Archive for March, 2011

Manchester Cathedral: From Via Media to Via Medium

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011


By Charles Raven, SPREAD

The success of the nineteenth century Tractarians and their successors in promoting the idea that the Church of England represented a ‘via media’ between Protestantism and Catholicism was such that it is still accepted by many today as one of Anglicanism’s main defining features. But this mythology is being replaced by another and it is not a change for the better. It is what we might call a ‘via medium’, a project which is already well under way in TEC, to reshape Anglicanism into a New Age style spirituality which bypasses the cross and promises personal fulfilment through connection with a mysterious and many faceted world of ‘the Spirit’.
Yesterday, some enthusiasts for this movement slightly overreached themselves and attracted headlines in the national and regional press after it was announced that  Manchester Cathedral would be the venue for a diocesan ‘New Age’ style Festival themed as ‘Spirit of Life’. Planned for 2 May, Manchester Diocese’s website promised ‘about 25 workshops and stalls covering poetry, Franciscan spirituality, arts and crafts, healing, icons, angels, meditation, personality profiling, music and blessings, labyrinths, dream interpretation, Christian symbolism of gem stones, tarot and Celtic saints, prayer bead making, choral evensong, foot and hand massage, Jesus Deck readings, Taize chants and, finally, fire breathing!’
And the Bishop of Manchester, Nigel McCulloch was quoted as adding ‘Practitioners from all over the country will be on hand to offer their experience of how God speaks to us today through the cultural language and practices so common in mind, body, spirit fairs.’
Not surprisingly, the press ran headlines such as “Manchester Cathedral to host tarot card readers and healers at ‘new age’ festival”, almost immediately followed by the unmistakable sound of crunching gears as diocesan communications staff struggled to engage reverse.

The Episcopal Church:The Way of Balaam

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

False Teachers and the re-appearance of ancient Gnostic beliefs

By Dave Doveton
Cadar Press, SA 2010

Reviewed by David W. Virtue
www.virtueonline.org
March 28, 2011

Manchester Cathedral to host tarot card readers and healers at ‘new age’ festival screamed a headline in a British broadsheet. The cathedral will also feature crystal healers and ‘dream interpretation’.

Fortune tellers, meditation experts and traditional healers will fill the pews during the day-long festival in May. The Bishop of Manchester, Rt. Rev Nigel McCulloch, said he wanted to celebrate ‘all forms of spirituality’. Bishop Nigel said the unconventional activities are not incompatible with Christian belief.

On January 5, 2008, the new Episcopal Bishop of Nevada was blessed at his consecration by a Muslim Imam, a Hindu chaplain, a Bahai leader, a Jewish Rabbi as well as a Baptist minister and a Roman Catholic bishop.

Read More… |

The Episcopal Church:The Way of Balaam

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011


False Teachers and the re-appearance of ancient Gnostic beliefs

By Dave Doveton
Cadar Press, SA 2010

Reviewed by David W. Virtue
www.virtueonline.org
March 28, 2011

Manchester Cathedral to host tarot card readers and healers at ‘new age’ festival screamed a headline in a British broadsheet. The cathedral will also feature crystal healers and ‘dream interpretation’.

Fortune tellers, meditation experts and traditional healers will fill the pews during the day-long festival in May. The Bishop of Manchester, Rt. Rev Nigel McCulloch, said he wanted to celebrate ‘all forms of spirituality’. Bishop Nigel said the unconventional activities are not incompatible with Christian belief.

On January 5, 2008, the new Episcopal Bishop of Nevada was blessed at his consecration by a Muslim Imam, a Hindu chaplain, a Bahai leader, a Jewish Rabbi as well as a Baptist minister and a Roman Catholic bishop.

Read More… |

Archbishop of Sudan meets with Manna Microfinance team

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011


March 29th, 2011

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The Archbishop of the Sudan, the Most Rev Dr Daniel Deng Bul, met with members of the Manna Microfinance team in preparation for the launch on Tuesday March 29.

Left to right: Mr Milton Devadasan (Co-ordinator, Bridge Foundation India), Archbishop Deng Bul, Rev Moses (Juba Diocesan Secretary) Canon Vinay Samuel (Consultant, Bridge Foundation India).

Archbishop Daniel briefed the team on current developments in the Sudan, the concern of the Episcopal Church to remain one church in both Northern and Southern Sudan, his concern that the Christian faith should continue to flourish in Northern Sudan, and the current risks of destabilisation of the South.  He explained that he had been called at immediate notice to lead talks in the centre of the country to forestall current disturbances and so would be sending his personal epsicopal representatives in his place.  A representative of the Archbishop of Kenya, who is a patron of Anglican International Development which is supporting Manna Microfinance, will also be attending the launch, Bishop Ole Sabit.

View details of Manna Microfinance Sudan here

Southern African bishops chided for their indecision on gay blessings: The Church of England Newspaper, March 25, 2011 p 8.

Monday, March 28th, 2011

Southern Africa House of Bishops

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Evangelical leaders in the Anglican Church of Southern Africa have called upon the church’s Synod of Bishops to clarify their ambiguous statements on human sexuality.

On March 17, the Fellowship of Confession Anglicans (FCA) in South Africa published an open letter on the internet, making a “plea for clarity on the position and teaching of our faith” in light of bishops’ February pastoral letter.

At the close of their Feb 7-12 meeting in Natal, the Southern African bishops deferred taking action on adopting guidelines for the blessing of same-sex unions, citing legal difficulties and theological divisions within their ranks.

A draft document entitled “Pastoral Guidelines in Response to Civil Unions” was reviewed by the bishops at their Sept 2010 meeting and distributed to the dioceses.  The February 2011 meeting, however, stated the bishops were not able to approve the document.  “It is difficult to give blanket guidelines [on same-sex blessings] because the position is starkly at variance in the legal systems of the seven countries where we work.”

“We continue to work on creating guidelines in several areas of difficulty raised by the issue of civil unions,” the bishops said—which are legal in South Africa, but illegal in the six other nations in the province.

The FCA called upon the bishops to be faithful to their mission to “guard the faith.”

By failing to make a clear statement, the Anglican Church of Southern Africa appeared to have aligned itself “with the dying (revisionist and liberal) minority” within the Anglican Communion and failed to heed “seriously the concerns of the orthodox majority.”

“Sexuality is the touchstone in this Anglican fragmentation,” the FCA said.

However, the issue is not “sexuality per se” but a “rebellion against our creator and his ways which he gives to us” as found in Scripture.  Sexuality was not a dividing issue in itself, “but a leadership in the church which chooses to ‘play at being god’ is a much more serious issue,” they said.

Offering encouragement to people to engage in behavior “which is unacceptable to God (which the Bible describes as sin) is not a pastoral role that God can endorse,” the FCA said, adding that they were concerned the Southern African bishops “find it hard to call sin, sin.  We are answerable to God not to a human-centred ideology.”

The February bishops’ statement displayed a failure of “godly pastoral leadership,” the FCA said.

“It matters not what the legal position may be in the seven states in which our Province is represented. God’s standards call all laws into question” that do not conform to his word, the FCA said, urging their bishops to take their place with the majority of the Anglican Communion against unbelief and error.

The puzzle of intolerant tolerance

Sunday, March 27th, 2011


March 28th, 2011 Posted in Intolerance |

By Michael Casey, MercatorNet

How can liberal democracies justify prosecuting people who wear crosses or refuse to preside at same-sex marriages and still pride themselves on being tolerant?

One of the most puzzling features of contemporary Western society is that governments are prepared to act intolerantly in the name of tolerance. Australian sociologist Michael Casey explains how this has come about.

MercatorNet:You have written about the puzzle of “intolerant tolerance”. What is this all about?
Casey: Tolerance is essential to any sort of life in common, especially in complex democratic societies. Originally it was simply a practice, a way of living together and respecting the freedom of others. It has now become a value in its own right, perhaps the supreme value. Certainly it features high up on the list whenever people are asked to identify what the West stands for.
To create a tolerant society, however, democracies increasingly resort to intolerance. There is no question that a decent society must protect itself and vulnerable minorities from groups which refuse to respect the rights of other people. But intolerant tolerance is directed against groups which actually respect and defend the rights and freedoms of others.
Christians, for example, are treated as intolerant for maintaining legitimate distinctions between couples who can and cannot be married; for reasonably exercising a preference in employing staff for people who share their faith; and for defending the rights of the unborn and disabled.
Intolerance means refusing to respect the rights of others, but in these cases it has been extended to something which is not a form of intolerance at all: the right we all have to refuse to validate choices with which we disagree and to say they are wrong. Intolerant tolerance means enforced validation of certain values and practices in the name of the tolerance.

FALLBROOK, CALIFORNIA: Christ Church begins anew — again — in own space

Sunday, March 27th, 2011

Father Don Kroeger has led Christ Church in Fallbrook since it was still St. John’s Episcopal; after breaking away from the local Episcopal Diocese and joining a new national Anglican association, the congregation has lost its longtime home — but is now rebuilding in a new location

Christ Church is welcoming a new building for a new era

By DAN BENNETT
For the North County Times

The Fallbrook congregation, formerly known as St. John’s Anglican Church, has been conducting services at Living Waters Christian Fellowship Assembly of God Church for the past two years. The church began sharing space with Living Waters after legal battles over property rights and organizational authority allowed the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego to take over the former church property (which is now operating as St. John’s Episcopal).

The members at St. John’s Anglican had previously voted to secede from The Episcopal Church, which is the North American branch of the global Anglican Union, and reaffiliated with a more theologically traditional conservative archdiocese in Africa. Disagreements regarding homosexuality and biblical authority are at the core of an ongoing dispute between the Episcopal Church and hundreds of its congregations, as well as Anglican bishops in other countries.

After the move to the Living Waters campus, St. John’s Anglican changed its name to Christ Church. It’s now affiliated with the recently organized province of the Anglican Church in North America, which hopes to be recognized by the Anglican Union as a parallel North American branch of the global church.

Christ Church’s post-move growth takes a big step forward this week with the expected delivery of a five-piece manufactured building. After some preparation involving fire sprinklers, accessibility ramps and other matters, Christ Church will open its new space on the Living Waters campus very soon.

“We’re excited about the new building,” said the Rev. Don Kroeger, longtime pastor at Christ Church, and before that, St. John’s. “We have been blessed for two years to share space with our partners at Living Waters, and now we can continue to share land with them while setting up our own church on that land.”

Rick Crossley, the people’s warden at Christ Church, said the advantages will be many.

“For the past two years, we have been setting up for our particular Sunday church service, then taking down what we have set up following each service,” Crossley said. “Now we can set up our church for our needs and those items can remain in place.”

The new building allows Christ Church a visual setting of its own, Crossley said, and will help bring in new church members as Christ Church continues its efforts to grow.

The plan, he said, is to operate the church in the manufactured building until Christ Church can raise funds to buy property of its own. Then the church will move the building to the new land while it continues to raise funds to build a permanent structure.

“We are so fortunate to have had the generosity of spirit and sharing that we received from Living Waters,” Crossley said. “This is a partnership that we are sure will continue on some level even after we have found our own property.”

Kroeger said the congregation of about 125 has lost a few members since its move two years ago, but also gained a few.

“Our congregation has stayed resilient as we have gone through different changes,” he said. “This time is a turning point for us. We’re looking forward to the future.”