Episcopacy: more than one form. Whatever the case may be made out historically for a distinctive monarchical episcopate, there is no express biblical warrant for it. The furthest we can go is to say that there are adumbrations of it in the New Testament -- of the office without the title -- in the wider oversight exercised by some resident apostles like James (if he was an apostle) in Palestine and John in Asia, and by apostolic delegates like Timothy in Ephesus and Titus in Crete. As a result, the later development of the monarchical episcopate may certainly be recognized as a flower which grew from a biblical seed. But it is only one form of episkope and cannot claim to be the only one. The normal episkope of the New Testament was congregational, not diocesan; plural, not monarchical ---From 'The New Testament Concept of Episkope: An Exposition of Acts 20:17-38' in "Bishops in the Church", ed. R. P. Johnston
The historic episcopate. Anglican evangelicals may regard the historic episcopate as an acceptably biblical form of episkope (though it has by no means always conformed to the scriptural ideas of pastoral oversight). They may also value it as a symbol of continuity and a focus of unity in the church. But to acknowledge its potential value as a domestic institution is one thing; to insist upon it as a non-negotiable condition of union with all other churches is quite another. Those who do this are not only hindering the church's advance to unity but infringing a principle which the church's Lord laid down. They are teaching as a doctrine a precept of men. They are failing to subordinate tradition to Scripture. --- From "Christ the Controversialist" John R.W. Stott
We are told that the Church opposes same-sex love. Not true. The Church opposes homogenital sex, which in my experience is not about love, but about obsession, addiction, and compensation for a compromised masculinity.---Ronald G. Lee
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
As you receive this digest, I am heading out the door to London to cover the launching of the Fellowship of Continuing Anglicans (FCA) "Be Faithful" conference. It will be a magnificent event with nearly 1,000 Anglicans signed up to come to Westminster Hall, London. It will have some first class speakers including Bishops Michael Nazir Ali and John Broadhurst. Your scribe has been labeled a "Contributing Speaker". I will be addressing the folks at St. Nicholas's parish in Sevenoaks just outside of London. I am truly honored.
I will post stories from Westminster as soon as they become available. FCA is the brainchild of GAFCON and a natural follow up to the recent ACNA conference in Ft. Worth, Texas.
So the question that must be asked is this: Is the groundwork being laid for a new Anglican Communion? With GAFCON meeting in Jerusalem, ACNA being formed and now the creation of FCA, it is hard not to imagine that a new Anglican day is dawning. I have written about this in today's digest.
The theme of FCA is BE FAITHFUL a more timely word cannot be imagined. If there is a theme for the 21st Century church it is the call to be faithful. The Episcopal Church has shown itself to being totally unfaithful in the area of morals, and the Church of England struggles with inertia and much more.
While a new spiritually alive orthodox Anglican Church is aborning, the sexual sludge in The Episcopal Church just continues to grow.
In what might be the most serious case of sexual child abuse in TEC history, a gay Episcopal activist, who is a fan of New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson and a Duke University official, has been charged in federal court with offering his 5-year-old adopted son up for sex. Frank Lombard, associate director of the Center for Health Policy, was arrested this week in Raleigh, the FBI said.
An unidentified informant, who already faces child porn charges in a different child sex case, pointed investigators to Lombard, according to court documents. The informant told investigators he met Lombard on the Internet four years ago. The informant described in graphic detail how he allegedly observed Lombard molesting an African-American child on four occasions over an Internet video chat service called ICUii. The University administrator is accused of logging into an online chat room and describing himself as a "perv dad for fun."
One has to ask oneself, can it get any worse than this? Where is the outrage from Integrity leaders? None, of course. They are dead silent. This man was a member of a gay friendly Episcopal church in Carrboro, NC. Of course, when it became public knowledge, the Bishop of North Carolina, The Rt. Rev. Michael B. Curry (finally, after five days) released a milquetoast statement saying that Lombard is a parishioner of a congregation...and it is the bishop's policy that in matters such as these, clergy will cooperate fully with law enforcement and allow the judicial process to run its course."
Furthermore where is the outrage from The Episcopal Church Black community? This white man seduced a BLACK child and they say nothing. Why aren't TEC blacks offended by the race of the victim?
It is clear that Integrity and their fellow travelers are unfazed by this man's heinous actions. TEC not only supports homosexuality, but same-sex adoptions, asserting that a child doesn't need both a father and a mother, only 'loving' parents. Well, this Lombard has demonstrated just how 'loving' he can be. Not surprised that the victim is black. The ethnicity in Integrity is around 95% lily white. I wrote to Susan Russell, Integrity president, and asked if Lombard was a member in good standing of Integrity. She responded by saying "Unofficially I can say that's not a name I recognize."
What if it had been an orthodox priest caught having sex with children? We would have heard screams of outrage from Integrity and every gay loving bishop in TEC. This sort of behavior makes allegations of heterosexual infidelity by Montana Bishop Cy Jones look innocent by comparison. But political correctness prevents any condemnation of Lombard because he is a homosexual and screams of homophobia would ascend unto heaven. You can read my full story on this. Don't forget to click on Lombard's Amazon.com purchases. It is positively revolting...just don't let the children see them.
THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH faces a money crisis. Revenue projections for the next three years reveal that TEC will be down by $9 million. A news report from "Episcopal News Service" says income during the 2010-2012 triennium could be $9 million less than forecast last January, when a draft church-wide budget was approved, according to the chair of the Episcopal Church's budgetary committee.
Pan Adams-McCaslin, chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance (PB&F), said in a June 24 interview that diocesan commitments during the next three years could be an estimated $7.7 million less and interest on the church's endowment funds is projected to be $1.3 million less.
The diocesan figure is an estimate based on an on-going survey of bishops and diocesan financial officers, she said. They have been asked how realistic it is to assume that they could fulfill the Executive Council's predicted one percent increase in diocesan income in 2010 and two percent increases in both 2011 and 2012.
Full story here: http://www.episcopalchurch.org/79901_111147_ENG_HTM.htm
Of course, if you have an aging population whose incomes have been slaughtered by the economic downturn and there are no significant youth to replace them, what does TEC expect? Trust funds and endowments are not forever. Furthermore, nowhere in the analysis is there any talk of how money is being siphoned off on lawsuits, slowly dying congregations and dioceses in decline. Apparently that message has not hit home yet.
GENERAL CONVENTION is a week away. 8,000 to 10,000 Episcopalians of all stripes will descend on Anaheim, California, to debate some 500 resolutions most of which will not affect the thousands of small hamlet Episcopal parishes that can barely muster enough money to pay a full time rector.
There will be lofty resolutions on the environment, liturgical creation cycles, etc., but the real elephant in the sacristy will be resolutions over same-sex blessings. Should homosexuals and lesbians (including bi-sexuals and trannies) have their relationships blessed in TEC or not? There are at least 15 such resolutions that will be whittled down to one or two. But a tug of war is brewing between Bonnie Anderson, House of Deputies president, and Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop over Resolution B033. Anderson wants it on the table to kick around; Jefferts Schori does NOT want it revisited.
B033 calls for restraint in ordaining bishops "whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church," mainly noncelibate homosexuals. It was passed amid calls by Anglican bishops overseas who were outraged after The Episcopal Church - the U.S. arm of Anglicanism - consecrated its first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson, in 2003.
Anderson is apparently taking no chances. The House of Deputies will be asked to discuss B033 in two unusual sessions early in the 76th meeting of the General Convention. Resolution B033 was passed by the last convention. Anderson wrote that she believes the House of Deputies "will benefit by having an opportunity to discuss B033 apart from the context of legislative procedure" and noted that "many deputies have indicated their longing to discuss B033 together as a house." If the house accepts the proposal, the committee of the whole sessions will take place July 9 and 10, prior to when the world mission committee will hold its open hearing on proposed resolutions to rescind or supersede B033.
The irony should not be missed. Anderson wants a discussion and revisit of the issue while the Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori is on record as calling it unhelpful to revisit the issue at all.
It is "far more productive, I think, to have the hard conversations involved in claiming our current position and identity," Jefferts Schori said. So who will win this ecclesiastical tug of war? My money is on Jefferts Schori.
The big news is that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams is coming to GC2009. He will have a private (don't you just love it) session with a group of Episcopalians that includes not only the PB, but Louie Crew (Newark-Deputy). The Rev. Canon Michael Barlowe of the Diocese of California told Episcopal News Service that the meeting will be set in the context of the "Listening Process," where Anglicans worldwide are encouraged to listen to gay and lesbian persons and all sides of the homosexuality debate.
Now you should remember that Susan Russell, Integrity president screamed long and loud about a group of theologians meeting to discuss sexuality issues in secret in Chicago thereby failing to be open and transparent thus deeply wounding homosexuals. Now a similar group of homosexuals is meeting in secret with the ABC to discuss sexuality issues and that's okay with them. The hypocrisy reeks to high heaven.
Just when you thought you couldn't cook the books any further in TEC a resolution is on the table at GC2009 to "Measure Attendance and Mission". What's behind this is that the ASA figure of about 700,000 makes TEC look very small against the vaunted 2.5 million figure it touts around as the true shape of TEC. So the Standing Commission on Domestic Mission and Evangelism now wants to add people served including, but not limited to, schools, soup kitchens, food pantries, campus ministries other ministries through which the congregation lives out its mission. So instead of just folk who attend on Sundays or Saturdays they want to add those they serve regardless of whether or not they are baptized Christians. In another move to boost statistic, a resolution now wants to include the statistics from overseas congregations, among them the largest Diocese in the Episcopal Church (Haiti), as present statistics do not faithfully reflect the life and work of the entire Church.
MEDIA NEWS: Two significant publications face budgetary concerns resulting in partial shutdowns. In The Episcopal Church, the national Episcopal newspaper "Episcopal Life" is being discontinued.
Many dioceses have shut down their own papers to go with "Episcopal Life". Now they are left in limbo with "some counseling," writes Jan Nunley, a former communications employee at TEC.
"Episcopal Life" will be reduced from a 10-times a year newsprint newspaper to a quarterly magazine format, with emphasis on features. Printing partnerships will be discontinued. (Dioceses will receive "counseling and advice" on how to "restructure" their individual diocesan communications efforts.) The Ambler (editor's note: Pennsylvania) Episcopal Life (editor's note: business) office will be closed with personnel cut from 3.5 to 2.
Wrote Nunley: "I'm told that, true to longstanding tradition, the Board of Governors of "Episcopal Life" was not consulted, nor was the Board of Episcopal Communicators. Because we're all about collaboration and transparency," she cynically noted.
It will come as no surprise to VOL readers that Gene Robinson, the homogenital Bishop of New Hampshire, is not singing the Hallelujah Chorus over the formation of the new North American Anglican Province. "Ecumenical News International" reported Robinson as saying that the new North American Anglican grouping won't last.
A new North American group claiming to embrace "traditional Anglican values" will not last long, said Robinson. "A church that does not ordain women or openly gay people - I don't see a future for that." Robinson gave the world his insights after delivering a sermon at First Presbyterian Church in New York City during the city's annual gay pride festivities.
One wonders if TEC has a future because it does? The talk was that in 2003, when Robinson was consecrated bishop, the church would rapidly fill up with homosexuals and lesbians. It hasn't happened. The church has been steadily emptying since then including his diocese.
President Obama hosted 250-300 LGBT leaders in the East Room of the White House this week. It was billed as a celebration marking the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall rebellion and Pride month. Obama acknowledged gay rights pioneer Frank Kameny, to whom the government recently apologized for firing in 1957 because he was gay. Obama was also interrupted, at one point, by a cell phone ringtone that quacked like a duck. On the guest list was Gene Robinson, Bishop of New Hampshire. Anyone surprised? GC2009 will be a victory roll for Robinson and his fellow sodomists. President Obama promised LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) supporters that he "will continue to be an ally and a champion" for their agenda, once again vowing he will repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy. Ken Hutcherson, senior pastor of Antioch Bible Church in Washington state, says it is "a shame" that the president is "supporting what destroys the family."
Hutcherson says until conservative Christians make their small voice a dominating one, there is nothing that will stop President Obama from pushing for the legalization of same-sex "marriage."
The ANGLICAN MISSION IN THE AMERICAS announced this week that The Rev. Canon Ellis E. Brust, President, will be leaving his position this fall to plant a church in south Orange County, California. Canon Brust will partner with Bishop-elect Todd Hunter who leads Churches for the Sake of Others (C4SO). Serving as the Bishop's Canon, Brust will assist in identifying, training and sending out missionary leaders to reach the goal of planting well over 100 new congregations during the next 10 years.
Previously, he was Chief Operating Officer of the American Anglican Council, Canon to the Ordinary in the Diocese of Florida and led four congregations in Texas since his ordination to the priesthood in 1985.
Bishop Murphy enthusiastically affirmed this new call for Canon Brust. He has asked Cynthia P. Brust, Director of Communications, to continue in her position after the couple's relocation to California.
Bishop Jack Iker, DIOCESE OF FT. WORTH, issued a memo to all diocesan clergy, with copies to convention delegates and vestry members, concerning two recent letters received from representatives of the TEC diocese. On June 18, The Rt. Rev. Edwin Gulick, Bishop of Kentucky, wrote to the diocesan clergy concerning plans to inhibit them from ministry in TEC. On June 26, attorney Jonathan Nelson wrote to all churches concerning the use of their funds and property.
Bishop Iker's memo, PDFs of the two letters, and a brief document giving 10 points to remember during the process of civil litigation can be read in today's digest.
The DIOCESE OF CUBA failed to elect a bishop for the fourth time in 20 years when a special meeting of diocesan convention in Havana split along faction lines, according to TLC. None of the three candidates on the ballot received the requisite two-thirds majority from the lay and clergy delegates. The voting was halted after 10 ballots. Four candidates were nominated to succeed the Rt. Rev. Jorge Perera, who retired in 2003. One candidate withdrew before the voting balloting began, leaving The Rev. Emilio Martin, The Rev. Ivan Gonzalez, and The Rev. José Angel Gutierrez on the ballot. While Fr. Martin received a majority of votes cast, he did not receive a plurality. When successive ballots returned the same results, and none of the candidates withdrew, voting was suspended.
HOWEVER the big news out of Cuba is not the failure to elect a bishop. It is the revival taking place in that country, reported in Christianity Today (July 2009). "The good news is that Cuba's influence is being reshaped–ever so slowly-by a faithful Christian movement that has moved past its season of being defined by persecution. Cuba for Christ Ahora. Is the Communist island's improbable revival now 15 years old and growing stronger." http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/
Fr. John & Susan Park, an Episcopal missionary couple working in HONDURAS wrote VOL with news of what is happening in that country since the coup. There has been much misinformation fostered by the media, they report. This is their report:
-- It was not a military coup. In Honduras, the military is like the National Guard, necessary when large-scale law enforcement is called for. -- The military carried out an arrest warrant issued by the Supreme Court. Just as in the US, a court has the authority to have a citizen arrested, so also in Honduras. In this case, the military acted as the police in order to carry out an arrest warrant for a citizen who repeatedly had been violating the law and the Constitution of the Republic. -- Evidently, when he realized that he was going to be prosecuted for his crimes, he chose to resign as President and to go into exile, rather than to serve time in prison. -- The arrest was carried out according to Honduran law in order to maintain democracy and to protect the country from the ferment that Zelaya was inciting by his revolutionary rhetoric and appeal to disenchanted social and political groups. -- When his letter of resignation was presented to Congress, they unanimously accepted it. -- The head of the military did not take over as President, which is what usually happens in a military coup. Congress elected the President of Congress, Roberto Micheletti, as the interim President while things are sorted out.
The Parks have spent 18 years of missionary life serving in Honduras.
"We have been told by missionaries living in Tegucigalpa (the capital) and friends in San Pedro Sula (4 hours north in the industrial center), Honduras, that the unrest is very limited, and that they are able to leave their houses without problem, which was always our own experience when we lived there.
"The international press is blowing the situation out of proportion with descriptions of a 'military ouster of the democratically elected president.' While Zelaya may have been elected democratically, he was conspiring to destroy the democracy that exists in Honduras, which Congress, the Supreme Court, the military and the majority of Hondurans realized."
RECTOR DEPOSED. The Rev. Lorne Coyle, former rector of Trinity Church, Vero Beach, FL, has been formally deposed by his bishop, The Rt. Rev. John Guernsey of the Church of Uganda, following his admission of a multi-year adulterous relationship with a woman, not his wife. He has been laicized. You can read the full statement here. http://www.christchurchvero.org/files/christchurchvero/Events/Disposition%20of%20Coyle/Coyle.pdf
CHURCH OF ENGLAND clergy could keep working until age 68 to plug the pension gap. The CofE has published a report of the impact of the credit crunch and recession on the financial position of the Funded Clergy Pension Scheme. The report puts forward various options relating to the future of the scheme.
According to the Church of England Pensions Board, its pension scheme deficit (as of 31 December 2008) had more than doubled in two years to £352million. (The deficit was £141m at the end of 2006). This is a consequence of the general fall in share prices in 2008 and the fall in the yields on government securities which are used to calculate pension scheme liabilities. The update also reveals that if conditions remain unchanged at the end of 2009, when the next formal valuation of the scheme takes place, there would need to be a significant increase in the pension contribution rate.
For more about the convent in Catonsville, MD, going to Rome click here: http://www.newliturgicalmovement.org/2009/06/anglican-convent-of-all-saints-to-be.html
RETIREMENT...NOT. Pastor John Piper has written an excellent booklet titled "Rethinking Retirement". In it he says, quite bluntly, that we finish life for the glory of Christ and not for the glory of a golf course. Many of VOL's readers are either in or face retirement. Piper had some hard words but they are true. In a section "Resolutely Resisting Retirement" he said "finishing life to the glory of God means resolutely resisting the typical American dream of retirement. It means being so satisfied with all that God promises to be for us in Christ that we are set free from the cravings that create so much emptiness and uselessness in retirement. Instead, knowing that we have an infinitely satisfying and everlasting inheritance in God just over the horizon of life makes us zealous in our few remaining years here to spend ourselves in the sacrifices of love, not the accumulation of comforts." Read the chapter here: http://www.desiringgod.org/media/pdf/books_brr/brr.pdf
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