Archive for July, 2010

A message from Bishop David Anderson

Saturday, July 31st, 2010

From AAC

I learned much about life while playing fraternity football in the inter-fraternity league at the University of Maryland many years ago. I learned never to take my eyes off of the football, even while we were in the huddle, for the ball could be moved against us either by players on the opposing team or because of bad or malicious officiating.

Now, when I attend my grandchildren’s soccer games, occasionally a stray soccer ball will careen across the field from somewhere else. It is important for the players to know which soccer ball is theirs, and to leave the other one alone. In today’s world setting, there are seemingly many footballs or soccer balls on the field, and many of them are quite important and significant. It is often hard to know which one to pay the most attention to, and which ones to leave for others to cover.

Regarding our life in Christ lived out in both the Anglican Communion and for some of us, in the United States, there are several issues that are critical, and some of us need to be working on each of them as we are called. The first issue is holy worship done well, in a manner that glorifies God, and where men, women and children feel they are brought into the nearer presence of Almighty God, and are fed and nurtured from that encounter. The second issue is that the Gospel is preached and lived in such a way that men, women and children are desirous of accepting Jesus Christ as their Savior and their Sovereign Lord, and then can grow in that faith, experiencing the transforming presence of the Holy Spirit day by day.

Where these issues are in play in the Anglican setting touches on the new teachings and beliefs of many American Episcopal Church (TEC) leaders and the Presiding Bishop, where Jesus is a way, a savior, but there are many ways to God. In Episcopal and Anglican Church settings, the historic Gospel is in combat with the heretical Polytheism of the “many ways to God” belief of TEC leaders.

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Contrasting Futures for the Anglican Communion: A Transformed ACC and the Anglican Covenant

Friday, July 30th, 2010


The Revd Dr Ephraim RadnerFrom ACI

The Reverend Canon Professor Christopher Seitz
The Reverend Dr. Philip Turner
The Reverend Dr. Ephraim Radner
Mark McCall, Esq.
Michael Watson, Esq.
The crises in the Anglican Communion in recent years have revealed two distinct problems confronting the Communion, one theological and one structural. The two halves of faith and order. The theological problem is whether the Communion has theological coherence on major questions of faith and practice. Slowly over the last decade and a half an affirmative answer to this question has been evolving. In particular, on the presenting crisis of human sexuality the Communion does have a common mind that has been expressed repeatedly by all four Instruments. The extent to which this has happened is reflected in the report of the Joint Standing Committee in late 2007 after the meeting of TEC’s House of Bishops in New Orleans:
The Communion seems to be converging around a position which says that while it is inappropriate to proceed to public Rites of Blessing of same-sex unions and to the consecration of bishops who are living in sexual relationships outside of Christian marriage, we need to take seriously our ministry to gay and lesbian people inside the Church and the ending of discrimination, persecution and violence against them. Here, The Episcopal Church and the Instruments of Communion speak with one voice.
TEC’s Presiding Bishop concurred in that report, but she has since served as the chief consecrator of Mary Glasspool and TEC’s General Convention has authorized the development of liturgies for public rites of blessing.

Episcopal Head Talks Conflict, Diversity, Immigration

Friday, July 30th, 2010
By Lillian Kwon|Christian Post Reporter

The existence of conflict in the church is a sign of health and vitality, the head of The Episcopal Church told a live Web audience Wednesday.

Katharine Jefferts Schori

(Photo: The Episcopal Church via The Christian Post)

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori of The Episcopal Church speaks in a live webcast conversation, July 21, 2010.

“If there’s no conflict, it means that we’re dead,” said Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori. “There has always been push and pull in the church. It’s a sign that the diversity among us is passionate and that is a gift from God, not something to be squelched.”

The Seattle native was addressing Episcopalians and the wider public in the first of a series of webcast conversations, which have been designed to foster better understanding in the church and to address current issues.

Jefferts Schori had just returned from a meeting in London involving a number of Anglican primates – chief bishops of the Anglican Communion’s 38 provinces – and others on the Standing Committee. During the July 23-27 meeting, committee members rejected a proposal that The Episcopal Church be separated from the rest of the global body. Cutting the U.S. church would inhibit dialogue on sexuality issues and therefore would be unhelpful, they agreed.

“There was … a clear reflection by members of the group that The Episcopal Church’s presence is important to that dialogue, an unwillingness by the group to exclude us even though one member called for that because of that commitment to dialogue even when we don’t agree on something,” Jefferts Schori said during the webcast.

Noting the significance of staying united, the Episcopal leader said together, they can serve God’s mission more effectively.

The proposal came months after the U.S. body ordained its second openly homosexual bishop in Los Angeles despite calls for restraint by the wider Anglican Communion. The ordination caused uproar as conservative Anglicans called it another act of defiance by the U.S. body of Scripture and the 77 million-member communion. The Episcopal Church consecrated its first openly gay bishop in 2003.

When asked by a viewer of the webcast, “Has the Anglican Communion abandoned us, have we abandoned them?” Jefferts Schori responded, “Nobody’s abandoned anybody.”

“We continue to be committed to God’s commission together even though there [are] certainly some members of the Anglican Communion as there are some members of The Episcopal Church who disagree with decisions by various bodies either in this church or in others.”

Diversity is a blessing, she made clear on Wednesday, and her goal as presiding bishop is to help others recognize that.

“I’ve been clear from the very beginning that I think a big part of our challenge in the current age is to recognize that we are a multicultural church in many different ways – in terms of nationality and language, in terms of gender and orientation, in terms of socioeconomic status, in terms of educational level – and to value that diversity, to see it as a blessing and not something to be criticized or avoided,” she said in response to a question on the primary goal she wants to achieve by the end of her nine-year term.

While controversy in The Episcopal Church has largely involved sexuality issues, Jefferts Schori pointed to the reality faced by their brethren in other parts of the world.

“It’s amazing how much of the conversation tends to change when one of the conversation partners is really dealing with life and death issues,” she noted. “It is a luxury in many parts of The Episcopal Church to talk about challenging issues of difference from a theoretical level.

“When the issue is of starvation, of war, of life-threatening disease … people who disagree about some hot button issues usually discover that they have an awful lot more in common than they thought and that what they have in common is about serving the image of God right in front of them.”

The Episcopal leader drew attention to the Philippine Independent Church – with whom they are in full communion with – and the extrajudicial killings of ministers in recent years. Two lay leaders, a bishop and two priests were assassinated and church leaders are hoping the new administration there will respond to the injustices.

Meanwhile, there is fear in Sudan that violence will be renewed in the months leading up to the January referendum that will determine whether Southern Sudan will become an independent state, she noted.

And in the United States, the immigration issue remains unresolved. Jefferts Schori expressed support for finding ways for people to come to the United States to work, for reuniting families, and for regularizing the immigration status of those who came illegally.

Jefferts Schori is the first female presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church. She was elected in 2006 and serves as primate of Episcopal members in 16 countries.

Key cause of AIDS ‘off the table’

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

By Bill Bumpas, OneNewsNow

At last week’s International AIDS Conference in Vienna, Austria, the Obama administration pledged the support of the U.S. in the global fight against AIDS. But one pro-family activist points out that an important aspect is missing from the undertaking.

Both President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made prerecorded speeches at the close of the conference, committing the nation’s dedication to fight the disease. However, one key factor seemed to be absent from the rhetoric, says a prominent pro-family activist.

“It’s not a big mystery about what helps cause AIDS, and yet one key portion — homosexual practice, homosexual sex — is just off the table,” notes Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH). “And then we wonder why we can’t keep this disease in check.”

He compares this issue to the Wizard of Oz or the emperor who has no clothes. “There’s a lot of talk about fighting AIDS, but they’re not really serious about one of the key causes, which is homosexual behavior,” he laments.

Read here

A Prophecy Fulfilled – a little while ago but sooooo true!

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

DWIGHT LONGENECKER

Last Autumn was the tenth anniversary of the Church of England’s vote to ordain women as priests. The week after the momentous vote, a short letter appeared in an Anglican weekly. It read, ‘Dear Sir, Please note that all the arguments used for the ordination of women can also be used for the ordination of practising homosexuals.’ It might seem astounding to link the two issues, but the author of the letter was correct in his analysis.

The arguments for the ordination of women were of three types: sentimental, utilitarian and political. The sentimental argument went like this: ‘Suzy is such a compassionate person. She too has suffered by being excluded, so she can identify with the marginalised in our society. She is such a good person, not to ordain her is so hurtful!’ The utilitarian argument was, ‘Janet is a good preacher and a bright theologian. She can do the job as well as any man. As a woman she brings special gifts. She will complement the totally masculine ministry.’ The third argument was political: ‘This is an equal rights issue. Women can now do any other job in our society. Why not the priesthood?’

Make the necessary changes and you can see how the same arguments are equally valid for the ordination of practising homosexuals: ‘Gary is such a compassionate person. He too has suffered by being excluded. Why be so judgmental and unkind? Why exclude him just because he lives with Dennis?’ The utilitarian says, ‘Kevin is a brilliant theologian and a compassionate pastor. Why should his sexual preferences affect his ability to do the job?’ Richard Kirker, the chairman of the Lesbian and Gay Christian movement, summed up the political argument. In a comment to the Church Times a week after the vote in 1992 he said, ‘The vote now opens the way for the Church to move with determination to the last remaining major injustice inflicted among its members: lesbian and gay people, unless celibate, are not officially accepted into the ordained ministry.’

In the women’s ordination debate any appeal to the usual sources of Christian authority were whisked away with the sleight of hand of ‘interpretation.’ So when conservative Evangelicals noted that St Paul said, ‘I do not permit a woman to have authority over a man in church.’ (I Tim. 2:12) the authorities said, ‘this passage may not have been written by St Paul. Besides, we now know more about gender roles than they did in the first century.’ If tradition was appealed to we were told that it is the duty of the church to adapt to fresh understandings and insights of the Holy Spirit. St Peter’s admission of Gentiles to the Church (Acts 10) was used as an example of the radical change that the Spirit demands.

The same rubbery attitude to Scripture and tradition is used to condone the ordination of homosexuals. Do the Scriptures forbid homosexual activity? Biblical scholars are wheeled out to show that St Paul probably didn’t write those passages, and if he did, well, we now know that he wasn’t condemning homosexuality per se, but promiscuous homosexuality. Does tradition prohibit homosexual unions? Once again, ‘tradition must change as we come to understand more and more about human sexuality.’ Thus both Scripture and Tradition become our flexible friends, and like statistics, they mean whatever we want them to mean.

I am not here arguing the case against homosexuality or against women priests. I am simply pointing out the foundation (or rather lack of it) on which the debate ten years ago took place. In his 1998 encyclical Fides et Ratio John Paul II exposes some of the fault lines in contemporary thinking. He discusses four trends that contribute to relativism in religion. The arguments for women’s ordination and the validity of homosexuality illustrate these four faulty lines of argument. According to the pope, Eclecticism is the mode of thought that picks and chooses whatever form of ‘truth’ seems to be attractive or suitable to the individual. It dismisses the idea that there is a unitive, whole and universal expression of truth. Scientism dismisses the idea that there can be any knowledge apart from that which is discovered by the scientific method. Thus any idea that our religion might be divinely revealed is dismissed. Historicism says ideas are always conditioned by the time period in which they were expressed. Therefore what St Paul wrote two thousand years ago must be irrelevant for today. Finally, pragmatism is that utilitarianism that makes decisions simply by what seems easy, good and useful.

Those of us who left the Church of England after the 1992 vote did not do so because we are Freudian misfits or misogynists. We are not simply crusty old buffers who don’t want to let women into the gentlemen’s club. Many of us could acknowledge the strong sentimental, utilitarian and political arguments in favour of women’s ordination. We simply couldn’t allow that these were the only arguments. When we realised that these were the only arguments being acknowledged, we then realised that anything goes; because these three forms of argument (when used exclusively) can not only be used for women’s ordination and homosexuality. With a bit of ingenuity they can be used to support anything.

No, we abandoned ship because we saw that the ship was not only headed for the rocks, she had struck hard. Those of us who left the Church of England did not leave because women were going to be ordained. We left because a church that claimed to be Catholic did not have the tools in her toolbox to make such a historic decision properly. In becoming Catholics we came to a church that looked wider and deeper than the sentimental, utilitarian and political arguments. We came to a church that looked to more ancient and venerable sources of authority. We wanted a church that had the ability to weigh not only the opinion of the living, but through her veneration of tradition, was able to value the opinion of that most neglected of majorities: the dead. Furthermore, this church not only considered the past, but she looked to the future. She listened to the vociferous demands of our sad, confused and ageing minority in the West, but she also considered the needs and the opinions our young brothers and sisters in Eastern Europe, Asia and the Southern Hemisphere.

Now, exactly ten years after the vote to ordain women priests a new Archbishop of Canterbury comes to Lambeth. Like a sombre fulfilment of that obscure letter to the press, the new Archbishop has admitted to ordaining a practising homosexual and confirmed that his permissive stance on human sexuality is not up for negotiation. Furthermore, the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster in Canada has recently voted to sanction homosexual ‘marriage.’ Similar moves are afoot in the Episcopal Church and the Church of England. The Anglican Communion is now in massive crisis over this fresh issue. It is time for Anglicans of all stripes to see that the fundamental issue is not women priests or homosexuality, but where you turn for the answers.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Rev. Dwight Longenecker. “A Prophecy Fulfilled.” The Catholic Herald.

Anglican Communion Standing Committee Gives A Pass to Episcopal Church

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010


July 28th, 2010 Posted in Anglican Communion, Anglican Consultative Council, TEC |

Canon Kenneth KearonBy David W. Virtue, Virtueonline

Despite a proposal from orthodox Anglican leader Dato Stanley Isaacs from the Province of South East Asia that the American Episcopal Church be separated from the rest of the Anglican Communion over sexuality issues, Committee members of the Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council (aka the Anglican Communion Office) rejected the plea, arguing it “would inhibit dialogue and … would therefore be unhelpful.”

While rejecting the proposal, Standing Committee members agreed to defer further discussion on the matter until progress on a listening project had been considered. Currently, Anglicans worldwide are participating in “The Continuing Indaba and Mutual Listening Project,” which is intended to open the ears of Anglicans to the experiences of homosexual persons, according to a July 26 bulletin from the Anglican Communion Office.

The committee, which included the Archbishop of Canterbury, met in closed sessions July 23-27 at the Anglican Communion Office in London.

Once more no one is prepared to exercise godly discipline on the Episcopal Church for its blatant defiance of the Windsor Report and a Covenant in the process of being ratified by all the provinces of the Anglican Communion over sexuality issues which has seen TEC defy the communion not once, but twice by electing an avowed homosexual and lesbian to the episcopacy. The open defiance of the communion’s requested Moratorium is met with muted outrage as no one is prepared to put their foot down and lay down the law, largely because the communion’s Instruments of Unity are stacked with liberals and token orthodox believers who get shot down if they should so much as raise their voices. Witness what happened to Isaacs.

Groaned one English cleric, “Why, oh why, oh why is TEC permitted to retain such influence in a Communion in which it is an insignificant flea on the rump of the orthodox majority?”

Read here

Rules out at ACC: The Church of England Newspaper, July 16, 2010 p 5.

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010


Posted by geoconger in Anglican Consultative Council, Church of England Newspaper.
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The Rev. Canon Janet Trisk of South Africa

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Observance of the Anglican Consultative Council’s bylaws are discretionary, a spokesman for the organization tells The Church of England Newspaper, when they are inconsistent with its political agenda.

ACC spokesman Jan Butter told CEN the future membership rules of the organization which seek to promote gender parity take precedence over its existing rules.

However, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s press spokesman tells The Church of England Newspaper, the ACC staff’s views are not the final word on the matter, as the appointment of Bishop Ian Douglas and Canon Janet Trisk to the ACC Standing Committee are under legal review.

Weakened by charges of mismanagement following ACC-14 in Jamaica, the credibility and moral integrity of the ACC Standing Committee is now being questioned over the propriety of seating two members whom critics charge are ineligible to serve.

The Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) reported on July 2 that two new members of the Standing Committee would attend its July 23-27 London meeting.  Bishop Paul Sarker, moderator of the Church of Bangladesh and bishop of Dhaka would attend the meeting in place of the President Bishop of the Middle East, Dr. Mouneer Anis of Egypt, who resigned in protest in February.

ACNS also reported that the Rev. Canon Janet Trisk, rector of the parish of St. David, Prestbury, in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, had been elected at the December Standing Committee meeting to replace resigned lay member, Ms. Nomfundo Walaza of South Africa.

However, the ACC’s bylaws forbid this appointment as Bylaw 7 states that a lay person must replace Ms. Walaza.  When vacancies occur, “the Standing Committee itself shall have power to appoint a member of the Council of the same order as the representative who filled the vacant place,” the bylaws state.

Asked how the appointment could be made in light of the prohibition contained in the constitution, Mr. Butter told CEN the ACC was in the process of adopting new articles of incorporation as it moves from being an “unincorporated charity to becoming a limited company.”

“The appointment of Canon Trisk was made under the terms of the company’s articles which are currently being registered with the Charity Commission.  These articles emphasise the need to achieve balance not only between orders, but also between gender and region,” he said, adding the Standing Committee “in December came to the view that balance could best be achieved by appointing Canon Trisk.”

Asked if copies of the proposed new bylaws were available for review, the ACC responded that “discussions about the Articles are still ongoing between the legal advisor and the Charity Commission, so they are not yet available.”

Canon lawyer Mark McCall of the Anglican Communion Institute noted this “explanation does not pass muster.  Whatever aspirations they may have concerning selections of new members, the standing committee, like the ACC itself, is required to operate within the scope of the constitution and bylaws that are in effect.”

“They cannot ignore existing rules and anticipate new provisions that may come into effect at some future point.   This is in effect a concession that the appointment was ultra vires,” or unlawful, he said.

ACNS also reported that the African member of the Primates Standing Committee, Archbishop Henry Orombi of Uganda and his alternate, Archbishop Justice Akrofi of West Africa had resigned as well.  A spokesman for the Archbishop of Uganda has confirmed to CEN he had resigned.

Last month the ACI voiced its objections to the continuation of Bishop Ian Douglas on the Standing Committee, noting that his consecration as Bishop of Connecticut required that he relinquish his clergy seat on the ACC, and his place on the Standing Committee.

An aide to a senior African primate said the general mood among the Gafcon primates was weariness with the machinations of the ACC.  They are so disillusioned with the Communion structures that they have “now taken a hands-off approach and are willing to let them just hang themselves,” CEN was told.

The appointment in the name of diversity of Canon Trisk, a white South African priest and lawyer, to replace a black African lay woman was greeted with amusement by other overseas leaders queried by CEN.  At ACC-14 Canon Trisk urged delay in adopting section 4 of the Anglican Covenant, and when that was defeated put forward the amendment to bottle up section four of the Covenant in committee that was successfully carried.

The ACI also noted Canon Trisk does not meet the “recommended criteria” for appointment to the Standing Committee adopted at ACC-6 in 1984.  New members of the Standing Committee should be able to attend two further ACC meetings—Canon Trisk has already attended two and is able to attend only one more under the current rules, and provinces that have never been represented on the Standing Committee should be given preference for vacancies.  Canon Trisk replaces a fellow South African.

“Are we to understand that there was no lay representative and that Canon Trisk was the only clergy representative available to serve from Africa?” Mr. McCall asked, adding the ACC’s “explanation does nothing to satisfy those concerned that the Standing Committee is unwilling to operate within its legal requirements.”

A spokesman for Dr. Rowan Williams told CEN the archbishop was “aware of these membership issues. The Secretary General has referred them to the legal advisor who will report to the Standing Committee,” she said.