Saturday, January 23, 2016

Chattanooga Anglican, Episcopal leaders say the dust-up between them is a family argument, not a divorce

From Chatanooga-

The Anglican Church and the Episcopal Church insist they are not at war.

However, a group of Anglican bishops have fired a shot across the Episcopal bow with the message: Stop where you're at and reverse course or things could get really messy.

Some media reports last week made it seem as if the Episcopal Church was in danger of being tossed out of the Anglican family after it was suspended from voting for three years on issues of policy and doctrine within the Anglican Communion, which is made up of leading bishops — known as Primates — from the 38 Anglican provinces across the world, including the Episcopal Church in America.

While Episcopalian clergy and lay leaders can debate and discuss issues with other leaders in the Communion, they will have no official say in final decisions.

More here-

Fate of Orthodox Christianity's Great and Holy Council Hangs in the Balance

From Sightings-

During the meeting of Christian Orthodox Primates (heads of local Orthodox churches), which begins today in Switzerland, the participants will show the world whether the unity of the Orthodox Church is more important than their particular agendas.

The issue facing the Primates is whether to convene, as planned, a “Holy and Great” Council of the Orthodox Church, or Pan-Orthodox Council as it is also called, around the feast of Pentecost, in June of this year.

The Holy and Great Council (if it takes place) will have historical momentum, not only for Orthodox believers, but also for the global religious landscape.

Given increasing religious pluralism on the international scene, the fall of the Soviet Union, and growing secularization in developed countries, the convocation of a Pan-Orthodox Council is, in part, intended to signal the continued unity of communion among the fourteen independent, or autocephalous, Orthodox Churches.

 More here-

Why the Anglican-Episcopal clash may spell a theological revision (COMMENTARY)

From RNS-

What’s next for the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion?

The widening chasm was on full display last week as a meeting of Anglican primates voted to suspend the LGBT-affirming Episcopal Church in the United States from participating in decisions about doctrine or polity for three years.

Though no surprise to church watchers, the decision was jarring for Episcopalians who take pride in their denomination’s inclusive stance on sexual minorities.

News reports on the censure invariably quoted Episcopalians dismayed and disappointed that the worldwide Anglican Communion does not share their enthusiasm for LGBT inclusion in the church.

More here-

Friday, January 22, 2016

Death of spirituality in SF is greatly exaggerated

From San Francisco-

Whether you call it spirituality or religion, the Bay Area plays a pivotal role in how humanity understands meaning. Our contribution comes from our location at the crossroads of the East and West, our special appreciation of holiness in the natural world and our enthusiasm for experimentation and seeking. The San Francisco Examiner’s launch of a new page on religion and spirituality will contribute to this spiritual movement.

Last year, the Pew Research Center published survey results showing the San Francisco Bay Area has a smaller percentage of Christians (48 percent) than all the other large metropolitan areas in the country. We also have the second highest percentage of adherents to non-Christian faiths (after New York, 15 percent) and the second highest number of people (after Seattle) who describe themselves as having no religious affiliation at all (35 percent).

This richness of perspective, along with other historical and cultural factors, accounts for the outsized spiritual importance of this region.

More here-

The Canterbury tale

From The Church Times-

The GAFCON agenda

AS HAD been promised, there was no pre-arranged agenda. On too many occasions before, conservatives had felt manoeuvred away from confrontation by organisers. Thus, when the first day was spent thrashing out the agenda, and every Primate was allowed to nominate topics, the most popular was the Episcopal Church in the United States and its recent decision to support same-sex marriage. Second came a question on polity, and how to cope structurally with disagreement. Third was the official recognition of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). These were the issues that the GAFCON representatives had wanted.

The walk-out that did happen

Despite the vigilance of the handful of waiting reporters, the walk-out by the Archbishop of Uganda, the Most Revd Stanley Ntagali, was discovered only when he wrote about it on his Church’s website late on Wednesday. The Archbishop of Canterbury said at the Friday press conference that he did not know why the Primate had left; but Archbishop Ntagali had made it clear on his website that he was complying with his Province’s ruling not to be in meetings with US Episcopalian representatives unless they repented.

More here-

U.S. Episcopal Church's Michael Curry not backing down from gay marriage support

From Christian Today-

Despite the dressing down and suspension the U.S. Episcopal Church received from the Anglican Communion because of its support of same-sex marriage, presiding bishop Michael Curry says his mind is made up regarding "gay marriage" and their stance remains the same.

"They heard from me directly that that's not something that we're considering," Curry told Christian News about retracting their views. "They basically understand we made our decision, and this is who we are, and we're committed to being a house of prayer for all."

Curry said they decided to support same-sex marriage not because they want to become more popular. What they ultimately want is to make everyone feel welcome in their church.

More Here-

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Anglican Covenant Design Group lawyer: Primates can’t require

From The Cafe-

THE communiqué issued by the Primates in Canterbury last week does not bind anyone, because the Primates’ meeting has no jurisdiction, a canon lawyer said this week. It represented “completely unacceptable interference” with the autonomy of the bodies to whom it had issued requirements.

“I find it utterly extraordinary,” the director of the Centre for Law and Religion at Cardiff University, Professor Norman Doe, said on Tuesday. “No instrument exists conferring upon the Primates’ meeting the jurisdiction to ‘require’ these things. . . Whatever they require is unenforceable.”

…. “The decision will not bind anyone — not the Episcopal Church. There is no question of that.” It was for the bodies referred to in the communiqué to determine what, if any, consequences the Episcopal Church should face, he said.

More here-

Another irreplaceable loss for Christianity: ISIS destroys ancient Iraqi monastery

From Fox-

Mosul’s massive, stone-walled monastery of St. Elijah, dating from the sixth century and distinguished by an entryway etched by Christian monks with Chi Rho, the first Greek letters of the word Kristos, “Christ,” has been obliterated. From satellite photos of the isolated hill where it had stood, it was confirmed today that the monastery was pulverized into a field of grey dust by ISIS fanatics, evidently using some determined application of sledgehammers, bulldozers and explosives.

Built before Christianity’s sectarian divisions and having gathered Christian worshipers for one and a half millennia, this ancient sacred edifice, now reduced to rubble, represents yet another irreparable loss to Christian patrimony at the hands of these Islamist extremists.  But, even more importantly, its destruction also symbolizes the genocide of Iraq’s Christian people and their civilization. It gives shocking reminder that Nineveh has been inalterably changed. Its pluralistic cultural mosaic since antiquity has been shattered and putting it back together may prove impossible in this generation.

More here-

Sex Abuse Scandal Rocks Exclusive New England Prep School

From Rhode Island-

For more than a century, St. George's School has been part of the pedigree of some of America's richest and most influential families. Astors, Vanderbilts and Bushes have attended the exclusive boarding school, where students can go sailing, play on world-class squash courts or simply enjoy a sweeping view of the sea from the hilltop campus.

But since at least the 1970s, leaders at St. George's kept a secret.

Dozens of former students have come forward to say they were raped or molested by employees and schoolmates over the past four decades. St. George's acknowledged in a report it issued shortly before Christmas that it repeatedly failed to notify police and child welfare authorities as required by law.

More here-

Primate of Brazil reflects on Primates’ actions in Canterbury

From ENS-

As I expressed earlier, I did not want to communicate anything prior to the end of the meeting regarding the heat of the debates that followed the discussion taken by the majority of Primates in relation to the Episcopal Church of the United States (TEC). In other words, the temporary suspension for three years from all decision-making entities of the Communion, rooted in [TEC]’s decisions with respect to the Matrimonial Canon.

Today I arrived in Brazil and would like to share a pastoral word with the Church regarding this matter. This issue took up a disproportionate amount of time from the meeting and was very difficult for all of the Primates. The most extreme position of the GAFCON primates was to demand an apology or require the withdrawal from the Communion of both TEC and the Church of Canada. This position caused a reaction that brought the Primates into the center of the debate, and the more progressive members sought alternatives that might have caused a drastic break in the Communion, along the lines of what the secular media had repeatedly predicted before and during the meeting. The final resolution what I call positive in terms of keeping the Primates at the table and with the desire to continue conversations on the emblematic grounds of sexuality. In the decision that was taken, the Church of Canada was not included, as there has not yet been a definitive decision taken at the synodical level regarding a matrimonial liturgy for same-sex couples.

More here-

NM’s Episcopal leader dismissive of Anglican action

From New Mexico-

A rebuke by Anglican leaders is unlikely to reverse Episcopalian support for same-sex marriage, which emerged from decades of heated debate within the U.S. church, New Mexico’s top Episcopal leader said Wednesday.

Bishop Michael Vono, head of the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande, also criticized conservative Anglican leaders who demanded disciplinary action against the Episcopal Church, the U.S. body of the Anglican Communion.

Leaders of the worldwide Anglican Communion announced last week that it would suspend Episcopal Church for three years, which bars the U.S. church from posts on policy-setting committees in the worldwide family of churches.

More here-

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Refrain from Anger: On Anglican Bigotry

From "The Subdean Stall" Blog-

In the wake of the Primates’ meeting and the subsequent decision by the Primates to ask the Episcopal Church to withdraw from voting in international bodies for three years, there has been no shortage of commentary.  From Facebook to Twitter to blogs, the Anglican social sphere has been awash in opinion.  My concern at this point is less about the decision itself than our reaction to it.

We have taken an action that runs contrary to the deeply held convictions of Anglicans worldwide and is a frankly dramatic shift in an understanding of marriage that was embedded in human social relations before Christians called it a Sacrament.  To deny that fact – that this openness is an innovation – is to engage in creative myopia.

Now, acknowledging that fact does not mean that it is an innovation whose time has not come.  There are good and even holy impulses that are leading to this discussion.  I do not believe that this change is Satanic as some have charged nor do I believe that it is simply a capitulation to the spirit of the age.  As more is revealed to us of creation and human nature through the reasoned observance of science, sociology, and more, one can begin to see where a case can be made. When paired with faithful prayer and the attentive reading of Scripture, an acknowledgment of the holiness of loving same-gender relationships may be a thing to be embraced, even among the tradition-minded.

More here-


From The Tablet-

Not content with preventing a schism within the Anglican Communion, it seems the leader of the world’s 85 million Anglicans is keen to push for a solution to one of the longest running disagreements in Christendom: the changing date of Easter.

According to The Telegraph, the recent four-day meeting of Anglican primates concluded with the Most Reverend Justin Welby saying that Anglican leaders would join discussions to move to a fixed date for Easter. Although any changes could take up to a decade to implement, he said.

Pope Francis signalled a desire to maintain one unified date for Easter last year when he addressed a global gathering of priests. According to the Catholic News Agency, he said: “we have to come to an agreement” about changing the date.

In May the Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II also wrote to the papal nuncio in Egypt suggesting a common date for Easter. At present, Orthodox churches normally celebrate Easter a week after Catholics and Easter Sunday for Catholics can fall anywhere between 22 March and 25 April.

More here-

Ain't it awful 'bout dem Anglicans?

From Huffington (Pierre Whalon) With links

Schadenfreude is a wonderful German word, meaning to pretend to be saddened by another's misfortune while secretly rejoicing in it. It is a specialty of journalists, among all the rest of us sinners. "Ain't it awful about the Anglican Communion?" has been a headline that a lot of media around the world have been trying to write for some twenty years. I remember at the 2008 Lambeth Conference of bishops (a gathering of the world's Anglican bishops every ten years or so) how the media were salivating in hope of news that the bishops were at each other's throats and that the worldwide Communion would fracture and split apart. They soon slunk away as it became clear that we were not going to do any of that.

Last week's meeting of the 38 heads of the Communion's churches (called "Primates"), chaired by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, was another example of Schadenfreude disappointed. The Washington Post, usually one of the lesser offenders, wrote a seriously wrong report, entitled "Anglican Communion suspends Episcopal Church after years of gay rights debates." The reporter apparently couldn't wait to proclaim the desired result, because had he waited for the final communiqué, entitled "Walking Together in the Service of God in the World", his editors would have stopped that story . The Episcopal Church was not suspended. The gathering of the Primates has no power to "suspend" a member church, in any event.

More here-

Anglican leaders downplay censure of Episcopal Church

From Christian Century-

The Anglican Communion’s worldwide leaders, finishing up four days of heated discussions, sought to project a sense of unity despite a move to exclude the Episcopal Church from key policy decisions as a result of the American province’s acceptance of same-sex marriage.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, overall leader of the global body, stressed at a news conference on Friday (January 15) that the church had chosen to remain together, albeit effectively as a house divided.

“The decision that we would walk together was unanimous,” Welby said, adding that any meeting of leaders of a church of 85 million members in 165 countries and 38 provinces “is bound to give confused messages.”

The Anglican Communion is the world’s third-largest Christian denomination, after Catholics and Orthodox.

Welby played down the decision, leaked a day earlier, to suspend the Episcopal Church from decision-making on policy and governance for a period of three years. He said it had been “completely taken out of context, and then very heavily interpreted” as a sanction on the American province.

More here-

Episcopal Church Will Not Cease Its Support for Gay Marriage

From Fox-

The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church has declared that the denomination will not cease its support for gay marriage despite its three-year suspension by the Anglican Communion last week.

"They heard from me directly that that's not something that we're considering," Bishop Michael Curry told The Associated Press on Friday, talking about the sanctions imposed on the denomination after its leaders refused support the biblical definition of marriage. "They basically understand we made our decision, and this is who we are, and we're committed to being a house of prayer for all."

At the same time, however, Curry said he wants to continue working toward Anglican unity despite the different points of view on the divisive issue.

More here-

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Selective Outrage of the Anglican Church

From Atlantic Monthly-

For the worldwide Anglican Communion, the world’s largest Protestant denomination, sexuality has become a line in the sand.

The Episcopal Church, Anglicanism’s American branch, was suspended on Thursday for three years for its willingness to consecrate same-sex marriages. But the punishment is not expected to dissuade Episcopalian leaders. As Jim Naughton, a communications consultant for the Episcopal Church said, “We can accept these actions with grace and humility but the Episcopal Church is not going back. We can’t repent what is not sin.”

But the denomination’s decision should not be interpreted as a theologically orthodox parent lovingly disciplining its rebellious child. Beneath the Anglican Communion’s actions against the Episcopal Church lies selective outrage, with the Episcopal Church being punished for its attempt to interpret doctrine, while unambiguous sins of other leaders have gone unaddressed.

More here-

What is the Real Division In Anglicanism?

From Patheos-

The Anglican Church is once again in turmoil, this time over the suspension of the Episcopal Church from the Anglican Communion for a period of three years.

Observers of the Anglican scene will feel that the Church of England and her worldwide confederation are engaged in one constant battle after another. Those who are familiar with Anglican history will agree that the battles have been pretty much relentless from the foundation of the Anglican Church in the sixteenth century.

“Why all the fuss?” you might ask, and “Aren’t Catholics also at each others throats the whole time?”

More here-

The Real Consequences of the Anglican Primates' Censure of the Episcopal Church

From Huffington-

On January 14, a communiqué was released from the meeting of Anglican Primates (leaders of the 37 independent provinces of the Anglican communion) that revealed a vote to sanction The Episcopal Church for its recent canonical changes to allow same-sex marriage by limiting its participation in the Anglican Communion.

Before the vote, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, The Rt. Rev. Michael Curry, warned that this decision would bring more pain to gay and lesbian Christians, and reiterated The Episcopal Church's position. "Our commitment to be an inclusive church is not based on a social theory or capitulation to the ways of the culture, but on our belief that the outstretched arms of Jesus on the cross are a sign of the very love of God reaching out to us all. While I understand that many disagree with us, our decision regarding marriage is based on the belief that the words of the Apostle Paul to the Galatians are true for the church today: All who have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female, for all are one in Christ."

More here-

Monday, January 18, 2016

Could feminists save the Anglican Church?

From The Conversation-

The Anglican Church is experiencing internal angst – again. For those looking in, the endless debates about gender and human sexuality seem unreasonable, outmoded and downright unjust.

Challenges that rattle the “divine order” are difficult for the church. For centuries doctrine has been fixed on notions of a “natural” order; God made man, then woman as the second sex, and he made them heterosexual.

As Rosemary Radford Ruether, a brilliant theologian of the feminist movement, reminded us, Christianity has always absorbed cultural change to match people’s real lives – thankfully. Yet Christian doctrine seems to be continually out of step with social progress.

More here-

On the Primates Meeting: A Letter from the House of Deputies President

From ENS-

January 15, 2016

Dear Deputies and Alternate Deputies:

Many of you have received the news that the meeting of Anglican primates that has just concluded in Canterbury has voted to issue what it calls “consequences” to the Episcopal Church for our full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in our common life.

This news may be painful for some of us, particularly for LGBT people who have been excluded too often and for too long by families, churches, schools, and other institutions mired in homophobia. It may also be hurtful or unsettling to those of us who value our mission relationships with Anglicans across the Communion.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Dr Richard Clarke: Church of Ireland primate defends decision on US Episcopal Church

From The BBC-

The Church of Ireland Primate has defended a decision by senior bishops in the Anglican church to restrict the US Episcopal branch for allowing same-sex marriage.

The move means it will be suspended from participating in the life and work of the Anglican communion.

Archbishop Dr Richard Clarke was at the meeting when the decision was taken.
Speaking on Radio Ulster's Sunday Sequence, he said the news had been exploited for political reasons.

"People do need to read (the statement) very carefully rather than the headlines that have been put on it," he said.

"Those who wanted to push - as they're entitled to do - an agenda about gay marriage, wanted to say say 'look the Americans have been sanctioned, they're being humiliated'," he said.

"The reality is they haven't.

More here-