not a coincidence that children are the most unhappy in countries such as Britain, where the pursuit of individual success and materials is seen as the most important goal in life and where there are high levels of child poverty.

The Archbishop spoke the day after a report said that the UK was one of the worst places in Europe to be a child. The report compared living standards and levels of satisfaction for children across Europe.

He also highlighted the “appalling statistics” that three children are killed every week in the UK by abuse of violence.

"How is it that so many parents can be incapable of parenting a precious and vulnerable child without neglect or abuse?" he said.

The rest is here-

Catholics and Anglicans remember Father Killi, martyr of war

Fr Mariampillai Xavier Karunaratnam, known by everyone as Father Killi, spent a lifetime helping war victims in northern Sri Lanka. A year ago on 20 April, after celebrating mass in the Maangku’lam Church he set off for his parish church in Vannivi’laangku’lam. He was killed on the Mallaavi-Vavunikkulam Road at 12.30 by an explosion. Army and Tamil Tiger rebels have blamed each other for the death. A year to the day after his death friends, clergymen from the Catholic and Anglican Churches, parishioners, civil society activists and members of the Christian Solidarity Movement (CSM) gathered in the capital to remember him in a memorial ceremony.

Reverend Sathivel, Anglican, who opened the service, said in killing him the “assassins sought to kill truth, love and understanding.”

To AsiaNews he said that as the country anxiously waits for news from the north, “today we are all living in fear as the disciples did after Jesus was crucified.” However, “the Holy Spirit came upon them and their fear disappeared. They then set off to pursue Jesus’ mission.”

More here-

The Most Reverend Michael Wright

His postings included the British Army of the Rhine, Nato at Shape, near Mons, and Hong Kong. When in Aden he was regularly flown by helicopter to take Communion services in the Radfan region of Yemen, using ammunition boxes for an altar.

He was serving in Cyprus when the 1974 coup occurred. Returning to his rectory there, he found a convoy of cars, bringing some 1,000 refugees from Nicosia and Famagusta.

For almost a fortnight Wright and his wife slept in their sitting room while feeding the guests allotted to them on unchanging "compo" rations and explaining the gravity of the situation to exasperated, bikini-clad tourists. Afterwards he and his wife were bemused to find that a large sports field nearby had been used as a car park and was now left with one vehicle – a Rolls-Royce.

After returning home to Woolwich, he was woken from his bed to attend the victims of the bombing of the King's Arms there in 1974. But the posting also gave him time to paint a large picture of the barracks and church in acrylic. It was greatly admired when exhibited – one general judged it a mixture of LS Lowry and Canaletto – but Wright refused to sell, though some miniature copies were made. His other works included a large picture, Christ in Glory, at a church in Mönchengladbach, western Germany, which he painted on his study floor over several months before it was mounted on a wooden frame and placed over a window to give the impression of stained glass. Another commission, produced in fibreglass for the new garrison church at Bovington, Dorset, was a sculpture with golden-coloured angels holding the shields of different regiments. This was placed in the sanctuary.

More here-

Facing $1M Deficit, Michigan Sets Funding Priorities

An estimated 300 clergy and lay delegates from the Diocese of Michigan met April 18 for a six-hour special convention to address an anticipated $1 million diocesan deficit.

Meeting at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Detroit, delegates ranked funding priorities from among 17 categories and reviewed long-term strategy options for use by diocesan council as it seeks to reconcile income and expenses.

Ministry with youth and young adults was ranked as the top priority, with congregational vitality a close second and discernment and training for ministry finishing third. Evangelism and total ministry, or ministry of all the baptized, tied for last.

The special convention was scheduled during the annual convention last October when delegates approved a $2.9 million budget for 2009 which included the use of principle from the Extended Ministries Fund to cover an expected $985,835 shortfall in income.

In several letters to the diocese prior to the special convention, the Rt. Rev. Wendell Gibbs, Bishop of Michigan, announced that five diocesan staff positions would either be eliminated or left vacant. He also postponed the launch of the first phase of a diocesan-wide survey that was to have cost more than $300,000. Bishop Gibbs also noted that the estimated $2 million in income, primarily from contributions made by diocesan congregations, may have been overly optimistic. Other cuts are expected when council meets again on May 9.

Left unresolved by the convention was an ongoing theological debate within the diocese over the use of the $7.1 million Extended Ministries Fund. Some diocesan leaders advocate leaving the principle untouched and using only a portion of dividends to provide a modest but predictable revenue stream. Others believe that the principle of the fund should be tapped in order to support new or imperiled ministries, particularly during times of economic distress.

Man stabbed at East Cobb church

From Atlanta-

Two part-time handymen at an East Cobb church may be looking for new jobs.

Cobb police say no charges have been filed following a stabbing incident Tuesday morning at a church on Johnson Ferry Road.

What started as a verbal fight between two men — age 50 and 24 — ended with the older man heading to the hospital. Police would not release the names of the men. The injured man is expected to be fine.

The incident happened shortly after 10 a.m. at the Episcopal Church of St. Peter and St. Paul at 1795 Johnson Ferry Road, Cobb police spokesman Joe Hernandez said.

A verbal argument escalated into a physical altercation, and the older man pinned the younger man. The 24-year-old then apparently pulled out a pocket knife and cut the other man.

“Stuff like this happens all the time, but not necessarily at churches,” Hernandez said.

A church receptionist would not comment on the incident Tuesday afternoon.�2ltb�metro/content/metro/cobb/stories/2009/04/21/marietta_church_stab.html

Episcopal Studies program to adhere to views of national church

Brite Divinity School's new Episcopal Studies Program will be geared toward those who are seeking ordination from the national Episcopal Church, which leans toward ordination of women and acceptance of gays, said the Rev. Fred Barber, acting director of the Episcopal Studies Program.

Barber said there was much talk about the formation of the Episcopal Studies Program and how it might be beneficial toward the church, especially since Brite already has several other denominational programs.

"We think it'll be beneficial for church and seminary by adding a group of students that will bring an Anglican Episcopalian understanding to the community," Barber said.

Barber said he hopes the program, which begins this fall, will expand and add more elements in the following years.

Stephanie Burke, a trustee at the Brite Divinity School and a member of All Saints Episcopal Church located in Fort Worth, said tension grew between the former Episcopalian Bishop of Fort Worth, Jack L. Iker, and the national Episcopal Church because of the national church's general acceptance of homosexuality and especially because of its ordainment of women.

"When he (Iker) was asked the question, 'Who would he take communion from?', he answered that if it was a gay priest, it was a valid communion but immoral," Burke said. "He told us if it was a female priest, it's completely invalid."

The Rest-

Executive Council considers new partnership with Liberian Episcopal Church

From Episcopal Life Online

As the Episcopal Church of Liberia tries to rebuild after years of civil war that ravaged the church and the nation, the Episcopal Church is being asked to continue aiding that work.
The Episcopal Church's Executive Council will on April 22 consider approving a new covenant partnership between the Episcopal Church and the Episcopal Church in Liberia. The Liberian diocese approved the agreement at its convention earlier this year.

The current agreement may be read here.

Founded by the U.S.-based Episcopal Church in 1836, the Episcopal Church of Liberia was a diocese in the Episcopal Church until 1980, when it became part of the Anglican Province of West Africa. As part of that change of affiliation, the Episcopal Church and the Liberia diocese signed the current covenant partnership, which pledges each entity to mutual ministry and interdependence and calls for financial subsidies for a certain amount of time.

From 1983 through 2007, the Liberian church received close to $6.6 million from the Episcopal Church.

Liberian Bishop Jonathan B.B. Hart told council on April 21 that the diocese knows the Episcopal Church has many demands on its resources. "Thanks be to God, your hearts were led our way," he said, adding that the partnership "has built a fellowship in Christ you can proudly boast of." Hart told council members that he is "a product of the institutions you have supported and sustained."

More here-

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Signs, signs, everywhere signs #16

Another piece of the puzzle falls into place.

Major-Gift Initiative Could Fund Archives’ Move

The estimated $30-million cost of relocating the Archives of The Episcopal Church could be paid for by “three to four” major donors, according to the Rev. Susan McCone, director of the Mission Funding Initiative. Ms. McCone made a presentation to members of the national Executive Council, which is meeting in Portland, Maine, April 20-22.

The meeting—the last meeting for Executive Council during the 2007-2009 triennium—began with a plenary that included a presentation by the Archives Strategy Committee. The committee is seeking approval to proceed with a plan to spend $9.5 million plus closing costs to buy a vacant block in downtown Austin, Texas. The archives are currently located on the campus of the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, but a variety of factors necessitate relocation, which Executive Council already has approved.

Treasurer Kurt Barnes said funding should not be a problem. He noted that gross annual income on the lot, which is currently used for parking, is $570,000. That amount “will more than cover the carrying costs of this acquisition” until enough money is raised to construct the new building, he said.

The cost of relocation could be funded as part of The Episcopal Church’s first-ever attempt to cultivate large gifts. The project has a goal of $250 million. Ms. McCone told council that the Mission Funding Initiative committee has identified 500 Episcopalians “with a verified giving capacity” of at least $1 million each. About 125 of those potential donors are capable of giving $500 million. Ms. McCone encouraged members of Executive Council to see the project through to completion.

Guerilla worship: Christians fight back

From the Guardian in London- (the little one must be a charismatic)

An important religious event took place over Easter – in Liverpool. (I've been away on holiday, so I'm afraid my response is a bit tardy.) A group of trendy Christians called Dream, who are linked to the Church of England, created an alternative worship event in a big shopping centre. There were about fifty people spread out in the shopping centre – at the signal they took off their shoes, like Moses in the presence of God, and congregated on a bit of grass, where they said a prayer, let off a balloon, and formed the shape of a cross – some bystanders joined in. They call it "guerilla worship".

This might sound like the trivial stunt of a few oddball God-botherers to you – I beg to differ. I think it the most significant bit of Christian culture I've come across in years. It's one of the first "alternative church" initiatives that has made me feel positive about this vague movement.

"Alternative church" has been talked of for a decade or so. It mainly means little groups of young-ish Christians, almost entirely Anglicans, who want to worship more creatively, who feel that all official worship is offputting. (The leading lights tend to be liberal evangelicals, often called "post-evangelicals".) They incorporate bits of youth culture, especially the overlap between the ambient side of the 90s rave scene and new age spirituality. In other words, they favour soft trancey music and arty video shows. And they also invent new rituals, often linked to social justice and green issues. The deeply ambiguous mother of this movement was the "Anglican cult" of the mid 1990s – the Nine O'Clock Service, which put on rave-style services. Because this went wrong (the priest in charge developed cult-leader tendencies), there is a certain caution built into the alternative church movement. "Let's not get carried away", many of its leaders seem to be warning.

The rest-

Church of Scotland magazine backs gay partnerships

A potential rift within the Church of Scotland over gay relationships emerged yesterday after the Church’s house magazine backed civil partnerships and openly gay ministers.

Accusing religious traditionalists of selectively quoting the Bible to support their attacks on homosexual relations, the editorial in Life And Work urged the Kirk to show strong leadership on an issue that has threatened to split the Church of England and could prove just as divisive in Scotland.

The article, which was written by the magazine’s editor, Muriel Armstrong, comes ahead of next month’s General Assembly in Edinburgh and has been timed to influence a key debate on whether openly homosexual ministers can be appointed to the Church.

Ms Armstrong rounds on the “selective literalists” who use parts of the Bible to bolster their own views but ignore other parts that undermine them. She says that these commentators “presumably no longer accept biblical teaching on sexual matters such as polygamy and sex with slaves” but are happy to quote Leviticus 18:22 on homosexuality: “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.”

More here-

Sri Lanka: Speaking out for peace

Our partners in Sri Lanka have offered to step in as negotiators between fighting forces in an attempt to avert an escalating humanitarian tragedy in the north east of the country

Tens of thousands of people are believed to be trapped in the so-called "safe zone", surrounded by intense fighting and are being bombed and shelled every day.

The health of the people is also a concern with very little food and water available. The majority are suffering severe trauma and psychological problems from the constant danger and upheaval.

Most people are spending all day and night in home-made bunkers to escape the shelling. Heavy rains have added to their misery and dire living conditions.

Church leaders, including Catholic and Anglican Bishops, said: "As religious leaders, we are willing to attempt to facilitate, by ourselves or in association with others, a temporary cessation of fighting for the sole humanitarian purpose of ensuring the safe evacuation of the civilians."

So far their offer has not been taken up by either the Tamil Tigers or the government.

More here-

Vatican denies royal gift rumour

From the BBC-

The Vatican has denied Prince Charles will receive a memento of Henry VIII's divorce from Catherine of Aragon (pictured) at a meeting with the Pope next week.

Pope Benedict XVI will meet the prince and his second wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, when the couple visit Italy.

It had been reported that the Pontiff would give Charles a copy of the 1530 appeal by English peers for the annulment of Henry's marriage.

But chief Vatican spokesman the Rev Federico Lombardi said this was untrue.
It will be Charles's first audience at the Vatican since his divorce from the late Diana, Princess of Wales. Current wife Camilla has also been married before.

Succession rules

Henry VIII's battles with the Vatican over his divorce from his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, ultimately led him to separate the Anglican church from Rome and create the Church of England.

The Pope refused permission for the divorce and Henry broke with Rome, passing the Act of Supremacy, which proclaimed the King the Supreme Head of the Church of England.

The rest is here-

Bribe claims fly ahead of ACK poll

A report about possible bribery in the election of the next Archbishop of Kenya-

Allegations of bribery, lobbying by some candidates and attempts by politicians to influence voting have emerged ahead of elections set for Friday to decide the next leader of the Anglican Church of Kenya.

One of the contestants, Taita bishop Samson Mwaluda, claimed a rival candidate was dishing out money.

“If I do not get favours from God, money cannot influence anything. My greatest weapon are prayers. I have heard money is already exchanging hands but I will not do that because I know I have what it takes to lead the church,” he said in an interview with the Daily Nation at the Coast over the weekend.

He said he depends on God’s miracle to ascend to the top.

The cleric said those who do not have a calling from God are bound to bribe their way to the position.

The 150-member electoral college, the body that will elect the new leader, will gather at the All Saints’ Cathedral in Nairobi on Friday to elect the new head in a secret ballot election.

Others in the running are Maseno West bishop Joseph Otieno Wasonga, Kitale bishop Stephen Kewasis and Bungoma bishop Eliud Wabukala.

Also raising allegations that money had begun changing hands ahead of the poll was another bishop from Western Province not in the race who sought anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the matter.

“There are claims that some people want to influence the outcome of the elections with money. I want to, however, state that this would be unfortunate as we want only God’s intervention,” he said.

Speaking to the Nation in Nairobi yesterday, the church’s equivalent of a secretary-general, bishop Lawrence Dena, said no direct campaigns were allowed and Friday’s election was considered a mere formality as the “head has already been identified by God”.

The rest is here-

Church should not be silent — Makgoba

From South Africa-

It was the responsibility of the church to speak on all matters affecting “the people of God” and it would not be silent about politics as some believed it should be, Anglican Archbishop for southern Africa Thabo Makgoba said yesterday.

The outspoken cleric has in the past condemned the disintegration of Zimbabwe into a police state, the HIV/AIDS denialism of the government under former president Thabo Mbeki, xenophobic violence and the secrecy surrounding the arms deal.

Yesterday in a speech at the Cape Town Press Club, Makgoba said politicians who advocated the separation of religion from politics were wrong and had forgotten the important role faith-based communities had played in the struggle against apartheid. The dichotomy between religious and political matters was false and superficial.

Makgoba said it was inevitable that the church was involved in politics as a “critical friend” of the constitution, supporting the government when it delivered on its provisions and criticising it when it failed to do so. “The primary task of the church is to promote a constitutional democracy,” he said.

Makgoba added his voice to the litany of concern over the comments made by president-in-waiting Jacob Zuma about the overriding status of Constitutional Court judges. “Judges are human but so are politicians and this is why all are subject to checks and balances,” Makgoba said.

More here-

Pennsylvania files lawsuit against Forward in Faith parish

The Diocese of Pennsylvania has filed suit against the flagship parish of the Forward in Faith movement in the US, the Church of the Good Shepherd in Rosemont, seeking control of the property.

Last month’s pleading, filed on behalf of the diocesan standing committee, asked a suburban Philadelphia court to eject the Rt Rev David Moyer and his congregation from the property, arguing the parish’s secession from the diocese violates canon law which requires parish property to be “held or used for the work of the Episcopal Church.”

The battle between Rosemont’s rector and the Bishop of Pennsylvania, Charles Bennison, began in 2002, when Bishop Bennison deposed Fr Moyer for “abandoning the communion” of the Episcopal Church for contumacy.

Fr Moyer filed suit against Bishop Bennison in a civil court for damages, and in a legal first persuaded the court that the bishop’s actions were so egregious that a civil review was needed. A jury in October 2008 found that Bishop Bennison’s actions did not merit redress. In an unrelated legal proceeding, however, a church court deposed Bishop Bennison for conspiracy to cover up child abuse. His case is presently under appeal.

After he was deposed, Fr Moyer was received by the Traditional Anglican Communion, a continuing church group, and is now a bishop within that church. Following the conclusion of the litigation last year between Bishop Bennison and Bishop Moyer the standing committee in Pennsylvania started legal proceedings to gain control of Rosemont.

More here-