'Salvation' history. We must never set theology and history over against each other, since Scripture refuses to do so. The history it records is 'salvation history', and the salvation it proclaims was achieved by means of historical events. --- From "The Authentic Jesus" John R. W. Stott
Christians affirm, in contrast to all other views, that history is 'his story', God's story. For God is at work, moving from a plan conceived in eternity, through a historical outworking and disclosure, to a climax within history, and then on beyond it to another eternity of the future. The Bible has this linear understanding of time. And it tells us that the centre of God's eternal-historical plan is Jesus Christ, together with his redeemed and reconciled people. --- From "The Message of Ephesians" (The Bible Speaks Today) John R.W. Stott
The proposed Covenant as it stands is really a call to proceed as we have been functioning, with an appeal to a good heart. To expect it to produce a different result than we presently experience is naïve. If we do not wish to greatly strengthen the proposed Covenant while dropping "autonomy" in matters essential, then we could adopt the Jerusalem Declaration and make any additions needed to it. --- Rt. Rev. John H. Rodgers, AMIA
Women's ministry. If God endows women with spiritual gifts (which he does), and thereby calls them to exercise their gifts for the common good (which he does), then the church must recognize God's gifts and calling, must make appropriate spheres of service available to women, and should 'ordain' (that is, commission and authorize) them to exercise their God-given ministry, at least in team situations. Our Christian doctrines of creation and redemption tell us that God wants his gifted people to be fulfilled not frustrated, and his church to be enriched by their service. --- From "Issues Facing Christians Today" by John R.W. Stott
One day (known only to the Father), when the gospel has been 'preached in the whole world as a testimony to the nations' (Mt. 24:13), the end will come. For Christ will return in glory, terminate the historical process and perfect his reign. --- Quoted from Bultmann's "History and Eschatology" by George Eldon Ladd in "The Gospel of the Kingdom"
Dear Brothers and Sisters
The vote, when it came, stunned everybody. There were visible sounds from delegates and then brief applause. At 309 to 69 (reminiscent of the Lambeth resolution 1:10 vote 527 to 69), members of the Church of England Synod, the governing body of the church, unanimously voted to affirm The Anglican Church of North America (ACNA) and to recognize its existence as legitimately Anglican.
It was immediately hailed as another stepping-stone in orthodox Anglicanism, separating the true orthodox and evangelical faithful from Western pansexual Anglicanism.
When you consider where ACNA was a mere two years ago, this is a giant step forward. From a bishop deposed in his diocese, publicly humiliated by Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori, and despised by liberal and revisionist bishops in The Episcopal Church, The Most Rev. Robert Duncan has risen like a phoenix from the ashes of a dying church into the pure, clear air of an Anglicanism that has identified with Scripture, the creeds, and the vast majority of Global South Anglicans.
The truth about why the vote went as it did was this. When the Rev. Canon Simon Butler (Sanderstead) got up and accused the motion makers of lying and invoked the 9th commandment about bearing false witness, he blew everybody away. No one, especially this august body likes to be told they are liars or potential liars. He overplayed his hand. Now the other truth is this; had the original Ashworth motion been allowed to stand, based on voting figures she would have lost, but only by 60-40 - that is 233-166.
The truth is, there is only a small handful of revisionists In the Church of England (unlike the US), the large majority of which are broad church but not necessarily liberal. Unlike their American counterparts they can be persuaded with solid arguments. TEC revisionists specialize in emotion and cries of homophobia. That does not play so well here. The British are rationalists. They don't get jerked around by emotional displays of feelings. Make your case or shut up. Appealing simply to emotion won't do.
First to acknowledge the victory was the Bishop of Winchester, The Rt. Rev. Michael Scott-Joynt who promptly said he would welcome Archbishop Duncan into his diocese to preach and confirm. Will this lead to more ACNA bishops crossing the pond to preach and perform Eucharist functions with the blessing of local bishops? Time will tell. Anyway you look at it, a door has been opened that will not now close. The liberals and revisionists can scream all they want, but this week the Anglican Communion lurched rightward and away from the secular humanism and political (read sexual) correctness that now fills Episcopal pulpits.
On hearing the news, Archbishop Duncan wrote to VOL to say that the leadership of the Anglican Church in North America is very pleased with the result. While not the original straightforward motion of Lorna Ashworth, the (Bishop of Bristol) Michael Hill amendment speaks of us "remaining in the Anglican family."You can only remain in something of which you are a part. Bishop Hill also spoke of his purpose "to encourage those in the Anglican Church in North America." That encouragement carried 309 to 69. www.anglicanchurch.net.
One man who had diligently worked hard to present the facts about The Episcopal Church just prior to Synod was the Rev. Phil Ashey, COO for the American Anglican Council. He exposed the dark underside of Episcopal lawsuits, the millions spent in litigation and much more. He told VOL that it was "a step forward for us and neutralized some of the disinformation coming out of 815 in New York. It was a huge success for ACNA."
One can understand Duncan's jubilation at hearing the news. I have written a number of stories about this historic event which I urge you to read. There are links to audio and video as well in today's reports and at the website. You can read the Rev Phil Ashey's personal take on the synod action in today's digest as well. He, along with members of AAC, AMiA and Forward in Faith were present for this historic event.
While there was no official voting on women bishops in the Church of England Synod this week, it was clearly on everybody's mind. Delegates are clearly at loggerheads over the issue. The CofE will go ahead with installing women as bishops, but a delay in draft legislation has left liberals and traditionalists alike uncertain about how the plan will work in practice. The Revision Committee has yet to decide whether women bishops, approved in principle, but none yet nominated, will have full Episcopal powers rather than limited powers. They will have to be Suffragan bishops before they can become diocesan bishops. That will be years away.
Church leaders at the General Synod were due to discuss women bishops this week, but the Revision Committee, assigned to draft legislation, failed to meet the deadline. The committee, which is struggling to accommodate liberals who demand equality and traditionalists who want to keep an all-male senior clergy, will present draft proposals in time for the next Synod in July, in York, northern England.
Both Anglo- Catholics and Evangelicals in the Church of England oppose women bishops and see it as a communion-breaking issue. The Evangelical group Reform warned there could be a drastic cut in the future intake of young ordinands.
Christina Rees, chair of the pro-women bishops group Women and the Church (WATCH), told Reuters she was disappointed by the delay but "at least it has left no stone unturned in its deliberations."
The archbishop of Canterbury has made it clear (as clear as an academic can be) where he stands by pushing a lot of hot button issues in his speech to Synod. In a wide-ranging address to delegates, Dr. Williams challenged infighting that threatens to pull the Anglican Communion apart. He issued yet another "profound apology" to the church's homosexuals and said no to assisted suicide. He did not touch on their behavior and condemned the Ugandan government's "infamous legislation" that threatens the death penalty for gays, calling it "repugnant". It was vintage Rowan, but clearer and more precise. As one wag observed, "There was less Anglican fudge and we found we could get our teeth into it." His full speech and a video are at the website.
Will UK Methodists heal its two-century rift with Church of England? Are Britain's Methodists planning a return to the Church of England after more than two centuries of division? That's what their president, Rev. David Gamble, suggested to the Church of England General Synod in London this week. The two churches entered a covenant in 2003 that committed them to deepening unity and cooperation. His presence at the synod, and plans by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to attend the Methodists' conference in June, were visible signs of this link, he said.
The results could leave something to be desired, Gamble acknowledged: "It has to be said that around the country the situation is patchy. In some places there are very close working relationships and exciting new initiatives. In others you could spend quite a long time trying to find any sign of the covenant in practice."
After reviewing the two churches' cooperation in various fields, he ended his speech saying, "We are prepared to go out of existence not because we are declining or failing in mission, but for the sake of mission. In other words we are prepared to be changed and even to cease having a separate existence as a Church if that will serve the needs of the Kingdom."
Even as positive events unfolded here in London for North American Anglicans, bad news filtered out of the Diocese of South Carolina. The Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence postponed the date of his upcoming Diocesan Convention, which was, scheduled for March 4th at St. Paul's, Summerville, because the Chancellor of the diocese, Mr. Wade Logan, was informed in December of 2009 that a local attorney had been retained by the Chancellor of the Presiding Bishop (David Booth Beers) to represent The Episcopal Church in some "local matters." In January of 2010, a series of letters requesting various documents from their diocesan records were sent sequentially to the diocesan chancellor, leading the bishop to believe that the Presiding Bishop's Chancellor, if not the Presiding Bishop herself, is seeking to build a case against the Ecclesiastical Authorities of the Diocese (Bishop and Standing Committee) and some of his parishes. These requests (which can be viewed at www.dioceseofsc.org) seek information from the Diocese about certain parishes and more.
VOL wrote only months ago that, sooner or later, Jefferts Schori would come down on Lawrence like a ton of bricks, even though he has violated no canon law. We were right. Does this mean she will do to Lawrence what she did to Bob Duncan by illegally deposing him, declaring him guilty and then having a trial? It is all pure Alice Wonderland stuff. Perhaps her action against him will give him the leverage he now needs to tell his people that the diocese will leave TEC for the Southern Cone or ACNA and give him the additional leverage he needs with his own priests, many of whom do not want to leave TEC. If she performs a pre-emptive strike, it might be a blessing in disguise. We shall see. You can read his letter in today's digest. San Joaquin attorney A.S. Haley has opined on the matter as well.
In the rump Diocese of San Joaquin the Rev. Jerry Lamb, bishop of the Modesto-based Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin has sued St. Francis Anglican Church in Turlock, California, including the Rev. Gerald "Gerry" Grossman and nine members of the church's vestry, in an effort to take the property and assets.
St. Francis is the first parish in the diocese to face an individual lawsuit in the dispute that has split Episcopal churches across the country, largely over Scriptural interpretation and if homosexuals should be ordained. The faux diocese values the property at about $1 million, and includes a large two-room classroom building, a sanctuary built in 1948 and two homes, plus a large parking lot. The Episcopal Diocese, based in Modesto, and the Anglican Diocese, based in Fresno, split in 2007. Each claims property and possessions at some of the 40 parishes between Stockton and Bakersfield.
"The (Modesto) diocese has never given us money," Grossman said. "The national church has never given us anything. Why do they think they have a right to this property?"
In better news, Bishop John-David Schofield is making positive progress healing form heart surgery. His canon to the Ordinary reports that the surgery appears to be a complete success. The Bishop's aortic valve was highly calcified and certainly needed to be replaced, with microscopic calcium removal taking place in the surrounding area. The rest of his heart appeared A-OK, so they did no other procedures on any other parts of his earlier quadruple bypass from ten years ago. "We ask for prayers for a full recovery which is also as pain-free as possible. His energy level is expected to be excellent in the next few weeks but these first few days will be hard, as any heart patient will testify."
A really nasty piece of news out of Episcopal Church Center at 815 is that they abruptly fired a cleaning crew of nine people in cost-cutting measures, according to a press release. Now those ex-employees need a miracle. Many are Hispanic workers who need the work to pay mortgages, medical costs, etc. Now, they have nothing. Retired Quincy Bishop Keith Ackerman writes, "Is this a violation of the new 'baptismal covenant' as defined by various PECUSA bishops re: respecting dignity? The mode of operation of the PB is to inform people in an impersonal way (e-mail, memo, etc.) either late on a Friday afternoon or at the end of the month.
Oddly enough, that is what happened at General Convention last summer when it was revealed that TEC was in the hole for $23 million and employees were actually laid off in Anaheim, California, before they even had time to get home.
Cuba has a new bishop. The Rev. Griselda Delgado del Carpio, 55, was consecrated on Feb. 7 as the new co-adjudicator Bishop of the Episcopal Church of Cuba. The pews at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Havana were packed as about 400 people - busloads from parishes where Bishop Delgado had served as priest - gathered for the four-hour service. Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, primate of The Episcopal Church, and Archbishop John Holder, the new primate of the Church of the Province of the West Indies, celebrated the Eucharist as members of the Metropolitan Council of Cuba. (The Council has overseen the Cuban church since it separated from The Episcopal Church in 1967 because of difficult relations between the governments of Cuba and the United States.)
The latest word on consents for Mary Glasspool, Bishop-elect for the Diocese of Los Angeles reveals that of a total majority of 56 standing committee consents is needed in each election. 36 have been received for the Rev. Canon Mary Douglas Glasspool, and 48 for the Rev. Canon Diane Jardine Bruce. The Los Angeles standing committee launched the 120-day consent process on Jan. 5 for Glasspool and on Jan. 8 for Bruce following action by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori to request consent to the elections from bishops with jurisdiction across the Episcopal Church. The consent processes conclude May 5 and 8 respectively.
Uganda Bishop dies. The Rt. Rev. Patrick Kyaligonza, Bishop of Ruwenzori Diocese was killed in a motor accident on February 11, 2010 in Fort Portal. The Bishop was travelling with his wife, Chaplain and Driver to attend a burial of a relative in Kyenjojo area when their car lost control. The Bishop died immediately. The other three remain in critical condition. Bishop Kyaligonza was consecrated as Bishop of Ruwenzori Diocese on February 22, 2009, at St. John's Cathedral, Fort Portal. Prior to his consecration, he served as Dean of the Cathedral in Fort Portal. He was married to Rose Kabahita Mujungu with whom they had three children aged 9, 8 and 3 years.
Anglican Churches in North America are not part of the Church of Uganda's position on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, according to a news release. The Church of Uganda does not have oversight over any Anglican churches in the United States. Member churches of the Anglican Church in North America that have been in partnership with the Church of Uganda in the past were not in any way involved in the Church of Uganda's position on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. "They were not consulted, nor was their support enlisted. The Ugandan context is different from the American context and it is likely that our American friends will have a different position from that of the Church of Uganda."
An upcoming meeting of South to South Primates and bishops in Singapore should prove interesting. The recent resignation of Egyptian Archbishop Mouneer Anis from the Standing Committee of the ACC will be on the agenda and his departure may well trigger more resignations.
Google's censorship of routine suggestions for the search term "Islam is" is now back in a VOL reader reported. VOL reported it had been taken down for inexplicable reasons. It is now up again.
ADDENDUM to my story on recent voting in the Diocese of Central Florida over Mary Glasspool as bishop-elect of Los Angeles. Voting was close. Bishop John W. Howe warned the mover that because it really wasn't the business of Convention, he was risking the Resolution failing, which would have been an extremely unfortunate statement. He went ahead with it, anyway. "I know for certain that many of those who voted against the Resolution did so not because they disagreed with its sentiment, but because they did not think it the proper business of Convention. Neither the Standing Committee nor I will confirm this election," he told VOL.
Anglican Mission in the America Bishop John H. Rodgers, Jr. has written an article analyzing the Covenant with the Jerusalem Declaration. He shows the covenant to be deficient in more ways than one. This is an excellent "must read" piece.
I return home this Sunday after an eventful week at General Synod here in London. Next week I travel to Dallas, Texas, to attend the 1000 Church Planting Conference.
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