Saturday, October 24, 2009

Six Episcopal bishops portray church's 'broad center' in meeting with Williams

From ENS-

Describing themselves as representing the "broad center" of the Episcopal Church, six bishops were welcomed Oct. 23 as guests of Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams at his London residence, Lambeth Palace.

"Our message was to say that the Episcopal Church is not a perfect church, but … it is alive, it is well, it is vital, it is pursuing the mission that God has set before it," said Bishop Clifton Daniel of the Episcopal Diocese of East Carolina in an interview with ENS following the meeting. "I came away as thankful for the Episcopal Church at this meeting as I did for the Archbishop of Canterbury -- and I'll continue to give it everything I have to further its mission and its life."

Daniel was joined by bishops Michael Curry of North Carolina, Stacy Sauls of Lexington (Kentucky), Neff Powell of Southwestern Virginia, Assistant Bishop William Gregg and Assisting Bishop Chip Marble, both of North Carolina.

During their 90-minute meeting, the church leaders discussed a variety of topics and concerns facing the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, including the development of an Anglican covenant, cross-provincial interventions, human sexuality issues, the Millennium Development Goals, and the Episcopal Church's focus on domestic and global mission.

"The conversation was held in a framework of mutual trust, it was held in the context of openness with one another [and] it went to a level deeper than I had anticipated," Daniel told ENS. "The archbishop was gracious and forthright. He expressed again and again his deep affection for the Episcopal Church. I found that reassuring; I found that strengthening; I found that hopeful; and I go away in that very spirit."

The bishops first discussed the possibility of meeting with the archbishop about one year ago when they decided it would be helpful to increase understanding and build relationships with Williams and to offer him a sense of what it means to be the "broad center" of the Episcopal Church.

more here-

Hundreds of Anglican clergy to meet after Vatican offer

From the London Times-

Hundreds of Anglican clergy who oppose women bishops are meeting this weekend to discuss whether to abandon the Church of England for the Roman Catholic church.

About 500 members of Forward in Faith, the leading traditionalist grouping, will be in London to debate Pope Benedict XVI’s offer of an Anglican “ordinariate” or diocese to operate under a new Apostolic Constitution.

Many are waiting for the publication of a Code of Practice by Rome to flesh out the detail of what is on offer before deciding whether to go.

More than 440 took the compensation package on offer and left the Church of England, most for Rome, after the General Synod voted to ordain women priests in 1992. Some subsequently returned.

More here-

Anglican head rejects Pope’s offer on priests

From Kenya-

Kenya's Anglican Church on Wednesday rejected an offer by Pope Benedict that would have seen married Anglican priests join priesthood in the Catholic Church.

The action by the Anglican clergy potentially puts it in conflict with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, who had responded to the offer through a letter copied to all provinces worldwide.

“I do not see why it is necessary at this point in history,” ACK Archbishop Eliud Wabukala told the Nation.


“The Archbishop of Canterbury sent us letters welcoming the offer but for him, it is essentially to deal with the local England context and does not apply to other provinces,” he added.

Archbishop Wabukala said there were major differences on how Catholics and Anglicans, whom he described as more evangelicals, understand the ministry and sacrament, which he said have to be harmonised before any formal reunion.

Any Anglican priest intending to cross over to the Catholic Church must understand these differences beforehand, he said.

“There are theological differences, for instance, the way we understand the ministry and administration of sacrament are quite different,” he added.

The Pope's Anglican Blitzkrieg

From Atlantic Monthly-

Having absorbed the details of the Vatican's surprise move to invite more disaffected Anglicans into the Catholic communion, it's clear that this is much more than merely allowing more married Anglican clergy to become Catholic priests.

It also allows them a kind of church within the Church, and an Anglo-Catholic liturgy, including the Book of Common Prayer, inside the Roman tent. The biggest impact may well be in England and Wales, where the more traditionalist Anglicans will now have almost no pastoral or liturgical reasons not to join Rome (although the theological and doctrinal reasons remain). The move was clearly sprung on the Archbishop of Canterbury - he tried to be as graceful as possible and was almost convincing - and essentially junks an entire tradition of ecumenical dialogue in favor of a quick and sudden merger and acquisition.

Rocco's take is the best, as usual. I presume it means full inclusion within the Catholic church (papal authority and transubstantiation included), which might have raised Thomas Cranmer's eyebrow a half inch or so.

The structure has yet to be formulated. In America, I doubt this will have a huge impact on anti-gay and anti-feminist Episcopalians, who have already had their own structure within the Anglican church and now outside it. In fact, I bet you the bigger impact could be a bunch of liturgically traumatized Catholics in England and America moving en masse to those sublime Anglican liturgies, if there are sufficient bells, smells, incense, and King James.

For now, however, it seems an almost baldly political move, made at a pace more reminiscent of modern politics and public relations than the traditional ecclesiastical creaking of the wheels. That is troubling to me. Churches are supposed to be about eternal truths and freedom of conscience, not what amounts to an unfriendly take-over bid for a franchise.

And it does not seem to have occurred because of some deep resolution of the theological disputes between Anglicans and Catholics, but merely by a shared abhorrence of women priests and openly gay ones. If you want to switch churches, prejudice seems a pretty poor reason for doing so. But this is so sudden it will take some time to absorb and it's a little hard to take in. Stay tuned.

The Queen will stand up to Pope Benedict

From The London Guardian-

When Pope Benedict XVI dramatically announced on Tuesday that he was flinging open the doors of Rome to (possibly) thousands of disaffected Anglican priests, my neighbour the headhunter's wife – a cradle Catholic – said: "He's quite an old pope, isn't he?" Yep – he'll be 83 next April, deo volente. "He's looking towards his legacy," she said. "It's a very clever move, corralling them in at a time of unrest."

The procedures announced by the Vatican mean that not only priests but entire communities of Anglicans will be able to become Catholics via a "personal ordinariate". The Archbishop of Canterbury looked a little headachey as he told a news conference that he didn't see the Pope's plans as "an act of aggression" by Rome. Heavens, no. Just part of the routine relationship between the two Churches. Sort of thing. Erm.

Yes, well. We're all quite accustomed to our lipsticked Vicars of Dibley these days. While some of us are po-faced about women priests, some of us quite like them when we come across them. Especially at weddings, where the quality of motherliness can seem nicely appropriate. After one recent wedding, somebody said the service had been "so warm and wonderfully intimate, didn't you think? The bride and groom thought she was lovely." I said I couldn't hear a word she'd said and I was only three pews back.

More here-

Friday, October 23, 2009

Disaffected Anglican dioceses may switch to Rome: group

From Reuters-

Disaffected Anglican Dioceses in Papua New Guinea, the United States and Australia might consider switching to Roman Catholicism under a new constitution offered by the Pope, a traditionalist Anglican group said on Wednesday.

The Vatican has approved a document known as an "Apostolic Constitution" which paves the way for conversion while allowing Anglicans to maintain certain traditions.

About a dozen bishops from the Church of England, the Anglican mother church, are also likely to convert, according to the Forward in Faith (FiF) group, a worldwide association of Anglicans opposed to the ordination of women priests or bishops.

A possible exodus may still fail to secure much-needed stability in the Anglican Church, which has been struggling to maintain unity among its 77 million followers over the ordination of women priests and gay bishops.

"I would be surprised if any dioceses in England moved over but I think there are dioceses elsewhere in the Anglican Communion that might," said Stephen Parkinson, director of FiF.

"The diocese in Papua New Guinea would be an obvious one, there are one or two dioceses in America which might possibly, and there is certainly a diocese in Australia that might consider it," he added.

Individual dioceses would decide whether and how to make such a conversion, FiF said. Local worshippers who disagreed with such a move would be left without a diocese, the group added.

More here-

Traditionalists "warmly welcome" Vatican move

From The Church Times-

THE former Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, who will address the National Assembly of Forward in Faith in London tomorrow after noon, was among those to respond to the Vatican announcement.

Dr Nazir-Ali, who was a Roman Catholic in his youth, welcomed its “generosity of spirit”. But he ques tioned the preservation of Anglican ism under the new arrangement.

“If Anglican patrimony is to flour ish, in the context of unity, what arrangements will be made for the study of its theological tradition, method, spirituality, and approach to moral issues?”
In the mean time, he said, “there is a need to build confidence in the evan gelical basis of the Anglican tradition and to make sure that it survives and flourishes in the face of the many challenges it faces.” He said he was waiting for further clarification from the Vatican.

In May, Dr Nazir-Ali was asked whether he would become a Roman Catholic. He said that the Pope had “a right” to be a focus of unity for Anglicans. “To some extent it depends on how the Bishop of Rome and other Vatican officers behave,” he said (News, 15 May).

The Vatican announcement had come as no surprise, said Prebendary David Houlding, a member of the General Synod’s Catholic Group, on Wednesday.

It did not mean that all Anglo-Catholics had to jump on the band wagon and suddenly disappear. “But they’re very excited about it, and we know there won’t be another offer as generous as this on the table,” he said. He said that the offer placed “an even greater obligation on the revision com mittee on women bishops to get the provision right. Far from not having to bother about it, we have to bother about it even more.”

Forward in Faith issued a state ment on behalf of the Bishop of Ebbsfleet, the Rt Revd Andrew Burn­ham, and the Bishop of Richborough, the Rt Revd Keith Newton, in which they “warmly welcomed” the news. They said that they had chosen 22 February, the feast of the Chair of Peter, as a day when priests and people could decide if they wanted to explore the Pope’s initiative further.

“Some Anglicans in the Catholic tradition understandably will want to stay within the Anglican Communion. Others will wish to make individual arrangements as their conscience directs. A further group of Anglicans, we think, will begin to form a caravan, rather like the People of Israel crossing the desert in search of the Promised Land.”

More here-

Future of diocese discussed

From Charleston-

Episcopalians in the Diocese of South Carolina will consider resolutions this week to distance the diocese from the national Episcopal Church because of its positions on same-sex marriage and ordination of gays.

One of the resolutions calls for the diocese to also work with other churches opposed to the national church's stance on those issues.

"It would be a withdrawal from some of the national councils of the church," said Canon Kendall Harmon. "It's about as far as you can get but still be in."

Representatives from congregations in the diocese meet Saturday for a special convention in Mount Pleasant. The diocese comprises 75 parishes in the lower and eastern part of the state.
In calling the convention last summer, Bishop Mark Lawrence said false teachings are affecting the national church "like an intrusive vine."

"I have called this the false Gospel of Indiscriminate Inclusivity because I see a common pattern in how the core doctrines of our faith are being systematically deconstructed," Lawrence said.
In 2003, the national church consecrated its first openly gay bishop and last summer, at its national convention, authorized bishops to bless same-sex unions.

In 2006, the Diocese of South Carolina and two others opposing consecration of gay bishops voted to reject the authority of the national church's presiding bishop, but stopped short of a full break with the church.

More here-

Ridgefield rector is finalist for state Episcopal bishop's seat

From Connecticut-

The Rev. Mark Delcuze, the rector of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church here, is one of four finalists for the position of bishop of the state's Episcopal diocese.

The bishop will be elected Saturday in Hartford.

"It's a honor even to be a named as a finalist,'' said Delcuze, 51, pointing out that the state's bishop must oversee 174 congregations in Connecticut.

Of the other finalists, two are from out of state: the Rev. Ian Douglas of Cambridge, Mass., and the Rev. Beth Fain of Cypress, Texas.

The fourth finalist is the Rev. Jim Curry, who currently serves as suffragan bishop of the state's Episcopal diocese.

The person chosen will be the state's 15th bishop, succeeding the Rev. Andrew Smith.

Karen Hamilton, spokeswoman for the diocese, said that most elections for bishop require the hundreds of delegates on hand to cast several ballots.

"Sometimes it's really obvious from the beginning,'' she said. "Sometimes people vote one way on the first ballot, then see how the spirit moves. Sometimes there is a candidate who just comes out of the middle to win.''

Hamilton said the state's Episcopalians have never chosen an out-of-state candidate as bishop.

"That would be a first,'' she said.

More here-

Angles on Anglicans

From Get Religion-

We’ve looked a bit at some of the hyperbolic coverage of the major Vatican news this week. Previously, for instance, the Times (U.K.) ran headlines about Catholic tanks parked on Anglican lawns, then Vatican gambits and Papal poaching.

But this story shows that there was quite a bit of movement on the Anglican side that led to the Catholic Church’s new provision. And the headline is still pretty dramatic:

400,000 former Anglicans worldwide seek immediate unity with Rome

You wouldn’t know from the story, however, that the Vatican had been working on how to receive the Traditional Anglican Communion, which has (not coincidentally) an estimated 400,000 people, for years and that what was announced this week were the early details for how that will happen.

Compare that coverage to religion reporter Peter Smith’s analysis in the Louisville Courier-Journal headlined “Limits to Rome’s Anglican plan.” Smith argues that the new overture to Anglicans may have significant consequences on Roman Catholics but he doubts it will draw many Anglicans who weren’t going to convert already. He thinks the liturgical distinctions between the two church bodies aren’t that major.

More here-

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Religious leaders meeting in Israel find they face similar challenges

From Anglican Journal Canada-

Leaders from different faiths who met recently in Israel see such gatherings as important for people who might fear to meet in their daily lives, but can share their experiences in an enclave of trust, says one of the organizers.

Rabbi Alon Goshen-Gottstein, director of the Jerusalem-based Elijah Interfaith Institute said that religious people worldwide face similar challenges and expectations, so sharing a broad universal approach could be beneficial to their work. He was speaking at the conclusion of a five-day conference in the northern Israeli port city of Haifa.

"There has been a broad recognition of the commonalty of [religious] leadership which has allowed people to share strategies of how to lead [our faithful] and how to carry out the vocation of religious leadership," Goshen-Gottstein told Ecumenical News International in a telephone interview.

About 50 religious leaders representing Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism attended the fourth meeting of the Elijah Board of World Religious Leaders from Oct. 18 to 22. Representatives from the Vatican and of the Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, also attended the meeting.

Rabbi Goshen-Gottstein noted the importance of the presence of several Muslim leaders at the event, saying that for some of them it was "courageous" to attend the conference. He said participants had been able to discuss difficult and painful regional topics in an atmosphere of confidence.

More here-

What Does Vatican Plan Mean For Celibate Priests?

From NPR

The Vatican is welcoming Anglicans to return to Catholicism centuries after their ancestors left the church. The Vatican said it will permit married Anglican priests to become ordained Catholic priests. John Allen, senior correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter, talks with Steve Inskeep about how this week's announcement calls into question a long-held Catholic tradition of celibacy in the priesthood.

Listen to it here-

P.B. Explains Bishop Ackerman’s ‘Renunciation’

From the Living Church-

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has written to bishops of the Episcopal Church about her response to the Rt. Rev. Keith Ackerman, Bishop of Quincy, resigned.

The Presiding Bishop referred again to Bishop Ackerman’s two letters to her as a renunciation of his orders “based on his written submission to me describing his intention to function as a bishop in the Diocese of Bolivia, in the Province of the Southern Cone and requesting that he be ‘transferred’ to that church and thus out of the Episcopal Church.”

“It is also based on his public participation in, and signature on a document affirming, the election of Robert Duncan as ‘archbishop’ of [the Anglican Church in North America],” she wrote.

“We have been and will be consistent regarding our canons, which clearly state that the Episcopal Church can accept the ministry of a bishop of the Episcopal Church functioning temporarily in another province of the Anglican Communion, when it is clear that that province does not seek to undermine or replace the ministry of this church,” she wrote.

The Presiding Bishop did not cite any specific canons that she applied to Bishop Ackerman’s request.

She contrasted Bishop Ackerman’s request with the transfer of the Rt. Rev. Mark MacDonald, Bishop of Alaska, resigned, and a former assisting bishop of the Episcopal Church in Navajoland, who is now the Anglican Church of Canada’s first National Indigenous Bishop.

As Bishop MacDonald’s work in Canada becomes permanent, she wrote, “his loyalty will have to be to the Anglican Church of Canada, rather than the Episcopal Church, and a recognition of his renunciation of orders in this church will be necessary.”

Rowan Williams condemns 'oppressive' English educational system

From the London Guardian-

Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, has set out a devastating critique of the "oppressive" English education system accusing successive governments of prioritising test marks over children's spiritual or emotional happiness.

The school system is now so results-driven that children are in danger of being written off as failures at an early age, he warned in a speech at Lambeth Palace marking a major expansion of the church's academy programme.

He claimed teachers had been undermined and very young children over-tested in governments' pursuit of making schools accountable.

"We have in the past few decades created an extraordinarily anxious and in many ways oppressive climate in education at every level in the search for proper accountability," he said.

"This search is laudable in itself, but its workings out have been unhappy: an inspection regime that is experienced by many teachers as undermining, not supportive, an obsession with testing children from the earliest stages, and in general an atmosphere in most institutions of frantic concern to comply with a multitude of directives – all of this gives a clear message about the priority of tightly measurable achievement over against personal or spiritual or emotional concerns.

"We are in danger of reintroducing by the back door the damaging categorising of children at an early age as successes and failures."

His comments will fuel concerns just days after the biggest review of primary education in 40 years, conducted by Cambridge University, called on the government to scrap league tables and high stakes Sats tests to ease the pressure on children.

More here-

Opinion: After appeal to dissatisfied Anglicans, who’s next?

From South Dakota-

As an Episcopal priest and member of the Worldwide Anglican Communion, I must say I am more than a bit curious about the Vatican’s appeal Tuesday to so-called “dissatisfied Anglicans” (as reported in an Associated Press report in Wednesday’s Daily Republic).

First, I am curious about the use of the term “convert,” as in “The Vatican announced Tuesday it was making it easier for Anglicans to convert to Roman Catholicism.”

If the Vatican’s chief doctrinal official used the term “convert,” it is incorrect. One only “converts” from one faith tradition to another (i.e. from the Islamic faith to the Christian faith). Therefore, as we are both members of Christian denominations, and therefore part of the Christian faith, this is a scurrilous term at best.

Second, while dissatisfied people changing denominations is nothing new, openly recruiting the dissatisfied certainly is. Regardless of denominational affiliation, all Christians are called to be one in the Body of Christ; we are all called to serve God through serving each other; we are all called to reconcile the world with our loving God. If this is the litmus test we as Christians use to live our lives (and if it isn’t, it should be), certainly an appeal such as the Vatican’s falls quite short of this.

Imagine, if you will, the outcry if any other denomination were to appeal to dissatisfied Roman Catholics — perhaps mentioning their well-publicized problems of the past and present, perhaps mentioning its continuing misogynistic doctrines, perhaps mentioning any number of issues with which a reasonable person could be dissatisfied. Would it not be wrong for them to do so and, if so, doesn’t this point to the current error in the Vatican’s ways?

More here-

Parishioners send prayer beads to troops

From the Washington Post-

Many Americans are praying for U.S. troops overseas. Some women from St. James Episcopal Church are helping Americans in the service say their own prayers.

Every other week, the group gathers to string prayer beads to send overseas.

A couple of years ago, one of the women at the Indian Head church saw the beads at a diocesan convention. I1n April, the church started its own prayer bead group, parishioner B.J. Creelman said.

"It's a group fellowship, and we really enjoy it," said Clare Phillips, group coordinator.

The church serves as a partner parish with On Beads of Prayer, an international nonprofit ministry that began at St. Alban's Parish in the Episcopal Diocese of Washington in 2006. The ministry has 17 participating parishes.

In a matter of months, the women of St. James have made hundreds of strings of prayer beads. "We are pretty prolific," Phillips said.

On Beads of Prayer will "send the beads to the chaplains [in the Middle East] and have them distribute them to any of the military people who are in need of that kind of guidance -- in need of having some way to connect to God or people who are in the military hospitals," Creelman said.

Former Episcopal bishop of Ohio dies at 91 at his Michigan home

From Youngstown-

The Rev. John H. Burt, 91, retired bishop of Ohio for the Episcopal Church, died Tuesday at his home on the southern shore of Lake Superior.

The Rev. Mr. Burt served seven years at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Youngstown, where he received the Arvona Lynch Human Relations Award. He was also the founding president of the city’s American Civil Liberties Union.

When he left Youngstown in 1957 to become rector of All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, Calif., The Vindicator wrote an editorial calling his departure “a matter of public regret” and saying the city was better for his having been here.

In 1967, he was elected the bishop of Ohio and served in that capacity until 1984.

In 1977, Mr. Burt and the Rev. James W. Malone, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown, issued a plea for understanding and help for neighbors on reduction of operations at Youngstown Sheet & Tube.

In 1978, Mr. Burt co-founded the Ecumenical Coalition of the Mahoning Valley, which fought to keep Youngstown Sheet & Tube from reneging on labor agreements and to seek ways to reopen the mills.

Mr. Burt also was one of the first to advocate the ordination of women to the priesthood, saying he would resign as bishop if the Episcopal General Convention failed to approve women priests in 1976. Once the measure was approved, Mr. Burt ordained eight women as priests during his term as Ohio’s bishop.

Pope's Wooing of Anglicans Challenges Archbishop

From The Wall Street Journal-

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and Pope Benedict XVI are both noted theological scholars leading flocks through complicated times. In recent days, Archbishop Williams's already tough mission became even more difficult.

Archbishop Williams is the top official in the Church of England and the "first among equals" of the global church leaders that guide the 80-million-strong Anglican Communion. That puts him in the crucial position of holding the Anglican faithful together in the wake of the Vatican's surprise move this week to make it easier for disgruntled Anglicans to convert to Catholicism.

For several years, Archbishop Williams has attempted to unify an already divided global community of Anglicans. Internecine battles over same-sex marriage, the consecration of women bishops and the authority of Scripture threaten to splinter the world's third-largest Christian group.

But unlike Pope Benedict -- who has singular authority over 1.1 billion Roman Catholics -- Archbishop Williams lacks many tools to force cooperation among his church's factions. He can cajole and persuade, but in the end the many churches within the Anglican Communion have a great deal of autonomy, including the Church of England.

"What is he going to do? That's the $64,000 question," said Stephen Parkinson, director of Forward in Faith, an Anglo-Catholic advocacy group within the Church of England that has reacted warmly to the Vatican's move. "Does he try to hold it all together, or does he simply say bon voyage to those who want to take the Vatican's offer?"

More here-

Episcopal clergy await details on Vatican plan

From The Toledo Blade-

Local Episcopal clergy are anxiously awaiting details of a new Vatican plan to ease the way for discontented Anglicans to join the Roman Catholic Church.
"What struck me about the statement was the lack of details, which I found very significant," said the Rev. Gregory Sammons, co-rector of St. Michael's in the Hills Episcopal Church in Ottawa Hills.

In its announcement Tuesday, the Vatican said its forthcoming Apostolic Constitution will contain provisions for ordaining married ex-Anglican priests, appointing unmarried former Anglican clergy as "ordinaries," or bishops, and allowing ex-Anglicans to retain their spiritual and liturgical identities after joining the Roman Catholic Church.

The Episcopal Church, which has 2.3 million members, is the U.S. branch of the 80 million-member Anglican Communion. The denomination was founded in the 16th century after a split between the Church of England and Rome over theological issues, papal primacy, and King Henry VIII's desire for the annulment of his marriage.

It has been deeply divided in recent years over the ordination of gay clergy and the blessing of homosexual partnerships, following earlier controversies over the ordination of women and revisions in the prayer book and hymnal.

The Catholic Church, which does not ordain female priests and bars the ordination of openly and actively gay men, has ordained married ex-Anglican priests for more than a decade. But the new Vatican plan goes further in accommodating individual and group converts, saying it will "preserve the worthy Anglican liturgical and spiritual patrimony" while ensuring "these groups and their clergy will be integrated into the Catholic Church."


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Vatican plan would ease Anglican conversion

Here's the Pittsburgh Angle on the Rome/Anglican thing. From the Post Gazette-

A Vatican plan to receive disaffected Anglicans into the Catholic Church while keeping much of their liturgy and a married priesthood, shows the changing fault lines within global Christianity. But it will likely have little impact in Pittsburgh.

The plan announced yesterday would allow groups of Anglicans to join new non-geographic dioceses, called "personal ordinariates," usually headed by former Anglicans.

It got a tepid response from the Episcopal Church and a welcome from the Anglican Church in North America, the group formed in June by 100,000 conservative former Episcopalians and Canadian Anglicans.

In Charleroi, Bishop William Ilgenfritz of the Missionary Diocese of All Saints for Anglo-Catholics in the new Anglican Church in North America, said there may be some interest in his 13 parishes, "but I don't think it's going to be a complete hemorrhage."

The personal ordinariates will have only celibate bishops. That tradition is shared with Orthodoxy, and is crucial to Vatican efforts toward unity with those churches.

Read more:

Desperate bishops invited Rome to park its tanks on Archbishop’s lawn

From the London Times-

Rome has parked its tanks on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s lawn after manoeuvres undertaken by up to fifty bishops and begun two years ago by an Australian archbishop, John Hepworth.

As leader of the Traditional Anglican Communion, a breakaway group claiming to represent up to 400,000 laity worldwide, he went to Rome seeking a means to achieve full, visible unity for his flock.

As a former Catholic priest himself, divorced and remarried with three children, he would be unlikely to be recognised by Rome as a priest or bishop, even under the structures brought in by the new apostolic constitution. He has nonetheless always received a warm welcome in Rome — in particular from Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, who has made the running in Rome with the backing of his predecessor at the Congregation, Pope Benedict XVI himself.

In England, negotiations with the Vatican have been led by two of the “flying bishops” — the AngloCatholics sanctioned to provide pastoral care for opponents of the ordination of women as priests. The Bishop of Ebbsfleet, the Right Rev Andrew Burnham, and the Bishop of Richborough, the Right Rev Keith Newton, visited Rome at Easter last year for talks with Cardinal Levada.

More here-

Anglican priest: Return God to funerals

From UPI-

A Church of England priest complains he feels "like a lemon" when officiating at funerals where secular songs and poems replace the religious service.

The Rev. Ed Tomlinson, rector of St. Barnabas Church, a traditional parish in Tunbridge Wells, attacked secular funerals in his blog, The Daily Telegraph reported. He said many bereaved families appear to want "no Christian content whatever" when relatives are cremated, the most common method in England of disposing of bodies.

"I have then stood at the Crem like a lemon, wondering why on earth I am

present at the funeral of somebody led in by the tunes of Tina Turner, summed up in pithy platitudes of sentimental and secular poets and sent into the furnace with 'I Did it My Way' blaring out across the speakers," he said.

Much of the reaction to Tomlinson's rant was hostile, with Catherine Hylton, a parishioner, saying it was "beautiful" when her grandfather's body went into the furnace to "Good Day, Sunshine" by the Beatles.

But Jane Geer said she has found secular funerals "off key."

"Give me a good burial with a proper vicar anytime," she said. "It's the difference between cods roe and caviar."

Vatican in Bold Bid to Attract Anglicans

From the Wall Street Journal-

The Vatican said it will make it far easier for disgruntled Anglicans to convert to Catholicism, in one of Rome's most sweeping gestures to a Protestant church since the Reformation.

A newly created set of canon laws, known as an "Apostolic Constitution," will clear the way for entire congregations of Anglican faithful to join the Catholic Church. That represents a potentially serious threat to the already fragile world-wide communion of national Anglican churches, which has about 77 million members globally.

The Anglican Communion has been strained by fights over its relations with other Christian denominations and the church's growing acceptance of gay and women clergy and same-sex marriage. The 2003 election of an openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church, the U.S. branch of the movement, has sharpened those tensions.

The move comes nearly five centuries after King Henry VIII broke with Rome and proclaimed himself head of the new Church of England after being refused permission to divorce.

In a news conference Tuesday, Cardinal William Levada, head of the Vatican's office on doctrine, described the measures as a step in the Holy See's long efforts to heal the rift between Roman Catholicism and Anglicanism. He said they are a response to requests from Anglicans around the world seeking to join the Catholic Church.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Bishop Ackerman Responds to ‘Renunciation'

From the Living Church-

The Rt. Rev. Keith Ackerman expressed dismay on Monday that the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church has described him as renouncing his orders as a bishop. Bishop Ackerman resigned from the Diocese of Quincy in November 2008.

“I did so for reasons of physical, spiritual and emotional distress, related to the ongoing demise of the Episcopal Church,” he said in a statement that he read at the beginning of a conference call arranged by Anglicans United, which is based in Dallas, Texas.

Now that Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has described him as renouncing his ministry, “I cannot go back to the church of my childhood and perform a funeral,” Bishop Ackerman said. “There has been absolutely no pastoral concern or pastoral care.”

Bishop Ackerman said he would not have responded to the Presiding Bishop’s actions if she had not gone public with the matter. He said that publicity prompted many people to ask whether he had indeed renounced his orders as a bishop.

“For me, this is not a matter of whether I’m in the Episcopal Church or not in the Episcopal Church. I want to be obedient to the call on my life,” he said, adding that his mother had dedicated him to God while he was still in her womb.

The bishop said he had sent two handwritten letters to the Presiding Bishop, the first of which said that he did not write in order to renounce his ministry. Instead, Bishop Ackerman had been invited to serve as a U.S.-based bishop for the Diocese of Bolivia, without a vote in its House of Bishops. Bishop Ackerman requested a transfer to that diocese.

Bishop Ackerman said he wanted his correspondence with the Presiding Bishop to be honorable and discreet, and he wanted to continue ministry to Episcopalians in the dioceses of Quincy and Springfield.

“If this happens to me when I’ve tried to do this above board, what happens to those who have not voted to work within the system?” he said. “I’m concerned that they’re also going to be treated with a lack of love. I don’t want anyone else to be mistreated.”

Bishop Ackerman said he has heard from the Diocese of Bolivia regarding the Presiding Bishop’s actions. “Having heard from the Diocese of Bolivia, I understand that I’m a priest in good standing in that diocese,” he said.

Bishop Ackerman said he is troubled by the Episcopal Church’s apparent inability to transfer bishops peaceably to other provinces of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

“It must see itself as highly independent,” he said. “If orders are not universal in the Anglican Communion, they cease to be catholic in the full sense of the word. … The Episcopal Church does not own the ministry of the one holy catholic and apostolic Church.”

Neva Rae Fox, the Episcopal Church’s program officer for public affairs, said the Presiding Bishop was unlikely to respond to Bishop Ackerman’s remarks.

“I do not know if the Presiding Bishop has seen Keith Ackerman’s statement, nor do I know if he has sent any correspondence to the Presiding Bishop,” she wrote in response to a request for comment. “I do not anticipate that the Presiding Bishop will have a statement.”

Roman Catholic church to receive Anglicans

From the London Guardian-

More than half a million Anglicans are set to join the Roman Catholic church following an announcement from the Vatican today that Pope Benedict XVI had approved a decree setting up a new worldwide institution to receive them.

It will be the first time since the Reformation in the 16th century that entire communities of Protestants have reunited with Rome. The first group to take advantage of the new rules is expected to be the Traditional Anglican Community (TAC), which separated from the rest of the Anglican community in 1991 and has more than 500,000 members worldwide.

Reflecting the importance of Rome's initiative, the pope set out the new arrangements in a so-called apostolic constitution, the highest form of pontifical decree.

Benedict's chief theological adviser, the US cardinal William Levada, said the decree had been drawn up "to respond to the numerous requests that have been submitted to the Holy See by groups of Anglican clerics and believers from various parts of the world who wish to enter into full and visible communion" with Rome.

He said that, under the new arrangements, Anglican communities that joined the Catholic church would be able to keep their own liturgy while remaining outside the existing dioceses. Their pastoral care would be entrusted instead to their own senior prelates, who would not necessarily become Catholic bishops. This is a way around the problem that in the Catholic church, as in the Orthodox churches, married men are not allowed to become bishops.

Vatican moves to poach traditional Anglicans

From the London Times-

The Roman Catholic Church today moved to poach thousands of traditional Anglicans who are dismayed by growing acceptance of gays and women priests and bishops.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams admitted that he had been caught out after Pope Benedict XVI announced a new “Apostolic Constitution” to provide a legal framework for the many thousands of Anglicans and former Anglicans who wish “to enter into full visible communion with the Roman Catholic Church”.

The announcement paves the way for thousands of Anglicans worldwide to join the Roman Catholic church while maintaining elements of their own spiritual heritage.

Although Dr Williams knew that talks had been taking place in Rome, he was unaware until two weeks ago of the radical nature of the proposals being drawn up by Rome.

More here-

Rome rules on admitting Anglicans

From The BBC-

Groups of Anglicans will be able to join the Roman Catholic Church but maintain a distinct religious identity under changes announced by the Pope.

The Vatican said the new rules follow requests from Anglicans wanting to join but retain their liturgical heritage.

It comes amid splits among Anglicans worldwide over the homosexuality and the ordination of women.

But Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams said he did not think it was a "commentary on Anglican problems".

Causes of discord in the worldwide Anglican communion have included the election of an openly gay bishop and the blessing of same-sex unions.

'Worldwide phenomenon'

In the Church of England, the ordination of women as priests, and the prospect of their appointment as bishops, has led many Anglicans to consider joining the Roman Catholics.
Under the terms of the new Apostolic Constitution announced by the Vatican, groupings of Anglicans would be able to join "personal ordinariates".

This would allow them to enter full communion with the Catholic church, but also preserve elements of the Anglican traditions including the possible use of Anglican prayer books.

More here-

A helping hand along the docks

From Philadelphia-

The Seamen's Church Institute has been a fixture on the Philadelphia waterfront for 166 years, providing friendly help to 40,000 seafarers a year whose ships dock in ports along the Delaware River.

The Rev. James D. Von Dreele, an Episcopal priest, is head chaplain and executive director of the interdenominational ministry.

Father Jim and his staff, including five part-time chaplains and eight to 10 volunteers, visit more than 1,700 ships a year. They offer counsel to foreign sailors, help with immigration issues, and intervene in ship problems such as pay disputes. They also escort the sailors off ships for a few hours of R&R. Seafarers' favorite pastime? Shopping.

Because of stringent post-9/11 immigration regulations, many crews cannot leave ship because they do not have U.S. visas. Those who do, often head for the institute headquarters at 475 N. Fifth St. to watch TV, call home, reflect in the chapel, or surf the Web.

Question: How do you learn a ship is in port?

Answer: We have access to the Maritime Exchange ship lists, so we are able to tell where the new arrivals are. We cover 125 miles on both the New Jersey and Pennsylvania sides of the river. And there are 33 terminals that we serve.

More here-

Virginia Anglicans to return to court over properties

From Church Executive-

The Supreme Court of Virginia has agreed to hear the appeal of The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Virginia nearly a year after breakaway Anglicans came away with a court win in church property disputes.

In an announcement Wednesday, the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia said the state high court will review every issue raised for appeal by the diocese and the national church without oral argument.

"We welcome this next step to bringing exiled Episcopalians closer to returning to their church homes," said Henry Burt, secretary of the diocese, in a statement.

Eleven congregations in Virginia voted in December of 2006 and January the following year to sever ties with The Episcopal Church – the U.S. arm of Anglicanism – while staying in alignment with the rest of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The breakaway Anglicans believe the U.S. church has abandoned Scripture and traditional Anglicanism.

Although they along with the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia tried to avoid litigation, the diocese and the national church were not convinced that they could move forward in the dispute without resorting to civil courts and decided to file lawsuits to secure the property of the parishes that voted to leave.

The breakaway parishes based their arguments on a Civil War-era statute which grants property to departing congregations when there is division within the denomination.

The Virginia diocese contended that there was no division. Rather, individuals discontent with the national church chose to leave. Also, under a hierarchical structure "division" can only happen if there is a vote of its governing body. The Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee, whose resignation as bishop of Virginia became effective this month, argued that The Episcopal Church is hierarchical and has the freedom to govern itself.

Judge Randy I. Bellows of Fairfax County Circuit Court, however, determined that there was a division in the national church as well as the in global Anglican Communion and ruled last December that departing congregations could leave and keep their property.

But the diocese said despite the ruling, "serious constitutional issues" remained, including the constitutional protections for hierarchical churches.

Conservative Anglicans were not surprised to hear this week's announcement by the high court. Jim Oakes, vice chairman of the Anglican District of Virginia, of which the breakaway churches are members, told VirtueOnline that they are still confident in their legal position and hope to put the litigation behind them.

Address to the Annual Diocesan Convention Saturday, October 10, 2009 The Rt. Rev’d D. Bruce MacPherson, D.D. Bishop

Bishop Bruce MacPherson's Convention Address-

Where to begin? Much has gone before us and much is before us, and we gather here this weekend to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Diocese of Western Louisiana as we share in this annual convention. One-hundred and sixty-eight years ago Bishop Leonidas Polk became the first bishop of the new diocese of Louisiana. A ministry that would see him covering vast amounts of the territory as he established congregations far and wide, a ministry that would be cut short as he dies at the hand of war on June 14, 1864 at Pine Mountain, Georgia. Though his death came prematurely during his role as Confederate General, his labour in the vineyard of our Lord bears a witness to his calling and faithful episcopacy as a bishop of the Church Catholic and to his ministry as he set about “Making a path for the Lord.”

As we look at these words from the Old Testament, we see there is much likeness in the man Elijah and that of the man named John. Both of them were one in spirit and office, and this being that both were sent to prepare the way of the Lord! But it didn’t end there. It continued down through the ages, for in every age this work is required. But how can it be done? As Elijah, John, Leonidas, and others have shown. By changing conditions that make difficult the entrance of Christ. By lifting the valleys, lowering the hills, and smoothing the rough road. And as Isaiah continues, “and the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” [Isaiah 40:5]

More here-

Meeting considers future of SC Episcopal diocese

From The AP-

Episcopalians in the Diocese of South Carolina will consider resolutions this week to distance the diocese from the national Episcopal Church because of its positions on same-sex marriage and ordination of gays.

One of the resolutions calls for the diocese to also work with other churches opposed to the national church's stance on those issues.
"It would be a withdrawal from some of the national councils of the church," said Canon Kendall Harmon. "It's about as far as you can get but still be in."

Representatives from congregations in the diocese meet Saturday for a special convention in Mount Pleasant. The diocese comprises 75 parishes in the lower and eastern part of the state.
In calling the convention last summer, Bishop Mark Lawrence said false teachings are affecting the national church "like an intrusive vine."

"I have called this the false Gospel of Indiscriminate Inclusivity because I see a common pattern in how the core doctrines of our faith are being systematically deconstructed," Lawrence said.
In 2003, the national church consecrated its first openly gay bishop and last summer, at its national convention, authorized bishops to bless same-sex unions.

In 2006, the Diocese of South Carolina and two others opposing consecration of gay bishops voted to reject the authority of the national church's presiding bishop, but stopped short of a full break with the church.

More here-

Monday, October 19, 2009

Row over Holy Communion presider

More from Australia-

Sydney Anglican Archbishop, Peter Jensen is facing a legal challenge over his church's decision to break with the national church and permit deacons or church elders to preside over Holy Communion.

The highest court of the Australian Anglican Church, the Appellate Tribunal, has been convened to decide on the contentious issue of whether church law allows others to preside over a duty exclusively performed by ordained priests and bishops, the Brisbane Times quotes a Sydney Morning Herald report saying.

The tribunal, headed by the Appeal Court judge and leading Sydney Anglican Peter Young, conducted a preliminary hearing on August 20 and is awaiting submissions from interested parties. Eight diocesan bishops 20 clergy and laity from 13 dioceses around the country outside of Sydney have applied for a legal ruling, the report said.

The question of who should preside over the central worship service for Anglicans has been a source of simmering tensions inside the church for more than 30 years, the report adds.

Evangelicals say there is no legal impediment to deacons or church elders performing a fuller worship role, while traditionalists argue it is an encroachment on the role and ministry of priests and bishops, and that it contravened the upheld standards of worship in the Anglican communion.

More here-

Navajoland Elects a New Bishop

From The Living Church-

The Episcopal Church’s Navajoland Area Mission on Saturday chose the Rev. Canon David Bailey as its next bishop. The election occurred during a special convocation Eucharist at All Saints Church in Farmington, N.M.

Canon Bailey was one of two nominees. The other was the Rev. James Leehan of Indianapolis, Ind. Fr. Leehan served as vicar in the Southeast region of Navajoland before retiring.

In accordance with Navajo tradition, ballot details were not announced, other than Canon Bailey’s receiving a majority of votes.

The name of Canon Bailey, who serves as canon to the ordinary in the Diocese of Utah, will be sent to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori with a recommendation that he serve as her canon for Navajoland until March. She may then present his name to the House of Bishops for election by that house.

As the Episcopal Church’s only Area Mission, Navajoland is under the oversight of the presiding bishop.

The Rt. Rev. Rustin Kimsey, retired bishop of Eastern Oregon and retired bishop of Navajoland, presided at the special convocation.

Jesus saves, but shattered Anglicans regret not having that luxury

From Austrailia-

THE shaken Anglican Archbishop of Sydney admits he has wondered whether God had decided to punish his diocese.

Peter Jensen confessed yesterday to being grief-stricken by the size of the diocese's $160 million financial loss and called on his faithful not be panicked or paralysed by the money crisis but to turn to God in ''active faith''.

In an impassioned speech aimed at lifting morale at the annual synod, Dr Jensen said he had been struggling emotionally to come to terms with the losses which have triggered cuts to ministries and jobs, including senior clergy positions. He believed the loss could be a warning to the wealthiest Anglican diocese in Australia not to rely on its wealth.

The global crisis has slashed the value of the diocese's assets and forced a restructure of its regional organisations in a year it is undertaking a million-dollar mass evangelisation campaign.

Dr Jensen told the church faithful yesterday he most regretted the loss of four archdeacons, some of the church's most senior clerics, the impact of the crisis on the budget of St Andrew's Cathedral and Youth Works, the diocese's youth mission.

Since November, when it became apparent the cuts would be twice as large as first anticipated, Dr Jensen said he had felt initial doubts - which he had subsequently rejected - about whether the diocese had engaged in ethically dubious practices by highly gearing its investments and uncertainty about how to address the losses.

More here-

‘Juju’ Discovered At Presbyterian Church …Members Accuse Pastor

From Liberia-

Regular worship service at the Presbyterian Episcopal Church located at the corners of Broad & Johnson Streets came to a stand-still yesterday after members claimed that they discovered a fetish item believed to be juju.The members insisted that the disruption of yesterday service was a result of the Pastor’s refusal to step down and turn over the pulpit. According to them, they would not sit under the preaching or administering of the church head pastor because according to them he has fallen from grace to grass.

Their protest disrupted the then ongoing mini service during which time some members claimed that the pastor was spotted planting "juju" at the back of the church building. According to the members, after receiving the hint, they immediately proceeded at the site of the alleged ‘Juju’ where an unusual and strange item was dug out of the ground. They claimed that the watchman spotted the pastor with two strange men over the weekend during which time he monitored them planting the alleged ‘Juju’ at the back of the church.

The pastor was also referred to as a ‘Satan’ because according to them, as a man of God, he has committed himself to the planting of ‘JUJU.’ Even though no one could confirm as to whether or not the strange item that was dug out from behind the church building was actually a ‘juju’ or mere furniture. The members however insisted that the pastor was spotted accomplishing his devilish objective.

Earlier, a tentative service was held with a handful of members inside the church building, but unfortunately a huge quantity of the church’s congregation was seen outside the building demanding that the pastor leave the pulpit before regular service can continue. Members of the church later turned protestors after found signing "Satan Go, Go, Go, we don’t want to see you again." The members claimed that the pastor had proposed love to almost every young lady in the church and that since he took over three years ago immorality at the helm of the church has increased greatly.

More here-

UPPER SOUTH CAROLINA: Five nominees announced for bishop election

From ENS-

The Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina on October 16 announced a slate of five candidates for the bishop election to be held on December 12.
The candidates are:

The Very Rev. John B. Burwell, rector, Church of the Holy Cross, Sullivan's Island, Daniel Island and I'on, South Carolina;
The Rev. Canon Neal O. Michell, canon to the ordinary, Episcopal Diocese of Dallas;
The Rev. David F. O. Thompson, rector, St. Bartholomew's Church, North Augusta, South Carolina;
The Rev. W. Andrew Waldo, rector, Trinity Episcopal Church, Excelsior, Minnesota; and
The Rev. Jerre Stockton Williams, Jr., rector, St. Peter's Episcopal Church, Kerrville, Texas.
Additional information about the nominees, including video presentations, is available here.

Two walk-abouts, designed to allow certified delegates to the electing convention and other interested people to meet the candidates and ask them questions, are scheduled for the weekend of November 21-22.

The person elected as the eighth bishop of Upper South Carolina, providing he receives the required number of consents from diocesan bishops and standing committees, will succeed Bishop Dorsey Henderson, who is retiring after having served the diocese since 1995. The consecration is set for May 22, 2010.

Based in Columbia, South Carolina, the Diocese of Upper South Carolina is made up of 64 congregations in 22 counties in the upper part of the state.

St. Luke’s moves into its new home

From Glendale Colorado-

A visiting parishioner stood before the congregation of St. Luke’s Anglican Church, instructed patrons to bring both wrists together as if bound by shackles, and told them to cast the symbolic chains aside.

“You’re free,” he said, inside the unfamiliar confines of Seventh Day Adventist Church in Glendale.

The Rev. Rob Holman cast a knowing smile over the sermon Sunday, the first since surrendering the keys to the stone-facade church at 2563 Foothill Blvd. following a three-year legal battle for ownership of the building.

The congregation in 2006 voted to split with the diocese and the national Episcopal Church over theological discrepancies, which included the decision to consecrate a gay bishop in New Hampshire. The diocese then sued to retain the beloved church building from the congregation, which had realigned with the Anglican Province of Uganda.

Finally, a judge this month ordered the congregation to vacate the site by Oct. 12.

The court rulings will result in the loss of some $325,000 in assets as well as the rights to its name. St. Luke’s of the Mountains Church had baptized, confirmed and married members of the community for 85 years.

Still, members of St. Luke’s, which last summer became part of the new Anglican Church in North America, said they’re well aware of larger conflicts within the Episcopal Church. The first sermon since coming down from the mountain brought with it a sense of closure, they said.

“The weight has been lifted,” said Ingo Dittbern, of La Crescenta. “But the saddest part about all of this is knowing that all the money, especially in these tough times, could have gone to help people in need.”

More here-

Sunday, October 18, 2009

New Episcopal bishop selected in Pittsburgh

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The convention of the formerly fractious Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh was a love fest yesterday as it chose a new bishop, gave emotional thanks to a departing one, adopted all resolutions unanimously and spoke graciously of people in the rival Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh (Anglican).

The approval of Bishop Kenneth L. Price Jr. as provisional, or temporary, bishop received a standing ovation from 111 deputies in Trinity Cathedral, Downtown. In a brief acceptance speech, he praised the diocese for civility in hard times.

"This tone of conciliation, respect and transparency is totally in keeping with my own desires and intentions," he said.

A split into two dioceses occurred in October 2008 after a majority of voters at last year's convention decided that the Episcopal Church failed to uphold biblical doctrine on matters from salvation to sexuality. They voted to follow Archbishop Robert Duncan into the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone in South America, which, like the Episcopal Church, is part of the global Anglican Communion.

The 28-parish Episcopal diocese recently won a lawsuit in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court regarding at least $18 million in centrally-held diocesan assets, but ownership of parish property remains to be resolved. The Anglican diocese has 58 parishes, most of which remain in buildings that the denomination's law says should revert to the Episcopal Church.

The rest is here-