Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Network States Willingness to "Engage in Mediation" with National Church

From the Council of the Anglican Communion Network:

Delegates to the Network’s Annual Council have stated their “unconditional commitment to the unanimous urging of the Primates of the Anglican Communion that all existing litigation between The Episcopal Church (TEC) and those who have left TEC or are otherwise engaged in litigation involving claims of TEC, be suspended.”

The resolution, passed on July 31 in Bedford, TX, goes on to declare the Network’s willingness on behalf of its affiliates and partners “to engage in mediation” with TEC to find a mutually agreeable way forward.

The full text of the resolution follows:

RESOLVED, that the Anglican Communion Network (ACN) hereby declares its unconditional commitment to the unanimous urging of the Primates of the Anglican Communion that all existing litigation between The Episcopal Church (TEC) and those who have left TEC or are otherwise engaged in litigation involving claims of TEC, be suspended

FURTHER RESOLVED that the ACN declares anew its willingness and readiness, on behalf of its affiliates and partners, and those who hold similar values and positions, to engage in mediation for the purpose of resolving, on a global basis, property and other issues between TEC and those who have or intend to disengage from TEC

FURTHER RESOLVED that the Presiding Bishops and the Executive Council of TEC be informed of this resolution and be invited forthwith to engage in discussions designed to bring about such mediation.

Doug LeBlanc Reports on the ACN Council Meeting

From The Living Church:

Revised Network Charter Retains Clause Acceding to TEC Constitution

Delegates to the annual council meeting of the Anglican Communion Network declined removing the organization from under the authority of the constitution of the General Convention of The Episcopal Church during a plenary session July 31.
The proposal would have deleted language from the group’s organizational charter that the Network “shall operate in good faith within the Constitution of the Episcopal Church.”

Instead, the council adopted a bylaws resolution that says Network affiliates outside The Episcopal Church are not required to submit to the constitution of The Episcopal Church.

The decision followed a plea by the Rt. Rev. James Stanton, Bishop of Dallas, that the council not act prematurely. Bishop Stanton pointed out that the General Conventions of 1964 and 1967 defined The Episcopal Church as a constituent member of the Anglican Communion.

“If somebody is going to be faithless to that vision, I want it to be them, not us,” Bishop Stanton said, referring to the majority of leadership in The Episcopal Church. “We are in danger of doing exactly on the right what they have done on the left. I pray we will not do that.”

Read the whole thing here.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Christian Post Reports: Orthodox Anglicans Losing Hope in Episcopal Church as it lives through an "extended Good Friday"

The Christian Post covers today's Council of the Anglican Communion Network.

Conservative Anglicans in the United States are finding themselves living through an "extended Good Friday," mourning for The Episcopal Church.

The Anglican Communion Network, an orthodox group of Anglicans discontent with The Episcopal Church, began its fourth annual council meeting in Bedford, Texas, on Monday. Over 80 representatives opened the two-day meeting with disappointment in a church many had grown up in.

"Because our sense of order is such that we have always sought to be Christian first and Episcopalian next, we find ourselves on this present Way of the Cross," said the Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, moderator of the Anglican Communion Network, in his opening address.

A growing number of Episcopal parishes and leaders have left The Episcopal Church, citing the U.S. Anglican branch's departure from Christian orthodoxy and Anglican tradition, particularly the 2003 consecration of an openly gay bishop.

In March, The Episcopal Church reaffirmed its stance welcoming gays and lesbians as an "integral part" of the church and rejected the request of primates (Anglican heads of the 38 Anglican provinces) that it allow Anglican leaders outside the U.S. branch to oversee American dioceses and those unable to accept the authority of the Episcopal Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori.

Duncan, also bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, said the denominational Church that raised him and ordained him "no longer had any room for me, or any like me."

"How bitter the rejection! How total my failure!" he said on Monday.

"Yes, we are all at different places on the Calvary journey as concerns our ministries in The Episcopal Church. But I suspect I can speak for all when I say that where we are is not where we had hoped to be," said Duncan who believes their fourth annual meeting is being held amid a "seismic shift" when more bishops and priests have left the U.S. church body.

The Anglican Communion Network was birthed in March 2004 and is currently comprised of over 900 parishes and over 2,200 clergy. Last month, Duncan invited conservative leaders and major breakaway Anglican groups to initiate discussions on forming a separate Anglican structure in the United States and take their "Common Cause Partnership" to the next level. Although The Episcopal Church expressed desire to remain in the Anglican Communion, Duncan believes the U.S. branch will "walk apart" from the global communion. A meeting for the discussion is scheduled for Sept. 25-28.

"[F]ew in this hall anticipate that The Episcopal Church will turn around in the last days before September 30th, or that The Episcopal Church has any intention of leaving room for those of us whose commitments to 'the Faith once delivered' created the Anglican Communion Network and have sustained its vision and its witness," said Duncan at this week's council meeting.

The Episcopal Church has been given a Sept. 30 deadline to unequivocally pledge not to consecrate another openly gay bishop or authorize official prayers for same-sex couples. Episcopal leaders, including Jefferts Schori, have indicated that they will not "retreat" from their 2003 decision and stance supporting homosexuals.

"God, in His wisdom, has not used us to reform The Episcopal Church, to bring it back to its historic role and identity as a reliable and mainstream way to be a Christian. Instead The Episcopal Church has embraced de-formation – stunning innovation in Faith and Order – rather than reformation," Duncan stated.

Read the whole thing here.

ACN Moderator calls the September 2007 New Orleans House of Bishops meeting "their last stand"

Steve Waring writes in the Living Church on the first of a two-day meeting of the Anglican Communion Network Council at the St. Vincent’s Cathedral in Bedford, Texas:

In his opening address, the Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, Bishop of Pittsburgh and moderator of the Network, listed the names of 17 Network leaders, including four bishops, who have left The Episcopal Church within the past year. Bishop Duncan’s first term as moderator is also drawing to a conclusion. During a question-and-answer session after his morning address, he said he planned to stand for re-election, but only if delegates endorsed the Common Cause partnership with other Anglican groups currently not in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury.

In an interview with a reporter for The Living Church Canon Daryl Fenton, chief operating officer for the Network, acknowledged that the distance between The Episcopal Church leadership and the Network has grown to the size of a chasm, but he downplayed the likelihood of a formal departure occurring during this meeting.

“Even in safe dioceses the level of dissatisfaction is growing,” he said. “People are becoming radicalized and less patient. We really are concerned about catholicity, however. We consider ourselves to be under the authority of the primates and we will not do anything which would undercut the careful agreements they have already worked out.”

In their February communiqué, the primates requested a response from the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church by Sept. 30. The deadline falls five days after the conclusion of the fall House of Bishops’ meeting. During his address, Bishop Duncan said the Network bishops had agreed to attend the House of Bishops’ meeting in order not to abandon the wider coalition of ‘Windsor’ bishops in what Bishop Duncan said was “their last stand.”
Read the whole thing here.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

For the First TIme: J.K. Rowling speaks on her faith and its presence in the Harry Potter Series

Another Secret Revealed: From tonight's NBC telecast of their interview with Harry Potter author, J.K. Rowling. A young person asks about her religious belief. For those who are still reading the final book, it does become clear that the faith, her belief, is wholeheartedly Christian. NOTE: You can read the entire interview at Shell Cottage or at MSNBC. Please know that both sites are filled with HP Spoilers.

Young voice: Harry's also referred to as the chosen one. So are there religious--
J.K. Rowling: Well, there-- there clearly is a religious-- undertone. And-- it's always been difficult to talk about that because until we reached Book Seven, views of what happens after death and so on, it would give away a lot of what was coming. So … yes, my belief and my struggling with religious belief and so on I think is quite apparent in this book.

Meredith Vieira:
And what is the struggle?
J.K. Rowling: Well my struggle really is to keep believing.

Meredith Vieira:
To keep believing?
J.K. Rowling: Yes.

An Open Letter to Network Bishops and Common Cause Partners Regarding the Future of Anglicanism in North America

Easter Friday 2007

My brothers in Christ:

I am sure you get all kinds of advice non-stop. Let me nevertheless impose on you to consider my opinion. Many of you know me. I was baptized and confirmed in the Episcopal Church 40 years ago, I was ordained a priest 35 years ago, and I have worked for many years to renew the Church from within. For the past seven years, I have been looking in with the eyes of the church in Africa. Therefore let me make several brief points.

The time has come for full and final separation between those in The Episcopal Church (TEC) who hold a false gospel and those who hold fast the truth revealed in Holy Scripture and the evangelical and catholic faith of the Church. I find it hard not to conclude that any bishop who still hopes for reform and revival from within the current structure is in a state of denial.

There is no hope and a future for any diocese or parish that remains connected to TEC. The Mark Lawrence case and various abuses of the canons should make this clear. This is a spiritual fact: TEC is terminally ill and the cancer will eventually spread to every part of the body.

Network bishops must prepare for separation as best they can and stay united in fellowship with each other and their Common Cause partners. Don’t wait for the “Windsor bishops.” Once there were 60 Irenaeus bishops, then 40 AAC bishops, now there are 20 “Windsor Bishops” and a dozen (and counting down?) Network bishops. Unless you are prepared to act and act in concert, you and your clergy and dioceses will be picked off one by one.

Network bishops and dioceses must be prepared to lose their rank and property. Many faithful priests have already paid this price as a matter of conscience and been summarily deposed. Congregations have walked away from their sanctuaries and now worship in schools. It is now time for the Network bishops and dioceses to take this risk by breaking communion with false and lukewarm colleagues in TEC. Remember the fires of Oxford!

Network bishops must unite behind Robert Duncan, and Common Cause partners must uphold him in his role as a “focus of unity” within the faithful remnant in North America. Let it be clear as day that our movement is directed toward true unity in the Body of Christ and not a fragmentation by personality and preference. Let our movement be truly catholic and ecumenical.

Finally, a word from the Global South. Bishops of the Global South have stood firm against the heresy of TEC for a decade now. Lambeth 1.10 would not have happened but for their insistence, nor the recent Primates’ Communiqué. They have harbored many refugees from our shores and refused money dangled before them by 815 & Co. They expect and deserve your strong and united response.

I took the photos below last year at Martyrs’ Day in Uganda, a national holiday which draws thousands of pilgrims from East Africa to honor the 42 courtiers of King Mwanga who refused his advances and were mutilated and burned to death rather than renounce King Jesus. At the prayers of the people, there was a petition for “Ortho believers in Episcopal Church in America.” Over 5,000 Ugandans, poor and rich, young and old, prayed that prayer. It is my hope that their prayer will be answered.

My brothers, please take heart, take united action, or we shall lose our precious Anglican heritage (Revelation 2:5).


The Rev. Prof. Stephen Noll
Mukono, Uganda

However, as it is written:
"No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love him."
I Cor. 2:9

The Point

Came home to find a rainbow - a complete rainbow - over the entrance to where I live. What else could I do but smile.

Church of England Newspaper reports on Charges of Canon Irregularities by 815

From the Fri, Jul 20, 2007 issue of The Church of England Newspaper

By George Conger

THE DIOCESE of San Joaquin, California, has accused US Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori of abuse of office for selectively enforcing church canon law to the detriment of conservatives.

The Presiding Bishop’s office admitted that it acquiesced in the Diocese of Virginia’s violation of the express language of Episcopal Church’s Constitution and Canons in the consecration process of its new bishop, but stated the violation was customary and not of sufficient merit to call into question the validity of the Episcopal consecration of Bishop Shannon T Johnston of Virginia.

In a letter dated July 20, the conservative-leaning diocese accused Bishop Schori of “unequal application of the same canon in two separate cases within months of each other,” permitting the “irregular consecration” of the Bishop-coadjutor of Virginia.

These actions may have caused a “liability on your part for violation of the Constitution and Canons of the General Convention,” the diocese said.

Following the election of Bishop-elect Johnston the Diocese of Virginia solicited consents, or approval of his election, using a consent form not in conformance with the language of the Constitution and Canons. The so called “short form”, Canon Carlson Gerdau, canon to Presiding Bishop Schori told The Living Church magazine, had been used by other dioceses in recent years and “no one has ever objected to it before.”

It was the Presiding Bishop’s opinion that use of a form not authorised by the canons did not constitute a “defect”.

San Joaquin stated it protested the use of the “short form” in letters dated May 31 and June 18, noting that the church law required conformance to the explicit language of the canons. The diocese stated on July 22 it not received an acknowledgment of its protests, however the Episcopal News Service reported the Presiding Bishop’s Chancellor responded to the May and June letters “last week”.

Earlier this year, Bishop Schori nullified the election of Mark Lawrence as Bishop of South Carolina, tossing out ballots from dioceses in favour of his election for not being in strict conformance to the requirement that the ballots be signed by all members of a diocese’s standing committee, thereby depriving him of a majority necessary for consent to his election.

South Carolina initially sought to use the “short form” to solicit the consents of Bishop- elect Lawrence, but was cautioned by the Presiding Bishop’s office to use the proper language found in the canons so as not to violate the canons. The permissive stance taken towards Virginia while South Carolina was required to conform to the letter of the law, over the same issue within a period of two months by the Presiding Bishop’s office, prompted San Joaquin’s charges of hypocrisy and double standards.

The Diocese of Virginia declined to respond. However, observers in Virginia note that the diocese’s claims that the Virginia-based CANA Bishop Martyn Minns has irregular episcopal orders, would appear to be undercut, given the admitted defect in the consecration process of its bishop-coadjutor.

Further formal action is not considered likely, as US church law gives the Presiding Bishop the authority to determine whether a violation of canon law has occurred.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Out of the Vault: What is Leadership?

We've been percolating recently about the topic of leadership. There are many who assert their authority over others - both those with whom we agree and those with whom we disagree. But how do we - clergy and laity alike - discern authentic leadership? We've been reading statements and letters from those in leadership - but being in leadership, is that enough to make one a leader?

It's a hard thing sometimes to realize that there is still grief over the division in the Episcopal Church. There is on one hand a desire to just "move on" or "get on with it" (as Bishop Lee once said), waving a hand in farewell as we slip off into the sunset. Over and over we hear from "leaders" that it's no loss to them that the laity or clergy go somewhere else (where ever "somewhere else" might be), that's not what is truly valued, truly esteemed. Is that leadership?

Others pour over regulations and stipulations of single-minded authority to justify decisions made, writing directives, even as more hearts break and more slip away.

We look to the east to castles and kings and find so many small words of little significance. Where is the voice crying out of the wilderness, "Prepare ye the way of the Lord!"

When they do cry out, do we hear them?

We're reminded of a song we used to sing in the old days,

I, the Lord of sea and sky,
I have heard my people cry.
All who dwell in dark and sin,
My hand will save.

I, who made the stars of night,
I will make their darkness bright.
Who will bear my light to them?
Whom shall I send?

I, the Lord of snow and rain,
I have borne my people’s pain.
I have wept for love of them.
They turn away.

I will break their hearts of stone,
Give them hearts for love alone.
I will speak my words to them.
Whom shall I send?

I, the Lord of wind and flame,
I will send the poor and lame.
I will set a feast for them.
My hand will save.

Finest bread I will provide,
'Til their hearts be satisfied.
I will give my life to them.
Whom shall I send?

Last night we took a look inside the BabyBlueVaults - blowing away the dust and found a small gem from nearly twenty years ago.

A lot has happened since this sermon was preached and we realize we haven't heard this type of preaching for a long time, a very long time.

It is worth pondering again, worth considering - as we prepare for September 30th and beyond. One of the principles mentioned in this sermon is to start small, not go for the big deal but start with what you have, with where you are. Waiting for Lambeth is not leadership - but waiting on the Lord is. Quoting rules and regulations and sparking fear is not leadership, standing joyfully in the fire is. And as we are reminded in this teaching, we are not called to know everything in the future, or to wait until we know all (or at least a lot more and assure our future security) before we take steps forward. We go with what we are shown now, trusting in the Lord we move forward in faith - even if it is towards the fire.

1. Begin small
2. Trust God for the vision
3. Money is secondary
4. Everything under God depends on the quality of the persons selected for the task

Click > above for the podcast or download from iTunes (BabyBlueOnline Podcast).

NOTE: The audio tape of the sermon in this podcast is nearly twenty years old and a bit worn by the years. But the message, perhaps forgotten, still comes through. What say you?

Friday, July 27, 2007

"There can be no deep disappointment
where there is not deep love."

-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,
"Letter from Birmingham Jail," April 16, 1963

Muzak in a Lambeth Elevator

We've been watching way too much Monty Python lately.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

London Times reporting that Church of England Bishops threaten to boycott Lambeth

BB UPDATE: There's more here. The numbers seem to be growing.

Is it getting hot in here? No longer can 815 or the the gang hanging with Kenneth Kearon and Jim Rosenthall blame this all on the Global South getting upidity. Nope. My friends, we are watching division before our very eyes. Remember what the Archbishop of York said? If you don't show up at Lamb
eth, you may be kicked out of the Communion? From the London Telegraph:
But he told them that if they "voted with their feet" they risked severing their links with the Archbishop of Canterbury and with historic Anglicanism, a breach that could take centuries to heal.

"Anglicanism has its roots through Canterbury," he said. "If you sever that link you are severing yourself from the Communion. There is no doubt about it."
Unless there is some sort of "racial" and "nationalistic" bigotry at play and - like the canons in the Episcopal Church - some bishops are more equal than others, we must believe that Archbishop Sentamu's threat is open to all, not just those who live in Africa or Asia or South America. Is the Church of England prepared to see it's own House of Bishops divide? Do we honestly think the Queen of England is going to want to go down in history as the monarch who saw her spiritual realm fall into schism - from one Elizabeth to the Other. We do continue to wonder. Closer to home, we are heartened by the courage of the Church of England bishops who take their witness seriously. In the midst of lawsuits and threats of the deposition of honest and true clergy, it is indeed encouraging to hear of this witness from abroad.

Here's Ruth Gledhill's article - you can read the whole thing here.

Bishops threaten to boycott Lambeth Conference

Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent

Six out of ten senior Church of England bishops could boycott next year’s Lambeth Conference of more than 800 Anglican bishops and archbishops from around the world because of the row over gays.

Such a boycott would be unprecedented in the history of the Anglican Church and would be an indication of how deep the divisions go, in England as well as in the rest of the communion.

The fifth most senior bishop in the mother church of the Anglican Communion warns today that a majority of English diocesan bishops could consider a boycott if the US does not row back on its pro-gay agenda.

A UK boycott would confirm the gravity of the splits within even the Church of England, traditionally the model for Anglicanism’s “via media”. It would effectively spell the end of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s dream of maintaining unity.

The Bishop of Winchester, the Right Rev Michael Scott-Joynt, was speaking to tomorrow's Church of Ireland Gazette, the journal of the Anglican Church in Ireland.

He tells the Gazette that as many as six in ten diocesan bishops, from the Church’s evangelical and Anglican-Catholic wings, would be “constrained” in their protest by their loyalty to Dr Rowan Williams. Speaking to The Times he said later, "The point I was making was that they are having to think about it".

Dr Williams is currently on study leave but earlier this week the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, pleaded with archbishops and bishops from the Global South group of churches not to boycott the ten-yearly gathering, due to take place at Kent University next July.

Dr Williams issued his invitations to Lambeth earlier this year, leaving off eight bishops, including the openly gay Gene Robinson, whose consecration in 2003 sparked the current controversy. The Times has learned that Bishop Robinson is however to be invited as a guest in a non-voting capacity. The deadline for bishops tor respond to the invitations is the end of July, next Tuesday.

Bishop Scott-Joynt says in the Gazette that for a boycott not to take place, the bishops of The Episcopal Church must meet the demands of the recent Primates’ Meeting in Dar es Salaam.

In their communique, the Primates gave the US bishops until September 30 to agree to “make an unequivocal common covenant that the bishops will not authorise any Rite of Blessing for same-sex unions” and “confirm that... a candidate for episcopal orders living in a same-sex union shall not receive the necessary consent unless some new consensus on these matters emerges across the Communion.”

The Primates warned that “if the reassurances requested of the House of Bishops cannot in good conscience be given, the relationship between The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion as a whole remains damaged at best, and this has consequences for the full participation of the Church in the life of the Communion.”

Read the whole thing here.

UPDATE: Here's the original interview here.

Uh Oh (but wait, there's more!)

Over at Midwest Conservative Journal, poster "jim" has done some research and refutes the rather flippant statement of the 815 Communications office (revised from the original) regarding the canonical requirements of Standing Committees in a Bishop's election.

"jim" writes in his posting to 815's Jan Nunley:

"Did you send your readers off on a wild goose chase into the canons in order to clarify or confuse? Anyone who has read the canons would know there are different rules & requirements for General Convention consent [resolution for consent] which require a ballot and the consent from Standing Committees which requires compliance with III.11.4.b.

The words in Canon are important [as well as signatures, of course]. When a bishop-elect requires consents from Standing Committees [III.11.4.b] the words in the Canons are printed in double bold & inset. The canon is specific & states that evidence SHALL be a testimony IN THE FOLLOWING WORDS. There is no room for any other words, any other form. The PB did not have any "evidence" of consent from the Standing Committees in order to determine if the standing committees had consen
ted [remember evidence of canonical consent is defined in III.11.4.b in specific words, with no leeway for presumed ‘intent’].

Jan, why is 815 putting out so much misinformation and so many inaccurate, inflammatory statements? I was hoping for truth & integrity. It is distressing to see the Deputy Director for Communications of TEC spin so wildly out of control to use untruth, exaggeration, condescension, and now canonical wild goose chases in an attempt to cover up verifiable actions of the Presiding Bishop, her staff, and various dioceses."

Read the whole thing here. Read StandFirm here.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Shell Cottage

Knowing that many are still reading the book, we've found Shell Cottage to go to and post updates and thoughts and other such things on the new book by J.K. Rowling. It's brand new and basically a place to go to while the reading continues. It's Spoiler City Central, so go there only when you are finished with the book to avoid the unveiling of the surprises (including where Shell Cottage gets its name). You will see that we're working through the Christian themes of love, sacrifice, resurrection, transformation, and redemption. We will also find the literary themes explored - as well as a video or two (or three) that we find at YouTube. Looks like we were not the only ones posting YouTube videos on the night of the book's release - there are literally videos made all over the world now up on YouTube that were made that night or in the days that followed.

We have favorite places to visit and some of the postings we make at those places will also be posted at Shell Cottage. Among our favorites is HogwartsProfessor and The Leaky Cauldron's forums (called the Leaky Lounge) and Sword of Gryffindor, as well as HP Progs. We know that many will be writing essays and creating artwork and ones that catch our eye will also find their way to Shell Cottage.

That way we can still keep an eye on the canons here. One never knows when those canons are about to blow.

NOTE: For those who did catch the videos (and they really are more podcasts than videos since the videos look like I was actually feeling by midnight that night) - "Lily" and "James" did indeed have a baby boy yesterday. Congratulations to Lief and Meghan! And to Joshua - who loved his mother so much he let her go the party and get her book before he made his debut.

Who can hold the stars
And my weary heart?
Who can see everything?

I've fallen so hard
Sometimes I feel so far
But not beyond your reach

I could climb a mountain
Swim the ocean
Or do anything
But it's when you hold me
That I start unfolding
And all I can say is

Hallelujah, hallelujah
Whatever's in front of me
Help me to sing hallelujah
Hallelujah, hallelujah
Whatever's in front of me
I'll choose to sing hallelujah

The same sun that
Rises over castles
And welcomes the day

Spills over buildings
Into the streets
Where orphans play

And only you can see the good
In broken things
You took my heart of stone
And you made it home
And set this prisoner free

Hallelujah, hallelujah
Whatever's in front of me
Help me to sing hallelujah
Hallelujah, hallelujah
Whatever's in front of me
I'll choose to sing hallelujah
-Bethany Dillon

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Houston, we have a problem: Diocese of Virginia issues statement regarding non-canon consents

BB NOTE: Interesting statement coming out of the Diocese of Virginia tonight, but where's the part about following the canons of the Episcopal Church in the consent process? They make it sound like it's some sort of bureaucratic procedure - not actually stipulated (including the language that must be used) by official canons. Why are some canons enforced with lawsuits and others are ignored all together? In fact, notice that the word "canon" is not used once in this press release. What's up with that?

"A Statement on the Consents to the Ordination and Consecration of Bishop Shannon Johnston"

July 24, 2007

The process of requesting and receiving consents is governed by the Office of the Presiding Bishop through various administrative departments.

Translation: It's not our fault.

The process of obtaining consents for the ordination and consecration of Bishop Shannon Johnston followed by the Standing Committee of The Diocese of Virginia was approved and confirmed by the general Church.

Translation: It's not our fault.

The procedures we followed have been in widespread use throughout the Church for at least a decade.

Translation: We say the same thing about ordaining non-celibate unmarried clergy and bishops and performing same sex unions.

We received over 80 signed consent forms, and our process was confirmed by the act of consecration in a joy-filled service presided over by the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church.

Translation: Rather than answering the question of whether we followed the canons of the Episcopal Church, let's change the subject.

The people, churches and institutions of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia are enjoying the first fruits of Bishop Johnston's ministry among us as we journey together, stewarding our heritage for future generations of the Church."

Translation: Some canons are more equal than others. Some you use to sue, and some you just pooh-pooh.

“The love between them was wholly spiritual; after her death Dante realised she was more alive than ever.” -Dante Alighieri

Years ago I took a sabbatical in London and did some studying on the
Pre-Raphaelite movement while I was there. I bought a copy of this print from the Tate, which still hangs in my home.

Looks like we will need to re-explore Dante and his Beatrice in regards to this new book by J.K. Rowling - and that's all we'll say for now.


PM UPDATE: We're created a special blog just to post Deathly Hallows related stuff while folks are still reading the book. We'll post the link again, but here it is. The blog is called "Shell Cottage" and we're just getting started.

Uh oh (continued)

UPDATE: Please check out Sarah Hey's post over at StandFirm on what the PB said regarding the consents for the South Carolina bishop-election. Also read Scott Gunn's posting(s) here at Inclusive Church.

Steve Waring of
The Living Church is reporting (see below). Note that Clay Matthews, Bishop for Pastoral Development at 815, had a very different view on obeying the canons then does 815 now. This is shown in how Canon Matthews advised the Standing Committee of the Diocese of South Carolina and its president, the Rev. Dow Sanderson. Waring reports:
"Fr. Sanderson said that Bishop Matthews considered the matter important enough that he delayed giving approval for South Carolina to send out its consent requests until he had personally sent the canonically correct language to Fr. Sanderson, who said he cut and pasted the relevant portion of Bishop Matthew’s email message directly into the South Carolina standing committee consent request letter.
This contradicts what the Presiding Bishop and her office are saying now that the practice has been brought to light. So when is a canon really a canon, and when can it just be randomly discarded? Obviously Canon Matthews (who should know) thought it was very important. We should also note that Clay Matthews is the former Suffragan Bishop of the Diocese of Virginia (see photo) and so it will interesting to see if he remains consistent with the opinion he gave to the Diocese of South Carolina when it now comes to his former diocese, the Diocese of Virginia.

Canonically Defective Testimonial Alleged in Virginia Coadjutor Request

The standing committee did not use a properly worded canonical request last winter when it sought consent to the election of the Rev. Shannon S. Johnston as Bishop Coadjutor of Virginia, a defect not considered serious enough by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori to invalidate the election.

Instead the standing committee of the Diocese of Virginia used what the Rev. Canon Carl Gerdau, canon to the Presiding Bishop and Primate, described as a “short form,” successfully employed by a number of other dioceses in recent years. The so-called short form has been “used for a long time and no one has ever objected to it before,” Canon Gerdau said in an interview with The Living Church. “We don’t think this is a defect.”

When a diocese desires the ordination of a bishop-elect, if the date of the election occurs more than 120 days before the meeting of the General Convention, Title III, canon 11, section 4b requires that “the standing committee of the diocese for which the bishop has been elected shall by its president, or by some person or persons specially appointed, immediately send to the Presiding Bishop and to the standing committees of the several dioceses a certificate of the election by the secretary of convention of the diocese, bearing a statement that evidence of the bishop-elect’s having been duly ordered deacon and priest as to the bishop-elect’s medical, psychological and psychiatric examination required in Sec. 3(b) of this canon have been received and that a testimonial signed by a constitutional majority of the convention must also be delivered.”

The canon goes on to stipulate the exact wording to be employed in the consent request, including a clause in which the standing committee of the electing diocese testifies “in the presence of Almighty God” that they know of no impediment to proceeding with the consecration and ordination to the episcopate. The short form does not contain this clause. Instead standing committee members “give our consent.”

Initially last fall the standing committee of the Diocese of South Carolina also intended to use the “short form” when it sought consent for the consecration of the Rev. Mark Lawrence as Bishop of South Carolina. However, in an interview with TLC, the Rev. Dow Sanderson, who was president of the South Carolina standing committee at the time, said that the Rt. Rev. F. Clayton Matthews, Bishop for the Presiding Bishop’s Office of Pastoral Development, cautioned the diocese about the language in its consent request. Fr. Sanderson said that Bishop Matthews considered the matter important enough that he delayed giving approval for South Carolina to send out its consent requests until he had personally sent the canonically correct language to Fr. Sanderson, who said he cut and pasted the relevant portion of Bishop Matthew’s email message directly into the South Carolina standing committee consent request letter.

Consent to his consecration went relatively smoothly for Fr. Lawrence among bishops with jurisdiction, but not so among standing committees. He eventually eked out the minimum number needed, but Bishop Jefferts Schori ruled the election of Fr. Lawrence “null and void” after six were excluded for canonical deficiencies which included being received after the deadline and more importantly, unsigned. Without the signatures, Canon Gerdau said it was impossible for the Presiding Bishop to determine whether a majority of standing committee members from the six dioceses had voted in favor of the consecration of Fr. Lawrence.

Read the rest here.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Ring, the Crozier, and the Cope

So what do you think the Deathly Hallows represent? Does power reside in the symbols of authority? There are many symbols of authority and wielding those symbols can be powerful. But where does the power to defeat evil truly reside? What makes a true disciple of Jesus Christ?

Does real power reside in the heart, for as J.K. Rowling quotes in her latest book, "where your treasure is, there shall your heart be also"? Where is our treasure? What if our treasure is not something we can find in Gringotts?

Harry displays a power that comes from love, but not just any love - but agape love.

And no greater love than this, than a man lay down his life for his friends.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Uh Oh

BB NOTE: We may all remember what happened when the Diocese of South Carolina's bishop-elect was not affirmed by all the standing committees of the dioceses of The Episcopal Church. Some tried to send in their consents via e-mail and those consents were ruled invalid. The only acceptable way to receive the consents was via snail mail - even for those dioceses in foreign countries. So while Mark Lawrence did receive (barely) the consents for ratification, several were deemed invalid since they were not received in the proper way. Looks like the same thing may be happening for the Diocese of Virginia and the recent election of Shannon Johnston (who was consecrated Bishop Coadjutor in May). The Presiding Bishop has received this letter from the Standing Committee of the Diocese of San Joaquin's (tip of the tinfoil to Dan Martins at Confessions of a Carioca.

Virginia rewrote the testimonial deleting the following canonically required text: "
fully sensible how important it is that the Sacred Order and Office of a Bishop should not be unworthily conferred, and firmly persuaded that it is our duty to bear testimony on this solemn occasion without partiality, do, in the presence of Almighty God, testify that we know of no impediment on account of which the Reverend A.B. ought not to be ordained to that Holy Order. "

As we know, the Episcopal Church has been enforcing strict canon law regarding the lawsuits it has instigated, but apparently the Presiding Bishop overlooked, ignored, or went a long trip to South America rather than face the fact that Virginia rewrote the canon requirement. Very interesting. Check out the response from Sarah Hey, of the Diocese of Uppder South Carolina, here.

Here's the letter to the Presiding Bishop - actually the third letter. She and David Booth Beers have apparently not responded to the first two letters. We look forward to hearing what Schori, her Chancellor, and the Diocese of Virginia have to say. Or are some more equal than others?

Third Request

Standing Committee
Diocese of San Joaquin
4159 E. Dakota Ave.
Fresno, CA 93726-5227

July 20, 2007

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church
815 Second Avenue
New York, New York 10017

Dear Presiding Bishop:

Please review our correspondence sent to you, your Chancellor, and the Diocese of Virginia on May 31 and June 18 regarding consent to the ordination and Consecration of The Very Rev. Shannon S. Johnston as Bishop Coadjutor for the Diocese of Virginia. The matter of the Diocese of Virginia using a defective testimonial is of grave concern. We asked you in writing, within the 120 days from the date of notification of election, to confirm that a properly worded consent form was returned by a majority of Standing Committees. Now it is 6 weeks past our original letter to you and there has not been a response from either you, your Chancellor [David Booth Beers] or the Diocese of Virginia. Your failure to even acknowledge our written concerns leads us to believe the testimonials used by the Standing Committees did not conform to the requirements of Canon III.11.4.b. [printed here]

(b) Evidence of the consent of each Standing Committee shall be a testimonial in the following words, signed by a majority of all the members of the Committee:

We, being a majority of all the members of the Standing Committee of ______________, and having been duly convened at ______________, fully sensible how important it is that the Sacred Order and Office of a Bishop should not be unworthily conferred, and firmly persuaded that it is our duty to bear testimony on this solemn occasion without partiality, do, in the presence of Almighty God, testify that we know of no impediment on account of which the Reverend A.B. ought not to be ordained to that Holy Order. In witness whereof, we have hereunto set our hands this _____ day of _________in the year of our Lord _________. (Signed) _______________

The testimonial from Virginia reads:

Having been duly elected on January 26, 2007, at the Annual Council of the Diocese of Virginia. We, being a majority of all the ____ members of the Standing Committee of the Diocese of ____, having been duly convened at ____, give our consent to the ordination and consecration of the Very Rev. Shannon S. Johnston as Bishop Coadjutor for the Diocese of Virginia. In witness whereof, we have here unto set our hands this ___ day of ___, 2007.

As you can see the Diocese of Virginia form for Standing Committee testimonial is defective on many counts. Since Canon III.11.4.b is crystal clear that the only evidence of consent is a testimonial in the canonical words, the Virginia documents do not constitute evidence of consent.

How did you “proceed to take order for the ordination” without evidence of consent from the Standing Committees? If you do something that is not canonically permissible, isn’t that a violation of the canons? Should you not have declared the election null & void as required in III.11.5? If you fail to do something that is canonically required, isn’t that a violation of the canons? I believe you are familiar with the requirements of both canons III.11.4.b and III.11.5 as you used both to declare null & void the recent election in South Carolina.

Without your confirmation of receipt of proper consents, we have a very uneasy situation. First we have what appears to be your unequal application of the same canon in two separate cases within months of each other. Second we potentially have the irregular consecration of Bishop Johnston [without consents from Standing Committees], calling into question his Episcopal acts. Third we may have before us a Canon IV.1.c liability on your part for violation of the Constitution and Canons of the General Convention. Since you are the person to inform the review committee if there is sufficient reason to believe that a Bishop has committed an Offense [IV.3.23.b], how do you suggest others can clarify the conflicted situation within the Church?

We began this inquiry within the 120 days from notification of election of Bishop Johnston. We ask again Presiding Bishop, David Booth Beers, & the Diocese of Virginia, for the third time, to confirm the canonically required consents, in the words as required by canon, were received prior to consecration of Bishop Johnston. Failing to make such confirmation, please advise as to what steps can be taken to have these matters forwarded to the Review Committee and resolved.

Because we have not had a response from our two prior, private, requests, we feel compelled to involve a wider audience in our concerns. The Standing Committee of San Joaquin is hopeful your written reply will appear soon.

In Christ,

Jim Snell

President of the Standing Committee
Diocese of San Joaquin
cc: David Booth Beers
Diocese of Virginia Standing Committee

BB NOTE LATER: Why haven't 815 and Mayo House responded after three letters?

Actually, this issue does pose a problem for the Diocese of Virginia and 815 in the lawsuit. It can become Exhibit A in the trial to show that:

1. The Canons can be interpreted any way you wish, including the Dennis Canon.

2. The enforcement of the Canons are random and not consistently enforced. In other words, they can mean whatever you want them to.

3. The Episcopal Church is not a hierarchical church since the "higher" national office did not require the "lower" diocesan office to comply with the canons.

4. Discovery could include The Episcopal Church producing evidence that it has enforced all its canons for the past fifty years consistently and with force to the "lower" dioceses.

5. Doubt to the "validity" of the bishop coadjutor's consecration since his election was irregular as defined by the canons of the church.

No wonder neither 815 or the Diocese of Virginia have responded to three letters requesting more information in this matter. If they respond that letter will be included in the lawsuits (if they tell the truth). They will either have to give evidence that the Dioceses are at least equal to the national office (which is the truth by the way, if not actually superior since the Dioceses can elect not to send their assessments without penalty at General Convention - dioceses that withheld their assessments still were seated in both houses at General Convention) and so the Episcopal Church is not hierarchical (which it is not) or that the enforcement of canons is random (and thus puts their case based on the Dennis Canon at risk).

Hmm ....

LATER: Jan Nunley of 815's communication's office admits that "Virginia did use a shorter consent form instead of the full, exact language in Canon III.11.4.b." She goes on to justify the lack of adherence to the Canons of the Episcopal Church is voluntary - that in fact, 815 has not enforced adherence to the canons for quite a long time. This must also mean that their enforcement of other canons is also open to "interpretation" and do not need to be followed "to the letter." We wonder if she consulted with the lawyers before she wrote her post. She admits that dioceses have not been following the canons for quite some time - and 815 did not care.

Dedication to the Fallen

Having finished reading Deathly Hallows, we dedicate this song to the fallen, which were many, but especially one in particular who remained faithful to his heart - and to the woman he loved - to the very end.

“Be with me always - take any form - drive me mad! only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you. ”
-From Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (1818-1848)

An end to "Nationalist" Anglicanism

BB NOTE: Chris Sugden of Anglican Mainstream (England) writes in the publication "Evangelicals Now" of the end of "nationalist" Anglicanism. From here. Geographical borders aren't what they once were and for an American denomination to retain 16th century English feudalistic structures to defend of its new nationalistic-cultural innovations is, at best, ironic. What are the boundaries now, when we can watch one book released to millions at the same time around the world? Through the internet, Harry Potter fans come together from all over the world to discuss the canon of the series. What brings us together is not our geographical center, but our love for the books. Anglicanism is the same - it is not our geographical center (no, not even in Canterbury) but our love for the books - the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer that brings us together as Anglicans. Now both books - the canon Anglican Christianity - fall in their reinterpretion to fit the spirit of the age, even as those who prop up the institutions wail at the fall of geographical borders. It's not what you believe that matters (for that is subjective) - it's who. There are lots and lots of Harry Potter fan fiction writers - and some of them develop quite a following. The fan fiction is written as another way to defend theories in the books (rather than just expository writing). But ultimately, the fiction is judged against the canon. Now that the canon is complete, those fiction writings will be judged against the canon. The fan fiction will never become canon - they may be entertaining - but they are not true. That is the power of the word. But we turn our attention to the power of Logos - to The Word made flesh. Our Word is not something, but someone, who is alive in the pages of scripture and written on our hearts. And geographical borders fall when our bond is forged in Jesus. Here are excerpts from Chris Sugden's article:

While the captain and officers on the bridge of the good ship The Anglican Communion work out how to avoid the rocks for which it is heading, and others recommend improvements to improve its superstructure, below decks some American passengers are being persecuted for holding, promoting and sharing the faith which the Communion has held dear. This outrage, in defiance of the clear requests of the Primates in Tanzania in February, should be continually before us as we read the news of proposals, covenants and new bishops being consecrated for America.

Meanwhile orthodox parishes in the United States are being sued by the central bureaucracy of The Episcopal Church for property which the local church has invested in for generations but which the central bureaucracy now claims as it own. People may leave The Episcopal Church, but buildings or property may not. In some cases churches are being sued for the crayons from the Sunday School. In other cases a pastor moving to a parish cannot get a mortgage to buy a house because he is named in a lawsuit and the mortgage company fear that all his assets might be seized including “their” house. One Diocese is spending £20,000 to £25,000 a month just to defend itself from lawsuits emanating from the central bureaucracy of The Episcopal Church.

And here:

But it is no longer possible to subject all state institutions in one geographical area to one jurisdiction. International companies, the internet, international networks such as the European Union are an expression of the globalisation that has rendered boundaries that were set by how far people could conveniently travel obsolete.

Geography is no longer the sole consideration when thinking about the space that we occupy. We live in global and universal space which is occupied by networks of people with values and commitments. In the church, we are now experiencing the church as envisaged in Acts 15, where Gentile and Jew ( different races and classes) are engaged closely together.

And here:

In the view of a senior Anglican bishop, globalization is an effective judgment of God on the idolatry of the nationalism of the Anglican community. In Anglican expressions of the faith, the universal of the commonality of the faith ( the gospel) informed the particular cultural expression of the faith. But culture now trumps the gospel in The Episcopal Church, as does geography when it claims that its polity (way of ordering the church) is sacrosanct. The Archbishop of the West Indies recently declared that there now could be no assurance that TEC provided continuity with the faith once delivered to the saints.

And here:

Without the universal of the gospel to which we are all accountable, we are led into cultural conflict. So there has been a demonisation of African Christian leaders, especially from Nigeria.

At the same time orthodox Western Christians are now being exposed to the gifts, ministries, and oversight of Bishops from other parts of the world in ways never dreamt of ten years ago. This is because they desperately need them.

Orthodox Anglicans are also forming global networks with those who share the universal biblical gospel. Different networks are now sharing the same geographical space. The Anglican Mission in the Americas, the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, and the Anglican Communion Network all operate in the United States and are working ever more closely together, in some cases as parts of Churches in Rwanda, Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda. The identity or communion of these networks, focused on the universal of the gospel, does not depend on being in one geographical location. Their link with each other is not primarily because of geography.

Read the who thing here.

Must Read: A Look at a Past Fun-Filled Year

It's not enough to be reading the last book in the Harry Potter series, another must-read is Sarah Hey's excellent analysis of "where we are now" here. She focuses on what we've been watching here of the "bohemian/bourgeois" (what writer David Brooks calls Bobos) alliance in the Episcopal Church and dives deep into the state of the union (or disunion) right now. We've called it here the "bohemian activists" and the "bourgeois institutionalists" and Sarah calls it the "ideological progressives" and the "institutionalist progressives." She provides the details and thought-proving analysis that is very important to consider as we approach the September 30th deadine.

Here's an excerpt from Sarah's analysis:

For the progressive segment of the church is now quite divided as to strategy. In fact, my suspicion is that they have always been so divided, but only in the past four years has that division actually led to real and dire consequences for the two liberal sides.

I will call those two sides the "ideological progressives" and the "institutional progressives." By idealogical progressives I mean the "full speed ahead on our inclusive agenda, and damn the torpedoes" progressives. These are the folks that have fought their hearts out, scrapped and clawed and screamed and emoted their way to power -- and now that they seemingly have victory in their grasp, they sure as the dickens do not intend to hold back.

By "institutional progressives" I mean the "let's drop anchor and hope they all fall asleep" progressives. They firmly believe in all the usual progressive ideas about the scripture, authority, sexuality, the nature of Jesus, the resurrection, and Karl Marx. But they have spent a whole lot of time and energy announcing that they were moderates, obscuring their real beliefs, speaking in euphemisms, and carefully climbing the corporate ecclesial ladder. They are the pragmatists -- the ones that are uneasily aware that their capital campaigns are in danger, and that the pew numbers are not, in fact, "on their side". The strategy is to only move slowly and quietly and stealthily, so as not to startle or frighten the conservatives and the moderates in the pews.

When confronted with parishioner and economic losses, the ideological progressive will say "good enough for 'em," "quality not quantity", and "we need the pure gospel". I have always said that, so great is their ideology that they would be more than willing to have a diocese of 100 -- just so long as that 100 were Really Really Really Inclusive.

But for the institutional progressive, the losses are much much more serious. There is a loss of prestige [important to institutionalists], the chaos, the media, the phone calls, and of course . . . the money. But let's not make out that the institutionalists are entirely self-serving and shallow. The institutional progressives recognize something central to implementation of revolution and that is . . . the institution carries the innovation.

Without the institution, the innovation receives neither prestige, nor societal approval, nor stability.

The parasite of an idea -- one that is innately destructive and non-creative and de-stabilizing -- always needs a host, a constructive, creative, stable host.

In the past, it was the "institutional progressives" that held the levers of power at the national and even diocesan levels. That meant that they could "go slow", be very very quiet, and essentially core out the host from the inside without the host recognizing it.

But something happened at GC 2006 . . . something that led to some of the first displays of rage and fury and denunciation on the part of the institutionalists. It was at that convention that, slowly and steadily, as day by day marched on, they recognized that they no longer owned the convention.

I saw this unfold in the Special Committee which Bishop Lee was on at General Convention 2006. This is the committee charged with addressing the Windsor Report and Bishop Lee introduced the classic "institutional" resolution and it almost made it, almost made it indeed until one of the ideological progressives (we'll call them the activists) moved that they should break and come back. During that break the activists organized and when the committee met again Bishop Lee's resolution was smashed to smithereens and the activist version went forward instead. This led to Bishop Lee working through the institutional channels one more time (notice it came out of the House of Bishops) for B033 in the last days of the General Convention and it took institutional pressuring from the outgoing institutional progressive, Frank Griswold, to get it through the two houses - but it still failed because it did not have the backing of the activists. In fact, it caused a deeper split between the institutionalists and the activists for the activists were betrayed by it.

And it didn't comply with Windsor any way - not with 21 century communications getting it out before the institutionalist machine could - and the institutionalist General Convention efforts were a failure. Combine that with the victory of the activist candidate for Presiding Bishop (and we do believe that Bishop Lee did not vote for her) and it was a major loss for the progressive institutionalists.

The activists, though - knowing that many who sit in the pews are not activists, but institutionalists (even conservative in their sexual mores) - continue to use the rhetoric of institutionalists, but they are not institutionalists, they need the institution to give their cause legitimacy. This would help explain why 815 intervened so hard and stopped Virginia Protocol process. The Virginia Protocol was/is a stellar example of the results of a true listening process (and it was very real) where institutionalists like Bishop Lee and the Virginia Chancellor take the long view - that one day, if we keep the lines of communication open and remain in as close of communion as possible, we will be reunited. That's taking a long view - but it flies in the face of activists who need the endorsement and legitmacy of their actions now, not later. It's all or nothing, they are like fundamentalists - either God is doing a new thing and these sexual mores are no longer sinful but holy - or He is not. And if He is not, then its catastrophic - so He must be doing a new thing period. To resist that certainty is the sinful act and it must be punished. And so we have lawsuits cranking out of 815 like a printing press gone mad.

It is also clear that Bishop Lee has reached out to conservative institutionalists, like Bishop John Howe. The Bishop of Florida likes to think he's a conservative as well, and he is definitely an institutionalist and he too has reached out to Bishop Howe. But they, who are still operating under the Old Ways, will want to wrestle the keys away from the activists, or as Sarah puts it so well, "Look for a Last Gasp Effort by the institutionalist progressives to wrest control away from the ideological progressives. Though they smile gamely, and put on a brave front, you shouldn't doubt that there is a lot of talk burning up the phone and cyber-waves amongst these folks -- especially the bishops." One way to do that is to target the Windsor Bishops who are institutionalists and appeal to that connection - and not the deep theological divide between them. But they should think again about any attempt to "wrest control away from the ideological progressives." It's not going to happen - the activists are seasoned street fighters.

Remember, institutionalists - whether they are progressive or conservative - see the Church as the institution itself (not an organic living thing, but an institution). But if you want to see what can happen to an institution when it goes into preservation mode, read The Deathly Hallows. It's not very pretty. In fact, I'm still a bit shook up by it for the institution that falls in The Deathly Hallows is lost because the institutionalists cared more for preserving the institution than fixing what was wrong with it. It became an institutional cover-up where the defining characteristic in making decisions was how best to maintain the illusion of health, not actually to get healthy.

So conservative institutionalists (who may not exactly know who they are, by the way, which is rather perilous) - and who genuinely care about the health of the institution and not just propping it up - should be very careful when overtures are made by progressive institutionalists. A ruse it may be. It is not the institutionalist - conservative or progressive - who finally gets the top job at the end of The Deathly Hallows. In fact, he may be one of the biggest surprises of all.

Saturday, July 21, 2007


We know that many are still reading and so we won't be posting a review here - not yet, anyway. But can say - it's the best one. Described it to the others who took part in the book reading party as being like the grand finale in a fireworks display. Thanks, Jo.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Let the Reading Begin ...

Live Blogging from the Fairfax Borders

SUNDAY AM UPDATE: We've added more photos from midnight (see at end of post) at Borders on Friday night.

FRIDAY AM: Got up this morning and got in line to get my ticket for the book when it goes on sale at one minute after midnight. I am told there have been people here with tents since 2:00 p.m. yesterday afternoon. More began arriving at around 4:00 a.m. and the line continues even now. This is just to get a ticket to buy the book later! We'll be liveblogging here - not only on HP of course, but other topics.

We will also be posting at special blog (which it used very often, but today might be a good day) to do some speculations and ultimately it will be at that location where I'll post my review. That way if you come to the cafe, you can decide whether you want to read the reviews and speculation. As frequent cafe patron Art said, " What is this Harry Potter stuff? Is it widely distributed?"

So here we go!

LATER: Just finished our interview with John Granger - great interview. I'm waiting for the recording to process right now. Then we'll do a quick edit and get it up as soon as we can. The normal way of posting the podcast at iTunes is done through the trust MacMini and we're working off the laptop today. It was a great interview.

Tonight we're going to an all-night reading party. Butterbeer will be provided - no, really! We have been wondering if there would also be some Ogden's Old Fashioned Fire Whiskey, but then that may not be conducive to book reading.

3:00 p.m. - Guess who just dropped by to say hi - cousins! My cousins from Rhode Island are in town and they just dropped by to say hi. Cousin Joel is a Harry Potter fan and we both think there's more to Dumbledore's "death" than meets the eye. His mom, Sue, says that if she were dressing up tonight, she'd go as Mrs. Weasley. And Sarah and Joel said they'd be Ron and Ginny.

We're about to have an indepth conversation on Professor Slughorn. If you don't know who that is, it's still not too late to find out!

3:50 p.m. Look who's just stopped by the table - Narcissa Malfoy and Bellatrix LeStrange - the Black Sisters, otherwise known as Morgan Britt and Brittany Gilroy! They are off to find their "other sister" - Andromeda Tonks, otherwise known as Erin Lindgren. They've been planning these costumes for months - and they turned out terrific. We expect to have more sightings of rather interesting people as the day - and evening - goes on.

4:17 p.m. Christopher Johnson has posted his take on the end of the Harry Potter series in the comments. All we can say is that we are humming, As Time Goes By. In fact, this may inspire your reading time, if Mr. Johnson has the inside scoop (though what he's really scooping may be open to debate):

5:30 p.m. Megan Walnut just stopped in - having checked the blog and saw we are here holding down the fort, stopped by for some chai and butterbeer. Megan and I served together on the Truro Vestry this past year - and what a year it's been. Nice to have a small break for a very fun night. She's off now to see the film, Order of the Phoenix - she figures that every Harry Potter fan in the world will be at the bookstores tonight, she'd probably have a private showing. Though Janet, who is also here at the table (you'll see her soon once she transforms into Bathsheba Babbling, the Professor of Ancient Runes) says that everyone who is a true Potterhead will be at something - bookstore or at the movies. But we've decided that the best bet is that we all will be standing in line to get books tonight.

6:34 p.m. Meghan and Lief Graham arrive. Meghan (who also was with me on the Truro Vestry) is about to have a baby any minute. But apparently Joshua Graham is also a Harry Potter fan (or he loves his mother very much) and has decided to wait until after Deathly Hallows comes out before making his grand debut.

Puppy Potty Paper Training Alert: The New York Times "posts rebuttal" for printing review of Deathly Hallows yesterday. The Public Editor offers no apologies and remains defiant. Read his cynical response here. We wonder if he's polyjuiced and his real name is Malfoy. Draco Malfoy.

Professor Bethsheba Babbling has now arrived and is sitting at our table. She is the Professor of Ancient Runes (one of Hermione Granger's favorite subjects - which we believe, at least at this table, is an important, if not crucial, element in The Deathly Hallows). We are honored to have the good professor with us, especially since she will be hosting the all-night reading party. And yes, she also served with me on the Truro Vestry.

Okay, here's the Quibbler Reporter trying her best to fit in with all the Muggles here at Borders.

8:30 p.m. Jeff Livesay just dropped by - he hasn't read the books or seen the movies. "I have perfected the knack of showing up where I don't belong," Jeff just said. We think he knows a good party when he sees one!

Matt Springman just arrived and with him about 500 more people. Borders is really filling up now and we'll walk around take some photos in just a moment.

Just a few minutes ago we had a round-table discussion on the Scholastic Questions, which is now posted on YouTube and below. We're still editing Part 1, but it will be up shortly. It's chaotic and fun and much like this place right now!