Thursday, August 31, 2006

Time Out for LOTR: Is "The Hobbit" going into production in 2007?

Haven't written too much here at BabyBlue about Lord of the Rings but an interesting little tidbit popped up in BabyBlue's mailbox this evening. It reads:

"Please leave my email anonymous as I have some very exciting news to report. I was in New Line's NY offices to discuss upcoming projects when I clearly saw something very intriguing on a year planner. 'The Hobbit' was clearly marked on what looked like July 2007. I couldn't exactly take a moment to investigate the calendar with my audience in the room, but it definitely said 'The Hobbit'. Lets hope this is a PJ project!"

BB Note: Is it rumor or real? Someone get Peter on the phone.

Breaking News: Has the Diocese of Washington just completely lost its mind?

NOTE FROM BB: Who is in charge of the Diocese of Washington? Crazy people? This fascist thug they've invited to speak wants Israel annihilated. And let's not mention what he wants done to gay people. He wants them killed. EXECUTED. Has the Diocese of Washington just completely lost its mind? This is unbelievable. And Bishop Chane is the same guy who smeared Peter Akinola in the Washington Post from his ivory tower on Mount St. Albans, pointing his own self-righteous finger at everyone else but himself. Is there justice left in the world? What more evidence do we need that "TEC" is lost? Can we go now, Rowan?

Row over Iran visit to US

The invitation from the Episcopal Church’s National Cathedral in Washington to former Iranian President Mohammed Khatami to speak to the role of religion in promoting world peace, has drawn sharp criticism from Jewish activists in the United States, and may give Archbishop Rowan Williams a further American headache.

Khatami, who has endorsed the call of the current president of Iran for the annihilation of Israel, is scheduled to arrive in Washington on September 7, two days after Dr. Williams meets with the chief rabbis of Israel at Lambeth Palace. Announcing the invitation on August 22, the Rev. Canon John L. Peterson, the Cathedral’s director of the Center for Global Justice and Reconciliation stated President Khatami’s visit creates an opportunity for interfaith dialogue in a time of heightened international tensions. “The Cathedral is a place of reconciliation that opens its doors to people of all faiths, and we have a special commitment to embracing the children of Abraham,” he said.

Cathedral Dean Samuel T. Lloyd, III, Dean described Khatami as a man of peace and moderation. “President Khatami’s commitment to a dialogue between civilizations and cultures is an important component in the peace process. This is much needed in the world today,” he said. While he entered office with the reputation of a reformer, President Khatami has backed his predecessor’s hard line stance against Israel and the West, homosexuals, trade unionists, and religious and ethnic minorities. In 2000 he told Iranian television that God commanded the faithful to kill the wicked. “We should mobilize the whole Islamic World for a sharp confrontation with the Zionist regime,” he said, adding that “if we abide by the Koran, all of us should mobilize to kill.”

Khatami has also backed his nation’s strict anti-gay laws, which calls for, and has carried out, the death penalty for sodomy. Speaking to parliament in 2001, President Khatami defended the use of flogging and stoning, saying the government had “100% support of people for conducting such punishments”, the IRNA news agency reported. Members of Congress, Gay and Jewish advocacy groups have urged President George W Bush to block the visit. “Granting former President Khatami a visa at this time, coming on the heels of both Iran’s proxy war in Lebanon and it’s refusal to drop its nuclearization program will be viewed by the mullahs as a reward for their policy of confrontation and hatred toward the United States and her allies,” the Simon Weisenthal Center argued.

Khatami’s invitation from the Episcopal Church’s National Cathedral will add a further complication to the Anglican Communion’s already strained relations with Judaism. Dr. Williams’ summit with the rabbis had been postponed from May to September following Jewish concerns over General Synod’s February vote on Israel. Protestations from Dr. Williams that the Synod vote was not a call for divestment and behind the scenes negotiations resurrected the meeting, which seeks to begin a formal dialogue between Anglicanism and Judaism.

The Cathedral’s decision to give a platform to the Iranian leader however may overshadow the Lambeth meeting. Khatami “has always denied the validity and centrality of Israel to Judaism, a fact embraced by the overwhelming majority of world Jewry. So, with whom is he dialoguing?”, the Simon Weisenthal Center asked.

–Church of Enlgand Newspaper

Bishop Lee writes to the Diocese of Virginia

A Letter to the Diocese of Virginia from Bishop Lee

Dear Friends:

Since the election of the Rev. Martyn Minns, rector of Truro Church, Fairfax, as a Bishop in the Church of Nigeria, Martyn, the Truro vestry, the Standing Committee and I have had several discussions concerning the challenges this situation posed to the Diocese of Virginia and Truro Church.

Our discussions are continuing. And while I could wish for a more timely resolution to this situation, I am mindful that the Holy Spirit requires much of us, including patience.

As your Bishop, I have sought wise and godly counsel in this matter. In all of this, I have acted with the highest degree of pastoral concern for the congregation of Truro Church while also considering the needs of the entire Diocese.

At this time, I earnestly seek your prayers and support as we continue to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit to discern a way forward that glorifies God and honors our Church.


Peter James Lee
Bishop of Virginia

If the lights are on, is anyone home?

Christopher Wilkins over at the progressive website "Episcopal Majority" writes that - in spite of everything that has happened in the last three years, the emergency meetings of the House of Bishops, the formation of the Lambeth Commission by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the issuance of the Windsor Report by the Anglican Primates, the endorsement of the Anglican Consultative Council to remove voice and vote of The Episcopal Church, the actions of General Convention 2006, the organization of the New York Summit by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the call to gather in Texas of the Windsor Bishops, the gathering of the Global South primates later next month, oh but guess what - even after all this and more - "neither the Episcopal Church nor the Anglican Communion is really in crisis." Oh.

In fact, if it weren't for the Episcopal orthodox, he whines, there wouldn't be any fuss at all - we could just go on as we always have, being prophetic and listening to the spirit and doing whatever else we want to do. And oh by the way, minorities don't count, especially when they get uppity.

You know what this sounds like, don't you? I wonder if Wilkins even realizes what he sounds like. Should anyone tell him?

Episcopal Majority's Christopher Wilkins is Facilitator of Via Media USA and Vice President of Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh. You can read his essay at their TEM blogsite by clicking the headline above. And don't forget where the light switch is.

Call to Prayer - Important September Dates

40 Days of Discernment Begins
Sept. 10-17

New York Summit
Sept. 11-13

Global South Primates’ Meeting
Sept. 18-22

Windsor Bishops Meeting
Sept. 19-22

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Martyn Minns writes to Truro

Dear Truro Family:

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.”

This promise from 1 Corinthians 2:9 has been one that Angela and I have claimed for our family. Over the years we have experienced its truth. We have come to know that the Lord that we love and serve will never fail us and will always surprise us. This summer has been no exception!

We began with the General Convention in Columbus, Ohio. The stakes were high. The question of whether or not The Episcopal Church (TEC, formerly known as ECUSA) would walk apart from the rest of the Anglican Communion was on the table. It was the moment of decision. Sadly, however, Angela and I observed first hand TEC embrace a vision and choose a course that we cannot follow. This has been agonizing for Angela and me. The Episcopal Church has been our home and our life work for almost forty years. We have prayed and worked for its renewal and yet the gap between TEC and the rest of the Anglican Communion has only widened. We have watched with sadness as a growing number of our friends have left TEC to find a new spiritual home. We have seen our missions struggle to survive because of the stigma attached to the name Episcopalian. It has been a devastating time for all of us.

A few days after General Convention I received a phone call from Archbishop Peter J. Akinola, Primate of the Church of Nigeria, informing me that I had been elected a bishop for CANA (Convocation for Anglicans in North America)—a missionary initiative of the Church of Nigeria. Many of you know that Archbishop Akinola has been a longtime friend of Truro Church—reaching back to his seminary days in 1979/1981. In recent years this relationship has greatly deepened as he has taken on leadership for the Global South provinces within the Anglican Communion and we have worked alongside him. Truro has mission partnerships within many of these provinces and we know firsthand the cost of our current crisis for them.

CANA was established in 2005 to provide a safe harbor and an unimpaired relationship with the worldwide Anglican Communion for the many Nigerian Anglicans living in the USA who no longer can find a home in TEC. It is open to other Anglicans who have been alienated by the actions of the past two General Conventions. The intention is not to challenge or intervene in the churches of TEC but rather to provide an uncompromised setting for those who want to do the work of the gospel and witness to the inclusive and transforming love of Jesus Christ. CANA will, of course, work in partnership with our many friends in the Anglican Communion Network and the Common Cause Roundtable. I expect to share more with you about CANA in the coming weeks.

I immediately shared the news of my election as Missionary Bishop with the Truro Vestry and, after an intense time of prayer, received their enthusiastic and unanimous support for this next step in ministry. I advised Bishop Lee of this development and agreed that we must work together to find way through this rather unusual situation that will glorify God and honor his church.

All of this was the backdrop for a long anticipated visit to our family in England where we had planned a special birthday celebration with my sister, Susan. We arrived to discover her critically ill and instead of celebrating her birthday this side of heaven we were given the privilege of celebrating her new life in the closer presence of God. Her funeral was a powerful reminder of the promise of 1 Corinthians 2:9 as we heard numerous testimonies to Susan’s faith and witness.

The next event in our roller coaster summer was a visit to Abuja, Nigeria for a pre-consecration retreat followed by the Service of Consecration. The trip itself was quite a challenge since airline security was very tight. Our retreat week was held at the Cathedral of the Advent in Abuja and was a very focused time of prayer, Bible study and practical instruction. Angela and Rachel took an active part along with the other three bishops-elect and their wives. Angela was even given a job description for her new responsibilities as the bishop’s wife!

The service itself was held in the National Christian Center—a magnificent new building in the center of the nation’s capital seating more than 8,000 worshippers. It is fully air-conditioned and even has a revolving altar so that everyone can see and be seen. There was standing room only for the ceremony that lasted more than four hours and was full of traditional Anglican hymns and liturgy as well as a thanksgiving celebration when everyone danced up to the altar. I was consecrated bishop along with three other men who will serve in various dioceses in Nigeria. We all received the laying on of hands from the other 75 bishops who were present. You can read more about it on the AAC website or the Church of Nigeria website

We arrived home late last Monday evening and are now catching up with all of the preparations in place for what plans to be an exciting and challenging fall program at Truro. We will not be following our usual pattern of showcasing each of the Areas of Ministry (AOM); instead we will be devoting ourselves to 40 Days of DiscernmentTM. A hardworking team with representatives from The Falls Church, Truro, and other congregations has put together an amazing amount of material to help us discern God’s call on our respective communities as we seek to answer the question, “How can our congregation best continue with our ministry locally and our mission globally?”

I am also involved in ongoing discussions with Bishop Lee and his chancellor to find a way forward that responds to the various jurisdictional and pastoral challenges that are presented by my consecration. I remain confident that we will be able to do so. Angela, Rachel and I are profoundly grateful for all your prayers and encouragement.

It has truly been an amazing summer! Through it all we have seen God’s hand at work in wonderful and surprising ways. I expect nothing less for this coming season for all of Truro Church! We are confident that God will continue to guide and provide for us as we seek to remain faithful to his call. We are excited about the future because we really do know that, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.”

Your brother in Christ,

And this one - which, along with Not Dark Yet, is high up on the favorites list

Video from Reading Concert - where he surprises everyone and doesn't follow the playlist he's been on for months - including this song

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

What the "Star Trek: Enterprise" theme should have been

I have to agree.

ARRIVED! Amazon comes through again!

The moon gives light and shines by night
I scarcely feel the glow
We learn to live and then we forgive
O'r the road we're bound to go
More frailer than the flowers, these precious hours
That keep us so tightly bound
You come to my eyes like a vision from the skies
And I'll be with you when the deal goes down

Dylan on Neil Young: "He's doing a song about Clinton?"

Couldn't help but chuckle. From USA Today: Dylan aims to tell a truthful story and nourish it on stage. Keeping it real doesn't mean copping ideas from CNN or responding to the conflict du jour, which is why you won't find an updated Masters of War on Modern Times.

"Didn't Neil Young do that?" he jokes, referring to the rocker's recent anti-war disc. "What more is there to say? What's funny about the Neil record, when I heard Let's Impeach the President, I thought it was something old that had been lying around. I said, 'That's crazy, he's doing a song about Clinton?' "

Tip of the tin foil hat to Thomas.

Just knew he had to be an Apple kinda guy

I am in Starbucks writing this as "Don't Think Twice it's Alright" is playing over the speakers in the shop - a very early version. Definitely the Summer of Bob. Guess we'll keep going until the deal goes down. Click on the headline above for the iPod version.

A Change of heart by the Archbishop of Canterbury?

By Albert Mohler

The Telegraph [London] reports that Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has changed his views on homosexuality, now affirming a far more traditional understanding than had characterized his earlier thinking.

Rowan Williams has distanced himself from his one-time liberal support of gay relationships and stressed that the tradition and teaching of the Church has in no way been altered by the Anglican Communion's consecration of its first openly homosexual bishop.

The declaration by the archbishop - rebutting the idea that homosexuals should be included in the church unconditionally - marks a significant development in the church's crisis over homosexuals. According to liberal and homosexual campaigners, it confirmed their fears that the archbishop has become increasingly conservative - and sparked accusations that he has performed an "astonishing" U-turn over the homosexual issue.

Consider this remarkable section of the paper's report:

The revelations came in a newspaper interview last week in which the archbishop denied that it was time for the church to accept homosexual relationships, suggesting that it should be welcoming rather than inclusive. "I don't believe inclusion is a value in itself. Welcome is. We don't say 'Come in and we ask no questions'. I do believe conversion means conversion of habits, behaviours, ideas, emotions," he told a Dutch journalist.

"Ethics is not a matter of a set of abstract rules, it is a matter of living the mind of Christ. That applies to sexual ethics."

At the same time he tried to distance himself from a controversial essay he wrote 20 years ago, in which he defended same-sex love. "That was when I was a professor, to stimulate debate," he claimed. "It did not generate much support and a lot of criticism - quite fairly on a number of points."

Response to the Archbishop's statements has been fast in coming:

The Rev Giles Goddard, the chairman of Inclusive Church, a liberal group, said the archbishop's comments revealed an "astonishing" change in his position. He added: "The implication is that there is no justification in scripture for the welcome of lesbian and gay people. It appears that he has moved into the conservative camp."

The Church of England Newspaper reported August 25:

The Archbishop of Canterbury has issued a warning to the liberal wing of the Anglican Church saying that not every controversial issue facing the Communion is negotiable. Speaking in an interview with the Dutch evangelical daily newspaper Nederlands Dagblad, the Most Rev Dr Rowan Williams said that 'boundaries are determined by what it means to be loyal to Jesus Christ' when questioned on unity in the church and the row over homosexuality.

He went on to speak of necessary doctrinal boundaries:

He also pointed to the letters of Paul and said that boundaries are determined by what it means to be loyal to Jesus Christ. He said: "You reflect the loyalty of God in Christ. It also concerns the international arena. Christians will always have reconciliation as a priority and refuse to retaliate. "By no means everything is negotiable for me. I would not be happy if someone said: Let us discuss the divinity of Christ. That to me seems so constituent of what the Church is.'' The Archbishop also said he feared the divisions taking place in the American Episcopal Church could be repeated in the UK at some stage in the future.

This is a truly important development -- but also a developing story. Stay tuned.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Good News from Episcopal Church Center

I got home tonight and found a message on my answering machine from a very apologetic staffer at the Episcopal Church Center expressing his regret that the book "Love Spells" had somehow become available. He said that it was because of glitch, they don't know why it came back up, that I should know it's not available and he was very sorry. My heart went out to him. Of course, he is not the one that picked the book (and the other books like it) in the first place, but was charged with taking it off. That was a big step in the right direction and my hat is off to that tireless staffer who took the time to call me and let me know. God bless you, sir.

"Anglican Majority" now online!

Lots of tidbits floating about the net from an internet site called "Episcopal Majority." Now we have the "Anglican Majority." Check it out - click on the headline above. And don't forget to roll up the windows before it rains. We'll leave the light on for you.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

"Reclaiming" - What does it really mean?

Seeing these books still appear to be available at the official Episcopal Church Bookstore (see post below), I got to thinking about the remarks Os Guinness recently made about the influx of paganism (not Unitarianism) in the Episcopal Church, the first time a major Christian denomination has become pagan. One of the major words used by the progressive leaders of the Episcopal Church is the word "reclaiming." But after looking at the books available from the Episcopal Church bookstore and seeing where the term "reclaiming" comes from - it causes me to pause.

What does "reclaiming" really mean (as "reclaiming" the blessing) and when the new Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori calls Jesus our Mother in her first major address after being elected Presiding Bishop at General Convention - is she also referring to the same "reclaiming" ideology?

What does the word "Episcopalian" really mean? Episcopagan?

This is why the meaning of words is so important. If words are only metaphors that can have their meanings changed to fit the new thing that the spirit (and which spirit is that?) is doing, as the new Presiding Bishop told Time Magazine, then what does the word "blessing" really mean? When you "reclaim" the "blessing" what does that really mean? And what does the word "Christ" mean to the leadership of The Episcopal Church? It's spelled C H R I S T - and I think I know what those letters mean when you put them all together to form a word. But what if the new metaphoric meaning of C H R I S T is just another "reclaiming" of one word for another? What if C H R I S T means W I C C A N? Then "Jesus, our Mother" has tremendous meaning - tremendous meaning.

What would cause an Episcopalian to put these two books up for sale at the official Episcopal Church bookstore? And that they are still for sale, even a year after they said the would take them off (after they were busted the first time)?

Click on the headline above. While I find this rather upsetting and somewhat slytherin, it is not without merit. This isn't so much a tin foil hat alert as it appears to be a Dark Mark Alert.

Where is Dumbledore when you need him?


Are these books still available for sale through The Episcopal Church (TEC) official bookstore?

We all thought that this was taken out of the bookstore more than a year ago - but here they appear to be - back again. Or maybe they never left? And how did they get on the bookshelves to begin with? I must say, they are helpful to read, it helps us understand how the new Presiding Bishop could say the things she's been saying. They give us context - and isn't that what the "listening process" is all about?

From the 815 official website: Love Spells, by Moorey, Teresa
"Ah, how to capture the magic of true love? Take a handful of rose petals, a scented candle, some silk ribbon, and a little bit of hocus pocus—and nothing could be simpler. Enchantress Teresa Moorey offers a host of tried and tested spells, potions, and rituals that will help you find out just how to bring love into your life. This little volume is filled with spells to find your perfect match, become irresistible, keep a love that’s true, or when Cupid’s arrow has gone astray, mend a broken heart."

Read more about Teresa Moonrey: For most of her life she has been a witch, working both alone and in a coven. She believes that Witchcraft should be available to all sincere seekers as a path to empowerment and to enrich life. This seems especially relevant to teenagers who are looking for purpose and meaing in the Twenty-first Century. Teresa is a counsellor, hypnotherapist, astrologer and mother of four children. (website:

More info here:

And if that's not enough, check out this other delightful book at the official TEC Bookstore: Twelve Wild Swans : A Journey to the Realm of Magic, Healing, by Starhawk/ Valentine, Your Price: $16.00; Ships in 2 days: Starhawk and Hilary Valentine, renowned leaders in the Wicca movement, use the transformative fairy tale of The Twelve Wild Swans to teach an advanced class on magic. More significantly, this is an introduction to a mature level of Wicca called “reclaiming,” a model of witchcraft that blends magic, personal growth, and activism. The book begins with the first chapter of the fairy tale, in which a foolish queen wishes to exchange her 12 sons for a daughter. An old woman “dressed all in black” overhears the queen and makes the wish come true, granting the queen a daughter but turning her sons into wild swans.

Os Guinness seems to be right, after all.

BabyBlue's Review of August 19 Dylan Concert published by ExpectingRain and available online

Written the morning after the concert, - one of the premiere Dylan websites - has now published BabyBlue's review. Click the headline above for the review.

Preparing for the New York Summit

BabyBlue sends out a special dedication to all those who are participating in the New York Summit next month. Click on the headline above. It's from a live concert at West Point, New York. Too bad he's not going.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

I've heard "When the Deal Goes Down" and it is brilliant - "Ain't Talkin" is also an amazing achievement - I think we have a homerun

In the still of the night, in the world's ancient light
Where wisdom grows up in strife
My bewildering brain, tolls in vain
Through the darkness on the pathways of life
Each invisible prayer is like a cloud in the air
Tomorrow keeps turning around
We live and we die, we know not why
But I'll be with you when the deal goes down

We eat and we drink, we feel and we think
Far down the street we stray
I laugh and I cry and I'm haunted by
Things I never meant nor wished to say
The midnight rain follows the train
We all wear the same thorny crown
Soul to soul, our shadows roll
And I'll be with you when the deal goes down

The moon gives light and shines by night
I scarcely feel the glow
We learn to live and then we forgive
O'r the road we're bound to go
More frailer than the flowers, these precious hours
That keep us so tightly bound
You come to my eyes like a vision from the skies
And I'll be with you when the deal goes down

I picked up a rose and it poked through my clothes
I followed the winding stream
I heard the deafening noise, I felt transient joys
I know they're not what they seem
In this earthly domain, full of disappointment and pain
You'll never see me frown
I owe my heart to you, and that's sayin' it true
And I'll be with you when the deal goes down

Friday, August 25, 2006

But will they leave the light on? Furor breaks out over how the ACC was hijacked

Andy over at "All Too Common" (click on the headline above for the original post) has a letter from an "insider" on to how the ACC became the "Anglican Communion." Now if we go back to the Windsor Report, we discover that there are four instruments of unity in the Anglican Communion. There is no centralized "Anglican Communion" office - like you'd find at the Vatican, nor is there a pope living in Lambeth Palace. In the Windsor Report, the four instruments of unity are defined:

Lambeth Conference (all bishops meet once every ten years, by invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury)
The Anglican Communion Primates (these archbishops and presiding bishops meet every year)
The Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) is made up of delegates from all the provinces in the Anglican Communion - and, as of the last meeting in Nottingham now also includes the primates. It meets every two or three years and has a standing committee that meets in the interim.
The Archbishop of Canterbury (selected by committee, nominated by Britain's Prime Minister and appointed by the Queen)

What makes the Windsor Report so extraordinary and so powerful is that it was endorsed or based on all four instruments of unity.

Now there does seem to be something appears in print called "The Anglican Communion Office," but it is not an instrument of unity. It does not carry more authority than the four instruments, but is an office financed by the West through the ACC. It is not the ACC. It appears that this office has now been activated to speak for the progressives in the West and the letter (click on the headline above) from the insider testifies on how this happened and why. Kenneth Kearon is hired as an executive director, but he is not an elected member of the ACC. That is important to remember.

Kearon's job is to enforce what the ACC voted to do - which is to uphold the Windsor Report and hold The Episcopal Church accountable for its actions. If he forgets his mandate, we should be watching him very carefully. He is a skilled politician. He is not some objective player - we also follow the money. And who pays his salary anyway?

I remember Jim Rosenthall lurking about the press room at General Convention, always acting as though he was "in the know." I also remember who he was hanging out with and it was Stephen Bates of the Guardian. Comrades.

It was weird that both Kearon and the Archbishop of York came to General Convention - something I have never seen before. Both of them testified at open hearings before the Special Committee. Kearon seemed to be expected. But York seemed to catch the committee off guard. What's up with that?

Kearon now how been out wheeling and dealing while York has been fasting and praying.

Louie Crew misses the point in his little quote today that the official voice of The Episcopal Church is General Convention AND the Executive Board - not true. General Convention is the only authority and Frank Griswold reluctantly had to agree that this was the case a press conference that I actually filmed. It was clear that was a last minute attempt to say near the end of General Convention that - ooops, the Executive Board has the authority to deal with the Windsor Report (sorry we forgot to mention that), but then that view was outed by the Press Room bloggers and Frank had to back down. It's just General Convention folks. We are not a national church. Virginia saw to that at it's forming since Virginia was made up of people who felt very strongly about not only Catholics (hense the creation of the State of Maryland), but also of the political bishops of England. No pope, no state, no centralized church for Anglicans in America. Connecticut didn't like that too much, but went along with it.

General Convention is made up of two houses - the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops. The House of Deputies only meet once every three years, while the House of Bishoips meet every year. Any organization can pass resolutions, but they are non-enforceable, as we now know following the Windsor Report. What General Convention does is make law - canons. Only General Convention can do that and if TEC had been serious about the Windsor Report, they would have responded with canons, not resolutions.

Guess they forgot to mention that too.

However, just as the ACC or the ACO are not the Vatican and Canterbury is not the pope, neither has the Episcopal Church (TEC, formerly known as ECUSA, formally known as PECUSA) an Archbishop or centralized office. We are diocesan based and each diocese has a bishop, an elected council and a standing committee and that is where the real fun begins.

In the Diocese of Virginia, we have a constitution and we have canons which protect the parishes against a strong-centralized bishop (we never got over that unpleasantness in 1776) and so the bishop and the standing committee and even diocesan council do not have the power that our parish vestries have. This was a compromise when the church was reorganized after the revolution. Many of the parishes refused to have a bishop at all (after all, no one had seen a bishop in Virginia in two hundred years, why have one now?) and became bascially Baptists (took the property with them - this is the case of the old Anglican church in my family's home town of Buckingham Court House. My ancestors are buried under the old Anglican Church, but after the revolution it became baptist. No bishops for Buckingham, thank you very much.

So Vestries were strengthened and the bishops could advise vestries, but they couldn't rule them. We are the priesthood of all believers.

So - what does mean? It means that you, the individual Episcopalian, who is sitting there wondering what can you do - you can do a lot. This is a volunteer company of believers and you are the stockholders. And if you don't like what you see, as stockholders you hold all the options because you know what - you hold the purse. The clergy and bishops serve the laity - not the other way around. It is the laity who woke up in August 2003.

Sometimes we may forget this. Don't.

Finally it comes down to the discernment of the laity to decide if this organization is trustworthy, is fulfilling its mission, is following the Risen Lord Jesus, and is worth investing in.

The choice is ours, by the grace of God.

I hope all these players remember that they can do all they want, they can say all they want, whatever they want, whenever they want - but in the end they still have to come home to the people in the pews and one hopes that when they do finally come home, someone will leave the light on for them.


NEWS ALERT: Bob Dylan is coming to Fairfax Nov. 7

Fri 11/17 Fairfax VA Patriot Center 7:30PM

Thursday, August 24, 2006

BabyBlue wonders if this might be better than the upcoming September New York Summit ...

With this new-and-improved Episcopal Majority (which is the reimagining of Integrity, Claiming the Blessing, Via Media, Oasis, and the Consultation all rolled up into another brand new renamed website - kinda like TEC, formerly known as ECUSA, formerly known as PECUSA) burning the wires off the internet with their organized whinefests over Canterbury's New York Summit, so much so that Frank Griswold had to write them a "we're so sorry, Uncle Albert" Press Release even as he was still pulling the knives out of his own back from those same EMers, perhaps this might be the better way to go.

The question is, who really is in the Blue Guy and who is really is the Red Guy?

It might not be Frank and Jack, I'll tell you that much.

I think its O'Neill and Lee, who will be back for Round II after a rougher rockem sockem in Columbus. The real battle is between the so-called centrists (who basically spent the last forty years nodding their heads politely and shelling out the money and the progressives who shook their fists and spent it). We may find the Network and Windsor bishops over at the snack bar getting popcorn and ho-ho's and waiting for the slugfest to be over. With the Network and Windsor bishops over on the sidelines, now the real fight for TEC begins. Ho-ho's anyone?


Well Done, Rio Grande!

Here are two proposed resolutions which may be of particular interest to readers:

Resolution Six: “For Those Departing The Episcopal Church”

Scenario Addressed: Parishes and/or self-supporting missions within the Diocese of the Rio Grande decide that they cannot continue within the structure of The Episcopal Church.

Resolved, that this 54th Convocation of the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande adopts the following policy should one of its member parishes or self-supporting missions attempt to sever its relationship to the Diocese and the Episcopal Church:

1. It has been recognized as a communion issue by the four Anglican Communion Instruments of Unity (Anglican Consultative Council, Primate’s Meeting, Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Lambeth Conference).

2. A decision to sever its relationship with the Episcopal Church must be made by at least two-thirds of the qualified voters of the congregation, at a duly convened meeting in accordance with its by-laws, and certified by the bishop or his representative.

3. The congregation must remain a part of the Anglican Communion, and participate as a constituent member in the life of a Diocese within a Province of the Anglican Communion. Further, said congregation must have a bishop or other judicatory representative of the receiving entity involved in the realignment.

4. The parish or mission must be legally incorporated, and its officers must formally release the Diocese of the Rio Grande from, and assume responsibility for, any and all obligations or liabilities that may result from the decision to leave the Episcopal Church, including costs of litigation that may result from legal actions taken by dissenting members of the congregation.

5. All obligations incurred up to the date of the congregation’s departure, including notes held by or secured by the Diocese and pension and insurance assessments for its clergy and staff must be satisfied, and the congregation must conduct a certified audit and submit it to the diocesan Treasurer.

6. In both the year in which the congregation departs the diocese and the year following, the congregation agrees to compensate the diocese an amount equal to 100% of the average annual fair share it had been assessed the previous three years. In the following year, the congregation agrees to compensate the diocese an amount equal to 75 % of the average fair share. In the following year, the congregation agrees to compensate the diocese an amount equal to 50% of the average fair share. Furthermore, beginning the following year, the congregation agrees to compensate the diocese on an annual basis for seven years thereafter, an amount equal to 25% of the average annual fair share it had been assessed. Any fair share arrearages up to this date must be paid. (See Footnotes)

7. The Diocese expects any congregation which chooses to leave the Episcopal Church will treat those who choose to remain in a fair and equitable manner, realizing the needs of those who remain for a basic level of support in order for them to continue their life.

8. Associated clergy who desire to depart with the congregation must immediately resign their orders in the Episcopal Church as prescribed by canon or be transferred to another bishop or ecclesiastical authority as prescribed by canon or in a manner approved by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Associated clergy who wish to remain in communion with the Episcopal Church are entitled to reasonable severance as approved by the bishop and Standing Committee.

9. The departing congregation may be permitted by the Diocesan Council to retain its name, so long as references to the Episcopal Church are removed from its articles of incorporation, signage, stationary, publications, etc.

10. The diocese and the congregation will covenant together to pray for each other, avoid criticizing each other, and cooperate insofar as possible in the work of the Gospel.

11. In cases where a portion of a congregation chooses to realign and a portion chooses to remain in the Episcopal Church, each portion will covenant together to pray for each other, avoid criticizing each other, and cooperate insofar as possible in the work of the Gospel.

12. Legal title to all real property of the congregation will be conveyed to the congregation by the Trustees of the diocese when all of the above policy has been fully complied with.

Footnote One: If at any point after the severing of the pastoral relationship has begun until the completion of 10 years, the departing congregation desires to restore a pastoral relationship with the Diocese of the Rio Grande, all financial obligations will be considered resolved.

Footnote Two: In extreme circumstances, either the diocese or the congregation can make a request to initiate a process to address mutual concerns about the utility of the proposed formula in the particular circumstance of the departing congregation and to achieve a more appropriate settlement.

There are three general approaches that dioceses may consider when a member congregation becomes so alienated from the wider Episcopal Church that it seeks to sever its relationship with it.

(i) The status quo position holds that a parish’s attempted departure is illegal and that the threat of punitive measures against both clergy and vestry are a necessary deterrence. In the event that the parish decides to take its property and assents, the diocese pursues all available legal remedies to enforce its claims. The diocese invariably prevails in this dispute, but usually only after long and expensive litigation that weakens and embitters all parties and damages the Church’s reputation.

(ii) There has been at least one instance where a diocese attempted to renounce its claim on the real property of its parishes and attempted to convey titles to the individual parishes. Although many would argue that this is fair and reasonable, it appears that such an approach may be in conflict with canon law and expose the diocesan leadership to unacceptable risk if accused of breaching its fiduciary responsibilities.

(iii) A negotiated settlement that permits a congregation to retain real property acknowledges the applicability of both diocesan and national canons. It has been used successfully, for instance by the Diocese of Kansas with Christ Church, Overland Park. The terms of that settlement are similar to what is proposed above and have been scrutinized and approved by the Presiding Bishop’s office.

Resolution Seven: “For Those Remaining Within The Episcopal Church”

Scenario Addressed: Portions of parishes and/or self-supporting missions decide that they can continue in within the structure of The Episcopal Church.

Whereas the 54th Convocation of the Diocese of the Rio Grande acknowledges that for many in this Diocese the actions of the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in 2003 and 2006 are an accurate reflection of their understanding of the Gospel, and

Whereas the 54th Convocation of the Diocese of the Rio Grande desires to interact with the greatest degree of charity toward those who may find themselves in a minority position in a parish or mission that votes to leave the Episcopal Church and/or Diocese (Exodus Resolution), and

Whereas many of these same fellow-Christians will prefer to remain within The Episcopal Church if said Church must either accept a reduced role or no role at all, within the Anglican Communion,

Be it therefore resolved that the 54th Convocation of the Diocese of the Rio Grande adopt the following policy for pastoral and Episcopal care:

1. Once a Parish or Mission of the DRG has met the vote requirements to leave the Episcopal Church, the Bishop shall appoint a joint task force made up equally of those staying within The Episcopal Church and those leaving. The Bishop shall also appoint an arbitrator to work with the parochial task force. The task force shall work with the arbitrator to reach agreement on the following:
a. Adequate pastoral and sacramental ministry for those remaining.
b. Adequate physical space in which to conduct worship.
c. Adequate liturgical tools with which to conduct worship (vestments, prayer books, altar vessels, etc.)
d. Adequate financial provision to ensure continued ministry and mission viability.
e. Equitable division of memorials and restricted endowments.

2. A copy of the audit submitted to the Diocesan Treasure shall also be made available to the task force.

3. Those remaining and those leaving the congregation will covenant with one another to pray for one another, refrain from criticizing one another, and will commit to cooperate with one another as far as possible in the work of the Gospel.

The task force report also contains a short critique of each of the seven proposed resolutions. Here are the critiques presented for Resolutions 6 and 7:

Resolution Six: “For Those Departing The Episcopal Church”

~ Establishes a mechanism for allowing congregations to leave the Diocese with minimal conflict and forfeiture.
~ Provides a model for addressing the immediate and short term financial needs of a Diocese facing declining assessment income as a result of departing congregations.
~ Attempts to avoid civil litigation that might compromise the witness of the Church to the world.

~ Encourages bishops to intervene across provincial lines in ways which contradict both the Archbishop of Canterbury’s and the Windsor Report’s counsel to observe provincial jurisdictions.
~ May conflict with Title I, Canon 7, sections 4-5 of the national canons, asserting The Episcopal Church’s claim on property: “Sec. 4. All real and personal property held by or for the benefit of any Parish, Mission or Congregation is held in trust for this Church and the Diocese thereof in which such Parish, Mission or Congregation is located. The existence of this trust, however, shall in no way limit the power and authority of the Parish, Mission or Congregation otherwise existing over such property so long as the particular Parish, Mission or Congregation remains a part of, and subject to, this Church and its Constitution and Canons. Sec. 5. The several Dioceses may, at their election, further confirm the trust declared under the foregoing Section 4 by appropriate action, but no such action shall be necessary for the existence and validity of the trust.”
~ Financial compensation to the Diocese may not be sufficient to fund mission and program of the Diocese and meet the needs of the remaining congregations.

Resolution Seven: “For Those Remaining Within The Episcopal Church”

~ Establishes a task force and a basic level of financial support to assist those who remain, pursuant to Resolution 6, paragraphs 7, 11, and 12
~ Supports the mission of the Church to resolve disputes in a congregation in an overtly Christian manner

~ Establishes no financial benchmarks for the support of those remaining within The Episcopal Church

Just in time - Bob Dylan tells us this week not to miss this video at YouTube - so here it is - and guess what, he's darn right ...

The timing for this video just could not be any better. Thanks, Bob.

Anglican Communion Network meets in Council

This online video is a ministry of

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Twelve Years Later

When you try your best
but you don't succeed
When you get what you want
but not what you need
When you feel so tired
but you can't sleep
Stuck in reverse.

And the tears come streaming down your face
When you lose something you can't replace
When you love someone but it goes to waste
Could it be worse?
Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you

And high up above or down below
When you're too in love to let it go
But if you never try you'll never know
Just what you're worth
Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you

Tears stream, down on your face
When you lose something you cannot replace
Tears stream down your face
I promise you I will learn from my mistakes
Tears stream down your face
And I will try to fix you.

Review of Modern Times: Tangled Up in Blues

Tangled Up in Blues

August 22, 2006

Besides a reference to Alicia Keys, there's nothing modern about Bob Dylan's "Modern Times" (Sony). On his first new album in five years, which will be released next week, the artist who once gave voice to the changing times has stepped out of the flow of time altogether.

The blues are his means of escaping the present. He borrows willy nilly from them — a line here, a scene there. "I'm going where the Southern crosses the Yellow Dawg / to escape these demagogues," he sings on "Nettie Moore," itself an adaptation of an old folk song. The first line is a reference to the original blues song collected by W.C. Handy; the second could refer to any number of modern figures.

Mr. Dylan has always been a conjurer of old souls. Even in his youth, he could tap the spirits of early American music. The difference now is he seems to have joined them on the other side. The songs on "Modern Times" live out all the old blues storylines simultaneously. He's "the oldest son of a crazy man." He's "in a cowboy band." He's "got a pile of sins to pay for," and he "ain't got time to hide." Though his "mule is sick" and his "horse is blind," he'll "harvest what the earth brings forth." If things break right, he's "gonna make a lot of money, gonna go up North."

Musically, the album is less satisfying than its predecessors, "Time Out of Mind" (1997) and "Love and Theft" (2001), which together constitute his latest return to form. The sound here is more polite. The brushed drums, picked guitar, and swooning strings tend toward genteel jazz and Sunday brunch blues. There's nothing as disgusted as "Love Sick," as haunted as "Not Dark Yet," as world weary as "Mississippi," nor as playful as "Po' Boy."

But the lyrics manage to improve on his recent work — they are simultaneously personal and elusive. In this, they mirror Mr. Dylan's recent career. After years of assiduously avoiding the spotlight, he has lately offered himself up for public scrutiny. With "Chronicles, Vol. 1" and "No Direction Home," he has crafted a mythopoetic version of his own life story. Then there's his weekly XM radio program, "Theme Time Radio Hour," during which he spins records while carrying on about mothers, coffee, weather, and baseball like a cracked, music-obsessed Dr. Seuss. The joke is on us: After all this, Mr. Dylan remains as inscrutable as ever.

The folksy talk and theme-infatuation of his radio show spill over onto the album. Mr. Dylan relishes the colorful, cranky language of food — "I got the pork chops / she got the pie"; "eatin' hog-eyed grease in a hog-eyed town" — and weather, which always seems to be taking a turn for the worse. (There's a "mean old twister bearin' down on me"; "blues is fallin' down like hail"; and "if it keep on raining the levee's gonna flood.")

Mr. Dylan is of two minds about his twilight years. The new album alternates between meditations on the great beyond and songs about earthly delights, especially women "so crazy" he swears he "ain't gonna touch another one for years." But this front porch sage is a backdoor fool. No matter how many times women wrong him, Mr. Dylan keeps crawling back. "Put some sugar in my bowl," he pleads with one wayward lover on the sprightly "Spirit on the Water."

His relationship with faith is no different — he's spurned but he can't stay away. Time and multiple conversion experiences have taught him how little he knows, and the album is infused with a confident doubt. "We live and we die, we know not why," he sings on "When the Deal Goes Down," a country waltz so thick with pathos that it could be an early Tom Waits song. Still, he decides there's "always a reason someone's life has been spared." At this late hour, he's "beginning to believe what the scriptures say."

The only reasonable response to a world so "mysterious and vague," he seems to decide, is to embrace its absurdity. "Modern Times" contains some of Mr. Dylan's strangest lyrics since "Ballad of a Thin Man." "I'm gonna raise me an army, some tough sons of bitches / gonna raise my army from the old religions / I been to St. Hermit, said my religious vows / I suck the milk out of a thousand cows," he sings on the meandering opening track "Thunder on the Road."

But the dreamscape turns nightmarish on the excellent Southern gothic closing track "Ain't Talking." A latticework of chiming guitar and ominous strings evoke the setting: a "mystic garden," with "wounded flowers dangling from a wounded vine." It serves as a kind of purgatory. Mr. Dylan is stalked by unseen enemies and haunted by abandoned loves as he strolls the grounds "with a toothache in my heel."

Peeling off layers of borrowed experience and abstract imagery, a personal core is exposed. "I'm not playing, I'm not pretending," Mr. Dylan sings, sounding for once as if he's speaking as himself, "I'm not nursing any superfluous fears." Whatever era and language he chooses, the songs are ultimately about him.

The Rolling Stone Interview 2006: The Genius of Bob Dylan

The Genius of Bob Dylan
The legend comes to grips with his iconic status; an intimate conversation prior to the release of the new ''Modern Times''


>> More: Listen to a playlist of Bob Dylan gems you never knew existed.
"I don't really have a herd of astrologers telling me what's going to happen. I just make one move after the other, this leads to that." Is the voice familiar? I'm sitting in a Santa Monica seaside hotel suite, ignoring a tray of sliced pineapple and sugar-dusty cookies, while Bob Dylan sits across from my tape recorder, giving his best to my questions. The man before me is fitful in his chair, not impatient, but keenly alive to the moment, and ready on a dime to make me laugh and to laugh himself. The expressions on Dylan's face, in person, seem to compress and encompass versions of his persona across time, a sixty-five-year-old with a nineteen-year-old cavorting somewhere inside. Above all, though, it is the tones of his speaking voice that seem to kaleidoscope through time: here the yelp of the folk pup or the sarcastic rimshot timing of the hounded hipster-idol, there the beguilement of the Seventies sex symbol, then again -- and always -- the gravel of the elder statesman, that antediluvian bluesman's voice the young aspirant so legendarily invoked at the very outset of his work and then ever so gradually aged into.

It's that voice, the voice of a rogue ageless in decrepitude, that grounds the paradox of the achievement of Modern Times, his thirty-first studio album. Are these our "modern times," or some ancient, silent-movie dream, a fugue in black-and-white? Modern Times, like Love and Theft and Time Out of Mind before it, seems to survey a broken world through the prism of a heart that's worn and worldly, yet decidedly unbroken itself. "I been sitting down studying the art of love/I think it will fit me like a glove," he states in "Thunder on the Mountain," the opening song, a rollicking blues you've heard a million times before and yet which magically seems to announce yet another "new" Dylan. "I feel like my soul is beginning to expand," the song declares. "Look into my heart and you will sort of understand."

What we do understand, if we're listening, is that we're three albums into a Dylan renaissance that's sounding more and more like a period to put beside any in his work. If, beginning with Bringing It All Back Home, Dylan garbed his amphetamine visions in the gloriously grungy clothes of the electric blues and early rock & roll, the musical glories of these three records are grounded in a knowledge of the blues built from the inside out -- a knowledge that includes the fact that the early blues and its players were stranger than any purist would have you know, hardly restricting themselves to twelve-bar laments but featuring narrative recitations, spirituals, X-rated ditties, popular ballads and more. Dylan offers us nourishment from the root cellar of American cultural life. For an amnesiac society, that's arguably as mind-expanding an offering as anything in his Sixties work. And with each succeeding record, Dylan's convergence with his muses grows more effortlessly natural.

How does he summon such an eternal authority? "I'd make this record no matter what was going on in the world," Dylan tells me. "I wrote these songs in not a meditative state at all, but more like in a trancelike, hypnotic state. This is how I feel? Why do I feel like that? And who's the me that feels this way? I couldn't tell you that, either. But I know that those songs are just in my genes and I couldn't stop them comin' out." This isn't to say Modern Times, or Dylan, seems oblivious to the present moment. The record is littered -- or should I say baited? -- with glinting references to world events like 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, though anyone seeking a moral, to paraphrase Mark Twain, should be shot. And, as if to startle the contemporary listener out of any delusion that Dylan's musical drift into pre-rock forms -- blues, ragtime, rockabilly -- is the mark of a nostalgist, "Thunder on the Mountain" also name-checks a certain contemporary singer: "I was thinking 'bout Alicia Keys, I couldn't keep from crying/While she was born in Hell's Kitchen, I was livin' down the line." When I ask Dylan what Keys did "to get into your pantheon," he only chuckles at my precious question. "I remember seeing her on the Grammys. I think I was on the show with her, I didn't meet her or anything. But I said to myself, 'There's nothing about that girl I don't like.' "

Rather than analyzing lyrics, Dylan prefers to linger over the songs as artifacts of music and describes the process of their making. As in other instances, stretching back to 1974's Planet Waves, 1978's Street Legal and 2001's Love and Theft, the singer and performer known for his love-hate affair with the recording studio -- "I don't like to make records," he tells me simply. "I do it reluctantly" -- has cut his new album with his touring band. And Dylan himself is the record's producer, credited under the nom-de-studio Jack Frost. "I didn't feel like I wanted to be overproduced any more," he tells me. "I felt like I've always produced my own records anyway, except I just had someone there in the way. I feel like nobody's gonna know how I should sound except me anyway, nobody knows what they want out of players except me, nobody can tell a player what he's doing wrong, nobody can find a player who can play but he's not playing, like I can. I can do that in my sleep."

As ever, Dylan is circling, defining what he is first by what he isn't, by what he doesn't want, doesn't like, doesn't need, locating meaning by a process of elimination. This rhetorical strategy goes back at least as far as "It Ain't Me, Babe" and "All I Really Want to Do" ("I ain't looking to compete with you," etc.), and it still has plenty of real juice in it. When Dylan arrives at a positive assertion out of the wilderness of so much doubt, it takes on the force of a jubilant boast. "This is the best band I've ever been in, I've ever had, man for man. When you play with guys a hundred times a year, you know what you can and can't do, what they're good at, whether you want 'em there. It takes a long time to find a band of individual players. Most bands are gangs. Whether it's a metal group or pop rock, whatever, you get that gang mentality. But for those of us who went back further, gangs were the mob. The gang was not what anybody aspired to. On this record I didn't have anybody to teach. I got guys now in my band, they can whip up anything, they surprise even me." Dylan's cadences take on the quality of an impromptu recitation, replete with internal rhyme schemes, such that when I later transcribe this tape I'll find myself tempted to set the words on the page in the form of a lyric. "I knew this time it wouldn't be futile writing something I really love and thought dearly of, and then gettin' in the studio and having it be beaten up and whacked around and come out with some kind of incoherent thing which didn't have any resonance. With that, I was awake. I felt freed up to do just about anything I pleased."

But getting the band of his dreams into the studio was only half the battle. "The records I used to listen to and still love, you can't make a record that sounds that way," he explains. It is as if having taken his new material down to the crossroads of the recording studio Dylan isn't wholly sure the deal struck with the devil there was worth it. "Brian Wilson, he made all his records with four tracks, but you couldn't make his records if you had a hundred tracks today. We all like records that are played on record players, but let's face it, those days are gon-n-n-e. You do the best you can, you fight that technology in all kinds of ways, but I don't know anybody who's made a record that sounds decent in the past twenty years, really. You listen to these modern records, they're atrocious, they have sound all over them. There's no definition of nothing, no vocal, no nothing, just like -- static. Even these songs probably sounded ten times better in the studio when we recorded 'em. CDs are small. There's no stature to it. I remember when that Napster guy came up across, it was like, 'Everybody's gettin' music for free.' I was like, 'Well, why not? It ain't worth nothing anyway.' ". . .

>> Get the full article in the current Rolling Stone, on newsstands until September 7th, 2006.

Monday, August 21, 2006

We look to the sea, to the shores of Gallilee

Reflective mood tonight. Click on the headline above the newest video reflection at the The lament is by Bono. The photos are a collection from the last three years - a montage of images from Minneapolis to Columbus.

The sea has been on my mind as we prepare for 40 Days of Discernment. The sea has been such a part of my life and of my family's life. There is something poignant about looking out across the sea - the sea which brough the first Anglicans to Virginia almost four hundreds ago, and Virginia Anglicans now looking back across the sea four hundred years later. The front cover of the 40 Days Guidebook is a path that leads to the sea.

Farewell my friends, for many I leave
We've sailed together on the deep
Come, let us shake our hands
I'll sail no more but ship mains work for me
I'm bound above, my course is run
I near the port, my voyage done

Though we weep and lament, the world rejoices: and though we know sorrow, may our sorrow turn to joy.

We look to the sea, and to the See, and to the shores of Gallilee.


Voice of America on Bishop Minns' Consecration

NOTE FROM BB: Click on the headline above to hear the report or read the text of the report below.

Anglican Church of Nigeria Installs Bishop From America
By Gilbert da Costa
21 August 2006

Reverend Martyn Minns, a conservative Episcopal rector from the U.S. state of Virginia has been consecrated the first bishop of a new group for conservative Anglicans established by the Church of Nigeria. The hugely celebrated event could complicate the already simmering tensions in the Episcopal Church.

The consecration service at the newly constructed National Christian Center in the Nigerian capital was an elaborate affair, lasting more than four hours.

Priests in white and red robes congregated around the pulpit, as the head of the Anglican Church of Nigeria, Peter Akinola, administered oaths to four new bishops, including 63-year-old Martyn Minns of the United States.

Bishop Minns' consecration could change the landscape of the worldwide Anglican community, as he takes charge of a new group, known as the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, established by the Church of Nigeria to provide a haven for Episcopalians alienated by the U.S. Episcopal Church.

More conservative parishes could leave the U.S. Episcopal Church, and form new ties with the Church of Nigeria. Archbishop Akinola is already looking forward to consecrating more American bishops in the coming months.

"There is no way one bishop can cope with these duties. And so, we have had the first one now, and, hopefully, in another six months, one year, or so, we will have two, three, more, maybe five or 10 more. As the need arises, we will be meeting the challenges," he said.

The Anglican Church in Nigeria severed contacts with the Episcopal Church since the consecration of Reverend Gene Robinson, an openly gay man, as Bishop of the U.S. state of New Hampshire in 2003.

Since Robinson's consecration, several Episcopal dioceses have asked to leave the U.S. Episcopal Church, but remain within the worldwide Anglican Communion, which has 77 million members in 164 countries.

Abraham Yisa, who heads the board of trustees of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, rejected suggestions that the Church of Nigeria could be encroaching on the U.S. church's territory.

"You can regard those who say, 'we are not satisfied with what you are doing' as your members, and what we are doing is to preach the gospel, as it is taught by the bible," said Yisa. "It is bible-based, and, I don't think that there is any problem in that direction."

The convocation could polarize further the deeply divided Episcopal Church. However, in Nigeria, the establishment of an Anglican missionary organization in the United States is seen as a huge achievement and one that calls for the drums to be rolled out for celebration.

Are you ready?

Just in time.

Dylan circa 1980 in Toronto.

The question he asks is "Are you ready?"

Click on the headline above.

Are you ready, are you ready?
Are you ready, are you ready?

Are you ready to meet Jesus?
Are you where you ought to be?
Will He know you when He sees you
Or will He say, "Depart from Me"?

Are you ready, hope you're ready.
Am I ready, am I ready?
Am I ready, am I ready?

Am I ready to lay down my life for the brethren
And to take up my cross?
Have I surrendered to the will of God
Or am I still acting like the boss?

Am I ready, hope I'm ready.

When destruction cometh swiftly
And there's no time to say a fare-thee-well,
Have you decided whether you want to be
In heaven or in hell?

Are you ready, are you ready?

Have you got some unfinished business?
Is there something holding you back?
Are you thinking for yourself
Or are you following the pack?

Are you ready, hope you're ready.
Are you ready?

Are you ready for the judgment?
Are you ready for that terrible swift sword?
Are you ready for Armageddon?
Are you ready for the day of the Lord?

Are you ready, I hope you're ready.

Dylan 1980.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Network Welcomes Consecration of Bishop Martyn Minns: Gives the new missionary bishop their "unreserved support"

August 20, 2006, 8 am EST

Network Welcomes Consecration of Bishop Minns

Pittsburgh, PA -- The Anglican Communion Network (ACN) today welcomed the consecration of Bishop Martyn Minns in Abuja, Nigeria.

“We in the Anglican Communion Network offer our unreserved support both for Bishop Minns as he begins this new phase of ministry and to the Church of Nigeria which has once again offered concrete help and leadership to us in the United States during difficult times,” said Bishop Robert Duncan, moderator of the ACN.

A member of the ACN’s cabinet since that body’s formation, Bishop Minns received a heartfelt and well deserved standing ovation at the just-concluded Third Annual Council of the Network. Bishop Minns is one of the movement’s “most gifted and respected leaders,” said Bishop Duncan.

Bishop Minns, who serves as the rector of the ACN-affiliated Truro Church in Virginia, will be ministering as the missionary bishop for the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA). That body was created by the Church of Nigeria in 2005 both for Nigerian Anglicans in the United States and for American Anglicans seeking safe harbor and an unimpaired relationship with the worldwide Anglican Communion. CANA was recently invited to join other bodies in the Anglican Tradition as a partner in the Common Cause Roundtable.

“In the days ahead, we look forward to working with Bishop Minns and CANA in our shared task of building a biblical, missionary and uniting Anglicanism in the United States,” said Bishop Duncan, “We pray that God will bless and prosper his ministry as a bishop of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.”

Martyn Minns Consecrated Missionary Bishop

Abuja, August 20, 2006, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh of the Anglican Ecclesiastical Province of Bendel today in Abuja called on Christians the world over to defend the faith against the onslaught arising from heretic teachings and practices.

He made the charge at the consecration of four new bishops by the Primate of Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) at the National Christian centre Abuja.

Making reference to the book of Jude, Archbishop Okoh said that today, the church was being threatened by those who profess heresy as a doctrine. He said this was the same situation, which led to Saint Jude’s call on Christians of old to stand fast and defend the doctrine.

He reiterated the same call to Christians in today’s world, especially the newly consecrated bishops, asking them to defend the faith handed over to “us by our Christian forefathers and be the Jude of today, wherever you find yourselves.’’ He reminded them that the love of money was the root of all evils and asked them to seek the common good, be humble in correcting their flocks and to tend them with love.

The Archbishop made the distinction between the right beliefs and right practice, stressing the new bishops would in the course of their ministry find various groups of persons with conflicting doctrines. He urged them not to be swayed but to defend their faith and gently correct those who go astray with love.

He said there were various categories of heresy- induced doctrines. He cited those who believed in constantly sinning because they believed the grace of God was abundant and that God would always forgive them. Some others do not believe in God at all while still another set of people do not believe in the existence of angels.

He quoted copiously from the bible to support the Anglican church’s stand that there was one and only one loving, righteous, holy, and true God and that He demanded purity in Christian living.

Archbishop Okoh asked politicians, who had tasted power and wanted to remain in power, those who want to taste power as well as “those in the corridors of power, who want to move on into the sitting rooms of power” to learn to acknowledge God in their lives.

“Except a man acknowledges God, is taught by God and is spirit filled, he cannot rule well.’’

He asked all Christians to reflect the teachings of Christ in their personal lives and to support the nation with their prayers so that God will be a part of next year’s election.

He reminded everyone that “ALL POWERS BELONG TO GOD”, who gives whomever he wishes to give and admonished politicians interested in Nigeria’s coming election; “no matter what you do, if God does not want you to rule, you will not!’’

After the sermon, came the consecration proper. This segment of the event started with a procession of the bishops-elect, who were each led in by two presenting bishops.

They came in with their hands held high, supported by their presenters who then presented them to the primate. After the presentation, they proceeded to take the oaths before the legal team led by the Registrar of the Church.

Thereafter, they were examined by the dean of the Church before the litany was sung with the bishops-elect lying flat on their faces in total surrender to God after reaffirming their allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ as the primate invited the congregation to pray that the Holy Spirit descend on them afresh.

All the serving bishops present, including Nigeria’s nine serving archbishops (tenth retired in June) joined the primate in laying hands on the new bishops as the consecration prayers were led by Archbishop Akinola.

After praying, the primate presented each of them with a staff of office and a bible.

He charged them to make the bible their guide, saying “here are the words of eternal life.” Presenting the staff, he admonished; “Be a shepherd, not a wolf, seek the lost, uphold the weak,……. lift the downtrodden. Ensure discipline but forget not mercy…... May the spirit of the chief shepherd guide you!’’

The 8,000 capacity worship centre loudly applauded the newly consecrated Bishops Christian Ide, Musa Tula, Adebayo Akinde and Martyn Minns as they were presented to the Church along with their wives.

(Church of Nigeria News)

The New York Times Reviews "Modern Times" - Maybe it was a cross Dylan did at the end of the concert Saturday night

NOTE FROM BB: A quote from Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress:

This Hill, though high, I covet to ascend,
The difficulty will not me offend,
For I perceive the way to life lies here;
Come, pluck up, heart; let's neither faint nor fear:
Better, though difficult, the right way to go,
Than wrong, though easy, where the end is woe.

The Pilgrim’s Progress of Bob Dylan
New York Times, Aug. 20, 2006

THE title of Bob Dylan’s new album, “Modern Times,” is mostly subterfuge with a little irony thrown in. The particulars of the present mean less and less to the songwriter who radically and irrevocably changed popular music in the 1960’s. Back then Mr. Dylan transfigured pop songwriting with the shocks and disjunctions of modernism: ideas he found equally in the avant-garde and in old, weird folk songs. But lately he has made himself an emissary from a reinvented yesteryear, where he finds clues to eternal truths in both the blues and the Bible.

For Mr. Dylan there’s no difference now between an itinerant bluesman and a haggard pilgrim. “I practice a faith that’s been long abandoned,” he sings. “Ain’t no altars on this long and lonesome road.”

Mr. Dylan’s three studio albums over the past decade all have music grounded in the blues and lyrics as wildly nonlinear as anything from his 1960’s zenith, but weighted with a deep sense of mortality. “Time Out of Mind,” in 1997, broke a seven-year songwriting drought, followed by “ ‘Love and Theft’ ” in 2001 and now “Modern Times.” With these three albums Mr. Dylan, now 65, has made himself rock’s proudest codger.

He doesn’t pretend to be young or hip. His lyrics, and sometimes his music, are studded with quotations and allusions spanning more than a century of Americana. He magnifies every scrape, crack and scar in his voice, and he ignores the latest recording styles by sticking to handmade, realtime music. (“Modern Times” was recorded with his road band, and it suggests live after-hours rehearsals, complete with stumbles.)

Musically — and only musically — Mr. Dylan is conservative verging on classicist, holding on to rootsy forms; “Modern Times” is an album of blues, ballads and latter-day parlor songs. Philosophically he’s far more tangled. He’s variously an absurdist and a moralizer, a populist and a loner, and an iconoclast haunted by God.

For the bluesy stretches of “Modern Times” Mr. Dylan plays a spurned lover, heartsick and vindictive. There’s pain in his tattered voice but also the adamant, inscrutable, almost impersonal tone of bygone rural blues singers. His rewrite of “Rollin’ and Tumblin’ ” (which is credited to Mr. Dylan, although it uses the venerable riff, the melody and some lines from the familiar blues) flips from hope to wrath in an instant. “I got up this mornin’, seen the rising sun return/Sooner or later, you too shall burn,” he sings, pausing just long enough to fling the word “burn” with an implacable sneer, a blues singer turned hellfire preacher.

“Modern Times” doesn’t announce a conversion like the evangelical Christian phase Mr. Dylan went through as the 1970’s ended. He’s not proselytizing now; faith doesn’t offer him anything as clear as a satisfied mind. (The new songs are even further away from the hints of Orthodox Judaism he dispensed in the mid-1980’s; in the album’s first track, he’s eating pork chops.) Yet a longing for salvation surfaced in songs like “Tryin’ to Get to Heaven” on “Time Out of Mind” and “Cry A While” on “ ‘Love and Theft.’ ” The new album moves thoughts of God closer to the foreground: they show up in at least 7 of the 10 songs this time. Two gently swaying love ballads — “When the Deal Goes Down” and “Beyond the Horizon” — can also be taken as avowals of faith, thinking about death and an afterlife.

Or maybe it just seems that way right now. As evangelical Christians have seized political power and cultural visibility, religious messages have moved into mainstream pop, with openly Christian rockers on MTV and shout-outs to God by everyone from Jessica Simpson to Underoath. But Mr. Dylan is anything but trendy. In his songs faith is no panacea; it’s personal and convoluted, the reckonings of a man who’s contemplating death with no certainty of redemption. “Today I’ll stand in faith and raise the voice of praise/The sun is strong, I’m standing in the light,” he sings in “Nettie Moore,” only to follow with a twist: “I wish to God that it were night.”

There was a 19th-century song called “Nettie Moore,” about a slave sold away from the man who loved her. Mr. Dylan took its title and the first line of its chorus and also borrowed some lines made famous by Robert Johnson and W. C. Handy, surrounded them with his own images of separation and restlessness, and constructed an eccentric song; with alternating sections of 11 and 14 beats, its melody climbs painstakingly and then tumbles down. Mr. Dylan writes now as if American historical memory washes through his consciousness only to leave him more isolated.

He hasn’t been a recluse. In the five years between studio albums, Mr. Dylan has toured steadily while offering more personal glimpses than he has in decades. He wrote the autobiographical “Chronicles, Volume One” (Simon & Schuster); its poetically explosive prose describes those episodes it chooses to cover while evading long, crucial stretches of Mr. Dylan’s life.

He appeared as a creaky outlaw rock star in the movie “Masked and Anonymous,” a shaggy-dog parable that shows how well Mr. Dylan understands his public image. He spoke directly about his early years in “No Direction Home,” the Martin Scorsese documentary that focused on the way Mr. Dylan hit New York and rock culture like a fireball in the early 1960’s. And he has been doing a weekly show for XM Satellite Radio, his “Theme Time Radio Hour,” where he spins a lot of old, crackly, startling songs — on themes like drinking, fatherhood or the devil — and makes gnomic comments. Perhaps he decided that was enough candor for a while: “I’ve already confessed, no need to confess again,” he sings in “Thunder on the Mountain.”

“Modern Times” sounds more tentative than either of its predecessors. Onstage Mr. Dylan’s touring band regularly supercharges his songs. But on “Modern Times” the musicians play as if they’re just feeling their way into the tunes. Mr. Dylan (under the pseudonymn Jack Frost) produced “Modern Times” himself, as he did with the more aggressive “ ‘Love and Theft.’ ” So the new album’s just-jamming style is clearly a deliberate choice. Perhaps it’s intended to make the songs more approachable; with the drummer using brushes, Mr. Dylan can sing quietly.

One song, “Workingman’s Blues #2,” rises to the hymnlike majesty of the Band. (If there’s any connection on this album to the Charlie Chaplin film “Modern Times,” it’s in the song’s complaints about low wages.) But many of the tracks turn out lackadaisical instead. A savage kiss-off, “Someday Baby” (which is a crafty 15-bar blues), isn’t cutting enough, and the lovelorn “Spirit on the Water” just putters along. “The Levee’s Gonna Break” — another old blues commandeered by Mr. Dylan — becomes almost blasé, despite lyrics that hint, now and then, at the catastrophe of New Orleans: “Some people on the road carryin’ everything they own/Some people got barely enough skin to cover their bones.” The songs will only get better on tour. This month Mr. Dylan is playing minor-league ballparks.

Yet the album’s subdued tone perfectly suits its last, best and spookiest song: “Ain’t Talkin.’ ” It too is a blues variant, fingerpicked in a minor key as Mr. Dylan sings in a narrow, embittered voice. He’s on foot, just “walking through the cities of the plague.” There’s a woman he left behind, a father’s death to avenge. He vows to slaughter his opponents; he wonders if he can get heavenly aid. “The suffering is unending,” he sings. “Every nook and cranny has its tears.” He’s a weary traveler, a bluesman and a pilgrim, on a dark and unforgiving road.

The Day After: Dylan Rocks!

First of all - here's the play list from last night's show:

1. Maggie's Farm
2. The Times They Are A-Changin'
3. Lonesome Day Blues
4. Positively 4th Street
5. Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again
6. 'Til I Fell In Love With You
7. To Ramona
8. Cold Irons Bound
9. Girl Of The North Country
10. Highway 61 Revisited
11. Sugar Baby
12. Summer Days

13. Like A Rolling Stone
14. All Along The Watchtower

This was my second Dylan concert. What a difference a year makes! This year he has moved his keyboard over to stage left and more to the center. He was far more engaged and rockin' this year then I remember last year. Perhaps it was the sell-out crowd of more than 10,000 on a balmy and storm-cloud threatening that had something to do with it. But he was rockin' - the arrangements of the songs were fresh and expressive and for all intensive purpose - sound very little like the original records, not even the new stuff.

Standouts for BabyBlue? Cold Irons Bound - a real surprise. I was ready to go for it with Highway 61 (which is the one I remembered being blown away about last year), but this year it was Cold Irons Bound - which had an arrangement that just was a cross between bluesy/rock and haunting. It was wild. Other stand-outs for me: Times They Are a-Changing, which reminded me of the arrangement that I've downloaded from iTunes earlier this year by Tom Corwin and Tim Hockenberry, which makes it more like a song of reflection than an anthem for change. The preachy-ness is gone and instead it sounds more like a timeless reminder that life is full of change. What made it stand out was that it was almost ironic because so many twenty-somethings were jammed together in what was nearly a mosh pit on the outfield and they seemed far more stunned then totally knowing what Dylan was doing. It reminded me of the photos from the early 60s as Dylan was transforming from the Guthrie songs to his Beat period and the audiences sitting still watching and listening to him as though spellbound. So for the boomers in the crowd, they were rocking with the man, but for so many - thousands - of the millennials, they did frankly stand there as though spellbound.

Now that I think about it, I think that was me last year.

This was also apparent on the next song, "Lonesome Day Blues," one of the newer songs from his last album, "Love and Theft." He was animated - almost boyish, nearly dancing behind the keyboards. The 20-somethings stopped talking and stood beside me staring at him. This was not U2. I turned to one of them standing next to me and said, "Wow, he's really on tonight," and the guy looked over at me with his eyes very round and then turned back toward the stage - totally mute. It was weird. If it was just this guy, okay. But all around me were all these kids and they were standing there mute, just staring at him.

Perhaps it was awe.

And wouldn't that beat all.

Many of these kids had been very noisily chomping down the hotdogs, the nachos, the popcorn - laughing and carrying on like it was a party. But finally, when Dylan took the stage around 9:00 p.m., they just stood there, staring, not even moving - just staring at the stage.

Then there are these interesting teenage or pre-teen boys - who have let their curly dark hair grow out and look strikingly like the Dylan of 1967. There's not just one or two of them, though. They pepper they crowd, looking slightly dorky, almost cute, like little Mini-Me Dylans. I remember them from last year too.

Another highlight for me came from the crowd and I just couldn't stop laughing. Dylan concerts also include entertainment from the crowd (sometimes on purpose, and often inadvertently). There is a certain "Dead-head" quality to some in the crowd. When you are close to the stage, fellow fans can use some amazing tactics to get themselves even closer to the stage - and many of them employ tactics that are decades in the making. Last night I saw one of the best. This couple comes up behind me, pressing against everybody. They are in their 50s and look like they could have stopped in to see Willie Nelson before dropping by to see Bob. The guy is smiling and looking like an amiable guy who drives a pickup with a gun rack. His companion has blond hair bleached one time too often. She's moving her hands as she talks to the crowd, "he's hearing impaired!" she shouts to all as they jam themselves forward, then moves her hands as though using sign language. Only, she's only waving her fingers and calling it sign language and of course, he gives it away when he nodds to what she's saying. As I moved out of the way (as well all did), I couldn't stop laughing. The sound was no different where I was standing and where the ardent stood by the stage. Did they expect to read Bob's lips? Of course, the biggest laugh is the idea that anyone can completely understand - even with both ears fully functioning - to what Bob is singing. You have to all ready know the songs in order to get it. But off they went, pressing forward, waving fingers, smiling buoyantly.

Another highlight was Girl from the North Country, and I know this has been a favorite of his for years. But when I hear it I think of his duet with Johnny Cash you just have to wonder if he includes it remembering his old friend who gave him his own guitar after Dylan first performed at Newport in the early 60s.

I did like the jamming songs - the arrangements were really innovative. Summer Days was another one that took off - though I think it was Sugar Baby (one that I don't know I've heard before) where Jimmie Vaughn, one of his opening acts, joined him on stage to bring that mercury sound that Bob loves so much. There was more than the guitar that was electric at that moment - it felt fresh, which is simply amazing when you consider that Bob spends hundreds of days on the road every year. How does he do it?

The vast majority of the crowd were upper and lower middle class families and friends, of all political stripes from Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and DC - groups with blankets and mats and comfortable shoes, tailgating in the parking lot or stetched out on the field thinking that next year they might sit in the seats instead, some who bought their first Dylan record in 1965 and some who just saw "No Direction Home," now wanting to see Dylan before he goes home.

Speaking of home, after an excellent All the Along the Watchtower (which overshadowed Rolling Stone - again, different then last year) Bob and his band came out for a final bow (so old-fashioned - like a different era). The lined up at the edge of center stage. Bob was in the middle, but instead of bowing or waving, he tood there was his arms held out horizontally like a cross and his index fingers pointing up. He was again, somewhat awkward, as though uncomfortable being center-stage finally. But this a was a curious gesture - no wave, no bow - just this - well, it looked to me like a sign of the cross.


Friday, August 18, 2006

Will you have jam on your crumpet, Sir?

Fascinating how ENS is downplaying the emergency summit (see links below).

What struck me about Kearon at General Convention was not what he did say, but what he didn't say. His silence spoke volumes. And the Archbishop of York was even more transparent.

It was clear Kearon was prepared to laud the Episcopal Church (something he has done in the past with gusto) for the fine job of meeting the requests of the Windsor Report - but that didn't happen. Zip.

It is also interesting that ENS once again brings up Martyn Minns and and Peter Akinola and Peter Lee's infamous quote (made before he met with Martyn, by the way). It's clear that they are reading the lefty blogs and getting much of their "reporting" from the screeds on those blogs. It reads like something off one of them - refusing to call it a summit, as the New York Times does, and instead calling it "a small group of fellow bishops." They make it sound like a little tea party. Will you have jam on your crumpet, Sir?

A summit is something that you call when you want to make a deal. Perhaps the real moderator ought to be Monty Hall.

Click the headline above for the great discussion over at TitusOneNine.



New York Times:

New York Times/AP: Canterbury's call for US Summit seeks to preserve Anglican Communion

Canterbury Asks for Bishops Meeting

NEW YORK (AP) -- The spiritual leader of world Anglicanism has asked six Episcopal bishops to meet in New York next month to try and resolve differences over homosexuality tearing at their church.

The gathering is part of a broad effort by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to preserve the global Anglican fellowship despite a hardening conservative-liberal divide over whether the Bible bars gay relationships. The Episcopal Church represents Anglicanism in the United States.

The Anglican Communion Office in London announced the summit in a brief news release Friday, but did not give specifics about the date and location. The six invited bishops reflect the spectrum of belief across the American church, including conservatives who disagree about whether their dioceses should break from the national denomination.

Virginia Bishop Peter Lee, who is among the six U.S. invitees, said the participants ''have agreed not to talk at length with the press'' about the gathering.

''The archbishop of Canterbury is encouraging American bishops to try to work on these questions,'' Lee said in a phone interview. ''We're trying to hold together people who have differing views and to respect those differing views.''

Williams is not expected to attend, though Canon Kenneth Kearon, secretary general of the 77 million-member Anglican Communion, will participate, along with outgoing Episcopal Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold and Presiding Bishop-elect Katharine Jefferts Schori, who takes office in November.

The other participants are Bishop Jack Iker of Fort Worth, Texas; Southwest Florida Bishop John Lipscomb; and Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan, head of the Anglican Communion Network, an association of 10 conservative Episcopal dioceses and more than 900 parishes considering splitting from the national church.

Tensions within the American denomination have increased since the June meeting of its top policymaking body, the General Convention.

Anglican leaders had asked delegates for a moratorium on confirming any more openly gay bishops, in light of the uproar over the 2003 consecration of New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson, who lives with his longtime male partner.

But Episcopal delegates could not agree on the wording of the resolutions after days of painful debate. Instead, the convention adopted a last-minute, nonbinding measure asking church leaders to ''exercise restraint'' in electing future bishops. Williams has said the Episcopalians have ''not produced a complete response'' to Anglican concerns.

The same convention elected Jefferts Schori, who supports gay relationships.

Since then, seven conservative dioceses, including Pittsburgh and Fort Worth, have rejected Jefferts Schori's leadership and asked Williams for oversight from someone else. The Fort Worth diocese believes women should not be ordained.

Some individual parishes have also announced plans to leave the church, which has about 2.3 million members.

Williams has proposed a two-tier system of membership in the world communion, giving churches with nontraditional views on gay clergy and other issues a lesser role.

Separately, a group of conservative bishops, led by Texas Bishop Don Wimberly, is scheduled to meet Sept. 19-22 in Navasota, Texas, to discuss their future in U.S. church. Wimberly said in a statement that ''my intention is to stay within'' the denomination.

Church of England Bishops N.T. Wright of Durham and Michael Scott-Joynt of Winchester are expected to attend the conservative gathering ''with the blessing of the archbishop of Canterbury,'' Wimberly said.