Saturday, October 31, 2009

Saturday Night at the Cafe

Property rights and the vote of the People on the line - Savannah News editorial sides with parish

"Christ Church in Savannah has always been locally owned. The church has never received financial support from the national organization. Savannahians paid for the construction of the church and the payment of its clergy.

A vote of the church membership - in the wake of serious doctrinal issues reaching even the unequivocal divinity of Christ - resulted in the separation of the local congregation from the national group.

The Episcopal Church, with the help of Superior Court Judge Michael Karpf, has seized property it neither paid for nor maintained in more than 275 years."

-Edward Fulford of The Savannah News

Here's the entire editorial from the Savannah News:

Imagine 50 years after the inception of the fictional Cape Charles Reporter in the mid-1800s, the paper joined an association of like-minded journalists.

This American Journalists Association, through support of a sister group, the European Newspaper Guild, founds a series of newspapers across the country.

Strong local support enables the Reporter to act as a donor member of the AJA, fostering the creation of still more newspapers and subsidizing less financially stable ones.

While the founders of the Cape Charles paper retain ownership of the building and press, and the local community funds the staff payroll, the coastal town's journalists so believe in the value of an informed public, they are willing to share of their excess.

Now flash forward a century.

Over time, the Cape Charles leaders and a majority of the staff come to differ with the AJA on ethical standards and operational goals.

Remember, all this time, money has never flowed from the AJA to the Reporter. The Reporter has always financially supported the national organization.

But a basic rift occurs. The local paper clings to the ideal of an unbiased newsroom staff. The AJA decides there is nothing wrong with its news stories advocating a political agenda.

The Reporter's publisher, editors and half the staff decide to break away from the AJA in order to preserve their understanding of the journalist's role. Others of the staff adhere to the policy of the national organization.

One might think the national organization would then start a new paper for its faithful Cape Charles members, or shift them to existing papers it had started over the years.

What would be inconceivable would be for the AJA - who through a series of decisions had separated itself from its own long-held tradition and the policy of the Reporter - to suddenly claim ownership of the local paper's valuable, historic building and press. Most would think an attempt to oust the newspaper's operators from the property they held before even the formation of the AJA to be a greedy, spiteful action in light of a century of outgoing support the local paper granted the national group.

So here's the question: How can the actions of the Episcopal Church be seen any differently?

Christ Church in Savannah has always been locally owned. The church has never received financial support from the national organization. Savannahians paid for the construction of the church and the payment of its clergy.

A vote of the church membership - in the wake of serious doctrinal issues reaching even the unequivocal divinity of Christ - resulted in the separation of the local congregation from the national group.

The Episcopal Church, with the help of Superior Court Judge Michael Karpf, has seized property it neither paid for nor maintained in more than 275 years.

In any other circumstance, such an abrogation of the local congregation's property rights would not be tolerated. That the seizure was carried out by religious leaders who have strayed from ironclad biblical teaching makes the heavy-handed action by both church and state that much harder to countenance.

The local leaders who have clung to their longtime beliefs have decided to appeal. I wish them strength in their fight toward ultimate success.

Edward Fulford is an editorial writer for the Savannah Morning News. Read it all here.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Breaking News: Archbishop of Canterbury schedules meeting with Pope Benedict in Rome

From the Associate Press:

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican says Pope Benedict XVI will meet with the Archbishop of Canterbury next month in the leaders' first encounter since the Catholic church moved to make it easier for disenchanted Anglicans to convert to Catholicism.

Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said in a telephone interview Friday evening that Archbishop Rowan Williams was already due to visit Rome for ceremonies at a pontifical university to honor a late cardinal who worked for Christian unity.

Taking advantage of the archbishop's presence in Rome, Benedict will receive Williams on Nov. 21 at the Vatican.

The Vatican's recent move to ease Anglican conversions came as some Anglicans are upset by their church's allowing openly gay clergy and blessing same-sex unions.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Episcopal Diocese of Quincy formally joins the Anglican Church of North America

via e-mail:

The Diocese of Quincy held its 132nd annual Synod October 16-17, and formally aligned itself as a constituent member of the newly formed Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), a group of more than 700 Anglican churches in the US and Canada that was founded in June. Since that time another 40 churches have joined the new body.

The Synod, hosted by the Church of the Transfiguration in Princeton, also reaffirmed its pastoral relationship with the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone which offered the diocese “safe harbor” a year ago when the diocese separated from the Episcopal Church.

“God has truly blessed us over the last 12 months,” said Fr. John Spencer, President of the Standing Committee which currently oversees the diocese. “Our churches remain strong, we are focused on the future, and we are blessed to now be part of an orthodox Anglican body here in the US.” The ACNA is led by Archbishop Robert Duncan, Bishop of Pittsburgh and a leader over the last several years of the movement to restore a traditional, biblically grounded Anglican presence in the US.

In addition to routine business, the annual Synod welcomed three new parishes into the diocese. “They applied to become part of Quincy,” Fr. Spencer said, “because they know our diocese had taken a firm stand for the historic faith and practice of the Church. They know we adhere to biblical teaching and biblical morality, and they found a home with us.” Several other parishes have approached the diocese about possibly becoming members.

“God isn’t hampered by the rebellion of some in the church. When some stray from the Gospel, God raises up faithful Christians who are willing to stand against the social and moral decay that can infect and destroy a culture.” That decay, Spencer said, has infected some US churches. “There is a cost when you stand against the flow of society. But Christian faith is not a popularity contest. Our first calling is to uphold the teaching of Christ. Cultures have always resisted the Gospel. That’s no reason to stop teaching it, or stop living it.”

Two of the largest Provinces of the world-wide Anglican Communion have already formally recognized the new ACNA. As the ACNA receives growing recognition around the Communion, Spencer said, the diocese will maintain is pastoral relationship with the Province of the Southern Cone as its “official” link to world-wide Anglicanism.

Church Church Savannah appeals ruling

via e-mail:

(Savannah, GA) Christ Church, the oldest church in Georgia, has appealed the ruling of Judge Michael Karpf , which granted control of the congregation’s property to the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia.

“This is another step in what we knew would be a long process,” stated the Rev. Marcus B. Robertson, Rector of Christ Church. In order to maintain its fidelity to the historic Christian faith, Christ Church withdrew from the Episcopal Church on September 30th, 2007. “This decision, though set in the context of a legal contest, remains consistent with the commitment we made before God and one another at that time,” Robertson added.

Neil Creasy, Chancellor of Christ Church, said, “The Supreme Court of South Carolina is the only state supreme court to have ruled in a case involving facts, law and issues similar to ours. It ruled in favor of the local congregation. We are confident of a similar result here.”

Numerous messages of support have been given to the parish. “We are grateful for the prayers and words of encouragement we have received from churches and individuals from around the world,” said Sr. Warden Carol Rogers Smith.

Christ Church is a member of the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA) and a congregation in the Gulf Atlantic Diocese, which came into being in August as a diocese of ACNA, covering north Florida and south Georgia.

The Diocese of Pittsburgh announces their intent to appeal lower court ruling

via e-mail:


Today, we are pleased to introduce ourselves as The Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh. Previously known as The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, our diocese is comprised of fifty-five congregations; 51 local congregations with a very long record of service to Pittsburgh area communities (in eleven southwestern Pennsylvania counties), and 4 congregations beyond the immediate region. We were the majority (67%) on the vote to withdraw from the Episcopal Church and are the majority now: 55 Anglican Church congregations as compared to 27 Episcopal Church congregations.

Our purpose in asking you here today is to announce our intention to appeal the recent ruling of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas. The court ruled that a minority of our former parishes, which now claim to be a diocese affiliated with the Episcopal Church, shall hold and administer all diocesan assets. The appeal will be filed once the court issues a final order directing the transfer of all diocesan property to this minority group.

Our decision to appeal is for the purpose of protecting the mission of our fifty-one local congregations. Left uncontested, the award of all diocesan assets to the minority party, a group that comprises only a third of the parishes that were a part of our diocese when we withdrew from the Episcopal Church, would establish a precedent that we believe the minority would use to take steps to seize all the assets of all our local parishes. Indeed, the minority's website proclaims as much. This litigious action, which is supported by the aggressive leadership of the Episcopal Church, is unfair, unreasonable, and unconscionable.

A further reason for the appeal is to address the question of the legal right of the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh to separate from its former denominational affiliation (The Episcopal Church of the United States). This essential question has never yet had its day in court throughout the legal action in which the Episcopal Church minority is the plaintiff and is suing for all the assets. Many of these assets were donated in good faith by generations of families in our fifty-one congregations. There must be an equitable agreement and distribution. There is a Christian way to resolve this dispute.

The Anglican Church in North America and the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh are actively engaged in effective, caring ministry and the planting of new congregations, both regionally and nationally. Our local congregations stretch from Slippery Rock to Somerset to Waynesburg. We are urban, suburban, town, valley and mountain congregations. Shepherd's Heart in Uptown, Seeds of Hope in Bloomfield, and Church of the Savior in Ambridge are among our most celebrated ministries to the urban poor and to urban youth. Half of all mission agencies in North America are headquartered among us and are led by our people. Unhesitatingly, the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh is committed to protecting and expanding the extraordinary ministries of these dynamic congregations and agencies.

The appeal announced today will be funded from several significant contributions, the first of which is in hand. An Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh Defense Fund (The Staying Faithful Fund) has been established and is receiving donations. None of the ordinary gifts of our people or assessments of our congregations will be used to support the appeal.

We are building for the future, not dependent on the past or controlled by the culture. We proclaim the Christian Faith as once for all delivered to the saints. We rejoice in the generosity of our people and stand firmly on the solid Rock who is Our Lord Jesus. We share what we have, whether much or little. We are Anglican Christians transforming our world with Jesus Christ. We are the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Prayers for the people of Christ Church Savannah, Georgia as the Superior Court rules against them

LATER: From Christ Church Savannah:
The following text has been circulated throughout the parish, and is an encouragement for all of us: “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” (1 Corinthians 16:13.14)

The Rev. Marc Robertson, Rector of Christ Church, stated, “God is the same God before the ruling as after the ruling. May our lives show forth that constancy as we follow Him.”
Curmudgeon has written another fine post, writing, "ECUSA's win is the law's loss, because ECUSA is allowed to act as though it is above the law -- it doesn't have to bother with deeds or declarations of trust, as does everyone else." Read it all here.

For all the clergy and people of Christ Church Savannah, we continue to remember you in prayer:

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Late Night at the Cafe: Debut of New Dylan

Looks like he's put his "Little Tramp" back into his trunk of tricks. I don't know who this is, but he's up to something. At first I thought I thought he might be channeling Leonard Cohen, but it's hard to tell what he's mixing with his Wheaties. This is indeed a Dylan I saw hinted at the Ripken ballpark this summer in Maryland, but nothing quite like this - he's like, performing.

Charlie Sexton is back in the band after a seven year absence. Whatever's going on, this is not the Dylan I've seen for the last five years. Fun - will be seeing him soon back in Fairfax.

Here's Cold Iron Bound from two days ago in Salina, Kansas:

Cafe at the Movies: All it takes

Sunday at the Cafe: For friends afar

Saturday, October 24, 2009

By an overwhelming margin, the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina votes to withdraw from the councils of The Episcopal Church

The break-up of The Episcopal Church continues, bit by bit. By an overwhelming margin today, the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina voted to:
"... authorize the Bishop and Standing Committee to begin withdrawing from all bodies of the Episcopal Church that have assented to actions contrary to Holy Scripture, the doctrine, discipline and worship of Christ as this Church has received them, the resolutions of the Lambeth Conference which have expressed the mind of the Communion, the Book of Common Prayer and our Constitution and Canons, until such bodies show a willingness to repent of such actions ...
Canon Theologian for the Diocese, the Rev'd Canon Kendall Harmon reported to ENS that in a vote by orders, clergy approved 87-17 with one abstention a second resolution authorizing the bishop and standing committee to begin withdrawing from all bodies of the Episcopal Church, while in the lay order, votes were tallied according to delegations of parishes and missions, Harmon said. Parishes voted 39 to 8 in favor of the resolution; 13 out of 16 mission delegations approved it.

Bishop Mark Lawrence made an impressive address to the special convention of The Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina at Christ Church, Mt. Pleasant. Nearby, St. Andrew's Church, Mt. Pleasant is currently going through 40 Days of Discernment on whether to separate from The Episcopal Church. More info on that here.

Take the time to listen to Bishop Lawrence's address here:

Here is an excerpt from Bishop Lawrence's address:
Surely most of you know that I believe the foundations of The Episcopal Church and this Anglican way of being a Christian are being bit by bit destroyed. This is hardly the time for me yo state again the argument that I put before the Clergy of the Diocese in my address on August 13th. Whether I was sufficiently clear in my exposition of the problems, or whether my words were fully understood, I believe their main thrust through congregational forums, clericus and deanery meetings should at least by now be broadly understood. Put simply it is a false understanding of the Christian faith that has spread abroad in our Church; a wrong understanding founded upon human speculation rather than divine revelation.

This false teaching, that I have called the Gospel of Indiscriminate Inclusivity, has challenged the doctrine of The Trinity, the Uniqueness and Universality of Christ, the Authority of Scripture, our understanding of Baptism, and now, that last refuge of order, our Constitution & Canons. Like an invasive vine, like kudzu in an old growth forest, it has decked The Episcopal Church with decorative destruction. It has invaded and now is systematically dismantling the undamental teachings of our Church and our Christian heritage. This has happened through the concerted actions of a few and the passivity of a multitude of churchmen and women—bishops, priests and laypersons.

And I might say it has happened, ironically, because of the faithfulness of many to the tasks that were set before them and giving too little time to resist the maneuvers a foot in the Church. I count myself for many years among them. For most of my ministry I have been plowing the field before me. If I tell my own story here it is because I believe it is the story of many. I was always working to grow the congregations to which God had called me. I knew I did not like the direction the “national” church was headed. But I did not get overly involved in these problems. I did my work in the parish—whether I was a vicar or a rector. There was always more work to do than time in the day. Baptisms to prepare people for, confirmands to teach, marriages to perform, the faithful, and nominally churched members to bury, the unchurched and lost to win. There were Bible studies to teach, sermons to prepare, services to lead, visitations, pastoral counseling, Stewardship Committees, ECW retreats, etc…. I and those with whom I served were busy growing the Church. Then there were diocesan responsibilities—COM, BOEC to chair, Standing Committee, years as a rural dean. Community involvements— Salvation Army Board, Hospital Ethics committee, and other local needs begging for leadership.

Certainly I dealt with the challenges of the culture and the larger Church whenever it was in my purview whether parish or diocesan responsibility. All the time, however, I knew that TEC was moving inexorably in what seemed an increasingly unbiblical direction. I knew there were those who were fighting the battle—Bishops like Bishop Allison, Bishop Salmon, and Bishop Hathaway—fighting the good fight. In those days those resisting the dismantling of the foundations were substantial but I fear not bold enough. When some were taking radical actions, disregarding the creeds and the canons, the defenders of orthodoxy were gentleman still fighting according to Marques of Queensbury rules. Those pushing the agenda were more like street-fighters.
Read it all here.

Here are the "Resolves" from the four resolutions that were passed today:
Resolution #1:

Resolved, that the Diocese of South Carolina reaffirms its commitment to live its corporate life under the authority of Holy Scripture (Articles of Religion, Art. VI and XX) and the unique Lordship of Jesus Christ (Art. XVIII) and commits to exercising all such actions as the Bishop and Standing Committee may believe edifying to the Body of Christ in bearing that witness and bringing to light such actions as contravene those essentials to “upholding and propagating the historic Faith and Order” (Constitution and Canons of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States: Preamble) as we have received them: and be it

Further Resolved, that the following statement shall constitute our understanding of the doctrine, discipline and worship of The Episcopal Church and shall be read at all ordinations in The Diocese of South Carolina, and a copy of which shall be attached to the Oath of Conformity signed by the ordinand at such service of ordination:

“In the Diocese of South Carolina, we understand the substance of the doctrine, discipline and worship‟ of The Episcopal Church to mean that which is expressed in the Thirty-Nine Articles, the Creeds, the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral and the theology of the historic prayer books.”

Resolution #2

Resolved, that this Diocese authorize the Bishop and Standing Committee to begin withdrawing from all bodies of the Episcopal Church that have assented to actions contrary to Holy Scripture, the doctrine, discipline and worship of Christ as this Church has received them, the resolutions of the Lambeth Conference which have expressed the mind of the Communion, the Book of Common Prayer and our Constitution and Canons, until such bodies show a willingness to repent of such actions; and be it

Further resolved, that the Diocese of South Carolina declares that the most recent example of this behavior, in the passage of Resolutions DO25 and CO56, to be null and void, having no effect in this Diocese, and in violation of our diocesan canon (XXXVI sec.1).

Resolution #3
Resolved, that this Diocese, committing itself to remain focused on our gospel mission effectively to reach both the lost and unchurched, will work in partnership with such Dioceses as are willing to form Missional Relationships providing gatherings for Bishops, clergy and laity for the express purpose of evangelism, encouragement, education and mission: therefore, be it further

Resolved, that the parishes of this Diocese are encouraged to enter into their own Missional Relationships with orthodox congregations isolated across North America and to pursue effective initiatives which are lay-led and supported.

Resolution #4

Resolved, that the Diocese of South Carolina endorses the Ridley draft of the proposed Anglican Covenant, as it presently stands, in all four sections, as an expression of our full commitment to mutual submission and accountability in communion, grounded in a common faith.
You can read them here. The 5th Resolution was tabled and will be rewritten for the regular March Convention. Read more of the Special Convention's actions at Kendall's T-19.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Archbishop of Canterbury challenged by "Pope's wooing of Anglicans"

From the Wall Street Journal:

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and Pope Benedict XVI are both noted theological scholars leading flocks through complicated times. In recent days, Archbishop Williams's already tough mission became even more difficult.

Archbishop Williams is the top official in the Church of England and the "first among equals" of the global church leaders that guide the 80-million-strong Anglican Communion. That puts him in the crucial position of holding the Anglican faithful together in the wake of the Vatican's surprise move this week to make it easier for disgruntled Anglicans to convert to Catholicism.

For several years, Archbishop Williams has attempted to unify an already divided global community of Anglicans. Internecine battles over same-sex marriage, the consecration of women bishops and the authority of Scripture threaten to splinter the world's third-largest Christian group.

But unlike Pope Benedict -- who has singular authority over 1.1 billion Roman Catholics -- Archbishop Williams lacks many tools to force cooperation among his church's factions. He can cajole and persuade, but in the end the many churches within the Anglican Communion have a great deal of autonomy, including the Church of England.

"What is he going to do? That's the $64,000 question," said Stephen Parkinson, director of Forward in Faith, an Anglo-Catholic advocacy group within the Church of England that has reacted warmly to the Vatican's move. "Does he try to hold it all together, or does he simply say bon voyage to those who want to take the Vatican's offer?"

Archbishop Williams couldn't be reached for comment. In a letter to Church leaders Tuesday, Archbishop Williams apologized for not alerting his colleagues sooner, but said he himself heard about the Vatican's move only at a "very late stage." He also issued a joint statement with the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster reaffirming the interfaith dialogue between the two Churches that goes back more than 40 years.

The Anglican Communion is one of the last vestiges of the old British Empire. Faith followed trade and the flag, planting the Anglican Church in far-flung places such as Singapore, Tanzania, Canada and South Africa. But the Anglican Communion, by design, has always had a more passive leadership structure, which permitted different forms of Anglicanism to flourish during its more-than-470-year existence.

This diversity, however, has become increasingly tough to manage. Anglicanism was established apart from Rome in 1534 by Henry VIII for several reasons, including the pope's refusal to offer him an annulment. Since then, the Church of England, the mother church of Anglicanism, has grown to include evangelicals, Anglo-Catholics and liberals, among others. The divergent views of each have become increasingly difficult to bridge.

Archbishop Williams, an amiable Welshman with a fondness for rugby, has found himself whipsawed by the winds of social change since ascending to his current position in early 2003. In that year, the Episcopal Church, the U.S. arm of Anglicanism, consecrated an openly gay bishop, sending the Anglican Communion into infighting that has shown no sign of letting up. Archbishop Peter Akinola, head of the Church of Nigeria and one of the most powerful members of the church who leads Africa's 40 million Anglicans, has repeatedly condemned Western Anglicans' move toward a more liberal interpretation of the Bible.

In a bid to keep the Anglican Communion together, Archbishop Williams has argued for a potential "two track" solution to the problems gripping both the Church of England and the Anglican Communion. The idea is that liberals would find common ground along one track and conservatives along another, but they would all remain under the big tent of Anglicanism.

"It helps to be clear about these possible futures, however much we think them less than ideal, and to speak about them not in apocalyptic terms of schism and excommunication but plainly as what they are -- two styles of being Anglican," Archbishop Williams wrote over the summer following the U.S. Episcopal Church's National Convention.

The Episcopal Church, one of the most important provinces in the Anglican Church, has been a challenge for Archbishop Williams since he took office. The Church has been active in backing socially liberal causes, drawing the ire of other Churches in the Communion, notably the large Churches in Africa.

Orthodox critics argue that he should be more assertive in facing down liberals, or at least in pushing for the establishment of "safe" places for those who dissented from such ideas as same-sex blessings and the wider consecration of women as priests and bishops.

The archbishop's two-track approach may be a tougher proposition in the wake of the Vatican's announcement. If enough conservatives take up the Vatican offer, it could diminish the need for two styles of Anglicanism. Ironically, some say that the Vatican's appeal could simplify the church's politics going forward. "This could be the answer to [Archbishop Williams's] prayers," said Forward in Faith's Mr. Parkinson.

Some progressives also think the Vatican move could help resolve the conflicts that have dogged the Church.

"The Vatican announcement this week, if you like, ought to take the heat out of the argument," said the Rev. Cannon Giles Goddard, chairman of the Inclusive Church, a liberal group in the Church of England. "Those opposed to the consecration of women bishops now have somewhere else to go, and that ought to make it easier for the Church of England to find a solution to that issue."

But that might also leave a smaller, homogenous Church behind. And evangelical conservatives with less natural warmth toward Rome are concerned that the Vatican may be peeling away a key ally. The many conservative groups within the Church, including Anglo-Catholics, have recently started working together under the banner of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans. They endorse the idea of a two-track approach, giving liberals and conservatives separate oversight.

Said the Rev. Paul Dawson, a spokesperson for Reform, an evangelical group within the Church of England: "We want to retain these people in the Church of England and it could be done."

Read it all here.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What will the announcement of Anglican groups being received into full communion with Rome mean?

With The Washington Post putting the story of the Roman Catholic embrace of traditional Anglicans on the front page today, thought it might be good to delve deeper into what this event means - besides the fact that Rome has given up on the Episcopal Church and has opened the flood gates for traditional Episcopalians to be in communion. The division in The Episcopal Church continues to widen. Here is quite helpful insights from the inside. A "Pastoral Provision" has been in place, though in a very low-key sort of way. Now it seems that the gates are being opened. From here:
First, the Pastoral Provision is local while the Apostolic Constitution is universal. The Pastoral Provision is in effect in the United States and provides a process by which former Episcopalian or Anglican priests may be considered for ordination in the Catholic Church, temporarily suspends the discipline of celibacy during the lifetime of the priest's wife, and allows for groups of former Episcopalians to retain some of their liturgical traditions using an approved modification of the Book of Common Prayer called the Book of Divine Worship. The Pastoral Provision is also in force in Great Britain, but British bishops have not approved an Anglican based liturgy. The Pastoral Provision does not apply in the rest of the world, although individual priests may convert and be considered for ordination on a case by case basis.

Second, the Pastoral Provision has a limited but indefinite time-frame. Its purpose was to allow Episcopalians and Anglicans to be absorbed into the Catholic Church. The Apostolic Constitution is being issued at a much higher level of authority and is not intended to be time-limited. It appears that the Pope envisions that an Anglican community will exist within Catholicism for quite some time and even provides the possibility of separate Anglican tracks within Catholic seminaries to provide for future continuity.

The new Apostolic Constitution can apply anywhere in the world, and it provides the possibility of much more autonomy for former Anglicans. They will not have the same level of autonomy as our sister Eastern Rite Catholics, but there will be some similarities. The Anglican Ordinariate will remain within Western Rite Catholicism, part of the Roman Catholic Church.

This Apostolic Constitution is a very, very generous gift, made in response to petitions from as many as fifty different Anglican bishops around the world. It was said earlier this year that the Episcopal Diocese of Forth Worth was discussing such a move. They have since separated themselves from the Episcopal Church, but have not said definitively that they want to join the Roman Catholic Church. Locally, several small Anglican parishes in Kansas City may be members of the Traditional Anglican Communion that made a petition to become Catholic. The TAC is a worldwide body. We will have to wait and see what happens locally. Bishop Finn has established an Anglican Use community as part of St. Therese Little Flower Parish which is already receiving converts to the Catholic Church and using the Anglican Use liturgy from the Book of Divine Worship.

Most news outlets will reduce this to conflicts between liberals and conservatives about women and gays. The truth is much richer. Let me ask, was John Henry Newman a liberal or a conservative?

Anglicans have been converting to the Catholic Church since the reformation. Since the 1840s, some Anglicans have been working and praying for reunion. In the late 19th century an Anglican religious order, the Francisan Friars of the Atonement (Grayfriars) in Graymoor, New York joined the Catholic Church to pray and work for reunion from within Catholicism and since then have provided the leadership for the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Since Vatican II, Anglicans and Catholics have been in high level discussions aimed at creating the kinds of mutual understandings that would someday lead to reunion. Vatican II paved the way for Catholics to make the kinds of concessions Pope Benedict made that will allow Anglicans to retain some of their liturgy and spirituality, recognizing that Catholicism is enriched and not diminished by this kind of diversity. John Henry Cardinal Newman, the famous 19th century Anglican convert to Catholicism who helped pave the way for Vatican II, will be beatified in 2011 when the Pope visits England. If miracles of healing can be attributed to his intercession, you can’t convince me that he hasn’t had a hand in preparing the way for this new Apostolic Constitution. Anglicans and Catholics flocked to visit the relics of Saint Therese of Lisieux as they made a very recent pilgrimage to England. Her relics rested on her 2009 feast day at York Minster, the Cathedral of the Anglican Archbishop of York. When I read about that, I told the people here at St. Therese Little Flower that she was working on something big. In other words, preparations for this Apostolic Constitution have been in process for 170 years, and some of the preparations have been made at levels that are higher than popes.

The news reports are right. The Anglican Communion, which understands itself to be part of the Catholic Church already, is convulsed with issues of fundamental sacramental theology and ethics. Constituent parts of the Anglican Communion are arriving at opposite answers. Constituent parts are fragmenting. I concluded that the Anglican Communion is not equipped to deal these issues, that the Anglican claim to be part of the Catholic Church is a beautiful illusion, and that these issues cannot be resolved apart from the Church that is undoubtedly Catholic. Does that make me and many other converts liberals or conservatives?
Read it all here. Tip of the Tinfoil to PC. The Rt. Rev'd Michael Nazir-Ali has this to say in a statement from the London Times:

I welcome the Roman Catholic Church’s generosity of spirit and its recognition of what Pope Paul VI called the ‘legitimate prestige and patrimony’ of the Anglican Communion.

I am unclear, however, as to whether there is agreement about the faith ‘once for all delivered to the saints’ on which such an offer must be based.

For orthodox Anglicans, the supreme authority of the Word of God is, naturally, a basic requirement for any such agreement to be reached.

If Anglican patrimony is to flourish, in the context of unity, what arrangements will be made for the study of its theological tradition, method, spirituality and approach to moral issues?

In particular, this is important for the formation of ordinands in institutions which give adequate regard to such considerations.

Orthodox Anglicans should see this recognition of patrimony by another church as affirming the elements of apostolicity and catholicity in their own church, for which they have always stood.

In the meantime, there is a need to build confidence in the evangelical basis of the Anglican tradition and to make sure that it survives and flourishes in the face of the many challenges it faces. However, before some fundamental issues are clarified it is difficult to respond further to what the Vatican is offering.

Read it all here. The Washington Post is having a discussion here. Here's a sample:

Some critics see the new procedures as a blow to relations between Catholics and Anglicans, but leaders from both churches deny this. Cardinal William Levada said that the Catholic Church is still committed to ecumenical dialogue with the Anglican Communion leading to unity in future, but the Vatican felt it could not turn away the many Anglicans who want to be reunited with the church now.

Some would argue that if these Anglicans are going to leave the Anglican Communion anyway, it would be better to have them join the Catholic Church than be off on their own.

Archbishop Rowan Williams, the Anglican primate, accepted the Vatican explanation and in a letter to Anglican leaders wrote, "In the light of recent discussions with senior officials in the Vatican, I can say that this new possibility is in no sense at all intended to undermine existing relations between our two communions or to be an act of proselytism or aggression. It is described as simply a response to specific inquiries from certain Anglican groups and individuals wishing to find their future within the Roman Catholic Church."

After the Catholic Church adopted numerous reforms following the Second Vatican Council, many people hoped that Catholics and Anglicans would reunite as ecumenical dialogue progressed. But Anglicanism continued to evolve in directions that led it away from Catholic practices, especially in the ordination of women and in its teaching about homosexuality.

These developments also divided the Anglican Communion, leading some Anglicans who opposed the ordination of women and gays to approach the Catholic Church about union.

The Catholic Church has always been willing to accept individual Anglicans who want to join the church. For more than a decade, it has allowed married Anglican priests to act as priests after they were ordained by a Catholic bishop.

What is new in these procedures is the possibility of admitting not just individuals but groups and even whole dioceses. Cardinal Levada, prefect of the Congregation for Doctrine of the Faith, said that 20 to 30 Anglican bishops have enquired about union with the Vatican.

Also new are provisions for personal ordinariates, headed by a former Anglican bishop or priest, where the new Catholics would be allowed to preserve their Anglican spiritual and liturgical heritage. These ordinariates are similar to ones that minister to the military in various countries and could even have houses of formation to train future priests.

Married Anglican priests and seminarians joining the Catholic Church could be ordained and function as priests, said Cardinal Levada. Married bishops could be ordained priests but could not function as bishops since this is not the practice in either the Catholic or Orthodox tradition.

The consequences of these new procedures are yet to be seen. How many Anglicans will take advantage of them? Only a handful of Anglican parishes took advantage of a much smaller program established for the U.S. in 1980. But this new structure is both more generous and universal.

Catholic liberals, especially Catholic feminists, fear that an influx of conservative Anglicans will further discourage reform in the Catholic Church. In any case, someone should warn these Anglicans that two out of three U.S. Catholics support the ordination of women. They will not find in Catholicism a controversy-free zone.

But if the new procedures are used by large numbers of Anglicans, the result will be a more liberal Anglican Church and a more conservative Catholic Church, especially if liberal Catholics decide to go in the other direction. These procedures may be an admission that leaders in all churches have lost control of the ecumenical movement and people are simply voting with their feet.

Read it all here.

PM UPDATE - I've written some first thoughts here at SF:

I wonder if it’s entirely possible that rank and file Roman Catholics are not very happy about this development, no not at all. Not just the liberal Catholics, mind you - and they do exist, but the conservative Catholics who are of the mind that if one is going to become a Roman Catholic then for God’s sake, become a Roman Catholic.

The idea that traditionalist Anglican Catholics are going to get a full seat in Roman Catholic governance is naive, anymore than 19th century Native Americans got a say in the local state governments where their reservations were relocated. It’s almost like Rome is taking the traditionalist Anglican Catholics and creating a reservation for them where they can be quarantined off from everybody else. Just saying.

On the other hand, this decision crumbles the idea that I was taught when I became an Episcopalian that The Episcopal Church is the “bridge” church between Roman Catholics and Protestants. That’s dead in the water. This new experiment for Anglican Catholics worldwide becomes the new bridge church and TEC is out of a job.

What this action does is proposition the idea to separate the traditionalists from what I might call orthodox Anglo Catholics like Michael Nazir-Ali and to a certain extent even Bishops Iker and Ackerman - there are differences within the orthodox Anglo Catholic movement, make no mistake about it. The most traditionalist of Episcopal Anglo Catholics (even like Iker and Ackerman) are still broader than the rank and file continuing Anglo Catholics who have been out of the Episcopal Church for at least one generation, if not more. Culturally and even theologically, it’s not a good fit. And that knowledge reveals a flexibility in ministry that is suspect by many rank and file traditionalists. In fact, it divides the orthodox Anglo Catholics from the Traditionalists. They are not the same, no, not at all.

What this decision does do is strengthen the evangelicals in both the CoE and in the ACNA. Some of the ACNA members who are traditionalists may either move into this hybrid experiment or just drift off without fanfare. But that leaves the evangelical majority strengthened, which could prove fascinating as we align evangelicals together in an eccumenical fashion with other denominations, perhaps bringing them formally or informally back into the Anglican fold.

Without the traditionalist voice - either in England or the U.S., then evangelicals are freer to move forward in areas of breaking down the old silos of religious organization and though firmly biblically orthodox, become more flexible in how that biblical faith is expressed to a unchurched world. By taking the traditionalists out of the picture, it lowers the boom on the remaining Anglo Catholics (in TEC and in ACNA) and, ironically perhaps, strengthening both the progressives and evangelicals in the Anglican Communion.

After all, that’s where the crux of this struggle has been all along.

Please show us the letters, Bishop Schori

More here.

Monday, October 19, 2009

What's Up? Anglican Rowan Williams and Catholic Vincent Nichols schedule joint-press conference

From the Telegraph:

Something big seems to be brewing in Rome and London. This from the Vatican:

We inform accredited journalists that tomorrow, Tuesday 20 October 2009, at 11am, in the John Paul II Hall of the Press Office of the Holy See, a briefing will be held on a theme pertaining to the relationship with the Anglicans, at which His Eminence Cardinal William Joseph Levada, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and His Excellency Mgr Joseph Augustine Di Noia OP, Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments will take part.

And this, from the Archbishop of Canterbury’s office:


You are invited to a press conference with Archbishop Vincent Nichols (Archbishop of Westminster) and Archbishop Rowan Williams (Archbishop of Canterbury) on Tuesday 20 October at 1000. The press conference will take place at 39 Eccleston Square, London SW1V 1B

Read it all here.

UPDATE - Joint Statement:

Joint Statement by The Archbishop of Westminster and The Archbishop of Canterbury

Today’s announcement of the Apostolic Constitution is a response by Pope Benedict XVI to a number of requests over the past few years to the Holy See from groups of Anglicans who wish to enter into full visible communion with the Roman Catholic Church, and are willing to declare that they share a common Catholic faith and accept the Petrine ministry as willed by Christ for his Church.

Pope Benedict XVI has approved, within the Apostolic Constitution, a canonical structure that provides for Personal Ordinariates, which will allow former Anglicans to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of distinctive Anglican spiritual patrimony.

The announcement of this Apostolic Constitution brings to an end a period of uncertainty for such groups who have nurtured hopes of new ways of embracing unity with the Catholic Church. It will now be up to those who have made requests to the Holy See to respond to the Apostolic Constitution.

The Apostolic Constitution is further recognition of the substantial overlap in faith, doctrine and spirituality between the Catholic Church and the Anglican tradition. Without the dialogues of the past forty years, this recognition would not have been possible, nor would hopes for full visible unity have been nurtured. In this sense, this Apostolic Constitution is one consequence of ecumenical dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion.

The on-going official dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion provides the basis for our continuing cooperation. The Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) and International Anglican Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM) agreements make clear the path we will follow together.

With God’s grace and prayer we are determined that our on-going mutual commitment and consultation on these and other matters should continue to be strengthened. Locally, in the spirit of IARCCUM, we look forward to building on the pattern of shared meetings between the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales and the Church of England’s House of Bishops with a focus on our common mission. Joint days of reflection and prayer were begun in Leeds in 2006 and continued in Lambeth in 2008, and further meetings are in preparation. This close cooperation will continue as we grow together in unity and mission, in witness to the Gospel in our country, and in the Church at large.

+ Rowan Williams
Archbishop of Canterbury

+ Vincent Nichols
Archbishop of Westminster

20 October 2009

UPDATE: Statement from The Rt. Rev'd Martyn Minns:

“The Vatican is opening a door for Anglicans who sense a call to be part of the Church of Rome to join that body and still maintain Anglican traditions. This move by the Catholic Church recognizes the reality of the divide within the Anglican Communion and affirms the decision to create a new North American province that embraces biblical truth. While we welcome the positive response from the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury regarding the Vatican’s provision, we urge Lambeth Palace to move swiftly to fully endorse the efforts of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans and the Anglican Church in North America to keep the Anglican family together,” said Bishop Minns.

“Rome is reminding Anglicans that our historic, orthodox faith is more important than culture and more important than geography. CANA itself bears witness to the fact that God’s church is made up of believers across the globe. The centrality of Jesus Christ and the authority of Scripture are the unwavering bonds that have drawn CANA churches and others within the Anglican Church in North America together. Our continued prayer is for Anglicans across the world to be able to stay faithful to orthodox beliefs,” Minns concluded.

The church provision, known as an Apostolic Constitution, allowing Anglicans to join the Catholic Church was announced by Cardinal William Levada. An Apostolic Constitution is the highest level of decree that the Pope can issue and underscores the historic nature of this action.

The investiture of the Most Reverend Robert William Duncan, Jr. as ACNA Archbishop

This was sent to me last month at the BabyBlueAnglicann YouTube Channel. From the installation of Bob Duncan as the Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America.

Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina considers withdrawing from the national councils of the Episcopal Church

From the AP:
CHARLESTON, S.C. — Episcopalians in the Diocese of South Carolina will consider resolutions this week to distance the diocese from the national Episcopal Church because of its positions on same-sex marriage and ordination of gays.

One of the resolutions calls for the diocese to also work with other churches opposed to the national church's stance on those issues.

"It would be a withdrawal from some of the national councils of the church," said Canon Kendall Harmon. "It's about as far as you can get but still be in."

Representatives from congregations in the diocese meet Saturday for a special convention in Mount Pleasant. The diocese comprises 75 parishes in the lower and eastern part of the state.

In calling the convention last summer, Bishop Mark Lawrence said false teachings are affecting the national church "like an intrusive vine."

"I have called this the false Gospel of Indiscriminate Inclusivity because I see a common pattern in how the core doctrines of our faith are being systematically deconstructed," Lawrence said.

In 2003, the national church consecrated its first openly gay bishop and last summer, at its national convention, authorized bishops to bless same-sex unions.

In 2006, the Diocese of South Carolina and two others opposing consecration of gay bishops voted to reject the authority of the national church's presiding bishop, but stopped short of a full break with the church.

In June, four breakaway conservative dioceses formed the Anglican Church in North America, a rival national province to the Episcopal Church. Dozens of individual parishes have also joined.

But the Diocese of South Carolina is not considering that.

"The only model that's been out there for us has either been leave or acquiesce, and that hasn't been working," Lawrence said Monday.

"We need to get the 30,000 members of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina awakened to the challenges before us," he added. "Once we have done that, then the question is how do we engage the larger Episcopal Church?"

One of the resolutions to be debated Saturday says the national church has "failed to operate within the boundaries of its canons and continued participation in such behavior would make the Diocese of South Carolina complicit in this dysfunction."

It authorizes the bishop and the diocesan Standing Committee "to begin withdrawing from all bodies of the Episcopal Church that have assented to actions contrary to Holy Scripture, the doctrine, discipline and worship of Christ as this Church has received them."

Harmon likened the resolution to a wife in a troubled marriage moving to a room down the hall.

"The point is it's intended to save the marriage and she is still in the marriage and she is still in the house," he said. "You're trying to do something that is inherently contradictory in order to be heard."

He said it's hard to gauge whether the resolution will pass and wouldn't speculate.

Another resolution calls on the diocese to work with other dioceses and parishes with similar commitments.

Delegates also will consider a resolution saying the diocese will not condone prejudice against anyone, "including those who believe themselves to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered. Nevertheless, we will speak the truth in love as Holy Scripture commends for the amendment of life required of disciples of Christ."

Many conservative Episcopalians believe Scripture forbids same-sex relationships.

The 2.3 million-member Episcopal Church is the U.S. branch of the Anglican Communion, a 77 million-member communion that is the third-largest group of churches worldwide, behind the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christian churches.

Read it all here.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


A jewel from RWB on Mr. Dylan and his new album, Christmas In the Heart:

As with a number of the songs on the album, Dylan doesn’t sing all of the words to O Little Town of Bethlehem. Generally, you might only hear all of the verses of these precious old Christmas hymns in church, and likely only a traditionally-minded church at that. In his version, Dylan sings two of the original five verses of this song: the first and the third. The lyric was written by Phillips Brooks, an Episcopal priest from Philadelphia. The story is that he was inspired while on a visit to the Holy Land in 1865, and specifically while viewing the town of Bethlehem from a spot on a nearby hill. It is an exceptionally beautiful and poignant lyric, I think (although to some reviewers the song is apparently just another dull old holiday chestnut). The two verses that Dylan sings are these:

O little town of Bethlehem
How still we see thee lie
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight

How silently, how silently
The wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His heaven.
No ear may his His coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him still,
The dear Christ enters in.

The final word he sings, however, is not part of the original tune, but a feature of Bob’s own arrangement here. It is a great and a definitively conclusional amen.

Dylan, who spends most of the album, including this song, positively reveling in the gravelly nature of his voice, adopts for his great amen a voice of almost infinite softness. It is — to this listener — an amen infused with reverence, with humility and with a spirit of simple faith. It is a spine-shivering and deeply poignant moment.

Read it all here. And then we have a ghost of Christmas Past. Take it away Judy Rosen at Slate:

To dismiss Christmas in the Heart as mere mischief is to misunderstand Dylan—and Christmas songs. In recent years, Dylan has been less folk singer than folklorist. On albums like Love and Theft (2001), Modern Times (2006), and Together Through Life (2009)—and on his fabulous satellite radio show—Dylan has been dipping further into America's musical back pages with an expansive vision of roots music that takes in not just blues and gospel and country but 19th-century parlor songs, vaudeville ragtime tunes, Tin Pan Alley's Hawaiian ballads, and other products of the ye olde pop industrial complex. Dylan's love for crooners like Bing Crosby is evident in Modern Times' "Beyond the Horizon," a note-for-note homage to the 1930s hit "Red Sails in the Sunset."

For decades, of course, Bing was "Santa Cros," Hollywood's Father Christmas, and his blithe spirit hangs over the new record. Dylan's croak is miles from Crosby's honeyed drawl, but he has a Bingian gift for sly phrasing and subtle swing. The arrangements, meanwhile, pay tribute to mid-century Christmas pop, right down to the backup vocalists who chirp in close harmony through numbers like "Winter Wonderland." Those flourishes, like the Currier and Ives-inspired CD cover art, have struck many as another high-concept Dylan jape. "Dylan plays things beyond straight, adhering to the syrupy, schlocky pop sounds of the pre-rock era," writes the reliably dense Chicago Sun-Times critic Jim DeRogatis, who awards the album zero stars out of a possible five.

Dylan, though, knows that holiday schlock is a profound tradition in its own right. Most yuletide standards are of relatively recent provenance, cooked up by pop tune-smiths during and just after World War II. But it was the special genius of those (mostly Jewish) composers to create songs that feel as if they have always existed, that can sit comfortably beside the ancient "O Come All Ye Faithful (Adeste Fideles)" and "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" as icons of that bizarre civic-religious rite, the American Christmas—the one time each year when the country's consumerist and spiritual excesses merge in a mass celebration of the enchanted and uncanny. Even the silliest Christmas tunes are surreal—cheerily, unblinkingly narrating tales of flying reindeer and talking snowmen. Then there are songs like Berlin's titanic "White Christmas," which fuses Stephen Foster's antebellum nostalgia, Jewish schmaltz, and Broadway melodicism into a secular hymn that is as dark and blue as it is "merry and bright."

Dylan gets this, and that's why Christmas in the Heart is less a joke or a provocation than a polemic. He's harnessing his unrivaled cred to remind us that Christmas ditties are as deeply American—and often, as just plain deep—as anything Alan Lomax ever recorded in an Appalachian holler. Singing (or rasping) "Silver Bells" and "Do You Hear What I Hear?" and "Here Comes Santa Claus," Dylan is the haggard, haunting voice of the musical collective unconscious—our Ghost of Christmas Past.

Read it all here.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Saturday Night at the Cafe: I Surrender All

Conversation continues on the Episcopal Church's appeal to nullify votes in the Commonwealth of Virginia that didn't go their way

Grab a chai and catch up on the conversation on the topic Virginia Supreme Court agrees to hear The Episcopal Church appeals on Virginia law 57-9 underway here. My latest post there is this:
When did recognizing that when the overwhelming majority of American citizens vote according to the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia that should not be considered "a good idea for governance of the state?"

In Virginia the former Established Church should not get preferential treatment because it was once the Established Church of Virginia, indeed it was The Church of Virginia. The people had no say.

A primary principle of our form of government is the free vote. The churches that separated voted their conscience and thousands - thousands - voted to separate, a vote that has been now recognized by the Commonwealth of Virginia. It is this vote that is being opposed by the Episcopal Church.

But they can't oppose the vote openly - it would be a PR disaster. When they took the depositions of those who were in charge of the voting procedures, it became clear that if they got anywhere near challenging the vote it would be a PR disaster. These are regular American citizens exercising their freedom to vote.

As for the property, what matters is what is on the deeds. We do not have implied trusts in Virginia - what matters is what is on the deeds.

The Diocese of Virginia does indeed own property - it does - and the Bishop's name is on the deeds as it should be. Bishop Lee didn't and Bishop Johnston won't own the property himself, he holds it in trust for the Diocese. If the Diocese wanted to hold in trust the local parish properties (and in fact, the bishop's name is on the deeds of some parish properties in Virginia!), then he should have done it! But as we were reminded in court, the diocese recognized that there would be a massive revolt if they even attempted it. Why? Because the parishes understood - and continue to understand - that they hold title to their own property.

That became abundantly clear when Christ Church Alexandria heard the rumor (a rumor so strong, Pohick Church heard it too) that the bishop was going to require them to transfer their deeds to him - the swiftness of calming down and reassuring the parish that this was not indeed the case was something I saw with my own eyes.

To assume that the Episcopal Church can simply reclaim hierarchical powers that it had when it was the Established Church of Virginia is ludicrous. A truly hierarchical church like the Roman Catholic Church in Virginia has correctly observed the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Roman Catholic property is held in trust by the Roman Catholic Bishop. Open the books - you'll see his name.

What's at stake here is whether the people have the freedom to vote, that the vote won't be taken away from them when the outcome doesn't suit the Episcopal Church and whether we can trust what is entrusted on the deeds to actually MEAN what they say.

Maybe that's why it's called a Trust.
Pull up a chair and join us!

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Presiding Bishop demonstrates that The Episcopal Church will not share bishops with the Anglican Communion

Apparently, Bishop Schori has not received the memo that The Episcopal Church is supposed to be in communion with the rest of the Anglican Communion, thereby sharing its bishops. That's the point of "being in communion," isn't it?

But apparently, this is no longer the case as she is now writing renunciation letters for Episcopal bishops who have not actually renunciated their Episcopal ministry. No one has gone to Rome. No one has teetered off the edge and is worshiping vacuum cleaners on Thursdays when the sun goes down. It's absurd and illustrated yet again that either she is just totally clueless - and it's possible, she didn't exactly wow anyone at her first General Convention as Presiding Bishop, in fact she spent much of the time trying to re-explain things she said that caused even the Bishop of Durham to pop his cork. So either she's clueless or the Litigators are running The Episcopal Church (certainly TEC smashed their evangelism budget, throwing even Father Jake of all people out to the curb).

I'll tell you one thing about Bishop Ackerman - I recall seeing him with Rowan Williams during the Lambeth Conference. They were standing outside the gates leading to the Big Top and Bishop Ackerman was telling Rowan Williams a story that just made the Archbishop of Canterbury laugh and laugh. I find highly it unlikely that Bishop Schori has ever made the Archbishop of Canterbury laugh.

And this is certainly no laughing matter. From here.

For shame, Bishop Schori. Bishop Ackerman? Mr. Baseball? Who served God and the people of the Episcopal Church when you were still trying to figure squibs out? And we wonder why thousands upon thousands have left The Episcopal Church in my lifetime. It's just plain sad. What a sad and sorry witness to the world.

And it's such a waste - it's purely for litigation purposes, that's what this document is all about - litigation. Bishop Ackerman is still in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury, after all, he's retired so he still has his pension - this is just plain litigious spite and it isn't lost on anyone.

Tip of the Tinfoil to GG.

So, we send this dedication out to Bishop Keith Ackerman:

UPDATE: Over at SF, the Dean of Nashotah House, The Very Rev'd Robert Munday, who actually trains people for ordination instead of defrocking them, clarifies how once again the Presiding Bishop is taking on powers she does not have and makes assertions that are untrue:
I know from speaking with Bishop Ackerman that he sent the Presiding Bishop a handwritten letter merely asking to have his credentials transferred to the Diocese of Bolivia. He said that he had no intention of renouncing his orders and that, while he intends to assist Bishop Lyons in work in Bolivia, he also wished to remain available to assist bishops in the United States, as requested.

The Presiding Bishop says that “...there is no provision for transferring a bishop to another province.” But that is not true. Title III, Canon 10, Sec. 2, provides for the reception of “Clergy Ordained by Bishops of Churches in Communion with This Church” by means of Letters Dimissory and states:

(3) The provisions of this Section 1 shall be fully applicable to all Members of the Clergy (emphasis mine) ordained in any Church in the process of entering the historic episcopal succession with which The Episcopal Church is in full communion as specified in Canon I.20, subject to the covenant of the two Churches as adopted by the General Convention.

And a subsection states that the churches from which such a clergy may be received includes:

(i) those duly constituted Dioceses, Provinces, and regional Churches in communion with the See of Canterbury,

So if the Episcopal Church can receive clergy (and bishops are included when it says “all Members of the Clergy”) from other provinces of the Anglican Communion by means of Letters Dimmisory, then it can issue those same letters when a bishop or other member of the clergy transfers to another province of the Anglican Communion.

And, of course, the Episcopal Church has transferred clergy to other provinces of the Anglican Communion throughout its history. If one reviews the clergy list in The Episcopal Church Annual in most years one will find a section listing “Clergy Transferred to Other Churches” with the country or province to which the clergy have transferred given in parentheses. For instance, if you look in the 2003 Annual you find the name of the late Peter Toon followed by (England), because the Rev. Dr. Peter Toon, who continued to live and minister in the United States until his death earlier this year, transferred his canonical residence back to England in 2002.

Further, it is not even necessary for the Presiding Bishop to be involved in transferring a bishop to another province or diocese elsewhere in the Anglican Communion.

CANON III.10.2(a)(2) provides only that Letters Dimissory be issued by “the hand and seal of the Bishop with whose Diocese the person has been last connected.”

That a resigned bishop (such as Bishop Ackerman) may transfer to another diocese is indicated in CANON III.12.8(i) which states:

A resigned Bishop may, at the discretion of the Bishop of the Diocese in which the resigned Bishop resides, and upon presentation of Letters Dimissory from the Ecclesiastical Authority of the Diocese in which the resigned Bishop has had canonical residence most recently, be enrolled among the Clergy of the new Diocese, and become subject to its Constitution and Canons including being given a seat and vote in the Diocesan Convention, in accordance with its canonical provisions for qualification of clergy members.

This Canon demonstrates that Bishops are considered to have canonical residence in a diocese and that this canonical residence can be transferred by means of Letters Dimissory. Consequently, the “Ecclesiastical Authority of the Diocese in which the resigned Bishop has had canonical residence most recently” (presumably the “Provisional Bishop” of Quincy) could have transferred Bishop Ackerman to Bishop Lyons in Bolivia by means of Letters Dimissory and his transfer have been recorded without any recourse to the Presiding Bishop or the purported “renunciation” which the PB is now asserting.

It will be remembered that the Presiding Bishop also erroneously asserted that Bishop Henry Scriven renounced his orders when he returned to England. (See 1, 2, and 3.) If the Presiding Bishop would only have bothered to check for precedents in how such tranfers were handled, she could have avoided the scandal of, once again, misinterpreting the canons.

Robert S. Munday+
Read it all here.

Friday Night at the Cafe: Workingman's Blues #2

There's an evenin' haze settlin' over the town
Starlight by the edge of the creek
The buyin' power of the proletariat's gone down
Money's gettin' shallow and weak
The place I love best is a sweet memory
It's a new path that we trod
They say low wages are a reality
If we want to compete abroad

My cruel weapons have been put on the shelf
Come sit down on my knee
You are dearer to me than myself
As you yourself can see
I'm listenin' to the steel rails hum
Got both eyes tight shut
Just sitting here trying to keep the hunger from
Creeping it's way into my gut

Meet me at the bottom, don't lag behind
Bring me my boots and shoes
You can hang back or fight your best on the front line
Sing a little bit of these workingman's blues

Now, I'm sailin' on back, ready for the long haul
Tossed by the winds and the seas
I'll drag ‘em all down to hell and I'll stand ‘em at the wall
I'll sell ‘em to their enemies
I'm tryin' to feed my soul with thought
Gonna sleep off the rest of the day
Sometimes no one wants what we got
Sometimes you can't give it away

Now the place is ringed with countless foes
Some of them may be deaf and dumb
No man, no woman knows
The hour that sorrow will come
In the dark I hear the night birds call
I can hear a lover's breath
I sleep in the kitchen with my feet in the hall
Sleep is like a temporary death

Meet me at the bottom, don't lag behind
Bring me my boots and shoes
You can hang back or fight your best on the front line
Sing a little bit of these workingman's blues

Well, they burned my barn, they stole my horse
I can't save a dime
I got to be careful, I don't want to be forced
Into a life of continual crime
I can see for myself that the sun is sinking
How I wish you were here to see
Tell me now, am I wrong in thinking
That you have forgotten me?

Now they worry and they hurry and they fuss and they fret
They waste your nights and days
Them I will forget
But you I'll remember always
Old memories of you to me have clung
You've wounded me with words
Gonna have to straighten out your tongue
It's all true, everything you have heard

Meet me at the bottom, don't lag behind
Bring me my boots and shoes
You can hang back or fight your best on the front line
Sing a little bit of these workingman's blues

In you, my friend, I find no blame
Wanna look in my eyes, please do
No one can ever claim
That I took up arms against you
All across the peaceful sacred fields
They will lay you low
They'll break your horns and slash you with steel
I say it so it must be so

Now I'm down on my luck and I'm black and blue
Gonna give you another chance
I'm all alone and I'm expecting you
To lead me off in a cheerful dance
Got a brand new suit and a brand new wife
I can live on rice and beans
Some people never worked a day in their life
Don't know what work even means

Meet me at the bottom, don't lag behind
Bring me my boots and shoes
You can hang back or fight your best on the front line
Sing a little bit of these workingman's blues

B. Dylan 2006

We remember Nicholas Ridley and Hugh Latimer

Today is marked as the day that Nicholas Ridley and Hugh Latimer were martyred. Nicholas Ridley was the Bishop of Rodchester.

Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man; we shall this day light such a candle, by God’s grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out. -Hugh Latimer

Nicholas Ridley became an adherent of the Protestant cause while a student at Cambridge. He was a friend of Archbishop Cranmer and became private chaplain first to Cranmer and then to King Henry. Under the reign of Edward, he became bishop of Rochester, and was part of the committee that drew up the first English Book of Common Prayer. When Mary came to the throne, he was arrested, tried, and burned with Latimer at Oxford on 16 October 1555.

Keep us, O Lord, constant in faith and zealous in witness, after the examples of your servants Hugh Latimer, Nicholas Ridley, and Thomas Cranmer; that we may live in your fear, die in your favor, and rest in your peace; for the sake of Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.