Sunday, August 31, 2008

National Hurricane Center Podcast: UPDATED


Video: New Orleans today.


In addition to friends in New Orleans, we remember others who are also in the path of this storm, including one of our cafe patrons who wrote, " We here along the Coast of MS are certainly sympathetic to the plight of the people in New Orleans, hopefully they have learned from their mistakes in Katrina. But we are also in the direct path and are kind of over-it with the media only paying attention to New Orleans. My wife and I, along with our three children, don't even get the option to evacuate ... If we leave town we lose our jobs ... remember that there are also fellow Anglicans down here who don't have the option to leave."

Let us remember those who are in the path of this storm - those who are in front of the cameras and those who are not. The Lord is with them.


Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Hurricane is Coming ...

A hurricane is coming - I've just chatted on Skype with Jackie over at StandFirm who is preparing to evacuate if the storm continues on its present path. That's what people do when a storm of such magnitude sets its eye on them - they seek shelter elsewhere, often with friends who open their doors and their homes to the refugees.

Watching the coverage on television (which we can do now that we can watch any television station that is live on the internet) reminds me of all the plans and preparations that are needed when a storm is coming. One of the first and primary things the officials do - and are doing right now - is to give accurate information and to convince people that it is serious. Very serious. It takes trust and experience and wisdom to believe what we're told and to take action. This is especially true in New Orleans where there is a "hurricane fatigue" that is very real and very present. Some have packed up as soon as the first warnings went up, others - remembering how hard it was to come home after the evacuation - are less inclined to pack up until they must. But there is a weariness, a sense of questioning why one needs to leave their home and why can't they be protected where they are?

A hurricane is coming - it has been blowing across the Anglican Communion for years and we are being warned that unless we admit that it's upon us, we we will be blown away. There will be no Communion, only a scattering of tribes like the tribes of Israel.

We have been issued another warning. In the GAFCON/FCA Communique there is a warning.

Rowan Williams took a huge hit at Lambeth, make no mistake about it. He alienated a constituency that thought he was all wrapped up. He may have buyers remorse later (we'll see), but his final presidential address laid his cards on the table in such a way that it is causing heads to spin on this side of the Atlantic.

He issued a warning.

The Church of the Sudan shocked the Lambeth Conference and issued a warning that all but caused the progressive TEC activists outside the gates to fold up their tents and go home.

The Global South Bishops at Lambeth also issued their warning, saying "We gather at a critical time when the Anglican Communion as a communion of ordered churches is at the probable brink of collapse."

Note how quiet the leaders of GAFCON/FCA and the leaders of the Lambeth Conference are right now - very quiet. "Be still and know that I am God," we are reminded in the scriptures. We are making progress when we have a quiet confidence - not a proud one or an enraged one or a frustrated one or a boisterous one - but a quiet confidence. Where is our confidence?

Are they heeding the warnings or buttoning down the hatches, as though a hurricane can just blow on by?

The fact remains that Rowan Williams called a Primates Meeting. And that announcement infuriated TEC leaders present at Lambeth - and with reason. The Primates meeting is made up FCA, Lambeth, and TEC alliances. They will all meet together and they carry, thanks to Rowan Williams catholic bearing, authority.

Yes, there are Rumors of Indaba for the Primates when they gather. But the bishops are quite "indabaed-out" right now - now is not the time to talk about the warnings, anymore than they are merely talking about warnings in the Gulf. There are no indaba groups meeting in New Orleans tonight.

Now is the time to put an action-plan in place. The storm is coming.

What is before us is the difference between the preparations for Katrina three years ago and the preparations for Gustav today. What have we learned? Which way will the Primates choose?

The next six months preparing for that Primates meeting are crucial and it's no accident that many are feeling fatigue at the ongoing crisis. Many carry battle scars and more battles are on the way - perhaps some of the most signficant as we turn our eyes to the court room.

Yet is often battle-fatigue that causes many to begin to negotiate - and as we saw at Lambeth, for some influential TEC bishops, the word negotiate is a dirty word. But negotiate we must and negotiate we will, for negotiate is another word for making plans and solving problems.

Remember, it is the meek who inherit the earth.

And it is the meek who take heed of the warnings and act.

Uh oh ... Hurricane Gustav now Category 4

Track Hurricane Gustav
here. Local New Orleans television (ABC affliate) is here. It has intensified to a Category 4, a very dangerous storm.

BabyBluePodcast: Everything is Broken

Here is Dramatic Reading of a Particular Resolution proposed for General Convention 2009. Rather than address the real problem - that TEC is going in a way that thousands and thousands of Episcopal laity resist, as well as millions of Anglicans around the world reject - fully-entrenched TEC bureaucrats, such as the author of this particular proposal, are being openly challenged through the Episcopal laity’s power of the purse. And they are not amused.

You can click on the player above or go to iTunes and download it to your iPod or computer by clicking here . The iTunes Podcast is called BabyBlueOnline. You can also click here or here or here.

NOTE: To download the latest version of QuickTime, click here. Also, Firefox or Safari work best. MS Internet Explorer belongs in the Smithsonian next to the TRS80.

SPECIAL NOTE: If one has ever wondered (and some do) what Dylan's exegesis of Romans 3 might be, the song that provides the backdrop to this reading makes it all surprisingly clear - if we have ears to hear. And just in case we get a little too serious, it could even be a send-up to the Ray Stevens' classic Everything is Beautiful - which is all about the power of positive thinking. Typical Dylan.

By the way, here is his latest arrangement of the song. We posted it not long ago - it's terrific. Now that would make a great General Convention theme, don't you think?

LATER: Okay, that's it. We're putting it up:

Stephen Noll on the GAFCON/FCA Primates Communique

Steve Noll writes:
Clearly the GAFCON (now FCA) Primates and Common Cause Partners are moving toward the formation of an alternative Province in North America. This decision does address one concern of the WCG report: that an ongoing hodge-podge of clergy, churches and dioceses under the jurisdiction of various overseas Provinces is not in the best interests of all concerned. The overseas Primates agree and have always seen these arrangements as temporary “rescue operations.” Now the burden of proof is on the Common Cause Partners to prove that they are not an assembly of mavericks. Once this province is fully formed and recognized, oversight will return to the normal structure of bishop in a diocese and council of bishops in a province.

Given the breakdown in trust among the Communion Instruments, it was simply unrealistic to think that a Pastoral Forum appointed and governed by the Archbishop of Canterbury could effectively minister to the clergy, churches and dioceses in North America that have been persecuted by TEC and ACoC and neglected by the official Instruments over the past decade. Why not accept that the Common Cause clergy, churches and dioceses have, in the providence of God, found a safe haven with the GAFCON provinces and that they can provide the best care for the time being as the new Province is born?

The formation of a North American province recognized by a significant bloc of Anglicans will result in an anomaly of overlapping official jurisdictions. This is not ideal, but neither were the actions of TEC since Lambeth 1998 which precipitated it. There is no reason to think, whatever GAFCON does, that TEC and ACoC will uphold the moratoria, at best paying lip service to them. There is no sign that these churches intend to return to the “the unchangeable standard of Christian marriage between one man and one woman as the proper place for sexual intimacy and the basis of the family” (Jerusalem Declaration, clause 8). It is likely therefore that these churches will choose to walk apart along with others who hold a false gospel. As this separation happens, other orthodox provinces will grant recognition to the new province in North America.

One other positive development of the recognition of churches in the Common Cause Partnership is that many Anglicans who have been disenfranchised from the official Communion for years will now be restored to formal fellowship.

From StandFirm, GAFCON Communique and letter from North American bishops to GAFCON primates.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Friday Night at the Cafe: Casting Crowns

I was in Manhattan that weekend ...

This weekend eleven years ago I remember the moment, of standing near the bar at Carmine's where we could see that a breaking news bulletin was interrupting the tennis match on the television screen hanging over the bar and so - in the midst of the clashing dishes and post-theatre revellers celebrating late into the summer night - we walked deeper into the bar and read the subtitle on the bottom of the dark screen: Princess Diana killed.

GAFCON Primates Council Releases Communiqué from London

BB NOTE: via e-mail. We also received a letter from the U.S. GAFCON Bishops regarding their reflections on the Windsor Continuation Group (that made an important presentation at Lambeth) that was sent to the GAFCON Primates Council for their deliberations in London. We'll have some commentary shortly. One of the major questions to ask as we read this important document is this: Who is the targeted-audience of this document?

COMMENTARY: It seems to me that this document is quite clear on what the issues are, but the tone is moderate. That's a major clue as to who this document is aimed at. One of the major objects for the charm offensive at Lambeth was to the Global South bishops that did not attend GAFCON. There was a consistent attempt by Lambeth organizers to paint those who went to GAFCON in less than favorable light - the worse being that they were off to start their own communion. It was nearly humorous since there's far more evidence that if anyone is off to start their own Communion its the province that has decided its a communion-unto-itself, The Episcopal Church. No, the targeted audience for Rowan Williams final pastoral address is the same audience as this document is particular aimed at - those orthodox Anglicans who are orthodox but not, by nature, reformers. The tone of the Communique strikes a balance between outlining the issues in a realistic manner - no hedging here at all - but does it in a way as to offer an olive branch to those orthodox who are no as inclined to upset the apple cart - both both political and theological reasons. The convictions stated in this communique are shared by the majority of the Anglican Communion, but being Anglican in the Commonwealth also means observing a certain decorum (which we Americans find frustrating - our ancestors left that decorum at the waters edge for a reason) but if we're going to belong to the Anglican Communion we must acknowledge that it includes at least observing if not always understanding (though understanding helps) that it is infused with cultural English manners. Those manners are present in this document.

This is written by those that Canterbury can talk to - but no one should expect that they are going to give in to a charm offensive or to an appeal to be granted an insider-track to equality. Hardly. But it does not prohibit them from writing in a style that is frank, but also thoughtful. This document illustrates that the door is wide open - we know their convictions, we know where they stand - while the gracious hand of fellowship is extended to those who also share their deep concerns about the Anglican Communion and may be open to exploring the
Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans.

But there is another audience of one for whom this document is addressed and if anyone doubts that, they didn't read his last presidential address well. He extended an olive branch out to the authors of this document at the end of the Lambeth Conference and in this document, they also extend the olive branch back. They could have called for a new province but they did not, they held back, though clearly recognizing that such a province is needed for the long-term health of the Anglican Communion (it's first priority). But again, the Communique is written in a tone and style that reflects valuing the conversation and not deliver ultimatums. We may expect that there will be frustrations about this from those who want us to leave, but that will reveals to us more about them then it does about the authors of the Communique - and that will be duly noted.

Remember, the FCA reaches far beyond the Global South into the Church of England itself. TEC leaders may forget that, but the Archbishop of Canterbury will not.


Setting up the Council and the Fellowship

The first meeting of the GAFCON Primates' Council has taken place in London on Wednesday 20th to Friday 22nd August. The twofold task of the Council is 'to authenticate and recognise confessing Anglican jurisdictions, clergy and congregations and to encourage all Anglicans to promote the gospel and defend the faith.' The Primates have therefore laid the basis for the future work of both the Council and the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA). The GAFCON movement continues its advance.

The Council will consist of Primates assisted by an Advisory Board which will work with them on fulfilling the aims of the movement. In addition, a Secretariat has been created. We are very grateful to God for his guidance and blessing on the Jerusalem Conference. We believe that the Jerusalem Declaration provides for a viable way of helping to deal with the crisis in the Anglican Communion brought about through the disobedience to Scripture by some in North America and elsewhere.

The present reality

We maintain that three new facts of the Anglican Communion must be faced. We are past the time when they can be reversed.

First, some Anglicans have sanctified sinful practices and will continue to do so whatever others may think. Second, churches and even dioceses affected by this disobedience have rightly withdrawn fellowship while wishing to remain authentic Anglicans. So-called 'border-crossing' is another way of describing the provision of recognition and care for those who have been faithful to the teachings of Holy Scripture. Third, there is widespread impaired and broken sacramental communion amongst Anglicans with far-reaching global implications. The hope that we may somehow return to the state of affairs before 2003 is an illusion.

Any sound strategy must accommodate itself to these facts.

Developing the GAFCON movement

GAFCON remains a gospel movement. It is far from saying that its membership are the only true Anglicans or the only gospel people in the Anglican Communion. We thank God that this is not the case. But the movement recognises the acute spiritual dangers of a compromised theology and aims to be a resource and inspiration for those who wish to defend and promote the biblical gospel.

The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans will function as a means of sharing in this great task. We invite individuals, churches, dioceses, provinces and parachurch organisations who assent to the Jerusalem Declaration to signify their desire to become members of the Fellowship via the GAFCON web-site or written communication with the Secretariat. The Fellowship will develop networks, commissions and publications intended to defend and promote the biblical gospel in ways which support one another.

At the same time, the Council and its Advisory Board will seek to deal with the problems of those who have confessed the biblical faith in the face of hostility and found the need on grounds of conscience and in matters of great significance to break the normal bonds of fellowship in the name of the gospel. For the sake of the Anglican Communion this is an effort to bring order out of the chaos of the present time and to make sure as far as possible that some of the most faithful Anglican Christians are not lost to the Communion. It is expected that priority will be given to the possible formation of a province in North America for the Common Cause Partnership.

Lambeth 2008

Noting the reference to building bridges with GAFCON in the Archbishop of Canterbury's concluding Presidential Address at Lambeth, and that the Lambeth Conference itself made no decisions about the future of the Communion, we are grateful that there is an acknowledgement that Lambeth 1.10 of 1998 remains an authentic expression of the mind of the Communion. We also note the renewed call for moratoria on the consecration of bishops who are homosexually partnered and the blessing of same-sex unions as well so-called 'border-crossing'. Likewise there is mention of the creation of a 'Pastoral Forum' to look after disaffected parishes or dioceses and continued work on an Anglican Covenant.

We hope in due course to offer a longer response to Lambeth. Meanwhile we are saddened that the Conference did not offer a more effective way forward than what is proposed. Our immediate difficulty is that the voice of Lambeth 2008 is seriously weakened because it merely repeated what has been said by the Primates' Meeting (in Gramada early 2003, Lambeth October 2003, Dromantine, February 2005 and Dar es Salaam, February 2007) and which has proved to change nothing. Indeed the Windsor Continuation Group itself made the same point, 'The three moratoria have been requested several times: Windsor (2004); Dromantine (2005); Dar es Salaam (2007) and the requests have been less than wholeheartedly embraced on all sides… The failure to respond presents us with a situation where if the three moratoria are not observed the Communion is likely to fracture.'

But the Communion fractured in 2003, when our fellowship was 'torn at its deepest level.' It seems that the facts which we have identified as the new reality have not yet been recognised as such, and we are therefore continually offered the same strategies which mean further delay and unlikely results. Indeed, delay itself seems to be a strategy employed by some in order to resolve the issue through weariness. The Anglican Covenant will take a long time to be widely accepted and may have no particular force when it does. The idea of 'moratoria' has never dealt with the underlying problem as is shown by the equivalence of cross-border care and protection with the sexual sins which have caused the problems.

In any case, some North American Bishops appear to have indicated already that they will not keep to them. It appears that people living in a homosexual unions continue to be ordained in some dioceses in contravention to Lambeth 1.10. In principle, this is no different from consecrating a bishop who adopts the same pattern of life, or indeed, of blessing same-sex unions. The idea of the Pastoral Forum has only now emerged but has never been discussed with those actually affected by the innovations which have created the problems with which we are trying to deal (see appended letter). If the Panel of Reference did not work, it is unclear how the Pastoral Forum will succeed.

Given that some esteemed colleagues from the Global South have strongly commended the Windsor Process to us, we are reluctant to say that it cannot work. But there is nothing new here such as to make us hesitate from the course we are taking, given the urgency of the situations with which we are dealing and the realities already on the ground. As they themselves remark, 'the Anglican Communion as a communion of ordered churches is at the probable brink of collapse'. We warmly appreciate the good words which they have written about GAFCON and look forward to co-operation with them in the future as we ourselves try to avoid that collapse and renew the Communion.

The Most Rev Peter Akinola, Primate of Nigeria
The Most Rev Gregory Venables, Primate of The Southern Cone
The Most Rev Emmanuel Kolini, Primate of Rwanda
The Most Rev Valentino Mokiwa, Primate of Tanzania
The Most Rev Benjamin Nzmibi, Primate of Kenya
The Most Rev Henry Orombi, Primate of Uganda

For more details on membership of the FCA/GAFCON movement - please email

or write to the

GAFCON Secretariat
PO Box Q190,
QVB Post Office, NSW, Australia, 1230

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Letter from US bishops to GAFCON

Reflections from North American bishops about the Windsor Continuation Group. The following is the text of a letter referred to in the GAFCON Primates Council communiqué.

Tuesday, August 19th, 2008

The Most Rev'd Peter J. Akinola
Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)
Chairman of the GAFCON Primates Council

Your Grace:

These reflections are presented to you for the consideration of the Primates Council.

We are bishops who serve in North America, under the canonical authority of the Primates of the Anglican Church of Kenya, the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), the Anglican Church of Rwanda, the Province of the Southern Cone and the Anglican Church of Uganda. We represent approximately 300 congregations, with more than 450 clergy and an Average Sunday Attendance of 50,000.

We are profoundly grateful for the privilege of serving as Bishops during this critical time in the life of the Anglican Communion. We have been blessed by the encouragement that we have each received from our Primates and the House of Bishops of our respective Provinces. We have experienced God's favor through their prayers and fellowship.

As requested we have carefully studied the Reflections of the Windsor Continuation Group – in particular the section that refers to our ministry within the North America. We offer these comments:

1. While we appreciate the sincerity and work of those who took part in the Windsor Continuation Group, we were grieved to note that the carefully balanced recommendations proposed by the Primates at their meetings in Dromantine and Dar es Salaam have been abandoned in favor of these new proposals without acknowledgement that the primary reason for their failure was their unilateral rejection by The Episcopal Church.

2. We note that the Pastoral Forum proposal has been developed without any consultation with those most directly affected in North America. This had led to a number of serious misunderstandings with regard to the situation at the local level and the relationship between the bishops, clergy and congregations and their sponsoring provinces.

3. We would also observe that the various analogies offered, for example, that we are disaffected children being reunited with our parents or that we are being placed in a holding bay before being restored to our "proper province" are both demeaning and unacceptable.

4. As was also the case with the statements from Dromantine and Dar es Salaam we reject the moral equivalence that is now explicitly asserted between those who continue to support the blessing of same sex unions and the ordination of persons involved in same gender unions in deliberate violation of the teaching of the Communion and those who are offering pastoral oversight for those alienated by these actions.

5. We have consistently observed that the current leadership of The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada have embraced a theological and doctrinal stance that is diametrically opposed to the teaching of the Communion and more specifically that of our host provinces and our individual bishops, clergy and congregations. Consequently we can envision no way in which we could be part of Pastoral Forum in which either Church exercises any leadership role.

6. While we welcomed the comments of the Windsor Continuation Group that "ways of halting litigation must be explored," those of us who are the subject of pernicious litigation initiated by The Episcopal Church find these rather tentative comments fall far short of what is needed for us to even consider any serious engagement with the proposed structures. Until the litigation is halted and a settlement achieved there is no possibility that we can enter into any formal agreements with any representatives of The Episcopal Church.

We are grateful for the opportunity to respond to your request and are more than ready to elaborate on these comments. We have discussed them with the leadership of the Common Cause Partnership and assure you that they come with their unanimous support.

In Christ's service:

The Rt. Rev'd Bill Atwood, Anglican Church of Kenya
The Rt. Rev'd John Guernsey, Anglican Church of Uganda
The Rt. Rev'd Don Harvey, Anglican Province of the Southern Cone
The Rt. Rev'd Martyn Minns, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)
The Rt. Rev'd Chuck Murphy, Anglican Church of Rwanda

Photo: Attendees observe Dr Jim Packer being interviewed on stage during the Global Anglicanism and English Orthodoxy Local Church Briefing Conference at the All Souls Church on July 1, 2008 in central London, England. Key Anglican figures met at the Global Anglicanism and English Orthodoxy Local Church Briefing Conference to discuss the direction of the Anglican Church. The three archbishops have been involved heavily at the Gafcon (Global Anglican Future) Conference of Anglican traditionalists held in Jerusalem last week and have been at the forefront of introducing the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans as a unifying voice in the Anglican Communion. NOTE: All Souls is the home parish of John Stott who was its long-time vicar.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Theologian and author J.I. Packer to speak Sat., Sept. 27th at the Anglican District of Virginia Annual Synod in Herndon, Virginia

BB NOTE: J.I. Packer is the author of the Christian classic Knowing God and named by Time Magazine as one of the top 25 influential evangelical leaders in America. All are welcome to attend this event - which is just great news!

via e-mail:

The Anglican District of Virginia (ADV) is busily preparing for its second annual synod council meeting that will take place on September 26 and 27 at Church of the Epiphany in Herndon, Va.

ADV is thrilled to announce that the Rev'd Dr. J.I. Packer will be the keynote speaker. Dr. Packer will address the synod and will participate in a question and answer session with those present on Saturday morning.

"This will prove to be an exciting time in the life of the Anglican District of Virginia. Not only are we enormously blessed to be able to come together again to celebrate moving forward with the Gospel for Christ's church, we also have the great honor of hosting one of the world's most esteemed theologians. Along with many ADV parishioners, I greatly admire the teachings of Dr. Packer. I encourage all ADV members to come hear his keynote address," said Jim Oakes, vice-chairman of ADV.

Among his many accomplishments, Dr. Packer served as general editor for the English Standard Version of the Bible (2001). In addition, Time Magazine named Packer one of the 25 most influential evangelicals in America. Dr. Packer is an Oxford-trained theologian and author of numerous works including the book Knowing God, "which outlined a conservative Christian theology deeper and more embracing than many Americans had encountered. It did real justice to hard topics such as suffering and grace," Time stated.

All are welcome to attend Dr. Packer's keynote address that will begin at 9:45 am ET on Saturday, September 27 at Church of the Epiphany. The church is located at 3301 Hidden Meadow Drive in Herndon. For delegates, ADV Council will officially commence on Friday, September 26 at 7:00 pm with prayer and praise. The delegate sessions slated for Saturday, September 27 will take place from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.

Registration information and a schedule will soon be available at the ADV website.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Canadian Diocese moves to seize control of orthodox Anglican parishes

BB NOTE: Here's a short profile of one of the parishes, located in Vancouver, British Columbia, from here.

St. Matthias & St. Luke Anglican Church started in July 1997 by the merging of the St. Matthias and St. Luke congregations. The Parish was officially established on July 16, 2000. St. Matthias' Anglican Church, originally established in 1960, was the last Anglican Church built in the city of Vancouver. It was built "in the heart of the city" and its location was chosen as the worshipping site for the present St. Matthias and St. Luke. St. Luke's Anglican Church was established in 1894 at Marine Drive and Fraser Street and was one of the oldest Anglican churches in Vancouver. In 1958, St. Luke's Church moved to 61st Avenue and Prince Edward Street. In 1993, the St. Luke's Church began its ministry to the Chinese and worship services in Cantonese began. Today, the amalgamated Parish of St. Matthias & St. Luke carries the tradition of both former parishes and offers worship services in English, Cantonese, Mandarin and Japanese. St. Matthias & St. Luke Anglican Church is a multi-cultural parish and ministers to peoples of different cultures and needs.

St. Matthews describes its mission this way: "St. Matthew’s Anglican Church is a community of believers set alight by the fire of God, called to experience and share the fullness of life in Jesus Christ and the healing power of the Holy Spirit." Their vision is "that God would continue to pour out His Holy Spirit on us so that we would seek Him more deeply
and go out to share His love and grace with others resulting in a community of believers committed to spiritual growth, discipleship and outreach."

This was received via e-mail:

Vancouver - On August 26, 2008, the Anglican diocese of New Westminster informed St. Matthew’s in Abbotsford and St Matthias and St Luke’s in Vancouver that the bishop had dismissed the parish Wardens and other officers (Trustees) that were duly elected by the congregation and appointed new Wardens who are more “loyal” to the bishop. According to their press release, these actions were taken to regain “control of the parishes”, which includes control of the properties and buildings.

Both parishes voted in February this year to realign with the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC), under the Episcopal authority of Bishop Donald Harvey and the jurisdiction of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone – one of the 38 Provinces in the global Anglican Communion. The Anglican Church of Canada is also one of these 38 Provinces.

“Whether the Diocese of New Westminster has the right to unilaterally replace these duly elected trustees, and move to seize control of the parishes’ assets is in dispute,” says Cheryl Chang, ANiC Chancellor.

The elected Trustees of the parish believe the parish properties are held in trust for the benefit of the current congregation who have paid for and maintained these properties, and who are upholding traditional Anglican ministry in accordance with the founding principles of the Anglican Church of Canada (contained in the Solemn Declaration 1893), and the current doctrine of the global Anglican Communion. The Diocese of New Westminster, which has acted unilaterally and contrary to those principles, asserts the property is held in trust for the diocese. Various actions are currently in the Canadian courts to determine who is the rightful beneficiary of such trusts in light of the growing divisions in the global Anglican Communion.

“The trustees of both St Matthew’s and St Matthias and St Luke are meeting and seeking legal advice regarding their response to the Diocese,” Mrs Chang adds. “However, we note with interest that the Diocese has chosen to act only against the two smaller parishes and not the larger ANiC parishes, St. John’s (Shaughnessy) and Church of the Good Shepherd in Vancouver. Another concern is that the notice alleging a ‘crisis’ was signed by the bishop on July 10th, but not served on the parishes for six weeks, after the Lambeth Conference had concluded.”

The four congregations have been in “serious theological dispute” with the Diocese of New Westminster since June 2002, when the diocese unilaterally proceeded with same sex blessings in clear defiance of leaders of the Anglican Communion and the beliefs of the overwhelming majority of the Anglicans worldwide that such action is contrary to scripture.

Since 2003, the Primates of the Anglican Communion have repeatedly asked the Anglican Church of Canada and the Diocese of New Westminster to return to biblically faithful Anglican practice and teaching and to provide adequate episcopal oversight for dissenting parishes, but to no avail. In fact, the communion-breaking actions of the Diocese of New Westminster sparked the current crisis and the global realignment which is now taking place in the Anglican Communion.

Members of the Anglican Network in Canada are committed to remaining faithful to Holy Scripture and established Anglican doctrine and to ensuring that orthodox Canadian Anglicans are able to remain in full communion with their Anglican brothers and sisters around the world.

Since it launched its ecclesial structure last November under the jurisdiction of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, ANiC has received two bishops – Donald Harvey and Malcolm Harding – and 18 parishes.

Mystery Science Theatre meets the Democratic National Convention

UPDATED! From here (and click on the Strategy Room on the menu bar).

Having grown up since childhood watching political conventions on television, this year's convention coverage is especially fun - and diverse. Since we're still Luddites when it comes to cable (we're waiting for digital), we're surfing through the net and discovered they are doing Mystery Science Theatre-style coverage over at Fox for Bill Clinton's speech. Click here (and scroll down to the live feed called the "Strategy Room") - or better yet, here (and click on Strategy Room) - join us!

We miss the robots, though.

UPDATE: Looks like one of the Fox commentators is wearing a tinfoil hat. Whoo hoo! And he does sort of look like a robot. Pies and popcorn are now being served. Help yourself to the chai and butterbeer and those of you who are over at the David Blue Memorial Pinball Machine -who is that, Ralph Nader and Bob Barr? - can we wait until Bill finishes his speech? Have a butterbeer on the house.

LATER: This is hard to stop watching. Here's another link to try here (and click on Strategy Room). We're watching Biden now. This is a bit like watching the convention at my house growing up. I still remember the Republican National Convention of 1976 when we had a group of teenagers in the room munching on popcorn and making silly comments. Say what you like but I still remember that convention, especially the "Beetle Lady" - an NBC reporter who was wearing this antenna thing on her head as she waded through the crowd on the floor looking for Governor Ronald Reagan who nearly took the nomination away from then-President Gerald Ford.

So much for Indaba: Bishop Ingham takes hostile action against Candian clergy and laity and their churches

Guess Bishop Ingham did not have such a marvelous time in Canterbury after all.

In fact, this is what comes to mind to be a more accurate representation of what the Bishop of New Westminster brought back with him from Canterbury. Nothing like a party before taking your ship to the bottom of the sea:

He finds his way back to Canada and exerts the sort of behavior that our ancestors in Virginia made sure would not be exhibited in this Commonwealth by Anglican bishops (or Anglican Kings for that matter) following the American Revolution. The Bishop of Virginia does not have the power to do what Bishop Ingham is threatening to do and with reason - we have long memories in Virginia. Let's just recall that little document that came out of Philadelphia that started it all - including vast reforms in the polity and philosophy of governance that was embraced by the founders of the Diocese of Virginia, including in ecclesiastical structures "before the dark times, before the empire," to quote Obi Wan.

When does the word "despot" start to make sense?

Read this memo to the clergy of the Diocese of New Westminster and decide for yourself:

Memorandum to Diocesan Clergy
From Dean Peter Elliott, Commissary
for Bishop Michael Ingham
Regarding Canon 15
at St. Matthew’s Abbotsford & St Matthias and St. Luke Vancouver
August 26, 2008

On Monday August 25, 2008, with the authorization of Diocesan Council, and in consultation with the Executive Officers of the Diocese, the Chancellor has written to the former clergy and wardens of the parishes of St. Matthews Abbotsford and St. Matthias and St. Luke Vancouver informing them that Canon 15 has been imposed and that new clergy and wardens have been appointed. I have attached a public notice of this action which has been released to the press today August 26, 2008.

This action comes, with regret, after many years of dispute with the clergy and lay leadership of these two parishes. The clergy in both parishes have relinquished their licenses as priests of the Diocese and their orders within the Anglican Church of Canada. In our polity, a parish is a creation of the diocese. Parish properties are entrusted to clergy, licensed by the diocesan bishop, to offer the ministry of the Anglican Church of Canada. Loyalty to the Bishop is a key part of the oaths that clergy make at ordinations and inductions. Since the clergy no longer hold the bishop’s license, the diocese is legally required to ensure that the authorized ministry of the Anglican Church of Canada continues in those places. Canon 15 has therefore been invoked for these two parishes. Implementing this Canon is a time consuming process; hence at this time we are only proceeding with the parishes of St. Matthew’s Abbotsford and St. Matthias and St. Luke Vancouver.

What the diocese seeks now, as it has in similar cases in the past, is for a mutually agreeable date to be set for the clergy and members of the congregations who choose to affiliate with them, to vacate the properties. In anticipation of this move, the diocese is conducting an inventory to ensure that all properties of the parish are maintained in the parish buildings. After the former clergy have left the properties, the diocese is prepared to have new clergy and wardens establish a renewed presence of the Anglican Church of Canada.

Two requests come with this memo:

1. Should the media contact you for comment on this action, please refer them to Neale Adams at the Synod Office. Given that these matters may find their way into courts in the future it is important that only diocesan officials make public statements about them.

2. Please keep Bishop Michael and the Executive Officers of the diocese in your prayers as we move through this difficult period. Also, keep in your prayers those with whom we are currently in dispute.

I am proud of the life and witness of our diocese: the direction of the strategic plan endorsed by the 2008 Diocesan Synod affirms that we are committed to engaging in God’s mission in the places where we serve. We are not a congregational church — we are a diocesan church under the leadership of our bishop. We respect the diversity of views in a variety of issues within our diocese and it is important that our ministries be centered in Jesus Christ, faithful to the tradition of the Anglican Church of Canada and united under the leadership of our bishop. Thank you for your part in furthering God’s work in our diocese.

Yours in Christ,

The Very Reverend Peter G. Elliott
Dean and Commissary.
Why would anyone, anyone, willingly join an organization that operates in the manner described in this memo? I don't even think they notice how authoritarian they are.

Tip of the Tinfoil to StandFirm

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams reflections on the Lambeth Conference

From here.

BB NOTE: As vanilla-milk-toast as this "reflection" is - it appears everything went off perfectly, oh so perfectly, and everything was perfect and everybody was perfect and all was well and it was all such a lovely time and please don't forget to write and do give Cousin Helda our best on her health of late.

It must be said it's a rather audacious assumption to think one can get away with playing the self-selected role of dispassionate observer infused with the affected-charm of the upper classes and in doing so attempt to obliterate any culpability or responsibility that it was his own actions that led the representatives of HALF the Anglican Communion to stay away from the Lambeth Conference.

At the same time, we even find it audacious that he completely ignores the full-inclusion witness that went on for three weeks outside the gates, it's as if they weren't even there, as though it was perhaps unpleasant but not worth even a slight mention and that's got to hurt. All that work and not even a sidelong glance, nothing to cloud the charm. He only observers his own domain (if he's the one that really wrote this draft) and only so far and this sort of dispassionate observation is evoid of passion, without any sense that he has any feelings about any of this at all is the sort of behavior that caused a lot of dishes to fly when we watched all those gatherings of the Marchmain family in the original BBC production of Brideshead Revisited. Just tell the bloody truth. It's all so upper-crust, so affected, so affected - we know the upper-crust swears far more blue than blue collar dock workers. How does it feel?

So why the tone of academic observer when one is actually the Archbishop of Canterbury? This is like Lady Marchmain speaking oh so softly but underneath is seething with rage and rejection. Here we see Rowan Williams taking the role of the dispassionate observer - the academic consultant - who merely observes but doesn't actually sign on the dotted line. His reflections work better as a big thank you for all those folks who put up the Big Top and parked the cars. Like a gathering of the Marchmains at Brideshead, he talks over everything but doesn't talk through anything, there's no feeling, no confession - it's all charm, as in what what Anthony Blanche describes to Charles Ryder in Brideshead Revisited late in the novel:
Charm is the great English blight. It does not exist outside these damp islands. It spots and kills anything it touches. It kills love, it kills art; I greatly fear, my dear Charles, it has killed you.”
Anthony Blanche to Charles Ryder
Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

And if we cannot appreciate the irony that it is Anthony Blanche who makes the most sense, I don't know what will. It does appear that the great charm offensive is underway and the lines of this letter are filled with it - enough so that the dishes fly. Ah the charm, the charm. Paint it from your heart, Rowan. How does it feel?

As the Lambeth Conference of 2008 comes to an end, I want to offer some further reflections of my own on what the bishops gathered in Canterbury have learned and experienced. Those of you who have been present here will be able to share your own insights with your people, but it may be useful for me to add my own perspectives as to where we have been led.

For the vast majority of bishops, it seems, this has been a time when they have felt God to have been at work. The Conference was not a time for making new laws or for binding decisions; in spite of the way some have expressed their expectations, Lambeth Conferences have never worked straightforwardly in this way. The Conference Design Group believed strongly that the chief need of our Communion at the moment was the rebuilding of relationships – the rebuilding of trust in one another – and of confidence in our Anglican identity. And it was with this in mind that they planned for a very different sort of Conference, determined to allow every bishop’s voice to be heard and to seek for a final outcome for which the bishops were genuinely able to recognize an authentic account of their own work.

I believe that the Conference succeeded in doing this to a very remarkable degree – more than most people expected. At the end of our time together, many people, especially some of the newer bishops, said that they had been surprised by the amount of convergence they had seen. And there can be no doubt that practically all who were present sincerely wanted the Communion to stay together.

But they also recognized the challenge in staying together and the continuing possibility of further division. As the proposals for an Anglican Covenant now go forward, it is still possible that some will not be able to agree; there was a clear sense that some sort of covenant will help our identity and cohesion, although the bishops wish to avoid a legalistic or juridical tone. A strong majority of bishops present agreed that moratoria on same-sex blessings and on cross-provincial interventions were necessary, but they were aware of the conscientious difficulties this posed for some, and there needs to be a greater clarity about the exact expectations and what can be realistically implemented. How far the intensified sense of belonging together will help mutual restraint in such matters remains to be seen. But it can be said that few of those who attended left without feeling they had in some respects moved and changed.

We were conscious of the absence of many of our colleagues, and wanted to express our sadness that they felt unable to be with us and our desire to build bridges and restore our fellowship. We were aware also of the recent meeting in Jerusalem and its statements; many of us expressed a clear sense of affinity with much that was said there and were grateful that many had attended both meetings, but we know that there is work to do to bring us closer together and are determined to do that work.

The final document of Conference Reflections is not a ‘Report’ in the style of earlier Conferences, but an attempt to present an honest account of what was discussed and expressed in the ‘indaba’ groups which formed the main communal work of the Conference by the Reflections Group. But although this document is not a formal Report, it has a number of pointers as to where the common goals and assumptions are in the Communion. Let me mention some of these.

First, there was an overwhelming unity around the need for the Church to play its full part in the worldwide struggle against poverty ignorance and disease. The Millennium Development Goals were repeatedly stressed, and there was universal agreement that both governmental and non-governmental development agencies needed to create more effective partnerships with the churches and to help the churches increase and improve their own capacity to deliver change for the sake of justice. To further this, it was agreed that we needed a much enhanced capacity in the Communion for co-ordinated work in the field of development. Our Walk of Witness in London and the memorable address of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom formed a powerful focus for these concerns. And the challenge to every bishop to identify clear goals for developing environmentally responsible policies in church life was articulated very forcefully indeed: information was provided to all about how the ‘carbon footprint’ of the Conference itself might be offset, and new impetus given to careful and critical self-examination of all our practices. We were reminded by first-hand testimony that the literal survival of many of our most disadvantaged communities was at risk as a result of environmental change. This enabled us to see the issue more clearly as one of justice both to God’s earth and to God’s people

Second, on the controversial issue of the day regarding human sexuality, there was a very widely-held conviction that premature or unilateral local change was risky and divisive, in spite of the diversity of opinion expressed on specific questions. There was no appetite for revising Resolution 1.10 of Lambeth 1998, though there was also a clear commitment to continue theological and pastoral discussion of the questions involved. In addition to a widespread support for moratoria in the areas already mentioned, there was much support for the idea of a ‘Pastoral Forum’ as a means of addressing present and future tensions, and as a clearing house for proposals concerning the care of groups at odds with dominant views within their Provinces, so as to avoid the confusing situation of violations of provincial boundaries and competing jurisdictions.

Importantly, it was recognized that all these matters involved serious reflection on the Christian doctrine of human nature and a continuing deepening of our understanding of Christian marriage. A joint session with bishops and spouses also reminded us that broader moral issues about power and violence in relations between men and women needed attention if we were to speak credibly to the tensions and sufferings of those we serve.

Third, there was a general desire to find better ways of managing our business as a Communion. Many participants believed that the indaba method, while not designed to achieve final decisions, was such a necessary aspect of understanding what the questions might be that they expressed the desire to see the method used more widely – and to continue among themselves the conversations begun in Canterbury. This is an important steer for the meetings of the Primates and the ACC which will be taking place in the first half of next year, and I shall be seeking to identify the resources we shall need in order to take forward some of the proposals about our structures and methods.

The Conference was richly blessed in its guest speakers, who all testified to their appreciation of the Anglican heritage, while asking us searching questions about how flexible and creative our evangelistic policies were, about the integration of our social passion with our theology and about the nature of the unity we were seeking both within the Anglican Communion and with other Christian families. Our many ecumenical representatives played a full and robust part in all our work together and we owe them a considerable debt.

Finally and most importantly of all, we were held within an atmosphere of steady and deep prayer by our Chaplaincy Team. The commitment of the Conference members to daily worship was impressive; and this has much to do with the quality of that worship, both in moments of profound quiet and in exuberant celebration. It mattered greatly that we were able to begin with a period of retreat in the context of Canterbury Cathedral; the welcome we received there was immensely generous and we all valued the message clearly given, that this was our Cathedral, and that all of us were a full part of the worshipping community that had been here since Augustine came to Canterbury in 597.

I know that all present would wish me to express thanks once again to all who planned and organized the Conference, to those who composed the Bible Studies, those who devised and monitored the work of the indaba groups and all others who served us so devotedly in all sorts of ways – not least the Stewards, whose youthful energy and commitment and unfailingly supportive presence gave all of us great hope for the future. Thanks to all of you – bishops and spouses – who attended, for the great commitment shown and for the encouragement you have given each other.

But together we give thanks to God for his presence with us, his faithfulness to us and his gifts to our Communion. As was said in the closing plenary session, we believe that God has many more gifts to give to and through our Communion; and we ask his grace and assistance in teaching us how to receive what he wills to give. “He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.” (2 Cor. 9v10)

Your servant in Christ

+Rowan Cantuar:

Monday, August 25, 2008

Monday Night at the Cafe: Not Dark Yet Live

This is the song that started it all. First heard the song after picking up up a copy of a CD called Songs Inspired by the Passion of the Christ four years ago. The CD was a collection of songs chosen by the most unlikely pair - Mel Gibson and Bono. In the collection was this song, Not Dark Yet, in its original format off the Time Out of Mind album by Bob Dylan. Bob Dylan gave his permission to include the song in the collection. This particular performance of Not Dark Yet is from Portland, Oregon in 1999.

And this just in, here's Bob doing a no-frills version of Not Dark Yet just last night (Aug. 24, 2008) in Evansville, Indiana.

Tip of the tinfoil to

Andrew Carey: Episcopal Church Under Judgment

From Anglican Mainstream here. Originally published by the Church of England Newspaper.

At the recent Lambeth Conference I had a couple of conversations with so-called ‘conservative’ Americans, both amongst the press and the bishops. I was even able to give the Bishop of Springfield (no relation to ‘The Simpsons’) some pointers on the rules of cricket as we snatched five minutes in the bar to watch England being clinically defeated by South Africa.

Their depressing and urgent situation in The Episcopal Church becomes ever clearer over time, despite all of the efforts of their liberal church leaders to try and persuade the rest of the Anglican Communion that really we’re just like you. Close watchers of the US, and readers of this newspaper, will be more aware than most of the state of that Church. Heterodoxy is never punished, whereas orthodox impatience is the subject of lawsuits all over the country. And the amount of heterodoxy uttered in The Episcopal Church is truly astonishing. Even leaving aside the virtual atheism of Bishop Spong’s ‘Twelve Theses’, we’ve had bishops claim that the church can ‘re-write the Bible’, others make sweeping apologies for Christian mission to those of other faiths, while the Presiding Bishop views Jesus as just one way among many.

Furthermore, they’ve had scandals the likes of which would destroy the Church of England in the eyes of the world, with our much more effective national press conducting the funeral rites. They’ve had thrice-divorced bishops, a child-abusing bishop, as well as one who’s covered up sex abuse by his brother, a priest. There’s been a drug-dealing priest, others who’ve been exposed in a pornographic magazine for engaging in bizarre sex with Brazilians. This is truly only the tip of the iceberg. Any one or two of these cases would have been a national scandal in Britain, in the US it’s only a few column inches.

With whole parishes and dioceses deserting the national Church amid such widespread heterodoxy and scandal, followed by a wave of litigation and squabbling over property, it’s impossible to see The Episcopal Church as anything other than a disaster area. If there ever was a Church under the judgment of God, it is this one.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Report from CANA Council

RESOLUTION NO. 3-Regarding Recognition by the Primates Council of the Global Anglican Future Conference of a New Anglican North American Province

RESOLVED, that the Convocation Council hereby supports the Common Cause Partnership (CCP) desire to embrace the invitation by the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) leadership to recognize CCP as an the emerging Anglican province in North America. As we set forth plans for the future of Anglicanism in North America, our prayer is that our Common Cause federation will continue to grow and mature as an Anglican province.
The CANA Council gathering in Akron, Ohio voted overwhelming to support the development of the Common Cause "federation" and its future development as a new Anglican province encompassing both the United States and Canada.

There was a friendly amendment offered by one of the CANA delegates to the original draft of Resolution 3 to replace the phrase "recognize CCP as an emerging Anglican Province in North America" to "recognize CCP as the emerging Anglican province in North America," since there aren't any other movements underway to take steps toward establishing a new province in that area. The CANA delegate who offered the friendly amendment pushed further to amend the second "an" in a later phrase and replace it with "the" to read, "our prayer is that our Common Cause federation will continue to grow and mature as the Anglican province," but Bishop Martyn Minns rightly considered that suggestion as outside the realm of friendly. He did not accept it.

What this means is that CANA is on board in establishing a Common Cause "federation," styled with all its members in one federation as the United States was a federation of states in its early years. Bishop Minns encouraged the delegates to actively and enthusiastically engage in mission with members of the Common Cause federation for growth will be based on the deepening of Gospel-mission relationships with one another.

The first change of the article "an" to "the" indicates the reality "on the ground." There is no other overwhelming cry from the laity on up to the Anglican Primates that the situation in North America is serious and action must be taken to move forward. The only plan on the table is this one. There is no other one and from the latest news reported by The Living Church, the initiatives coming out of Lambeth are in danger of being caught in a bureaucratic quagmire.

I will be honest, since it was public. I was quite alarmed, after the time at Lambeth, to hear the suggestion that the final phrase might be changed from the word "an" to the word "the" and spoke to that on the floor. Possibly for a lot of the delegates that change seemed minor (what's the difference between "the" and "an" in the last phrase?), but here's a case where a tiny little article could wreak such havoc as to make the 1968 Democratic Convention look like a love-in. I initially voted against the friendly amendment because I thought it included the change in the final phrase as well (it wasn't always easy to hear in the large room with so many people). I was quite concerned that without the benefit of significant discussion it was imperative that we wholeheartedly remember our friends both at home and abroad in the Lambeth network and pause before we inadvertently start getting trigger happy on articles of speech.

I continue to wonder what the initial concept brought forward by the Windsor Continuation Group of putting us all in a kind of "escrow" for a period will mean on the ground here in the United States and Canada. It's clear after these past few days spent with these amazing CANA leaders from all over the United States and Canada that many have walked through extraordinarily painful times. CANA is filled with refugees, make no mistake about that, Anglican refugees. How do we recover from these very painful years - with the certainty of even more challenges in the future, how do we move forward in Gospel mission, building deeper relationships with one another, while at the same time working to restore Anglican Christianity back to its biblical and prayer book roots?

The readings for this week give us a clear indication of how we may do it:
I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect. For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgement, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.
This position of meekness is so contrary to the American-way of life, where we pride ourselves in taking charge and taking names and winning one for the Gipper. While we press forward, at the same time we must be listening - carefully, transparently, joyously, soberly, compassionately, and with a big heart eager to forgive.

There was lots of time over the past few days to engage in worship and prayer and to engage in relationship with each other (big time thank you to Transfigurations for the photos!). The CANA delegates come with stories - many of them still unfolding on the hour - but also with a desire to worship Jesus and to be filled with the Holy Spirit. The eagerness of the delegates to see this all work was palatable - you could feel the hope. Born on that hope is a promise that whatever happens, we must resist praying for our will but for Thy will be done.

There were many highlights, the workshops were terrific and very well attended, the significant conversations in the halls between sessions where relationships were made and renewed, the worship which was offered from those at the host church, showing a commitment to Spirit-filled worship and a wonderful gift of letting go. It was great to see old friends and find other friends have made the jump into the CANA ship (with the blessing of their TEC diocesan bishops, I might add, thank God for those bishops). And it was great to make new friends - to meet some of you who drop into the Cafe for conversation and a chai - what a wonderful surprise! But also to meet brand new friends and hear their stories from the heart.

We saw a very funny - and quite moving - skit that retold the story of Jesus' feeding of the five thousand in a very unique way. The punch line was "If it's tough, He can do it." If there's anything I can say with all certainty following both the Lambeth Conference on one side of the Atlantic and the CANA Council on the other is that it is tough - but He can do it.

Last night a large group of us convened for some fellowship in the lobby of one of the myriad of hotels that line West Market Street here in Akron. We reflected over the past few days of events, of time spent listening to one another, recounting both funny and tender stories, of transparent moments of pain and fear and in those dark hours, of finding a small ember of hope still kindling - a hope that was revived in the worship, teaching, and fellowship of this Council.

But the journey is only just beginning. It is clear that some of the toughest and most challenging days lie ahead, make no mistake about it. As we sat together last night and shared our stories, we also reflected on those beyond our own borders, to those far behind the lines - for those working tirelessly to find a way through, who's names we may know and names we will never know, and praying for a way through, that as we continue this journey our own hearts will not grow hard - for blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

Saturday Update from CANA Council

Just back from the morning legislative session, where all three resolutions were voted on by ballot and are being counted. There was a clarification in the first resolution on the recognition of the Great Lakes District that "region" and "district" mean the same thing and the official name will be the Great Lakes District. There was also a change in wording on the third resolution, but I want to get clarification on the implications of that change before I post it. I assume all three resolutions passed.

Next up is the closing Eucharist. Tip of the Tinfoil to Transfigurations for the photo of last nights Seminary Dinner.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Friday at the Annual CANA Council

PM UPDATE: What a packed-filled afternoon filled with more seminars and teaching and presentations, including a riveting presentation on the persecuted church. The evening continued with a seminary dinner sponsored by Trinity School for Ministry followed by worship (see above for a short clip) and compline.

In the midst of all this, we got news from the Fairfax Court on the scope of the October trial which seems to be limited now to the topic of the votes.

Tomorrow indeed is the legislative day and we anticipate perhaps receiving some news from abroad.


SHORT REPORT: Have arrived in Akron for the CANA Council and it's a packed house. In fact, the session on the Prayer Book was so jammed that people were standing out in the hall listening to the session led by Bishop Martyn Minns because all the seats and floor space was filled to capacity.

There are lots of sessions going on - from sessions focused on evangelism, social justice, and mission partnerships, to church planting, healing, raising up the next generation of leaders, and an instructional session on the Eucharist service.

The legislative session will be tomorrow, mindful that the GAFCON Primates Council are also meeting in England right now. With tip of the tinfoil to Transfigurations (who took the photo as well!), here are the draft resolutions currently on the docket for tomorrow's legislative session:

RESOLUTION NO. 1-Establishment of the Great Lakes Region as a Region of CANA

RESOLVED, that the Convocation Council recognizes that the Great Lakes Region has been duly established as a region within the Convocation the Convocation of Anglicans in North America ("CANA"), in accordance with Section 5.3 of the Bylaws of CANA.

RESOLUTION NO. 2-Regarding the Global Anglican Future Conference

RESOLVED, that the Convocation Council hereby expresses its gratefulness to the majority-world Anglican leaders recently gathered at the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) in Jerusalem, who stood in solidarity with all Anglicans who struggle against revisionist forces in the Anglican Communion. We also hereby express our appreciation to the CANA bishops, the bishops' wives, and others for representing CANA at GAFCON. We echo their endorsement of the Statement on the Global Anglican Future and the confessional Jerusalem Declaration. We commit ourselves to pursue the GAFCON goal to "reform, heal and revitalize the Anglican Communion and expand its mission to the world." We endeavor to support the emerging GAFCON movement and its Primates Council.

RESOLUTION NO. 3-Regarding Recognition by the Primates Council of the Global Anglican Future Conference of a New Anglican North American Province

RESOLVED, that the Convocation Council hereby supports the Common Cause Partnership (CCP) desire to embrace the invitation by the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) leadership to recognize CCP as an emerging Anglican province in North America. As we set forth plans for the future of Anglicanism in North America, our prayer is that our Common Cause federation will continue to grow and mature as an Anglican province.

As you can see, Draft Resolution #3 has to do with the hope for the emergence of an Anglican province in North America. There were some hints of this even at Lambeth (exactly how do we live in escrow, anyway?). We are also mindful that the CANA Counsel and the Counsel for the Diocese of Virginia and The Episcopal Church are in court today before Judge Randy Bellows regarding the scope of the trial in October.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

On the road again ...

This time we're headed to all points north to the CANA Council. Stay tuned. In the meantime, here's Bruce explaining things - a great acoustic arrangement of the Springsteen classic.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Diocese of Virginia releases terse statement

BB NOTE: Again, this statement is another opportunity to go find a bucket of water for these pants-on-fire statements. At Truro, no one - repeat - no one has been "forced to worship elsewhere." In fact, many of the minority who initially voted to remain in the structures of the Episcopal Church, also voted that the property should go with the majority. Those who voted to remain in the Episcopal Church are valuable and treasured members of the Truro family and so far they remain with us as a community, thanks be to the Lord. They continue to serve on committees (including the Search Committee for our new rector) and in the life and worship of our community. The ones that have told me how they voted (which is the only way we know how individuals voted, as in a Presidential Election) I love dearly and respect very much and am very glad they remain and have told them so - I need them in my life.

That the Diocese of Virginia - even at this stage - would make such a wild pants-on-fire statement that Episcopalians are forced to worship elsewhere causes me to continue to doubt that we can believe anything they say. Bishop Lee knows this to be untrue and I just wonder how the Diocese can put up a statement like this on their website when the Bishop of Virginia knows it to be false.

Again, notice the elitist appeal is not to the Christian faith, but that "loyal Episcopalians" have "pledged themselves to the Diocese in order to ensure a lasting legacy of Episcopal faith and worship in Virginia." Pledged themselves to the Diocese? Pledged themselves to the Diocese? Is that what baptism and confirmation mean now - that we are pledging ourselves to a corporate structure? Where is Patrick Henry? As I wrote in "The Rising of the Perfect Storm" this appeal to loyalty is to a colonial structure, which in the case of the Diocese of Virginia it most certainly is - it is the classic colonial structure put in place after the Revolution, but with one ingredient that would have caused my revolutionary ancestors to turn over and over in their graves. They did not give a lot of power to the bishop or the diocese on purpose, a tradition that continued deep into the 20th century with the adherence to the "Virginia Plan" of voluntary giving. If those who redesigned the Diocese of Virginia heard such a description of their faith as "pledging themselves to the Diocese" they would have marched right back down to Yorktown again.

To "ensure a lasting legacy" of what they call an "Episcopal faith?" What is that an appeal to? Oh, we know what that means and it's shameful. Those of us who are thirteenth generation Virginians know exactly what that means and it's shameful to see this type of appeal coming out of Richmond.

I continue to earnestly pray that we will all find a way to explore options of talking to each other outside the court room. We do that at Truro with those who voted differently than the majority. We need them, we love them, they are a part of our family and their presence is a daily witness of their love for God and their desire to stay with us, even when they disagree. I deeply care about those few I know who voted differently than did, have talked with them, have heard and been heard about why we voted differently and somehow, through our loyalty to Jesus, we remain in communion with one another.

I have continued to pray that this is a "legal separation" not a divorce, a place of "escrow" to use the Windsor Continuation Group's words, and that in this separation we would take steps to make a safe place during a very turbulent and toxic time so that we, with God's help, may find a way to reason together and that perhaps one day - by the hand of God and with biblical faith - walk together again. We would save the marriage.

We are working on that at Truro in our own congregation and it's not easy, we are a rambunctious and spirited bunch, but it's vital to the health of our community and it can not be done out of some appeal to a false projection of loyalty but because we are all loyal to Jesus and the transforming life He gives to His people.

After all, He's the one who's standing at the door.

Here's the statement from the Diocese of Virginia:

While we are disappointed in today’s ruling, we are committed to exploring every option available to restore constitutional and legal protections for all churches in Virginia. Meanwhile, we look ahead to the October trial and the issues to be considered in the fall.

The Diocese remains firmly committed to ensuring that loyal Episcopalians, who have been forced to worship elsewhere, will be able to return to their Episcopal homes. Generations of Episcopalians pledged themselves to the Diocese in order to ensure a lasting legacy of Episcopal faith and worship in Virginia.