Saturday, June 30, 2007

"Why would someone want to come and blow Glasgow up?"

Tip of the Tinfoil to RWB for pointing us to this clip of today's attempted terrorist attack on the Glasgow Scotland Airport. As RWB so rightly points out, one of the major frustrations of terrorists is "the unexpected and incredibly courageous actions of normal, everyday people — actions which have so often blessedly frustrated the aims of the terrorists, who act on the assumption that their intended infidel victims will shrink like decadent cowards." This clip is of one of those "everyday people" a baggage handler at the Glasgow Airport - and this one is a Scot.

LATER: I'm inclined to think that Glasgow was targeted because it is the hometown of the new British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown - who took over the leadership post from Tony Blair this week.

The UK is now on its highest terror alert to indicate that another attack is imminent.


Friday, June 29, 2007

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Diocese of Virginia Standing Committee Rejects Proposed Anglican Covenant

The Standing Committee of the Diocese of Virginia has released a "response" regarding the proposed Anglican Covenant - and it's a doozy. Indeed, it is illuminating. BabyBlue Commentary is posted.

A Response to the Draft Anglican Covenant
from the Standing Committee of The Diocese of Virginia

We recognize the challenging work undertaken by the Covenant Design Group and acknowledge the draft they have presented. We affirm that the Draft Anglican Covenant is intended for discussion by every Province of the Anglican Communion and is therefore a step in the larger and longer conversation of how we live out our union in Christ.

Let's just pause a moment and consider the "mission statement" of this opening paragraph. The only thing that they can find to affirm is that it is all about conversation. The conversation (not the covenant mind you) is the focus, not actually arriving at any decision (which is such a passive/aggressive way of saying "not in our backyard come hell or high water.").

We affirm and celebrate that we already have a covenant initiated by our gracious God, unmerited, unearned and undeserved, as revealed to us in Holy Scripture. By the love and merit of the Son in his Incarnation, Passion, Resurrection, and Ascension, we belong to God for ever.

Now, let's just pause here a moment as well and take in the incredible assumption that we have no choice in the matter - that it's a done deal, no matter what and "we belong to God for ever." It is an incredible statement of assumption - that since "the Son" has done all the stuff, we belong to God, period. No personal responsibility, no choice, no possibility of falling away or any sort of decision on our part - the covenant is spiritual. Now, frankly, I don't disagree with this view - it's quite "evangelical-sounding" on one level (though no sign of the word "Jesus" or "the Father." We're back to belonging to God - which may mean we can believe what ever we want about those words - new interpretations of what are just metaphorical symbols after all) but have absolute assurance that "we belong to God." For the seeker, the arrogance that these well-meaning people have "arrived" is breathtaking and causes us to indeed pause. Is this how we sound to seekers? We are so sure about ourselves, not because we've repented or anything, but it's so obvious that God did the right thing in recognizing our true worth. We can't have anything that might actually cause us to make a decision, now can we? Unless, of course, it's to agree with us. The middle place between your unbelief and our absolute belief is called "conversation." This is evangelical-thinking stuck inside a neo-pagan blender.

By the charism of the Holy Spirit, we are pledged to one another as members of the Body of Christ in bonds of love which no human action can dissolve. The covenant relationship we share with one another as a gift of the Triune God has been long expressed in the Nicene Creed and in the ancient baptismal confession of the Apostles’ Creed.

Following on that theme, here's the actual statement - which makes us drop our jaw in incredulity. "We are pledged to one another as members of the Body of Christ in bonds of love which no human action can dissolve." Again, we have an incredible statement of irresponsibility that it is just staggering. To translate what again looks to be "evangelical-sounding words" stuck inside a neo-pagan blender, the Body of Christ actually becomes the christ - the church takes on divine status, through this "charism" of the spirit so no human action can touch it. Well, that's crazy! It's cult-thinking. Rebellion, sinning against the Holy Spirit, and many other things can certainly dissolve the bonds of love - it's called, ironically enough, freedom of choice. Because we are so loved by God, we have the choice to completely abandon Him, and we can do that at any time - to reject Him and because of His love for us, He will let us go. It is completely heart-breaking, I don't know how He can do it, but He loves us enough to let us go, and at the same time, through the Cross of Christ, is ready to bring us back - He is the pursuer, the wooer, the Father who loves us. But the arrogance of such a statement, that there is nothing we can do to break the bonds of love is, well, insidious. The total rebellion for responsibility for breaking the bonds of affection is shocking. Then to back it up, they drag out the creeds (which again, as an evangelical, I embrace - but the reasoning of how they got there is so alarming).

We question whether a Covenant that arises out of a particular conflict and disagreement can serve to make us one, as Christ desires us to be.

All I can say about this is that Thomas Jefferson must be just spinning in his grave.

We fear that such a Covenant will lead to more conflict and division.

Well, there goes John Adams now spinning away. How can Americans, who have built a giant monumental building to house two kinds of Covenants - the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution write such things? Have they left their heads in their cars? And while we're thinking about it, isn't Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation also stored in the National Archives? Yes, all those documents faced conflict and division. But again, how can Americans - and Virginians at that! - make such outrageous statements. We haven't even gotten to the content of the Anglican Covenant. That these Virginians could belittle covenants, while being in a Commonwealth that produced some of the greatest minds who ever wrote covenants - or reside in the Capital of the Confederacy where Lincoln's covenant broke apart the chains of slavery - well, this sounds too much like the same rationale used to justify maintaining the 19th century Virginia status-quo. Someone in the room must have remembered, please tell us that someone on the Standing Committee knows their Virginia history.

We recognize that the Instruments of Unity in the Anglican Communion have developed organically over time and that the interrelationships between the Instruments have been fluid and changeable.

What?? We think this may be an attempt to define chaos.

We oppose definitions and descriptions of the Instruments that limit them and prevent the emergence in the future of changes or of additional Instruments that reflect the broad riches of the Anglican Communion.

We think this means that they don't want to actually make any decisions about theology or be held responsible for anything. So while they used evangelical-sounding words earlier, now we see that in fact, there is no center, no common ground to stand on. What the spirit may be doing now might be different in the future. Can we imagine what Thomas Jefferson or John Adams would have said if the subject was liberty? Remember, Patrick Henry was standing in an Anglican (not Episcopal) Church in Richmond when he uttered his unforgettable words. We have no such convictions here. It appears they have no convictions at all - but that is deceptive. You bet they have a world-view, but their world-view isn't found in the Anglican Covenant.

We particularly object to the clauses in the Draft Covenant that limit the authority of the Anglican Consultative Council, the only Instrument of Unity that includes lay people. We affirm that the full inclusion of the laity in decision making and leadership is a hallmark of The Episcopal Church and a particular charism of Anglicanism, and we object to any action that would diminish its vitality.

Now, we still haven't talked about theology, instead we turn to politics. Again, Virginia is well-known for limiting the power of bishops and for its anti-Roman Catholic prejudice. Anglo-Catholics who have historically resided in the Diocese of Virginia can tell you horror-stories of what it's like to be in the tiny minority of Anglo-Catholic clergy. This plead for the laity is so incredibly hypocritical it's beyond the pale. Let 7,000 laity vote to join a different branch of the Anglican Communion and this same body of people slaps the laity with lawsuits. The hypocrisy of this statement coming from the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Virginia is simply audacious. "We affirm that the full inclusion of the laity in decision making and leadership is a hallmark of The Episcopal Church a particular charism (there's the word again) of Anglicanism, and we object to any action that would diminish its vitality." Read the Diocese of Virginia Protocol for Departing Churches lately?

We also object to the disproportionate power given in the Draft Anglican Covenant to the Primates’ Meeting and oppose efforts to establish any body akin to the Roman Catholic Curia. The establishment of such a body is profoundly contrary to the historic spirit of Anglicanism.

Here we go - the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Virginia speaks to the deeply embedded anti-Rome bias ("foreign prelates" anyone?). Again, this sounds very '"low churchy" - but the irony is that this same group of people have sold their souls to New York. Virginia has always had a zeal for its independence (one doesn't know if it's because we're Virginians or because we're south of the Potomac, or if frankly because we're Americans). That this same group of Virginians have in fact embraced the Roman Catholic view of an Episcopal hierarchy is simply mind-blowing. They'll take their Catholic hierarchy when it suits them, thank you very much. But in Virginia, until that happy little meeting with David Booth Beers, a foreign prelate would be anyone north of the Potomac. Even Bishop Lee said as much when he justified voting for Gene Robinson. The people of New Hampshire can elect any bishop they wish precisely because we are not a hierarchical church, just as Virginia can elect anyone they wish. The House of Bishops is a fellowship, not a governing body (which we keep hearing them say in their talking points), except that which conflicts with their legal case. Having authority of any kind from the Communion annoys not only their independence but their legal case. This section is pure politics - it's not theological because it's inconsistent.

We are deeply concerned that the Meeting of Primates has already assumed improper and unprecedented authority to adjudicate genuine theological disagreements and to dictate what actions Provinces may or may not take without regard to the synodical structures of the Provinces, as evidenced in their Dar es Salaam Communiqué.

Finally, they are deeply concerned - not over theology, but because they might be held accountable for their actions. They basically call the Anglican archbishops dictators and they plead not on behalf of the Christian faith, but their beloved structures. Isn't that what British loyalists and later Virginia slaveholders pleaded - that it was their way of life, their beloved and profitable structures, that were threatened?

We conclude that the Draft Anglican Covenant is profoundly impaired by its disregard for the deep theological grounds on which we already belong together, the ecclesial history of Anglicanism as a family of interdependent yet autonomous churches that are both episcopally led and synodically governed, and by a rush to end the current disagreements in which we find ourselves.

Not once do they discuss the theological merits of the Anglican Covenant or even mention Jesus by name. Not once do they acknowledge that The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion are facing one of the gravest crises we have ever faced since we shipped two Connecticut priests to Scotland. The Prayer Book isn't even mentioned (which is what I personally see as the unifying statement of faith, which is why the rewriting of the Prayer Books is so grievous as the doctrine of the Church is said in the liturgy - by changing the liturgy we change our doctrine and become less and less Anglican). This statement from the Diocese of Virginia Standing Committee to reject the Draft Covenant illustrates why we have such deep division, not only in the Virginia, but in the Episcopal Church and in the Anglican Communion.

I am writing this in a Starbucks. It is interdependent with the Starbucks corporation, but this Starbucks is a franchise, it is independently owned. There are certain things that this Starbucks must abide by or it loses its identity as a Starbucks. First and foremost, it sells coffee. If tomorrow it decided to no longer sell coffee, it would still look like a Starbucks, the people inside would still be wearing the same outfits, the sign outside still says Starbucks, and they'd still sell the CDs of Paul McCartney. But it wouldn't be a Starbucks because Starbucks is all about coffee. No coffee, no Starbucks. It's an imitation of the real thing and that is what is sadly happening to The Episcopal Church.
An association of men who will not quarrel with one another is a thing which has never yet existed, from the greatest confederacy of nations down to a town meeting or a vestry. -Thomas Jefferson

“Never water down the word of God, preach it in its undiluted sternness; there must be unflinching loyalty to the word of God; but when you come to personal dealing with your fellow men, remember who you are --- not a special being made up in heaven, but a sinner saved by grace.” -Oswald Chamber, My Utmost for His Highest for June 28th

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Thanks RWB and rankflv. A great performance from 1999 of the classic song. We didn't do much talking anyway, but don't think twice, it's all right.

Breaking News: California Court of Appeals Reverses Decision on CA Churches

Please note: Cafe patrons should remember that Real Estate Law is State/Commonwealth law. The ruling issued on this case stems from a unique California State Statute. One again, we also remind cafe patrons that TEC is not hierarchical - the Presiding Bishop is not an Archbishop. The Presiding Bishop does not choose or appoint lower bishops. There are no cardinals or archbishops in The Episcopal Church - and for reason, for if there was, we dare say we'd never would have had an Episcopal Diocese of Virginia. As it is, the Baptists got much of the early Anglican Churches, including the Anglican Church in my family's hometown, Buckingham Court House, Virginia, because they couldn't sign on to the idea of bishops. The Anglican Church in Virginia for the first two hundred years had no bishop in the Commonwealth, and much of the clergy was grafted in from Protestant immigrant clergy - the few who were homegrown clergy were sent back to the Bishop of London to do the ordination. But no bishop set foot in the Anglican Churches in Virginia for 200 years, and so to suddenly re-introduce powerful bishops after spending so many years trying to get rid of the British oppressive systems, well, in Virginia that just wasn't going to happen any time soon. As it was, when the Episcopalians finally got organized, it took a while to find someone to be bishop, but that person also remained rector of his church - a tradition that continued through the 19th century.

It is no accident that Bishop Lee uses the term "foreign prelates" in his press releases. TEC is not Roman Catholic, no matter how much it likes to style itself "Catholic Lite." Bishop Lee is using the distinct Virginia protestant bias that goes far, far back (the State of Maryland was created for a reason) in the most ironic way, now that TEC is suddenly fashioning itself a hierarchical church (Frank Griswold never referred to himself even as a primate - that's Katharine Jefferts Schori's Title of Choice on her official correspondence and now we see why). We are historically evangelicals in Virginia, once in theology, but still in polity (the one thing progressives and conservatives could agree on was to deny the bishop the right to tax the local churches - again, he depends on the laity to fund his projects, not the other way around). The dioceses in the State of California do have an Anglo-Catholic heritage, but such is not the case in the Diocese of Virginia. Even in the canons of the Diocese of Virginia, the bishop can not remove a Vestry and appoint his own vicar (though Bishop Lee, through his chancellor, tried to get that type of power at the last Diocesan Council and was resoundly stopped - by a coalition of the conservative remnant and the progressives!). So much for hierarchy!

We also note that the attorney who wrote the briefing for The Episcopal Church, Heather Anderson, is also representing The Episcopal Church in its lawsuit against the Virginia Churches. We only wonder how the Diocese of Virginia leadership now feels about being catergorized a "hiearchical" church by Ms. Anderson. So much for the laity!

Bishop Meade and Bishop Moore, what would you say of what is becoming of your beloved church?

SANTA ANA, Calif. – June 26, 2007 – A three-judge panel of the California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, Division Three, today reversed the Orange County Superior Court’s prior ruling that three former Episcopal churches which disaffiliated from the national denomination in 2004 did not forfeit their property. This division of the appellate court broke with nearly thirty years of California church property law, and instead ruled that hierarchical church denominations can take over local church property by simply passing an internal rule – even if the local church is separately incorporated, bought and maintained the property.

In August 2004, St. James Church in Newport Beach, All Saints’ Church in Long Beach, and St. David’s Church in North Hollywood, disassociated from the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles and the national Episcopal Church (TEC) because of theological differences, which drew international attention because of similar issues facing the Episcopal Church and the worldwide Anglican Communion.

The appellate court’s ruling returns the lawsuits brought by the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles and TEC against the three local churches to The Honorable David Velasquez of Orange County Superior Court. Still at issue is whether the Episcopal Church validly passed an internal rule claiming to hold local church property in trust for itself, and whether that rule applied to the three local churches. St. James, All Saints’ and St. David’s, as the property owners, never agreed to relinquish their property to the Episcopal Church upon ending their affiliation. St. James, All Saints’ and St. David’s have maintained all along that they have the right to use and possess the property they have owned and maintained for decades.

Legal spokesperson, Eric C. Sohlgren, said, “This decision puts one division of the appellate court in direct conflict with other California court of appeal decisions that for almost thirty years have rejected the idea that a court must automatically defer to a church denomination in church property disputes. Under this ruling, any big church which calls itself hierarchical could try to confiscate the property of a local congregation simply by passing an internal rule. That idea offends basic principles of fairness and property ownership. St. James, All Saints’ and St. David’s are seriously evaluating an appeal to the California Supreme Court.”

Read the rest here at T19.

A Year Later ...

Monday, June 25, 2007

Dylan as Chaplin

I'd like to write more about this, but it seems to me that Bob Dylan has been wearing his Charlie Chaplin mask for a couple of years now. Besides the fact that his latest album is called Modern Times (Chaplin had a classic film with the same name), he is sporting a mustache and wearing outfits that look like the suits Chaplin wore in his early films - see video below (another classic, only this one has a song from Dylan's Modern Times, Beyond the Horizon). But what really struck me today, as Dylan is now on the road through America in his "Never Ending Tour" is that he doesn't speak while on stage. We've now seen enough of the concert videos from the past to know he used to speak quite a bit (and we know he can still talk up a storm because we listen to this radio show, Theme Time Radio Hour on XM and he's often hilarious). But for years now, he doesn't speak on stage (except to introduce his band) as Chaplin never spoke since his films were silent. I even recall seeing Dylan walk off the stage at one of the first concerts I went to with a little Chaplinesque walk. What's up, Bob?

Obviously, others who are on to it as well.

And obviously, it's nothing new either:

The WOMBAT results delivered: "O"

As soon as we can figure out how to post the results of the Grade III WOMBAT (and if you don't know what a WOMBAT is, go here or here ) online, we will. We think that for Grade II Wombat was photographed and turned it into a jpg file and then we posted it. Last time we received an "E" (Exceeds Expectations). This time we're celebrating over here at the Harry Potter Table as we've all received our results and BabyBlue's came in with an "O." Outstanding. We can hardly believe it. Apparently it means that we can now apply for a teaching position at Hogwarts.

That might come in handy.

HP Watch: Keep an eye on this House Elf

No, not you Binks.

Now, we won't put the entire bean-spill here just in case you are trying not to know anything (one way or the other) about the impending release of the last book in the Harry Potter series, Deathy Hallows. But if you dare, click on the headline above and find out why this one character was retrieved off the cutting room floor of the upcoming film, Order of the Phoenix - and guess who saved him.

Getting out the big guns: Did she really say that?

Katharine Jefferts Schori is interviewed in the Seattle Post. "When you bring out the big guns, the pastoral solution has failed." Big guns? Did she really say that?

The Diocese of Virginia had a pastoral solution and it was blasted when David Booth Beers showed up at the Ok Corral, er, the Diocese of Virginia's join meeting of the Standing Commitee and the Executive Committee and started getting out those big guns. So much for a real pastoral solution - what does she mean by her pastoral solution?

Who can believe a sitting Episcopal presiding bishop is actually using those terms - bring out the big guns.

Here's an excerpt from the Seattle Post article:

Backed by the national church, the Diocese of Virginia has launched legal action to regain property of the breakaway congregations. Schori said her approach is to act as the church's chief pastor, keep dialogue going, and work toward "adaptive solutions" that will "hold us together" despite differences.

"If the pastoral responses fail, and there are attempts to destroy the structure, the way you respond is the structural way, the canonical way," she said. "When you get out the big guns, the pastoral solution has failed."

Obviously, she authorized getting out those big guns because someone bullied the Diocese of Virginia into suing 200 volunteers and inhibit twenty-one clergy, including one that has now been elected as an Anglican bishop. Is this her type of pastoral solution?

Bishop Lee had a real pastoral solution - under his leadership, it was found through months of prayer and tears and hard work and sacrifice, but then guess who came riding into town?

Read the rest here or watch it here:

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Anglcian Church of Canada Synod Continues

5:30 p.m. UPDATE: Same Sex Unions Resolution fails - it passes both the laity and clergy on a simple majority (and earlier attempt for 60% majority), but failed in bishops (by just two votes). However, an earlier vote affirmed that such practices do not conflict with "core doctrine" of the Anglican Church of Canada, which makes it sound as though they can just keep doing what they have been doing with local option. But it's not over yet.

The Synod will be voting on officially sanctioning Same Sex Unions for the entire province this morning and afternoon. Peter of Anglican Essentials is doing a terrific job of getting out the info and the Canadians are also broadcasting with a live webstream of the proceedings. Stay tuned. We'll be posting things as the day goes on. And on. And on.

12:04 p.m. Update: The vote is/was begining on:

A186 Blessing of Same Sex Unions - Core Doctrine of ACC

That this General Synod resolves that the blessing of same-sex unions is consistent with the core doctrine of The Anglican Church of Canada.

12:27 p.m.: Well, it was headed that way, but the vote to close debate failed. They are still debating.

Come join the online international chat over over at PeterO's (England) website here.

12:40 p.m.: Okay, now they are voting.

C/L 152 / 97 Passed
B 21 / 19 Passed
Motion Carried

The Final Language on 186 may be closer to this (still checking):

That this General Synod resolves that the blessing of same-sex unions is not in conflict with the core doctrine in the sense of being creedal of The Anglican Church of Canada.

2:47 p.m.: At 3:00 p.m. (EDT) the Anglican Church of Canada will be debating the following resolution:

Resolution 187: Blessing of Same Sex Union revised


That this General Synod affirm the authority and jurisdiction of any diocesan synod, with the concurrence of its bishop, and in a manner which respects the conscience of the incumbant and will of the parish, to authorize the blessing of committed same sex unions.

4:40 p.m. Debate is now underway.

5:07 p.m.: They are now starting to vote. Please pray for our brothers and sisters in Canada.

5:20 p.m. RESULTS:

BISHOPS DEFEAT THE RESOLUTION. It carries in Laity and Clergy and fails in Bishops.

Laity 78 / 59 Passed
Clergy 63 / 53 Passed
Bishops 19 / 21 Failed

Motion Fails

Time Out for HP: Machiavelli and Severus Snape

Over at one of my favorite HP Discussion spots, (which was offline for quite some time getting its server fixed!) there is quite a discussion going on regarding the character of Severus Snape as a Machiavellian character. Read the entire discussion here. John Granger has been firmly in the Snape is good camp for quite some time, but here seems to be switching alliances. You should read the whole thing, it's really interesting (note to The New York Times, yet again - these are not just children's books). I take a different view then Good!Snape or Bad!Snape. Here's my latest post at HogwartsProfessor on the topic:

It is clear as we are coming down to the wire with just a few weeks between us and the final books, that hands-down, the best (and perhaps central) character is Severus Snape. The complexity of his character means that this character truly has what Dumbledore says to Harry in the first book, choices. Severus’ character in every way is built on his choices.

It could be that the Deathly Hallows could be subtitled The Choice of Severus Snape. It’s not a done deal that Severus will make the right choice or the right series of choices, but so far I believe he has. I also believe that he does have an inner-Machiavellian nature that he works hard to control (and not always successfully). He is by nature bad, not good. And his choices for good are what makes his character so identifiable to us. Human nature, left to its own devises, is Machiavellian and what is astonishing is how we choose a different way.

And that choice comes to us because of love. For Christians, it is based on Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, because He loved us first we can love. For Harry, who knew no love in his childhood (perhaps like Snape, and most especially like Voldemort), was still loved first by his mother, Lily - her sacrifice has literally been the gift that keeps on giving. Harry loves because he too was loved first.

Jo Rowling has told us that Snape, unlike Voldemort, has been loved in his life. We are fairly certain that Dumbledore loved him - and it’s clear that Snape is in incredible pain following Dumbledore’s death (and he keeps saving Harry’s life even then, giving him advice on how to defeat the Dark Lord even as he is running with Draco for the out perimeters of Hogwarts so that they can escape). He only completely looses it when Harry calls into question Snape’s courage - and one can imagine that even at this point Snape is doing all he can to control his Machiavellian nature. That is what makes his character so compelling. He is a bad man doing good.

And aren’t we all in a similar place, if the Scriptures are true?

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Anglican Church of Canada Update

SAT. PM UPDATE: The debate will continue on Sunday. Stay tuned at Anglican Essentials.

The Anglican Church of Canada General Synod has just passed this resolution:


That this General Synod accept the conclusion of the Primate’s Theological Commission’s St. Michael Report that the blessing of same-sex unions is a matter of doctrine, but is not core doctrine in the sense of being credal, and that it should not be a communion-breaking issue.

The last phrase, "and that it should not be a communion-breaking issue." was added during debate.

The Resolution to watch is: A187 Blessing of Same Sex Unions. You can watch the proceeding live here.


Friday, June 22, 2007

Anglican District of Virginia Welcomes News of John Guernsey's Election as Bishop

FAIRFAX, Va. (June 22, 2007) – The Anglican District of Virginia (ADV), an association of Anglican congregations in Virginia, announced today its strong enthusiasm for the forthcoming consecration of Bishop-elect John Guernsey. The Reverend Guernsey, rector of All Saints Anglican Church in Woodbridge, Va., was elected by the Anglican Church of Uganda to serve as Suffragan Bishop to its orthodox parishes in the United States.

According to Jim Oakes, Vice-Chairman of the Anglican District of Virginia, “We eagerly anticipate the formal consecration of Bishop-elect John Guernsey. The new role John Guernsey has been called to fill underscores the growing movement towards maintaining orthodox Anglican beliefs here in the U.S. We praise the Church of Uganda for electing such a strong candidate to oversee its congregations in the States. John is a bold man of Christ who has been integral in providing support for parishes that wish to uphold the sacred authority of Scripture and practice orthodox Anglicanism. The ADV looks forward to continuing to strengthen our relationship with him.”

The Anglican District of Virginia is comprised of 19 churches, four of which are associate members under the authority of the Anglican Church of Uganda. These parishes which include All Saints Anglican Church in Woodbridge, Christ Our Lord in Woodbridge, Church of the Holy Spirit in Ashburn and South Riding Anglican Church in Fairfax will receive pastoral oversight from Bishop-elect Guernsey. In total, Rev’d Guernsey will oversee 26 orthodox congregations in the U.S. that are connected to the worldwide Anglican Communion through the Church of Uganda.

In other news in the Anglican District of Virginia: The Reverend Mark Sholander, who will be installed as Rector of Christ the Redeemer Church, Centreville, Va., this coming Sunday, June 24. Christ the Redeemer Church is a member of ADV, an association of Anglican congregations in Virginia and a part of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA).

CANA Missionary Bishop Martyn Minns will formally install Mr. Sholander.

The installation ceremony will take place at Christ the Redeemer Church at 10:15 am on Sunday at Centreville Elementary School, 14330 Green Trails Blvd., Centreville, Va., 20121.

“Mark is an esteemed brother in the Lord and we look forward to working with him to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ. He joins a growing network of Anglicans in Virginia who are excited to be moving forward while providing orthodox places for our community to worship and be transformed into active followers of Christ,” said CANA Suffragan Bishop David Bena.

“I am especially pleased to have the opportunity to serve at Christ the Redeemer Church and within the Anglican Communion at large. My hope and prayer is that we will reach countless numbers of people with the life-transforming news of the Gospel. Sunday will be a joyous celebration of a parish that unanimously voted in December to remain steadfast in their orthodox faith and affiliate with ADV and CANA,” said Mr. Sholander.

On January 1, 2007, Mr. Sholander was called to Christ the Redeemer Church, a church plant of Truro Church established in the mid-1990s. He received a call to ordained ministry during a 22-year career as Vice President of the American Arbitration Association. With his wife, Cindi, and three children, Joshua, Anthea and Samuel, he left his home and work in Orlando, Fl., to attend Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry (TESM) in Ambridge, Pa., from 1997-2000. He was ordained in May 2000 by the Right Reverend John W. Howe, Bishop of Central Florida, TEC, (note: and former rector of Truro Church) and was called by All Saints’ Church, Winter Park, Fl., to be Assistant Rector to the Rev. H. David Wilson. He served there for two years before accepting a call in June 2002 to become rector of St. Alban’s Church, Auburndale, Fl., until last December.


CANA Supports New Pastoral Initiative by Uganda

CANA’s Missionary Bishop Martyn Minns said on June 22, “I have just read of the proposed consecration of the Rev’d John Guernsey as a bishop in the Church of Uganda (Anglican Communion) to serve Uganda-related priests and churches in North America. This follows a similar action by the Anglican Church of Kenya in its proposed consecration of Canon Bill Atwood.

Both these announcements are welcome news.

They demonstrate the willingness of various provinces in the Anglican Communion to support the mission and ministry of Anglicans in North America who can no longer be part of The Episcopal Church.”

Bishop-elect Guernsey, rector of All Saints Church (Dale City, Virginia) and dean for Anglican Communion Network-member congregations in the mid-Atlantic region, is a long-time friend and ministry colleague of Bishop Minns.

Bishop Minns also said, “I look forward to continuing to work with John in his new role. We have worked together on numerous projects and enjoy a personal relationship of more than 20 years. We are already working closely together in the Anglican District of Virginia and I anticipate that this development will result in more new creative initiatives with CANA and the wider Common Cause partnership.”

Common Cause is a cooperative fellowship of Anglican groups in North America. “As others have noted, there are now more than 250 congregations in North America related to the Global South in the Anglican Communion, and this number continues to grow,” Bishop Minns added.

Uh oh ... Bishop Fred Hiltz elected as Anglican Church of Canada Archbishop

Dark Clouds gathering in the North.
Fred Hiltz 60 / 81 *Elected*

The Rt. Rev. Fred Hiltz, Bishop of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, has been elected Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Canada on the fifth ballot.

Bishop Fred Hiltz was born and raised in Dartmouth, N.S. He is a graduate of Dalhousie University (BSc major in Biology) and the Atlantic School of Theology (MDiv). He was ordained a deacon on June 3, 1977, and as priest on June 29, 1978. He served in a number of parishes within the Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island: Christ Church, Sydney; Melford-Guysborough; Timberlea-Lakeside; The Cathedral Church of All Saints, Halifax; and St. John’s Church, Lunenburg.

In October 1994, he was elected Suffragan Bishop, and ordained and installed on January 18, 1995. In November 2001, Bishop Hiltz was elected Coadjutor Bishop, and was subsequently installed Diocesan Bishop on March 21, 2002.

Thanks to the Amazing Peter at Anglican Essentials for the news.

BREAKING NEWS: John Guernsey to be consecrated bishop by Archbishop Orombi

The Rev. John Guernsey, rector of All Saints, Dale City, VA and dean of the Anglican Communion Network’s Mid-Atlantic Convocation, will be consecrated in Uganda on September 2.

This is such great news. John was one of the first people I met when I attended my first General Convention in Indianapolis in 1994. John, the son of a clergyman, had grown up going to General Conventions and understood how it worked - and didn't work - long before the rest of us took notice. He was a Deputy to General Convention from the Diocese of Virginia for as long as I can remember until the Diocese of Virginia took a progressive leap to the left. He tirelessly worked hard to see reform from within TEC - again, long before the rest of us even knew what General Convention was. He brought enthusiasm, dedication, a great sense of humor, and a brilliant mind to the team - one of the great leaders and I count him as one of my mentors. I believe with all my heart that he is called to be a bishop - for he has been walking out the ministry of a bishop for many years, a bishop who holds the confidence and respect of both clergy and laity alike. To know that he will working alongside Bishop Martyn Minns and Bishop David Bena in the Anglican District of Virginia is answered prayer. This is not a time of scattering, but of gathering and to know that John is joining Sandy Millar (who is assigned to London) as a missionary bishop from the Province of Uganda is an extraordinary gift to the Church. Thanks be to God.

Hear a recent sermon by the bishop-elect here, called The Necessity of the Cross :

Here is the Letter from Archbishop Orombi announcing John Guernsey's election:

Dear Rectors, Clergy, and Lay Leaders of Ugandan Churches in America,

Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, our Good Shepherd!

I am writing to share with you a significant decision I and the House of Bishops have made today that I hope will be an encouragement to you. And, I want you, if possible, to hear it first from me.

The Church of Uganda is now providing ecclesiastical oversight to twenty-six congregations in America, and we continue to receive appeals from other congregations. Yet, when we first started responding to such appeals in 2004, I don't think any of us imagined at the time that the American church would be in the state that it is in today, and that the tear in the Anglican Communion would or could become deeper. We always envisioned the episcopal care and oversight we were providing you and other churches as being a temporary measure. Hence, we sometimes referred to this as our "ecclesiastical refugee ministry."

Likewise, we have always said that we will be there for you and not abandon you, and we stand by that commitment and our word. At the same time, we have said that we would do everything we can to work towards a Biblically orthodox domestic ecclesial entity in the USA so that at some point in the future, we could "repatriate" you.

The carefully worked out and unanimously agreed Pastoral Scheme by the primates in our February 2007 Dar es Salaam Communiquk has now been soundly rejected not only by TEC's House of Bishops, but also by their Executive Council. We take their rejection very seriously. The need for a domestic episcopate for our Ugandan congregations grows daily, yet the anticipated, Biblically orthodox domestic ecclesial entity in the USA is not yet available. It has, therefore, seemed good to the House of Bishops and the Holy Spirit for us to take an interim step that acknowledges the need for a domestic bishop while at the same time affirming your full status as members of the Church of Uganda, and, therefore, of the Anglican Communion. In December 2006, the House of Bishops elected the Rev. John Guernsey to be a Bishop in the Church of Uganda, serving our American congregations on behalf of their Ugandan Bishop. Today at our House of Bishops meeting, we reaffirmed that decision and set the date for Bishopelect Guernsey's consecration for Sunday, 2nd September 2007. He will be consecrated in Mbarara along with Bishop-elect George Tibesigwa, the new Bishop of Ankole Diocese. You are most welcome to attend the consecration and we would be very happy to receive you.

What does this mean for you? What are the practical implications?

1. You and your congregation are still full members of your current Diocese in the Church of Uganda.

2. We continue to wholeheartedly encourage the development of mutual mission relationships between your congregation and your diocese. The harvest still remains plentiful, but the labourers are few.

3. At the time of the consecration, your Bishop will transfer his episcopal oversight, but not his jurisdiction, to Bishop-elect Guernsey.

4. Therefore, you should relate to Bishop-elect Guernsey as your overseeing Bishop and to your Ugandan Bishop as a Mission Partner. For example, all matters pertaining to ordinations, deployment of clergy, calling of clergy to parishes, clergy discipline, installation of new rectors, confirmation, planting of new churches, referral of churches for Ugandan oversight, etc. should now be referred directly to Bishop-elect Guernsey and no longer to your Ugandan Bishop. On the other hand, matters pertaining to your joint mission efforts should continue to be referred to your Ugandan Bishop.

Admittedly, this is complex, and we hope this arrangement will be temporary until the Biblically orthodox domestic ecclesial entity in the USA is in place. But, I do ask that all of us - Americans and Ugandans - work diligently to make this work. We will all need to walk in the light with one another; to extend grace, love, and mutual respect to one another; and to be transparent in our communication. Bishop-elect Guernsey is now our front-line Bishop and should be your first point of contact about anything ecclesiastical. When in doubt, contact Bishop-elect Guernsey first and then, together, you can decide if and how your Ugandan Bishop may need to be brought into the situation.

Finally, I want to say how pleased and encouraged I am to hear that Bishop Duncan has called for a Council of Bishops meeting for the Common Cause partners in September. This is the kind of movement toward unity among orthodox entities in the USA that is hopeful for the future of a Biblical North American Anglican witness and must be pleasing to our Lord. We have already been assured that Bishop-elect Guernsey will be invited to that meeting, and we have asked him to work closely with all Bishops serving American congregations that are canonically part of Global South Provinces, and with other Bishops with whom the Church of Uganda is in communion.

As I have said in the past, we are so grateful for you and your costly witness to the unchanging Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. "Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers - not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be." (1 Peter 5.2)

Yours, in Christ,

The Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi

The Rev. John A. M. Guernsey
Rector of All Saints, Dale City

Education and Experience:
Bachelor of Arts, 1975, Yale Unversity
Master of Divinity, 1978, The Episcopal Divinity School, Cambridge, MA.
Associate Rector, Christ Church, Alexandria, VA, 1978-1981.
Rector of All Saints' Church, 1981 to present.

Wider Church Involvement:
Dean of the Mid-Atlantic Convocation of the Anglican Communion Network
Chair, Board of Directors, Sharing of Ministries Abroad (SOMA), 1996 to present.
Member, Board of Directors, American Anglican Council (AAC), 1996 to present.
Eastern Prince William County Ministerial Association (Co-President, 1995-1998).

John Guernsey is one of the twenty-one Virginia clergy inhibited by Bishop Peter James Lee of the Diocese of Virginia following their parishes overwhelming votes to leave the Episcopal Church and remain Anglican.

Long Distance Dedication: To Our Friends Up North

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Dust in the Wind

Kenneth Kearon is talking to the Vancouver Sun as the Happy Talk Media Campaign continues (too bad he doesn't have a purple bus). You almost wonder if he's encouraging Canada to throw all caution to the wind - or is that dust?

One of those moments ...

Okay, so yesterday was a long day, after a long week, after a long month. I'm out at the farm for the next two weeks and was riding the Metro (rather than the usual Choo Choo), dozing as we approached the last stop on the Orange Line. I opened my eyes and casually looked out the window at the busy traffic (it was so late, the traffic was actually moving) on I-66, including a triple decker purple bus. "Ah, the Knight Bus," I thought wearily.


I sat up suddenly and pointed at the window like a child thinking "THE KNIGHT BUS!" and almost started to exclaim to the few passengers still left in my car at the end of the line. My mouth opened to shout out, I was so excited, in those few seconds of pointing excitedly, forgetting for a moment how old I am or where I've been all day, that if I had gone forward one more moment I would have lept off me seat and started shouting "It's the Knight Bus! It's the Knight Bus!" But in those few half-seconds I came back to my senses, lowered my pointing arm, realized that no one had seen me and I just smiled as I watched it drive out of sight.

Maybe I was the only one who could see it anyway.

A Dream Comes True

A British version of American Idol is Britain's Got Talent. In fact, Simon Cowell judges both contests (he's the creator of Britain's Got Talent). Last Sunday night this man, Paul Potts, won the final prize. Here he makes his debut and wins the world. Cafe patron AB sent me the link this morning and we all just lost it at my office. An amazing performance.

AB later sent me this post from a blog (NOTE to AB, please send me the link - thanks!) of someone who caught in words the feelings we all had this morning watching it.

I came into work this morning, ran through my email, signed payroll, ran out to rake a couple of employees over the coals, went back to the office, pulled up NRO, and clicked on the Corner. That’s when I ran across your post about Paul Potts. The video came up and there’s this dumpy guy with bad teeth. Then he started to sing. Now, I’m not an overly emotional person, but halfway through I realized I was crying. Haven’t done anything like that in many, many years, and I wondered, as I dried my eyes, how in the world his singing could have caused such a strong reaction in me. The video has been on a loop in my head ever since, and I think I’m ready to make a guess.

His expression before he begins to sing is that of a man resigned to disappointment. Even when he smiles, his eyes convey a profound sadness. He has been a nobody all his life. He, and perhaps only he, knows he has greatness inside of him, but he is obviously a humble man, massively insecure, afraid of rejection, unsure of himself outside the cocoon of anonymity. But you get the feeling he also knows that this may be the one chance he gets to escape the cocoon, and as he begins to sing, you can see him fighting down his fear. I think that is the wellspring of the emotion that pervades his performance. He is fighting against a life of obscurity. By the song’s end, what was an average Joe has stepped up, beaten back his fear, and broken through. In those few seconds, he put the void behind him, and his life will probably be changed forever because he called up the courage at that moment to show what he was really made of. We saw greatness, long denied, finally being born.

It was one of the most heroic things I’ve seen in a long time. My deepest thanks to you for posting it. Truly inspirational.

Official Tip of the TinFoil Hat to AB.

LATER: Here's the video of Paul Potts winning the whole thing, which will include a live performance before Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II.

TEC Diocean Bishop says says he "finds the interfaith possibilities exciting" for Seattle woman to be both an Episcopal priest and a Muslim ...

The Rev. Ann Holmes Redding has been an Episcopal priest for 20 years and a Muslim for 15 months. The Presiding Bishop says it's up to the local bishop to decide whether such a priest could continue in that role. Her Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Vincent Warner, tells the Seattle Times that he accepts Redding as an Episcopal priest and a Muslim, and that he finds the interfaith possibilities exciting.

From The Seattle Times:
"I am both Muslim and Christian"

Shortly after noon on Fridays, the Rev. Ann Holmes Redding ties on a black headscarf, preparing to pray with her Muslim group on First Hill.

On Sunday mornings, Redding puts on the white collar of an Episcopal priest.

She does both, she says, because she's Christian and Muslim.

Redding, who until recently was director of faith formation at St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral, has been a priest for more than 20 years. Now she's ready to tell people that, for the last 15 months, she's also been a Muslim — drawn to the faith after an introduction to Islamic prayers left her profoundly moved.

Her announcement has provoked surprise and bewilderment in many, raising an obvious question: How can someone be both a Christian and a Muslim?

But it has drawn other reactions too. Friends generally say they support her, while religious scholars are mixed: Some say that, depending on how one interprets the tenets of the two faiths, it is, indeed, possible to be both. Others consider the two faiths mutually exclusive.

"There are tenets of the faiths that are very, very different," said Kurt Fredrickson, director of the doctor of ministry program at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif. "The most basic would be: What do you do with Jesus?"
But wait, there's more:
Redding, who will begin teaching the New Testament as a visiting assistant professor at Seattle University this fall, has a different analogy: "I am both Muslim and Christian, just like I'm both an American of African descent and a woman. I'm 100 percent both."

Redding doesn't feel she has to resolve all the contradictions. People within one religion can't even agree on all the details, she said. "So why would I spend time to try to reconcile all of Christian belief with all of Islam?

"At the most basic level, I understand the two religions to be compatible. That's all I need."

She says she felt an inexplicable call to become Muslim, and to surrender to God — the meaning of the word "Islam."

"It wasn't about intellect," she said. "All I know is the calling of my heart to Islam was very much something about my identity and who I am supposed to be.

"I could not not be a Muslim."

Redding's situation is highly unusual. Officials at the national Episcopal Church headquarters said they are not aware of any other instance in which a priest has also been a believer in another faith. They said it's up to the local bishop to decide whether such a priest could continue in that role.

Redding's bishop, the Rt. Rev. Vincent Warner, says he accepts Redding as an Episcopal priest and a Muslim, and that he finds the interfaith possibilities exciting.
Read the entire article here. What this illustrates is that the division occurring in the Episcopal Church is not just about sexuality (that is the presenting issue), but is at the heart a major division on doctrine. That the Presiding Bishop suddenly decides that this is a "local issue" since it's about doctrine, while she continues to sue laity and clergy who are trying to stand with clarity for the historic Anglican understanding of Christianity is just completely mindblowing. And this TEC diocesan bishop finds the whole thing exciting!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Poetic Moment at the P Street Starbucks

Stone Villages
The stone-built villages of England.
A cathedral bottled in a pub window.
Cows dispersed across fields.
Monuments to kings.

A man in a moth-eaten suit
sees a train off, heading, like everything here, for the sea,
smiles at his daughter, leaving for the East.
A whistle blows.

And the endless sky over the tiles
grows bluer as swelling birdsong fills.
And the clearer the song is heard,
the smaller the bird.

J. Brodsky

Breaking News: Drexel Gomez votes "aye" on Atwood Consecration

StandFirm and TitusOneNine are both reporting on the statement of Archbishop Drexel Gomez, chair of the Anglican Covenant commission, who votes "aye" on Bill Atwood's consecration scheduled for August in Kenya. This is big news. Here are some gems from the Gomez Statement:
Unfortunately, the unanimous offer of the primates was rejected by the House of Bishops and the Executive Committee of the Episcopal Church. In the face of this unequivocal rejection, the Instruments of Communion must determine the most appropriate response to this unfortunate spectacle of a fragmented Anglicanism within the United States of America .
So much for the "happy talk" of the TEC Presiding Bishop. The Executive Committee and the TEC House of Bishops have made schismatic decisions (the "gift" that keeps on giving) that is leading to "this unfortunate spectacle of a fragmented Anglicanism within the United States of America." Archbishop Gomez is very clear to say that it is TEC's action that are causing the division, the latest of which is the rejection of the "unanimous offer" of the pastoral plan for orthodox Episcopalians.

And then Archbishop Gomez also says this:
Finally, the willingness of the Province of Kenya to collaborate with the other orthodox Anglicans in the United States could serve the point towards a creation of a viable, stable and orthodox Anglican presence in the United States .
He speaks to the "creation of a viable, stable, and orthodox Anglican presence" in the United States. That is an extraordinary statement, coming from Archbishop Gomez. Butterbeer is on the house tonight.

Read the whole thing at StandFirm or TitusOneNine.

Hotel (San Diego) California Revisted

You can check out any time you want, but you can never leave?

Monday, June 18, 2007

A Boy Named Sue

Cheryl Weitzel reports from TEC Executive Council:

In discussion, David Booth Beers, the national chancellor stated, "I have written to two of the chancellors, if they decline to roll back these canonical and constitutional amendments, the Presiding Bishop will have to consider what action to take. We can sue them. These are recalcitrant dioceses. What did they actually do? Those dioceses have said that they don't like what we are doing and they won't go along with it. We will frame our litigation in reference to that." The vote was called. There was one abstention and one no. The resolution passed by voice vote.

BB NOTE: Wonder what will be the new Episcopal Church slogan?

The Episcopal Church:
We'll sue for you.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Time Out for Harry Potter

Okay, friends - those of us who are HP fans (which has proven to be quite a diverse group!), this is a great video of a discussion on what mysteries will be solved in the 7th (and final) book in the Harry Potter series, The Deathly Hallows. Click to watch the video: QuickTime or Windows Media.

The Discussion was filmed during the recent Phoenix Rising conference in New Orleans by Borders. It features the hosts of the Leaky Cauldron podcasts.

One of the things that I enjoy about discussions such as this one is that it's such a great model for studying Scripture. What you will see when you watch the video is that the participants in the discussion "stick to canon" - in other words, they defend their positions from the books themselves and it makes for lively and fun conversation - there is a common place to stand. You don't hear anyone saying "Well, I don't really think that Harry Potter is the center of these books," or that "when Jo says the phrase "Harry Potter" that she's always talking about a boy, she could be talking about a Symbiotic Idea." Well, in the grand scheme of things, there will be those who go down that road - but not here, not now. The people in the room know their HP Canon and it makes for fascinating conversation. What matters is the story, the characters, and the point. And notice how much they love the books. Another primary point in Bible Study is to fall in the love with the Scriptures, to see them come alive and real inside of us. Great stories do that - and Scripture goes even further in.

Who said they were just children's books? New York Times - prepare to move Book 7 to the Best Seller List.

Right now Jo Rowling is conducting the final test (called WOMBATs) at her website. Took it the other night and my head nearly fell off. It's might tough. You will need to solve a few puzzles to get through (need help - click here), but in case there was any question that these books are extraordinary, this test ought to finish those questions off. Hint: when you get to her webside, click on the eraser. The rest you can get by clicking the help link above. God speed. And don't say I didn't warn you!

LATER: The Door has now closed at Jo Rowling's website. Here at the HP Table at the Cafe (we do realize that there are many tables in here with lots of conversations going on!) we've decided that the test itself was filled with hints about Deathly Hallows.

The Question

Friday, June 15, 2007

A Definitive Portrait of the Struggle in the Episcopal Church

Hear Bishop Martyn Minns interviewed at Inter-Faith Radio here. It's very "NPR" like. It's no puff piece. The interview is spirited and the interviewer does not hold anything back - everything is on the table. Whether you are progressive or orthodox, this is really good interview - the interviewer asks the tough questions, using a progressive point of view in asking the questions. This is Cafe conversation at it's best. Pull up a chair, order a sandwich and listen.

Stay on the line and you'll hear Katharine Jefferts Schori as well. Take a break and listen!

LATER: Please listen to the Presiding Bishop Schori interview that follows ("a variety of understandings) - the contrast between the two of them is extraordinary and shows the real deep division. We're sending a round of chai on the house. We might even bake a pie.


Thursday, June 14, 2007

Welcome to the Hotel California

Steve Waring is reporting in The Living Church:

In other news, council approved a resolution declaring “null and void” attempts by a number of dioceses to revise their constitution to qualify their accession to the Constitution and Canons of the General Convention.

“Any amendment to a diocesan constitution that purports in any way to limit or lessen an unqualified accession to the constitution of The Episcopal Church is null and void, and be it further resolved that the amendments passed to the constitutions of the dioceses of Pittsburgh, Fort Worth, Quincy and San Joaquin, which purport to limit or lessen the unqualified accession to the constitution of The Episcopal Church are accordingly null and void and the constitutions of those dioceses shall be as they were as if such amendments had not been passed,” council stated in Resolution NAC-023.

After the resolution was approved, the Rt. Rev. Stacy Sauls, Bishop of Lexington, said Episcopalians had all agreed to live by certain principles and rules and that council believed it would be “helpful to have an authoritative statement [on the matter] with respect to any litigation that might occur in the future.”

BB NOTE: ENS puts it this way: [Episcopal News Service] Episcopal Church dioceses that change their constitutions in an attempt to bypass the Church's Constitution and Canons were warned by the Executive Council June 14 that their actions are "null and void."

The Council passed Resolution NAC023, reminding dioceses that they are required to "accede" to the Constitution and Canons, and declaring that any diocesan action that removes that accession from its constitution is "null and void." That declaration, the resolution said, means that their constitutions "shall be as they were as if such amendments had not been passed."

LATER:Wonder how Virginia Episcopalians feel about this assertion of power. Remember, the first Virginia bishop was consecrated by the Archbishop of Canterbury - and it's my experience in Virginia that we've never forgotten that. After going to a myriad of Diocesan Councils, Regional Councils and Pre-Council meetings - it was clear that the point of a PB was to "pick out the music at their installation," to paraphrase the current Diocesan Bishop. But that was before the dark times, before the Empire. One thing the orthodox and the progressives have had in common in Virginia is that we all supported the Virginia Plan which forbids mandatory taxing of the parishes, called "assessments." We are not not a hierarchical church - the bishop in Virginia has no power to force the laity to support the bishop - the laity controls the purse and who controls the purse has the power - in Virginia, that's the laity. And it hasn't been that the Diocese hasn't tried to overturn the Virginia Plan. But on that issue, the orthodox and the progressives were united. But that's Virginia - not 815. Perhaps, though, things have changed.

We do wonder how long it's going to take before the Executive Council finds the Virginia Plan "null and void"?
And then what?

Ruth Graham

Billy Graham's wife, Ruth has finished the race. One of my favorite stories about Ruth Graham was when I watched an interview she and Dr. Graham had with Diane Sawyer many years ago. Diane soberly asked Mrs. Graham, had she ever in all their years of marriage ever thought of divorce? Without missing a beat, Mrs. Graham smiled and said no, she never had. Murder, yes. Divorce, no.

She was real, her books were great, prayers go for her husband, her children, her family, and to a world that will miss her. God bless Ruth Graham. She was 87.

TEC Executive Council's Statement

BB NOTE: Thanks, Matt. From here at StandFirm. The Executive Council of the Episcopal Church has been meeting for the past few days (and no, Ethel Merman was not there) and have now produced this statement that basically says hell no. More later. Click the radio below and then read on ...

[Executive Council] I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all. Ephesians 4:1-6

Conversations among Anglican sisters and brothers during the past several years have raised important questions of Anglican identity and authority. These questions speak to the nature of relationships among us.

We understand the requests made by the primates from Dar es Salaam in February, 2007 as a good-faith contribution to that on-going conversation. Still, the requests of the primates are of a nature that can only properly be dealt with by our General Convention. Neither the Executive Council, the Presiding Bishop, nor the House of Bishops can give binding interpretations of General Convention resolutions nor make an "unequivocal common commitment" to denying future decisions by dioceses or General Convention. We question the authority of the primates to impose deadlines and demands upon any of the churches of the Anglican Communion or to prescribe the relationships within any of the other instruments of our common life, including the Anglican Consultative Council.

Assertions of authority met by counter-assertions of polity are not likely to lead to the reconciliation we seek. As important as we hold our polity, the questions before us now are fundamentally relational. Our salvation is not in law but in the grace of God in Jesus Christ our Savior; so too with our relationships as Anglicans.

One part of this grace is that we, all of us, are bound together irrevocably into the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit through the waters of Baptism. We are, whether we wish it or not, God’s gift to each other. It is our bounden duty to respond to God's grace, a grace that we believe warrants gratitude and respect and that must be reflected in a deep and abiding honesty with one another in the context of living relationships.

We strongly affirm this Church's desire to be in the fullest possible relationship with our Anglican sisters and brothers, but in truth the only thing we really have to offer in that relationship is who we are – a community of committed Christians seeking God's will for our common life. At various times in our history, we have struggled to embrace people who have historically been marginalized. We still struggle with those concerns, sometimes in new forms. Today this struggle has come to include the place of gay and lesbian people and their vocations in the life of the Church.

We cannot tell our brothers and sisters with certainty what the future holds or where the Holy Spirit will guide this Church. We can say with certainty that we have heard what some of our sisters and brothers have said about our actions with the utmost seriousness. We have attempted to respond to those concerns sensitively and positively. The sincerity of The Episcopal Church's responses to matters before the Anglican Communion, particularly the responses of the General Convention 2006, have been attested to by the Report of the Communion Sub-Group of the Joint Standing Committee of the primates' Meeting and the Anglican Consultative Council.

We can promise that our engagement with the churches of the Anglican Communion and our deep and sincere listening will continue. The truth spoken in love by our sisters and brothers in Christ, and particularly the truth lived out in our relationships with Anglicans throughout the world, will be very much on our minds and held at the center of our hearts. The advice of the larger community will continue to find reflection in the actions we take.

We have received from the House of Bishops of our Church a request to decline to participate in the proposed Pastoral Scheme; with an explanation for the reasons our bishops believe that the scheme is ill-advised. We agree with the bishops' assessment including the conclusion that to participate in the scheme would violate our Constitution and Canons. We thus decline to participate in the Pastoral Scheme and respectfully ask our Presiding Bishop not to take any of the actions asked of her by this scheme. We affirm the pledge of the bishops to "continue to work to find ways of meeting the pastoral concerns of the primates that are compatible with our own polity and canons."

At the 75th General Convention, The Episcopal Church reaffirmed its abiding commitment to the Anglican Communion (A159). As a demonstration of our commitment to mutual responsibility and interdependence in the Anglican Communion, The Episcopal Church supports the process of the development of an Anglican Covenant, and through the Executive Council is responding to the proposed draft now before the Anglican Communion (A166).

It is our most earnest hope that we continue to walk with our Anglican brothers and sisters in the journey we share together in God's mission. We believe The Episcopal Church can only offer who we are, with openness, honesty, integrity, and faithfulness, and our commitment never to choose to walk apart.