The church's twofold task. The vocation of the church is to be occupied with God and with the world. God has constituted his church to be a worshipping and witnessing community. --- From "Our Guilty Silence" John R.W. Stott
"A day will come when the civilized world will deny its God, when the Church will doubt as Peter doubted. She will be tempted to believe that man has become God. In our churches, Christians will search in vain for the red lamp where God awaits them. Like Mary Magdalene, weeping before the empty tomb, they will ask, "Where have they taken him?"--- Pie XII devant l'Histoire pgs. 53-54" Pope Pius XII
God's New Society. The spiritually poor. The Church consists of the spiritually poor. The only condition of eligibility is destitution. The rich are sent away empty. We have to acknowledge our spiritual bankruptcy, that we have no merit to plead, no strings to pull, no power to save ourselves. To such Jesus says 'Blessed are the poor in spirit; the kingdom of God is theirs. '---From "The Christian and the Poor" John R.W. Stott
Word, Worship and Sacrament. Form and power. True religion combines form and power. It is not external form without power. Nor, on the other hand, does it emphasize moral power in such a way as to despise or dispense with proper external forms. It combines them. It fosters a worship which is essentially 'spiritual', arising from the heart, but which expresses itself through public, corporate services, and which also issues in moral behaviour. Otherwise, it is not only valueless; it is actually an abomination to the Lord. --- From "The Message of 2 Timothy" (The Bible Speaks Today)
Inside-out people. Everything we have and are in Christ both comes from God and returns to God. It begins in his will and ends in his glory. For this is where everything begins and ends. Yet such Christian talk comes into violent collision with the man-centredness and self-centredness of the world. Fallen man, imprisoned in his own little ego, has an almost boundless confidence in the power of his own will, and an almost insatiable appetite for the praise of his own glory. But the people of God have at least begun to be turned inside out. The new society has new values and new ideals. For God's people are God's possession who live by God's will and for God's glory---From "The Message of Ephesians" (The Bible Speaks Today)
Dear Brothers and Sisters
JAMAICA. It was a bust. There will be no covenant. There will be no fourth moratorium in the Covenant calling on the American and Canadian churches to cease litigating against orthodox parishes for the foreseeable future. That was the conclusion after 10 days of public and private wrangling, endless discussion, motions, amendment to motions, Roberts Rules of Order, occasional prayer and a major whine about the Listening Process designed to wear down the orthodox so they will accept homogenital behavior in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
At the Anglican Consultative Council's 14th meeting in Kingston, it quickly became apparent that the Anglican Communion is divided. At stake was keeping the American Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada in the communion at all cost and at any price.
Global South representatives got a first-hand dose of how Western Anglicans use procedural methods to win. It was a sight to behold.
Chris Sugden of Anglican Mainstream sums it up well.
"One could be forgiven for thinking that the debate about the covenant was actually about matters of faith. However it was actually about the issues of property and litigation in the United States.
"First of all, there was an attempt to add a fourth moratorium for a cessation of litigation, as proposed by the Primates at Dar-es-Salaam in February 2007 and as referred to in the Windsor Continuation Group Report. This was narrowly defeated. Not before the Presiding Bishop had suggested that Provinces all over the world had difficulties in securing alienated properties. Speakers from Sudan and the Middle East refuted two of her four examples. No African spoke in the debate on the WCG report. The only contentious vote was on this issue, and the vote to install a fourth moratorium was lost by one vote.
"When it came to the covenant, Africans lined up to argue, along with others, that without section 4, which deals with issues of discipline, the covenant was meaningless. One of the reasons for removing section 4 put forward by Dr. Ian Douglas, a clerical member for TEC, was that it provided for other churches, beyond the normal provincial members of ACC, to sign the covenant. This, he indicated would have allowed other Churches in North America to sign - and then there would be a number of different church bodies all claiming to be authentic Anglicans because they had signed the covenant and thus create chaos."
And why is this wonderful state of affairs of people queuing up to be part of the Anglican Communion and embracing Anglican identity not to be fervently desired? Because if those whom TEC tends to refer to as "dissenters" could sign the covenant, they could legitimately claim to be Anglicans as defined by the Anglican Communion Covenant. This would give assurance of authentic Anglican identity to many people, currently in TEC, who are nervous of challenging TEC because they perceive TEC as the only legitimate source for Anglican identity for them. Were an alternative legitimate route available, many more Anglicans in the United States would take the path pioneered by those who are forming the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). This same Covenant suggests that those who cannot sign the covenant (as TEC insists it should not have to) are in an outer circle rather than in the full counsels of Anglicanism. This would lead to further churches challenging TEC about ownership of property. It's about the property, stupid.
Global South leaders, including the Middle East and Nigeria, went ballistic at a private press conference later the same evening. They hadn't been fooled for a moment. (I can't wait to hear from Archbishop Peter Akinola).
What happened in Kingston demonstrated the clarity obtained in Alexandria when the Primates met that we now have two understandings of Anglicanism, two very different churches proclaiming two very different theologies of the Christian Faith.
Here are the following landmarks.
1. That the Instruments of Communion commit themselves to a renewal of the Listening Process, and a real seeking of a common mind upon the issues which threaten to divide us.
2. The request for the moratoria continue - urgent conversations be facilitated with those provinces where the application of the moratoria give rise for concern. All breaches of moratoria, while not morally equivalent, are of equal threat to our life in Communion.
3. The Archbishop of Canterbury will appoint a bishop from the wider Communion act on his behalf in Communion affairs. Regional appointments should come from the local episcopate. Secretary General should be the executive officer of the Communion and an Executive Committee should be established to work with the ABC in responding to emergency situations.
4. Lambeth Conference: new patterns of meetings, smaller meetings between plenary conferences with diocesan bishops only or regional meetings. 5. Primates Meeting - should neither overreach nor under reach its authority and responsibility. Their advice should be "received with readiness to undertake reflection and accommodation".
6. ACC- work needs to be reviewed and it needs primatial investment in Joint Standing Committee.
7. Inter-Anglican Standing Commission for Unity Faith and Order should produce a concise statement on the Instruments of Communion.
8. The Communion Covenant is an essential element in rebuilding confidence in our common life.
9. Pastoral Forum and Pastoral Visitors should be adopted without further delay.
10. Mediated Conversation on Parallel Jurisdictions - at which all significant parties could be gathered.
Still and all, nothing is going to change with regard to continued litigation in TEC and ACoC. Dr. Williams is jump-starting a Pastoral Forum and Pastoral Visitors idea ratified by the Dar es Salaam Primates communiqué which is, at the end of the day, legally and ecclesiastically unenforceable.
Ironically, it was in Dar that the Fourth Moratoria regarding litigation was put up and then taken down. That it is not trying to be resuscitated here in Jamaica, is the real stumbling block to passing the Third Ridley Cambridge Covenant. There were some 18 amendments to five resolutions in the course of an afternoon, all designed to fudge a final draft of the Covenant because no one wants anybody to leave the Anglican Communion. No one wants to tell Mrs. Jefferts Schori that she is on the wrong side of history.
After a week here with the Anglican Consultative Council, I am absolutely convinced that GAFCON and a new North American Anglican province are the right way to go. Here it is all smoke and mirrors, fine talk and hopeful expectation that somehow Dr. Rowan Williams can hold it together. It will not ultimately work. He said so himself. The communion cannot ultimately hold together, that, everyone now realizes; the only question remaining is how it will come unglued and that, no one is sure how to do that.
I have written more than a dozen stories and posted more from others including some analysis pieces in today's digest. I hope you will take a moment to read them all.
To prove the point that litigation will continue in THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH (while the ACC was meeting in Jamaica), Bishop J. Jon Bruno of the DIOCESE OF LOS ANGELES announced that the diocese was personally suing the vestry of St. James, Newport Beach, for legal fees amounting to some $6 million in order to recover legal expenses the diocese incurred in their own lawsuits against St. James. The parish fired back saying that it will take its property battle to the U.S. Supreme Court. St. James Church pulled out of the Episcopal denomination after the church ordained Gene Robinson, an openly homosexual bishop in 2004. Since then, its members have been in a legal fight to keep their church building. Recently, the California Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Episcopal Church.
There are dozens of church property cases playing out in lower courts.
In the DIOCESE OF NIAGARA, Bishop Michael Bird decided this week to sue Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC ) parishes and wardens for court costs the diocese incurred during lawsuits over fleeing parishes. Blogger Anglican Samizdat wrote that the Diocese of Niagara has sunk to newly plumbed depths of infamy. "The diocese could not make up its mind on who to sue: ANiC parishes or the wardens of the parishes. Last week they decided. In court their lawyer announced that the diocese is seeking over $200,000 in court costs from the wardens of the parishes. Bishop Michael Bird and his cohorts in this sordid villainy are out to punish church volunteers. It's hard to envisage a more contemptible, pecksniffian, anti-Christian act. Oh, yes, they also want to chuck the rector out of his home."
Meanwhile, in THE DIOCESE OF COLORADO, The Rev. Don Armstrong was forced out of his home by the diocese that took over Grace & St. Stephens Church. The Rev. Matt Kennedy, his wife and children were forced from their home by the Episcopal DIOCESE OF CENTRAL NEW YORK.
Armstrong wrote VOL to say that the judge had given them until May 8th (now past) to vacate the rectory. "In the meantime TEC has filed a motion with the court attempting to prevent us from getting the equity out of the house on which we have made half the payments for 12 years. The Episcopal Church may welcome you, but they sure don't show any appreciation to those of us who worked for them for 30 years and were faithful to our vows."
At St John's Anglican Church in Petaluma, CA, the church's funds were temporarily frozen last week per request of the Diocese of Northern California and TEC. The funds were frozen by order of the Sonoma County Superior Court until May 22, when the court convenes to decide whether the funds should be frozen until trial. On May 27, the court will hold a formal settlement hearing to see if trial (slated for Sept 18) can be avoided.
Lawsuits continued across The Episcopal Church. The Diocese of San Joaquin, the Diocese of Ft. Worth, the Diocese of Pittsburgh, and the Diocese of Quincy are all in the early stages of lawsuits for all their properties. Millions of dollars are about to be spent, money that could have gone to mission will now line the pockets of lawyers who will be just as happy to take it.
Ironically, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori offered a resolution at the ACC-14 plenary which was passed unanimously called, interesting enough, Peacemaking Dialogues.
What does it call other people to do? Schori's resolution "urges Anglicans everywhere to be bold in preaching reconciliation and facilitating peace-making dialogues in every situation of war and conflict."
It goes on to support "the concept of healing through the processes of truth-telling, repentance, and restorative justice."
Her resolution then "urges all in provincial leadership positions, especially those in theological education, to implement programs of conflict-resolution skills training as a contribution to developing effective and bold prophetic voices for God's justice in all societies."
So on one hand, she's calling "Anglicans everywhere to be bold" not only in "preaching reconciliation," but also in "facilitating peace-making dialogues." But it's not just for the classical battlefields, but in every situation where there is "conflict."
That's precious. Why not start with her own house and try a little reconciliation and peace-making in TEC? Many of us would love to see it. Don't hold your breath.
If you would like to make a contribution to the DIOCESE OF SAN JOAQUIN Legal Defense Fund, you can do so by clicking here: www.anglicandefensefund.org. The Rev. Canon Bill Gandenberger, Canon to the Ordinary wrote to say their defense is growing more expensive and their resources are quite limited. Any assistance will be most welcome.
In PHILADELPHIA, attorneys for the Anglo-Catholic Church of the Good Shepherd in Rosemont say a civil courtroom is not the proper venue to mediate a religious dispute. The diocese filed a petition in Montgomery County Orphans Court in February seeking to remove The Rev. David Moyer and take ownership of the property. Moyer was defrocked in 2002 over a religious rift. He has refused to leave the rectory, and Good Shepherd continues to pay his salary. Now the parish is fighting to keep its priest and its property in a legal battle with the Pennsylvania diocese. The diocese argues that Good Shepherd has effectively left the Episcopal flock, but church attorneys say in documents filed Thursday that no formal action has been taken. We'll keep you posted.
Some truly great fiction took place when a number of Episcopal bishops in Chicago met recently to brainstorm how to reach America's unchurched. They roped in Brian McLaren of Emergent Church fame, (he lectured bishops at Lambeth 2010 on much the same thing) who told them that TEC is uniquely situated-theologically, liturgically and spiritually-to be a gateway for non-churched and de-churched spiritual seekers.
In a paper prepared for the meeting, McLaren singled out Anglican churches as perhaps best suited for worldwide evangelism in the 21st century. I kid you not.
Someone should have told him some facts - that the average age of an Episcopalian is now in the mid sixties; their average congregation size is about 70, most of which are small and won't be around 10 years from now. Most of these old folk wouldn't know how to evangelize even if they took six ALPHA courses. Furthermore the liberal bishops who attended this gabfest will not allow graduates from Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry into their dioceses because they are evangelicals and don't go along with the inclusive nonsense espoused by these bishops. Did McLaren know that? One doubts it.
Clearly McLaren hasn't been reading any of the conservative Episcopal blogs. The first thing he would have found out is that Gene Robinson, since his consecration in 2004, has single-handedly emptied TEC of over 100,000 Episcopalians and that a new North American Anglican Province is in the making and will preach a gospel which Mr. McLaren might or might not share. Clearly, he was talking to the wrong crowd.
He said the bishops must create "a zone of innovation and empowerment, a zone in which creative young and emerging leaders can be supported to plant new faith communities relevant to the needs of young adults." Such a move, Mr. McLaren said, could do for the 21st century Episcopal Church what the Church of England failed to do for the followers of John Wesley in the 19th century.
The trouble is that these bishops and leaders don't have the same gospel as John Wesley.Theirs is an inclusive gospel for diverse people where "a come as you are, stay as you are" philosophy is proclaimed and that the whole church is actually going backwards. One hopes Mr. McLaren got his fee for this nonsense before he left town.
Just how much more absurd can Episcopal bishops get? Episcopal bishops from the West have defined a new secular commandment: Stay away from bottled water, and don't bring it to the church's upcoming General Convention in Anaheim, California. "We urge you to encourage delegates not to buy bottled water, but instead to bring metal or ceramic water bottles that can be refilled with tap water," said a letter signed by 12 bishops from six Western states.
The two diocesan bishops, The Rt. Rev. Greg Rickel in the Diocese of Olympia and The Rt. Rev. James Waggoner in the Diocese of Spokane, signed the letter. So did a pair of other Washington-based bishops serving temporary duty in Oregon dioceses, Bishops Nedi Rivera and Sandy Hampton.
The thumbs-down on bottled water was contained in a passionate, quite political and politically correct post-Easter message on global warming and a needed response by the faithful. "We urge you to vote for political candidates who will help our country make a swift transition to clean, safe and renewable energy," the bishops wrote.
The princes of the church also supported the so-called Genesis Covenant, an initiative whereby The Episcopal Church commits to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from every facility it maintains by a minimum of 50 percent in 10 years.
Ancient Wisdom-Anglican Futures. TRINITY SCHOOL FOR MINISTRY will host "Ancient Wisdom - Anglican Futures: An Emerging Conversation," a 2 ½ day, international conference dealing with Anglicanism's place in the "Great Tradition" of Christianity, June 4th- 6th. Keynote speakers ("teachers"), who are in turn questioned by "missioners" who are doing grass-roots Anglican ministry in a variety of contexts. The "teachers" include both Anglicans ("insiders") and "outsiders" (non-Anglicans, observing the Anglican tradition). These outsiders include representatives from a wide variety of traditions, from the Assemblies of God to Orthodox Christianity. Sessions include "Worshiping in the Great Tradition," "Community in the Great Tradition," and "Mission in the Great Tradition."
Teachers include David Neff (Christianity Today), Jason Clark (Emergent UK), Holly Rankin Zaher (Student Ministry, St. George's, Nashville), D.H. Williams (Baylor), Tony Clark (Friends University), Edith Humphrey (Pittsburgh Theological Seminary), Simon Chan (Trinity College, Singapore), George Sumner (Wycliffe College, Toronto), Stephen Long (Marquette), Andrew Walkers (Kings College, London), and Samuel Wells (Dean of the Chapel, Duke University).
The conference cost is $100 ($50/students). Registration can be submitted online at: http://www.tsm.edu/News_and_Events/Ancient_Wisdom_-_Anglican_Futures/Online_Registration_Form.html . For more information, call Trinity's office of extension ministries at 1-800-874-8754 ext. 218 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The standing committee of the DIOCESE OF WESTERN LOUISIANA voted unanimously recently to approve a statement that affirms the integrity of diocesan governance in The Episcopal Church. "As a diocesan standing committee, we acknowledge and desire to be a diocese in full communion with the wider Anglican Communion and the See of Canterbury," the statement reads in part. "As a diocese we oppose any actions by General Convention that would mandate financial assessments from dioceses to the General Convention budget, or exercise control of trust interests on diocesan or congregational assets."
The statement is intended to demonstrate the standing committee's support for its diocesan bishop, The Rt. Rev. D. Bruce MacPherson, who is one of eleven diocesan bishops who recently endorsed a statement of concern that the polity of The Episcopal Church as a "voluntary association of equal dioceses" is in grave peril because of uncanonical actions by the Presiding Bishop and her appointed staff.
NORTHERN MICHIGAN wannabe Bishop Thew Forrester is looking less and less like a candidate to be the next bishop of that diocese. As the numbers come in, they are uniformly against his getting a miter. You can see the latest statistics here: http://tinyurl.com/ralmrl
The Very Rev. John Tarrant was elected on May 9 to serve as bishop coadjutor (bishop with right of succession) of the DIOCESE OF SOUTH DAKOTA. Tarrant, 57, currently rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Pierre, South Dakota, was chosen on the second ballot in an election held in Pierre. Out of a total of 53 clergy and 139 lay votes, Tarrant received 44 clergy votes and 101 lay votes on the last ballot. He will be the 10th bishop of South Dakota.
Kenyan church leaders reject a polygamous marriage proposal. Despite charges by Western liberal Anglican clerics that Global South Anglicans tolerate polygamy and therefore they should tolerate sodomy in the West, church leaders in Kenya say they reject a draft law due to be debated in parliament that would authorize polygamous marriages, outlaw compulsory dowries and recognize cohabitation. "The law will confuse citizens. It will cause chaos in families," Anglican Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi told Ecumenical News International on 6 May. "It should be rejected." Nzimbi warned against creating doubts about Christian marriage, where one man is married to one woman. "We should follow the biblical teachings. It is the orderly way."
The following is one of a cluster of resolutions that reflect the dominant approach at the upcoming GC2009 in Anaheim, California. I can't wait for our first transgendered bishop. Someone is going to push TEC right off the cliff. A transgendered person may identify as heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, pansexual, polysexual, or asexual. The precise definition for transgender remains in flux. So a woman can have a sex change operation and become a he or a him. Then, as a priest he can run for bishop and dress up like a woman. Hopefully, he/she will have a deeper voice and won't confuse a diocese. Don't count on it. Here is the resolution.
Resolution: C001 Title:
Adding Gender Identity to Canons
Topic: Canons Committee: 08 - World Mission House of Initial
Action: Deputies Proposer: Diocese of Newark
Resolved, the House of _____ concurring, That Title III, Canon 1, Sec. 2 of the Canons of the Episcopal Church be amended to read: No person shall be denied access to the discernment process for any ministry, lay or ordained, in this Church because of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression of gender identity, disabilities or age, except as otherwise provided by these Canons of the Episcopal Church. No right to licensing, ordination, or election is hereby established.
EXPLANATION Title III, Canon 1, Sec. 2 of the Canons of the Episcopal Church states: "No person shall be denied access to the discernment process for any ministry, lay or ordained, in this Church because of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, disabilities or age, except as otherwise provided by these Canons. No right to licensing, ordination, or election is hereby established."
This resolution would revise this canon by adding "gender identity or expression of gender identity" to this list of protected categories. This revision is based upon our increased understanding of the need to respect the human dignity of transgender people: transsexuals, and others who are seen to differ from societal gender norms. Gender identity, in and of itself, should not be a basis for exclusion from consideration for, or participation in, the ministries of the Church.
The Daily Mail newspaper in England reports that according to a recent poll of 400 men carried out by Christian men's magazine 'Sorted', men prefer to sing 'proper macho hymns.' Nearly 60 per cent of those who took part in a survey said they enjoyed singing - but added comments showing they preferred anthemic songs and 'proclamational' hymns as opposed to more emotional love songs. Nearly three quarters, or 72 per cent, said their favorite part of a service was the talk or sermon. Sorted managing editor and publisher Steve Legg said: 'Certainly, with the singing, I am fed up with singing these sentimental lovey dovey songs. 'On the football terraces we are very passionate, chanting and cheering, and we want more songs like that. We want fewer girly songs.'
Here is a suggested top 10 of male-friendly hymns drawn up by Sorted:
Onward Christian Soldiers And Can It Be Guide Me O Thy Great Redeemer All People That On Earth Do Dwell Be Thou My Vision How Great Thou Art Amazing Grace Eternal Father, Strong To Save (For Those On Peril On The Sea) Our God Reigns Dear Lord And Father Of Mankind Forgive Our Foolish Ways
The Rev. Joseph Gleason has recently published Volume 1 of The North American Anglican which now includes the lectionary. It is preceded by an historical analysis of the development of the Daily Office lectionary which is available here: http://39articles.com/samples/001-fry-lectionary.htm The Rev. Michael Fry, rector of All Saints Anglican Church (CANA) in Georgia is responsible for this. You can reach him at his website www.ptcanglican.org
Watch this hymn for inspiration: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NcyUMT7uhzE&feature=related
PLEASE consider a tax-deductible donation to support this vital ministry. These digests come to you 52 weeks of the year at no charge. There is no orthodox Anglican ministry like it. VOL covers the Anglican world for you seven days a week. We travel the globe for our readers. To make it possible we do need your financial support
You may send a check to support this ministry to:
1236 Waterford Rd.
West Chester, PA 19380
If you would prefer to make a donation through PAYPAL you can do so by going to www.virtueonline.org
Thank you for your support.
On the Mainline
Worship with us:
Sundays at 4:00pm.
210 S. Wayne Ave, Wayne, PA