Friday, August 31, 2007

He was a friend of mine

Dropped by a the blog homes of a few of our friends with whom we disagree (but do welcome here for pints of butterbeer and pitchers of chai) and, well, felt rather sad. Wish we were more profound than that, but there we are. Got to thinking again about Bishop Festo and as Bob might say, a different point of view. How would an African bishop walk into a suburban Episcopal parish in the early 80s and completely turn things upside down? But that's what happened - that's how I remember it. The deep friendships between African and American evangelicals - with their Bibles and their Prayer Books in hand - goes back twenty-five to thirty years. It's not overnight. And the deal is, and this is the truth - the Africans saved us. Yes, they did - by pointing us back to the Redeemer that saved them. There would not be an evangelical left in the Episcopal Church if it wasn't for African believers and for men like Bishop Festo. And that is the truth. To God be the glory.

Festo Kivengere on John 17:22

Friday Night at the Cafe

Wonder what John Adams would have thought of the House of Bishops? Ah, but he was a Congregationalist.

The Last Stand of Rowan Williams

Jordan Hylden writes in First Things on the upcoming New Orleans meeting of the House of Bishops with the Archbishop of Canterbury:

Things will come to a point at the September 19-25 meeting of the Americans, when the Episcopal Church’s bishops gather in New Orleans. Williams has been invited to give an address and answer questions. It could be the most important performance of his career as the archbishop of Canterbury.

As has been reported by the press, the Episcopal bishops last spring were given three requests and a deadline by the global Anglican primates. They were asked to stop consecrating actively gay bishops (meaning no more Gene Robinsons), to stop formal blessings of same-sex unions, and to provide space for those who dissent from the regnant liberal theology of the Episcopal Church. The deadline was September 30, so the upcoming meeting will in effect signal definitively whether or not the American church will decide to remain in step with the Anglican Communion or instead detach itself and go its own way.

Williams’ stance at the meeting will inevitably signal whose side he is on. The majority of the Episcopal Church’s bishops do not want to comply with the primates’ requests, as they signaled vociferously last spring. The question is: If they refuse, what if anything will happen to them? Will the American bishops get to come to Lambeth and participate in the other global conferences of Anglicanism no matter what they do, or will refusal mean that they’ll have to sit at home?

It’s an important question, because sitting at home would mean that the American church would no longer have any say in the decision-making bodies of Anglicanism. In effect, it would mean that the Episcopal Church would no longer be a fully constituent part of the Anglican Communion—which, especially when viewed in light of Anglicanism’s history, would be a striking change. Many American bishops who otherwise would support Gene Robinson would at the least be given pause by such a momentous choice.

Of course, it is just this choice that the Americans want to avoid, as, most likely, does Rowan Williams. In many ways Williams is close theological kin to the American church, and it will be extraordinarily difficult for him to prosecute this sort of separation.

But as wrenching as it may be for him, it is probably the only way to keep the majority of Anglicanism together.

Read the whole thing here.

Bishop of Rochester leads thirty signatures voicing support for new Anglican bishops

UPDATE: See VOA Report at the end of this article.

BB NOTE: The Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, headed a list of more than 30 members of the Church of England's General Synod supporting the consecration of two American clergymen as Anglican bishops. From The Times of London:

"You will represent vibrant and growing Churches in Africa in their love and care for those in the United States who are suffering for their commitment to the faith once delivered to the saints, in the face of a determined capitulation by The Episcopal Church to the forces of contemporary North American culture.

"We see in your ministry a wonderful expression of the Gospel promise that there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, but all are one in Christ Jesus. For African Christians who live in economically poorer countries are taking considerable risks in their relations with powerful institutions in order to care for American Christians in economically privileged countries.

"We see here the universal church responding to the needs of local churches, and the local church responding to the need of the universal church, to find a way to preserve global orthodox Anglican witness and fellowship, that is not impaired by man-made intermediate structures.

"Your pathway is into the unknown. The way is strewn with pitfalls. Only Jesus will keep you in the way. Into his hands we commit you as you lead and teach his people in the American corner of his vineyard."

At the service, attended by ten primates from the Global South bloc of conservative African, Asian and Latin American churches, the two men pledged to serve the international interests of the Anglican Church of Kenya and of the congregations in North America that have rejected the care of their own, liberal bishiops and opted for Kenyan jurisdiction.

Archbishop Nzimbi said: “It is evident that the conflicts in the communion affect us all and we have a responsibility to address the areas that we are able to impact."

Read the whole thing here.

UPDATE: The Voice of America reports:

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The 21st Century Anglican Communion

BBC Reports on American Consecrations in Kenya

UPDATE- The Living Church reports:

Ten Anglican primates or their representatives were reported to have been participants or in attendance at the service, which was estimated to have lasted nearly five hours. Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh and Bishop Jack Iker of Fort Worth were present, as were Bishop Martyn Minns of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) and Bishop Charles Murphy of the Anglican Mission in the Americas (AMiA).

The worldwide Anglican Church took a further step towards schism over homosexuality today with the ordination of two American Bishops to pastor to conservative US Anglicans under the jurisdiction of Kenya.

The Right Rev William Murdoch and the Right Rev Bill Atwood were consecrated at All Saints Cathedral in Nairobu by Kenya's Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi.

The ordinations are valid but are expected to be counted as "irregular" by Lambeth Palace in London, placing the two outside the officially-recognised Anglican hierarchy. Nonetheless, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, will come under pressure from conservatives to invite the two new bishops to next year's Lambeth Conference.

In a significant indication of how the divisions transcend national church disputes, one leading evangelical English bishop today recognised and welcomed the ordinations. The Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, headed a list of more than 30 members of the Church of England's General Synod who sent a message to the two new bishops backing their episcopal ministry, even though acknowledging it is "out of the ordinary".

They said: "You will represent vibrant and growing Churches in Africa in their love and care for those in the United States who are suffering for their commitment to the faith once delivered to the saints, in the face of a determined capitulation by The Episcopal Church to the forces of contemporary North American culture.

"We see in your ministry a wonderful expression of the Gospel promise that there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, but all are one in Christ Jesus. For African Christians who live in economically poorer countries are taking considerable risks in their relations with powerful institutions in order to care for American Christians in economically privileged countries.

"We see here the universal church responding to the needs of local churches, and the local church responding to the need of the universal church, to find a way to preserve global orthodox Anglican witness and fellowship, that is not impaired by man-made intermediate structures.

"Your pathway is into the unknown. The way is strewn with pitfalls. Only Jesus will keep you in the way. Into his hands we commit you as you lead and teach his people in the American corner of his vineyard."

At the service, attended by ten primates from the Global South bloc of conservative African, Asian and Latin American churches, the two men pledged to serve the international interests of the Anglican Church of Kenya and of the congregations in North America that have rejected the care of their own, liberal bishiops and opted for Kenyan jurisdiction.

Archbishop Nzimbi said: “It is evident that the conflicts in the communion affect us all and we have a responsibility to address the areas that we are able to impact."

The conflict in the Anglican Church, a communion of 77 million souls with the Church of England's Archbishop of Canterbury as "primus inter pares", has been simmering under the surface during the past decades of revisitionist liberal theology but exploded into schismatic fury after The Episcopal Church in the US consecrated Gene Robinson, an openly gay pastor, as bishop of New Hampshire in 2003.

The Archbishop of the West Indies, Dr Drexel Gomez, who is a leading Global South Anglo-Catholic Primate, said: “The gospel of our Lord is clear in its teaching and must take precedence over our culture. The issue is not primarily one of sexuality, but one which seeks to answer the following question: Which relationship corresponds to God’s ordering of life?”

Read the whole thing here.

BBC Reporting: Kenya's Anglican Church has consecrated two US bishops in a move likely to deepen a bitter row over homosexuality.

Bill Murdoch, of Massachusetts, and Bill Atwood, of Texas, will be answerable to the Kenyan Church, although they will serve in the US.

They left the US branch of the Anglican Church - the Episcopal Church - after it consecrated an openly gay bishop.

...The two Americans were consecrated at a service at All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi by Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi.

They vowed to "serve the international interests of the Anglican Church of Kenya, to serve clergy and congregations in North America under the Kenyan jurisdiction".

The ceremony was watched by a huge congregation of Kenyans, by archbishops and bishops from across Africa, and by the men's friends and supporters from the US.

Read the whole thing here. The London Times reports here. Rueters has an article here. And the AP has an article here. The Living Church has an article here.

The Desolate City

Lent & Beyond is focusing on praying for the House of Bishops meeting in New Orleans next month. The reason that prayer is the place to turn, as it always has been, is explained well here. At Lent & Beyond they have been praying through a scripture that has been before them from Daniel:

Give ear, O God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act! For your sake, O my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.” Daniel 9:17-19

We too join in praying for that gathering. We'll be onsite in New Orleans standing watch and praying as well. As mentioned at Lent & Beyond, it's difficult to know what to pray for and how to pray. Perhaps the place to begin is with our own repentance, our own desperate need for Jesus. See Daniel's plea, "We do not make requests of you because we are righteous..." Our authority is not based on our own testimony, but on the testimony of the Lord, "because of your great mercy," as Daniel says. Standing on that truth, we can pray in confidence, not in our own righteousness, but in His. Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Wednesday Night at the Cafe

Animated American satire about a French Saint martyred by the English and dubbed in German. Honi soit qui mal y pense.

First Report from Kenya

BB NOTE: Bill Atwood is being consecrated a bishop in the Province of Kenya. We know that Bishop Martyn Minns is there and so it Anglican TV's Kevin Kallsen - on the spot and ready to go. Well, almost. Here's his report:

Here is the schedule as best I can tell. Tomorrow the consecrations will be held at the Cathedral. This will occur well before anyone in America wakes up. Therefore I will delay the streaming until 1pm est time.

The service takes four hours. I will probably stream one hour from each service and then post the rest of the videos when I return home. There will be a chat room enabled where you can discuss the service at Anglicantv.

Now the bad news. The Hilton charges $40 per day for internet use! Please consider donating to AnglicanTV. I did NOT budget for such an excessive charge.

BB NOTE: To help Kevin, click here or here. Read the Statement of Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi of the Anglican Church of Kenya here. Hank Steenstra of the Church of the Redeemer in Camden, North Carolina (under the jurisdiction of the Anglican Church of Kenya) is in Nairobi as well and will be reporting at StandFirm this week. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


We saw Alan Crippen over the weekend and he was positively beaming about his son. Then we read today's media blitz from the Episcopal Church and the Usual Suspects and we wondered what in the world is going on (so much for B033 - at least the truth is out). Just trying to hold on. So we came across this video - and remembered it's not all about being Episcopalian, or even Anglican. Hold on.

Monday, August 27, 2007

No Direction Home ...

Have just gotten home after a three-hour trek home from work. Had met a friend at the Dubliner on Capitol Hill for a quick supper and talking politics and religion (what else?) and then jumped on the Red Line to begin the Trek Home. That was about 7:30 p.m. All was well, got off at Metro Center, nothing spectacular. Listened to an impromptu men's quartet singing as the Orange Line arrived and went and then as the Blue Line arrived. Got on (how many times have we done this!) and settled down in a seat, preparing to plug in to the trusty iPod. Then came an announcement:

"Attention passengers, we are ...." the driver's voice trailed off.

This was not the usual, but we do often "hold" at a station, never quite sure why (though we do remember one time when we threw, by mistake of course, our Metro Pass onto the tracks at Union Station and the Red Line was halted while the Metro staff manager went down on the tracks to retrieve it - we can still remember the announcement then "Delays on the Red Line in the direction of Silver Spring" as the manager handed me back my Metro pass, my head bowed in guilt), but I took the iPod ear phone out and waited.

"Attention passengers," the driver repeated, and it did sound like she was frustrated, but politely so. "All Blue Line trains will end at Arlington Cemetery due to an emergency situation, this train will end at Arlington Cemetery." Well, that's often the end of the line for some, looked like it would be end of the line for us. A few minutes later that was updated to the Pentagon. But that really would be the end of the line and that wasn't even half way home.

Three hours, one Red Line, one Blue Line, two shuttle buses, and a visit to every station by bus between Crystal City and Springfield, Virginia and we finally made it to the end of the real line. Seems that Metro had a repeat of yesterday's mysterious shut down with the tracks catching on fire and filling the tunnels full of smoke. Well, that's what they said - actually, they never did say, we learned that after calling The Brother the Methodist & Family on the cell phone and they told us. We just kept hearing about an "emergency situation" which had a lot of people looking up at the sky (some things are never forgotten). It was daylight when we left, a lovely summer afternoon. But by the time we got to Springfield, darkness had settled over the Metro, in more ways then one.

Of course, we took some photos along the way.

Having been "unloaded" off at the Pentagon (somehow appropriate), we were smooshed into buses with drivers that had no idea where they were going ("Don't know!" cried the driver, "Don't know where we're going!"). We actually joined a caravan of Metro Buses headed "south" and following a "security" truck with blinking lights. We were packed into the buses, but not sure where we were going. Driver didn't know either. Weird.

We stopped at Crystal City where a riot nearly broke out with angry people who had been stranded outside the Metro having been unloaded but with no shuttle. Kept phone in purse during that melee. Then our Bus Caravan took off and went to Reagan National Airport, but no one was there. In fact, the airport felt deserted. Weird.

We took off for Braddock Road where there was more overflowing crowds and were told to get off at Braddock Road and get on the Metro. But once we did we learned that the Metro was still closed due to the "emergency situation" and there were police - real police with guns and everything, including some with Big Guns - everywhere. The Metro personnel still didn't know what was going on, but the policeman I found sure did and he was really helpful, cheerful and in charge. Wish I took his picture. But instead, was loaded on to yet another Metro Bus and told we were headed for "Points South." New Orleans?

We hit every stop, on both the Blue and Yellow Lines between Braddock Road and Springfield. Three hours had passed and at one point we came to the Van Ness station and the driver started to announce this was the end of the line. The crowded bus yelled no and I think there might have been a hostile takeover if the driver hadn't relented with an "oh."

As we arrived at the Springfield Metro the moon was out and shined over the station like the North Star.
We were like pilgrims on a journey and in time we made it home. Until tomorrow.

A History of Computers

Kevin at Anglican TV has posted a "flashback" to 1991 and his first computer (a Radio Shack Tandy - the less said about that the better, in our family we referred to the first Radio Shack commputer as the the Trash80 and never went back). He asks us to tell us about our first computer.

So we got to thinking over here at our table as we are sitting drinking our chai and looking out a remarkably beautiful day in DC that the first computer we worked on at home was this one. Here's the story:

The screen was black with green letters (no graphics!) as I recall (or something like that) - when the amber version came out it was considered cool, well at least to the geeks.

My brother (Capt. Methodist) took the Apple II with him to Oregon State (heard stories that when he'd take it to a repair shop the techies would take the Apple II in the backroom and everyone would gather around as they opened it up to look at the now-historic board - maybe Steve Jobs or the Great Woz had done this one himself!) and so the Apple IIe was introduced into our household.

I typed my senior thesis in college on the Apple IIe using BankStreetWriter, but only after my father had to practically hide the electric typewriter from me. I was a virtual Luddite in those days, having watched one-too-many episodes of Star Trek and sure that the computers were going to take over the planet and dehumanize humankind (I was studying for my BFA in Creative Writing). I am forever grateful to my father for not giving up on me (in so many ways), but especially at this moment when I found out that I too - the artist one of the family - had been born with a Geek gene (though memorizing Star Trek episodes might have been a clue).

Since I was now on the AppleIIe 24/7, Dad went out and got himself a Kaypro, using WordStar as the word processor. It was the first "portable" computer I'd ever seen, real nifty. But I was still in my "BankStreetWriter" days and the thought of figuring out the massive codes of WordStar seemed daunting. I kept my distance.

From the Apple IIe I entered the world and remember having to learn the early version of the U.S. Senate computers, which were box-like terminals where the user had to type in mounds of code just to get one sentence out. By that time we were working on the 1986 Tax Reform Bill and some new international trade agreement legislation (it's all a blur now), and I was about ready to throw that terminal out the window, only I would have had to barge into Josh's office to get to the window since my desk at that time was outside his door. I can still remember fighting with that Senate terminal and typing up a memo for Josh which would be eventually a speech the Finance chairman would give on the floor. At one point, I had mistakenly typed two "oo"'s instead of two "ee"'s and when I handed the draft speech to Josh and went back to my desk I heard howls of laughter pouring out of his office as he read something like "the 1986 International Trade Agreement bill was doomed ..." not "deemed." That may have been a good moment to haul the terminal out the window, but I'm afraid Josh may have thrown me out with it - if he didn't have such a good sense of humor.

By the time I returned to the U.S. Senate in the 1990s, Windows 3.1 had been introduced. I had spent the intervening years on IBM clones using WordStar (yes, finally learned it) and then the beloved WordPerfect. But now the Windows Revolution was underway and Apple had gone loopy and fired Steve Jobs. It was at this point that I heard about the Internet.

Return to Apple at home with the PowerMac in the later-90's, which was often rather frustrating and at the office we were knee deep in Dell, first Windows 95, then 98, now 2000 (so far Vista has been kept at bay). Yahoo.

But the early Apple doctrination would finally prove successful when Apple came back to its senses and Steve Jobs returned to his post. We have now returned full circle as well (though continue to be bilingual as the office continues madly content with the World of Gates & Company). We continue to beam happily at the MacMini and the PowerBook G4 (as well as our iPod)- and wonder what will happen next? And yes, perhaps computers have taken over the world, just as Star Trek said it would. But our Luddite days are over and all is well.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

BabyBluePodcast: Tory Baucum's First Sermon at Truro

The latest BabyBlue Podcast is now up. It features the first sermon preached by Tory Baucum as the new rector of Truro Church. You can click on the player above or go to iTunes and download it to your iPod or computer. The iTunes Podcast is called BabyBlueOnline.

All I can say is that the Lord answers prayer. Listen.

NOTE: To download the latest version of QuickTime, click here.

Sunday Afternoon with Bob

Where black is the color, where none is the number,
And I'll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it,
And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it,
Then I'll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin',
But I'll know my song well before I start singin',
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard,
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.
B. Dylan (Performance March 2007)

And with a big time tip of the TinFoil to RWB, here's "I Believe in You" from last week (Aug. 19th) on the road in Melbourne, Australia. When asked what he believes in these days, Dylan constantly responds that it's in his songs. If we want to know what he believes, it's in the songs. Great to hear him still singing this one. Thanks, RWB.

Don't let me drift too far,
Keep me where you are
Where I will always be renewed.
And that which you've given me today
Is worth more than I could pay
And no matter what they say
I believe in you.

I believe in you when winter turn to summer,
I believe in you when white turn to black,
I believe in you even though I be outnumbered.
Oh, though the earth may shake me
Oh, though my friends forsake me
Oh, even that couldn't make me go back.

Don't let me change my heart,
Keep me set apart
From all the plans they do pursue.
And I, I don't mind the pain
Don't mind the driving rain
I know I will sustain
'Cause I believe in you.

B. Dylan

Saturday, August 25, 2007

In the News:16-year-old takes over as congregation’s organist

BB NOTE: Great story coming out of Colorado today about Zachary Crippen. We saw Zachary's dad this morning at Truro and he was positively beaming. Finally some good news. Here's an excerpt:
This story is about the young man who brought music back into the lives of the congregation of Grace CANA Church, a group that broke away in March from the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado. The timing wasn’t the best. It was right before Easter, a highly attended service that begs for a church organist. But the organist and most of the choir did not join the breakaway.

Enter Crippen, a master of the keyboard with about eight years of piano lessons to his credit. That’s piano, not organ. He had never touched an organ, but he wasn’t deterred. He stepped into the vacuum and up to the organ — and it took him 10 minutes to figure out how to open it up.

And then he practiced. And practiced some more. And by Easter weekend, he was playing in front of about 1,200 congregants.

“I was nervous, to say the least,” Crippen said. “Easter is one of the biggest services in the year, right up there with Christmas, so there’s a pretty big crowd that day.”

To the Rev. Donald Armstrong, the head of the CANA congregation, Crippen’s Easter gift was more than mere coincidence. “This is really a crucial thing not to have an organist,” Armstrong said. “So I said my prayers, and Zac walked into my office.”

On Easter Sunday, Armstrong hired Crippen as director of music — a paid position. Crippen now spends 30 hours a week coordinating the music and practicing on the church’s organ, which, when it was completed in 1928, was the largest instrument west of the Mississippi.

“I think he’s carrying the water of a regular staff member of a large church, so he has an incredible amount of responsibility for someone who’s only 16,” his father, Alan Crippen said.

That’s not just fatherly pride talking. James Thomashower, executive director of the American Guild of Organists in New York City, says that while there are some child prodigies across the country, most organists have at least a few years of training and experience before they try to tackle a large church organ.

“It’s astounding,” Thomashower said.
Read the whole thing here.

Columbus Revisited: A Laptop to the Rescue

Cafe regular Kevin reminded us this week that even BabyBlue has had access to Bishop Minns' laptop (here's a photo of Martyn Minns at Columbus as he apparently runs the entire Anglican Communion single-handedly from his laptop and cell phone).

Many of you who have been dropping into the Cafe since the very beginning may remember the disaster that fell upon us while at Columbus (no, this other one). We, of course, remember it very well. We were in the depths of despair. We were nearly inconsolable. We were sitting in the bar of the Plaza Hotel contemplating another gin and tonic and watching the grass grow as we stared forlornly at our own beloved PowerBook, sitting in front of us on the table as the glow of the Apple logo reflected into our empty glass and we listened, despairingly, to the sound of the hard drive going crunch, crunch, crunch. It was not a happy moment.

Here's an excerpt from the post:

Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Columbus, Ohio

I had a major disaster last night. I had just taken a photo of Greg from Stand Firm and Jenny from the ACN and plugged the camera into my laptop to download when the whole laptop (I just got it in March) froze up. It's been frozen ever since. All I see is the "Apple" and the sound of something trying to get started on the hard drive (as though the laptop is trying to boot up but is stuck).

Last night I ended up at Max and Erma's over at the Crown Plaza with my laptop and Martyn Minns laptop trying to research what could be done (he has the same type of laptop as mine). We all even prayed over the laptop (NOTE: The Episcopal Church has been writing new prayers at this General Convention for all sorts of activities - do you think they could ask a special prayer for sick laptops? Maybe they could be inclusive and include prayers for both PCs and Macs?).

I worked on it until past 11:00 p.m. and still - all I could get up was the shining Apple logo. I was crushed.
What would I do?

Here we were at the final day of General Convention and I have crashed. My blogging colleagues here in the newsroom have been suffering through similar disasters as their servers explode (I actually thought I saw smoke coming out of Mike and Greg's ears at one point). Now I was joining them in the dungeon of despair. This was devastating.

Martyn and Angela came to my table at Max and Erma's and were so incredibly supportive. Here the church is frozen just like my laptop and theological and political fires are raging and I am in the depths of despair over my laptop. Their kindness - and the kindness of many others meant more to me then - dare I say it - even the laptop being healed, er fixed. People were praying. I knew there must be a way through this.

Then I suddenly remembered.

At the last moment I had decided to take my MacMini to Columbus - the box, the screen, the keyboard, the mouse, the whole chebang. I had planned to do podcasting live from Columbus (I've managed to do one which you can hear by going to the iTunes Music Store and search "podcasts" by typing "BabyBlueOnline"). But the Internet connection was so poor in the hotel it was extremely time consuming - and time is precious here. So I had been thinking that it hadn't really been worth it to lug the whole machine to Columbus.

Until last night.

I had backup!

So here I am - I got to the newsroom early so I could set up the whole rig without too much ribbing from the Pirates (the guy bloggers) in the newsroom. In fact, I may take a photo of it so you can see. MacMini's are cool - don't leave home with it it.

Backup is always a good thing to have, one way or the other. What we can tell you, laptops can be restored (see photo left). They can be better than they ever were. May it be so about other news of fresh disasters.

Community life blossoms

This morning was busy, attended the installation of new members of the Daughters of the King as well as the commissioning of the new officers of the Truro chapter (see photo). Over in the Gunnell House was a gathering of folks discerning ordination, while over in the Education Building was a meeting of the Alpha Course team. Despite the heat (one way or the other), Truro was alive with ministry and people and activity and laughter - and even tears. Later I sat around a table with other members of the Daughters of the King as we shared stories of recent events, laughed together, even wept together and at one point my heart just filled up with thankfulness. What a blessing it has been - and continues to be - to find myself in this community of believers, this cosmopolitan gathering of people from all parts of the globe, some local, some far away, all here to celebrate our life together in Christ.

Today, with the sun shining over the brick walk in expectation for tomorrow when those walks will be filled with people coming to explore who Jesus is and why He died and why He rose again - may that be our heart's desire as well, to meet Jesus, to be thankful for all He has done and all that He will do through us in the power of the Holy Spirit according to His Word.

"I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." -Philippians 1:3-6

Choosing What We Believe

BB NOTE: Excellent article over at Anglican Action on making the choice of what we believe. Here's an excerpt. Read the whole thing here.

If progressives want to know why so many orthodox Anglicans feel that they cannot remain in the Episcopal Church, they should look to a large degree at their own words and actions. The attribution of speculated, and damaging, motives to orthodox Anglican leaders; "glee" at seeming progressive victories; insults and statements that the departures are inconsequential -- all of these things, and many more, contribute to orthodox Anglicans feeling that they cannot stay in the Episcopal Church.

The view of orthodox Anglican leaders is so negative and one-sided on the progressive end that people are left with a stark choice. Given that all of us, including godly leaders, struggle with sin daily and have our own weaknesses, are orthodox Christian leaders such as (but not limited to) Minns and Duncan to be respected and trusted? Do they have good ends in mind for the church of God, and for the body of Christ? Or are they nefarious leaders who have been plotting the destruction of one segment of the body of Christ for a decade?

This is not the same question as whether to leave the Episcopal Church. Orthodox Anglicans hold different convictions on that matter, and some are still working through that issue. Rather, the question concerns whether we essentially trust orthodox Christian leaders to have the good of the body of Christ in mind, even if we are not going to follow certain ones in either leaving or staying in (as the case may be) the Episcopal Church. To allude to a choice that Harry Potter must make in J.K. Rowling's latest bestseller, this is a question of choosing what we believe amid competing voices. The times demand this when orthodox Christian leaders are slandered with abandon.

Read the whole thing here.

Geek Report: 17 Year Old "Unlocks" iPhone

We were born with an "inner-geek" and found this story fascinating. A 17 year old-college bound young man named George Hotz spent the summer "unlocking" his iPhone so it can be used with other carriers (like T-Mobile, which is global). The iPhone is connected to the AT&T (Cingular) network and so if one purchases an iPhone, the user has to purchase a cell phone agreement with AT&T in order to actually use the cell phone capabilities in the iPhone. And since AT&T is only in the U.S., the iPhone can only be used in the U.S. Until now.

Read the article here and George's blog here. The blog itself is fascinating to read, even if one doesn't have an "inner geek." My favorite post, though, was this one. Wonder if he has a twin named Fred?

And it's for sale. You can buy it here. Current sale price: $40,900.00

Friday, August 24, 2007

Anglican Church of Nigeria Communications Director Speaks Out

BB NOTE: Communications Director of the Anglican Church of Nigeria, AkinTunde Popoola, speaks out (and he doesn't mince words either) on Pat Ashworth's "article" in the Church Times. The "reporter" would have gained a lot by checking sources before publishing. As the Communications Director says, "Anyone who knows Abp. Peter Akinola knows you can not make him say what he does not mean." And that is the truth. From the Anglican Church of Nigeria:

Abp. Akinola informed his senior staff and the Episcopal Secretary the need to highlight efforts at maintaining unity and the intransigence of the revisionists so that the Nigerian community is left in no doubt about who is ‘walking apart’

Along with his PA in Abuja, work started on the gathering of materials and relevant documents on 6th August, 2007. We used in addition to existing statements and my internet searches, Nigerian Episcopal meeting documents and TECUSA resolutions supplied respectively by our Episcopal Secretary, the Rt. Rev. Friday Imaekhia and a CANA priest, the Rev. Canon David Anderson. The draft of the statement was ready for correction by the primate on 9th August, 2007 who was however unable to correct it as he was about to travel.

Abp. Akinola was in the US and Bahamas between 10th and 22nd August 2007. I sent the draft to him through the Rt. Rev Minns with a request for assistance in getting some online references which I could not easily locate.

I fail to see any issue if amendments are then made on Bp. Minns’ computer. Apart from the fact that they were together during the period of the amendment, the Archbishop like many effective leaders who spend little time glued to a desk often phones me and other staffs to write certain things. Such remain his idea and anyone who knows Abp. Peter Akinola knows you can not make him say what he does not mean.

The publication doubting authenticity is another attempt to divert attention away from the carefully researched document which shows that the revisionists are directly responsible for problems confronting the Communion. Instead of chasing shadows, concerned Anglicans should consider the indisputable scenario highlighted in the document and pray for ways to save our beleaguered Communion.

The Venerable AkinTunde Popoola
Director of Communications
Church Of Nigeria

Read the whole thing here.

Sometimes, you just have to wonder ...

Hebrews 13:2

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Well, guess who knows how to type?

The Church Times has made an important discovery - Martyn Minns is a Bishop in the Anglican Church of Nigeria and he is the Assistant Secretary of the Global South steering committee. He also knows how to type, very well, especially when his primate is in town and has an important letter on his mind.

Oops, The Church Times doesn't mentioned any of that. No, they have other things on their mind, or so it seems.

Check out Greg Griffith's perceptive posting at at StandFirm. He asks some very good questions, too.

Reading the Signs of the Times

by Bishop David Bena

Today as I was driving through the countryside near my home in upper New York State, I noticed the first trees beginning to change color. Some golds and yellows appeared where green used to be. It was a message loud and clear that although the temperature is high as a giraffe today, in just a few months, the temperature will be low as a snake. Although we are in for a beautiful and spectacular autumn, with fall foliage and delicious apples, the inevitable result will be dead leaves and crippling snow storms. So I have decided to enjoy the soon coming autumn and not think about the future numbing winter. Reading the earth and the sky?

Jesus said to the crowds, "...Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and sky. How is it that you don't know how to interpret this present time?" (Luke 12:56). Much will be happening in the Anglican Communion over the next few months. Will we be able to "interpret this present time?"

Here is what I am getting at: The Episcopal Church House of Bishops will meet in late September. All the world will be watching. Will the HOB agree to repent and turn back from condoning a very loose systematic theology and an even looser sexual behavior policy? The Primates of the Anglican Communion have given the Episcopal Church HOB until September 30 to turn back. Will they? Recent statements and actions say that they will not. Their statements and actions say that the majority of Episcopal Church bishops are firmly committed to a "multi-truth theology" when studying God and salvation history, and are firmly committed to celebrating gay relationships on a par with marriage and the ordination of those practicing sex outside heterosexual marriage. Unless a miracle happens, the HOB is not going to back down from these positions. What they will do is attempt to give the Anglican world and leadership some assurance that they "are doing the best they can" to both staying in the Anglican Communion and "telling their truth" through a listening process, explaining that their polity does not allow them to comply with the Dar Es Salaam Communiqué. We sometimes call this way of handling the Communiqué as "fudge." Fudging the truth and the facts. In fact, the HOB CAN comply with the Communiqué if it votes that it will. And in fact, the HOB CAN indeed make decisions regarding whom they will ordain and what parameters will be placed on the blessing of relationships. But they will not do this.

While the House of Bishops is meeting in New Orleans, Archbishop Williams and a number of other primates will attend and dialogue with the American bishops. The plan, I'm sure, is to put such pressure on the Archbishop that he will have to accept the "fudge" by stating that the HOB and the Episcopal Church have complied in "most" of the demands of the Primates and so they should be given a pass. He will be pressured to say that the Americans and all other bishops (with a few exceptions, let the reader understand) should be able to sit at the Lambeth Conference in 2008 for a time of listening and understanding one another. This approach has been tried many times and found wanting by those who wish to clearly speak the Scriptures and the historic teachings of Anglicanism. I somehow think the Archbishop knows this in his heart. So let us pray for the Archbishop, that he sees the fudge and its vacuousness, that he refuses to accept it, and that he speaks the Truth on behalf of the Primates of the Anglican Communion, that the HOB has NOT complied with Dar Es Salaam.

Whatever happens at New Orleans, and whatever the Archbishop may or may not say about the HOB meeting, the Primates of the Anglican Communion will probably meet soon after and thoughtfully analyze the HOB statement - Comply? Not comply? and since the Archbishop of Canterbury is but one of the thirty-something Primates, he must join them as they form an opinion. It will be interesting to see how this all goes.

Interpreting this present time? We are at a New Reformation, brothers and sisters. This age can be compared with the times of the sixteenth century. Those of us in CANA are attempting, with a spirit of humility, to stand firm in our biblical faith, the faith of Anglicanism. We are saying, "this corruption of theology and behavior has been tolerated long enough in our Communion. We can no longer abide it. We need to reform our Communion by returning to Anglican biblical formation, and by moving with the Holy Spirit into world evangelization based on the Word of Jesus and the Works of Jesus.

But Reformations are messy, aren't they? And we are in a mess. The Episcopal Church, with its huge endowments (dead people contributing to what, if they were alive, would probably not!) is using millions of dollars to sue for the properties of disaffected Episcopalians. They have set a "NO NEGOTIATIONS" policy and advised all bishops to follow that policy. The attempt is apparent - destroy those who oppose the current trends of the Episcopal Church, and intimidate any others who wish to oppose them. To this, we can only say, "Here we stand; we can do no other." Let the New Reformation proceed!

By the time we meet at the First CANA Convocation Council November 1-3 at Epiphany, Herndon, Virginia, much of this will have played out. Let's be in fervent prayer as we prepare. While you pray, select your delegates and make your airline reservations to join us in Virginia. It will be autumn. We'll know that because we can interpret the earth and sky. But will we be able to interpret this present age?

Your Brother in Christ,
Bishop David Bena

Suffragan for CANA

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

What about Bob?

Now what about Bob? Why do Xers like him so much? Like, right now? Why do the Boomers think he betrayed them (not once, but several times)? What is the median age at Dylan concerts these days? For us Xers (even barely Xers) is it because we can't remember the 1960s (by the time we might have become aware, Bob was off the road in Woodstock). Of course, a lot of Boomers can't remember the 60's either, but for different reasons. But Bob was actually "off site" when the "60's" were actually "happening" - and so were we.

Bob Dylan is 66 this year (too old for the Boom even) but we're thinking that perhaps he is actually the prefigured Classic Xer. Think about it. He was at the peak of his prophetic period when he had an unfortunate trip on his motorcycle ("I was hurt," was all Bob wrote in his autobiography, Chronicles, about the infamous crash, "but I recovered.") and stayed home for eight years and made music in his basement. Sounds classic Xer-ish. No wonder he's "time out of mind."

But then, he was so much older then, he's younger than that now. And of course, he's still trying to find himself.


Check out Brad Drell's interesting post on the Episcopal Crisis and the Generation Gap. Since BabyBlue is, indeed, a GenXer (as is Kendall Harmon, and most, if not all, the gang at StandFirm as well as Brad himself - and of course, well, Bono - but that's a different story) and that most (except for the fellow U2 fan and Mac-User Sarah Dylan Breuer) of the vocal TEC progressives are Boomers, well - what can we say, except pass the pork chops and apple sause.

Learn more on GenX at Wiki. And check out Brad's post here.

Who ya gonna serve?

Possibly the best interpretation of this Dylan song. And see who gets to his feet first for what became a standing ovation. From the Kennedy Center Honors, Washington, D.C. 1997.

Thanks for RWB (who is finally back from vacation) for not only pointing us to this new addition from the awesome rankflv, but also to the scripture the song is based on:

And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. Joshua 24:15

Getting past the sleeping dragons ...

Jerry Bowyer writes on the Christian symbolism of the Harry Potter series. Finally, having gotten by those sleeping dragons, the truth is out. Excerpt Bowyer's article:

...From the very beginning, I've believed that Hogwarts is the literary representation of the Christian Church. Towered over by stone spires, filled with living icons of great men and women from the past, Hogwarts is a place where ancient books are studied to relearn great wisdom from the past. Hogwarts was founded by four great wizards over a thousand years ago who were united in the belief that their knowledge should be passed on. Like the four evangelists in early church literature, each has its own seals and symbol and its own special focus of virtue. Many of those wonderful names, such as Godric Gryffindor, Rowling revealed in a recent interview were, taken from medieval Christian saints.
Eventually the initial unity of the four Hogwarts founders was shattered by a disagreement over whether to include people of outside lineage, and the houses remain divided up to the last chapter of the last book. The students live in different "houses," coming together as a school only for a shared meal in the great hall. While the students speak English, much of their study devoted to learning phrases in Latin.

That's why Susan knew that I wouldn't be surprised if the ritual of entry into Hogwarts turned out to be a baptism. After all, the head of the school is the founder of the Order of the Phoenix. The phoenix, as you remember, is the mystical bird that dies in a fiery ordeal and is resurrected from the ashes.

Susan's not the only one in the treasure hunt: "Dad, what's the Hebrew word for snake? Dad, what does Ascendio mean? Dad, are unicorns symbols of anything? Dad, what does Dumbledore mean? Dad, can I borrow your Latin/English dictionary?"

"Nachash. I rise. Yes, unicorns symbolize Christ, because they're pure and they come only to the virgin. Its an Anglo-Saxon word that means bumblebee, a symbol of wisdom. Yes, it's the red hardback on the bottom shelf in the upstairs library."

Mercy's been reading and re-reading Jane Austen ever since she learned that Austen was Rowling's favorite author. Susan borrowed my copy of Christian Symbols in Art last evening. Gracie and I sit in the back of the church together and (in whispers) try to reverse translate the liturgy back into the original Latin. The whole family watches Dickens together (Rowling's other favorite author) on DVD - repeatedly.

On the other hand, Rowling, in spite of meeting thousands and thousands of children, has never had one of them thank her for introducing them to witchcraft. Many children have, however, picked up on the political and religious themes in the books.

It's perfectly evident to me that the Potter books are a 'gateway drug,' so to speak, to three millennia of great literature. Why else would Rowling have had the first book translated, at her own personal expense, into ancient Greek and Latin? Is there a lucrative market for what we used to call 'the sacred languages'? Look at the sales ranks of the books on Amazon, and you'll see that these translations are a labor of love. Love of what? Love of learning. Why else would Rowling put so much Latin into these books? Why all the myriad of literary references, from "Guinevere" Weasley (daughter of Arthur) to a tattling little cat named Mrs. Norris? (Read Austen's Mansfield Park for more.)

Rowling studied the classics at St. Michaels, a school founded almost two centuries ago by William Wilberforce (of Amazing Grace fame). There, like Hermione (which is close to a word that means 'she interprets' in Greek) she read voraciously and absorbed whatever she could.

Rowling made a bet which, if it had been stated explicitly, would have been rejected by every large publisher in the Western world: She wagered her labor and reputation on the proposition that children were hungry for the good stuff. That they had eaten their fill of literary junk food, and wanted the stories, the words and phrases, the atmosphere and the 'feel' of the greatest stories every told. Happily for us, Rowling kept her mouth shut and walked her manuscript past the sleeping dragons ...

Read the whole thing here.

Anglican Watch: Provincial secretaries to meet in Hong Kong

BB NOTE: First Spain, now Hong Kong. Looks like The Old Apparatus is busy getting ready for September 30. Wonder who is paying for this meeting? They can get the Provincial Secretaries together in the Far East, but can they get the Primates together after September 30? Hmm ... Let's keep an eye on this, okay?

AUGUST 21, 2007 -- From Aug. 23 to the 30th, the Hong Kong Anglican Church will host an informal meeting of 40 chief administrators from provinces of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The general secretaries represent different provinces, or member churches, of the Anglican Communion, with Archdeacon Michael Pollesel representing the Anglican Church of Canada.

"The aim is to bring together as many provincial secretaries from around the world as possible," said Archdeacon Pollesel. Much like the recent consultation in El Escorial, Spain, this event focuses on fortifying cross-communion conversations. Archdeacon Pollesel said the purpose is "to get to know one another, to get to know their respective churches, where they work, to talk about the differences and the similarities."

General secretaries wear different hats in different provinces. Some are lay people, others are bishops, and their election processes and authority differ. In Canada, Archdeacon Pollesel is the chief operating officer of General Synod (the church's national office), where he supervises day-to-day operations, shares the church's work with Canadians, and manages the a staff of about 100.

The conference will cover broad issues affecting all general secretaries, like relationships with primates, interacting with secular authorities and the 2008 Lambeth conference. The secretaries will also give updates on their provinces and learn about the work in Hong Kong. "I'm hoping that we spend some time on the millennium development goals," said Archdeacon Pollesel, "Because I think something like that is a way of bringing the communion together with some really identifiable mission objectives."

Read the whole thing here.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I'm Not There

UPDATE: Here's an excerpt from an article on the upcoming film from yesterday's New York Times:

August 21, 2007
Dylan Movie to Open Like a Rolling Premiere

Imagine you’re a film distributor, handling an experimental movie by one of the country’s most iconoclastic directors. The subject is an enigmatic occasional recluse who is being portrayed by four actors, an actress and a 13-year-old boy. Where do you open that film?

If you’re very lucky, you get to book it at Film Forum, perhaps the most exclusive art-house cinema in Manhattan.

Now what do you do with a movie that stars Cate Blanchett, Richard Gere, Christian Bale and Heath Ledger; whose subject is Bob Dylan; and whose director is the Oscar-nominated Todd Haynes?

Same answer. Same film. Which is what’s making the planned Nov. 21 release of “I’m Not There,” Mr. Haynes’s rumination on Mr. Dylan’s lives and times, something of a curiosity.

In addition to Film Forum, the film’s distributor, the Weinstein Company, will be opening the movie in just three other theaters, one more in New York and two in Los Angeles, giving it the kind of debut that might be afforded a Mexican documentary. Even “Velvet Goldmine” — the previous Weinstein-Haynes collaboration, about the British glam-rock scene of the 1970s, which starred an unknown Jonathan Rhys Meyers — began in 85 theaters in 1998.

But Harvey Weinstein, the company’s co-chairman, said the slow rollout was the best way to nurture an unconventional, nonlinear movie like “I’m Not There,” in which the above-mentioned stars play Mr. Dylan at particular stages of his life. Shot in styles that correspond to each Dylan epoch, “I’m Not There” sometimes looks like “A Hard Day’s Night,” elsewhere like “McCabe and Mrs. Miller,” with Mr. Dylan’s life being imbued with mythic American qualities.

“With a movie like this you have to build it,” said Mr. Weinstein, who founded the company with his brother, Bob, two years ago after an acrimonious split from the Walt Disney Company saw them relinquish control of Miramax. “I don’t think you can go out on 500 screens. The reason for Film Forum is you go where the best word of mouth is on the movie. I like the movie; I think it’s adventurous. The audience is going to have to work — work in a good way.”

Mr. Weinstein said that a similar approach had worked for two of Miramax’s biggest successes. “Good Will Hunting” opened in New York and Los Angeles and eventually brought in nearly $140 million at the domestic box office, while “Chicago” began the same way and grossed $170 million. Those films had larger openings, however: “Good Will Hunting” (with the rising stars Ben Affleck and Matt Damon) in 7 theaters, “Chicago” in 77.

“I’m not saying this movie’s going to come anywhere near those,” Mr. Weinstein said, “but I have a tendency to start small and go big. If we threw this movie out wide, I don’t know what it would do. I think we have to start somewhere.”

The “somewhere” means Film Forum, “a real cathedral of cinema” according to Mr. Haynes’s longtime producer, Christine Vachon, which has presented the premieres of work by Ingmar Bergman, Jean-Luc Godard, Hal Hartley, Claude Chabrol, Spike Lee and Lars von Trier, among many others. But rarely does it get star-laden films like “I’m Not There.” And for it to agree to have another theater share a New York premiere is a rare move.

“We did it with ‘Saraband,’ ” said Karen Cooper, Film Forum’s director, referring to Mr. Bergman’s last American release. “Lincoln Plaza opened it the same day, and I don’t think either of us were happy. I thought the same crowd that lined up to see ‘Scenes From a Marriage’ would want to see ‘Scenes From a Divorce.’ I was wrong.”

Ms. Cooper said that she was offered shared openings all the time and regularly turned them down. But she said that she and Mike Maggiore, Film Forum’s programmer and publicist, decided the Haynes film was so remarkable that they would not mind sharing it with Lincoln Plaza. In Los Angeles, “I’m Not There” will open at the Westside Pavilion and ArcLight Cinemas.

Conventional movie-business wisdom says that if a film fails to catch fire at its opening theater, it will not move much farther. But Mr. Weinstein said there was “not a chance” he would not take this film into more theaters and cities, regardless of its fate on the coasts. “I’m going to play every major city in the United States with this movie,” he said. “I’ll play 100 cities, at least.”

He said he also planned to position Ms. Blanchett, who plays Mr. Dylan during his “Blonde on Blonde” phase, for an Oscar. (Mr. Bale corresponds to “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan,” Mr. Ledger to “John Wesley Harding.”)

“I may be jumping the gun,” Mr. Weinstein said, “but if Cate Blanchett doesn’t get nominated, I’ll shoot myself.”

Read it all here.

Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.
Psalm 27

Monday, August 20, 2007

40 Days

LORD, you have searched me out and known me;
you know my sitting down and my rising up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.

You trace my journeys and my resting-places
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Indeed, there is not a word on my lips,
but you, O LORD, know it altogether.

You press upon me behind and before
and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is so high that I cannot attain to it.

Where can I go then from your Spirit?
where can I flee from your presence?
If I climb up to heaven, you are there;
if I make the grave my bed, you are there also.

If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there your hand will lead me
and your right hand hold me fast.

Psalm 139:1-9

Updated: A Most Agonizing Journey towards Lambeth 2008

BB NOTE: We were with Archbishop Akinola late yesterday afternoon with others from Virginia and it was an extraordinary time to hear from the Archbishop himself, as well as ask him questions and spend time in conversation with him. He is an extraordinary man, one who has an incredible sense of humor as well as a sharp mind and a big heart. That is the man I know. These words are his. When you meet him it is clear that he is passionately committed not only to our Lord Jesus Christ, but to the Church and the Anglican Communion. Last night he reminded us, among other things, that he is not leaving the Anglican Communion (and plese take note of that). The journey he recounts here begins in Kuala Lumpur, a meeting I remember hearing so much about ten years ago, as well as the historic document that came from that gathering and how it came before General Convention in Philadelphia in 1997. It had been in response to this presented by Bishop Spong of Newark that outlined where The Episcopal Church was indeed headed (I remember both documents laid out side by side in the House of Bishops in 1997, and that was ten years ago). Denver 2000 was a shock to the progressives that what they wanted didn't happen on their timetable and so cooked up the ingenious plan (make no mistake about it - remember who Gene Robinson's predecessor was) to elect Gene Robinson and time it so that confirmations would have to be conducted at General Convention 2003, thereby assuring that this statement would become the policy of The Episcopal Church, something all ready in place in practice, but with the consecration of the Bishop of New Hampshire became officially sanctioned of The Episcopal Church - and without one change to either the liturgy or the canons - and of course, ignoring the teachings of Scripture, the pleas from all the instruments of the unity in the Communion, and the House of Bishop's own theological committee itself.

Here Archbishop Akinola reminds us where we've been and how we got to where we are today, now forty days before the Dar es Salaam deadline.

A Most Agonizing Journey towards Lambeth 2008

[Corrected Version]

I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Eph. 4:1,3)

We have been on this journey for ten long years. It has been costly and debilitating for all concerned as most recently demonstrated by the tepid response to the invitations to the proposed Lambeth Conference 2008. At a time when we should be able to gather together and celebrate remarkable stories of growth and the many wonderful ways in which our God has been at work in our beloved Communion as lives are transformed new churches built and new dioceses established there is little enthusiasm to even meet.

There are continual cries for patience, listening and understanding. And yet the record shows that those who hold to the “faith once and for all delivered to the saints” have shown remarkable forbearance while their pleas have been ignored, their leaders have been demonized, and their advocates marginalized. We made a deliberate, prayerful decision in 1998 with regard to matters of Human Sexuality. It was supported by an overwhelming majority of the bishops of the Communion. It reflected traditional teaching interpreted with pastoral sensitivity. And yet it has been ignored and those who uphold it derided for their stubbornness. However, we have continued to meet and pray and struggle to find ways to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

The journey started in February 1997 in Kuala Lumpur. It was here, during the 2nd Encounter of the Global South Anglican Communion that a statement was issued in which concern was expressed about the apparent setting aside of biblical teaching by some provinces and dioceses. The statement pleaded for dialogue in ‘a spirit of true unity’ before any part of the Communion embarks on radical changes to Church discipline and moral teaching. [ ]

Sadly, this plea, and several similar warnings, have been ignored and ten years later, in February 2007, the Primates of the Anglican Communion met in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and experienced an agonizing time trying to repair the Communion that has been so badly broken. Their earlier prediction at the Primates Meeting at Lambeth Palace in 2003, that rejection of the faith committed to us would tear “the fabric of our Communion at its deepest level,” has proven to be accurate. In Dar es Salaam the Primates proposed, as one last attempt to restore unity, a period of seven months for those who have brought our Communion to the brink of destruction to reconsider their actions and put a stop to the harmful actions that have so polarized our beloved church. [ ]

With about seven weeks to go, hope for a unified Communion is not any brighter than it was seven months or ten years ago. Rather, the intransigence of those who reject Biblical authority continues to obstruct our mission and it now seems that the Communion is being forced to choose between following their innovations or continuing on the path that the church has followed since the time of the Apostles.

We have made enormous efforts since 1997 in seeking to avoid this crisis, but without success. Now we confront a moment of decision. If we fail to act we risk leading millions of people away from the faith revealed in the Holy Scriptures and also, even more seriously, we face the real possibility of denying our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.

The leadership of The Episcopal Church USA (TECUSA) and the Anglican Church of Canada (ACoC) seem to have concluded that the Bible is no longer authoritative in many areas of human experience especially in salvation and sexuality. They claim to have ‘progressed’ beyond the clear teaching of the Scriptures and they have not hidden their intention to lead others to these same conclusions. They have even boasted that they are years ahead of others in fully understanding the truth of the Holy Scriptures and the nature of God’s love.

Both TECUSA and ACoC have been given several opportunities to consult, discuss and prayerfully respond through their recognized structures. While they produced carefully nuanced, deliberately ambiguous statements, their actions have betrayed them. Their intention is clear; they have chosen to walk away from the Biblically based path we once all walked together. The unrelenting persecution of the remaining faithful among them shows how they have used these past few years to isolate and destroy any and all opposition.

We now confront the seriousness of their actions as the year for the Lambeth Conference draws near. Sadly, this Conference is no longer designed as an opportunity for serious theological engagement and heartfelt reconciliation but we are told will be a time of prayer, fellowship and communion. These are commendable activities, but this very Communion, however, has been broken by the actions of the American and Canadian churches. The consequence is most serious because, even if only one province chooses not to attend, the Lambeth Conference effectively ceases to be an Instrument of Unity. The convener’s status as an instrument or focus of unity becomes seriously challenged. Repentance and reversal by these provinces may yet save our Communion. Failure to recognize the gravity of this moment will have a devastating impact.

Scorned Opportunities

Following the 1997 warning, the 1998 Lambeth Conference issued Resolution 1.10 that affirmed the teaching of the Holy Scriptures with regard to faithfulness in marriage between a man and a woman in lifelong union and declared that homosexual practice was incompatible with Biblical teaching. At their meeting in Porto, Portugal, in March 2000 the Primates reaffirmed the supremacy of Scripture as the “decisive authority in the life of our Communion.” [ ] [ ]

The General Convention of the Episcopal Church USA responded in July 2000 by approving Resolution D039 acknowledging relationships other than marriage “in the Body of Christ and in this Church” and that those “who disagree with the traditional teaching of the Church on human sexuality, will act in contradiction to that position!”

The Convention only narrowly avoided directing the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music to begin preparation of official rites for the blessing of “these relationships … other than marriage.” [ ]

In 2001, the Primates’ meeting in Kanuga, North Carolina issued a pastoral letter acknowledging estrangement in the Church due to changes in theology and practice regarding human sexuality, and calling on all provinces of the Communion to avoid actions that might damage the “credibility of mission in the world” [ ] In April, 2002 meeting at Canterbury the Primates further issued a pastoral letter recognizing responsibility of all bishops to articulate the fundamentals of faith and maintain the Church truth. [ ]

In what appeared to be deliberate defiance the Diocese of New Westminster in Canada voted in June 2002 to approve the blessings of same-sex unions with the active encouragement and enthusiastic support of the Bishop, Michael Ingham. [ ] Later that year ACC-12 meeting in Hong Kong in October 2002 approved a resolution [34] urging dioceses and bishops to refrain from unilateral actions and policies that would strain communion. [ ]

The following year ECUSA met in General Convention in Minneapolis in July/August 2003. Among their many actions they chose to reject a Resolution [B001] affirming the authority of Scripture and other basic elements of Christian faith [ ] while approving the election as bishop [C045] someone living in an unashamedly sexual relationship outside marriage. [ ]

The Primates’ meeting specially convened at Lambeth Palace in October 2003 issued a pastoral statement condemning ECUSA’s decisions at General Convention describing them as actions that “threaten the unity of our own Communion as well as our relationships with other parts of Christ’s Church, our mission and witness, and our relations with other faiths, in a world already confused in areas of sexuality, morality and theology and polarized Christian opinion.” They also declared that if the consecration proceeds “the future of the Communion itself will be put in jeopardy” and that the action will “tear the fabric of our communion at its deepest level, and may lead to further division on this and further issues as provinces have to decide in consequence whether they can remain in communion with provinces that choose not to break communion with the Episcopal Church (USA).” They also called on “the provinces concerned to make adequate provision for Episcopal oversight of dissenting minorities within their own area of pastoral care in consultation with the Archbishop of Canterbury on behalf of the Primates.” [ ] ECUSA responded the following month by proceeding with the consecration of Gene Robinson thereby tearing the fabric of our Communion and forcing Nigeria along with many other provinces to sever communion with ECUSA.

Earlier, in June 2003, we in the Church of Nigeria had cut our links with the diocese of New Westminster and sent a clear warning of reconsidering our relationship with ECUSA should Gene Robinson be consecrated. [ ] As always, we were ignored.

During 2004 there was a growing number of so-called ‘blessings’ of same-sex unions by American and Canadian priests even though the Windsor Report released in September 2004 reaffirmed Lambeth 1.10 as the official teaching of the Communion. It also reaffirmed the authority of Scripture as central to Anglican Common Life. The Windsor Report also called for moratoria on public rites of same-sex blessings and on the election and consent of any candidate to the episcopate living in a same-sex union. [ ]

One consequence of this continuing intransigence by ECUSA was the alienation of thousands of faithful Anglicans who make their home in the USA. The attempts by the Primates to provide for their protection through the Panel of Reference proved fruitless. So the desire of these faithful Anglicans for alternatives for their spiritual home led to many impassioned requests to the Church of Nigeria and a number of other provinces within the Global South. The Standing Committee of the Church of Nigeria (CofN) recognizing this urgent need during their meeting in Ilesa in March 2004 and as a result initiated a process for the provision of pastoral care through the formation of a Convocation within the USA.

The Province of Nigeria made the conscious decision to initiate CANA in the light of the following: -

1. The undisputed alienation among Anglicans in North America created by the actions of TEC despite warnings from the Instruments of Communion.
2. The need for pastoral care and oversight for alienated Anglicans in North America in the light of the Primates Communiqué October 2003. “The provinces concerned to make adequate provision for Episcopal oversight of dissenting minorities within their own area of pastoral care in consultation with the Archbishop of Canterbury on behalf of the Primates.”
3. TEC’s establishment of churches in the diocese of Europe.
4. The consecration and appointment of Bishop Sandy Miller as a Bishop of the Province of Uganda called to serve in the United Kingdom.

As a matter of courtesy +Cantuar was duly informed of our intentions.

During the African Anglican Bishops Conference (AABC) in October 2004 the Primates present released a statement that among other things urged the Episcopal Church USA and the Anglican Church of Canada to take seriously the need for “repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation enjoined on all Christians by Christ.’’ It called on Episcopal Church USA and the Anglican Church of Canada to move beyond informal expressions of regret for the effect of their actions to a genuine change of heart and mind. [ ]

Although the Primates in February 2005 at their meeting in Dromantine, Northern Ireland, advised the withdrawal of both ECUSA and the ACoC from the ACC [ ] the continued influence of these churches on the Communion and their renewed efforts to make others adopt their intransigent line continue to frustrate any genuine reconciliation attempts. The agonizing journey towards unity and faith seemed unending.

The obvious reluctance of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the unwillingness of the other Instruments of Unity to effect discipline on those who had rejected the mind of the Communion prompted the Church of Nigeria to effect a change in her constitution during a General Synod held in Onitsha in September 2005. This constitutional change not only protects the Church of Nigeria from being led into error by any Church in the Communion but also makes full constitutional provision for the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA). [ ]

The Third Anglican South-to-South Encounter in Egypt October 2005 issued a very strong indictment of ECUSA and the ACoC and called for a common “Anglican Covenant” among churches remaining true to Biblical Christianity and historic Anglicanism. [ ]

Ignoring all the calls for repentance, homosexual unions and nominations for episcopacy continued in the USA with the Archbishop of Canterbury expressing “deep unease” with such nominations in California in February 2006. [ ]

A much-awaited ECUSA General Convention in 2006 proved to be a disappointment as resolutions expressing regret for the harm done to the communion were rejected as well as one that tried to emphasize the necessity of Christ for salvation. Approved were resolutions promoting homosexual relationships as well one apologizing to homosexuals for the Anglican Communion following Biblical principles. A pledge to include openly homosexual persons was requested “of our sister churches in the Anglican Communion and Anglican Communion bodies as evidence of the apology”. Finally someone who does not regard homosexual behaviour a sin, and does not consider Jesus the One way to the Father, was elected as Presiding Bishop. [ ] The agony of a frustrated communion was visible worldwide except among those already prepared to embrace this dangerous path departing from the faith.

Nigeria needed no further prodding to proceed with the election in June 2006 and the August 2006 consecration of the Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns to give Episcopal oversight to CANA. The Nigerian House of Bishops also declared a reluctance to participate in the 2008 Lambeth Conference with an unrepentant ECUSA and Canada. [ ]

The Global South Anglican Primates meeting in Kigali, September 2006 recognizing that ECUSA appears to have no intention of changing direction and once again embracing the ‘faith once delivered’ said in their communiqué: “We are convinced that the time has now come to take initial steps towards the formation of what will be recognized as a separate ecclesiastical structure of the Anglican Communion in the USA . . . . . . . We believe that we would be failing in our apostolic witness if we do not make this provision for those who hold firmly to a commitment to historic Anglican faith.” [ ]

The Anglican Communion Primates meeting in Dar es Salaam in February 2007 reaffirmed the 1998 Lambeth resolution and called on ECUSA (now TEC) to consider definite actions, which could heal the communion as well as reassure those who have been alienated of adequate pastoral care. By June 2007, the House of Bishops and the Executive Committee of TEC indicated unwillingness to comply but expressed a desire to remain part of the Communion they have hurt so much. As the deadline approaches, we fail to see how these positions can be reconciled. The situation has been made even more complicated by the decision, made earlier this year, to extend invitations to the Lambeth Conference to those responsible for this crisis with no call to repentance, whilst rejecting bishops who have stood firm for the Faith.

All journeys must end someday

“We are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” (Hebrews 12:1)

These past ten years of distraction have been agonizing and the cost has been enormous. The time and financial resources spent on endless meetings whose statements and warnings have been consistently ignored is a tragic loss of resources that should have been used otherwise. It now appears, however, that the journey is coming to an end and the moment of decision is almost upon us. But this is not a time to lose heart or fail to maintain vigilance. It would be an even greater tragedy if while trying to bring others back to the Godly path, we should miss the way or lose the race.

• We want unity but not at the cost of relegating Christ to the position of another ‘wise teacher’ who can be obeyed or disobeyed.
• We earnestly desire the healing of our beloved Communion but not at the cost of re-writing the Bible to accommodate the latest cultural trend.

As stated in “The Road to Lambeth” [ ] “We Anglicans stand at a crossroads. One road, the road of compromise of biblical truth, leads to destruction and disunity. The other road has its own obstacles [faithfulness is never an easy way] because it requires changes in the way the Communion has been governed and it challenges [all] our churches to live up to and into their full maturity in Christ.”

The first road, the one that follows the current path of The Episcopal Church USA and the Anglican Church of Canada, is one that we simply cannot take because the cost is too high. We dare not sacrifice eternal truth for mere appeasement; we cannot turn away from the source of life and love for a temporary truce.

The other road is the only one that we can embrace. It is not an easy road because it demands obedience and faithfulness from each one of us. It requires an unequivocal acceptance and commitment to:

a. The Authority and Supremacy of Scripture.
b. The Doctrine of the Trinity
c. The person, work and resurrection of Jesus the Christ
d. The acknowledgement of Jesus as Divine and the One and only means of salvation
e. The Biblical teaching on sin, forgiveness, reconciliation, and transformation by the Holy Spirit through Christ.
f. The sanctity of marriage.
g. Teaching about morality that is rooted and grounded in the Biblical Revelation.
h. Apostolic Ministry

These are not onerous burdens or tiresome restrictions but rather they are God’s gift, designed to set us free from the bondage of sin and give us the assurance of life eternal.

It is our hope and fervent prayer that in the coming months all those in leadership will be directed towards the restoration of true unity in the Body of Christ by an unconditional embrace of the One who says to all who will listen, “If you love me, you will obey what I command.”

John Bunyan, author of Pilgrim’s Progress, describes the Christian life as a journey from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City. On his journey, numerous decisions and many crossroads confront Pilgrim. The easy road was never the right road. This is our moment of truth.

This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. (Deuteronomy 30:19,20a)

+ Peter Abuja

The Kuala Lumpur statement on Human Sexuality available on

Communiqué of the Primates meeting in Dar es Salaam in February 2007 available on

Lambeth 1998 resolution 1.10 text is available

Communiqué of the Primates meeting in Porto in March, 2000

Text of Resolution D039 from General Convention 2000 can be found

Communiqué from the Primates meeting in Kanuga, North Carolina in March 2001

Communiqué from the Primates meeting in Canterbury in April 2002

Diocese of New Westminster policies on Same Sex Blessings can be found here

Resolutions from ACC-12 meeting in Hong Kong in October 2002

Test of Resolution B001 rejected by General Convention 2003

Text of Resolution endorsing the election of Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire

Communiqué from the Primates meeting in Lambeth Palace in October 2003

Statement from Church of Nigeria breaking Communion with the Diocese of New Westminster

The full text of the Windsor Report is available here

Statement from the Primates gathered at the first African Anglican Bishops’ Conference is available here

Communiqué from the Primates meeting in Dromantine in February 2005

Statement issued on 15th September 2005 describing actions of the General Synod is available here:

Communiqué from 3rd South to South Encounter held in October 2005 text available here:

Article describing reaction by Archbishop Rowan to California election is found in Church of England Newspaper, February 24th, 2006

Episcopal News Service describing the election is here

Minutes of the Church of Nigeria House of Bishops meeting June 2006

Communiqué from the Primates meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, in September, 2006

Complete text of the Report “The Road to Lambeth” is available here: