Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Question: Who is the Beers Letter Really Aimed At?

Since it appears that Beers still has his head and it's not rolling down I-95 (at least we haven't heard that he has been sacked) and that in The Letter he threatens "Should your diocese decline to take that step, the Presiding Bishop will have to consider what sort of action she must take in order to bring your diocese into compliance" he is indeed speaking for the Presiding Bishop-Elect, Katharine Jefforts Schori. If this is not so, his head would have rolled by now.

The fact that she would have her lawyer write a letter directly to sitting diocesan bishops is quite extraordinary. If she were following any kind of sincere diplomatic protocol, she would have sent a message through another bishop who could deliver a letter from her on her behalf (if she was really interested in reconciliation, which apparently, she is not) expressing her concerns. To tell your lawyer to write a letter and drop it in the mail so that the two Diocesan bishops receive it just as she is having an audience with the Archbishop of Canterbury tells us exactly what she wants - these two men's heads on a platter. The Klingons do appears to be right after all. Revenge is a dish best served cold.

Still watching for the official ENS report. They are quick to report Via Media lobbying Standing Committees to reject the newly-elected Bishop of South Carolina, but are strangely silent on the Beers Letter. Funny, isn't it? Do they also understand what a colossal timing-mistake this is - that this engagement in Episcopal "bait and switch" days before the big hoohah is unfortunate. We all know it's not about women - that's so last century. This appears to be revenge - and a little "bait and switch." Things aren't looking so good so let's change the subject. Forget about Windsor - let's make it about All About Women, yes, that's the ticket.

It could be that the New York Summit was the last chance for the moderates to have a voice in this process and it was a massive failure. The next chance was the Camp Allen meeting and that showed that there is a crack running straight down the church inside the rank and file - including another bishop who is a woman, Bishop Wolfe of Rhode Island - so it isn't about women after all!

Is the crack widening inside The Episcopal Church? The real crisis is one where the anchor of the church has been cut from the boat and the boat is now drifting out to sea.

It's such a desperate sort of act, taken at such a wrong sort of time, one could infer The Letter is actually aimed at her own theological constituency. It's obviously not aimed at the orthodox (we know it's not All About Women) unless it's just to provoke bad behaving blue meanies. So if it's not the orthodox, could it be that it's aimed at her own wing of the church? If true, it is very interesting to consider. Why does she need to fire them up?

bb

Monday, October 30, 2006

"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."

Matthew 7:24-27

Anglican Alert - Code Orange - TEC Chancellor Threatens Quincy and Ft. Worth Dioceses

Well this is lovely. Five days away from the Investiture and this is how it all begins.

BB UPDATE: From StandFirm comes this posting from the Bishop of Ft. Worth (see below, before Living Church article). It looks like the "letter was in the mail" before the current PB and the PB-Elect left for Lambeth. Wonder how Rowan Williams feels about this? Threatening letters from a PB's chancellor to two Ordinaries? Who gave Beers such disasterous advice as to send letters like this five days before the new TEC-PB has her moment in the sun? And what do we think the national media is going to ask her - that she went after the two bishops who do not ordain women? Schofield has all ready been pushed towards the presentment cliff by four TEC liberal bishops and saved from tumbling over the cliff by cooler heads. But who in their right mind would send letters like this before what is supposed to be a "Happy Church Photo Op" at the National Cathedral?

LATER: Looks like the progressive blogs are celebrating. I hope those same progressives understand that TEC is suppose to be a member of The Anglican Communion. The action of these letters sent by the chancellor of The Episcopal Church with the apparent authority of the Presiding-Bishop-elect do not bode well for her to be received joyfully in February. How could The Episcopal Church authorities do something so insipidly stupid just days before all the hoopla hits Washington?

What an outrageous act by the Chancellor - is he trying to provoke a firestorm? Or is he a grieving Detroit fan? Or did he just lose it because the Yankees weren't in the World Series? And what is with picking out the bishops who don't ordain women? And then threatening that the punishment is coming from the new woman Presiding Bishop? What's up with that?

We here at BabyBlueOnline affirm the ordination of women to all orders of the church - but this kind of threat - have they lost their minds? Why would anyone want to cause such a firestorm just days before the service at the National Cathedral? Are they trying to get the orthodox to react like outraged Blue Meanies so that the progressives can point fingers and say "Told you so! Told you so! Blue Meanies! They're all Blue Meanies - and their little dog too!"

Or are they playing out that old Klingon Proverb:
Revenge is a dish best served cold?

Here's Bishop Iker at StandFirm :

------
The Beers letter is dated Oct. 19th and came by regular mail to my chancellor’s law office. When a copy was faxed to me from his office on the 27th, I then faxed it to Lambeth Palace, so the Archbishop would know what was in the works. Alas, Katharine had been there for her visit with the ABC that very day but had already departed.

+JLI

------

Here's Steve Waring's article in the Living Church:

Presiding Bishop's Chancellor Threatens Fort Worth, Quincy Dioceses
10/30/2006

On the eve of Nevada Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori’s investiture as the 26th Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, her chancellor, David Booth Beers, has written identical letters to the chancellors of two traditionalist dioceses demanding that they change language “that can be read as cutting against an ‘unqualified accession’ to the Constitution and Canons of the General Convention of The Episcopal Church.

“The timing of this letter is shocking,” Fort Worth Bishop Jack L. Iker told The Living Church. “Some of the changes he refers to go back as far as 1989. All this was done completely out in the open and news of it was distributed widely. We have kept the Presiding Bishop informed at every step.

“We are still contemplating our response, but I think we will refuse to take the ‘bait’ by responding in kind,” Bishop Iker said. “We will probably refer him to our website where our constitution and canons are published.”

In recent years, four dioceses – Fort Worth (Texas), Pittsburgh, Quincy (Ill.) and San Joaquin (Calif.) – have amended their constitutions to qualify the diocese’s accession to General Convention, reserving the right of the diocese to reject bylaws which in their view contradict scripture and/or historic church teachings. Spokespersons for Pittsburgh and San Joaquin reported being unaware of receiving a similar letter. Fort Worth, Quincy and San Joaquin are the only three dioceses in The Episcopal Church which do not ordain women.

Mr. Beers concludes his letter stating “should your diocese decline to take that step, the Presiding Bishop will have to consider what sort of action she must take in order to bring your diocese into compliance.”

Bishop Iker questioned whether this was possible given that in September, Bishop Jefferts Schori told him to his face at a special meeting in New York City called by the Archbishop of Canterbury that the Presiding Bishop has no jurisdiction or oversight of dioceses under Episcopal Church polity. Also during September, a disciplinary review board rejected holding San Joaquin Bishop John-David Schofield guilty of abandoning the communion of this church for similar changes made to its constitution by convention in that diocese.

Steve Waring

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Still friends after all these years

As some of you may know, I graduated from Radford High School, Honolulu, Hawaii. I had a great time in High School, a place that became a real community to me during the four years I lived in Hawaii. I loved Hawaii - and still do, even now. I made some great friendships there and those friendships continue after several decades.

Each year we have a reunion (with the "big years" back in Hawaii). We have them all over the country since so many of us are scattered all over not on the country, but the world (Radford is located next to Pearl Harbor and Hickum Air Force Base and when I was at Radford, everyone from those two bases went to Radford). This year I missed the Dallas Reunion because I was in Columbus for General Convention.

But each fall, we have a sort of "YaYa Weekend" and friends again fly in from all over the country for a fun weekend. Last year we went to Manhattan and it was a blast. This year we were back in DC.

Here are a few photos - highlight this year was attempting to explain the Episcopal Church Crisis ("didn't we read about that in the paper or something - what's an Anglican?"). Very humbling and very good for the soul. Since I know they planned to visit this blog, I've put up a couple of picture from last night - just a few, including BabyBlue.

What does this say?

In these uncertain times, being the crisis in the church or the war or our uncertain future - it's always good to have friends, and friends that have stood the test of time.

Aloha ke akua. Hawaii pono'i.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Rewind: New York Times covers the gathering of over 2,500 for the Anglican Communion Network's "Hope and a Future" Conference

Thought it might be time to replay this article from last November following the amazing "Hope and a Future Conference" of the Anglican Commuion Network in Pittsburgh. Here's the New York Times article from November 11.

November 12, 2005
Conservative Episcopalians Warn Church That It Must Change Course or Face Split

By NEELA BANERJEE
PITTSBURGH, Nov. 11 - Conservative leaders of the Episcopal Church U.S.A. and their Anglican counterparts from overseas intensified their warnings Friday about the possibility of a schism in the Anglican Communion if the Episcopal Church did not renounce the consecration of gay bishops and the blessing of same-sex unions.

About 2,400 Episcopal Church and Anglican bishops, clergy members and lay leaders from around the world gathered here Thursday for a three-day show of solidarity in preparation for a general convention of the Episcopal Church next June in Columbus, Ohio.

While Episcopal and Anglican conservatives have warned before of the possibility of a split in the 77 million-member Anglican Communion over these issues, powerful primates of national and regional Anglican churches from Africa, Asia and the Caribbean said Friday that a break was all but inevitable if the Episcopal Church did not vote to change course at the Columbus meeting.

"The primates will decide" if they consider the response of the Episcopal Church "adequate," said Archbishop Drexel Wellington Gomez, primate of the West Indies. He said, however, that he expected no change in the stance of the Episcopal Church, the American arm of the Anglican Communion, when it comes to gays.

If that is the case, "given our present mood, the convention will most certainly be followed by some action," Archbishop Gomez said. "We have worked too hard, too long, to leave it like that."

The Episcopalians and Anglicans were joined by well-known American evangelical Christians, most notably the Rev. Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., and author of "The Purpose-Driven Life." Mr. Warren gave encouragement to conservative church dissidents who are trying to break with the Episcopal Church but who have often been stymied by disputes with their dioceses over ownership of church property.

"What's more important is your faith, not your facilities," he told the crowd at the Convention Center here. "The church is people, not the steeple. They might get the building, but you get the blessing."

Mr. Warren was warmly received, but a panel of foreign primates elicited several standing ovations for sharply criticizing the Episcopal Church.

Archbishop Datuk Yong Ping Chung, primate of South East Asia, said, "We will stand with you as long as you remain faithful, biblical, evangelical and orthodox."

Tensions between the Episcopal Church and Anglican churches in the developing world, and within the American church itself, have simmered for years over issues like the ordination of women and the interpretation of Scripture. But for many conservatives, the last straw came when the Episcopal Church consecrated the Rev. V. Gene Robinson, an openly gay man, as bishop of New Hampshire in 2003.

To avoid a split in the global communion, an Anglican commission issued a report in October 2004 urging the Episcopal Church to apologize for creating division by its consecration of Mr. Robinson. But the church did not renounce its actions, and impatience with it is boiling over, conservatives said.

"There's no way for these two conflicted faiths to live under the same roof," said the Right Rev. Robert W. Duncan, bishop of the Pittsburgh Diocese and the moderator of the Anglican Communion Network, a group of 10 dissident dioceses in the Episcopal Church. The network organized the conference in Pittsburgh.

An Episcopal Church U.S.A. spokeswoman, the Rev. Jan Nunley, said the tensions voiced at the Pittsburgh conference were not new.

Ms. Nunley added: "We're trying not to get ahead of events. We sit, watch and trust God, and hope for the spirit of reconciliation."

Though it has lost members and even congregations in the past over issues like the ordination of women, the Episcopal Church has managed to stay together because of the autonomy it gives dioceses. "We basically have a long history of working things out," said Lionel E. Deimel, president of Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh, who also attended the conference but did not support its views. "But this is the most serious thing to happen to the Episcopal Church, and it has mobilized people on both sides."

At the convention in Columbus, the church is expected to issue a response to the October 2004 report. In the meantime, conservative congregations throughout the country have moved to leave the Episcopal Church and place themselves under the guidance of foreign Anglican bishops.

Conservatives and liberals agreed that any split within the church would be complicated by feuds and lawsuits over property and assets. But the thought of such disputes did not seem to weigh heavily on those gathered here, who said they were eager to resolve their major disagreements with the church, even if it meant a break from it.

"We definitely get the sense that there is something on the horizon," said the Rev. Mike Besson, 40, assistant to the rector at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Tomball, Tex. "The church won't be the same shape and form as before. We just don't know when or where that will occur."

Friday, October 27, 2006

40 Days of Discernment at Truro and The Falls Church draws to a close

Click on the headline above to read the statement from Truro and The Falls Church.

Let's just watch the Soprano's - not try to be them

Episcopal Diocese of Washington Communications Director Jim Naughton posts why he's in favor of his version of "amicable separation." He writes, "If allowing provincial leaders to cross provincial boundaries to minister to theological minorities is the cost of keeping the Communion together so that is members can cooperate in mission, I don't think that is too high a price to pay--assuming that other provinces were willing to acknowledge that they had theological minorities. "

Notice the kicker-phrase at the end. What he's calling for is a free-for-all-anything-goes scenario. Sure, you can come on over here and support disenfranchised Episcopalian minority who agree with the majority of the Anglican Communion on biblical truth - but if you do, we're coming over to your house and bringing our heretical view of scripture into your church.

The thing is - I don't think that the majority of the Episcopal progressive activists really have any intention of getting on to planes, taking the time or the energy to fly into Africa, live there, get to know the people, and share their progressive brand of the episcopalianism. No, it's a subtle threat and if the orthodox turn them down - the progressives will cry "Injustice! Unfair! Schismatics! Blue Meanies!"

See, it's not really amicable - it's still threatening to our brothers and sisters abroad. As they dare to stand up for the Gospel of Jesus Christ as revealed in Scripture and Anglican teaching through the centuries, they now know there are Episcopal leaders who are seeking to fight back by threatening a free-for-all-anything-goes strategy in their churches as well. It's not enough to break down the Episcopal Church by endorsing immoral lifestyles and call them blessed, and when we're done here we're coming to your house and do the same thing. Okay, so you have millions of Anglicans worshiping Jesus now, but we can take care of that and bring the same wonderful blessing on your church as we've done on ours. You too can have empty churches, empty pews, and empty theology just like us - and yes, we'll call that amicable.

Sorry, Jim - but this bait and switch. Truth is truth and if we want to push our new-and-improved American brand of truth on the rest of the world, well, the progressives are far better than anyone to call that what it is - progressive imperialism.

Tony Soprano, though, might just say "Let me figure out how to take care of you."

bb

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Wrathful










Click on the "word" above and watch a 2002 Jo Rowling interview on 60 Minutes. Always a good idea to check out who is drinking coffee and writing in the corner. And one never knows who will have the handy word.

The Future of Anglicanism

The Rt. Rev'd Bob Duncan, Moderator of the Anglican Communion Network and Bishop of The Diocese of Pittsburgh, received an honory doctorate from the Episcopal seminary, Nashotah House. Here is the text of his speech. Stay tuned for comment. (PS Thanks Peter for catching the typo!!).

The Future of Anglicanism

An Address for Convocation Nashotah House 25th October, A.D. 2006

The Rt. Revd. Robert William Duncan, D.D. Bishop of Pittsburgh Moderator of the Anglican Communion Network

O God of unchangeable power and eternal light: Look favorably upon thine whole Church, that wonderful and sacred mystery; by the effectual working of thy providence, carry out in tranquility the plan of thy salvation; let the whole world see and know that things that were cast down are being raised up, and that things that had grown old are being made new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection by Him through whom all things were made, even Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord; who liveth and reigneth with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

I have been asked to speak about the future of Anglicanism. I gladly do so on this happy occasion and in this historic Chapel, a Chapel that has become very dear to me, and to countless others, whose spiritual lives have been profoundly shaped by its devotions and whose missionary and pastoral commitments have been fed by the heroes and heroines whose ministries founded and sustained this House and rightly earned it its simple nickname: “The Mission.”

As I begin let me say how deeply honored I am by the Board’s action in granting me the Doctor of Divinity degree (honoris causa), and how greatly honored I am by this company’s presence here today. To become a “Son of the House” – to join so many other sons and daughters whose friendships have come to mean so much to me – is gift and encouragement of the first order. For the parish church that formed me, and especially the Anglo-Catholic priests who did their best to teach me through all those early years, this is their honor too. For Nara, whom I met in that parish church and who has stood by me all the years since we were teenagers – especially through these last supremely challenging years – this honor is also profoundly her honor. For the great Diocese of Pittsburgh that it has been our privilege to serve as Bishop and Lady through this last decade, and for the extraordinary comrades with which I have been surrounded in the emergence of the Anglican Communion Network, for the clergy and people and staff that have supported me and freed me to be at the center of the work of Reformation in our day, this honor also belongs to them.

The Three Choices on which All Else Hangs

Just a year ago, some three thousand Anglicans gathered at Pittsburgh for the Hope and A Future Conference. Many who are here today were there in those days. They were thrilling days in which we modeled what we wanted to become. They were days of worship, days of teaching, days of challenge, days of fellowship, days of reconciliation and days of hope. They were exhausting days.

As the Hope and a Future Conference began, I spoke about three encouragements, three warnings and three choices. In beginning this address about the future of Anglicanism I want to say again what I said at that time concerning the three choices that are before us, choices that are profoundly personal and profoundly corporate and on which do hang the future of Anglicanism. Everything else I shall have to say depends on the bedrock – or the quicksand – of the “day in and day out” of these choices individually and institutionally made, choices which together will “add up” to Anglicanism sustained or Anglicanism failed.

I said these words to the multitude assembled for Hope and A Future:

“The first choice is for Truth over accommodation. For everyone in this hall we are continuing to deal with choosing Jesus first: Jesus above culture, Jesus above comfort, Jesus above property, Jesus above family and friends, Jesus above any other security, Jesus above a wayward North American Church. We are here to confirm our choice for Truth above accommodation. This is the evangelical choice.”

“The second choice is for Accountability over autonomy. There are lots of fragments in this hall: fragments of congregations, fragments of dioceses, fragments of denomination. Freedom, like Truth, is a passion that all of us share. But the vast danger here is that we will get stuck in our freedom Forty years of Anglican splits and splinters tells the story only too well. Autonomy is every bit as much a danger as accommodation. We are here to make a choice for Accountability over autonomy. This is the catholic choice.”

“The third choice is for the Mission over sullen inaction. Is your congregation a church-planting congregation? Is your congregation partnered with a Global South diocese? Is your congregation functioning in local needs-based evangelism? Are you personally engaged in a Matthew 25 ministry? Have you personally led anyone else to saving faith in Jesus Christ? Have you challenged those around you to “Choose This Day?” Are you trapped in “ain’t it awful?” or “what can we possibly do?” or the escape of self-absorption? We are Holy Spirit people: people who have been gifted, “charismed.” We are here to elect Mission over sullen inaction. This is the charismatic choice.”

That was one year ago. Nothing has altered the centrality of these choices. How our choices add up – our choices for or against Truth, Accountability, and Mission – will ultimately determine the future of Anglicanism. What I shall go on to say in this address concerns matters of lesser importance, matters concerning which it is good for us to think, propose and build, yet matters that can never rise above the level of the penultimate. I raise these lesser considerations about the future of Anglicanism with the understanding that it is the “three great choices” that are ultimately the significant ones. And if I speak somewhat more provocatively today than is normally my custom, my hearers will also understand that this is, after all, an academic convocation.

Can Anglicanism Survive At All?

Reflecting thirty years ago, in the Epilogue to the fourth edition of Anglicanism, Bishop Stephen Neill, then nearly eighty years old, wrote these words:

“The Anglican Communion, being a living entity and not an ossified institution, never abides in one stay, and is in a condition of perpetual change. This means that any description of its situation at a given moment will be out of date before it appears in print; the most that can be hoped for is an analysis of trends and an indication of the direction in which developments seem to be moving.”

Bishop Neill continued:

“The first and burning question is, naturally, whether the Anglican Communion in anything like its present form can survive at all.” (1)

For Stephen Neill, the question of the future of Anglicanism had been raised by a range of developments that surely meant that deep change was ahead: the appearance of the United Churches of first South (1947) and then North (1970) India, the diminution of the metro-political role of the Archbishop of Canterbury in the emergence of separate national Provinces, the independence those Provinces sometimes exercised, the creation of the Anglican Consultative Council, the blossoming of the charismatic movement, the abandonment of Communion-wide formularies (especially Prayer Book and Articles) and the extraordinary strains introduced by fundamental theological questioning and the ordination of women.

In 1976, Bishop Neill did not go on to answer the question he had raised. Thirty years on, what I am prepared to say at this moment in time is that the Anglican Communion cannot survive, let alone flourish, in its present form. It is in need of, and in the midst of, profound reformation. It is not alone in this – for the whole Church in the West is in need of this reformation – but our subject, for today, is Anglicanism, and it is to some of the aspects of this reformation that I now turn.

A Mediated Settlement in the United States

There are two churches claiming to be the Episcopal Church. In the words of Bp. Ed Salmon, Chairman of the Board of this House, there is a “chasm fixed between them.” Eight dioceses (2) have gone so far as to appeal to the Communion for Alternative Primatial Oversight (APO), whereby a bishop or archbishop external to the States would exercise all the functions of Presiding Bishop within the States. Three dioceses have withdrawn their consent for inclusion in their domestic provinces and one has proposed complete re-alignment with an overseas jurisdiction. (3) The Archbishop of Canterbury has intervened by asking the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Can. Kenneth Kearon, to seek an “American solution” to the conflict represented by the APO requests. Significantly, the four principals identified by the Archbishop of Canterbury for the Kearon initiative, were the Presiding Bishop, the Presiding Bishop-elect, the Bishop of Pittsburgh and the Bishop of Fort Worth, all seated as equals, naming equal teams. Unable to achieve any resolution on the Alternative Primatial Oversight issue at a September meeting in New York, and aware that the issue is actually the “chasm” between us rather than APO, significantly many of the participants present at New York believe that the Kearon initiative has no future, thus insuring that in fact it has none.

Speaking together from Kigali, just one week after the New York meeting, twenty Primates of the Global South (or their representatives) communicated their intention to provide Alternative Primatial Oversight, in consultation with the Archbishop of Canterbury, to the appealing U.S. dioceses. (4) Representatives of the Global South Committee will be meeting with representatives of the eight APO dioceses within a very few days.

Also in September, twenty-one diocesans (ten of whom are Network diocesans) met at the invitation of the senior diocesan of the Episcopal Church, Bp. Don Wimberly, the Bishop of Texas, to declare that the response of the General Convention to the Windsor Report was substantially inadequate, that the Windsor Report was the only hope of a way forward for the Anglican Communion, and that they (we) were committed to going forward together on that basis.

But the situation is very much more than Network or Windsor dioceses. Progressive and moderate dioceses are at different stages of disintegration. Diocesan budgets are in shambles in many places, and membership and average Sunday attendance continue to decline, as congregations split or the faithful choose non-ECUSA Anglicanism or Rome, Orthodoxy, Pentecostalism or Evangelicalism. In some parts of the country, orthodox congregations are in “mutual defense pacts,” or are quietly negotiating “ways out” where there is a liberal openness to such conversations. Where generally conservative dioceses suffer, it is because the bishop is perceived to be compromising or unable to stand clearly enough for his clearest clergy and lay leaders. Conservative church-plants are emerging everywhere. Often they are on no one’s radar for months. Eventually they identify themselves to the Network’s church-plant trainer, or to the Network’s international “transfers desk.” Not atypical is this situation, reported to me just last week: In addition to the nine congregations under Ugandan or Bolivian oversight in Southern California, there are now eight new Anglican congregations forming there who are, as yet, related to no one. Additionally, the Canterbury Trail has not cooled at all on evangelical campuses across the nation – indeed the trail grows more like a highway – despite (or might it be because of?) the troubles. That both Gordon-Conwell and Fuller Seminaries, each located in strongholds of the other Episcopal Church, have established “Anglican tracks” in the last year are significant signs of the times.

We have reached the moment where a mediation to achieve disengagement is the only way forward. I believe that the other Episcopal Church – the one not represented in this convocation – has finally also come to that conclusion, as well. I believe that a mediated settlement will be in place by this time next year, or that the principals will be well on their way to such a settlement. How can we set one another free to proclaim the gospel (the Truth) as we, so differently, understand it? How can we bless one another as cousins, rather than oppress one another as brothers? The day for a serious and wide-ranging mediation has arrived. This will have an immense impact on the present and the future of Anglicanism, and it cannot come too soon.

An End to Western Hegemony

In his landmark book, The Next Christendom (5), Penn State Professor Philip Jenkins described the decline of European and North American Christianity and the emergence of a dynamic and rapidly-expanding Christianity in the Global South. Anglicanism in Africa, Asia and South America, along with Pentecostalism and Roman Catholicism, is at the center of this “next Christendom.” Nigeria alone, with double the number of Anglicans of just fifteen years ago, and one-quarter of all the world’s Anglicans today, will consecrate another eighteen missionary bishops this January.

But the Anglican tune, and the call for the dance, have long come from London or New York. The systems that govern the Anglican Communion are Western. The Anglican Communion Office is chiefly funded by American money. The Anglican Consultative Council has been dominated by British and American interests, and operates on the First World’s paradigm of parliamentary rules and procedures. Or compare the anachronism of a “first among equals” chosen only from among British citizens and named by a secular Head of State. How peacefully, how cooperatively these systems change will determine much about the future of Anglicanism: Will the old systems be metamorphosed for a new day, or will the old systems be supplanted by new ones that emerge from the events of these days?

For a conciliar tradition, which is what Anglicanism most nearly is at its provincial level, what, we must ask, is the Council at the international level that will come to guide it? The once-in-a-decade Lambeth Conferences may have functioned in that way in a more settled age, but are inadequate for 21st century Anglicanism. Can the Primates Meeting, or some smaller Council drawn from that membership, serve this purpose? And what of the radical imbalances between Provinces when comparing the Primates of Scotland, Ireland, Wales or even the United States with Provinces like Nigeria, Uganda or Kenya?

The future of Anglicanism depends on the shift of its systems and institutions from North to South, and from Anglo- to Afro-, Sino- and Latino-. In some measure an early sign of the shift in leadership may have been signaled from Kigali in September. Alternative Primatial Oversight may not be something that Western leaders see any way to provide, but Southern leaders believe they can. Just as old paradigm responses to the present Anglican crisis – responses like the Panel of Reference – pale in comparison to the vigorous and more immediate interventions in our domestic life of Provinces like Central Africa, Kenya, Southern Cone, Uganda, and, in the first wave, Rwanda and Southeast Asia. What will the Instruments of Unity of this shift look like? We cannot yet say, but shifting they are, and shift they must. Stephen Neill was able to pose the central question. My hunch is that he would have been astounded at the depth of the changes that the maturing and renewal of Anglicanism, if it be God’s will, now requires.

One last consideration as we look at the necessary end to the Western hegemony in Anglicanism: Covenant is an idea with a very old and non-Western pedigree. How an Anglican Covenant emerges will be fascinating to observe. Already the West – not least in Archbishop Rowan Williams’ “The Challenge and Hope of Being an Anglican” – has proposed degrees of Covenant commitment. Whether the Windsor Report-proposed or Global South-introduced notion of an Anglican Covenant will be meaningful or meaningless will depend on whether Global South clarity or Western post-modernism define what is and what is not Anglicanism. The future of Anglicanism as a coherent Christian enterprise or remnant of a syncretistic Enlightment development will hang in the balance. What must also be observed, in any case, is that the emergence of two Anglicanisms – like the two Episcopal Churches of the present moment – one a declining and ultimately heterodox expression and one a chiefly Southern Hemisphere offspring with totally new Instruments of Unity still to emerge is, sadly, far from a remote possibility.

Recovery of an Anglican Magisterium

Whether Global Anglicanism can survive the entropic forces at play within our life together is a question of monumental historical and ecumenical significance. For all of us in this Chapel, the question is also one of great personal significance.

An Anglicanism without Scripture as its fundamental authority cannot survive. Richard Hooker rightly saw Scripture’s primacy. Reason guides the application of Scripture’s message for any age. Tradition elucidates Scripture’s meaning as previous generations have applied it. But Scripture is the ultimate authority in its plain meaning.

In his bleak assessment of the survivability of Anglicanism, the English Dominican Aidan Nichols, quoting Eric Maschall, speaks of the “fundamental incoherence” of the three historic streams of Anglicanism: Evangelical, Catholic and Liberal. (6) Summarizing the arguments Nichols brings to bear in this analysis, Graham Leonard, former Bishop of London and former Anglican, cites four factors that have substantially (terminally?) diminished Anglicanism’s ability to hold these parties and the whole tradition in creative tension: 1) an undermining of the ultimate authority of Scripture (as symbolized by the loss of place of the Articles of Religion, 2) the loss of the Book of Common Prayer, 3) the innovation of the ordination of women, and 4) the substitution of the authority of national synods for the authority previously accorded Scripture. (7)

To points 1) and 4) the experience of the American Church reveals all too starkly the pattern in contemporary Anglicanism that cannot be a part of our future, if there is to be a future. In 1973, the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, allowing pastoral concern to trump Scriptural teaching, replaced its annulment canon with a canon allowing remarriage after divorce, not limiting such remarriage to those cases that might be argued from Scripture. By comparison to effects visited on the whole Church in the undermining of Scriptural authority in life after life and household after household, the confirmation of a bishop in a same-sex relationship in 2003 is but reasonable follow-on. Part of Anglicanism’s magisterium was its fundamental submission to the theological and moral teachings of Scripture, especially when that teaching was personally costly, (8) all the while offering the grace that forever met sinners where they were. To each one in this room I ask, are we prepared together to recover this submission, or no? In Scripture’s plain words, are we prepared to remain faithful to the wife of our youth, or no? (9) The future of Anglicanism is fundamentally dependent on submission of this sort, on submissions that break our own desires against Scripture’s narrow way. And not just in theory, but in my life and in yours.

To point 3) – the ordination of women – I do not wish to speak, which you will regard as this address’s one avoidance. My own support for women in holy orders is well known. Global Anglicanism has said that there are, in fact “two integrities” here, both arguable from Holy Scripture, and – to employ Hooker’s method — less so from Tradition. I am convinced that an honest century of reception will sort this one out. I am also persuaded that our God has challenged us to deal with this issue, either because He does intend to bless this new understanding or because He has it in mind that we Anglicans will best find ourselves again in the institutional and relational charity it will require of us as a dynamic and faithful Anglicanism re-emerges.

To point 2) – the loss of the Book of Common Prayer – I want to be so bold as to suggest the following: that Anglicanism’s practical magisterium – its reliable teaching authority — has been its Book of Common Prayer, and that without a restored Book of Common Prayer, reasserting the theological propositions of medieval Catholicism as reshaped by the English Reformation, best represented in the prayer book of 1662, Anglicanism will continue its theological disintegration apace. For that Western Church whose popular and practical believing was more nearly lex orandi, lex credendi than any other tradition — for that Western Church whose practical magisterium was its prayerbook — a fixed prayer book is essential. For a tradition that has a separate magisterium, Vatican II-style liturgy is a possibility. For us as Anglicans, it is, quite demonstrably, not. Forty years of alternative texts and expansive language have produced an undiscipled people and a theological wasteland. We have become a Church that actually does believe, in the words of one eucharistic canon, that we are “worthy to stand before [Him].” (10) How staggeringly un-Scriptural and un-Anglican!

What I would also add to this is that the need for an “Authorized Version” of the Bible, at least parish by parish, or diocese by diocese, re-emerges alongside the need for a Book of Common Prayer. How shall we ever learn Scripture again except that we always hear it in the same way? The matter of formation needs to dominate our liturgical and ascetical thinking, rather than our desires for education, variety, correctness or newness. And since I have already given quite enough offense, I shall leave off here without arguing for hymnody that is static enough to produce texts that are known by heart…

A Church without a magisterium is soon no Church at all. It is not too late to begin the reform, but the time is short. The reform will also not come from the top – as much as we might yearn for such a solution (for Reformations do not come from the top or begin at the center) – but from a thousand altars, like the one at the heart of this House, and from leaders brave enough to embrace unpopular and counter-cultural truths. The future of Anglicanism is most assuredly tied up in this. The Choice for Comprehensiveness over Balkanization

Diocesan boundaries are lost forever, at least in the United States. Resistance by American progressives to early suggestions of ways to accommodate conservatives in progressive dioceses (as well as progressives in conservative dioceses) (11) have led to situations in which multiple Anglican jurisdictions now operate in the same territory. Prior to the Singapore consecrations of January 2000, there were, of course, multiple Continuing Church and Reformed Episcopal Church jurisdictions operating within what were Episcopal Church dioceses. But between 2001 and 2006, multiple Anglican Communion jurisdictions have come to operate in the same domestic spheres. Rwanda, Uganda, Central Africa, Kenya, Southern Cone and Nigeria all have significant congregations within U.S. dioceses, and more join them daily. Other presences from the Diocese of London to the Province of Korea are less well documented. The embrace of affinity relationships, rather than geographical location, as the organizing principle of the Anglican Mission in America, has also offered an intentional alternative to classic assumptions about diocesan structure. Things will never return to the simplicity of one Anglican bishop having authority over one Anglican territory. What was lost by the whole of Western Christendom at the Reformation of the 16th Century has now been lost by Anglicanism in the Reformation of the 21st Century.

The danger in what is taking place is immense. The competitive denominationalism that characterized the Christian Church for most of the last five centuries could as easily come to characterize intra-Anglican relationships, particularly in North America. But North American rivalries and conflicts are soon enough transported to the rest of the Anglican world. The Anglican Communion Network has striven to avoid this outcome, but whether its labors will finally succeed is still to be played out.

Can we limit our love affair with freedom? Can we choose – both clergy and congregations – the common good over more self-interested opportunity? The sorrows of having a bishop five thousand miles away (limiting episcopal ministry) may be found to be outweighed by the joys of having a bishop five thousand miles away (limiting episcopal accountability.) The independence of being the only one of our kind anywhere nearby may prove seductive when compared to the hassle of regional expectations for joint mission when there are several connected congregations. The temptations of American “assessments” flowing into the treasuries of economically-challenged Global South dioceses or provinces is also a factor militating against a quick end to Anglicanism’s increasing Balkanization. The late Paul Moore of New York used to be fond of describing the Episcopal Church as “a catholic church in love with freedom.” The longer we embrace our freedoms, the less catholic we shall prove to be. Whether we shall permanently live in Anglican silos labeled AMiA or Kenya or Anglican Province in America or Windsor or fill-in-the-blank remains to be seen. Will we choose the common good when push comes to shove? The future of Anglicanism will depend on our answer, both individually and corporately. Forty years of domestic Balkanization among conservative Anglicans point to the tremendous change of heart that must overtake us.

Holiness and Sacrificial Leadership

Among the clergy of the Diocese of Pittsburgh are a great many of my personal heroes and heroines. They work for less than they could earn in another diocese. They work among the poor and socially battered locally, or cross-culturally around the world. Many work at less than clergy minimums and have under-funded pensions. Some have gathered extended communities, with students and those willing to risk downward social mobility drawn into their vision of the gospel enfleshed. Among our rectors are also those who stay the years it takes to become the rector, loving the people in such a way that they endure for the long-haul, still creative, still leading, always aware that they turned down “greener fields” in sacrifice to the people God continued to call them to serve. We have young clergy and older clergy and their families willing to take on very difficult assignments, risking (and sometimes achieving) failure because the Lord, the people and the Bishop have asked it. We have the faculty of Trinity School who serve untenured and most under-compensated of all the Episcopal seminaries, in a noble experiment in a decayed industrial town.

Contrast this sacrificial leadership with the vision of secular professionalism that drove clergy values during the last half of the twentieth century. That vision did many things, but rarely did it increase holiness or make of the parish priest an icon through which the people glimpsed God’s kingdom breaking in.

The theme of this past summer’s Network Council, “A Reformation of Behavior,” speaks of the repentance and re-direction required for the counter-cultural movement that a renewed Anglicanism must become. Harkening back to the definition of evangelism offered by Archbishop William Temple so long ago, our people and our congregations must so present Jesus Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit, that people are drawn to accept Him as their Savior and to submit to Him as their Lord. (12)

Jesus honors those who take up their cross and follow him. For American Anglicans in this day, that means being willing to bear considerable personal suffering and uncertainty. It means shepherding sheep in the midst of a church war whose outcome is not known, in the midst of an Anglicanism that may have run its historic course. It means forgiving church leaders, especially bishops, who have utterly failed us and who continue to fail us. But Jesus has put into our charge what he has put into our charge, and the issue is whether we will lay down our lives for those sheep. For priesthood that looks like Jesus’ priesthood, someone else’s failure in his or her stewardship does not give us license to abandon our own, no matter how painful, no matter how lonely. Jesus’ stewardship on the cross, is the stewardship God is asking of us in this Reformation time, this hinge of history. More than any other thing, the future of Anglicanism, like the future of the whole Christian Church, depends on Jesus’ cross and on ours. (And if this does not sound very “modern” or very “Rite-II,” it is not supposed to.) Are we not with Shakespeare’s Henry V at our own Agincourt? Yet the stakes are even greater, the battle fiercer, the casualties no less painful, and the outcome surely to be spoken of for ages, however we shall elect to play our individual and our corporate part.

God’s Sovereignty and the Future of Anglicanism

In human terms, I have attempted to describe what I believe are among the key elements that will determine Anglicanism’s future. Prof. Lamen Sanneh of Yale University, Islamic-born West African who converted to Anglican Christianity in his youth, assesses Anglicanism as that Christian tradition best-positioned and best-suited to global evangelization in the 21st century, and especially so in the ever-deepening confrontation with Islam. Lamen Sanneh also recognizes the extreme vulnerability of Anglicanism to the destructive forces threatening to undo that Anglicanism. (13)

Whether our God shall choose to use Anglicanism as a key to the Reformation He is bringing to His One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, or a sign of the judgment that comes upon a branch of that Church that has lost, through its sin and infidelity and arrogance, His favor, we cannot yet say.

I am prepared to hope for the former and sacrifice for the former, with hands and head and heart joined with thousands of Anglican leaders across this land and around this globe, knowing that I have not been released from God’s call to me to guard the sheep entrusted to my care. I am prepared to believe Paul’s words at the end of his First Letter to the Corinthians, and to take at face value God’s promise in God’s Word offered there:

Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (I Cor. 15:58)

This is what Anglicans do. It is why I believe there is a future beyond this excruciatingly difficult present. Moreover, I have come to trust a God who creates out of nothing, raises the dead, and loves the likes of us. That He could do something with Anglicanism, if we will entrust ourselves to Him, is not really that hard to believe. And whatever He does, we may rest in the security of knowing that in Him our labor will not have been in vain.

Footnotes:

1 Neill, Stephen, Anglicanism, Fourth Edition, Oxford University Press, New York, 1977, p.388.

2 Central Florida, Dallas, Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, Quincy, San Joaquin, South Carolina, and Springfield have appealed for Alternative Primatial Oversight or Relationship. The Bishop of Dallas has withdrawn from the request, but the Bishops of Albany are considering joining the request.

3 Fort Worth, Pittsburgh and Springfield. Under Article VII of the Constitution of the Episcopal Church. San Joaquin is considering complete Provincial re-alignment.

4 Communique, Global South Primates, Kigali, 22 September 2006.

5 Jenkins, Philip, The Next Christendom, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002.

6 Nichols, Aidan, The Panther and the Hind, T&T Clark, Edinburgh, 1993, p.176.

7 Ibid., pp.xi-xii.

8 Here we might reference countless martyrs from the Oxford Martyrs to the Martyrs of Uganda.

9 Malachi 2:13–16.

10 Book of Common Prayer, 1979, p. 368.

11 The most notable of these proposals was the “Jubilee Initiative” proposed by American Anglican Council Bishops in January, 2000.

12 “To evangelize is so to present Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit, that men shall come to put their trust in God through Him, to accept Him as their Savior, and to serve Him as their King in the fellowship of His Church.”

13 Private conversations hosted at St. Vincent Archabbey, Latrobe, Pennsylvania, 2005.

At the close of October: Early U2


October
And the trees are stripped bare
Of all they wear
What do I care
October
And kingdoms rise
And kingdoms fall
But you go on
and on

U2 1983

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Virginia Episcopal Churches Oppose Marriage Amendment - make materials available in the churches to actively oppose Virginia Marriage Amendment

General Convention Resolution used to advocate defeat of Virginia's Marriage Amendment.

Interesting item in the Grace Episcopal Church (Alexandria, VA) bulletin last week. Here it is (or click on the headline above):

Information on Virginia'’s proposed Marriage amendment

The Vestries and clergy of St. Mark'’s, St. Philip'’s and Holy Comforter (all in Richmond) wrote a letter to the Richmond regions of the Diocese to focus attention on the language of Virginia as proposed Ă‚“marriage amendment.” They have given the go ahead for churches throughout the Diocese to provide the text of the letter to their congregations. Copies of the letter and the text of both the proposed amendment and General Convention Resolution A059 are available on the credenza outside the parish office."

(BB Note: I think that's a typo in the Grace bulletin - they probably meant A095, not A059 - which interestingly enough was adding CS Lewis to the church year calendar).

A095 is described this way by the Diocese of Rhode Island's newspaper:
"Resolution A095 reiterates Episcopal Church support of gay and lesbian people as 'children of God who have a full and equal claim with all other persons upon the love, acceptance, and pastoral concern and care of the Church.' The resolution opposes state or federal constitutional amendments that prohibit same- gender civil marriage or civil unions and calls on government at all levels to give same-gender couples the same rights as non-gay married couples." (Diocese of Rhode Island's newspaper, Risen (Sumer 2006, Vol 53:3)

Here is the full text of A095 as passed by General Convention 2006 in Columbus:

Here is the text of A095:

Resolved, That the 75th General Convention reaffirm The Episcopal Church’s historical support of gay and lesbian persons as children of God and entitled to full civil rights; and be it further

Resolved, That the 75th General Convention reaffirm the 71st General Convention’s action calling upon “municipal council, state legislatures and the United States Congress to approve measures giving gay and lesbian couples protection[s] such as: bereavement and family leave policies; health benefits; pension benefits; real-estate transfer tax benefits; and commitments to mutual support enjoyed by non-gay married couples”; and be it further

Resolved, That the 75th General Convention oppose any state or federal constitutional amendment that prohibits same-sex civil marriage or civil unions.

--

This resolution is now being used to defeat Virginia's Marriage Amendment.

Now we can see how the actions of General Convention bring not only separation in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, but are now being used to actively support political actions opposing traditional marriage in the Commonwealth of Virginia. We get it.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Thunder on the Mountain

Click on the link above for "Thunder on the Mountain" from Bob Dylan's concert last Friday. Following a scriptural reference from Exodus, I'll post the lyrics (I know, I know, you don't have to say it). But for those who feel that Bob can't sing, once you have your personal epiphany and learn what he is doing - there's no turning back (just so you know that you've been warned). It's sort of like modern art. For a long time it looks like a children's Saturday afternoon paint fight (and I guess for some, modern art always remains that). But if we're willing to take a little time, a whole new world opens. Dylan is like that too. I thought he couldn't sing either (silly me). But I was so much older then. Hint: Listen to how he pronounces the words - emphasizing some vowels, as you would reading poetry. Even the sound of Dylan's voice is a clue, aging as it is. But of course, his voice has always been older than his years, even now.

One of the reasons I enjoy reading the Harry Potter books so much is that they are mysteries to solve and doing so opens us to a larger world, like C.S. Lewis does with Narnia or Tolkien does with Middle Earth - and Dylan's music is very similar (in fact, "Time Out of Mind," is a phrase from "The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe," what's up with that?). The songs look deceivingly simple - like a so-called children's story - and then we discover that inside those lyrics is a whole new world to explore, along with this thing called Truth. This particular song, Thunder on the Mountain, is most certainly a post-9-11 song and written with the war on terror on the mind. Again, Dylan doesn't take the cheap political slogan route - as others may do (remember his ironic slam on Neil Young), but to the deeper struggles that the war on terror reveals.

Here is Exodus 20:18-21:

When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, "Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die."

Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning."

The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was.

--

Thunder on the Mountain

Thunder on the mountain, and there's fires on the moon
A ruckus in the alley and the sun will be here soon
Today's the day, gonna grab my trombone and blow
Well, there's hot stuff here and it's everywhere I go

I was thinkin' 'bout Alicia Keys, couldn't keep from crying
When she was born in Hell's Kitchen, I was living down the line
I'm wondering where in the world Alicia Keys could be
I been looking for her even clear through Tennessee

Feel like my soul is beginning to expand
Look into my heart and you will sort of understand
You brought me here, now you're trying to run me away
The writing on the wall, come read it, come see what it say

Thunder on the mountain, rollin' like a drum
Gonna sleep over there, that's where the music coming from
I don't need any guide, I already know the way
Remember this, I'm your servant both night and day

The pistols are poppin' and the power is down
I'd like to try somethin' but I'm so far from town
The sun keeps shinin' and the North Wind keeps picking up speed
Gonna forget about myself for a while, gonna go out and see what others need

I've been sittin' down studyin' the art of love
I think it will fit me like a glove
I want some real good woman to do just what I say
Everybody got to wonder what's the matter with this cruel world today

Thunder on the mountain rolling to the ground
Gonna get up in the morning walk the hard road down
Some sweet day I'll stand beside my king
I wouldn't betray your love or any other thing

Gonna raise me an army, some tough sons of bitches
I'll recruit my army from the orphanages
I been to St. Herman's church, said my religious vows
I've sucked the milk out of a thousand cows

I got the porkchops, she got the pie
She ain't no angel and neither am I
Shame on your greed, shame on your wicked schemes
I'll say this, I don't give a damn about your dreams

Thunder on the mountain heavy as can be
Mean old twister bearing down on me
All the ladies in Washington scrambling to get out of town
Looks like something bad gonna happen, better roll your airplane down

Everybody going and I want to go too
Don't wanna take a chance with somebody new
I did all I could, I did it right there and then
I've already confessed - no need to confess again

Gonna make a lot of money, gonna go up north
I'll plant and I'll harvest what the earth brings forth
The hammer's on the table, the pitchfork's on the shelf
For the love of God, you ought to take pity on yourself

Dylan 2006

The Living Church reports on Christ Our Lord Church, Woodbridge

Virginia Mission Disputes Bishop’s Version of Departure
10/24/2006

In a two-hour meeting with the Virginia Bishop Suffragan David Jones, the Rev. George Beaven explained that he and the other leaders of the parochial mission of Christ Our Lord, Lake Bridge, desired to make their departure from The Episcopal Church as grace-filled as possible.

“I am saddened that the diocese chose to take such a negative tone in reporting our decisions in its Oct. 20 release,” Fr. Beaven wrote in a prepared statement. “I have nothing but the utmost love and respect for the bishop, although I disagree with him profoundly on matters of faith and doctrine. I am particularly saddened by the diocese’s mischaracterization of our treatment of the Hispanic congregation worshiping at our church.”

On Oct. 15, the congregation, which has about 200 members, voted by a 95 percent margin to dissolve as an Episcopal church and reincorporate under the episcopal oversight of Bishop John Kahigwa of the Ugandan Diocese of North Kigezi. At the meeting, Fr. Beaven resigned as vicar and retired from The Episcopal Church.

“Our experience is that The Episcopal Church has become an unhealthy environment for orthodox Christians,” said Fr. Beaven, who has been engaged to lead the newly named Anglican congregation, Christ Our Lord Church. “In a neighborhood populated by military and other highly mobile families, our future depends on an influx of new people each year who are looking for a safe and supportive place for their families to worship and grow.”

The statement noted that since the congregation began occupying the church property, Christ Our Lord Church paid off early a second mortgage of $90,000 and paid down the first mortgage by $80,000. “The congregation made extensive improvements to the property, which appreciated by more than $1 million from its $700,000 original purchase price,” Fr. Beaven wrote. He noted that personal property was turned over to the founding church, All Saints’, Woodbridge.

“We felt so blessed to have this building that from the start we have shared it with young churches needing a place to worship,” Fr. Beaven said. “We gave the current lessees notice in August that because our church was facing an uncertain future, their lease would terminate on September 30, 2006. We also assured them that we would do all we could to help them if they wanted to continue occupancy. We later allowed them to stay until October 15. The electricity was not turned off until October 20, after the diocese had taken over possession of the property.”

Monday, October 23, 2006

Uh Oh! New York Times reports "Episcopal Bishop Authorizes Same Sex Blessings"

Click on the link above to go to article at the New York Times.

Connecticut Episcopal Bishop Authorizes Priests to Bless Gay Unions

By FERNANDA SANTOS
The leader of the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut, Bishop Andrew D. Smith, has authorized priests to give blessings to same-sex unions during religious ceremonies. The move threatens to further alienate the conservative wing of his church and deepen a fissure between progressive and orthodox Episcopalians nationwide.

“I believe in my heart and soul that it is time for this church, this diocese, formally to acknowledge and support and bless our sisters and brothers who are gay and lesbian, including those who are living in faithful and faith-filled committed partnerships,” Bishop Smith said on Saturday in a speech at a diocesan conference in Hartford.

The decision, reported yesterday by The Hartford Courant, does not authorize Episcopal clergy to officiate at civil unions or create an official prayer service for the blessings. Rather, it permits parishes to acknowledge gay and lesbian couples who have had a civil union granted by the state. Connecticut approved civil unions last year.

The decision allows each parish to choose whether to acknowledge same-sex couples during religious services, said Karin Hamilton, spokeswoman for the diocese.

Nationwide, nine other Episcopal dioceses — in Arkansas, California, Delaware, Long Island, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Vermont and Washington, D.C. — have enacted policies allowing the blessing of same-sex couples, according to Integrity, a national Episcopal gay organization based in Rochester. Kansas used to have the same policy, but it was rescinded there in 2003, when the diocese ordained a new bishop, Dean E. Wolfe.

“What happened in Connecticut is great news for the church, because what it says is that we’re going to continue to move forward to fully include all of the baptized in the body of Christ, whether they’re gay or straight,” said the Rev. Susan Russell, president of Integrity and an Episcopal priest in Los Angeles. “We should be in the business of building bridges, not walls.”

But the Rev. Canon David C. Anderson, president of the American Anglican Council, an orthodox umbrella group, said that Bishop Smith’s decision “is proof of his disregard for the larger Anglican Communion and further evidences his militancy with the homosexual gay agenda.”

“Bishop Smith and some other bishops as well are literally choosing to pull themselves and their churches out of the broader religious community,” Canon Anderson continued. “In the future of the Anglican community, there might be no place for people like Bishop Smith.”

With about two million members in the United States, the Episcopal Church has taken significant steps toward inclusiveness in the past few years, most notably with the election of V. Gene Robinson in 2003 as bishop of New Hampshire, the first openly gay bishop in the history of the denomination.

The same year, clergy and laymen overwhelmingly approved a resolution that recognized the blessing of same-sex unions as a prerogative of individual parishes.

The moves strained relations between congregations in the United States and those in the global, more traditional, Anglican Communion, of which the Episcopal Church is the American arm.

A 2004 report commissioned by the communion’s leader, the archbishop of Canterbury, recommended that the Episcopal Church apologize for the ordination of Bishop Robinson and stop blessing same-sex couples and electing gay bishops.

The Episcopal Church responded at its triennial conference this year, calling on dioceses to avoid backing the election of openly gay bishops.

But in Connecticut, Bishop Smith has continued to push forward his changes, as he has done since becoming the diocesan bishop seven years ago.

In 1999, he changed a longstanding policy to allow the ordination of gay clergy members. In 2000, he and other religious leaders voted to extend health benefits to the same-sex partners of diocesan employees.

“I believe that it is time for us to rethink, repray and reform our theology and our pastoral practices; to welcome, recognize, support and bless the lives and faith of brothers and sisters who are gay and lesbian in the equal fullness of Christian fellowship,” Bishop Smith said in his speech, which drew effusive cheers.

The Rev. Christopher Leighton one of six priests who rebelled against Bishop Smith over his support of Bishop Robinson, said yesterday that Bishop Smith’s position on the blessing of same-sex unions only complicated matters.

“He had a very fiery speech, interrupted by applause at several points and in the end, he got a standing ovation,” said Father Leighton, of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Darien. “This is where the vast majority of the diocese stands on this matter; the problem is that the worldwide Anglican community will have no part in this.”

Father Leighon added, “It’s not that we’re against gays. It’s rather that we’re affirming the traditional beliefs that only a man and a woman should be intimate for life in holy wedlock.”

Special Art Auction supports "Five Talents" important work to eradicate poverty - Join in the work with just a click of your mouse!

Surf the Web. Buy art. Help eradicate poverty.

Vienna, Virginia – This month, you can help eradicate poverty in developing countries around the world with the click of a mouse. Five Talents International, a non-profit organization that fights poverty using small loans and business training, will establish The Knippers Education Fund with “A Helping Hand: Artists’ Exhibition and Sale,” an online and silent art auction. The fund is being created to honor Diane Knippers, a Five Talents founding board member, and her passionate commitment to empower the poor in developing countries.

Starting Tuesday, Oct. 17, bids for paintings, sculptures and original prints will be accepted online at www.fivetalentsauction.org. Featured art will include the works of nationally recognized artists such as Sandra Bowden; Tim Botts; Tanja Butler; Bruce Herman; Ed Knippers; Dean Larson; Nathaniel Mather; Dorsey McHugh; Sam Nash; John Olsen; Ted Prescott; Karen Swenholt; and David Zuck, among others. Works by Marc Chagall, Otto Dix, and a page from the Nuremberg Chronicle will also be included.

The online auction will close at 5 p.m. EST on Friday, Nov. 10, and culminate with a silent auction and reception on Saturday, Nov. 11, at the Foxhall Gallery, 3301 New Mexico Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. The auction and reception will be from 5:30 to 9 p.m.

All online bids will be unsealed at the close of the silent auction. The exhibition, organized by Edward Knippers, Sandra Bowden and Jerry and Twila Eisley, will be on display to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 8-11 at the Foxhall Gallery.

“I have had the privilege of supporting Five Talents for many years and am supporting this effort to honor Diane and to empower the poor through economic development,” Ed Knippers said.

Time magazine named Diane one of the 25 most influential evangelicals in the United States in 2005. That list also included preacher Billy Graham; Charles Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship International; and Rick Warren, pastor and author of “A Purpose Driven Life.”

The Knippers Fund will provide scholarships for the next generation of church leaders, missionaries and poor entrepreneurs, who are living or working in developing countries, with business and management tools needed to transform their communities and churches. Scholarships will be provided in four categories:

• Local or international certified courses in microenterprise development;
• Intensive training for management and staff of Christian savings and credit projects;
• Leadership and entrepreneurship training courses;
• Research on church-based savings and credit programs.

Established in 1999, Five Talents International has provided funding for business training and for thousands of loans, ranging from $50 to $300, in 12 countries across Africa, Asia and Central and South America. Each loan finances a mico-business that in turn employs at least five other people. A majority of the loan recipients are women.

Five Talents’ ongoing ministry, which combines business micro-lending with spiritual development, is supported by a staff based in Vienna, Virginia and an office in London. Hundreds of volunteers across the United States and UK participate in the ministry. For more information, visit www.fivetalents.org.

Five Talents International
P.O. Box 331
Vienna, VA 22183
www.fivetalents.org
Contact: Nancy Green, Director of Development, (703) 242-6016 or nancygreen@fivetalents.org

A Series of Dreams: "The cards are no good that you're holding, unless they're from another world."

You can click on headline above for the original video or go to YouTube below for a copy. The original is of better quality. But it's an extraordinary video production, extremely creative and moving, for a song that was never released on an official album and for years was only available as a bootleg. When Columbia began the official "Bootleg Series," it is the final song off the third ablum. I'll post the lyrics below the YouTube copy.



I was thinking of a series of dreams
Where nothing comes up to the top
Everything stays down where it's wounded
And comes to a permanent stop
Wasn't thinking of anything specific
Like in a dream, when someone wakes up and screams
Nothing too very scientific
Just thinking of a series of dreams

Thinking of a series of dreams
Where the time and the tempo fly
And there's no exit in any direction
'Cept the one that you can't see with your eyes
Wasn't making any great connection
Wasn't falling for any intricate scheme
Nothing that would pass inspection
Just thinking of a series of dreams

Dreams where the umbrella is folded
Into the path you are hurled
And the cards are no good that you're holding
Unless they're from another world

In one, numbers were burning
In another, I witnessed a crime
In one, I was running, and in another
All I seemed to be doing was climb
Wasn't looking for any special assistance
Not going to any great extremes
I'd already gone the distance
Just thinking of a series of dreams

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Virginia Episcopal Church Dissolves; New Church Affiliates with Anglican Province

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contacts: christourlord@cox.net; Jim Pierobon at 301-520-1758

Episcopal Church in Woodbridge, VA Dissolves;
New Christ Our Lord Church in Woodbridge Affiliates with Anglican Province

WOODBRIDGE, Va., Oct. 22 –  The members of Christ Our Lord Episcopal Church, a thriving congregation of about 200 faithful Christians in this suburb of Washington, DC, have voted to dissolve the church and to conclude its existence as part of the Diocese of Virginia of The Episcopal Church of the U.S. The members of the congregation have reconstituted themselves as a new Anglican church, named Christ Our Lord Church and affiliated with the Anglican Province of Uganda.

The eligible voting members of Christ Our Lord Episcopal Church voted Sunday, October 15 by a 95 percent margin to dissolve the church and to terminate its relationship with The Episcopal Church in the U.S. and the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia. The congregation also voted to relinquish to the Diocese the church property on Omisol Road in Woodbridge because it was titled in the name of the Diocese. At that meeting, the Rev. George Beaven, the vicar of the church, submitted his resignation and announced that he would retire from The Episcopal Church.

“Our members are choosing to stay an active and faithful part of the worldwide Anglican Communion because The Episcopal Church has abandoned us,” said Mr. Beaven, who has been engaged to pastor the new Anglican Christ Our Lord Church. “Twenty-two of the 38 provinces in the worldwide Anglican Communion have recognized this division in the Communion and have declared themselves in either broken or impaired communion with The Episcopal Church.”

“Our experience is that the Episcopal Church has become an unhealthy environment for orthodox Christians. In a neighborhood populated by military and other highly mobile families, our future depends on an influx of new people each year who are looking for a safe and supportive place for their families to worship and grow,” Mr. Beaven said.

“Events in The Episcopal Church that have shown profound disrespect for Scripture and Biblical teachings since Christ Our Lord Episcopal Church was “planted” in 1991 by All Saints’ Episcopal Church of nearby Dale City have made it extremely difficult for the congregation to grow,” Mr. Beaven said Saturday. The congregation determined that its future was in jeopardy if it did not take decisive and timely action to disentangle itself from The Episcopal Church.

On Monday, October 16, Mr. Beaven wrote the Rev. John Guernsey, the Rector of All Saints’ (the founding and supervising church of Christ Our Lord), officially informing him and the All Saints’ vestry of the vote to dissolve the existing church and relinquish the Omisol Road property. On Thursday, October 19, Mr. Guernsey of All Saints’ wrote Bishop Peter Lee, the highest ranking official of the Diocese of Virginia, informing him of the vote and relinquishment of the Omisol Road property. In a letter to All Saints’ in April, the Diocese had indicated its unwillingness to negotiate any purchase of the Omisol Road property by Christ Our Lord.

Because Mr. Beaven had stepped down as the pastor of the dissolving Christ Our Lord Episcopal Church, the church’s Senior Warden Scott Richardson also wrote Bishop Lee on Friday, October 20th, reporting the vote and reaffirming that the church was relinquishing its Omisol Road  property, with its mortgage, to the Diocese and turning over its personal property to its founding church, All Saints’. Richardson explained how all remaining utility bills and other obligations were being paid.

In the letter to Bishop Lee, Richardson wrote: “We wish to make the departure of our church from the Diocese and the national church as peaceful and grace-filled as possible. We leave with no hard feelings and wish you and the people of the Diocese of Virginia the best. We are thankful to you and Bishop Jones for your love and support over the years, and we pray for the day when we can be reunited fully as partners in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

In a two hour face-to-face meeting on October 19, 2006 with the Rt. Rev. David Jones, Suffragan Bishop of the Diocese, Mr. Beaven reiterated Christ Our Lord Episcopal Church's and his reasons for leaving The Episcopal Church, as well as his own desire to make this departure as grace-filled as possible.

“The new Christ Our Lord Church is excited about its future,” Mr. Beaven said. “We look forward to working together with our mission partners in the days ahead to build in this country a biblical, united missionary movement of Anglicans in fellowship with global Anglicanism, making disciples who make disciples of Jesus Christ and planting churches that plant churches in North America and to the ends of the earth.”

Going forward, Christ Our Lord Anglican Church worships on Sunday mornings at 10:00 a.m. at the Woodbridge Seventh Day Adventist Church, 13215 Minnieville Road, Woodbridge.

“I am saddened,” said Mr. Beaven, “that the Diocese chose to take such a negative tone in reporting our decisions in its Friday, October 20 release. I have nothing but the utmost love and respect for the Bishop, although I disagree with him profoundly on matters of faith and doctrine. I am particularly saddened by the Diocese’s mischaracterization of our treatment of the Hispanic congregation worshiping at our Church.

“We felt so blessed to have this building that from the start we have shared it with young churches needing a place to worship. We gave the current lessees notice in August that because our church was facing an uncertain future, their lease would terminate on September 30, 2006. We also assured them that we would do all we could to help them if they wanted to continue occupancy. We later allowed them to stay until October 15. The electricity was not turned off until October 20, after the Diocese had taken over possession of the property.”

Since the congregation began occupying the church property, Christ Our Lord Church paid off early a second mortgage of $90,000 and paid down the first mortgage by $80,000.  The congregation made extensive improvements to the  property, which appreciated by more than $1,000,000 from its $700,000 original purchase price.

Christ Our Lord offices are located at 13512 Minnieville Road, Suite 250, Box 6, Woodbridge, VA 22192, 703-583-1441.  http://christourlordchurch.org.

Connecticut Media Report: Bishop of Diocese of Connecticut Allows Same Sex Blessings

BB NOTE: 815 remains silent. Nothing from either the Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold, or the Presiding-Bishop Ellect Katharine Jefforts Schori. Even ENS is silent regarding the announcement by the Bishop of Connecticut. Guess we know what this means.

State's Episcopal Leader Reverses Ban, Angers Conservative Clergy, Members

By FRANCES GRANDY TAYLOR
And LARRY SMITH Courant Staff Writers

October 22 2006

The head of the Episcopal diocese in Connecticut reversed a long-standing policy this weekend by announcing that priests may give pastoral blessing to same-sex unions in church ceremonies.

The decision by Bishop Andrew Smith does not allow Episcopal clergy to officiate at civil union ceremonies. It does allow the priests, through a blessing ceremony in the church, to acknowledge gay and lesbian couples who have had a civil union granted by the state.

Smith's announcement could generate further controversy.

While it is likely to be accepted by a significant majority of Episcopal churches in the state, it is just as likely to further strain an already contentious relationship between Smith and conservative parishes.

Smith made the announcement during a speech at Christ Church Cathedral in Hartford at the diocese's two-day annual convention that ended Saturday.

"At the heart of the matter is whether we as a Church will welcome and embrace, serve with and care for and bless persons who are homosexual and partnered as cherished and fully accepted members of the body of Christ," Smith said. "I believe it is right to change our current policy, which prohibits our clergy from blessing same-sex relationships."

Smith said he chose to act because Connecticut now recognizes civil unions and because there had been no movement on the matter at the national level of the Episcopal Church. The 2003 Windsor report to the archbishop of Canterbury, leader of the worldwide Anglican communion, called for a moratorium on the consecration of gay clergy and same-sex blessings by the U.S. Episcopal Church.

"What I have permitted is a pastoral ministry of blessing, which does not mimic a wedding ceremony," Smith said in an interview after the convention. He acknowledged that he chose to take action even though the national church hasn't moved on the issue.

When civil unions became law in the state, "it further put the question of how we would respond as a church on the table," Smith said. "I felt the time had come for the church to say `Yes' since there has been no movement on the question that was emerging. And, knowing many faithful gay and lesbian folks are leading lives seeking to serve Christ, I felt that now is the time I move to say `Yes.'"

Outside Christ Church Cathedral on Saturday, several people said they disagreed with Smith but they declined to give their names.

Two who did agree, Greg Semkow and David Garlock, parishioners from Wilton, praised Smith and hailed his decision as "a bold step."

"I think it's a significant step for the church," Garlock said. "We [the Episcopal Church] stand for inclusion. We're very proud of him."

The decision was greeted with joy by the Rev. Pat Gallagher, who leads St. Paul's Church in Willimantic. "I couldn't be happier. ... I'm just so excited about it. It's a right we should have," said Gallagher, who serves openly as a lesbian and who lives with a partner.

A gay rights leader was also happy.

"The Episcopal Church has taken a step to affirm the dignity and humanity of gay people in Christ's name," said Frank O'Gorman, of People of Faith for Gay and Lesbian Civil Rights. "The love between couples gay or straight symbolizes the love of Christ for the church, and the church believes where love is, God is."

A church leader was displeased.

Smith was called "a perpetrator of false teaching," by the Rev. Christopher Leighton, rector of St. Paul's Church in Darien. He said Smith's decision was "defiant of Scripture and worldwide Christianity." Leighton is one of the five priests who have been in a theological battle with Smith since his 2003 vote in support of the consecration the openly gay bishop of New Hampshire.

Leighton predicted that churches that disagree with Smith's decision "will be intimidated into silence."

"This is where he has been headed all along," Leighton said. "Despite that the archbishop of Canterbury and worldwide Anglican [leaders] are asking for a halt to these acts, he continues to press on."

In his convention speech, Smith blasted Leighton and the other rectors of the conservative parishes who sued the diocese in federal court over his pastoral oversight of their churches and property belonging to St. John's Church in Bristol, which the diocese took over after removing its rector. Smith said the diocese has spent $350,000 in legal fees.

"For these past two years, the five parishes and their clergy have continued to enjoy the benefits of the Episcopal Church while at the same time refusing to contribute to our life and mission, and they continue to pursue their own agenda," he said. "It's a little flying an airplane while some of crew are working to dismantle it."

Contact Frances Grandy Taylor at ftaylor@courant.com.

"I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now."

Click on the headline above for the classic. For whatever reason, this song resonates after the day we had today.

Crimson flames tied through my ears
Rollin' high and mighty traps
Pounced with fire on flaming roads
Using ideas as my maps
"We'll meet on edges, soon," said I
Proud 'neath heated brow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now.

Half-wracked prejudice leaped forth
"Rip down all hate," I screamed
Lies that life is black and white
Spoke from my skull. I dreamed
Romantic facts of musketeers
Foundationed deep, somehow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now.

Girls' faces formed the forward path
From phony jealousy
To memorizing politics
Of ancient history
Flung down by corpse evangelists
Unthought of, though, somehow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now.

A self-ordained professor's tongue
Too serious to fool
Spouted out that liberty
Is just equality in school
"Equality," I spoke the word
As if a wedding vow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now.

In a soldier's stance, I aimed my hand
At the mongrel dogs who teach
Fearing not that I'd become my enemy
In the instant that I preach
My pathway led by confusion boats
Mutiny from stern to bow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now.

Yes, my guard stood hard when abstract threats
Too noble to neglect
Deceived me into thinking
I had something to protect
Good and bad, I define these terms
Quite clear, no doubt, somehow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now.

Dylan 1964

Friday, October 20, 2006

Humpty Dumpty Alert Updated

Click on the headline above for update. It's the last sentence of the posting.

Apparently, I have funny family members.

bb

Via Media Lobbies TEC Standing Committees: "Toss this Bishop From the Bridge!"

BB NOTE: I didn't know that Episcopal Standing Committee could be lobbied regarding their consents for elected bishops. How interesting! And this one is publicly lobbying - isn't that intriguing. I wonder how long this has been going on? This is also interesting in that the official communications center of The Episcopal Church is broadcasting this news to the entire church nationwide - as though helping Via Media get the word out in case their press release gets stuck in the fax machine. That's rather fascinating as well. The next bit that's amazing is that it turns out that the very people who proclaim "inclusiveness" and "no outcasts" are all in favor of tossing this godly man metaphorically into the Cooper River. Canterbury - are you listening? Does this look Anglican to you?

Via Media group "asks" bishops, standing committees to refuse consent to South Carolina bishop-elect

By Mary Frances Schjonberg
Friday, October 20, 2006

[Episcopal News Service] In letters sent October 19 to bishops with jurisdiction and all the Episcopal Church’s diocesan standing committees, Via Media USA argues that the episcopacy of the bishop-elect of the Diocese of South Carolina “would represent a threat to the unity of our church and to the cohesion” of the diocese.

The Very Rev. Mark J. Lawrence, 56, was elected September 16 on the first ballot out of a field of three nominees as the 14th bishop of South Carolina. He is the rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Parish in Bakersfield, California, in the Diocese of San Joaquin.

Both South Carolina and San Joaquin are part of a group of eight dioceses out of the Church’s 111 that have requested a relationship with a primate of the Anglican Communion other than the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, citing 2003 and 2006 General Convention actions. The process is being called alternative primatial oversight (APO).

In response to one of three questions presented to the South Carolina candidates prior to a series of meetings with the diocese, Lawrence said he approved of the APO requests, calling them “a temporary gasp for air” that is needed while the Communion works out a new “Anglican ecclesiology.”

Via Media USA’s letters argue that “Father Lawrence’s episcopacy would represent a threat to the unity of our church and to the cohesion of the Diocese of South Carolina.”

“The case against consenting to Father Lawrence’s election is not based on his theology or personal beliefs, but on the way these are likely to affect the polity, and hence the unity and integrity, of this church,” the letter sent to the presidents and members of diocesan standing committees says.

“Father Lawrence has endorsed separating the Diocese of South Carolina from the Episcopal Church and has advocated that the authority of the General Convention be surrendered to the primates of the Anglican Communion. Under these circumstances, it is difficult to see how Father Lawrence could be asked or expected to take the vow required of each bishop in The Episcopal Church to ‘guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the Church’ (BCP page 517).”

Via Media USA’s letter to bishops contains similar language. Both letters, dated October 17 and mailed October 19, should arrive in recipients’ mail in the next few days. The letters should be posted on the group’s website soon.

The letters included copies of an essay by Pittsburgh Episcopalian Lionel Deimel, a member of Via Media USA-affiliated Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh. The letters ask that recipients read and consider what they describe as Deimel’s “carefully reasoned discussion.”

Christopher Wilkins, Via Media USA’s facilitator, said October 20 that the group decided to write the letters after considering Lawrence’s written and spoken comments, made before and since his election, about the tensions between the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. It seemed to the Via Media USA members that consent to Lawrence’s election should not be given, he said.

Wilkins said there are people in the Episcopal Church, including Lawrence, who want to be part of another church. “It seems time to recognize where we are,” he said.

Lawrence was elected to succeed Bishop Edward L. Salmon Jr., 72, who was consecrated on February 24, 1990.

Under the canons the Episcopal Church (III.16.4(a)), a majority of the bishops exercising jurisdiction and diocesan standing committees must consent to Lawrence’s ordination as bishop within 120 days of receiving notice of his election. (Episcopal elections that occur within 120 days before the start of General Convention require consents from the houses of Bishops and Deputies during Convention.)

In section III.16.4(b), those bishops and standing committees consenting to a bishop-elect’s ordination (by majority vote of the standing committee) “in the presence of Almighty God, testify that we know of no impediment on account of which [name of priest] ought not to be ordained to that Holy Order”.

Lawrence’s consecration is planned for February 24, 2007.

It is not altogether unusual for people to advocate against consents. In April of 1976, 70 priests and laymen from 35 dioceses signed a letter urging bishops and standing committee presidents to refuse to consent to the election of John Shelby Spong as bishop of the Diocese of Newark, citing what they called Spong’s unorthodox theology. Spong’s election eventually received the needed consent.

Other bishops have faced contentious debate during the consent process, including the Episcopal Church’s first woman bishop, now-retired Massachusetts Bishop Suffragan Barbara Harris in late 1988 and early 1989, current Fort Worth Bishop Jack Iker in 1993 and current Quincy Bishop Keith Ackerman the following year.

The last time a person elected as a bishop in the Episcopal Church did not receive the needed consents from a majority of the diocesan standing committees and the bishops exercising jurisdiction was in 1875. The Rev. James DeKoven, who was elected bishop of the Diocese of Illinois, was denied confirmation by the church’s standing committees because of his devotion to Anglo-Catholic beliefs, specifically that Christ is actually present in the Eucharistic bread and wine. Although DeKoven never made it to the episcopal ranks, he did make the list of Lesser Feasts and Fasts, with March 22 as his feast day.

Via Media USA has chapters in 12 Episcopal Church dioceses, including the eight dioceses requesting APO arrangements. Via Media USA and its affiliates want to promote the faith, unity, and vitality of the Episcopal Church, according to the group’s website.

The other dioceses requesting APO are Central Florida (Orlando-based), Dallas, Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, Quincy (Illinois), Springfield (Illinois), and San Joaquin (California). Only Quincy’s diocesan convention has ratified an APO request.

Salmon was part of a group of bishops who met September 11-13 in New York City to discuss the Alternative Primatial Oversight (APO) requests, but which came to no agreement.

The constitution of the Anglican Consultative Council, the Anglican Communion’s main policy-making body, makes no provisions for alternative primatial oversight. Neither do the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church.

The fabric of the Episcopal Church has been frayed “by our misguided passion to be culturally sensitive and intellectually flexible,” Lawrence wrote in his South Carolina responses.

“I am personally saddened for those gay and lesbian Christians within the church that so much of the debate has focused upon homosexual behavior and relationships,” he said. “It has too often given way to bigotry or to an easy self-righteousness among heterosexuals. Nevertheless, it is for now the place where the battle lines have been drawn.”

“This present crisis in the Anglican Communion is a sign that among other things we have entered into an ever-flattening world. We need to have an Anglican ecclesiology that takes seriously this new era,” Lawrence wrote.

“At this point the ‘conservatives’ are being progressive, and the ‘progressives’ strike me as digging in their heels for the past,” he wrote.

Prior to the South Carolina election, the Episcopal Forum of South Carolina, a Via Media USA-affiliated group whose mission is to “preserve unity with diversity in the diocese,” [http://www.episcopalforumofsc.org] told the diocesan electors that the group was “concerned that the new bishop be committed, without reservation, to the ordination oath signed by every new bishop to conform to the ‘doctrine, discipline, and worship of The Episcopal Church.”

“We understand that commitment to include respecting the democratic actions of the General Convention, and the elected leadership of The Episcopal Church as it is now constituted. In recent years our diocesan leadership has voiced opposition to actions of General Convention and the Church’s leaders,” the group said in an open letter that ran in the Charleston Post and Courier newspaper. “The Diocese of South Carolina has joined fewer than 10% of all Episcopal dioceses in an alliance, The Anglican Communion Network, that threatens to lead us out of The Episcopal Church.”

The other two nominees in the South Carolina election were: the Rev. Canon Ellis English Brust, 48, chief operating officer and chaplain to the president of the American Anglican Council (AAC), headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia; and the Rev. Stephen D. Wood, 42, rector, St. Andrew’s Church, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.

Brust has since announced that he will join the Anglican Mission in America, a group formed in 2000 which opposes many of the actions of the Episcopal Church.

– The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is national correspondent for the Episcopal News Service.

Source: ENS

PS Yes, the photo is the "old" Cooper River Bridge. When you say "Cooper River Bridge" that's what I think of (having crossed over it more times then I can remember in 1971-1973). Haven't seen the new one yet.